Farmers turn to oilseed plants for biodiesel
By Jacob Adelman/The Associated Press
The Davis Enterprise (CA)
LOS ANGELES – California farmers are hoping to strike oil – vegetable oil, that is – with a series of trials involving crops that can be processed into biodiesel.
Some of the efforts to produce the sought-after fuel call for growing hearty crops such as canola on unproductive land that can’t support higher-value produce.
Other farmers are eyeing oilseed plants as a cover crop that might improve soil quality between more profitable plantings of berries or leafy greens.
Researchers have even started experimenting with varieties of algae that can be farmed in ponds and converted into biodiesel.
Democrats push bills to cut down on animal manure pollution
LANSING, Mich. — Democrats on Wednesday introduced bills in the state Legislature aimed at cutting down pollution from large animal feeding farms.
Environmentalists have been seeking ways to reduce hazards from so-called concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, for the past few years. Roughly 250 of Michigan’s 53,000 farms are considered to be CAFOs _ an operation with a large, concentrated number of cattle, pigs, sheep, turkeys or chickens.
The legislation would put a moratorium on the opening of new large feeding operations. The Department of Environmental Quality also could get more power over the farms, including permits and a more detailed evaluation of the current operations in the state.
Wyoming ranchers find increased profits in natural beef
High Plains Journal
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP)–Wyoming ranchers are increasingly marketing natural beef–meaning cattle raised on family ranches instead of corporate feedlots–and happy customers around the country are eating it up.
“I’m a little guy raising 80 head,” said John Sutherland, a Laramie County rancher whose family came to Wyoming in the 1860s. “We’re too small to really compete with the big guys, so we need a niche market.”
Corn takes the spotlight for now
The Daily Record (CO)
As the ethanol craze sweeps across the nation, the old saying, “All that glitters is not gold,” comes to mind. Not that ethanol is a bad thing, but the headlong dash to build plants and grow more corn does have a downside that requires a closer look.
With more than 110 plants in operation, some 80 under construction and more on the horizon, it may be time to pause and take a closer look at the industry and its overall effect.
It now takes between 3 and 4 gallons of water, depending on whose figures you use, to produce a gallon of ethanol. There are plants being built in parts of the country where they may negatively affect the public water supply.
Are grain prices too high? Not according to this specialist
By Tim Semler, Farm Business Management Agent Bottineau Co. NDSU Ext. Service
Minnesota Farm Guide
Are grain prices too high? This question has been tossed about in coffee shops and pubs throughout North Dakota and elsewhere in farm country in recent months.
But I challenge you to ask, “Are grain prices high enough?”
As of this writing, local cash grain prices in Bottineau County are: hard red spring wheat – $4.50, durum $5.15, malt barley – $3.50, oats – $2.10, sunflowers – $14 per hundredweight (cwt), canola – $12.45/cwt, flax – $6.35, corn – $3.40 and peas – $5. While these are certainly nice average prices being pulled up by higher corn and soybean prices, they aren’t a windfall for our region’s grain producers.
Cattle Feeding: Urinary Calculi Or “Water Belly”
Cause: Urinary calculi (kidney stones) are hard mineral deposits in the urinary tracts of cattle. Affected cattle may experience chronic bladder infection from mechanical irritation produced by the calculi. In more serious cases, calculi may block the flow of urine, particularly in male animals. The urinary bladder or urethra may rupture from prolonged urinary tract blockage, resulting in release of urine into the surrounding tissues. The collection of urine under the skin or in the abdominal cavity is referred to as “water belly.” Death from toxemia may result within 48 hours of bladder rupture. Signs of urinary calculi include straining to urinate, dribbling urine, blood-tinged urine and indications of extreme discomfort, e.g., tail wringing, foot stamping and kicking at the abdomen. Phosphate urinary calculi form in cattle on high grain diets, while silicate urinary calculi typically develop in cattle on rangeland.
Thousand Hills Cattle Company offers branded grass-fed beef
By ANDREA JOHNSON, Assistant Editor
Minnesota Farm Guide
CANNON FALLS, Minn. – Thousand Hills Cattle Company is a privately held grass-fed beef supply and breeding company.
The Minnesota-based company began conducting business in September 2003.
Starting with just a few head per week, the company now slaughters and processes 18 beef cattle per week valued at about $35,000 in fresh product. The company has seen a 100 percent sales increase in each of its first three years.
“We’re not anticipating growing that much this year, because of different things that start to take affect as you get to this scale,” said Todd Lein, sales and marketing director. “Our sales are about $30,000 per week, so I’m not quite done with my job yet.”