Friday, March 21, 2014

March 21 Cattle on Feed Report + Ag News


Nebraska feedlots, with capacities of 1,000 or more head, contained 2.50 million cattle on feed on March 1, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This inventory was up 3 percent from last year.  Placements during February totaled 430,000 head, up 26 percent from 2013.  This is the largest number of placements for February since the data series began in 1994.  Fed  cattle marketings  for  the month of  February  totaled 375,000 head, up 1 percent  from  last year.   Other disappearance during February totaled 15,000  head, up 50 percent from last year.

Iowa Cattle on Feed

Cattle and calves on feed for slaughter market in Iowa for all feedlots totaled 1,290,000 on March 1, 2014 according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service   Cattle on Feed   report.  The inventory is up 2 percent from February 1, 2014 and unchanged from March 1, 2013.  Feedlots with a capacity greater than 1,000 head had 670,000 head on feed, up 2 percent  from  last  month  and  up  6  percent  from  last  year.    Feedlots  with  a  capacity  less  than  1,000  head  had 620,000 head on feed, up 2 percent from last month but down 6 percent from last year.

Placements during February totaled 131,000 head, a decrease of 27 percent from last month but up 19 percent from last year.   Feedlots with  a  capacity  greater  than  1,000  head  placed  86,000  head,  down  25  percent  from  last month  but  up 41 percent  from  last year.   Feedlots with a capacity  less  than 1,000 head placed 45,000 head. This  is down 31 percent from last month and down 8 percent from last year.

Marketings  for  February  were  107,000  head,  down  19  percent  from  last  month  and  down  5  percent  from  last  year. Feedlots with a capacity greater  than 1,000 head marketed 74,000 head, up 4 percent from  last month and up 9 percent from  last year.     Feedlots with a capacity  less than 1,000 head marketed 33,000 head, down 46 percent from  last month and down 27 percent from last year. Other disappearance totaled 4,000 head.

United States Cattle on Feed Down 1 Percent

Cattle and calves on feed for slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 10.8 million head on March 1, 2014. The inventory was 1 percent below March 1, 2013.

Placements in feedlots during February totaled 1.65 million, 15 percent above 2013. Net placements were 1.58 million head. During February, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 390,000, 600-699 pounds were 330,000, 700-799 pounds were 415,000, and 800 pounds and greater were 515,000.

Marketings of fed cattle during February totaled 1.55 million, 3 percent below 2013. Marketings for February are the lowest for the month since the data series began in 1996.  Other disappearance totaled 71,000 during February, 18 percent above 2013.

Number of Cattle on Feed on 1,000+ Capacity Feedlots by Month - States and US: 2013 and 2014
                      :                 :                 :               March 1, 2014             
                      :                 :                 :     -----------------------------------------------
       State       :  March 1, 2013  :Feb 1, 2014 :    :  Percent of  :  Percent of 
                      :                :     Number    :     :previous year :previous month
                      :     --------------- 1,000 head --------------          ----- percent ----     
Arizona ..........:        270               272              272          101            100     
California ........:        480               520              500          104             96     
Colorado ........:        990               970               940           95             97     
Idaho .............:        225               215               210           93             98     
Iowa ..............:         630               660              670          106            102     
Kansas ..........:      2,050             2,050          2,060          100            100     
Minnesota ......:        132               137              135          102             99     
Nebraska .......:      2,430             2,460          2,500          103            102     
Oklahoma ......:        305               265              270           89            102     
South Dakota .:        230               240              240          104            100     
Texas ............:      2,550             2,440           2,470           97            101     
Washington .......:     233               206              198           85             96     
Other States .....:      320               325              325          102            100     
United States ....:  10,845            10,760        10,790           99            100     

