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Alpacas

Posted: 04/16/2009 - As you’ve driven through rural areas of Texas you may have seen some exotic animals that you thought were llamas, but they very might have well been Alpacas. Alpacas are much smaller than llamas, and unlike llamas were not bred to be beasts of burden, but were bred specifically for their fiber. Joe Brown visits with some Grimes County Alpaca breeders in this week’s From The Ground Up.

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Cattle Markets

Updated: 04/10/2009 - With a severe drought and high production costs, it was no surprise that when the inventory report came out in January, there were over 700,000 fewer beef cows in the U.S. than a year ago. Even when all that is considered, the state of the economy is having the biggest impact on cattle prices. Beef supplies continue to contract, and they also continue to be sold at lower prices, as Joe Brown tells us in this week’s From The Ground Up.

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Animal I.D.

Updated: 04/02/2009 - After the outbreak of hoof and mouth disease in Great Britain in 2001, discussion of an animal I.D. plan began in the United States. The goal was to have a program in place that would allow a 48 hour trace back to any geographic stops a diseased animal made as it moved through the production system and to ultimately be able to locate the farm or ranch where the animal’s journey originated. In March, Congress held hearings asking how effective the current voluntary program was working with only about a third of producers participating, and speculated as to whether or not it should be mandatory. The debate continues, as Joe Brown tells us in this week’s From The Ground Up.

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New Rules For Meat Packers

Updated: 03/26/2009 - In July of 2007 the USDA put rules into effect that required any cattle that became non-ambulatory at a packing plant prior to slaughter be reviewed by a veterinarian on a case by case basis, before the processing could proceed. A ruling this month has changed that. Joe Brown has more in this week’s From The Ground Up.

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Rain Water Harvesting

Posted: 03/20/2009 - The harvesting of rainwater certainly isn’t a new idea. Different techniques date back as far as the ancient Romans, and for years ranchers have dug stock tanks designed to catch rainwater and runoff to hold water for livestock to drink. With water becoming a natural resource that’s ever increasing in value, different applications and techniques are being developed to be able to store some of the water that comes with a rain. Bob French has more in this week’s From The Ground Up.

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Planting Decisions For Irrigated Land

Updated: 03/12/2009 - Most Brazos Valley farmers who were going to plant corn this year are standing by with their planters hooked up just waiting to see if we’re going to get enough rain to risk putting corn and fertilizer in the ground. The vast majority of the Brazos River bottom is able to irrigate, and most irrigation systems are for flood irrigation. We asked if it was possible to water up a crop that was planted under drought conditions. Bob French has more in this week’s From The Ground Up.

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Dry Land Corn Planting Decisions

Posted: 03/06/2009 - With a group of Texas legislators again trying to bring destination casinos to the state of Texas, gambling has been alive and well, year and year out, for years on our local farms. Brazos Valley farmers are in the middle of the window for planting corn, and the earlier they plant the more likely they’ll be able to take advantage of cooler temperatures, but the drought complicates a planting strategy. Joe Brown has more in this week’s From The Ground Up.

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Farm Bureau Check Out Day

Updated: 02/26/2009 - Last week an unusual group of folks showed up at one of our local supermarkets asking some of the shoppers if it would be O.K. if they paid for their groceries. Joe Brown has more in this week’s From The Ground Up.

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Beef Producers Reaction to Drought

Updated: 02/19/2009 - While recent showers were welcomed by both farmers and ranchers alike, the Brazos Valley is still a long way from having the drought broken, and if the dry weather continues, area ranchers will be forced to make some tough decisions. Joe Brown has more in this week’s From The Ground Up.

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Drought Impact on Beef Production

Posted: 02/12/2009 - While farmers near the opening of the planting window for corn with no relief from the drought in sight, area beef producers are faced with their own set of problems. Joe Brown has more in this week’s From The Ground Up.

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Drought Planting Decisions

Posted: 02/05/2009 - Continuing dry weather conditions are perpetuating the drought, and moisture is desperately needed to fill the farm soil profiles before spring planting can begin. Joe Brown has more in this week’s From The Ground Up.

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"Drought"

Posted: 01/29/2009 - There are two major drainage ways for the Brazos River bottom in Burleson County and the absence of any substantial rains producing run-off has created circumstances that haven’t been seen in over 50 years.

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Producing Show Calves Part 2

Updated: 01/22/2009 - If those calves were sent to market last spring when they were about 6 months old, they would have brought between five and six hundred dollars a head, and we would have sold them by the pound. We’re not selling performance here, we’re selling a confirmation, a look, so to speak.

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Producing Show Calves

Updated: 01/15/2009 - There’s probably around 8500 4-H project or halter steers put on feed each year, and we direct this market toward that industry.

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Continuing Education

Updated: 01/08/2009 - In agriculture, we have a burden that some of those regulations some times can place additional financial pressure on our operations, however on the other hand, we all have a vested interest in protecting and being good stewards of the land because that is what makes the money for those of us that are engaged in these enterprises.

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2008 in Review

Updated: 12/31/2008 - You’ve got three or four main U.S. commodities competing for the same acres, and we need more acres, but there’s not more acres out there.

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Ag Management Tools

Updated: 12/31/2008 - Grass burr / sand burr is definitely a pest in hay, especially hay fed to horses. Horse people, it’s a no-no. I mean there’s basically zero tolerance in horse hay.

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New Fertilizer Technology

Updated: 12/15/2008 - “Urea is the most widely used nitrogen form of fertilizer, especially in hay and grass production. We get a lot of heat and humidity down that tends to break down urea, because if you put it out there, just, either on bare ground, or on pasture, the heat and humidity will break down that nitrogen, and it’ll volatize, gas off in the air, and it will leech through the soil.”

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Hay Storage

Updated: 12/04/2008 - Hay is a major input cost for cow calf producers, and the round hay bales you’ll see sitting out in rural areas are not as weather-proof as many people think.

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Thanksgiving Abundance

Posted: 12/03/2008 - Thanksgiving celebrations here in the United States are all bound together by a common thread. They all include a feast of some kind, and while most of us take our abundant food supply for granted, it might be a good time to realize that none of the food we enjoy on holidays originates at a grocery store.

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Pigs and Politics

Posted: 11/17/2008 - Less than two per cent of the U.S. population produces over one hundred per cent of the country’s food and the overage is exported to feed people all over the world. Pork is the most widely consumed meat globally, but the pork industry, as well as the entire agriculture industry in the U.S., faces the big challenge of educating consumers.

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Show Pigs

Posted: 11/05/2008 - In years past, there was a lot of pork produced in the Brazos Valley, but even with the very successful “Pork: the other white meat” campaign that ran nation wide, and exports that have broken records every year for the past 17 years, the volume of pigs produced in our area, and in Texas as well, has declined.

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Where Do Bacon And Ham Come From?

Posted: 11/03/2008 - People in the U.S. have become so far removed from agriculture that when you ask where hamburgers come from they’re apt to give you the name of their favorite fast food joint. In this week’s From The Ground Up, Joe Brown says if you’re asked where your upcoming Holiday ham is coming from and you answer with the name of your favorite grocery store, that’d be wrong too.

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October Cotton

Posted: 10/23/2008 - The last time we checked in with local farmers, many had cotton still in the field, had just weathered Hurricane Ike, and were surveying the damage that had been done to this year’s crop. We know less cotton was produced in the Brazos Bottom this year, but as it turns out we still don’t know exactly how much because there’s still cotton that hasn’t been picked.

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