Blog Archives

Jackson’s Orchard

 

Kristin talks with Jonathan Price to discuss the apples at Jackson’s Orchard! Check out our 2014 interview with Bill Jackson, Jon’s grandfather and mentor, at https://youtu.be/X0hClePDK6A and make plans to visit soon to see all that has changes (and all that has stayed just perfect as it was).

“The orchard has been here for 53 years, going on 54. My grandparents bought it as an old run down farm. I’ve been here, I’ve been a part of it most of my life. I haven’t had a job outside of this.”

“To his (Bill Jackson, Jonathan’s grandfather) credit, if I’d spent 50 years building something, I’d be rather hesitant for somebody else to come in. He has very graciously given me plenty of opportunities to succeed and plenty of opportunities to fail. I’ve done both.”

“We were pruning trees one winter. Pruning trees is a long, tedious process. We had a nice day and got asked if a couple of us wanted to go play golf. I snapped back with no and stayed and pruned while the rest went to play golf. Then I’m sitting by myself pruning trees and began to wonder why I decided to stand here and prune trees instead.”

“I have 5 guys that are with me in the orchard everyday. I can’t say enough about them and what they bring to the table. I couldn’t do it without them.”

“We’re teaching the children what a good apple is, and we hope that later on in life they’ll eat apples, remember having them as a kid, and like them.”

Download the recipe for Joanna’s Apple Spinach Salad here!

 

2017-2018 Kentucky Agricultural Economic Situation & Outlook

Contributors: Kenny Burdine, Todd Davis, Jerry Pierce, Will Snell, Tim Woods, (Ag Economics), Jeff Stringer, Bobby Ammerman, Chad Niman, and Billy Thomas (Forestry)

U.S. Agricultural Economy

The U.S. agricultural economy entered 2017 following three straight years of declining income and prices, after an unprecedented/record breaking period of growth during the 2007-2013 period. USDA is projecting 2017 net farm income to total $63.2 billion, up $1.7 billion (+2.7%) relative to 2016, but still off nearly 50% from the record high established in 2013. U.S. ag cash receipts are forecast to be 2.4% higher in 2017 in response to improved livestock sales (+7.6%) versus slightly lower crop receipts (-2%). Production expenses were up slightly (+1.5%) with higher labor, fuel, livestock, and interest costs, but lower feed, seed, fertilizer and chemical expenses. Government farm payments fell to $11.2 billion (-$1.8 billion) as large declines in Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) payments offset higher Price Loss Coverage (PLC) payments. These direct government payments (excludes crop insurance indemnities) accounted for 17.6% of the U.S. net farm income in 2017 vs 21.1% in 2016.

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Despite a lot of political discussion and ag-related concerns about trade this past year, U.S. agricultural exports rebound to $140.5 billion (+8%), in FY 2017, benefiting from a weaker U.S. dollar, an improving global economy, and abundant U.S. supplies. The U.S. exports agricultural commodities/products to nearly 200 nations, but our top three foreign customers – China, Mexico, and Canada, account for nearly one-half of the U.S. ag export value. Undoubtedly the strong export market helped support ag prices in 2017 in the midst of abundant global  supplies. Any future disruption in trade could put additional downward pressure on prices.

Ag lenders remain cautious in the midst of a prolonged downturn in the farm economy. Relatively low interest rates (along with cash purchases) have constrained growth in farm debt levels and also provided support to land values in the midst of the sharp-downturn in the ag. Despite the slumping farm economy, the overall balance sheet for U.S. agriculture as a whole remains relatively strong compared to the farm crisis days of the early 1980s. However, available cash flow/working capital for lower-tiered managers and some highly leveraged/young producers remains a concern for bankers, especially if the current economic conditions lingers.

Without a major supply shock, prices for most ag commodities will likely remain relatively low in 2018 (compared to levels observed during the 2011-2014 period) in response to abundant global grain supplies, growing meat supplies, and potentially a stronger U.S. dollar.

Politically, agriculture will continue to monitor changes in trade policy, tax, health care, and immigration reform, along with debate over the 2018 farm bill and the increasing concentration among agricultural input suppliers and processors. Food price inflation remained benign in 2017 and is expected to remain below historical levels in 2018 as consumers benefit from intense competition in the grocery sector, abundant ag/food supplies, and continued food marketing efficiencies and innovations.

