Thursday, August 21, 2014

Thursday August 21 Ag News

Rural Mainstreet Index Sinks for August:  Farm Equipment Sales Decline to Record Low

The Rural Mainstreet Index moved to its lowest level in almost two years, according to the August 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. 

Nebraska: The Nebraska RMI for August fell to 47.8 from 51.8 in July. The state’s farmland-price index for August sank to 30.4 from 39.2 in July. Nebraska’s new-hiring index decreased to 47.3 from July’s 52.3. Rural Mainstreet job growth over last 12 months: -0.5 percent (regional low). 

Iowa: The August RMI for Iowa fell to 50.6 from July’s 52.9. The state’s farmland-price index for August sank to 40.7 from July’s 48.0. Iowa’s new-hiring index for August declined to 55.5 from July’s 62.3. Rural Mainstreet job growth over last 12 months: 0.5 percent.


The Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI), which ranges between 0 and 100, with 50.0 representing growth neutral, fell to 48.3 from July’s 51.8.

“Agriculture commodity prices have plummeted for crop farmers in our region and are expected to move even lower in the months ahead. This decline has spilled over into the broader rural economy according to our survey. With record crop supplies anticipated by analysts, I expect readings to move even lower in the months ahead,” said Ernie Goss, Ph.D., the Jack A. MacAllister Chair in Regional Economics at Creighton University’s Heider College of Business.

Farming and ranching:

The farmland and ranchland-price index for August slumped to 41.4, from July’s 48.3. “Much weaker crop prices are taking the air out of agriculture land prices. This is the ninth straight month that the index has moved below growth neutral,” said Goss.

This month, bankers were asked to project farmland prices for the next 12 months. On average, bank CEOs expect farmland prices to fall by 4.8 percent. Just six months ago, bankers expected a decline of 3.2 percent over the next 12 months. “Clearly, bankers are becoming more pessimistic regarding the trend in farmland prices,” said Goss.

Despite the decline in farmland prices over the past nine months, cash rents on farmland expanded from $258 per acre in March of this year to $285 in August. “This will place a financial pinch on the farmer renting land and selling at today’s slumping crop prices,” said Goss.

The August farm-equipment sales index slumped to a record low 25.5 from July’s very weak 33.4. The index has been below growth neutral for 13 straight months. “This is lowest reading that we have recorded for the equipment index since we began the monthly survey in 2006. The rapid decline in agriculture commodity prices is causing farmers to become more cautious in their equipment purchase,” said Goss.

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.

This survey represents an early snapshot of the economy of rural, agriculturally and energy-dependent portions of the nation. The Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI) is a unique index covering 10 regional states, focusing on approximately 200 rural communities with an average population of 1,300. It gives the most current real-time analysis of the rural economy. Goss and Bill McQuillan, former chairman of the Independent Community Banks of America, created the monthly economic survey in 2005.

More Nebraska Kids Studying Agriculture

One of these schools is not like the others.  They’re all schools that have added agriculture programs. And the Omaha school did it before these rural schools.  In all, 157 schools are now bringing agriculture into the classroom.

State ag education director Matt Kreifels says, “Agriculture is the number one industry in state of Nebraska and anytime we can develop a pipeline to get students exposure and career preparation for the industry is huge, and also for the students because there’s a lot of good jobs out there for them.”

Many of the new programs this school year are in Class B and C schools like Adams Central. But it’s been a success even in Nebraska’s most urban school district.

Kreifels said, “We are happy two years ago we added a program at Omaha Bryan High School. We’re exposing students from very urban population to agriculture and they could not be more excited.”

Now officially known simply as FFA, Omaha kids say their friends don’t quite get what they’re part of.

Rosario Lamere said, “They honestly think it’s weird because we’re city kids and want to do agriculture is different for them.”

FFA has traditionally focused on the farm and ranch.

“We don’t have that in the city but we do have agriculture things,” Lindsey Parks, another Omaha student said.

There’s a big focus these days on science and natural resources. The Omaha kids say there’s a growing interest in urban agriculture and they’re excited to add a greenhouse to the school. Plus each student takes on a supervised ag experience.

Rosario said, “It’s a good experience, opens a lot of doors for us.”

“Looks good on a college application too,” Lindsey added.

New programs can be tough to start. It’s more than adding an FFA chapter. It’s integrated in the curriculum and requires a teacher.

So state leaders are thrilled to see it expand, whether in Omaha or Hastings.

Kreifels said they continue to recruit young people to become ag teachers, to meet the growing demand.

Cargill pledges $1 million to Raising Nebraska

With a major presence in Nebraska, Cargill has become the title sponsor of Raising Nebraska, pledging $1 million dollars over five years.

“As an agriculture and food company, we really identified with one of Raising Nebraska goals of showing how Nebraska agriculture touches everyone,” said Robert Racek, the Omaha-based Western Region general manager of Cargill’s grain business.   “The world’s food gets its start every day with agriculture and Nebraska is a major player in that global marketplace.”

The year-round Raising Nebraska exhibit is located in the Nebraska building on the state fairgrounds and will open Friday, August 22 (tomorrow morning) at the Nebraska State Fair.  

"We are thrilled that Cargill has agreed to partner with us on Raising Nebraska," said Dr. Charles Hibberd, dean of extension at the University of Nebraska—Lincoln.  "Cargill's global leadership is a good match for the messages and experiences in Raising Nebraska as we showcase world-class agriculture, food production and farmers and ranchers in our state.   We look forward to drawing upon Cargill's expertise and insight as Raising Nebraska continues to evolve and grow in the future."

Jarrod Gillig, general manager at Cargill’s beef plant in Schuyler, said Nebraska is one of the largest states for Cargill with more than 20 locations and 4,000 employees.  “These businesses go from farm to fork including grain, animal feed, corn milling and meat processing.  All of Cargill’s businesses were part of the pledge, which also included a match from the corporate offices in Minneapolis.

Raising Nebraska is a 25,000 square foot education exhibit that will serve as a year-round, interactive experience focused on where Nebraska agriculture is today—and, where it will be in the future. The exhibit shows how Nebraska farmers and ranchers are positioning themselves to meet the global demand for food, feed, fuel and fiber—while protecting natural resources and being environmentally responsible.  
The exhibit is the result of a partnership between the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources (IANR) at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture and the Nebraska State Fair. Key areas of focus for the exhibit includes food security, water management, technology and innovation, animal agriculture, the new bio-economy, crop production, environmental stewardship, the economic impact of agriculture in Nebraska and consumer-focused information about food production and food safety.

UNL Presents Food Microbiology Workshop for the Food Manufacturing Industry

A University of Nebraska-Lincoln food microbiology workshop will focus on the basics of food safety and the microbiological testing methods commonly used by the food industry.

The workshop, presented by UNL's Food Processing Center March 24-26, 2015, will provide basic food microbiology training to those individuals working in testing laboratories, with no formal training in microbiology.

"The workshop is delivered in both the classroom and laboratory environments and includes fundamental principles, demonstrations and hands-on sessions covering general microbiology and pathogen detection," said Jayne Stratton, research assistant professor and laboratory services manager. "Attendees will acquire an understanding of the methods used to isolate important spoilage and indicator microorganisms along with a variety of techniques utilized for food-borne pathogen detection. The program also provides curriculum on the ecology of microorganisms and pathogens in foods, and what measures are used to prevent their growth. The importance of using validated testing methods will also be discussed during the workshop."

Faculty and staff experts from UNL's Department of Food Science and Technology and the Food Processing Center will present lectures and interactive sessions to workshop participants. In addition, experts from leading rapid pathogen detection equipment manufacturers will be present to provide demonstrations and overviews of the latest technology.

UNL is one of only a few universities that offer a food microbiology workshop to the food industry and it is anticipated that food industry professionals from throughout the country will attend this workshop. The Food Processing Center is nationally recognized for its support of the food industry. The center, created in 1983, provides comprehensive services to food manufacturers throughout the country and in many foreign countries.

Workshop capacity is limited and pre-registration is required.  For more information or to register visit the website or contact Jill Gifford at 402-472-2819 or e-mail

EPC Adopts Federal Rules on Animal Feeding Operations

In a unanimous vote, the Environmental Protection Commission adopted rules governing totally roofed confinement feeding operations.

The rules require these facilities to have a federal permit to discharge to waters of the U.S. Called a national pollutant discharge elimination system or NPDES permit, operations that need the permits must meet federal design, construction and monitoring standards.

However, the NPDES permit allows discharges of effluent to a water of the U.S. under certain conditions such as heavy rainfall. Depending upon the location, an NPDES-permitted facility in Iowa would be allowed to discharge if more than 5.6 inches of rain fell within 24 hrs.

“Iowa has 167 open feedlots with NPDES permits,” said Bill Ehm, DNR administrator for environmental services. “These unroofed or partially roofed facilities have historically had some runoff through the feedlot when it rains. I don’t expect many NPDES permits to be issued to confinements.

“Most confinements will not need the protection of an NPDES permit, because they are unlikely to discharge,” Ehm added. “Most manure releases we’ve had in Iowa have been caused by a one-time event – like an accident or failure of a pipe – problems that the producer can demonstrate have been fixed with permanent measures that eliminate the cause of the discharge.

“However, the owner of a confinement or open lot that is likely to discharge would be wise to apply for an NPDES permit and the protection it provides in severe weather conditions.”

Any NPSDES permit holders must continue to meet existing requirements of Iowa law for construction permits and siting, manure management plans and land application.

The Iowa Legislature directed the commission to adopt the federal rules. Adoption was also a condition of a work plan agreement signed between the DNR and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Sept.11, 2013.

More information is available at

Integrated Cropping Systems Team Addresses Management of Pesticide Resistance

There is much to consider when making management decisions in production agriculture – including the pesticide resistance of target pests (weed, insects, plant pathogens and nematodes). The complexity of crop production decision-making is escalated by frogeye leaf spot, the arrival of Palmer amaranth, and corn rootworm resistance – a few of the issues that have Iowa farmers concerned about pesticide resistance.

Members of the Iowa State University research and extension crops team will be at the Farm Progress Show talking to visitors about current and potential resistance issues and related management practices. The team includes agronomists, entomologists, plant pathologists and microbiologists, weed scientists and a climatologist.


Erin Hodgson, extension entomologist and associate professor of entomology, is a crops team leader and describes resistance as “the decreased susceptibility of a pest to a management strategy.” Often, resistance is associated with pesticides but it could include cultural control (e.g., crop rotation) and host plant resistance (e.g., Bt for insects).

“When it comes to insects, they are always trying to evolve to be more competitive,” said Hodgson. “Eventually, insects will overcome our standard management tactics. Some, like western corn rootworm, just do it faster than most.”


