Updated: 02/05/2007 - Breakthroughs in biotechnology have allowed today’s agricultural producers to use much less pesticide than was ten years ago. Individuals with applicator’s licenses are required to attend continuing education classes to remain in compliance with the regulatory requirements.
Updated: 01/25/2007 - Crop technology in agriculture started advancing when different lines of corn were crossed to come up with new hybrid varieties, and that began over one hundred years ago. The ability to select for specific traits has enhanced the yields of various crops and technology advancements must continue if we are to feed the world’s growing population.
Updated: 01/18/2007 - Breakthroughs in biotechnology have allowed the creation of genetically modified organisms, commonly referred to as g-m-os, and have generated controversy all over the world. After consuming gmo products directly or indirectly in the u.s. for the last 10 years without any negative results, it appears the technology is here to stay.
Updated: 01/11/2007 - It’s been known for years that cotton seed is very rich in protein, but it also contains a toxin named gossypol that makes unsuitable for consumption by most animals other than cattle. In the 1950s a cotton plant that didn’t produce the toxin was developed, only to discover that the plant needed the chemical to protect itself from insects. It appears scienists at Texas A&M have come up with a solution.
Posted: 01/08/2007 - Unfortunately, the drought we experienced in 2005 carried over into 2006, and as with many years, the weather wreaked havoc on agricultural producers across our state. Bob French looks back at this past year, and Brazos Valley agriculture’s battle with Mother Nature.
Updated: 01/03/2007 - The ethanol industry continues to drive a high demand for corn, creating the best outlook for growing grain farmers have seen in many years. While that’s good news for farmers, it’s bad news across the board for people in the cattle business, where grain is a major input cost.
Updated: 12/21/2006 - With the price of corn at a ten year high, and an ethanol industry driving the increased demand, analysts are expecting an increase in the amount of corn planted, with record-breaking levels of production, barring any weather catastrophes in the Midwest. We talked with a Brazos Valley farmer who says while corn prices are high, and the profit margins will be better than normal, they’re not really good enough for him to change what he’s planting.
Updated: 12/14/2006 - When you take the expanding ethanol industry and add to it increased export demand for corn, you get prices that have only been at this level a few times in our history. One of the basic characteristics of these price spikes has been that they’ve always been temporary. We talked with an economist who says falling corn prices don’t seem to be anywhere on the horizon.
Updated: 12/12/2006 - In dry periods like we experienced for the last couple of years, an investment in improved pasture grasses pays dividends to ranchers who need forage to feed their cattle. We talked with one rancher who strives to make his land as productive as possible, and for him that means growing all the grass he can.
Updated: 11/27/2006 - The Brazos Valley is cotton country and most cotton farmers hope that in most years the cotton seed produced that season will pay for the ginning of the fiber. Cotton seed is sold to cotton seed mills that press the oil out of the seeds and sell it to be used in baking and other food processing. We talked with an area rancher who says that cotton seed is also an excellent cattle feed.
Updated: 11/16/2006 - Most area ranchers are heading into winter with a fraction of the hay usually available to them and some of that hay will be of lesser quality. The drought that has plagued the Brazos Valley for the last two years has forced agricultural producers to take a close look at the efficiency of their operations.
Updated: 11/14/2006 - There is a bill that has been passed in the U.S. House that would stop the slaughter of horses in the U.S. by prohibiting the transport of horses for the purpose of slaughtering. We talked with a Texas A&M veterinarian who says that misinformation about this subject is rampant, even within the walls of the U.S. congress.
Posted: 11/09/2006 - Currently there are three plants in the U.S. along with plants in Canada, Mexico, and several South American countries that export horse meat primarily to Western Europe and Japan. The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a bill designed to stop the slaughter of horses in the United States. For the bill to become law it will have to be passed by the senate or attached to the agriculture appropriations bill and signed by the president.
Posted: 10/27/2006 - One of the big question marks remaining in the on-going discussion about a national animal identification program for cattle is how an animal that isn't tagged with an ID gets tagged before it enters the marketing system where it will change hands several times before it becomes a finished product. Some have said that animals tagged with IDs will bring a premium in the marketplace, but one sale barn owner we talked to says that just isn't happening yet.
Posted: 10/27/2006 - Texas Agricultural Commissioner Susan Combs was in town Monday for a town hall meeting, and one of the topics she discussed was a program to help rural Texas towns diversify their economies.
Posted: 10/27/2006 - THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY WAS CREATED IN PART TO REGULATE PRODUCTS LIKE RESTRICTED USE PESTICIDES COMMONLY UTILIZED BY AGRICULTURAL PRODUCERS. IN RECENT YEARS, THE TEXAS COOPERATIVE EXTENSION HAS TAKEN A CLOSER LOOK AT THE URBAN SECTOR IN RELATION TO PESTICIDE SAFETY EDUCATION.
Posted: 10/27/2006 - Until the Fall of 2002, Brazos Valley cotton farmers were losing an ongoing battle against a devastating little insect called the boll weevil. Since then, great strides have been made toward the eradication of this destructive pest that lays its eggs on the fresh fruit produced by a cotton plant.
Posted: 10/27/2006 - For several years, an animal identification program has been talked about that would make livestock that are moved from place to place trackable. Rick Hardcastle, Chairman of the Texas House Committee on Agriculture and Livestock, has been working on the details that will shape the program when it is implemented in Texas.
Posted: 10/27/2006 - There's been some disagreement in the beef industry during the past few years about the beef check-off program that assesses one dollar per beef animal at the time the animal is sold. The money collected is used for marketing, research, and education. A group representing a minority of beef producers sued and won a Federal Court decision that found the program was a violation of the first amendment. That decision was appealed recently and heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.