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Dec 1 Hay Stocks Up Nationally But Not In Kansas

The general story in the national hay complex is one of a continuing trend towards normal (pre 2010 and 2011 drought) production, stock levels, and prices. USDA-NASS conducts two hay stock surveys each year, the most recent was December 1, 2014. Total U.S. stocks for all hay were up 3% compared to 2013.

This is the largest for the data series since 2010. Most major cattle producing regions in the U.S. recorded a year-over-year increase in December 1 hay stocks [Kansas though, shows an 18% decrease]. Compared to 2013, the Western region is up 1.4% (even with the California drought), Great Plains up 7.4%, Southern Plains up 28.6%, and the Cornbelt region up 4.2%. The Northeast and Southeast both experienced a decrease in hay stocks compared to year ago numbers by 19.6% and 9.9%, respectively.

Although the U.S. has now seen two consecutive years of increased hay production and stocks, 2014 total all hay production and December 1 stocks were still about 5% and 10% below that of the historical predrought levels, respectively. National beef cattle herd numbers are expected to grow and this will eventually help strengthen forage demand. LMIC expects to see some slight shifting of marginally producing grain and other crop acres back to hay production as national prices for corn stabilize around $3.50-$4.00 per bushel.

National average alfalfa prices for 2014 were fairly similar to down slightly compared to 2013. Other hay recorded more of a decrease in national prices, averaging 6% below 2013’s.

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The FCDC and AgSmart Bring Plant Breeding to a Wider Audience

Video: The FCDC and AgSmart Bring Plant Breeding to a Wider Audience

In the vast prairies of Alberta, Olds College’s Field Crop Development Centre (FCDC) stands as a beacon of innovation and research in the agricultural world. The institution has become a key player in advancing agricultural technologies and practices. The FCDC’s commitment to applied research has driven them to seek effective means of disseminating their findings and creating a positive impact on the farming community.

One such avenue that aligns with their mission is AgSmart, an event dedicated to showcasing cutting-edge agricultural technologies. The coming together of the FCDC’s annual Field Day and Ag Smart has proved to be a natural fit, fostering a synergy that benefits both parties and propels the agriculture industry forward. The FCDC Field Day took part in conjunction with AgSmart for the first time this week on Aug. 1-2 in Olds, Alta. FCDC Program Director Kofi Agblor and Olds College VP of Development Todd Ormann sat down for an interview with Marc Zienkiewicz to discuss the significance of the two events taking part together and what the future holds.

The Intersection of Research and Technology The essence of the FCDC lies in its dedication to plant breeding and new seed varieties, particularly barley and triticale. While conducting research is essential, it becomes meaningful when its benefits are shared with the wider community. This is where AgSmart steps in, providing a key venue for the FCDC to showcase their research. This union between research and technology creates a holistic and enriching experience for farmers, ranchers, and industry professionals, the pair said.

Seeds as Technology For the FCDC, the partnership with AgSmart goes beyond mere event collaboration. It is about creating an environment that bridges the gap between seeds and smart technology, Ormann said. The college believes that for technology to truly revolutionize agriculture, it must begin with a strong foundation — high-quality seeds. As the saying goes, “it all starts with a seed.” To demonstrate this critical aspect, the collaboration aims to showcase the seed value chain as an integral part of the smartphone.

The Birth of a Powerful Alliance The idea of joining forces emerged when staff realized the potential synergy between AgSmart and the FCDC Field Day. With just a few days separating the two events, a proposal was put forward to merge them. The marketing and communications teams from both sides worked seamlessly to ensure the essence of both events remained intact, creating a powerful alliance that leverages the strengths of each, Agblor said.

Driving Advancements in Breeding For Agblor, the partnership with AgSmart has tremendous potential to drive advancements in breeding and other technology. With technologies like drones and imaging becoming integral to phenotyping, breeding is no longer confined to vast fields to assess thousands of plants manually. Instead, it benefits from the data-rich insights brought about by smart technologies. These advancements make breeding more efficient, precise, and instrumental in shaping the future of agriculture.

Overcoming Challenges Together While the partnership between Olds College and Ag Smart has been a resounding success, there are challenges on the horizon. Securing stable funding for long-term breeding initiatives is crucial to sustain progress. The college is committed to navigating these challenges and investing in agriculture’s future sustainably, Agblor said.