Where Cattle Are Now

U.S. cattle on feed are moving north from Texas to Nebraska due in part to recent drought drying up pastures and ponds. Nebraska, rather than Texas, this year holds the record for the most cattle on feedlots, and many Northern states have expanded herds, reports NET Nebraska.

"Terry Van Housen calls Nebraska the 'garden spot for raising cattle." At his feedlot near the small town of Stromsburg, 8,000 animals lined up along two miles of concrete bunks to pile on the pounds."

Forage Options Following Irrigated Wheat

Which annual forage should you plant into the stubble of irrigated wheat? Aaron Berger, University of Nebraska Extension educator, takes a look at the different options.

“The summer annual forages such as sudan grass, sorghum x sudan hybrids, pearl millet, teff, and foxtail millet are all options for producing additional forage. The summer annual forage that is best to plant will depend upon water available, individual goals, available harvesting equipment, and needs.”

Massive Hay Fire

A large fire at a hay compression and cubing plant that started last week in northern Utah could burn for weeks, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. Although the fire was started by a propone tank explosion, it’s a good time for growers to remember that hay fires are tough to control and can cost them money.

"This site is a complete loss," Box Elder County Fire Marshall Corey Barton told the paper. "We’re looking at $8 million to $10 million in losses when you take into account the hay, equipment and building itself."

Agritourism Increase

Some producers may not like the idea of strangers walking around their farms, but open arms could lead to fuller wallets. Agritourism is a burgeoning industry as consumers pay closer attention to where their food comes from, according to Harvest Public Media, a reporting collaboration focused on issues of food, fuel and field.

“In the five year span from 2007 to 2012, the number of U.S. farms catering to city folk went up 42 percent, bringing in more than $700 million, according to the latest Census of Agriculture. Since 2007, the amount of money brought in under agritourism rose by 24 percent … Nearly every state in the country has seen increases in the number of farms that welcome city dwellers to play on their property, and subsequently, the revenue they bring in from visitors.”

It Pays To Protect Waterways

A new Minnesota program that rewards farmers who reduce pollution is getting off the ground. This week, the first farm, managed by Jared Nordick, was certified under the Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program, which is run by the state ag department, Minnesota Public Radio reports.

“State Department of Agriculture officials visited the Nordick family farm about an hour south of Moorhead to determine if it is using accepted phosphorus and nitrogen management and conservation practices. The Nordicks also had to prove that they are properly using and disposing of pesticides, planting grassland buffers along public waterways – and that the farm's septic system meets state standards.”

Certified farms are exempt from new water-quality regulations for 10 years.