Dairy Herd Management

Trump Considers 60-Day Extension for China Tariff Deadline

3 days 4 hours ago
Trump Considers 60-Day Extension for China Tariff Deadline President Donald Trump is considering pushing back the deadline for imposition of higher tariffs on Chinese imports by 60 days, as the world’s two biggest economies try to negotiate a solution to their trade dispute, according to people familiar with the matter. The president said Tuesday that he was open to letting the March 1 deadline for more than doubling tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods slide, if the two countries are close to a deal that addresses deep structural changes to China’s economic policies -- though he added he was not “inclined” to do so. The people said that Trump is weighing whether to add 60 days to the current deadline to give negotiations more time to continue. “I think it’s going along very well,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office this week. “They’re showing us tremendous respect.” A spokeswoman for U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer declined to comment. Chinese officials had initially proposed an extension of 90 days, but that was knocked back by the U.S. side, people familiar with that request said. Asian stocks steadied and U.S. stock futures climbed. Treasuries slipped and the yen dipped. Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are in Beijing for the latest round of high-level talks with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He on Thursday and Friday. A meeting between Lighthizer and Chinese President Xi Jinping is being tentatively scheduled for this week. Trump’s willingness to extend the deadline may depend on the outcome of that meeting, one of the people said. Trump has indicated he will need to meet Xi to agree on a final deal. While no date has been set, a White House aide this week said the U.S. president still wants to meet his Chinese counterpart soon in a bid to end the trade war. Negotiations this week are focused on how to enforce the trade deal and putting on paper a framework agreement to present to the two presidents. In the talks, the U.S. is pushing for wide-ranging changes in the way China manages foreign trade and its own economy. Specifically, Lighthizer has zeroed in on China’s alleged abuses of intellectual property and state sponsorship of companies. Trump has also railed against the size of the U.S. trade deficit with China, and negotiators have made varying demands about how Beijing addresses this. The goal of “reciprocal trade” has been a clear priority of Trump’s policies. China wants to have the tariffs that have been imposed so far removed. To get the U.S. to do that, negotiators are trying to focus attention on their efforts to reduce China’s more than $300 billion goods trade surplus. Beijing has offered to ramp up its purchases from the U.S. massively over the next six years in order to even the scales. It is going to take a lot of work to shrink that. While down from the record peak late last year, China still had a $27.3 billion trade surplus in goods with the U.S. in January, according to data released on Thursday in Beijing. “The outcome of the China-U.S. high-level economic and trade negotiations may be related to the future development and stability of the world economy,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a regular briefing Thursday in Beijing. “Both parties hope to reach a mutually beneficial agreement. The best thing we can do now is to let both sides concentrate on consultations.” Wyatt Bechtel Thu, 02/14/2019 - 11:23 Category Trade China Beef (General) Dairy (General) Hogs (General) Poultry (General) Retail (General) Comments Trade Exports China News Article Image Caption Trade is always a contentious issue between the world's two largest economies, the US and China. Image Credit MGN
Wyatt Bechtel

Eight Questions About the Dairy Margin Coverage Program

3 days 5 hours ago
Eight Questions About the Dairy Margin Coverage Program Many dairy producers are hopeful that the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program through the 2018 Farm Bill will provide a better safety net. However, the government shutdown created some confusion about the program and its implementation. Below we’ve pulled together the answers to some frequently asked questions. What is DMC? A new version of the Margin Protection Program (MPP), DMC is a voluntary program that makes payments when the national average income-over-feed-cost margin falls below a farmer-selected coverage level. ) Coverage is now available from $4 per hundredweight to as high as $9.50 per hundredweight. Unlike MPP, program payments may be triggered monthly and are made if the DMC margin falls below the farmer’s elected coverage level. How much milk can I cover with the program? Coverage can range from 5% to 95% of a farm’s milk production history, but can only be covered in 5% increments. For example, you can cover 85%, but you couldn’t cover 87% of your production. Can you explain Tier 1 and Tier 2 coverage? Tier 1 coverage is the first 5 million pounds of production covered by a farm. DMC coverage thresholds for tier 1 production were raised to $9.50. Coverage for Tier 2 remains capped at $8 per hundredweight, however John Newton of the American Farm Bureau Federation says the program is designed to encourage coverage at the $5 and $4.50 levels for farmers covering more than 5 million pounds of milk. What’s this premium discount I’ve heard of? When a farm enrolls in DMC they may receive a 25% premium discount if they make a one-time election for both the coverage level and the amount of milk enrolled in the program. For example, a farmer electing the Tier 1 $9.50 coverage option would receive a 25% discount on premiums for all five coverage years – reducing the premium from 15 cents to 11.25 cents per hundredweight – if a one-time election is made. Is this program really better than MPP? Newton pulled together these charts which compare net benefits, i.e., program payments minus premiums, from DMC $9.50 coverage to $8 coverage for both the Bipartisan Budget Act-improved MPP and the original MPP from 2015 to October 2018. Can you explain the hay change in the feed cost calculation? The new farm bill requires USDA to begin including the price for high-quality alfalfa hay in the NASS monthly price surveys as measured by the volume of milk produced in the top five dairy-producing states. National Milk Producers Federation is urging USDA to include this price point in the DMC calculation, but this has not been finalized. Can I participate in DMC and LGM-Dairy? Yep. The farm bill fully removes the restriction on participation in both the DMC and the Livestock Gross Margin-Dairy (LGM-Dairy) program. Don’t forget, FSA will administer DMC and the Risk Management Agency administers LGM-dairy, but USDA says the agencies are in coordination and producers should have no challenges participating in both programs. Did I miss the sign-up window for DMC? No. Technically farmers can legally obtain coverage under the program beginning January 1, 2019. However, the government shutdown prevented farmers from enrolling as FSA offices were closed. The best thing you can do is contact your FSA representative and ask them when they will be ready to take sign ups. Mike Opperman Thu, 02/14/2019 - 11:08 Category Margin Protection Program Milk Prices Comments Dairy Milk Prices News Article Image Caption The Dairy Margin Coverage Program provides producers with protection from low milk prices and depressed dairy margins. Image Credit Farm Journal
Mike Opperman

Trump Criticizes Green New Deal FAQ for Farting Cow Reference

3 days 5 hours ago
Trump Criticizes Green New Deal FAQ for Farting Cow Reference A proposal in Congress that seeks to limit greenhouse gas drew the ire of President Donald Trump during a recent rally for his 2020 campaign. At Trump’s rally held on Feb. 11 in El Paso, Texas, he talked about the need for bipartisan cooperation between Republicans and Democrats. It was at this point he mentioned what he calls a “radical resistance, it’s the radical left” who are opposed to some of Trump’s platforms, such as building a border wall. Trump went onto address the Green New Deal that was proposed on Feb. 7 by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.). “I really don’t like their policy of taking away your car, of taking away your airplane flights, of ‘Let’s hop a train to California,’ of you’re not allowed to own cows anymore,” Trump says. The changes proposed by the Green New Deal would cause “a lot of problems,” Trump adds. The mention of not being able to “own cows anymore” by Trump is a reference to a FAQ sheet released by Rep. Ocasio-Cortez before the Green New Deal announcement.  The FAQ sheet says, “We set a goal to get to net-zero, rather than zero emissions, in 10 years because we aren’t sure that we’ll be able to fully get rid of farting cows and airplanes that fast, but we think we can ramp up renewable manufacturing and power production, retrofit every building in America, build the smart grid, overhaul transportation and agriculture, plant lots of trees and restore our ecosystem to get to net-zero.” Following pushback from the media, fellow politicians and farmers, Ocasio-Cortez has distanced herself from the FAQ sheet, saying that doctored versions and drafts made it into the press. However, the version that NPR shared was not doctored and came from Ocasio-Cortez’s office. “It’s literally—clearly—irony,” Ocasio-Cortez spokesman Corbin Trent, told a reporter during a phone interview.  Ocasio-Cortez has since removed the Green New Deal fact sheet from her website and encouraged people to look to the contents of the submitted resolution, H.Res. 109. Despite the controversy over “farting cows” the Green New Deal proposal aims to work with farmers and ranchers. The collaborative effort has a goal “to remove pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector as much as is technologically feasible.” The Green New Deal could soon be up for vote, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) offering to let it come forward in the Senate. “I’ve noted with great interest the Green New Deal, and we’re going to be voting on that in the Senate,” McConnell says. “I’ll give everybody an opportunity to go on record and see how they feel about the Green New Deal.” It is unlikely that the nonbinding resolution would pass in the Senate, with Republicans holding the majority, which has some Democrats viewing McConnell’s move for a vote as a political tactic. The Green New Deal has 67 cosponsors in the House and 11 cosponsors in the Senate, all of whom are Democrats. Nevertheless, moving into the 2020 campaign there will likely continue to be talk of “farting cows” and taking away cattle as long as the Green New Deal is still on the table. Wyatt Bechtel Thu, 02/14/2019 - 11:00 Category Beef (General) Dairy (General) Governmental Regulations Dairy Policy Nutrient Management Cattle Comments BEEF Cattle Governmental Regulations Nutrient Management Dairy cow-calf News Article Image Caption Green New Deal fact sheet continues to spark controversy with a call for reduction in farting cows. Image Credit Multimedia Graphic Network, Inc.
Wyatt Bechtel

