Thursday, September 18, 2014

Thursday September 18 Ag News

 Rural Mainstreet Index Sinks for September:  Farmland Prices and Ag Equipment Sales Plummet

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

Overall: The Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI), which ranges between 0 and 100, with 50.0 representing growth neutral, fell slightly to 48.2 from August’s 48.3.

“From this time last year, grain prices are down by an average of 29.4 percent according to government data.  This huge decline has had a significant negative influence on most of the factors from our surveys over the last several months,” said Ernie Goss, Ph.D., the Jack A. MacAllister Chair in Regional Economics at Creighton University’s Heider College of Business.

Jeff Bonnett, president of Havana National Bank in Havana, Ill., said “As our farm lenders have pointed out, if current grain prices do not rebound in 2015, cash flow monitoring for our farm operators will be our major challenge.”

Iowa: The September RMI for Iowa sank to 47.2 from August’s 50.6. The state’s farmland-price index for September slumped to 34.1 from 40.7 in August. Iowa’s new-hiring index for September slipped to 55.2 from August’s 55.5.

Nebraska: The Nebraska RMI for September fell to 44.3 from 47.8 in August. The state’s farmland-price index for September sank to 23.8 from 30.4 in August.  Nebraska’s new-hiring index decreased to 47.0 from August’s 47.3.  Lydell Woodbury, executive vice-president of First Nebraska Bank in Stanton, reported, “Our feeders are continuing to reduce debt and fund the higher cost of replacements.”

Farming and ranching: The farmland and ranchland-price index for September slumped to 33.7, its lowest level since March 2009 and down from 41.4 in August. “Much weaker crop prices are taking the air out of agriculture land prices.  This is the tenth straight month that the index has moved below growth neutral,” said Goss.

The September farm-equipment sales index slumped to a record low 17.6 from August’s 25.5, which was a record low. The index has been below growth neutral for 14 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 has pushed farmers to shrink their equipment purchases,” said Goss.

This month bankers were asked to project farm equipment sales for the next year. Approximately 94.4 percent expect farm-equipment sales to decline for the next year. Only 3.7 percent of the bank CEOs expect an increase in farm-equipment sales for the next year.  On average, bankers expect a 13.8 percent decline in farm-equipment sales for the next year.

According to bankers, one-fourth of recent farmland sales were for cash (not financed).  This is down from 29 percent reported last year at this time and lower than the 26 percent reported last month.  “The percent of farmland sales that is financed is growing, but at a very slow pace, according to our surveys.   Plummeting grain prices have yet to push farmers into boosting borrowing to support farmland purchases,” reported 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.

Nebraska Corn opens invitation for bus trip to Kansas Speedway for October 5 NASCAR race

NASCAR fans, start your engines and join Nebraska corn farmers as we head to the races! The Nebraska Corn Board and Nebraska Corn Growers have an open invitation to anyone interested in attending the Sunday, October 5, 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Kansas Speedway.

This open invitation includes transportation to and from the race, ticket for the race, morning and evening meals, ticket into the hospitality tent with food and beverages before the race, and a gift certificate for Fan Vision – a device that allows you to watch the race on a small monitor and listen to the announcers or the conversation between the driver and his crew. Everything in this package is only $100 per person.

The purpose of the trip is to not only give fans a great opportunity but also to promote American Ethanol. American Ethanol began a partnership with NASCAR four seasons ago and is the premier fuel of NASCAR Nationwide, Sprint Cup, and Camping World Series racecars. NASCAR is proud to partner with American Ethanol to show Americans that ethanol is clean, green and homegrown. The Nebraska Corn Board is a supporter of American Ethanol through the National Corn Growers Association. Learn more at

“This partnership with American Ethanol was formed to promote ethanol, educate consumers about agriculture, and feature a homegrown, renewal energy that is used in one of the most popular sporting events,” said Kim Clark, director of biofuels development for the Nebraska Corn Board. “We are excited to offer a great package bus trip that allows anyone the opportunity to go to the Kansas Speedway, experience the race and learn how ethanol is used.”

The race begins at 1:00 pm. The bus will leave from downtown Lincoln at 6:00 am and return about 7:30 pm that evening.

This package deal is limited to the first 100 paid participants. Anyone wishing to go can get their seat on the bus, race ticket and package reserved with payment. No payments will be accepted the day of the race. For payment information to reserve your ticket, please contact Kim Clark at 402-471-2676.

USDA Rural Development Awards $193,621 to 17 Nebraska Recipients to Assist with Energy Needs

Seventeen Nebraska recipients have been selected to receive $193,621 in loans and grants for energy conservation.  Funds will be used to install renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).  Of the total Nebraska funding, $168,921 is in grants and $24,700 is in loans.

"These energy dollars will help make needed energy conservation improvements and install new renewable energy systems,” said Nebraska State Director Maxine Moul, USDA Rural Development.  “Through these projects, energy consumption will be reduced, thereby making the recipients more profitable in rural Nebraska and assisting the state’s rural economy.”

The REAP program provides opportunities for farmers and rural small business owners to install renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements, as well as explore the feasibility of implementing renewable energy projects. USDA remains focused on carrying out its mission and today’s announcement is one part of the Department's efforts to strengthen the rural economy.  Additional information on the Rural Energy for America Program may be found at

Detailed below are several of the energy projects selected from the Nebraska State Office allocation of funding. Funding is contingent upon the conditions of the grant and loan agreements being met by the recipient.

  - Nancy Heitshusen, in Dixon County, received a $9,243 grant combined with $27,728 from the recipient to replace two diesel irrigation engines with two electric motors.  The applicant will realize a 66 percent savings, or 580,092,127 BTU’s and an annual savings of $13,693.

  - Mike Wolf, in Boone County, received a $17,395 grant leveraged with $52,185 from the recipient to replace an existing inefficient grain dryer with a more efficient GSI grain drying system.  The applicant will realize a 43 percent savings, or 554,758,528 BTU’s and an annual savings of $9,022.

For more information, contact the Rural Development office nearest you.  You can locate an office by visiting:   Visit for information on all of Rural Development’s programs.

20 Iowans Selected for Iowa Corn Leadership Class

Recently, 20 individuals from across the state were selected for the Iowa Corn Leadership Enhancement and Development (I-LEAD) Class 7. The class consists of farmers, educators, agribusiness and governmental leaders from across the state.

"The number of highly qualified applicants was outstanding," said Lowell Appleton, an Iowa Corn director and chair of the committee that oversees the program. "This class represents future leaders in Iowa and I am looking forward to being a part of their two-year leadership adventure."

The I-LEAD program was developed and is sponsored by Iowa Corn in recognition that the future of Iowa agriculture depends on developing leaders who have a passion for agriculture. The goal of the two-year program is to provide Iowa's talented men and women with the tools they need to succeed as leaders and spokespeople. The first session includes leadership style learning and team building activities. Other sessions will include commodity information, a domestic agricultural mission and policy information.

Integral parts of the I-LEAD program include; gaining an understanding of agriculture, making decisions as a group and developing leadership skills. Many of the two-day meetings are spent discovering more about members' leadership style and building a foundation for working with different personalities and points of view. The class may choose to fundraise for an international mission to a location of their choice in the second year.

Members of I-LEAD Class 7 include: Randy Bruck (Neola), Constance Casson (Underwood), Matthew Eddy (Pleasant Hill), Alex Edgington (St. Ansgar), Michael Fritch (Mitchellville), Drew Gieselman (Marion), Katie Hall-Despins (Clive), Laura Holoubek (Ankeny), James Jordan (Roland), Bonnie Kroneman (Osage), Brandon Maier (Eagle Grove), Christopher Mehrens (Story City), Marc Mummelthei (Waverly), Maury Noonan (Mason City), Gretchen Paluch (Des Moines), Sara Ross (Minden), Jason Schwenneker (Ankeny), Marcie Stevenson (Ames), Adam Theis (Omaha, NE), and Charles White (Grinnell). I-LEAD Class 7 will start their journey in November. For more information, visit

More than 120 leaders have graduated from the I-LEAD program and many have gone onto leadership roles within the Iowa Corn Growers Association, the Iowa Corn Promotion Board or other community or commodity organizations.

Statement From NPPC President Howard Hill On White House Executive Order On Antibiotic Resistance

"In its executive order on combating antibiotic resistant bacteria, the White House acknowledged something that the National Pork Producers Council has been saying for years: More epidemiological research is needed to understand the key drivers of increased antibiotic resistance. 

"America’s pork producers, who abide by a strict antimicrobial stewardship program outlined in the industry’s Pork Quality Assurance Plus (PQA Plus ®) certification program, are committed to protecting public health and producing safe food. They work hand-in-hand with veterinarians to minimize the need for and use of antibiotics, particularly antibiotics important in human medicine. And all antibiotics used in pork production are approved by FDA.

"NPPC is pleased that the administration agrees that more research is needed and looks forward to working further with FDA and USDA on determining the most informed and appropriate solutions for combating antibiotic resistant bacteria."

Beef Checkoff Sets FY2015 Plan of Work

The Cattlemen’s Beef Board will invest about $39 million into programs of beef promotion, research, consumer information, industry information, foreign marketing and producer communications in fiscal year 2015, if this week's recommendation of the Beef Promotion Operating Committee is approved by USDA, following review by the full Beef Board.

