Oklahoma's latest farm and ranch news
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON for Monday July 7, 2008!
A service of American Farmers & Ranchers, KIS Futures & Johnston Enterprises!
-- A Harvest Review With Mark Hodges.
-- OKanola Conference Set for Next Tuesday in Enid!
-- This Summer- Test that Forage BEFORE you cut it.
-- Latest Beef Export Numbers from USMEF are a fascinating look at how we have moved beyond the Japanese and Korean beef markets.
-- Pro Renewable Fuel Standard Groups Have New Blogsite.
-- Comment Period Now Open Regarding National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility
-- This Week- Lots of Calendar Items to Check Out.
-- Looking at our Agricultural Markets...

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 regular 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 recent TV Commercial or call them at 1-800-256-2555.

We welcome as our newest regular sponsor on our daily email Johnston Enterprises- proud to have served agriculture across Oklahoma and around the world since 1893. Johnston Grain wishes our wheat producers a safe and prosperous harvest this season- for more on Johnston Enterprises- click here for their website!
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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A Harvest Review With Mark Hodges.
Later on Monday, the latest Crop Weather Update for Oklahoma is likely to show that we are only a couple of percentage points away from the end of the 2008 Oklahoma Winter Wheat harvest. We talked at length just before the holiday with Mark Hodges, the Executive Director of the Oklahoma Wheat Commission, about what he calls the tale of two crops this growing season. We have a better than fifty percent increase in the size of the wheat crop in the body of the state- while the Panhandle has fallen hard from what what was a historically huge crop in 2007 to a half crop or less in 2008, because of exceptional drought in much of Texas and all of Cimarron Counties.
With a crop that is pushing a 160,000,000 bushels- we will have our first billion dollar gross receipts wheat crop ever in the state- and even with higher than ever input costs, net returns per acre have been eyepopping for many wheat farmers this year. It is expected that this year's cash flow bounty will dry up to some extent in 2009- as high fuel costs raise the cost per acre of raising a wheat crop substantially.

Hodges says that the big disappointment in 2008 are the low protein levels that we have seen in much of the main body of the state- and he says that he believes that is a result of a couple of factors. The first factor is that many farmers assumed they had adequate nitrogen in the soil after not producing much of a crop in 2007 even as nitrogen prices went higher and higher, scaring many producers away from doing the right thing for maximum production as they decided to forego any late midseason top dressing. Hodges believes that much of this nitrogen from 2007 was leached too deep into the soil to be useful to the 2008 crop.

We also talked with Hodges about the marketing of this 2008 crop on both the domestic as well as the international scene. He says that if you look at this crop from strictly a miller's perspective- they will love it as it will produce a high yield of flour- however that quantity is offset by lower protein levels which will not appeal to many end users. The question still to be resolved from the testing of this 2008 crop will come from the baking tests. Hodges says he is hopeful that the baking tests will show that even with the lower protein- the functionality of the dough from the flour form this wheat is still there- if that is the case, that will be a huge selling point in dealing with customers who normally want our hard red winter wheat for its relatively high protein percentages.
You can listen to our full conversation with Mark Hodges by going to the link below.

Click here to listen to Ron and Mark talk about the 2008 Wheat Crop in Review.

OKanola Conference Set for Next Tuesday in Enid!
To put the latest information about winter canola into the hands of growers in Oklahoma and Kansas, the Oklahoma and Kansas Cooperative Extension Services will sponsor a Winter Canola Conference July 15 in Enid. It will take place at the Hoover Building on the Garfield County Fairgrounds, from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. The conference, a notebook of information, refreshments and lunch are all free of charge.

There are a lot of good reasons to grow canola, said Tom Peeper, professor of plant and soil sciences with Oklahoma State University's Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. "First of all, the price of canola is high, around 29 cents per pound," he said. "To put that in perspective, wheat is currently around $8.50 per bushel while canola is about $14.50. With the cost of fertilizer and diesel fuel, many wheat producers won't make much more profit from $8.50 wheat than they did two to three years ago when wheat was around $3.50 a bushel." In other words, canola offers a better chance for more profit. An additional bonus comes from virtually risk-free contracts, which have been called contracts with an "act of God clause" which means if you have a crop failure after planting the acres- you have no obligation unlike some contacts like wheat where you have to forward contract a number of bushels in order to get a certain locked in price.

To reserve lunch and a notebook, those planning to attend are asked to pre-register no late than July 9 by calling 405-744-6420 or e-mailing deana.titus@okstate.edu . Continuing education units (CEU's) will be available for Certified Crop Advisors and Oklahoma Pesticide Applicators.

Click here for a brochure for more details on this two state Canola conference in Enid.