Study: Forage Sorghum Silage an Option with Sugarcane Aphid Control

3 days 11 hours ago
Study: Forage Sorghum Silage an Option with Sugarcane Aphid Control Forage sorghum silage in the Texas High Plains is a viable option with sugarcane aphid control, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service study. Texas High Plains feedlots and dairies demand large quantities of quality silages. While corn is the predominant silage crop, declining well capacities and pumping restrictions are prompting interest in forage sorghum silage. Severe sugarcane aphid damage. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo by Dr. Jourdan Bell) The concern, however, is with sugarcane aphids, or SCAs, and whether heavy infestations will allow proper ensiling, said Dr. Jourdan Bell, AgriLife Extension agronomist in Amarillo. Also, producers question if damage to the forage will degrade further during the fermentation process. SCA infestations in forage sorghum silages the past three years have been extremely heavy, causing harvest issues, Bell said. But prior data on the actual amount of damage to silage yield and quality from these infestations is nonexistent. “While we previously documented a direct correlation between increased SCA damage and decreased forage quality at harvest, we’ve never evaluated the effects of SCA damage to silage quality over time,” she said.  The Bottom Line In 2017, Dr. Ed Bynum, AgriLife Extension entomologist in Amarillo, and Bell conducted a field trial to evaluate damage potential of SCAs to forage sorghum yield and silage quality. The research funding came from the Texas Grain Sorghum Board. Find the full study outline at https://tinyurl.com/sorghforageSCAdamages. Bynum said while it is known SCA damage adversely impacts forage tonnage, the study helps determine the effects on ensilage quality. “For example, a study on spider mite damage to corn showed that as spider mite infestations increased, plant damage increased, resulting in declining silage yields,” he said. “But the spider mite infestation levels did not affect the nutritional quality of the corn silage.” Study data indicate the damage SCAs cause to yields from the milk stages to harvest will impact the yield and quality of the forage, Bynum said. The plot from the study treated with Sivanto Prime at 10 fl oz/ac. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo by Dr. Ed Bynum) “Since populations can develop rapidly, producers should control SCAs to prevent damage during the flowering and early grain development growth stages,” he said. Ultimately, Bell said, the quality of the silage is only as good as the quality of the harvested forage. So, when managing forage sorghums, timely SCA management is necessary to maintain fresh and ensiled quality. Managing the Infestation    Using a commercial forage sorghum hybrid commonly grown for silage in his study, Bynum said he expects this data to apply equally to other hybrids. Insecticides with different efficacy levels and a check with no treatment allow different infestations and damage levels in the plots. Treatments include Sivanto Prime, at rates of 5, 7 and 10 fluid ounces per acre; Intruder, 1 fluid ounce per acre; Warrior II, 1.92 fluid ounces per acre; Lorsban Advanced, 16 fluid ounces per acre; and an untreated check. Applying Sivanto Prime at three different rates allows monitoring of different levels of control and damage, Bynum said. Warrior II is a pyrethroid that does not kill sugarcane aphids but will kill beneficial insects, resulting in a rapid flare of SCA populations. Lorsban Advanced and Intruder are two insecticides that only suppress sugarcane aphid populations for a few days. The plot treated with Warrior II at 1.92 fl oz/ac caused sugarcane aphid pressure to flare resulting in lodging and yield-limiting damage. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo by Dr. Ed Bynum) Sivanto provides excellent control at the higher rate and with the 5- and 7-fluid ounces per acre application rates at flowering before heavy aphid infestations, he said. Both Lorsban Advanced and Intruder delay populations from building for a week, Bynum said. This delay prevents substantial yield losses when sorghum harvest is at the soft dough stage. However, if harvest is at a later growth stage, the yield losses may be substantial. SCA density levels start causing significant increases in damages by Sept. 1 when sorghum is in the beginning milk stage in the untreated and Warrior plots, he said. Damage levels in these two treatments continue to increase and remain significantly higher than the other treatments from Sept. 8-20. Monitoring Forage Damage Bell said forage from the trials was ensiled for 60 days. The quality of the ensilage was then compared to the quality of the forage at harvest. Crude protein, lignin, starch, acid detergent fiber and in-vitro dry matter digestibility were all negatively affected by the damage in the untreated and Warrior treatments, she said. There is no statistical difference between other insecticide treatments for the fresh forage. Total digestible nutrients, milk per ton and relative quality are industry standard values for forage comparison, Bell said. At damage levels greater than 4.5, all of these values decrease for harvested forage. This reflects a significant reduction in the fresh, harvested forage quality with increasing SCA damage. Depending on the end-user needs, crude protein and starch are also important parameters, she said. These levels decrease with increased SCA damage, due to a lack of grain development. “When evaluating forage quality after ensiling versus at harvest, we found ensiling did not stabilize quality parameters,” Bell said. “Following 60 days of ensiling, there is a significant reduction in lignin, in-vitro dry matter digestibility and starch levels. This indicates quality for heavily damaged forage is not stable during the ensiling process.” Wyatt Bechtel Thu, 02/14/2019 - 05:00 Category Dairy (General) Dairy Nutrition Silage Beef (General) Beef nutrition Feedyard Animal Nutrition Veterinary Research Comments Silage Veterinary Research News Article Image Caption Forage sorghum comparison of freshly harvested chop length. Left sample represents heavily infested forage sorghum while right sample represents the forage sorghum with low levels of sugarcane aphid damage. Image Credit Texas A&M AgriLife photo by Dr. Ed Bynum
Wyatt Bechtel

Bill To Ban Coyote-Killing Contests In N.M.

4 days 1 hour ago
Bill To Ban Coyote-Killing Contests In N.M. New Mexico lawmakers are considering legislation that has put landowners and hunters at odds with wildlife advocates. Senate Bill 76 cleared its first hurdle this week, passing the Senate Conservation Committee in a 6-3 vote. The proposed legislation would make organizing a coyote-killing contest in New Mexico a misdemeanor, and a lesser misdemeanor to participate in one. In past years, similar legislation has exposed a divide between the state’s ranchers and many urbanites. During debate on the bill, some backers of the measure described the contests – also called coyote-calling contests – as cruel and immoral and said they promote a “culture of violence.” “Anybody can kill a coyote at any time for any reason – that’s the reality,” Sen. Jeff Steinborn, D-Las Cruces, one of the bill’s sponsors, told the Albuquerque Journal. “This bill would make it illegal to kill coyotes for a prize.” Critics of the bill, however, say the law would make it difficult for rural New Mexicans to control coyote populations. Don Simpson, a member of the New Mexico Trapping Association, compared the contests to fishing derbies and said they are a form of predator control and that they benefit farmers and ranchers. Wildlife advocates say 20 to 30 coyote-killing derbies are typically organized across New Mexico every year, with participants using calling devices to lure coyotes into range. Such contests often award prize money or new firearms for the most coyotes killed or the biggest coyote killed. Lat month, State Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard issued an executive order that bars coyote-killing contests on nine million acres of New Mexico state trust land. But that order does not cover other public lands – or private land – and enforcement could prove difficult. Related content: Coyote Hunting contest Draws Fire In New Mexico Greg Henderson Wed, 02/13/2019 - 14:27 Category rancher Beef (General) New Mexico Dairy (General) Comments Beef (General) News Article Image Caption A New Mexico Senate proposal would make it a misdemeanor to organize or participate in a coyote-killing contest. The events were banned on nine million acres of state trust land last month. Image Credit Free Images
Greg Henderson