In action concluding its Sept. 16-17 meeting in Denver, the Operating Committee — including 10 members of the Beef Board and 10 members of the Federation of State Beef Councils — approved checkoff funding for a total of 18 “Authorization Requests,” or proposals for checkoff funding, in the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, 2014. The committee also recommended full Beef Board approval of a budget amendment to reflect the split of funding between budget categories affected by their decisions.

"As both a producer and a checkoff leader, it’s rewarding to see the tremendous efforts that go into responsible investment of producers’ and importers’ hard-earned dollars into solid checkoff programs that produce results,” said Beef Board and Operating Committee Chairman Kim Brackett (pictured), a cattle producer from Idaho. “I am truly excited about the opportunities that we have before us as an industry and so pleased that we have our checkoff to take those on.”

In the end, the Operating Committee approved proposals from eight national beef organizations for funding through the FY15 Cattlemen’s Beef Board budget, as follows:
-   National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (nine proposals for $27.8 million)
-   U.S. Meat Export Federation (one proposal for $7.7 million)
-   Cattlemen’s Beef Board (one proposal for $1.5 million)
-   North American Meat Association (three proposals for $1.1 million)
-   American National CattleWomen (one proposal for $371,000)
-   Meat Import Council of America (one proposal for $350,800)
-   American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture (one proposal for $222,500)
-   National Livestock Producers Association (one proposal for $45,000)

Broken out by budget component, the Fiscal Year 2015 Plan of Work for the Cattlemen’s Beef Board budget includes:
-   $8 million for promotion programs, including continuation of the checkoff’s consumer digital advertising program, as well as veal promotion.
-   $9.7 million for research programs, focusing on a variety of critical issues, including pre- and post-harvest beef safety research, product quality research, human nutrition research and scientific affairs, market research, and beef and culinary innovations.
-   $10.4 million for consumer information programs, including a Northeast public relations initiative, national consumer public relations, including a “Moms, Millennials and More” consumer information program, nutrition-influencer relations, and creation of a digital application and beef game for youth.
-   $1.7 million for industry information programs, comprising dissemination of accurate information about the beef industry to counter misinformation from anti-beef groups and others, as well as funding for checkoff participation in a fourth annual national industry-wide symposium focused on discussion and dissemination of information about antibiotic use.
-   $7.7 million for foreign marketing and education in some 80 countries in the following: ASEAN region; Caribbean; Central America/Dominican Republic; China/Hong Kong; Europe; Japan; Korea; Mexico; Middle East; Russia/Greater Russian Region; South America; and Taiwan.
-   $1.5 million for producer communications, which includes producer outreach using national communications and direct communications to producers about checkoff results; as well as development and utilization of information conduits, such as auction markets; maintenance of a seamless partnership with state beef council producer-communication efforts; and producer attitude research to determine producer attitudes and desires of their checkoff program.

Other expenses funded through the $41.3 million 2015 CBB budget include $221,000 for evaluation, $305,000 for program development, $325,000 for USDA oversight; and about $1.9 million for administration, which includes costs for Board meetings, legal fees, travel costs, office rental, supplies, equipment, and administrative staff compensation. Fiscal Year 2015 begins Oct. 1, 2014.

“These meetings are both a bit of the best of things, and a bit of the worst of things, because we have so many terrific proposals from beef organizations but we cannot fund all of them,” Brackett said. “With our task before us, though, we had two days of active discussion about how to do what’s best for all producers and importers who pay their hard-earned dollars into this checkoff program. I am proud of the plan we were able to put together toward enhancing consumer preference for beef over other proteins in the coming year.”

For details about individual proposals considered by the Operating Committee this week, visit

Elanco Animal Health, Dow AgroSciences Announce Strategic R&D Agreement

Eanco, the animal health division of Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY), and Dow AgroSciences LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE: DOW), are announcing a strategic research and development (R&D) agreement that will focus on developing integrated solutions to enable livestock producers to increase meat and milk production to meet the demands of the growing global population.

According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), demand for meat, milk, and eggs will increase by more than 60 percent in the next few decades. The agreement leverages the strengths of Elanco’s animal health business with the proprietary germplasm and feed technologies of Dow AgroSciences to develop innovative solutions that can increase the efficiency, quality, and productivity of livestock for ranchers and producers worldwide.

“Dow AgroSciences is proud to work closely with another Indiana agricultural company to develop future product solutions for beef and dairy producers,” says Tim Hassinger, President and CEO, Dow AgroSciences. “Collaborating with Elanco is exciting because it unites the strength of their animal health expertise with our feed and forage expertise. Together, we will be looking for ways to develop total solutions that involve improving both the carrying capacity of the land and the health and productivity of production animals to help our customers meet the needs of the growing world.”

“Delivering enough of the high quality meat, milk and eggs we’ll need to feed our growing population is one of the greatest challenges of our time,” said Jeff Simmons, President of Elanco. “And we’ll have to produce more with less because we are already over using our resources, equivalent to 1.5 earths each year. Ultimately, these issues will be solved with innovative solutions, which is at the foundation of this agreement. We are very excited about the opportunities this effort will bring.”

ASA Welcomes USDA Deregulation of Enlist Duo 2,4-D-Resistant Soybeans

In response to yesterday’s decision by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to deregulate Dow’s 2,4-D-resistant Enlist Duo soybeans, the American Soybean Association issued a statement cheering the move and calling on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to now quickly finalize the label for the new low-volatility Enlist Duo herbicide that can be utilized with these soybeans to control resistant and difficult to manage weeds. ASA also called upon foreign markets where U.S. soybeans are exported to quickly review and approve these new biotech events so that they can be commercialized here in the United States without jeopardizing export markets and U.S. farmers can realize their benefit.

“America’s soybean farmers welcome today’s decision by USDA to deregulate Enlist Duo. As the problem of weed resistance spreads across the soybean growing regions of the U.S., this solution presents another integral mode of action with which farmers can fight yield-robbing weeds,” said ASA President and Iowa farmer Ray Gaesser. “USDA deserves a great deal of credit for recognizing delays in the biotech approvals process and working to address them. Our attention now shifts to final EPA registration of the Enlist Duo herbicide, and to approvals in key soybean export markets. For new tools like Enlist Duo to be implemented and realized, we need to have approvals in key U.S. soy export markets since approximately 60% of the U.S. soy crop is exported.”

Because of the importance of export markets to U.S. soybean farmers, ASA has had long-standing policy requiring technology providers to seek and obtain approvals in key U.S. soy export markets that have import approval processes before new biotech soybean traits are openly commercialized. ASA works closely with technology companies, other members of the U.S. soy family and value chain, and the U.S. Government to facilitate timely, science-based reviews of new biotech soybean traits both domestically and abroad.

Japan’s Amari, USTR Froman arranging TPP talks next week

Japanese Economy Minister Akira Amari and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman are due to meet next week in Washington for talks on a bilateral deal that is crucial to clinching a broader multilateral Pacific rim trade pact.

U.S. President Barack Obama has said participants in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations hoped to have a free trade agreement ready in time for his trip to Asia in mid-November. But with time running out, the outlook is murky.

"We are in the final stages of preparing for a visit by Minister Amari next week to Washington," a spokesman for Froman's office said in an email.

"Minister Amari will meet with Ambassador Froman and address remaining issues in our bilateral TPP negotiations."

The White House had hoped to complete the TPP, part of Obama's strategic shift toward Asia, last year, but talks stalled in part over Japanese tariffs on agricultural imports.

Japan wants to shield rice, wheat, dairy, sugar and beef and pork products, while the United States seeks to protect U.S. carmakers from increased Japanese competition.

The United States holds mid-term elections on Nov. 4, and many trade experts had despaired of finalizing the TPP this year because of the risk that it could cost Obama's Democrats votes, given the party's links to trade unions worried about the impact of trade agreements on jobs.

2015 Should Be Profitable for Hog Producers

2015 could be a very good year for hog producers, North Dakota State University Extension Service swine specialist David Newman says.

He is optimistic for several reasons:
-- The projected corn crop of nearly 14.4 billion bushels will be a record, and the U.S. soybean crop is expected to total 3.9 million bushels, which means a good supply of low-cost feed will be available for hogs.
-- Recent corn and soybean meal futures prices put average farrow-to-finish costs below $68 per hundredweight. That would be the lowest annual average cost since 2007, when it was $62.72.
-- The August rally in lean hog futures, combined with the low grain prices, raises the estimate of average farrow-to-finish profits back above $40 per head for 2015. The October, November and December 2014 margins are at $54, $42 and $44 per head, respectively.
-- The number of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv) cases fell significantly this summer as expected, but total losses of hogs since PEDv was discovered in the U.S. are in the millions. Plus, cases of PEDv likely will increase this fall and winter, which could lower the supply of hogs in 2015 and keep hog prices at profitable margins.

The virus has killed as many as 7 million U.S. pigs since it was discovered in the country in May 2013. The mortality rate in piglets from herds not previously exposed to the PEDv is nearly 100 percent.  "Although we will most likely see an increase in PEDv outbreaks this winter, it is doubtful that we will see the number of losses incurred in 2013-2014 to date," Newman says.

The key to preventing the disease from spreading is good biosecurity, according to animal health experts. That involves making sure the swine barn is clean and virus-free, and establishing a line of separation between the clean area (the barn) and the dirty area (anywhere outside the barn). It also includes washing boots and clothing before and after being around swine, and cleaning and disinfecting vehicles used to transport pigs.

"Producers who are able to maintain herd health and practice good financial management most likely will have a good year in front of them," Newman says.

Do YOU Have a Plan for Your Livestock Should Disaster Strike?

