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Weekly Ag briefs: Cold weather effects, rabies case found and more

Compiled by Candace Krebs
Cassie Brady, project director of Farm to Table Guam, said that the island is notoriously known for having clay and rocky soil. If this is the case, you will want to build a raised garden bed with hollow blocks, wood, logs, bamboo — anything that will hold the soil.

Kansan takes over as new NCBA president

Jerry Bohn, of Wichita, Kansas, is the new president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. He is part owner of Pratt Feeders, an operation he helped manage for more than three decades, and a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves. Bohn has had an expansive career in the cattle industry, since his early days of custom grazing cattle with his family in the Flint Hills to his time on Kansas State University’s award-winning livestock judging team. Don Schiefelbein, of Minnesota, was named president-elect, and Todd Wilkinson, of South Dakota, was named the association’s vice president. Wyoming rancher Mark Eisele was elected chair of the NCBA Policy Division, and Nebraska cattle producer Buck Wehrbein was elected policy vice chair. Clay Burtrum, of Oklahoma, and Brad Hastings, of Texas, were elected as chair and vice chair of the NCBA Federation Division, respectively.

AFBF disappointed in blueberry ruling

The U.S. International Trade Commission has ruled that fresh, chilled, or frozen blueberries are not being imported into the U.S. at a fast enough rate to cause injury to domestic producers. The decision was a win for blueberry exporters that target the U.S., such as Mexico, Peru, Chile, Argentina, and Canada, but it was criticized by the American Farm Bureau Federation. AFBF said seasonal fruit and vegetable farmers are facing unfair competition from foreign growers, and the decision demonstrates that much work still needs to be done to address international trade imbalances. The group added that it would continue to work with the USDA, U.S. Trade Representative, and the Department of Commerce to find meaningful assistance for America’s domestic blueberry industry and make sure U.S. farmers get a fair price for the food they grow.

Sorghum leaders announce event

On March 1, at 5:30 p.m. Central Standard Time, the National Sorghum Producers will host the #SuperSorghum Virtual Industry Forum via Zoom to honor the 2020 Sorghum Yield Contest winners. The two-hour program, sponsored by Pioneer Seeds, will also feature insights from Washington, as well as updates on markets, trade and new technologies. The first 50 farmers to RSVP to the event will receive a t-shirt and a pair of NSP cotton gloves.

Hunters should watch for wasting disease

Chronic wasting disease in deer has been found in the Four Corners area, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Although the prevalence of the disease appears to be low, they say the disease must be carefully monitored. CWD is a fatal neurological disease found in deer, elk and moose. During the 2020 deer season in southwest Colorado, CPW authorized mandatory checks for all buck deer harvested by hunters. In the area roughly from Dove Creek to Wolf Creek Pass, 18 deer of 1,489 checked tested positive. CWD is 100 percent fatal and biologists in the region say they don't want to see it increase in area herds. Park and Wildlife has been monitoring the prevalence of CWD throughout Colorado for more than 20 years. This marks the first time that CWD-infected deer have been found in this part of Colorado.

Extreme cold could have lasting impacts

Extreme cold across the Plains could be damaging to more advanced wheat fields, according to agronomy specialists. The more advanced in growth the wheat is, the more exposed the growing point and the greater its susceptibility to injury. At the same time, wheat fields planted late, such as in December, are also vulnerable, as the wheat might not have had the time to develop its crown roots and tiller to sustain such cold temperatures. Condition of cattle is also a concern, according to Justin Waggoner, a beef cattle systems specialist at Kansas State University. Low temperatures increase an animal’s energy requirements, which requires that additional energy provided through feed rations or body condition will suffer.

Dairies create rising demand for wheatlage

Widespread drought in the Texas panhandle is creating a forage deficit and driving up the demand and price for forage silage, according Jourdan Bell, a small grains specialist at Texas A&M. This could mean fewer producers will be taking their wheat crop to grain harvest, opting instead to cash in on diverse forage options for livestock producers, including wheatlage, she said. Wheatlage is generally chopped when the wheat is in the soft dough stage (typically in April) and when forage moisture is favorable for fermentation. Because wheatlage provides an opportunity for producers to harvest earlier and go back with a second crop, such as corn or forage sorghum, more producers are looking at it as an alternative to straight grazing or grain, said Rick Auckerman, a county agent with AgriLife Extension. Demand is being driven in part by the increasing number of dairies in the region.

Rabies case found

A mule in Eagle County, Colorado, has tested positive for rabies. The Colorado Departments of Agriculture and Public Health and Environment confirmed the result, and it was reported by the Equine Disease Communication Center. This was the first case of rabies in domestic livestock in Colorado in 2021, and the first reported case of rabies in an equine animal in Colorado since 2013.

Brazil’s delay a boost for U.S. exports

Brazil, the world’s number one soybean producer, is experiencing delays in its early soybean harvest. Yahoo Finance says that is causing some of the biggest buyers like China to rely on rival exporters like the U.S. for a longer period than usual in early 2021. In turn, that could drive up soybean prices at a time of rising food inflation as countries keep tighter control of their supplies because of COVID-19. Brazil typically will harvest its soybeans in the first three months of the year, which slows demand for U.S. soybeans. However, that process was delayed by a drought last year that slowed planting progress and excessive rainfall at harvest. Brazil’s soybean shipments in January were 38 times lower than the year before, at 49,500 tons, an amount that wouldn’t fill a single shipping vessel. At the same time, the U.S. inspected approximately 8.9 million tons for shipment in the same month, the highest number on record for January.

Cotton acres to decline

U.S. cotton producers will plant 11.5 million acres this year, down more than five percent from last year. Those figures come from the National Cotton Council’s 40th Annual Early Season Planting Intentions Survey. Upland cotton planting intentions are for 11.3 million acres, down 4.9 percent from 2020, while extra-long staple intentions of 161,000 acres represent a 21 percent decline. The detailed survey results were announced during the 2021 National Cotton Council’s Annual Meeting Virtual Live-Stream Event.

National FFA Week starts soon

More than 760,000 FFA members across the country will celebrate National FFA Week, which kicks off Feb. 20 and continues through Feb. 27. FFA bills itself as the “top school-based youth leadership development organization in the nation,” helping young people develop their unique talents and explore their interests in a broad range of careers.