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Transcript for March 5, 2017

Transcript to come.

This show includes the following segments:

  • Wheat Update
  • Mesonet Weather
  • Livestock Markets
  • Cow-Calf Corner: Stages of calving
  • Market Monitor
  • Online Fed Cattle Exchange


(peaceful music) 

>>> Hello everyone, and welcome to SUNUP, I'm Lyndall Stout.

 Oklahoma wheat is really greening up and growing fast on these nice, sunny days.

 And that progress is keeping Oklahoma State researchers on their toes as they track the development of first hollow stem.


Wheat Update

>>> So we are at the Small Grains Extension program building

and this is for the Small Grains Extension program,

this is kind of our base of operations here at the Agronomy Farm in Stillwater.

 And today we are collecting some first hollow stem measurements from our Chickasha location.

 So earlier today, Robert, our senior agriculturist in the program,

traveled down to Chickasha,

went in our plots at our forage trial there, and dug up plants from each plot,

put 'em on ice and brought 'em back here to the farm where we are now gonna be collecting those measurements

and try and find out which varieties are at first hollow stem.

 So what they're actually doing is, 

plants from each variety we're putting in a different bag here.

 And Brandon is going through and he's gonna take out those plants

and he's gonna look through 'em a

nd try and identify some of the bigger tillers within those plants that were dug up,

 kinda get 'em cleaned up a little bit.

 He's gonna cut the roots off at the base,

right where those roots are coming out and then slice the stem length ways.

 And then he's gonna pass those tillers on to Robert.

 And then Robert's gonna actually measure the area of hollow stem below that developing grain head.

 And they're gonna do that for 10 individual plants.

 And then as soon as we get those results, we'll take an average of those and then get those posted.

 Typically post those on our wheat blog,

>>> Do you get samples from around the state and do this same process?

>>> So we do this type of data collection at two locations.

 Here at Stillwater and then at Chickashay.

 The two locations where we have our forage trials this year.

>>> [Lyndall] Do you go back multiple times to those sites?

>>> Yes, yes, and depending, it can be very often,

depending on the growing conditions.

 It happened to be this year,

we've ideal growing conditions, it's been warm,

we've had moisture actually and the plants have just begun growing really quickly ahead of schedule actually.

 And so we're trying to be on the front side of those and catch 'em before they reach first hollow stem.

 But with ideal growing conditions,

first hollow stem can advance pretty quickly

and stem elongation in general can begin advancing quickly.

 So we need to go down multiple times,

sometimes multiple times within the same week

and collect these different measurements

so that we are catching each of these varieties as they're reaching that critical growth stage.

>>> In general how is the wheat doing across Oklahoma right now as we kinda,

you know close out February, get into early March?

>>> Well with those rains that we had earlier in the month here,

the USDA report that came out yesterday,

we saw a little bit of a bump in terms of the crop conditions.

 So more acres being categorized as good to even excellent.

 So these more warmer temperatures

as well as more abundant soil moisture

is really making the crop kinda spring up a little bit

and make it look a little bit perkier overall across many areas of the state.

>>> And I'm guessing we need more rain whenever it (laughs) can arrive.

>>> We'll take rain whenever we can get it, absolutely.

 But the rains that we've had that have kinda gotten us through the winter

and the rains here in February that are kinda gonna take us through

kinda the beginning of stem elongation here are gonna be great.

 Once the plants begin elongating those stems, their water usage is really gonna ramp up.

 So even though we have some soil moisture now,

they're gonna quickly wick up any of that soil moisture

so here as we get into the beginning and middle of March,

any rainfalls that we can get, we'll definitely take 'em

>>> Any other concerns with the crop right now that we can talk about?

>>> Well one thing to think about is the wheat has begun growing  a little bit earlier than normal

and one concern that that's gonna bring up is fall freeze.

 And Heath Sanders, our Southwest area agronomist, I heard him say it best.

 If you like listening to the farmer's almanac,

it thunders in February, it'll frost in April.

>>> And I hope that's not true this year but if we have a late freeze,

that can do quite a bit of damage to our wheat crop.

>>> David, thanks for your time.

>>> Thank you.

>>> We'll see you again soon.

 (calm music) 


Mesonet Weather

>>> We just keep marching along with warm temperatures.

 February's monthly air temperature average was significantly above average.

