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Ag News and Views: July 2012

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Continuing Repercussions of the 2011 Drought

Limited rainfall and record heat forced the liquidation of livestock, the likes of which most of us have never seen in our lifetimes. Only the most astute land managers will recover quickly, while the majority will experience lasting effects. It may take as many as three to five years for some to fully recover and that is only if we see good years along the way.

Making More With Fewer Cows

Cattle producers in the Southern Great Plains had to reduce cow numbers in 2011 due to the most severe drought in decades. Replacement cow prices are at an all-time high in 2012, and most pastures are still in poor condition, making it difficult for many producers to restock to former levels.

Pecan Leaf Sampling

Nutrient management is essential for a successful pecan orchard or grove. With the high cost of fertilizer and the labor required for application, it is critical to accurately account for the nutrient needs of the tree for successful pecan management.

Summer Grazing Deferment for Prescribed Burns

Most rangeland burns rely on fine fuel made up predominantly of warm-season grasses for combustion to create the desired impacts. As such, adequate "standing dead" grasses must remain in the field to serve as fine fuel until the time of a prescribed fire.

Taking Agricultural Education to Iraq

In the summer of 2011, I was preparing to go to Iraq - not as a soldier, but as an agricultural consultant. More specifically, I was going to Erbil, in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq, to teach crop residue management for a week.

USDA Rainfall Insurance Protects Against Dry Weather

In response to the production risk caused by dry weather and prolonged drought, a relatively new program sponsored by the Risk Management Agency of the United States Department of Agriculture provides pasture, rangeland and forage insurance for pastures that are grazed or used to produce hay.

Using Surface Water for Drip Irrigation

Many growers have no choice but to rely on pond or stream water for irrigation because groundwater is too deep to justify the cost of drilling or the quality is too poor to be used for irrigation.