Cada vez es más usual que los productores trasladen fauna auxiliar de unas fincas a otras e incluso que mantengan plantas más de un año.
Acercar a estudiantes y científicos a la importancia que tiene la producción de carne de calidad como producto indispensable en la dieta del mexicano, fue el tópico a tratar en el 5º Coloquio Nacional de Ciencia de la Tecnología de la Carne, en donde se reunieron 25 instituciones nacionales e internacionales, representantes de España y Argentina, 16 universidades conectadas en tiempo real, así como representantes de la industria y entidades gubernamentales.
Con el propósito de mejorar el manejo y producción de la carne en México, la Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana (UAM) llevó a cabo este coloquio donde se discutieron temas como la ciencia y calidad de la carne, productos cárnicos como alimentos funcionales, la Industria de la Carne en México, el uso de los antioxidantes naturales para mejorar la conservación de este alimento, aceites y grasas vegetales como ingredientes funcionales en productos cárnicos e inocuidad de la carne, entre otros.
Al respecto Diego Braña, investigador del Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Forestales, Agrícolas y Pecuarias (INIFAP), señaló que "la carne, ya sea de cerdo, res o pollo, es parte fundamental en una dieta equilibrada, ya que contiene nutrientes altamente digestibles y con valor biológico, lo que evita la deficiencia de vitaminas, complejo B y minerales.".
Actualmente los productores de carne se preocupan por la sanidad, salud, bienestar y genética de los animales, con el propósito de impedir que sea trasmisora de enfermedades. Por ejemplo, si un porcicultor no produce cerdos sanos deja de participar en el negocio. Hoy se exportan 80 mil toneladas de cerdo al año principalmente hacía Japón y Corea, mercados muy exigentes, siendo México el 4o exportador en importancia hacia estos países.
"A pesar de todos estos avances, el consumidor continua creyendo que la carne de cerdo es dañina, hoy sabemos que es muy sana y que no se debe de prohibir después de una operación o evitar que los niños la coman. La carne de cerdo es la que menos grasa tiene lo que contribuye a mantener bajo el nivel de colesterol en la sangre", manifestó Braña.
When it comes to price and value comparisons, economists tend to lump products in one of four categories. There are products that sell for a high price and offer low value, which means they are products that don't last long. The same goes for anything that doesn't cost much but isn't worth much, either. A low cost product with a high value is a great deal for the consumer and for producers of the product because the cost of that product will rise.
When both the price of a product and its value is high, the opportunity for profit is great. That's the enviable situation for grassfed beef producers at a time when the niche market is expanding and prices remain higher than similar cuts of conventionally-raised beef, which is finished on grain at a feed lot. Grassfed cows are finished where they start -- in the pasture. That simple fact makes the business of grassfed beef different than that of conventional beef producers.
David Anderson, an agricultural economist with Texas AgriLife Extension Service, said that finishing a cow on grass requires not only more grass, but fewer cows which stay on the grass for a longer time -- often about two years. The break-even point for a conventionally-raised cow is $1.10 compared to $1.26 for a producer of grassfed beef.
"You're spreading the cost over, say, 50 cows instead of a hundred," he told producers at a recent conference on grassfed beef at Texas A&M University. "Your fertilizer costs, feed costs and labor are spread out over fewer cows. It costs more to raise a grassfed cow and the break-even prices are higher."
Still, the higher prices do provide an opportunity, which dozens of producers have exploited over the last several years. Bob Meeks knows both the conventional and grassfed side of the beef business. He came up through the conventional ranks and later worked as a kill-floor foreman for a multinational company at a large processing plant in Kansas, before starting Farm to Market Beef in Kennedy with his wife, Laura.
Meeks said the current market for grassfed beef is about $350 million annually, which is just a drop in the bucket compared to the market for conventional beef.
"I don't believe it will ever be 70 percent of the beef we produce or anything like that," he said. "We would need either a lot more grass or a lot less consumption if we were going to raise all our beef that way."
In his business, Meeks focuses on restaurant sales, which require selling at a higher volume for less value per pound than he would make at farmers markets or other means of direct sales, but which also gives him, in addition to a steady market, exposure to consumers. The costs of owning and operating freezers along with transportation costs, processing fees and basic input costs add up quickly, he said.
"It's time-consuming," he said. "You have to be realistic about the input costs and the amount of time it's going to take you to do everything you have to do. I think it's easier to be either a very small producer or a big one. Right in the middle is the hardest to manage."
Betsy Ross, one of the state's early producers of exclusively grass-finished beef, also grew up in a conventional operation and started her line of beef in 1995. She said about 65 percent of her sales are to Whole Foods Market with another 25 percent coming from People's Pharmacy in Austin. Farm and Internet sales account for the other 10 percent.
"There's a lot to consider before you ever start a grass-based or forage-based operation," she said. "You have to determine how many animals you're going to have and you have to remember that those cows are going to be eating grass every day for two years or so. For us, that means four million pounds of dry matter every year. You have to have quality forage year-round."
The people who go to a restaurant and order steak and the people who shop at Whole Foods are usually in search of the same cuts as the people shopping or eating elsewhere, Anderson said. They want the best cuts and don't care for the offal and other byproducts from the carcass. The producer is selling the whole cow. Some processors will take the offal, for a price, because the overseas market for offal has reached record highs and producers usually don't know what to do with it anyway.
"You get to sell only the best cuts at the premium price," Anderson said. "But you're also selling the hide, the liver, the kidneys, hearts -- the whole cow."
Some experts estimate that the market value of grassfed beef will grow to about $1 billion in the next five years, which makes economists like Anderson wonder just how big the niche market will become and at what point the demand will be satisfied and what the premium will be when that point is reached. Reaching that point will require a lot of work from a lot of grassfed producers, he said.
"Retailers need product 365 days a year," he said. "That's a lot of beef from a lot of cows and calves. It's difficult for producers to supply it all. It costs more to produce and it's in short supply. If we supply a lot of it, the price will go down."
These days the price of raising grassfed beef even higher than it has been because of the drought. Ranchers can't raise grassfed beef without grass and grass can't grow without moisture and half the state is in what is called an "exceptional" drought, the most extreme category. A drought sometimes leaves producers of grassfed beef scrambling to find grass and hay.
"An interesting change in moving to a large grain finished industry is the flexibility to move cattle off grass to a feedlot during a drought," Anderson said. "One of the risks in a grass-finished industry is drought.
"The choice is to buy hay or find other land to move the cattle to, or to sell cattle to others who might finish them on grain. Buying feed, grass or hay does increase costs."
California officials have deployed thousands of insects native to South America in the San Joaquin-Sacramento River Delta to combat an invasive weed that has clogged the waterway.
Scientists released more than 5,000 water hyacinth plant hoppers at several locations in San Joaquin and Sacramento counties this month, the state Department of Food and Agriculture announced on Thursday.
Officials hope the insects will establish self-sustaining colonies and begin chomping down on water hyacinth. The invasive plant forms a dense carpet on the surface of waterways, impeding boat access and clogging water intake systems.
"Water hyacinth is probably the world's worst aquatic weed," said Philip Tipping, a research entomologist with the United States Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service.
The weed, which comes from South America, was introduced in the United States in the 1880s. It is now in at least six states, including Florida, Texas and Louisiana, according to the USDA.
Tipping's research helped lead to federal approval for the release of the tiny water hyacinth plant hopper. The insect was deployed along the St. Johns River near Palatka, Fla., in 2010. It has also been released at several sites near West Palm Beach, Fla. although it's still too early to tell what effect, if any, it has had, Tipping said.
"In a quarantine setting, it destroys the plants," he said. "But you can't predict how well it'll do when it's released."
The insects may not adapt to the weather and die off, he said.
"Our goal is to see if we can't start punching a hole in these mats of water hyacinth, so people can take a canoe through them or a duck can get through them," he said.
The use of imported insects to fight invasive bugs and plants - part of a practice known as biocontrol - does have its critics, who say too many insects have been let loose without a full understanding their effectiveness and the long-term environmental consequences.
Supporters counter that biological controls are an alternative to widespread pesticide and herbicide use. They say scientists spend years vetting critters to make sure they do not feed on what they are not supposed to.
In the case of the water hyacinth plant hopper, about 90 species were tested, including plants that have no relationship to water hyacinth but are found in the same habitat and commercial plants such as tomatoes, Tipping said. Researchers found that the insect survived exclusively on water hyacinth, he said.
En la medida que se tecnifiquen más hectáreas de fresa, se estarán abriendo las posibilidades de ampliar los mercados a la comercialización de la frutilla, ya que con la instalación de sistemas de acolchado y macrotúnel se produce de mayor calidad. Actualmente hay 3 mil 100 hectáreas totalmente con estas técnicas y el reto es llegar a las 5 mil.
