Monday, October 20, 2014

October 20 Crop Progress and Harvest Reports - NE - IA - US


For the week ending October 19, 2014, limited rainfall and above normal temperatures provided excellent harvest conditions, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Good progress was made on soybean harvest, while producers waited for grain moisture levels, especially in irrigated corn, to dry down further. Significant rain of an inch or more was limited to the extreme southeastern counties. Sugarbeet harvest in the west was slowed due to the warm conditions. Livestock producers began moving cattle to available stalk fields. Statewide, there were 6.6 days suitable for fieldwork.  Topsoil moisture supplies rated 3 percent very short, 23 short, 72 adequate, and 2 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 8 percent very short, 23 short, 67 adequate, and 2 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn conditions rated 2 percent very poor, 5 poor, 18 fair, 51 good, and 24 excellent. Corn mature was 94 percent, near 91 last year and 93 average. Corn harvested was 28 percent, near 31 last year, but behind 45 average.

Soybean conditions rated 1 percent very poor, 5 poor, 19 fair, 54 good, and 21 excellent. Soybeans harvested was 69 percent, behind 77 last year and 81 average. 

Sorghum conditions rated 1 percent very poor, 5 poor, 32 fair, 40 good, and 22 excellent.  Sorghum mature was 95 percent, near 96 last year and 91 average. Sorghum harvested was 27 percent, near 31 last year and 32 average.

Dry beans harvested was 92 percent, near 93 last year and 94 average.

Alfalfa hay fourth cutting was 94 percent complete, ahead of 88 last year, but equal to the average.

Winter wheat emerged was 89 percent, ahead of 71 last year and 75 for the five-year average.

Proso millet harvested was 93 percent, ahead of 86 last year and 85 average.

Livestock, Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 5 percent very poor, 7 poor, 32 fair, 48 good, and 8 excellent.  Stock water supplies rated 1 percent very short, 5 short, 92 adequate, and 2 surplus.

Access the National publication for Crop Progress and Condition tables at:
Access the High Plains Region Climate Center for Temperature and Precipitation Maps at:
Access the U.S. Drought Monitor at:

Iowa Crop Progress - Harvest 10-20 days behind normal pace

Fieldwork stalled early in the week due to rain, but farmers were able to harvest during the rest of the week ending October 19, 2014, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Overall there were 4.2 days suitable for fieldwork. Most farmers reported harvesting soybeans while waiting for corn to dry down in the fields. Activities for the week included fall tillage, manure and fertilizer application, biomass baling, and hauling grain.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 0 percent very short, 4 percent short, 78 percent adequate, and 18 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 1 percent very short, 5 percent short, 80 percent adequate, and 14 percent surplus. Southwest and south central Iowa were the wettest with over one-third of their topsoil in surplus condition.

Ninety-six percent of Iowa’s corn acreage was mature, 3 days behind the five-year average. Corn harvest advanced 9 percentage points to 19 percent complete, 18 days behind the normal pace. Moisture content of corn at harvest was estimated at 21 percent. Seventyseven percent of the corn crop was reported in good to excellent condition.

With almost the entire soybean crop dropping leaves or beyond, harvest reached 61 percent complete, 9 days behind normal.  Seventy-four percent of the soybean acreage was in good to excellent condition.

Grain movement from farm to elevator was rated 55 percent moderate to heavy, increasing 8 percentage points from the previous week. Offfarm grain storage availability was 92 percent adequate to surplus. On-farm grain storage availability was 87 percent adequate to surplus.

Pasture and hay have had excellent regrowth this fall with plenty of rain and cooler than normal temperatures. Pasture condition remained steady at 66 percent good to excellent, while hay and roughage supplies were estimated at 97 percent adequate to surplus. Livestock conditions were reported as ideal.


Provided by Harry Hillaker, State Climatologist - Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship

Light rain fell nearly statewide on Sunday (12th) with moderate to heavy rain falling across the southeast two-thirds of Iowa on Monday (13th) and into Tuesday (14th). The remainder of the week was dry excepting some scattered very light rain over the northeast on Friday (17th). Weekly rainfall amounts varied from just a trace at Spencer and Estherville to 4.61 inches at Pella. The statewide average precipitation was 1.50 inches or nearly triple the weekly normal of 0.56 inches. Temperatures were near seasonal averages for the week with cooler than normal weather on Sunday (12th) and Saturday (18th) and slightly higher than normal temperatures during the work week. Temperature extremes varied from morning lows of 28 degrees at Sheldon on Wednesday (15th) and 27 degrees at Elkader on Sunday (1 9th) to a Thursday (16th) afternoon high of 78 degrees at Sioux City. Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged from 3 degrees above normal over the far northwest to two degrees below normal over the far southeast with a statewide average of 0.2 degrees above normal. Soil temperatures at the four inch depth as of Sunday (19th) were averaging in the low to mid 50’s statewide and are expected to remain in the fifties for the coming week.

USDA Weekly Crop Progress - October 20th, 2014

In an "average" year more than half the nation's corn crop would be harvested by now and about two-thirds of the soybean crop... but 2014 isn't an average year.

According to USDA's latest weekly Crop Progress report, as of Oct. 19, 31% of U.S. corn was harvested and 53% of the soybeans. That compares to 24% and 40% a week ago.

Winter wheat is 76% planted and 56% emerged, compared to 68% and 43% last week and 77% and 40% on average.

Brazil Soy Crop Just 10% Planted

Another hot, dry week in Brazil's Center-West and South-East regions put Brazil's soybean planting further behind schedule, according to AgRural, a local farm consultancy.

Up to Friday, farmers had planted 10% of the projected Brazilian crop, well behind planting at this stage last year, when 19% was in the ground, and the five-year average of 20%.

Field work moved forward just three percentage points last week as growers continue to wait for spring rains in Mato Grosso and surrounding Center-West states, which account for nearly 50% of soy production.

In the south, planting has also not gone as fast as it could due to heavy rains at the end of September and early October and then high temperatures over the last couple of weeks.

Parana, the No. 2 soy state, had planted 33% of the soybean crop up to Oct. 17, which is back from the 40% planted last year although in line with the five-year average of 33%.

The hot weather has made farmers in the region edgy, although temperatures should drop this week.

In the Center-West, Mato Grosso had planted 11% of the crop as of Friday, well back from the 30% recorded at the same stage last year. In the west of the state, isolated showers last week allowed for some planting progress and 16% had been planted there.

Similarly in Mato Grosso do Sul, some 10% had been planted as of Friday compared with 30% last year.

Monday October 20 Ag News

Corn Stalk Nitrate Tests
Charles Shapiro, CPAg, ExtensionSoil Scientist, Haskell Ag Lab

Late season stalk nitrate tests are used to assess the nitrogen status of corn plants at physiological maturity. This year may provide interesting information since we had greater than average rainfall for most of the eastern part of the state.

Reports are that nitrogen leaching may have been widespread, and some nitrogen that was intended to go on in irrigation water, may not have been applied. From my experience and sampling in research plots, stalk nitrate tests have to be viewed with other knowledge about the field and the cultural practices.

I have seen where late season nitrogen was in the plant stalks, but did not affect yield. I have also seen, mostly on sandy ground, where low stalk nitrates (below 700 ppm) did not indicate N deficiency, but effective utilization of all the nitrogen in the plant.

The best use of this test is to compare different treatments, such as a strip trial where extra nitrogen was applied sidedress. The information from the stalk nitrate test is better interpreted with yield data.

UNL Beef Outlook & Tax Mgt Wksp to be Held in O'Neill

Beef producers are invited to attend a “Beef Outlook and Tax Management” Workshop to be held at the Holt County Extension Office Meeting Room on Tuesday, October 28th from 12 Noon until 3 pm.  Major topics will deal with tax management tips to deal with above average income from both higher livestock prices, and income from the Livestock Forage Disaster Program payments.  In addition, an outlook on current prices and trends in the cattle industry will be discussed.

Speakers will include Anthony Barrett, with Nebraska Farm Business Inc, and Jim Jansen, UNL Extension Ag Economist.  The workshop will begin with a meal at noon, and will include copies of all information covered.

There will be a $10 registration fee for the program.  Please register with the Holt County Extension Office prior to the meeting for meal numbers at 402-336-2760 or to Gary Stauffer at  Workshops will also be held at Ainsworth from 5-8 pm that evening, and at Burwell on November 3 from 11am-2 pm.

Small Scale Farming Workshop Nov. 8

Gary Lesoing, Extension Educator, Nemaha County

Interested in learning how to produce your own food or start a diversified agriculture business on your acreage or in your backyard? UNL Extension will be hosting the third installment of "Small Spaces, Big Potential": a Small Scale Farming Workshop on Saturday, November 8 in Nebraska City. The event will be at the Kimmel Education and Research Center (5985 G Road) beginning at 8:45 am and ending at 4:30 pm.

The workshop will feature presentations by local farmers and UNL Extension personnel. Breakout session topics and presenters will include:
-    The Basics of Backyard Poultry and Rabbits with Brett Kreifels, UNL Extension;
-    Aquaponics with Gregg Fripp, Whispering Roots;
-    Growing Hops with Shad Reynolds, Nebraska Hop Growers;
-    Raising Bees in Urban Areas with Tony Sandoval, Omaha Beekeepers;
-    Operating a Pumpkin Patch Enterprise with Teresa Lorensen, Bloom Where You're Planted Farm; and
-    Xeric Gardening with Nicole Stoner and John Fech, UNL Extension.

The day also will include a general session on ag restoration with Brad Kindler entitled "Cows, Oaks, & Art." Kindler, who recently returned from the Peace Corps, has been actively involved in sustainable agriculture since 2003 and is currently working at Branched Oak Farm to develop an orchard and market garden.  The day will conclude with a presentation on FSA programs for Small and Beginning Farmers by Wes Finkner, Farm Service Agency.