Tanika C. Whittington, USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

Last year brought some interesting weather to our country. A multi-day severe weather event included an EF3 tornado that carved a 68-mile path from Mississippi to Alabama. Parts of Colorado had flooding so severe it destroyed thousands of homes, and wiped out 200 miles of state roads and 50 state bridges. Winter Storm Nemo dropped a record snowfall of 31.9 inches in Portland, Maine. And, California recorded its driest year ever--fueling wildfires that burned some 8,000 acres in Southern California.

Any disaster, whether it's a flood, tornado or earthquake, can catch you off guard and leave you in danger. It's important to have an emergency plan in place for your family. And if you raise livestock, an emergency plan is important as well. Using the American Veterinary Medical Association's (AVMA) procedures to prepare now, you can quickly and easily safeguard your livestock when disaster strikes.

Prepare -- Get a Livestock Evacuation Kit

-- Include feed, water, supplements, supplies (medications, rope/lariat, halters/leads, cleaning supplies, knives, etc.), and papers (veterinary records and proof of ownership).
-- Review your kit regularly to ensure contents, especially feed and medicines, are fresh.

Plan -- What You Will Do in an Emergency

-- Determine if you are able to evacuate (This should be based on the type of disaster and the safety and stability of the shelter).
-- Determine where you will go if you have to leave (Identify friends or relatives who could house livestock during the disaster, including fairgrounds or other livestock evacuation locations).
-- Determine how you will evacuate (Decide how livestock will be transported/housed and prearrange an evacuation site).

In case you are not home:

-- Designate a neighbor to tend to your livestock (This person should be familiar with your livestock, know your evacuation procedures, know where your evacuation kit is kept, and have your emergency contact information).
-- Make sure livestock has some form of identification (microchip, ear/leg tag, leg band, tattoo etc.).

Stay Informed--Know About Types of Emergencies

-- It's always a good idea to find out what types of emergencies could happen where you live and whether you need to make any specific preparations because of them. (A good basic emergency plan is to keep your livestock with you; what's best for you is typically what's best for your livestock. Plan to stay if it's safe to do so, or leave if ordered to evacuate.)
-- When disaster strikes, follow instructions of local emergency management to safeguard you, your family, and your livestock.

For more information about safeguarding your livestock family before a disaster occurs, check out the following links:
-- AVMA "Saving the Whole Family" (available in English and Spanish)
-- FEMA --

Preparedness begins at home, and your livestock depend on you to keep you and them safe. Be disaster aware, take action to prepare now!

Traders Drop Grain Rules Case Against CME

A group of Chicago traders have agreed to drop a lawsuit against CME Group Inc. that sought to reverse a decision to include electronic transactions to determine end-of-day grain prices, the company said on Tuesday.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the traders, who work on the Chicago Board of Trade's agricultural trading floor, will abandon all their claims against the exchange operator without receiving any payment.

The group sued CME Group, owner of the CBOT, in June 2012, claiming the decision to factor in electronic trades would put them out of business and was implemented without proper approval from exchange members. Prior to the change, the CBOT had a century-old tradition of settling futures prices for crops like corn and soybeans based on transactions executed in open-outcry pits.

An Illinois judge in March rejected a request from the traders to suspend the implementation of the rule.

Argentina Farmers Start Planting Corn

Rains have been ample across many parts of the Argentine grain belt over the last few weeks, allowing farmers to start planting corn in central and southern Santa Fe province, according to the Rosaria Cereals Exchange.

The precipitation has caused flooding in some areas but has created perfect conditions for corn planting in many other parts of Buenos Aires and Santa Fe provinces.

Don't expect planting percentages to explode over the next few weeks though. That's because Argentine farmers are planting more and more of their crop late, in November and December, so that the corn isn't in the reproducing stages when the notorious January dry spells hit. This strategy saved Argentina from potential disaster last year.

Last week, the Buenos Aires Cereals Exchange forecast that corn output would drop 23% this season.

New Chem-Blade Farming Innovation Protects Farmers/Operators While Saving Time, Money & The Environment

It is a product that combines the best of all worlds when it comes to chemical management for farmers. Inventor Ethan Eck with the help of farm product innovators Ralph Lagergren & Mark Underwood are bringing to market the patented Chem-Blade and Chem-Blade ES (enclosed system).  These are impressive  systems designed to open and empty a chemical jug in a half second, and then rinse that jug and prepare it for recycling by shredding, all in less than a minute.

As all farmers know, jugs of farm chemicals are supposed to be properly rinsed with water and then destroyed after use.  After conducting surveys with farmers, Lagergren and Eck found that up to 95% of farmers simply don’t have time to rinse or recycle.  Chem-Blade was developed to address that industry wide problem in an efficient and effective manner.

The newest Chem-Blade ES provides sharp blades in a sealed enclosure that cut open and empty a chemical jug in about a half-second, followed by an effective complete rinse of the jug inside and out with the uniquely designed built-in spray nozzles. The whole Chem-Blade cycle takes less than a minute compared to several minutes it takes to do the exact process manually. Th e time saved eliminates the current bottleneck in chemical loading and will allow an operator to spray approximately 25 to 45 additional acres per day depending on the amount of jugs used. The Chem-Blade ES system can be used as an eductor on sprayers, as an inductor at supply stations, or integrated into an existing  loading system.

See the new ES (enclosed system) unit in action here:

From a safety perspective, because the Chem-Blade ES system is fully sealed and enclosed, the operator is protected from chemical fumes and splash.  The product has been developed and is currently in the process of being licensed to large manufacturers at an opportune time as the EPA looks at strengthening 20-year-old standards for chemical handling aimed at protecting farm workers.

For more information on the Chem-Blade go to:  

Syngenta announces 52 new corn hybrids for 2015 planting season

Building off of a year in which Syngenta corn hybrids out-yielded major competitors on farms across the country, the company has announced 52 new Golden Harvest® and NK® corn hybrids for the 2015 growing season in the U.S.

The hybrids are the result of new combinations, a broader genetic pool and an innovative digital breeding process that has allowed Syngenta genetics to achieve the fastest rate of genetic gain over the past seven years. The 2015 class incorporates many new sets of genetics that offer a range of maturities and include hybrids with key agronomic characteristics such as standability, disease tolerance and adaptability to many different soil types – offering an expanding series of options for all corn-growing areas.

“Growers seek consistency, top performance and high yields, all of which this new class of corn hybrids from Syngenta is designed to provide,” said Eric Boersma, head of corn seed product management at Syngenta. “It is the next step in adding to an already successful portfolio that collectively out-yielded major competitors in a majority of nearly 15,000 national yield comparisons in 20131.”

The 2015 class includes new-to-market genetics, as well as proven traits and technologies that offer protection against a range of yield-robbing pests and crop stresses.

·         Thirteen hybrids feature Agrisure Artesian® genetics – with scientifically selected genes that provide multiple modes of action for season-long drought protection. Artesian™ corn hybrids convert water to grain more effectively than other hybrids, maximizing yield when it rains and increasing yield when it doesn’t. Available in combination with best-in-class insect control and herbicide-tolerance traits, Artesian corn hybrids fit almost any production environment and help growers achieve more consistent yields. Artesian corn hybrids are designated by an “A” at the end of the hybrid number.

·         The Agrisure Duracade™ trait is featured in 18 of the new hybrids. Agrisure Duracade is Syngenta’s next-generation corn rootworm trait, offering the latest corn rootworm technology in the industry in two trait stack options for above- and below-ground insect control. Agrisure Duracade technology features the industry’s first hybrid Bt protein and is only available stacked with a second corn rootworm mode of action for technology preservation.

·         The Agrisure Viptera® trait, incorporated in 23 of the new hybrids, provides unsurpassed control of the multi-pest complex including corn earworm and black cutworm. Trait stacks with Agrisure Viptera also have been shown to protect corn crops against the development of mycotoxins for maximum grain quality.

·         The 2015 class also will feature six new Enogen® corn hybrids. Enogen corn technology, available only from Syngenta, is the industry’s only corn trait bioengineered specifically to enhance ethanol production. It enables ethanol plants to purchase alpha amylase enzyme in the form of high quality grain directly from local farmers, increase ethanol yield and throughput, and decrease costs associated with natural gas, electricity, water and chemical usage. Enogen corn hybrids are sold by select Syngenta Seed Advisors and NK retailers and available to growers under contract, which requires specific grain segregation and stewardship.

“Thanks to this combination of breakout genetics and breakthrough traits and technologies, the Syngenta portfolio offers something to help all farmers grow more corn in 2015,” Boersma said.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Wednesday September 17 Ag News

Heineman On International Trade Efforts
NE to Host Upcoming Int'l Trade Conference

Today, Gov. Dave Heineman discussed Nebraska’s efforts to expand international trade efforts specifically in Japan, and announced that Nebraska has been chosen to host the Midwest U.S.-Japan Association’s 50th annual conference in September 2018. The Governor was joined by

Dacia Kruse, Department of Economic Development Acting Director; Greg Ibach, Director of the Department of Agriculture; and Melissa Ross, Director of Marketing with Oxbow Animal Health to speak about Nebraska’s robust trade partnerships with Japan.

“We continue to have a strong emphasis on international development,” Gov. Heineman said. “In Nebraska, we appreciate the value and importance of trade and foreign direct investment as key drivers of a state’s economic policy. Hosting the 50th Midwest U.S.-Japan Association annual conference will be an opportunity to showcase Nebraska to hundreds of Japanese business leaders who will be attending the conference here in four years.”