El presidente del Consejo Nacional de la Fresa, Octaviano Magaña Ortiz, advirtió que tecnificar este cultivo es un asunto imprescindible, ya que los mercados extranjeros e incluso el nacional están demandando este cultivo con mayor higiene.
Cada hectárea que se tecnifica, esto es que cuente con métodos de acolchado y macrotúnel, permite un incremento en la producción de la frutilla, tanto para el consumo en fresco, como en congelado, al tiempo de sostener que es necesario promover los mercados porque de lo contrario no se podrá ampliar la comercialización de este cultivo que es considerado el motor del desarrollo económico del valle de Zamora.
En la medida que se vaya creciendo en la producción, se tiene que seguir trabajando para lograr mejores mercados, porque de lo contrario sería un total fracaso.
Y es que alertó que si se produce la fresa sin tener un mercado seguro para su venta, esto podría ocasionar que los productores se vayan a la quiebra, sin embargo hasta el momento las cosas van por buen camino, gracias a las intensas campañas de promoción del consumo de este producto agrícola que se han implementado tanto en Estados Unidos, como en México.
Fue claro al expresar que existe el compromiso de seguir gestionando recursos ante el gobierno federal con la finalidad de seguir emprendiendo cruzadas de consumo a la fresa no sólo en el país, sino en el vecino país del norte.
Estas campañas se han enfocado en el Estado de Texas, por el motivo de que es por donde llega la frutilla mexicana, tanto en fresco, como congelado.
Señaló que este cultivo es de los que más empleo genera en el país, además de atraer divisas del extranjero, con lo que se genera una gran derrama económica en todas las zonas productoras.
Puntualizó que la fresa sigue siendo un producto agrícola rentable en la tecnología de macrotúnel, mientras que la media tecnología deja salir al productor con una ligera utilidad, al tiempo de advertir que para los que la producen en la forma tradicional ya no es costeable, porque los rendimientos son muy bajos.
Backyard vegetables can fight crime, improve health, and boost the economy.
By transforming its vacant lots, backyards and roof-tops into farming plots, the city of Cleveland could meet all of its fresh produce, poultry and honey needs, calculate researchers from Ohio State University. These steps would save up to $155 million annually, boost employment and scale back obesity.
“Post-industrial cities like Cleveland are struggling with more and more unused land, these become sources of crime,” said Parwinder Grewal co-author of a study “Can cities become self-reliant in food?” published July 20 in Cities.
“I was motivated to show how much food a city could actually produce by using this land,” he said. “We could address global problems through this way of gardening.”
Urban gardening improves health, reduces pollution, and creates local businesses, Grewal said. The population of Cleveland, what Grewal considers a typical post-industrial city, peaked near one million in 1950, and has been declining since. Today scarcely half a million people call Cleveland home.
As industrial jobs have dried up, the city’s exodus has accelerated. Unable to keep up their properties, many former residents have abandoned their homes. Vacant lots are proliferating, and currently number more than 20,000, according to the Cleveland City Planning Commission.
Ten percent of Clevelanders have been diagnosed with diabetes, as compared to the national average of 8 percent, and more than a third are obese. Among cities with a population between 100,000 and 500,000, it is the seventh most dangerous, according to one crime ranking. Growing tomatoes and beans, and keeping bees and chickens, would change all this, Grewal said. Studies have shown that gardens improve community health, reduce crime and increase property values.
Cleveland city planners have placed special emphasis on programs to foster urban gardening in the past five to 10 years, however, Grewal’s visions are on a more ambitious scale.
In the most intensive scenario he outlines 80 percent of all vacant lots, 62 percent of business rooftops, and 9 percent of residential lots would be tied to food, allowing the city to meet up to 100 percent of its fresh food needs. Grewal, who grows the bulk of his own food in his backyard, believes that his propositions are realistic and practical. The largest barrier is convincing citizens to garden.
“No discredit to the value of Grewal’s study,” said Kim Scott, a Cleveland City Planner and urban gardening specialist, “but articulating an idea is a different experience from implementing it.”
While Cleveland might have enough land to be self-sufficient, it doesn’t yet have the labor force to make it happen, Scott said.
“A mental shift has to take place,” said Scott. “Many people don’t have a clue about farming. They lack the patience to eat whole foods, they lack the desire.”
Both Scott and Grewal hope that shift is coming. Cleveland now has hundreds of community gardens. Some residents are growing market gardens, cultivating and selling produce as a full-time job. The city is seeing the grandest show of large public gardens since the Victory Gardens of World War II, when 40 percent of U.S. vegetables came from private and public gardens.
“If we could do it then,” said Grewal, “we can do it now. And if we design cities that are as self-sufficient as possible, the longer human civilization can sustain itself.”
Fuente: Danielle Venton/Wired
The cost of production has far more to do with farm profitability than does the value or volume of your production. This statement is proven by Kansas State University in a study at www.agmanager.info
(Dhuyvetter, K. 2011) comparing characteristics of high, medium and low profit beef producers.
Here in Virginia we know there are premiums to be had in the feeder cattle market place, discovered through the added value of health, source, sire and age verified marketing programs. Buyers show they are willing to offer premiums for these features and for the additional value they see in feeder cattle prepared for the feedlot through short co-mingled, feeding prior to sale. However, the Kansas study suggests we can make nearly three times as much difference in our bottom line through cost savings.
Kansas State University, Department of Agricultural Economics offers its beef producers the opportunity to enroll their herds in their Farm Management Association. A program with cow-calf enterprise records accumulated over 32 years, used to evaluate and compare members. Here in Virginia we offer similar management services under the Beef Management Institute records program. The intent is similar - keep records, use records, compare records from multiple producers to evaluate differences and identify reasons for profitability.
From the Kansas study, it is “important to recognize which characteristics determine relative farm profitability between producers”. We must ask questions about the size of the operation, the weight and price of calves sold, the level of costs and areas these costs cover. What are the features of profitable producers? Answers to these and related questions provide curious managers choices.
“High profit farms were larger on average and had slightly heavier calves”. They also received “slightly higher prices” and generated “almost $95 more revenue per cow, but the “differences in costs between operations were much larger than the revenue differences”. “High profit operations had a cost advantage in every cost category” resulting in a net return advantage of as much as $345 per cow between the most and the least profitable farms. To be clear, the study found cost competitive farms in all categories - large size does not guarantee low costs. The biggest cost is winter feed.
Most of the net return (72%) came from cost differences, while a much smaller amount (28%) of the net return came from the gross income from higher prices and heavier calves. Dhuyvetter summarizes this situation as not “unexpected in a commodity market where producers are basically price takers, i.e., the ability to differentiate oneself financially from the average is typically done through cost management.”
While economists tend to speak a different language than the rest of us, we all understand the power of profit. The reasons for profit are uncovered through keeping records and then using them to manage among other things, your biggest cost which is winter feed.
Carl Stafford is the extension agent for Culpeper County. He can be reached at email@example.com
Beef producers who attended a recent series of pasture management meetings in southern Iowa learned of the importance of timely and careful stockpiling of fescue pastures. Iowa State University (ISU) Extension and Outreach and Iowa Beef Center (IBC) sponsored the meetings that focused on fescue management and featured ISU Extension beef program specialist Joe Sellers and Craig Roberts of the University of Missouri.
“Producers planning to stockpile fescue pastures for late fall and winter grazing should think about reducing alkaloid levels in the fescue with good management practices,” Sellers said. “Most tall fescue stands have an endophyte that produces alkaloids that can hurt cattle performance.”
Sellers said producers often think of higher body temperatures, less grass consumption, more time in shade and ponds, and symptoms like loss of tail switches and lameness as negative effects of fescue, but there can be more to that story. While these are a concern, the biggest effects from fescue are reduced gains, lowered milk production and poor rebreeding rates in cattle.
Roberts said the problem has a high price tag.
“It’s estimated that fescue toxicosis costs the Missouri beef industry over $160 million per year,” Roberts said. “Similar problems exist in Iowa, but there are several proven management steps that can reduce the problem regardless of the location.”
Practices that help cattle perform better on fescue have to do with managing the levels of alkaloid consumed by cattle. These practices include reducing spring nitrogen fertilization rates, providing more diverse stands with legumes and other grasses, rotating cattle to non-fescue based summer pastures, haying or clipping fescue during the late spring and early summer to reduce stems and seed heads, and supplementing feeds like soybean or corn co-products, Roberts said. More information is available in this presentation by Roberts.
Using several of these steps can alleviate the effects of fescue, but there is no “silver bullet” that will eliminate the problem. Studies looking at other methods like mineral additives and de-worming have found mixed results.
This past winter, several producers had more intense cases of fescue foot and other fescue related problems than during previous years. In part this was due to longer than recommended rest periods, followed by grazing during very cold weather, Sellers said.