Weeds with resistance to herbicides were first found in the 1950s. Now that Palmer amaranth has arrived in five Iowa counties – along with its history of resistance in other states – herbicide resistant weeds are getting more attention. Bob Hartzler, agronomy professor and extension weed scientist with Iowa State University, says the solution to managing the situation is simple – farmers must stop doing what they are doing (referring to spraying glyphosate on fields planted with seeds genetically engineered to tolerate the chemical) and take different actions.

“Start deploying more diverse weed management strategies that incorporate some combination of crop rotation, cover crops, manual tillage, and a broader range of herbicides less dependent on glyphosate,” said Hartzler.

Diseases and Integrated Pest Management

Daren Mueller, extension soybean pathologist and coordinator of the Integrated Pest Management program at Iowa State, says pesticide resistance results from using the same pesticide repeatedly. When resistant weeds, insects and fungi are present, Mueller says a biotype of an organism has survived exposure to a pesticide that would normally kill an individual of that species. Resistance can be managed several ways so that pesticides remain a useful way of controlling pest organisms now and in the future.

“Only apply pesticides when needed – scout fields to determine pest populations and only use pesticides when thresholds are met. Then follow label directions,” Mueller said. “Rotate types of pesticides during the year and from year to year. And use alternative management options such as production practices, natural enemies, crop resistance and crop rotation.”

The Iowa State crops team and IPM program provide up-to-date resources and information through trainings, field days, demonstration sites, online newsletter and publications. The team publishes articles in the Integrated Crop Management newsletter at containing the latest information available. Scouting and pest identification guides created by team members are available from the Extension Online Store at

ISA Members Presented with Environmental Leader Award

Iowa soybean farmers were among those presented with the Environmental Leader Award at a ceremony during the Iowa State Fair.

Eighty-eight farmers and their families were recognized for their commitment to improving water quality and maintaining healthy soil. More than half of the farmers recognized are members of the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA).

“These farmers are leaders in their ideas and their practices,” said Roger Wolf, ISA Environmental Programs and Services Director. “Taking care of the natural resources on their farms will have a big impact on the future of farming.”

Producers who receive this honor have implemented conservation practices on their farms allowing them to improve and protect Iowa’s natural resources and the environment. They are also community leaders and promote their practices to other farmers. The awards are sponsored by the Iowa Governor’s office, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Former ISA director Jim Andrews was on the award selection committee.

All award winners received a signed certificate from Gov. Terry Branstad, a metal sign donated by Monsanto commemorating the honor and a commemorative program from The Nature Conservancy. After the ceremony Hagie Manufacturing, based in Clarion, hosted a catered lunch in honor of the winners.

“Congratulations to all the winners and thank you for your dedication to improving our natural resources,” Wolf said.

ISA’s Environmental Programs and Services and On-Farm Network teams assist members  to improve their natural resource management and implement environmentally sound cropping systems.

ISA member winners are (listed alphabetically by county):

Adair: Randy, Janalee and Merritt Caviness; Senivac, Inc.
Black Hawk: Blake Hollis; Lanchaven Farms, Inc.
Black Hawk: Nick & Nancy Meier
Buena Vista/Cherokee: Tracy and Donna Bengston
Buena Vista/Pocahontas County: Richard & Deboney Langner
Butler: Dennis and Merlette Cassmann
Carroll: Larry and Theresa Greving; Greving Family Farm
Clarke/Madison: Chad & Ryan Pontier; Pontier Farms
Clay: Chuck & Kevin White
Clayton/Allamakee: Rob & Mary Sass
Dallas: Douglas & Rhonda Volz
Davis: Ward Family, Steve & Sonya, Ryan & Brianna, Richard & Phyllis; Ward Farms
Des Moines/Henry: Brad Dodds; Dodds Family Farm
Dickinson: Scott Mitchell
Fremont: Kilpatrick Family Farms
Greene: Donald Gibson
Grundy: Harvin & Esther Meyer; Meydan Farms
Guthrie: Dennis & Jacque Hoover; Cripple Creek Farm Corporation
Hancock/Cerro Gordo: Wayne & Val Koehler
Henry: Jeff and Gayle Olson
Humboldt/Webster: Doug & Kim Adams
Ida: James B. Irwin
Jackson: Knake Farms, Inc.
Jasper: Gordon Wassenaar
Jasper/Marion: Ward Van Dyke
Kossuth/Humboldt: Alan & Andrew Laubenthal
Lucas: Mike & Nicke Hunter; Hunter Brothers, Inc.
Madison/Clarke/Warren: Tim Palmer Family Farm
Marion: Vernon and Eleanor Boot; LC Farms
Marion/Mahaska: Cliff, Sheryl & Scott Mulder; Mulder Farms
Mitchell: Mike & Gayle Heimer; Foothill Farms, Inc.
Mitchell: Dean A. & Lucinda A. Sponheim
Montgomery: Bill & Margaret Thomas
O’Brien: Bruce & Carol Rohwer
Palo Alto: Jim Stillman; Generations Farm
Sac: Lynn & Joy Smith, Seth & Loretta Smith
Story: Hermanson Family; Woodland Farms Inc.
Washington: Dennis D. Berger & Son, Inc.
Washington: Jim Cuddeback; Cuddeback Farms, Inc.
Washington: Joel and Laura Huber; Huber Crops and Chops, Inc.
Webster: AJ & Kellie Blair
Woodbury/Cherokee: Roger & John Wilcox; Wilcox Farms, Inc.
Wright: Jerry and Jan Blackman, Luella Brotherton; Brotherton Family Trust
Wright: Duncan & Lillian Campbell; Campbell Family Farms
Wright/Humboldt: Gary & Shannon Fisher, Jim Fisher, Annette Watts; F&F Farms Ltd.
Wright/Humboldt: Mattew J. & Oksana Siefker

Red Meat Production Down 6 Percent From Last Year

Commercial red meat production for the United States totaled 3.91 billion pounds in July, down 6 percent from the 4.16 billion pounds produced in July 2013.

Beef production, at 2.09 billion pounds, was 9 percent below the previous year. Cattle slaughter totaled 2.60 million head, down 10 percent from July 2013. The average live weight was up 18 pounds from the previous year, at 1,320 pounds.

Veal production totaled 7.8 million pounds, 19 percent below July a year ago. Calf slaughter totaled 48,500 head, down 31 percent from July 2013. The average live weight was up 41 pounds from last year, at 275 pounds.

Pork production totaled 1.80 billion pounds, down 2 percent from the previous year. Hog slaughter totaled 8.46 million head, down 7 percent from July 2013. The average live weight was up 12 pounds from the previous year, at 283 pounds.

Lamb and mutton production, at 13.9 million pounds, was down 2 percent from July 2013. Sheep slaughter totaled 210,200 head, 2 percent below last year. The average live weight was 132 pounds, down 1 pound from July a year ago.

January to July 2014 commercial red meat production was 27.4 billion pounds, down 3 percent from 2013. Accumulated beef production was down 6 percent from last year, veal was down 11 percent, pork was down slightly from last year, and lamb and mutton production was up 1 percent.

By State
  (million pounds, % change from 7/2013)
Nebraska ....:     609.3                 96      
Iowa ...........:     519.6                100      
Kansas ......:      450.0                  88      

United States and Canadian Cattle Inventory Down 3 Percent from 2012

All cattle and calves in the United States and Canada combined totaled 108.3 million head on July 1, 2014, down 3 percent from the 111.3 million on July 1, 2012. All cows and heifers that have calved, at 43.9 million head, were down 2 percent from 2012.
All cattle and calves in the United States as of July 1, 2014, totaled 95.0 million head, 3 percent below the 97.8 million on July 1, 2012. All cows and heifers that have calved, at 39.0 million head, were down 2 percent from 2012.

All cattle and calves in Canada as of July 1, 2014, totaled 13.3 million head, down 1 percent from the 13.5 million on July 1, 2013. All cows and heifers that have calved, at 4.87 million, were down 1 percent from a year ago.

United States and Canadian Hog Inventory Down 4 Percent

United States and Canadian inventory of all hogs and pigs for June 2014 was 75.1 million head. This was down 4 percent from June 2013, and down 5 percent from June 2012. The breeding inventory, at 7.08 million head, was down slightly from a year ago and equal to 2012. Market hog inventory, at 68.0 million head, was down 4 percent from last year and down 6 percent from 2012. The semi-annual pig crop, at 68.1 million head, was down 4 percent from 2013 and down 5 percent from 2012. Sows farrowing during this period totaled 6.93 million head, up 1 percent from last year but down 2 percent from 2012.

United States inventory of all hogs and pigs on June 1, 2014 was 62.1 million head. This was down 5 percent from June 1, 2013 and down 1 percent from March 1, 2014. The breeding inventory, at 5.85 million head, was down slightly from last year but up slightly from the previous quarter. Market hog inventory, at 56.3 million head, was down 5 percent from last year, and down 1 percent from last quarter. The pig crop, at 27.4 million head, was down 5 percent from 2013 and down 8 percent from 2012. Sows farrowed during this period totaled 2.80 million head, down slightly from 2013 and down 5 percent from 2012. 

Canadian inventory of all hogs and pigs on July 1, 2014 was 12.9 million head. This was up 1 percent from July 1, 2013 and up 2 percent from July 1, 2012. The breeding inventory, at 1.22 million head, was up 1 percent from last year and up 1 percent from 2012. Market hog inventory, at 11.7 million head, was up 1 percent from last year and up 3 percent from 2012. The semi-annual pig crop, at 13.4 million head, was down 3 percent from 2013 and down 5 percent from 2012. Sows farrowing during this period totaled 1.26 million head, down 2 percent from last year and down 3 percent from 2012.

Do You Have a Farm Conservation Story to Tell?

Is conservation an important part of your farm operation?  Apply to the Conservation Legacy Awards program and you could be recognized nationally. But don’t delay, time is running out to apply.

There will be winners from three regions (Midwest, Northeast and South).
-    Winners receive an expense-paid trip for two to the Commodity Classic conference and trade show, February 26-28, 2015 in Phoenix, Ariz.
-    The farms and conservation practices of winners will be featured in videos and in a special insert in Corn & Soybean Digest magazine.
-    A National Conservation Legacy Award winner will be chosen from the three regional winners.

Applications must be submitted online by 11:59 p.m. on September 1, 2014.  

More information and the online application can be found on the web at

The Conservation Legacy Awards program is sponsored by the American Soybean Association, BASF, Monsanto, the United Soybean Board/soybean checkoff and Corn & Soybean Digest.

