Mid-Atlantic Crop Management School

November 13 – 15, 2012
Princess Royale Oceanfront Hotel and Conference Center
Ocean City, Maryland

The complete program and registration brochure is available online at: http://www.grains.cses.vt.edu/articles/Crop%20School%20Brochure%202012%20Final.pdf

You can register online at https://crayola.hcs.udel.edu/conf/registration/crop_management/ or you can register by faxing in the registration form in the brochure to Gail Knapp at 302-831-2998 or by mailing in the form and payment to Conference Services Attn: Gail Knapp, 104 John M. Clayton Hall, Newark, DE 19716.

Equine Behavior Educational Series

November 5, 7 & 14, 2012     6:30-8:30 pm
Paradee Center, Kent Co Extension Office
Dover, DE

The University of Delaware Cooperative Extension is excited to offer a three-evening educational series this fall on topics related to equine behavior.

Monday, November 5
“Foundations of Equine Behavior” will cover topics such as anatomy and physiology, the workings of the equine brain, normal or natural equine behavior and learning terminology and how horses learn.

Wednesday, November 7
“Handling Behavior Problems” will cover topics such as stereotypies and dealing with common equine behavior issues. This evening will feature a special guest lecturer, Dr. Sue McDonnell from the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center who is nationally known as a researcher and speaker on equine behaviors.

Wednesday, November 14
“Working Effectively with Equine Behavior” will cover topics such as positive versus negative reinforcement, a review of current training approaches and common equine welfare concerns.

Advanced registration is required. The registration fee is $10 per session or all three for $25. Light refreshments and take home materials will be included as part of the registration fee. You may attend just one or all three of the sessions. For more information please contact Susan Garey at (302)730-4000 or truehart@udel.edu or Dr. Carissa Wickens at cwickens@udel.edu.

USDA NRCS Announces Sign-Up for Three Conservation Programs

Sign-up before October 19 for FY 2013 financial assistance.

Applications for three extensive conservation programs are being accepted until October 19, 2012 for funding consideration in FY2013. Delaware producers are encouraged to sign up for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) or Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA) program, which provide financial and technical assistance to address varying conservation priorities.

Although the first application cut-off date is October 19, producers and forest landowners can apply anytime for EQIP, WHIP or AMA at their local USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) office. However, those with applications in before October 19 will have a higher chance of application approval as funding is limited.

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) places a priority on water quality, water conservation and promotes forest management practices and energy conservation. It also provides funding for conservation practices that address air quality concerns from agricultural operations using innovative technologies. Last year, Delaware awarded 241 EQIP contracts totaling $5 million.

The Agricultural Management Assistance Program (AMA) provides payments to agricultural producers to voluntarily address issues such as water quality, water management and erosion control by incorporating conservation practices into their farming operations. Conservation practices eligible for funding include, but are not limited to, nutrient management, cover crops, poultry windbreaks, proper manure storage, composters and conservation cover.

The Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) offers technical and financial assistance to private landowners to develop and improve high quality habitat that supports wildlife populations of significance. Only privately-owned agricultural land and forest land are eligible for WHIP. Eligible practices for funding consideration include conservation cover, windbreaks, filter strips, riparian forest buffers, wetlands restoration and more.

All interested landowners must have an active conservation plan so that their program applications can be considered when funding is made available. A conservation plan is a voluntary technical tool that helps landowners identify conservation measures that provide the greatest conservation benefits on the land.

Practices under AMA, WHIP, and EQIP are offered through a continuous signup, but NRCS periodically makes funding selections as program dollars allow.

To apply for financial assistance, contact your local USDA Service Center. In Sussex County, call 302-856-3990, ext 3; in Kent County, call 302-741-2600, ext. 3; and in New Castle County, call 302-832-3100, ext. 3. Additional information on NRCS programs and services is available on the Delaware NRCS Web site at www.de.nrcs.usda.gov.

