Thursday, January 23, 2014

Thursday January 23 Ag News

Nebraska Corn Executive Hutchens Announces Retirement, Brunkhorst Selected in Succession

Don Hutchens has announced his retirement as executive director of the Nebraska Corn Board effective July 30, 2014, leaving a position that he has held for 27 years. In discussions on Hutchens’ announcement, succession planning and options, the board of directors has interviewed and selected Kelly Brunkhorst to succeed him. Brunkhorst currently serves as director of research for the Nebraska Corn Board.

A native of Geneva, Nebr., Hutchens received his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1970. He was engaged in full-time farming and livestock production for 14 years before beginning his career in agricultural leadership. He continues to serve as owner and manager of a crop production operation and feeds cattle. He and his wife Donna have two adult children; Kate Boos, MD, Family Practice physician in Kearney and Jerad, a district sales manager for GSI Group, LLC.

In 1985, Don was named assistant director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, eventually serving as director during 1986. He was selected as executive director of the Nebraska Corn Board in 1987.

Hutchens’ involvement and leadership within the corn industry and agriculture has been widespread and varied. He is a graduate of the first LEAD (Leadership, Education, Action and Development) class in Nebraska, which included an ag study mission to Asia. He received the Outstanding Alumni award from LEAD in 1991. He was named to Nebraska Agricultural Hall of Achievement in 1992. In 2012, Don was recognized by US Grains Council for 25 years of service. He also served 6 years on National Corn Growers Association’s Biotech Working Group. He serves as the Corn Board representative on the Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska (A-FAN).

“Don has been a selfless and dedicated advocate and spokesman for Nebraska agriculture for nearly three decades and everyone associated with Nebraska agriculture owes him a huge debt of gratitude,” said Tim Scheer, chairman of Nebraska Corn Board, from St. Paul, Nebr. “We wish him the best as he transitions to the next phase of his life and career—and we fully expect to continue seeing Don engaged and involved in promoting Nebraska agriculture in the years to come.”

His volunteer involvement has included board membership and leadership positions with Lincoln YMCA, Nebraska 4-H Foundation, Nebraska FFA Foundation, Agriculture Builders of Nebraska, Agriculture Committee of the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce and serving on the Campaign Cabinet for the Nebraska Centennial Mall project. He was also a mentor in the Teammates Mentoring program.

Hutchens accompanied National Corn Growers Association representatives in the final round of GATT talks held in Brussels, Belgium, in December 1990. He has made presentations in Russia, the European Union, Guatemala, Mexico, Colombia, Taiwan and Japan.

During his time as executive director of the Nebraska Corn Board, Hutchens has been a strong voice for not only the corn industry, but the entire agriculture industry. He has promoted a number of collaborative efforts involving crop, livestock and biofuels interests in Nebraska, nationally and internationally.

“There are no better people to work for than Nebraska farmers and ranchers, and I have truly enjoyed my years with the Nebraska Corn Board,” Hutchens said. “It has been a privilege to serve the industry I love, and I cherish the friendships that I have forged during my career. I am very supportive of the board’s selection of Kelly Brunkhorst and I truly believe that Nebraska’s corn checkoff program is in very good hands. His solid base of economics, research, production and sustainability of our industry, not to mention sound judgment, makes him a natural selection. He not only has the respect of our board and staff, but also that of the other states’ and the national cooperators.”

Brunkhorst was raised on a diversified farm and ranch operation south of Wauneta, Nebr. He graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a bachelor’s degree in mechanized systems management and business. Upon graduation, he managed a feed mill for a private swine operation in north central Nebraska. He then became a district sales manager for Crow’s Hybrid Corn Company before becoming the vice-president of operations and education for the Nebraska Grain & Feed Association.

He joined the staff of the Nebraska Corn Board in 2004 and his responsibilities included research, grant writing, seed industry and first purchaser relations, and leadership on issues related to transportation, industrial uses of corn, domestic and international markets. He has also represented the board on national research, production and stewardship committees, in addition to being chosen to participate in two national strategic planning initiatives.

He, and his wife Carey, have two sons, Seth and Alex.

