Tuesday, September 27, 2016
SUBJECT: Senator Stabenow Announces the Urban Agriculture Act of 2016 U. S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, announces that she will file the Urban Agriculture Act of 2016 sometime this week. A brief summary of the Urban Agriculture Act of 2016 can be found at: http://bit.ly/2d3qCkj Please do not hesitate to contact me whenever I can be of any assistance.
The thought of alfalfa being traded on the futures market is a concept that probably scares a lot of hay growers and marketers. After all, supply, demand, quality, and good old-fashioned one-on-one negotiations have carried the day for a long time when it comes to hay pricing. Bill Plourd, president of California-based El Toro Export LLC, isn’t sure one is needed either, but he is on a U.S. Forage Export Council (USFEC) exploration committee charged to collect input from various stakeholders and fact find the feasibility of implementing an alfalfa futures contract. “This is the start of a conversation,” Plourd said at the 2016 National Hay Association Convention held in Pasco, Wash. Though the committee is comprised of forage exporters, Plourd emphasized the importance of getting input from all sectors of the industry. This includes producers, traders, buyers — both foreign and domestic, retailers, and end users. “What’s changed now compared to the way we’ve been trading hay for the past many years is the rapid flow of information and greater market volatility,” Plourd said. “However, for this to work, all sectors of the industry are going to have to support the concept. If one sector doesn’t use it, then the chain fails.” Plourd pointed out that we now operate in a global market with instantaneous information exchange. “What our Federal Reserve chairman says in Washington, D.C., impacts the price of hay in Ellensburg, Wash. The difference between using words such as ‘stable’ or ‘robust’ to describe our economy immediately moves the market,” he explained. Unlike annual crops, there are currently no good price projection tools for alfalfa when we have to look long term. The only means of managing risk is to take physical possession of the crop. Plourd said that we don’t really have a system of projecting alfalfa prices beyond a couple of months. “Perhaps the biggest reason we need to consider an alfalfa futures contract is because of price volatility,” Plourd said. “The volatility of today’s markets are drastically more than they’ve ever been and we need to manage that price risk.” Showing data that alfalfa is the fourth largest value crop in the United States, Plourd noted that alfalfa passes the volume test needed for establishing a futures contract. In addition to discussing the concept of a potential alfalfa futures contract with the various stakeholder groups, Plourd said the USFEC committee was also charged with contacting the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) for the purpose of designing an actual contract. Once completed, it can be evaluated. There likely won’t be much movement on this effort until 2017. Plourd shared that he had found a paper from the University of California-Davis that discussed the concept of alfalfa future contracts and listed the elements needed for such a marketing tool to be viable. These included: ·Price uncertainty ·Demand and supply uncertainty ·Deliverability of the commodity ·Product homogeneity ·Availability of price information ·Trading opportunity The current alfalfa market meets all of these criteria, though the concept of crop homogeneity, or being the same, might present the biggest challenge. “I’m one of those people who thinks every stack of hay is different,” Plourd said. “The characteristics of hay are broader than, for example, No. 2 yellow corn.” Plourd surmised that a baseline quality would have to be established. He noted that a similar problem was overcome with cattle futures. “Still, it’s a bit of challenge with alfalfa compared to most other commodities,” he said. As for hay types other than alfalfa, Plourd noted that an alfalfa futures contract price could be used as a guide because most hay types follow similar price movement trends. Plourd also stated that a futures contract would enhance market transparency. “I say this because in some cases people don’t want transparency,” he said. “It’s sometimes easier to have your own little market niche and there not be a whole lot of price discovery.” Excessive speculation in futures markets is also a concern for some people. This type of activity has the potential to drive prices to values not reflective of the cash market. Plourd acknowledged the risk of this occurring but also noted that it is now easier for the exchanges to monitor such activity with our current electronic trading platforms. To conclude, Plourd noted that a futures market might make it easier for alfalfa to compete for acres against commodities that currently enjoy less pricing risk than hay. If you have an opinion on the viability of an alfalfa futures contract, feel free to leave a comment below or contact the USFEC. Halloween hay Previous
The New Mexico Department of Agriculture (NMDA) is conducting follow-up meetings to the ones held at the beginning of August. The purpose of the meetings are to provide information on additional funding alternatives to the New Mexico Organic industry, to keep the New Mexico Department of Agriculture Organic Program (Program) operating in a positive cash-flow. NMDA cordially invites you to participate in any or all of the planned meetings to discuss these options. If you are unable to attend the meetings, NMDA will once again offer the meeting through web-cast during the Las Cruces meeting only. To access the web-cast, please contact us at http://nmsu.adobeconnect.com/organiccommmeeting/ . We look forward to seeing or hearing from you at the following meetings. City Date Time Location Las Cruces October 6 1 to 3 p.m. NMDA Conference Room 3190 South Espina St. Portales October 10 3 – 5 p.m. Roosevelt County Extension Office 705 East Lime Street Albuquerque October 11 1 to 3 p.m. Bernalillo County Extension Office 1510 Menaul Blvd NW Santa Fe October 11 5 to 7 p.m. Santa Fe County Extension Office 3229 Rodeo Rd.
