From: Ron Hays []
Sent: Tuesday, October 23, 2007 06:04
Subject: Oklahoma's Farm News Update
Oklahoma's latest farm and ranch news
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON for Tuesday October 23, 2007!
A service of Farm Credit of East Central Oklahoma, American Farmers and Ranchers & Midwest Farm Shows
-- Heavy rains Hinder Harvest- and Winter Wheat Planting
-- NCBA President John Queen a part of the Monday Lineup at the 2007 TCFA Convention
-- Sorghum Producers Among the Groups Raising a Red Flag on the ACR in Tom Harkin's Farm Bill Proposal.
-- Cotton Harvest Underway- JC Banks Explains It All.
-- Talking WTO with Roy Lee Lindsey in Europe.
-- Japanese Beef Purchases from the US have grown over the last year- but are only about 12% of the pre BSE levels!
-- Dewald Among Those We have Visited with here at TCFA

Howdy Neighbors!

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!

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Heavy rains Hinder Harvest- and Winter Wheat Planting
The heavy and hard rains of last week- which were repeated in some areas Sunday night and early Monday morning of this week- have likely washed out some wheat fields and will be forcing owners of those fields to scramble to find wheat seed for replanting. The latest Oklahoma Crop Weather Update addressed that issue as they wrote about our 2008 winter wheat crop now going into the ground- "Last week's rains halted small grain planting in many areas. The heavy rains may result in some replanting in areas that were damaged from runoff. Small grain development should benefit greatly in areas that received adequate moisture. Wheat seeding increased 10 points from the previous week to reach 78 percent complete, but was 9 percentage points behind normal. Nearly half of the State's wheat acreage had emerged, but was running significantly behind the five-year average." Probably the concern now for some folks is getting dry enough to get in and plant those acres still not planted- or replanting where seed was washed out. Several days of open weather will be needed for a lot of our producers- one example of that is a report that we got from north of Enid in the Kremlin area- they have received about five inches of rain in the past eight days.

Harvest was also slowed by the recent rains- but still many farmers were able to make progress in getting the spring planted crops out of the field. Grain Sorghum harvest now stands at 51% complete- about even with the five year average- soybeans are 27% harvested, well behind the five year average of 56%- cotton jumped several percentage points in the latest week as far as harvest goes to 17% harvested versus the 25% five year average and the peanut harvest is ahead of that five year benchmark, with 52% now combined versus the 37% five year average.

Topsoil moisture supplies are once again ahead of a year ago- with subsoil moisture as we head toward winter far better than last October. Those ratings should improve a little more in the next report with the heavy rains of the beginning of this week not reflected in this report.

Click here for the latest Oklahoma Crop Weather Update

NCBA President John Queen a part of the Monday Lineup at the 2007 TCFA Convention
The annual meeting of the Texas Cattle Feeders Association is underway here in San Antonio- where we are writing this email from this Tuesday morning- and one of their opening General Session speakers was John Queen, a cow calf producer from North Carolina.

After his comments to the feedlot operators from across the southern Plains, we talked with him about a variety of subjects- starting with the drought in his home region of the southeast. He told us that in all his years in the cattle business in North Carolina, he has never seen it this bad when you start talking drought. Many cow calf producers are liquidating- and Queen fears that many older producers will never attempt to come back.

We also talked about the 2007 Farm Bill Markup planned for the Senate Ag Committee on Wednesday and the troubling Livestock Title- troubling at least to cattle producers that are NCBA supporters. Click below to hear some of John Queen's comments on our Tuesday edition of the Beef Buzz from the Radio Oklahoma Network. Click below and check this latest Beef Buzz as placed on our website.

Click here for today's Beef Buzz with Ron and NCBA President John Queen.

Sorghum Producers Among the Groups Raising a Red Flag on the ACR in Tom Harkin's Farm Bill Proposal.
I know- you are asking, what's an ACR? ACR stands for Average Crop Revenue- a program that looks a lot like the Durbin-Brown revenue proposal touted earlier this year by both the National Corn Growers and the American Farmland Trust. It's a voluntary program in the Harkin plan- and the Congressional Budget Office really liked the idea- as they gave it a score of saving $3.2 billion dollars over the existing three legged stool of farm supports- which Senator Harkin immediately took and has allocated elsewhere in programs he likes better.

