By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries John McMillan (R) reports that Alabama’s harvest is right on schedule.
Commissioner McMillan reported on Facebook, “Alabama’s 2013 harvest is in full swing, according to the latest report out from the USDA/AL Dept. of Ag Crop Progress & Condition Report. Corn is the leading crop this year in terms of production, yield and quality, 92% of which is harvested with 95% rated as good to excellent.”
Commissioner McMillan continued, “Cotton is 19% harvested with 76% rated good to excellent. Peanuts are 52% harvested with 48% making the good to excellent grade. Soybeans are strong with 88% harvested and 87% good to excellent. Moisture is rated as adequate statewide. Alabama is 100% drought free vs. 75% a year ago.”
Corn and soybeans are not only important in the human diet; but also in the diets of our animals. Cattle are finished in feedlots typically on a corn and soybean diet. Hogs, chickens, and even catfish are fed diets heavy in the two key ingredients all their lives. Pets including horses, dogs, and even cats also eat diets composed heavily of the two major feed grains.
Corn is very “energy dense” but at just 8.8% protein typically it is too low in protein to meet most animals’ nutritional needs. Soybeans are much higher in protein (~44% for soybean meal) thus are balanced with corn and minerals to meet animals dietary needs. In addition to their importance as food, large quantities of corn and soybeans are being diverted into ethanol and biodiesal production to fuel our cars, which has forced farmers to seek alternatives feed ingredients. A good harvest is necessary to meet the growing demand.
Cotton and peanuts require a longer growing season than does corn and soybeans, which is why they are southern crops. Corn and soybeans can be raised successfully as far north as Canada. The long growing time to harvest is why the cotton and peanuts are harvested later.
Agriculture is the largest industry in the state of Alabama.
Secretary McMillan has already announced that he is seeking a second term as Alabama Agriculture Commissioner and has been endorsed by the Alabama Farmer’s Federation. The Alabama Political Reporter is not aware of any announced opponents at this time.