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    Resource & Info - Agriculture

    Table of Contents

    Collectively Facing an Ugly Rust

    When the threat to a food staple like wheat is worldwide, the best way to counter it is to enlist the world’s experts in a research coalition. That’s just what has been done to answer the very real threat of Ug99, a new stem rust to which most of the wheat and barley grown in the United States and the rest of the world has no resistance.

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    USDA Appoints Member To National Organic

    Dr. Barry Flamm, who fills an environmentalist board position, brings to the NOSB a broad spectrum of scientific, environmental, food producing and food quality control expertise from the organic producing and consuming sectors. He has a doctorate in ecology, serves as an environmental and natural resources consultant and owned and operated a certified organic fruit orchard in Montana. He recently served as an adjunct professor in environmental studies at the University of Missoula.

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    Pop Goes The Corn Market

    In 2007, more corn was planted to support the large expansion of ethanol. The push has driven corn prices to historic highs and tightened supplies of other key crops such as soybeans. Farmers planted more than 93 million acres of corn this year, up 24% from 2006. To accommodate more corn acreage, farmers cut about 12 million acres of soybeans. The result is higher prices, says Paul Westcott, an agricultural economist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service.

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    Disadvantages of Organic Food and Organic Agr

    Criticism of organic food and organic agriculture includes the following:Organic food is expensive. Unfortunately, at the moment retailers are charging artificially high prices. I was in Tesco last week which is a rare occurrence as I shop locally where possible, and I nearly died when I saw the prices being charged for organic yogurt and eggs compared to the non-organic brands.

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    Take Advantage of Available Soil Moisture

    What a summer we have had in 2007! Most of us had already received our annual precipitation by the second week of July. Excess rainfall this summer may have caused a few problems with hay harvest, but there has not been too much complaining. The wet summer has provided excellent soil moisture conditions for both warm-season and cool-season forage production this fall.Stockpiling bermudagrass through the fall is a good way to lengthen the grazing season

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    Rain Effects on Hay

    When it comes to weather, those of us in the agricultural industry can be hard to please. Weather has created challenges for hay production in both 2006 and 2007. Last year, in 2006, little hay was put up on the southern plains because of drought. The first half of this year brought abundant rainfall, with June being one of the wettest months on record in many parts of Oklahoma and Texas, but these wet conditions create new challenges that we should be aware of as either producers

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    Establishing Native Grass

    High fertilizer prices, the aesthetics of a rangeland prairie setting versus a monoculture forage base, and advantageous government cost-share programs have led to many acres being planted to native grass or rangeland over the past five to 10 years. Fall is a good time to look further into the pros and cons of this practice to prepare for the spring growing season. The success of a newly planted native grass stand depends on several factors.

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    Bermudagrass Blues

    Bermudagrass Blues — there ought to be a country-western song with that title. The sorry state of bermudagrass in southern Oklahoma is enough to inspire one. Right or wrong, most cattle producers in these parts spring calve. Bermudagrass is most often the forage that they depend on to carry calves until fall weaning. If bermudagrass stands produce poorly, things such as milk production, average daily gain, weaning weights and potential earnings can decline.

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    Below the Surface: Some Facts About Soil Comp

    Compaction occurs when soil particles are pressed together, reducing pore space between soil particles and pushing out the air normally located there. Soil compaction can be a serious problem for agricultural producers. As a rule of thumb, it is assumed that air and water make up about 50 percent of the total soil volume, with the other 50 percent being soil particles. However, this can change dramatically as soil particles are pressed together to squeeze out air.

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    Be Smart With Your Fertilizer Dollar

    Nitrogen (N) is directly related to yield. Have you ever heard this statement from your fertilizer dealer? Without any other limiting factors, as you increase the nitrogen rate you increase yields of non-legume crops. Yes, eventually a point is reached where yields flatten out, but usually this nitrogen rate is so high that it is not economical to apply. Phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) are vitally important, but their role is primarily maintenance.

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    Banding Phosphorus Fertilizer Increases

    Banding phosphorus (P) fertilizer with small grain seed at planting is an efficient and easy way to supply the nutrient. Total P application rates can be decreased by one-third when compared to broadcast applications due to the concentration of nutrients in a smaller area. Banding P can also increase grain and forage yields on acidic soils (pH <5.5). Liquid and granular phosphorus sources are both equally effective.

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    Are Grasshoppers and Armyworms in Your Future

    This fall, we may see an outbreak of armyworms and/or grasshoppers. If you have lush green winter pasture – or any pasture, for that matter – it may be a prime target. The first step to combating these pests is to properly scout for them. I usually recommend scouting every two to three days, but, this year, it may be worth looking every day for the first two to three weeks after small grain emergence. For both pests, I prefer to scout first thing in the morning when the insects are moving more slowly from the cooler temperatures. This also gives me the rest of the day to get the field sprayed, if needed.

