AgDay Daily Recap - February 24, 2011

February 24, 2011 02:55 AM
 

TODAY ON AGDAY:
FEBRUARY 24, 2011

RENEWABLE ENERGY CENSUS:
THE DEPARTMENT OF AG RELEASED THE RESULTS OF ITS FIRST-EVER "ON FARM RENEWABLE ENERGY" SURVEY. THE DEPARTMENT WANTS TO FIND OUT HOW MANY FARMS AND RANCHES ARE USING WIND TURBINES, SOLAR PANELS AND METHANE DIGESTERS. IN THE SURVEY, USDA EXCLUDED TURBINES THAT ARE PART OF A WIND-RIGHTS LEASE AGREEMENT. IN OTHER WORDS, THOSE LOCATED ON COMMERCIAL "WIND FARMS". THE RESULTS SHOW MORE THAN 1,400 FARMS NATIONWIDE HAVE OPERATIONAL WIND TURBINES - MOSTLY SMALLER SYSTEMS THAT GENERATE ON AVERAGE SIX KILOWATTS OF POWER. CALIFORNIA AND TEXAS HAVE THE MOST. AS FAR AS METHANE DIGESTERS, 121 FARMS HAVE A SYSTEM THAT IS NOT OWNED BY AN OUTSIDE COMPANY. FOR THE PURPOSE OF THIS SURVEY, THOSE WERE EXCLUDED. WISCONSIN LEADS THE NATION IN THAT CATEGORY. AND IN SOLAR POWER PRODUCTION, NEARLY 8,000 FARMS HAVE SOME FORM OF SOLAR POWER. AGAIN, CALIFORNIA LEADS THAT CATEGORY. AT BRUBAKER FARMS IN MOUNT JOY, PENNSYLVANIA THE FAMILY WAS LOOKING FOR WAYS TO INCREASE INCOME WITHOUT ADDING MORE COWS. ABOUT FIVE YEARS AGO, THEY INSTALLED A METHANE DIGESTER. IT HELPS GENERATE POWER FROM THE 1,600 COWS AND HEIFERS ON THEIR FARM. THEY'VE ALSO ADDED TEN-THOUSAND SQUARE FEET OF SOLAR PANELS ON THEIR BARNS. THE FARM HAS BEEN HONORED FOR ITS INNOVATIVE THINKING.  WHILE METHANE DIGESTERS CAN HELP GENERATE REVENUE ON A FARM, THEY ARE EXPENSIVE TO INSTALL. OUR PARTNERS AT DAIRY TODAY SAY THEY CAN RANGE FROM ONE-MILLION TO FIVE-MILLION DOLLARS. ONLY THE LARGEST DAIRY PRODUCERS IN THE COUNTRY CAN TYPICALLY AFFORD THEM.

RUNOFF RESEARCH:
IN THE DEBATE OVER FARM RUN-OFF, NEW RESEARCH FROM USDA REVEALS MUCH OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER'S SEDIMENT LOAD DOES NOT COME FROM FIELD RUNOFF. THE SCIENTISTS WITH USDA'S AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH SERVICE SAY THAT STREAM BANK COLLAPSE-AND-FAILURE ARE BIG CULPRITS. THE EPA SAYS SEDIMENT AS THE MOST COMMON POLLUTANT OF RIVERS, STREAMS, AND LAKES IN THE U.S. USDA SAYS THE SOURCE OF THIS SEDIMENT LOAD IS OFTEN ATTRIBUTED TO EROSION AND RUNOFF FROM FARM FIELDS. BUT USDA RESEARCHERS ARE NOW LOOKING AT THE IMPACT SEEPAGE HAS ON STREAM BANKS. SEEPAGE IS THE LATERAL-MOVEMENT OF WATER THROUGH, AS OPPOSED TO ON-TOP, OF THE GROUND. THE RESEARCHERS SAY THAT STREAM BANK FAILURE MAY STEM AS MUCH-OR MORE-FROM THE EFFECT OF SEEPAGE EROSION THAN WATER-LOGGED STREAM BANKS.

