~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Oklahoma's latest farm and ranch news
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON for Tuesday June 12, 2007!A service of Midwest Farm Shows
-- Size of the Oklahoma Wheat Crop Slimmed Down by Ten Million Bushels- Is there More to Come?
-- Latest Crop Weather Update Reports Wheat Harvest Behind Normal
-- Send us your harvest story!!!
-- Some like it Hot- like those young cotton plants!
-- Livestock Groups Circle the Wagons and Organize to "Balance" the Debate Over Grain for Gas.
-- For those of you that were JUST waiting to put the date on your calendar...
-- Gotcha Day- Courtesy of Ken Cook and the Environmental Working Group.
Here's your morning farm news headlines from the Director of Farm Programming for the Radio Oklahoma Network, Ron Hays. Our email this morning is a service of Midwest Farm Shows, featuring the recently concluded Southern Plains Farm Show in Oklahoma City, as well as the Tulsa Farm Show held each December. Check out details of both of these exciting shows at the official website of Midwest Farm Shows by clicking here.
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Size of the Oklahoma Wheat Crop Slimmed Down by Ten Million Bushels- Is there More to Come?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~With a predicted Oklahoma wheat crop of 151.8 million bushels, the USDA has trimmed the expected size of the Oklahoma wheat crop by almost ten million bushels from May as they have dropped the average yield per bushel from 35 to 33 bushels per acre for the 2007 crop. As they left the number of acres to be harvested unchanged at 4.6 million acres, the door is open for further cuts as we are looking at thousands of acres to be "zeroed" out by insurance adjusters in several of our north central and northwestern counties. If you lose 200,000 acres at that yield per acre- you lose another six and half million bushels in production- which may be seen in future wheat production updates from USDA.
It also appears that the Kansas crop has more downward potential based on comments made by K- State Agronomist Jim Shroyer in recent days about his concerns over late appearing freeze damage in western Kansas as well as root rot that he has found in multiple locations. The Kansas crop was left unchanged from the May estimate of 361 Million bushels. In the case of Texas, the wheat crop size was increased by an expected increase of a bushel an acre in the statewide average yield- which nets a total crop of 136.5 million bushels for Texas in 2007- more than 400% bigger than the crop of a year ago.
We had the chance to talk with Dr. Kim Anderson on Tuesday morning after the crop production numbers were released- and discussed marketing strategies, especially with the lighter test weights many producers are having to face from the wheat we are producing. You can go to the link below for that conversation we had with Dr. Anderson.
Latest Crop Weather Update Reports Wheat Harvest Behind Normal
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~At this point last year, we were just about ready to call the 2006 Oklahoma Wheat Harvest done- with 76% harvested by this date. The five year average is 45%, but here in 2007, the cool wet conditions of May that has extended into the early days of June has meant only 25% of the crop has been harvested thus far.
The wet weather conditions has also meant that spring planted crops are still not completely planted- with soybean planting at 42% complete- versus the five year average of 69% planted by this date; 69% of the cotton planted versus the five year average of 88% and 49% of the milo crop in the ground versus the five year 53%. Cutting of hay is running close to the five year average, with alfalfa hay ratings at 72% good to excellent.
Topsoil and Subsoil moisture supplies continue to be largely adequate with some of the profile saturated- the we are dramatically better in moisture as we enter the hot weather of summertime 2007 compared to 2006.
Send us your harvest story!!!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~We continue to watch the harvest of the 2007 hard red winter wheat crop- and according to Mark Hodges of the Oklahoma Wheat Commission, southwestern reports he has received are showing some improvement in yields and quality in many locations, especially where producers were able to apply fungicides on a timely basis. Mark also says early test weights from the Panhandle are looking good at 62 pounds per bushel.
We continue to receive reports from many of you- THANK YOU for those reports and we would encourage you to continue to let us know about your harvest conditions. If you are an elevator manager, you might give us a quick summary of how your area is going and your observations of quality and other factors surrounding the 2007 crop.
Yesterday, we heard from a couple of folks. One report from northwestern Oklahoma shows Overly with a decent test weight of 59 pounds, while Jagger comes in with a 53 test weight. Yields for the Overly were around 30 bushels per acre. A report from Grant County had a field of Overly being cut with a yield per acre of 32 bushels, test weight at 59, while the OSU release Endurance also produced 32 bushels per acre and test weights around 56-57 pounds. Unfortunately for this producer, this past Saturday night was not a good one, as he suffered a hail storm and lost at least 800 acres that was ready to be cut. I think that's when Mother Nature shows her "meanest" streak when we are so close to harvesting what could have been a profitable crop- and have it snatched away in literally minutes. That's tough.
Some like it Hot- like those young cotton plants!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~In the weekly update supplied by NTOK for the cotton industry from Dr. J.C. Banks, Extension Cotton Specialist for Oklahoma State University- JC tells us that cotton plants take to the warmer days of June like a duck to water. "The cotton plant is known as a slow starter and hopefully, a strong finisher. Cotton is sensitive to all forms of stress while emerging and becoming established. This is the reason that early management usually centers on reducing stress on the plant as much as possible. Cool soil temperatures, wind, blowing sand, heavy rainfall, thrips and weeds will contribute to early season stress. Once we get the plant into squaring, it can handle more stress, but the result of too much stress is fruit shed. We are now beginning to get some heat, and cotton being a tropical plant, is beginning to grow out of the early season stress."
