~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Oklahoma's latest farm and ranch news
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON for Wednesday September 5, 2007!A service of Cusack Meats, Farm Credit of East Central Oklahoma & Midwest Farm Shows
-- Yikes!!! Wheat Market Continues on Fire!
-- Milder Weather as we close out August in Oklahoma.
-- New Jersey has Pastures in Better Shape than Oklahoma- but that's it!
-- This Sunday After Church- You're Invited to a Organic Garden Confab.
-- A Really Good Read on Body Condition Scores and Why They Are More Important than those Saturday Afternoon Football Scores!
-- Young Ladies and Young Men- It's Time to Start Writing Those Speeches!
-- USDA Sets October 15 Signup for Crop Disaster Assistance
Here's your morning farm news headlines from the Director of Farm Programming for the Radio Oklahoma Network, Ron Hays. We are proud to welcome Farm Credit of East Central Oklahoma as a regular sponsor of our daily email update. Farm Credit of East Central Oklahoma has ten branch offices to serve your farm financing needs and is dedicated to being your first choice for farm credit. Check out their website for more information by clicking here!
The newest sponsor on our daily email service is Cusack Meats, starting their 75th year of service- saluting Oklahoma's Farmers and Ranchers! You can go to the Cusack website and select some great gift packs of meat for yourself- or for giving! And, our email this morning is also a service of Midwest Farm Shows, producer of the Tulsa Farm Show coming up December 6-8, 2007, as well as the Southern Plains Farm Show in Oklahoma City next spring. Check out details of both of these exciting shows at the official website of Midwest Farm Shows by clicking here.
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Yikes!!! Wheat Market Continues on Fire!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Record Highs were set yesterday in Chicago wheat futures- and the overnight electronic trade suggests that more highs will be recorded today. We mentioned to you yesterday about India trying to get a jump on building stocks by buying twice as much wheat as they were scheduled to purchase over the Labor Day weekend. The late word from India is that they plan on continue the buying spree with plans to import five million metric tons of this year- they have bought only 1.3 million metric tons to this point.
Then there are the Aussies. There's lots of speculation that they will have a smaller wheat crop than the latest USDA prediction of 23 million metric tons because of hot dry conditions. The gentleman who invoked the word "Yikes" was Jerry Gidel of North American Risk Management out of Chicago, who says that the Australians are in trouble as some private analysts are talking twenty million metric tons or less!
It all adds up to a limit up day yesterday in Chicago and Kansas City- and more of the same perhaps today. However, Gidel says that after we exhaust the buying today- there could be some profit taking from the strong market. Nonetheless, it has pushed wheat prices here in Oklahoma to the seven dollar level- the Oklahoma Department of Ag reports Alva, Cherokee, Manchester, Ponca City and Medford all have hard red winter wheat bids at or above seven dollars. We have their latest prices linked on our market page on our web site- and we have that page linked for you below to look over- there is a lot of good information that we have lined up for you on that page. Specifically, those cash grain prices are about two thirds of the way down the page- scroll down past the life audio reports, the feeder cattle link and wholesale beef prices and there you are.
Milder Weather as we close out August in Oklahoma.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~We are starting to see a few fields of wheat planted in the Oklahoma wheat belt- but the planted acreage count is still not measurable in the latest Oklahoma Crop Weather update. We have passed the one fourth harvested figure of the 2007 Oklahoma corn crop- with 28% now harvested.
Grain Sorghum and Soybeans are starting to mature- but lag the five year average pace. All of our spring planted crops- except soybeans- are in mostly good to excellent condition. Soybeans remain 42% good to excellent and 56% in fair condition.
Alfalfa and other hay are both rated in generally fair to good shape- with this past week a really good week for cutting, curing and baling additional hay supplies as we approach fall. Our soil moisture ratings are down just a bit as ended August- but are still in far better shape- topsoil and subsoil- versus one year ago. We have the the latest report detailed in the NASS link below.
New Jersey has Pastures in Better Shape than Oklahoma- but that's it!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~New Jersey pasture conditions are rated 80% in good condition, while Oklahoma checks in at 76% good to excellent shape on our pasture and ranges. Texas has the third best pasture and range conditions in the United States in this latest reporting week with 74% of their pastures and ranges rated in good to excellent condition.
At the other end of the spectrum, California and Nevada pasture and range conditions are toasty with a rating of 96% poor to very poor. In the eastern part of the United States, North Carolina is REALLY dry with a pasture rating of 89% poor to very poor, while Tennessee is close behind at 86% poor to very poor.
The pasture and range conditions are just one of a several ratings that are available in the national crop progress report issued yesterday afternoon- we have it linked for you below.