“Many years of research in Iowa and Missouri on stockpiling resulted in recommending stockpiling periods of 70 to 100 days. Much longer rest periods will increase plant volume, but also will reduce forage quality and increase the alkaloid levels in the grass,” he said. “If pastures are rested longer than 100 days, producers must be careful when those plots are grazed, graze mature bred cows in mid-pregnancy and dilute the fescue with other feeds. Late summer applications of moderate nitrogen rates can result in more grass growth and extended winter grazing, with less impact on alkaloids.”
For more information on stockpiled grazing and managing fescue, contact Sellers by phone at 641-203-1270 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fuente: Joe Sellers and Sherry Hoyer, Iowa Beef Center
On Saturday, Aug. 6, citizens are invited to attend a free tour of an exceptional conservation project highlighting the development and funding of pasture management, stream bank stabilization, wetland development and prairie restoration.
This tour showcases the Hutchins Ecosystem Restoration Project and is sponsored by the La Moine River Ecosystem Partnership (LMREP).
The tour from 9 a.m to 11:30 a.m. with registration and refreshments starting at 8:30 a.m.
This project is located approximately eight miles northeast of Macomb in Mound Township, McDonough County east of Bardolph at the southeast corner of 2000 E. and 1550 N. roads. Drive on 2000 E approximately three miles north of U.S. Route 136 to the bridge crossing on Kepple Creek.
Attendees will learn about the project as well as what state and federal funding, financial assistance and cost-share programs are currently available. The goal of the project is to encourage stream and wildlife habitat restoration while improving livestock grazing operations.
For more information visit www.lamoineriver.org or to preregister call Pat Sullivan (217) 322-2865.
The Hutchins Ecosystem Restoration project is a multi-year restoration project, funded through state and federal grant funds and landowner contributions.
The 60-acre site consists of rolling uplands and pasture, forest, prairie and a meandering stream corridor. Beginning in 2008, this project employed a series of conservation practices aimed at improving water quality, wildlife habitat, and livestock grazing productivity.
Over 800 feet of unstable stream banks were restored using a series of rock riffles bank protection and an adjacent floodway was re-vegetated with native trees and grasses. Livestock access to these areas was limited with the installation of over one mile of stream side fencing; two stable livestock crossings were built at each end of the pasture to allow cattle to cross from one pasture to the other.
A shallow well was installed and water is being piped to watering areas in the pasture eliminating the need for cattle to drink from the creek.
Several additional miles of exterior and interior fencing was installed and the pasture segmented into grazing “paddocks” where livestock are rotated throughout to maximize grazing efficiency.
Additionally, several erosion control structures called water and sediment control basins were installed in the upland areas and adjacent crop ground to limit the erosion of soil to the creek.
Over five acres of wetlands were created or restored to provide habitat diversity and filter livestock waste from pasture areas. More than six acres of native prairie grass was planted in various locations and timbered areas were selectively logged to remove undesirable species and planted with native trees including oak, walnut and hickory.
Local school students have participated in restoration activities and site tours.
Educational signage has been installed on-site.
Project funding was secured through several different entities; the US Department of Agriculture, the Illinois Department of Agriculture, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and Trees Forever.
Landowner, Daryll Hutchins, contributed personal funds and property manager and operator, Dan Wolf committed countless hours installing practices and making this one-of-a-kind project a success. The Hutchins Ecosystem Restoration Project is truly a testament to conservation, landowner participation and hard work.
Research conducted by a former food science professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison shows that the state's larger dairy operations tend to put out a higher quality product than smaller farms.
Steve Ingham says he looked at milk quality data from over 14,500 dairies around Wisconsin--of which 14,591 were classified as small farms with fewer than 118 cows; 1,565 had between 119-713 cattle; and 160 milked more than 714 cattle.
"I wanted to test this belief that I've heard a lot--that little farms are better," said Ingham, who now serves as the food safety division administrator at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture. "The take-home message is that when you group farms according to size the way we did, small doesn't appear to be better in terms of milk quality."
His team used two common metrics of milk quality: reported bulk tank standard plate count and somatic cell count, which together are also seen as good indicators of farm sanitation and animal-handling practices.
Across the board, the larger farms reported the lowest mean milk quality scores for both SPC and SCC.
Mean SPC (reported in colony forming units per milliliter or cfu/mL) was found to be 35,000 cfu/mL for the CAFO group; 36,300 for large farms; and 58,700 for small farms. Mean SCC (in cells per milliliter or cells/mL) was found to be 240,000 cells/mL for the CAFO group; 273,000 for large farms; and 369,000 for small farms. In all cases, mean SPC and SCC scores were far below the grade A maximum values, easily meeting the federal standards for milk intended to be pasteurized and sold for fluid consumption.
"The CAFO category had the lowest counts. It could be that they have more money to spend on good equipment. It could be that they have the ability to cull out cows with mastitis more quickly," says Ingham, who is aware that some groups may take issue with the farm size categories he created or the milk quality measures he chose to use. "Overall, I feel the numbers speak for themselves. They give a good snapshot of the industry right now."
Meanwhile, Ingham points out that all of the state's farms, both large and small, produced milk that easily met federal food safety guidelines.
The results of the study have been published in the August issue of the Journal of Dairy Science.
Vet's Opinion: Different Perceptions of Risk
Perceptions of risk will be responsible for deciding the future structure of the cattle industry and the availability of the tools we have to safeguard the health of our cattle. Let me help you understand different perceptions of risk and how we need to make sure our elected and appointed officials have a reasonable view of risk.
Essentially, risk means exposure to the possibility of harm (a hazard) in one form or another. Hazards in our case include foodborne pathogens, development of antibiotic resistance in these pathogens or in other organisms, and violative drug residues. The risk involves the potential for exposure to these hazards and the likelihood that this exposure would actually cause harm.
As cattle producers, risk describes our daily life. We are risk takers. We manage risk through calculated investments in animal health interventions, breeding stock and feeder cattle purchases, and financial instruments. And, we do this in an environment of skyrocketing capital investment for the same (or diminishing) returns.
Consumer perceived risk
Meanwhile, our beef consumers have their own perceptions of risk. Nothing is more objectionable to them than perceiving that someone else is profiting from a practice that exposes them to risk. In fact, this is a marketing approach used by the Chipotle restaurant chain – “Get your antibiotics from your doctor, not your beef,” which proposes that eating somewhere else other than their establishment is risky.
Regulators and legislators also function in a manner that addresses risks, especially risks to their reelection. Their perceptions of risk, and acceptable risk, are affected by other perceptions and “facts.” The problem with “facts” is that they are in abundance on the Internet, with little responsibility for accuracy.
Formal risk assessment procedures, either qualitative or quantitative, have been adopted by some regulatory bodies. An example is the approval of antibiotics for food animals, where FDA’s acceptable risk standard is “reasonable certainty of no harm.”
Yet, however we define risk, we still have to determine what is acceptable risk. I’m convinced that many anti animal-agriculture groups and legislators will only be satisfied with zero risk, which is only attainable by abolishing food animal production in the U.S.
For anti-agriculture groups, “standing up for the consumer” is their brand, and trumpeting inflated risks is how they bring in the money to keep their jobs and advance their careers. At least we are starting to see cracks in the popular perception that these groups are unbiased.
Reach out to elected officials
So, what can you do to ensure our industry is fairly treated in the risk arena? The internet malarkey and misrepresentation of facts by these groups – such as on the issues of water consumption, antibiotic use and greenhouse gas production by cattle – are hard to counteract in the public arena. However, our animal agriculture groups (and individual producers) can counteract this propaganda where it matters by having a constant presence in the offices of our elected officials.
We need to reach beyond the staffers and demand direct meetings with our elected officials. In districts where agriculture voices aren’t heard, the officials may interpret these issues as a way to demonstrate support of consumers, while the unmerited adverse effects happen to voters in other districts.
Our elected officials need to be aware of the issues enough to call rogue regulatory agencies on the carpet for their actions. We’re already making strides in this area, but make sure all of your agricultural organizations are involved, and support them with your membership and time. This isn’t a new message, but it is taking on a new urgency.
Mike Apley, DVM, PhD, is a professor in clinical sciences at Kansas State University in Manhattan.
A pesar de su situación geográfica privilegiada, México no se decide a apostarle a la energía solar.
Vicente Estrada Cajigal, presidente de la Asociación Nacional de Energía Solar (ANES), destacó que el nivel de insolación promedio en México es de 5.
4 kilowatts hora por metro cuadrado, casi el doble que el de Alemania, el principal generador de electricidad a partir de esa fuente renovable.
'Significa que el equipo que se requiere para convertir la radiación solar en energía eléctrica va a ser de la mitad, por lo que la inversión será también más barata y los planes de amortización menores', remarcó en entrevista.
Sin embargo, lamentó, México se encuentra rezagado en el aprovechamiento de la radiación solar incluso con respecto a países latinoamericanos como Perú y Chile.