Several groups have raised concerns about the ACR- and explaining their position very well is the National Sorghum Producers. They say the numbers don't work for sorghum producers. NSP says in their latest newsletter "Emerging from the farm bill debate was an optional, state based, revenue counter-cyclical program proposal. The proposed program is similar to the Durbin-Brown bill that was suggested earlier in the process. This program, called the Average Crop Revenue Program (ACR), allows producers the option to choose between a traditional farm program or a revenue protection program. This optional revenue protection program would provide producers with a $15 fixed payment on the lesser of either the total crop base acres on the farm, or the 2002 to 2007 average of acres planted to all covered commodities, regardless of the crop. According to NSP figures, sorghum currently receives on average $16.81 per acre. Therefore, for many sorghum producers, the $15 fixed payment would be a bad option as they already receive a higher fixed payment.

"Senate Ag Leadership maintains that producers can offset the loss in fixed payments by increased revenue coverage that triggers when state-based revenue falls below the target revenue. The Senate Ag Committee has a Congressional Budget Office score (financial impact statement) that this program will save the government $3.2 billion. Senator Harkin has indicated that money will be redirected from commodity programs to conservation and other non-commodity programs. While NSP supports more options for farmers, NSP leadership has grave concerns with the ACR program and with reallocating funds away from the commodity title. "

This plan will be one of the topics certain to be examined very closely as the Senate Ag Committee works through the mark up process of their version of the 2007 Farm Bill starting tomorrow morning at 8:30 am Central time.

Cotton Harvest Underway- JC Banks Explains It All.
Oklahoma Extension Cotton Specialist JC Banks give us his thoughts on how we are doing with harvest here in the state of the 2007 cotton crop- "Cotton harvest is going full steam in the picker areas, and is just starting in stripper harvested areas. Yields are not as good as last year on picker harvested cotton, but appear to be much better on dryland cotton.With the rainfall received this year, dryland yields are much better than the past few years. Harvest aid treatments have been with an ethephon based boll opener such as Prep (or ethephon generics) or Finish, plus a defoliant such as Def or Ginstar. The Finish treatments have been a few days quicker than other ethephon products which have helped schedule harvest operations, but other ethephon products have shown approximately the same results in 10 to 14 days following treatment. Ginstar has been a more effective defoliant on drought stressed cotton and cotton with a lot of new growth. Def has been more effective where leaves are mature, but not drought stressed.

"We are approaching the time of year when our main objective is to open the bolls prior to a freeze. The first week in November is our historical first freeze date for Oklahoma. If the bolls will not crack open when squeezed, they will not open following a freeze. We need to get a boll opener on the plants at least a week prior to the first freeze to allow it to set the abscission layers on the boll to allow it to open. If you are planning on the freeze to do the desiccation on the plant, all you need to apply is a high rate of Ethephon. The normally recommended rate for freeze insurance is two and a half to three pints of product per acre.

"This will not completely defoliate the plant, but will set up the plant so the leaves will fall off much more easily. If your objective is to also remove most of the leaves, you should add a pint of Def to the spray mix. If we do receive a hard freeze, the cotton should be harvested as soon as possible because the freeze will make stems more brittle and there will be a lot of stems included in the harvested cotton. The gin cannot clean all of the stems out of the cotton and some bark residue will remain. This will cause a large price discount due to the bark being present in the lint. Remember, barky cotton is caused by cotton condition at harvest and the stripping operation; not by improper ginning."

Talking WTO with Roy Lee Lindsey in Europe.
The Executive Director of the Oklahoma Pork Council, Roy Lee Lindsey, Jr. continues his travels with the National Pork Producer Council trade delegation in Europe this week- and Roy Lee emails us about a couple of encounters that he had in Geneva as it relates to the Doha Round of the World Trade Negotiations.