Pre-registration costs are $35 per individual, $50 per couple, and $10 per youth. Registration at the door will be: $45 per individual, $60 per couple, and $20 per youth. For questions or to pre-register contact the Nemaha County Extension Office (402-274-4755) or see program flyer.

42nd Anniversary of the Clean Water Act

Saturday, October 18th, is the 42nd anniversary of America’s Clean Water Act. When Congress passed this legislation, two-thirds of America’s waterways were too toxic for fishing, swimming or drinking, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

“We should celebrate this anniversary, because the Clean Water Act has helped clean up our waterways ensuring that our families have clean, safe water to drink,” said John Crabtree of the Center for Rural Affairs. “We should also use this as an opportunity to examine what still needs to be done to protect clean water for our children and future generations.”

Toward that end, the EPA is collecting comments on a new proposed rule called “Waters of the U.S.,” which would clear the regulatory waters, fix loopholes in Clean Water Act enforcement, and reestablish protections of the source of our drinking water supplies, Crabtree added.

According to Crabtree, this rulemaking comes after a decade of uncertainty over the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act, following Supreme Court challenges in 2001 and 2006. The proposed rule would restore Clean Water Act protections to 20 million acres of wetlands and more than half the nation’s streams, helping preserve drinking water quality for 117 million Americans.

“The time has come to set aside political posturing and petty partisan politics, improve the Waters of the U.S., and move forward,” continued Crabtree. “We urge the White House to heed the constructive input they’ve received through the public comment process and then finalize this proposed rule to protect America’s surface waters and provide clean drinking water for all Americans.”

“The proposed Waters of the U.S. rule is a commonsense effort to protect the quality of the nation’s surface waters and provide an environment in which economically vital activities such as hunting, fishing and birding as well as farming and ranching can thrive economically while contributing to a better quality of life in rural America and safer drinking water for those of us who live here and also for our neighbors downstream,” Crabtree concluded. “We applaud President Obama for standing up for clean water by proposing this rule and urge him to finish the task.”

For more information on Waters of the U.S. rule, visit the Center for Rural Affairs website:

Iowa Comments on Federal 'Waters of the United States' Proposal

Gov. Terry E. Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and Secretary Bill Northey, along with relevant state leaders, today sent a letter and submitted comments to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy and Army for Civil Works Assistant Secretary Jo-Ellen Darcy on the proposed "Waters of the United States" federal rule under the Clean Water Act (CWA).

"The overriding concern of a diverse group of impacted stakeholders, including state leaders, is that the proposed rule will impose significant barriers to the advancement of innovative, state- and local-driven conservation and environmental practices that would actually advance our common goal of water quality," the letter reads. "Because the proposed rule is fatally flawed, we request that it be withdrawn and that future rulemaking be appropriately coordinated with States and relevant stakeholders. We agree that clean water requires good, clear, well-designed regulations -- unfortunately, the ones currently being proposed are not."

The letter outlines four key concerns from relevant stakeholders:
-- Disregard for states' lead role under the CWA to protect and promote water quality
-- Section 101(b) of the CWA clearly states that, "it is the policy of the Congress to recognize, preserve, and protect the primary responsibilities and rights of States to prevent, reduce, and eliminate pollution, to plan the development and use (including restoration, preservation and enhancement) of land and water resources..."

The proposed rule confuses Federal control with environmental protection. The State of Iowa believes that environmental protection is best driven locally.
-- A disconnect between content and intent
-- The Federal government's proposed approach, and the content of the proposed rule, would seriously impair advancements in water quality in the State of Iowa. As an example, too many Iowa farmers would be forced to gain Federal permits to advance water quality infrastructure projects, which would discourage agricultural producers from undertaking the very projects that would improve water quality throughout the State.

Increased uncertainty from the proposed federal rule
-- The proposed rule increases, rather than decreases uncertainty for various stakeholders. The proposed rule is more ambiguous than current law and promises to be tied up in litigation for years to come, creating uncertainty within conservation interests, industries and communities across the state.

Underestimation of costs of the burdensome proposed federal rule
-- Permitting compliance costs will siphon finite resources that would better be used to advance conservation best practices and infrastructure in Iowa's countryside. Permitting delays would also increase the costs of conservation and economic development projects. Additional costs would impact public transportation projects, renewable energy projects, electricity distribution, disaster recovery projects, mitigation projects, and so on.

-- Every day those projects are delayed has real costs that are currently unaccounted for by the Federal government. There would also be additional enforcement costs that current staffing levels at both the Federal and State levels are not positioned to meet. The rule as proposed would essentially be an unfunded mandate on State agencies tasked with CWA enforcement.

The letter concludes, "The Federal government's proposed rule seems to be more concerned with asserting Federal control over local water bodies than actually improving local water quality. Thus, we were encouraged recently by the bipartisan support in the United States House of Representatives to block the advancement of this flawed rule. Those concerns were similarly echoed in a bipartisan fashion by the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture members who unanimously called on the Federal government to withdraw the rule. We strongly urge you to listen to the consensus concerns of the States, including Iowa, and withdraw this rule."

The Director of Iowa Department of Natural Resources Chuck Gipp, Director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority Debi Durham, Director of Iowa Department of Transportation Paul Trombino III, Chair of the Iowa Utilities Board Libby Jacobs and Director of Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Mark Schouten joined Branstad, Reynolds and Northey in signing the letter.

State of Iowa leaders care deeply about water quality. Since 2011, new General Fund appropriations for water quality related initiatives have increased by 26%. In just the last two years (FY 14 and FY 15), over $50 million dollars were allocated to support water quality related state initiatives. This historic level of investment does not even include the cost-share dollars spent by farmers, landowners and communities on these efforts.

Giving back

Iowan reviews term on Angus board, culminating as CAB chairman

Doug Schroeder had always been around livestock. But Angus cattle and then the Junior program and finally the Certified Angus Beef ® (CAB®) brand took on special significance to the Iowan who steps down next month after a year as the brand’s Board Chairman.
“When we got married, I had some commercial cows and my wife Glenda had some registered Angus,” he says. “We sold them all and bought five registered cows as foundation for our herd. Three years later when we rented a place, we had 10 cows, and now it’s 130.”
Herd growth was steady over time near Clarence, Iowa, in “a county with one stoplight,” but expansion has reached a practical limit, even with the next generation joining in.
“We live in corn country, 50 miles from Illinois, with a lot of 25- and 30-acre pastures and some of those with two creeks,” says Schroeder, who also runs a hog operation with 4,500 annual marketings. “We have to trailer the cattle around for rotations, and that limits your scope.”
Still, he wouldn’t want to farm or raise livestock away from this spot where his great-grandfather  borrowed money from a neighbor to buy a farm and ended up buying a place for each of seven sons.
“We still farm a couple of those, and a cousin does. Family is the most important thing to us,” Schroeder says.
As their three children, Jason, Drew and Lauren, followed their parents’ footsteps into 4-H and FFA projects and then area, state and National Junior Angus Association programs, the Schroeders demonstrated their commitment. The couple served as advisors for the Iowa juniors for 13 years.
“They didn’t just show cattle,” their dad says. “They were involved in speech and quiz bowl and everything that was going on. They all received scholarships from the Foundation and the Iowa Angus Association, and today they are all involved in our operation.”
In a sense, Schroeder ran for the American Angus Association Board six years ago to give something back.
“But I never dreamed I would end up being chairman of the CAB Board,” he says. “I’m a cow-calf guy. We sell 20 to 25 bulls and 15 good cows each year, but we sell most of the calves at weaning.”
Most of those bulls go to diversified farmers who feed their steers out, and Schroeder has begun working more closely with them to track progress on carcass value.
“I really believe in CAB and know it adds so much value to our cattle,” he says. “When the feeder gets another $50 and the other grid premiums, he’s in there to bid more for those calves the next year, and then that cow-calf guy can get a better bull so it all works together.”
Looking at the brand before his time on the Board, he already got that, beyond the general notion of adding value to black hides.
“If you really look into it or want to make sure your cattle qualified for all 10 carcass specifications, the first thing that would surprise most people is how hard it is to do that if you’re not really focused on it,” Schroeder says. “And the next thing, that’s a better surprise, is what great tools we have.
“The information in our Angus database is just solid, and it cost nothing,” he adds. “That is really the best thing available to cattlemen today – not just seedstock but to all commercial guys, too. It’s let us develop the kind of genetics that are making it easier to make CAB all the time. But again, it takes focus.”
The trend toward record-high CAB acceptance rates shows the market is stimulating that focus, even as the brand encourages industry-wide relationships.
“We like the way it unites all segments,” Schroeder says. “Some of the most important work we’re doing is helping people at every step along the beef chain to understand each other and what they are all about. Then those people selling or serving beef in the big Eastern cities know the truth. They can speak from experience when somebody tries to say we’re all corporate farmers or don’t care about our animals or something.”
It’s been a rewarding tenure on the Board, but the farm and family are calling for less travel as new grandchildren represent a sixth generation who could farm the land.
“January is my favorite time of year, but not because of weather,” Schroeder says. “It’s because of the new calves. Maybe we just invested a lot in a new bull or were excited to see the first AI calves from another, and how they match up with our cows. Those bulls can make a huge difference in the direction of the herd. And of course, when you have cow families that have been proven over the years, you can’t help hoping they have heifer calves.”
Naturally, talk of young ones leads to a look down the road.
“Our goal has been to get to where we can retire from farming and have the next generation carry on as we live on our share of the herd and land. Our sons and their families are right there with us, heavily involved already, and although Lauren is in banking in Des Moines, she still owns cattle and sometimes we’ll pick her up to go to sales together.”
With prospects for Angus cattle brighter than ever, Schroeder likes the way things look for his family, herd and industry.       

NPPC Urges White House, Congress To Fix COOL Law

Following the release today of the World Trade Organization’s decision on the U.S. meat labeling law, the National Pork Producers Council urged the Obama administration and Congress to fix the law to avoid trade retaliation from Canada and Mexico.

