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Montana Ag Network: USDA, honeybees hit hard, MDOL meetings

Posted at 11:49 AM, Jun 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-22 13:49:21-04

The USDA Risk Management Agency has announced that producers who planted cover crops on prevented plant acres will be permitted to hay, graze or chop those fields earlier than November this year.

That’s because RMA has adjusted the 2019 final haying and grazing date from November 1 to September 1 to help producers who were prevented from planting because of flooding and excess rainfall this spring.

Allison Rivera, the NCBA’s executive director of Government Affairs says RMA has also determined that silage, haylage and baleage should be treated in the same manner as haying and grazing this year.

USDA Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey says this change will make good stewardship of the land easier to accomplish while also providing an opportunity to ensure quality forage is available for livestock this fall. For more information, contact your local USDA Service Center.

According to an annual survey of beekeepers, winter hit U.S. honeybees hard with the highest loss rate yet.

The annual nationwide survey by the Bee Informed Partnership found 37.7 percent of honeybee colonies died this past winter, nearly 9 percentage points higher than the average winter loss. Bees pollinate $15 billion worth of U.S. food crops. One-third of the human diet comes from pollinators, including native wild bees and other animals, many of which are also in trouble.

The survey also found year-to-year bee colony losses, which include calculations for summer, were 40.7 percent, higher than normal, but not a record high. For more than a decade, bees have been in trouble with scientists blaming mites, diseases, pesticides and loss of food.

The Montana Department of Livestock has announced three educational meetings to help pork producers better prepare for a disease outbreak, such as African Swine Fever. These meetings will focus on the ways producers can continue business amidst restrictions placed on animal movement to control the spread of disease. An outbreak of ASF in the U.S. would cause major economic losses due to lost markets and restrictions on the movement of animals and products. To lessen the impact on Montana producers, the department will be introducing a program at the meetings called Secure Pork Supply.

The meetings will take place June 25 and July 9 in Great Falls at the Montana Expo Park and July 30 in Lewistown at the Elks. All meetings run from 9:30 a.m. until noon.

Helping each sheep producer find ways to be more efficient plus take more control of flock productivity, both of which protect against price volatility, is the bottom line reason for the Best Practices to Increase Your Lamb Crop fact sheets.

The series is a joint effort of the American Lamb Board and the American Sheep Industry Association’s Let’s Grow program. Best practices are a cornerstone of many industries – from computer manufacturing to education – and guide processes to achieve a desired result. For the lamb industry, Productivity Best Practices identify ways to produce more with comparable resources, which is a critical component of profitability. After all, lambs sold per ewe is still the biggest influencer of profitability.

-Reported by Russell Nemetz/MTN News