 For moisture in February, much of the state had above average rainfall.

 The average air temperature for February was seven to 11 degrees above average.

 Not only is that a big jump above normal, it came during our last month of winter.

 That has really pushed Oklahoma's plants from our urban landscapes to our field crops into early growth.

 Tender foliage and flowers makes damage from a spring freeze much more likely.

 Rainfall over the last seven days of February was meager

and isolated to the eastern quarter of the state.

 For the last 30 days from March first,

rainfall totals were above four inches in the yellow areas.

 Rainfall in green areas range from one to four inches.

 The darker green, the higher the rainfall amounts.

 The blue areas were mostly below a half inch.

 Those high rainfall areas really jump out on a map of the departure from the average for February.

 Dark green areas were two or more inches above average.

 The light green areas were an inch above average.

 Orange areas were slightly below average this February.

 Here's Gary with a check on Oklahoma's drought status and a look ahead.

>>> Thanks, Al and good morning everyone.

 Well, we're still dealing with that rainfall from about a week and a half ago

 and we know we just got through with the fourth warmest February on record

and a pretty wet February south of I-40

and scattered across portions of north of I-40

so let's take a look at that latest drought monitor map and see if there have been any changes.

 Well, we have seen changes.

 More improvements across southern Oklahoma again generally south of I-40

but we still have that core of moderate to severe drought from central Oklahoma

over across into the northwestern part of the state.

 So those are probably the last changes we're gonna see if we don't get more rainfall soon.

 So let's take a look at the latest outlooks from the Climate Prediction Center for March

and we see greatly increased odds of above normal temperature centered right over Oklahoma

so that's definitely not good news if you're looking at drought alone

and also when we look at precipitation for March

we see increased odds of below normal precipitation especially across the northwestern portion of the state.

 Now, when you combine those together and you look at where drought exists now,

the monthly drought outlook sees drought either persisting

or possibly intensifying in those areas.

 So no drought relief in sight for March according to the Climate Prediction Center.

 No development either which would be good.

 I don't know if that's really gonna come true but that's what their outlook shows.

 So if those outlooks for precipitation and temperature do come true

and we have above normal temperatures and below normal precipitation,

we will definitely see drought intensification across the state of Oklahoma.

 I can promise you that.

 That's it for this time.

 We'll see you next time on the Mesonet Weather Report.

 (calm music)


 Livestock Markets

>>> Now to a story that we worked on with our friends at AgDay

about the new online Fed Cattle Exchange.

 Reporter Betsy Jibben tells us how it evolved and how it's working.

>>> [Reporter] The days of record high cattle prices seen from 2013 to 2015 are now more like memories to producers

but the impacts of the volatility still sting.

>>> I think people are a little more optimistic,

but I think we're also cautious, because we got burnt so bad as its price dropped.

>>> [Reporter] During that time a group of producers,

with the help of Superior Livestock Auction decided to take charge of the problem

by establishing a realistic base price for the market.

 Their idea?

The Fed Cattle Exchange.

>>> With additional negotiated trade on a transparent platform like Fed Cattle Exchange,

we can help eliminate some of the volatility that we're seeing in our market,

both on the cash side,

and on the futures side, to allow us to be more effective producers

and more effective risk managers.

>>> [Reporter] It's an online auction, similar an e-bay for cattle.

 For $1 per head, producers can set a floor price,

and are not forced to sell if the price is not met.

 Bids come from packers in 25-set increments.

>>> The neat thing about the platform is you can also do it online or from your mobile device.

 So if the feed yard manager is there,

he could take three pictures, he could fill in all of the relevant information as it relates to the livestock,

post it on the website before 12 o'clock on Monday

for a sale that will commence at 10 am on Wednesdays.

>>> [Reporter] The transactions take place on a computer screen,

in real time,

something that was not possible even a few years ago.

>>> It's just about knowing where the cash market is at all times,

and that can help you make a lot of decisions on your own about your,

no matter what part of the industry you're in.

>>> [Reporter] The Fed Cattle Exchange really took off when USDA included sale results in the livestock mandatory reporting program in October.

 Now the average sale volume is roughly 6,500 to 7,000 head each auction.

 Multiple states are actively participating,

so are the major packers and some regional ones too.

 Packers can visit the cattle beforehand,

since producers may post several days ahead of the auction.

