This summer, 2012 saw the most extensive and severe drought since the 1950s, affecting an estimated 80% of all agricultural land in the United States. Though the drought itself has passed, weather conditions have improved and the seasons have changed, the summer of 2012 will leave a lasting effect well into the next year 2013 for both producers and consumers.
Current USDA estimates of the drought’s impacts on the farm sector show major impact on the production of corn, soybeans, sorghum and hay, falling as much as 27.5%. In addition, as much as 58% of pastures and ranges designated for livestock were rated poor to very poor, compared with only 31% in 2010. On the upside, wheat was harvested in the spring and early summer, so it reached maturity before the dryer conditions and fall harvested wheat is grown mainly in the upper Midwest and northern plains, which were largely unaffected by the drought. Estimates place wheat harvest this year up 13% over last year, which is 269 million bushels.
What all of this translates to is significantly higher feed prices and likely restrained growth on cattle and hog breeding, as well as poultry and milk production. The impact of placing cattle on feed sooner means more beef supply at potentially lower prices in the next 6 to 9 months, but less beef and higher prices in 2013 and beyond—a rough position for consumers everywhere.
With such devastating consequences and hard times ahead, accurate and precise harvest weigh-ins become necessary not only as fair-practice, but because every little bit counts when it is time to take the commodity to market. It is crucial for every farmer to be as exact as possible in measuring their harvests on farm scales, not only for their own earnings, but for their responsibility as providers to the rest of the country.
With many small farms still reeling from the tribulations of an economic recession, product costs are going to be scrutinized that much more. The equipment a farming or ranching operation requires is often necessitated not just by task, but by price. When there are more economically-priced alternatives available, especially in today’s world, it becomes more important to make the right financial decision.
Fortunately, it isn’t necessary to choose economic concerns over precision and accuracy as they can be found in the same set of products. Cardinal’s American-made Harvester series livestock and truck scales, AGBAR load cell kits, and the 212X indicator all offer an affordable option for weighing and measurement that is ideal for farmers or ranchers watching their wallets without the downside of reduced efficiency that other inexpensive alternatives may hazard. These accurate and reliable farm scales are all USA-made at Cardinal Scale's factory in the nation's heartland (Webb City, MO).
Cardinal's 212X weight indicator has an ID storage system that can store how much seed was planted by variety or by field and can then compare that to crop yield at harvest time. The same function can also be useful in calculating landowner/farmer percentages for those that lease the land they farm.
Whether you are a beef producer or run a dairy operation, the new AGBAR load cell kits will help you anticipate shrinking before selling as they work in tandem with the 212X monitoring weight gain. The 212X can recall specific IDs of individual animals or specific groups of animals while the AGBAR provides the accuracy necessary to weigh within 1 pound increments. By saving the data, the producer can recall the ID for the individual or group and track gain/loss over a period of time. The same method can be applied to track feed consumption as well. For uniformity and consistency, the 212X provides the accuracy necessary to track and maintain feed amounts. With seed prices rising, being able to monitor with such precision translates to more dollars in the farmer’s pocket.
The Harvester truck scale, which is NTEP legal for commercial trade, is designed for weighing crops on farms less than 3,000 acres during harvest season. With a surprisingly economical price for a full-length truck scale, the Harvester makes owning a static truck scale a reality for farmers who might otherwise have put off purchasing this type of measurement equipment.