~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Oklahoma's latest farm and ranch news
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON for Wednesday August 26, 2009A service of Johnston Enterprises, P & K Equipment/ P & K Wind Energy and American Farmers & Ranchers Mutual Insurance Company!
-- The Canola Countdown- Wheat Farmers Moving Acres into This Alternative Crop
-- Atrazine Under Fire by Natural Resources Defense Council
-- Oklahoma Ag Leadership Class 14 Heads for the Panhandle
-- Beef Cattle Well Being the Focus of a New Independent Advisory Group Being Formed- Dr. Bob Smith a Part of Inaugural
-- Feedlots Fight to Reach a Profit
-- From the Hand that Feeds U.S.- An Interesting Look at the EWG
-- Let's Check the Markets!
Here's your morning farm news headlines from the Director of Farm Programming for the Radio Oklahoma Network, Ron Hays. We are pleased to have American Farmers & Ranchers Mutual Insurance Company as a regular sponsor of our daily update- click here to go to their AFR web site to learn more about their efforts to serve rural America!
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The Canola Countdown- Wheat Farmers Moving Acres into This Alternative Crop
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~There is a tremendous amount of optimism about the number of acres that will be going into Winter Canola this fall across the state of Oklahoma. Promoters of the fall planted and June harvested crop believe we could see upwards of 100,000 acres in canola this fall. One "whisper" number we have been told by one pioneer who has pushed canola hard is perhaps even 150,000 acres.
The decisions that must be made to plant canola are now upon wheat farmers across the state. If you plan on planting this alternative to wheat, you will need to be sourcing seed and you will need to get with your crop insurance agent and file your intentions to plant canola. The deadline for signing up your intentions to buy insurance on canola you might plant is Monday, August 31, 2009. The planting window for winter canola across the wheat belt in Oklahoma is for the most part the month of September- through about the first week of October.
There are several reasons to put at least some of your acres into canola this fall, especially if you are having problems with grassy weeds like cheat or ryegrass. Rotating canola onto your wheat fields with those problems gives you a chance to use herbicides that can clean up those problems- and provides you the chance to produce cleaner wheat when you rotate it back to that ground.
Click on the link below to read more on Canola production- as well as the chance to listen to Dr. Tom Peeper of OSU on the advances that have been made over the last three years in bringing canola to a position where more and more farmers are willing to try planting canola in a couple of fields this fall. And those who have tried a small planting this past fall- got a canola crop where wheat failed this past spring- are gearing up to plant several hundred acres this year.
Atrazine Under Fire by Natural Resources Defense Council
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The Natural Resources Defense Council reports that drinking water containing the herbicide - atrazine - could pose a greater public health risk than previously thought because regular municipal monitoring doesn't detect frequent spikes in the chemical's levels. The NRDC says the missed spikes likely occur after rain and springtime application of the herbicide. Scientists with atrazine manufacturer Syngenta called the NRDC report - alarmist - and said the spikes fall within one- and 10-day limits that the EPA considers safe.
The NRDC reported documented spikes in atrazine in the water supplies of Midwestern and Southern towns in agricultural areas, where the herbicide is applied to the vast majority of corn, sorghum and sugar cane fields. Atrazine is an endocrine disrupter and can interfere with the body's hormonal activity and the development of reproductive organs. NRDC senior scientist Jennifer Sass says - our biggest concern is early-life-stage development. If there's a disruption during that time, it becomes hard-wired into the system. These endocrine disrupters act in the body at extremely low levels. Therefore, - these spikes matter.
Syngenta toxicologist Tim Pastoor says, - atrazine is one of the best studied, most thoroughly regulated molecules on the planet. He says, - those momentary spikes are not going to be injurious to human health. NRDC scientists and lawyers argue that the EPA's limits are too lenient, given studies showing the effects of low levels of atrazine on rats and other animals and the fact that it is nearly impossible to epidemiologically trace the chemical's effects on humans.
Oklahoma Ag Leadership Class 14 Heads for the Panhandle
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~It's one of the most eye opening regional seminars that OALP class members have in their two year experience in this rural leadership development program. OALP Class 14 travels this morning first to Woodward and then on to Guymon for the next couple of days. For the class members who don't live in the Panhandle, it's their first trip to Texas and Cimarron Counties- and the level of ag production and agribusiness blows them away.
