EPA's 'Waters of the US' proposal open for comment

EPA

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers today posted their proposed definition for waters of the U.S. protected under the Clean Water Act (CWA) in the Federal Register, triggering a 90 day public comment period. Read more at Agri-Pulse…

Obama trip stirs emotions over Asia trade pact

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President Barack Obama’s abilities as negotiator-in-chief for the United States will be put to the test this week on a trip to Asia that could set the stage for the conclusion of a huge new free-trade agreement. But the deal faces even more hurdles at home because of opposition from fellow Democrats. The trip comes at a critical time for talks on the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership, a regional free-trade deal that companies hope will boost exports by billions of dollars but labor groups and other opponents fear will move jobs overseas and weaken consumer protections. Read more at Politico…

Keys to establishing summer forages

AgriLife photo by Robert Burns

The window of opportunity to plant summer annual forages is at hand while it is closing for most perennial warm-season forages. It is recommended that perennials be planted by mid-May. However, there may still be time to establish perennial forages if moisture is good and the forecast remains promising for the next 30 to 60 days. Before planting, review these keys to successful establishment of summer annual forages and some selected perennials. Read more at Noble Foundation….

TDA Market Recap, April 21, 2014

Texas Department of Agriculture

Source: Texas Department of Agriculture

For the week ending April 19, 2014, feeder cattle prices reported by Texas auctions were mostly $4 lower to $4 higher per hundredweight (cwt) compared to their previous sale. Heavier cattle and weaned, preconditioned offerings posted the largest increases, with prices as much as $9 higher at a few locations. Texas direct feeder cattle prices were mostly steady. Tight supplies and strong demand continue to support the feeder cattle market. Fed cattle cash prices were $1 lower. Wholesale beef values were higher. Weekly beef export sales were the highest of the marketing year at 21,900 metric tons (MT), up 18 percent from the previous week and 42 percent higher than the previous four-week average. The top buyers were Japan, Mexico and South Korea. Shipments of 12,700 MT were up three percent from a week earlier and equal to the average. The leading destinations were Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong.

Cotton prices were higher for the week due to concerns about the very dry conditions on the Texas Plains, strong export shipments and continued economic growth in China. However, the large world cotton supplies continued to limit gains. Cotton exports totaled 84,700 bales, a Read more…

Ranch gathering April 29 in Weatherford

Tscra

TSCRA will host a ranch gathering Tuesday, April 29, at the Parker County Sheriff’s Posse building, 2251 Mineral Wells Highway in Weatherford. Registration begins at 5:30 p.m. followed by a complimentary beef dinner. TSCRA Special Ranger Wayne Goodman will update ranchers on cattle thefts in the area and how they can better protect their livestock and equipment. Please RSVP to 800-242-7820, ext. 192, or rsvp@tscra.org. The gathering is sponsored by Novartis Animal Health, Livestock Nutrition Center and Lone Star Ag Credit. Anyone who joins TSCRA at the gathering will receive a free metal gate sign courtesy of Bayer Animal Health and New Holland Agriculture.

One-fifth of China’s farmland is polluted, state study finds

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Source: The New York Times

The Chinese government released a report on Thursday that said nearly one-fifth of its arable land was polluted, a finding certain to raise questions about the toxic results of China’s rapid industrialization, its lack of regulations over commercial interests and the consequences for the national food chain. Read more…

Lesser prairie-chicken listing catches eye of state lawmakers

© Gerard Bertrand

Source: High Plains Journal

Kansas lawmakers watched with interest as the Sunflower State was one of five Western states recently notified the lesser prairie-chicken was being placed on the threatened species list by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Read more…

Cow/Calf Corner: Cattle and beef markets so far in 2014; Short-term calf removal

Photo courtesy Oklahoma State University

In the April 21 issue of Cow/Calf Corner newsletter from the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service, Derrell Peel discusses how the first quarter of 2014 is shaping up for the cattle and beef markets and Glenn Selk talks how the short-term removal of a calf from its mother may have benefits for a certain number cows, especially those with body condition scores. Read more…

Check Out Your Checkoff: Fueled by BEEF

BEEF team

Source: texasbeef.org

The Texas BEEF Team was out in full-force throughout March making appearances in Houston, College Station, Bastrop, The Woodlands, Gonzales, Stonewall, San Antonio, Dallas and Seabrook. The team is a community of runners, triathletes and cyclists who recognize the nutritional benefits of lean beef and the vital role high-quality protein plays in their training. More than 260 runners, cyclists and triathletes proudly wore their “Fueled by Beef” jerseys and were visible advocates for the beef community. In addition to the race participants, more than 70 team members volunteered at the races serving at course water stops and cheering sections. Not only do dedicated team members wear their shirts on race day, but you can see them throughout Texas proudly wearing their shirts at the gym, outside while training and while volunteering in their community. There are currently more than 1,000 members on the Texas BEEF Team

BLM criticized for selling horses for slaughter

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Source: AgWeb

The Bureau of Land Management is under fire again, but this time it’s not about going head-to-head with a Nevada rancher. Instead the issue revolves around selling horses for slaughter. The Bureau of Land Management rounded up a horse herd that roamed for decades on federal land in northwest Wyoming and handed the horses over to Wyoming officials. They, in turn, sold the herd to the highest bidder, a Canadian slaughterhouse. Read more…

