Capital Press | Capital Press Mon, 27 Mar 2017 21:21:00 -0400 en Capital Press | Washington member of Congress opposes grizzly bear restoration Mon, 27 Mar 2017 17:36:14 -0400 Dan Wheat The National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are moving forward with a plan to restore and reintroduce grizzly bears in the North Cascades without supporting sound science or adequate public meetings, says U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash.

Newhouse, whose 4th congressional district encompasses part of the North Cascades Ecosystem, sent a letter to Karen Taylor-Goodrich, superintendent of the North Cascades National Park Service Complex, on March 27 expressing his “firm opposition” to the plan.

“I believe such decisions should be made with substantial local input and support from the local communities that will be most impacted,” Newhouse wrote.

The general consensus of people attending a March 2015 forum in Okanogan on the issue was “that their concerns were not being taken seriously by federal officials,” Newhouse wrote.

As a result, Newhouse brought the issue to the attention of NPS Director Jonathan Jarvis and USFWS Director Dan Ashe during House Natural Resource Committee hearings in March 2015.

While the directors assured him that public meetings would be conducted appropriately, it subsequently came to his attention that recent public meetings in Okanogan were held in the same manner as those in 2015 “where many residents were not allowed to express their concerns and were treated in an unacceptable manner by the NPS and USFWS employees conducting the session,” Newhouse wrote.

He noted that the last confirmed sighting of a grizzly in the North Cascades was in 1996 and that the agencies’ draft environmental impact statement found it “highly unlikely that the area contains a viable grizzly bear population.”

Proposed restoration also may violate a 1995 state law banning transplanting or introduction of the bears, he said.

“I believe the federal government should defer to the will of state and local communities on species reintroduction issues… There are issues of higher priority that NPS should address…such as the roughly $12 billion maintenance backlog on NPS lands,” he wrote.

Many ranchers in Okanogan County, which includes part of the North Cascades Ecosystem, oppose grizzly bear reintroduction.

The two agencies announced their plan Jan. 12 and have said restoring grizzlies would “enhance the probability of longterm survival and conservation of grizzly bears in the contiguous United States, thereby contributing to overall grizzly bear recovery and greater biodiversity of the ecosystem.”

Grizzlies were listed as a threatened species in the contiguous U.S. in 1975. They were listed as endangered in Washington in 1980.

The North Cascades Ecosystem encompasses 9,800 square miles in the U.S. and 3,800 in British Columbia. The U.S. portion includes North Cascades National Park, Ross Lake National Recreation Area, Lake Chelan National Recreation Area, Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest and Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.

WSU professor backs curbing lethal removal Mon, 27 Mar 2017 17:44:40 -0400 Don Jenkins Wolves shouldn’t be shot on public lands to protect the livestock of ranchers who refuse to sign government contracts to prevent depredations, according to Washington State University wolf scientist Robert Wielgus, who was publicly upbraided by the school in August for accusing a rancher of baiting wolves with cattle.

Wielgus, director of the university’s Large Carnivore Conservation Lab, distributed the recommendation in an email Monday to the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Wolf Advisory Group.

Wielgus restated his position that a ranch put its cattle in harm’s way in the Colville National Forest, leading WDFW to shoot seven wolves in the Profanity Peak pack. WSU administrators last summer issued a statement calling Wielgus’ description of the events inaccurate.

“He’s putting out inflammatory nonsense,” Cattle Producers of Washington President Scott Nielsen said Monday. “It’s the same nonsense that got Rob in trouble last summer.”

Efforts to reach Wielgus were unsuccessful.

Wielgus described his email as a press release from a private citizen, but based on his state-funded research.

Wielgus stated that withholding lethal control of wolves would be an incentive for ranchers to sign depredation-prevention agreements with WDFW.

He stated the agreements could prevent attacks on livestock and noted that the ranch that suffered the most losses last summer did not have one.

The ranch concentrated cattle near the pack’s den, according to Wielgus said.

According to a WDFW report, the den’s location was not known when cattle were released into the national forest.

Two ranchers lost livestock to the pack, and both met expectations for non-lethal deterrence measures, according to WDFW.

The expectations were set by the Wolf Advisory Group, which includes representatives from the Humane Society of the United States and Defenders of Wildlife.

According to WDFW, 54 livestock producers had agreements in 2016. Ranchers who sign agreements are eligible for public funding to employ non-lethal measures, such as range riders, and get access to tracking information collected from wolves wearing radio collars.

Agreements are tailored for each rancher, who must also allow WDFW access to their operations.

Nielsen said that most ranchers, including himself, have not signed agreements. He said ranchers should protect their herds, but shouldn’t be forced to invite WDFW to review and comment on their operations.

“I don’t begrudge anybody who wants to do it,” he said. “But I would argue the department doesn’t know one damn thing about raising cows.”

Efforts to reach WDFW wolf policy leader Donny Martorello were unsuccessful.

The Profanity Peak pack roams across 11 grazing allotments in the national forest. WDFW captured and collared two wolves in mid-June about 2 miles from where cattle were grazing. Attacks on livestock began a month later.

Wielgus told the Seattle Times in August that a rancher “elected to put his livestock directly on top of their den site.” A week later, WSU administrators said the statement had no factual basis and apologized.

WSU crop tours to answer disease questions, highlight new varieties Mon, 27 Mar 2017 17:01:18 -0400 Matw Weaver Washington wheat farmers are expected to ask questions about stripe rust, snow mold and falling number tests during field tours this season, a Washington State University research leader says.

Ryan Higginbotham, director of WSU’s cereal variety testing program, released the 2017 crop tour schedule, which kicks off May 24 in Columbia County and ends July 14 with a barley field day in Pullman, Wash.

New varieties will be highlighted, he said. All major breeding programs will have entries, Higginbotham said, including newly named lines and some still in the experimental stage.

“There’s something new for everybody in just about every location that people will want to keep their eyes on and see how they perform this year,” he said.

Higginbotham is getting questions from farmers about soil fertility, given higher moisture levels.

“Should they or should they not be adding some extra fertilizer?” he said. “That’s a difficult decision to make when it’s $3.50 per bushel wheat — it’s a lot easier to do that when it’s $7 per bushel wheat.”

WSU, Oregon State University and Northwest Grain Growers are cooperating on field trials in Eureka, Walla Walla and Dayton, Wash.

Higginbotham said the researchers decided to work together instead of duplicating efforts. He hopes the cooperative field days will help boost attendance.

WSU’s biennial Spillman Field Day in Pullman, Wash., would normally be held this year, but the university decided not to have it due to lagging attendance in recent years.

“(We’ll) see if we can regroup and maybe try something a little different next summer,” Higginbotham said.

WSU researcher Drew Lyon’s weed science field day June 14 will be in Pullman.

The field day June 28 on WSU’s Wilke Farm east of Davenport, held as a soil workshop, will also be different, Higginbotham said.


28 crop tours scheduled Mon, 27 Mar 2017 17:03:37 -0400 The Pacific Northwest 2017 Crop Tour Schedule, released by Washington State University: Columbia County Conservation Tour: 9 a.m., May 24, contact Paul Carter at 509-382-4741

Horse Heaven: 8 a.m., June 6, contact Ryan Higginbotham at 509-641-0549

Ritzville: 3 p.m., June 7, contact Aaron Esser at 509-659-3210

Western Whitman County and Lacrosse: 9:30 a.m., June 8, contact Steve Van Vleet at 509-397-6290

Connell: 5 p.m., June 8, contact Ryan Higginbotham at 509-641-0549

Pendleton, Ore: 7:30 a.m., June 13, contact Mary Corp at 541-278-4415

Moro, Ore.: 7:30 a.m., June 14, contact Mary Corp at 541-278-4415

WSU Weed Science in Pullman: 1 p.m., June 14, contact Drew Lyon at 509-335-2961

Harrington: 4 p.m., June 14, contact Diana Roberts at 509-477-2167

Lind: 8:30 a.m., June 15, contact Bill Schillinger at 509-235-1933

St. Andrews: 5 p.m., June 16, contact Dale Whaley at 509-745-8531

Mayview: 9 a.m., June 20, contact Mark Heitstuman at 509-243-2009

Eureka: 3 p.m., June 20, contact Ryan Higginbotham at 509-641-0549

Walla Walla (cereals): 1 p.m., June 21, contact Paul Carter at 509-382-4741

Dayton (legumes): 8 a.m., June 22, contact Paul Carter at 509-382-4741

Anatone: 3:30 p.m., June 22, contact Mark Heitstuman at 509-243-2009

Moses Lake (irrigated): 8 a.m. June 27, contact Andy Jensen at 509-754-2011

University of Idaho/Limagrain; Moscow, Idaho: 8:30 a.m. June 27, contact Debby Rigby at 208-885-6681

Almira: 3 p.m., June 27, contact Diana Roberts at 509-477-2167

Reardan: 7 a.m., June 28, contact Diana Roberts at 509-477-2167

Wilke Farm Soil Workshop; Davenport: 9:30 a.m., June 28, contact Aaron Esser at 509-659-3210

Fairfield: 7 a.m., June 29, contact Diana Roberts at 509-477-2167

St. John: 10 a.m., July 6, contact Steve Van Vleet at 509-397-6290

Lamont: 2:30 p.m., July 6, contact Steve Van Vleet at 509-397-6290

Farmington: 8 a.m., July 7, contact Steve Van Vleet at 509-397-6290

Palouse: 3:30 p.m., July 7, contact Steve Van Vleet at 509-397-6290

Bickleton: 1 p.m., July 11, contact Hannah Brause at 509-773-5817

Know Barley, Know Beer; Pullman: 3 p.m. July 14, contact Kevin Murphy at 509-335-9692

Idaho lawmakers OK memorial that asks for all food to meet same standards Mon, 27 Mar 2017 16:39:06 -0400 Sean Ellis BOISE — A House Joint Memorial that asks Congress to ensure that foreign food imports are held to the same food safety standards that U.S. farmers and processors must meet has passed the Idaho Legislature.