Raymond to be Keynote Speaker for 2014 BIO Livestock Biotech Summit

The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) is pleased to announce that Dr. Richard Raymond, former undersecretary of agriculture for food safety at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), will deliver a keynote address at the 2014 BIO Livestock Biotech Summit.

“As we all know, the world's population is increasing, but the amount of land available to raise crops and for animals to forage is not increasing, nor is the amount of water for animals to drink. Food security is vital for human health and political stability,” says Dr. Raymond.  “To achieve food security, we must utilize technologies that are safe for animals, humans and the environment, and we must communicate better about these technologies to dispel the many erroneous myths and perceptions that float around the internet and other media.”

This unique conference to be held September 16-18, 2014, at the Sioux Falls Convention Center in Sioux Falls, SD, examines the scientific potential and political challenges of using animal biotechnology to improve human and animal health, food production and the environment.  Previous Summits in 2010 and 2012 have drawn attendees including researchers, regulators, investors, and industry executives from around the globe.

Before serving as the Undersecretary for Food Safety, Dr. Raymond was Chief Medical Officer for the Nebraska Health and Human Services System.  Additionally, he served as director of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services Regulation & Licensure division where he oversaw regulatory programs involving health care and environmental issues. Currently, Dr. Raymond is a noted food safety and public health consultant and an editor for two food safety blogs on and Feedstuffs Foodlink.

“We are thrilled to have Dr. Raymond speak at this year’s Livestock Biotech Summit,” said Cathy Enright, Executive Vice President, Food and Agriculture at BIO.

“As a leader in food safety, Dr. Raymond will share with Summit attendees what tools will be needed to enable U.S. agriculture to produce a safe, high-quality and affordable product, and how education of policymakers needs to go hand-in-hand with our scientific research.”

Biodiesel Benefits Animal Ag in Multiple Ways

Biodiesel production has significantly benefitted the soybean industry as a whole – but one of biodiesel’s most significant contributions is not often highlighted. Animal ag farmers benefits from biodiesel, too. That’s because soybean meal prices fall as more biodiesel is produced, requiring poultry and livestock farmers to pay less for their feed.

This often overlooked partnership takes place because soybeans consist of about 80 percent meal and slightly less than 20 percent oil. Producing biodiesel raises the demand for the oil component, which can only be obtained by simultaneously creating more soybean meal. Learn more about this relationship through an infographic.

Lower Cost of Feed Rations

“Demand for biodiesel creates demand for soybean oil, which, in turn, causes more crush and lowers the cost of soybean meal,” explains Lewis Bainbridge, USB secretary and Ethan, South Dakota soybean farmer. “That lowers the price of rations for our poultry and livestock customers.”

A checkoff-funded study in 2010 found that biodiesel production saved animal ag $4.8 billion in soybean meal costs from 2005 to 2009. Poultry and livestock farmers can add to that savings by using biodiesel themselves.

Higher Value of Animal Products

On the other end of livestock farming – biodiesel’s demand for animal tallows and lards elevates the value of those products as well. In fact, the values of livestock fats and tallows more than doubled from 2007 to 2012 alone.

“Next time you fill up with biodiesel, think not only of supporting the soybean industry, but reducing costs and raising the value of livestock farming,” adds Bainbridge. “Every gallon of biodiesel sold supports soybean farmers, processors and animal ag at once.”

What are the Laws in Regards to Drones on the Farm?

While the appeal of using unmanned aerial systems by farmers and growers to aid in farm operations is growing in popularity, before you launch a drone over your crops to gauge field conditions, be aware that doing so could result in a hefty fine from the Federal Aviation Administration.

So says Peggy Hall, assistant professor and Ohio State University Extension field specialist in agricultural and resource law. Hall said that while the technology is available for farmers and growers to utilize drones for their farm operations, the rules of who can use it and how aren’t as clear. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

"In this case, the technology is clearly ahead of the law," she said. "While there are unmanned aerial systems available for purchase by consumers, the regulatory system on their usage is still developing. While landowners, farmers and growers need to know if it is legal to use UASs on their own land to monitor crops or for other uses on their farm, at this point it's still a gray area in the law."

Hall will talk about UASs during a workshop at this year's Farm Science Review Sept. 16-18 at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center in London, Ohio. Her presentation, 'Drones on The Farm -- What Are the Laws?' will be held Sept. 17 at 1:20 p.m. during the Question the Authorities session at the Review.

The FAA is expected to propose rules by the end of the year for drones weighing less than 55 pounds, which would typically be what most farmers would use for their farm operations, she said, noting that regulations for larger UASs will come later.

But until such regulations are set, some farmers assume that they can fly UASs on their farms for personal use, Hall said.

ASA Urges Action on Pending Biotech Approvals in Letters to USTR, EU Commission

In letters sent this week to the European Commission and the U.S. Trade Representative, the American Soybean Association (ASA) urged that the European Union (EU) take action in September on nine biotech events that have received positive safety reviews and are awaiting final import authorization. ASA was joined on the letters by 18 other farm, commodity, grain processing, grain trade, and biotechnology associations throughout the U.S. agricultural value chain. There are currently nine products, including four soybean products, which have already received positive European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) opinions and completed the subsequent review process, but are still awaiting final authorization for import for food and feed use from the EU’s College of Commissioners.

In a letter to United States Trade Representative (USTR) Michael Froman, the groups encouraged the Administration to contact EU Commission President Barroso to ensure action on the pending events in September and to ask the EU to respect its obligations under the World Trade Organization (WTO) to make timely regulatory decisions on new biotechnology applications.

In a letter to the EU Commission, the groups stated that “the time required for EU decisions on new biotech crops has only lengthened in recent years and no authorizations have been issued since November 2013. Some of the products have been before the European Commission since the end of 2013 and were submitted to EFSA more than five years ago.

“Several of these products are already being commercialized under stewardship programs in the U.S. and elsewhere, and failure to approve them at the meeting of the College of Commissioners in September will increase the risk of trade disruptions during the coming months.”

The letters emphasized that the delays could cause feed shortages and price increases, which would affect European producers, traders, livestock industry and consumers.

Comments About Unseen WTO Decision on COOL “Meaningless, Irresponsible”

In response to reports fanning an unsubstantiated and un-sourced rumor that the World Trade Organization (WTO) has made a firm decision on the Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) dispute brought by Canada and Mexico against the United States, Roger Johnson, president of National Farmers Union released the following statement:

“Let’s be crystal clear.  These are unsourced and unsubstantiated rumors and we can’t and won’t comment on a WTO report that we have not yet seen and is not yet public. Nor should anyone else. There is often a tendency for these things to leak out; and they are sometimes accurate and sometimes not accurate.  But what they almost always do is tell a small, biased, one-sided part of the story.  Speculation, at this point, is not only meaningless, but also irresponsible.

“As such, any talks of trade retaliation is fear mongering and grossly pre-mature.  We’ve been hearing these stories from some of our good friends in Canada for a long time, and the U.S. has always said it will comply with WTO rules.  In fact, the rules around which these rumors are now based were written precisely to conform with the most recent WTO rulings, so this will surely figure into the final decision.”

Despite Current Issues, China ‘Hit for the Cycle’ in 2014

(from USGC)

Despite all of the current challenges surrounding imports for feed ingredients, China has accomplished a feat never before seen in agricultural exports: according to Chinese customs and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) data, China has imported more than 3 million metric tons each of U.S. corn, sorghum and distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) for this marketing year, which ends Aug. 31.

Based on the rapid pace of China’s corn purchases at the beginning of the marketing year, few people would have thought the most challenging component of this three-part purchasing record would have been corn imports. But following China’s Nov. 13 announcement of zero tolerance for Syngenta’s MIR 162 trait, China’s corn imports from the United States ground to a halt.

However, the slowdown in corn imports contributed to a surge in sorghum imports. This year, China is forecast to take more than 30 percent of U.S. sorghum production, making it by far the single biggest user for the grain. The U.S. Grains Council has actively been promoting sorghum in China, due to the fact that it is not subject to a tariff rate quota restriction, like corn.

Despite all of the complexities surrounding China’s feedstuff needs, one thing remains constant: end-users love the quality and value of imported feed products. Huge import margins remain for corn, sorghum and DDGS due to high domestic price support policies. Despite several years of production increases and a record crop last year, corn prices in China continue to rise. Additionally, the demand for high-quality corn continues to outpace available supply. According to the most recent USGC data, theoretical import margins into southern Chinese ports now stand at almost $180 per ton.

USGC staff members are working tirelessly and creatively to find a solution to recent trade disruptions regarding corn and DDGS. Despite the current issues, it is important to stay focused on aggregate demand and to acknowledge the important landmark of China taking than 3 million tons of these important products.

“Factoring in China importing 7.5 million tons of U.S. soybeans last month, if this were baseball, you could say China has ‘hit for the cycle,’ getting a single, a double, a triple and a home run in the same baseball game,” said Kevin Roepke, USGC director of trade development in China. “The demand is clearly there. This is quite a historic moment, especially when you consider all of the challenges.”

Vessels Loading Again at United Grain; U.S. Wheat Industry Remains Vigilant

Shawn Campbell, USW Assistant Director, West Coast Office

On Aug. 12, Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) grain inspectors reported to work for the first time in 37 days at the United Grain export terminal in Vancouver, WA. The elevator is once again loading vessels with official inspection services. USW will continue to push for the free flow of grain to our overseas customers.

Early last month, WSDA pulled its inspectors from the elevator, citing safety concerns after state police stopped escorting the inspectors across International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) picket lines under orders from Washington’s governor Jay Inslee. USDA’s Grain Inspection Packers & Stockyards Administration decided not to provide Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS) inspectors to the facility as replacements, citing the same safety concerns. As a result, United Grain did not have official inspection services and was unable to load grain for export, except in a few specialized cases, sparking concerns across the U.S. grain sector and from traditional PNW customers. 

The struggle over official inspection services should prove to be the final issue in a 23-month conflict between the ILWU and the Pacific Northwest Grain Handlers Association (PNGHA), whose members include United Grain, Columbia Grain and Louis Dreyfus. The union and PNGHA finally reached a tentative labor agreement near midnight Aug. 11. ILWU members must still ratify the contract, with voting results expected as soon as Aug. 25. With the tentative agreement in place, WSDA grain inspectors returned to the United Grain facility to provide official inspection services and resume normal grain export loading operations. 

U.S. federal law requires that FGIS or a delegated state agency inspect all grain for export. This has been a major benefit of the U.S. wheat export system. Having a neutral third party certify that contract specifications are met is a critical component of U.S. wheat quality and value. However, the unusual circumstances at the Port of Vancouver demonstrates a need to remain vigilant and ensure official mandated services are followed to provide for the free flow of grain.

