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US agriculture still waiting on immigration reform

US agriculture still waiting on immigration reform

Leaders in the House and Senate are vowing that immigration reform will take a large portion of the legislative spotlight this year.

On Jan. 28, a bipartisan group of eight senators offered proposals to deal with the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the country. Obama will present his own proposals on Tuesday and a group in the House is expected to offer its own ideas soon after.

Under the Senate plan, the 11 million would be brought into legal fold once back taxes and a fine are paid. However, though legal, they would not be able to gain full U.S. citizenship until borders are secure and systems are in place to ensure employers don’t hire an illegal worker. Who will verify that borders are secure, and how that security will be determined, is yet to be hashed out.

The impetus for reform comes after a handful of alarming developments in 2012. For agriculture, those include crops left to rot in fields for lack of picking crews after several states in the Southeast passed laws aimed to curtail illegal immigration.

Perhaps more pressing for lawmakers is long-term Republican Party viability  following a national election where some 70 percent of Latino voters voted for President Obama. Whether the shifting demographics in the country are enough of a push for the GOP to take action is still unknown – especially considering the manner similar reform efforts in 2007 and 2010 were doomed with concerns over illegal immigrants gaining “amnesty.”

The  “no amnesty” killing stroke for reform legislation in recent years – prompted by a controversial 1986 law that legalized millions of illegal immigrants -- was acknowledged by Arizona Sen. John McCain on Monday. The current approach by the Senate would not repeat “the mistakes of 1986,” said McCain.

For agriculture, the need for immigration reform has been too long in coming.

National Farmers Union, “is very pleased to see that the bipartisan group of Senators came together and recognized that immigration is such an important issue for this Congress,” says Chandler Goule, NFU vice president of Government Affairs. “We’re also pleased to see that the group specified and identified agriculture as a unique sector that not only relies on immigrant labor but will be significantly impacted in a proper manner.

“We look forward to working with the Senate to make sure we get a good reform and immigration policy in place. At the same time, we must maintain a labor workforce in order to continue to have productive agriculture system.”

Agriculture waiting

Kristi Boswell, American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) director of Congressional Relations, is, “encouraged by the Senate process and appreciate they recognize agriculture’s unique needs.”

In 2012, the AFBF began formulating its own labor plan and recruited other farm-friendly groups to the cause.

“For too long, we have dealt with the shortcomings of a broken farm labor system,” said Bob Stallman, AFBF president at the organization’s annual meeting in January. “The results have been labor shortages, lost crops and bureaucratic nightmares. … This year, we will offer a reasonable, practical and common-sense farm labor option that works for growers and workers alike.”

Last November, Boswell told Farm Press that the AFBF, “has worked over the past year to find a solution that works for all of agriculture. (We’ve looked for) something that works for a small grower in California and a dairy farmer in upstate New York.

“As components of that, we must address the long-term and a transitionary, short-term period. Part of the long-term is a new agricultural worker program that mimics the domestic workforce allowing growers to offer contracts and hire at-will. It also is a more market-based and flexible program in regard to labor standards and distinguishing factors from the H2-A program.

“It is not an H2-A reform but remedies the failings of H2-A. We feel it will be a better alternative to the H2-A program.”

In the short-term, said Boswell, “we recognize there is a large percentage of our workforce that is here falsely documented. We must have a transition period and a workforce that can pass an E-Verify test while implementing the agricultural worker program.”

The AFBF has proposed work authorization for “a limited population of key workers that have agricultural experience and will continue to work in agriculture to remain in status on what we call an ‘ag card.’”

Boswell envisions the card would be biometric and carried to prove work authorization. “This would not be an H2-A reform but a new program. It would remedy the failings of H2-A and provide more flexibility than the H2-A program provides.”

Is the “ag card” still a possibility under the Senate group’s proposal?

“Absolutely,” says Boswell. “The summary (of the Senate proposal) made the point that the current agricultural workforce needs an incentive to stay in ag and an expedited path. It also recognizes the need for an agricultural worker program that works into the future and really addresses agriculture’s needs.