House Joint Memorial 6 ended up facing more opposition from Idaho farm groups than it did in the legislature, where it easily passed the Senate and House on voice votes.

Its author, Canyon County farmer Sid Freeman, said that while there are regulations in place that require foreign food imports to meet the same standards as domestic producers, no one actually knows to what extent that’s happening.

“The percentage of actual inspections of imported food is way too low and it needs to be 100 percent,” he said. “That’s what the citizens of this country are expecting.”

The memorial’s statement of purpose says it wants “to ensure that our domestic farmers, ranchers and food processors are able to compete in a fair and level market environment, and the food security measures required by law are equally applied to all food products allowed to be sold in markets in Idaho and nationally.”

While lawmakers saw no problem with the memorial, some farm-related groups were concerned that some of its language was incorrect or misleading.

Specifically, the Idaho Cattle Association had a problem with language about country of origin labeling. The World Trade Organization ruled against the U.S. COOL law in 2015 and Congress repealed it after that ruling.

Freeman said the language in his memorial was not intended to try to get COOL reinstated but rather to show that U.S. consumers now have no way of knowing where food products are coming from.

Nevertheless, after meeting with members of Food Producers of Idaho, which represents most of the state’s main farm groups, he rewrote his original HJM1 and dropped the COOL language.

ICA lobbyist Wyatt Prescott said the cattle group was OK with the rewritten memorial.

But some other groups were concerned that language in the memorial would give consumers the perception that their food isn’t safe.

Addressing those concerns, Freeman included language pointing out that the Food Safety Modernization Act requires all food products, foreign and domestic, to adhere to the same food safety standards.

But the memorial adds, “and yet only 2 percent of all imported food products are actually inspected.”

Some members of the group struggled with that 2 percent reference and the group opted not to oppose or support the memorial.

Freeman said while he would have preferred to get FPI’s support, “I get and understand their concerns.”

FPI members mostly agreed with the concept of the memorial but struggled with some of its language that they considered to be inaccurate.

“At the end of the day, these (memorials) are assumed to be accurate,” said FPI member Trent Clark, who represents Monsanto Corp. “Our job is to make sure something said about agriculture is right.”

Almond blossom ‘variable’ after February storms Mon, 27 Mar 2017 16:29:29 -0400 Tim Hearden PALO CEDRO, Calif. — Almond growers in some areas say they had a decent blossom despite several fierce storms in February, as cool weather prolonged the bloom and enabled the bees to finish their work.

The almond blossom was a “variable picture,” with orchards that peaked before or after the big Presidents’ Day storm setting the best crops, said Bob Curtis, director of agricultural affairs for the Almond Board of California.

Some growers reported variations in crop set within their operations, as some trees fared better than others, he said.

“We definitely do have a crop out there,” Curtis said. “The beekeepers have been pleasantly surprised. They thought with all this rain, the pollen and nectar that bees are collecting would be down. Actually as they’ve gone in and started pulling their hives out of almonds … they had plenty of pollen and nectar stores. Obviously something was going on out there.”

The Palo Cedro, Calif.-based Wooten’s Queens and Bees found that their hives were in good shape at the end of the bloom, co-owner Robert Wooten said.

“You could probably say the cold did prolong the bloom,” Wooten said. Because the trees did not all bloom at once it was prolonged five or six days, he said.

“If you had a late-blooming variety in my opinion you did well,” he said, adding that some of the early varieties also had good pollination.

Typically, the uniformity of the blossom determines the nut set and later the yields. The blossom was at its peak in many areas on Feb. 16-21, when heavy storms flooded fields and blew trees over.

In Red Bluff, 2.34 inches of rain were recorded on Feb. 17 alone, according to the National Weather Service.

Bees don’t fly in the rain or strong winds and prefer temperatures higher than 55 degrees, so even the clear but cool afternoons after the rain weren’t much help. Some bee boxes were spotted in flooded fields in the Sacramento Valley, though many beekeepers moved theirs onto stands.

The uneven bloom follows the harvest last summer and fall of a record 2.05 billion-pound almond crop, which was aided by a quick and uniform blossom in 2016. A break in rainfall in mid- to late February last year seemed tailor-made for almonds, as bees moved through orchards in a couple of weeks.

“We had a pretty good, solid crop last year,” Curtis said. “It remains to be seen if we have as solid a crop next year. Again, I think we’re looking at a decent supply.”

Judge wants Corps to determine right amount of water for endangered fish Mon, 27 Mar 2017 15:56:26 -0400 PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A federal judge in Oregon says that beginning next year, the government must spill more water from dams on the lower Columbia and Snake rivers to improve the chances that protected salmon will survive.

U.S. District Judge Michael Simon said in a ruling Monday that the salmon continue to be imperiled and that the Army Corps of Engineers must spill more water for the fish at eight dams.

However, he declined to require the Corps to do so immediately, as conservationists requested.

Instead, he told the government to spend the next year studying how best to release the right amount of water without creating strong eddies or other conditions that could further endanger the fish.

Conservationists say the extra water will help young salmon migrate out to sea.

Simon is the same judge who last year urged the government to consider breaching the four dams on the Lower Snake River.

Bird flu found in Georgia chicken flock Mon, 27 Mar 2017 15:49:28 -0400 SUMMERVILLE, Ga. (AP) — About 18,000 chickens were destroyed at a northwest Georgia poultry farm after tests confirmed avian influenza in the flock, the first time the disease has been detected in commercial birds in the state, authorities said Monday.

The infected chickens were flagged by routine screening at a poultry breeder in Georgia’s Chattooga County, said Julie McPeake, a spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Agriculture.

Surveillance monitoring of all other commercial operations within a 6-mile radius found no further infections. State officials also planned to check all backyard breeders within 2 miles.

Poultry is the No. 1 agricultural sector in Georgia, with breeders and processing plants having an estimated annual $25.9 billion impact statewide.

“We have never had avian influenza in a commercial flock in Georgia,” McPeake said. “This is the first one.”

Chattooga County, about 90 miles (145 kilometers) northwest of Atlanta, is on the Georgia-Alabama state line and not far from Tennessee. Both neighboring states, along with Kentucky, also have reported bird flu in poultry flocks in recent weeks.

Officials in Georgia and the other states say no infected birds have entered the nation’s poultry supply, and the U.S. food chain isn’t at risk. While the disease can devastate bird populations, it rarely jumps to humans.

None of the infected birds in Georgia showed any symptoms, McPeake said, leading officials to believe they had a low-pathogenic form of the disease like those in Alabama and Kentucky.

High-pathogenic bird flu, a deadlier form of the illness, was detected this month in Tennessee, where 145,000 birds were destroyed.

Overall, more than 225,000 birds have been euthanized because of the disease in the four Southern states. In addition, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said earlier this month a flock of 84,000 turkeys had been confirmed with a low-pathogenic bird flu virus in Wisconsin.

The viruses in the current outbreaks are different from the high-pathogenic virus that resulted in the loss of nearly 50 million birds in the Midwest chicken egg and turkey industry in 2015.

Bill would remove Oregon egg-grading requirement Mon, 27 Mar 2017 14:50:18 -0400 Mateusz Perkowski SALEM — Eggs that haven’t been graded for size or quality are commonly sold directly to consumers in Oregon, but the custom doesn’t strictly adhere to state law.

Though the Oregon Department of Agriculture isn’t likely to drop the regulatory hammer on ungraded eggs, proponents of farm-to-consumer marketing nonetheless want to reconcile the statute with convention.

Under House Bill 3116, ungraded eggs could be sold roadside stands, farmers’ markets and other direct marketing venues as long as they’re labeled as such and are examined with a candling light for inner defects.

“This is closing the gap between the intent of the law with real world practice,” said Lynne Miller, a small egg producer from Benton County, Ore., during a March 27 legislative hearing.

Ungraded eggs haven’t caused food safety problems in Oregon and would still be subject to temperature controls and other regulations, said Rebecca Landis, policy adviser for the Oregon Farmers’ Market Association.

Grading isn’t required by federal law and grade standards developed for chicken eggs aren’t applicable for farmers who sell duck or turkey eggs, she said.

Unless they’re following very exacting recipes, consumers generally aren’t troubled by the lack of uniformity in cartons of ungraded eggs, Landis said.

“The size differences are not considered a minus,” she said.