Number of Cattle Placed on Feed on 1,000+ Capacity Feedlots by Month - States and US: 2013 and 2014
                      :                 :                 :               March 1, 2014             
                      :                 :                 :     -----------------------------------------------
       State       :  March 1, 2013  :Feb 1, 2014 :    :  Percent of  :  Percent of 
                      :                :     Number    :     :previous year :previous month
                      :     --------------- 1,000 head --------------          ----- percent ----     
Arizona ..........:       23             31              28           122             90     
California ........:       50             70              38            76             54     
Colorado ........:      155            190            135            87             71     
Idaho .............:       34             41              37           109             90     
Iowa ..............:       61            114             86           141             75     
Kansas ..........:      285            435           335           118             77     
Minnesota ......:       12             18              11            92             61     
Nebraska .......:      340            545          430           126             79     
Oklahoma ......:       37             47             43           116             91     
South Dakota .:       45             54             39            87             72     
Texas ............:     335            405           410           122            101     
Washington ....:       35             42             30            86             71     
Other States ...:       26             37             28           108             76     
United States ..:  1,438          2,029        1,650          115             81     

Number of Cattle Marketed on 1,000+ Capacity Feedlots by Month - States and US:2013 and 2014
                      :                 :                 :               March 1, 2014             
                      :                 :                 :     -----------------------------------------------
       State       :  March 1, 2013  :Feb 1, 2014 :    :  Percent of  :  Percent of 
                      :                :     Number    :     :previous year :previous month
                      :     --------------- 1,000 head --------------          ----- percent ----     
Arizona ..........:       27             32             27            100             84     
California ........:       43             58             55            128             95     
Colorado ........:      165            170            155            94             91     
Idaho .............:        33             45             41           124             91     
Iowa ..............:        68             71             74           109            104     
Kansas ..........:      335            385            315           94             82     
Minnesota ......:        15             10             12            80            120     
Nebraska .......:      370            470            375           101             80     
Oklahoma ......:        55             40             36            65             90     
South Dakota .:        39             41             36            92             88     
Texas ............:      390            385            360           92             94     
Washington ....:       34             35             36           106            103     
Other States ...:       29             46             27            93             59     
United States ..:    1,603        1,788        1,549           97             87     

USDA Cold Storage Highlights - March 21, 2014 

Total red meat supplies in freezers were up 1 percent from the previous month but down 5 percent from last year. Total pounds of beef in freezers were down 5 percent from the previous month and down 17 percent from last year. Frozen pork supplies were up 6 percent from the previous month and up 3 percent from last year. Stocks of pork bellies were up 1 percent from last month and up 105 percent from last year.

Total frozen poultry supplies on February 28, 2014 were up 3 percent from the previous month but down 5 percent from a year ago. Total stocks of chicken were down 2 percent from the previous month but up 4 percent from last year. Total pounds of turkey in freezers were up 14 percent from last month but down 21 percent from February 28, 2013.

Total natural cheese stocks in refrigerated warehouses on February 28, 2014 were down slightly from the previous month and down 6 percent from February 28, 2013.  Butter stocks were up 20 percent from last month but down 31 percent from a year ago.

Total frozen fruit stocks were down 10 percent from last month but up 10 percent from a year ago.  Total frozen vegetable stocks were down 7 percent from last month and down 2 percent from a year ago.


Agland Values Up 5 Percent Statewide in Last Year

            Agricultural land markets in Nebraska remained relatively steady in the last year, according to preliminary findings from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

            Overall, the average statewide farmland value rose by about 5 percent, as of Feb. 1, to $3,195 per acre, said Jim Jansen, research analyst with UNL's Department of Agricultural Economics, which conducts the Nebraska Farm Real Estate Market Developments survey annually.

            Survey reporters across the state reported percentage gains for all the farmland classes for the period from Feb. 1, 2013 to Feb. 1, 2014. Current figures are preliminary; a final report will be available this summer.

            Farmland values in recent years have increased sharply. The overall increase of 25 percent in 2013 followed increases of 22 and 32 percent in the two previous years, leaving the 2013 all-land value more than double the value in early 2010.