This Summer- Test that Forage BEFORE you cut it.
Dr. Glen Selk of the OSU Animal Science Department offers these thoughts about playing it safe with summertime forage: Hot dry summer weather brings about heat and drought stress on summer annuals. Stressed plants such as the forage sorghums can occasionally accumulate dangerous concentrations of nitrates. These high nitrate plants, either standing in the field, or fed as hay, can cause abortion in pregnant cattle, or death if consumed in great enough quantities. Nitrates do not dissipate from suncured hay (in contrast to prussic acid), therefore once the hay is cut the nitrate levels remain constant. Therefore, producers should test hay fields before they cut them for hay. Stop by any OSU County Extension office for testing details. This gives them an additional option of waiting and allowing for the nitrate to lower in concentration before harvesting the hay. The major sources of nitrate toxicity in Oklahoma will be summer annual sorghum type plants, including sudan hybrids, sorgo-sudans, sorghum-sudans, millets, and Johnsongrass. Other plants also may accumulate nitrates.

Some of the management techniques to reduce the risk of nitrate toxicity (Note: the risk of this poisoning cannot be totally eliminated), include:
1) Test the crop before you harvest it. IF it has an elevated concentration of nitrates, you still have the option of waiting for normal plant metabolism to bring the concentration back to a safe level. And experience tells us that we cannot estimate nitrate content just by looking at the field.
2) Raise the cutter bar when harvesting the hay. Nitrates are in greatest concentration in the lower stem. Raising the cutter bar may reduce the tonnage, but cutting more tons of a toxic material has no particular value.

3) Know the extent of nitrate accumulation in the hay. If you still have doubt about the quality of the hay, send a forage sample to a reputable laboratory for analysis, to get an estimate of the nitrate concentration. This will give some guidelines as to the extent of dilution that may be necessary to more safely feed the hay. 4) Allow cattle to become adapted to nitrate in the hay. By feeding small amounts of the forage sorghum along with other feeds such as grass hay or grains, cattle begin to adapt to the nitrates in the feed and develop a capability to "digest" the nitrate with less danger. Producers should avoid the temptation of feeding the high nitrate forage for the first time after a snow or ice storm. Cattle will be stressed, hungry, and unadapted to the nitrates. They will consume unusually large amounts of the forage and be in high risk for nitrate toxicity. Be sure to read OSU Fact Sheet F-2903 (We have it linked below) closely before cutting and feeding any sorghum forage hay.

Click here for OSU Fact Sheet F-2093 for more information.

Latest Beef Export Numbers from USMEF are a fascinating look at how we have moved beyond the Japanese and Korean beef markets.
Exports of U.S. beef are continuing their upward trend, according to statistics released by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). During the week of June 13-19, U.S. beef export sales exceeded those for the same week in 2003 - the last pre-BSE year - by 12 percent, reaching 14,700 metric tons (32.4 million pounds). Beef export sales also exceeded the previous week in 2008 by 24 percent, although year-to-date exports still trail 2003 totals by nearly 39 percent.

Following are accumulated (January through the third week of June) exports, compared to the same period in 2007 (or year noted if market was closed last year)
Mexico: up 4 percent to 110,424 metric tons (243.4 million pounds)
Canada: up 50 percent to 36,477 metric tons (80.4 million pounds)
Japan: up 76 percent to 22,833 metric tons (50.3 million pounds)
Vietnam: up 583 percent to 18,090 metric tons (39.9 million pounds)
Taiwan: up 48 percent to 11,316 metric tons (24.9 million pounds)
Russia: 4,056 metric tons (8.9 million pounds) compared to 351 metric tons (773,815 pounds) during the same period in 2003
Albania: up 139 percent to 3,376 metric tons (7.4 million pounds)
Moldova: up 289 percent to 2,741 metric tons (6 million pounds)
EU-27: up 277 percent to 886 metric tons (1.9 million pounds) compared to 235 metric tons (518,081 pounds)

A few thoughts from these numbers- those who have pushed Mandatory COOL will be totally to blame for messing with our two largest beef export customers if we end up damaging that market over labeling in this country that few if any consumers have said they care about. It's also interesting to note that while we are recovered almost five years later from the December cow that stole Christmas- we are recovering and will have a much more dependable beef export market when we finally start surpassing the 2003 totals regularly- since it no longer will depend solely on the weird attitudes and political winds of the Japanese and Koreans. Finally, I find it amazing that we are selling far more beef into tiny Albania than the entire European Union (27 countries)- it's another case where politics can pretty well trump sound science anytime the politicians want it to.

Pro Renewable Fuel Standard Groups Have New Blogsite.
It's actually the efforts of several Kansas commodity groups who are fighting the organizations that are calling for the RFS to be rolled back as they believe that ethanol is the cause for high feed grain prices. we have the blog linked below for your inspection- but the current lead story is something that popped up right at the end of last week when it became know that perhaps Texas Governor Rick Perry was not Lily White when he called for the renewable fuel mandate be reduced by half to give users of corn a break. Rick Tolman of the National Corn Growers cites a story from the Houston Chronicle.