As expected, the WTO ruled that the mandatory Country-Of-Origin Labeling (COOL) statute violates U.S. international trade obligations by discriminating against Canadian cattle and pigs and Mexican cattle. COOL requires meat to be labeled with the country where the animal from which it was derived was born, raised and slaughtered. The decision could allow the two countries to place tariffs on U.S. imports.

“The United States must avoid retaliation from Canada and Mexico,” said NPPC President Howard Hill, a veterinarian and pork producer from Cambridge, Iowa. “Retaliatory tariffs on pork would be financially devastating to U.S. pork producers.”

But, pointed out Hill, tariffs likely would be placed on a host of U.S. products, including non-agricultural ones.

As it did in a 2012 ruling on a previous version of COOL, the WTO requested that the United States bring the “inconsistent measure into conformity with its [international trade] obligations.”

NPPC opposed COOL when it was being debated by Congress as part of the 2002 Farm Bill, worked for flexibility in the labeling scheme when lawmakers said it would be part of the 2008 Farm Bill and joined with several other meat organizations in filing a lawsuit against the most recent iteration of the regulation implementing the law.

NPPC supports an approach to labeling that provides important information to consumers, complies with U.S. international trade obligations and does not undermine U.S. meat supply chains and unnecessarily raise costs.

“The United States economy can’t afford to have its products restricted, through tariffs, to its No. 1 and 2 exports markets,” Hill said. “Congress and the White House need to address this now.”

NCBA President Bob McCan on WTO U.S. COOL Decision

Statement by National Cattlemen's Beef Association President Bob McCan, Victoria, Texas, cattleman regarding the public announcement by the WTO on the U.S. Country of Origin Labeling rule:

“The announcement today by the WTO dispute panel on the U.S. Country of Origin Labeling rule brings us all one step closer to facing retaliatory tariffs from two of our largest trading partners. Our producers have already suffered discounts and faced the closure of a number of feedlots and packing plants due to the effects of this short-sighted regulation. COOL is a failed program that will soon cost not only the beef industry, but the entire U.S. economy, with no corresponding benefit to consumers or producers.

“NCBA has maintained that there is no regulatory fix to bring the COOL rule into compliance with our WTO obligations or that will satisfy our top trading partners. We look forward to working with Congress to find a permanent solution to this issue, avoiding retaliation against not only beef, but a host of U.S. products.”

Canada’s list of products for possible trade retaliation can be found here...   Mexico has yet to release their list of targeted products.

NFU Says USDA Can Make Any Necessary Changes Necessary to Bring COOL into Compliance with Today’s Mixed WTO Ruling

National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson said that today’s ruling by the World Trade Organization (WTO) on Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) can be handled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and reminded lawmakers of the strong support by the public and in rural America for the popular labeling law.

“American consumers want to know where their food comes from, and America’s family farmers and ranchers are proud to provide that information,” said Johnson. “Nothing about today’s ruling changes that rudimentary fact.”

This most recent challenge to COOL, filed by Canada and Mexico, challenges the final rule put forward by USDA and comes on the heels of an earlier WTO ruling that found the U.S. has the right to require labeling of meat products, but found fault with how the rule was implemented.

“Under the guidance of USDA, any changes to COOL to ensure full compliance with today’s decision should be able to be made administratively, while maintaining the integrity of COOL labels,” said Johnson.   

A May 2013 public opinion poll found that more than 90 percent of consumers support COOL, and feelings for the labeling law are equally strong in rural America. “We are confident that given that level of support, Congress will reject all heavy-handed attempts to make legislative changes to this important labeling law,” said Johnson.

Since its passage in 2002, COOL has been under constant attack both domestically, by the U.S. meat industry, and internationally. On each and every domestic occasion, the rulings have come down in support of COOL.

This recent ruling will likely take many months to resolve, since it will undoubtedly be appealed, and the WTO process is slow moving. Just as NFU has played an active role in legally defending this rule in U.S. courts – and has so far won every legal ruling in court – NFU will also work with USDA and U.S. Trade Representative to see that our WTO rights are protected and that we will comply with any final WTO decisions. Now is not the time to change the law. It is the time to see the WTO process through to an ultimate conclusion.

ASA Responds as WTO Issues COOL Ruling; Calls on USDA to Suspend COOL Rule

In response to this morning’s ruling from the World Trade Organization that finds the United States’ implementation of mandatory country of origin labeling (COOL) for imported meat to be noncompliant with WTO rules, American Soybean Association President Ray Gaesser of Corning, Iowa, has released the following statement:

“This morning’s decision from the WTO only solidifies what we in the industry already knew to be true: that mandatory country of origin labeling in its current state is an unworkable burden on soybean farmers’ largest customers—the animal agriculture industry.

“What’s worse is that the fallout from this rule following the finding of noncompliance by WTO will include a system of retaliatory tariffs by Canada and Mexico that will, at the very least, harm our partners in the animal agriculture industry.

As producers of the nation’s leading farm export, we have a huge stake in ensuring that our trading relationships are robust and mutually beneficial. In the case of COOL, it is incumbent on us to ensure that our own nation’s policies are conducive to that goal. As part of the COOL Reform Coalition, we continue to urge Agriculture Secretary Vilsack to suspend the COOL rule indefinitely to avert a potential economic disaster not only for the American livestock industry, but also for those sectors like ours that depend so greatly on animal agriculture.”

September Milk Production up 4.1 Percent

Milk production in the 23 major States during September totaled 15.5 billion pounds, up 4.1 percent from September 2013. August revised production at 16.2 billion pounds, was up 2.6 percent from August 2013. The August revision represented a decrease of 3 million pounds or less than 0.1 percent from last month's preliminary production estimate.

Production per cow in the 23 major States averaged 1,804 pounds for September, 56 pounds above September 2013. This is the highest production per cow for the month of September since the 23 State series began in 2003.
The number of milk cows on farms in the 23 major States was 8.59 million head, 78,000 head more than September 2013, and 4,000 head more than August 2014.

Iowa:  Milk production in Iowa during September 2014 totaled 367 million pounds, up 3 percent from September 2013 according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Milk Production report. The average number of milk cows during September, at 207,000 head, was unchanged from last month, but 1,000 more than a year ago. Monthly production per cow averaged 1,775 pounds in September 2014, up 40 pounds from last September.

July - September Milk Production up 3.5 Percent

Milk production in the United States during the July - September quarter totaled 51.1 billion pounds, up 3.5 percent from the July - September quarter last year.  The average number of milk cows in the United States during the quarter was 9.27 million head, 15,000 head more than the April - June quarter, and 44,000 head more than the same period last year.

3rd Q Milk Prod by State
(million pounds, percent change from Q3 2013)
Nebraska ..:   294.0          +3.9%    
Iowa ..........:  1,147.0        +1.8%

BQA Producers Forum Open to All Checkoff Investors

Attention all dairymen, cattle farmers and ranchers:  The checkoff-funded Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) Producers Forum will be held Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015 from 1-4 p.m. in San Antonio, Texas, the day prior to the Annual Cattle Industry Convention. The forum is open to all checkoff investors.

This is a time for cattle producers to have their voices heard about the BQA program and where it’s headed in the future.

“This is where the grassroots ‘rubber meets the road’,” says Dr. John Maas, DVM, BQA Advisory Board Chair and 2013 national BQA Educator of the Year. “As we work to shape the program into what’s best for producers and the beef industry as a whole, your input is highly encouraged and appreciated at this critical time."

During the forum, producers will hear current program and resource updates, meet the BQA program staff and leaders, and have an opportunity for engagement and discussion.

CWT Assists with 3.3 Million Pounds of Butter and Cheese

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 9 requests for export assistance from Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), and Tillamook County Creamery Association to sell 3.252 million pounds (1,450 metric tons) of butter (82% milkfat) and 55,116 pounds (25 metric tons) of Cheddar cheese to customers in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. The product will be delivered December 2014 through April 2015.

Year-to-date, CWT has assisted member cooperatives in selling 86.677 million pounds of cheese, 51.426 million pounds of butter and 37.847 million pounds of whole milk powder to 43 countries on six continents. These sales are the equivalent of 2.234 billion pounds of milk on a milkfat basis.

Assisting CWT members through the Export Assistance program, in the long-term, helps member cooperatives gain and maintain market share, thus expanding the demand for U.S. dairy products and the U.S. farm milk that produces them in the rapidly growing world dairy markets. This, in turn, positively impacts U.S. dairy farmers by strengthening and maintaining the value of dairy products that directly impact their milk price.

Canadian Pacific Ends CSX Deal Talks

(AP) -- Canadian Pacific Railway has ended talks with U.S. counterpart CSX about a possible combination and plans no more discussions.
The Canadian Pacific Railway, has about 14,000 miles of track in Canada and the U.S., and is headquartered in Calgary, Alberta. CP announced it has ended talks with CSX Corp. Jacksonville, Florida-based CSX Corp. operates more than 21,000 miles of track in 23 Eastern states and two Canadian provinces. (DTN photo by Elaine Shein)

The railway operator did not say on Monday why it ended talks, but it did note in a brief statement that regulatory concerns appear to be a major deterrent for railroads considering combinations.

A CSX spokeswoman declined to comment on Canadian Pacific's statement.

Several reports had surfaced recently that CSX Corp. had rejected a merger offer from Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. Both railroads declined to comment on the deal talk, but CSX CEO Michael Ward did say last week that the Surface Transportation Board, which regulates freight rail prices, would likely take a cautious approach to consolidation because there are only six Class I railroads in the U.S. and Canada.

Jacksonville, Florida-based CSX Corp. operates more than 21,000 miles of track in 23 Eastern states and two Canadian provinces. Other large railroads include Norfolk Southern, Union Pacific, BNSF and Canadian National.

Ward also said last week that past railroad mergers in the 1990s lead to poorer service after the deals as the companies worked to integrate the different railroads.

Canadian Pacific said Monday that it believed that regulatory approvals would be achievable for the right deal.