>>> The smaller guy is gonna fit as well.

 There's a lot of guys in the north, such as South Dakota, that are farmer-feeders that have really good cattle, a lot of 'em can be home-raised.

 Cattle that are as high quality as any others in the country.

 These guys benefit from the buyer exposure that they wouldn't usually get.

>>> That is what the Fed Cattle Exchange is trying to do.

 Define value for different classes of cattle in different regions,

during different market fundamentals.

>>> [Reporter] Even though the Fed Cattle Exchange is only a fraction of the US herd,

both believe it's created a more level playing field.

>>> [Man 1] I believe it's made a tremendous impact on the amount of volatility in the markets,

 as far as creating more data points for the industry to trade their cattle off of.

 You can tell that a lot of traders from Chicago watch this.

>>> As far as market transparency goes,

this is a phenomenal step in the right direction.

 If we can continue to move it forward,

 then I think we'll have a lot of potential there for both the market guys

and the producer guys, the hedgers, the end users are more involved in the market.

>>> [Reporter] VanDyke watches the Exchange from his office in Chicago.

 He believes it's a good start to improving the cattle market.

>>> If you pull up the auction, pull up the futures at the same time.

 There's not a doubt in my mind that it's watchin'.

 You can see the futures' reaction as price changes.

 (auctioneer calling)

>>> [Reporter] Producers hope for more of that transparency.

>>> Before, it was kinda almost word-of-mouth,

a phone call,

what'd ya get for cattle, what were you bein' offered?

And now it's right out there and everybody can see it.

>>> [Reporter] To erase the wild swings in the cattle trade.

>>> We wanna thank our friends at AgDay for that story.

 And now we wanna get some perspective on the online exchange from Derrell Peel,

our livestock monitoring specialist, Derrell, what are your thoughts?

>>> Well, ya know, questions of priced discovery and fed cattle markets

and this issue of cash markets getting thinner and thinner has been a concern for a long time.

 This Fed Cattle Exchange is a new response to that,

relatively new response to that, and honestly, I'm very encouraged by it.

 I think it is serving a role to provide a weekly, very open, transparent kind of view of the markets.

 It has enough volume, I think, to really provide a perspective.

 And we've seen in the last few months to a year that the cash market transactions have increased as a percentage.

 So I do think that the market is showing less of these symptoms than before.

>>> We talked about it being relatively new.

 What do you think the next steps are to make it even more successful?

>>> Well, ya know, I think there's still a lot of, sort of, wait and see attitude out there.

 Jury's still out, but honestly, I don't know that it has to change a lot.

 I think some people maybe have expectations that it needs to have significantly more volume than it has today,

 but it's really not clear that it needs a lot more volume.

 It'd probably be nice if it had a little bit more.

 One of the problems within market issues is, sort of, how thin is thin?

And that depends on the market, it depends on the situation,

 but one of the things we tend to see in our research on thin markets is that it doesn't take very much volume to overcome,

or to provide the kind of price discovery that really helps the market.

>>> Let's talk about the latest cattle on feed report and what some of the numbers showed you there.

>>> You know, the February cattle on feed report showed us that placements in January were about 111% of last year.

 Marketings were about 110%.

 There was one more business day in January this year compared to a year ago,

so that explains about half of that increase.

 Both of those were well anticipated and the on feed total for February 1st was exactly as expected, 

so there were really no surprises in this report at all.

>>> There is some new weight breakdown information in the report.

 Talk about that.

>>> You know, for years we've gotten weight breakdowns that included everything over 800 pounds as one category,

 so 800 pounds and up,

 but we've known for a number of years, in fact,

if you look at the percentage of the placements each month that are in that 800-plus-pound category,

it's increased from about 28% to over 36% in the last five or six years.

 So there's more cattle in there,

 and we really didn't know what the distribution of those weights were.

 So now, starting with this new report,

 we get a breakdown of eight to nine, 900 to 1000, and then over 1000,

at least for the national numbers.

 So that's gonna be very helpful to us over time to really understand what the distribution of those larger weight placements are.

 We don't expect weights to come back down.

 They may come down a little bit.

 They got high because feed costs were so high at one point in time,

 but we expect that they will generally stay high,

so this new information over time is going to be increasingly valuable to us.

>>> A clearer picture of what's really out there, right?