As a result, Dr. Banks indicates that he often gets questions about heat units- and how many heat units it takes for a plant to hit various growth points. He offers the following primer on the "milemarkers" of heat units when it comes to cotton.
"Cotton growth is closely related to heat accumulation, which is reflected as accumulated heat units since planting . Oklahoma is unique among many states because we have at least one weather station per county, and these are all linked together to form the Oklahoma Mesonet. This is a cooperative effort between the University of Oklahoma and OSU, and information is made available to anyone with a computer. The following instructions should give anyone access to the cotton heat unit calculator. First, go to http://www.mesonet.org. This should get you to the main mesonet page, which will allow you to download a weatherscope program that you will need later. Click on weatherscope download, when it comes to click run, you may need to click run again. When weatherscope has been downloaded, you can go ahead and exit from the main mesonet site. Next, go to either http://NTOKCotton.org or http://okiecotton.org. You will find a heat unit calculator key, click on this. Next click on cotton and then heat unit calculator. You will select the date of planting first and the current date next, then click run. The Oklahoma map will then be displayed with the number of heat units accumulated at each weather station. You can then locate the weather station nearest to you. As a general guideline, cotton should be expected to emerge at 50 to 60 heat units. Pinhead squares should be initiated at 425 to 500 unit units from planting. First bloom is 725 to 825 heat units, and the first open boll should occur at 1,575 to 1,925 units from planting. The reason for the range in heat units for each stage of growth is the amount of stress the plants have been through prior to the growth stage."
Livestock Groups Circle the Wagons and Organize to "Balance" the Debate Over Grain for Gas.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Cattle, Hogs and Poultry compete- often vigorously- for the consumer dollar as the protein of choice for that particular day. However, a coalition of groups that represent these livestock industry segments are crying foul over the legislative rush to mandate and subsidize the use of grains and oilseeds to produce biofuels.
The Coalition has established a web site called "Balanced Food and Fuel.Org" with the stated aim to "balancing the debate over ethanol policy and its impact on the food and livestock sectors." On the site, the groups claim "The Coalition supports efforts to increase American energy security and diversification, but is concerned that the direction in which the U.S. is headed may have many unintended consequences for animal agriculture, family farmers and ranchers, the world's poor, and consumers alike."
The Coalition has written a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky.) indicating that a Senate bill seeking to quintuple the U.S. biofuel mandate would "inevitably be met by corn ethanol, and likely have a significant impact on food and feed production, public health, and [the environment]" unless proper safeguards are put in place. They add that they believe that the limits on corn based ethanol is "close at hand." They call on the government to move the emphasis instead on more resources to develop cellulosic based ethanol but not put more pressure in the interim on grain stocks to attempt to produce more gallons of ethanol in the short run. We have linked the coalition's website below- complete with a listing of the groups that are involved.
For those of you that were JUST waiting to put the date on your calendar...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~FarmAid 2007 will be held in the Big Apple on September 7th and Willie and the boys will be camped out all day rocking for the betterment of organic farming and homegrown food efforts. Nelson and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg made the announcement together at one of the "greenmarkets" that are found at multiple locations across NYC boroughs.
"Farm Aid is coming to New York because your enthusiasm for family farm food is keeping family farmers on the land. We are thankful to Mayor Bloomberg, the City Council and the many activists here who are leading efforts so that every New Yorker has access to more food from family farms," said Farm Aid president Willie Nelson.
The theme for the September Fundraiser "Farm Aid 2007: A HOMEGROWN Festival" and will celebrate music, good food and hands-on activities with family farmers and urban growers. For the first time, concert concessions will feature all fresh, local, organic and family farmed food. We have linked the FarmAid website for those that want to check out where this event has evolved into since its inception in 1985.
Gotcha Day- Courtesy of Ken Cook and the Environmental Working Group.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~If you want to see wholesale changes in current farm policy- you likely are a big fan of Ken Cook- otherwise, if you support the 2002 farm bill and like how it supports US agriculture, you probably have a somewhat lower opinion of Mr. Cook. In any case, Ken Cook has been a major player in helping shape farm policy in this country- and that especially became true when his group unveiled their web site that featured listings of those who receive farm program subsidy payments. Neighbors started checking up on neighbors and there was quite a buzz for many months over who was getting what.
The next generation of that farm program subsidy disclosure list is made public later today- and Ken Cook says this time, that hundreds of thousands of folks who were a part of corporations, or Coops, or other partnerships that kept them from being named as a subsidy recipient- the payment was listed under the name of the entity- well those folks will have their names plastered across the EWG web site for payments they received from 2003 to 2005.
Ken Cook says "Thou shalt trace benefits to individuals." Cook says he is hopeful that this new level of exposure of all who receive farm program payments will be helpful in the farm bill debate. Cook's group, the EWG, wants Commodity Title spending scaled back dramatically with those monies going into Conservation Program spending.
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