USDA releases cattle inventory numbers; calf crop smallest since 1950 tally

The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service released their cattle inventory numbers and values of all cattle and calves, number of operations and size group estimates Friday afternoon. Report numbers reveal that the inventory of all cattle and calves in the U.S. as of Jan. 1, 2012, totaled 90.8 million head, a drop of 2 percent below the 92.7 million total on Jan. 1, 2011. This is the lowest Jan. 1 inventory of all cattle and calves since the 88.1 million on hand in 1952. All cows and heifers that have calved, at 39.1 million, were down 2 percent from 40.0 million on Jan. 1, 2011. Read more…

Some cattle ranchers worry about proposed ear tag rules

The New York Times spoke with TSCRA member Dan Gattis, as well as representatives and leaders of the association, about proposed rules that would require ear tag identification for adult cattle moving across state lines. But not all ranchers are fully on-board with the proposed rule. Many, including TSCRA, would like to see brands allowed as an official – and more permanent – method of identification, along with the tags. The proposed rule would not prohibit the use of brands, but they are not classified as “official” by USDA. They also have other concerns about the ear tag rule, including possible increased costs for producers and how the program will integrate with other state and federal ID. In Texas, a proposal discussed this week by the Texas Animal Health Commission would require adult cattle 18 months or older to have ear tags whenever their ownership changes. Read more…

TCEQ eases some restrictions on water rights

Conditions have improved to the point where the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) notified Brazos River Basin junior water-right holders and more than 160 Neches River Basin junior water-right holders that their right to divert water is no longer suspended. Read more…

TSCRA Crime Watch: Gooseneck trailer stolen from Gonzales property

TSCRA Special Ranger Gary Baros, Dist. 25 in South Texas, reports the theft on Dec. 12 of a gooseneck trailer from E Bar Feeds in Gonzales. The trailer is a yellow 6-bale in-line round bale hay trailer made by Hay King, Texas farm license plate number DZK B09, VIN number 1K9GH4528BT304081. If you have any information on this theft, please call Ranger Baros at 361-293-7549. Read more…

Feral hogs and quail

Dr. Dale Rollins, Rolling Plains Quail Research Ranch, examines the possible implication of feral hogs in the decline of quail numbers, and what this may mean for both populations. Read more…

U.S. Drought Monitor and Summary, Jan. 24, 2012

Despite dry, warmer-than-normal weather, with temperatures averaging up to 14°F above normal, little, if any, change was made to the drought designation from Texas northward into southern Kansas. Locally heavy rain has been falling over the region since the data cutoff time on Tuesday for this week’s drought depiction; impacts from the rain will be addressed in next week’s U.S. Drought Monitor. A small increase in the Abnormally Dry area was made in northeastern Oklahoma to reflect 60-day precipitation deficits up to 3 inches. Read more…