Roy Lee writes "Last Friday we had the good fortune to meet with WTO Director General Pascal Lamy about the prospects for success in the on-going Doha Development Round negotiations. Lamy is a very impressive individual. While he would not predict success for the round, he did say things were moving - and moving is better than nothing happening. Lamy had a tremendous grasp of how internal politics in the USA worked. He gave us lessons about how a Doha agreement might work through the Congress, if we reach an agreement. I left Lamy's office feeling cautiously optimistic that a good trade deal for US agriculture - and particularly the pork industry - could be just around the corner. "

Roy Lee says that after the optimism of Lamy- a bit of cold water was tossed on the Pork Delegation- courtesy of the Brazilians. "If Lamy gave me optimism, our next guests did their best to rain on my parade. We had lunch Friday with Brazilian trade officials. The Brazilians did not have a very rosy outlook for the success of the Doha Round. They questioned us about our subsidies for cotton, corn, and ethanol. We questioned them about health challenges in Brazil and they admitted there are some issues with foot and mouth disease and other diseases that dramatically limit their ability to export livestock and meat products."

Roy Lee also shared with us about some very interesting conversations they have had with European hog producers and animal welfare across the Atlantic. We will include that in tomorrow's email.

Japanese Beef Purchases from the US have grown over the last year- but are only about 12% of the pre BSE levels!
Without an import policy change, Japan is expected to import about 71,400 metric tons of U.S. beef in 2008, up from a projected 57,000 metric tons in 2007, according to a report from USDA's Foreign Agriculture Service attaché in Japan. U.S. beef sales to Japan in 2007 will be roughly six times larger than last year, but still only about one eighth of 2001 volumes. In an annual livestock report, USDA Agricultural Specialist Kakuyu Obara predicted Japan would import 1 percent less Australian beef in 2008, or about 557,000 metric tons, down from a projected 564,000 metric tons in 2007 (a 3 percent drop from 2006). He linked the Australian beef decline to growing U.S. beef imports.

Obara forecast both Japanese beef consumption and total imports would grow a modest 1 percent in 2008. He put total Japanese beef imports at 735,000 metric tons and total beef consumption at 1.23 million metric tons. U.S. beef exports to Japan are constrained by the available supply of U.S. beef that can be verified under USDA's Export Verification program, used to identify animals that meet Japan's 20-months or younger restriction implemented when Japan reopened its market to U.S. beef in July 2006. "Several major Japanese retail chains now sell U.S. beef but are also bumping up against the limited availability of verified animals," he wrote.

He also noted that while U.S. grain-fed beef has contributed to resumed sales by beef bowl and Korean-style barbecue chains, limited supply and high prices for popular specific cuts such as short plate, chuck eye role and some offal items has hampered some major foodservice end users from expanding their U.S. beef use. The United States has been pressing Japan to lift its 20-month age restriction on U.S. beef imports. A number of resignations by Japanese Ministry of Agriculture officials have slowed the talks.

Dewald Among Those We have Visited with here at TCFA
As we arrived yesterday here in San Antonio at the Texas Cattle Feeders Association convention, we almost immediately saw our friend Scott Dewald, top hired hand of the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association. OCA and TCFA have long had a good working arrangement- and Scott says he expects that to continue for years to come.

We talked with Scott about some of the national issues on the table here in San Antonio, as well as some of the key state issues OCA is involved in back in Oklahoma. Scott was heading home last night to speak today on campus at OSU to Dr. Larry Sanders Ag Policy class- and then will be one of those representing the beef industry at the Governor's Water Conference this week in Oklahoma City.

He says that water issues have always been important to cattle producers and all of agriculture for that matter- and he feels that other interests would love to take away some of the water availability that agriculture has taken for granted for decades. He says who owns ground water as well as how surface water will be allocated in the future is very much up in the air- and that agricultural interests must have their voices heard in this debate. We have the conversation we had with Scott linked below for you to take a listen to- enjoy!

Click here to listen to Ron and Scott discuss a variety of beef related issues while at the TCFA meeting in San Antonio.

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