The bill is intended to prevent a burden on small egg producers, in light of the Oregon Department of Justice advising ODA that ungraded egg sales aren’t currently allowed, said Rep. Pam Marsh, D-Ashland, who sponsored HB 3116.

“It adds unnecessary complexity to the process,” she said.

Enforcing the grading requirements isn’t a priority for ODA, but HB 3116 would clarify state policy regarding egg sales, said Stephanie Page, the agency’s food safety and animal health director.

Direct marketing is valuable for small and mid-sized farms in Oregon, which is among the top 10 states in farm-to-consumer sales, which generate about $44 million annually, said Ivan Maluski, policy director for the Friends of Family Farmers nonprofit, citing USDA data.

Almond board to spend $4.7 million for grower efficiency Mon, 27 Mar 2017 14:07:54 -0400 Tim Hearden MODESTO, Calif. — The Almond Board of California is continuing an effort to show that growers are good environmental stewards by setting aside $4.7 million for research into irrigation efficiency, dust reduction and other innovations.

The board plans to fund 82 independently conducted studies into such ideas as improved irrigation systems and catch basins for harvest to reduce dust, said Bob Curtis, the board’s director of agricultural affairs.

Many of the grants will go to University of California scientists, who will research such topics as whole-orchard recycling, groundwater recharge in almond orchards and leaf monitoring to assess water stress.

“We’re upping our game, so to speak,” Curtis told the Capital Press. One key area is investment in irrigation efficiency, he said. About $1.3 million is going into irrigation management research.

“There’s a lot of new technology coming on line and we want to vet those and get them out to growers,” he said, adding that the new machinery would make growers more efficient while being easier to use.

The initiative is the latest effort at outreach by the increasingly image-conscious almond industry, which has sought in recent years to push back against criticism that growers use too much water and that California’s massive crop places too much stress on honeybee populations.

In late 2014, the board and bee experts developed a best-practices checklist for growers and beekeepers during bloom so that bees avoid contact with pesticides, and last summer the board hosted a workshop and released a video advising growers how to reduce dust during harvest.

The board has also been funding research into the concept of grinding up whole orchards and putting the biomass material back into the ground to improve the soil.

In 2015, the board set aside $2.5 million for research into water efficiency, honeybee health and best practices. Growers’ current efforts at water use efficiency were credited for a large crop last summer during a fifth straight year of drought.

Curtis said the “orchard of the future” could involve dropping almonds onto tarps during harvest, as is done with pistachios and prunes, thereby eliminating the need for sweepers that generate dust.

“There’s a lot of pieces to this puzzle, though,” Curtis said. “We’d have to develop the right tree canopy to do this. Obviously the very large trees that we have now are not amenable to having catch frames.”

Chelan FFA hosts District VII leadership development event Mon, 27 Mar 2017 13:15:21 -0400 March 22 marked the 37th year in a row that the Chelan, Wash., FFA and Chelan High School played host to the District VII Leadership Development Event.

At stake were the four berths in the Washington State Leadership Development Events to be held at the Washington State FFA Convention May 11-13 in Pullman.

FFA Members from all over North Central Washington converged on CHS to compete in Creed Speaking, Prepared Public Speaking, Extemporaneous Public Speaking, Conduct of Meetings and Parliamentary Procedure Leadership Development Events.

Chelan had three speakers in the Creed LDE and one in the Prepared Public Speaking LDE. The Creed LDE involves reciting the five paragraphs of the FFA Creed and then answering a series of three questions. The 10 freshman members who competed shook off the nerves and did a great job of representing their chapters. When it was all said and done, Ella Tshetter of Chelan came away with a 2nd place banner and a spot in state level competition. Dee Lysiak also punched her ticket to state with a 3rd place finish. Ashlyn Sanderson placed 6th.

In the Prepared Public Speaking CDE members have to research and write a manuscript on an agriculture-related topic. The manuscript is scored for grammatical correctness, APA Style, organization and topic. They then deliver a six- to eight-minute speech to a panel of judges followed by five minutes of questions.

Ashley Oswald rose to the occasion and earned the first-place banner and a date with the State LDE on Thursday morning of State FFA Convention.

In the remainder of the spring, Chelan FFA members will compete in the Livestock CDE at Moses Lake Jr. Livestock Show, Asotin Co. Fair, St. John Community Fair, and the State CDE at the Spokane Jr. Livestock Show.

The Meats CDE team will compete at Moses Lake Jr. Livestock Show, Spokane Jr. Livestock Show and the State CDE.

Other CDE and LDE teams that will compete this spring are First Year LDE, Agriculture Issues Forum LDE, Employment Skills LDE, Farm Business Management CDE and Hall of Chapters.

The complete results of the District VII LDE are as follows

Conduct of Meeting:

• Tonasket H

• Cashmere K

• Tonasket C

• Cashmere B

• Cashmere C

• Cashmere G

Extemporaneous Public Speaking:

• Summer Schoening, Cashmere

• Bailey Covey, Omak

• Sydnee Mungeon, Cashmere

• Hunter Swanson, Tonasket

• Jessica Burkett, Tonasket

• Brenda Berglin, Cashmere

• Madison Schoening, Cashmere

• Seth Smith, Tonasket

Prepared Public Speaking:

• Ashley Oswald, Chelan

• Lauren Ellis, Tonasket

• Reilly Schoening, Cashmere

• Madison Schoening, Cashmere

• Dani Monroe, Cashmere

• Ally Mershon, Tonasket

• Zach Clark, Tonasket

• Chandra Shipley, Omak

Creed Speaking:

• Hayley Gilman, Eastmont

• Ella Tschetter, Chelan

• Dee Lysiak, Chelan

• Emman Alexander, Tonasket

• Regan Timm, Tonasket

• Ashlyn Sanderson, Chelan

• Annie Weber, Cashmere

• Cody Clark, Tonasket

• Kristina Torres, Tonasket

• Maritza Orozco, Cashmere

Parliamentary Procedure:

• Tonasket N

• Bridgeport A

• Tonasket M

• Bridgeport B

• Tonasket J

Fire destroys fruit packing shed in Wenatchee Mon, 27 Mar 2017 11:20:07 -0400 Dan Wheat WENATCHEE, Wash. — Fire destroyed a packing shed of one of the smaller fruit packers in the Wenatchee area the evening of March 24.

Phillippi Fruit Co. Inc. lost its apple packing line at 1921 Fifth St. in Wenatchee. It has a cherry packing facility about eight miles away at Baker Flats north of East Wenatchee.

The approximate 12,500-square-foot building was unoccupied when fire was reported at 8:25 p.m., said Mike Burnett, chief of Chelan County Fire District No. 1.

The fire was not discovered early on and had spread enough that firefighters were unable to pursue an interior attack upon arrival but saved an adjacent fruit storage shed just five feet away and stacks of empty apple bins, Burnett said.

About 50 firefighters from seven fire departments as far away as Lake Chelan, 40 miles to the north, responded to the two-alarm fire and three aerial ladder trucks were used, he said. There was no immediate threat to nearby homes and the fire was under control in two-and-a-half hours, he said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, but there is nothing suspicious, Burnett said.

“It won’t be easy to determine because of the extent of damage,” he said.

He had no estimate of dollar loss.

Chris Phillippi, co-owner, released a statement crediting firefighters for saving the storage shed, shop, distillery, cidery and office.

“We had already concluded our apple packing season so the facility was only in limited operation. Nobody was working in the facility at the time of the fire,” Phillippi said in the statement.

The company is considering options for packing this fall’s apple crop but most likely will not rebuild at Fifth Street, he said. It’s more likely the apple packing will be moved to one of the company’s two other locations, he said.

“Much has changed since our facility was built on Fifth Street in 1960. At the time, the area was an orchard district…but in 2017 we find ourselves as one of the last tree fruit operations in a residential district in the city of Wenatchee,” Phillippi said.

June and July cherry harvest is the company’s upcoming focus and its cherry packing plant at Baker Flats will be fully ready, he said.

National wool review and sheep summary Mon, 27 Mar 2017 11:19:08 -0400 Wool prices in cents per pound and foreign currency per kilogram, sheep prices in dollars per hundredweight (cwt.) except some replacement animals on per head basis as indicated.


(USDA Market News)

Greeley, Colo.

March 24

Domestic wool trading on a clean basis was active this week. There were 197,000 pounds of confirmed trades reported. Domestic wool trading on a greasy basis was at a standstill this week. There were no confirmed trades reported.

Domestic wool tags

No. 1 $.60-.70

No. 2 $.50-.60

No. 3 $.40-.50


(USDA Market News)

San Angelo, Texas

March 24

Compared to March 17: Slaughter lambs were steady to $20 lower, except at Sioux Falls, S.D., $4-6 higher. Slaughter ewes were steady to $10 lower, except at Sioux Falls steady to $5 higher. Feeder lambs were not well tested. At San Angelo, Texas, 5,905 head sold.

No sales in Equity Electronic Auction. In direct trading slaughter ewes and feeder lambs were not tested. 3,200 head of negotiated sales of slaughter lambs were steady. 6,089 lamb carcasses sold with 45 lbs. and down $8.81 higher; 45-65 lbs. no trend due to confidentiality; 65-75 lbs. $2.53 higher and 75 lbs. and up $5.16-5.63 higher.

