AgDay Daily Recap - April 5, 2012

April 10, 2012 08:22 AM

APRIL 5, 2012

Good morning I’m Clinton Griffiths. Cattle prices continue to fall pushed lower by controversy, a strengthening dollar and export concerns. Live cattle futures hit their lowest mark in nearly 4 months. Wednesday markets fell more than two dollars finishing near 117.5. Futures are being weighed down by declining cash prices. Cash cattle sold for 122 per hundred in Kansas and Texas last week. That's off 6% from just a month ago when price were at a record high 130. Cattle feeders are seeing margins fall below breakeven while packers are losing nearly 100 dollars on every animal according to the sterling beef profit tracker. Part of the problem...consumer demand has fallen off since alarmists began calling lean finely textured beef pink slime. The American Meat Institute is also weighing in--again. This time it’s urging the media outlets to stop using the term pink slime in reference to lean finely textured beef. It says the trimmings start as beef and finish as lean beef. Calling it pink slime is quote, inaccurate, alarmist and disparaging.

While the U.S. works to rebuild its national herd, Australia is shipping more beef to the states. In March exports to the U.S. hit nearly 27,000 tons...up nearly 75% and a three year high. Exporters in that country says the historically high beef prices are making shipments more attractive.

And this week the Oregon department of agriculture says it's going to make wolf compensation payments. The state set aside 100,000 dollars for the program. Ranchers can be repaid for lost livestock if wildlife officials can confirm the animal was killed by wolves.

While cattlemen are enjoying an early start to grazing season, so are small animal farmers. Goats and sheep dot many American fields. But as Chuck Denney with the University of Tennessee tells us, it’s important to protect these herds from a tiny enemy.

Thanks Mike. An early spring has fruit growers crossing their fingers. Blooms are already open and this year's crop is vulnerable to a return of freezing weather. Mark Longstroth is an Extension Educator for Michigan State University. He says fruit trees are flowering a month ahead of schedule. Not only is there the threat of cold damaging buds for the next two months, the important pollinators were stuck in warmer climates. Bees were needed five weeks early. Alan says he has wind machines to help if cold weather hits. But running just five of them burns about 100 gallons of gasoline an hour. He says the math on that makes it hard to use them too much.

Chip Nellinger

If you're in agriculture, no doubt magazines have been a part of your life. For me, I can remember as a kid going to my grandparents’ house and seeing stacks of these publications piled high on the coffee table. And always right there among them, the Farm Journal. It's a magazine with a history and a legacy that's unique to our industry. And in March this little regional leaflet turned national powerhouse celebrated 135 years. And here it is, an original copy of that very first Farm Journal. It’s in pretty good condition for 135 year old reading material. As I said in story AgDay is part of Farm Journal Media and we're proud to carry Wilmer's torch over the airwaves. Food and Your Family is next.

In Food and Your Family this morning...the CDC says the state of nutrition in the U.S. is in pretty good shape. Those were the results of its second national report on biochemical indicators of diet and nutrition. Researchers analyzed blood and urine samples from participants from 1999 through 2006. Overall it says the nation has adequate nutrition except for a few key areas. It found vitamin D deficiency in about a third of non-Hispanic blacks. It also found iodine and iron levels in women of childbearing age at nearly insufficient levels.

And packaged facts says sales of cereal or granola bars are booming. The traditional breakfast substitute business now rakes in 5.7 billion dollars a year. The food is posting double digit growth and moving out of the breakfast market. New innovative formulations are blurring the line between meals and snacks.

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