 Kentucky’s Agricultural Economy

The University of Kentucky’s Department of Agricultural Economics is forecasting that Kentucky ag cash receipts will rebound in 2017 to $5.6 billion, 3.5% higher than last year, but well below the record $6.5 billion in 2014. Improved prices will enable sales growth for most Kentucky livestock enterprises –poultry (+10%), horses (+10%), cattle (+5%), dairy (+12%), and hogs (+11%). Poultry also benefitted from a rebound from avian influenza outbreaks, which constrained growth the past two years. Increased soybean acres and record yields are expected to elevate soybean production to record levels. Potentially record corn yields will help offset lower acres and depressed prices. Kentucky’s tobacco sector rebounded from a poor crop in 2016, with sales expected to once again exceed $300 million.

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Poultry remained Kentucky’s number one ag enterprise, accounting for 20% of projected 2017 sales, followed by equine (18%), soybeans (15%), cattle (14%) and corn (13%). For 2018, Kentucky ag cash receipts are expected to be relatively flat ($5.7 billion) with modest gains in poultry, horses, and soybeans, offsetting expected losses in tobacco, corn, and cattle. Look for continued growing demand for local produce/meats, nursery items, and value-added agriculture.

Kentucky net farm income has followed national trends, falling to $1 billion in 2016 compared to averaging $2.1 billion over the 2013-2015 period. Average net farmincome for farms participating in Kentucky’s Farm Business Management (KFBM) program declined to around $100,000 in 2015 and 2016, down from record highs exceeding $400,000 during 2011-2013, and compared to a ten year average of $283,000. Preliminary indications reveal that KFBM average net farm income will improve modestly in 2017 due primarily to higher crop yields, improved livestock prices, and stable input prices.

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Commodity Spotlights (2017-2018)

 

Beef Cattle

  • Calf prices rallied from fall 2016 levels and are roughly $30 per cwt higher than one year
  • Growth in the beef cow herd still ongoing, but has likely
  • Increases in production for all major meats will pressure beef (and cattle) prices in
  • Backgrounding/stocker operations should be opportunistic on placement and aggressive with price risk management.

Poultry

  • Wholesale broiler prices are up from 2016
  • Sector largely back on track following avian influenza outbreaks in recent
  • Production likely to increase another 2% nationally in 2018, with continued growth in Kentucky.

Hogs

  • Kentucky inventory continues to grow, breeding herd up 7% in 2017.
  • Eastern Corn belt hog prices to average $7 per cwt carcass basis higher in 2017.
  • Sizeable production increase likely at national level for 2018, prices unlikely to hold at 2017 levels.

Equine

  • Equine market has generally been steady since recovering from the global recession.
  • Signs point to strength in 2017 –Keeneland yearling sale up 13%, Fasig Tipton yearling and breeding sale up as well.
  • Equine likely to gross nearly $1 billion in Kentucky farm receipts for 2017, with modest growth in 2018.

Dairy

  • Farm level milk prices increased by more than $1 per cwt in 2017, with lower feed and hay prices leading to improved margins.
  • 2017 was a better year than 2016, but certainly not a good year for dairy producers.
  • Kentucky dairy cow numbers continue to decline.
  • Increase in S. cow numbers and milk per cow suggest another production increase and consequently lower farm prices in 2018.

Corn

  • U.S. corn harvested area reduced by 3.6 million acres in 2017 to 83.1 million acres. A record U.S. yield of 175.4 bu./acre produced the 2nd largest crop of 14.6 billion bushels.
  • Carryout expected to increase to 5 billion bushels, which is the largest quantity since 1987. The stocks-use ratio in 1987 was 55% but is 17% in 2017 because of strong use.
  • The 2017 S. Marketing Year Average Farm Price projected at $3.20/bushel, which is only 5% above the 2006 U.S. MYA price.

Soybeans

  • U.S. soybean planted area increased by 6.8 million acres in 2017 to 90.2 million acres. The 2nd largest U.S. yield of 52.5 bu./acre produced a record crop of 4.4 billion bushels.
  • Carryout expected to increase to 425 million bushels, which is the largest quantity since The stocks-use ratio in 2006 was 19% but is 9.8% in 2017 because of strong use.
  • The 2017 S. Marketing Year Average Farm Price projected at $9.30/bushel which is 45% above the 2006 U.S. MYA price.

Wheat

  • Wheat harvested area reduced by 3 million acres in 2017 to 37.6 million acres. The 2017 yield was also reduced 6.4 bu./acre from last year to 46.3 bu./acre. The 2017 wheat crop is 568 million bushels smaller than last year to 1.7 billion bushels.
  • Carryout expected to decrease by 246 million bushels to 936 million The stocks-use ratio in 2017 is 43.8%, and is below 50% for the first time since 2014.
  • War of attrition on supply side is reducing stocks – not strong growth in
  • The 2017 S. Marketing Year Average Farm Price projected at $4.60/bushel, which is $0.71/bu. higher than last year. However, the 2017 U.S. MYA price is only 8% above the 2006 U.S. MYA price.

