~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Oklahoma's latest farm and ranch news
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON for Monday August 11, 2008!A service of Producers Cooperative Oil Mill, Farm Credit Associations of Oklahoma and Midwest Farm Shows!
-- The Promise, the Peril and the Hype of Switchgrass for Biofuel.
-- COOL Barreling Straight at US Cattle Industry.
-- From the Southern Plains Beef Symposium- One Rancher Offers Dose of Real Life
-- The Crop that LOVES Triple Digit Temperatures- A Sesame Update
-- Spradling Sees Several Subjects from Grassroots Emerging at OFB District Meetings
-- Hog Prices Could Be Jumping a Lot Higher By Next Summer.
-- This Week- Cropping Systems Field Day at Twilight and More.
-- Fed Cattle Trade on Friday- that and more on the Markets!
Here's your morning farm news headlines from the Director of Farm Programming for the Radio Oklahoma Network, Ron Hays. We are excited to have as one of our new sponsors for the daily email Producers Cooperative Oil Mill, with 64 years of progress through producer ownership. Call Brandon Winters at 405-232-7555 for more information on growing Nu-Sun Sunflowers this year- and check out the full story on PCOM on their website by clicking here.
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The Promise, the Peril and the Hype of Switchgrass for Biofuel.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~While in Ardmore for the 2008 Southern Plains Beef Symposium, we had the chance to sit down with Wadell Altom, Senior Vice President and head of the Agriculture Division of the Noble Foundation and we talked about the Foundation's involvement in developing Switchgrass into a viable feedstock for biofuel production as a part of the drive for cellulosic ethanol.
The Noble Foundation is one of the partners that has come together to help form the Oklahoma Bioenergy Center, along with the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University. The Noble Foundation has established plots of switchgrass in both southern Oklahoma into northeastern Texas as well as in Texas County in the Oklahoma Panhandle- looking for answers in how to raise this native grass as a monoculture and get it to a point of being productive enough to be profitable as a biofuel feedstock.
We have our conversation with Wadell up as a "podcast" on our website- and we have the link to our webpage with the audio on it linked below- the work that is going on right now by Noble is really fascinating- and it proves that while there may be reason for optimism in the days ahead for switchgrass as a biofuel answer- lots of questions will have to be answered before that becomes a reality.
Click here for our podcast audio of Ron Hays with Wadell Altom of the Noble Foundation on the search for answers about switchgrass.
COOL Barreling Straight at US Cattle Industry.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~OSU Extension Livestock Market Economist Dr. Derrell Peel has put together an excellent overview of where we stand with COOL- mandatory Country of Origin Labeling. It officially takes effect in less than sixty days- but cattle producers need to be keeping records of animals and their comings and goings now. The following is how Dr. Peel sees COOL:
Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling will take effect on September 30, 2008. There are specific rules on the definition of retailers and on processed foods (which are exempted) and on food service establishments (which are also exempted) but in general, beef sold in retail markets must bear a label or notice to consumers about the origin of the beef. Only beef from animals born, raised and slaughtered in the U.S. may be labeled Product of U.S.A. Other product must identify the country or countries of origin, which might include the U.S. and other countries. USDA-AMS has indicated that they will use the first six months to help retailers and suppliers come into compliance with the law.
Peel adds that "Cow-calf producers can use a wide variety of herd or calving records, feed purchases, animal health or vaccine purchases to document the normal level of production that would verify the origin of calves they sell. Producers should be prepared to provide an affidavit to the buyer stating the origin and the existence of such records. Producers should keep a copy of the affidavit noting the buyer and/or the date and location of the sale." Derrell Peel has more on the COOL issue that producers and others in the cattle business need to know- we have his full article as our Top Story on our website- click below to check it out.
Click here for Derrell Peel's COOL review from our website- WWW.OklahomaFarmReport.Com
From the Southern Plains Beef Symposium- One Rancher Offers Dose of Real Life
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Yates Adcock of the Middle Creek Ranch in Dustin, Oklahoma told those attending the 2008 Southern Plains Beef Symposium that the playing field has changed in the ranch business- that the management style of throwing more fertilizer on a field, heavy up on your spraying for weeds and then trying to run more cows per acre is not the most efficient or profitable way to run a ranch.
He pointed out that the cost of fertilizer has risen to the point where it's hard to justify that cost on the introduced pastures like bermuda grass. A key number that he measures by is the cost per head per year- and he adds that they have a new set of data that shows that spring calving cows may be much more economical to run on a ranch in this part of the world versus a fall calving cow. One year of data they have collected suggests a hundred dollar difference in the cost between the spring calving mama cow versus the fall calving mama cow.
Yates also spoke of the need to keep balance in your life. His suggestion- keep the main thing the main thing. Carve out time for family is his advice for other producers- don't let the stress of running a farm or ranch overwhelm what have always been considered the "blessings" of living in the country. We talked with Yates after his comments to those in Ardmore on Saturday- and we have them linked below- check them out!- and remember that our event coverage of cattle industry happenings like the Southern Plains Beef Symposium are a service of Hudson Livestock Supplements.