SLAUGHTER LAMBS Choice and Prime 2-3:

San Angelo: shorn and wooled 110-165 lbs. $130-148, few $152-160.

SLAUGHTER LAMBS Choice and Prime 1:

San Angelo: 40-60 lbs. $225-240, few 242-248; 60-70 lbs. $220-238, few $244; 70-80 lbs. $212-230, few $234-238; 80-90 lbs. $205-228; 90-110 lbs. $184-202, few $212-216.

DIRECT TRADING (Lambs with 3-4 percent shrink or equivalent):

3,200 Slaughter Lambs shorn and wooled 127-185 lbs. $136.25-164 (wtd avg $145.56).


San Angelo: Good 2-3 (fleshy) $72-75; Utility and Good 1-3 (medium flesh) $82-92; Utility 1-2 (thin) $70-80; Cull and Utility 1-2 (very thin) $58-66; Cull 1 (extremely thin) $40-55.

FEEDER LAMBS Medium and Large 1-2:

San Angelo: 70-80 lbs. $208-224.

REPLACEMENT EWES Medium and Large 1-2:

San Angelo: hair ewe lambs 65-75 lbs. $246-260 cwt, 80-100 lbs. $190-198 per head; baby tooth hair ewes $165-200 per head; mixed age hair ewes 90-140 lbs. $100-150 cwt.


Weight Wtd. avg.

45 lbs. and down $497.65

45-55 lbs. Price not reported

due to confidentiality

55-65 lbs. $336.60

65-75 lbs. $286.78

75-85 lbs. $271.30

85 lbs. and up $264.88

Sheep and lamb slaughter under federal inspection for the week to date totaled 40,000 compared with 40,000 last week and 40,000 last year.

Western hay price report Mon, 27 Mar 2017 11:14:46 -0400 Hay prices are dollars per ton or dollars per bale when sold to retail outlets. Basis is current delivery FOB barn or stack, or delivered customer as indicated. Grade guidelines used in this report have the following relationship to Relative Feed Value (RFV), Acid Detergent Fiber (ADF), TDN (Total Digestible Nutrients), or Crude Protein (CP) test numbers:


Supreme 185+ <27 55.9+ 22+

Premium 170-185 27-29 54.5-55.9 20-22

Good 150-170 29-32 52.5-54.5 18-20

Fair 130-150 32-35 50.5-52.5 16-18

Utility <130 36+ <50.5 <16


(Columbia Basin)

(USDA Market News)

Moses Lake, Wash.

March 24

This week FOB Last week Last year

5,730 3,600 6,330

Compared to March 17: Export and domestic Alfalfa steady. Trade slow to moderate with good demand. Westside dairies are showing interest in hay this week as last year’s winter has taken its toll on feed supplies. Retail/Feedstore steady.

Tons Price

Alfalfa Mid Square Premium 910 $110-115

1600 $120-125

Good 2200 $100

Fair 700 $90

Alfalfa Small Square Premium 30 $180

Orchard Grass Small Square Premium 90 $190-215

Wheat Straw Mid Square Fair 200 $50


(USDA Market News)

Portland, Ore.

March 24

This week FOB Last week Last year

2,587 646 1,906

Compared to March 17: Prices trended generally steady in a limited test compared to week ago prices. Most demand lies with the retail/stable hay. According to some producers, horse owners prefer lower sugar, higher protein hay. Many producers are sold out for the year.

Tons Price


Alfalfa Large Square Good 200 $125

Orchard Grass Large Square Good 600 $160

Small Square Premium 1 $250


Alfalfa Large Square Good 100 $115

Alfalfa/Orchard Mix Small Square Good/Prem. 4 $150


Alfalfa/Orchard Mix Small Square Premium 50 $240

Good/Prem. 100 $220

Barley Straw Small Square Utility 110 $77


Alfalfa Large Square Prem./Sup. 400 $150

Oat Large Square Good 60 $95


Alfalfa Large Square Supreme 159 $175-210

Premium 60 $160

60 $160

Good/Prem. 140 $150

Small Square Premium 120 $185

Good/Prem. 30 $150

Alfalfa/Oat Mix Small Square Good/Prem. 30 $125

Oat Large Square Good 98 $80

Pea/Barley/Oat/Wheat Large Square Good/Prem. 15 $105

Triticale Large Square Good/Prem. 250 $75


(USDA Market News)

Moses Lake, Wash.

March 24

This week FOB Last week Last year

1,000 1,600 630

Compared to March 17: domestic Alfalfa steady in a light test. Trade very slow with very good demand as supplies are in firm hands and winter is still around in some places.

Tons Price

Alfalfa Mid Square Fair/Good 1000 $115-120


(USDA Market News)

Moses Lake, Wash.

March 24

This week FOB Last week Last year

3,535 6,930 15,495

Compared to March 17: All classes traded steady with moderate demand. According the U.S. Drought Monitor, the National Weather Service 6- to 10-day outlook for March 28-April 1 calls for near- to above-normal temperatures and precipitation over most of the nation, with drier-than-normal weather in California.

Tons Price


Includes the counties of Siskiyou, Modoc, Shasta, Lassen, and Plumas.

Alfalfa/Orchard Mix Premium 100 $240

Orchard Grass Premium 50 $280


Includes the counties of Tehama, Glenn, Butte, Colusa, Sutter, Yuba, Sierra, Nevada, Placer, Yolo, El Dorado, Solano, Sacramento.

No new sales confirmed.


Includes the counties of San Joaquin, Calaveras, Stanislaus, Tuolumne, Mono, Merced and Mariposa.

Alfalfa Prem./Sup. 100 $225

Premium 50 $180

100 $240

25 $185

Good/Prem. 75 $190

75 $208

Forage Mix-Three Way Good 75 $110


Includes the counties of Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare, and Inyo.

No new sales confirmed.


Includes the counties of Kern, Northeast Los Angeles, and Western San Bernardino.

Alfalfa Premium 250 $190

Forage Mix-Three Way Good 50 $200


Includes the counties of Eastern San Bernardino, Riverside, and Imperial.

Alfalfa Supreme 720 $190

Prem./Sup. 850 $180

140 $195

Premium 350 $172

175 $165

250 $180

Fair 100 $90

Malheur Siphon fix will cost more than $1 million Mon, 27 Mar 2017 11:11:51 -0400 Sean Ellis ONTARIO, Ore. — It will cost between $1 million and $2 million to fix the Malheur Siphon, which carries irrigation water to thousands of acres of farmland in the northern part of the Owyhee Irrigation District system.

The 4.3-mile steel pipeline, a landmark in the valley, delivers up to 325 cubic feet of water per second from the Owyhee Reservoir.

The 78-inch diameter pipeline was built in 1935 and an about three-quarter-mile-long section of it east of the Malheur Butte is starting to fail.

OID Manager Jay Chamberlin said that if the pipeline failed in the middle of growing season, it would result in about $18 million in crop losses.

“If we lose this pipe in July, that’s the worst-case scenario,” he told OID patrons March 21 during the district’s annual meeting. “That’s why we feel the urgency to do what we’re doing.”

The district last year hired MWH Americas, a Boise engineering firm, to perform a structural analysis of the pipeline and design a fix.

MWH civil engineer Gary Clark told OID patrons that most of the pipeline is in fantastic shape and should last until about 2060.

“The pipeline is worth fixing,” he said.

The problem section is in an area with bentonite clay, which, along with spikes and dips in temperature, can cause the pipe to move as much as 9 inches up and down and several inches sideways throughout the day.

“It goes through an expansion and contraction process during the day,” Chamberlin said. “It’s quite a living structure.”

Clark said the structural supports on the pipeline are starting to fail in that section because of the constant movement. Expansion joints, where the pipe slides inside itself, can also move several inches a day and are also close to failing.

These weak points have received band-aid fixes over the years, he said.

“In my opinion, it’s very close to failing at this point,” Clark said.

OID patrons this year will pay a special assessment of $1.50 per irrigable acre, which will raise about $101,000 to help fund the engineering work.

“This is going to help us get this process started,” said OID Assistant Manager Harvey Manser.

He said the district’s board of directors will seek grants and loan opportunities to help fund the project and OID employees will do as much of the work as possible to keep the cost down.

MWH’s proposed fix will involve new legs that will be designed to move relative to the pipeline and allow movement from side to side and vertically.

“This will be a lot cheaper than ... having to replace this thing,” Clark said.

Work on the project, which will occur over two to three years, will take place outside irrigation season and could begin this fall, Chamberlin said.

West Coast grain price report Mon, 27 Mar 2017 11:09:15 -0400 Grains are stated in dollars per bushel or hundredweight (cwt.) except feed grains traded in dollars per ton. National grain report bids are for rail delivery unless truck indicated.


(USDA Market News)


March 24


Cash wheat bids for March delivery ended the reporting week on Thursday, March 23, were lower, compared to March 17 noon bids for March delivery.

