Oklahoma cotton crop looks good despite bacterial blight

by Ron Smith, Delta Farm Press

Oklahoma farmers are poised to make one of their best cotton crops ever. The National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) estimates place production at 960 pounds per acre, almost 100 pounds higher than last year’s record yield.

Early reports from Southwest Oklahoma gins, Extension specialists, and farmers indicate some irrigated fields closing in on 4 bales per acre, and dryland around 2 bales per acre — all despite a season that started off with weather challenges and included significant losses to bacterial blight in some areas.  Continue reading

USDA Releases Results of New Survey on Honey Bee Colony Health

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS) released the results of its first ever Honey Bee Colony Loss survey today. The survey queried more than 20,000 honey beekeepers about the number of colonies, colonies lost, colonies added, and colonies affected by certain stressors and gleans state-level estimates on key honey bee health topics. The survey was developed as part of the “National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators” released last summer, and gleans state-level estimates on key pollinator health topics.

Results from the survey will provide statistically strong baseline information about honey bee losses and can help guide honey bee management decisions in the United States. NASS created the survey questions with input from beekeepers and researchers, and other stakeholders. The results will allow USDA and other federal departments and agencies to create a more unified and complementary approach to implementing the National Strategy, which was unveiled in May 2015. Continue reading