It seems Governor Perry is tied in with a major cash gift from Chicken power broker Bo Pilgrim- who gave a $100,000 gift to the Republican Governor's Association- and then lo and behold- here comes Governor Perry Perry riding in with this request to the EPA over the need to reduce the level of ethanol mandated for use by Uncle Sam.

In writing for this Blog- Tolman says "What is much more disturbing is that Perry did this, the article states further, despite research by one of his top-notch schools that demonstrated that relaxing the RFS would not really matter. "Perry pressed for the waiver despite an April 10 Texas A&M study that showed a waiver of federal mandates on ethanol production would have little or no effect in driving down the price of feed corn for poultry and livestock," reporter R.G. Ratcliff wrote. "The A&M study blamed rising corn prices on the cost of oil, global demands for corn and commodities speculation." Apparently, because Perry was not satisfied, he asked Texas A&M to go back and write another report that looked at short-crop scenarios. While the school gave him the conclusion he wanted, after the RFS waiver request was filed, it appears to be a moot point with the updated acreage from USDA this week that significantly discounts concerns about a reduced corn crop. Here's a fair question: If Perry accepts the research of the second report, why does he not accept the research of the first report?

It's an interesting read- both the Tolman opinion piece as well as the Houston Chronicle article that he cites- the blog link below gets you to both of these items.

Click here for the Feed Food Fuel Blogsite being maintained by Kansas Feed Grain Groups.

Comment Period Now Open Regarding National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have released the proposed Environmental Impact Statement on creating a new National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF). The comment period on this draft impact statement is open until August 25. In conjunction with this statement, DHS will be hosting a series of public meetings throughout July and August around the countryside to hear comments about building a new NBAF.

The new NBAF would replace the current Plum Island Animal Disease Center located on Plum Island, New York. Six sites have been proposed to host this new site. These sites include:
The current location on Plum Island, New York
South Milledge Avenue Site, Athens, Georgia
Manhattan Campus Site, Manhattan, Kansas
Flora Industrial Park Site, Flora, Mississippi
Umstead Research Farm Site, Butner, North Carolina
or the Texas Research Park Site, San Antonio, Texas.

You may recall a couple of months ago- Ray Wulf, President of the American Farmers & Ranchers testified before Congress about the strong objections their group has in allowing this facility to be built anywhere close to major livestock populations in this country- fearing that if an accident occurs, a disease like Foot and Mouth could be spread into multiple states before it is even discovered.
Another group that offered testimony- the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, stating they support updating and fully funding a safe and fully secure facility - whether it be a new NBAF location or renovating Plum Island. However, NCBA policy does not explicitly support one site over another.

Click here for the webpage on the NBAF at the Department of Homeland Security website.

This Week- Lots of Calendar Items to Check Out.
There are a multitude of events going on this week that we have placed on our calendar listing within our website, WWW.OklahomaFarmReport.Com. I won't go through them all- but I will suggest you jump to our calendar page and check these items out for yourself.

I want to also remind you that hopefully by the middle of this week- we will be moving onto our new website (at the same address) and I believe you will like the new look of what we will have available- a great looking calendar- the top story of the day- a full listing top agricultural news, special reports and more! We'll be offering a tutorial here in this email once we get turned on with the new site.

Click here for our current Calendar Page at WWW.OklahomaFarmReport.Com

Our thanks to Johnston Enterprises, KIS Futures and American Farmers & Ranchersfor their support of our daily Farm News Update. For your convenience, we have our sponsors' websites linked at the top of the email- check them out and let these folks know you appreciate the support of this daily email, as their sponsorship helps us keep this arriving in your inbox on a regular basis!

We also invite you to check out our website at the link below to check out an archive of these daily emails, audio reports and top farm news story links from around the globe.

Click here to check out WWW.OklahomaFarmReport.Com

Looking at our Agricultural Markets...
As we headed into the Fourth of July holiday weekend- we saw cash cattle trade hit the triple digits- with feedlots reporting trades from $102 to $102.50 per hundred in the Texas/Oklahoma feedlots. Based on the numbers reported by the Texas Cattle Feeders Association- almost 30,000 head of cattle were reported selling at $102.00.

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:
Our Daily Market Wrapup from the Radio Oklahoma Network with Ed Richards and Tom Leffler- analyzing the Futures Markets from the previous Day-
Ron on RON Markets as heard on K101 mornings with cash and futures reviewed- includes where the Cash Cattle market stands, the latest Feeder Cattle Markets Etc.
Previous Day's Wheat Market Recap- One Pager From Country Hedging- looks at all three US Wheat Futures Exchanges and the why of that day's market.

Daily Oklahoma Cash Grain Prices- As Reported by the Oklahoma Dept. of Agriculture.
The National Daily Feeder & Stocker Cattle Summary- as prepared by USDA.
The National Daily Slaughter Cattle Summary- as prepared by USDA.
Finally, Here is a new link we are adding- the Daily Volume and Price Summary from the Texas Cattle Feeders Association.

God Bless! You can reach us at the following:
phone: 405-473-6144