AgDay Daily Recap - January 27, 2012

January 27, 2012 04:42 AM

JANUARY 27, 2012

Good morning. 2012 is already heating up on the political front. The presidential election has been front and center this month so far, three primary contests and three separate winners. Next week, voters in Florida go to the polls. Recently at the American Farm Bureau Convention Michelle Rook spoke with some key political experts about the election and what it could mean for agriculture. Doan says it’s still possible other candidates could enter the race. He says that includes New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels. Both have said they are not running.  Doan believes a new candidate could organize and raise money quickly.

The current president's administration rolled out new rules for 193 million acres of the country. The USDA released its planning orders for the national forest system. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says the new rules will protect watersheds and wildlife while still allowing for recreation and logging. The department considered more than 300,000 comments while drafting the management guide. Its written to emphasize science and multiple uses which USDA hopes will help it stand up to court challenges. The National Cattleman's Beef Association calls the rule vague and burdensome. It expects a mountain of litigation as groups seek to define the language.

Later today the USDA releases its cattle inventory results. Many expect the semi-annual survey to show a still shrinking U.S. cattle herd. Last year's total of just over 92.5 million head was the smallest in 50 years. Analysts are predicting that to shrink by another 1.5%.
The survey will finally put a number on the cattle liquidated due to severe drought and high feed costs. It will also show herd distribution and how many cattle headed north to greener pastures out of the southern plains. Beef experts say those movements may not be over. Cow numbers are expected to be smaller after last year's heavy culling. Analysts expect the 2012 inventory show about a 2 and half percent drop in total cows.

A federal investigation into the electrocution of two teenage girls who were detasseling corn in northwest Illinois last summer has wrapped-up. And no citations were issued. The girls died when they came in contact with a center pivot. The occupational safety and health administration sent letters to the private company who was under contract with Monsanto to provide detasselers. OSHA told both companies that they were not at fault. OSHA says lightning struck the center pivot and caused the electrical system to become energized.

In agribusiness, wheat prices continued to climb Thursday after concerns over Russia’s wheat supply. U.S. government officials expect the country to slow or stop exports in the near future. Wheat prices in Chicago are at their highest point in three weeks...climbing for six straight days. According to analysts, wheat stockpiles in Russia’s biggest producing regions have dropped below last year's levels...marks that caused the country to ban exports in the midst of a severe drought. That has market watchers predicting a slowdown in shipments from Russia at least through June.

Chip Nellinger

A common disease was pushed to the forefront recently when cooking show star Paula Deen announced she had Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes and heart disease - together - affect more than 50 million people. And the cost to treat is in the billions of dollars. But a new type of drug could help curb some of those costs. Clark Powell has details about the research from Ohio State University medical center. Alogliptin is being tested in diabetic patients worldwide, though scientists are still working to fully understand all of its benefits. Food and Your Family is next.

In Food and Your Family this morning we have results from a recent study on sweet corn. Scientists say it’s possible to get better yields from the summer-time favorite by using high plant populations. This comes from researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. They found that certain hybrids need more plants per acre to maximize yield...and that number differed by as much as 9,000 plants depending on variety. There was no one size fits all recommendation. They say across six hybrids, plant populations averaged 23,500 plants. Optimal rates for field corn in the same region is around 35,000 per acre.

Corn oil is common in the kitchen. And for those of you fried food lovers, a new study out of Europe may give you hope for a healthy heart. Published in the British Medical Journal, researchers looked at data from more than 40,000 Spanish adults who were followed for 11 years. They were looking to see if eating fried food put them at a greater risk of coronary heart disease. The results showed no association to heart health nor was fried food linked to death. On average participants ate about 5 ounces of fried food a day--and a majority of it was cooked in either olive or sunflower oil.

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