Gov. Heineman recently returned from the Midwest U.S.-Japan Association Conference held in Des Moines, Iowa, where the Governor met with business leaders from Japan and touted Nebraska as, “Open for business.” For more than four decades, business leaders from the U.S. Midwest and Japan have met annually at the conference to discuss the countries’ mutual economic growth of bilateral trade, investment, and progress.

Japan is Nebraska’s second largest agricultural market and was the state’s fourth largest overall market in 2013.  Nebraska exported more than $566 million to Japan in 2013, representing 7.7 percent of the state’s total merchandise exports. Japan accounts for $454 million in agricultural goods, with $411 million made up of beef and pork exports.

Director Kruse stated, “Japan is an important trading partner. The Department of Economic Development is regularly involved in and committed to doing all that we can to maintain, strengthen, and build upon our excellent and long-term relationship.”

“The exports of pork and beef to Japan represent some of what we do best here in the state – add value to our grains locally by feeding them to livestock, and then exporting the meat to foreign destinations. Japan has been a good and dedicated customer of Nebraska’s beef and pork, and customers there recognize the quality and consistency of the product,” Dir. Ibach said.

Nebraska is one of only a few states to have an active trade office operating in Japan. Gov. Heineman opened the Nebraska Center 2006 to help increase trade and business relationships with Japan. Located in Tokyo, the Nebraska Center has been instrumental in identifying business partners and opportunities for Nebraska and Japanese companies. Oxbow Animal Health, a family-owned small business based in rural Murdock, which specializes in pet food and pet care products, has participated in the program since 2006.

“The Nebraska Center has provided assistance to Oxbow in our efforts to capture additional market share and grow exports to Japan – a significant market in our international strategy. The Center has assisted us in conducting market visits, determining a strategic plan for doing business in Japan, negotiating distribution agreements, and translating marketing pieces targeting the Japanese customer,” said Melissa Ross, Director of Marketing for Oxbow Animal Health.

“These businesses and businesses throughout Nebraska continue to tell us that they like Nebraska because we have dedicated, hard-working and well-educated employees, good trucking and rail infrastructure, low utility costs and a high quality of life,” Gov. Heineman said. “National and global industry leaders are choosing to expand in Nebraska, leading Nebraska to become a prime destination for new businesses. Japanese businesses have been extremely active in our state and the Japanese business community is growing and thriving in Nebraska. We believe trade and investment should be a mutually beneficial partnership and we look forward to exploring future opportunities for collaboration between Japan and Nebraska.”

Nebraska Corn Board partners with UNL for distinctive Presidential Chair

The Nebraska Corn Board has made a $2.0 million commitment to the University of Nebraska Foundation to establish the permanently endowed Nebraska Corn Checkoff Presidential Chair. The endowment will provide annual support to the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources (IANR) for research and development related to corn demand.

For nearly 30 years, the Nebraska Corn Board and the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources (IANR) at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln have collaborated on education and research on behalf of 23,000 Nebraska corn farmers and their investment in their corn checkoff. Now, they are partnering to establish the Nebraska Corn Checkoff Presidential Chair.

“This gift from the Nebraska Corn Board is exceptionally exciting, as it will create opportunities to advance corn-based product development at the University of Nebraska,” said Ronnie Green, NU Vice President and IANR Harlan Vice Chancellor. “I can assure you that the future holder of this presidential chair will develop major advancements from this support that will be beneficial for producers and industry leaders in Nebraska and beyond.”

This presidential chair is only the third of its kind, following suit of the Nebraska Wheat Growers Presidential Chair and Nebraska Soybean Board Presidential Chair. It will enable the university to award faculty members with an annual stipend for salary, research and program support.  Recipients of the award will be selected based on teaching and research ability, academic promise and accomplishments and will receive an annual stipend for research and program support.

From the Nebraska Corn Board’s investments in students through the Corn Development Utilization & Marketing Board Scholarship and Fellowship Fund, educational projects like the UNL Agricultural Economics Trading Room and the Raising Nebraska exhibit at the State Fair; and numerous corn-related research projects, the partnership with IANR has helped the board address its mission of increasing the demand for Nebraska corn and enhancing the profitability of Nebraska’s corn growers.

“But now, the corn industry is at a crux, where corn production is outpacing demand and developing new markets are needed more than ever,” said Tim Scheer, farmer from St. Paul, Nebraska and chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board.

“Corn prices are at or below the cost of production following a record crop last year and yet another estimated for this year,” said Scheer. “The timing of the opportunity for the Nebraska Corn Board to partner with the University to support such a distinctive chair is advantageous to develop new uses and create more demand for corn.”

This endowed Presidential Chair will ensure that IANR’s research in this important area of Nebraska’s corn industry exists in perpetuity.

The gift of the endowed chair also supports the University of Nebraska’s current Campaign for Nebraska fundraising initiative, which ends on December 31, 2014, and one of its priorities to increase support for faculty members in an effort to both retain and recruit top faculty.

Statues of Four Secretaries of Agriculture to be Dedicated Saturday

Statues honoring four Nebraskans who made lasting, national impacts on agriculture and natural resources have come to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's East Campus.

Commissioned in 2012 as part of the 150th anniversary of the Morrill Land Grant Act of 1862, the life-sized statues are of former U.S. Secretaries of Agriculture J. Sterling Morton, Clifford Hardin, Clayton Yeutter and Mike Johanns. The statues, paid for with donated funds, are in the green space north and east of Filley Hall.

The statues will be dedicated during a 3 p.m. Sept. 20 ceremony. The event is free and open to the public and will be held in the green space north of Filley Hall. If it rains, the dedication will be moved to the nearby Nebraska East Union.  Game day attire is encouraged for the event.

Omaha artist Matthew Placzek designed the sculptures.

"It is very fitting that these four Nebraskans be remembered and honored by the university for careers dedicated to agriculture and natural resources. That service extended even well beyond their terms as secretaries of agriculture," said Ronnie Green, Harlan vice chancellor of the university's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Morton was appointed agriculture secretary by Grover Cleveland and served from 1893 to 1897. Known for his dedication to tree planting, Morton served in the state legislature and as governor of Nebraska Territory. He was also a member of the State Board of Agriculture, where he came up with the idea to create a holiday to celebrate the planting of trees. The first Arbor Day was held in 1872 and quickly became a national holiday.

Hardin served as agriculture secretary from 1969 to 1971, having been selected by Richard Nixon. His accomplishments included the 1970 farm bill. Hardin was also chancellor of the University of Nebraska from 1954 to 1968. He is credited with being the founder of the modern University of Nebraska.

Yeutter was agriculture secretary from 1989 to 1991 under George H.W. Bush. He and a team from the U.S. Department of Agriculture were responsible for much of the 1990 farm bill, which moved U.S. farm policy toward greater market orientation. He served in three sub-cabinet posts and in three cabinet or cabinet-level posts; secretary of agriculture, U.S. trade representative, and counselor to the president, the only Nebraskan ever to do so.

A U.S. senator since January 2009, Johanns was U.S. secretary of agriculture from 2005 to 2007, in the George W. Bush administration. Johanns was also Nebraska's 38th governor from 1999 to 2005. As a senator, he serves on five committees, including Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, and Environment and Public Works.

Climate Change Panel Discussion is Topic of Sept. 25 Heuermann Lecture

The 2014-15 Heuermann Lecture season kicks off at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept.  25, when Donald Wilhite, professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's School of Natural Resources, leads a panel discussion on the issues surrounding our changing climate.

"Understanding and Assessing Climate Change: Implications for Nebraska" is the title of the lecture, which will be held at the Nebraska Innovation Campus Conference Center auditorium, 2021 Transformation Dr.

Associated economic, social and environmental risks, as well as the challenges Nebraskans will face will be the featured topics. Other panel members include Robert Oglesby, Clinton Rowe and Deborah Bathke, all UNL faculty members in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. Oglesby is a climatologist with a joint appointment in the School of Natural Resources. Rowe's expertise is in climate modeling and paleoclimatology. Bathke is a climatologist.

The Heuermann Lecture will coincide with the release of a report on climate change compiled by these UNL faculty members. Copies of the report will be available at the lecture and on-line following the lecture. One of the goals of this report is to identify the key challenges associated with climate change for the state and potential actions to adapt to our changing climate. "Action now is a preferable and more cost effective than reaction later," says Wilhite.

Wilhite is the founding director of the International Drought Information Center and the National Drought Mitigation Center.  He served as director of the National Drought Mitigation Center from 1995 until 2007, when he was appointed director of UNL's School of Natural Resources, an appointment he kept from 2007 until 2012. Throughout his career, Wilhite has worked with many state, federal and international agencies, including several agencies of the United Nations, and many foreign countries with the development and implementation of integrated drought monitoring programs and risk-based drought preparedness strategies and policies.

"Globally and locally, we face significant economic, social and environmental risks associated with climate change," Wilhite said. "The body of scientific evidence confirms with a high degree of certainty that human activities in the form of increased concentration of greenhouse gases since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, changes in land use and other factors are the primary causes for the warming the planet has experienced, especially in recent decades."

Current and projected changes extend beyond temperature increases and include changes in precipitation amounts, seasonal distribution and frequency and intensity of extreme weather events. The increasing frequency of extreme events raises serious concerns for all nations due to economic, social and environmental costs associated with responding to, recovering from and preparing for these events.  