Tobacco

  • Global burley supply and demand appears more balanced entering the 2017 marketing season, primarily in response to a 30% reduction in world burley production over the past three years.
  • S. burley demand remains soft with exports down nearly 30% since 2015, domestic cigarette production down 8% so far this year, and imports currently accounting for nearly 2/3 of use by domestic manufacturers.
  • A better quality crop and improved supply/demand balances should result in leaf prices being stable to slightly higher, boosting the value of Kentucky’s tobacco crop to around $350 million in 2017 compared to a post-buyout low of $283 million in 2016.
  • Anticipated ample burley supplies and softening demand will likely reduce U.S. burley contracts in 2018, with modest growth in snuff consumption enabling dark contracts to remain relatively stable.

Fruits, Vegetables and Greenhouse

  • Markets were generally stronger for produce in Kentucky in 2017 as hurricane effects substantially elevated prices for late summer and fall crops.
  • Market signals typically tied to nursery production and services (home improvement market, housing starts) have indicated steady recovery from the most recent recession.
  • Accelerating local food movement and demand for value added products provides additional opportunities for growth, but labor uncertainties remain a major concern potentially constraining future growth.

Forestry

  • Overall forestry sector increased to an estimated $14.5 billion in total economic contribution to Kentucky in 2017 with primary industries including sawmilling showing the largest increase of over 14% from 2016.
  • Exports and high domestic demand for white oak and tie logs will remain strong in 2018 pushing overall timber prices up.
  • Pulpwood markets still sluggish but potential re-opening of Wickliffe pulp and paper plant may positively affect markets in Western Kentucky.

 

Woodland Owners Short Course

Woodland management is focus of UK forestry extension short course

BY CAROL LEA SPENCE
A stream runs through a Kentucky forest.

A stream runs through a Kentucky forest.
PHOTO: Matt Barton
LEXINGTON, Ky., –

Kentucky forests are becoming fragmented, and landowners’ objectives are changing. Woodland owners who are wondering how to get the most from their property can benefit from attending one of three short courses being offered around the state this summer by the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service.

Kentucky boasts nearly 12.5 million acres of forests. More than 300,000 families and individuals own fewer than 10 acres. Well-managed forests can provide extra income and recreational opportunities for their owners, as well as a beneficial environment for wildlife. The 2017 Woodland Owners Short Course will cover all those aspects for both novice and experienced landowners.

“The Woodland Owners Short Course connects professionals with landowners to help the owners achieve their particular management goals, whether that might be recreation, timber harvesting, wildlife or food production,” said Billy Thomas, UK extension forester. “Folks aren’t always aware of all the resources that are available to help them achieve their objectives.”

The one-day course is offered once in each of the three geographical regions of the state. Planning committees have developed the regional programs with local needs in mind, so each region’s course will vary slightly from the others.

Participants can choose from two concurrent tracks, Green and Gold. In Central Kentucky, the Green track will be tailored to landowners with fewer than 10 acres, while the Gold track will target landowners with 10 or more acres. In Eastern and Western Kentucky, landowners who have just acquired woodlands or who are beginning to think about management and wondering what their options are should enroll in the Green Track, while more experienced woodland owners can take advantage of the information available in the Gold Track. Past attendees of the short course will also find valuable information by returning to the course through the Gold Track.

Depending on the track and the region, sessions will cover such topics as timber improvement practices, wildlife habitat management, invasive species, tree identification, hunt leasing, food plots and mushrooms, financial and technical assistance programs and timber sales and trespass issues.

In the east region, the course is scheduled for Aug. 12 in the Laurel County Cooperative Extension office, 200 County Extension Road, London. There will be a field site visit to BPM Lumber Mill. Register by Aug. 4. The west region course is Aug. 26 at the Warren County Extension office, 3132 Nashville Road, Bowling Green, with the field visit to the Lacy Farm. Deadline for registration is July 21. In Central Kentucky, the Sept. 23 course will take place in the Erlanger Branch of the Kenton County Public Library, 401 Kenton Lands Road. The Kenton County Extension property will be the site for the field visit. Registration deadline is Sept. 15.

Each short course begins at 9 a.m. local time, with on-site registration at 8:30 a.m., and concludes around 4:30 p.m. Lunch is included. Due to limited space, organizers strongly encourage preregistration. When preregistering, sessions are $20 for individuals and $30 for couples. The day of the program, sessions are $30 for individuals and $40 for couples.

For a detailed listing of course topics at each location and to register, visit the short course website at http://forestry.ca.uky.edu/wosc. Registration is also available by phoning 859-257-7597.

