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Agriculture

Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab Population Shows Improvement

The 2016 Blue Crab Winter Dredge Survey, which show another year of growth in the stock of the Chesapeake Bay crab population and bodes well for a better harvest this year. The survey indicates a bay-wide crab population of 553 million, a 35-percent increase over last year. This is the fourth highest level in two decades, and builds on last year’s 38-percent boost in abundance.

Storm clouds gathering over Kansas farms as income dips

Low crop and cattle prices have cut farm incomes and are starting to push down the value of ag land. That affects farmers' ability to repay loans and take out new ones, which could force foreclosures and forced sales.

It will almost certainly lead to more farm foreclosures and ownership consolidation across Kansas and the country. How much is impossible to know, because it is just starting to unfold.

 
 

Agricultural Commodities Egged On by China’s Futures Frenzy

The recent fevered commodities trading in China hasn’t been limited to iron ore. Investors have piled into futures for everything from wheat and cotton to eggs and asphalt.

As with industrial metals, analysts reckon much of the interest is coming from speculative investors who have been turned off to China’s stock markets by tighter rules over trading.

Cattle rustling increased with price of cattle

Cattle rustling has returned, but it has also changed; if the essential act has not, its context has. Today’s rustler has no hope of parlaying a few stolen cattle into a business. Rustling is no longer an aspirational crime, but a stopgap, a stay against desperation. A single head of cattle is not the seed of an empire; it’s a payday loan, a child support payment, or cash for pills.

Michigan corn producers turn down program amendments

Michigan's corn producers have voted down a proposed increase to the assessment they pay to support activities for the Corn Marketing Program of Michigan.

The proposed amendments would have increased the assessment rate on Michigan grown corn from one cent per bushel to one and one half cents per bushel; required seed corn to be included in the assessment process; and included revisions to the nominations process and grammatical updates.

Australia set to block sale of massive ranch to Chinese firm

The Australian government said Friday that the deal for China's Dakang Australia to take control of the Kidman beef company is "contrary to the national interest."

Dakang has until Tuesday to respond to the government's concerns, but the announcement means the deal is likely to be blocked.

Coexistence Plan for Alfalfa Hay in Western Canada now available

Recognizing that GM development of alfalfa and other crop kinds will continue, the Canadian Seed Trade Association (CSTA) agreed to facilitate a value chain process to develop a coexistence plan for conventional, organic and GM alfalfa production, first in Eastern Canada in 2013, and now in Western Canada.

Saving the planet, one cow burp at a time

Hristov and his team study ways to reduce those emissions, so they have gotten very good at quantifying the amount their cows exhale. Prompted by some extra snacks, cow number 2050 ducks her head into a hooded machine that records the amount of methane, hydrogen, and carbon dioxide in her burps. During experiments, the scientists take eight measurements from each cow over several days. In a few months, this gives a snapshot of just how much methane the animals churn out -- and whether particular interventions work to slash that pollution.

Dry La Niña period likely to follow El Niño

The monthly climate outlook released this week by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration projects that most of California will remain in drought over the next several months. The forecast reverses last month’s projection that nearly half of the state would begin seeing relief.

Kirsty Perrett (l to r), pushes Zephina Robertson, 7 months, in a stroller as Graham Robertson walks alongside while out for a walk at Dolores Park on Thursday, April 21, 2016 in San Francisco, California.

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