Dairy prevails with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension aid – and despite blazing heat

Dairy prevails with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension aid – and despite blazing heat

Return to August 2023 Dairy Dispatch

Dairy prevails with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension aid – and despite blazing heat

By Darren Turley, TAD executive director

Texas in August is always hot, but this summer has been extremely hot and very dry. In fact, conditions are prime for wildfires, so please be careful in your operations. The Texas A&M Forest Service, which monitors wildfire conditions, recently raised the preparedness level to its second-highest rating.

The Farmer’s Almanac promises a cold and wet fall and winter, although that’s hard to imagine right now. It also provides little hope for dairy producers as the growing season is getting shorter and shorter as fall approaches.

Most producers grew some forage early, but now the heat has stopped most plant growth.  There will be a need for additional forage on most dairies this fall, and this forage is already very expensive and getting more expensive each week the excessive heat continues.

The milk price has hit bottom and hopefully will continue to increase for several months, if cheese, cheese and more cheese does not put downward pressure on pricing. The new milk processing plants in Texas that have been eagerly anticipated are coming online, with others due to open soon. These plants are going to put hundreds of loads of new cheese on the market, which will impact producer prices.

But let’s talk about something positive for the Texas dairy industry!

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension agents are a huge benefit to all agriculture commodities. I am privileged to get to work with several Extension staff members across the state, and everyone I encounter has such a deep desire to promote Texas agriculture and the dairy industry. I have become friends with several agents in our dairy counties and enjoy working with them on county meetings, tours and community events.

This continues to the regional and state staff levels, as well. There is a consistent desire to understand the direction of the dairy industry and do what they can to help Texas producers in various aspects of their farm’s production.

The Texas Association of Dairymen has sponsored an outstanding agent award with a dairy emphasis for many years. The award goes to an agent across the state who promotes, educates or provides producer development in the dairy area in their county. This year, Kara Matheney from Washington County won the award; more on her later in this newsletter.

We also are extremely fortunate to have two very qualified dairy specialists in the state, Juan Piñeiro and Jennifer Spencer, who consistently provide the industry and producers with valuable information and research on a variety of topics. If you have not worked with these two outstanding agents, I encourage you to reach out and get acquainted with these great assets to Texas producers.

I had the chance to visit India with the Texas Agricultural Lifetime Leadership (TALL) program

several years ago. One of the things I noticed immediately was the absence of an agriculture extension program. Research was being done by academia, but it was a struggle to reach producers to help them adapt new technology that would increase the efficiency of their operations. I left with a much better understanding of the importance of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension program and the benefits it provides to all agriculture commodities.

Agriculture production has continued to increase for decades, and it will continue to do so in the future. Mother Nature may send challenges our way, but the dairy industry and our allies who aid our industry will continue to grow in productivity.

Return to August 2023 Dairy Dispatch



Get the latest Texas dairy news delivered monthly to your inbox.