Thursday, June 12, 2014

Thursday June 12 Ag News

Ibach Slated for USGC Summer Annual Meeting Speaker Lineup
The U.S. Grains Council’s 54th Annual Board of Delegates Meeting on July 28-30, 2014, in Omaha, Nebraska, will kick-off with welcome remarks by Greg Ibach, Nebraska Department of Agriculture director. Ibach will welcome attendees to the Cornhusker state and provide an overview of Nebraska’s diverse and vibrant agricultural sector.

“This summer Omaha will become the Council’s Gateway to World,” said USGC Chairman Julius Schaaf. “Nebraska plays an important role in U.S. agriculture, and as a close neighbor, I am personally looking forward to Ibach’s discussion of the problems and opportunities he sees ahead.”

Ibach began serving as director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture in June 2005, being appointed by Governor Dave Heineman after six and half years as the assistant director. In addition to his duties as director, Ibach helps his family maintain a cow/calf and grain operation near Sumner, Nebraska.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with majors in animal science and agricultural economics.

To register for the Council’s annual summer meeting, click here....


Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) Assistant Director Bobbie Kriz-Wickham would like to remind farmers and ranchers affected by the continuing drought to look into their options for assistance.

Kriz-Wickham, who also serves as the chair of the state’s Climate Assessment Response Committee, said while the U.S. Drought Monitor map released today shows improvements, many areas of the state, particularly in the southwest and central regions, are continuing to deal with severe drought conditions.

“There are assistance programs available through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for qualified farmers and ranchers,” Kriz-Wickham said.  “This includes aid for such things as planting cover crops for forage and to preserve soil, for livestock water needs and for forage losses.”

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has launched the Drought Recovery Initiative, available for producers in counties that were designated as D3 (extreme) or D4 (exceptional) drought areas on the U.S. Drought Monitor map as of May 20, 2014.  Kriz-Wickham said producers interested in learning more about this program need to visit a local NRCS office soon as the sign-up deadline is June 20.  The program is available in these Nebraska counties: Keith, Perkins, Chase, Dundy, Hitchcock, Hayes, Lincoln, Frontier and Red Willow.

The Initiative allows producers to apply for assistance to implement conservation practices such as cover crops, critical area planting, fencing, forage and biomass planting, pipeline, well and pumping stations for livestock water, range planting and more.

Another program available is the Livestock Forage Disaster Program, which is operated by the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA).  According to Kriz-Wickham, sign-up for this program is ongoing, and producers should contact their local USDA FSA office to learn more about the eligibility requirements.  The program assists producers with livestock forage losses associated with drought conditions experienced beginning in 2012.

“While timely precipitation obviously is the best fix for drought, these programs are important tools to help producers manage their operations through this difficult time,” Kriz-Wickham said.

Drought resource information can be found at, or

Green Plains Purchases Supreme Cattle Feeders From Agri Beef Co.

Green Plains Inc. announced this week that is has acquired the assets of Supreme Cattle Feeders from Agri Beef Co.  The asset acquisition includes the feed yard doing business as Supreme Cattle Feeders and the Cimarron Grain storage facility based near Kismet, KS.

"Supreme Cattle Feeders is one of the premier cattle feed yards in the U.S. and this operation is an ideal adjacent business for Green Plains," stated Todd Becker, President and Chief Executive Officer. "The custom cattle-feeding business gives us the ability to further process our distillers grains and corn oil, and extend our corn origination network. We also believe that this transaction will be accretive to 2014 earnings."

"Supreme Cattle Feeders will remain a custom cattle-feeding business and we are excited to add this asset to our portfolio of value-added processing facilities. Our focus is to ensure that current customers continue to be served at the highest level as both companies are committed to a successful transition. Finally, we expect to retain all of the current employees at the facilities," Becker added.

Robert Rebholtz, Jr., President/CEO of Agri Beef Co. commented, "The key to our decision to sell Supreme Cattle Feeders was Green Plains' financial strength, commitment to operational excellence and risk management capabilities. We are thrilled by the great opportunities this combination will provide Supreme's long-time customers and employees. We look forward to continuing our own cattle-feeding relationship as a Green Plains customer for years to come."