>>> Absolutely, help us anticipate the timing of these fed cattle marketings.

>>> Okay, Darrell Peel, thanks a lot.

 We'll see you again soon.

 (country music) 


Cow-Calf Corner: Stages of calving

>>> Springtime in Oklahoma can bring us a couple of tough situations,

and it happens every year someplace in our state,

where we'll have those severe thunderstorms,

perhaps with a tornado or two,

that will go across the countryside and wreak havoc with our fences.

 Also, we may have the situation where wildfire gets loose

and burns fences and causes cattle to be moved  to different areas than, certainly, where we had planned to have them.

 I think before those situations hit your operation,

there's a couple of things that we can do to get ourselves as best prepared for that situation as possible.

 Number one, of course, is to have the cattle identified.

 If we can have a hot-iron brand on every animal in our possession,

then we have a better chance of that particular animal,

if it becomes a stray, coming back to our place.

 Or, certainly, if someone that's dishonest tries to take that to a local livestock market,

 we've got a better chance for someone to identify that brand as belonging to me,

rather than whoever is unloading it at the livestock market.

 Also, consider having, of course, ear tags,

 individual identification of each animal.

 We do that for several reasons,

for production records,

but also can become pretty handy in the case of cattle being lost or strayed after one of these disasters.

 An ear tag can have a number on it,

as well as even perhaps a ranch name in small print at the bottom.

 So, again, if one of your neighbors finds that animal that has strayed onto their property,

they know where to call in order to help get that animal back to where it really belongs.

 As we go into this particular storm season,

I would suggest that we have a real accurate inventory of where our cattle are,

what pastures they are in, 

and we wanna keep that inventory up to date,

because as we get new calves being born during the spring calving season,

we want to get those numbers recorded and presented in our data sheet as well.

 We can do this, of course, digitally on the computer.

 I would suggest that every so often,

you back up that set of records.

 Perhaps even email it to a family member or a trusted neighbor,

just so that you have that digital record that you can find later on if a disaster does occur.

  Certainly, if we have a good record of where our livestock are,

 and they're properly identified,

 then we have a better chance of getting them back if one of these things takes place that causes disruption in our fences.

 I want you to go to the OSU SUNUP website,

and there we have a link to a fact sheet about livestock branding in Oklahoma.

 It has a lot more information about the importance of branding

and how it should be done.

 I think that if you don't have a brand,

it's something that you want to consider looking into.

We hope that this'll help you through this spring storm season, and we look forward to visiting with you again next week on SUNUP's Cow-Calf Corner.


Market Monitor

>>> Kim Anderson, our crop marketing specialist, is here now,

and, Kim, let's start right off with this 20 cent price increase.

>>> Yes, we got a good rally this last week, prices up 18, 20 cents.

 I think what we saw going on there was the funds,

you know, you go back, oh, six, eight weeks ago, the funds were 130,000 contracts short.

 Well, they've just about bought all those shorts back.

 I think this last week they were getting out of those short positions,

and I think that had a impact on our price, and it caused 'em to go up.

>>> Let's talk about the latest numbers on supply and demand.

>>> Well, the USDA released their first estimates.

 Now, these are not surveys.

 They run models to do the supply and demand estimates for the 17-18 marketing year.

 I think the good news is they lowered US wheat production from 2.3 billion this last year,

looking at this next year, they lowered that to 1.8 billion bushels.

 It's a 470 million bushel decline.

 I think probably 2/3, maybe 3/4 of that lower production is hard red winter wheat.

 That means our hard red winter wheat stocks are gonna be tighter next year,

and I think that's gonna help us with price.

>>> And that's the next follow-up question, of course.

 What impact is that gonna have on prices?

>>> Well, I think the big impact you can see on it, one, we saw the 20 cents this week.

 But you know, soft red winter wheat prices,

you go back to this time last year,

they were a premium to hard red winter wheat prices.

 Then they came to even.

 They been even over the last few months.

 Right now, hard red winter wheat prices are 18, 20 cents above the soft red winter wheat prices.

 I think that's a good sign.

 Plus, it positioned us, you know, stocks-wise 

and market-wise for significantly higher prices if something happens to our foreign crops.

>>> Well, let's talk about the value of the dollar and that 102 mark.

 What does that all mean?

>>> Well, the dollar got back up to 102 on that index.