Railroad lobbyists have told Congress that the industry is struggling to keep up with a sharp increase in freight rail demand created in part by an oil fracking boom and two years of unusually bountiful harvests. Shippers have complained that widespread delays in freight rail shipments are hurting an array of industries.

Canadian Pacific said that a "pro-competition, customer-friendly" railway combination that also focuses on safety is a solution that could not be ignored on its merits by regulators. The railroad operator added that the industry's significant problems "will only worsen over time if solutions aren't put in place immediately."

Friday, October 17, 2014

Friday October 17 Ag News

Heineman & Ag Leaders Encourage Nebraskans to Pump E85

Governor Dave Heineman and state ag leaders are encouraging Nebraskans to utilize E85 fuel the next time they are at the gas pump with a flex fuel vehicle. To help located E85 filling stations, new phone apps are available for Nebraskans.

The Governor was joined by Nebraska Agriculture Director Greg Ibach, Tim Scheer Chair of the Nebraska Corn Board and Todd Sneller Executive Director of the Nebraska Ethanol Board to discuss the economic impact of the ethanol industry in Nebraska.

“E85 allows consumers to utilize a quality Nebraska grown and produced product,” Gov. Heineman said. “E85 continues to gain popularity across our state and country – allowing us to continue to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.”

There are currently 86 E85 filling locations in Nebraska. E85 is a blend of fuel including 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent unleaded gasoline. Flex fuel vehicles can operate on any blend of ethanol and ordinary unleaded gasoline up to 85 percent ethanol. There are approximately 180,000 flex fuel vehicles registered in Nebraska. Approximately one in ten drivers owns a flex fuel vehicle.

Nebraska is the second largest ethanol producer in the nation. Nebraska is home to 24 operating ethanol plants that produce nearly 2 billion gallons of ethanol annually. These plants employ around 3,000 people across the state. Ethanol production also provides an additional marketing opportunity for Nebraska’s 23,000 corn producers.

“As our corn producers work to harvest their crops this year, they are met with a number of challenges including wet fields that delayed harvest. There is also a larger than anticipated domestic corn inventory from last year’s harvest, which has forced corn prices to some of the lowest levels we’ve seen recently,” Dir. Ibach said. “Nebraska’s ethanol plants are providing our corn producers with additional opportunities to sell their grain and in return Nebraska is gaining a tremendous renewable fuel source.”

Gov. Heineman encouraged the nearly 180,000 flex fuel vehicle owners in Nebraska to continue to support the ethanol industry by purchasing E85 for their vehicles, and using new phone apps to locate E85 availability. Two apps are available for android and apple operating systems. The “Flex-Fuel Station Locator” app was developed by the Renewable Fuels Association. This app allows consumers to find the most up-to-date E85 locations across Nebraska and the United States. The “Flex Finder” app assists in locating the nearest E85 pumps and allows consumers to search a database of vehicles capable of operating on different blends of ethanol.

“The number of E85 pumps across Nebraska continues to grow, and there are phone apps that make it easy for consumers to find the pumps nearest them,” Gov. Heineman said.

Nebraska is well positioned for continued success with key industries creating the “Golden Triangle.” In industry terms, the Golden Triangle refers to the interconnectedness between the corn, ethanol and cattle feeding sectors. All three work together to create increased value for the raw corn commodity, as after corn is processed into ethanol and the important byproduct, distiller grains, is a quality livestock feed used by Nebraska’s vast cattle feeding sector.

This year Nebraska became the number one cattle feeding state in the nation. According to the Nebraska Corn Board, Nebraska also produced a record corn crop last year and is on pace for the second largest crop this year at an estimated 1.58 billion bushels. Ethanol production consumes approximately 32 percent of Nebraska’s corn supply annually, and livestock consuming approximately 25 percent.

“I’d like to thank Gov. Heineman and Director Ibach for their efforts in promoting renewable fuels and E85,” said Tim Scheer, a farmer from St. Paul, Nebraska and Chair of the Nebraska Corn Board. “In Nebraska, our economy is strengthened by agriculture, especially through our Golden Triangle of corn, ethanol and livestock. The synergy of these industries expands demand for Nebraska corn, provides a valuable feed product for our livestock industry and offers economical, renewable fuel choices for our consumers.”

“Nebraska’s economy is deeply interwoven with the ethanol sector,” said Todd Sneller, Nebraska Ethanol Board Executive Director. “Nebraska is currently producing 250 percent of its motor fuel needs in the form of ethanol. Recent University of Nebraska studies describe a significant economic bounce in the state’s economy when the ethanol sector is fully operational. It is in the best interests of Nebraskans and Americans to insist on wise state and federal fuel standards that support domestically produced and renewable fuel sources like E-85.”  

For more information, please visit and Omaha metro area pump location is available at

"AgriFuture 2014" Conference Oct. 28-30

Agriculture producers, students, agribusinesses and policy leaders are invited to the first "AgriFuture" conference in Nebraska on Oct. 28-30 in Kearney.

Students and faculty from the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture at Curtis, Neb., will be among participants in the multi-state event, said Paul Clark, NCTA agribusiness management systems professor and division chair.

NCTA joins University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension, the Wyoming Department of Agriculture and others in coordinating the event at the Younes Conference Center in Kearney.  Jeremy Sievers of the NCTA agribusiness faculty is part of the 2014 AgriFuture host committee.

AgriFuture comes to Nebraska after the first four sessions met in Wyoming where Director of Agriculture Jason Fearneyhough launched the annual event. Over the years, it gained momentum with attendees from several states and Canada.

"We sought to bring together the experience and wisdom of agricultural producers, businesses and policymakers with the creative and innovative ideas and energy of our future generations in agriculture," said Fearneyhough.

The fall semester timing of the workshops works well for college students who are moving into the workforce or production enterprises upon graduation next spring, said Clark.

"In the past four years, the conference has enhanced communications, mentorships, student internships and job opportunities," Clark said.  Students have opportunities to network with producers, employers and agricultural companies, and to attend the trade show and job fair.

Participants will be drawn to national speakers, who include:
 – Michael Scuse, under secretary for farm and foreign Agricultural Services at the U.S. Department of Agriculture
 – Trent Loos, Loos Tales radio personality of and ag producer from Loup City, Neb.
 – Andy Vance, agriculture journalist with Feedstuffs and entrepreneur from Ohio

Breakout sessions will feature agriculture awareness, natural resources, local/global agriculture, trends in agriculture, and financial resources presented by:
– Dee Griffin, DVM, Great Plains Veterinary Educational Center, Clay Center, Neb.
– Gary Lesoing,  UNL extension educator in Nemaha County and Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education representative for Nebraska
– Allen Vyhnalek, UNL extension educator, Platte County, Neb.
 – Vaughn Hammond of Union Orchard, Union, Neb.

Conference pre-registrations are requested but will also be taken at the door.  Register at For more information, visit

Latest PEDv Research:  PEDV Survivability in Manure

Thanks to Pork Checkoff-funded research led by Steve Tousignant, a veterinarian and epidemiologist at Swine Veterinary Center in St. Peter, Minn., we now know that Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV) can survive in manure for at least four months.

While the research trial showed there could be potentially less live virus in manure pits that originally suspected, 15 percent of the barns tested positive for live virus - meaning that producers should remain vigilant in their manure-handling protocols to reduce risk of spreading the virus further.

Specifically, the researchers advocate that producers start any manure pump-out procedures from sites that haven’t had an outbreak first, followed by barns with the longest time post-PEDV infection all the way to ones with the most recent PEDV infection last. This is the same protocol often advised for manure from herds with other diseases such as Porcine Respiratory and Reproductive Syndrome (PRRS).

As always, communication with neighboring swine farms is crucial, especially when manure has to be applied to nearby sites.

The National Pork Board and the U.S. Department of Agriculture provided funding for this project.

Feed Biosecurity Remains Top Priority

Pork producers should maintain strict protocols on all feed ingredients and feed handling even though a recent study by the World Health Organization (OIE) found that spray-dried blood plasma is not likely a carrier of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV).

“The feed system may be a risk factor for transmitting PEDV,” said Paul Sundberg, vice president of science and technology for the National Pork Board. “Feed may be a carrier of PEDV from post-processing contamination even if it ’s not as an ingredient contaminant itself.”

In a fact sheet by the OIE, the organization reiterated that an animal-feed supplement is not likely to transmit PEDV if manufacturers follow proper safety measures. The Pork Checkoff is funding multiple feed-related studies and also reminds producers to follow feed biosecurity practices when feed trucks come to the farm.

Americans Increasingly Prefer Pork

Call it pork power. More American consumers are reporting an enduring love for pork, and more of them are also buying pork, according to new research.

More U.S. consumers rate their enjoyment of pork higher than in previous studies, according to new research findings released by the Pork Checkoff.  Also, consumer-buying habits measured by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) also show more consumers are buying pork.

“People are becoming more passionate about their consumption of pork,” said Iowa Pork Producers Association President-elect David Struthers, a pork producer from Collins. “These studies confirm that consumers are eating more pork in recipes and as a menu item because of its value, flavor and versatility.”

The tracking study indicates the size of the Pork Checkoff's consumer target market has grown to 43 percent of U.S. households, up seven points from 36 percent in May 2013, the last time the survey was fielded. In 2010, the consumer target was just 27 percent of U.S. households. Growth in the target size is attributed to people rating pork cuts higher, as well as their confidence in cooking meat.

The study also found that a majority of all fresh pork eaten - 84 percent at home and 80 percent away from home - is consumed by consumers in the Pork Checkoff's target market. The total percent of pork eaten by the consumers grew significantly since the Pork Be Inspired® campaign was introduced in 2011.

“The industry is beginning to see the impact of new marketing campaigns,” Struthers said. “We’re making a distinct difference in the marketplace and in how American consumers view and buy pork.”