"Nebraskans will face many challenges as a result of climate change," he added. "However, imbedded in each of these challenges are opportunities to create greater resilience as we adapt to these observed and projected changes in climate."

Heuermann Lectures are free and open to the public.  Lectures focus on providing and sustaining enough food, natural resources and renewable energy for the world's people, and on securing the sustainability of rural communities where the vital work of producing food and renewable energy occurs.  They are made possible by a gift from B. Keith and Norma Heuermann of Phillips, long-time university supporters with a strong commitment to Nebraska's production agriculture, natural resources, rural areas and people.  A 3 p.m. reception in the Nebraska Innovation Campus Conference Center banquet hall precedes the lecture.

Lectures are streamed live online at, and aired live on UNL campus and state cable channel 4.  Lectures are archived after the event and are broadcast on NET2 World at a later date.

New Beef Facilities Tour to Show Options for Young Producers

All signs point to Iowa as the most economical place to feed high quality beef cattle, and young cattle enthusiasts are eager to fill the void. Two new harvesting facilities in the state, an abundance of cheap feedstuffs and record-high fed cattle prices are the formula, and innovative beef cattle facilities are the solution, according to Patrick Wall. The Iowa State University Extension and Outreach beef program specialist said a three-location tour in southeast Iowa will provide a look at expansion options.

"The Iowa Beef Center, via the Beginning and Young Livestock Producer Network, is proud to host the free tour on Sept. 25," Wall said. "It begins near Albia with a stop at a pitted, covered feeding structure. We'll then travel to rural Oskaloosa to view a hoop and mono-slope structure side-by-side in operation. After the third stop at a new calving and cattle handling facility near Otley, we'll end with dinner at the Marion County Extension office in Knoxville."

The tour offers young producers looking at expanding their beef cattle enterprise the opportunity to check out these new structures and to ask questions of those doing chores in them every day, Wall said. The tour also will provide nutrition information, and materials that compare manure handling and value from the various facility types. An event brochure is available on the IBC website.

"This is a huge investment for young farmers, and anything we can do to help them limit risk and find the building that fits their labor and resources will benefit the industry in the long run," Wall said.

People are welcome to attend any or all of the stops, including dinner, at no charge, but preregistration is needed by Sept. 22. For more information or to preregister, contact Wall either by phone at 515-450-7665 or email

ASA Encourages Soybean Farmers to Safeguard Export Markets Through Proper Grain Stewardship

As the soybean and corn harvest hits full stride in much of the nation’s growing regions, the farmer-leaders of the American Soybean Association remind farmers to do their part by taking extra care to keep biotech traits that are not yet approved in key export markets out of normal grain marketing channels. For those soybean farmers that also produce corn, this includes keeping biotech corn traits that are not yet approved in China, such as MIR 162 and Duracade, out of normal commodity streams so that U.S. soybean shipments to China aren’t at risk of rejection due to the presence of unapproved corn traits.

“China is U.S. soy’s biggest customer, buying more U.S. soybeans than all other foreign customers combined,” said ASA President and Corning, Iowa, farmer Ray Gaesser. “With a record U.S. soybean crop ready for harvest, we need to ensure that U.S. soy exports aren’t disrupted. Farmers growing biotech corn traits that aren’t yet approved in China need to follow stewardship agreements carefully, ensure thorough equipment clean-out, and only market their grain in approved domestic channels.”

In the current marketing year, China has imported nearly one-third of all U.S. soybeans produced and U.S. soybean exports to China total over $14 billion.

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) has been working with Syngenta and reminds farmers about the need to keep Duracade technology out of export channels. NCGA also has urged farmers to recheck seed plots grown on their farms to verify the traits grown and to ensure that traits that are unapproved in China are stewarded to appropriate channels.

“As American farmers, we are particularly fortunate to work with so many innovative technology partners, each of whom provides us with revolutionary technology in the field. Unfortunately, some approval systems around the world, including China’s and the European Union’s, aren’t working as timely as we’d like,” said Gaesser. “Because of this, farmers have to take extra steps—especially now during the harvest season—to be sure that seed bearing these traits doesn’t find its way into their commodity grain loads. It’s also worth noting that the margin of error in this case is extraordinarily slim. Only a few kernels of corn with unapproved traits are more than enough to reject the entire shipment.”

The reminder comes following several export disruptions caused by the rejection of grain shipments in foreign markets upon the detection of unapproved biotechnology traits.

“We remain frustrated with the pace and murkiness of regulatory approvals in some of our export markets, but we also recognize that the rules are the rules in those markets, and we have to respect them. That means that we simply can’t send grain with traits that aren’t yet approved,” added Wade Cowan, a producer from Brownfield, Texas, and ASA’s first vice president. “Every necessary precaution needs to be taken by originating trait providers and seed companies, and then on our farms, at the elevators, at terminals and at ports, to prevent seed with unapproved traits from entering the supply chain. The longer term answer, of course, is a more efficient and transparent system of foreign approvals , and a global policy to allow for the low level presence of biotech traits that are fully approved in a producing market but not yet approved in an export market.”

ASA is working to improve the marketability of U.S. biotech crops both individually as an organization and in cooperation with other farm, trait, seed, grain, and grain processing organizations through the U.S. Biotech Crops Alliance.

NCGA Applauds USDA Deregulation of ENLIST Crops, Urges EPA Movement on Herbicide

The National Corn Growers Association applauds the U.S. Department of Agriculture's approval of Dow AgroSciences 2,4-D and glyphosate-resistant corn, a part of the ENLIST system. This approval, which will still require U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approval of the accompanying pesticide before the system comes to market, represents the first time in which USDA approved a crop modified to be resistant to more than one herbicide.

"Gaining approval for this important technology has been a long, hard fought battle," said NCGA Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team Chair Jim Zimmerman, a farmer from Rosendale, Wis. "It is important that farmers continue to gain access to the tools that they need in the field through a science-based, timely regulatory system. We look forward to similar results for other herbicide systems in the future."

The decision, which posted to the regulatory docket on Tuesday, states that USDA finds no issues with the release of the crop. USDA reached a determination of nonregulated status based on the findings of its Environmental impact statement and plant pest risk assessment.

Export Customers Commit to Buy $2.3 Billion of U.S. Soy

Buyers from China at the second-annual, soy-checkoff-funded U.S. Global Trade Exchange have agreed to buy $2.3 billion of U.S. soy totaling 176 million bushels of U.S. soybeans, marking the second consecutive year that the gathering has generated significant export sales for U.S. soybean farmers in their own backyard.

“This is very exciting news for U.S. soybean farmers,” says Jim Call, soybean farmer from Minnesota and United Soybean Board (USB) chairman. “This shows that we continue to meet the needs of our international customers, and they’ve certainly taken notice.”

The event – where foreign buyers gather in the heart of the American Soybean Belt to make deals and learn about U.S. soy – is co-sponsored by the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC), the Midwest Shippers Association and the American Soybean Association (ASA). It continues through Thursday, Sept. 18.

"This week is really a great example of the whole picture of U.S. soy's work with our export partners," says Randy Mann, USSEC chairman and soybean farmer from Kentucky. "Of course the new sales are a boon for farmers, but we're also laying groundwork for future sales by helping our current and prospective customers learn more about the sustainability and quality advantage of American soybeans."

During the event, international representatives will meet with U.S. soy farmer-leaders and will also attend a variety of presentations to learn about the sustainability and quality of U.S. soybeans.

"This event is a great opportunity for U.S. farmers to interface with our customers overseas," says Ray Gaesser, ASA president and soybean farmer from Iowa. "They continue to demand the soybeans we produce, and we continue to innovate to bring higher quality and better beans for them. The relationships we're strengthening here in Milwaukee are a huge part of why soybeans are the leaders in U.S. farm exports."

In the most recent marketing year, U.S. soybean farmers exported more than 1.7 billion bushels of U.S. soy to customers beyond our borders. The value of these exports set a record of more than $28 billion. Representatives from China committed to buy $2.8 billion worth of U.S. soy during last year’s U.S. Soy Global Trade Exchange in Davenport, Iowa.

US Ethanol Stocks at 1-1/2-Year High

The Energy Information Administration released data Wednesday showing ethanol inventories in the United States soared to a 1-1/2 year high last week, as domestic production rose to a four-week high while demand fell to a 4-1/2 month low.

The data detailed an 800,000 barrel (bbl), or 4.4%, spike in domestic stocks to 18.8 million bbl during the week-ended Sept. 12, the highest since the week-ended Mar. 1, 2013, with four of the nation's five regions seeing stock increases between 100,000 bbl and 300,000 bbl.

Plant production increased 4,000 barrels per day (bpd) last week to 931,000 bpd, the highest since mid-August, while 11.2% higher than a year prior. Four-week average output was up 11.0%.

Blender inputs, a proxy for ethanol demand, fell 4,000 bpd to 846,000 bpd last week, the lowest since the week-ended May 2, while up 4,000 bpd year-over-year.

ACE urges support for STB Reauthorization Act of 2014

Brian Jennings, Executive Vice President of the American Coalition of Ethanol (ACE) has sent a letter to the leaders of the Senate Commerce Committee urging support for S. 2777, the Surface Transportation Board Reauthorization Act of 2014.

Jennings says in the letter, “U.S. corn-based ethanol is the most economical transportation fuel in the world, and given its favorable blending economics and the Renewable Fuel Standard, ethanol is capable of comprising much more than its 10 percent share of U.S. gasoline use today.  But in order to do that, reliable and timely rail service is critical.”