“The devil’s in the details, of course. We’re working extensively with (California Sen. Diane Feinstein and Florida Sen. Mark Rubio) to put the pieces of that together and what the details of that will look like.”

When might that be prepared? Weeks or months?

“I don’t know of an exact time frame but very, very soon,” says Boswell. “We’re working as fast as we can (on the agriculture side). Others are working on other specific areas (in immigration reform).”

More Past Master Farmers Revealed

More Past Master Farmers Revealed

Smokey Bear had it right – "Only you can prevent forest fires." Borrowing from that famous line, "Only you can nominate Indiana Master Farmers." The nomination must come from a reader or viewer who wants to see someone receive the recognition they deserve.

New nominations for 2013 are due postmarked Feb. 15. There's still time if you start now. Quality nominations are needed to uphold the integrity of the program. It's co-sponsored by Indiana Prairie Farmer and the Purdue University College of Agriculture. You will find the nomination form and all you need to know on the left hand column on the Indiana Prairie Farmer home page. Just click on 'Master Farmer.'

Smokey Bear had it right – "Only you can prevent forest fires." Borrowing from that famous line, "Only you can nominate Indiana Master Farmers." The nomination must come from a reader or viewer who wants to see someone receive the recognition they deserve. New nominations for 2013 are due postmarked Feb. 15. There's still time if you start now. Quality nominations are needed to uphold the integrity of the program. It's co-sponsored by Indiana Prairie Farmer and the Purdue University College of Agriculture. You will find the nomination form and all you need to know on the left hand column on the Indiana Prairie Farmer home page. Just click on 'Master Farmer.' Meanwhile, here is the fourth in a series of a rundown of past award winners. For 1995: James Reed, Donald Rettinger, Herman Rettinger, Roland Seiler, Brad Starr For 1996: Paul Brocksmith (deceased), Donald Gurtner, Kenneth Phares, James Smoker For 1997: William W. Erwin, George W. Krom III, Donald E. Morehouse, Tom Roney For 199

Meanwhile, here is the fourth in a series of a rundown of past award winners.

For 1995: James Reed, Donald Rettinger, Herman Rettinger, Roland Seiler, Brad Starr

For 1996: Paul Brocksmith (deceased), Donald Gurtner, Kenneth Phares, James Smoker

For 1997: William W. Erwin, George W. Krom III, Donald E. Morehouse, Tom Roney

For 1998: James Bell, Gregg Graham, Hubert McGaughey, Joe Vieck

For 1999: Dayton Merrell, Myron Moyer, John A. Norton, Paul D. Smith

For 2000: L. David Allyn, Joe Huber (deceased), David A. Minich, Joseph M. Russell

For 2001: Dennis Carnahan, Kendell Culp, Lynn Stockwell, Norman Voyles Sr.

For 2002: Kenneth L. 'Kenny' Ames, Mike Beard, David A. Buck, Milroy (deceased), Dave Forgey

For 2003: David A. Buck, Lafayette (deceased), Bruce Moody, Richard (Dick) Nash, David Williamson

For 2004: Mike Brocksmith, Wilber Hoeing, Bert Holsapple (deceased), Clark Sennett

Many of these people are still active in their operations. For example, while slowing down, Lynn Stockwell and his wife still feed calves daily at the family dairy now operated by their son and grandson. In fact, when the calf barn was constructed, a roof was placed over the open concept barn. It was the only way Lynn would agree to keep feeding calves!

Beef producers learn finer points of bull selection at workshop

Dr Jason Cleere Texas AampM AgriLife Extension Service beef cattle specialist discusses skeletal structure during a bull workshop held recently in College Station
<p> Dr. Jason Cleere, Texas A&amp;M AgriLife Extension Service beef cattle specialist, discusses skeletal structure during a bull workshop held recently in College Station.</p>

Purchasing a bull can be a difficult and sometimes expensive proposition for a beef cattle producer. However, ranchers got an inside look at how to overcome some of these challenges at a recent workshop held in College Station by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.