De acuerdo con estimaciones de la Asociación Europea de la Industria Fotovoltaica (EPIA, por sus siglas en inglés), México cuenta actualmente con una capacidad instalada de generación de electricidad a partir de la energía solar de apenas 28 megawatts, mientras que en Alemania asciende a 17 mil 193 y en España 3 mil 784.
En el mediano plazo sólo se avizoran un proyecto piloto de la Comisión Federal de Electricidad, con capacidad de 5 megawatts, en noroeste del país, cuyo arranque está previsto para 2012, y un campo solar para abastecer a la central Agua Prieta II, en Sonora, con capacidad de 10 megawatts.
Sin embargo, considera la propia EPIA, el país -ubicado en el llamado 'cinturón solar'- es uno de los seis países del mundo con mayor potencial de generación fotovoltaica, junto con Australia, China, India, Malasia y Singapur.
El elevado índice de radiación solar de México y la flexibilidad de su mezcla energética, remarcó en un reporte presentado en febrero de este año, permitirían, junto con el desarrollo de políticas que incentiven la utilización de la energía solar fotovoltaica, aprovechar el potencial del país en los próximos 10 años.
Para Estrada Cajigal, el principal freno para el aprovechamiento del potencial solar proviene de la falta de una voluntad efectiva de los poderes Ejecutivo y Legislativo para promover la generación eléctrica a partir de fuentes renovables 'No les queda claro que es inminente el agotamiento de las reservas petroleras.
Desde un punto de vista de seguridad nacional, de garantía de abastecimiento de energéticos, no vemos que se estén tomando las medidas adecuadas', señaló.
'El recuso solar en México es tan abundante que pudiera generarse con una sola tecnología, la fotovoltaica, toda la electricidad que requiere el país'.
Reprochó que el Programa de Obras e Inversiones del Sector Eléctrico destine recursos mínimos para la generación con fuentes renovables.
Se pronunció por que los estados tomen el asunto en sus manos.
'Sería deseable que todos los estados tuvieran una Ley Estatal de Energías Renovables.
Actualmente, sólo cuatro entidades cuentan con una: Coahuila, el Distrito Federal, Oaxaca y Sonora', apuntó.
Por su parte, Odón de Buen, presidente de Energía, Tecnología y Educación (Ente), remarcó que el país está desaprovechando la oportunidad de optar por una generación sustentable de electricidad.
'Hacen falta incentivos reales, como los que existen en Alemania y Japón, donde el sistema paga por la energía renovable (excedente) que se entrega a la red pública', comentó.
Destacó que en México se registra ya una expansión del mercado de dispositivos de calentamiento solar para casas.
'El reto es asegurar que realmente sean sistemas de calidad y buen desempeño energético', señaló.
Llaman a utilizar interconexión Los contratos de interconexión abren la posibilidad desarrollar proyectos de aprovechamiento de energía solar en pequeña escala, destacó el especialista Gabriel Quadri.
'Antes el uso de la energía solar se encontraba con la limitante de cómo producir electricidad durante la noche, para lo que se requerían baterías.
Ahora no se necesitan, porque(los proyectos de generación) se pueden conectar a la red de la Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE).
Durante el día se produce toda la electricidad con la tecnología renovable y durante la noche tomas de la red la energía que necesitas', explicó el director de la consultora SigeaCarbon.
Con el contrato, detalló, se coloca un medidor bidireccional, para cuantificar lo que se produce y lo que se recibe, y sólo se paga la diferencia.
Sin embargo, aclaró, la CFE no paga nada si se produce más de lo que se consume.
'Si tienes una tarifa eléctrica de alto consumo, por ejemplo las casas de clase media alta, se pone un panel solar en 30 metros y se puede ahorrar 40 mil pesos al año', afirmó.
El ex presidente del Instituto Nacional de Ecología (INE) remarcó que el contrato de interconexión es un factor fundamental para el desarrollo de la energía solar en México.
'El costo de la energía solar ha venido bajando.
Con los contratos de interconexión y el potencial del país, es evidente que la industria se va a desarrollar', señaló.
Fuente: Adriana de la Torre
Feedlots and other livestock operations of a certain size are called CAFOs – confined animal feeding operations. Some in the industry shy away from calling their operation a CAFO in conversation because somehow it has an “industrial” connotation.
Not Anne Burkholder.
Burkholder, owner of Will Feed, Inc., Cozad, Neb., is proud of the cattle she produces at her feedlot and embraces the term CAFO as she explains its meaning to consumers who read her Feed Yard Foodie blog. Burkholder’s August 2 post, “I’m Not a Factory Farm,” explains to readers what a CAFO is and that Burkholder is in no way, shape or form a “factory”. Her blog says, “My CAFO houses cattle who are cared for by people. There is no mechanized ‘factory’ that accomplishes this.”
I asked Burkholder why she chose to liberally use the word CAFO in this week’s blog. Burkholder, who was busy attending the NCBA summer conference in Orlando, e-mailed me some very thoughtful comments back. “I think that we as beef producers need to be proud and stand behind who we are,” she says.
“I am proud to care for cattle and raise beef. I am proud to own and manage a CAFO. ‘Putting a face’ on CAFOs and ‘factory farms’ helps to define them in honest and accurate terms. It is easy to hate a negative image, but much harder to hate a person. We can't hide from the terms because someone else has defined them in a pejorative way, but we can redefine them honestly and with the transparency that the consumer is asking for.”
Burkholder’s blogs are filled with photos from the feedyard that show consumers everything from cattle pens, how feed is delivered and the people who care for the cattle every day.
A wife and mother of three, Burkholder understands the modern consumer’s wants, needs and concerns about the food they put on their families’ tables. In her blog she uses pop culture examples to make her point with other mothers. “The term ‘factory farm’ has been defined by some media and special interest groups in a terribly pejorative sense,” she explains. “I used a Harry Potter example in my post because I thought that was something that everyone could visually picture--then I could juxtapose that image with the true image of my feed yard. I really struggled as I wrote this post because it is such a difficult topic to talk about.
“I am so proud of what I do,” Burkholder continues. “I truly believe that I live an admirable life caring for cattle. I am devoted to quality cattle care and quality beef production. I want the consumer to know how much I care, and to realize that a term like ‘factory farming’ is a sensational term that has little in common with the way that I care for cattle and raise beef.”
Burkholder says this is a very difficult topic to talk about. “Emotional issues are hard to write about, and I have been personally attacked on this topic and that makes it even more difficult. I tell my kids that ‘the right thing is not always the easy thing to do’, and I took that to heart when I wrote it.”
Burkholder’s article finishes with these sentiments:
I am an American.
I am a wife.
I am a mother.
I am a cattle caregiver.
I work at a CAFO.
I laugh, I cry, I love, I live, I care with every fiber of my being.
I hope that you think of me when you go the grocery store and look at the beef in the meat-case because it is people like me that care for cattle and raise beef.
I am not a factory.
Read Burkholder’s Feed Yard Foodie blog here.
The beef industry is facing a supply crisis as liquidation of our nation’s cow herd has now reached a critical stage. American ranchers have been forced to cull their herds to the point that it will have implications for years to come and may speed consolidation throughout every industry sector.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s mid-year cattle inventory report put the total U.S. herd at a record-low 99.96 million cattle and calves, down 1.4 percent from 2010 and the lowest mid-year inventory since 1973 when the government first started compiling a July 1 figure. The report also pegged the number of all cows and heifers that have calved at 40.6 million, down about 1 percent from last year. The report estimates the 2011 calf crop at 35.5 million head, down 1 percent from 2010.
The mid-year report confirms what we knew about cattle numbers from the January 1 report but raises the red-flag even further. After the January numbers were released, analysts noted the cow herd was the lowest since 1958. The January report estimated that there are 5 percent fewer cattle in the United States than in 2000 and 11 percent fewer than just 15 years ago.
While we’re reducing our cow herd, cattlemen have been increasing the number of cattle on feed and we’re producing more pounds of beef. In other words, we’re in a transition phase — we’re sending cattle into the supply chain at the same time we’re closing the factory. That’s not a sustainable situation.
Cattle numbers have been declining for about five years, and the causes of our industry’s liquidation crisis are not a mystery. Oil prices skyrocketed in 2008, driving corn and other feed grain prices dramatically higher. The world-wide recession that began that same year also played a large role in limiting beef demand and forcing cattlemen to shift into survival mode.
Slowly, it appeared we were on our way to recovery. Then the drought hit. And not just your garden variety drought but a massive, wide-spread record-breaking drought. Ranchers throughout the Southwest have been in a forced-liquidation phase for much of 2011, and there is no end in sight.