CORN ACRES:
AN AG ECONOMIST FROM ILLINOIS SAYS TOTAL ACRES OF THE EIGHT MAJOR CROPS NEED TO INCREASE BY TEN MILLION THIS YEAR TO KEEP-UP WITH DEMAND. ECONOMIST DARRELL GOOD SAYS HALF OF THOSE ACRES WILL NEED TO BE PLANTED IN CORN. IF THAT'S THE CASE, IT WOULD BE A 93-MILLION ACRE CROP. MARKET ANALYST GREGG HUNT SAYS THERE ARE A LOT OF "IFS". TOMORROW ON AGDAY, WE'LL HEAR FROM DARRELL GOOD ABOUT HIS FORECAST FOR THE UPCOMING GROWING SEASON.

COMMODITY CLASSIC:
THANKS MIKE. SPEAKING OF FLORIDA, AGDAY CREWS WILL BE THERE NEXT WEEK FOR THE COMMODITY CLASSIC. THIS ANNUAL TRADE SHOW DRAWS THOUSANDS OF CORN, SOYBEAN, WHEAT AND SORGHUM GROWERS UNDER ONE ROOF. THIS YEARS SHOW WILL TAKE PLACE IN TAMPA, FLORIDA. IT OFFERS THE LATEST IN EQUIPMENT AND TECHNOLOGY TO RUN YOUR FARM. IT'S ALSO WHERE THE COMMODITY GROUPS HOLD THEIR ANNUAL MEETINGS TO SET THEIR POLICY AGENDAS.
CLINTON AND CREW WILL BE THERE. BE SURE TO STOP BY THE FARM JOURNAL MEDIA BOOTH.

OIL PRICES:
IN AGRIBUSINESS, CRUDE OIL PRICES CONTINUED THEIR CLIMB ON WEDNESDAY, HITTING THE TRIPLE DIGIT MARK. THE PRICE OF OIL PASSED $100 A BARREL FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE IN ABOUT 2.5 YEARS. THE LAST TIME IT REACHED THIS LEVEL WAS OCTOBER 2008. CRUDE PRICES JUMPED ABOUT FIVE DOLLARS IN TRADING. AND IF YOU'VE FILLED YOUR CAR OR TRUCK WITH OFF-FARM FUEL, YOU PROBABLY PAID 35-CENTS MORE A GALLON. PRICES HAVE JUMPED IN THE PAST WEEK OVER PROTESTS IN LIBYA.

ANALYSIS:
GREGG HUNT

IN THE COUNTRY; VA DAIRY:
AT A TIME WHEN THE DAIRY INDUSTRY IS SHRINKING, TWO NEW DAIRY FARMS HAVE OPENED IN ROCKBRIDGE COUNTY, VIRGINIA. IT SEEMS THAT THE DAIRY BUSINESS IS IN THEIR BLOOD. WITH THE CONSTANT WORK LOAD AND STRUGGLING DAIRY PRICES, YOU NEED TO HAVE A PASSION FOR THIS ASPECT OF AGRICULTURE. NORM HYDE FROM THE VIRGINIA FARM BUREAU TAKES US TO THEIR FARMS TO TALK ABOUT THEIR "CAN-DO" SPIRIT. THANKS NORM. WHEN AGDAY CONTINUES ON THIS THURSDAY MORNING, WE'LL TELL YOU ABOUT A BERRY THAT YOU'VE PROBABLY NEVER HAD IN YOUR GROCERY CART. FOOD AND YOUR FAMILY IS NEXT.

NEW BERRY:
IN FOOD AND YOUR FAMILY, IF YOU'RE LOOKING FOR A BERRY THAT CAN TOLERATE THE BITTER COLD, THEN SOME CANADIAN RESEARCHERS MAYBE ABLE TO HELP. THEY'VE COME-UP WITH A VERY HARDY BERRY PLANT CALLED HASKAP. IT'S ALSO KNOWN AS HONEYBERRY AND BLUE HONEYSUCKLE. THE BERRY IS NOT NEW. FARMERS HAVE GROWN THEM IN NORTHERN JAPAN AND SIBERA FOR DECADES. BUT NOW IT'S GAINING ATTENTION IN CANADA. THE PLANT CAN WITHSTAND TEMPERATURES TO 61-DEGREES BELOW ZERO. THE HASKAP IS SIMILAR TO A BLUEBERRY. RESEARCHERS SAY THEY TASTE LIKE A COMBINATION OF BLUEBERRIES AND RASPBERRIES. GROWERS SAY HASKAPS ARE TYPICALLY THE FIRST FRUIT-BEARER OF THE SEASON...EVEN BEFORE STRAWBERRIES.
 

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