From Dairy Herd Management: Cannabis in U.S. Agriculture

4 days 3 hours ago
From Dairy Herd Management: Cannabis in U.S. Agriculture As cannabis in the form of industrial hemp receives crop status in the 2018 farm bill and a growing number of states have legalized medical marijuana and industrial hemp production, who will meet the need? Hemp Milk: Dairy's New Plant-Based Threat? As the plant-based beverage market continues to grow, producers may have a new dairy-alternative threat to worry about.   Livestock Owners Weigh in on Ag’s Role in the Hemp Marketplace Hemp has been an agricultural product that has graced many farmers’ fields, including famous farmers George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Most recently, the 2018 farm bill has classified hemp that contains less than 0.3% of THC as a commodity crop. So what’s your role in hemp growth today? Here’s what livestock owners said. Facts and Fiction about Hemp in Animal Feed Livestock producers will play a crucial role in the success or failure of hemp, as the crop holds many potential benefits as a feedstuff. Some states have already set in motion programs to analyze hemp’s safety and practicality as a livestock feed.  Perdue Answers Buzz on Hemp in Animal Feed From fiber and oil to clothing and makeup, hemp products are hot. And now some are exploring whether hemp could be a useful ingredient in animal feed. So what’s the Secretary of Agriculture’s take? Read it here.  Check out more exclusive data from the 2019 Farm Journal Cannabis in U.S. Agriculture Study and other resources here:  > What's the Farmer's Role in Growing Hemp?  > PORK Poll: Could Marijuana in the Pig Diet Make a Difference More Top Stories From Farm Journal: Hemp: Hopes and Headaches Ahead U.S. farmers can officially play the hemp game, so says the 2018 farm bill, and as of January 2019, 41 states have given hemp a green flag. Here’s what you need to know before you grow. From AgDay: Taking the THC out of Hemp Plants From Bovine Veterinarian: Cannabis in Veterinary Medicine Check out the latest stories and updates at AgWeb.com/cannabis.  Resources • 5 Facts About Cannabis • USDA Plant Profile for Hemp • USDA Plant Profile for Marijuana • Hemp Industries Association Discuss Would you like to discuss cannabis in U.S. agriculture with other farmers in a closed, private setting? Request access to join our members-only discussion forum. Portia Stewart Wed, 02/13/2019 - 13:02 Category Dairy (General) Dairy Nutrition Comments Marijuana/Hemp Dairy News Article Image Caption Cannabis in U.S. Agriculture Image Credit .
Portia Stewart

Coors Light is Having a #ToastToFarmers to Thank Crop Growers

4 days 3 hours ago
Coors Light is Having a #ToastToFarmers to Thank Crop Growers A major beer brewer wants to thank the growers of barley, hops and corn that help produce beer in a #ToastToFarmers. Coors Light is asking all beer drinkers to celebrate the people who help make sure that a golden-amber liquid is in their mugs with a social media campaign using the hashtag #ToastToFarmers. The tribute to farmers is slated to happen on Friday, Feb. 15, in what the beer maker is calling a “National Toast to Farmers.” The effort to thank farmers is the latest response by MillerCoors following Bud Light’s Super Bowl “corn syrup” advertisements that pointed out both Miller Lite and Coors Light use corn syrup in the brewing process. After the debut of the commercials by the Anheuser-Busch Co., a full page advertisement was ran by Miller Lite in the New York Times thanking their competitor for pointing out to such a large audience that their beer is brewed with corn syrup. Miller Lite also started its own social media campaign using the hashtag #Corntroversy to continue the conversation. Farmers were concerned about any negative connotations that consumers might gather from the Bud Light commercials and shared their frustration via social media where some producers poured Bud Light down the drain. Following the advertisement, Pete Coors, chairman of the company, personally delivered a shipment of Coors Light to the National Corn Growers as a thank you to farmers on Feb. 5. Pete Coors from @CoorsLight delivering the world’s most refreshing beer to support America’s corn farmers. pic.twitter.com/Wj6bZbJ1eG — National Corn (NCGA) (@NationalCorn) February 6, 2019 “ABI didn’t just attack our flagship brands, they attacked hardworking American farmers who grow our great ingredients,” Ryan Reis, vice president-Coors family of brands, said in a note on to MillerCoors employees and distributors. “We’re standing up for our beers, our ingredients and the farmers who grow them.” The Coors Light’s #ToastToFarmers campaign they have also teamed up with country music’s Brothers Osborne who kicked off the toast with a cheers to farmers before the Grammys. The duo toasted with a pair of Coors Light cans raised to farmers and shared the “pregame ritual” via Twitter and Instagram on Feb. 10. Pumped for tonight’s #GRAMMYs Pregame ritual with @CoorsLight raising a toast to the farmers who bring the brews and grub to the table. Our beautiful country is built on y’all. #ToastToFarmers #partner pic.twitter.com/kxZQsRSeKc — Brothers Osborne (@brothersosborne) February 10, 2019 To help move the campaign even further Reis told distributors in a letter that employees of MillerCoors and distributors will visit bars to “buy a round of Coors Light in states where possible and raise a glass to the hardworking men and women who grow our ingredients” In a press release, MillerCoors wanted to be sure to point out “We’re proud to stand up for our beers, our ingredients and the farmers who grow them.” Note: Ryan Reis, vice president of Coors Family of Brands at MillerCoors will be on AgriTalk Radio with Chip Flory to discuss the National Toast to Farmers on Thursday, Feb. 14, at 10:06 a.m. CST.   Here’s a look at some of the social media buzz that has already happened with Coors Light’s #ToastToFarmers campaign: Let’s all raise a cold one to the hard working American farmers, like those who help grow our high quality ingredients. Join people across the country in celebrating farmers in a national #ToastToFarmers Friday 2/15. Details to come! #CelebrateResponsibly pic.twitter.com/IjozsHUGw3 — Coors Light (@CoorsLight) February 10, 2019 Headed to buy some coors light for Friday #ToastToFarmers https://t.co/vMyFM3sLmC — chalfant family farms (@chalfantfamfarm) February 11, 2019 This Friday, raise a bottle, can, glass, of @CoorsLight and #toasttofarmers Every where pic.twitter.com/X0e4UEJ0OZ — Ross Piechocki (@MonBeerRoss) February 12, 2019 Well played, @CoorsLight. Cheers! #ToasttoFarmers https://t.co/RfLhJyUtIK — Kate Hayes (@KateMHayes) February 12, 2019 Coors Light is asking everyone to raise a cold one to hard working American farmers. Join people across the country in a #ToastToFarmers pic.twitter.com/n2B4szcceQ — Michigan Corn (@MI_Corn) February 13, 2019 Ohhhh I suppose if you’re gonna twist my arm. #ToastToFarmers https://t.co/OSD7sAjNqb — Zach Vincent (@Zachv43) February 12, 2019 Share your #ToastToFarmers on Friday by tagging us and be entered to win a free Iowa Corn shirt! https://t.co/tDa98NELzD — Iowa Corn (@iowa_corn) February 11, 2019 Damage control #dumpdillydilly check out #ToastToFarmers @CoorsLight they get it. — Dennis Bogaards (@dbogfarm) February 11, 2019 One of the beer companies is Making Hay while the Sun is Shining! #ToastToFarmers https://t.co/3lD4BtAmFO — Scott Rush (@Scott_C_Rush) February 13, 2019 Cheers to That 🍺🌽🍺🌽 #ToastToFarmers https://t.co/eIwYbpYsgC — National Corn (NCGA) (@NationalCorn) February 10, 2019 To make things even more interesting Busch Beer's Twitter account got in on the action, despite Busch beers being brewed by Anheuser-Busch: .@CoorsLight we agree that everyone should toast to the amazing American farmers for all that they do to support our country and, of course, for the crops they grow that go into our beers. #ToastToFarmers https://t.co/nAvFVwslv7 — Busch Beer (@BuschBeer) February 13, 2019 Wyatt Bechtel Wed, 02/13/2019 - 12:42 Category Corn Dairy (General) Hogs (General) Beef (General) Comments Corn News Article Image Caption Farmers will be getting toasted or cheered by beer drinkers around the country as a thank you from Coors Light. Image Credit MillerCoors
Wyatt Bechtel

Danone Unveils Largest Vegan Yogurt Plant in U.S.