Pork Rates an Eight (or Higher)

Consumers taking part in the recent Pork Checkoff study were asked to rate pork cuts on a 10-point scale, resulting in a demonstrated increase in the volume of consumers who rank pork as an eight or higher. Survey respondents were representative of the U.S. population for gender, age, ethnicity and income, Struthers noted.

The tracking study results are further reinforced by the Pork Checkoff's key measure of domestic marketing, which is real per capita consumer pork expenditures. Using USDA data, consumer pork expenditures measure the volume (in pounds) and value (in dollars) of pork sold in the United States. Data through May 2014 showed year-to-date per capita pork expenditures grew by 7.5 percent.

The consumer tracking study also asked pork eaters, “Other than price, what most influences your meat-purchasing decisions?” The top three drivers of meat purchases are quality (63 percent), followed by appearance (50 percent) and convenience (32 percent).

Pork scores high on these key areas, Struthers said. “Across the board, consumers are buying more pork from stores and foodservice outlets, which is great news.”

Informa predicts record US soybean acres in 2015

Farmers will likely shift acres from corn to soybeans in 2015 because of the more favorable economics, a report from private analytical firm Informa Economics said.

Informa forecasts corn acreage will decline 3.1 million acres from 2014 to 87.8 ma, while soybean acreage will climb 4.3 ma to 88.5 ma.

Informa said that using its acreage projections and assuming normal abandonment and trendline yields, corn production comes in at 13.4 billion bushels and soybean production at 3.9 billion bushels.

Its acreage analysis for row crops was largely based on a profitability analysis and economic and weather conditions.

“Of the major row crops, soybeans continue to have the highest implied net revenue return per acres,” Informa stated. A chart indicated soybeans’ annual planning net revenue is about $200 per acre while corn’s is about $29 lower. “Compared with last season, the current incentive to plant corn is lower. As a result, Informa expects that most acres shifted from corn will be planted to soybeans. Informa expects some cotton acreage to shift to soybeans as well due to the economic incentive to plant soybeans relative to cotton.”

Informa also released its forecast for wheat acreage based on its surveys, and it’s little changed from 2014. Overall acreage was estimated at 56.4 ma, about 400,000 acres less than last year. Hard red winter wheat acreage dropped about 300,000 acres to 30.3 ma while soft red winter wheat acreage is expected to total 8 ma, down 238,000 acres.

Energy for growing and harvesting crops is a large component of farm operating costs

Susan Hicks, US Energy Information Administration

The U.S. agriculture industry used nearly 800 trillion British thermal units (Btu) of energy in 2012, or about as much primary energy as the entire state of Utah. Agricultural energy consumption includes energy needed to grow and harvest crops and energy needed to grow livestock. Crop operations consume much more energy than livestock operations, and energy expenditures for crops account for a higher percentage of farm operating costs.

Agricultural energy consumption includes both direct and indirect energy consumption. Direct energy consumption includes the use of diesel, electricity, propane, natural gas, and renewable fuels for activities on the farm. Indirect energy consumption includes the use of fuel and feedstock (especially natural gas) in the manufacturing of agricultural chemicals such as fertilizers and pesticides.

Energy makes up a significant part of operating expenditures for most crops, especially when considering indirect energy expenditures on fertilizer, because the production of fertilizer is extremely energy-intensive, requiring large amounts of natural gas. For some crops like oats, corn, wheat, and barley, energy and fertilizer expenditures combined make up more than half of total operating expenses. The proportion of direct to indirect energy use varies by crop. For example, corn, which is also used as an energy input for ethanol production, has relatively low direct fuel expenditures but has the highest percentage of fertilizer expenditures.

The energy consumed in livestock operations is almost solely direct energy consumption and is relatively low compared with crop operations, both as a percentage of total operating expenditures and on a total energy basis. Livestock operations consume direct energy for ventilation systems, refrigeration, lighting, heating, watering, motors, and waste handling, whereas crop operations use energy to plant, harvest, irrigate, and dry crops. The energy consumed in the production of livestock feed is not included in this analysis of livestock energy consumption.

Distillate fuel is the dominant fuel for direct energy consumption for both livestock and crop operations. Distillate is used for crop tilling, harvesting, weed control, and other operations that require heavy machinery. Crop drying is another fuel-intensive farm activity, and the amount of fuel used varies by the type of crop and its moisture content. High-temperature dryers are powered by either electricity or propane.

Supplying water can also be an energy-intensive task. Although some farms have access to public water supplies, most farms pump water from wells and groundwater sources. Most pumping is done with electricity, but pumps in remote locations may use diesel or propane.

The chemicals used by the agricultural industry are a subset of the bulk chemical industry and include fertilizers and pesticides. Nitrogenous (ammonia-based) fertilizers require large amounts of natural gas as a feedstock and provide heat and power for processing. EIA's 2010 Manufacturing Energy Consumption Survey estimates that the U.S. nitrogenous fertilizer industry consumed more than 200 trillion Btu of natural gas as feedstock in 2010 and another 152 trillion Btu for heat and power.

In addition to being major energy consumers, some farms are using renewable resources to produce energy. Wind turbines, methane digesters, and photovoltaics are the most common on-farm renewables. Renewable energy can help to offset the need for purchased energy. In some cases, the renewable energy produced on farms is sold to electric power suppliers, providing additional income for farmers.

Yara, CFI Abandon Merger Talks

(AP) -- Norway's Yara International and Deerfield, Illinois-based CF Industries have abandoned merger talks that would have created a massive player in the fertilizer industry.

Both companies say discussions have been terminated because they couldn't agree on terms acceptable to all shareholders.

A merger would have created a combined company with a market capitalization of more than $26 billion and annual sales of about $20 billion.

Torger Kvidal, the CEO of Yara International ASA, said Friday that despite significant synergies, "in the end it became clear that we would not be able to agree on terms that would be acceptable to all stakeholders."

Yara has a broad, global presence, with facilities and warehouses in dozens of countries and sales to more than 150 countries. CF concentrates on nitrogen fertilizer manufacturing and distribution.

2014 World Food Prize Honors Wheat Researcher

The 2014 World Food Prize was presented to Dr. Sanjaya Rajaram in Des Moines, Iowa on Thursday for his scientific research that led to a prodigious increase in world wheat production. His breakthrough breeding technologies have had a far-reaching and significant impact in providing more nutritious food around the globe and alleviating world hunger.

Dr. Rajaram is the former colleague of the Prize’s founder Dr. Norman Borlaug and worked closely with Dr. Borlaug throughout his career in genetics and agricultural science.

“It is inspiring to see a wheat researcher awarded the 2014 World Food Prize. It is even more exciting to meet the young innovators and grower-leaders of tomorrow and see that the future of wheat research and Dr. Borlaug’s legacy is in good hands,” commented NAWG first vice president Brett Blankenship, a wheat grower from Washtucna, Wash. who was in attendance the evening of the ceremony. “This has been a great year for advancing wheat, all around the world, and I believe that this next year will be even better.”

Thanks to wheat research breakthroughs, wheat is a staple food for people worldwide, accounting for 20 percent of the world’s caloric intake.

As a the winner of the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize, Dr. Borlaug understood the value that a sustainable and flexible food supply played in ensuring peace for an increasingly populous world. This year marks the 100th anniversary of Dr. Borlaug’s birth. He is credited with sparking the Green Revolution and saving more than 1 billion people from starvation through his development of high yielding, semi-dwarf wheat.

USGC Promotes U.S. Sorghum in Japan

Consumers in Japan are among the most health conscious in the world, and the U.S. Grains Council actively promotes the health benefits of consuming food sorghum from the United States in this market. Last week, the U.S. Grains Council participated in the Health Ingredients Show in Japan, showcasing food products made from U.S. sorghum.

“Colored sorghum from the United States contains antioxidants,” said Tommy Hamamoto, USGC director in Japan. “Those products are really good for the Japanese market where consumers are extremely health conscious.”

During the show, the Council also demonstrated food products made from white sorghum. Hamamoto believes U.S. white sorghum food products will gain popularity in the Japanese market.

“The Health Ingredients Show spanned three days, and approximately 30,000 people visited the USGC booth,” Hamamoto said. “Our goal is for activities like this to drum up new business and sales for U.S. sorghum for food use.”

Become BQA Certified For FREE Through October 31

The countdown has begun for beef and dairy producers to become BQA certified for free through October 31. And, as an added bonus, anyone who becomes certified during this period is eligible to win a new cooler and grilling package, courtesy of Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. and the checkoff-funded Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program.

Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. will pick up the $25-$50 certification fee for beef or dairy producers who are interested in becoming certified or recertified during this period. Visit to take advantage of the open certification period.

The winner of the cooler and grilling package will be drawn from anyone who is certified between September 1-October 31. Watch for an announcement of the winner on Facebook. To be eligible for more prizes during the Countdown to Quality event, like Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica’s Facebook page BIVI Prevention Works and follow our daily posts or follow #FreeBQA on Twitter.

"We are honored to be able to support the cattle industry through this sponsorship," says Steve Boren, Executive Director of the U.S. Cattle and Equine Business Segments for Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. "BQA education aligns with Prevention Works, our focus of preventing disease in cattle. We do this because it is the right thing for the animal, for the producer and for the consumer."

Rapid intensification of Brazilian beef production to continue

In response to rising global beef demand, Brazil is set to step up the rapid intensification of its beef production sector over the next ten years, enabling the industry to expand into higher-value export markets. According to its latest report “Beefing up in Brazil: Feedlots to Drive Industry Growth,” the Rabobank Food & Agribusiness Research (FAR) and Advisory group expects Brazil’s feedlot capacity to more than double to 4.5 million head, turning out over 9 million head of fed cattle annually, and increasing fed beef production by approximately 2.5 million tons per year by 2023.

“The opportunities for Brazilian beef producers, feeders, processors and exporters appear very bright,” explained Rabobank Analyst Adolfo Fontes. “Expected improvements in productivity and quality in the beef industry will help Brazil increase its presence in high-value export markets such as Europe, Japan and Korea.”

