MFA Training Camp harvest in full swing

Written by James Fashing on .


Forecasted weekend rains from the remnants of Hurricane Issac forced moving up the corn harvest for MFA Training Camp corn plot. MFA agronomists planned to work into the night to finish the harvest. The MFA Training Camp is the brainchild of MFA Director of Agronomy, Dr. Jason Weirich. The MFA Training Camp is a series of replicated plots designed to evaluate seed, fertilization practices, fertilizers and crop protection products. The camp plot data will be used in MFA Incorporated Agronomy training. It also serves as a good way to evaluate MFA-sold products. More HERE about the MFA Training Camp.

Alagae blooms endanger livestock

Written by Dr. Tony Martin, manager MFA Animal Health on .

Concerns about potential blue-green algae poisoning have been increasing as the extreme heat and drought continue to stretch water resources. Until just a few days ago I had not heard of any cases in Missouri.

A dense, potentially fatal bloom of this algae can occur when surface water gets very warm, has lots of sun exposure, contains a good level of nutrients, and when wind concentrates the algae against the shore where livestock drink.

The toxins produced by the algae are released into the water around the algae bloom. These toxins affect the nervous system and liver of animals (and people) who consume them in the water. Toxic effects may occur within 1 hour after drinking the water and death can occur in less than 24 hours.

Clinical signs can include muscle tremors, abdominal pain, excess salivation and difficulty breathing. Treatment requires the assistance of the local veterinarian.

Affected animals should be removed from the water source, put in a shaded area out of direct sunlight (liver damage can create prolonged photosensitivity), and offered good quality feed and unlimited fresh water.

Prevention of the poisoning requires monitoring surface water sources for evidence of advancing algae growth and being prepared to control animal access. Use of copper sulfate or other algicides to treat the water can decrease the level of algae present, but does not remove any toxins already present.

Today's interesting sentence

Written by stevefairchild on .

We're Sinoskeptics around here. But, regardless of your outlook on China, the place does affect our commodity markets. So we try to keep up in the popular and B2B press on trends there. We keep seeing news that says the Chinese economy is not only shaky, but clogged with non-moveable inventory that is straining business to the breaking point. The situation is tempting fans of government stimulus spending.

And so, today's Interesting Sentence:

Chalk it up to moral hazard – specifically, the same, zombifying belief shared by the whole motley of Sinomaniacs, Draghi queens, and QEasers everywhere that bad news equals good; that, in true Orwellian fashion, ‘WEAKNESS IS STRENGTH’ – that any shortfall in voluntary demand will elicit a large enough crank of the printing press handle that the glut will soon be removed from the market and so obviate the need to undertake any painful restructuring, or to quit the business and release scarce resources for use by those with a genuinely viable business plan.
In the rest of the piece the author, Sean Corrigan, Chief Investment Strategist at Diapason Commodities Management, wraps up the China's-economy-will-save-us-all meme into an nice, handmade Chinese silk carpet. And then beats it with a stick.

Keep good records of livestock losses from drought and other natural disasters

Written by stevefairchild on .

We got a note from USDA today that said livestock producers who want federal help from natural disasters such as the 2012 drought and Hurricane Issac need to keep good records.

USDA/FSA recommends that owners and producers record all pertinent information of natural disaster consequences, including:

-          Documentation of the number and kind of livestock that have died, supplemented if possible by photographs or video records of ownership and losses;
-          Dates of death supported by birth recordings or purchase receipts;
-          Costs of transporting livestock to safer grounds or to move animals to new pastures; and
-          Feed purchases if supplies or grazing pastures are destroyed.
Secretary Vilsack also reminds producers that the department’s authority to operate the five disaster assistance programs authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill expired on Sept. 30, 2011. This includes SURE; the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP); the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-Raised Fish (ELAP); the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP); and the Tree Assistance Program (TAP). Production losses due to disasters occurring after Sept. 30, 2011, are not eligible for disaster program coverage.

Make corn stover more digestible for livestock

Written by stevefairchild on .

There are several field days coming up (see list below) about alternative forages to get your herd through the winter. Good breeding stock is an asset at risk this year. The following is a release from the Missouri Cattlemen's Association, who along with MU and the Missouri Corn Merchandising Council are pushing information out to producers.

With 2012 bringing both the warmest and driest April through July stretch in 118 years, pastures, crops and even established trees are suffering from the drought. In response to the reduction in forages, some cow-calf operators across Missouri are considering significantly reducing or liquidating their herds. Photo credits: Missouri Corn Merchandising Council
For those livestock farmers struggling to find feed sources, Justin Sexten, MU beef nutritionist, the Missouri Corn Merchandising Council and the Missouri Cattlemen's Association are working together to explore alternative forages. The coalition will be hosting workshops around the state to demonstrate how to improve digestibility of corn stover and lower-quality hay by 15 percent while doubling the feeds' protein content.
Incorporating a specific treatment process called ammoniation, producers can treat corn stover at a cost of approximately $25 per ton of forage. The added nutritional value makes it an economical choice in a season filled with climatic and economic challenges. To help walk producers through the process, the university, alongside the state's corn and cattle organizations, are offering free workshops in select regions.
"The livestock industry is our number one customer," said Gary Wheeler, vice president of operations and grower services for Missouri Corn. "Through these free forage demonstrations, we are working to help connect corn growers with cattlemen for the good of all parties involved."
Sexten will also demonstrate treatment of processed corn stover with calcium hydroxide. Similar to ammoniation, stover digestibility is improved with this process and the protein content remains unchanged.
Farmers interested in purchasing or selling corn stover, corn stalks or hay as a feedstock are encouraged to visit the following online forage directories:  
Workshop schedule:
    •    Sept. 11-Joplin Regional Stockyards, 6 p.m.
    •    Sept. 13-Brent Martin's farm in Anutt, 3:30 p.m.
    •    Sept. 18-MU Thompson Research Center Field Day near Spickard, 9 a.m.
    •    Sept. 20-MU Beef Research and Teaching Farm in Columbia, 6 p.m.
    •    Sept. 25-MU Forage Systems Research Center Field Day near Linneus, 9 a.m.
    •    Sept. 27-Triple V Farms in Perryville, 6 p.m.


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