Thankfully, the dispute likely did not last long enough to cause severe harm to farmers or the overseas customers who depend on them.

USW and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) worked closely throughout this situation with other stakeholders to advocate the importance of official inspection services and exports for farmers and their customers. Both organizations will continue doing all they can to avoid similar disruptions into the future.

Plant twice as fast while maintaining accurate spacing with new SpeedTube™.

A new retro-fit seed delivery system from Precision Planting allows growers to plant corn and soybeans twice as fast as is possible with traditional seed tubes.

Jason Stoller, Product Manager for the new SpeedTube™ says, “Farmers are always looking for the optimum planting window in order to maximize yield. We realize the window is narrow and speed is a limiting factor. Traditional seed tubes limit planter speeds due to poor spacing.”

Stoller explains that SpeedTube solves these problems by controlling the seed, regardless of seed shape and size, all the way from the meter disk to the furrow. Feeder wheels at the top grab the seed from the disk and deposit it into a flighted belt that carries it to the bottom of the trench.   The SpeedTube belt spins at a rate that increases and decreases with planter speed, ensuring that the seed doesn’t roll when it lands in the furrow.

“Planting with SpeedTube redefines planting accuracy in a revolutionary way.  It increases yield and productivity by allowing you to take control of seed spacing at today’s planting speeds and removes the barrier to high planting speeds when you need to,” says Stoller.

Precision Planting will be demonstrating SpeedTube at the Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa, August 26-28. The product will be available for the Spring of 2015 on select John Deere and Kinze planters.

Precision Planting launches vSet™ Select, row-by-row multi-hybrid planting system.

Traditionally, growers have sought to maximize yield by planting the hybrid that will perform the best, on average, across a  whole field, despite zone differences within that field. With Precision Planting’s new vSet Select system, they’ll be able to plant two hybrids in the same row, switching back and forth as zones change, to plant the hybrid that will produce more in each environment.

According to Dale Koch, vSet Select Product Manager, “The vSet Select system means that you don’t have to compromise. You can plant the right hybrid for changing yield environments in your fields. That translates to optimal  yields.”

Koch explains that two opposing vSet™ meters are set on each row unit above a single seed tube. The vDrive™ electric drive system instantaneously switches from one hybrid to the other – and changes populations, when appropriate. The system uses prescription files that are loaded into the 20/20 SeedSense, or operators can manually switch from one hybrid to another.

The best part of this system is that the multi-hybrid planter of the future is in your shed today! vSet Select is a retrofit option that allows you to use your existing bulk fill system to carry two different hybrids to plant throughout the field.

“vSet Select has already maximized yields over many thousands of acres,” says Koch, “proving itself profitable and effective.

vSet Select can be seen in action at the Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa, August 26-28. vSet Select will be available on select John Deere and Kinze planters for Spring 2015.

Wednesday August 20 Ag News

Bruce Anderson, UNL Extension Forage Specialist

               Are you one of the fortunate ones to have extra grass this year?  If so, how can you improve next year's grazing by managing this year's grass.

               Extra grass is not normal.  If you are lucky enough to have more grass than needed this year, don’t forget that next year could be hotter and drier than this year – producing less grass.

               But you can boost carrying capacity and gains on next year's pasture by strategically managing your extra grass this year.

               Start by identifying pasture improvements that could help future grazing.  Control weeds, accumulate enough growth on warm-season grass pastures to conduct an effective prescribed burn next spring, or select pastures where stressing the existing stand will help you establish legumes next spring.  All these practices temporarily reduce pasture growth, but they can provide long-term benefits.  Thus, it is better to do them when you have extra grass rather than when grass is short.

               Another way to help next year's growth is to avoid overgrazing this fall unless you are doing it intentionally to prepare for interseeding next spring.  Heavy fall grazing weakens plants as they go into winter and causes them to grow less vigorously after spring green-up.  If you do graze heavy this fall, do it on pastures that will be used last next spring.  This will give them extra time to recover.

               A particularly valuable way to manage extra grass is to begin to stockpile some growth now for either grazing this winter or to start grazing extra early next spring.  This could save on winter hay needs or give you an area to get animals away from mud next spring.  Plus, it's usually good for your grass, too.

               Take advantage of extra grass to begin long-term pasture improvements.  It happens so rarely that next year might be too late.


               Do you ever have problems establishing alfalfa?  The solution might be to apply lime if your soil pH is low.

               Every year, alfalfa growers ask me about slow growing seedlings.  Eventually, I’ll ask about their soil pH.  Way too often, either they didn’t get a soil test and don’t know or the test showed that the pH was so low that it is unlikely that alfalfa could grow well.  But when I suggest adding lime next time before planting they either add too little to do any good or they disregard the recommendation entirely.

               Alfalfa grows best in soils with a neutral pH of about 7.  When soils are acid, with a pH of 6.2 or lower, alfalfa plants do not grow as well.  At a low pH, alfalfa roots are less able to absorb nutrients from soil.  Also – the nodules on alfalfa roots that convert nitrogen from the air into nitrogen the plants can use – these nodules have difficulty forming and working effectively in acid soils.

               Most sandy, low organic matter soils as well as heavier ground that has been tilled and fertilized with nitrogen for many years have become acidic.  These soils need lime to solve this problem.  But some folks still resist liming even when their own soil pH is down as low as 5.5 or even below 5!

               It takes some time for lime to really neutralize much acidity.  So I recommend applying lime at least 4 months ahead of planting alfalfa.  That means that if you expect to seed a new field of alfalfa next spring, add lime if needed this fall to give it time to work.  Sure it costs money, but it's much less costly then having a stand failure or several years of low alfalfa yields.

               Maybe some folks just like to gamble, but me, I prefer to bet on a sure thing and invest in lime rather than a long shot.


               Many of us have had more moisture to support pasture growth this year than for several years.  Don’t take too much advantage of the extra growth, however.

               Extra rain this year compared to the past few years is making pastures greener and more productive.  After years of drought and low production, this extra growth is more than welcome.  But as we approach the end of the growing season, don’t get too greedy and try to completely graze off every green blade.

               Do you have pastures dominated by cool-season grasses?  Like bromegrass, bluegrass, or wheatgrasses or maybe needlegrasses?  Late summer rain and cooler temperatures could give these grasses some good growth in September.  It’s tempting to keep cattle on these nice green pastures as long as possible to use all this growth.  But if these same pastures suffered much drought stress the past couple of years, their recovery will be hindered if you fail to allow them ample opportunity to rejuvenate their root systems prior to winter.

               Grazing pastures short just before winter begins limits the plant’s ability to develop the roots and tiller buds needed to fulfill their growth potential next spring.  Those extra mouthfuls of grass harvested now could cost you many more mouthfuls next spring.

               To help pastures recover from past stress and set the stage for abundant growth next spring, be sure to keep several inches of green leaves on your grasses all the rest of this growing season.  These green leaves will convert fall sunlight into tiller buds, root growth, and root nutrient reserves.  Next spring, these plants will be ready to grow rapidly and yield much more than if grazed short this fall.

               Don’t be greedy.  Protecting some of your grass from grazing this fall could pay big dividends next spring.

Iowa Farmers Share Best Practices for Improving Water Quality

Farmers coming to the Iowa State University exhibit at the Farm Progress Show Aug. 26-28 will get a bird’s-eye view of select Iowa farms and a chance to visit with farmers who practice ways to improve water quality, including Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey.

Visitors to the Iowa State tent can create a scenario similar to their own farm and select from a menu of management practices courses of action they might consider. Then, they will learn of the resulting costs and benefits of those decisions. Farmers who have implemented water quality improvement practices will host the area and share their experiences with visitors.

Secretary Northey is scheduled to participate on Wednesday afternoon and talk with visitors about his role in creating the water quality initiative and about management practices he has in place on his farm. Last fall Northey used cover crops on his farm for the first time, aerially applying 120 acres, half into corn and half into soybeans. He has long focused on conservation on his farm, using ridge till and grid soil sampling.

Jamie Benning, water quality program manager for ISU Extension and Outreach, says farmers will be able to talk to each other about practices that are working or not working on their farms and ask questions specific to their land and their watershed while at the show.

“We are encouraging farmers to talk to other farmers, virtually visit demonstration sites to see practices in place, and bring questions for our farmers, researchers and educators – all to better understand how decisions affect not only yields but their drinking water, local economy and the future of agriculture in Iowa,” said Benning.

Big screen monitors in the Iowa State tent will take visitors on virtual tours of a variety of Iowa farmlands and management practices while they learn from the host farmers

Weekly Ethanol Production for 8/15/2014

According to EIA data, ethanol production averaged 937,000 barrels per day (b/d)—or 39.35 million gallons daily. That is up 6,000 b/d from the week before. The four-week average for ethanol production stood at 931,000 b/d for an annualized rate of 14.27 billion gallons.

Stocks of ethanol stood at 18.3 million barrels. That is a 2.8% increase from last week.

Imports of ethanol were non-existent for the third week in a row.

Gasoline demand for the week averaged 368.6 million gallons daily, a 10-week low. Refiner/blender input of ethanol fell to a 5-week low of 864,000 b/d.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production was 10.68%.

On the co-products side, ethanol producers were using 14.207 million bushels of corn to produce ethanol and 103,941 metric tons of livestock feed, 92,596 metric tons of which were distillers grains. The rest is comprised of corn gluten feed and corn gluten meal. Additionally, ethanol producers were providing 5.51 million pounds of corn distillers oil daily.

NCGA, DuPont Launch Second Year of New Leaders Program

The National Corn Growers Association and DuPont are pleased to announce the second year of the NCGA DuPont New Leaders Program.  The program is designed for corn growers who are newly active in agriculture and have expressed interest in building upon their skills so they can better serve local, state and national stakeholders.

“It’s important that farmers become strong leaders and spokespersons for American agriculture,” said NCGA President Martin Barbre, a corn grower from Illinois. “We’re grateful to DuPont for its support, and we’re proud of the men and women who joined this program for the first class, and we’ve already seen them doing some great things. Now, we’re actively looking for more couples and individuals to get involved in this dynamic new program.”

Ideal participants will be farming couples or individuals from NCGA’s affiliated states, or may be considering a board position. Those interested must be at least 21 years of age, active in corn farming, NCGA members and not currently serving in a state affiliate board officer position or as a Corn Congress delegate or alternate.

"We are proud to sponsor the NCGA DuPont New Leaders Program," said Jim Hay, regional business director, North America, DuPont Crop Protection. "These participants symbolize the future of agriculture in the United States and this program will teach them skills to benefit their careers and help feed our growing population.”