Supreme Cattle Feeders will remain a custom cattle-feeding business and will continue to operate under its current name. Supreme Cattle Feeders financial results will be reported as a part of Green Plains' agribusiness segment. The operation consists of approximately 2,600 acres of land with 800 acres allocated to the feedlot operation that has the capacity to support 70,000 head of cattle. Supreme's current corn storage capacity, including the Cimarron Grain facilities, is approximately 3.8 million bushels. Supreme Cattle Feeders will continue to be directed by its current management team, with transition support from Agri Beef Co. Agri Beef Co will continue its relationship as a cattle-feeding customer of Supreme. Agri Beef Co. has owned and operated Supreme Cattle Feeders for the past 19 years.

“See for Yourself” Participants to See Soy Checkoff in Action

Unloading soybeans at the elevator after harvest may seem like the end of the season for farmers, but it’s really just the beginning of the journey. From there, the soybeans travel to various markets domestically and abroad. How are they used? Ten U.S. soybean farmers are about to see for themselves.

The United Soybean Board (USB) recently selected participants for this year’s See for Yourself program, which will be held Aug. 14-22 in St. Louis, Panama and Ecuador. The annual program will give the following farmers a firsthand look at some of the many uses for their soybeans around the world:
    Wade Walters – Shickley, Nebraska
    Kevin McGrain – Hornick, Iowa

    LaVell Winsor – Grantville, Kansas
    Kyle Bridgeforth – Tanner, Alabama
    James Caudle – Peachland, North Carolina
    Kate Danner – Aledo, Illinois
    Brennan Gilkison – Winchester, Kentucky
    Matt Hinderer – Chelsea, Michigan
    Don Holbert – Dandridge, Tennessee
    Darin LaBar – Union City, Michigan

“The See for Yourself program is a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” says David Hartke, a soybean farmer from Teutopolis, Illinois, and chair of the USB’s Audit and Evaluation Committee, which sponsors See for Yourself. “Not only do farmers see the checkoff in action firsthand, but they have the chance to provide feedback directly to me and other farmer-leaders on the checkoff programs they learn about.”

These farmer-participants will learn about their domestic and international customers’ needs for soybean meal and oil. That includes animal agriculture, which uses nearly 97 percent of U.S. soybean meal, and the food industry, which uses two-thirds of U.S. soybean oil.

Iowa Swine Day to Discuss Topics of Interest to Pork Producers

The pork industry’s response to federal action phasing out some antibiotics used to promote growth in hog production will be discussed June 26 at the third annual Iowa Swine Day at Iowa State University.

“Presentations at Iowa Swine Day will provide current, science-based information on the topic of antibiotic growth promotion, its relationship with human health and how new federal regulations will affect how we feed pigs in the future,” said John Patience, animal science professor who is helping to coordinate Iowa Swine Day.

The Food and Drug Administration is implementing a voluntary plan with the pharmaceutical industry to phase out the use of certain antibiotics for growth promotion. Some antibiotics are added to animal feed or drinking water of hogs, cattle, poultry and other food-producing animals to prevent disease, help them gain weight faster and/or use less feed to gain weight.

The use of antibiotic growth promoters in livestock production is a very emotional topic in some circles, Patience said. “There is concern that this practice is contributing to the evolution of antibiotic resistant bacteria in human medicine, and there is also a feeling that reducing the practice on farms will reduce the problem in human medicine.”

Among the speakers addressing this issue will be Dr. Richard Raymond, former U.S. Department of Agriculture undersecretary for food safety.

“Dr. Raymond has been involved in this issue for more than a decade and is well-positioned to provide science-based information that will put the use of antibiotic growth promoters into its proper perspective,” Patience said.

“I will try to separate perception from reality by looking closely at the numbers,” Raymond said. “My goal is an educated audience that can engage in the constructive discussions that are needed to preserve the integrity and effectiveness of antibiotics in both human medicine and animal medicine.”

Patience said Theo van Kempen, European swine application and solution specialist for Nutreco, a global animal nutrition company, will provide a European perspective on how feeding programs have evolved when antibiotic usage is restricted by government regulation.