“We have a lot of breeds of cattle in the U.S. and different cattle work well in different environments,” said Dr. Jason Cleere, AgriLife Extension beef cattle specialist, who led the workshop with Dr. Jason Banta, AgriLife Extension beef cattle specialist at Overton.

Approximately 50 producers attended the workshop, and organizers said the strong numbers will lead to organizing a fall workshop. Cleere discussed the different types of retail beef available to consumers – prime, choice and select – which is more prevalent at grocery stores, he said.

When selecting a bull, Cleere said, “I encourage you to look at the big picture.”

Fertility and potential calf birth weights are just a few of several points to study.

“Genetic potential for growth and price per pound are other things to consider,” he said.

Cleere advised producers to avoid buying bulls with an unknown background. He said producers should consider buying from a breeder who specializes in producing quality genetics for commercial operations.

Next, consider how much you are willing to pay for a bull.

“How much do I spend? I like to turn this around and say how much do I invest in a bull?” Cleere said.

Half of the genetics from a cow herd will be generated from the female and the other half from the bull.

“That bull is over half of your calf crop,” Cleere said. “Folks spend $1,500 to $2,000 on replacement females and then gripe about spending $1,500 on a bull. He makes a huge impact on the genetics of a commercial cow herd.”

He said breed type, individual performance data, pedigree and visual appraisal are some of the items to consider when purchasing a bull.

“You are not going to use all of it during selection, (just) those that apply to the goals of your operation,” he said.

Expected Progeny Differences or EPDs are also used in bull selection. These are an estimated measure of the genetic impact of a parent on the offspring. EPDs provide an average number for birth weight, yearling weight and milk weight for an animal and vary depending on breed type.

Another point to consider is what is the best breed type?

“That’s the million dollar question,” Cleere said. “Because we don’t have a controlled environment in Texas, we have different types of cattle that are best suited for different parts of the state.”

Those areas include the Trans-Pecos, High Plains, Central Texas, East Texas, Gulf Coast and South Texas, he said.

“There are different types and kinds of cattle as we move across the state,” Cleere said. “We end up with different types of calves.”

Heterosis or hybrid vigor also plays a big role in cattle selection for Texas ranchers, he added.

“The more harsh your environmental conditions are, the more important heterosis is,” Cleere said. “Hybrid vigor is very important.”

Help available for April soybean plantings

Soybean growers looking ahead to their 2013 crop now have help in deciding which of the dozens of varieties might work best when planted early and in the conditions particular to their farms.

“Each year, numerous soybean varieties are commercially available to growers in Arkansas,” said Jeremy Ross, Extension soybean agronomist for the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture. “However, only a limited number of soybean varieties have been tested in Arkansas at April plantings.”

“Yield performance in April plantings varies according to location, adaptability to soils, relative maturity, lodging, shattering potential, disease and nematode resistance, as well as herbicide and chloride sensitivity,” he said.

Early planting was a key factor in 2012’s record 43-bushel per acre statewide average yield. In 2012, about 60 percent of the state’s soybean crop was planted by May 1. Typically, only 25 percent is planted by May 1.

To help growers compare the varieties’ qualities, Ross has “Soybean Updates” available online with charts containing two years’ worth of performance data for early planting from the 2011 and 2012 University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture soybean variety testing program.

They are:

To learn more about crop production, contact your county Extension office, or visit www.uaex.edu

ASA Backs Bill Eliminating Duplicative Pesticide Permit Requirements

 

The American Soybean Association (ASA) welcomes legislation introduced yesterday from Senate Agriculture Committee members Pat Roberts (R-KS), and Mike Johanns (R-NE) that amends the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) to eliminate the duplicative pesticide permitting requirements under the Clean Water Act. The bill, S. 175, will ensure that Clean Water Act permits are not needed for the applications of pesticides currently registered under FIFRA. ASA President Danny Murphy, a soybean farmer from Canton, Miss., issues the following statement on the legislation: 

“The elimination of these redundant pesticide permitting requirements has been a priority for ASA since 2010, and we are very supportive of Sens. Roberts and Johanns in their efforts to reduce the red tape for our farmers. Farmers are always willing to cooperate with regulations based on sound science and grounded in practical, real-world farming practices. This legislation will remove the uncertainty that the current system creates, while leaving well-established rules in place to effectively protect the environment. We commend Sens. Roberts and Johanns on their work, and call on the Senate to pass this bill quickly.”

