AgDay Daily Recap - March 21, 2012

March 21, 2012 03:18 AM

MARCH 21, 2012

Good morning I’m Clinton Griffiths. Are you staring out the kitchen window and debating whether to push-up your planting date? Many farmers are in the same position...and that's our top story on AgDay. University agronomists in the heart of the Corn Belt are urging anxious farmers to resist the temptation to start planting in March, despite the recent run of warm weather. A crop sciences professor at the University of Illinois says this is the earliest that planting conditions have been this good, so early in the season, across so much of the state, late killing frost is the biggest threat to planting in March. Iowa producers who plant before April 11 would not be able to collect on their crop insurance policies if a frost were to require they replant their fields. In Illinois, the cutoff is April 6.

Kansas wheat producers saw rain and unseasonably warm conditions this week. That's pushing maturities. The latest crop progress report shows 12% of the crop has jointed - four points ahead of last year and double the five year average. 8% of the winter wheat is considered excellent. About half of the crop is called good. Another third is fair. The Oklahoma wheat crop had a big jump over the previous week. 70% is good to excellent, up four points...although there are concerns about freezing temperatures in the panhandle.
Wheat jointing was 53% complete by Sunday, 17 points ahead of last year, and 22 points ahead of the five-year average. There was also improvement in the Texas crop. 10% is excellent, up a point. 24% is good. And 28% is fair, up four. Recent showers attribute to the improvement.

For many involved in agriculture, farmers are the true environmentalists. They understand the need to protect their land. In our ongoing Future of Farming series, national reporter Tyne Morgan tells us how planting crops in the 'off months' is helping to ensure land is in better shape tomorrow than it is today, Tyne. Thanks, Clinton. According to a recent study, the adoption of no-till conservation practices jumped up 32 percentage points from 2002 to 2009. As one Michigan farmer tells us, it's an attractive option for farmers, especially when green in the winter will translate to green in his wallet this fall. CTIC says although there's been an upwards adoption curve of conservation tillage, but there's still more than can be done. So is this happening in a certain region, or all over the country? Various regions are adopting these conservation techniques for different reasons. One area that may be trending the other way, however is Iowa. CTIC has heard reports that because of more corn-on-corn being planted, more farmers are moving back to conventional tillage methods. And if that's the case, CTIC is concerned soil erosion and run-off levels could rise...which could draw a bulls-eye for future regulations.

Here's an added note. CTIC is hosting a one-day tour that will showcase producers who use innovative conservation practices on their farms in the Mississippi Delta. The "Conservation in Action Tour" is set for May 31st in northwest Mississippi. And you can take part. Go to the CTIC website or call 765-494-9555 to register.

Greg Hunt

The rise of internet in farm country has opened doors to the world...unfortunately both good and bad. Especially when it comes to email. From viruses to strangers offering you extravagant financial winnings--if you'll but share personal information. It's a scam, and yet many people fall for it. Chuck Denney from the UT Institute of Ag has more on what to watch for online. Good advice. Thanks Chuck, Food and Your Family is next.

Do you ever feel like vegetables get all the glory? Well meat eaters, the New York Times is giving meat a voice and calling all carnivores. The newspaper is looking for people to write in concerning the ethics of eating meat. It says vegans and vegetarians have gotten plenty of press in recent years. This is an essay contest so there are a few rules. The New York Times says each entry must talk specifically about the ethics of eating meat, not that it’s better, or about organic this, or grass fed that. You've got 600 words and it's due April 8th. Email your submission to

In Florida researchers are smelling their way to better tasting tangerines. The pint sized fruit has grown in popularity, but Florida growers are struggling to maintain their market against California Cuties. Scientists think they can improve sales if the fruit tastes and smells better. So far they've identified nearly 50 aroma compounds.

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