            In the last year, the largest increase by land class occurred for non-tillable grazing land, at 7 percent. Non-tillable grazing land includes pasture and rangeland that does not have the current potential to be converted into cropland for small grain or row crop production.

            Record high livestock prices translated into strong increases seen throughout the state for pasture and rangeland. The increases in non-tillable grazing land varied greatly among the districts, with a low of 4 percent reported in the Northwest District to a high of 32 percent in the South District, but the Northeast, Central, East and Southeast districts all averaged around 15 percent.

            Expectations among survey participants also indicated high future cattle prices to be a strong factor fueling the increase in non-tillable grazing land.

            Increases in dryland cropland values also varied across the state depending upon the location and potential for irrigation. Generally, changes of less than 10 percent occurred in the eastern third of Nebraska for dryland cropland with or without irrigation potential. The Eastern District had a decline of 5 percent in the value of dryland cropland with no irrigation potential, but this should be noted as more of a negligible change given the strong increase in this district over the prior several years, Jansen said.

            The western two-thirds of the state had the strongest increases in dryland cropland values, with increases averaging around 20 percent. Increases in the value of dryland cropland of the western two-thirds of Nebraska are comparable to those of the eastern third of Nebraska reported by survey participants during the past several years.

            Trends observed for the value of tillable grazing land are comparable to those of dryland cropland for the western two-thirds and eastern third of Nebraska, Jansen said. The hayland class proves to be a critical component of forage production in the state for cattle producers. Increases in the value of hayland generally averaged around 10 percent across the districts in 2014, whereas in 2013 the increases ranged from 25 to 30 percent, spurred by the devastating effects of the 2012 drought. Future changes in the value of this land class likely will be tied to the value of forages and cattle production in Nebraska.

            Observed changes in the value of gravity irrigated and center pivot irrigated cropland ranged from 2 percent decreases to almost 20 percent increases. Weighting these ranges across the districts equated to an overall increase of about 4 percent for each of the two irrigation land classes.

            For the prior two survey years in 2012 and 2013 the land value averages had an annual increase of about 30 percent. The smaller increases in the value of irrigated cropland in 2014 suggests the market is holding steady given current expectations and commodity prices.

            Surveyed 2014 cash rental rates for cropland on average declined with lower commodity prices while pasture and cow-calf pair rental rates significantly increased due to higher beef cattle prices, the lingering effects of the drought, and the conversion of some marginal land to crop production.

            Lower anticipated grain prices in 2014 have led to lower average cash rental rates for dryland, gravity irrigated, and center pivot irrigated cropland as profit margins begin to tighten, Jansen said.

            The preliminary report can be found at

            Survey results are preliminary findings from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln 2014 Nebraska Farm Real Estate Market Survey. Land values and rental rates presented in this report are averages of survey participants' responses by district. Actual land values and rental rates may vary depending upon the quality of the parcel and local market for an area. Also, preliminary land values and rental rates are subject to change as additional surveys are returned. Final results from the survey will be published in early June 2014 and will be available electronically via the Nebraska Farm Real Estate website:

            Land appraisers, farm managers, or agricultural finance professionals from Nebraska interested in participating in future Nebraska Farm Real Estate Market Surveys are invited to contact the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Interested parties can directly contact the Agricultural Economics Department by phone: 402-472-3401 or email

Nebraska Students Selected to Participate in National Ag Day Program

Six students were selected as delegates to represent Nebraska for the National Ag Day on the Hill program.  The Ag Day on the Hill program allows college students from Nebraska to join with other students from across the country to learn more about policy, natural resources and agriculture. Natural resources districts (NRDs) protect the future of natural resources by educating young people through programs such as Ag Day on the Hill. The Nebraska representatives and the Ag Day on the Hill program are supported by the Nebraska Association of Resources Districts (NARD) Foundation.