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    Any Miracle Products Out There?

    Fairly often, you'll run across advertisements or salesmen touting the benefits of using their "miracle" product. These are usually sold as soil activators and/or conditioners. Claims are widespread, but include: "a few ounces of my product will eliminate soil compaction"; "a little of my product makes fertilizer work more efficiently"; or, "a little of my product replaces the need for fertilizer."

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    Alfalfa Is 'Almost Permanent' Pasture

    What would you think if I used the term "almost permanent" to describe alfalfa pasture? I can imagine you might wonder what in the world I was talking about, so let me explain... Alfalfa is a warm-season perennial legume with stands that can be productive for several years. It is usually considered a hay crop, primarily because of its value as a high-quality forage. Alfalfa can be very productive with no applications of nitrogen needed to support the stand, as long as other soil amendments are sufficient. Alfalfa is best suited for highly productive fertile bottomland soils, usually loamy in texture, with a neutral pH (about 7.0). If alfalfa is planted on marginal sites, yields will be reduced and stand life will be decreased.

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    Is My Fertilizer Still There?

    One of the most common inquiries I get around this time of year in very dry years goes like this: "I put out fertilizer on my pasture this spring, and it hasn't rained much. I've had very little grass growth. Is the fertilizer still there? If so, how long will it stay there?" The quick answer is it's probably still there. The more informative answer is a bit more involved, but I'll try to explain it as simply as possible.

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    Use These Moisture Management Tips for Landsc

    In late spring 2006, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) stated the precipitation forecast for Oklahoma during July and August would be "normal" rainfall. As every Okie knows, "normal" summertime conditions are typically hot and dry. Whether you live in the city or the country, the cost of keeping your garden and landscape watered continues to escalate. To get the most out of your irrigation dollar, consider adopting some of the following moisture management strategies.

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    Back to Basics: The Roles of N, P, K and Thei

    The purpose of Ag News and Views articles is to provide timely management information to producers. However, it is sometimes difficult to come up with timely soil fertility tips in the dead of winter. So, I want to use this article to address commonly asked questions regarding the role of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in plants and outline the characteristics of their primary fertilizer sources. In general, nitrogen is responsible for increased yield and quality, and as nitrogen rates increase, so does yield. The role of phosphorus and potassium in the plant is maintenance. Both are found in high concentrations in areas of new growth and are responsible for keeping the system operating smoothly.

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    Producing Quality Bermudagrass for the Horse

    Southern Oklahoma and north Texas have become popular locations for the horse industry, which is primarily due to the major shows hosted annually in Ft. Worth, Oklahoma City and Tulsa. As a result, there is an ever-increasing demand for high-quality bermudagrass hay. The climate in the Southern Plains provides a good environment to support bermudagrass production. However, there are a few management practices worth discussing that will ensure you are producing the high-quality hay the horse industry demands.

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    What Is Likely to Affect Hay Prices

    The market price of hay varies substantially from year to year, making it extremely difficult to determine its price in the future. Fundamental economics tell us that the future price of a particular good will be determined by expected supply and expected demand. Which variables affecting expected supply and expected demand will be useful to help identify the price of hay in 2007?

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    What does the "Value of gain" mean?

    For cattle producers, value of gain is the net value after the price slide of light to heavy cattle has been calculated. To calculate the value of gain, the total price of the purchased animal is subtracted from the total price of the sold animal. This price is then divided by the pounds of gain to determine the value of gain per pound.

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    Forage Testing Provides Useful Information

    With abundant rainfall in the spring of 2007, hay supplies are in much better shape than in 2006. Quality of the forage, however, may be quite varied. Much of the hay baled this spring was either mature when hayed or may have been rained on during the haying process. Therefore, testing the quality of your hay becomes extremely important. Some hays will require little, if any, supplement, and other hays will require substantial supplementation to meet the nutritional requirements of the livestock being fed.

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    Prescribed Burning - What Is the Cost?

    We have had several Ag News and Views articles in the past addressing various aspects of using prescribed fire as a land management tool. We often recommend prescribed burning as a method to manage native rangeland and wildlife habitat - and, indeed, many of us believe that fire should be considered an integral component to most rangeland management systems. With all of the touted benefits of prescribed burning, however, we often do not associate costs with the use of fire. In the mid-90s, Russell Stevens and others wrote a Noble Foundation fact sheet addressing the costs associated with prescribed burning, but, as several years have passed, we thought it would be interesting to take another look and compare current costs of three actual burns that we implemented on Noble Foundation properties in 2007.

