Monday, June 10, 2019

Monday June 10 Ag News

Eastern Nebraska Wheat, Pulse and Double Crop Field Day June 18 
Nathan Mueller - NE Extension Educator

A more diverse crop rotation can play a fundamental role in managing yield-limiting factors. Additionally, intensification (i.e., double cropping) of the current cropping system to leverage moisture and sunlight along with potential long-term soil health benefits is an area of growing interest and challenge for researchers, agronomists, and producers.

Consumers and end-users are becoming more interested in quality, nutrient density, and where and how their food is produced, all at an affordable cost. As a result, the inaugural eastern Nebraska wheat, pulse crop, and double crop field day was held in 2018. Over 100 crop growers, cattle producers, crop consultants, industry reps, university staff, and others attended the field day last year.

Join Nebraska Extension and sponsors again in 2019 as we learn more together about producing winter wheat, pulse crops, and double crops in the eastern Nebraska cropping system. Keep reading to learn more about what field research demonstrations are in place and what we will be viewing and discussing as a group.

2019 Eastern Nebraska Wheat, Pulse, and Double Crop Field Day

When: Tuesday, June 18 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Registration with coffee and donuts from 8:30 to 9:00 am. If you can’t attend all day, no problem, come when you can!

Where: Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center (ENREC) at 1071 County Road G, Ithaca in Saunders County

Pre-register for lunch: The field day is free, but we ask you to please pre-register by Friday, June 14 for lunch. We want to make sure we have enough food. Pre-register at

Winter Wheat – Trials and Demonstrations

Winter wheat variety selection is the most important factor driving yield in eastern Nebraska, causing as much as an 18-bushel-per-acre difference. That’s why the University of Nebraska conducts third-party variety trials at five locations (Clay, Jefferson, Lancaster, Saunders, and Washington counties) each year in eastern Nebraska. Attendees at this field day and tour can view 25 varieties, learning about the important traits of each variety, and get a look at new varieties for fall 2019 planting.

The second most important factor driving yield is disease management. Attendees will be able to see disease symptoms in the field, learn how to identify those diseases, and management strategies for common diseases such as leaf and stripe rust, bacterial leaf streak, and Fusarium head blight.

Nitrogen and sulfur fertility for winter wheat are critical to both yield and grain quality. Attendees will be able to see new research being conducted on nitrogen rate (0%, 25%, 50%, 75%, 100%, and 125% of recommended nitrogen) and time of application (fall, spring, and split application). Additional research on how the nitrogen-sulfur interaction impacts grain quality will also be discussed. Attendees will be able to watch an active drone and sensor demonstration at the wheat fertility study location, part of these new research studies.

Pulse Crops – Trials and Discussion

What are pulse crops? Attendees will visit the variety trials and demonstrations of cool-season legumes, including field peas and lentils at the 2019 field day (Figure 4). As a new crop in eastern Nebraska, there is a lot to learn about growing pulses. This is the second year of pulse crop work at the Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center near Mead, so check out last year’s results and come view how the crop is shaping up in 2019.

Double Crops – 2018 Results and 2019 Planning Discussion

There are many ways to capture additional income following wheat and pulse crop harvest in eastern Nebraska. Join us in discussing last year’s results and learn about double crop options and recommendations for 2019. Attendees will learn not just about double crop grain options, but the potential value some double crop forages have for cattle in the operation.

NE Extension Summer Pasture Walk Series

This summer, Nebraska Extension is hosting series of pasture walks across northeast Nebraska the 3rd Tuesday of the month, June – September.  The first event will be held June 18th at 4:00 PM at the Dave Hansen ranch, 51193 875 Rd. Orchard, NE.  Dave will provide a tour of his cow/calf and grass finished operation as well as sharing his personal grazing approach. 

Pasture walks provide an informal setting for attendees to learn about grazing principles, infrastructure options, and management practices from the host and through conversations with other participants. 

Cost to attend is free.  For those interested in staying a bit later a meal will be provided at a cost of $5 per person.  If you are planning on attending please RSVP to the Cedar County Extension office at 402-254-6821 no later than Friday, June 14th.

