Make sure your horse has the proper vaccines

Dr. Jessica Young

Dr. Jessica Young

Dr. Jessica Young with Diamond Y Equine Veterinary Services of Ogden, Iowa says she fields a lot of questions from clients this time of year about what vaccines their horses need to have.  She explains that there are two types, core vaccines and non-core vaccines.

AUDIO: Dr. Jessica Young (3:00 MP3)

USDA requires PEDv reporting

The USDA is now requiring the reporting of PEDv cases.

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack said the agency is taking the action to further enhance the biosecurity and health of the U.S. swine herd while maintaining movement of pigs in the U.S.

In addition to requiring reporting of the PED virus, USDA will also require tracking movements of pigs, vehicles, and other equipment leaving affected premises.  However, Vilsack stressed that movements would still be allowed.

Vilsack also announced that USDA’s Farm Loan Programs is working with producers to provide credit options, including restructuring loans.  He says it will be similar to how the Farm Service Agency successfully worked with livestock producers affected by the blizzard in South Dakota.

Link to PDF detailing USDA’s plan

Report discusses corn trade disruptions

Losses to the U.S. agricultural industry resulting from China’s rejection of corn shipments containing the MIR 162 trait could be as high as 2.9 billion dollars.

That’s according to a report released by the National Grain and Feed Association.  NGFA says the bulk of that loss is in an estimated 11-cent per bushel lower average price paid to farmers for their corn.  The estimate also includes losses to corn exporters and sellers of DDGs, as well as China’s rejection of several soybean shipments which it claims contained the banned corn variety.

In the U.S., the MIR 162 variety is marketed by Syngenta as Agrisure Viptera.  The report warns that more trade disruptions and economic losses are possible in the next marketing year due to the introduction of another Syngenta biotech variety into the supply chain.  That product, called Agrisure Duracade, is being planted in the U.S. for the first time this spring.

Viptera and Duracade have both been approved for use in the U.S., but have not received Chinese approval.

Getting your haying equipment ready for another season

It won’t be long before we’re back in the hay fields for another season.  Of course time is money when making hay, so we asked CLAAS product manager Matt Jaynes for some tips on getting those mower-conditioners ready to go.

AUDIO: Matt Jaynes (3:00 MP3)

Good times for cow-calf producers

Cow-calf producers Tom and Paula Peterson farm near Waverly, Nebraska, just north of Lincoln in the southeastern part of the state.

The Peterson’s recently hosted USDA deputy secretary of agriculture Krysta Harden when she visited Nebraska to promote the start of sign-up for USDA’s livestock disaster assistance programs.  During a break in the action, we visited with Tom Peterson about his cattle business.

AUDIO: Tom Peterson (3:00 MP3)

Senators question methane reduction plan

A group of U.S. Senators is questioning the Obama Administration’s plan to reduce methane emissions from cattle.

They say the methane reduction strategy released in March could cost medium-sized dairy farms upwards of 22-thousand dollars a year.

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is among those expressing concern.

“Iowans I talk to remain very skeptical about the concept of regulating greenhouse gases, until it is done through global treaty,” Grassley says, “and it’s especially difficult to do this on farms.”

The administration maintains that agriculture’s role in methane reduction will be voluntary, but Grassley isn’t convinced.

“It’s hard to forget, only a couple years ago, this administration was trying to push cap-and-trade through Congress.  It seems only right to be suspicious about the administration’s intentions.”

The administration’s goal is to reduce methane emissions from agriculture by 25 percent by 2020.

AUDIO: Chuck Grassley (1:37 MP3)

Officials promote disaster assistance

Top USDA officials have been crisscrossing the country this week promoting the start of sign-up for USDA’s livestock disaster assistance programs.

During a stop at a cow-calf operation near Waverly, Nebraska, deputy secretary of agriculture Krysta Harden said the programs will help livestock producers who have suffered losses due to natural disasters.

“It’s not going to make anybody whole, obviously,” Harden said, “but this will help producers stay on their ranch—stay on their farm—by helping them cover some of the costs that they incurred due to these terrific losses.”

AUDIO: Krysta Harden-questions from media (6:02 MP3)

Nebraska FSA state director Dan Steinkruger says the programs will reimburse eligible producers for a percentage of their losses.

“The livestock forage program is designed to provide 60 percent of the cost of feeding during the grazing period,” Steinkruger says. “The livestock indemnity program is designed to provide 75 percent of the value for that animal that was lost due to a natural disaster.”

AUDIO: Dan Steinkruger (2:52 MP3)

Cattle producer Tom Peterson of Waverly tells Brownfield he intends to sign up for the livestock forage program for losses related to the drought of 2012.

“We’ll make an application and see what comes,” Peterson says. “If I understand it correctly, there will be some determination on acres of grass you had.  Quantifying things is a little tough as far as to quantify what your loss was of grass.  But you know we ran short—everybody did.”

AUDIO: Tom Peterson (2:02 MP3)

To be eligible for assistance, losses must have occurred on or after October 1, 2011.

Nitrogen gene commercialization still a ways off

Commercialization of a nitrogen efficiency gene for corn, developed by the Iowa Corn Promotion Board, is still several years away.

That according to Iowa Corn technology commercialization manager David Ertl.  Ertl says they’re in the process of out-licensing the technology to seed companies.

“Even if it is something they want to commercialize they still have to go through the regulatory approval process,” Ertl says. “So between the hybrid development time, testing and regulatory approval, you’re probably talking at least six or seven years minimum.”

Ertl says there are two objectives to their research with the gene—either to increase yield without increasing the amount of nitrogen fertilizer used to grow corn or to obtain the same yield with less fertilizer.

“The trait doesn’t necessarily do anything to pull more nitrogen from the soil in to the plant,” he says, “but what it does is it changes the nitrogen metabolism within the plant to hopefully be more efficient in using the nitrogen once it’s in the plant.”

Iowa Corn recently received a U.S. patent on the nitrogen gene. The technology was developed in collaboration with private technology firms.

AUDIO: David Ertl (5:35 MP3)

Sign-up for livestock disaster assistance programs is underway

Waverly, Nebraska farmer Tom Peterson visits with USDA's Krysta Harden.

Waverly, Nebraska farmer Tom Peterson visits with USDA’s Krysta Harden.

Eligible farmers and ranchers can now sign up for the USDA’s livestock disaster assistance programs, which were restored by passage of the 2014 farm bill.

USDA deputy secretary of agriculture Krysta Harden was in Nebraska this week to discuss how those programs will help producers who suffered losses due to natural disasters.  One of her stops was a crop and cattle operation near Waverly (just outside of Lincoln), where she held an impromptu news conference with the media.

AUDIO: Krysta Harden news conference (7:02 MP3)

Another blow to the Plains’ wheat crop

Freezing temperatures as far south as central Texas this week may have caused further damage to the Great Plains’ winter wheat crop.

However, agronomists say damage to the crop may not be apparent for another week to 10 days.

There are a number of factors that determine the extent of freeze damage in wheat, including the duration of low temperatures, soil moisture and stage of development.  Wheat in the jointing stage is most at risk and, as of Sunday, the Kansas wheat crop was 31 percent jointed with Oklahoma at 80 percent jointed.

The Plains’ wheat crop was already suffering from drought and the winter’s extreme cold.  A Bloomberg report prior to this week’s freeze indicated many wheat fields were showing the worst amount of damage in five years.