Weekly ag briefs: Water plan roundtable, new precision weed spray and more

Compiled by Candace Krebs
Have you ever considered using a stock tank as a planter?

Celebrate “Meat-In Day” on March 20

Cities, counties, community organizations, restaurants, grocers and other businesses plan to fire up their grills, hold barbecues and celebrate the meat industry on March 20 in response to a proclamation by Colorado Governor Jared Polis declaring it “Meat Out Day.” The language in the proclamation, which is backed by a group called Farm Animal Rights Movement, claims a plant-based diet can “protect the environment by reducing our carbon footprint, preserving forests, grasslands, and wildlife habitats, and reduces pollution of waterways.” Additionally, it suggests that “removing animal products from our diets reduces the risk of various ailments, including heart disease, high-blood pressure, stroke, various cancers, and diabetes.” In response, the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association launched a fundraising campaign, accepting donations of $200, of which $50 will go directly to support feeding hungry children in Colorado and the rest to promoting and protecting agriculture.

Water Plan roundtable scheduled next week

The Colorado Water Conservation Board, in partnership with the Colorado Agricultural Water Alliance and Ditch and Reservoir Company Alliance, is hosting a virtual Colorado Water Plan Update Workshop focusing on agricultural irrigation infrastructure issues and solutions. The workshop will feature an expert roundtable and discussion of the Colorado Water Plan, which provides a roadmap for addressing water-resource challenges and informs strategies, policy development and programming. The March 17 workshop runs from 1 to 3 p.m. and is free and open to the public. Efforts to update basin implementation plans and the overall Water Plan are scheduled to continue through December 2022.

Water webinar offered for San Luis Valley

The Colorado Ag Water Alliance will host an educational webinar for the San Luis Valley on March 25 at 7 p.m. Topics will include an overview of the state’s new Colorado Master Irrigator Program, updates on local irrigation planning, the use of crop insurance and prevented planting, and reduced irrigation on new potato cultivars. The event is free and open to the public.

Post-convention Commodity Classic sessions available

The annual Commodity Classic, a collaboration of the wheat, corn, soybean and sorghum producer organizations, is being made available in a post-convention online format for the first time. Farmers and other agricultural advocates can take advantage of more than 50 educational sessions that were offered during the online event. Registration for on-demand access is available through Friday, March 12. Thanks to generous sponsor support, farmers can register at no charge. Registration is available at CommodityClassic.com. A complete list of sessions is available on the website. Highlights include a keynote address from U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and dozens of sessions on topics such as marketing, mental health, weather, trade, soil health and more. Additionally, sponsors showcase their latest innovations, services, and products.

New sheep initiative launched

The sheep industry is launching a new initiative modeled on and informed by the Beef Improvement Federation. According to the National Sheep Improvement Program, for several years, there’s been interest in creating a structure that could represent all breeds of sheep. Sheep Genetics USA will include representation from all aspects of the industry, including seedstock producers, commercial producers, lamb feeders, researchers and consumers. To learn more, visit SheepGeneticsUSA.org. The initiative was announced during the recent American Sheep Industry convention.

New precision spray technology detects weeds

John Deere has introduced advanced new spraying technology. Farmers can use See & Spray Select, installed on a John Deere sprayer, to minimize input costs and only spray weeds when they are detected. This technology makes it possible for farmers to use more expensive and complex tank mixes more efficiently than what they can broadcast, reducing their costs and improving their ability to control herbicide-resistant weeds at a lower cost, the company says. As the sprayer moves through the field, color-differentiation cameras rapidly detect only green plants within fallow ground to trigger applications. It offers a similar “hit rate” to broadcast spraying while applying 77% less herbicide on average.

Feed prices could add value to heavier feeder calves

Rising feed prices will impact how feedlots buy feeder cattle this spring, according to Derrell Peel, an Extension livestock market economist at Oklahoma State University. Feedlots will continue to feed cattle, but they will likely be interested in buying more pounds on the front end through the purchase of heavier-weight calves, he said. That dynamic could pick up steam over the next four months. Another factor is the drought map, especially in the western part of the country, heading into spring grazing season. For now, grazing prospects still look good in places further east, such as the Kansas Flint Hills, he said.

National Ag Day to be celebrated virtually

National Ag Day, organized by the Agriculture Council of America, will be held March 23 in a virtual format. The program will include both live and pre-recorded segments with remarks from government leaders on the agriculture industry's economic growth opportunities and how the future will be shaped by lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic. A representative from the collegiate Ag Day student program will share their experiences, and participants will get to hear the winning Ag Day essay, as well as view the winning Ag Day video essay. The Outstanding Young Farmers of 2021 will also be recognized during the event, which starts at 7:30 a.m. Mountain Standard Time.

Full wheat officer slate re-elected

The National Association of Wheat Growers recently concluded its annual conference, announcing that “given the impacts of COVID-19 over the past year,” the same slate of

officers will continue in their roles for 2021. The board formally re-elected Dave Milligan, of Michigan, as President; Nicole Berg, of Washington, as Vice President; Brent Cheyne, of Oregon, as Treasurer; Keeff Felty, of Oklahoma, as Secretary; and Ben Scholz, of Texas, as Past President. NAWG is also preparing to hold a virtual summit on the Hill in Washington where farmer members will meet with their Congressional delegations and the House and Senate Agriculture Committees.