May wheat futures ended the reporting week on Thursday, March 23, lower as follows compared to March 17 closes: Chicago wheat futures were 15 cents lower at $4.21, Kansas City wheat futures were 22 cents lower at $4.28 and Minneapolis wheat futures trended 7.25 cents lower at $5.4075.

Chicago May corn futures trended 9.25 cents lower at $3.5675 and May soybean futures closed 10.50 cents lower at $9.91.

Bids for U.S. 1 Soft White Wheat delivered to Portland in unit trains or barges during March for ordinary protein trended five to 15 cents per bushel lower compared to March 17 prices for the same delivery period at $4.41-4.66. Some exporters were not issuing bids for nearby delivery.

White club wheat premiums were zero to 15 cents per bushel over soft white wheat bids this week and last week.

One year ago bids for U.S. 1 Soft White Wheat any protein for March delivery by unit trains and barges to Portland were not available and bids for White Club Wheat were also not available.

Forward month bids for soft white wheat ordinary protein were as follows: April and May $4.41-4.88, June $4.46-4.84 and August New Crop $4.51-4.73.

One year ago, forward month bids for soft white wheat for any protein were as follows: April through August New Crop not available.

Bids for U.S. 1 Soft White Wheat guaranteed maximum 10.5 percent protein during March trended steady to 15 cents per bushel lower compared to week ago price for the same delivery period at $4.41-4.80. Some exporters were not issuing bids for nearby delivery.

White club wheat premiums for guaranteed maximum 10.5 percent protein soft white wheat this week were zero to 10 cents per bushel over soft white wheat bids this week and last week.

One year ago bids for U.S. 1 Soft White Wheat guaranteed maximum 10.5 percent protein for March delivery by unit trains and barges to Portland were $5.33-5.38 and bids for White Club Wheat were $5.33-5.93. Forward month bids for soft white wheat guaranteed 10.5 percent proteins were as follows: April and May $4.41-4.80 and August New Crop $4.51-4.80.

One year ago, forward month bids for soft white wheat for any protein were as follows: April $5.33-5.50, May $5.33-5.53, June $5.3075-5.55 and August New Crop $4.98-5.30.

Bids for 11.5 percent protein U.S. 1 Hard Red Winter Wheat for March delivery were 22 cents per bushel lower compared to March 17 noon bids for the same delivery period. Some exporters were not issuing bids for nearby delivery. Bids were as follows: March $5.08-5.33, April $5.08-5.28, May $5.08-5.23, June $5.1575- 5.2575 and August New Crop $5.1550-5.3050.

Bids for non-guaranteed 14.0 percent protein U.S. 1 Dark Northern Spring Wheat for Portland delivery during March were 7.25 cents per bushel lower than March 17 noon bids for the same delivery period. Some exporters were not issuing bids for nearby delivery. Bids for non-guaranteed 14 percent protein were as follows: March, April and May $6.4075-6.7575, June $6.47-6.72 and August New Crop $6.6850-6.7350.


Bids for U.S. 2 Yellow Corn delivered full coast Pacific Northwest - BNSF shuttle trains for March delivery trended 6.25 to 9.25 cents lower from $4.2975-4.3675. Some exporters were not issuing bids for nearby delivery. Forward month corn bids were as follows: April $4.3575-4.3775, May $4.3175-4.3675, June $4.3650-4.3750 and July $4.3450-4.3650. Bids for U.S. 1 Yellow Soybeans delivered full coast Pacific Northwest - BN shuttle trains for March delivery trended 10.50 cents lower from $10.46 to $10.51. Some exporters were not issuing bids for nearby delivery. Forward month soybean bids were as follows: April and May $10.51-10.56, October $10.7625-10.8125 and November $10.7325-10.7525. Bids for U.S. 2 Heavy White Oats for March delivery trended steady at $3.2650 per bushel.


There were 37 grain vessels in Columbia River ports on Thursday, March 23, with six docked compared to 35 last week with five docked. There were no new confirmed export sales this week from the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) of the USDA.


(USDA Market News)


March 23

Prices in dollars per cwt., bulk Inc.= including; Nom.= nominal; Ltd.= limited; Ind.= indicated; NYE=Not fully estimated.


Mode Destination Price per cwt.

BARLEY – U.S. No. 2 (46-lbs. per bushel)

FOB Kern County NA

Rail Los Angeles NA

Stockton-Modesto-Oakdale-Turlock NA

Kings-Tulare-Fresno Counties NA

Truck Petaluma-Santa Rosa NA

Stockton-Modesto-Oakdale-Turlock NA

Kings-Tulare-Fresno Counties $8.00

Colusa County NA

CORN-U.S. No. 2 Yellow

FOB Turlock-Tulare $8.19

Modesto-Oakdale-Turlock NA

Kings-Tulare-Fresno $7.40

Rail Single Car Units via BNSF

Chino Valley-Los Angeles $8.46

Truck Petaluma-Santa Rosa NA

Stockton-Modesto-Oakdale-Turlock $8.50

Los Angeles-Chino Valley NA

Kings-Tulare-Fresno Counties $8.50

Kern County NA

SORGHUM-U.S. No. 2 Yellow

Rail Los Angeles-Chino Valley

via BNSF Single $8.10

OATS-U.S. No. 2 White

Truck Petaluma NA

Stockton-Modesto-Oakdale-Turlock NA

WHEAT-U.S. No. 2 or better-Hard Red Winter

(Domestic Values for Flour Milling)

Los Angeles 12 percent Protein NA

Los Angeles 13 percent Protein NA

Los Angeles 14 percent Protein NA

Truck/Rail Los Angeles 11-12 percent Protein

Los Angeles 12 percent Protein NA

Los Angeles 13 percent Protein NA

Los Angeles 14 percent Protein NA

WHEAT-U.S. Durum Wheat

Truck Kern County NA

Kings-Tulare-Fresno Counties NA

WHEAT-Any Class for Feed

FOB Tulare NA

Kings-Tulare-Fresno Counties $8.75

Kern County NA

Truck/Rail Los Angeles-Chino Valley NA

Truck Petaluma-Santa Rosa NA

Stockton-Modesto-Oakdale-Turlock NA

King-Tulare-Fresno Counties NA

Fresno NA

Merced County NA

Colusa County NA

Kern County NA

Prices paid to California farmers, seven-day reporting period ending March 3:

No confirmed sales.

California shell egg price report Mon, 27 Mar 2017 10:50:00 -0400 Shell egg marketer’s benchmark price for negotiated egg sales of USDA Grade AA and Grade AA in cartons, cents per dozen. This price does not reflect discounts or other contract terms.


(USDA Market News)

Des Moines, Iowa

March 24

Benchmark prices are steady. Asking prices for next week are unchanged for Jumbo and 4 cents higher on all other sizes. The undertone is steady. Offerings are moderate to available. Demand is moderate to fairly good, best into current ads. Warehouse buying interest is slow. Market activity is slow to moderate. Small benchmark price 95 cents.

Size Range Size Range

Jumbo 140 Extra large 140

Large 132 Medium 115


Prices to retailers, sales to volume buyers, USDA Grade AA and Grade AA, white eggs in cartons, delivered store door.

Size Range Size Range

Jumbo 131-143 Extra large 131-135

Large 117-126 Medium 96-107

Western fluid milk and cream review Mon, 27 Mar 2017 10:47:09 -0400 FLUID MILK AND CREAM REVIEW – WEST

(USDA Market News)

Madison, Wis.

March 23

California milk production is up this week. The weather is currently warmer, and some dairy handlers are still recovering from the preceding rainy days. Class 1 demand is steady. Processors are managing to meet their contract needs and have enough supplies for processing needs. Alfalfa is growing well as a result of the warmer weather.

Pacific Northwest milk production is stable. Bottling demand is seasonally steady and there is plenty of milk available to keep manufacturing facilities operating near capacity. Water held in Washington reservoirs are below normal for this time of year. Water levels have been purposely kept low in preparation of expected above normal spring and summer runoffs. Industry contacts expect adequate supplies of water for irrigation this spring.

Milk production in the mountain states of Idaho, Utah and Colorado is coming back after a tough winter. Industry contacts in Northern Utah and Idaho say conditions are improving and milk intakes are growing.

However, they add that some cows are still feeling some stress from the unusually harsh winter and it may be the next lactation before milk production recovers fully. Rivers are full, but crop ground is in good shape. With reservoirs at or above average capacity, farmers expect plenty of water for irrigation and a good start to the growing season. Condensed skim sales are flat. Some contacts report having offers at $0.65/lb. in California.

Availability of cream in the West is abundant. Some producers are making more butter to keep up with excess cream. Demands are steadily lower in California and cream premiums are from 0 to 5 cents.

According to the DMN National Retail Report-Dairy for the week of March 17-23, the national weighted average advertised price for one gallon of milk is $2.59, up 8 cents from last week and 41 cents higher from a year ago. The weighted average regional price in the Southwest is $2.57, with a price range of $1.99-2.99. No ads were reported in the Northwest.

The NASS Milk Production report noted February 2017 milk production in the 23 selected states was 15.7 billion pounds, 1.0 percent below the unadjusted production of a year ago. Milk cows in the 23 selected states totaled 8.69 million head, 66,000 head more than a year ago. The following table shows western states included in the report and the monthly milk production changes compared to a year ago: February 2017 Milk Production, (USDA-NASS).