4 days 3 hours ago
Danone Unveils Largest Vegan Yogurt Plant in U.S. Jumping head on into the plant-based food sector, Danone North America has unveiled an exclusively vegan yogurt facility located in DuBois, Penn. Previously used by a local airport, the 180,000 square foot facility is now the largest vegan yogurt plant in the country. Seeing an increase in demand for dairy alternative products, Danone bought the facility as a means to triple their plant-based business by 2025, according to Perishable News. According to Danone, flexitarians, people who cut down on animal protein or people following a vegetarian diet who eat meat occasionally, account for one-third of the total population in the U.S. “As flexitarian eating patterns continue to evolve and grow in popularity, plant-based food options present an opportunity to bring new choices throughout the grocery store,” said Mariano Lozano, CEO, Danone North America. “Many people who enjoy our products look for plant-based options because they are interested in lessening their impact on the environment through diet,” said Chad Stone, Plant Director at Danone North America’s DuBois facility, in a press release. “Recognizing this is a priority for the people we serve, we are committed to continuously improving our environmental practices to ensure they are best-in-class. We have several projects underway including minimizing waste, reducing electricity consumption by converting to LED lighting across all areas of the DuBois facility and creating efficiencies for water use in our cleaning processes.” Purchasing WhiteWave Foods in 2016, the parent company of vegan products like Silk, So Delicious and Vega, Danone acquired these brands for a hefty price tag of $12.5 billion. The company now has its sights set to produce dairy-like products in this renovated multi-million-dollar facility, making their dairy-based products in a separate location. Danone will have one of the most extensive portfolios of brands and products in fresh dairy, organic foods and beverages and plant-based alternatives to milk and yogurt,” wrote Alain Oberhuber, an analyst at MainFirst. Aiming to capitalize on the growth in veganism from a niche diet to mainstream lifestyle choice, the world’s largest yogurt maker has seen traditional yogurt sales flatline over the past several years. Future Market Insights, a research firm, expects worldwide demand for milk-free yogurt to increase about 5% annually to $7.4 billion by 2027. For more on this topic, read: Reddi-wip Goes Non-Dairy with New Toppings Former Dairy Partner, Quaker Oats, Introduces Oat Beverage “Peanut Milk” the Latest Dairy Alternative Option Taylor Leach Wed, 02/13/2019 - 12:16 Category Dairy (General) Milk (General) Pennsylvania Comments Dairy (General) Milk (General) Pennsylvania News Article Image Caption Image Credit Danone - Facebook
Taylor Leach

Farmers and Ranchers Working Through Snow, Ice and Cold

4 days 5 hours ago
Farmers and Ranchers Working Through Snow, Ice and Cold Various areas of the U.S. have been dealing with adverse winter weather during the past week, but it hasn’t stopped farmers and ranchers from working. While the polar vortex at the end of January captured many headlines for its drastic drop in temperature, recent weather hasn’t been much better as it has brought on snow and ice around the country. The worst of the weather resulted in an estimated 2,000 dairy cattle being killed in Washington and beef producers rescuing snow covered calves. There could be more snow on the way for people in the Great Lakes, Northeast and in the Northwest according to AgDay meteorologist Cindi Clawson. As of Feb. 13, the National Weather Service reports that 46.6% of the country is covered by snow with the average snow depth being 6.3 inches. Here is a look at how farmers and ranchers have been dealing with the recent winter weather via some social media posts: Desperate times! Discs on the chisel helped with the 2-3” of ice we have before another batch of snow comes through! #slippery #AgTwitter pic.twitter.com/tTsHtnjing — Ryan Sass (@RyanSass4) February 12, 2019         View this post on Instagram                   ‘Til the Cows Come Home || Well...we brought the cows home today...and they were VERY happy!! Dylan plowed a trail for me and the 3 Corgitos in the feed pickup and the cows followed along behind. A post shared by Whitney Klasna (@dirtroaddreamer) on Feb 6, 2019 at 6:24pm PST A 26 degree morning has the #cattle spread out this morning with no concerns about scooping snow or getting breakfast ready. Breakfast will be served at the same time like every other day. We take care of them and they take care of us! Learn the story #CattleTales #NewGreenDeal pic.twitter.com/hY7KTaAgEc — Joan Ruskamp (@JoanRuskamp) February 10, 2019 For my #agTwitter friends, which is worse: uncovering tires off a silo in the summer when it’s hot, wet, buggy and threat of snakes....or in winter when it’s frozen, wet, slick and sleeting? pic.twitter.com/N7wSZJoGTZ — Ellie Musil (@elliemusil) February 11, 2019 Hey guys, just born yesterday and it’s 12 degrees, 30 mph wind, and 4” of fresh snow. I think I’ll just stay in here and take it easy for awhile 😉#snowday #calving19 #CattleTales #dailycowpic #americanaberdeenangus pic.twitter.com/lvyo0dvCh6 — Shawn Bosler (@deerecreekfarm) February 12, 2019         View this post on Instagram                   Yesterday’s blizzard was devastating to many of our valley’s farmers. This blizzard was unlike anything I’ve ever seen and my heart breaks for the losses. That being said, I’m also so proud of our hard working farm community. Most of the dairy farmers were using every spare minute to keep their cows and employees safe (pulling all nighters for just about everyone) and all neighboring farmers jumped in to help clear roads and help stranded people. . Digging paths for employees and milk trucks, putting up employees in our homes, keeping the cows fed and milked and as warm as possible in zero visibility weather.. I don’t know how they did it all, but they did! Praying for those who suffered so much loss and thankful for our farm community! Huge shoutout to my hubby who I am so proud of! Lots of ingenuity and smart decisions and leading went on yesterday including staying up all night to help the night crew, making wind blocks out of bales and making a makeshift calving area in our warm barn so no vulnerable new mamas and babies had to suffer the cold! 16 happy, healthy babies born! 🙌🏼💕. . This morning we had nearly everyone show up to work and help (even those with days off) and we couldn’t be more thankful for OUR farm family! . . #washingtonstate #waagriculture #pnwwinter #blizzard #dairylife #dairyfarm #thankafarmer #farmcommunity #holsteinlove #farmlife #snowstorm #lovemyfarmer A post shared by T o w n & C o u n t r y (@_town_and_country_) on Feb 10, 2019 at 8:38pm PST I was hoping that we avoided the sub-zero temps this winter... but we’re having our turn now. -17 this morning makes for foggy shed. pic.twitter.com/52iMRRRR3b — Doug Kamerman (@MTdairylife) February 10, 2019 Caring for cattle in winter. Good deep bedding, plenty of feed and a windbreak. #cattletales #ranchwomen #sustainablefarming pic.twitter.com/SjDlTMWuUb — Rachel Gray (@Ltimbercattle) February 9, 2019         View this post on Instagram                   It got to single digits last night so we soaked up every minute of sunshine while it was out. Now it's back to more snow ❄ . . . #beef #redangus #heifers #angus #ranchesofinstagram #ranchlife #winter #knowwhereyourfoodcomesfrom #knowyourrancher #ranchlife #winterstormmaya #cows #cattle #easternoregon #familyowned #cow A post shared by Borelli Ranch (@borelliranchcattle) on Feb 10, 2019 at 2:07pm PST It’s a delicate balance of mother nature for Washington’s farmers and ranchers this week. Our state’s beef ranchers and dairy farmers are working around the clock to provide for the health and welfare of their animals in this hard winter weather. #wabeeflove #snowpocalypse2019 pic.twitter.com/LFRJTYFySr — WA Beef Checkoff (@WABeef) February 12, 2019 Wyatt Bechtel Wed, 02/13/2019 - 11:07 Category Weather (general) Snow Dairy (General) Beef (General) Comments Weather Snow News Article Image Caption Hay being unrolled for cattle on a cold winter day. Image Credit Wyatt Bechtel
Wyatt Bechtel