UD Extension Welcomes New Nutrient Management Specialist

Amy Shober, Extension Nutrient Management and Environmental Quality Specialist; ashober@udel.edu

My name is Amy Shober and I am the new Nutrient Management and Environmental Quality Extension Specialist at UD. I received a B.S. degree in Environmental Science and a B.A. in Chemistry from Virginia Tech, an M.S. in Crop and Soil Science from Penn State University and a Ph.D. from UD in Environmental Soil Management. I recently returned to Delaware after working for six years with the University of Florida. In Florida, I served as State Extension Specialist in urban nutrient, soil, and water management. I am happy to return to Delaware and to be back working with the agricultural community. Through my applied research program and Extension activities, I seek to help producers use nutrients more efficiently to enhance agricultural productivity while reducing the risk of nutrient losses to the environment. I will also be responsible for the Delaware Nutrient Management Certification Program. I am located in on main campus in Newark, but you will likely see me out and about, working with growers and other Extension personnel throughout the state. I look forward to hearing from you about your nutrient management successes and concerns. You can reach me by email at ashober@udel.edu or by phone (302) 831-2146, or if you happen to be in Newark, I welcome you to stop in and see me at 165 Townsend Hall.

Grain Marketing Highlights – September 21, 2012

Carl German, Extension Crops Marketing Specialist; clgerman@udel.edu

Grain and Oilseeds Rally After Sharp Sell-Off
Grain and oilseed futures contracts continued to decline sharply during Monday’s session. However, commercial and non-commercial buying interest picked up in Tuesday’s overnight session, with a modest rally continuing through Wednesday’s day trade. The recent sell-off dropped near-by new crop corn and soybean futures prices by about $1.00 (+ or -) per bushel since their respective life-of-contract highs were hit on August 10 and September 4. Reasons given for the sell-off are attributed to corn and soybeans being over bought resulting in short covering on the part of non-commercials; new supplies coming on due to ‘harvest pressure’; and a lack of “fresh” news. The good news is that there may be reason to believe that the rally could push prices somewhat higher. Recent Fed action to invest $40 billion a month to buy mortgage backed securities is weakening the value of the dollar which should help U.S. exports. Time will tell regarding investor preferences for either the stock (equities) or commodity markets. Nevertheless, the Fed action was viewed as positive for both markets in the near term. Market volatility remains elevated as a result of the uncertainty in world geopolitics. There too remains uncertainty concerning the eventual impact on the overall economy from QE3.

Other price supporting factors that keep being mentioned by commodity news sources include: dry weather concerns in the Southwestern U.S. which could slow winter wheat planting; dry weather concerns for the Southern Hemisphere which could impact 2013 South American production potential; dry weather concerns in Australia and other wheat producing regions around the world; and China’s appetite for importing more U.S. soybeans. These concerns are currently helping to support the soybean, wheat, and corn futures markets.

Market Strategy
Although one attempts to shed light on expected price direction computer trading seems to be the order of the day. Computer trading is most likely the reason for today’s double digit gains across the board. When price algorithms are hit the computer programs tell the non-commercials (speculators) when to place buy or sell orders. The algorithms are driven by technical indicators. One might surmise then that the trick to determining whether one wants to hold or advance sell orders becomes a matter of following the money. However, it is often stated that eventually fundamentals will take precedence in determining price direction. The only thing known for sure at this point in time, fundamentally, is that the U.S. is harvesting short 2012 corn and soybean crops. The extent of the shortfall won’t be fully known until this year’s U.S. crop is harvested. In the meantime, the corn and wheat markets continue to depict no carry in the forward contract months with SRW wheat futures depicting only a 10 cent carry through the May ‘13 contract before becoming inverted. USDA’s next monthly Supply/Demand report will be released on Thursday, October 11.

The U.S. 2012 corn harvest is expected to hit the 50% mark in next Monday’s crop progress report with soybean harvest to be in the mid-twenties. Weekly U.S. corn and wheat export inspections were viewed as bullish. Soybean export inspections were bearish. The weekly export sales report will be issued by USDA tomorrow (Thursday) morning, September 19. Currently, the day trade closing futures prices for Wednesday afternoon September 18 were: Dec ‘12 corn futures $7.53; Nov ‘12 soybeans $16.70; and July ‘13 SRW wheat futures $8.60 per bushel.

For technical assistance on making grain marketing decisions contact Carl L. German, Extension Crops Marketing Specialist.