One couple or up to two single persons per NCGA-affiliated state will be chosen to participate in this hands-on communications and leadership training. The program will be implemented in three phases, with two plenary sessions: Iowa, January 2015; Washington July 2015, respectively.

The application deadline is 5 p.m. Central Time, Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014. Applications will be reviewed by the NCGA and forwarded to the appropriate state affiliate association for approval. Participants accepted for the program will be notified in November 2014. All program-related travel and lodging expenses will be paid for, per NCGA policy and procedures. For further information and/or to register, visit

NCGA Seeks a Few Good Growers for Leadership Opportunities

The National Corn Growers Association continues to accept applications from members interested in working on an NCGA action team or committee in the 2015 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1. This service provides growers an opportunity to play an active role in shaping the future of their industry and to become a part of the national agricultural leadership community.

"As a grassroots organization, NCGA relies on its members to step forward and take an active role in developing the policies that will lead our industry forward," said NCGA First Vice President Chip Bowling. "This year, we have opportunities in all of the areas the organization touches, thus allowing members to take their involvement to the next level while exploring in great depth the areas which interest them the most."

Positions are available on all teams and committees: CornPAC, Ethanol Committee, Grower Services Action Team, Production and Stewardship Action Team, Public Policy Action Team, Research and Business Development Action Team and Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team. Positions are also available on the Corn Board standing committees, which are the Bylaws Committee and Nominating Committee.

Qualified applicants must be a NCGA member or prospective member and/or contribute to their state checkoff program, if applicable. Ideal candidates have interest or expertise in a particular area relevant to the team focus.

Action teams and committees are composed of up to 14 voting members representing a cross-section of corn production. The teams may utilize staff, growers and industry members to serve as resources, as determined by the action team or committee chair.

Duties of the action teams and committees include:
·         Conducting an annual planning process regarding the work and results of the team.
·         Defining programs to be implemented by the action team and implementing them with evaluation measurement for   each program.
·         Seeking necessary information and expertise to advise the team.
·         Advising the Corn Board on policy positions or requesting action of the Corn Board.
·         Keeping the Corn Board informed of all obligations and contractual relationships entered into and seeking Corn Board approval for contracts or obligations that are out of the ordinary, such as those that are multi-year obligations.
·         Working through the Corn Board on public policy actions or positions.

Deadline for receipt of applications in the state corn association offices, where applicable, is August 29. State offices will then coordinate applications and submit directly to NCGA by September 2. Interested parties can contact Kathy Baker at the NCGA office with questions, at (636) 733-9004.

Brazil's Industry Raises Soybean Export View Amid High Premiums

High soybean export premiums have led to extremely strong shipments over the last couple of months, prompting the Brazilian industry to raise its 2014 export number once again.

This week, Abiove, Brazil's soy crusher association, raised its 2014 soybean forecast to a record 45 million metric tons (mmt), 1 mmt higher than last month's estimate and substantially higher than the 42.8 mmt registered in 2013.

Brazil shipped 37.8 mmt in the first seven months of 2014, up 19% on last year, and exports are expected to remain brisk through October when the U.S. crop becomes available.

Exporters have drawn out stocks amid declining international prices by offering substantial premiums on top of Chicago futures.

The premium for delivery at Paranagua port in September is currently $2.50 per bushel, much higher than the $1.05 per bushel offered at the same time last year.

As a result, Brazilian farmers have been partially shielded from the slide in soybean quotes.

To accommodate the higher soybean export projection, Abiove lowered its 2014 processing forecast. It estimated Brazilian crushing will total 36.8 mmt, down from last month's estimate of 37 mmt but higher than the 36.2 mmt crushed last year on a larger crop.

Brazil produced 86.5 mmt of soybean in 2013-14, up 6% on the year before, according to Abiove.

Brazil will see imports rise to 500,000 metric tons (mt) from 283 mt. The soybeans largely come from the growing number of farms just over the border in Paraguay.

Fostera PCV MH Licensed for Industry-leading 23-week Duration of Immunity Against PCV

Fostera PCV MH — the porcine circovirus (PCV) and Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae (M. hyo) combination vaccine that was built from the ground up by Zoetis — now has the longest demonstrated duration of immunity (DOI) to help protect pigs from porcine circovirus-associated disease (PCVAD) caused by PCV Type 2 (PCV2). The U.S. Department of Agriculture has granted the combination vaccine the extended label claim of at least 23 weeks of protection against PCV2, which is three weeks longer than any other PCV2 vaccine on the market.

“PCVAD continues to be one of the most economically harmful swine diseases. Affected pigs suffer from progressive weight loss, increased mortality and other clinical impacts, which takes a toll on producers’ productivity and profitability,” said Darrell Neuberger, DVM, Pork Technical Services, Zoetis. “Now, with a vaccine that offers at least 23 weeks of immunity, producers have another tool to help their pigs realize the full market potential with convenience and flexibility.”

Introduced in November 2013, Fostera PCV MH was developed to help protect pigs from PCVAD and enzootic pneumonia caused by M. hyo. In clinical research studies of the flexible one- and two-dose protocols, Fostera PCV MH has been demonstrated to aid in preventing viremia, lymphoid depletion and colonization of lymphoid tissue caused by PCV2; and as an aid in reducing PCV2 virus shedding and enzootic pneumonia caused by M. hyo.

Unlike other combination vaccines that require field mixing, the one-bottle formulation of Fostera PCV MH allows the convenience of a one-dose program or the flexibility of a two-dose program. Fostera PCV MH is licensed for administration of pigs 3 weeks of age or older by a single 2 mL intramuscular dose or two 1 mL intramuscular doses spaced two weeks apart.

“We strive to bring solutions to producers and veterinarians through innovative techniques and continued research,” Dr. Neuberger said. “We will continue to invest in our existing products as well as new technology and research to continue that commitment for our customers.”

Challenger Boosts Power and Efficiency on New MT500E Series Tractor

Challenger, a worldwide brand of AGCO Corporation (NYSE:AGCO), has announced the availability of five new row crop tractor models it believes can instantly increase on-farm efficiency and productivity.

The new Challenger MT500E Series row crop tractors with new AGCO POWER™ Tier 4 Final 6.6- and 7.4-liter six-cylinder diesel engines feature increased maneuverability, efficiency and power, three key components to ensuring a new tractor purchase translates to real results on the farm.

Maximum engine horsepower ranges from 185 to 255 across the lineup, which includes the MT555E, MT565E, MT575E, MT585E and MT595E. Torque ratings at 1,500 RPM range from 830 foot-pounds for the MT555E to 1,049 foot-pounds for the MT595E.

"The new engines provide a significant bump in power over previous models, and provide great throttle response and torque at all RPM, thanks to turbochargers with electronically controlled wastegates and a new Engine Performance Management (EPM) system that provides up to a 25-horsepower boost on demand," says Conor Bergin, AGCO product marketing manager for high-horsepower tractors. "A 29,000-psi common-rail fuel injection system provides ideal fuel atomization for better fuel efficiency, while a new throttle valve provides quicker engine warm-up and eliminates the need for a diesel particulate filter (DPF)."

The engines powering the MT500E Series are all equipped with dual alternators, third-generation selective catalytic reduction (SCR) emission technology, a maintenance-free diesel oxidation catalyst system under the hood, and a new engine control unit (ECU) for precise operation and fuel efficiency.

From row-crop farmers to those using the tractors for efficient material handling in difficult-to-maneuver areas, the MT500E Series is designed to provide a sure-footed, powerful tractor with the strength and stamina for hard work in the field or feedlot.

"The new power and redesigned cooling system ensure these machines will stand up to the most demanding agriculture environments on earth," Bergin adds. "The MT500E Series tractors are powerful enough to run a large square baler, have sufficient hydraulic capacity to operate a 12- to 16-row planter, and are adaptable enough to replace the extra chore tractor."

Engineered to handle more power

With a boost in power for the new lineup, engineers redesigned the hood and grill of the MT500E Series to provide excellent airflow in and out of the engine compartment. The new CYCLAIR™ cooling package creates more cooling efficiency without increasing system size and without impinging on operator visibility. For hot summers in the hay field, or just about any non-winter operation in the Southwest, engineers also provided a larger air conditioner condenser on the MT500E Series tractors to keep the cab more comfortable.

The MT500E Series offers transmission and hydraulic options to suit any operation. Farmers can choose the smooth no-shift operation of a continuously variable transmission (CVT), which provides an infinite number of operating speeds and tremendous efficiency, or the rugged, field-proven AutoPower VI transmission, which is cooled by a new heat exchanger in the tractor’s engine oil cooler. Farmers who opt for the CVT benefit from an upgraded 50 GPM hydraulic system, while AutoPower VI owners can outfit their tractor with 29- or 39-GPM systems. The upgraded hydraulic systems help farmers meet ever-increasing hydraulic demands and provide better control of larger implements in the field.

Up front, suspension travel has been more than doubled, providing for improved traction in even the roughest field conditions and terrain. Independent double-acting cylinders mount directly to the frame, allowing the operator to adjust the suspension to suit any work task. To accommodate the new suspension system, engineers also redesigned the engine sump and the transmission spacer to provide structure and clearance for the improvement.

With the extra power on hand, more weight may be needed to keep the tractor and implements in balance. The new MT500E Series sports a new front monobloc weight system with available 1,984- and 3,306-pound weights, for a total ballasted weight of more than 30,000 pounds, a 12 percent increase over previous models.

Improved SIS and Auto-Guide™ 3000

The new front dash display included a setup and information screen (SIS) that has 10 times the resolution of previous models and is now 50 percent larger for easier viewing and operation. Found on the TMC Display is a fully integrated Auto-Guide™ 3000 system to help keep the tractor in line and reduce fuel consumption as well as chemical and fertilizer application overlaps for improved farm efficiency and productivity. A "Go Mode" makes it easy to get started, and a simple user interface makes it easier to use the tractor management center (TMC) display.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Tuesday August 19th Ag News

Nebraska Cattlemen & Rural Radio Network to host Senate Debate

Candidates vying for Nebraska’s U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Mike Johanns will debate issues facing the nation and agriculture on Monday, August 25, at 7 p.m. during the Nebraska State Fair in Grand Island.

The Nebraska U.S. Senate debate will be broadcast live on affiliates of the Rural Radio Network including KRVN/Lexington 880 AM;  KTIC/West Point 840 AM; KNEB/Scottsbluff 960 AM; and KCSR/Chadron 610 AM.

The 90 minute debate is sponsored by Nebraska Cattlemen and the Rural Radio Network.

The invited candidates include: Dan Buhrdorf (I), Dave Domina (D), Jim Jenkins (I), Dennis Macek (I), Ben Sasse (R) and Todd Watson (I).

