AgDay Daily Recap - March 13, 2012

March 13, 2012 02:35 AM

MARCH 13, 2012

Good morning. Warmer than normal weather this week is pushing field and crop conditions through-out much of the nation's mid-section and in Dixie, individual states are starting to release weekly crop progress reports. Like in Texas, NASS says winter wheat is 9% excellent, good and fair categories both sit at 24%. In Oklahoma, over 60% is good to excellent. In Kansas, 8% is excellent, 45% is good.

As the crop starts to break dormancy many wheat growers are reporting better conditions, leaving them optimistic about yields. Recently AgDay's Michelle Rook talked with growers from across the wheat belt at this year's Commodity Classic in Nashville, Tennessee.

Thanks Michelle. Growers with high salt levels in their soil may be excited about research out of Australia. Scientists crossed commercial durum wheat with an ancient variety creating a salt tolerant plant. Field trials show a boost in yields of 25%. High salinity is problem in about one fifth of the world’s farm land.

And down south near the ocean, U.S. growers are battling the earlier appearance of stripe rust. In Arkansas, state officials say the size of the infection doubled to 17 counties in just one week. Warm wet weather and strong southerly winds is likely to lead to infections further north. In Louisiana experts say scout often and spray yearly. Ed Twidwell, says wheat in Louisiana is past the boot and heading stages. He says a return to freezing weather could devastate the crop.

In news from our partners at Dairy Today - higher feed costs could trigger milk income loss contract payments, or MILC, to go into effect. Producers haven't received MILC payments since April of 2010 due to higher milk prices. It will be announced by the end of March if the MILC payments will go into effect and could start with milk shipped in February. If a payment rate is announced, dairy producers will need to show the county FSA office proof of eligible commercial dairy production for that month. With feed costs at record levels, including hay prices hitting more than 200 dollars a ton, Dairy Today's Jim Dickrell says it's been difficult for milk producers to adjust. The estimated payment rates, based on current futures prices, range from 35 cents per hundred weight in February to a $1.05 in May.

Andy Shissler

A young woman in northwest Iowa is battling a disease that will cut her life short. Kate Hansen is afflicted with juvenile Huntington's disease. It's a reality that the Hansen family is facing head-on. And some of the biggest support comes from her little brother, Landon. Al Joens from AgDay affiliate KTIV-TV brings us the story of a special sibling bond...and his courage for Kate. Thanks Al. If you would like to purchase one of Landon's creations, send us an email. We'll be sure to forward your request along. Our address is Food and Your Family is next.

How many times did you hear your mom say "no snacks between meals?" it appears a growing number of people are not listening. Details in Food and Your Family. We have two new reports about snacking. We begin with a report from USDA. They studied 5,000 adults over a two year period. The results show that about a third of all calories come from snacks. The average intake of empty calories for men was 923 calories a day - which is three times higher than the recommended limit. And for woman empty calories measured 624, which is nearly four times higher that recommended levels.

Not only are people snacking more, but more people are snacking. The food research firm "Technomic" says nearly half of consumers they polled now snack at least twice a day. That compares to 25% of people just two years ago. Technomic says more people are "grazing" through-out the day. Their study shows people have also broadened their definition of snacks to include mini-sandwiches or smaller wraps at quick service restaurants.

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