AgDay Daily Recap - January 31, 2012

February 1, 2012 03:03 AM

JANUARY 31, 2012

Good morning. Farmers and ranchers are relying heavily on hay to feed their herds this winter and that demand has taken a big bite out of the nation's hay supply. That's our top story in our Dairy Today Report.

Kevin Rogers Farms outside Phoenix, Arizona. There's been no shortage of buyers looking for alfalfa. And since their operation relies heavily on irrigation already, the drought has not been a big factor. Rogers says they've been fortunate. The mountain snowpack that feeds their water system has been abundant. Other parts of Arizona that rely on snowpack feeding into the Colorado River have not been so lucky.

As we told you yesterday, the USDA released its Cattle Inventory Report. While all cattle and calves are at their lowest point in sixty years, milk cow totals were up compared to a year ago. Milk cows totaled 9.2 million as of January first. Last year the herd totaled just over 9.1 million. The biggest herd gains were in some places you'd expect--California, Washington state and Idaho. But Michigan also saw cow numbers increase. As did, drought stricken states like Texas, New Mexico, Colorado and Arizona.  Texas saw a mass exodus of beef cows due to a lack of rainfall and high feed costs. While milk cows were up, milk replacement heifers were down a percent.

In Kansas the state Ag Secretary is asking the federal government to let dairies and feedlots there hire undocumented immigrants. Secretary Dale Rodman is asking homeland security for a worker waiver. The pilot program would place employers and undocumented immigrants in a special state-organized network. The workers would have to have lived in Kansas for a minimum five years and have no criminal background.  And don't forget, for the very latest news affecting the dairy industry, including production and policy issues, check out

For generations field tile has helped farmers manage excess water in the Midwest. It is a very efficient. Still there have been some improvements over time. Todd Gleason from the University of Illinois looks at two new options

In agribusiness so far investigators are turning up empty in their attempts to find missing money at now defunct commodities clearing house, MF Global. The holdings company collapsed last October after making bad bets on European debt. Officials say now 1.2 billion dollars in customer money is still missing--and now there's doubt that money will ever be recovered. Those involved say a significant amount of money vaporized in the chaotic trading leading up to its bankruptcy.

Brian Basting

If you're looking to diversify your farming operation, here's a crop you have never considered - - ginger. It's considered a high-value crop that - until recently - was imported from outside the United States. In this report provided by the Virginia Farm Bureau, Sherri McKinney says farmers in the commonwealth are using high tunnels to produce the root year round. Thanks Sherri. And if you go to buy that ginger at the store, you might be looking for a way to save buck or two. Up next the growing trend of couponing, Food and Your Family is next.

In Food and Your Family a tough economy may be creating lifelong habits for American shoppers. A new report says couponing continues to grow. About a third of consumers say they used a coupon in 2011. Coupon redemption is up nearly 35% since the recession hit in 2008. Last year American consumers redeemed three and a half billion coupons, saving some 4.6 billion dollars. Most of those came from magazine and newspaper inserts. Digital coupons or those printed off of the internet accounted for less than 1%. The all-time record for coupon use was in 1992. That year Americans redeemed nearly 8 million.

And we all know fruits and vegetables are good for you, but some food scientists say they can make them better. They're coming up with ways to infuse nutraceuticals into things like cherry's, mangos, and blueberry's. Scientists at a Canadian university have been looking for ways to infuse things like vitamins, and flavors into the fruits. So far they've been able to make it work on a small number of fruits. The result is a longer shelf life, better flavor and of course enhanced nutrition. The researchers say they see this technology being used for fruits that end up in cereals and nutrition bars.

We'd love to hear from you! Contact us at 800-792-4329. Or drop an email to You can also check us out on some of that new technology, at

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