Brazil is already the world’s second-largest beef producer and the largest exporter. However, the industry remains relatively inefficient by global standards, with below-average sector productivity and yield parameters, suggesting significant opportunities exist for improvement.

The outlook for global beef demand in the next decade is promising, as economic and population growth in developing countries leads to a dietary shift towards higher-protein content meals.

“Brazil is uniquely positioned to fulfil this need, due to the country’s unmatched potential for expanding corn and soybean production—the two most universally-used ingredients for animal rations,” explained Rabobank Analyst Renato Rasmussen.

However, the report anticipates major changes in beef cattle management and nutrition, will be required, with producers firmly gravitating towards more intensive production systems. Growing pressure for environmental sustainability, competition for agricultural land area with grain crops, and the need for scale in order to compensate for high basis and lower margins, are imposing significant efficiency and growth constraints on pasture-bred beef production.

The answer to Brazil’s need to grow beef production is the intensification of the finishing stage through beef cattle feedlots. The report predicts intensification will see overall beef production grow at 3.2 percent CAGR over the next decade. Feedlots—as well as other higher-technology beef production systems—will allow cattle to be slaughtered younger and heavier, resulting in increased yields and productivity, as well as improved product consistency and quality.

Currently, less than 10 percent of Brazilian beef is raised in feedlots. Rabobank estimates that the total investment needed to increase the current feedlot capacity by 2.5 million head is between USD 250 million to USD 500 million.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Thursday October 16 Ag News

October’s Rural Mainstreet Index Plummets:  Farmland Price Index Sinks to Record Low

The Rural Mainstreet Index moved to its lowest level in more than four years, according to the October survey of bank CEOs in rural areas of a 10-state region dependent on agriculture and/or energy. The index has been trending lower since June 2013 when the reading stood at 60.5. 

Overall: The Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI), which ranges between 0 and 100, with 50.0 representing growth neutral, sank to 43.4, its lowest level since February 2010, and down from September’s 48.2.

“The stronger U.S. dollar, weaker global growth and abundant supplies have pushed U.S. grain prices down by more than 30 percent over the last 12 months. This has weakened the farm economy.  Furthermore, the same factors have weakened oil prices and I expect these lower prices to begin negatively affecting areas of the region heavily dependent on energy commodity sales,” said Ernie Goss, Ph.D., the Jack A. MacAllister Chair in Regional Economics at Creighton University’s Heider College of Business.

Even so, some farmers have been protected from current low commodity prices. As indicated by Jeff Bonnett, president of Havana National Bank in Havana, Ill., “Many of our farm operators had sold a good portion of their (current) corn at $5, or a little over, going into this farm year. That will work in their favor with corn prices hovering between $2.75 to $3 at this time.”

Farming and ranching: The farmland and ranchland-price index for October slumped to 20.2, the lowest level since initiation of the survey in January 2006, and down from September’s 33.7. “Much weaker crop prices continue to take the air out of the bubble in agriculture land prices. This is the 11th straight month that the index has moved below growth neutral,” said Goss.

The October farm-equipment sales index slumped to a record low 15.1 from 17.6 in September, also a record low. The index has been below growth neutral for 15 straight months. “This is lowest reading that we have recorded for the equipment index since we began the monthly survey in 2006. The more than 30 percent decline in agriculture commodity prices has pushed farmers to significantly shrink their equipment purchases,” said Goss.

This month bankers were asked to project farmland price changes for the next year. More than three-fourths of the bank CEOs expect farmland prices to decline over the next year with an average decline of 5 percent reported.  Additionally, bankers expect cash rents to decline by an average 3.4 percent over the next year.  This is down from an expected gain of one percent recorded in March of this year.

Nebraska: The Nebraska RMI for October fell to 43.0 from 44.3 in September. The state’s farmland-price index for October sank to 13.1 from 23.8 in September.  Nebraska’s new-hiring index decreased to 46.9 from September’s 47.0. 

Iowa: The October RMI for Iowa sank to 40.5 from September’s 47.2. The state’s farmland-price index for October slumped to 18.9 from 34.1 in September. Iowa’s new-hiring index for October slipped to 53.9 from September’s 55.2.  James Brown, president of Hardin County Savings Bank in Eldora, reported, “We are just beginning to see recognition from farmers that cash rent prices need to be renegotiated and land prices will drop at least 10 percent.”

Each month, community bank presidents and CEOs in nonurban, agriculturally and energy-dependent portions of a 10-state area are surveyed regarding current economic conditions in their communities and their projected economic outlooks six months down the road. Bankers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming are included. The survey is supported by a grant from Security State Bank in Ansley, Neb.

Nebraska Third on USDA’s List of Top 100 Ag Co-ops

 Nebraska is home to nine of the U.S. top 100 agricultural cooperatives, third in the nation behind Iowa and Minnesota, according to recently released USDA data.  The number of top 100 co-ops in Iowa, 16, is up from 11 a decade ago.  Minnesota has 13 co-ops in the top 100.

  These statistics underscore what most Midwesterners already know – Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska are extremely important to the nation’s agricultural economy, according to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.  Farmer-owned co-ops play a major role in making it an agricultural powerhouse.

   USDA’s annual list of the nation’s top 100 agricultural cooperatives, by business volume, indicates that Illinois and Wisconsin have five each, then California, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri and Ohio are all tied with four.

  Looking at business volume where a cooperative has its headquarters, Minnesota ranks first among the states, with $68.8 billion. Missouri is second at $16.2 billion and Illinois is third at $13.2 billion.   

   Like the nation’s ag co-op sector as a whole, the top 100 cooperatives also enjoyed a third consecutive year of record sales.  They reported revenue of $174 billion in 2013, an increase of almost 9 percent over the $166 billion reported in 2012.

   Net income (after taxes) remained virtually unchanged from 2012, at $3.5 billion. The previous records for sales and net income were set in 2012.          

   The largest co-op in Nebraska continues to be Ag Processing Inc. of Omaha.  It remains in the number 5 spot in the nation, with revenue of $5.678 billion, up from $4.937 billion in 2013.

Other top 100 co-ops in Nebraska are:

            27.  Producers Livestock Marketing Association of Omaha.
            30.  Aurora Cooperative Elevator Co. of Aurora.
            33.  Cooperative Producers Inc. of Hastings.
            43.  Farmers Cooperative of Dorchester.
            47.  United Farmers Cooperative of York (up from # 52 in 2013).
            50.  Central Valley Ag Cooperative of O’Neill.
            53.  Frenchman Valley Farmers Cooperative, Inc. of Imperial.
            88.  Ag Valley Cooperative Non-Stock of Edison.
   Twenty-three cooperatives improved their ranking by double-digits.  Six of these are mixed co-ops (co-ops that handle grain and farm supply sales).  Dairy and grain each had two co-ops make double-digit gains, while cotton, rice and sugar each had one co-op jump by at least 10 places.

   Grain cooperatives have experienced the largest increase in top 100 representation during the past decade.  There were 19 grain cooperatives in the top 100 in 2004.  That number rose to 41 in 2013.  Dairy cooperative representation in the top 100 fell from 28 to 21 during the same period, while farm supply cooperatives increased from 13 to 16.

Iowa Leads USDA's List of Top 100 Ag Co-ops

Iowa is home to more top 100 agricultural cooperatives than any other state, according to recently released USDA data. The number of top 100 co-ops in Iowa, 16, is up from 11 a decade ago.

"These statistics underscore what most Iowans already know – the state is extremely important to the nation's agricultural economy," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. Farmer-owned co-ops play a major role in making it an agricultural powerhouse

USDA's annual list of the nation's top 100 agricultural cooperatives, by business volume, indicates Minnesota ranks second among the states, with 13. It is followed by Nebraska with nine, Illinois and Wisconsin with five each, then California, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri and Ohio, which are all tied with four.

Looking at business volume where a cooperative has its headquarters, Minnesota ranks first among the states, with $68.8 billion. Missouri is second at $16.2 billion and Illinois is third at $13.2 billion.

Like the nation's ag co-op sector as a whole, the top 100 cooperatives also enjoyed a third consecutive year of record sales. They reported revenue of $174 billion in 2013, an increase of almost 9 percent over the $166 billion reported in 2012.

Net income (after taxes) remained virtually unchanged from 2012, at $3.5 billion. The previous records for sales and net income were set in 2012.

CHS Inc., Saint Paul, Minn. – an energy, farm supply, grain and food co-op – has been the nation's largest ag co-op during the past decade. It held onto the No. 1 spot in 2013, with $44 billion in revenue. It was followed by Land O' Lakes Inc., Saint Paul, Minn., with sales of $14 billion, and Dairy Farmers of America, Kansas City, Mo., with almost $13 billion in revenue.

Wheaton-Dumont Cooperative Elevator, a grain co-op based in Wheaton, Minn., made the biggest climb up the Top 100. In 2012, it was not even on the list, ranking 150th. The co-op rose 58 spots, to 92nd place, in 2013.

The Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative, Wahpeton, N.D., a sugarbeet co-op, was the next biggest "gainer," moving from 131st place in 2012 to 98th in 2013.

Twenty-three cooperatives improved their ranking by double-digits. Six of these are mixed co-ops (co-ops that handle grain and farm supply sales). Dairy and grain each had two co-ops make double-digit gains, while cotton, rice and sugar each had one co-op jump by at least 10 places.

Grain cooperatives have experienced the largest increase in top 100 representation during the past decade. There were 19 grain cooperatives in the top 100 in 2004. That number rose to 41 in 2013. Dairy cooperative representation in the top 100 fell from 28 to 21 during the same period, while farm supply cooperatives increased from 13 to 16.

The Sept.-Oct. issue of USDA's "Rural Cooperatives" magazine includes the top 100 list and an article that examines some of the financial trends it reveals.

ASA Director Miller Brings International Marketing Info to Nebraska College Students

ASA Director and USSEC Vice Chair Jim Miller recently spoke to students about marketing U.S. soy to international customers. Miller presented to 30 students in three classes, with one presentation being videotaped for a fourth class, at Northeast Tech in Norfolk, Neb.