Cold Weather Dairy Calf Care

4 days 6 hours ago
Cold Weather Dairy Calf Care Cold winter weather presents some additional challenges to keeping dairy calves healthy, comfortable and growing. The biggest challenge is the increased nutritional requirement for body maintenance, especially for dairy calves in unheated facilities. Nutritional maintenance is what is required to keep all body systems functioning normally while maintaining a healthy body temperature and neither gaining nor losing weight. Cold weather nutrition requires understanding the concept of lower critical temperature. Lower critical temperature is the lower boundary below which the animal needs additional nutrients, primarily energy, to meet maintenance requirements. If the nutrient level is not increased, then the animal must burn fat reserves to meet the need. The lower critical temperature for calves from birth to 7 days of age is 55°F. Between 7 and 30 days of age, the lower critical temperature is in the 48 to 50°F range. For older calves, the lower critical temperature increases to 32°F. Cold weather nutrition for young calves is critical for a couple of reasons. One is the fact that calves are born with only two to four percent of their body weight as fat. This means that if diets are not meeting maintenance needs, the calf can quickly burn up fat reserves. Calves stop growing and worse, the immune system of the calf becomes compromised leading to sickness. Livestock depend upon an insulating hair coat to provide protection from the cold and to moderate that lower critical temperature. That is one reason that the lower critical temperature for older calves is higher as compared to younger calves, but it takes time and energy to grow and develop that hair coat. Breed of calf will also influence cold weather nutritional requirements because small breed calves, for example, Jerseys, have approximately 20% larger surface area per unit of body weight than a large breed calf, such as a Holstein. A rule of thumb for feeding calves housed in unheated conditions in cold weather is that for every 10°F below 32°F, the calf needs 10% more milk to meet its nutritional needs. At 0°F, this requires 32% more milk. The best strategy to meet this need is to add an additional feeding. For example, if normally the calf is fed 3 quarts twice a day, add an additional 2-quart feeding. If milk replacer is used, it should contain at least 20% protein or in the 26 to 28% range for accelerated growth programs. The fat content should be at least 15%, and higher fat content milk replacers of up to 20% fat are preferred as temperatures decline. The solids content of liquid milk replacer can be increased in cold weather from a typical 12.5 to 16%, but be careful in going above this content as diarrhea can result, and recognize that the calf may not be receiving enough water. Always offer calves clean, fresh water in addition to milk or milk replacer. Another key to feeding calves in cold weather is to provide all liquids at 105°F target temperature for consumption. With regard to free-choice water, this means offering water several times per day in cold weather. Beginning a few days after birth, offer calves free access to a calf starter grain mix with a minimum protein content of 18%. There are a couple of other management practices that help to increase calf comfort and aid in keeping calves growing and healthy in cold weather and these involve bedding, providing extra layers of cold protection and ventilation. Straw is the best bedding choice for calves. To provide the most effective thermal insulation, it has to be deep and dry. Calves can nestle down into the straw during cold weather. The goal is to provide enough bedding so that when the calf is nestled down, you don’t see its legs.  Dryness is important to keeping the calf warm. Test the dryness of the bedding by kneeling down into it. If your knees get wet, more bedding is needed. Calf jackets offer a good option to add another layer of insulation and cold protection for calves, especially calves under a month of age. Calf jackets should have a water repellent outer shell, an insulation that wicks moisture away from the calf, fit the calf well, be easy to wash and dry, and constructed to withstand outdoor environments. Do not forget about ventilation during winter months in closed structures. The goal is to provide adequate air turnover to prevent ammonia accumulation while avoiding any direct drafts on the calf. A general recommendation for winter weather is four air exchanges per hour. Cold weather calf care requires more time and labor, but it is necessary to keep calves comfortable, healthy, and growing. Wyatt Bechtel Wed, 02/13/2019 - 09:46 Category Dairy (General) Dairy Calves Calf Comments Weather Snow Calf Dairy Calves News Article Image Caption A calf in a hutch during the winter. Image Credit Jim Dickrell
Wyatt Bechtel

Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship is Coming to Michigan

4 days 11 hours ago
Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship is Coming to Michigan Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship (DGA) is a non-profit organization currently present in 11 states. The DGA is an Accredited Apprenticeship program registered with the United States Department of Labor. DGA pairs experienced dairy grazing farmers (Dairy Grazing Masters) with an apprentice with little to no experience but with interest in dairy (Dairy Grazing Apprentice). The apprentices get paid while learning from their mentors, gain hands-on experience, and have other training opportunities. Michigan State University and Michigan Food and Farming Systems will be the DGA partners in Michigan starting this February, where a kick-off meeting of the DGA program will be offered at the MSU Kellogg Biological Station in Hickory Corners. The meeting will introduce the DGA program and provide information on how to become a Master Dairy Grazer and the benefits it could bring to your farm and more. At the end of the meeting, help will be provided for those interested in signing up on the DGA website. The meeting will be W.K. Kellogg Farm, 10461 N. 40th St. Hickory Corners, on Feb. 26, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and lunch will be provided. There is no fee for this meeting, but registration is highly encouraged and appreciated. For registration go to: : https://events.anr.msu.edu/DairyGrazingApprenticeship/ For more meeting details: (269) 671-2402 or pasture.dairy@kbs.msu.edu For information on DGA visit www.dga-national.org Wyatt Bechtel Wed, 02/13/2019 - 04:31 Category Dairy (General) Dairy Nutrition Michigan Comments Michigan Dairy News Article
Wyatt Bechtel

What Boots Best Keep Your Socks Dry? Take the Drovers Poll!

4 days 19 hours ago
What Boots Best Keep Your Socks Dry? Take the Drovers Poll! There’s nothing worse than wet socks when you are out doing chores! Or coveralls that don’t fit down into your boots. And this is the time of year that is the most challenging—when it’s cold, wet and muddy. We know insulated rubber boots are a family affair, too. Everyone on the farm, from Grandpa to toddlers, need them for fun and function. Tell us, what is your preferred brand of rubber boots? We’ll report the results back to you—and maybe help you find a new favorite pair of work boots that will make your day a little bit easier. Or at least a bit drier.   Have comments or experiences you want to share? Comment below, or email sbrown@farmjournal.com. Click here to take the poll, or click the image below. Related Poll Articles:  Drovers: Calving Seasons Vary, Choose What Best Fits Your Production Goals PORK: Biggest Game Changer of 2019   Sara Brown Tue, 02/12/2019 - 20:49 Category Beef (General) Dairy (General) Hogs (General) Veterinary (General) Comments News Article Image Caption Everyone on the farm needs rubber/muck boots for fun and function. But which is best? Image Credit Janet Brown
Sara Brown