The cattle inventory is critical because our industry already operates under the pressure of excess capacity. Nationally, feedyards are at about 68 percent of capacity. In other words, at least 30 percent of the pen space remains idle. Packing companies also have excess capacity, and they have closed plants and shortened processing hours in recent years as a result of that over-capacity.
Smaller inventories will support prices for all cattle and calves in the short-term. Industry analysts believe beef demand remains strong, even as our nation’s economy struggles to recover. Yet, the dwindling inventory can have significant long-term repercussions.
The declining supply of feeder cattle causes ripple effects down the chain that go beyond just filling feedlot pens and packer shackle space. Short supplies create an impact on retailers, too, and may ultimately affect consumer buying habits.
Last year, America’s per-capita beef consumption was 59.7 pounds. That’s the lowest since we began keeping track in the 1950s. Per-capita consumption is not a measure of beef demand but rather a measure of supply, since we consume everything that is produced. The measure of demand is the price we pay for those 59.7 pounds of beef.
But tighter supplies and higher prices can’t continue indefinitely. At some point, analysts agree, we may price beef out of the domestic market.
Beef production during June was 2 percent above 2010, and commercial red meat production through the first six months of 2011 was 1 percent higher than last year. Analysts believe beef production will continue at or above last year in the near-term as we keep pushing cattle into feedyards as a result of the drought.
But at some point beef production will decline — maybe dramatically. And that decline will further lower per-capita consumption and drive consumers toward alternative protein sources like pork and poultry.
As that scenario plays out it will become evident that this year’s unprecedented drought will affect our industry for years to come.
Fuente: Greg Henderson
STILLWATER, Okla. – Though many warm-season grass pastures are dormant this time of year, the extended drought has reduced normal forage production somewhere near 70 percent of the usual seasonal total.
“Lack of forage is hindering many a cattle operation, especially when combined with a regional shortage of hay with most of the hay being low quality and expensive,” said Daren Redfearn, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension forage and pasture management specialist.
The forecast is for continued dry weather through October. If this is the case, it could be March before any appreciable forage can be grown for pasture.
“With hay feeding costs ranging from $2 to $3 per head per day, the potential cost of feeding a single animal through to March could be as great as $600,” Redfearn said. “There are few situations where feeding hay for this length of time is profitable.”
From now through at least early November, it may be necessary to restrict animals to a central feeding location to allow the forage time to grow or the pastures to recover. This allows for both short-term and long-term pasture recovery. In order to do this, it is important to:
This situation raises the following question: What are the reasonable forage production options for the upcoming fall and spring?
Mark Gregory, OSU Cooperative Extension area agronomy specialist, said currently the best options are those that have been successful in most years for fall, winter and spring forage production.
“Depending on a producer’s location in the state, there are several choices to consider; although these are the most reasonable options, they are also highly risky because of the current lack of soil moisture,” he said. “When possible, choosing at least two of the options would increase the probability of successful fall and winter pasture production.”
For bermudagrass pastures, Gregory said the key point to remember is that a modest level of soil fertility is needed to increase the probability of bermudagrass regrowth occurring this fall when precipitation occurs.
“A modest fertility level will also support earlier recovery for bermudagrass pasture production next spring,” he said.
Bermudagrass pastures that are dormant and grazed short will take some time and moisture to recover. Most bermudagrass pastures will begin to show signs of regrowth with as little as 1/3 inch to 1/2 inch of rain. However, additional precipitation will be necessary for adequate forage production.
“Most bermudagrass pastures will need at least 1.5 inches of precipitation to recover enough to begin grazing and 5 inches to 6 inches of precipitation so that forage growth can continue through until first frost,” Redfearn said.
Ideally, the precipitation should be slow enough that it results in minimal runoff. The fall growth potential depends on the timing and amount of rainfall.
With many bermudagrass pastures grazed short, the opportunity to successfully sod-seed small grains or legumes – where adapted – also is an option.
“Most of the seeding failures of small grains and legumes occur as a result of too much warm-season grass competition,” Redfearn said. “In many areas, traditional wheat pasture will offer the most reasonable option for fall forage production. However, in some instances, planting one of the other small grain crops could be an option to increase the forage production potential.”
Additional information about this management tool is available through OSU Cooperative Extension Fact Sheet PSS-2701, “Sod-Seeding Small Grains into Bermudagrass Pasture,” available at http://osufacts.okstate.edu via the Internet.
“In addition to wheat pasture, including oat in a winter annual pasture mixture at a third to half the weight of the blend would improve the potential to produce adequate fall forage,” Redfearn said. “Including cereal rye also would improve the chance of producing winter pasture.”
For those who may want to consider including annual ryegrass in the mixture, be aware that it will not provide adequate fall forage most years but will produce more reliable pasture in the spring.
Historically, Oklahoma producers observe a phenomenon called a “good clover year” following a dry year. This can attributed to short warm-season grass residue and timely precipitation resulting in adequate clover establishment.
“Where legumes have been productive in past years, a blend of white clover, arrowleaf clover and red clover should be considered to shorten winter hay feeding,” Gregory said. “If clover has desirable establishment, these pastures should not be grazed until late March at the earliest.”
Gregory and Redfearn said producers in the eastern half of Oklahoma and some areas of southwestern Oklahoma may benefit from fertilizing bermudagrass or tall fescue pastures with 50 pounds to 60 pounds of nitrogen per acre in late August, which could result in available pasture by early December.
Additional information about this option is available through OSU Cooperative Extension Fact Sheet ANSI-3035, “Managing Bermudagrass Pasture to Reduce Winter Hay Feeding in Beef Cattle Operations,” available at http://osufacts.okstate.edu via the Internet.
All of the winter annual forage grasses, including small grains and annual ryegrass, are relatively easy to plant in Oklahoma. Seed will germinate in any month from August to December. If seed is broadcast, dragging the pasture with a harrow or lightly disking will increase the chance of success. Using a drill also will increase the likelihood of establishing a solid stand.
“After establishment, applying 50 pounds to 60 pounds of nitrogen per acre or 120 pounds of urea (46-0-0) per acre in February will increase the chance of providing needed forage from mid March to June,” Redfearn said. “Where legumes are adapted, including white clover, red clover and arrowleaf clover will lessen the forage production risks.”
However, both Redfearn and Gregory caution that Oklahoma producers need the skies to open and rain to fall regardless of the forage production option selected.
“Soil moisture is more or less depleted in most areas, so we will need about 5 inches to 6 inches to produce 1 ton of forage,” Redfearn said. “This moisture will need to fall in at least two events for the perennial pasture options and probably three events for the annual pasture options.”
If soil phosphorus and potassium are adequate, then applying a small amount of nitrogen to bermudagrass should take advantage of any late summer precipitation.
“Again, moisture is needed, but this can take advantage of a single precipitation event better than the annual forage options,” Gregory said.
Most Nebraska land owners have experienced optimal precipitation this summer while devastation has been occurring in the drought stricken areas of Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. Nebraska Cattlemen is developing a list of individuals with available grass for lease or any other type of forage for sale to help our southern neighbors.
If you have grass available or any other forage for sale, please contact Nebraska Cattlemen at the Lincoln office, 402.475.2333, or in their Western Nebraska office, 308.760.6464. Nebraska Cattlemen will be a clearing house for information only and all agreements will be handled between the producers involved.
Nebraska Cattlemen have heard comments from those that are suffering, who express a need for hay because they are trying to “save the genetics I have worked a lifetime to develop.”
Once this list is developed, Nebraska Cattlemen will be able to provide those state cattle associations in the drought stricken areas a resource to turn to for help. “Every cattle producer has faced situations where they had limited resources brought about by the environment,” states Art Brownlee, Nebraska Cattlemen Brand & Property Rights Chairman. “Nebraska Cattlemen has the opportunity to be a resource to ask those who can provide support for the cattle industry to call in with their information.”
For tourists traveling into the mountains, altitude sickness can be an uncomfortable reality. The lightheadedness. The nausea. The vicious headaches.
Cattle, ostensibly, endure a similar fate. Each year, ranchers who raise their herds on the lush grasslands of the Rockies find that up to 20 percent can suffer from a form of high-altitude sickness, commonly known as brisket disease.
The illness, brought on by a lack of oxygen, which causes the restricting of blood flow in small arteries in the lungs, is particularly costly for ranchers. Experts who have studied the condition estimate that it kills more than 20,000 cattle across the West each year and renders many more unproductive.
For the three years now, as part of a continuing effort to contain the illness, a team of researchers from New Mexico State and Colorado State Universities have been trying to determine which cattle are more likely to be genetically disposed to survive at high altitudes, where grazing can be plentiful.
On Monday, the team spent hours at the sprawling Valles Caldera National Preserve in northern New Mexico, performing pulmonary arterial pressure measurements on young cows and bulls. The measurements involve gauging the blood pressure on the right side of an animal’s heart, which indicates how well cattle will adjust to the thinner air found at higher elevations.