“Kelly has proven to be a thorough and dedicated advocate for Nebraska corn farmers and he is extremely well qualified to lead Nebraska’s corn checkoff program,” Scheer said. “Agriculture and the corn industry are in a period of tremendous change and challenge—and our board felt it was critically important to ensure continuity in the leadership of the program and leverage the institutional knowledge that Kelly has gained to the advantage of Nebraska’s corn farmers. Kelly also understands the unique structure and environment of Nebraska’s corn checkoff. We are exceedingly pleased he has accepted the offer to serve as executive director.”

“I am humbled and honored to be selected to serve Nebraska’s corn farmers as executive director of their checkoff,” Brunkhorst said. “We have a great team on staff and I look forward to working with them, our board, other corn producing states, in-state and national cooperators, and all of Nebraska agriculture to strengthen and build upon the foundation that Don has established.”


Bruce Anderson, UNL Extension Forage Specialist

Ponds and creeks often dry up.  If you use them to water your cattle, maybe it is time to develop a more reliable water source.

Many ponds and creeks dry up during dry weather.  Maybe rain will replenish them this spring, but shouldn’t you ask yourself “is this the best way to water my cattle during summer?”  This might be a good time to develop more wells or pipelines to reliably put water into tanks.

Tank water can be cooler and offer easier access than ponds or creeks.   It often is healthier for cattle, and they usually prefer it to ponds or creeks.  When cows walk into ponds and creeks, they stir mud and sediments into the water and often deposit animal wastes.  No wonder calves consistently choose tank water over ponds when given a choice!

Investing in tanks probably will actually pay for itself.  Reports from Montana, Oregon, Canada, and elsewhere show that the higher water quality found in tanks can increase cattle gains.  Calves can weigh an extra 50 pounds at weaning when tank water is available instead of dirty ponds.  Yearling steers can gain an extra three to four tenths of a pound per day.  With this much added performance, pumping water out of ponds, creeks, or wells and into tanks can pay off in just a few years.  And if it’s a question of having water or not having water, the payoff is even more immediate.

In addition, pumping water into tanks usually improves grazing distribution by attracting cattle to graze areas near the tanks instead of spending time standing in or around the ponds or creek.  This can increase your pasture’s carrying capacity or grazing season.

Think of it — better grazing, higher gains, and reliable water.  So much to gain and so little to lose.

UNL Extension to Host Precision Ag Workshops

January 29th, 2014, Fairgrounds Building, Clay Center, Nebraska
January 30th, 2014, 4-H Building, York County, Nebraska

This day-long training event will focus on one of the most valuable data layers that we have to work with in Precision Agriculture: Yield Data. This workshop will combine short lectures with hands-on activities (laptops will be supplied) with yield data using AgLeader’s SMS software. Data will be supplied; if attendees wish to bring a yield monitor data card with their own yield data, that will work out as well. We will discuss some Best Management Practices (BMPs) that can improve yield data quality and ease of collection. Yield Editor software (free from the USDA) will also be demonstrated for removing some errors from previously collected data. The final portion of the workshop will focus on creating yield maps, observing differences between raw and clean yield data, and how to quantify crop yield (bu/ac) within field zones. The information presented in this workshop represents a collaborative extension effort focusing on Precision Agriculture Technology and Data Management from multiple universities.

8:00 AM    Registration
8:30 AM    Welcome & Introductions
8:45 AM    Yield Monitoring Systems
9:30 AM    Break
9:45 AM    Yield Data Collection BMPs
10:30 AM    Loading Yield Data into AgLeader SMS
11:15 AM    Why Yield Data Cleaning is Important
12:00 PM    Lunch
1:00 PM    Using the Yield Editor Software from USDA
2:00 PM    Importing the Clean Yield Data into AgLeader SMS
2:30 PM    Break and Discussions
3:00 PM    Generating Grid or Contour Yield Maps and Comparing the Data
4:00 PM    Comparison Analyses using AgLeader SMS
5:00 PM    Adjourn

NeATA Conference Feb. 5-6

The Nebraska Agricultural Technology Association (NEATA) conference will be held February 5-6 in Grand Island at the Midtown Holiday Inn Conference Center. A Variable Rate Technology Symposium on Feb. 5 will feature speakers from Lindsay, Veris, CropMetrics, Monsanto, South Dakota State University, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. During the main conference on Feb. 6, attendees will be able to select from multiple concurrent sessions on state of the art agricultural technologies and take part in a session on the Broadband Initiative in Nebraska. Featured speakers will include Daryl Starr of Advanced Ag Solutions and Dr. Chris Neale from the Daugherty Water for Food Institute and University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Register online at for either or both days. For more information, contact Joe Luck, University of Nebraska–Lincoln precision ag engineer, at 402-472-1488

Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City at IFBF Margin Series

To assist farmers with farm management decisions, the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) is hosting a webinar Jan. 28 at 1:00 p.m. to highlight key factors that will have an impact on farm profit and risk in 2014. With crop margins expected to shrink and livestock margins uncertain, this timely informational webinar will provide insight into the drivers of risk in 2014.

The webinar, 'Has the Pendulum Swung on U.S. Agriculture?' will be presented by Nathan Kauffman, assistant vice president and Omaha branch executive of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. Kauffman will present on topics such as crop and livestock profit projections for 2014, the drivers of farmland value and whether it's overvalued, market effects from export demand from China, and many more.

Farmers can access the webinar from their home or farm office by going to, clicking on the webinar banner and entering the forum as a guest on the day of the event. Pre-registration is not required for online viewing. Participants will have the opportunity to text questions to the speaker during the webinar

"Today's farmers face numerous challenges, and many factors contribute to farm management decisions," said Ed Kordick, IFBF commodity services manager. "Each year is unique and different, and we look forward to providing our members expert analysis and outlook for 2014 and beyond."

For more information, contact Kordick at

South Dakota Records Lowest Ever TB Cases

South Dakota reported just nine cases of tuberculosis (TB) in 2013, the lowest number ever recorded in the state.

"TB control has long been a public health challenge -- in 1950 there were 512 TB cases reported and there were two active TB hospitals in the state," said Lon Kightlinger, state epidemiologist for the Department of Health. "Today's low numbers represent literally decades of hard work by public health and the private medical community."

Kightlinger attributed the low case numbers to an aggressive state TB control program. State law requires that all suspected cases of TB be reported to the department, which screens those at risk for TB and conducts active surveillance to promptly identify cases. The agency ensures that those with the disease complete the full course of medication, which can be nine months or more.

The program works hard to keep TB infections from breaking down into active disease. Kightlinger explained that there is a difference between TB infection and active TB disease. TB infection results in a positive TB skin test but there are no symptoms of TB and no TB organisms found in the sputum. In contrast, active TB disease is characterized by symptoms and the presence of TB organisms in the sputum. Only those with active disease spread TB germs. TB may last for a lifetime as an infection and never develop into active disease.

TB is a bacterial disease usually affecting the lungs. Prolonged exposure to TB germs is normally necessary for infection to occur.

Commercial Red Meat Production Up From Last Year

Commercial red meat production for the United States totaled 4.14 billion pounds in December, up 3 percent from the 4.00 billion pounds produced in December 2012.

Beef production, at 2.05 billion pounds, was 1 percent above the previous year. Cattle slaughter totaled 2.56 million head, up 1 percent from December 2012. The average live weight was up 9 pounds from the previous year, at 1,333 pounds.

Veal production totaled 9.8 million pounds, 1 percent above December a year ago. Calf slaughter totaled 66,500 head, up 2 percent from December 2012. The average live weight was down 2 pounds from last year, at 252 pounds.

Pork production totaled 2.07 billion pounds, up 6 percent from the previous year. Hog slaughter totaled 9.74 million head, up 3 percent from December 2012. The average live weight was up 7 pounds from the previous year, at 283 pounds.

Lamb and mutton production, at 13.2 million pounds, was up 3 percent from December 2012. Sheep slaughter totaled 202,500 head, 7 percent above last year. The average live weight was 130 pounds, down 5 pounds from December a year ago.

January to December 2013 commercial red meat production was 49.2 billion pounds, down 1 percent from 2012. Accumulated beef production was down 1 percent from last year, veal was down 6 percent, pork was down slightly from last year, and lamb and mutton production was down slightly.

State By State   (million pounds, % LY)

Nebraska ...:           607.7            105      
Iowa ..........:           573.5            105      
Kansas .....:            415.6            101      

Weekly Ethanol Production for 1/17/2014

According to EIA data, ethanol production averaged 905,000 barrels per day (b/d)—or 38.01 million gallons daily. That is up 37,000 b/d from the week before. The four-week average for ethanol production stood at 902,000 b/d for an annualized rate of 13.83 billion gallons.