Friday, September 23, 2016
I was sent some photos of a strange striped caterpillar found out in out range land here in Eddy County, and as a cattle grower they want to know what they were eating because there were lots of them. This insect is scientifically classified as Hyles lineata, white lined sphinx moth, a species in the Order Lepidoptera (moths & butterflies) and the Family Sphingidae (sphinx moths, hummingbird moths, hornworms). This moth must first develop as a caterpillar, which is the major feeding form. The caterpillars have many color forms, from a bright yellow-green with black spots or stripes on the back, to almost entirely black with only glimpses of yellow breaking up the black. Each caterpillar has a posterior horn as decoration. This horn is flexible and sometimes brightly colored, but it is NOT a stinger. These caterpillars are not poisonous, but if too many were eaten one might get an upset stomach. It is quite interesting to now learn that the Tohono Oodham a native American tribe in Arizona many years ago would harvest these larvae, dry and braid them and use them for food. Also when one learns the nutritional value of insects; they serve many peoples better than fast foods of today. In Eddy County, we do not know how many generations may occur in a year, but it is typically the July-August brood of caterpillars that are most noticed. As the monsoon season draws towards a close, we start to notice in different desert regions a massive movement of caterpillars. These caterpillars have fed on a multitude of plants found in the desert, and when they do wander into a residential neighborhood, they may feed a bit on landscape plants, but will have little effect on those plants. Why do these caterpillars pick a certain area? Good question for which we have no answer. Do they pick the same area year after year? It doesn't seem to be that, way, probably because plant communities’ change year to year and the adults may go to another food source to lay eggs, and thus the caterpillars will be in a new place next time. It may seem whimsical but the patterns of use may have real but undetected characteristics. It is random distribution, the luck of the draw! The adult moths also present an interesting sight. The moths have a very streamlined look, with forewings gray with various white stripes and bands breaking up the outline, and with smaller hind wings that are dominated by pink. These moths are seen both day and night hovering around many of our desert plants, especially four o'clocks and Desert Willows here in Eddy County, where they appear like a multitude of hummingbirds. The moths have a long tongue (proboscis) coiled beneath head, that unfurls when they approach a plant. They dip this tongue into the nectaries and drink the sweet fluids. These moths are some of the most important pollinators of desert plants here in Eddy County. Enjoy don't fear this fantastic display by the insects. Nature is a wonder always if one can just rekindle the interest and enthusiasm for all kinds of life. These insects are not harmful, and represent wildlife that is extremely important to the success and survival of the Sonoran Desert. This is one of the great wonders of living in the desert, the rancher who sent me the photos live here their whole life and this is the first time they have seen them in such numbers. So expect to see lots of sphinx moths in the near future or we don’t know this late in the season they may burrow in the soil and over winter to next spring and emerge as moths then. Subscribe to Eddy County Ag news at: http://nmsueddyag.blogspot.com/ Eddy County Extension Service, New Mexico State University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and educator. All programs are available to everyone regardless of race, color, religion, sex, age, handicap, or national origin. New Mexico State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Eddy County Government Cooperating.
