The Buzz

Kansas soybeans, poor winter wheat and BSE. Bill Spiegel

Published on: Jan 12, 2004

In the wake of last month's bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) announcement, the ag reporters at WIBW Radio in Topeka sponsored a BSE Forum in conjunction with the Topeka Farm Show last week. Someone should have told the folks at the Kansas Expocentre something about public relations - on the marquee in front of the Centre's Ag Hall was the description: "Mad Cow Forum."

  • The Kansas Livestock Association, National Cattleman's Beef Association and other livestock groups have worked tirelessly to replace "Mad Cow" with "BSE"...
  • Five panel members, representing Kansas Animal Health Department, KLA, Kansas State University and NCBA agree that export markets are lost in the short-term, causing a 15% (or more) drop in fed cattle prices. However, the damage would have been far worse had U.S. consumers not continued their faith in our beef...
  • New rules could be a hardship for beef producers, particularly the downer rule, which states no non-ambulatory animals will be allowed into the food chain. According to KAHD head George Teagarden, these animals must be buried, burned or composted...
  • One of the 200 or so in the audience asked if "burned meant barbecue." Teagarden didn't respond...
  • The Kansas Soybean Expo also was held in conjunction with the Farm Show. Hot topics included soybean rust and soybean aphids...
  • Aphids you may have to worry about this season; rust probably won't be a problem for another year or two. Rust is devastating, according to Richard Wright, with the National Plant Health Initiative: when conditions are optimum, a soybean plant could be dead within 18 days of inoculation...
  • Soybean Cyst Nematode continues to wreak havoc in eastern Kansas. One farmer tells me that resistant varieties do not work as well as rotation...
  • Folks at the Kansas Soybean Commission and Association had samples of "Silk" for Expo attendees to try. Silk is soy milk and I'd have to say, it's not too bad. Most folks prefer the vanilla; I'm a chocolate Silk fan. You may be able to pick up a package at your local grocery store...
  • A report from the Associated Press indicates that drought – again – is wreaking havoc with the winter wheat crop. Twenty-one percent of the crop was rated poor by the Kansas Agricultural Statistics Service...
  • Some of the crop in northwest Kansas has yet to germinate and there is no snow cover, prompting worry about topsoil and wheat seeds blowing away during winter winds...
  • Unfortunately, moisture prospects in Jan. and February are grim, according to state climatologist Mary Knapp, who spoke at the Soybean Expo...
  • "March is critical," she says. "In most locations, our moisture in December, January and February don't equal what we get in March. If we get normal moisture in March, the situation won't be near as dire."