The world’s groundwater is being depleted, often at increasing rates due to drought. That was part of the message delivered Monday night by Jay Famiglietti, professor and hydrologist at the University of California-Irvine, during the Henry C. Gardiner Global Food Systems Lecture at Kansas State University.
Famiglietti used NASA satellites to study groundwater and charted areas around the globe where reserves are shrinking. For the U.S., the areas of primary concern are California’s Central Valley, and the southern High Plains that utilizes the Ogallala Aquifer.
“California grows produce, the High Plains grow grains and both have animal agriculture,” Famiglietti said. He noted water is an often controversial issue that draws debate from politicians, farmers and the public. “We use too much water, and most of it is because of agriculture,” Famiglietti said. “We’re trying to do too much with too little, and now we’re running out of water.”
Profit Tracker: A step back
Feedyard margins declined $28 per head last week to total an average loss of $70 per head, according to the Sterling Beef Profit Tracker. It was a week that saw cash fed cattle prices dip $3.79 per cwt, a decline that was softened by a corresponding decline of about $22 per head for the cost of feeder cattle calculated against those closeouts. Cash prices traded at $102.78, about $7 per cwt lower than a month ago. The total cost of finishing cattle last week was $1,501, compared to $1,525 the previous week and $2,119 last year, according to Sterling Marketing.
Grizzly attack closes park
A Montana man survived an attack from a grizzly bear on Saturday, but the incident caused wildlife officials to close the trails surrounding Bear Creek that leads into the Lee Metcalf Wilderness.
Todd Orr was attacked two separate times while hunting, but he was able to hike out three miles and drive himself to a hospital. Video taken just hours after the incident has gone viral and now has more than 29 million views on Facebook.
Land prices decline
As corn and wheat prices hover at 10-year lows and profit margins decline, farmers also face declining land values, according to Mike Walston, editor of the LandOwner newsletter. “Land values are down 9% [in Iowa] on an annual basis,” Walston says. “According to a recent survey conduced by the state’s farm real estate pros and over a three-year period, we’re finding that values are down anywhere from 25% to 30%.”