“We started realizing many years ago what the altitude was doing,” said Dr. Tim Holt, a veterinarian with Colorado State, as he slithered a catheter into a bull’s jugular vein and toward its heart to get a reading.
“We also know there are other agents involved, too, which are difficult to control,” Dr. Holt said.
Though the test has been around for years, and more cattle ranchers have been using it on their own, researchers like Dr. Holt are also examining whether factors like drought, nutrition and genetic markers can identify the most vulnerable animals.
At 8,600 feet above sea level, Valles Caldera, tucked among the Jemez Mountains, is believed to be one of the nation’s highest testing facilities for the condition, making it an especially accurate meter.
Indeed, brisket disease is especially prevalent in the Rocky Mountains, where cattle from the region are taken to graze on nutrient-rich, high country grass and roam among pastures leased inexpensively from the Bureau of Land Management.
From May to November, there are typically more than a million cattle scattered across the Rocky Mountain region, said Manny Encinias, a beef cattle researcher at New Mexico State who is also working on the project.
But much like humans, cattle that are rapidly transported to altitudes greater than 5,000 feet, are vulnerable to health problems. The shortage of oxygen causes a bull or cow’s lungs to constrict and can cause fluids to leak from the bloodstream into the brisket or chest area. Sick animals can lose weight or die if they are not taken to lower elevations.
“One year, everything can be fine for a rancher, and the next year, you can be in a major wreck,” Dr. Encinias said. “Guys come up here from the lower altitudes and they don’t always understand how vulnerable the altitude can make their cattle.”
For local ranchers, whose livelihood depends on whether they can sell a healthy animal, the prospect of knowing which cattle will fare better can be the line between profit and hard times.
“It’s something my family has been dealing with for four generations,” said T.J. Smith, a southern Colorado rancher who paid $200 to $300 a head so his ranch’s yearlings could participate in the research project, which includes four months of grazing at Valles Caldera.
Mr. Smith said his family had already been using the test. But he was interested in the researchers’ efforts to identify cattle that were genetically suited to fight off the disease.
One rancher, Bill Gardner of Estancia, watched intently as Dr. Holt jabbed one of his bulls with a needle. This was the first time Mr. Gardner had brought his bulls to the facility, and up until now he had been pleasantly surprised at how well they had tested. This bull, though, scored a 57, which meant he was not adjusting to the altitude and would probably get sick.
“We’ll take him down to lower elevations,” Mr. Gardner said. “Bulls like him will be fine for ranchers down there.”
Estoy son 7 consejos útiles para retener a tus clientes actuales:
• Nunca pienses por ellos, mejor cuestiónalos. Tus clientes son una herramienta para entender las necesidades del mercado, para innovar y encontrar otras maneras de solucionar sus problemas y exceder sus expectativas.
• Mide y compensa la satisfacción de tus clientes: Si la satisfacción de tus clientes es realmente una prioridad para tu negocio, entonces demuéstraselo a tu equipo. Desarrolla un método para poder medirlo, establece metas para mejorar y compensa a tu equipo cuando estas metas sean alcanzadas.
• Asegúrate de tener personal capacitado en servicio al cliente. Deben tener actitudes que reflejen: confianza, empatía, flexibilidad, comunicación verbal y pro actividad. Cada cliente que contacta a tu equipo de trabajo es una oportunidad para construir o para destruir tu reputación.
• Agradece. Envía notas de agradecimiento. Esta es una simple estrategia que puede causar un verdadero impacto. Además dice mucho acerca de la compañía y del valor que se le da a los clientes.
• Establece contacto por teléfono o vía correo electrónico. La frecuencia puede variar, mínimo debes de tener contacto cada tres meses.
• Consigue que tus clientes se sientan más apreciados que los que todavía no son clientes frecuentes. Mientras obtienes clientes potenciales, asegúrate de tener un trato especial con tus clientes actuales. Diseña programas o lanza atractivas ofertas.
• Busca la oportunidad de vender a tu clientes múltiples productos o servicios, con esto generas la idea de que siempre estás innovando. Las investigaciones demuestran que esto trae consigo lealtad y retención. Es una excelente manera de incrementar tus ingresos y utilidades.
Finalmente, asegúrate que la atención brindada a tus clientes sea responsabilidad de todos, especialmente en negocios pequeños donde los miembros del equipo se encargan de muchas actividades a la vez; todo tu personal debe estar atento a las necesidades de tus clientes, desde la
recepcionista hasta el repartidor. El tipo de impresión que den depende de ti.
La ministra de Medio Ambiente, y Medio Rural y Marino, acompañada de la directora general de Industria y Mercados Alimentarios, Isabel Bombal, ha presentado hoy los datos más significativos de la Agricultura Ecológica en España , correspondientes al año 2010.
Los datos han sido elaborados en base a la información proporcionada por las Comunidades Autónomas, donde destaca el significativo incremento experimentado, tanto en superficie como en número de operadores.
Según se desprende de estos datos, la superficie destinada a Agricultura Ecológica en España durante 2010 se ha incrementado en un 4,45%, situándose en 1.674.119 hectáreas, frente a las 1.602.868 dedicadas a este tipo de cultivos en 2009, lo que situará, con casi toda seguridad, a España, por tercer año consecutivo, en el primer lugar de la Unión Europea en esta magnitud.
En once Comunidades Autónomas se han producido aumentos de la superficie total destinada a agricultura ecológica, destacando la Comunidad Valenciana, que ha pasado de las 38.753,97 hectáreas en 2009 a las 56.627,98 en 2010 (46,12%), lo que la sitúa como la séptima Comunidad Autónoma por detrás de Andalucía, Castilla-La Mancha, Extremadura, Cataluña, Aragón y Murcia.
Otras Comunidades que han registrado un incremento significativo en el número de hectáreas han sido Asturias (30,41%), País Vasco (19,24%), y Castilla y León (18,96%).
Por otro lado, la superficie ecológica cultivada en 2010, descontando del total las superficies dedicadas a pastos, praderas y forrajes, y bosques, ascendió a 604.147,20 has, lo que supuso un incremento del 5,62% con respecto a 2009. Este año 2010 presenta como novedad las fuertes subidas en los cultivos de legumbres para consumo en seco, que incrementa su superficie en un 91,24%, y de las hortalizas, con un incremento del 46,05%, situándose su superficie en 39.367,01 has y 10.156,05 has, respectivamente.
Dentro de la superficie ecológica cultivada, los cereales siguen ocupando el primer lugar, con el 27,5 % del total (166.081,35 has); seguido el olivar, con el 20,91% (126.328,26 has); los frutos secos, con el 14,88% (89.900,88 has); y la vid, con el 9,47% (57.231,75 has). Otros cultivos más pequeños en superficie pero fundamentales por su dimensión económica, y que han aumentado en 2010, son los frutales (5.692,47 has) y los cítricos (5.391,12 has)
El número total de operadores correspondiente a 2010 se sitúa en 27.767, atendiendo exclusivamente a contabilización de NIF o CIF. Por primera vez para este año, a petición de Eurostat, se establece la clasificación de esta forma.
Considerando los datos por actividades, destacan los 27.877 productores correspondientes al sector primario (actividad agrícola, ganadera y acuícola) que, comparados con los 25.291 de 2009, suponen un incremento del 10,22%. Todas las Comunidades experimentan aumentos, en algunos casos muy importantes, como el País Vasco (32,11%), Asturias (21,68%) y Cataluña (17,31%)
En este apartado, el mayor número de productores está establecido en Andalucía, con un total de 9.923; seguido de Castilla-La Mancha, con 4.730; Extremadura, con 3.603; Murcia, con 2.272 y Comunidad Valenciana, con 1.465.
Mientras, en 2010 se han contabilizado 2.747 operadores del sector industrial (elaboradores y transformadores), con un incremento del 11,44% respecto a 2009. Existe presencia industrial ecológica en todas las Comunidades Autónomas, destacando por sus incrementos la Comunidad Valenciana (57,79%), País Vasco (24,24%), y Castilla La-Mancha (20,28%).
El mayor número de operadores del sector elaborador y transformador lo presenta Andalucía, con 625 y un incremento en 2010 del 6,66%, seguido de Cataluña, con 515 y un incremento del 8,19%.
Por lo que se refiere a ganadería ecológica, en 2010 se han registrado un total de 5.021 explotaciones ganaderas, lo que significa un incremento del 10,40% respecto a 2009, cuando se contabilizaron 4.548 explotaciones.
Del total de explotaciones ganaderas, el 49,57% corresponde a vacuno, 27,86% a ovino, 9,40% a caprino, 4,68% a équidos; 3,57% a avicultura; 2,43% a porcino; 2,33% a apicultura; y 0,10% a acuicultura. Por Comunidades Autónomas, Andalucía ocupa el primer lugar con el 56,12% de las explotaciones, seguida de Cataluña, con el 9,72% y Baleares, con el 8,64%.