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Monday, September 19, 2016
Grazing for Lesser Prairie-Chicken Habitat Outline: Principles of Range Management and Their Application for Lesser Prairie-Chicken Habitat A. Ecological Site Descriptions, Soil Surveys, State and Transition Models, Plant succession B. Plant Physiology a. Functional groups, their responses to grazing i. Grasses ii. Forbs iii. Shrubs b. Cool season versus warm season c. Plant strategies to deal with grazing C. Monitoring a. Cover i. Relative versus absolute ii. Basal cover versus canopy cover iii. Percent shrub and forb cover at different scales b. Frequency c. Density d. Biomass – stocking rate calculations, exclusion cages e. Height / Shrub crown dimensions (grass height- where and when to measure) f. Which measurements are important for Lesser Prairie Chicken habitat monitoring D. Stocking rates a. Importance of and literature synthesis discussion b. Energy flow budget/trophic level c. Forage determination d. Terms (intensity, density, animal units) e. Calculations (1000lb versus 1300lb cow) f. Stocking rates and Lesser Prairie-Chicken habitat requirements E. Grazing Distribution a. Historical range management i. Even utilization ii. Collateral damage (wolfy plants, ice cream plants, sacrifice areas) b. New paradigm i. Uneven utilization and diversity – Implications for Lesser Prairie-Chickens ii. Manipulating distribution F. Timing of Use a. Residual biomass – Lesser Prairie-Chicken nesting, brood-rearing, and fall/winter habitat b. Nest loss due to trampling G. Grazing systems a. Terminology: deferred, rested, rotation, duration, etc. b. Basic types (HILF, mob, etc.) i. What they can do (timing of grazing, change selectivity, change distribution) ii. What they don’t do (hoof action – water infiltration, double stocking rates) c. Which types work for Lesser Prairie-Chickens H. Animal species selection, diet selection and nutrition a. Ruminant versus hindgut fermenter b. Concentrate selectors versus roughage eaters/ grazers c. Can we change selectivity? i. Grazing systems and burning d. Nutrition i. Total Digestible Nutrients, Crude Protein (National Research Council requirements for beef cattle) ii. Contrast cow/calf (throughout year) versus yearling stockers I. Vegetation management methods a. Mechanical b. Chemical c. Biological d. Prescribed Fire e. Integrated Location: USDA Agriculture Research Service, Cooper Wildlife Management Area (Woodward OK), or Beaver River Wildlife Management Area (Beaver, OK) Schedule: Early October 2016 Day 1 1pm– 5pm Classroom - Instruction on A, B, C, and D from outline above Day 2 8am – 12pm Classroom – E, F, G, H, and I from outline above 1pm – 5pm Field – Ecological Site Descriptions, Succession, and Vegetation Measurements Day 3 8am – 9am Classroom – Calculate stocking rates based on clipped vegetation 9am – 12pm Field – Vegetation management techniques • Herbicide - Sand sage or sand shinnery oak • Prescribed fire/wildfire effects Materials: 1. Manual (Power point notes and additional reading material for each section) 2. CD (PDFs of all materials) Budget: If you are alright with opening the training up to managers outside of the Lesser Prairie-Chicken Initiative then we can cover it with some grant funds. Agency personnel would need to cover their own travel and hotel. Maximum number of attendees: 15 - 20
Below is a survey sent out by NMSU. You can copy and past to the e-mail below. If you have question you can call me at 575-887-6595 toll free 877-887-6595 Questions regarding NMSU and New Mexico Water Issues New Mexico State University (NMSU) conducts research and Extension/outreach programs to provide unbiased, science-based information to all people of New Mexico. NMSU does not have legislative, regulatory, or enforcement responsibilities. Please answer the following questions, keeping in mind NMSU’s role. 1. What are your top two water issues/most important water concerns for New Mexico? 2. What NMSU water-related programs are you familiar with? 3. What NMSU water-related programs do you use? 4. What do you consider to be the top NMSU-related water research, Extension, or outreach needs? 5. Any other comments? I am/represent (please check one of the following boxes): □ rancher/farmer or other private landowner □ county, state, or federal agency □ non-agricultural industry □ university □ other Please return form to facilitator. You may send additional comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org.