Click here for our story on our website found on the Cattle Industry Insights Page of OklahomaFarmReport.Com
The Crop that LOVES Triple Digit Temperatures- A Sesame Update
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Danny Peeper with Wheeler Brothers out of Watonga has been keeping us up to date on the progress of the 2008 Sesame crop- and did the same last season as well- a year that turned out to be a disappointing one for the acres grown with sesame. The reports here in 2008 are much more encouraging, to say the least.
Danny writes over the weekend- "We have finally found a more normal summer, and the conditions have been exceptional for sesame production. Rainfall allowed us to get the crop planted into a good profile of moisture in the May-June time frame, and since then we have not had much rain in July and zero for August so far where the sesame is being grown this year. Producers applied the 30-40# of nitrogen at planting and for the most part that is where the inputs have stopped. As you are aware we have had a couple weeks now of extreme heat ranging from 100-110. However, these have been positives for the sesame crop. Fields of great sesame can be seen today that are over six feet in height with dry sand down to 16 inches. These same fields have not had any visible wilting to date and they made a noticeable increase in plant growth once the temperatures topped the century mark."
He adds "I would just like to share the excitement around sesame for a crop that can flourish in these harsh elements and to date look as though they will produce a record yield for sesame in the state. I will keep you updated as we near harvest in about 45 days."
Spradling Sees Several Subjects from Grassroots Emerging at OFB District Meetings
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The Oklahoma Farm Bureau has reached the midway point of their August District Meetings- and Mike Spradling, President of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau, reports that three issues have come up in most of the meetings held thus far- the state's plans to develop a comprehensive water plan, the truck weight issue as it impacts hauling farm products off the farm across state lines and concern over higher and higher input costs.
Spradling says about 35 Oklahoma Farm Bureau members are on the
regional committees that have been named across Oklahoma that are holding
Regional Input Meetings in all 11 regions of the state. Spradling says
that it is vital that agriculture is "at the table" as water is discussed
and priorities are established over the next two or three years in this
Oklahoma Farm Bureau has seven more of their grassroots meetings planned for this month- including one tonight in El Reno. We have a conversation with Mike Spradling that we have on our website that is linked below- click and take a listen.
Click here for more with Mike Spradling of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau on their District Meetings- and what's being said by local members.
Hog Prices Could Be Jumping a Lot Higher By Next Summer.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Although the U.S. swine industry will be up 7 percent on total slaughter levels for 2008, economists expect hog prices to move up strongly by the summer of 2009, due to lower farrowing intentions this fall, strong exports and substantially lower hog imports from Canada.
"I think we could see record high hog prices by late next summer," says Steve Meyer, president of Paragon Economics in Adel, Iowa. "While it's 100 percent a weather market now, if we have good growing conditions for the rest of the season and an average to late frost, things will look a lot better for producers."
Exports, which marked huge increases in April and May, have remained one of the brightest spots in 2008 for U.S. pork producers. "China/Hong Kong remains the big driver, although demand from Japan has grown, and Russia's imports of U.S. pork are up," Meyer says. "It doesn't look like there will be any reason for export demand to slow, especially since the weak U.S. dollar makes U.S. pork competitively priced."
As you weather the profitability challenge, continue to watch what the hog futures market is offering, relative to your costs, in the coming weeks, and look for selling opportunities, Meyer says. "Pay attention to seasonal pricing patterns, and take advantage of them. There traditionally have been opportunities for February-April hogs in September and opportunities for fall hogs in August. Also, take a very critical look at your costs, and put a lid on your feed costs and a floor on your hog prices."
This Week- Cropping Systems Field Day at Twilight and More.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~A Cropping Systems Field Day is planned for Tuesday evening at Lake Carl Blackwell- just west of Stillwater. Dinner will be offered at 6 PM- with the sessions planned after that until about dark. The latest ag equipment advances, foliar application of fertilizer, ag weather tools and more will be a part of this event. Click here for the calendar listing on our website.
Beyond this Tuesday evening Field Day- there are a number of other, ongoing meetings that are planned for this week- Farm Bureau District Meetings, several Town Hall Meetings planned by both Congressmen Dan Boren and Frank Lucas- and another of those Regional Input Sessions for the Comprehensive Water Plan for the state- this session set for Tuesday in Elk City.
We have also mentioned to you several times the Wheat Quality Summit planned for Wednesday on campus at Oklahoma State University- and the first session for Class 14 of the Oklahoma Ag Leadership Program begins on Wednesday and runs through Friday-also in Stillwater- I look forward to offering a few comments to this outstanding class that begins its two year journey this week.
For all of our calendar items- click here for the calendar page on WWW.OklahomaFarmReport.Com
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Fed Cattle Trade on Friday- that and more on the Markets!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~We did sell Fed Cattle at $100 in the TCFA territory on Friday afternoon, the Texas Cattle Feeders reported that 23,334 steers/heifers sold at that price level in Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma. That would be largely two dollars better than the previous week, when it was mostly a $98 market.
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