Yard Birds For Rent

5 days 2 hours ago
Yard Birds For Rent Very few of us have ever met salespeople like Phil and Jenn Tompkins. In fact, I would submit the couple have missed their calling. At a minimum they should be selling cars, or vacuum cleaners, or maybe run for Congress, all much more glamorous than their startup Rent The Chicken. Lest you get the wrong impression, I’m a huge fan of the Tompkins, Freeport, PA, though I have never met them. In 2013 the couple decided they needed to be creative to bolster the income of their family farm and they have the grit and determination to succeed. For anyone struggling in today’s farm economy those are admirable traits. Today the Tompkins’ franchise – Rent The Chicken – has more than 50 affiliates across 23 states and three Canadian provinces, offering the materials, feed and chickens to city folk who want fresh eggs and maybe a little joy and animal companionship. Rent The Chicken contracts are for April-October or May-November, and include a chicken-keeping book, bag of Chubby Mealworms, 100 pounds of feed, a chicken coop, water bowl, feed dish, and two chickens. Standard rental price for the season? $450. But there’s also the standard upgrade package for $550, and the Deluxe package (4 hens) for $650. (Maybe you think those prices are outrageous, but, seriously, would you deliver chickens and set-up a coop in somebody’s backyard for less than $500?) Let’s see, 180 days, two chickens, that’s about 30 dozen eggs – $15 to $20 a dozen. Of course, those are organic, cage-free eggs, the same kind Walmart sells for $4.98 a dozen. I know, you can’t get the “joy” of raising your own eggs if you go with the Walmart variety. You also won’t have disgruntled neighbors complaining about new smells or nighttime visitors such as fox if you opt for the Walmart eggs, either. No, backyard chicken projects are not for me. I made my last trip the henhouse to gather eggs more than 40 years ago and I don’t intend to start again. But I think it’s important we recognize the message from the success of Rent The Chicken. A lot of our customers want a connection to at least some of their food. Sure, I think it’s crazy that people will pay hundreds of dollars for two yard birds and crate, but no more so than the line of people I see waiting outside of Starbucks to pay $5 for a cup of black water, heavy cream and caramel syrup. The message beef producers should take from those two successful businesses is that they are giving their customers what they want. Many beef producers are already doing just that, with improved genetics and better animal health programs. The quest for quality and consumer satisfaction, however, is ongoing. Increasingly, beef consumers say they want more transparency on animal welfare, environmental stewardship and sustainability. It’s in our industry’s long-term best interest to respond to those trends and continue to offer a safe, wholesome and delicious product. Greg Henderson Tue, 02/12/2019 - 14:02 Category Beef (General) Dairy (General) Hogs (General) Veterinary (General) Comments Beef (General) Blog Article Image Caption Rent The Chicken is the successful startup of a Pennsylvania farm couple helping city folk discover the "joy" of owning and caring for backyard chickens. Image Credit FJ
Greg Henderson

As You Keep Cows Longer, Mastitis Increases in Concern

5 days 5 hours ago
As You Keep Cows Longer, Mastitis Increases in Concern As dairy farmers reduce culling rates and milk a larger proportion of their herd as third- and later- lactation animals, rates of clinical mastitis are likely to increase. New research from Zoetis Animal Health shows that the cost of the disease can increase by as much as 50% with later-lactation cows. The field research involved 11 herds and nearly 3,000 cows. When just first- and second-lactation cows were examined in the first year of the study, the best quartile of cows had an 8.5% rate of clinical mastitis. The worst quartile had a clinical mastitis rate of 15.9%. When these cows were studied a year later, the best quartile of cows had a 13% clinical mastitis rate while the worst quartile shot up to 25.3%. This finding has major implications for herds that are lowering their cull rates and keeping a higher proportion of older cows in their herds, says Dan Weigel, Director of Outcome Research for Zoetis and lead researcher of the study. “The goals [of keeping cows longer] are to lower costs by raising fewer replacement heifers, increase milk production by having more of the herd near maturity, and increase revenue by the use of beef semen on some of the herd,” he says. “Producers who adopt this strategy would have more economic incentive to select for cows that are more resistant to clinical mastitis.” However, the current Net Merit $ (NM$) formula places very little emphasis on clinical mastitis resistance, with a weighting of 0.77% of the total. (Clinical mastitis is part of the Health sub-index that is now included in NM$.) The genetic progress for clinical mastitis is only about 30¢/year out of the total progress of $63.18 that is expected, says Weigel. One option for dairy farmers is to customize their sire selection index to include clinical mastitis resistance as a higher proportion of their index. However, before doing so, farmers should consult with their genetic adviser on the proper weighting for their herd. The study was presented at the 2019 National Mastitis Council meeting Savannah, Ga. in January. For more information, go to www.nmconline.org. Jim Dickrell Tue, 02/12/2019 - 10:43 Category Milk Quality Dairy Genetics Herd Health Dairy (General) Mastitis Dairy Cattle Comments Dairy Milk Quality Dairy Genetics News Article Image Caption Keeping a higher proportion of older cows means mastitis rates may increase if genetic selection pressure is not increased. Image Credit Farm Journal, Inc.
Jim Dickrell

Trump Undecided on Tentative Border Deal in Congress, Official Says

5 days 6 hours ago
Trump Undecided on Tentative Border Deal in Congress, Official Says (Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump hasn’t decided whether to support the bipartisan congressional agreement on border security that requires him to accept less wall construction money than he demanded as a way to avert another government shutdown, an administration official said. It’s "very difficult" to comment "until we actually see the language," White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said Tuesday on Fox News. "We don’t know what’s in it at this time." Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky called the deal "certainly good news," saying it "provides new funds for miles of new border barriers." He said he’ll review the bill text and hopes the Senate will vote on it "in short order." Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York urged Trump to sign the measure, saying, "These months of shutdown politics must come to an end." The tentative pact reached Monday night provides $1.375 billion for 55 new miles (88.5 kilometers) of border fencing in Texas’s Rio Grande Valley area, according to congressional aides who spoke on condition of anonymity. That’s far short of the $5.7 billion Trump wants for a wall. But the agreement also rejects limits Democrats sought on detentions of immigrants apprehended in the U.S. It still has to be written into legislation, pass both chambers of Congress and get Trump’s approval before Friday night to avoid a partial government shutdown. Stocks in the U.S. rose in part on the prospects of the deal, which removed some uncertainty about a government shutdown, as well as hints the U.S. and China will reach agreement on trade. The S&P 500 Index, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq 100 all advanced. The agreement was announced less than an hour before Trump took the stage in the border city of El Paso, Texas, at a political rally to rev up supporters. Trump told his audience that he’d heard a deal was reached but didn’t know the details. He gave no indication whether he’d sign the legislation once it reaches his desk, though he again touted the need for a wall between the U.S. and Mexico. “Just so you know, we’re building the wall anyway,” he said. “We’re setting the table, we’re doing whatever we have to do. The wall’s being built.” Drawn Out The agreement on the remaining seven spending bills would keep government agencies open through the end of the fiscal year, including the Department of Homeland Security that oversees border protection. It was a rare feat of bipartisan compromise that only 24 hours earlier had seemed out of reach. But the drawn-out struggle is sure to be revived in the next budget battle and continue into the 2020 campaigns for the White House and Congress. Aides said Democrats dropped their demand for a cap on detention beds for immigrants detained within the U.S. Instead, the deal would set an average daily cap at 45,274 beds -- less than the 49,057 now detained, two aides said. Democrats believe that will drop the number detained to 40,520 by Sept. 30. But the aides said Trump would retain authority to expand the number of beds by transferring money from other security accounts. Trump could boost the number of beds as high as 58,500 with that authority -- enough to respond to a surge in illegal immigration and arrests, one aide said. When asked whether Trump will support the deal, Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby said, “We think so, we hope so.” He said the White House had given Republican negotiators wide latitude to reach a deal. Also participating in Monday’s meetings were Representative Nita Lowey of New York and Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, both Democrats, and Representative Kay Granger, a Texas Republican. “If the four of us couldn’t get it together, Congress never could,” said Leahy, the Senate Appropriations panel’s top Democrat. Trump remains a wild card. The president has in the past reversed course without warning, as he did last December in rejecting a previous spending accord and triggering a 35-day shutdown. Some of the president’s allies who helped convince him to hold out for wall funding last year panned the committee’s negotiation almost as soon as the details were made public. Two leaders of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, Jim Jordan of Ohio and Mark Meadows of North Carolina, called it a bad deal but stopped short of urging Trump to reject it. “This conference agreement is hardly a serious attempt to secure our border or stop the flow of illegal immigration,” Meadows said. “It kicks the can down the road yet again, failing to address the critical priorities outlined by Border Patrol Chiefs.” A key sticking point had been funding for detention beds for immigration enforcement, which Democrats wanted to limit as a way to in effect force Immigration and Customs Enforcement to put less of a priority on undocumented immigrants without criminal backgrounds. One aide said the 55 new miles of border barrier would be double the amount of new miles provided in fiscal 2018 and nearly three times as much as would have been available if current funds had been extended through September. The Border Patrol could use any design in current use, including steel slats, but not a purely concrete wall some of Trump’s supporters have cheered. Lowey, the House Appropriations chairwoman, said congressional staff will put together the details of the agreement. Votes would need to be taken before Friday night, when funding expires for the government agencies. “I hope by Wednesday we’ll have a finished product,” Lowey said. “Some people may think it’s a great deal, some people may have done it differently, but we did it together and I really think it’s a good product.” House Democrats opened the talks with an offer of no new money for border barriers, while Senate Democrats had offered $1.6 billion in funds before the shutdown began. Trump has been demanding a wall since the 2016 presidential campaign. The recent shutdown, the nation’s longest, ended when he signed a three-week spending bill on Jan. 25 and both parties agreed to create a 17-member committee to negotiate a solution. U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, has said she would accept whatever accord the group came up with, and Lowey said she had signed off on the deal. If Trump doesn’t go along, however, some GOP senators say they’re unlikely to support it, McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, hasn’t ruled out bringing it to a vote. Trump has threatened another shutdown if a new spending bill doesn’t fund “a new physical barrier, or wall” along the border. The president has a history of tearing up bipartisan agreements, including a potential one last year that would have provided $25 billion in wall money in exchange for protection from deportation for young undocumented immigrants. The president has said he may declare an emergency and use money from other parts of the budget to fund a wall. Such a move would likely be challenged in court, and Pelosi could force votes in Congress on whether to disapprove the emergency declaration. McConnell, who has urged Trump to avoid declaring an emergency, has sought to protect his senators from a vote on it. One Senate GOP leader, Roy Blunt of Missouri, said he’s examining ways Trump could tap federal funds funds for wall construction without an emergency declaration. “There are a handful of those places, and if we get to the place where it’s time to talk to the president about those I intend to,” Blunt said. As an example, Blunt pointed to a Drug Corridors program enacted last summer that’s never been put in place and that has $800 million allotted to it. Other funds might be shifted from existing programs, he said. Republicans have described the new barrier funded by the bill as a “wall,” while Democrats prefer the term “fence.” The semantic distinction could allow both sides to claim victory, with Republicans arguing they met Trump’s campaign promise of a southern border wall, and Democrats saying there is no money for a wall. The deal would allow a number of departments to continue operating, including Agriculture, Commerce, Interior, Justice, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Housing and Urban Development. The Food and Drug Administration and Environmental Protection Agency would also be funded. If the agreement is enacted, it could set a more positive tone for the newly divided Congress that took office during the shutdown in January. Congress will need to raise the nation’s debt ceiling later this year, and decide what to do about $126 billion in automatic cuts to defense and non-defense discretionary funding caps set for 2020. Trump also will ask Democrats approve a revised North American Free Trade Agreement, and the president and Democrats say they want to develop an infrastructure plan. ©2019 Bloomberg L.P. Bloomberg Tue, 02/12/2019 - 09:57 Category Immigration Governmental Regulations Comments News Article Image Caption President Donald Trump Image Credit MGN Image