Easy To Use Crop Budgets

Easy To Use Crop Budgets

The North Dakota State University Extension Service has a spreadsheet online that you can use to compare projected crop profits.

You can plug your own yields, input costs and projected prices in the spreadsheet or use the figures that NDSU Extension farm management specialists have set up for nine different regions in North Dakota.

The program uses the direct costs and yields from the 2013 projected crop budgets for nine regions of North Dakota, but producers are encouraged to enter the expected yields and input costs for their farm.

Easy To Use Crop Budgets

The user designates a reference crop and enters its expected market price. Depending on the region, a broad selection of nine to 18 crops are compared. The program provides the prices for competing crops that would be necessary to provide the same return over variable costs as the reference crop.

"Producers can compare these 'break-even' prices to expected market prices to see which crop is most likely to compete with the reference crop," says Andy Swenson, NDSU Extension Service farm management specialist. "Input costs and grain prices can move quickly. The program provides a tool for producers to check the changing scenarios until final planting decisions are made this spring."

It should be noted that an underlying assumption is that fixed costs, such as machinery ownership, land, and the owner's labor and management, do not vary among crop choices and therefore do not need to be included in the analysis.

 "In practice, there may be differences in fixed costs that should be considered," Swenson says. "For example, there may be additional labor, management and risk associated with a competing crop. If all the labor and management is provided by the owner-operator, it would be considered a fixed cost and could be excluded. However, the producer should add some cost if he or she would only want to produce the crop when an adequate reward would be received for the extra time and management required relative to the reference crop."

A similar rationale could be used if a competing crop is considered higher risk.

The Crop Compare program is available on the Web.

Also, all of the 2013 crop budgets are available here.

'Scarecrow' Corn Gene Discovery May Boost Crop Yields By 50%

&#039;Scarecrow&#039; Corn Gene Discovery May Boost Crop Yields By 50%

Thomas Slewinski is onto something very big for agriculture and global food production. The Cornell University plant biology researcher has discovered a maize (corn) gene that could lead to new varieties of staple crops with 50% higher yields. It has huge implications for feeding a projected word population of 9.5 billion people by 2050.

The gene, called Scarecrow, is in C4 plants such as corn, sorghum, sugarcane and certain grasses. It controls a special leaf structure, known as Kranz anatomy, which helps these plants convert carbon dioxide for more efficient photosynthesis than C3 plants, explains Slewinski. C3 food crops include rice, wheat, barley and potatoes.

SCARECROW FOUND HERE: Thomas Slewinski discovered Scarecrow genes in these maize plants that may be used to re-engineer many food crops and greatly increase C3 plant yields in hot, dry climates.

"Researchers have been trying to find the underlying genetics of Kranz anatomy so we can engineer it into C3 crops," elaborates Slewinski, a researcher in the Cornell lab of Plant Biologist Robert Turgeon.

"There's still a lot to be learned," adds Turgeon. "But now the barn door is open and you are going to see people working on this Scarecrow pathway."

The promise of transferring C4 mechanisms into C3 plants has been scientifically pursued and funded on a global scale for decades. C3 plants can't grow in hot, dry areas because an in-plant enzyme, commonly referred to as RuBisCO, incorporates more oxygen than carbon as temperatures increase. That leads to photorespiration, causing a net loss of carbon and nitrogen and limiting growth.

Genetic engineering potential|
If C4 photosynthesis is successfully transferred to C3 plants through genetic engineering, it would make C3 plants better suited to drought, intense sunlight, heat and low nitrogen rates. Farmers could grow wheat and rice in hotter, dryer environments with less fertilizer, while possibly increasing yields by half, contend Slewinski and Turgeon.

