Wednesday, March 12,2014

Today's Update!


AFBF Young Farmer & Rancher 2014 Survey


Securing adequate land to grow crops and raise livestock was the top challenge identified again this year in the American Farm Bureau Federation's annual outlook survey of participants in the Young Farmers & Ranchers program. That challenge was identified by 22 percent of respondents, followed by economic challenges, particularly profitability, which was identified by 15 percent of the respondents. 

Other issues ranked as top concerns by young farmers and ranchers included burdensome government regulations and red tape, 12 percent; availability of farm labor and related regulations, 9 percent; water availability and urbanization of farm land, 7 percent each; and health care availability and cost, 6 percent. 

The 22nd annual YF&R survey revealed that 91 percent of those surveyed are more optimistic about farming and ranching than they were five years ago. Last year, 90 percent of those surveyed said they were more optimistic about farming compared to five years ago. 

The 2014 survey also shows 93 percent of the nation's young farmers and ranchers say they are better off than they were five years ago. Last year, 83 percent reported being better off. 

More than 91 percent considered themselves lifetime farmers, while 88 percent would like to see their children follow in their footsteps. The informal survey reveals that 87 percent believe their children will be able to follow in their footsteps. 

The majority of those surveyed-69 percent-consider communicating with consumers a formal part of their jobs. Many use social media platforms as a tool to accomplish this. The popular social media site Facebook is used by 74 percent of those surveyed. Twenty-two percent of respondents said they use the social networking site Twitter, 16 percent have a farm blog or webpage and 13 percent use YouTube to post videos of their farms and ranches. 

High-speed Internet is used by 71 percent of those surveyed, with 28 percent relying on a satellite connection and fewer than 2 percent turning to dialup. 

New this year, the young farmers and ranchers were asked about their rural entrepreneurship efforts, with 40 percent reporting they had started a new business in the last three years or plan to start one in the near future. 

The survey also shows that America's young farmers and ranchers are committed environmental caretakers, with 55 percent using conservation tillage to protect soil and reduce erosion on their farms. 

The informal survey of young farmers and ranchers, ages 18-35, was conducted at AFBF's 2014 YF&R Leadership Conference in Virginia Beach, Va., in February. 



Ag Related Apps Reviewed 


To help farmers sort through the hundreds of apps available to aid with agricultural production, an LSU AgCenter soil scientist has begun posting online reviews.

Beatrix Haggard, who is based at the LSU AgCenter Macon Ridge Research Station, has written a review of SoilWeb, an app developed to help farmers learn the soil series in their fields and assess major soil features that could be problematic on their farms.

"We have reached a point in society where most of the population is talking about information overload. For some relief, this fact sheet provides information and background on the SoilWeb phone application," Haggard writes in her review, adding that the smartphone she used to test the app was an iPhone.

SoilWeb was developed at the Soil Resource Laboratory at the University of California-Davis and is free. The data source is from the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service Soil Survey.

Haggard cautions that the app should not be used to determine soil pH or organic matter percentage and may not be accurate for determining soil textures on precision-leveled fields.

Because management practices can change soil properties, farmers may find other inaccuracies in the data revealed on the app, Haggard said.

Despite the disadvantages, SoilWeb is a useful tool "when you start trying to figure out what might be happening at deeper depths in the field, which could cause problems or be beneficial," Haggard said.

Haggard is selecting apps to review that she has previously used or she thinks would be of benefit to Louisiana producers. She expects to post another app review in March.

To access her review, go to For more information, contact Haggard at or 318-498-2967



Creativity Needed In Face Of Dicamba Shortage


Growers may need to rethink their herbicide burndowns this spring. That's according to University of Tennessee Weed Scientist Larry Steckel - who says they will have to mix a match a little more than before. That's largely a result of tighter dicamba supplies. He says demand and the new paradigm in the chemical industry to not overproduce herbicides are the two biggest issues. Steckel doesn't expect the demand side of the equation to improve. For now - he says growers can substitute or supplement dicamba in their burndown mixes with other herbicides like 2,4-D. There are other options as well - but Steckel says the shortage of dicamba is already straining the supplies of other herbicides. He stresses that growers must be very careful to check labels when adding new herbicides to their tank mix. Those facing a shortage of dicamba are encouraged to check with their local Extension office for more localized recommendations on alternative herbicides and tank mixes. 



Tuesday's   Closing Market Prices


Nov  Soybeans                  1189.4 up 13

Dec Cotton                         7989 up 11

North & South

   Delta Cotton                    8840 up 9

Sept  Corn                          481.2 up 3.2

Sept   Rice                          1415 up 6.5

Sept  Wheat                        672.6 up 18.4

#16 Sugar May                   1803 down 19

April Live Cattle                   143-45 up 30

April Feeder Cattle              175-75 up 2.5

Don Molino & Neil Melancon