TODAY ON AGDAY
MARCH 27, 2012
Good morning I'm Tyne Morgan. Clinton Griffiths in on assignment. Farmers in the Corn Belt are finding too much temptation in holding-off their planting....and that's our top story on AgDay. On Monday, the Illinois 'NASS' office released its first weekly crop progress report of the 2012 growing season. And it shows that corn planting is now underway. It shows 1% planted. While not a lot, statistically it's usually zero planted at this point. On Friday, we stopped in Macon County, Illinois. They were getting a bit of rain which brought planters to a halt. But otherwise, several thousand acres have already been planted, which is almost a month ahead of schedule.
One Macon County farmer told us he's trying to hold off on planting until at least Easter, because the risk is just too high. Brown says due to early planting, corn will already be out of the ground in portions of Macon County Illinois this week. He says he's welcoming the rain they received Friday, as subsoil moisture is still very low. Brown says starting out dry isn't a good sign going into planting, especially after the dry summer many farmers experienced last year.
In Texas, 42% of the corn crop is planted. 16% has emerged. As far as wheat, 11%is excellent, about a third is good, and another third is fair. "NASS" says overall, small grain condition improved, but some growers some fungal diseases. In Kansas - the 'NASS' office reports the winter wheat crop is progressing rapidly as 36% of wheat has jointed across the state. Condition-wise, 11% is excellent. Nearly half is good and another third is fair. In Oklahoma, better than half of the crop is at jointed stage, up 20-points from last week. Three quarters of the winter wheat is rated good or better. 56% is good. 19% is excellent, five points higher than a week ago.
WORRIED ABOUT FREEZE:
Spring has sprung very early causing some cooperative extension specialists say it's an eerie reminder of a weather pattern from five years ago. That freeze struck from the Corn Belt down to southeast United States. Who will forget the Easter freeze of 2007? Buds on fruit trees and vineyards were hard-hit. In Kentucky, meteorologist Tom Priddy says with the warm temperatures and recent rainfall, everything is turning green much earlier than usual. Priddy says 2007 was just like that. Grapes are especially vulnerable to frost or freeze.
DAIRY TODAY REPORT; FEED COSTS:
After years of rising corn and feed prices, livestock producers might get a reprieve if this Friday’s USDA report backs-up what many expect - more corn planted this spring. That'll be good news for livestock producers who've been struggling with higher feed costs. Our market analysts at Pro Farmer say the market is highly anticipating corn acreage will be adequate to build carryover for 2012-13. USDA will release its quarterly grain stocks and planting intentions report this Friday morning. Pro Farmer says that'll give livestock producers opportunities to make more affordable feed purchases. Of course the key is weather. Without a major weather hiccup, livestock producers will benefit from a larger corn acreage base in the coming year.
DAIRY TODAY REPORT; STRAY VOLTAGE:
In other news from our partners at Dairy Today - a Minnesota jury awarded a dairy producer 750,000 dollars in damages for losses associated with stray voltage. Farmer Harlan Poppler of wright county, Minnesota says outdated power lines from a rural electric co-op were putting electricity into the ground. Poppler claims the health of his 200 cow herd - as well as production levels - declined, the court agreed. The Minnesota milk Producers Association says this decision will bring attention to the "sub-standard" electric grid in rural parts of the state.
In Agribusiness today - nearly 40 American ag-based businesses are on a trade mission in china this week. The group is led by acting USDA under-secretary Michael Scuse. The trip focuses on helping American businesses reach new business deals overseas. In addition to the business operators, leaders from six state departments of agriculture are on the trade mission. Iowa Secretary of Ag Bill Northey is a member of the delegation. Secretary Northey is sharing his trip on Facebook, including photos of a meeting with the vice governor of a Chinese province that's home to the fastest growing per capita income and 90 million people. The group also visited a feed mill which provided insight to the strong growth in Chinese meat demand.
IN THE COUNTRY; WETLANDS EDUCATION:
The Louisiana wetlands have seen its fair share of disaster. According to the U.S. geological survey, hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Andrew and Gustav helped push annual losses of the wetlands up to more than a football field an hour from 1985 to 2010. Coastal protection and restoration is still an area of focus to preserve the wetlands and halt the dramatic loss. In this report provided by the LSU Agcenter, Tobie Blanchard tells us how muddy boots are teaching adolescents the value of Louisiana's that will hopefully trigger a new passion. This marks the second wetlands event Shell's Robert Training Facility has hosted with plans to have more youth wetlands hands-on educational events. Food and Your Family is next.
In Food and Your Family-the social-media hysteria over lean-finely-textured beef is now beginning to cost jobs. As we've been reporting, the phrase "pink slime" has gone viral on the internet. According to our reporting partners at Pro Farmer Newsletter, Beef Products Incorporated announced it will suspend operations at three of the four plants where LFTB is made. The product is beef that is mechanically removed from trimmings after steaks and roasts are cut from a carcass. These trimmings are to other ground beef. Last week, many of the nation's top supermarkets and quick service restaurants announced they are removing the product from their shelves and there is a movement to remove the product from the school lunch program. Beef Products Inc says the company has suspended operations in Amarillo, Texas, Garden City, Kansas and Waterloo, Iowa. That's about 200 jobs at each of the plants. The company said when people can start to understand the truth and reality then our business will come back.
In other news Wendy's has announced two improvements to their animal welfare standards for both chickens and pigs. Wendy's animal welfare council announced it will be eliminating the use of sow gestation stalls by suppliers. Wendy’s has supported the elimination of gestation stalls since 2007, but it will now require all U.S. and Canadian pork suppliers to provide their plans for phasing away from the stalls. This comes after McDonalds made the same announcement last month. The other change is replacing the industry standard of electrical stunning of chickens with what they call a more humane practice. One of its major suppliers in Arkansas has replaced the old system.
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