The debate is open to Nebraska State Fair attendees and will be held in the Heartland Events Center. The doors will open at 6 p.m.

Wisner's Ina Glaubius Honored with UNL VIP Service Award

2014 Contribution to Agriculture Award from the Northeast Research and Extension Center and Haskell Research Lab Committee was awarded to Ina Glaubius from Wisner and Cuming County. The award ceremony was part of the annual VIP Tour of the University of Nebraska Haskell Agriculture Research Laboratory located near Concord.  Each of the research specialists briefly explained their current research projects and the impact they are making in creating new information for Agriculture in Northeast Nebraska.  Special guests for the VIP Tour were 4-H leaders, 4-H Council members and Extension Board members in the 24 counties served by the Northeast Research and Extension Center.  Other special guests included:  UNL Chancellor Harvey Perlman, Dr. Ron Yoder, Dean and Director of Ag Research Division, Dr. David Jackson, Ag Research Division Associate Dean / Associate Director and Senator Lydia Brasch to name a few in attendance. 

Ina Glaubuis was recognized as a lifelong contributor to the 4-H program statewide starting with her own 4-H career in Sioux County Nebraska. Ina met her husband Keith when they both attended the National 4-H Club Congress as state record book winners from Nebraska.  They raised their children Mark, Mike and Marijean in the Cuming County 4-H program where all excelled and were selected as delegates to National 4-H Club Congress. Now their grandchildren in the Zach, Alex, Sophie, Audrey and Victoria (Girl Scouts) are the benefactors of the 4-H program with Zach and Alex already graduates of the program, with Sophie, Audrey and Victoria (in Montana) current competitive members.    

Many in the audience at the VIP ceremony know Ida from seeing her at their county fair judging 4-H and open class 4-H photography exhibits. Ina has judged in:  Antelope, Boone, Burt, Butler, Cedar, Colfax, Dixon, Dodge, Knox, Madison, Pierce, Platte, Saunders, Seward, Stanton, Wayne and Washington counties.  Many 4-H members have developed photographic eyes that have blossomed into lifelong photography hobbies and careers from the hints Ina has shared with them.  Ina has judged in Antelope County every year since 1996 and it has been a pleasure for her to watch the 4-Hers grow and develop their photography skills through 4-H.  She appreciates being  asked to return, regrets when is not able to accept a request (too many fairs have the same judging day and a couple of times Ina has judged two fairs the same day because of their start times, but she wouldn’t recommend that.) It is rewarding for Ina to add a new county to her list of fairs judged at.  Ina shared, “Pre-fair activities are great, but she really, really likes “entry day at the fairs”. Even though she and a 4-Her may not know each other’s name, faces become familiar; each and every county has special memories for Ina.  Ina also has taught many photography clinics in many counties and then likes to see the results at fairs and State Fair. 

Ina shared that somewhere in the 1980’s she and Keith started as volunteer comment writers in 4-H photography at State Fair. Many enjoyed sharing wedding anniversary cake with them as they worked at State Fair.  She served as co –superintendent with Keith in 1997-98. After his death in 1998, Ina chose to continue as a helper until she was asked to be a 4-H State Fair4-H photography to become a judge while the fair was still in Lincoln.  She will be in the car on Wednesday, August to judge 4-H Photography at the 2014 State Fair.  From her judging experiences “out here on the county fair circuit” over the past few years she appreciates the opportunity to work with many 4-Hers of various ages and abilities and their families.  She is constantly looking for ways to gather enough courage to suggest options to simplify part of the exhibit process, without taking away from any of the learning/ lifetime skills.   

“4-H Showers Bring Career Flowers” was the theme of the Peppy Pepper’s 4-H Club’s 2014 Cuming County fair booth which says a lot about Ina’s philosophy related to 4-H and it being a lifelong career development opportunity for families. Ina is one of the co-founding leaders of the Peppy Peppers and continues as one of the assistant leaders completing her 52nd year as a leader in Cuming County.  Ina is a self-taught photographer, and has been through three different sets of 4-H manuals so far…., along with the transition from film and digital. Personally she has prepared all the exhibits that are in the fair book. This experience is helpful when she is judging as she also considers the “degree of difficulty” of the project she is viewing.   

When Interview judging she begins with:  “Tell me about your photos”.  4-Hers share what they have done; she shares what they might try next time.  Ina commented that, “It probably looks like I give a lot of purple ribbons, but I consider the interview as I award the ribbon placing.” Ina says her long time 4-H philosophy/mantra has been that “4-H’ers do the best they can with what they have to work with”. 

The 4-H members and entire Extension program in Northeast Nebraska are very fortunate to have Ina as one of our many very dedicated volunteers.   She also shared that her “judging philosophy” is she hopes that the 4-Her’s have fun in photography, using  the camera they have to work with, whether they are just taking pictures or challenging themselves.   Ina says, “4-H isn’t about ribbons and trophies—it is about the 4 “H”s and this summer an “H for Helping” is as so many 4-Her and their families reached out to help their friends and neighbors deal with the devastation caused by nature.  It is with great pleasure that we thank Ina Glaubius for all she does to help 4-Hers throughout Northeast Nebraska.  

Nebraska Farm Bureau Develops Resources to Help in Local Property Tax Discussions

Nebraska Farm Bureau is reminding Nebraskans there is still time to engage in discussions about local budgets and local spending, which directly impact Nebraskans property tax bills.  To help Nebraskans better understand the local process, the organization has developed a series of informational materials on how they can help “Hold the Line on Property Taxes,” said Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president.

“It’s critical that Farm Bureau members and others who want property tax relief engage in the process locally and that means attending local hearings and weighing in with their local elected officials that represent the largest user of property taxes, including schools, counties, community colleges, Natural Resources Districts and other local political subdivisions,” said Nelson.

The Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation developed resources include both a quick guide on how to engage in the process that includes key dates.

“Most public hearings on local budget development take place in August and September. There’s still time for members to engage and let their local elected officials know property taxes are a concern. Many political subdivisions have small turnout for these public hearings and that is the best time for people to voice concerns about the need to control local spending and growth in property taxes,” said Nelson.

The Nebraska Farm Bureau’s “Hold the Line on Property Taxes” resources are available on the Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation website at

Wanted: Beef Quality Assurance Producers and Marketers

Quality beef begins with quality care. The Iowa Beef Industry Council wants to recognize beef producers and marketers who diligently care for and properly handle cattle in order to provide consumers with safe and wholesome beef. Applications for Iowa's 2014 Iowa Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) Awards are now being accepted.

BQA is a national program for beef cattle production that assures the highest standards of animal care and treatment. It was developed with guidance from leading animal health and well-being experts and outlines essential elements for cattle care. More than 90 percent of all U.S. beef is raised under the BQA program.

The Iowa BQA program recognizes an outstanding beef producer, dairy producer and/or beef marketer who best demonstrate BQA practices, including sound animal husbandry practices. Nominees should be BQA-certified and work to continually improve BQA on their operations while operating sustainable cattle businesses. The desire to encourage fellow producers to implement BQA and communicate what the industry is doing to ensure quality cattle care is a plus. The award is open to all segments of the industry -- commercial cow-calf, seedstock, backgrounders, feedyards, dairy operations, auction markets operators and veterinarians.

"The BQA program's mission is to maximize consumer confidence in beef while exceeding their eating expectations," said Doug Bear, director of industry relations for the Iowa Beef Industry Council. "The BQA Award is a way to recognize the outstanding men and women who put great tasting beef on our consumer's plate every day".

Completed entries are due by Nov. 14. The Iowa BQA Award winners will be selected by a committee of fellow cattle producers, veterinarians, pharmaceutical representatives and others who have a vested interest in the future of the beef industry. Nominations can be submitted by any organization, group or individual on behalf of an Iowa beef producer or marketer. Individuals and families may not nominate themselves; however, the nominees are expected to be involved in the preparation of the application. For further information on these awards or to download the application, please visit >For Producers>Iowa Beef Quality Assurance.

Poet Set to Open Cellulosic Ethanol Plant in Iowa

POET-DSM's Project LIBERTY will open its doors to the public at its Grand Opening celebration on Wednesday, Sept. 3 in Emmetsburg, Iowa, showcasing first-of-its-kind technology that is poised to dramatically expand our world's resources for transportation fuel.

The Grand Opening will feature plant tours, a formal ceremony, a flyover by the ethanol-powered Vanguard Squadron, booths, music and more. The public is invited to attend, and lunch will be provided.

Project LIBERTY will process 770 tons of corn cobs, leaves, husk and some stalk daily to produce 20 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol per year, later ramping up to 25 million gallons per year.

Plant personnel are currently running biomass through the pretreatment process and preparing for the first gallons of ethanol. Project LIBERTY will be the flagship plant in POET-DSM Advanced Biofuels' plan to license this technology to companies across the U.S. and around the world.

July Milk Production in the United States up 3.9 Percent

Milk production in the United States during July totaled 17.5 billion pounds, up 3.9 percent from July 2013.  Production per cow in the United States averaged 1,882 pounds for July, 64 pounds above July 2013.  The number of milk cows on farms in the United States was 9.27 million head, 37,000 head more than July 2013, and 5,000 head more than June 2014.

Iowa:  Milk production  in Iowa during July 2014  totaled 391 million pounds, up 2 percent  from July 2013 according  to  the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Milk Production report. The average number of milk cows during July, at 207,000 head, was unchanged from last month, but 3,000 fewer than a year ago. Monthly production per cow averaged 1,890 pounds in July 2014, up 55 pounds from last July.

USDA Announces $25 Million for Agricultural Entrepreneurs to Turn Commodities into Value-Added Products

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today highlighted the importance of rural entrepreneurs to the U.S. economy and announced investments to help rural businesses grow, diversify and create jobs. USDA is investing $25 million to help 247 businesses nationwide expand their operations and create new products to market, Secretary Vilsack said today during a visit to Miles Smith Farm in Loudon, N.H., a recipient of one of the grants.

The funding is being provided through USDA Rural Development's Value-Added Producer Grant program. The program helps agricultural producers grow their businesses by turning raw commodities into value-added products, expanding marketing opportunities and developing new uses for existing products.

"The funding we are announcing today will have far-reaching, positive impacts in rural communities across the country," Vilsack said. "The investments will help businesses create new products, expand their operations, and support local and regional food systems. The new Farm Bill expands this program to provide even more of these opportunities."

Since 2009, USDA has awarded 863 Value-Added Producer Grants totaling $108 million. Twenty percent of the grants and 16 percent of total funding has been awarded to beginning farmers and ranchers. The 2014 Farm Bill increases mandatory funding for the program from $15 million to $63 million over five years (while also reauthorizing an additional $40 million in discretionary funding).