OALP's current class will get inside both a pork processing plant (Seaboard in Guymon) as well as National Beef Plant in Liberal- will see firsthand the Seaboard biodiesel plant using the byproducts from the Seaboard Pork Plant- and will also see an ethanol plant while across the state line in Liberal. A look at the feedlot industry, irrigated and dryland crop production, confined pork production and even a stop to chat with the owner of No Man Land's Beef Jerky will also be a part of the travel.
One of the highlights for 2009 is a joint gathering of the current class along with alums of OALP, the Kansas, New Mexico and Texas Ag Leadership programs on Thursday evening- two dozen or more alums from the program are expected to be a part of that session in a unique four state gathering. As we mentioned, the current class is the 14th group to go through the Oklahoma Ag Leadership Program- run by Oklahoma State University under the advisement of a committee of industry leaders. We have the OALP website linked below- check it out- and start thinking now about who you know that needs to be in Class 15- maybe that someone is you.
Beef Cattle Well Being the Focus of a New Independent Advisory Group Being Formed- Dr. Bob Smith a Part of Inaugural
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Leaders from academia and the beef industry are announcing the formation of an independent advisory group to focus on beef cattle health and well-being. The North American Food Animal Well-being Commission for Beef (NAFAWC-Beef)-which includes world-renowned experts in animal well-being-will advocate for increased research funding for animal well-being, facilitate the communication of research results in a more timely manner, advance best management practices in cattle health and welfare, and serve as an unbiased, science- and production- based group to address concerns about animal well-being. Dan Thomson, Jones professor of production medicine and epidemiology at Kansas State University, and Joseph Stookey, professor of applied ethology, Western College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, will serve as commission co-chairs. Dr. Bob Smith of Oklahoma State University is one of the 21 inaugural members of the commission.
"Animal well-being issues extend beyond the agricultural community," said Thomson. "People across the country are looking for more information on animal care and handling, and we're eager to share our story with them. This new partnership brings an impressive wealth of experience and expertise to the table to help bolster ongoing research and education in the area of cattle care." (We have additional comments from Dan Thomson you might want to review on our website- comments that came from the recent K-State Beef Cattle Day in Manhattan- Click here for that story)
NAFAWC-Beef will help direct research efforts, field studies and
assessment tools for the North American beef industry in relation to beef
cattle well-being in order to provide science-based recommendations for
cattle management practices.
Feedlots Fight to Reach a Profit
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~It is a real battle in the meat trade domestically with US produced beef facing strong competition from imported processed meat from Australia as well as from US pork, with the lack of pork exports from this country dumping large tonnage of pork back into the domestic meat pipeline.
We talk about this battle with OSU Livestock Market Economist Dr. Derrell Peel- and he says that means that moving higher on cash cattle prices is a struggle. He says he believes we will end up somewhere above $85 this fall, but a number with a nine in front of it is not likely.
Click on the link below and read more of what Dr. Peel has to say- and you can hear his comments at this link as well as the latest Beef Buzz.
From the Hand that Feeds U.S.- An Interesting Look at the EWG
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The Environmental Working Group (EWG) caused quite a stir in rural America when it released its farm subsidy database in 2004. Farmers were justifiably mad that their personal financial information was being aired publicly. But what made growers the maddest was the way EWG packaged and misrepresented the information. Farm program benefits were lumped together over multiple years in an attempt to make figures look bigger and were shown in isolation with no broader context, leaving the impression that farmers were camped out at their mailboxes awaiting checks.
The Hand that Feeds US is a coalition of groups and individuals in production agriculture that want to push back against groups like Ken Cook's EWG, a group that vilifies large family farms as being somehow evil and definitely too rich to be getting any government help.
Well, this group has decided on their website to offer a few figures about the EWG- nothing that will probably generate the media interest like seeing how many dollars Scotty Pippen has gotten in USDA program supports ($79,000- all from the CRP). They report that EWG has received over $14 million dollars in support over multiple years, has paid no taxes, has spent over two million dollars attacking farmers and their CEO Ken Cook has been paid over a half million dollars in compensation. You can click on the link below to see the full profile of the EWG on the Hand that Feeds US website- it's a fun read.
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Let's Check the Markets!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~We've had requests to include Canola prices for your convenience here- and we will be doing so on a regular basis. Current cash price for Canola is $8.00 per bushel, while the 2010 New Crop contracts for Canola are now available are $8.10 per bushel- delivered to local participating elevators that are working with PCOM.
Here are some links we will leave in place on an ongoing basis- Click
on the name of the report to go to that link:
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