U.S. crop prices surged Tuesday, extending an unexpected run in agricultural prices that has drawn in big investors like hedge funds. The gains promise much needed relief for a farm economy battered by the slump in prices for major row crops over the past three years. The catalyst was a closely watched government report that said rising exports would eat into the glut in farm commodities by next year. The big surprise was a projection that U.S. soybean inventories would fall by a steep 24%.
Delmarva Poultry Industry Inc. is embarking on a new public relations effort to educate consumers about the poultry industry. “We recognize we have not done a good job of getting our messages out,” said Bill Satterfield, the longtime executive director of DPI, an 1,800-member trade association. “We are embarking on a major effort to share factual messages about the poultry industry.” he biggest perception issues faced by poultry farmers are environmental issues and concerns over zoning, setbacks and other land use issues. Other issues, such as persistent misconceptions about the use of steroids or hormones, are national issues that go well beyond Delmarva.
Good news - the quality of water in the Illinois River has improved in one important aspect. A new study from the University of Illinois reports that nitrate load in the Illinois River from 2010 to 2014 was 10 percent less than the average load in the 1980s and early 1990s.
Reducing the nitrate and phosphorus loads in the Mississippi River by 45 percent is the US EPA's ultimate recommendation. This will serve to reduce the size of the seasonal hypoxic area, or "dead zone," created in the Gulf of Mexico when nitrate in tributaries like the Illinois River flows into the Mississippi River and down to the Gulf.
USDA on Tuesday projected a record corn crop of 14.4 billion bushels, up 829 million from last year and 214 million bushels more than the previous high in 2014.
As a strong El Niño fades, the weather across the country will slowly change. In much of the eastern United States, a hot summer is in store.
Rain and thunderstorms will dominate the pattern in the central and southern Plains, while the opposite occurs in California and the Northwest, and scarce rainfall leads to severe drought conditions.
Heat will come on strong in June for the Northeast and mid-Atlantic, including in New York City, Boston, and Hartford, Connecticut. However, severe weather in July could turn the warm pattern on its head.
"July is a tricky month where there may be a few cooldowns from thunderstorms and back door fronts, but other than that I think June, July and August, you'll see your series of heat waves," AccuWeather Expert Long-Range Forecaster Paul Pastelok said.
Dryness and heat will be another common theme in the Midwest and northern Plains states.
Heat will develop late spring and early summer across these areas and tighten its grip throughout the season.
With the move from burning coal to natural gas and low-sulfur coal and an increase in the use of scrubbers, only about 25 percent as much atmospheric sulfur is available today, compared to 40 years ago. Sulfur balances in agricultural fields are now negative, with more removed each year in crop harvests and leaching than is added from fertilizers and deposition, scientists have found, suggesting that farmers may need to apply sulfur fertilizer at some point in the future, particularly on fields with less soil organic matter.
Since 2005, Rose Acre Farms has had, under protest, a Clean Water Act non-discharge National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit instead of a North Carolina permit, which all other egg farms in North Carolina are allowed to use. After reading a detailed account of Rose Acre's defense, the NCDEQ dropped its requirements and demands of the past 15 years and said it will allow the agricultural runoff exemption to be applied to Rose Acre and other similar entities.
“I think we’ve finally convinced the powers to be we are correct after all these years,” said Gary Baise, special counsel for the North Carolina Poultry Federation.
Most technologies developed in recent years to reduce odor and gas emissions from livestock never make it to the farm for further testing, researchers at Iowa State University said Monday.
ISU researchers reviewed 265 academic papers published through the end of 2014 that looked at the effectiveness of technologies intended to control emissions from livestock and poultry operations. The practices focused on animal housing, manure storage and land application techniques.
The review found that about 25 percent of all mitigation practices examined in the literature made it to field trials. Koziel said an estimated three-quarters failed because either the experimental technology didn’t work or there was a lack of funding to continue the research.
The Humane Society of the United States HSUS has formed its own National Agriculture Advisory Council.
Council members include Kevin Fulton of Nebraska, Chris Petersen of Iowa, Mike Callicrate of Colorado, Pete Eshelman of Indiana, Paul Muegge of Oklahoma, Carrie Balkcom of Colorado, Will Harris of Georgia and Joe Logan of Ohio. The HSUS stated that it advocates reducing or replacing consumption of animal products, and refining diets.
"It is not surprising to see HSUS continue to find ways to mislead consumers, restaurants and retailers and the media about its true intentions — taking milk, meat and eggs off of our plates,” said Animal Agriculture Alliance President and CEO Kay Johnson Smith, in an emailed statement. “HSUS' efforts are nothing more than a front to appear engaged with farmers and ranchers. Anyone considering aligning themselves with HSUS or any other animal rights activist organizations needs to dig deeper than what these groups say in talking points or on their websites — something the Alliance can help you to do.
“While today HSUS may be acting like the ally of the producers on this council, the tides will no doubt turn as the organization moves on to target other production methods — a lesson some brands have learned in trying to appease it.
University of New Hampshire researchers say there are more 100 species of bees buzzing around the state and that some of them have never been documented. The university's Agricultural Experiment Station has completed its first assessment of the state's native bee population. Sandra Rehan, who oversees the UNH Bee Lab, said Monday that New Hampshire has a high "bee species richness" compared to other Northeastern states, such as Maine and Pennsylvania.
"There's a lot of diversity of bees here, and we're just really scratching the surface in terms of our understanding," said Rehan, who also is an assistant professor of biological sciences.