The grants can be used for a wide range of purposes. They can support local and regional food systems, further the development of the growing bioeconomy, and finance the distribution of local and regional products.

USDA Announces $25 Million for Nation’s Farmers to Turn Commodities into Value-Added Products; Two Awards in Nebraska

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today highlighted the importance of rural entrepreneurs to the U.S. economy and said investments in them are helping businesses grow, diversify and create jobs. USDA is investing $25 million to help 247 businesses nationwide expand their operations and create new products to market, Secretary Vilsack said.

Two Nebraska companies receive awards totaling $181,518

Prairie Pride Poultry received a $5,500 Value Added Producer Grant from USDA Rural Development.  The funds will be used to support the marketing of locally produced farm-fresh eggs from over 600 farm raised Rhode Island Red hens.  Dan Hromas, the owner of Prairie Pride Poultry, is a former Marine and current member of the Nebraska National Guard and served in both Iraq and Afghanistan.  After nearly two decades protecting U.S. freedom and interests as a soldier, the former Marine and current member of the Nebraska Army National Guard has found a new purpose and resolve through his flock of chickens.

The York-area farm is the first in Nebraska and second in the US to be certified by the new national program “Homegrown by Heroes”, a marketing initiative that recognizes farmer veterans.  The hens produce 3,150 eggs a week.  Mr. Hromas is currently selling eggs to Grand Central Foods in York, Hy-Vee in Grand Island and Hy-Vee in Lincoln.  The funds will allow him to expand his market to the Farmers Market in Lincoln.

Mac Creek Winery received a $176,018 VAPG grant to expand Mac Creek Winery’s market area to eastern and western Nebraska through the execution of a marketing campaign that involves multiple media avenues.  The borrower will be providing their own matching funds for 51% of the project and will create two jobs and save two jobs as a result of the project, in a community of 10,230 in population.

The winery is family owned and operated by the McFarlands and is located one-half mile north of Lexington, Nebraska on U.S. Highway 21.  The vineyard is 12 acres and lies along the banks of Spring Creek. Ten different types of grapes, including red and white varieties are used to create 15 different wines.

 “The funding we are announcing today will have far-reaching, positive impacts in communities where these producers are located,” Vilsack said.  “The investments will help businesses create new products, expand their operations, and support local and regional food systems.”

USDA Continues to Seek Input for the 2017 Census of Agriculture

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) continues to seek input for the 2017 Census of Agriculture. Conducted only once every five years by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the Census provides detailed data covering nearly every facet of U.S. agriculture down to the county level.

NASS released the complete 2012 Census of Agriculture results on May 2, 2014. In June, the agency began asking for content suggestions for the 2017 Agriculture Census and is accepting suggestions from the public. Any individual or organization may ask to add or delete items on questionnaire, as well as send any other ideas about the Census.

“Many industries want data that we currently don’t collect,” said NASS Associate Administrator Renee Picanso. “There are also some data that people think are no longer relevant with changing trends in agriculture. This is the time to express those ideas and concerns.”

Comments can be submitted online at Written suggestions may be mailed to: Census Content Team, Room 6451, 1400 Independence Ave, SW, Washington, DC 20250. NASS will notify the public before the comment period ends.

To learn more and to access the complete 2012 Census of Agriculture results, including State and County Profiles and all the other Census data and tools, visit

UAN32 Again Leads Fertilizers Lower

Average retail fertilizer prices continued to decline the second week of August 2014, with one exception: Anhydrous was higher. This was the first time in five weeks that not all eight major fertilizers tracked by DTN were lower.  The one fertilizer, which was higher compared to a month earlier, was anhydrous. The nitrogen fertilizer was not up by any consequence and had an average price of $687 per ton.

Of the fertilizers that were lower in price, only one fertilizer had an average price that was down with any significance. UAN32 was down 5% compared to a month earlier. The nitrogen fertilizer's average price was $379 per ton.  Six fertilizers were lower, but none were down any significance. DAP had an average price of $589/ton, MAP $608/ton, potash $474/ton, urea $518/ton, 10-34-0 $555/ton, anhydrous $687/ton and UAN28 $337/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.56/lb.N, anhydrous $0.42/lb.N, UAN28 $0.60/lb.N and UAN32 $0.59/lb.N.

With fertilizers moving higher earlier in the year, just one of the eight major fertilizers is now double-digits lower in price compared to August 2013.  Urea is now 4% higher compared to last year while DAP increased 3%, and MAP is nearly unchanged. Anhydrous is down 2% and 10-34-0 is now 5% less expensive. UAN28 is 7% lower, UAN32 is 8% less expensive while potash is 15% less expensive compared to a year earlier.

CWT Assists with 2 Million Pounds of Cheese Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 6 requests for export assistance from Dairy Farmers of America and Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold) to sell 1.964 million pounds (891 metric tons) of Cheddar and Gouda cheese, to customers in Asia, Europe and the Middle East. The product will be delivered August 2014 through January 2015.

Year-to-date, CWT has assisted member cooperatives in selling 82.543 million pounds of cheese, 48.051 million pounds of butter and 19.877 million pounds of whole milk powder to 43 countries on six continents. These sales are the equivalent of 2.054 billion pounds of milk on a milkfat basis.

CWT-assisted exports of American-type cheeses, butter and whole milk powder make up a significant percentage of the exports of those products. In the long-term, assisting CWT member cooperatives through the Export Assistance program helps them 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.

Massey Ferguson Introduces 7700 Series Tractors

Massey Ferguson®, a worldwide brand of AGCO Corporation (NYSE:AGCO), introduces the powerful and efficient 7700 Series tractors. The 7700 Series features AGCO POWER™ 6.6- and 7.4-liter diesel engines, a redesigned front-axle suspension, increased hydraulic performance, and easy-to-use guidance technology.

"These multipurpose tractors match rugged iron with plenty of performance-boosting features," says Conor Bergin, product marketing manager for AGCO high-horsepower tractors. "Farmers looking for an adaptable tractor built for long workdays will find just what they need in the 7700 Series. They're nimble enough for easy loader work, powerful enough to handle a large square baler, and they have the hydraulic capacity to run a 16-row planter."

With five models ranging from 185 to 255 max engine HP, a choice of two available transmissions and upgraded hydraulic options, farmers can match the right configuration to their operation.

More muscle for getting work done

The Tier 4 Final, six-cylinder AGCO POWER 6.6- and 7.4-liter diesel engines powering the 7700 Series feature upgrades to increase productivity. Turbochargers with new electronic wastegates anticipate power needs, providing unbeatable engine response and high torque at all RPMs. The Engine Power Management (EPM) system delivers a power boost of up to 25 HP in demanding PTO, hydraulic and transport applications.

Additional enhancements include a new engine control unit (ECU) for precise operations, a new throttle valve for faster warm-ups, and a higher-pressure fuel injection system that delivers cleaner combustion, together eliminating the need for a diesel particulate filter. The new CYCLAIR™ cooling package enhances cooling efficiency without increasing system size.

"Farmers will appreciate the compact design of the CYCLAIR package because it pairs a high-capacity cooling system and air conditioner condenser with a sleek hood and grill for maximum engine airflow, uncompromised sight lines and a cool, comfortable ride," Bergin notes. "This is great for farmers working long days in the field."

Transmission options and hydraulic upgrades

The 7700 Series can be customized to meet the needs of all farm operation sizes, with a choice of two transmission packages with generous hydraulic capacity, the Dyna-6™ Partial Powershift or the Dyna-VT™ CVT transmission. Both systems boost efficiency and operation ease with convenient features such as Dynamic Tractor Management (DTM) and programmable cruise speeds.

The Dyna-6 Partial Powershift transmission is available with 29- or 39-GPM hydraulic pump, providing six powershift gears within four push-button main ranges. A wide range of speeds provides optimal performance and fuel economy, while speed-matching and AutoDrive allow clutchless control for swift gear and range changes.

The Dyna-VT CVT transmission is available for more demanding applications. With infinite operating speeds and an upgraded 50-GPM hydraulic system, it supplies the precision and capability needed for larger implements.

"Our goal is to provide farmers a machine that has extremely low operating costs," explains Bergin. "With DTM engaged, the system synchronizes engine speed and transmission ratio, allowing the engine to run at lower speeds, supply optimum power and reduce fuel consumption."

Solid traction

The 7700 Series has more than double the front-suspension travel of previous models, putting more power to the ground for reduced wheel slippage and power hop in the field. When towing heavy loads on the road, the front suspension provides greater steering control at higher speeds. Push-button control lets operators adjust suspension to match the task at hand.

The 7700 Series can be ballasted to over 30,000 pounds to help put power to the ground. The new front monobloc weight system offers farmers a choice of 1,984-pound or 3,306-pound weights.

Simple technology setup

The straightforward design with convenient controls and oversized screens makes operation easy from day one. All models feature fully integrated Auto-Guide™ 3000, with handy Go Mode activation. The new front dash display features a color setup and information screen (SIS) that is 50 percent larger with 10 times greater resolution and larger fonts.

Monday, August 18, 2014

August 18 Crop Progress & Condition Reports - NE - IA - US


For the week ending August 17, 2014, rain  in the central part of the State helped  reduce  the  need  for  irrigation,  according  to  the  USDA’s  National  Agricultural  Statistics  Service.  Dryland crops in areas that did not receive rain were showing stress.  Cooler weather in the eastern part of the State  slowed  crop  development, while warmer  temperatures  in  the west  helped  dry  down  hay.  There were 6.1 days suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 7 percent very short, 31 short, 61 adequate, and 1 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 11 percent very short, 32 short, 57 adequate, and 0 surplus.
Field Crops Report:

Corn  conditions  rated 3 percent very poor, 6 poor, 21  fair, 50  good,  and  20  excellent.  Corn dough was 78 percent, well ahead of 64 last year, but near 75 for the five-year average. Corn dented was 20 percent, ahead of 10 last year, but behind 29 average.

Soybean conditions rated 2 percent very poor, 6 poor, 22 fair, 53 good, and 17 excellent.  Soybeans setting pods was 89 percent, near 86 last year and 87 average.

Sorghum conditions rated 2 percent very poor, 5 poor, 33 fair, 41 good, and 19 excellent. Sorghum headed was 90 percent, ahead of 74  last year and 79 average. Sorghum coloring was 37 percent, well ahead of 2  last year and 7 average.

