Ideas. Stories. Community.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Farm News & Views for the week of December 4, 2023

Recent data from USDA’s Economic Research Service suggests that net farm income will drop sharply from last year but will still be $10 billion higher than what was projected in September. Their projections suggest that net income will be 17% lower than in 2022, a reduction $31.8 billion from 2022’s net farm income of over $151 billion. This decline is due to a lower prices for corn, soybeans and other commodities, combined with continuing high production expenses and interest rates. Although farm debt balances at commercial banks increased steadily during the third quarter of 2023, farmers continued to keep their loans current, while delinquency rates on agricultural loans dropped for the third consecutive year, and remain at historically low levels. While corn and soybean prices have declined, a small U.S. cow-calf herd is supporting higher calf prices for beef producers.

Although there are already wolves in the state, the Colorado Wolf Restoration Final Plan recently outlined release locations that are constrained by several factors. For example, releases must be “a minimum of 60 miles from Colorado’s borders with Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico, as well as a similar buffer for sovereign tribal lands in southwestern Colorado.” Two proposed release sights are “along the I-70 corridor between Glenwood Springs and Vail and extends down the Roaring Fork Valley. The second, southern area is along the Highway 50 corridor east of Gunnison up to Monarch Pass. According to the Colorado Division of Wildlife, the agency will a source up to 10 wolves from Oregon for the Colorado gray wolf reintroduction effort, which is set to begin on December 31st 2023.

In October, I reported that tractor manufacturers were not anticipating bringing any large electric row crop tractors to market in the near term, because current battery technology makes large 300 plus horsepower tractors impractical because they would be twice as large and double the weight of existing diesel powered machines. But all of the major tractor manufacturers anticipate bringing smaller utility tractors to the market in the near future. Utility tractors are machines that are used on large farms and ranches to carry feed to livestock, support planting and harvest activities, or on small farms that have orchards, or grow specialty or organic crops. Both New Holland and Case IH anticipate having electric utility tractors available for purchase in early 2024. But at this point, they haven’t announced a price for them. John Deere and other manufacturers are focusing on producing electric powered construction equipment, probably because this market is a good test bed for developing reliable utility tractors for use in agriculture.

With Christmas coming up fast, Keith Jarvi, extension educator at the University of Nebraska has suggestions concerning bringing home a live Christmas tree this year. He recommends that we should take some steps to leave little critters in the woods or at the Christmas tree lot. While aphids and spiders that often hang around conifer trees aren’t likely to harm us, our pets or house plants, they can be a nuisance when they warm up and start crawling on the wall and floor around the tree. The best bet is to shake the tree outside to dislodge any of these pests, then look the tree over to make sure that there are no undesirable hitchhikers left on the tree before you bring it inside.

Benjamin Franklin wrote: “Energy and persistence conquer all things.”

Bob has been an agricultural educator and farm and ranch management consultant for over 40 years in southwest Colorado. He writes about agricultural issues from his farm near Cortez, and has helped to produce farm reports on KSJD for more than a dozen years.