“European swine producers have experienced legislation focused on sustainability, banning antimicrobials as growth promoters, for many years and the industry has tried to live with this legislation,” van Kempen said. “This has led to many failures, new health challenges and some successes, something other regions can learn from.”

Other regional, national and international leaders in swine research, economics, veterinary medicine, production, animal welfare and the marketplace will address challenges facing the pork industry, animal science and consumers, including porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, food safety, animal welfare and biosecurity.

The event is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. at the Benton Auditorium, in the Scheman Building on the Iowa State campus.

Iowa Swine Day is open to the public, and especially targets pork producers, pork industry suppliers, extension personnel, consultants, researchers and veterinarians. Students are eligible for a discount on registration if they are currently enrolled in school.

The cost of the meeting is $60, if registered by June 13. The fee includes coffee, snacks, a lunch and a copy of the proceedings. Advanced registration is available at

USDA Resumes July Cattle Survey and Report

This July, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will fully reinstate its Cattle program by surveying nearly 10,000 cattle operations nationwide to provide an up-to-date measure of U.S. cattle inventories. Reduced in March 2013 to an annual program, NASS will resume the semiannual Cattle program with both the July and January surveys and Cattle reports.

During the first two weeks of July, producers will have the opportunity to report their beef and dairy cattle inventories, calf crop and cattle on feed operations. To make it as easy as possible for producers to participate in the survey, NASS offers the option of responding via the Internet, telephone, mail, or a personal interview with a local NASS representative.

As is the case with all NASS surveys, information provided by respondents is confidential by law. NASS safeguards the privacy of all responses and publishes only state and national level data, ensuring that no individual producer or operation can be identified. The July Cattle report will be released on July 25.

Did You Know ... Beef Shorts

Did you know ... On May 9-10 a total of 47 beef recipe demos took place at Sam’s Club store locations in 15 states. A total of 35 CattleWomen volunteers and beef industry members sold strip steaks and engaged in beef value conversations as store demonstrators prepared and sampled the recipe with store customers. 

Did you know ... A #Spring4Beef Twitter party was hosted on May 13 by host @MomSpark. The party generated more than 4,000 tweets, from 289 participants resulting in 10.74 million impressions. Post party survey results indicate 87.5% of the people who participated in the survey indicate their opinions about beef improved as a result of this Twitter party. And, a #LetHimEatBeef Twitter Party was hosted on June 3rd by Resourseful Mommy Media. The party generated more than 7,000 tweets, from 257 participants resulting in 11.61 million impressions. 

Did you know ... It’s Happy Birthday to MyPlate! The USDA’s MyPlate celebrated its 3rd birthday on June 2. MyPlate is the icon used to illustrate the recommendations of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans through a graphic that inspires Americans to build a healthy plate consisting of proteins, fruits, vegetables, grains and dairy. The beef checkoff is a leading source of free MyPlate materials for nutrition educators. Since it was launched in 2011, more than 93,000 MyPlate posters and educational tearpads featuring both beef nutrition and healthy eating tips have been distributed. MyPlate posters are also available in Spanish. 

Did you know ...
The "Beef. It's What For Dinner." Facebook page has reached a new milestone by recently surpassing 825,000 Facebook Fans! Consumers continue to engage with likes, comments and shares on posts such as the Personal Beef Pizza recipe and a Tips and Technique post, which explained the differences between rubs and marinades. Each post helps the consumer make an easy, delicious beef meal any day of the week. Even the checkoff’s Twitter handle now has more than 9,400 followers and growing every day. This summer, visit the checkoff's social media pages, see how consumers are engaging with beef information, and join the conversation!

To learn more about your beef checkoff investment, visit

Soy Checkoff Ensures U.S. Soybean Farmers Aren’t Reliant on China

China continues to be the No. 1 international destination for U.S. soy – the country consistently buys nearly one out of every four bushels of U.S. production. This year, China has already bought six million tons more soybeans than it had at this point last year.