Por subsectores, se han contabilizado 2.489 explotaciones de vacuno (2.415 de carne y 74 de leche), 1.399 de ovino (1.355 de carne y 44 de leche), y 472 explotaciones de caprino (408 de carne y 64 de leche), con incrementos del 18,19% para el vacuno, 15,81% para el ovino y 18,89% para el caprino.
Por número de cabezas, en 2010 se registraron 143.788 cabezas de vacuno carne y 4.426 cabezas de vacuno leche, frente a las 124.026 y 3.978 contabilizadas en 2009. No obstante, el número de cabezas de ovino descendió un 3,56% (-3,48% en carne y -5,81% en leche), mientras que en caprino, disminuyó un 8,66% el número de cabezas de carne, pero aumentó un 15,54% el número de cabezas de leche.
El total de establecimientos industriales o de elaboración ecológicos ascendió en 2010 a un total de 3.327, con un incremento respecto a 2009 del 9,30%, siendo Andalucía la comunidad que cuenta con mayor número de establecimientos, con 794, seguida de Cataluña, con 609, Comunidad Valenciana, con 399, y Murcia, con 208. y Castilla-La Mancha, con 204. Las Comunidades que han experimentado un incremento significativo en el número de establecimientos han sido Castilla-La Mancha, con un 55,73% (204 industrias), Madrid, con un 27,94% (87 industrias), y Balears, Castilla y León, y País Vasco, con un incremento situado alrededor del 13%.
El total de industrias relacionadas con la producción vegetal ha ascendido en 2010 a 2.758, con un crecimiento del 11,43% respecto a 2009, destacado las industrias de manipulación y envasado de productos hortofrutícolas frescos (536), bodegas y embotelladoras de vino (456), y almazaras y envasadoras de aceite (347).
En esta tipología de industrias destaca Andalucía, con 659 industrias en 2010 (502 en 2009), con un incremento del 31,08%; le sigue Cataluña, con 522 establecimientos (518 el año pasado) y la Comunidad Valenciana, con 370 frente a las 349 industrias de 2009.
En las instalaciones de producción animal, cuyo número ha crecido en dos unidades, (569 en 2010 frente a las 567 de 2009) predominan mataderos y salas de despiece (26,01%), industrias de leche, quesos y derivados lácteos (17,22%) y miel (15,47%). El mayor porcentaje de subida se produce en elaboración de pescado, crustáceos y moluscos, con un incremento del 90% (19 industrias en 2010 frente a las 10 del año pasado).
Andalucía también es la primera comunidad en número de industrias derivadas de la producción animal, con 135 establecimientos, seguida de Cataluña, con 87 industrias, a pesar de que ambas registran descensos en relación a 2009. Sin embargo, el resto de Comunidades Autónomas (excepto Extremadura) aumentan el número de estas industrias de manera significativa, destacando la Comunidad Valenciana, que pasa de 14 a 28 establecimientos; y Navarra y País Vasco, con incrementos del 42,86% y 36,36%, respectivamente.
Los datos pormenorizados por sectores, Comunidades Autónomas y Provincias están disponibles en la página Web del MARM, en el siguiente enlace:
Este tipo de notas nos hace reflexionar y acordarnos de Industrias que en su momento se sintieron intocables: Henequén, Relojeras, Automotriz, Música, Farmacéuticas, etc. y que hoy en día o desparecieron o están en plena decadencia.
La soberbia es el común denominador de estas industrias.
¿Los ganaderos somos soberbios? No esta de más estar atentos a este tipo de propuestas
La llamada “carne de cultivo" se obtiene en laboratorio mediante ingeniería de tejidos. Su producción requiere hasta un 45% menos de energía y un 96% menos de agua. Además, genera un 96% menos emisiones que la carne producida de forma convencional. Según un estudio de las Universidades de Oxford y Ámsterdam, la carne cultivada podría ser parte de la solución a la creciente demanda mundial de alimentos y al calentamiento global.
El estudio que se publica en la revista Environmental Science & Technology también destaca los bajos requisitos de espacio para producir la misma cantidad de carne de laboratorio, en comparación con el tamaño de las granjas de animales que general 18% de las gases de efecto invernadero en el planeta.
La investigación científica la ha dirigido Hanna Tuomisto de la unidad Wildlife Conservation Research en la Universidad de Oxford. Los investigadores basaron sus cálculos en un proceso con hidrolizado de cianobacterias como alimento y fuente de energía para las células musculares en crecimiento, desarrollado por el Dr. Joost Teixeira de Mattos en la Universidad de Amsterdam. Por el momento este tipo de tecnología de ingeniería de tejidos se limita al laboratorio, pero podría aplicarse a gran escala y rebajar los costes de producción comparados con la cría convencional.
La carne de cultivo tiene un impacto ambiental mucho menor que producir el mismo volumen de carne de cerdo, oveja o vaca por los métodos actuales. “No estamos diciendo que queramos reemplazar a la carne convencional. Sin embargo, nuestra investigación muestra que la carne cultivada podría ser parte de la solución a la alimentación de la creciente población del mundo y al mismo tiempo reducir las emisiones y ahorrar energía y agua. En pocas palabras, la carne cultivada es, potencialmente, una manera mucho más eficiente y respetuosa con el medio ambiente de poner carne sobre la mesa", asegura Hanna Tuomisto.
La investigación ha sido financiada por New Harvest, una organización de investigación sin ánimo lucro que trabaja para desarrollar nuevas alternativas a la carne producida convencionalmente.
"Obviamente, hay muchos obstáculos que superar antes de poder decir si la carne cultivada pasará a formar parte de nuestra dieta y, no menos importante, si la gente estaría dispuesta a comerla. Pero esperamos que nuestra investigación se sume al debate sobre si se podría o debería desarrollar una alternativa menos derrochadora a la carne que consumismos", concluye Tuomisto.
Rising carbon dioxide (CO2) levels can reverse the drying effects
of predicted higher temperatures on semi-arid rangelands, according to a
study published today in the scientific journal Nature by a team of U.S.
Department of Agriculture (USDA) and university scientists.
Warmer temperatures increase water loss to the atmosphere, leading to drier
soils. In contrast, higher CO2 levels cause leaf stomatal pores to partly
close, lessening the amount of water vapor that escapes and the amount of
water plants draw from soil. This new study finds that CO2 does more to
counterbalance warming-induced water loss than previously expected. In fact,
simulations of levels of warming and CO2 predicted for later this century
demonstrated no net change in soil water, and actually increased levels of
plant growth for warm-season grasses.
"By combining higher temperatures with elevated CO2 levels in an experiment
on actual rangeland, these researchers are developing the scientific
knowledge base to help prepare managers of the world's rangelands for what
is likely to happen as climate changes in the future," said Edward B.
Knipling, administrator of the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), USDA's
principal intramural scientific research agency.
The results cover the first four years of the eight-year Prairie Heating and
CO2 Enrichment (PHACE) experiment on native northern mixed grass rangeland.
The study is being conducted by the ARS Rangeland Resources Research Unit
(RRRU) at the High Plains Grasslands Research Station near Cheyenne, Wyo.
ARS plant physiologist Jack Morgan leads the study, which uses both CO2
pipelines and thermal infrared heaters to simulate global warming conditions
predicted for the end of the century: 600 parts per million (ppm) of
CO2-compared to today's average 390 ppm-and day/night temperatures raised by
3 and 5 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively.
Based on these findings, warmer temperatures would likely play a role in
changing the relative success of various grass types. "Only the warm-season
grasses had their growth boosted higher by CO2 and warmer temperatures,"
Morgan said. "If this leads to a competitive advantage for warm-season
grasses, it may increase the challenges faced by ranchers who desire
cool-season grasses for early-season forage."
Elise Pendall and David Williams at the University of Wyoming at Laramie and
Matthew Wallenstein at Colorado State University at Fort Collins also are
participating in the study, which will be completed in 2013. Retired ARS
soil scientist Bruce Kimball, designer of the infrared heater system, is
helping conduct the study. Kimball serves as a research collaborator at the
ARS U.S. Arid-Land Agricultural Research Center in Maricopa, Ariz.
Grass-dominated, dry rangelands account for approximately a third of the
Earth's land surface, providing most of the forage eaten by livestock. This
research, the first of its kind on this scale for rangelands, supports the
USDA priority of helping farmers and ranchers throughout the United States
and the rest of the world best adapt production practices to variable
Morgan said more research is needed to determine how the water-savings
effect applies over the long run and in other types of semi-arid rangelands
as well as to croplands in semi-arid areas. "It is important to understand
that CO2 only offset the direct effects of warming on soil water in this
experiment, and that it is unlikely to offset more severe drought due to
combined warming and reduced precipitation projected for many regions of the
world," he said.