By looking closely at plant evolution and anatomy, Slewinski recognized that the bundle sheath cells in leaves of C4 plants were similar to endodermal cells surrounding vascular tissue in roots and stems.

Slewinski found experimental maize with Scarecrow genes that governed endodermal cells in roots.

Next step is to successfully transfer those genes into C3 crops and develop new varieties. The study was funded by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

McCarty Family Farms Earns Award for Innovation

McCarty Family Farms Earns Award for Innovation

The McCarty Family Farms, a family-owned dairy farm in western Kansas, was recognized as the 2013 Innovative Dairy Farmer of the Year, an award co-sponsored by the International Dairy Foods Association  and Dairy Today magazine. The Kansas Department of Agriculture nominated the McCarty Family Farms for the award, which honors active dairy farms in the United States that are improving efficiency through forward-thinking management practices, production technologies or marketing programs.

"Tom and Judy McCarty took a risk and moved from rural Pennsylvania to the plains of Kansas in 1999 to give their four sons the opportunity to fulfill their goals of being dairy farmers," said Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Dale Rodman. "Thirteen years later, the McCarty Family Farms has become an innovative leader in the Kansas dairy sector and a key component in three western Kansas communities, Bird City, Rexford and Scott City, creating steady jobs and a boost to the rural economies."

"Tom and Judy McCarty took a risk and moved from rural Pennsylvania to the plains of Kansas in 1999 to give their four sons the opportunity to fulfill their goals of being dairy farmers," said Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Dale Rodman. "Thirteen years later, the McCarty Family Farms has become an innovative leader in the Kansas dairy sector and a key component in three western Kansas communities, Bird City, Rexford and Scott City, creating steady jobs and a boost to the rural economies."

In 2010, the McCarty family began discussions with the Dannon Company, the top selling yogurt maker in the United States, which resulted in a multi-year agreement for the McCarty's to become the sole supplier for fresh milk at Dannon's yogurt plant in Fort Worth, Texas.  As a result of the agreement, the McCarty's built a milk processing plant at the Rexford dairy in 2011 that will enable them to exclusively and directly supply Dannon with condensed skim milk and pasteurized cream.

Currently, the McCarty's process approximately 500,000 pounds of milk each day from around 59,000 gallons of raw milk that comes from all three dairy locations. Condensing milk at the processing plant allows the McCarty's to reclaim 39,000 gallons of water daily and has reduced the number of trucks needed to ship milk by 75 percent.~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~

At McCarty Family Farms, Secretary Rodman said animal care and well-being is a top priority. Staff at each of the locations has completed the Dairy and Beef Quality Assurance certifications. The McCarty dairies are among the fewer than 20 dairies in the country that have completed the Validus Animal Welfare Review Certification, an intensive animal welfare training program that was developed by dairy experts and is regularly reviewed by world renowned animal welfare expert Temple Grandin.

"By receiving certification for these science-based, industry-led animal care and handling guidelines, the McCarty's have demonstrated a true commitment to not only providing their animals with the highest quality of care but also to basing their production practices on the latest science," Secretary Rodman said.

Secretary Rodman said the McCartys have made significant investment to become more efficient but have also made investments in their more than 100 employees and in their communities. McCarty Family Farms has put a priority on making long-term hires, focusing on hiring individuals with families and providing them with dynamic benefits, including competitive wages and health benefits, paid vacations, opportunities for bonuses, flexible work hours and a generous housing package.

"By making it a priority to invest in their employees, the McCarty dairies have created happier, healthier work and home environments for their employees, who in turn, generate economic growth in their local economies," Rodman said. "Expansion of the McCarty dairies has also led to increased enrollment in schools, small business expansion and regional economic growth. The McCarty model to build environmentally responsible, socially sustainable, economically thriving rural communities can be a model for other dairy farms in Kansas and across the nation."

Drought Is On Everybody's Mind at Graziers Conference

Drought Is On Everybody&#039;s Mind at Graziers Conference

Drought was the topic on everybody's mind as the Kansas Graziers Association held its 2013 Winter Conference in Salina on Jan. 19. The theme of the conference was "Back to the Basics of Grazing Management."