Similar to in the United States, the driving force behind all that demand is animal agriculture, which uses 97 percent of all U.S. soybean meal as a protein source in feed. China is home to half of the world’s pork production and consumption, both of which could continue to increase. Since about three pounds of feed are required to produce one pound of meat, China seems to be a stable market for U.S. soy exports.

However, recent developments point to a need to spread international soy demand more evenly beyond China.

A U.S. Department of Agriculture report published in April suggests that China’s animal agriculture sector faces several challenges, which could force it to import more meat. Overall, that could be good news for U.S. meat exports, as well as for domestic demand for soybean meal to feed those animals. Some recent reports also indicate that China’s soy demand could fall.

Exports are a major driver of U.S. soybean farmers’ profitability, and the soy checkoff continues to fund international-marketing efforts to increase soy exports – and farmers’ profit potential – even more. The checkoff provides support to its international-marketing partner, the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC), to diversify and grow other international markets for U.S. soy.

United Soybean Board Treasurer Jared Hagert says this project continues to show success at building relationships with customers in numerous countries.

“The soy checkoff has been hard at work diversifying demand for U.S. soybeans,” says Hagert, a soybean farmer from Emerado, North Dakota. “This not only includes domestic uses but also a focus on export markets that could utilize more U.S. soy.”

A few examples of ways USSEC continues to engage international customers include:

•    At a recent buyers meeting in the European Union (EU), U.S. soybean farmers networked with customers and explained to them how the U.S. crop is reliable, sustainable and high in quality. “We’ve been working to increase U.S. soy usage in the EU and other potentially large and valuable markets,” Hagert says. “This project has helped lead to a tripling of U.S. soybean meal shipments into the EU alone.”

•    A team of Japanese swine farmers recently traveled to the University of Illinois to learn about U.S. soy’s ability to consistently deliver the protein, amino acids and energy that swine need. “Japan is a very important market for us, says USB director Nancy Kavazanjian, a soybean farmer from Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. “They are our third-largest market in terms of volume, but they are our No. 1 customer in terms of value. Japan is also our oldest international customer.”

•    Conferences in countries such as South Korea and Taiwan allow U.S. soybean farmers to talk about U.S. soy’s quality, build relationships and discuss key issues with major customers.“This was an opportunity for me to meet my customers,” says USB Meal Action Team Chair Laura Foell, a soybean farmer from Schaller, Iowa. “We talked about my farm, how I decided what to plant, what the cost of production is and how we talk to our consumers about biotechnology.”

House Passes Tax Extenders Legislation

Today the U.S. House voted 274 to 144 to pass a handful of tax extenders, including the expiring section 179 expensing provisions for small business. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President and Victoria, Texas cattleman, Bob McCan says this is a victory for rural America.

“The passage of these tax extenders is a good move for cattlemen and women,” said McCan. “America’s ranching families are primarily family-owned small businesses who need a stable tax code that encourages rural economic growth. That is what this package is, and we urge the Senate in turn to pass their tax extender legislation to provide greater certainty in the tax code.”

Specifically for agriculture, this legislation includes an extension of Section 179 expensing for capital investments. On January 1, 2014, expensing levels under Section 179 were reduced from $500,000 to $25,000. This and other important tax extenders still await action in the Senate.

“These and many other provisions in the tax code give our producers the certainty they need to make sound financial decisions,” according to McCan. “In turn, they spur forward economic growth by encouraging the purchase of and investment in machinery and equipment. Failure to act will only prolong the effects of a weak economy for producers and the businesses that rely on them.”

Cattlemen and women urge Congress to send a tax extenders package to the President’s desk as soon as possible. Greater certainty in the tax code supports small business and supports rural America.

House in a Holding Pattern on Agricultural Appropriations

Following speculation from many agriculture groups on multiple amendments this week, Republican leadership in the House of Representatives announced that it would delay—initially until next week and now indefinitely—any action on the Agriculture Appropriations Bill (H.R. 4800).

The news comes just days after the surprise primary defeat of House Majority leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, and many Republican sources say that House Leadership has postponed consideration of any legislation as it charts its path forward. This delays consideration of the Agriculture Appropriations Bill until the week of June 23 at the very earliest.

