Ag Report : Ag Report May 6, 2003
Washington County Ag Report
|Midwest Commodity Prices - from the Wall Street Journal|
|Corn per bushel $2.36/bu||Cotton Seed Meal per ton $144/ton|
|Soybean per bushel 6.19/bu||Corn Gluten Feed 60/ton|
|Hominy Feed per ton 51/ton||Wheat, soft white 3.32/bu|
|48% Soybean meal per ton 196/ton||Tallow per pound .17/lb|
These prices are provided only to show where the general market trends are moving and to help you determine appropriate ration ingredients. Local prices will vary due to shipping, processing, and discounts.
Weather Data - 2003 and average of 1999 - 2002
|Rain Past Week||1.01||0.65||1.1||0.4||0.75||0.46||1|
|So far this month||1.01||0.54||1.1||0.31||0.75||0.3||2.51|
|Total since April 1st||2.15||2.47||2.2||2.66||4.31||3.26||2.51|
|GDD Base 41 Growing Degree Days = [hi temp + low temp]/2 - 41|
|Since April 1st||206||242||245||290||298||318||294|
|GDD 86/50 [hi temp + low temp]/2 - 50 High’s >86oF are set to 86oF, low’s <50oF are set to 50oF|
|Since April 1st||168||178||188||225||211||222||240|
Soil temperatures were at 64OF in a newly planted corn field on loam during the overcast afternoon of 5/5.
DAIRY NOTES: (from Mark Stephenson, Cornell Program on Dairy Markets
"Last Friday, May 2, the federal milk marketing orders were able to announce the monthly class prices for April. Because of the timing of data collection and federal order pool announcements, farmers don't receive their final April milk check until the middle of May. When they do, they may be surprised to see that this month there will be a new deduction on their checks. The amount will be very small, but in a prolonged period of low milk prices, any new deductions will not be welcome.The deduction will be for the other solids sold. Under multiple component pricing, farmers are paid for butterfat, protein, other solids and the producer price differential (PPD). Butterfat and protein are probably well understood, while the PPD is probably least understood. The other solids we tend to ignore simply because it is a small dollar value in any milk check.Other solids actually make up the largest volume of components in the milktypically more than 5.5%. They consist of primarily lactose (milk sugar), minerals and ash. These items have a very low value in the market place. The federal milk marketing orders use formulas to determine component prices based on the actual sale value of butter, cheese, nonfat dry milk, and whey. It is the whey values that determine the other solids values.
This April, the average market price of dried whey on the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) survey was $0.1582 per pound. The formula used to calculate the other solids values is: Other Solids Price = (Dry whey price - 0.159) * 1.03 The value of 0.159 in the formula is called the 'make allowance' and is there to reflect the cost of transforming liquid whey into dry whey. The value of 1.03 is called the 'yield factor' and reflects how many pounds of dry whey it takes to get a pound of other solids (there is some moisture in dry whey). As you can see, the make allowance is greater than the value of the dry whey and the formula yields a negative value.Lactose has become a significant challenge for the dairy industry. A great deal of lactose is produced as a by-product of cheese making and finding markets for the lactose is a continual challenge. Some have said that the negative value for other solids this month should be viewed as a cost of disposal. In most months, whey prices will be greater than the make allowance and the negative values won't be on producer's milk checks. However, in April of 2003, it feels a bit like adding insult to injury to have to pay a "disposal" fee for a portion of the milk you produced which is already at very low prices!"
FARM BUSINESS MANAGEMENT: Farmers' market season opened this past weekend for many of the markets, and it is time to remind growers that you need to have your customer service skills up to speed to be able to corral as much money and profit in the marketplace as possible. Make sure everything is extremely well marked (name, price, properties) - it is reassuring to customers; be helpful, pleasant, informative etc. when dealing with the customers - even though you have been running around like a cyclone gone out of control; make sure that you ask that final question ala the fast food places "Will there be anything else?" or some variation may jog their mind for something else. Get set for a profitable year!
Soil Quality: When it comes to tillage, more usually is not better. Try to complete secondary tillage operations with one pass. Get off your tractor and determine the soil moisture all the way down to the depth of tillage. Look at the size of soil clumps and granules to determine how much tillage is necessary. Often there are more small granules that you think, because they have settled between the larger aggregates. You just need sufficient small soil granules for good seed/soil contact.
Cover Crops: Rye seed heads are about halfway up the stem, in some fields already. Winter wheat provides a later maturing cover crop.
Alfalfa: After much searching, I found a little alfalfa weevil (AW) adult feeding. Also a couple disease spots are on leaves. So far we are in good shape. Typically at 700 growing degree days (Base 41) alfalfa is at 40% neutral detergent fiber (NDF), our goal for lactating cows. Harvest should begin just before the NDF reaches 40% since by the time harvest is complete, NDF will be a bit higher. On a good warm day, NDF will increase almost 1 percentage point per day. For each percentage point increase in alfalfa NDF, milk production will drop about 1 pound/cow/day.
Field Corn: Corn planting is well under way. Seed corn maggots are found most often in fields with lots of organic matter from manure and crop debris. Be sure too use a seed box treatment for this pest. A fungicide will protect seeds if we have a long stretch of cold wet weather. Be sure to plant seed from 1 ½" to 2" deep and no more than 2 ½" deep. One field I checked was at only 1". You must plant at the proper depth, even for early-planted corn.
