From: Ron Hays []
Sent: Tuesday, March 11, 2008 04:42
Subject: Oklahoma's Farm News Update
Oklahoma's latest farm and ranch news
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON for Tuesday March 11, 2008!
A service of the Southern Plains Farm Show, American Farmers & Ranchers and the Southern Plains Farm Show.
-- Attorney General Drew Edmondson Willing to Go After the Cattle Industry Over Manure in Watersheds...
-- Weekly Crop Weather Updates Begin This Week- Oklahoma Wheat Behind Normal Development.
-- Fat Lady Ready to Sing As Spring Cattle Run Done Almost As Quick As It Started...
-- Number One Weed Problem in Oklahoma Cotton- Horseweed!
-- The "Come Home to Oklahoma" Bill Passes State House.
-- Consumers Responding to Economic Crunch by Eating at Home More Often.
-- Farm Bill Negotiations at Standstill- Tax Issues Now the Problem.

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 have KIS Futures as a sponsor of our daily E-Mail. KIS Futures provides Oklahoma Farmers & Ranchers with futures & options hedging services in the livestock and grain markets- Click here for their "new look" website or call them at 1-800-256-2555.

We are also proud 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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Attorney General Drew Edmondson Willing to Go After the Cattle Industry Over Manure in Watersheds...
As the hearing continues over whether the state of Oklahoma has the right to end all application of manure in the Illinois River watershed, Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson appears to have no qualms about litigating against cattle producers as well as poultry companies. In response to some of the arguments raised by attorneys representing the Poultry industry in the continuing legal confrontation- arguments that point the finger of bacterial blame towards the cattle industry- Edmondson told the Northwest Arkansas Gazette for their Internet edition that "We are willing to go where the evidence takes us," this in reference to a question of whether he would be willing to expand his battle against the poultry industry to other livestock species- most notably cattle.

The Claims of the Oklahoma Attorney General are that the biggest offender of bacterial pollution into the Illinois River is the poultry industry. Meanwhile, it's the contention of the Poultry Industry that there has been no science based study pinpointing that poultry is the big offender- and that there are multiple sources of any pollution that ends up in the Illinois River. On Monday, an expert witness for the Poultry industry told the court that manure from an estimated 200,000 cattle raised in the watershed proved a better environment for bacteria to grow in, instead of the poultry litter that is spread on farm fields as a dust-like material and exposed to sunlight that kills contaminants.

The arguments over all things fecal bacteria in the watershed continues, with most of animal agriculture very concerned that the AG, if he has the ruling come his way in Tulsa, puts animal agriculture in deep manure over this battle of how much and where chicken litter can be applied to the land as a nutrient. Mr. Edmondson says the tolerance level is zero- at least in a stream where canoes are floating. He has told the court that he wants an injunction before the "spring rains" or otherwise the bacteria will wash into the Illinois River and potentially cause harm to thousands of people floating down the Illinois.

Click here for the latest article posted on the hearing being held in Tulsa.

Weekly Crop Weather Updates Begin This Week- Oklahoma Wheat Behind Normal Development.
Last week, we had the summary for the month of February in our crop weather update series- and this week, we begin the weekly updates that will stretch all the way to the fall of 2008. As we begin these regular updates, our moisture situation is far better as a whole than at this point a year ago. But the improvements over a year ago are not universal. In fact, while what little moisture we had in 2007 was found in the Panhandle- and this year there is little to be found.

We stand at 71% adequate to surplus on topsoil moisture versus 49% at this point a year ago. Subsoil moisture supplies have an even wider gap to the good this year versus last- with 69% at adequate to surplus this week versus 39% adequate to surplus a year ago.

The Oklahoma wheat crop is a good week to two weeks behind normal development- but is being rated in generally fair to good shape at 69% fair to good. Our neighbors at a different ends of the spectrum- with the Texas wheat crop called 60% poor to very poor- which is probably close to what the Oklahoma Panhandle would be rated- while the Kansas crop is not unlike the ratings for the Oklahoma crop at 72% in the fair to good categories. We have the link to this week's Oklahoma Crop Weather Update for you to check other details offered by the NASS team.

Click here for the weekly Crop Weather Update for this week across Oklahoma.

Fat Lady Ready to Sing As Spring Cattle Run Done Almost As Quick As It Started...
OSU's Dr. Derrell Peel tells us that "Feeder cattle marketings in Oklahoma have increased seasonally the last three weeks but total sales are less than last year. The eight-market feeder auction total since mid- February is down nearly 14 percent from the same period in 2007 and it appears that most of the cattle on dual purpose wheat have been marketed. Dr Jeff Edwards, OSU Wheat Specialist reports that most of the wheat in the state was near the first hollow stem stage at the end of this past week. Cool weather delayed development somewhat but he expects the majority of wheat varieties to be at first hollow stem in a matter of days. Any remaining cattle should be removed immediately to avoid damage to a very valuable wheat grain crop.