The House’s delay also puts on hold the Senate’s action on the bill until further notice. There is a possibility that in the coming week the Senate could consider the agriculture appropriations bill as part of a minibus spending bill with several other pieces of legislation.

With specific regard to amendments to the bill, the American Soybean Association has from the beginning opposed any and all amendments that would reopen aspects of the Agricultural Act of 2014. Of the amendments filed to H.R. 4800, the following are expressly opposed by ASA:
-    Amendment 3 to reduce funding for multiple programs including the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation Fund and the Commodity Credit Corporation Fund by 1 percent (Rep. Blackburn, R-Tenn.)
-    Amendment 4 that would prohibit certain commodities from receiving payments under Title 1 programs (Rep. Blumenauer, D-Ore.)
-    An unnumbered amendment to reduce funding for the Market Access Program (Rep. Chabot, R-Ohio)
-    An unnumbered amendment to place an AGI limit of $250,000 on recipients of crop insurance subsidies (Rep. DeLauro, D-Conn.)
-    An unnumbered amendment that would strip funding to protect the confidentiality of identifying information for farmers who receive crop insurance subsidies (Rep. Kind, D-Wis.)

Although it is unclear when or if the appropriations bill will come back to the floor, ASA reiterates that the group is absolutely opposed to these and any other amendments that would reopen any portion of the farm bill.

NMPF Statement on Veto of Connecticut Legislation Banning Chocolate Milk from School Cafeterias

The National Milk Producers Federation issued the following statement today from President and CEO Jim Mulhern on Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy’s veto of legislation banning chocolate milk from Connecticut school lunchrooms:

“It’s encouraging to see reason and common sense returning to the debate over chocolate milk in schools. As a recent university study made clear, schools that remove chocolate milk from the cafeteria are simply throwing the nutritional baby out with the bathwater. They deprive kids of calcium, protein and other needed nutrients while they increase waste and boost costs. Certainly, obesity is a serious problem among today’s youth. But the answer isn’t to ban chocolate milk. Connecticut is not required to pass this legislation to keep its federal school meals funding. Federal nutrition standards specifically allow schools to serve fat-free chocolate milk as part of reimbursable meals and in cafeteria a la carte lines. Governor Malloy is to be congratulated for thinking this through, and not opting for the quick, easy but wrong solution.”

Government and University Experts Blast EWG Corn Ethanol Report

Lifecycle analysis experts and economists from Argonne National Laboratory and three leading universities blasted a recent Environmental Working Group (EWG) report that made audacious claims and arrived at "erroneous conclusions" about corn ethanol's greenhouse gas impacts.

The experts issued a scathing 13-page response ( today to EWG's May report titled "Ethanol's Broken Promise." EWG "confused parameters" and "misunderstood" previous modeling results, according to experts from Argonne, North Carolina State University, Purdue University and University of Illinois-Chicago. "…based on an analysis of the methodology EWG used and a comparison of their results to those in the literature, from models, and from other data sets, EWG appears to have overestimated the amount of land converted for corn farming between 2008 and 2012. Second, EWG used emission factors that appear too high."

More specifically, the experts found the following problems—among many others—with EWG's report:
•    "EWG confused parameters in GREET with those in an economic model, the Global Trade Analysis Project (GTAP)."
•    "EWG misunderstood EPA's GHG emissions for years 2012 and 2017."
•    "In their report, EWG picked the EPA 2012 GHG emissions for corn ethanol and applied them to the EPA-proposed reduced volume for corn ethanol in 2014 to make the erroneous conclusion that the proposal resulted in 3 million tonnes of CO2 reduction in 2014."
•    "…the emission factors they applied are high compared to those in other reports and studies that take into account important variations in initial and final land states."
•    The satellite data set used by EWG is "…explicitly not designed to be used for pixel-by-pixel or localized analyses."
•    The land use change data used by EWG is "…based on data that is decades old, reflecting wetland conversion over a much longer time horizon."
•    The report "…overestimated wetland conversion, especially for the conversion of wetlands to corn farms." Wetlands and grasslands conversion estimates are "…too high when compared with estimates in other studies and data sources."