"Drought is mind consuming; every conversation begins and ends with the weather," said David Kraft, Natural Resources Conservation Service state rangeland management specialist. Drought is defined as precipitation less than 75 percent of the average, Kraft said, "The current drought can be traced back to August of 2010."

"Landscape is the most precious commodity," summarized rancher Alexander, "It's how we manage this together and have a grazing plan that will affect the outcome."

Kraft said a person should always manage a pasture in one of three ways to improve the vigor of a plant.  First, you are preparing for a drought, second, you are under the influence of drought, or finally you are recovering from a drought.

Kraft gave a set of steps to approach a drought management plan.

First, define the ranch or forage enterprise and define the animal enterprise. Identify the ranch's risk possibilities and ability to endure those risks. Be aware of the general health and genetics of the livestock as well as the health and type of forage they are consuming.

Be sure you know your trigger dates. Dormancy usually occurs in October and plants start to grow around April 1.

Kraft said that 70% of rainfall in Kansas occurs between April and September and about 70 percent of production of rangeland occurs by July 1, which is roughly midpoint of grazing season.

"However, you need to remember that cows don't follow the calendar and you need to be aware of conditions as well as dates," Kraft said.

He said ranchers should identify decisions to be made when conditions dictate. That includes destocking, culling, early weaning or using a set aside forage resource if you are in drought. He said it is important to write a drought management plan.~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~

South Central Kansas Rancher Ted Alexander, in his presentation named "Drought Survival 101", stated his suggestions for drought-proofing a ranch, which include keep records, know your grazing principles, and have positive energy. "Do not wait or hope for rain," Alexander said. "Try doing what nature would want us to do."

For record keeping, Alexander has reported the rainfall for Barber County to the National Weather Service since 1986, and with this information he is able to determine the amount of rest his pasture needs. He said on an average year sections of his rangeland only needed to rest for 60 days, but now he has estimated a rest period up to 300 days for his land.

According to Dwayne Rice, NRCS state rangeland management specialist, rest is defined as the absence of grazing animals, while recovery can only take place when the plants are being rested and actively growing.

"Rest is the most important thing," Alexander said.  "We are now looking at our landscapes as communities, how do we contribute to the community?" Alexander likes the flexibility of management intensive grazing (MiG) (emphasis on the 'management'), because he is able to move the livestock off a section of rangeland as needed.

Dale Strickler, an agronomist for Star Seed Inc., said "rotational grazing often becomes rotational overgrazing."

Move livestock before you think you need to, one day of overgrazing is equal to one extra week of rest, Strickler said. Knowing when to move livestock off the pasture or rangeland is important to the grasses' health, and in order to do that task well we must know more about the plants.

Strickler explained that there are three parts of a plant life cycle: vegetative, reproduction and dormant. The vegetative stage has the highest quality of nutrition for an animal. The reproductive stage is lower quality, but the growing points on the plants become elevated and they start to produce seed heads, said Strickler. "MiG has a chance to do harm to the plant during the reproductive stage," said Strickler.

The dormant stage has the lowest quality of nutrition for the animal, and the plant is in a non-growing period. All the carbohydrates and non-structural protein is moved underground, but the plant becomes very tolerant to defoliation, Strickler said.

In terms of grazing principles, Alexander said on his ranch the average annual rainfall is 21 inches. If the year has rainfall that is less than 80 percent of average, he decreases the stocking rate by 30 percent. If rainfall is 60 percent less than average he suggests decreases stocking rate by 40 to 50 percent.  The stocking rate is defined as the area of land allotted to each animal for the grazing period.~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~

Alexander said the "new norm" may be dryer and warmer weather and we must adapt to that "new norm."  "If the worst happens, at least we have a plan," he said.

To conclude the day, Rice described the different types of grazing systems and how they worked.

Under a continuous grazing plan the livestock can go wherever they want to in the pasture, but the land is only moderately stocked. It takes minimal management practices, but it is difficult for the pasture to have enough rest time, Rice said.