"The grain versus gain tradeoff this year clearly indicates that grazing a week past first hollow stem is costly. For example, an 875 pound steer gaining 2 pounds per day would add 14 pounds in a week. With a value of gain of roughly $0.75/lb., this adds $10.50 to the value of the animal. At a stocking rate of 0.6 acres per steer, the value per acre of another week of grazing is $6.30, less than one bushel of wheat at today's wheat prices. However, grazing one week past first hollow stem would likely reduce wheat yields 10 to 30 percent. A 20 percent loss on 40 bushel wheat yield potential is an eight bushel reduction in yield. That represents a loss of more than $80 per acre at current wheat prices and even with somewhat lower wheat prices at harvest would likely mean a revenue loss of $50-70/acre.

"Given this value of wheat, not much wheat will be grazed out and there will likely be relatively few heavy feeders marketed during the April-June period. There are some light weight stockers on mixed cool-season pasture or other winter programs that will go on to summer grazing and producers are beginning to buy stockers for summer grazing. Some of these cattle will be marketed by July as early-intensive stockers in areas such as the Osage/Flint Hills region, but the majority will likely be marketed in September and October after season-long grazing. Despite the ominous shadow of grain prices, there is potential for some additional strength in feeder prices in the next 30-45 days as tight supplies of heavy feeder cattle and grazing demand for light weight stockers will support feeder prices across the board."

Number One Weed Problem in Oklahoma Cotton- Horseweed!
Dr. J.C. Banks, our extension cotton specialist for Oklahoma who is based in Altus, reports that the next few weeks is the best time to do early season control of Horseweed for our cotton fields in the state. Dr. Banks says "Horseweed has become our number one weed control problem in no-till cotton in Oklahoma. If this plant is not controlled early, it can become impossible to control with glyphosate during the growing season. Once it gets above the approximately six inch height, conditions must be perfect to get good control. It is difficult to get the herbicide into the narrow drought-stressed leaves during the summer. The best advice is to start clean and, if any germination occurs during the growing season, to control it with adequate rates of Roundup while it is still in the rosette stage."

Control right now is not that expensive as you can use 2,4,D to get the job done. Dr. Banks explains that ""The normal burndown treatment prior to cotton planting is with glyphosate, but these treatments have been inconsistent and raise resistance concerns. In order to comply with planting intervals prior to planting cotton, we need to consider application in March, This application should be one pound active 2,4-D or 0.25 pound active dicamba. The plant back intervals are somewhat confusing, but they should be 30 days following the 2,4-D application or at least 21 days following a one inch rainfall for the dicamba. Most dicamba labels also state 'do not apply in regions receiving less than 25 inches of annual rainfall.' Tests indicate that if the application is made to the rosette stage of the horseweed, the 2,4-D was as effective as Banvel. On horseweed that had already bolted, Banvel is more effective, but control can be less than rosette stage application of 2,4-D."

"Horseweed (or Marestail) control in no-till or limited tillage cotton can be summarized as "Get'em while they are small." Best control is when the horseweed is in the rosette state before it started growing vertically. Once the plant bolts, control is more difficult and expensive."
More information on horseweed control should be on posters at your local county extension office or gin, or it is available on the "ntokcotton" website, which we have linked below.

Click here for cotton industry information for the southern plains at NTOK's website.

The "Come Home to Oklahoma" Bill Passes State House.
It's an intriguing concept for rural development. We're talking about a bill proposed by Jeff Hickman of Fairview that would exempt new residents moving in from out of state from state income tax for a five year period. The catch???- they have to buy a home in a location that has been losing population here in the state of Oklahoma in recent years.

To qualify for the exemption from House Bill 1678, the new resident would have to purchase or build a single-family home in one of the 48 counties, or 43 cities in the remaining 29 counties, which have lost population since either the 1940 census or the 1990 census. This timeframe captures areas of Oklahoma which had significant population losses after either the Industrial Revolution or the oil bust.
Hickman said the measure is a key to spurring rural population growth and economic development.