Finally, the authors point out that EWG is stuck in the past when it comes to lifecycle analysis. They write, "Since 2009, when EPA conducted corn ethanol LUC GHG modeling…, significant efforts have been made to improve economic models and soil carbon models to better estimate biofuel LUC GHG emissions. EPA and other federal agencies should consider updating RFS LUC modeling so that up-to-date LUC results can be used for biofuel policy making."

New Studies Show Fiscal Impact of GMO Labeling, Diminished Concern over Biotechnology

(from ASA)

A pair of studies released this spring are shedding more light on the hot-button subject of biotechnology and GMO labeling, and the potential ramifications the subject may have on the consumer marketplace as the debate moves forward.

According to a June study from Cornell University, a mandatory food label on products containing GMO ingredients would add between $500 and $800 to the annual cost of groceries for the average American family. The study went on to show that the poorer and elderly Americans—populations that eat primarily food purchased at grocery stores—will pay disproportionately for GMO labeling as compared to their younger and more affluent counterparts who dine out more frequently.

A second study from the International Food Information Council (IFIC) shows that negative consumer perceptions about biotechnology pale in comparison to their characterization by anti-GMO activists. According to the study, only one percent of respondents indicated that biotechnology was something they want to avoid in food, compared to 30 percent that wanted to avoid carbohydrates and sugars. Furthermore, only four percent indicated that information on biotechnology was critical information they would like to see on a food product label.

U.S. HRW Fills a Gap for Brazilian Flour Millers

For the first time in decades, Brazil imported more U.S. wheat than any other country in the 2013/14 marketing year that ended May 31, 2014. Looking ahead, a logical question is whether Brazil will continue buying more U.S. wheat now that the door of opportunity is open. The answer, according to a high-volume wheat buyer, is “yes” — at least until the quality of Brazil’s large 2014/15 crop and Argentina’s production are known.

Brazil’s average annual wheat imports of around 7.1 MMT make it one of the world’s top wheat buyers. Wheat produced in Brazil is soft to semi-hard and millers need to blend it with higher protein hard wheat to produce flour with the characteristics to make Brazil’s preferred French-style bread products. Brazil used to originate most of that wheat from the United States before the Mercosur free trade agreement in South America allowed millers to import Argentine wheat duty free, while established a tariff on wheat from non-Mercosur countries like the United States.

Brazil's government was applying the tariff at 10 percent of the FOB price in 2012/13 when it became clear that Argentina’s wheat production was poor and the Argentine government severely restricted wheat export licenses. Brazilian millers successfully petitioned their government to suspend the tariff and USW provided the information millers needed to turn to U.S. wheat.

“I want to congratulate you and the state wheat commissions represented here for doing such a good job helping our flour millers last year,” said Edson Csipai, the head wheat buyer with Bunge Alimentos in São Paulo, Brazil, on June 10, 2014, at the U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) board of director’s meeting in Omaha, NE. He also noted that until millers know the quality of this year’s Brazilian wheat crop — and whether Argentina can deliver sufficient supplies — he expects Brazil will need at least 1.3 MMT of HRW in the first half of 2014/15. That would be nearly 37 percent more than Brazil’s five-year average annual U.S. wheat imports. In 2013/14, however, Brazil's millers imported almost 4.3 MMT of U.S. wheat, the majority of which was HRW.

Csipai was in the United States as part of a trade team of Brazilian millers who visited farms in Maryland and Kansas, meeting with commercial elevator managers and seeing the USDA grain inspection system. The trade team is one of several activities sponsored by USW and state wheat commissions to help Brazil’s millers fully understand the long-term value of the U.S. HRW and SRW supply.

“I certainly cannot suggest we will have problems getting wheat from Argentina again this year,” Csipai said. “But it has been raining quite a lot in the main wheat growing region there. It is good to know that farmers here in the United States always produce enough wheat and we can get the information we need from USW to buy what we need with confidence.” 

