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The Schroeder Dairy

Posted: 10/27/2006 - June is National Dairy Month, and in this edition of From the Ground Up, Bob French takes a look at a couple of Grimes county farmers who were in the dairy business together for 30 years.

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The Future of Texas Dairies

Posted: 10/27/2006 - In the 1930s, Texas had somewhere in the neighborhood of six thousand dairies. Today there are fewer than 900. We talked with a representative of the Texas Association of Dairymen about those reduced numbers.

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Brazos Valley Cotton

Posted: 10/27/2006 - For the past couple of years, Texas has had record cotton crops, but this year it’s a completely different story. The drought that has plagued the state could result in the loss of almost 2 million of the 6 million acres of cotton planted.

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Brazos Bottom Watermelons

Posted: 10/27/2006 - Five years ago a farmer growing watermelons in the valley began an experiment to see if watermelons could be successfully grown commercially here in the Brazos Valley. Today he works out of a distribution center here that ships watermelons all the way to New York City, Chicago, and even Canada.

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Brazos Bottom Watermelons (Part 2)

Posted: 10/27/2006 - Growing watermelons commercially has almost become a high tech venture with drip irrigation and weekly lab analysis of the vines to detect any micronutrient deficiencies. The growing techniques are a stark contrast to harvesting procedures. Harvest is completely done by hand.

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Brazos Valley Harvest

Posted: 10/27/2006 - If you do any driving through the rural areas of the Brazos Valley at this point in the year, you’ll notice it’s harvest time. If you’re involved in production agriculture, you’re usually always wishing for something from Mother Nature. Ranchers need a rain, and right now rain is the last thing a farmer trying to bring in a crop wants.

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Texas A&M Beef Short Course

Posted: 10/27/2006 - The Texas A&M campus had almost 1500 beef producers visiting this week attending the beef short course that’s offered annually this time of the year. They began with a pep talk from the agricultural leadership for the Texas A&M system.

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Beef Markets

Posted: 10/27/2006 - This time of the year, there are two segments of production agriculture that are wishing for opposite things. In our part of Texas, harvest has begun, and the last thing a farmer needs when he trying to bring a crop in is rain. Ranchers, on the other hand are usually desperate for rain in august, and even though cattle prices have remained strong, the lack of rain has taken a toll.

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Value Added Crops

Posted: 10/27/2006 - What does a farmer do when the prices of traditional crops that he produces are so low it’s hard to make a profit? Obviously, a farmer tries to make the best yields he possibly can, but we talked with one Brazos Valley farmer who looks for a few other things he might grow to help bring in a little extra money.

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Fire Ants

Posted: 10/27/2006 - Most folks in our part of the country are all too aquainted with that angry little creature called the fire ant, and if you haven’t seen as many as usual this summer, don’t start celebrating, they haven’t gone anywhere.

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Fire Ants (Part II)

Posted: 10/27/2006 - If you polled Texans and asked what insect had been the biggest pest when they were trying to enjoy the outdoors, it’s a safe bet the fire ant would be at or near the top of the list. We talked with a texas cooperative extension entomologist who said there are some good baits available that can help you manage your outdoor environment satifactorly.

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Beef Herd Liquidation

Posted: 10/27/2006 - For agriculture, the timeliness of rainfall is as important as the amount of rainfall that’s received. Ranchers rely on grass pastures to feed their cattle in the spring and summer and many feed hay in the winter. The absence of moisture this year has taken its toll on pastures and hay production, and is forcing many beef producers to reduce the size of their herds.

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Hay Production

Posted: 10/27/2006 - In 2005, Brazos Valley hay production levels were 40 to 45% of usual annual production rates. There was no hay produced in the fall, hay inventories were depleted, and the drought continued. At this point in the growing season, local hay producers have a short window to make a fall hay crop.

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Brazos Bottom Milo and Cotton

Posted: 10/27/2006 - In agriculture, winners and losers in any particular year are usually determined by Mother Nature. We talked with a Brazos Bottom farmer who had above normal yields in a year when most agricultural producers across the state battled drought.

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Commercial Heifers

Posted: 10/27/2006 - Commercial cows are the animals that produce most of the meat that you put on your table. We talked with a Brazos Valley rancher who’s trying to teach his young sons the do’s and don’ts of the commercial cattle business.

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Fall and Winter Forage

Posted: 10/27/2006 - A major part of growing beef in Texas is the winter pasture. That’s the beautiful lush green grass you see growing in the late fall, winter, and early spring. With Brazos Valley ranchers having faced hay shortages caused by back-to-back droughts in 2005 and 2006, winter and early spring forage for grazing will be very important in the upcoming months.

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Cotton Harvest

Posted: 10/27/2006 - The heavy rains we experienced at the beginning of this week would have been very damaging to Brazos Valley cotton waiting to be picked, but Andy Scamardo, co-owner of the Mid Valley Cotton Gin in Steele Store, says nearly all of their customers had their crops harvested before the big storm hit.

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Educating Consumers

Posted: 10/27/2006 - It’s not necessary for today’s average American urbanite or suburbanite to give agriculture much thought, since they’re able to pick up most everything they need at the grocery store. Consequently, many of America’s children don’t know where their food really comes from. The Texas cooperative extension service is trying to change that.

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