Grasses: HOW WILL YOU STORE YOUR ROUND BALES OF HAY?? I submit the following piece from Ev Thomas (Miner Institute), without editing. Big Bale Blues "While riding the roads of Central NY last month I noticed a field full of large white mounds which upon further inspection turned out to be big bales minus a plastic wrap or plastic sleeve; minus everything for that matter except a thick coat of snow. Since so many farmers make naked big bales and leave them where they drop, it's obvious that at least some farmers must think they're a good idea. Anyone can see the layer of spoiled and weathered hay on the outside of the bales, so I've concluded that the farmers think that what they see is sort of like an M&M candy, with a thin layer of spoilage on the outside and a big mass of good stuff (the chocolate in an M&M) on the inside. Unfortunately, what they have - to continue the confection analogy - is a Twinkie, with a big layer of spoilage (the cake part) surrounding a relatively small core of unspoiled hay (whatever that white goop is). And in this case, the cows can't have their cake and eat it too." Store round bales under a roof, or on a bed of stones covered with a tarp.
Pasture: The recent rains helped pastures shoot up in growth. Meadow foxtail is heading out. It looks very similar to Timothy. If a paddock matures too fast, just skip grazing it and move animals to a paddock that is at the proper stage of growth (6 - 10" tall). Return to the paddock with over mature plants and harvest it for hay.
Points to remember when laying plastic mulch (from an article by Dr. Anu Rangarajan, Cornell)
· Use firm (can walk on it without sinking too far) raised beds with plastic mulch to increase early season soil warming, drainage out of the bed (water is more easily shed off the top of the bed keeping the mulch cleaner), and reduce disease pressure in the crop, by lifting plants up out of low zones in the field.
· Stretch plastic tightly over the top of the bed to increase heat transfer between the plastic and the soil. Air space between the plastic and soil can lead to a loss of 2 to 4 F of soil warming and increase weed pressure under the mulch. As weeds emerge, the cotyledons hit the hot plastic and may be burned.
· Use an embossed plastic. The diamond shape pattern visible on the plastic gives it additional stretch compared to a smooth plastic. An embossed plastic acts like an accordion, stretching while you lay it, then shrinking slightly to form a tight seal over the surface of the bed.
· Apply certain mulches that transmit some visible light (clear, IRTs) as close to the plant date as possible to prevent weed growth from getting a jump on the crop.
Sweet Corn: For scouting European Corn Borer with pheromone traps, John Mishanec ENY IPM, recommends the traps go up the last week in May. Pheremone traps are the best way to scout for ECB in sweet corn grown under row cover or plastic. Following is John's guidelines:
Growers wishing to purchase their own traps can obtain the "Scentry
Heliothis Trap" from Great Lakes IPM Inc. 10220 Church Road NE Vestaburg,
MI 48891 Ph 1-800-235-0285. The traps cost $48.00. You will also need
lures. The "Trece' european corn borer II (NY) lure is sold in packages
of 25 and cost $44.00. Lures should be changed every two weeks. The traps
are good for about 10 years if you don't leave them out over winter. Gempler
also can supply traps but they are a little more expensive.
Put the trap out the last week of May next to your row cover field..
Monitor the traps every 3-4 days. You will catch a few of the tan ECB
moths regularly until a point when the counts jump from a couple to maybe
10 or 15 moths. This is the time to start thinking about applying an insecticide
application in 3 to 4 days. What is happening is since the row cover corn
is the most advanced, the moths are attracted to this corn first. The
reason you want to wait a few days before applying an insecticide is to
give the eggs time to hatch. You want to catch the immature larvae on
the outside of the plant before they dig deep into the corn. After you
have put on an application, wait 3-5 days and apply a second application.
Once the early corn is harvested, you can move the traps to other sweet corn fields and monitor for the second flight. Remember to keep changing the lure every two weeks.
Greenhouse: Scouting late last week found a number of pests including green peach aphids on petunias and hibiscus. Make sure that you know which type of aphid you have prior to applying chemical control. Insecticidal soap is broad spectrum enough that it doesn't matter but many other materials only control specific types. You will need to have a hand lens and some experience looking at indents on the head and the cornicle placement. In truth, most of the aphids I see are the green peach aphid, but Jana Lamboy of the IPM program says she finds all different aphids throughout the state. Aphid color is not a good way to ID them. The other pest that I am concerned about seeing are thrips. Look carefully for these insects in yellow or pink flowers. These insects are virus vectors and 1 is the threshold for action!! Make sure to isolate flats of plugs before they come into the main growing house.
The two other problems that we noticed were uneven growing due to poor light distribution caused by hanging baskets. Take a look across the bench on a sunny day at about 2:00 in the afternoon - Do you see an undulating growth pattern that corresponds with the shade cast by the baskets? It's worth fixing if you can. Secondly, are you monitoring pH and EC of water and or fertilizer solutions? I've got some good information about these topics, give me a call.
Landscape: The emerald Ash Borer, Agrilus planipennis, is the
most recent Asian introduction of concern for landscapers and foresters.
This metallic green beetle is 3/8 - 5/8 inches long and the adults are
active May through August. They are a problem on ash trees (although they
have also been reportd on elm and walnut) and should be reported to USDA
or the local extension office. The impact of this pest in SE Michigan
has been likened to Dutch Elm disease.
Keep an eye open for lilac borer - we saw lots of evidence of this pest last year. Look at bark for circular holes ~ ¼ inch in diameter, sawdust around the base and some longitudinal cracks. This pest can kill the usually indestructible lilac. Prune infested wood in late May. Large infestations can be treated with a pesticide drench.
Crops and Soils