"This would be a great tool as we work to bring rural Oklahoma what it needs more than anything else...people," said Hickman, R-Fairview. "The increased property and sales tax revenues created as new residents move to Oklahoma will more than make up for the impact of the exemption. This positive impact will benefit the entire state and ensure that rural Oklahoma is part of a thriving state economy rather than a drain." The incentive could be used to attract professionals from out-of-state such as physicians to underserved rural areas and could also help address shortages in areas such as correctional officers at Oklahoma prisons, many which are located in rural counties.

Hickman says this is all about finding a creative solution to saving our rural areas from becoming less viable as a place to call home. "It is going to take something bold and creative to rebuild rural Oklahoma, but it is a way of life worth saving."
House Bill 1678 passed the Oklahoma House of Representatives yesterday and now proceeds to the state Senate.

Here's a link to the map that shows which counties and which cities would qualify for the State Income Tax Exemption for New Residences if HB 1678 Becomes Law.

Consumers Responding to Economic Crunch by Eating at Home More Often.
High energy costs, the credit crunch, weak housing market and recessionary climate are changing how and where consumers shop and dine, including more home meals and an increased concern over the cost of meat, according to the third annual report titled The Power of Meat - An In-Depth Look at Meat Through the Shoppers' Eyes. The report, which details the findings of a national online poll of 1,147 of consumers conducted in November 2007, was released on Monday at the 2008 Annual Meat Conference, March 9-11, 2008, at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center, Nashville, Tenn. The American Meat Institute (AMI) and the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) published this consumer research.

Supermarkets remain the top outlet for meat, with 90.5 percent of supermarket shoppers buying their meat there as well. The number of shoppers buying meat at supercenters dropped from 24.9 percent to 20 percent, while the number buying meat at club stores rose from 2.7 percent to 5.7 percent.
The study also found that meat continues to be a staple at American dinner tables. According to the study, the average family has five dinners at home per week, with an average of 4.2 of these meals including a meat item. Chicken and beef are the top meat choices, with more than 80 percent eating chicken and beef at least once an week and more than 34 percent eating chicken and beef at least three times a week.
"Consumers know that meat delivers protein and other essential nutrients," said AMI Senior Vice President of Public Affairs and Professional Development Janet Riley. "Processors are offering an increasing variety of convenient meat and poultry products in a wide array of nutrition and flavor formulations that are being well-received."

The report notes that energy costs are having an increasing impact on shoppers' disposable income. "Large numbers of shoppers already have made changes, ranging from eating out less, purchasing less expensive products while in the store and even switching primary stores," the report notes. Meat sales promotions using in-store signage followed by meat advertisements in direct mail sales flyers or newspapers had the most influence on the type and quantity of meat purchased.
The study did come up with some ideas from consumers on how to increase sales of meat. According to respondents, better quality and more variety would prompt an increase in meat purchases. Many people suggest that retailers offer more information on where the meat is produced and the nutritional content of fresh meat and help them learn more about the taste of the cuts and types of meat. Other suggestions for improvement include reduced portion sizes, cleaner service counters and having a professional, trained staff.

Farm Bill Negotiations at Standstill- Tax Issues Now the Problem.
The chairman of the House Agriculture Committee said Monday that progress on the farm bill is being complicated by senators' attempts to turn it into a tax bill and by the difficulties in writing a permanent disaster program. But Collin Peterson, D-Minnesota., told the American Soybean Association he believes enough of a deal will be made by Friday to warrant an extension of the 2002 farm bill through April 15.

Peterson says he made a mistake allowing one tax provision to be used in the House to help pay for the farm bill above the budget baseline. As a result, the Senate version of the farm bill already contains more than 60 tax provisions, and Peterson said nonagricultural lobbyists have started calling him trying to get provisions added to the bill. We misidentified the Senator who is the Chairman of the Finance Committee yesterday (I got my Northern Senators mixed up)- but the real problem for Peterson now seems to be reeling in Senator Max Baccus of Montana on the mounting number of tax provisions that may be thrown into the farm bill legislation.

Beyond the tax add-ons, the other major headache left to be worked out is whether the permanent disaster aid program will be included or not. This is the brainchild of several Senators, including Baccus and Budget Committee Chairman, Kent Conrad. Peterson said he wants to make farmers pay a fee to participate in the permanent disaster program but that the senators don't like that idea. But he also said the disaster program fees would not be so high that the program would be actuarially sound the way crop insurance is supposed to be. Peterson said he also wants to incorporate the disaster program with the crop insurance program and charge more for the catastrophic insurance program and the non-insured assistance program or even end the catastrophic program because the premiums are only $200 to $300 per year, while the government's potential liability is $2 to $3 million.
The bottom line is that there is still work to do- and the clock keeps counting down to the Easter Recess that begins at the end of this week.

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