MFP Enrollment Deadline Looming

6 days 4 hours ago
MFP Enrollment Deadline Looming Thursday is the last day for eligible farmers to apply for Market Facilitation Program payments. According to USDA, February 14 is also the deadline for producers to certify their 2018 production for MFP. This program will provide a second payment for farmers negatively impacted by retaliatory tariffs. Farmers who signed up prior to the first round of payments will automatically be issued a second payment.  If you have not enrolled, you can do so at farmers.gov/manage/mfp or at your local Farm Service Agency office.    More information:  BREAKING: President Authorizes Second MFP Payment MFP Payments and Tax Planning: Timing is Everything Anna-Lisa Laca Mon, 02/11/2019 - 11:52 Category Hogs (General) Dairy (General) USDA Soybeans Comments News Article Image Caption Thursday is the last day for eligible farmers to apply for Market Facilitation Program payments. Image Credit Farm Journal
Anna-Lisa Laca

Fluid Milk Spoilage Still a Concern

6 days 5 hours ago
Fluid Milk Spoilage Still a Concern While dairy farmers bristled at the “chunky milk” commercial aired by Mint Mobile during the Superbowl LIII, fluid milk spoilage still happens and is still a concern. One study, done five years ago, estimated fluid milk losses accounted for more than $6 billion in food waste in the United States, in part due to premature spoilage, says Nicole Martin, a research support specialist in the Department of Food Science at Cornell University. “Raw milk Standard Plate Count (SPC) has been recognized as one of the primary indicators of both hygienic production as well as influencers of finished product quality,” she says. The vast majority of raw milk comes into processing plants well below the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) limit of 100,000 cfu/mL,  with an average SPC of 42,000 cells/mL. But Martin notes “under certain conditions such as lack of proper cooling or prolonged storage time, psychrotolerant bacteria, such as Pseudomonas, may grow to levels whereby they express heat-stable enzymes.” It’s these enzymes, and not the bacteria themselves (which are killed by pasteurization), which can cause product deterioration. A bigger problem are sporeforming bacteria. “Typically, spores are found at low levels (less than 10 cfu/mL) in raw milk,” says Martin. “Yet because of their resistance to environmental stressors such as high temperature, desiccation, sanitizers and other pressures, spores are able to survive processing hurdles that are used in the dairy industry, and then subsequently grow in processed finished product.” These spore formers grow in refrigerated fluid milk, and they are responsible for about 50% of fluid milk products that reach FDA’s limit of 20,000 cfu/mL during shelf life, says Martin. “It is these organisms that ultimately prevent the extension of fluid milk shelf life beyond 17 to 21 days, restricting the ability of fluid milk processors to enter new distribution channels and markets,” she says. Spore formers also can produce defects in ultra-high temperature milk, cheese and whey products. Controlling sporeformers is more challenging than controlling somatic cell counts or other bacteria. Because sporeforming bacteria are found in soil, they are virtually everywhere in natural environments. As a result, cleanliness of bedding, cows and housing are key to the prevention of the contamination of milk. “A recent study has shown that spore levels in bulk tank raw milk can be significantly reduced through worker training on teat-end cleaning and implementing changes in towel preparation procedures,” Martin says. Processors also play a role, she says, in maintaining fluid milk integrity. Careful attention to pasteurization temperature and time can affect bacterial growth. Storage temperatures after pasteurization are also critical. For example, fluid milk held at 39°F has significantly longer shelf life than milk held at 43°F, she says. In the end, farmers and processors have to work together to control bacteria that affect milk quality and stability. “This comprehensive and collaborative approach will ultimately result in higher quality products for consumers,” she says.     Jim Dickrell Mon, 02/11/2019 - 10:21 Category Dairy (General) Milk (General) Housing / Facilities raw milk Comments Dairy Milk (General) Milk Quality News Article Image Caption Sporeforming bacteria may be responsible for half of fluid milk products that exceed FDA's 20,000 cfu/mL limit during shelf life. Image Credit Farm Journal, Inc.
Jim Dickrell