“Programs like Ag Day on the Hill are a great way to engage young people in the political process and encourage networking with their peers from other states and to learn firsthand the workings of our United States Government,” said Terry Martin, NARD Board President. “This is a great opportunity for Nebraska students to take an interest in national agriculture and natural resources issues and to be better prepared for leadership in our state,” said Martin.

The six Nebraska representatives are Valerie Kesterson, Bryce Doeschot, Morgan Kowaleski, Casey Campbell, Tayler Goertz, and Dustin Renken.  All six representatives are students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

“By attending Ag Day on the Hill, I will experience firsthand valuable networking opportunities with agriculturists and legislators from across the nation.  I will also have the chance to expand my knowledge and understanding about current issues facing the industry and related policies designed to address those issues,” said Morgan Kowaleski, Nebraska Ag Day on the Hill Representative. 

The Nebraska Association of Resources Districts Foundation is a supporter of Ag Day on the Hill for the Nebraska representatives.  The Foundation uses funds raised to help youth develop an interest in a variety of natural resources programs including Nebraska 4-H, FFA and others.   Funds for the NARD Foundation are raised through a variety of activities such as live and silent auctions at the NRD Annual Conference held every September.  The NARD Foundation was established to support students with a desire to enter the field of natural resources.

“The Foundation helps provide scholarships, internships, education opportunities, and support for students to continue to learn about natural resources,” said Martin.

Ag Day on the Hill takes place in March during National Ag Week, March 23-29, 2014, with National Ag Day celebrated on March 25.  Representatives will be in Washington D.C. March 24-25 to learn more about agriculture and natural resources policy and meet policy makers.  As part of Ag Day, the Ag Council organizes an essay contest and sponsors outstanding student representatives from across the country to participate in activities on the Hill.  The students—from FFA, 4-H and AFA—put a face on the future of agriculture and spread a message of awareness to lawmakers and other national leaders.


Bobbie Kriz-Wickham, assistant director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, has scheduled a meeting of the Climate Assessment Response Committee (CARC) for Friday, March 28.  The meeting will begin at 10:00 a.m. in Room 901 at Hardin Hall on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln East Campus.

Climate officials will brief CARC members on existing, as well as predicted, weather conditions and provide a water availability outlook.  Mitigation activities will be discussed.

For more details, call the Nebraska Department of Agriculture at (402) 471-2341.

Iowa Corn Urges Strict Adherence to Agrisure Duracade Stewardship

The Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) urges farmers, handlers and exporters to strictly adhere to the stewardship program for the release of Syngenta seed trait Agrisure Duracade to minimize the risk of export trade disruption and negative impacts on the market price for the 2014 corn crop.

While approved in the United States, Agrisure Duracade is not yet approved in the European Union and China. Leakage of Agrisure Duracade into export channels risks the rejection of U.S. shipments to these important markets, and may potentially close those markets to U.S. exports entirely until regulatory approval is gained. Farmers are strongly encouraged to steward their grain appropriately to ensure it is delivered only to approved end-use markets and exported only to approved locations.

Syngenta has begun an introductory launch of Agrisure Duracade for the 2014 season and will work closely with growers to identify appropriate marketing options. Syngenta has entered into a partnership with Gavilon, to pick up and purchase -- at fair market value -- any Agrisure Duracade corn for which an alternative approved buyer is not found.

"Iowa Corn is monitoring this situation very closely and is ready to provide further information as needed," says Roger Zylstra, a farmer from Lynnville and current ICGA President. "Stewardship guidelines provide multiple options for grain marketing to include shipping corn to appropriate domestic elevators, feed mills, feed lots and some ethanol plants."

"It's important for all sectors of the value chain -- individual farmers, technology providers, shippers and exporters alike -- to recognize the potentially significant international implications of their actions," says Tom Sleight, President and CEO of the U.S. Grains Council. "The Council urges producers who choose to plant Agrisure Duracade in 2014 to adhere carefully to their stewardship responsibilities in order to minimize the risk to U.S. export sales."