A patch burn grazing system is when the pasture is divided into three sections. Each year a different section is burned, so livestock go to the burned area to graze while another section gets rest, he said. This system does increase animal performance, but does have higher per acre cost of burning, Rice said.

Early intensive grazing means one herd per pasture. The stocking rate is doubled, but cattle are removed around July 15th so the land can get late season rest, Rice said. Switchback grazing is having four pastures for three herds, he said. Pastures are rotated seasonally or annually, said Rice.

MiG or rotational grazing is giving one herd four or more paddocks to graze on; when the grass gets grazed to a certain point the livestock are moved into a different paddock, Rice said. This requires a higher degree of management, but the pasture or rangeland has very long periods of rest.

Finally, there is mob grazing, which refers to short-duration, high-intensity grazing of many cattle on a small area of pasture moved several times a day to new forage." Rice said, this system uses temporary fences, but does have potential for improving soil quality.

"Any system works well, but all can be abused," Rice emphasized, "All systems require management."

"Landscape is the most precious commodity," summarized rancher Alexander, "It's how we manage this together and have a grazing plan that will affect the outcome."

The Kansas Graziers Association Annual Conference was co-sponsored by the Kansas Rural Center, Kansas Farmers Union, Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition, and Kansas Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Alternative Crops.

New Farrowing, Gestation Stalls From Osborne Industries

New Farrowing, Gestation Stalls From Osborne Industries

Osborne Industries, Inc. has added farrowing and gestation stalls to their growing line of swine production equipment. The introduction of this new equipment ties into Osborne's "Single Source Swine SolutionsT,"an innovative line of swine management products, equipment and services for the global swine industry. 

New farrowing stalls by Osborne address the two major economic concerns in farrowing: pre-wean mortality and sow appetite. The layout of Osborne's farrowing stall provides preferred laying areas for piglets to keep warm on Osborne's StanfieldR Heat Pads.

The layout also provides a way to keep piglets away from the sow, preventing crush loss. A recessed section of the creep area accepts specific sizes of Osborne's heat pads so the pads remain flush with the surrounding flooring, giving piglets sure footing away from the sow. Sows are allowed to remain cooler due to the heat pad's placement, which helps her increase feed intake and produce more milk for the litter.

The layout also provides a way to keep piglets away from the sow, preventing crush loss. A recessed section of the creep area accepts specific sizes of Osborne's heat pads so the pads remain flush with the surrounding flooring, giving piglets sure footing away from the sow. Sows are allowed to remain cooler due to the heat pad's placement, which helps her increase feed intake and produce more milk for the litter.

The flooring under the sow is comprised of a two-piece, self-supporting cast iron system that provides sows with stability and keeps them from slipping.

Also, an adjustable rump bar allows for sizing sows; smaller animals can be kept toward the front of the farrowing stalls to protect piglets at the back end of the stall.

Osborne's new gestation stalls enhance sow comfort and allow easier access for farm personnel to perform routine tasks. The stall features a walk-through back gate and low back sides for easy breeding and pregnancy checking. The gestation stalls have no sharp edges and no floor straps for animals to lie on. Vertical rods at the front of the stalls reduce nose-to-nose contact between animals which helps minimize the risk of spreading infections or disease. The gestation stalls also feature standard feed pipes and horizontal top bars to further strengthen each stall in the row.

The gestation and farrowing stalls are among Osborne's newly released products, including nursery and farrowing flooring and steel penning, that were custom designed by Osborne engineers to increase efficiency in modern pork production.

"Osborne is truly a 'Single Source Swine Solutions' provider by now offering everything a producer needs in modern pork production," stated Tom Kober, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Osborne. "We are thrilled to now offer our turn-key services to the industry worldwide."

Osborne Industries of Osborne is a 100% employee-owned company specializing in the manufacture and development of advanced livestock management equipment and turn-key services for the worldwide pork industry.

For more information about Osborne and its innovative "Single Source Swine Solutions," visit Osborne's website, or e-mail info@osborne-ind.com.