Alfalfa hay conditions rated 2 percent very poor, 7 poor, 31 fair, 50 good, and 10 excellent.   Alfalfa hay  third cutting was 68 percent complete, ahead of 55 last year, but equal to the average.
Livestock,  Pasture  and  Range  Report: 

Pasture  and  range  conditions  rated  7  percent  very  poor,  11  poor,  34 fair, 41 good, and 7 excellent. Stock water supplies rated 2 percent very short, 9 short, 88 adequate, and 1 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:


Below average precipitation across much of Iowa caused a drop  in soil moisture, especially in the northeastern part of the State during the week ending August 17, 2014, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service.  Statewide there were 5.6 days suitable for field work during  the week.   Activities  for  the week  included aerial spraying and hay baling.

Topsoil moisture  levels  rated  8 percent  very  short,  23 percent  short, 67 percent  adequate,  and  2 percent  surplus.    Subsoil moisture  levels rated  6 percent  very  short,  22 percent  short,  71 percent  adequate,  and 1 percent  surplus.   Northeast  Iowa was  the driest with over 60 percent of topsoil in very short to short condition.

Three-quarters of Iowa’s corn crop was  in  the dough stage or beyond, 16 days  ahead of  last year and 8 days  ahead of  the  five-year average.  Sixteen percent of the corn crop was in the dent stage, 10 days ahead of the previous year but 4 days behind normal.  Three-quarters of the corn acreage  was  reported  in  good  to  excellent  condition.   

Eighty-eight percent  of  the  soybean  crop  was  setting  pods  or  beyond, 20 percentage  points  above  last  year  and  2  points  above  average.  Soybean  condition was 73 percent good  to  excellent.  

Oat harvest  for grain was 97 percent  complete,  equal  to  the previous year but  slightly behind normal.  

The  second  cutting  of  alfalfa  hay  was  95 percent  complete, 2 percentage  points  below  last  year  and  1  point  below  the  five-year average.    The  third  cutting  of  alfalfa  hay  advanced  to  36 percent complete,  1  day  ahead  of  the  previous  year  but  just  over  one  week behind the normal pace.  Sixty-five percent of all hay was rated in good to  excellent  condition.   Pasture  condition  continued  to  deteriorate  and was  rated  54 percent  good  to  excellent.    Stress  on  livestock  was minimal with some areas reporting higher insect populations. 


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

It was another unseasonably cool week across  Iowa with  temperatures below  normal  in  most  areas  throughout  the  week.   Temperature extremes varied from a Wednesday (13th) morning low of 47 degrees at Stanley  (Buchanan  Co.)  to  a  Saturday  (16th)  afternoon  high  of 86 degrees  at  Rock  Rapids.   Temperatures  for  the  week  as  a  whole averaged from two to three degrees below normal over the northwest to five to six degrees subnormal over the southeast.  The statewide average temperature  was  3.6 degrees  below  normal.   Little,  if  any,  rain  fell across  the  northeast  one-third  of  Iowa  this  past  week  where  some locations  have  not  had  a  substantial  rain  event  since  late  June.  Meanwhile, very  localized heavy  rains  fell over parts of  the southwest one-half of  Iowa on Sunday  (10th).  However,  the bulk of  this week’s rain  fell on Friday  (15th) over southwest and south central  Iowa where Murray  (Clarke  Co.)  reported  5.03 inches.   The  statewide  average precipitation was 0.69 inches while normal for the week is 0.98 inches.

USDA Weekly Crop Progress

The nation's corn crop is hurtling toward maturity and even more so the soybeans, according to USDA's Crop Progress report for the week ended Aug. 17.

Seventy percent of the corn is in the dough stage, compared to a 63% five-year average and 22% is dented, compared to a 27% five-year average. Corn condition worsened slightly moving from 73% rated good to excellent last week to 72% this week.

Eighty-three percent of the soybeans are setting pods, compared to a 79% five-year average. Ninety-five percent of the crop is blooming, equal to the five-year average. Soybean condition improved slightly, moving from 70% rated good to excellent last week to 71% this week.

Corn Dough - Selected States

[These 18 States planted 91% of the 2013 corn acreage]
                :               Week ending               :            
      State     : August 17,  : August 10,  : August 17,  :  2009-2013 
                :    2013     :    2014     :    2014     :   Average  
                :                        percent                       
Colorado .......:     41            27            53            43     
Illinois .......:     67            77            86            76     
Indiana ........:     53            56            72            65     
Iowa ...........:     22            55            75            55     
Kansas .........:     72            66            79            81     
Kentucky .......:     52            56            70            66     
Michigan .......:     51            31            49            53     
Minnesota ......:     24            44            63            44     
Missouri .......:     73            81            91            81     
Nebraska .......:     64            62            78            75     
North Carolina .:     95            86            91            96     
North Dakota ...:     19            13            32            41     
Ohio ...........:     64            46            68            64     
Pennsylvania ...:     54             9            31            50     
South Dakota ...:     60            40            59            53     
Tennessee ......:     90            85            92            94     
Texas ..........:     78            88            89            83     
Wisconsin ......:     23            20            38            42     
18 States ......:     49            54            70            63     

Corn Dented - Selected States

[These 18 States planted 91% of the 2013 corn acreage]
                :               Week ending               :            
      State     : August 17,  : August 10,  : August 17,  :  2009-2013 
                :    2013     :    2014     :    2014     :   Average  
                :                        percent                       
Colorado .......:      5             3             5             7     
Illinois .......:     13            17            34            38     
Indiana ........:      5            17            29            23     
Iowa ...........:      2             7            16            25     
Kansas .........:     18            12            30            42     
Kentucky .......:     25            33            49            47     
Michigan .......:      5             -             6            12     
Minnesota ......:      1             -             6            13     
Missouri .......:     32            34            52            51     
Nebraska .......:     10             6            20            29     
North Carolina .:     84            68            78            83     
North Dakota ...:      -             -             -             8     
Ohio ...........:      5             6            16            19     
Pennsylvania ...:     15             1             6            16     
South Dakota ...:      4             1             5            12     
Tennessee ......:     63            22            53            75     
Texas ..........:     62            76            77            69     
Wisconsin ......:      1             -             4             8     
18 States ......:     10            11            22            27     

Corn Condition - Selected States: Week Ending August 17, 2014

[National crop conditions for selected States are weighted based on 2013 planted acreage]
      State     : Very poor :   Poor    :   Fair    :   Good    : Excellent
                :                          percent                         
Colorado .......:     1           5          23          52          19    
Illinois .......:     1           4          15          51          29    
Indiana ........:     1           5          21          52          21    
Iowa ...........:     2           5          18          51          24    
Kansas .........:     6           9          30          42          13    
Kentucky .......:     5          13          24          46          12    
Michigan .......:     2           7          19          56          16    
Minnesota ......:     1           6          25          55          13    
Missouri .......:     -           2          15          49          34    
Nebraska .......:     3           6          21          50          20    
North Carolina .:     3          12          24          45          16    
North Dakota ...:     1           4          17          56          22    
Ohio ...........:     1           4          20          53          22    
Pennsylvania ...:     1           3          16          47          33    
South Dakota ...:     2           5          24          56          13    
Tennessee ......:     -           5          19          54          22    
Texas ..........:     1           5          29          49          16    
Wisconsin ......:     3           9          21          46          21    
18 States ......:     2           6          20          51          21    
Previous week ..:     2           5          20          52          21    
Previous year ..:     4           9          26          44          17    

Soybeans Blooming - Selected States

[These 18 States planted 95% of the 2013 soybean acreage]
                :               Week ending               :            
      State     : August 17,  : August 10,  : August 17,  :  2009-2013 
                :    2013     :    2014     :    2014     :   Average  
                :                        percent                       
Arkansas .......:     92            91             95            96    
Illinois .......:     93            94             96            95    
Indiana ........:     95            96            100            95    
Iowa ...........:     94            96             98            98    
Kansas .........:     85            83             89            89    
Kentucky .......:     78            73             78            87    
Louisiana ......:     99            99            100            99    
Michigan .......:     97            91             97            96    
Minnesota ......:     95            94             96            97    
Mississippi ....:     99            92             95           100    
Missouri .......:     81            84             90            87    
Nebraska .......:     99            96             99            98    
North Carolina .:     66            71             80            80    
North Dakota ...:     95            95             99            98    
Ohio ...........:     95            91             94            97    
South Dakota ...:     95            94             98            98    
Tennessee ......:     78            83             91            92    
Wisconsin ......:     84            88             94            93    
18 States ......:     91            92             95            95    

Soybeans Setting Pods - Selected States

[These 18 States planted 95% of the 2013 soybean acreage]
                :               Week ending               :            
      State     : August 17,  : August 10,  : August 17,  :  2009-2013 
                :    2013     :    2014     :    2014     :   Average  
                :                        percent                       
Arkansas .......:     77            79            87            84     
Illinois .......:     74            79            89            79     
Indiana ........:     77            80            90            77     
Iowa ...........:     68            79            88            86     
Kansas .........:     54            52            63            60     
Kentucky .......:     52            54            63            67     
Louisiana ......:     94            92            94            96     
Michigan .......:     78            75            87            80     
Minnesota ......:     70            74            85            82     
Mississippi ....:     86            79            85            95     
Missouri .......:     47            56            70            59     
Nebraska .......:     86            80            89            87     
North Carolina .:     39            46            54            52     
North Dakota ...:     77            75            88            89     
Ohio ...........:     81            66            80            79     
South Dakota ...:     72            64            81            83     
Tennessee ......:     59            62            75            76     
Wisconsin ......:     58            65            79            76     
18 States ......:     70            72            83            79     

Soybean Condition - Selected States: Week Ending August 17, 2014

[National crop conditions for selected States are weighted based on 2013 planted acreage]
      State     : Very poor :   Poor    :   Fair    :   Good    : Excellent
                :                          percent                         
Arkansas .......:     2           9          26          42          21    
Illinois .......:     1           3          18          55          23    
Indiana ........:     1           5          27          51          16    
Iowa ...........:     2           5          20          51          22    
Kansas .........:     2           8          37          44           9    
Kentucky .......:     5          10          26          48          11    
Louisiana ......:     1           3          14          57          25    
Michigan .......:     2           7          27          51          13    
Minnesota ......:     2           6          28          54          10    
Mississippi ....:     -           4          17          53          26    
Missouri .......:     -           3          19          56          22    
Nebraska .......:     2           6          22          53          17    
North Carolina .:     1           5          25          53          16    
North Dakota ...:     1           4          23          56          16    
Ohio ...........:     1           5          22          58          14    
South Dakota ...:     2           6          22          57          13    
Tennessee ......:     1           5          20          58          16    
Wisconsin ......:     1           6          25          48          20    
18 States ......:     1           5          23          54          17    
Previous week ..:     2           5          23          53          17    
Previous year ..:     2           8          28          48          14