“Unfortunately, during most of 2014, railroads have failed to provide reliable and timely service.  Logjams built-up this winter due to extreme cold and snow which reduced the speed and size of trains, and all year long it has appeared that railroads have provided favorable service to crude oil shipments at the expense of ethanol and agricultural commodities….”

“Many of ACE’s ethanol producer members are captive shippers and have reported chronic rail service disruptions this year, such as delayed tank car arrivals, insufficient tank cars received for ethanol off-take, loaded cars parked and overdue for power to arrive, and turn-around times that have doubled.  As a result, storage tanks at ethanol plants are full and many of our members have been forced to slow production or worse yet, shut down operations at a time when demand for ethanol is on the rise because of its low price and clean octane benefits.  To cope with unreliable rail service, some biorefineries have invested in additional storage or considered adding unit train capability, but it is hard to justify those investments without meaningful commitment by the railroads that service will improve.  Moreover, we are concerned that a record harvest of corn and soybeans this fall could make a bad situation on the rails even worse.”

“While S. 2777 does not comprehensively or immediately tackle all these problems, your legislation is an important step in the right direction because it will allow the STB to launch its own investigations and establish shorter timelines for the review of cases.”

Grains, Trains and Global Success

Bruce Blanton, Agricultural Marketing Service

Fall is harvest time and our rural communities are bustling with activity. For American soybean farmers the days start in the early dawn, and they stay until the last light is gone, tending fields that seem to stretch to the end of the world. But success for them relies on more than just growing a good crop. Their soybeans must also move efficiently from the fields to the far corners of the world.

Helping farmers understand the importance and impact of transportation trends is one of the services provided by USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). AMS helps growers and exporters by gathering agricultural transportation data for a wide array of publications that are available to everyone on our agricultural transportation website.

U.S. agricultural exports had a record-setting year in 2013, with U.S. agricultural exports reaching nearly $141 billion and supporting about a million U.S. jobs. Part of that success was the U.S. production cost advantage due to lower transportation costs. Now--although the U.S. is still the dominant country within the soybean market--our global market share is declining. This trend reflects the loss of our production cost advantage over countries like Brazil and Argentina.

Because of the impact it can have on the market, U.S. soybean farmers need to understand the transportation environment that links their fields to global markets. Any change in supply or demand can affect the transport system capacity. To help soybean producers understand the impacts of transportation trends, AMS recently released the study Eroding U.S. Soybean Competitiveness and Market Shares: What Is the Road Ahead?.

The results of the report suggest that the U.S. world market share could decline by 20 percentage points. The United States, Brazil, and Argentina market shares depend on each country's exporting capacity, which in turn depends on the transportation infrastructure. And in the case of the world soybean market--the competitiveness of ocean freight rates.

Understanding the transportation issues at home are equally as important and AMS provides transportation profiles for corn, wheat and soybeans. These reports examine the implications of the recent trends and the transportation outlook in the United States. More data on grain transport--including prices, deliveries, movements, sales, and freight rates--is available through market reports, such as the weekly Grain Transportation Report issued every Thursday.

USDA continues to promote U.S. trade and to help America's farmers and ranchers increase their productivity. Knowledge of the transportation environment is critical to our continued success and to expanding market opportunities for American agriculture.

USDA chief says urged Buffett to ready BNSF for record crops

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack met with Warren Buffett last week to urge the billionaire investor to make sure his BNSF railroad is ready for an expected record corn and soy harvest this year.

Vilsack said on Tuesday that Buffett, who heads the sprawling conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway, recognized the challenge and indicated his company was taking steps.

"I said, 'Warren, you've got to make sure that your railroad understands what's going on here,'" Vilsack said he told Buffett during a 45-minute conversation. "There is pressure now, but as soon as this crop is harvested, there will be more pressure."

Speaking at a conference sponsored by Growth Energy, a biofuel trade group, Vilsack said BNSF was making "significant" investments. "It's a long-term issue."

Backlogs along U.S. rail lines became a major concern for a number of commodities markets this year.

In June, for example, U.S. officials ordered BNSF and Canadian Pacific Railway Co to report their plans to clear a backlog of grain cars after months of service delays blamed on harsh winter weather and high freight demand.

BNSF is a unit of Berkshire Hathaway. The railroad, which was struggling from the Great Recession when Berkshire bought it for $26 billion in 2010, returned a $3.8 billion profit last year.

One major source of profit, oil by rail, has become controversial, with some commodities producers saying railroads, including BNSF, are prioritizing the shipments of crude at the expense of other cargo. This has been denied by BNSF.

Berkshire Hathaway did not immediately reply to a request for comment on Tuesday. Canadian Pacific also did not immediately reply to requests for comment.

Vilsack on Tuesday praised BNSF for its work to improve service for farmers this year.

"If we had made as much progress with Canadian Pacific, we'd be in a little bit better place than we are today," he said.

Daugaard Presented 2014 BIO Food & Agriculture Governor of the Year Award

The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) announced today that South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard was presented with its 2014 Food and Agriculture Governor of the Year Award in recognition of his leadership and commitment to strengthening the agricultural and livestock biotechnology industries within South Dakota.

Governor Daugaard received the award at today’s BIO Livestock Biotech Summit, held at the Sioux Falls Convention Center.

“Supporting agricultural biotechnology innovation is not just key to growing South Dakota’s economy and creating more jobs, but it unlocks the door to important medical, food production, animal health and renewable energy advances that will ultimately benefit us all,” said Governor Daugaard. “I am proud to say companies across the biotechnology spectrum have taken notice of what we are doing in South Dakota and have decided to put down roots with us. I am honored to receive this acknowledgement of South Dakota’s commitment to fostering growth in the biosciences, and our state’s support of innovations that help heal, fuel and feed the world.”

“Thanks to the leadership of Governor Daugaard, South Dakota is emerging as a world leader in agriculture biotechnology, especially in the growing field of animal biotechnology,” said Jim Greenwood, President and CEO of BIO.  "Under his leadership, support for research and development in the area has yielded scientific advances such as animals engineered to produce human models of disease or produce antibodies and other human health therapies to treat life-threatening diseases.  The state is also home to research involving animal health studies, seed technology, bioenergy and biofuels production."

“Governor Daugaard has always been a pro-business advocate for initiatives that support the unique needs of early-stage companies," said Joni Johnson, Executive Director of the South Dakota Biotech.  "By attracting and supporting industry growth and university research, he has been a driving force behind our growing state-wide biotech community.  We thank him for his support, both in his current leadership position and through his seventeen years of service to citizens of South Dakota!”

Cargill to Close Memphis Corn Milling Facility

Cargill will close its Memphis corn milling facility, which employs approximately 440 people, 120 being contract employees, effective January 2015.

The closure of the facility results primarily from the underutilization of the Memphis plant and its location away from the corn belt. The corn oil refinery will remain open and operate as a standalone facility to continue to serve customers.

For the employees impacted at the plant, Cargill will be offering opportunities to fill positions at other company locations in the region.

Those who relocate to positions at other Cargill facilities will receive assistance. For displaced employees, Cargill will provide support including interview and resume writing training, severance packages and the opportunity to attend career fairs.

"The decision to close our Memphis corn milling facility was made only after a careful examination of the current business situation and we examined all other possible options," said Julian Chase, president of Cargill Corn Milling based in Minneapolis. "This was a difficult decision to make because we have an excellent team of employees in Memphis. It is unfortunate that we must close any plant because of the impact to good people, their families and the community."

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tuesday September 16 Ag News

Childproof Your Farm
Debra E. Schroeder, UNL Extension Educator, Cuming County

Any time can be the right time to child-proof your farm—even if it’s in the middle of the busy time on the farm.  About 300 children die on American farms.  For the most part, deaths can be avoided simply by detecting and eliminating potential hazards. 

Carol Lehtola, Agriculture Safety and Health Specialist at the University of Florida, pulled the following examples from a 2009 Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health report:
·    A 7-year-old girl, playing on the spike of a hay fork stored in the yard of her family home, died when the 300-lb. fork tipped over, pinning her beneath it.
·    A two hour search for a 4-year old ended when she was found pinned under a trailer that had been leaning against a building.
·    Four-year-old twins were playing while their dad filled his truck’s LP gas converter tank.  One of the tykes picked up a cattle prod and zapped the tank, causing an explosion that severely burned both twins.

Simple precautions would have prevented these deaths and injuries. Keeping a tool like the cattle prod out of reach would have prevented the scars the twins will carry for life.  And properly securing the day fork and the trailer would have kept them from toppling onto fragile bodies.

To keep tragedies from occurring, families should conduct a safety audit on their farms.  A farm is a fascinating place for children.  There are barns and sheds to explore, fields to roam and animals to investigate.  Children also are eager to ride with dad on tractors.

“Families should walk through the farmstead, shops and barns, and identify hazardous situations, then change the way equipment and material are handled, with the idea of minimizing dangers to children.”

Analyzing close calls is also good exercise.  “Determine the factors that were responsible for near-miss and learn from the experience.”

Get Down!

