Ag Report: Feb. 17, 2012

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By The Staff

Beef cattle sales rising

to record high levels

The mid-South states are the center of cow-calf beef production east of the Mississippi River: Kentucky ranks eighth nationally and Tennessee is ninth. With cattle prices up and exports climbing, industry officials also say it's a good time to raise beef cattle.

Mike Bach, a beef cattle producer in Bath County in eastern Kentucky, said he's preparing to sell about 80 heifers and 60 calves, either at auction or directly to a feed lot. It's looming as quite a payday for the 65-year-old farmer who has seen plenty of ups and downs in the industry.

"We never have seen prices like this," said Bach, president of the Kentucky Cattlemen's Association. "These are uncharted waters for the average farmer. And we just don't know where it's going to end."

"If you're getting nine hundred dollars for an 800-pound heifer, why would you keep that heifer for another two years to get a live calf?" he said. "You're just taking a whole lot of risk there. And that's why the national herd hasn't expanded yet. These prices are going up and people are taking the safe bet selling them."

Dave Maples, executive vice president of the association, said he saw calves weighing between 700 and 750 pounds fetching about eleven hundred dollars per head at a recent auction at Paris in central Kentucky.

U.S. cattle and calf stocks totaled 90.8 million at the start of this year, representing the lowest nationwide inventory since 1952, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In Kentucky, the biggest beef-cattle producer east of the Mississippi River, the cattle and calf numbers totaled an estimated 2.15 million as of Jan. 1, down 40,000 from a year ago. There are just under a million beef cattle in Tennessee, plus calves.


Farm machinery show under way

Farmers across the country are in Louisville this week for the 47th Annual National Farm Machinery Show, which opened Wednesday and concludes Saturday at the Kentucky Exposition Center.

Hundreds of exhibitors are showcasing a combination of agricultural basics and technological advancements that farmers can use to improve their yields and minimize their costs.

There’s a wide variety of heavy machinery, hand tools and computer software to be used in agribusiness.

The show also includes the 44th Championship Tractor Pull, the oldest indoor tractor pull in America.

The NFMS is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission to the show is free, and parking is $8. For additional information, visit www.farmmachineryshow.org.


National FFA week starts Monday

Monday begins the annual celebration of National FFA Week, which runs through Feb. 25. More than 540,000 people ages 12-21 are members of FFA, including about 15,000 in Kentucky. FFA has 7,489 chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
“My experience in Kentucky FFA helped make me the person I am today,” said Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, a former state FFA president. “FFA enables young people to focus their energy and creativity on constructive endeavors while teaching positive values. Like the slogan for this year’s celebration, ‘I Believe’ in FFA.”

Comer said Kentucky farmers can help Kentucky FFA by making a voluntary contribution to the Kentucky Agricultural Program Trust Fund when they buy or renew the Kentucky farm license plate. Proceeds from the trust fund will be divided evenly between Kentucky FFA, Kentucky 4-H and Kentucky Proud.
For more information about National FFA Week activities, visit www.ffa.org/events/ffaweek .


Energy efficiency grant program

The Kentucky Agricultural Development Board has announced the availability of $2 million in Kentucky Agricultural Development Funds for on-farm energy efficiency or production projects. Guidelines for the KADB's new On-farm Energy Efficiency & Production Incentives Program are now available online at ag-energy.ky.gov.

The program will provide 25 percent reimbursement of the actual cost of a qualified energy saving item, up to $10,000. Permissible items include, but are not limited to, energy audits, energy efficient farm building components, on-farm energy upgrades and on-farm energy efficiency training. 

Only expenditures made after March 11, 2011, will be eligible for reimbursement.

Applications are reviewed on quarterly, and the first quarterly deadline is April 30, 2012.

For questions about the application process for the KADF On-farm Energy Incentives Program, contact Bill McCloskey or Angie Justice at 502-564-4627 or govkyagpolicy@ky.gov. The application is also available online at http://ag-energy.ky.gov.  


Bulletin board

§       Professional Bull Riders will bring their Louisville Invitational to the Kentucky Exposition Center at 8 p.m. Friday and Feb. 25. Tickets are available for $42, $32, $22 and $16 for adults/reserved and $11 for youth (12 and under) reserved. Prices include facility fees. All ticket prices increase by $2 on the day of show. Tickets may be purchased at the KFC Yum Center, the Kentucky Exposition Center, the Kentucky International Convention Center ticket offices and Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000 or www.ticketmaster.com. Group discounts are available by calling 502-595-3555 or 877-306-1919.

§       Aclinic for horses to get their Coggins shots and a vaccination clinic will be at noon-1:30 p.m. Feb. 25 at the Finchville Ruritan Club. Coggins shots will be $17, and all vaccines will be 10 percent off. For more information, call the hospital at 502-834-7387.

§       The Kentucky Horse Park is hosting its second free gelding clinic on March 10. Applications are currently being accepted, and the clinic is open to any horse whose owner who is financially unable to afford the surgery. Castrations will be performed by a veterinarian or a veterinary student under close supervision by a licensed veterinarian. Stallions must be halter broke, in good health, with two descended testicles and be at least four months of age, with current Coggins and health certificate. A $20 registration-processing fee will be charged to help offset some of the expenses. For application or additional information, contact Sheila Forbes at Sheila.Forbes@ky.gov or 859-233-4305.


The Kentucky Ag Report is compiled weekly from news releases distributed by Keeton Communications, the Kentucky Press News Service.