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    Switchgrass Establishment Requires Patience

    As a leader in bioenergy research and development, the Noble Foundation is evaluating the agronomics and economics of switchgrass as a bioenergy crop. Switchgrass is a native range and pasture grass that has been identified by state and national leaders as a potential crop to be grown, harvested and converted into ethanol. Slow seedling establishment has previously limited adoption of switchgrass in forage production. Presently, scientists in the Noble Foundation's Agricultural and Forage Improvement divisions are researching ways to improve switchgrass establishment. Here is what we know, and don't know, about the process.

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    Did You Calibrate Your Sprayer This Year?

    Everyone has heard plenty of preaching on the importance of calibrating before spraying. There are many good methods for calibration, but they all have the same purpose - to determine the volume or gallons per acre a sprayer is applying. Without knowing the volume applied, we cannot know how much chemical to add to the tank to control the target weed or insect and stay within legal rate limits. Additionally, if there are control failures or injury problems, you need to prove that you made the application at the proper rate to substantiate your claim.

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    Alfalfa: Not Just Another Pretty Hay

    In the early 1990s, the introduction of Alfagraze, the first alfalfa variety tolerant of intensive grazing, along with easy-to-use electric fencing options, increased interest in using alfalfa as grazed pasture. There are now several grazing-tolerant varieties on the market developed with the "Alfagraze" approach. Many opportunities exist for grazing alfalfa. What are some of the opportunities for grazing alfalfa? Let's list a few.

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    Agri-tourism: Alternative Income Opportunitie

    A significant number of baby boomers and retired folk from the southern Great Plains were raised on a farm or ranch or spent a significant amount of time in the country during their childhood years. Many of these people, who have long since left the farm to seek fame and fortune in the city, long to reconnect with their pasts and share those experiences with their children and grandchildren. How do people in this predicament share their passion for country living with their city-slicker friends and relatives?

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    Disadvantages of Organic Food and Organic Agr

    Criticism of organic food and organic agriculture includes the following: Organic food is expensive Unfortunately, at the moment retailers are charging artificially high prices. I was in Tesco last week which is a rare occurrence as I shop locally where possible, and I nearly died when I saw the prices being charged for organic yogurt and eggs compared to the non-organic brands. I understand that we have to pay more for organic produce because there are more crop failures...

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    Lean concepts in agriculture and food

    I was fascinated about the concept of lean manufacturing since I first read the articles on lean manufacturing. Then when I conducted few researches on lean manufacturing I understood that lean is the path for future. But one question continuously I asked myself is the possibility of applying lean manufacturing concepts in the field of agriculture and food industry. Agriculture is traditionally based on bulk manufacturing. Harvesting is done once a season most of the times ...

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    Local Farming

    At first glance, you may think food retailers are in direct conflict with CSA Farms. Admittedly, if I am getting all my fruits, vegetables and flowers from my CSA membership I am no longer buying them from my local grocer. If that’s the case, why would my local grocer want to promote community supported agriculture? If you subscribe to the theory of economic abundance, there are enough resources for everyone.

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    Should the US Use Organic Farming?

    It is a widely known fact that many consumers prefer products of organic farming. Their choice may be explained by those advantages that organic farming has over conventional farming. Especially, when the market is overwhelmed by suspicious products and very often people even don’t know what they really eat.

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    Organic Farming Made Easy

    They need to mass produce, or in this case, grow crops and huge scale by implementing incredibly expensive farm equipment with ways in which to control pests from destroying the crops. For me, I had very little space to meet all of my needs, and I had to really use my it's in order to contain the damage done by those pesky little rodents without resorting to a natural substances which were the bane of organic farming.

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    Local or Organic? A False Choice

    As consumers, it's hard to understand these realities since we're so divorced from the way food is produced. Even for conscious consumers who think about values other than convenience and price -- avoiding pesticides, the survival of small farms, artisan food, and, of course, the most basic values, freshness and taste -- choices must be made. Should we avoid pesticides at all costs or help small local farmers who may use them?

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    You Are What Your Animals Eat

    In my investigation into pasture-based farming, I've stumbled upon an alarming state of affairs: few animal scientists see any link between animal feed and human food. "Feed animals anything you want," say the experts, "and it makes no difference to their meat, milk, or eggs." Because of this mindset, our animals are being fed just about anything that enhances the bottom line, including chicken feathers, sawdust, chicken manure, stale pizza dough, potato chips, and candy bars.

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