During the presentations, Miller lectured about top export markets and rising global consumption. He also explained the significance of U.S. soy exports, the competitive advantage of U.S. soy and sustainability.

Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation Announces Nebraska Cattlemen Beef State Scholarship

The Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation is excited to announce the creation of the “Nebraska Cattlemen Beef State Scholarship” that will award an annual $10,000 scholarship to an outstanding junior, senior or graduate level student.  Eligible students must be a resident of Nebraska and be enrolled in a Nebraska college or university pursuing a beef industry related degree.  The scholarship will be awarded based on student need, Nebraska beef industry involvement (past achievements and future plans) and academics.  Students will be required to complete a written application and finalists will be invited to interview with the selection committee.  The Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation is establishing this scholarship account with $50,000 and is asking for donors to help to fully endow this scholarship at $250,000.

“With beef production the number one industry in Nebraska and as Nebraska becomes the beef epicenter of the United States, it is more important now, more than ever before, to reward our future beef industry leaders who will have an impact on the Nebraska beef industry,” says Scott Langemeier, Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation President.

The first Nebraska Cattlemen Beef State Scholarship will be awarded in the spring of 2015.  Applications for the scholarship will be available from the Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation January 1, 2015. 

For more information on this scholarship and how you can donate, please contact Jana Jensen, NCF Fundraising Coordinator at 308/588-6299, or Lee Weide, Nebraska Cattlemen Vice President of Operations at 402/475-2333,

Lawsuit Against U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for Missouri River Flooding Grows to Six States    

More than 200 farmers, small businesses, other property owners and two Native American tribes in Nebraska have joined a lawsuit in federal court challenging actions of the United States Army Corps of Engineers and to recover losses caused by devastating, recurrent flooding along the Missouri River. The amended complaint filed today by Polsinelli PC and Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC brings to 436 the total number of plaintiffs in six states, including the latest, North Dakota.

Originally filed in March 2014, the lawsuit charges that increased flooding along the Missouri River resulted from changes in Corps policies and procedures.  Flooding along the river has dramatically increased in frequency and severity since 2006, including the record flood of 2011 that lasted more than 100 days and was declared the worst in the region’s history. Flooding continued in 2013 and 2014.

“We are pleased the Court granted our motion to increase the number of plaintiffs in this very important lawsuit impacting people who have developed farms, businesses and communities on this land in reliance on the Corps managing the river in a way that would deter flooding,” said Plaintiffs’ Lead Counsel R. Dan Boulware, a partner at national law firm Polsinelli, PC. “The timing is crucial as there has been additional flooding in 2014 impacting the fortunes and futures of families and business owners.”

Late yesterday, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims granted a motion allowing an amendment to Ideker Farms, Inc. et al v. United States of America authorizing additional plaintiffs to join the suit. These include two Native American tribes with lands in Nebraska and Iowa – the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska and the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska – and the Nebraska Board of Educational Lands and Funds, an agency of Nebraska; and claimants from North Dakota.
By state, the current breakdown of claimants is:

-    Iowa – 127
-    Missouri – 146
-    Kansas – 18
-    Nebraska -90
-    North Dakota – 38
-    South Dakota -17

Plaintiffs’ Co-counsel Benjamin Brown, a partner at Cohen Milstein, added: “These new plaintiffs fit seamlessly into the case because, like the initial plaintiffs, their Constitutional property rights have been violated.  When the federal government determines that the broader public interest is best served by reversing policies that have been in place for generations and subjecting people’s property to recurrent flooding, it needs to pay just compensation rather than simply turning its back on those citizens, whether they are farmers, homeowners, or Native American tribes.”

Ideker Farms, Inc. et al v. United States of America was filed in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims by Polsinelli PC, based in Kansas City, Mo., and Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC, of Washington, D.C., on behalf of farmers and other property owners in Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota for damages sustained from one or more floods from 2007 to the present.  Four floods from 2007 to 2011 received a Presidential Declaration for Disaster.

The claims are brought under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution for the unconstitutional taking of property without compensation.  According to the Plaintiffs, for at least six decades prior to 2004, the U.S. Corps of Engineers had prioritized flood control when managing operations of dams, reservoirs and other structures along the river.  During that time, floods were shorter and less frequent.  However, Corps policy changed beginning in 2004 to conform river operations with environmental laws and regulations, including the Endangered Species Act, The National Environmental Protection Act, the Clean Water Act, and the 2000 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Biological Opinions. 

For named plaintiff Roger Ideker of Ideker Farms, Inc., of Corning, Mo., a third-generation farming operation, the change in Corps policy has had a significant impact. “I know I speak for many farmers and others along the Missouri River when I say that the flooding we have experienced since 2006 has been much different than that of the past. The frequency and severity make it a real and continuing hardship and threat to our way of life.”

The lawsuit alleges that the Corps policy changes directly led to the recurrent flooding. These include:
-    Increasing the water storage levels and altering the schedule for water releases from the six large reservoirs located along the river’s upper basin upstream from Yankton, S.D.;
-    Changing the structure of dikes and dams along the river to scour the banks and make the river more shallow;
-    Creating secondary channels that increase the frequency and duration of floods.

In addition, the lawsuit states that after 2004, the Corps’ operating criteria for releases from the Missouri River reservoirs, as provided in the Corps’ Master Manual, no longer required that certain releases, including early releases, had to be made based upon the Corps’ forecast of the annual snowmelt and rainfall runoff.  And, as a result of that deviation from the prior mandatory release criteria, which deviation was done to serve the interests of fish and wildlife, flooding has occurred from 2007 to the present that would not have occurred under the prior criteria that prioritized flood control. 

“The U.S. Amy Corps of Engineers knew these changes would lead to the river spreading out, causing more substantial flooding for the surrounding lands,” stated Boulware and Brown.

For additional information including a copy of the complaint visit: or call 816-364-2117.

Nebraska State Senators and Public Power CEO’s to Address Wind and Solar Power Opportunities

Two favorite sessions of attendees will return to the annual Nebraska Wind and Solar Conference this year October 29-30 at the LaVista Conference Center. Nebraska State Senators and the Chief Executive Officers of Nebraska’s three largest public power utilities will address the theme of the conference, Turning Challenges Into Nebraska Opportunities, in their respective sessions.

On Thursday, October 30 at 10:00 a.m. Gary Gates of Omaha Public Power District, Pat Pope of Nebraska Public Power District and Kevin Wailes of Lincoln Electric System will speak at 10:00 a.m. The CEO’s will report on the status of their voluntary energy portfolio goals, the challenges and opportunities they see relative to upcoming EPA carbon emission regulations, and other renewable energy related issues.   

“Conference attendees really appreciate the willingness of  the public power CEO’s to provide their ‘state of public power” address,” said Dan McGuire, conference co-chair. “The CEO’s insights into both the challenges and opportunities their utilities face relative to additional renewable energy generation by adding wind and solar power to the utility’s portfolio is of great interest and value to the conference participants.  Our public power state is in the middle of a record setting three year stretch of integrating 750 MWs of additional Nebraska wind energy to our state’s public power portfolio.   This is an exciting time for wind energy development in our state.”

Nebraska State Senators Ken Haar, Heath Mello, Jeremy Nordquist and Ken Schilz will participate in a panel discussion Thursday afternoon at 2:45 p.m. to discuss what has happened in the Legislature regarding wind and solar energy legislation, and what needs to happen in the future to advance those industries.

“This is a great opportunity to not only hear from but meet the State Senators who have been instrumental in the legislative changes made in recent years to improve the competitiveness of Nebraska wind and solar energy,” Said John Hansen, conference co-chairman. “These State Senators will be in key positions of leadership on renewable issues in the next four years   This panel is always one of the most popular sessions of the conference,” he added.

Registration for the conference is $125 through October 28 and $150 for walk-in registrations the day of the conference. For conference and tour registrations, and to view the program, go to  For hotel reservations, contact Courtyard by Marriott Omaha-La Vista/Hotel & Conference Center, 12520 Westport Pkwy, La Vista, NE 68128 402-339-4900. To view last year’s presentations, go to

More People Need More Protein

In a world where one in nine people are undernourished, U.S. soybean growers recognize that soy protein, livestock and biodiesel are part of the solution to feeding a growing population.

“The world has a protein gap that needs to be filled,” said American Soybean Association World Initiative for Soy in Human Health Chairman Andy Welden. “Our crop offers soybean meal for livestock feed and human food, which at the same time, creates an abundant supply of soybean oil for biodiesel.”

October 16 is annually recognized as World Food Day. The 2014 Theme is Family Farming; Feeding the world, caring for the earth. The United States produces more than 3.2 billion bushels of soybeans a year, offering an abundant supply of meal for human foods and livestock feeds as well as oil for biodiesel and other uses. U.S. soybean growers also participate in support sustainability programs for conservation and other environmental practices.

Key Facts for World Food Day include:

-    805 million people are estimated to be chronically undernourished in 2012–14, down more than 100 million over the last decade, according to the United Nations. The vast majority, 791 million, live in developing countries.
-    Developing countries will account for much of the increase in projected growth in global consumption of meats and crops in 2013-22, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  The developing-country shares of the projected growth include 81 percent for meat and 83 percent for grains and oilseeds.
-    The American Soybean Association’s World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) assists developing country entrepreneurs and leaders in filling the “protein gap” with nutritious soy-based foods as well as livestock and aquaculture feeds. See slideshare for more information.
-    Increased Biodiesel Production Benefits Poultry and Livestock Farmers As more soy oil is processed for biodiesel production, more soy meal is available for livestock feed and human food. See slideshare for more information.
-    Along with reducing the cost of livestock feed, biodiesel also adds value to animal fats. In 2013 demand for fats and oils for biodiesel production increased the value of beef tallow an estimated $567 million, pork fat an estimated $165 million, and poultry fat by more than $51 million, making the production of animal protein more economical.

