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Agriculture News

Livestock, Dairy and Egg Sectors in Trouble

Hoosier Ag Today | Posted on May 5, 2016

A new report by AgriBank projects livestock, dairy, and egg sector margins to continue adjusting downward from record levels set in 2014. The report on 15 Midwest states called the egg industry “the largest percentage loser” due to bird flu and record high prices. However, the report says the turkey industry is rebounding as flocks are rebuilt, and prices remain high. AThe report did say weather remains a wildcard as the transition to La Niña from the historically strong El Niño could bring major drought conditions across the Corn Belt region late in the coming growing season.

Turkey flock destroyed after avian flu reported in Jasper County, Missouri

Joplin Globe | Posted on May 4, 2016

A commercial flock of about 39,000 turkeys in Jasper County was destroyed after some of the birds tested positive for avian flu, a spokeswoman for the Missouri Department of Agriculture said Tuesday.

The H5N1 virus that was found is low pathogenic, or less able to produce disease, unlike the strains of avian flu that sickened turkey flocks in Missouri and other states last year, Sarah Alsager, with the Missouri Department of Agriculture, wrote in an email to the Globe. About 48 million turkeys and chickens died in that outbreak, the worst in U.S. history. It affected 15 states, including Missouri.

Legume Bloat Problems Killing Cattle in SW Missouri

Missouri Extension | Posted on May 2, 2016

There has been an unusually high number of bloat problems among cattle in southwest Missouri.

"Some of those cattle deaths were posted by veterinarians, and frothy bloat was found to be the cause," said Cole.

Clover is very evident in most pastures this year. This follows a tremendous amount of common white or ladino clover in 2015.

"Some farmers report the clover is so dense it is crowding out their fescue, ryegrass, and orchardgrass," said Cole.

Legumes such as ladino are great to blend in cool season grass pastures especially those based on toxic Kentucky 31 fescue. Clover helps dilute the toxin intake and provides valuable nitrogen for the grass when it is about 25 to 30 percent of the stand.

Some farmers and extension specialists estimate this year the percent of ladino and white clover approaches 50 percent, even up to 75 percent or more.

Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab Population Shows Improvement

Maryland Dept. of Agriculture | Posted on May 2, 2016

The 2016 Blue Crab Winter Dredge Survey, which show another year of growth in the stock of the Chesapeake Bay crab population and bodes well for a better harvest this year. The survey indicates a bay-wide crab population of 553 million, a 35-percent increase over last year. This is the fourth highest level in two decades, and builds on last year’s 38-percent boost in abundance.

“Due to a milder winter, favorable currents and tides, and wise bay-wide management measures, the Maryland crab population continues to rebound and strengthen,” Fisheries Service Director Dave Blazer said. “With an increase in abundance and steady recruitment, we fully anticipate a robust crab season this year.”

Improvements were seen in all age groups of male and female crabs. The spawning female stock nearly doubled from 101 to 194 million and the adult male stock more than doubled from 44 to 91 million – the second highest levels since 1995.

Storm clouds gathering over Kansas farms as income dips

The Wichita Eagle | Posted on May 2, 2016

Low crop and cattle prices have cut farm incomes and are starting to push down the value of ag land. That affects farmers' ability to repay loans and take out new ones, which could force foreclosures and forced sales.

It will almost certainly lead to more farm foreclosures and ownership consolidation across Kansas and the country. How much is impossible to know, because it is just starting to unfold.


Agricultural Commodities Egged On by China’s Futures Frenzy

Wall Street Journal | Posted on May 2, 2016

The recent fevered commodities trading in China hasn’t been limited to iron ore. Investors have piled into futures for everything from wheat and cotton to eggs and asphalt.

As with industrial metals, analysts reckon much of the interest is coming from speculative investors who have been turned off to China’s stock markets by tighter rules over trading.

“Chinese speculators didn’t want to buy into the equity market with all the curbs, so they jumped into the commodity markets and it seems they’ve done so in massive style,” said Michael Coleman, managing director at RCMA Asset Management Pte.

Rampant speculation means Chinese futures markets often don’t reflect economic or industry fundamentals, while excess liquidity attributable to loose monetary policy is further driving the spike in interest in agricultural futures.

Cattle rustling increased with price of cattle

Oxford America | Posted on May 2, 2016

Cattle rustling has returned, but it has also changed; if the essential act has not, its context has. Today’s rustler has no hope of parlaying a few stolen cattle into a business. Rustling is no longer an aspirational crime, but a stopgap, a stay against desperation. A single head of cattle is not the seed of an empire; it’s a payday loan, a child support payment, or cash for pills. Rustling is not, in this sense, an archaic crime at all, but a crime very much of its time and place, adapted to today’s America, in which social classes are established and the frontier, whatever it was once, has collapsed.

Michigan corn producers turn down program amendments | Posted on May 2, 2016

Michigan's corn producers have voted down a proposed increase to the assessment they pay to support activities for the Corn Marketing Program of Michigan.

The proposed amendments would have increased the assessment rate on Michigan grown corn from one cent per bushel to one and one half cents per bushel; required seed corn to be included in the assessment process; and included revisions to the nominations process and grammatical updates.

Under the Agricultural Commodities Marketing Act (Public Act 232 of 1965) when a sufficient number of producers request changes to a marketing program, the MDARD Director conducts a hearing.  If there is enough support, the department conducts the election so growers of the commodity can decide on whether to move forward.

Michigan corn producers turned down the proposed assessment increase to the Corn Marketing Program of Michigan in a referendum held in February, 2016.

AVMA- States reviewing role in Rx drug monitoring

AVMA | Posted on May 2, 2016

Veterinarians’ role in prescription-drug monitoring

At least 10 states are considering whether veterinarians should be included in prescription drug monitoring programs, which compile data on prescribing and dispensing of controlled substances in a statewide database. Proponents of these programs say they can help stem opioid abuse by preventing patients from receiving multiple prescriptions for these drugs. There is ongoing debate about whether veterinarians should be included in the requirements to report their prescribing and dispensing, and to consult the database before offering opioids to patients/clients.


Last month, the Mississippi Board of Pharmacy finalized regulations that exclude veterinarians from mandatory participation in the program. A bill signed into law earlier this year in New Hampshire clarifies that veterinarians need to report their dispensing data every seven days instead of daily, as is required of other health practitioners

Australia set to block sale of massive ranch to Chinese firm

CNN | Posted on April 30, 2016

The Australian government said Friday that the deal for China's Dakang Australia to take control of the Kidman beef company is "contrary to the national interest."

Dakang has until Tuesday to respond to the government's concerns, but the announcement means the deal is likely to be blocked.

The Chinese company and its local partner, Australian Rural Capital, want to buy Kidman and 77,300 square kilometers (30,000 square miles) of its land for $370 million Australian dollars ($283 million). Dakang brought on board ARC, which was planning to take a 20% stake, in an effort to overcome opposition to selling so much land to foreigners.

But that wasn't enough to sway Australian Treasurer Scott Morrison.

He said he was worried that selling the Kidman property in one huge chunk had made it hard for Australian bidders to compete.