20 Years of Innovations Yield Big Gains in PRRS Control in Pigs Today

At World Pork Expo, Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. (BIVI, St. Joseph, MO) discussed the advancements made in combating PRRSV since the release of Ingelvac PRRS® MLV vaccine.  Over the past 20 years, BIVI has been a leader in funding both collaborative and original research in the area of PRRS. Significant advancements have been made in the areas of biosecurity, disease transmission, immune management, and disease monitoring.

Dr. Edgar Diaz, Sr. Associate Director, Tech Marketing at BIVI, states that “BIVI has continued to support PRRS research since the release of the first MLV PRRS vaccine in 1994. Our goal is to go beyond the bottle by creating a systematic process for PRRS control.” 

Developing field applicable information relevant to PRRS control has been a long term goal of BIVI. “Generating tools and processes, that when applied in a systematic approach, can mitigate the consequences of PRRSV has been the primary focus of our collaborative research activities” says Dr. Reid Philips, DVM, PRRS Technical Manager at BIVI.  Results of collaborative research activities, such as the annual BIVI Advancement in PRRS Research awards, has dramatically improved knowledge in the key areas of epidemiology, transmission, biosecurity, and immune management in both breeding herds and growing pigs.  He goes on to say that “We now know that key objectives of a successful PRRS control program include: limiting the source of new PRRSV isolates, preventing PRRSV introduction,  reducing area spread of the virus and implementing protocols to mitigate the consequences of infection when it occurs.”

BIVI’s commitment to research regarding PRRS control strategies is evident; however another key area of the company’s collaborative and original research has been focused to the development of tools that allow producers to measure the success of these strategies.  “Providing producers with the tools to track the effectiveness of PRRS control strategies by measuring health and performance, transmission of the virus, and tracking PRRS outbreaks in their system is important,” says Dr. Philips.

“By constantly evaluating the impact of interventions, we have learned that maintaining uniform immunity within a population is important,” notes Dr. Philips. BIVI is currently recommending a two pronged approach of breeding herd mass vaccination and growing pig vaccination. “Vaccine can be used to achieve stability in breeding herds while minimizing the time required to reach pre-break production levels,” he says.  “Additionally, growing pig vaccination impacts pig health and consequently performance, along with the shedding of wild-type virus.”

The importance of communication, coordination, and collaboration, both within and between systems, has also been shown to be vital to the success of a PRRS control programs.  Due to this, BIVI continues to be strong supporters of the Area Regional Control (ARC) concept and has partnered with University of California-Davis to further develop a tool, Bioportal, to help track the genetic diversity of the virus. Additionally, BIVI continues to have a PRRSolutions team who are specifically dedicated to help producers and veterinarians control PRRS.

Dr. Diaz says BIVI is committed to continuing to help advance knowledge in controlling PRRS disease.  “We have gained a tremendous amount of knowledge in controlling PRRS over the past 20 years, but there is still work to be done.”

BASF announces investments and new products for North American agriculture

BASF today announced new investments and solutions that will help growers and partners in North America drive yields and efficiency. BASF will invest more than $270 million to expand production capacity for key herbicides dicamba and DMTA at the Beaumont, Texas site as well as upgrade production at the Hannibal, Missouri site. With capacities expected to be on line in 2016/17, the expansions will serve to meet the growing demand for BASF’s diverse herbicide portfolio, which features nine different modes of action and multi-year rotational plans in order to ensure effective, flexible and durable weed control. BASF is evaluating additional investments as part of its plan to spend approximately $2.439 billion dollars between 2014 and 2018 to increase production of its crop protection products worldwide. 

The investments coincide with the planned launch of more than 20 different innovations for the agricultural industry from BASF’s R&D pipeline in North America, highlighted by an advanced dicamba formulation, Engenia™ herbicide. Starting in 2015, Engenia will help growers to control resistant weeds in key row crops and also serve as a key component of dicamba/glyphosate-tolerant cropping systems.

“The North American market has seen many challenges along with great opportunities in the past few years,” said Markus Heldt, President of BASF’s Crop Protection division. “We are committed to investing in R&D, production and personnel in North America, so that we can deliver effective and efficient solutions for growers and our retailer customers.”