This Sunday After Church- You're Invited to a Organic Garden Confab.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Organic Farmer John Leonard will share his expertise in a free workshop at his aptly-named farm, Organic Gardens, near El Reno, on Sunday, September 9 from 2 to 6. From roughly two and a half cultivated acres, the farm sells certified organic produce at two farmers' markets (OSU-OKC and Edmond), as well as to several Oklahoma City restaurants. "We get calls from the restaurants every day," says Organic Gardens partner Jonathan Stranger. "They say, 'Give me what you have.' Everything we grow is taken." Tomatoes and melons are the mainstays of the produce operation. Other crops include edamame, okra, cauliflower, and a variety of herbs and salad greens.
Leonard carefully chose the farm's site, less than a mile from the Canadian River, testing the soil and water before purchasing the property. Leonard's self-taught approach to organic growing manifests itself in several unique practices. For example, he spreads rolls of weed fabric over the beds, then plants through the fabric. The fabric smothers weeds and keeps plants from coming into contact with diseases in the soil - saving him the time he'd otherwise spend weeding and staking the plants.
Even the most flawless approach to production wouldn't keep a direct market farming operation going for long without a sound marketing plan. Leonard has a few tricks up his sleeve in that department, too, centered on a variety of crops and close communication with his customers. "We generally grow the same stuff, but add new stuff every year," he says. Cherokee Purple, an heirloom tomato that's now a mainstay at Organic Gardens, started out as one such experiment. The tomato's color seemed to scare a few customers. "We had to give those away the first year we grew them - we couldn't sell them," says Leonard. "It went from, 'My God, I'm not going to eat that!' to, 'Give me more!' We almost made addicts out of people." The Kerr Center is sponsoring the workshop in partnership with the USDA Risk Management Agency, an equal opportunity provider.
To reach the Leonard farm from Interstate 40, take Highway 81 north through El Reno and across the Canadian River. Take the first right after crossing the river (Britton Rd.), and go east 4.5 miles. Look for a large greenhouse on the north (left) side of Britton Road. For more information contact the Kerr Center at 918.647.9123.
A Really Good Read on Body Condition Scores and Why They Are More Important than those Saturday Afternoon Football Scores!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Well, they are important if you have a Mama Cow Herd and what to make sure they go into the winter months in good enough shape to carry a calf, nurse that calf and be ready for rebreeding in a timely matter. In other words, that Body Condition Score better be in the sweet spot if you want your herd to be a winning squad!
That sweet spot seems to be around a Body Condition Score of from five to seven. This is especially true at calving time. Dr. Glen Selk of Oklahoma State University says "Cows that are in a thin body condition at calving return to estrus cycles more slowly than cows in better body condition. If the cow takes more than 80 or 90 days to return to heat cycles, her opportunities to become bred in the next breeding season are seriously reduced. That is why body condition of cows (especially at calving time) is so important!"
We have a really good summation of what Body Condition Scores are and WHY they are important from Dr. Selk- these articles coming from his weekly email that he writes along with Dr. Derrell Peel. Click below for Glen's arguments in favor of that "Just right" Body Condition Score for your Beef Cow herd.
Young Ladies and Young Men- It's Time to Start Writing Those Speeches!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The picture on their web site shows last year winners- with the name the Oklahoma Farmers Union seen in the background. Well, it's a new fall season and it's a new organizational name but the same great contest that has been going on for over sixty years! We are talking about the 63rd Annual State Speech Contest sponsored by American Farmers and Ranchers.
There are three age divisions- with five different topics that young men and ladies can speak in. The actual district contests happen in November, with the State Finals set for December first. Obviously, the time is now to get your speech research done and get ready for the district contest in the part of the state that you live in.
Shelly Bilderback is in charge of the 2007 event- and we have the brochure that gives you complete details on the rules, categories and locations linked below. If you have questions for Shelly, her number at the AFR state office is 405-218-5582.
USDA Sets October 15 Signup for Crop Disaster Assistance
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~If your farm has suffered losses from a natural disaster in 2005, 2006, or 2007, mark your calendar for October 15. That's the day sign-up starts for the Crop Disaster Program, which is an ad hoc disaster assistance program for farmers with losses in those three years. For 2007 losses, the crop subject to payment must have been planted prior to Feb. 28.
This assistance, included in the supplemental spending bill finalized in May, was the result of work by key commodity groups and other ag organizations for members who suffered losses for drought, floods, fires and freezes in recent seasons.
To be eligible, producers must have carried crop insurance, and can only apply for program assistance for one of the three years. The Oct. 15 start date applies only to quantity losses. USDA has indicated that sign-up for quality losses will occur in the future. We have linked the FSA site that has been put in place to give an overview of the Disaster Program which has specific information on the sign up rules and regs.
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