British Cows Get Own Tinder-Style App for Breeding

6 days 6 hours ago
British Cows Get Own Tinder-Style App for Breeding Cows and bulls searching for “moo love” now have a mobile app to help their breeders. A U.K. farming startup introduced a Tinder-style app, called Tudder, that lets farmers find breeding matches by viewing pictures of cattle with details of their age, location and owner. Users hear a mooing sound as they swipe -- right to show they’re interested or left to reject possible matches. Hectare, which designed the app, says it “seeks to unite sheepish farm animals with their soulmates.” Selling animals using social media can speed up a process that often involves transporting animals long distances for breeding. “Tudder is a new swipe-led matchmaking app, helping farm animals across the U.K. find breeding partners in the quest for moo love,” according to the Apple app store description. Farmers that swipe right on an image of a particular cow -- or group of cows -- are directed to Hectare’s livestock-buying website, with a chance to contact the owner or make an offer. The listing website includes information on the animal’s character and any health issues. Working Bull Profile descriptions range from “nice big strong sorts make nice suckler cows” to “quiet well grown young bull ready to work,” and farmers can also restrict their online search by whether the animal is organic, pedigree or on a farm where tuberculosis has been detected. Marcus Lampard, a farmer in Carmarthenshire in southwest Wales, has one pedigree beef shorthorn breeding bull listed on the app and says it’s a lot easier to sell livestock online. “Going to market is a nuisance,” he said by telephone. “If I go to an open market with a bull, and then maybe bring it back, it shuts everything down on the farm for at least two weeks.’’ Lampard, 76, said his daughter lists the cows online for him. “At my age we think we’re quite techy, but our grandchildren think we’re hopeless,” he said. Hectare raised over 3 million pounds ($3.9 million) from investors including government programs, author Richard Koch and tennis player Andy Murray, according to its website. About a third of U.K. farms use Hectare’s platforms to trade livestock and cereals, Chief Executive Officer Doug Bairner said by email, after the app was described in the Sunday Times. “Matching breeding livestock online should be even easier than matching people,” Bairner said. “Sheep breeding is similarly data driven so maybe ‘ewe-Harmony’ should be next.” Wyatt Bechtel Mon, 02/11/2019 - 09:58 Category Beef (General) cow-calf Bulls Beef Genetics Dairy (General) Dairy Genetics Livestock Equipment Technology United Kingdom Industry News Comments Livestock Equipment Technology Technology Dairy Genetics Beef Genetics News Article Image Caption Farmers swipe right on Tudder mobile app to find matches for cows. Image Credit Tudder
Wyatt Bechtel

Livestock Producers: Do You Drug Test?

6 days 6 hours ago
Livestock Producers: Do You Drug Test?     The 2019 Farm Journal Cannabis in U.S. Agriculture Study asked livestock producers with employees about their drug testing policies. Here's what we learned.    Objectives and methodology: Measure farmers’ and ranchers’ awareness of cannabis and interest in growing hemp. The e-blast was distributed to row crop farmers with 1+ acres of corn, soybeans or wheat, and also to livestock producers with 1+ head of hogs, beef cattle, dairy cattle or poultry, and produce growers with 1+ acres of produce. A set of 950 completes yielded a margin of error of +/- 3.2%. Respondents were entered in a drawing to receive one of 25 copies of “Making the Family Farm the Family Business” by Chip Flory. Read more about cannabis here:Could Cannabis Improve Pork Flavor? Weed-Fed Pigs Creating a Stir PORK Poll: Could Marijuana in the Pig Diet Make a Difference? > From Dairy Herd Management: > Hemp Milk: Dairy’s New Plant-Based Threat? > Livestock Owners Weigh in on Ag's Role in the Hemp Marketplace > From AgWeb: Perdue Answers Buzz on Hemp in Animal Feed > From Drovers: Facts and Fiction About Hemp in Animal Feed > From Bovine Veterinarian: Cannabis in Veterinary Medicine Portia Stewart Mon, 02/11/2019 - 09:51 Category Hogs (General) Hog Management Beef (General) Dairy (General) Veterinary (General) Personnel Marijuana/Hemp Comments Marijuana/Hemp Pork Dairy BEEF News Article Image Caption . Image Credit istock
Portia Stewart

Crop Nutrient Needs for Alfalfa and Corn Silage

6 days 6 hours ago
Crop Nutrient Needs for Alfalfa and Corn Silage To achieve high-yielding alfalfa and corn silage requires planning. To reach top yields, it’s important to provide crops with the correct nutrients. While alfalfa and corn silage recommendations differ, our agronomy experts both agree that soil testing to determine soil health is the first step. Dan Putnam, statewide alfalfa and forage Extension specialist at the University of California, Davis, recommends growers take a long-term and short-term view of alfalfa production. Long-term alfalfa nutrient planning Before the crop is even established, Putnam recommends conducting a soil test to determine the soil fertility status. “I’d recommend incorporating several locations within the field for soil variation and to create composite samples,” he says. “Then it’s important to go back to those same spots to sample so you can track changes in soil status over time. Marking spots with permanent markers or some way to remember it would be recommended.” Alfalfa requires quite a bit of potassium and phosphorus over the year, so be sure to verify your soil’s status. Also, ensure the appropriate soil testing protocols recommended by your state are being followed. Eastern states and western states use a different soil phosphorus test due to differences in pH levels. “We would not look at nitrogen status because alfalfa is a very effective nitrogen fixer, so you wouldn’t normally consider a nitrogen fertilizer application to alfalfa,” Putnam explains. “A nitrogen application doesn’t impact yields significantly in the studies that I’ve seen conducted across the United States.”  Growers should also make sure their crop is well-inoculated – either through pre-inoculated seed or by inoculating the seed using viable rhizobium bacteria that will then infect the roots and provide free fertilizer from the air. Short-term alfalfa nutrient planning If the alfalfa crop is already established, Putnam recommends a combination of soil sampling and plant tissue sampling. Plant sampling can be done following state Extension recommendations on tissue uptake levels. “Send tissue samples into your laboratory to determine if your alfalfa crop would benefit from an application, particularly of phosphorus,” he notes. “In the western states, we find phosphorus can be exceptionally limiting, and then second would be potassium. In some states, sulfur can be a limiting macronutrient, which is required in large amounts.” Corn silage nutrient planning For corn silage, growers should use results from a recent soil test, meaning a sample that’s been collected within the last four years, according to Carrie Laboski, professor at the University of Wisconsin. “Use a current soil test to look at the fertility levels, starting with pH,” says Laboski. “Make sure your pH is at least 6.0 for good production. In Wisconsin, we’re seeing more areas that have low pH – in the low 5’s and under 5.0 – that are causing poor corn production. Maintaining soil pH is the cornerstone of a good fertility program.” Next, look at your nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium levels. Given farm economics, producers want to focus on what’s going to be most cost-efficient. “Based on the research I’ve done in Wisconsin, we know that potassium is a much bigger problem than phosphorous, especially on dairy farms, because there’s often a lot of manure that gets back on the fields, but we may not always get enough potassium on that ground when rotations include alfalfa and corn silage,” she explains. “Both crops remove a lot of potassium. I’d suggest looking at your soil test, and if one nutrient is high and the other is low, then put the low one on. However, if both phosphorus and potassium are low, I’d focus on potassium first and then put money into phosphorous if you have it.” Nitrogen can be a significant expense in corn production, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be. “One of the best things growers can do from a nitrogen standpoint is to take credit for on-farm nutrients, so that would be legumes and manure,” Laboski says. “If you run a dairy farm, planting corn immediately following alfalfa is a really great idea because it reduces your nitrogen needs to about 50 pounds of nitrogen per acre or less.” Your exact nitrogen credit will depend on how good your alfalfa stand was at harvest, but you may end up needing none or only small amounts of nitrogen for first-year corn after alfalfa. “Manure contains nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus, so it can help reduce your fertilizer bill by adequately taking credit for those nutrients,” notes Laboski. “Also, conserve the nitrogen in the manure as you apply it. Injecting or incorporating it as quickly as possible after broadcast application can also help retain the nitrogen. Both offer options to help reduce your fertilizer bill.” Laboski cautions that nitrogen is sometimes overapplied, and she encourages growers to follow their land-grant university guidelines for nitrogen application rates. Carrie Laboski, professor at the University of WisconsinDan Putnam, statewide alfalfa and forage Extension specialist at the University of California, Davis  Headline image courtesy of University of Wisconsin   To read more articles like this one: Dairy Herd Management https://www.dairyherd.com/article/your-inoculant-working-hard-you-do https://www.dairyherd.com/article/keys-improve-digestibility-corn-silage-1 https://www.dairyherd.com/article/spring-nutrition-dairy-increase-silage-improve-margin   Drovers https://www.drovers.com/article/how-evaluate-winter-alfalfa-damage https://www.drovers.com/article/how-does-ensiling-time-affect-silage-nutrients https://www.drovers.com/article/keys-improve-digestibility-corn-silage-1     Sponsored by Lallemand Animal Nutrition   Zach Zingula Mon, 02/11/2019 - 09:12 Category Silage Comments Silage News Article Image Caption Image Credit Sponsored Content
Zach Zingula
1 hour 34 minutes ago
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