Afternoon AgriBusiness (7/6/12)

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The house agriculture committee released its farm bill legislation today,

According to the Agripulse electronic newsletter, the measure is designed to save about $35 billion over the next 10 years, most of that from the supplemental nutrition assistance program, or snap. The Senate version of the bill saves only 23 billion. Ag Committee Chairman Frank Lucas called the bill 'an investment in production agriculture and rural america.'

Among other departures from the senate version, the House`s draft provides two coverage options under the commodity title. One, called price loss coverage (PLC), is designed to address deep, multiple-year price declines. The other, revenue loss coverage (RLC), addresses revenue losses and is triggered after producers experience at least a 15 percent loss, and that`s based on the county level.

Under the house version of the bill, both price and revenue will pay on 85% of planted acres up to total base, but cannot exceed the total base.

The crop insurance program is increased by roughly nine billion dollars over 10 years, while title one is reduced by 23 billion dollars, for a net savings of 14 billion dollars.

Having seen their corn severely damaged due to heat and lack of rain, corn growers across the corn belt may want to salvage the damaged corn for livestock feed. Extension educator at the University of Illinois Robert Bellm says to do so carefully, as there could be high nitrate levels in the forage.

Bellm says nitrate levels will be highest in fields that received high nitrogen fertilizer or manure applications, and also in plants that are severely stunted and did not form an ear. One way to reduce the potential for nitrate toxicity is harvesting or grazing only the upper two thirds of the plant.

If an area was lucky enough to get some rain, there is normally a rapid uptake of nitrate by the plants immediately after rainfall. As a result, Bellm recommends harvesting drought-damaged forage at least five days following a rain event. This allows the plants to metabolize the nitrate and reduce the nitrate concentrations within the plant.

 The 19th Annual All-American Junior Sheep Show runs this weekend at the state fairground.  This is its first year in Iowa... And while taking livestock halfway across the country is hard enough... They have to contend with the heat as well.

 “Yeah, the heat is a big concern,” says one exhibitor.  “We have about 1,700 head entered, and they're from 22 states.  So, they've traveled quite a distance.  We're trying to make some accommodations.  Of course, everybody's really cognizant of keeping water buckets full.  We'll try to keep the shows to a minimum and release classes as we can to keep the exhibitors and sheep cool.

 Even with the temperatures above 100 degrees, people were out at the Valley Junction farmers' market last night.  If the heat's not a deterrent, remember the state Department of Agriculture released its free smart phone app earlier in the week to help locate farmers markets near you.  If you are not sure where to find a market in your area, just search for "Iowa farmers' markets" in the droid or i-phone app store.