The weather continues to be the dominant theme in agriculture this week. However, that’s not where the news ends. This week, a petite, ok, let’s face it, a miniature cow that makes everything look huge through his eyes. Check out this week’s gathering of 7 ag stories you may have missed.
1. Concern is growing in India as the central and northern parts of the country have received very little rainfall this summer. The Indian government says it is concerned about good grain production and inflation. It is Asia’s third biggest economy.
2. The Nebraska Department of Revenue announced this week that state revenue numbers will boost property tax relief even more with the Property Tax Incentive Credit. Nebraska Farm Bureau estimates taxpayers will see a tax credit equal to 22 percent of their property taxes paid to schools when they file their 2021 tax return. This is 3.5 times the amount they received this tax year.
3. The western drought continues to impact not only livestock operations but produce farmers as well. “When we lose a well, we lose the water for the fields that that well serves, so we’ve been trying to move water around, where we can, to continue to keep the crops alive,” Terranova Ranch’s vice president and general manager Don Cameron told Marketplace’s Sabri Ben-Achour.
Record-high temperatures in the region have exacerbated the water problem and created dangerous conditions for farmworkers. On 114-degree days, Terranova Ranch has limited working hours in the fields and rescheduled onion harvests to nighttime when the air is cooler. Around the fields, we’ll put lights and it’ll look like a football game going on,” said Cameron.
Lower yields for farmers could result in higher food prices — a situation Cameron says could worsen in the coming years if droughts become more frequent.
“We’re already seeing our buyers offering us a 15% increase in prices this year, and we think next year could be even worse. And because California produces so many crops, when we have problems here, this is going to affect food prices. This is going to affect what’s going to be in the grocery stores,” he told Ben-Achour.
4. The first cases of African Swine Fever have been confirmed in farm pigs in Germany, the country’s federal agriculture ministry reported this week. ASF was confirmed on two small farms in eastern Brandenburg, an area where 1,267 cases have been found in wild boar.
This is not expected to have a major market impact as German pork exports are already banned by many countries outside the European Union.
China and many other international buyers banned imports of German pork in September 2020 after the first ASF case was confirmed in wild animals, leaving Germany to focus on sales within the European Union.
5. A mysterious illness is killing songbirds across the eastern United States with no idea of what is behind the deaths. So far, there have been no reports of the illness in poultry flocks. However, Ohio State Veterinarian (Interim) Dr. Dennis Summers says it is very important for poultry producers to keep a close watch on their flock for potential outbreaks and symptoms. Summers says it is possible the illness could spread to poultry. His advice: Protect your flock from wild birds to keep them and the food supply safe.
6. And having trouble sleeping at night? You are probably not alone especially when it comes to your farming operation. Check out this week’s column by Darren Frye as he looks at the top 7 decisions that keep farmers up at night.
7. And something extra to talk about this weekend:
Rani, is a fully grown 23-month-old Bhutanese cow, has been drawing crowds lately despite local COVID-19 restrictions.
The dwarf heifer, which has recently become a social media sensation, is in the process of being verified by Guinness World Records as the world's shortest cow, according to BBC News. Crowds have been flocking to the cattle farm in Charigram in Bangladesh.
Rani stands a mere 20 inches (51 centimeters) tall, meaning that, once her measurements are verified, she will easily break the record set by Manikyam, a 24-inch-tall (61 cm) Vechur cow in India who is the current Guinness World Record holder. She's also quite the lightweight, at just 57 pounds (26 kilograms)