(Million Lb.) % Change From

1 Year Ago

California 3,122 -5.4

Colorado 313 +3.3

Idaho 1,095 -2.7

Oregon 196 -5.8

Washington 502 -5.6

National feeder and stocker cattle report Mon, 27 Mar 2017 10:41:33 -0400 Cattle prices in dollars per hundredweight (cwt.) except some replacement animals per pair Oregon head as indicated.


(Federal-State Market News)

St. Joseph, Mo.

March 24

This week Last week Last year

409,500 334,600 262,300

Compared to March 17: Steers and heifers were steady to $7 higher, with the early week sales being steady to $4 higher and later week auctions $3 to $7 higher.

There were instances when trends this week were called up to $9 higher as the CME cattle complex was sharply higher mid-week and didn’t give up the ghost as the week moved on.

News of fed cattle trade on Wednesday spurred the markets higher when some cattle were reported on the FCE at $136.50 in Nebraska which would be $4 to 5 higher than last week’s sales.

Dressed sales were turned in on Thursday at $215, $5 higher than last week. Support flowed over to the Feeder Cattle contracts when they were from $3 to almost $4.50 higher for the week, with the most gain coming in the further out months.

With all the support around the circuit, spring has sprung and cattle buyers were bidding readily and aggressively for all offerings on hand at auctions nationwide. On March 22 in Kearney, Neb., at Huss-Platte Valley Livestock Auction a package of 707 lb. steers with all the bells and whistles sold at $155 and a load of 542 lb. thin fleshed steers rang the bell at $186.50.

Additionally, on March 22 in St Joseph, Mo., a load plus of 877 lb. steers sold for $138 and a short load of 806 lb. steers sold at $144.75.

On March 23 in Valentine, Neb., a load of 757 lb. steers went for $152 and a string of 718 lb. replacement heifers sold of $1335 per head which would equate to around $186/cwt.

Feedyards are optimistic and are getting in a much better position as the bottom lines are much better now than they were at the first of the year.

Boxed beef has rallied since the beginning of February, the implied packer margins are back in the black and packers have been more than willing to pay up for live cattle. Since Feb. 10, Choice Boxed Beef has gained around $35 and this is going through the month of March, which is not known for its spectacular demand. Some of the boxed beef sales may now be going the way of exports as a number of importing countries that utilize beef from Brazil announced that they are either suspending, curtailing or enhancing inspections of meat from that country. Brazil has surpassed the U.S. in exports and in recent years has become the largest global supplier of red meat and poultry products.

Analysts are looking at how many dollars of product that could be affected by suspension of those products and with approximately $5.5 billion worth exported from Brazil in calendar year 2016, it could be a boon for other countries that step up production and fill the void.

The Cold Storage Report showed total red meat supplies in freezers were up 1 percent from the previous month but down 6 percent from last year. Total pounds of beef in freezers were down 7 percent from the previous month and down 1 percent from last year. The outgoing pace of frozen beef supplies in February is supportive to the cattle industry and it appears that participants have been drawing on those freezer stocks that were purchased last fall at lower prices.

Cattle on Feed report came in within analyst expectations as the On Feed number is at 100 percent; placements at 99 percent and Marketings at 104 percent. Auction volume this week included 58 percent weighing over 600 lbs. and 43 percent heifers.


This week Last week Last year

253,700 228,600 225,300

WASHINGTON 2,100. 73 pct over 600 lbs. 38 pct heifers. Steers: Medium and Large 1-2 500-550 lbs. $155.86; 600-650 lbs. $140.20; 650-700 lbs. $128.48; 700-750 lbs. $130.30; 750-800 lbs. $128.38; 850-900 lbs. $118.28. Heifers: Medium and Large 1-2 500-550 lbs. $143.56; 650-700 lbs. $125.86; 700-750 lbs. $117.52; pkg 775 lbs. $119.50; 850-900 lbs. $115.85.


This week Last week Last year

153,400 80,100 25,900

SOUTHWEST (Arizona-California-Nevada) 300. No cattle over 600 lbs. No heifers. Holsteins: Large 3 300 lbs. $115 April Del.

NORTHWEST (Washington-Oregon-Idaho) 2,200. 91 pct over 600 lbs. 26 pct heifers. Steers: Medium and Large 1 Current Delivered Price 700-800 lbs. $127-135 Idaho; 800-850 lbs. $124-126 Idaho. Future Delivery FOB Price 600-650 lbs. $138-145 calves for October-November Oregon. Large 1 Future Delivery Delivered Price 900 lbs. $126 for May-June Idaho. Heifers: Medium and Large 1 Current Delivered Price 750-800 lbs. $118.50 Idaho. Future Delivery FOB Price 550-600 lbs. $128-131 for October-November Oregon; 600-650 lbs. $135 calves for October-November Oregon. Large 1 950-1000 lbs. $110 for October-November Oregon.


(USDA Market News)

Oklahoma City, Okla.

March 17

Slaughter cattle only lightly traded this week. No trades as of the time of this report for Texas. Limited sales in Kansas were $2 lower. Slaughter cattle in Nebraska though lightly tested were $3-$4 higher live and $5 higher dressed.

Boxed Beef prices as of March 24 averaged $218.58 down $.37 from March 17. The Choice/Select spread is $6.07. Slaughter cattle on a national basis for negotiated cash trades through March 24 totaled about 38,700 head. The previous week’s total head count was 123,872 head.

Midwest Direct Markets: Live Basis: Steers and Heifers: few $134.50. Dressed Basis: Steers and Heifers few $215.

South Plains Direct Markets: Live Basis: Steers and Heifers few $126.

Slaughter Cows and Bulls (Average Yielding Prices): Slaughter cows and bulls steady to $2 higher. Cutter Cow Carcass Cut-Out Value March 24 was $169.66 up $1.16 from March 17.


(USDA Market News)

Moses Lake, Wash.

March 24

This week Last week Last year

2,150 2,950 3,450

Compared to March 17: Feeder cattle steady to $2 higher on fall contracted calves. Trade slow as most interests are waiting for the cattle on feed report due to be released. Demand remains good. The feeder supply included 74 percent steers and 26 percent heifers. Near 91 percent of the supply weighed over 600 lbs. Prices are FOB weighing point with a 1-4 percent shrink or equivalent and with a 5-12 cent slide on calves and a 3-8 cent slide on yearlings. Delivered prices include freight, commissions and other expenses. Current sales are up to 14 days delivery.

Feeder Steers: Medium and Large 1: Current Delivered Price: 700-800 lbs. $127-135 Idaho; 800-850 lbs. $124-126 Idaho. Future Delivery FOB Price: 600-650 lbs. $138-145 calves for October-November Oregon. Large 1: Future Delivery Delivered Price: 900 lbs. $126 for May-June Idaho.

Feeder Heifers Medium and Large 1: Current Delivered Price: 750-800 lbs. $118.50 Idaho. Future Delivery FOB Price: 550-600 lbs. $128-131 for October-November Oregon; 600-650 lbs. $135 calves for October-November Oregon. Large 1: 950-1000 lbs. $110 for October-November Oregon.

Selected Western livestock auctions Mon, 27 Mar 2017 10:33:49 -0400 Cattle prices in dollars per hundredweight (cwt.) except some replacement animals per pair or head as indicated.



(Shasta Livestock Auction)

Cottonwood, Calif.

March 24

Current week Last week

1,121 514

Compared to March 3: Slaughter cows $5-8 higher due to low supply and high demand. Steers and heifers mostly $3-10 higher due to a good week in futures and good fed cattle market.

Slaughter cows: High yielding $66-74; Med yielding $55-65; Low yielding NA.

Bulls 1 and 2: $65-87.

Feeder steers: 600-650 lbs. $135-160; 700-750 lbs. $125-135; 750-800 lbs. $125-128.50; 800-900 lbs. $118-129.

Feeder heifers: 300-400 lbs. $145-164; 400-450 lbs. $150-160; 450-500 lbs. $140-155; 500-550 lbs. $145-161; 600-650 lbs. $120-138; 650-700 lbs. $120-127; 700-750 lbs. $115-119; 750-800 lbs. $115-120.50; 800-900 lbs. $115-119.

Calvy cows: Too few to test.

Pairs: Three loads of heifers pairs $1,950-2,000; Full Mouth $1,375-1,975; Broken Mouth $1,000-1,375


(Turlock Livestock Auction Yard)

Turlock, Calif.

March 24

Total receipts: 1041 head.

Compared to March 10: Good supply of dairy replacements.

with a steady market. Weigh Cows and Bull market steady with a week ago.

Springers: No. 1 Holstein springer $1700-1900; No. 2 Holstein springer $1300-1675; No. 1 Jersey springer $1450-1750 No. 2 Jersey cross springer $1400-1800.

Weigh beef cows: High yielding no test; Med yielding $47-64; Low yielding $40-46.

Weigh dairy cows: High yielding $64-73; Med yielding $54-63; Low yielding $35-53.

Weigh bulls: High yielding $80-86.50; Med yielding $70-79; Low yielding $50-69.

Holstein Barren Heifers; $62-80.