Biotechnology approval systems around the world are not synchronous. In addition, some countries still lack effective, trade-enabling policies regarding the low level presence of unapproved biotech events in grain shipments. Inadvertent commingling is almost certain to occur in the high volume U.S. commodity handling system, and modern testing methods are likely to detect trace levels of unapproved events.

The presence of unapproved events in the export stream therefore carries a significant risk of major international trade disruptions. Given the availability of competitively priced corn from other countries and the ability of buyers to source anywhere in the world, leakage of unapproved events into export channels may result in the closure of important markets to U.S. corn and DDGS exports for an indefinite period.

"Continued technology development is essential to achieve global food security as well as creating new opportunities for producers and agribusiness but the risk of costly trade disruption is significant and should be taken seriously," says Zylstra.

In the short term, ICGA urges all stakeholders to weigh the consequences of their actions, recognize the international implications of planting and marketing decisions, and stringently adhere to their stewardship responsibilities. In the long run, we encourage working toward a resolution of the low-level presence and asynchronous approval issues. That solution will ensure the protection of common interests of producers, agribusinesses and consumers around the world.

USDA Encourages Early Registration for FSA Programs

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Juan M. Garcia today recommended that farmers and ranchers who plan to participate in FSA programs register in advance. Producers are encouraged to report farm records and business structure changes to a local FSA Service Center before April 15, 2014.

Enrollment for the disaster programs authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, including the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) and the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) will begin by April 15, 2014.

"We expect significant interest in these programs,” said Garcia. “Early registration should help improve the sign-up process and allow us to expedite implementation of the programs. I strongly encourage producers to complete their paperwork ahead of time.”

Examples of updates or changes to report include:

New producers or producers who have not reported farm records to FSA.

Producers who have recently bought, sold or rented land. Those producers need to ensure that changes have been reported and properly recorded by local FSA county office personnel. Reports of purchased or sold property should include a copy of the land deed, and if land has been leased, then documentation should be provided that indicates the producer had/has control of the acreage.

Producers that have changed business structures (e.g. formed a partnership or LLC) need to ensure that these relationships and shares are properly recorded with FSA. Even family farms that have records on file may want to ensure that this is recorded accurately as it may impact payment limits.

Farm records can be updated during business hours at FSA Service Centers that administer the county where the farm or ranch is located. Producers can contact their local FSA Service Center in advance to find out what paperwork they may need. In addition, bank account information should be supplied or updated if necessary to ensure that producers receive payments as quickly as possible through direct deposit.

While any producer may report farm records and business structure changes, it is especially important for producers who suffered livestock, livestock grazing, honeybee, farm-raised fish, or tree/vine losses for 2011, 2012, 2013 or 2014, and may be eligible for assistance through one of the four disaster programs.

Argentine Bourses Firm Up on 54.5 MMT Soy Crop Forecast

Soybean crops promise very good yields across key parts of Argentina's grain belt, local bourses said in reports this week.  Both the Buenos Aires Cereals Exchange and the Rosario Cereals Exchange are pegging the crop as 54.5 million metric tons, up from around 48 mmt last year and higher than initial forecasts of 50 mmt to 53 mmt.

Early soybean yields have been above those recorded last year, and the top-of-the-range yields have been exceptional, said the Rosario exchange.  But with only 1% of the crop harvested, it remains too early to draw firm conclusions. The harvest will begin in earnest in April, as long as rains ease.

While above-average rainfall has been generally beneficial to soybean development, it has also aided the spread of disease and pests. This means it will be difficult for Argentina to produce in excess of 54.5 mmt, said the Buenos Aires exchange.  Flooding in parts of Cordoba and Santa Fe provinces will also affect production, it added.