Stocks of ethanol stood at 17.0 million barrels. That is a 5.8% increase from last week.

Imports of ethanol remained at zero b/d for the 16th straight week.

Gasoline demand for the week averaged 338.5 million gallons daily.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production was 11.23%.

On the co-products side, ethanol producers were using 13.722 million bushels of corn to produce ethanol and 101,001 metric tons of livestock feed, 90,043 metric tons of which were distillers grains. The rest is comprised of corn gluten feed and corn gluten meal. Additionally, ethanol producers were providing 4.71 million pounds of corn oil daily.

NCGA Thanks Members of Congress for Ethanol Support

The following is a statement from National Corn Growers Association President Martin Barbre on Senate and House letters to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, stressing the importance of preserving the Renewable Fuel Standard:

“We thank the senators and representatives who have stood up for American agriculture and the importance of domestic, renewable ethanol. Slashing the amount of ethanol in our nation’s fuel supply at this time is a big mistake, sure to drive up gas prices for all consumers and harm the rural economy by driving the price of corn below the cost of production. It’s great to see a bipartisan group of lawmakers stand up for legislation that was passed by members of both parties and that has helped support jobs and the rural economy while making our air cleaner.

“We especially appreciate the leadership of Sens. Richard Durbin, Charles Grassley, Al Franken and John Thune, and Reps. Kristi Noem and Cheri Bustos, for encouraging their colleagues to sign these letters.”

December Milk Production Up Slightly

Milk production in the 23 major States during December totaled 15.7 billion pounds, up slightly from December 2012. November revised production at 14.9 billion pounds, was up 0.1 percent from November 2012. The November revision represented a decrease of  -32 million pounds or -0.2 percent from last month's preliminary production estimate.  Production per cow in the 23 major States averaged 1,846 pounds for December, 1 pound below December 2012.    The number of milk cows on farms in the 23 major States was 8.50 million head, 6,000 head more than December 2012, and 1,000 head more than November 2013.

October - December Milk Production up 0.4 Percent
Milk production in the United States during the October - December quarter totaled 49.3 billion pounds, up 0.4 percent from the October - December quarter last year. The average number of milk cows in the United States during the quarter was 9.21 million head, 3,000 head more than the same period last year.

Milk production in Nebraska during the October- December 2013 quarter totaled 284 million pounds, down 13 million pounds from the October- December quarter last year, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. The average number of milk cows, at 53,000 head, was down 2,000 head from the October-December 2012 quarter.  

Syngenta Chief Slams EU Pesticide Ban

Syngenta Chief Executive Michael Mack spoke strongly Thursday against a European ban on certain pesticides, which the European Union says could harm the health of bee populations.

In an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Mr. Mack said Syngenta would "do everything we can" to get the decision reversed. He called the ban -- which was driven last year by countries including France, Germany and the Netherlands -- "political in its intent."

The countries are concerned that certain types of pesticides, known as neonicotinoids, are affecting bee populations and are therefore harming agriculture and European food supplies. In an earlier study, the European Food Safety Authority said the chemicals pose an "acute risk" to honeybees.

Mr. Mack said the ban was a "misuse of science," and that data taken in the field refuted the conclusions of the food authority.

India to See Record Wheat Crop

India may be heading for a record wheat output this year with a prolonged spell of chilly weather interspersed with rains over the northern breadbasket region brightening the crop outlook, a senior government official said Thursday.  A bumper wheat crop will aid the government's plan to roll out a food security law that will provide nearly-free grains to around 70% of the people.

Wheat output abounds in cool weather and that's why farmers plant the crop in the winter months of October-November and harvest it in early summer, between March and April.

"I am becoming more and more optimistic about this year's crop. So far, the weather has been excellent," said Veena Sharma, head of India's state-run Directorate of Wheat Research, located in the northern Indian town of Karnal.  She said production could touch around 100 million metric tons this year, provided there was no abnormal warming of weather ahead of harvest.

India needs around 60 million tons of grain annually to implement the food security law.  The area under wheat has grown to 31 million hectares from 29.6 million hectares last year.

No comments:

Post a Comment