(Toppenish Livestock Auction)

(USDA Market News)

Moses Lake, Wash.

March 24

This week Last week Last year

1,270 2,400 1,560

Compared to March 17: Stocker cattle $7-8 higher as spring fever is in full swing. Feeder cattle weak in a light test. Trade active with good demand and good buyer attendance. Slaughter cows steady. Slaughter bulls $3-4 higher. Trade active with good demand. Slaughter cows 71 percent, slaughter bulls 5 percent, and feeders 24 percent of the supply. The feeder supply included 47 percent steers and 53 percent heifers. Near 53 percent of the run weighed over 600 lbs.

Feeder Steers: Medium and Large 1-2: 400-500 lbs. $195; 500-600 lbs. $169.50-177.50; 600-700 lbs. $149-149.50; 700-800 lbs. $118.50-121; 700-800 lbs. $112, Full; 800-900 lbs. $117.50-119. Medium and Large 2-3: 500-600 lbs. $154. Small and Medium 1-2: 300-400 lbs. $185. Small and Medium 2-3: 400-500 lbs. $112.50.

Feeder Heifers: Medium and Large 1-2: 300-400 lbs. $165-172; 500-600 lbs. $141.50-145; 600-700 lbs. $130-137; 700-800 lbs. $112.50-118.50; 800-900 lbs. $111-114.50.

Slaughter Holstein Steers: Few Select 2-3 1300-1400 lbs. $68-70.50.

Slaughter Cows: Boners 80-85 percent lean 1500-2100 lbs. $64-69; Lean 85-90 percent lean 1200-1900 lbs. $63-69; Lean Light 90 percent lean 900-1350 lbs. $53-58.

Slaughter Bulls: Yield Grade 1-2 few 1600-2200 lbs. $78-84.

Bred Cows (Per Head): Medium and Large 1-2: Few Mid-Aged 1248 lbs. 1-3 mos. bred $800.

Cow/Calf Pairs (Per Pair): Medium and Large 1-2: Few Broken Mouth 1400 lbs. with 100-150 lbs. calves.



(Treasure Valley Livestock)

March 17

Steers (wt.): 300-400 lbs. $93; 400-500 lbs. $79.50; 500-600 lbs. $82; 600-700 lbs. $77; 700-800 lbs. $87.25; 800 lbs and up $83.

Steers (hd.): 100-200 lbs. $145; 300-400 lbs. $195; 400-500 lbs. $370; 500-600 lbs. $360.; Heifers (wt.): 400-500 lbs. $63; 500-600 lbs. $61; 700-800 lbs. $107.25; 800-900 lbs. $72; 900-1000 lbs. $70.50; 1000-1100 lbs. $70.75; 1100-1200 lbs. $76.50; 1200 lbs and up $88.

Heifers (hd.): 200-300 lbs. $100; 300-400 lbs. $175; 400-500 lbs. $285.

Bull Calf (wt.): 400-500 lbs. $66; 500-600 lbs. $65.

Bull Calf (hd.): 300-400 lbs. $325; 500-600 lbs. $290.

Cows (wt.): 1300-1400 lbs. $52; 1400-1500 lbs. $56; 1500-1600 lbs. $57.50; 1600-1700 lbs. $57.

Holstein Bulls (wt.): 1300-1400 lbs. $74.



(Lebanon Auction Yard)

March 23

Total Receipts: 286.

Top conventional cow $70, Top 10 avg. $66.98, avg. all $55.03.

Top conventional bull: $84.

Top organic cow: $93; Top 10 avg. $86.18, avg all $69.21.

Cow/calf pairs: $750-1140 per pair.

Breed cows: $570-985 per head.

Beef day olds: $570-985 per head.

Goats: $25-150 per head.


(Producers Livestock Market)

March 22

Total receipts: 772 head.

Comments: All weights and classes of feed cattle. $4-8 higher. Cows and bulls a little softer, but not much for high yielding cows.

Steer calves: 300-400 lbs. NA; 400-500 lbs. $150-176; 500-600 lbs. $140-164.

Heifer calves: 300-400 lbs. $139-165; 400-500 lbs. $131-160; 500-600 lbs. $124-143.

Yearling steers: 600-700 lbs. $130-148; 700-800 lbs. $119-134; 800-900 lbs. $120-127; 900-1000 lbs. $112-120.

Yearling heifers: 600-700 lbs. $118-130; 700-800 lbs. $115-122; 800-900 lbs. $105-117; 1000 lbs. And up $90-106.

Light Holstein steers, 600 lbs. and under: NA. Light Holstein steers, 700 lbs. and over: NA.

Stock cows: $750-1000

Pairs, young: $1100-1525.

Butcher cows: $55-65.

Thin shelly cows: $46-57.

Younger heiferettes: $87-105.

Butcher bulls: $55-70.


(Woodburn Livestock Auction)

Woodburn, Ore.

March 21

Total receipts: 563.

Top 10 slaughter cows $61.48; top 50 slaughter cows $57.75; top 100 slaughter cows $55.01.

Top certified organic cattle: $85. All certified organic cattle average price: $52.

All slaughter bulls: $70-75.

Top beef steers: 300-400 lbs. $130-150; 400-500 lbs. $140-160; 500-600 lbs. $130-146; 600-700 lbs. $125-137.

Top beef heifers: 300-400 lbs. $120-140; 400-500 lbs. $125-139; 500-600 lbs. $120-134.50; 600-700 lbs. $115-121.

Cow/calf pairs: $890-1520. Bred cows: $700-825. Day-old beef cross calves: $220-260 per head. Day-old dairy calves: $5-40 per head.

Hogs: Block hogs $83-101; feeder pigs $65-80 per head; sows $10-32.

Sheep: Lambs 40-70 lbs. $185-203, 75-150 lbs. $160-180; thin ewes $65-95; fleshy ewes $50-65; ewe/lamb pairs $60-65 head.

Goats: 10-40 lbs. $20-75; 40-70 lbs. $50-140; 70-150 lbs. $160-237.50 head.

Canada expected to legalize marijuana by July 2018 Mon, 27 Mar 2017 10:11:57 -0400 ROB GILLIES TORONTO (AP) — Canadians are expected to be able to smoke marijuana legally by July 1, 2018.

A senior government official says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government will introduce legislation to legalize recreational marijuana the week of April 10 and officials expect it to be law by July next year.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity due to lack of authorization to discuss the upcoming legislation.

Trudeau has long promised to legalize recreational pot use and sales. Canada would be the largest developed country to end a nationwide prohibition of recreational marijuana. In the U.S, voters in California, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada voted last year to approve the use of recreational marijuana, joining Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska.

Uruguay in South America is the only nation to legalize recreational pot.

Study: Livestock grazing can benefit struggling sage grouse Mon, 27 Mar 2017 09:37:06 -0400 MATTHEW BROWN BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A new study disputes a widely held view that livestock grazing is largely incompatible with a ground-dwelling bird that has suffered a dramatic population decline across its 11-state range in the U.S. West.

Researchers said some grazing, particularly later in the growing season, could actually benefit the chicken-sized greater sage grouse.

Late-season grazing leaves in place for longer the grasses and other vegetation that sage grouse nest in, increasing their breeding success, researchers concluded. It also can stimulate the growth of vegetation that sage grouse eat, according to scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey, Colorado State University and Utah State University.

The study was published in the scientific journal Ecological Applications. It focused on more than 700 breeding sites for sage grouse in Wyoming, one of the bird’s last remaining strongholds.

An estimated 200,000 to 500,000 grouse remain in the U.S., down from a peak population of about 16 million.

Grazing on land occupied by greater sage grouse is frequently cited by biologists as one of the causes of the bird’s decline, along with disease, oil and gas drilling and other factors.

The latest findings don’t reject that claim outright, saying higher levels of grazing early in the growing season have been closely related to grouse population declines.

The new research could give land managers another tool to help assess grazing’s impacts on a local level, said Adrian Monroe, a research scientist at Colorado State and the study’s lead author.

“There could be benefits to both grouse and producers in terms of management,” Monroe said. “Up until now, we really lacked studies that directly linked the status and trends of sage grouse populations to management of livestock.”

Monroe added that the researchers’ conclusions were not meant to provide a “one-size fits all” approach. The work is most relevant to Wyoming, because that’s where the study was centered, and areas with similar arid landscapes in neighboring states such as Colorado and Montana.

Jim Magagna with the Wyoming Stockgrowers Association welcomed the study’s conclusions. But he cautioned against using the findings to dictate where and when grazing can occur.

“I don’t think it lends itself to a simple formula saying, ‘This is the right way to graze,’” Magagna said.

The U.S. Interior Department in 2015 rejected federal protections for sage grouse, saying conservation efforts by government agencies and the private sector were helping turn around the bird’s declining fortunes.

Portland daily grain report Mon, 27 Mar 2017 09:16:04 -0400 Portland, Ore., Monday March 27, 2017

USDA Market News

All Bids in dollars per bushel. Bids are limited and not fully established in early trading.

Bids for grains delivered to Portland, Oregon in dollars per bushel.

In early trading May wheat futures trended 3.25 to 6.75 cents per bushel lower compared to Friday’s closes.