New Poll Identifies Top 10 Consumer Questions on GMOs

The results of a new national survey, commissioned by GMO Answers and the Council for Biotechnology Information, identify the leading questions consumers have about genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and how our food is grown. The survey was conducted in order to identify, for the first time, the top 10 questions consumers have about GMOs and to open up the conversation on biotechnology's role in agriculture. Over the next several weeks, scientists, farmers, doctors and other experts will be answering one of the top 10 questions each week on the GMO Answers website and via Twitter.

Ipsos, a global market research company, conducted a national, random telephone survey of 1,006 American adults ages 18 and older. Participants were asked: The following are questions some people have asked about GMOs. Which of the following questions around the use of GMOs would you be most interested in having answered? From a list of 23 environmental, business and health-related questions regarding GMOs, respondents identified these questions as the top 10 they want answered:

1. If GMOs cause cancer
2. If GMOs are causing an increase in allergies
3. If big companies are forcing farmers to grow GMOs
4. If GMOs are increasing the price of food
5. If GMOs are contaminating organic food crops
6. Why long-term health studies aren't conducted on GMO plants
7. If GMOs are causing an increase in the use of pesticides
8. Why GMO companies seem like they are so against labeling GMO foods
9. If GMOs are contributing to the death of bees and butterflies
10. If livestock eat genetically modified grain, will there be GMOs in my meat

"A national dialogue is taking place about GMOs and it's important for us to listen to the questions consumers are asking so we can provide the information to help address their concerns," said Cathleen Enright, Ph.D., spokesperson for GMO Answers. "We are committed to transparency about how our food is grown, including an open discussion about GMOs. This is why we asked independent, third-party experts to answer these questions publicly. Our goal is to ensure consumers have the information they need to make up their own minds about GMOs."

Since its launch last year, more than 500 questions about GMOs, food and agriculture have been answered by experts on GMO Answers.

Dr. Kevin Folta, University of Florida Interim Chairman and Associate Professor Horticultural Sciences Department, answered the first question: If GMOs cause cancer? "The short answer is no, there is absolutely reputable evidence that GMO foods cause cancer. Cancer is a name applied to a spectrum of diseases where cells proliferate abnormally. There is no way that the subtle and well understood alterations of a plant's genes can cause cancer. There is nothing about the Bt protein (used in insect resistance, also in organic pest control), the EPSPS enzyme (which confers herbicide resistance, simply by substituting for the native enzyme in the plant) or the process itself, that would induce the genetic changes in human cells that would lead to cancer. It is just not plausible.

Some of the confusion comes from reports where the Bt protein or glyphosate (the herbicide used on some GM crops) is applied to cell lines in a petri dish, and the cells show changes associated with stress and perhaps abnormal proliferation. However, cells in a dish do not behave like cells in the body. Through years of careful evaluation there is no reliable evidence that GM foods cause the same changes in a living organism.

Quite to the contrary, future plants may be engineered to produce nutrients that fight/prevent cancer, or even eliminate compounds that increase cancer risk. One such product is close to commercialization. Potatoes produce a small amount of acrylamide, a potential carcinogen, when heated to high temperatures. A potato has been engineered to not produce that compound, leading to safer food."

Among the questions not selected in the top 10, but have been the focus of conversations on GMO Answers include: if the development of GMOs is unnatural; if GMOs are causing gluten intolerance; if GMOs are contributing to obesity; if GMOs are contributing to infertility; if GMO companies are suing farmers; and if GMOs are contributing to the growth of super weeds.

"We recognize that consumers have questions about our products, and we need to do a better job explaining our technology, role in agriculture and the safety of our crops. In the coming weeks, we invite consumers to come back and follow the answers to the top 10 questions offered by experts at GMO Answers and become a part of this important conversation," Enright concluded.

GMO Answers is produced by the members of The Council for Biotechnology Information, which includes BASF, Bayer CropScience, Dow AgroSciences LLC, DuPont, Monsanto Company and Syngenta.

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