ASA and USBCA Urge White House to Push China on Timely Biotech Approvals

As a charter member of the U.S. Biotech Crops Alliance (USBCA), ASA and USBCA members urged President Barack Obama to address the persistent delays in the Chinese approvals process for new biotech traits during next month’s Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Summit.

As the most significant market for U.S. soybeans, China purchased more than $14 billion in American beans last year alone. However, as the letter noted, the U.S. agricultural crop value-chain currently faces serious challenges in providing for predictable and stable trade to China due to the inability to secure timely import approvals for new biotechnology products and a growing concern that factors other than science are being used as justification to reject applications.

In the letter, ASA and the USBCA urged the president to make the issue of transparent and predictable approvals a top priority, and to advance the relationship between the U.S. and China beyond the status quo.

Pork Board Countering Anti-Antibiotic Boosters' Claims

A leading U.S. pork association will use an online marketing campaign to counter a critical television documentary on antibiotics use in livestock, pointing consumers to industry-funded websites that defend the practice, according to an association email.

The National Pork Board sent out an email about the strategy to food and agriculture officials in advance of Tuesday evening's PBS Frontline program entitled, "The Trouble with Antibiotics".

The industry was taking steps to "monitor, engage and respond to any and all media coverage of this story," Jarrod Sutton, vice president for social responsibility at the National Pork Board.

One of those steps is to use "Paid Search Engine Optimization (SEO)", according to the email. SEO is a widely employed marketing tactic that aims to get a website to show up higher in a search engine's results for particular search terms.

Sutton says they were notifying "our customers and consumers" of something they might find of interest.

Survey Shows Consumers Watching Their Meat Purchases

Oklahoma State University's October Food Demand Survey shows that while people are spending more in grocery stores on food, they are less willing to buy steak, hamburger, chicken breast and deli ham than one month ago.

Consumers are 1.81% less likely to buy steak from the grocery store in October than they were in September, reports PorkNetwork. Consumers are 5.13% less likely to buy hamburger than they were last month.

Only pork chops and chicken wings saw an increase in the consumers' willingness to pay. Consumers are 7.98% more likely to buy pork chops in the grocery store than they were last month.

Consumers are spending less eating out this month. They are 4.33% less likely to eat out than they were last month.

Expo Breed Sales Offer Nothing Less Than the Best

The Top of The World Jersey Sale kicked off the 2014 World Dairy Expo Sales, Tuesday, September 29. This year’s highest selling consignment was TLJ Visionary Bree-ET. She is sired by All Lynns Legal Visionary-ET, and her dam is GR TLS Britany Bobbi J Dale. Bree was consigned by Travis Lehnertz of Plainview, Minn., and purchased by Matthew Steiner of Marshallville, Ohio for $10,100. Ratliff Action Angela-ET was the second highest sale at $7,300. Angela is sired by Forest Glen Avery Action-ET, and her dam is Ratliff Price Alicia. She was consigned by Ron and Christy Ratliff of Garnett, Kan. and purchased by Sistrunk Farms of Bastrop, La. The 2014 sale saw a total of $89,200 in sales between 21 lots with an average of $4,247.62. Ten states and three countries were represented at the Top of the World Jersey Sale.

The World Ayrshire Event Sale, held Wednesday, October 1; kept the momentum moving forward with a high sale of $17,000 for Onword Wilton April sold to David Koss, Jason Steinlage and Eric Lang of Lawler, Iowa. April was consigned by P & A Ayrshires of Dyersville, Iowa. Onword Lazy M Distinct Arrow purchased by Monica Streff of Peshtigo, Wis. for $6,300, was the second highest sale of the event. Included in this sale were eight live animals, two picks of flushes and five embryo packages. Buyers from seven states and two countries were represented at the 2014 World Ayrshire Event Sale. The average for all 15 lots was $4,450.

Rolling through the middle of the week the World Premier Brown Swiss Sale had a full house on Thursday, October 2, in the Estrumate Sale Pavilion. High selling lot was Brown Heaven Bonanza Frosty for $12,000 to Bradner Farms of Abbotsford, British Columbia. Frosty’s consigner was Brown Heaven Farm of Vercheres, Quebec. The second highest sale of the evening was Blessing Faust Alexa for $9,900. She was purchased by Cynthia Ziegler of Belleville, Wis., and consigned by Blessing Farm of Ft. Wayne, Ind. There were a total of 25 lots on The World Premier Brown Swiss Sale, and seven of those cattle were exhibited at the World Dairy Expo International Brown Swiss Show. The average for the Brown Swiss Premier Sale was $5,910. Eleven states and two countries were represented at the 2014 sale.

The World Premier Milking Shorthorn Sale was nothing short of a success on Thursday, October 2, with six lots and a high sale of $7,500. Ecua Farm Zeus Patty-EXP was the high seller, and sold to Mike Halpin of Cullom, Ill., with Tyler Endres of Arlington, Wis. as the consigner.  Patty is sired by GMC Robin Zeus – EXP- ET, and her dam is Ecua Farm Kaiser Patty-EXP. Second highest lot was $4,700, for Lands-Brook Crimson. She was sold to Kaden and Carlton Petroshus of Gobles, Mich. Consigner was Larry Landsgard—Lands-Brook Farms of St. Olaf, Iowa. Crimson is sired by Lands-Brook Cancun – EXP - ET, and her dam is Lands-Brook Chippewa. There were six total lots with an average sale of $4,567. Buyers came from four states and two countries at the 2014 World Premier Milking Shorthorn Sale.

The International Guernsey Classic was held Friday, October 3. With 26 lots, the highest sale was $8,000 for Guernsey View Wii’s Amy. Her sire is Golden J Ronald Grumpy, and her dam is Guernsey View Nikki’s Wii. Amy was purchased by Ros-Sue-Kim Guernseys of Gackle, N.D., and consigned by Cedar Ridge Farms, LTD of Keswick Ridge, New Brunswick. The first choice female out of Coulee Crest Nick Lorilyn was the second highest sale at $5,400, purchased by Steve Thomas of Greenwood, Wis., and consigned by Coulee Crest, LLC of Cashton, Wis. Buyers were from 12 states and two countries, U.S. and Australia. The average sale for females was $4,160 and the average embryo sale was $458 per embryo.

Friday evening marked the close of cattle sales with the World Classic ’14 Holstein Sale. A high price was commanded for De-Su 1912-ET at $74,000, the highest sale of the night. She was purchased by Siemers Holsteins of Newton, Wis. She was consigned by Skyreach, Ferme Viano & Kings-Ransom of Quebec and New York. De-Sue 1912 - ET is sired by Mountfield SSE Dcy Mogul, and her dam is Clear-Echo M-O-M 2150 - ET. At $70,000, the price was right for the first choice female of Calbrett Supersire Barb, making her the second highest sale of the night. Sire options for this first choice are Main Event or Delta. First choice was purchased by James Vierhout of Hull, Iowa, and consigned by Diamond Genetics, Mercuro, Anderstrup, Drakkar of Zwolle, Netherlands. Buyers from 14 states and four countries bid on 52 of the breed’s finest with an average sale of $23,234. This year a special donation calf from St. Jacobs and Woodmansee, Vail-Hez Ashock Ms Horace-ET, raised $31,000 for the Horace Backus Scholarship Fund for the Holstein Foundation.

World Dairy Expo is recognized as the meeting place for the global dairy industry. Last week 77,204  dairy producers and industry experts from 94 countries traveled to Madison, Wis. The world-class event drew 2,385 head of North American dairy cattle and 835 exhibiting companies to the trade show. Next year, World Dairy Expo’s theme is “Dairy in Our DNA” and will be held Sept. 29 through Oct. 3, 2015. Visit for more information.

CME Group’s Risk Ranch Wins Best Children’s App Award

CME Group’s educational children’s app, Risk Ranch, has been awarded the Best Children’s App Award by

Risk Ranch is designed to help children look at agriculture as a business, whether they aspire to be a farmer in the future or just have an interest in learning where there food comes from.  Fun and fast-paced, the single-player game engages kids with real-life content, challenging players to take on the role of a modern farmer and bring a steer to market, teaching youth the importance of agricultural economics and risk management. Risk Ranch is free and available for download from both the iTunes App Store and Google Play. The app is also playable online at

Syngenta ranked a top 10 biotech employer for third time

Syngenta ranked in the top 10 among the world’s top biotech employers, according to an annual survey conducted by Science magazine. The company finished as the No. 9 employer, placing four spots up from 2013.

Employees were asked to rate companies on multiple characteristics, including treating employees with respect, ensuring work-culture values align with employees’ personal values, and other factors. The top three characteristics for Syngenta were identified as: treats employees with respect, is socially responsible and work culture values aligned.

“At Syngenta we are motivated to innovate through our purpose: Bringing plant potential to life and guided by the objectives we set in The Good Growth Plan. This extends to the way we work in teams, how we promote employee health and how we reach out to the local community,” said Michiel van Lookeren Campagne, head of Biology Research for Syngenta. “It is our culture and focus on innovation to sustainably grow more food with less inputs that makes Syngenta a great place to work. I am very proud that this is recognized by the biotechnology industry at large.”

Last year, Syngenta opened the Advanced Crop Lab that enables completely new capabilities to measure the performance of crops and do it faster than ever.  The company is also in the process of building a brand new R&D lab and office facility designed to maximize collaboration across disciplines. When completed in 2016, employees will have the most advanced capabilities to enable their considerable talents here in Research Triangle Park.

“This combined new facilities investment of over $150 million demonstrates the commitment  Syngenta has for  innovation and creates extra confidence among our colleagues that their work will make a difference ultimately to the farmers  we serve,” said van Lookeren Campagne.

This year marks the sixth straight year that Syngenta has ranked as one of the top 20 best biotech companies for which to work worldwide, and the third year that they’ve placed in the top 10.The complete rankings can be found online at the Science magazine website.