Bids for US 1 Soft White Wheat delivered to Portland in unit trains and barges for March delivery for ordinary protein were not well tested in early trading, but were indicated as lower compared to Friday’s noon bids for the same delivery period. Some exporters were not issuing bids for nearby delivery. Bids for guaranteed maximum 10.5 percent protein were not well tested early trading, but were indicated as steady to lower compared to Friday’s bids for the same delivery period. Some exporters were not issuing bids for nearby delivery.

Bids for 11.5 percent protein US 1 Hard Red Winter Wheat for March delivery were not well tested in early trading, but were indicated as lower compared to Friday’s noon bids. Some exporters were not issuing bids for nearby delivery.

Bids for 14 percent protein US 1 Dark Northern Spring Wheat for March delivery were not well tested in early trading, but were indicated as lower compared to Friday’s noon bids. Some exporters are not issuing bids for nearby delivery.

Bids for US 2 Yellow Corn delivered full coast in 110 car shuttle trains during March were not well tested in early trading, but bids were indicated as lower compared to Friday’s noon bids for the same delivery period. Some exporters were not issuing bids for nearby delivery.

Bids for US 1 Yellow Soybeans delivered full coast in 110 car shuttle trains during March were not available in early trading as most exporters were not issuing bids for nearby delivery.

All wheat bids in dollars per bushel

US 1 Soft White Wheat - delivered by Unit Trains and Barges

Ordinary protein

Mar 4.3850-4.6350

Apr 4.3850-4.8000

May 4.3850-4.8000

Jun 4.4300-4.8000

Aug NC 4.4850-4.7200

Guaranteed maximum 10.5 pct protein

Mar 4.3850-4.7500

Apr 4.3850-4.7500

May 4.3850-4.7500

Jun NA

Aug NC 4.4850-4.7000

US 1 White Club Wheat - delivered by Unit Trains and Barges

Ordinary protein

Mar 4.3850-4.7350

Guaranteed maximum 10.5 pct protein

Mar 4.4850-4.7850

US 1 Hard Red Winter Wheat - (Exporter bids-falling numbers of 300 or


Ordinary protein 4.1125-4.3625

11 pct protein 4.7125-4.9625

11.5 pct protein

Mar 5.0125-5.2625

Apr 5.0125-5.2125

May 5.0125-5.1625

Jun 5.0925-5.1925

Aug NC 5.0925-5.2425

12 pct protein 5.1625-5.4125

13 pct protein 5.4625-5.7125

US 1 Dark Northern Spring Wheat (with a minimum of 300 falling numbers, a maximum

of 0.5 part per million vomitoxin, and a maximum of one percent total damage)

13 pct protein 5.7650-6.0750

14 pct protein

Mar 6.3250-6.6750

Apr 6.3250-6.6750

May 6.3250-6.6750

Jun 6.3925-6.6425

Aug NC 6.6125-6.6625

15 pct protein 6.6450-7.0750

16 pct protein 6.9650-7.4750

US 2 Yellow Corn

Shuttle trains-Delivered full coast Pacific Northwest-BN

Mar 4.2750-4.3450

Apr 4.3350-4.3650

May 4.3450-4.3650

Jun 4.3225-4.3725

Jul 4.3225-4.3525

Aug NA

US 1 Yellow Soybeans

Shuttle trains-Delivered full coast Pacific Northwest-BN

Mar NA

Apr 10.3125

May 10.3125

Oct 10.5625

Nov 10.5325

US 2 Heavy White Oats 3.2650

Not well tested.

Exporter Bids Portland Rail/Barge Feb 2017

Averages in Dollars per bushel

US 1 Soft White by Unit Trains and Barges 4.7400

US 1 Hard Red Winter (Ordinary protein) 4.5800

US 1 Hard Red Winter (11.5% protein) 5.4800

US 1 Dark Northern Spring (14% protein) 6.8100

Source: USDA Market News Service, Portland, OR

Nebraska wheat plantings drop Thu, 23 Mar 2017 08:49:08 -0400 NICK BERGINLincoln Journal Star POTTER, Neb. (AP) — A lush carpet of short green sprouts covers Rick Larson’s wheat fields in the Nebraska Panhandle near Potter.

The plants look good, Larson said, although the mild winter caused it to break dormancy early this year putting it in danger of being damaged by a hard early spring frost.

Wheat farmers’ financial books, however, don’t look quite so good.

“We’re not breaking even at all,” the third-generation wheat farmer said.

That dismal financial outlook has accelerated the decline of wheat acres being planted in Nebraska, where it has long been a staple of dryland rotations.

The state’s farmers will grow fewer acres this year than ever before, the Lincoln Journal Star reported. They planted 1.09 million acres of hard red winter wheat last fall to harvest in 2017, 20 percent less than the year prior and about half what got planted a decade ago for harvest in 2007, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

“Right now, the cost of wheat production is higher than the price per bushel,” Caroline Brauer of the Nebraska Wheat Board said in a recent interview.

Farmers in some areas of Nebraska, Brauer added, would lose a dollar a bushel if they planted wheat this year.

“From a business standpoint, it’s just not sustainable to plant that. It’s not a viable option,” she said. “Farmers had to make a decision in some instances that led to saying it’s not economically viable to plant a wheat crop on some acres this year.”

In the Nebraska Panhandle, the going price for a bushel of wheat and corn is about the same, around $3.50, Larson said. While corn produces bigger yields, it’s not as reliable a crop on dryland that sees only 15 inches of precipitation on average a year, he said.

About half the wheat grown in the United States gets exported. World supplies of the grain, which saw a bin-busting harvest last year, are abundant and a strong U.S. dollar has made wheat grown here more expensive on the world market. U.S. wheat stocks were 2.07 billion bushels as of Dec. 1, up 19 percent from the year prior, according to the USDA.

Farmers have been sowing fewer wheat seeds nationally as well. The USDA estimated 36.6 million acres of winter wheat got planted last fall, down 7 percent from the year prior.

The decrease in wheat planted in Nebraska has been happening for much longer than can be blamed on current financial woes.

Corn and soybeans, generally the better yield-price combination, have been encroaching on wheat acres for decades; current finances simply hastened the process.

Advances in science, genetics and breeding have made corn and soybean suited to growing in a wide range of regions, made them more pest resistant and led to explosive growth of yields, which means more kernels or beans per acre.

“Areas that used to be only wheat now can support newer varieties of dryland corn or soybean and yield where they wouldn’t have before,” Brauer said.

Wheat research hasn’t kept pace. While wheat yields have trended up, they have not increased anywhere near as dramatically as corn yields. Nebraska wheat fields yielded an average of 42 bushels an acre in 1971 and 54 bushels in 2016, an exceptionally good year. Meanwhile, dryland corn fields went from an average of 60.6 bushels an acre in 1971 to 147.2 bushels in 2016.

Mark Knobel, who works fields north of Fairbury, is one of the farmers still working wheat into his crop rotation.

“You analyze your situation every year, but I don’t want to mess up my rotation. Wheat does positive things overall for your ground from a conservation standpoint, and soil tilth and soil health. I have some highly erodible ground and it fits my rotation quite nicely,” Knobel said.

Wheat typically ripens by the end of June, ahead of hot, dry conditions; and gets used as ground cover to prevent runoff from gully-washers, as well as helps control pests and plant diseases when used in rotation.

Knobel, who grows wheat to sell for seed, said he generally plants a rotation of corn and soybeans followed by wheat and sunflowers in a single year, made possible by the early wheat harvest.

“The double cropping makes it a little more palatable,” he said. “You have to maintain profitability to stay in business.”

Despite its benefits, wheat’s unlikely to see resurgence in Nebraska without a major turnaround in price or the development with better yields, said Paul Hay, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln extension educator based in Beatrice.

“We really need these crops to stand on their own merit. If we’re going to raise wheat, we either need to find a way to produce more per acre or get the price up to where we it can be competitive against other crops,” he said.

Often, he said, the decision of whether to plant wheat hinged on whether the producer owned land outright or had to pay loans or rent, which adds more red ink in the costs column of the ledger.

Wolves wipe out chickens, geese at NE Oregon residence Sat, 25 Mar 2017 13:42:18 -0400 Eric Mortenson Wolves killed at least eight chickens and a goose March 23 in a pack attack that left feathers, chicken parts and “hundreds” of wolf tracks around the site, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The flock owners told ODFW they heard wolf howls about 4 a.m. and later found piles of feathers and fresh internal bird parts near their chicken hutch. According to ODFW, the owners reported they had 16 chickens and eight geese the evening of March 22 and were “missing 16 chickens and seven geese the next morning.”

An ODFW investigator found hundreds of wolf tracks around the open chicken hutch entrance and at “feeding sites” that were marked by piles of feathers. ODFW identified parts from at least eight of the chickens and one of the geese.

Data from a GPS tracking collar worn by OR-41, a wolf from the Shamrock Pack, showed it was about 300 yards from the attack site at 6 a.m. on March 23.

The attack happened in the Flora area, at the northern edge of Wallowa County. The Shamrock Pack previously injured a calf about 24 miles to the southeast in November 2016.