Parents and grandparents are reminded that children see the world from a lower vantage point that adults.  “Get down on your hands and knees so you can see hazards that may be apparent when you’re standing.”  As you childproof your farm, keep these suggestions in mind:
·    Horizontal bars invite kids to climb.
·    If an item must be stored by leaning it against a wall, provide anchors and supports.
·    Lock silos and bins.
·    Fence off hazardous areas.
·    Remove keys from equipment and keep them out of reach.
·    Keep hydraulic equipment in a down position.
·    Lock brakes on equipment.
·    Store hand tools and power tools out of reach.
·    Place tires flat on the ground.  If stored upright, be sure they are chained to a wall.  Tractor tires can weigh 1,200 lb. to 1,500 lb.
·    Keep pesticides, fertilizers and other toxic substances in the original containers.  The label has first-aid procedures.
·    Keep chemicals on high shelves in a locked area.
·    Never leave toxic products unattended during use.
·    Never allow children to play in grain, ride in grain wagons or enter bins or hoppers.  A child can be completely covered with grain in 10 to 15 seconds.

Searching for hazards around the farm is only the beginning.  You must correct the dangers you find.

Beef Checkoff Reaches Out to Fitness Professionals

In conjunction with the annual IDEA World Fitness Convention in Anaheim, Calif., the beef checkoff conducted activities for influential fitness professionals who reach older millennial parents and have strong potential to be beef advocates. In August, fitness professionals attended a “Throw Down with Beef” cooking demo challenging Executive Chef Dave Zino to answer their questions about making beef easy, nutritious and delicious for their clients. Chef Dave focused on portion sizes and cooking techniques and the audience was provided with educational materials to reference and to share with clients. Later that day, fitness industry leaders were invited to an exclusive educational reception and beef dinner where they heard from registered dietitian, Leslie Schilling, who spoke on myths/realities tied to beef nutrition in addition to hearing from checkoff funded researcher, Heather Leidy who shared the latest on protein science. The hashtag #KnowYourBeef was used during both the cooking demo and reception so attendees could share their learnings on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

The project created visibility and presented learning opportunities at the largest national gathering of fitness professionals in the country. The IDEA World Fitness Convention was attended by more than 14,000 fitness professionals from across the U.S.

More than 17,000 impressions were generated on Instagram and between the cooking demo and educational reception, more than 70,000 Twitter impressions were tracked using the #KnowYourBeef hashtag.

Attendees of the educational reception said their opinion of beef as a simple and nutritious source of protein was more positive and that their opinion about beef’s impact on the environment was also more positive.

AFBF Leads Delegation to Reduce Trade Barriers Abroad

American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman is leading a delegation of the organization’s leaders to Europe this week to discuss efforts to increase trade through comprehensive agreements that would reduce, if not eliminate, government-imposed barriers to agricultural trade.

“Regulatory barriers, particularly those not grounded in scientific standards, have limited the flow of agricultural trade between the U.S. and EU markets for too long,” AFBF President Bob Stallman said.

The American Farm Bureau Trade Advisory Committee, chaired by Minnesota Farm Bureau President Kevin Paap, will meet with World Trade Organization Director General Roberto Azevedo, as well as with the WTO director of agriculture and commodities, and trade ambassadors from Brazil, Japan, Australia, India, China and Canada.

Following the meeting in Geneva, the group will travel to Brussels to meet with EU officials to discuss the Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership. The TTIP negotiations aim to expand the world’s largest commercial relationship with $1 trillion of trade in goods and services annually and $3.7 trillion in two-way direct investment between the United States and EU member nations. The U.S. exported $12 billion in agricultural products to the EU in 2013 while the EU exported $17.3 billion in agricultural products to the U.S.

“U.S. farmers and ranchers are ready for commitments that result in real actions to open market access and limit trade disruptions,” Stallman said. Before the U.S. considers reductions in or limitations on domestic support for U.S. agriculture, negotiations must yield an important net gain for U.S. farmers and ranchers through commitments on market access and on trade-distorting policies by our trading partners.

Other members of the Farm Bureau trade delegation include: Nevada Farm Bureau President Hank Combs, Texas Farm Bureau President Kenneth Dierschke, Montana Farm Bureau President Bob Hanson, Iowa Farm Bureau President Craig Hill, Wyoming Farm Bureau President Perry Livingston and Arkansas Farm Bureau President Randy Veach.

NCGA Testifies on Importance of Biotechnology at GMO Hearing

Ohio corn grower John Linder, a member of the National Corn Growers Association's Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team, testified before  a committee of the National Research Council (NRC) on the importance of innovation and biotechnology to agricultural production during  a hearing Monday. The hearing, which was held in Washington, was part of a broader review of crop biotechnology.

"Farmers take pride in producing food not only for American families but also for our own," Linder testified. "Modern biotechnology provides American farmers with safe and sustainable ways to protect our crops, allowing us to continue producing the safest, most reliable food supply in the world."

Linder, who grows both genetically modified and non-genetically modified crops, spoke with committee members about the impact he had personally witnessed growing biotech crops on his farm.

"We are dry land farmers. I can say with confidence that my dad would be shocked at the production we get in years where we have minimal rainfall," Linder explained.  "Genetics and biotechnology have had a big impact on water usage and the use of herbicides. We really do practice sustainability."

Linder was the only farmer to provide testimony. Other speakers voiced concern about the need for an independent government review of GMO crops, weed and insect resistance to GMO crops, cross-contamination of GMO and non-GMO fields, and consolidation of global seed supply.

Linder noted that biotechnology will play a significant role in feeding the growing world population.

"If we really are going to have the population growth expected, we need these products to get us there so that we can meet the world's needs. I think biotech is going to be key to that."

The NRC is the operating arm of the National Academy of Sciences, a Congressionally-chartered nonprofit providing science, technology and health policy advice to the government. The GMO study is partially sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and will be completed in 2016.

Committee members working on the study include scientists specializing in ecology, genetics and crop health from several public universities, as well as experts from nongovernmental organizations including the International Food Policy Research Institute and The Nature Conservancy.

NCGA Finds Progress on CARB Corn Ethanol Scores, But Room for Improvement Remains

The National Corn Growers Association submitted comments on the updated carbon intensity (CI) scores being considered for the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard Program to the California Air Resources Board this week. The comments, which related specifically to the direct CI scores, follow comments NCGA submitted in March pertaining to the preliminary indirect CI scores assigned to corn ethanol.

In a short letter from NCGA President Martin Barbre, the association explained that, while it was pleased to see the preliminary scores ethanol received for carbon intensity using the new lifecycle analysis model, much scientific data supporting the benefits of ethanol has yet to be incorporated.

"We are pleased to see the preliminary CI scores from the new GREET have decreased for corn ethanol," Barbre said in the letter. "However, we feel there is much scientific data that has been collected and peer-reviewed and should be reflected in these calculations. Without having the actual model available to evaluate, namely, CA-GREET 2.0, it is difficult to delineate our suggestions."

Notably, the preliminary scores CARB presented during an August 22 meeting for ethanol made with the co-products of dry and wet distillers grains showed a 15 and 16 percent reduction respectively. At the same time, the preliminary scores assigned to many other fuels, such as compressed natural gas, increased.

The comments noted that NCGA looks forward to CARB's release of the new model and to providing input on the assumptions and data used in the calculation of corn ethanol scores.

Chinese Crushing Companies Agree to Buy $2.3 Billion of Beans

Chinese soybean crushing companies signed agreements to purchase 4.8 million metric tons of soybeans, or 176 million bushels, for a total of $2.3 billion dollars on Monday afternoon.

Ten Chinese crushing companies signed 21 purchasing contracts and agreements with eight U.S. grain companies during a contract signing ceremony that helped open the U.S. Soy Global Trade Exchange, a joint annual meeting of the U.S. Soybean Export Council and Midwest Shippers Association being held this week in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Two other high-profile conferences will focus on export markets and relationships over the next six weeks, including one hosted by the U.S. Grains Council and another by HighQuest Partners.

CWT Assists with 2.1 Million Pounds of Cheese and Whole Milk Powder Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 12 requests for export assistance from Dairy Farmers of America, Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold), Michigan Milk Producers Association and Tillamook County Creamery Association to sell 692,252 pounds (314 metric tons) of Cheddar and Gouda cheese and 1.422 million pounds (645 metric tons) of whole milk powder to customers in Asia, the Middle East, and South America. The product will be delivered September 2014 through March 2015.

Year-to-date, CWT has assisted member cooperatives in selling 86.203 million pounds of cheese, 48.188 million pounds of butter and 33.171 million pounds of whole milk powder to 43 countries on six continents. These sales are the equivalent of 2.122 billion pounds of milk on a milkfat basis.

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

SYNOVEX CHOICE Approved for Heifers

Implant for beef cattle helps improve feedlot performance

Zoetis announced that SYNOVEX CHOICE® is approved for use in feedlot heifers. The implant helps increase average daily gain and improve feed efficiency in heifers, and it helps increase gain in feedlot steers.

For more than 12 years, SYNOVEX CHOICE has helped optimize weight gain in feedlot steers through the 10:1 ratio of trenbolone acetate (TBA) to estradiol-17B (E2).1 The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for use in heifers means feedlot managers can use the same implant for all cattle.

“SYNOVEX CHOICE helps simplify feedlot implant programs because it is approved for steers and heifers and can be used in calf-fed or yearling cattle,” said Blaine Corners, PhD, beef cattle nutritionist with Zoetis. “Now, processing crews no longer have to worry about keeping separate inventory for males and females. They also do not need to manage two guns chute-side — the SX10 applicator is all they will need, so it is more convenient to work cattle.”

The SX10 applicator — which can be used to administer all SYNOVEX® implant formulations — features an exclusive retractable needle that helps ensure consistent, accurate administration of SYNOVEX CHOICE. Preventing crushed, bunched or dropped implants can help maximize the return of implanted cattle.