 You know, average, if you go back over time is around 80,

we've been talking about it's 20, 25% above normal.

 That essentially increases our price on the world market, 

makes us less competitive in the market.

 But it also is getting up there and challenging that 104.

 If we go above one four, then we're probably going to 120.

 You're talking about, you know, the Trump administration changing some of the trade rules.

 Whether that's good or bad, it's gonna be good for some sectors,

 it's gonna be bad for the other.

 It could get 'em back up to between 1999 and 2003, 

prices were above, the index was above 100,

and we had relatively low wheat prices.

 So I think that 102, we're getting up and moving it on up.

 Hopefully we don't get another 20, 25% increase, because that'll hurt our exports.

>>> Okay, Kim, thanks a lot.

 We'll see you next week.

 And now, here's a word from our soil nutrient management specialist, Brian Arnall,

who has some ways, to use Kim's term, put pencil to paper to help you improve your crop yields.

 (country music)


Online Fed Cattle Exchange

>>> You know, as we get into tighter budgets, 

economic reasons,

and environmental reasons to be more sound with our inputs,

to maximize the efficiency that our inputs go in to get as much out of the ground as possible,

really refining our practices to our specific production system,

to our specific soils, 

farms, is a really useful tool for producers.

  You know, on-farm trials and on-farm research, producer-led research, is really gaining now.

 One reason is just that the technology has really come to the point where we can utilize it.

 We have the yield monitors to collect the data.

 We have an array of sensors that can go in fields to collect in-field data,

and we have programs that help us design, lay out, and do the statistics on more in-depth research.

 One of the easiest tools,

one of the easiest techniques,

is just a strip study.

 Strip study is just a pass, a with and without pass, just a side-by-side study.

 Now, that allows you the analysis or the observations between A and B.

One of the mistakes that I see often in this strip study is,

well, you know, just a side-by-side pass isn't enough.

 I want more.

 I want one half of the field versus the other half of the field.

 As far as the data interpretation, if you do that with not enough past data, enough knowledge on that field,

and I say horrible is because, let's say you have an 80-acre field.

 You do one practice on the north, one practice on the south.

 You harvest those two areas separately.

 You look at the data as a whole, that this 40 acres cut an average of 40 bushel.

 This 40 acres cut an average of 35 bushel.

 That means I harvested five more acres due to the practice on this side.

 The problem is that, if you don't have the past data to look at it,

that five-bushel difference could just be the land itself.

It might even be that this side did better than normal,

that 35 bushel did better than normal,

but because that's a poorer piece of ground,

you'll never know the difference.

 Now, if you have enough yield history,

if you have three to five years of previous yield maps,

then you can do the half,

where you split a field in half and look at it that way.

 But just to go out there on a field that you don't have that past history on

and know specifically what is the difference between those two,

it can lead to some really erroneous decisions, or recommendations on products.

 Now on the strip study, if we look at a pass that's a 30 foot wide, header width, right next to another header width.

 The easiest thing to do is collect that whole pass as a value and the second pass as a value, and have A versus B.

 That's a lot better than field by field, because you are side by side.

 However, soil variability goes from one foot to the next.

 Even if you don't have yield monitor, go 200 yards, 300 yards, stop dump in a weigh wagon,

go another 300 yards, and do it in segments,

 so you're, we call it subsampling, even though you just have two passes,

you get a lot more information out of it,

and you can make a lot better decisions about what happened,

and what may have led to the difference in that.

 It's that on off on things like that that I really think will make a huge impact on the way we manage our inputs,

whether it's fertility or pest management.

 The on off, the check strips,

you don't have statistics,

you use your eyes, look at the number of berries,

 the head size, yield is always something that's very important.

 Always feel free to contact your County educator.

 Maybe think about doing a Partners In Progress with Oklahoma State University and the Extension and the State Specialist.

 We're always looking at opportunities to do on farm evaluations and demonstrations.

 It's a great way for producers to learn more about their production systems,

and for us, as State Specialists,

to learn about the new techniques and the techniques that the producers are interested in,

and how they're impacting different regions of the State.

>>> That'll do it for us this week for SUNUP.

 Remember, you can find us anytime on our website and also follow us on You Tube and social media.

 I'm Lyndall Stout, have a great week everyone, and remember, Oklahoma agriculture starts at SUNUP.

  (happy acoustic music)

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