The 2017 Woodland Owners Short Course is a partnership between the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service, UK Department of Forestry in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Kentucky Division of Forestry, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, Kentucky State University, Kentucky Tree Farm Committee, Kentucky Woodland Owners Association, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, Kentucky Forest Industries Association, Sustainable Forestry Initiative, the Kentucky Chapter of the Association of Consulting Foresters of America Inc., Merrick Printing, Kenton County Library and Kenton, Laurel and Warren County Cooperative Extension offices.

Livestock

Cattle
 Calf values are down roughly 50% from 2014 highs, with efficient operations likely covering cash costs and breeding stock depreciation, but resulting in little to no return to capital, land, and management.
 Recent prices have likely slowed expansion, but beef cow numbers will likely be up again in 2017.
 Look for price improvement in the spring of 2017, but a significant drop from spring to fall given mounting meat supplies.
 Fall 2017 could be the bottom of this price cycle.

livestock

Poultry
 Avian Influenza significantly impacted 2015 export values and bird values which also likely impacted the rate of turnover and replacement in KY operations.
 Receipts should be back on track in 2016 and growth appears to be continuing in 2017.

Equine/Hay
 Horse receipts have been flat for several years, rebounding from the depressed market during the 2009-2012 period.
 September yearling sales were down around 3%, but early November breeding stock sales were solid before slumping at the end when mid to lower quality horses were placed on the market.
 Equine sales and receipts are likely to be steady for 2017.
 Alfalfa hay production is down for 2016 with prices slightly higher for higher quality hay. Grass hay production is likely steady with prices a bit lower. The wet spring and dry fall impacted quality and quantity across the state.

Hogs
 Year-over-year prices were down about 10% in 2016, with the largest differences in the beginning and end of the year.
 USDA Hogs and Pigs report suggested significant growth in hog numbers in KY for 2016.
 Fourth quarter hog slaughter has pushed slaughter capacity and drastically impacted hog prices.
 Price improvement is likely in 2017 as some new plants begin operations and growth in KY hog numbers is likely to continue.

Dairy
 KY mailbox dairy prices for 2016 were down 12 to 13% from 2015 levels.
 The first significant payments were made from MPP-Dairy program this past summer, but most KY dairy producers chose very low coverage levels and did not receive any payments.
 Some improvement in prices occurred in the second half of 2016 and is likely to continue into 2017.

Source: 2016-2017 Kentucky Agricultural Economic Situation and Outlook, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment

Tobacco Blue Mold Moving Up East Coast

Blue mold of tobacco was found last week in Caswell County, located in central North Carolina. This is further north than its previous known locations in Florida and Georgia.

The pathogen that causes blue mold is an obligate oomycete, meaning that it requires a living host and it is relatively closely related to Pythium and Phytophthora (the black shank pathogen). A few modern burley varieties have partial resistance to blue mold, but none have what we would consider high resistance; there is no resistance at all in dark tobacco.

Since blue mold is blown in our direction during moist, windy weather, growers are reliant on fungicides for disease management. These options include Quadris, Revus, Forum, Manzate, Orondis Ultra (NOT Gold), Actigard, Aliette, and Presidio. For guidance on choosing a blue mold fungicide, please refer to PPFS-AG-T-08.

Scouting for Blue Mold

Tobacco growers and Extension agents should scout tobacco fields for blue mold in the coming days, particularly since many areas of Kentucky have had rainy weather recently. Focus searches in areas where the pathogen will encounter disease-conducive environments:

  • Low spots
  • Areas with partial shade
  • Lower leaves
  • Field locations where water tends to drain slowly

Figure 1: Yellow-orange lesions with indistinct borders on the tops of affected burley tobacco leaves (Photo: Chuck Johnson, Virginia Tech).

Figure 2: Blue-gray sporulation of the blue mold pathogen on the underside of burley tobacco leaves (Photo: Chuck Johnson, Virginia Tech).

Look for yellow to orange spots on tops of lower leaves (Figure 1), and then turn leaves over to check for blue-gray, somewhat fuzzy sporulation (Figure 2). Sporulation is more abundant under humid conditions, so scouting is most effective when done in early morning or late afternoon. The more recently set plantings will be more susceptible to infection by the blue mold pathogen. However, all tobacco may be considered at-risk, especially crops located east of I-75.

If you suspect tobacco blue mold, please get in touch with your county Extension agent as soon as possible to facilitate rapid identification of this important tobacco disease.

Additional Information

  • 2016 Fungicide Guide For Burley And Dark Tobacco (PPFS-AG-T-08)
  • Burley and Dark Tobacco Production Guide (ID-190)
  • Maintaining The Efficacy of Foliar Fungicides for Tobacco Disease Management (PPFS-AG-T-05)

 

By Emily Pfeufer, Extension Plant Pathologist