Two Minutes In Ag: April

They say the world is full of bad news; unfortunately, there is some truth in that. However, we can always find the good if we look, too. This month we will bring you some of both in our industry in a quick two-minute read.

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) has impacted poultry production in more than half the states so far. To date, the virus is linked to the death of nearly 23 million birds. Iowa—the nation’s largest egg producer—is the hardest-hit state, having lost 13.2 million poultry already. This is the largest virus outbreak in the poultry industry since 2015.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced a relief package specifically for livestock producers. USDA will launch the Emergency Livestock Relief Program (ELRP) to address increases in supplemental feed costs in 2021. The ERLP will use data from the 2021 Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) to make payments to affected producers—producers do not have to apply for the aid if they were approved for an LFP payment. There will be a pay cap, but details have not been released on that front.

Phase 1 of the payments is expected to total $577 million, basing the payments on percentage of an eligible producers’ gross 2021 LFP payment—90% for historically underserved producers and 75% for all other producers. USDA said it was evaluating impacts of 2021 drought and wildfires on livestock producers as it develops the Phase 2 component.

Derrell Peel, Oklahoma State University Extension Livestock Marketing Specialist, does offer some encouragement for profitability in the cattle business, as prices are higher than they were a year ago at this time, and he doesn’t expect them to dip. Where the revenue will be affected is on the expense side of the equation, as drought continues. Feed prices will be the highest input cost for producers. Peel recommends grazing cattle as long as possible without feeding hay, even if that means some targeted fertilizing for both pasture and hay production. This is just another reason promoting a mineral with Amaferm® is so important for that nutrient utilization.

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