In addition to ARS funding, the research is supported by grants from the
National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy, and USDA's
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Bien podría ser este refrán el lema del sector hortofrutícola, siempre trabajando para mejorar y con pocas recompensas en función del nivel de esfuerzo. La crisis del E.coli, además, supuso una estocada para la agricultura de las costas granadina y almeriense. La entidad financiera CajaGranada ha decidido ampliar su abanico de ayudas y fondos destinados a la agricultura y lo ha hecho de manera diferente, con nuevas iniciativas.
Así lo ha anunciado su presidente, Antonio Jara, quien ha estado en Motril para presentar el QR Code, una tecnología que permitirá a los profesionales hortofrutícolas mostrar la calidad de sus productos en cualquier parte del mundo y relacionarse, de alguna manera, directamente con sus consumidores. Los productos que salgan de las cooperativas y empresas del sector incluirán en sus paquetes y productos un código de barras. Una vez éste llegue a su destinatario final, el consumidor podrá conocer el origen, la manipulación y la calidad de lo que se dispone a adquirirá a través de su smarthphone. Los usuarios podrán descargar de manera gratuita desde el Android Store la aplicación de lectura de los códigos QR; a partir de ahí, bastará con acercar el dispositivo móvil al código de barras y se podrán visionar vídeos con la información en cualquier idioma.
Esta iniciativa puesta se ha puesto en marcha por la iniciativa de CajaGranada. A partir de la información general, cada empresa que se adhiera a la idea podrá personalizar la plataforma con datos propios sobre sus productos. Los QR Code están muy extendidos por otros países, sin embargo, es una iniciativa pionera. Con esta plataforma, el sector contará con una potente herramienta que le permitirá mejorar el control y la calidad de sus productos siendo aún más competentes en el proceso de comercialización a nivel europeo. “Los clientes buscan soluciones, información en sólo un click y así lo podrán hacer mejorando, en este sentido, la competitividad de los profesionales agrícolas”, apuntó el director general, Ramón Martín.
CajaGranada une este nuevo empuje a los fondos destinados a las ayudas de la crisis del pepino acontecida hace algunos meses. “El acceso al consumidor sin la necesidad de un intermediario y en cualquier parte del mundo dará un empujón al esfuerzo por mejorar la seguridad y la sanidad que no siempre está recompensado”, concluyó Jara Andréu.
PUTTING extra weight on to steers to help offset their high cost as store weaners may not prove so successful this year.
This is due to an increase in heavy cattle numbers and the floundering export market to Asia.
Already this winter at Victorian saleyards the price difference between a yearling steer (weighing less than 400kg) and a bullock (500-600kg) has ballooned out to more than 40 cents per kilogram liveweight.
It is easily the biggest price gap seen between the two weight grades during winter for the past five years, according to figures from the National Livestock Reporting Service.
Currently the Victorian price indicator for yearling steers, 330-400kg and in fat-score three condition, is 219.3c/kg liveweight. In comparison, the price indicator for Japanese bullocks, 500-600kg and fat-score four, is 178.6c/kg; a difference of 41c/kg.
And the trend looks likely to continue, judging by results from this week's early markets, such as Wagga Wagga on Monday, where quality trade cattle were quoted up to 12c/kg dearer but bullocks were 3c to 4c/kg cheaper.
This time last year the price difference between yearlings and bullocks was just 5c/kg, and in July 2009 and 2008 just 3c and 7c/kg respectively.
Supply and demand is the issue. Figures show a much bigger pool of heavier cattle compared with young lighterweights at a time when processors are struggling to sell meat for decent money into Japan and Korea.
During June the number of yearling steers, weighing less than 400kg, that went through Victoria's key weekly prime markets totalled just 1029 head - half the number sold during the same month last year.
In comparison the number of heavy steers going through saleyards has barely changed: 5044 bullocks (500-750kg) were sold through Victorian saleyards in June, compared with 5426 head 12 months ago.
In effect, the slowdown in prime cattle numbers is not nearly as pronounced in the heavier weight categories compared with the lighter domestic grades. The good season, and farmers' putting extra weight on animals in an attempt to recover their costs, are key reasons for the trend.
But should the trading of heavy steers at such a discount be taken as a warning for store buyers not to get carried away and pay big liveweight prices for young replacement stock this spring?
Prices at the Wodonga store sale last week were exceptionally good for weaners when compared with current returns for export slaughter cattle. Heavier steers averaged around 215c to 220c/kg, and smaller calves out to 250c to 270c/kg.
Taking note of the strength of the market for store cattle was NSW breeder Colin Parker of Glencoe at Holbrook, who opted to sell more than 100 of the family's Hicks red Composite calves, aged 10-11 months. Premiums available for store cattle made it difficult to justify carrying them onto feedlot weights, he said.
"Usually we take these calves onto 400-450kg for the feedlots, but I just couldn't see how we were going to get a big price increase by doing that, as you are looking at about 195c/kg to the feedlots," he said. "To sell them today as stores for 220c/kg looks the better value to me."
Walwa producer Ace Coughlan paid the top price of $765 for the lead draft of the Glencoe composite steers that weighed 353kg, representing 216c/kg. They will be grown out for 12 months on grass.
Mr Coughlan said the weaners were cheaper than earlier in the year when he had to pay $875 or 280c/kg for 312kg calves. But then he did note that bullock prices had also eased, which meant in real terms his trading position hadn't changed much.
"The same week we cleared bullocks for over $1200, whereas now we are getting a bit over $1000, so it is all relative," he said. It reinforces the point that store cattle tracked well above prime beef rates in the summer and autumn, and they are still too dear now for what the export market is offering for heavy slaughter cattle.
While there is already talk about grass fever in the spring and the potential shortage of store stock, farmers shouldn't get carried away - especially if the discounting of bullocks means extra weight gain might not be enough to enable you to trade out of an expensive calf.
Fuente: Jenny Kelly
"El uso de abonos verdes incrementa y mantiene la fertilidad en la práctica de la agricultura orgánica", afirman investigadores de la Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Sur (UABCS).
Adriana Solano Nava, egresada de la carrera de Administración de Agronegocios de la UABCS, realizó un estudio sobre el uso de abonos verdes en la agricultura orgánica, como parte de su memoria de titulación, dirigida por el doctor Félix Alfredo Beltrán Morales, profesor-investigador del departamento académico de Agronomía de la UABCS.
Aunque dijo que se pueden utilizar un número considerable de especies vegetales como abonos verdes, las tres familias de plantas más utilizadas son las leguminosas (frijoles, garbanzos, chícharos, lentejas, etcétera), las crucíferas (mostaza blanca, nabo, rábanos, etcétera) y las gramíneas (avena, centeno, habas, etcétera).
En su investigación, Solano Nava señala que el uso de abonos verdes es viable y económico para aportar nutrimentos y mejorar las propiedades de los suelos. Esta es una práctica agronómica importante que utiliza las plantas (especialmente las leguminosas) como abono, rotación, sucesión y alternancia de cultivos. La fertilización de los cultivos en la actualidad se basa en el uso de productos químico-sintéticos que no benefician los contenidos de materia orgánica ni las propiedades físicas de los suelos, lo que ocasiona la disminución de la retención de humedad, el deterioro de la estructura y la disminución de la permeabilidad, entre otros.
Los fertilizantes y pesticidas, manifestó Solano Nava, deben ser usados en las cantidades adecuadas para que no causen problemas. "En muchos lugares del mundo su excesivo uso provoca contaminación en las aguas cuando estos productos son arrastrados por la lluvia. Esta contaminación provoca eutrofización de las aguas, mortandad en las diferentes especies marinas y otros seres vivos, así como daños en la salud humana. Debido a lo anterior, se propone el uso de abonos verdes, entre otros abonos orgánicos, pues es factible ecológicamente para el ambiente y la producción orgánica de cultivos, ya que contribuye al mantenimiento de una diversidad biológica."
Cuando hablamos de "abonado en verde", expresó Adriana Solano, hacemos referencia a la utilización de cultivos de crecimiento rápido, que se cortan y se entierran en el mismo lugar donde han sido sembrados y que están destinados especialmente a mejorar las propiedades físicas del suelo, enriqueciéndolo con materia orgánica, además de que ayudan a activar la población microbiana del suelo.
Finalmente, Adriana Solano Nava señaló que con el uso de abonos verdes es posible recuperar la fertilidad del suelo, proporcionando un aumento en el contenido de materia orgánica, de la capacidad de intercambio catiónico y de la disponibilidad de macro y micronutrientes; asimismo incrementa la formación y estabilización de agregados, mejora la infiltración del agua e incrementa la aeración. En el caso específico de las leguminosas, se incorpora nitrógeno al suelo a través de la fijación biológica.
Aracely Hernández F.