AgDay Daily Recap - September 22, 2011

September 22, 2011 09:37 AM

SEPTEMBER 22, 2011

Good morning everyone. The historic drought in the southern plains continues to cut deep into the nation's cattle industry. Allendale incorporated expects USDA’s cattle on feed report to show August placements into feedlots up nearly 8% from last year. Cattle and calves on feed for slaughter market in the U.S. totaled 10.6 million head on august first. This is based on data from feedlots with capacity of a thousand head or more. This is the third highest august inventory since the series began in 1996. Placements in feedlots during July were up 22%.

The drought plaguing the southwest and the cattle industry is not new. It actually began last fall and carried into 2011. Most droughts affect part of a year, but rarely the entire year. Producers and ranchers usually expect a rebound in their forage. But this drought has been different. With the sharp decline in crops and forage, we saw the need to reduce cattle numbers. And those numbers, in Oklahoma for example, are staggering. Oklahoma state livestock specialists expect a 13% plunge in the beef cow herd in that state.
Further, they see replacement heifers dropping by a third.

Peel says farmers and ranchers in other parts of the country may be expanding their beef herds, taking advantage of cattle sales in dry areas. But he says that expansion would not make-up for the big losses in Texas and Oklahoma.

The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association conducted a survey of its members to see how their operations changed as result of the drought.
84% have reduced their herd size from their three year average. Herds of TSCRA members were reduced by an average 38%. However the organization says relatively few of the animals moved out of state. According to the survey, 8% of respondents indicate they will no longer own cattle in 2012, although many indicate this is only a temporary measure. No respondents indicated they plan to permanently exit the cattle business.

Some consumers are worried that growing crops for ethanol will mean a decreased food supply and higher prices at the grocery store. That's why researchers are looking for ways to "double crop"-of sorts- some of the biomass used for ethanol. In this report from the University of Tennessee, ginger trice says depending on the time of the year, the grasses can make fuel for cars or forage for cattle. Thanks ginger...remember you can get many more updates on the beef industry, including market and production information from our partners at

Parts of Texas got some much-needed relief from these parched conditions that have lingered for about a year. And for wheat growers who've been waiting for moisture to plant, the Texas Agrilife extension says don't rush it. Parts of northern Texas received two inches of rain last week. Some southern areas got upwards of four inches. The Texas extension says growers rushing to plant winter wheat or pasture may be setting themselves up for expensive failure. They warn, if farmers plant now, they may get the seed to germinate, but there's not going to be any moisture down below for that plant. The planting window for winter wheat extends into early November in the panhandle. Here's Mike Hoffman with crop watch, mike.

The United States is asking the world trade organization to investigate china for duties it imposes against U.S. chicken products. U.S. trade representative Ron Kirk announced Tuesday that the U.S. has filed a case with the WTO. China started levying duties in imports of U.S. chicken after it accused this country of "dumping" chicken at lower prices. China says its tariffs are legal and in compliance with WTO rules. China imposed the poultry tariffs in September 2010. It said U.S. chicken producers benefited from subsidies and were exporting their goods to China at unfairly low prices. Countries are allowed to impose punitive tariffs to offset both practices, but U.S. officials said China did not follow proper procedures when it imposed them. China was among the top two markets for U.S. chicken exports before the tariffs were imposed. Since the tariffs, exports have dropped 90% to China.

In agribusiness, stocks plunged Wednesday after the federal reserve said it would buy long-term bonds to help the economy. Investors doubt it'll help the economy. The Dow dove 283. Meanwhile Monday's crop progress report shows a third of the nation's cotton crop is in "fair" condition. 45% is poor to very poor. Much of that is due to the drought in the southern plains. And even though it's been dry in the southeast, many cotton growers are pleasantly surprised with the potential yield, especially for those fields under pivot. Farm director Al Pell has more in this morning's analysis.

Richard Brock

When we talk about North Dakota on this program, it usually involves large production agriculture. But a family near Minot is thinking small...small amounts of produce, that is. Two years ago they started with some seed-money to build a one-of-a kind greenhouse. Nick Dreyer from AgDay affiliate KMOT-TV takes a tour of north star farms. Baker says he can grow vegetables through a North Dakota winter down to twenty below zero. Food and your family is next.

The nation is set to "have a dialogue" when it comes to how our food is raised and grown. Details in food and your family. An organization called the "U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance" is conducting a town hall meeting across the country today. It's called the food dialogues. It's a discussion to address American's questions about how their food is produced. It will also raise questions about the long-term impact of the food we eat and our health.
The food dialogues will include four panel discussions from four different parts of the country, including Washington D.C., New York, California and the Midwest. The conversation includes leaders in food, food service, policy and farmers. If you would like to watch the discussion, it will be streaming on the website –

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