“Feedlot managers are seeing unprecedented cattle prices so they are looking at every opportunity to maximize performance while those animals are in the feedlot,” Corners explained. “SYNOVEX CHOICE can help feedlots add even more value — $60 to $68 per head in steers and $52 per head in heifers.”

SYNOVEX CHOICE is the first beef-cattle implant to face additional scrutiny by the FDA about its impact on the environment. Through research and in-depth environmental modeling, Zoetis examined exposure to and the direct impact of TBA, estradiol benzoate and their metabolites. After reviewing results of those studies, the FDA concluded that SYNOVEX CHOICE is not expected to have a significant impact on the environment, including waterways, air, plants or aquatic species, when used according to label directions.

Smithfield Foods Launches Three-Part 'Sustainability Stories'

Those interested in how a multibillion-dollar company became a global leader in sustainable food production will want to check out Smithfield's new series of sustainability stories. The first of three web-based stories was launched today on, the company announced.

Through these multimedia sustainability stories, Smithfield invites visitors to meet the some of the architects of the company's sustainability program, including Larry Pope, president and chief executive officer.

This first module includes Pope's candid insights and stories regarding the importance of sustainability to the company. Through a video interview, Pope reminds viewers that sustainability is nothing new to Smithfield.

"Smithfield Foods now is well into the second decade of incorporating sustainability throughout every aspect of our business," Pope said. "It is ingrained in our culture."

The story also features Dennis Treacy, the company's chief sustainability officer who shares how Smithfield Foods makes decisions every day that work toward protecting the environment, caring for animals, the safety and quality of Smithfield's products, the company's employees, and the communities where the company operates.

One of the more unique characteristics of Smithfield Foods is the strong tie the company still holds to Smithfield, Virginia--the community in which the company was founded and still calls home.

"Our reach may be global, but we still behave like a small company from a small town," Pope said. He also pointed out that Smithfield Foods is committed to being a member of every community it touches, from Smithfield, Va., to its facilities around the world.

In addition, the company has grown its commitment towards employees, food safety, animal care, the environment and value creation over the years, reporting its challenges and progress. It was acknowledged recently by as the first place winner in the "Openness & Honesty" category for its integrated reporting.

The second story, scheduled to launch in October, will highlight Ashley DeDecker, Ph.D., who works at Murphy-Brown LLC, a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods. Currently serving as the assistant director of production research, Ashley has dedicated her career to animal care and welfare and has received several awards for her efforts, including the National Pork Board Swine Innovation Award in 2011.

The third story, scheduled to launch in December, features Kinesha Allen, environmental manager for Smithfield-Farmland. Her role consists of a broad range of environmental responsibilities with specific emphases on Environmental Management Systems (EMS) and facility inspections. She even has designed award-winning environmental community outreach programs.

Smithfield believes that sustainability is a journey, not a destination, and corporations must continually strive to exceed what is expected of them. This belief is ingrained in the culture and operations at Smithfield Foods. These sustainability stories help share Smithfield's journey, introduce the people who create this culture and further their commitment to transparent and engaging communication.

Monday, September 15, 2014

September 15 Crop Progress & Condition Reports - NE - IA - US

NEBRASKA CROP PROGRESS - Corn & Soybeans Mature Within One Percent of Normal

For  the week ending September 14, 2014, below normal  temperatures coupled  with  rain  in  the  east  and  light  snow  in  western  portions  of  the  State  slowed  fieldwork  activities, according  to  the  USDA’s  National  Agricultural  Statistics  Service.   Moisture  accumulations  across  the southeastern third of the state were an inch or more with lesser amounts elsewhere.  Frost was recorded during the week.  Winter wheat  seeding continued  in western counties.  The number of days  considered  suitable  for fieldwork were 3.8.  Topsoil moisture supplies rated 3 percent very short, 19 short, 71 adequate, and 7 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 8 percent very short, 24 short, 65 adequate, and 3 surplus.
Field Crops Report:

Corn  conditions  rated  2  percent  very  poor,  6  poor,  19  fair,  51  good,  and  22  excellent.    Corn  dented  was  88 percent, equal  to  last year, but behind 92 average. Corn mature was 29 percent, ahead of 14  last year, but near 28 average.

Soybean conditions rated 2 percent very poor, 5 poor, 20 fair, 54 good, and 19 excellent.   Soybeans dropping leaves was 25 percent, behind 33 last year, but near 26 average.

Sorghum conditions rated 2 percent very poor, 5 poor, 32 fair, 39 good, and 22 excellent. Sorghum coloring was 89 percent, ahead of 81 last year and 76 average. Sorghum mature was 10 percent, ahead of 3 last year, but near 8 average. 

Alfalfa hay conditions rated 2 percent very poor, 6 poor, 28 fair, 52 good, and 12 excellent.  Alfalfa hay fourth cutting was 40 percent complete, ahead of 34 last year, but behind 47 average.

Winter wheat planted was 26 percent, ahead of 20 last year, but near 27 for the five-year average.
Livestock,  Pasture  and  Range  Report: 

Pasture  and  range  conditions  rated  5  percent  very  poor,  8  poor,  33 fair, 46 good, and 8 excellent.  Stock water supplies rated 1 percent very short, 5 short, 91 adequate, and 3 surplus. 

Access the National publication for Crop Progress and Condition tables at:

Access  the  High  Plains  Region  Climate  Center  for  Temperature  and  Precipitation  Maps  at:

Access the U.S. Drought Monitor at:

IOWA CROP PROGRESS - Corn 11 Days Behind Normal, Soybeans Lag by Four Days

Heavy rains restricted fieldwork  to only 2.6 days suitable across Iowa during  the week ending September 14, 2014, according  to  the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service.  Average temperatures for the week  were  below  normal,  slowing  crop  development.    Frost  was reported across much of  the state but caused  little damage. Activities for  the  week  included  chopping  silage,  harvesting  hay,  and  seeding cover crops.
Yet  another  week  of  above  normal  precipitation  increased  soil moisture  levels  across  the  state.   Topsoil  moisture  rated  0 percent very  short,  4 percent  short,  76 percent  adequate,  and  20 percent surplus.  Subsoil moisture levels rated 1 percent very short, 8 percent short, 79 percent adequate, and 12 percent surplus. 
Iowa’s  corn  crop  reached  83  percent  in  or  beyond  the  dent  stage, 5 days  ahead  of  the  previous  year  but  4  days  behind  the  five-year average.  Nineteen  percent  of  the  corn  acreage  was  mature,  3  days ahead  of  last  year  but  11  days  behind  normal.    Unchanged  from previous 2 weeks, 76 percent of the corn acreage was reported in good to  excellent  condition. 

Leaves  were  changing  color  on  fifty-one percent of soybean crop, 4 days ahead of the previous year, but 4 days behind average.   Seventy-four percent of  the  soybean acreage was  in good to excellent condition.

The  third  cutting  of  alfalfa  hay was  71 percent  complete,  just  over 2 weeks  behind  both  last  year  and  the  five-year  average.   Pasture condition  rated  66 percent  good  to  excellent.    Reports  indicated  hay conditions  were  wet  with  concerns  that  a  third  cutting  may  not  be completed.


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

Iowa endured a very cool and wet week.       Frost was scattered across much  of  the  state  on  Saturday  (13th)  morning  with  official temperatures  dipping  to  31  degrees  at  Elkader,  Estherville,  Mason City, Sheldon, Sioux Center, Stanley and Webster City.     These were the  lowest  temperatures  recorded  in  Iowa  for  so  early  in  the  season since a 29 degree reading near Elkader on September 10, 1976.   Also of note were  torrential  rains over portions of  the southern one-half of the  state  between  Tuesday  (9th)  morning  and  Wednesday  (10th) morning.   Additionally,  light  to moderate  rain  fell  across  all  but  far southwestern  Iowa  on  Monday  (8th)  with  statewide  light  rain  from Thursday (11th) night  into Friday (12th) morning.     Weekly rain  totals varied  from  0.38 inches  at  Estherville  to  5.65  inches  at  Hartford (Warren Co.).     The  statewide  average  precipitation was  2.26  inches while  normal  for  the  week  is  0.82  inches.      This  was  the  fourth consecutive wetter than normal week.   The statewide average month-to-date rainfall has already exceeded  the normal  for  the entire month.   Temperatures were below normal excepting a brief warm period from Monday  afternoon  through  Tuesday.      Sidney  recorded  the  highest temperature  with  a  high  of  85 degrees  on Monday.      Temperatures were  far  below  normal  from  Thursday  through  the  weekend  with daytime highs only  in  the  forties  in many areas on Friday.     Overall, temperatures for the week averaged 9.0 degrees below normal.

USDA Weekly Crop Progress - Corn 4% Harvested

Four percent of the nation's corn crop was harvested as of Sunday, Sept. 14, according to NASS' first reporting of corn harvest numbers in its weekly Crop Progress report Monday. That's on par with last year but behind the five-year average of 9%.

USDA said that 82% of corn was dented, up from 79% a year ago, but down from the five-year average of 85%. Twenty-seven percent of corn was considered mature, up from 20% a year ago, but down from the five-year average of 39%.

Twenty-four percent of soybeans are dropping leaves, the same as a year ago, but down from the five-year average of 32%.

Spring wheat was 74% harvested, down from 89% a year ago and down from the five-year average of 86%.

USDA also said that 12% of the winter wheat crop has been planted, up from 11% a year ago and also above the five-year average of 11%.