Food companies unhappy with FDA feed proposal

FDA

Source: Politico

Expired marshmallows, broken crackers, stale donuts, even orange peels are among the billions of pounds of would-be waste that help feed livestock every year. By regularly diverting waste , the food industry prevents millions of tons of greenhouse gases from being released into the atmosphere, but an obscure proposal under a 2011 food safety overhaul could inadvertently send much of the reusable food back to landfills. Read more…

It’s what’s for dinner: Southwest cheeseburgers

Texas Beef Council

Source: txbeef.org

Bring a little of the Southwest home with this burger paired with green onions and cumin. Read more…

US Drought Monitor, April 15, 2014

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Source: droughtmonitor.unl.edu

Warm temperatures and dry conditions were experienced over much of the south this week. Even as the week averaged out above normal, cold air at the end of the current U.S. Drought Monitor period pushed into the region with overnight lows well below freezing and snow in the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles. The dryness in the Texas panhandle allowed for D4 (exceptional drought) expansion this week. In central Texas, D2 (severe drought) was also expanded while an area of D3 (extreme drought) was improved slightly. Dryness in southern Texas also warranted the expansion and intensification of drought, with D1 (moderate drought) and D2 (severe drought) expanding. Another round of precipitation in the Big Bend of Texas allowed for D0 (abnormally dry) to improve while the extreme areas of northeast Texas also had D0 improve. Southern Oklahoma also had degradation of drought conditions, with D1 and D2 conditions expanding. Read more…

USDA-APHIS: Cervid DPP testing temporarily unavailable

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ue to an unexpectedly high number of requests to test cervid (deer) serum samples for bovine tuberculosis (TB) this spring, the National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) has exhausted its supply of ChemBio DPP test kits. The kits are on back order and the manufacturer anticipates that they will be available in early May.

An interruption of about 4 weeks for DPP testing is anticipated at NVSL. Serum samples can still be submitted to NVSL during this time, but they will be frozen and tested when the kits are available. If testing is needed for movement prior to DPP kits being available again, traditional skin testing may be conducted. Otherwise, veterinarians should indicate on the APHIS 10-4 submission form that the testing is for movement, and those frozen samples will be prioritized when DPP tests resume.

If testing is needed for herd reaccreditation, timing of the accreditation will be based on the date the samples are received at NVSL, not the date the test is run.

Questions about submitted samples may be directed to Dr. Jeff Nelson, NVSL, at 515-337-7563 or Jeffrey.T.Nelson@aphis.usda.gov; questions about herd reaccreditation or movement to Dr. Owen Henderson, VS Cervid Staff, at 970-494-7317 or Owen.L.Henderson@aphis.usda.gov.

Weather will dictate cattle trends this year

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Source: Drovers CattleNetwork…

Commercial cow slaughter has run at historically low levels so far this year, partly due to short supplies but also indicating ranchers intend to stabilize or expand their herds. The situation remains volatile though, and with drought appearing to be expanding in the West and Southwest, weather conditions will help determine the direction of herd numbers, according to the April Livestock, Poultry and Dairy Outlook report from USDA. Read more…

Texas crop, weather, for April 15, 2014

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Source: AgriLife Today

Sub-freezing temperatures on the morning of April 15 put large acreages of Texas wheat at risk for freeze injury, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert. Temperatures were not as low in the Panhandle and Rolling Plains — mostly in the mid-20s — and wheat there was not as likely to have been injured as in the Central and West Central regions. Read more…

Signup begins Tuesday for USDA disaster assistance programs restored by farm bill

Farm Service Agency

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that starting Tuesday, April 15, eligible farmers and ranchers can sign up for disaster assistance programs restored by passage of the 2014 Farm Bill. Depending on the size and type of farm or ranch operation, eligible producers can enroll in one of four programs administered by the Farm Service Agency. The Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP), and the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) will provide payments to eligible producers for livestock deaths and grazing losses that have occurred since the expiration of the livestock disaster assistance programs in 2011, and including calendar years 2012, 2013, and 2014. Read more…

Canada to follow US lead on antibiotics

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Source: Feedstuffs

In an April 11 statement, Health Canada’s Veterinary Drugs Directorate (VDD) said it is now moving forward, in collaboration with the Canadian Animal Health Institute (CAHI), to remove growth promotion/production claims of medically important antimicrobial drugs from food animal production. VDD and CAHI will also work on developing option to strengthen the veterinary oversight of antimicrobial use in food animals. Read more…

Water police, part 3: EPA’s definition of ‘tributary’

Texas A&M AgriLife Communications photo by Kay Ledbetter

Source: Farm Futures

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, commenting on the new definition of what constitutes a water of the US, says, “To be clear: our proposal does not add to or expand the scope of waters historically protected under the Clean Water Act.” However, accepting the government’s definition of ‘tributary’ would vastly expand its regulatory power. Read more…

Economics of using mesquite for electricity dependent on outside factors

Texas A&M AgriLife photo

Using mesquite biomass for electricity generation may become economically feasible if ecological and agricultural factors are considered, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Research paper being published in the BioEnergy Research journal. The study estimated the long-term economic feasibility of mesquite biomass in electricity production under five different harvest scenarios. They examined variations in rates of standing biomass accumulation and tree density re-establishment after harvest using an above-ground-only or whole-plant harvest option. Read more…