Additional innovations include the miticides Nealta® for specialty crops and Sultan™ for turf and ornamentals, which provide effective residual control of mites at all life stages. From Functional Crop Care’s R&D platform, BASF will provide from 2015 onwards a new family of seed coating products based on Xemium® fungicide as well as Limus® urease inhibitor. Limus provides optimal nitrogen availability during crops’ critical growth stages and also contributes to better environmental outcomes by helping to reduce nitrogen losses in the field.

Plant Science shows promising results

In the area of plant biotechnology, BASF Plant Science is moving ahead with several promising projects. These include the 2013 launch by Monsanto of Genuity® DroughtGard® Hybrids, a drought-tolerant corn variety developed in collaboration with Monsanto. BASF is also initiating the first field trials for its fungal resistance project, which is designed to address stalk rot in corn through innovative trait technology.
“BASF Plant Science stands on three strong pillars including yield increase and stress tolerance, herbicide tolerance, and fungal resistance,” said Peter Eckes, President of BASF Plant Science. “We continue to focus on collaborating with key partners in order to prepare the next generation of innovations for agriculture.”

Innovation Specialists focus on customer needs

Since 2010, BASF has expanded its in-field staff by 150 experts in North America, highlighted by the Innovation Specialist advisory program initiated in 2012. Innovation Specialists provide direct agronomic and decision support for the newest technologies available from BASF. Currently, BASF employees work directly with more than 30,000 growers and 11,000 retail partners in North America, meaning that BASF team members now provide expertise and tailored solutions for over 84 million acres of agricultural production in the region.

“Supporting our customers is our number one priority, and we continually collaborate with them to address the issues that matter most,” said Nevin McDougall, Senior Vice President, BASF Crop Protection North America. “That means helping growers and retail customers improve output, care for their natural resources and support their local communities.”

Bees thriving on golf courses with Operation Pollinator

Golfers aren’t alone on the links these days. On a growing number of U.S. courses, native bees and other pollinators are finding a variety of nutritious wildflowers planted in out-of-play areas. That’s not only good for pollinators, it’s good for golf courses. 

Developed by the agriculture company Syngenta, Operation Pollinator is a research-based initiative that restores native pollinators in landscapes like golf courses and farmland by creating essential habitats.

“Operation Pollinator helps tell our story,” says Scott Bender, CGCS, director of engineering and grounds, Griffin Gate Marriott Resort & Spa, Lexington, Kentucky. “It shows golfers and anyone who sees the Operation Pollinator sign that Marriott is a company committed to doing what’s right for the environment, not just the company. It’s a program we’re proud to be a part of.”

Operation Pollinator adds a diverse and colorful array of regionally selected wildflowers planted in out-of-play areas to attract native bees and other pollinators, provide nutritious forage and boost bee numbers. At the same time, Operation Pollinator is enhancing course landscapes, increasing biodiversity and establishing low- to no-maintenance natural areas for superintendents.

Syngenta launched the program in Europe more than 10 years ago. Now global, the company has been working with several U.S. universities the past four years to establish Operation Pollinator sites in this country.

Griffin Gate Golf Club was part of the pilot Operation Pollinator with the University of Kentucky that began fall 2011. So far, Syngenta has signed up more than 50 courses across 20 states in the program.

“It definitely attracts lots of bees. Our course is alive with activity,” says Bender. June 16 through 22 is National Pollinator Week, an effort to highlight concerns about declining bee populations. Loss of habitat and lack of nutrition are among the factors that affect bee health, according to a report by the USDA.

“With Operation Pollinator, we’re raising awareness about the pressures pollinators are under and how we can proactively help their foraging efforts,” says Stephanie Schwenke, golf marketing manager, Syngenta. “And we’re helping superintendents tell the story of how a golf course is positive for the landscape environment.”

Managing habitats for bees and other pollinators significantly increases biodiversity and also contributes to one of six commitments Syngenta made in its The Good Growth Plan — helping biodiversity flourish. Syngenta has promised to enhance biodiversity on more than 12 million acres of farmland around the world by 2020.

No comments:

Post a Comment