Agricultural Education Students Receive Scholarships

The Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation awarded 10 scholarships to students enrolled in the Agricultural Education Teaching Program at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln (UNL).

“Each of these 10 students have demonstrated a passion for agriculture and excitement to continue to grow the agricultural education and FFA programs in Nebraska,” said Megahn Schafer, executive director of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation. “We are happy to support scholarships that align with our vison of developing strong agricultural leaders to ensure a bright future for agriculture in Nebraska.”

Each recipient will receive a $1,500 scholarship during his or her student teaching semester at the university. Applicants shared why they wanted to be an agricultural education teacher, professional goals for the future, and what the scholarship would mean to them.

“UNL continues to see an increase in students entering the teaching profession compared to prior to this scholarship program just four years ago.  These teachers are filling a vital need in communities across Nebraska.” said Matt Kreifels, associate professor of practice in agricultural education at UNL. “We sincerely appreciate the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation for supporting these future teachers through this scholarship program.  Farm Bureau, its members, and the Foundation are helping to ensure a strong foundation for the future of agriculture in this state by investing in these young teachers.”

The 10 recipients of the scholarships are:
  - Christy Cooper, Waverly;
  - Aaron Hemme, Fremont;
  - Karlee Johnson, Thurston;

  - Vanessa Knutson, Palmyra;
  - Katie Nolles, Bassett;
  - William O'Brien, Newman Grove;
  - Kara Philips, Bertrand;
  - Alex Stocker, Grand Island;
  - Sheridan Swotek, Lincoln;
  - Monica Wasielewski, Bushnell.

Scholarship recipients were honored at the Nebraska Career Education (NCE) Conference in Kearney, June 5.

At the conference, the Foundation announced a call for applications for the Nebraska Agricultural Education Teacher Retention Program. Current teachers who have existing student loans and are in their first through fifth year of teaching are invited to apply. Applications can be found at and are due July 1.

Nebraska Cooperative Council Education Foundation Awards Nine Scholarships

The Nebraska Cooperative Council Education Foundation (NCCEF) has awarded nine scholarships totaling $21,500 for the 2019/20 academic year to students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources, the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture (NCTA) at Curtis, and the University of Nebraska-Kearney.

The NCCEF scholarship program was initiated for the 1993/94 academic year with funding from voluntary contributions from the agricultural cooperatives which are members of the Nebraska Cooperative Council.  Since the program’s inception, 198 scholarships totaling $220,600 have been awarded.

To be eligible for the scholarships, students must be majoring in agricultural business/economics at UNL, agribusiness or ag production systems at NCTA, or agribusiness at UNK.  Eligibility is restricted to sons or daughters of a parent or legal guardian who has been an active member, director, or employee for at least the prior three years of a cooperative which has been a member in good standing of the Council for at least five years.  Other criteria are used by UNL, NCTA and UNK.

The recipient of a $2,500 NCCEF Scholarship in Honor of Robert C. Andersen is:
✧         Austin Harthoorn, son of Barry & Sue Harthoorn of Ainsworth, will be a senior at UNL majoring in agricultural economics.  The Harthoorn’s are members of Farmers/Ranchers Co-op headquartered in Ainsworth and CVA headquartered in York and customers of Farm Credit Services of America headquartered in Omaha.

The recipients of NCCEF Scholarships in Honor of Michael S. Turner include 6 recipients of $2,500 scholarships at UNL, 1 recipient of a $1,500 scholarship at NCTA, and 1 recipient of a $2,500 scholarship at UNK:
✧         Elizabeth Yrkoski, son of Joseph & Mary Yrkoski of Fullerton, will be a junior at UNL majoring in agricultural economics.  The Yrkoski’s are members of CVA headquartered in York.
✧         Callie Dethlefs, daughter of Gary & Darlene Dethlefs of Rockville, will be a junior at UNL majoring in agribusiness.  The Dethlefs’ are members of Farmers Co-op Assocation headquartered in Ravenna.
✧         Kyle Leners, son of Scott & Laurie Leners of Filley, will be a junior at UNL majoring in agribusiness.  The Leners’ are members of Farmers Cooperative headquartered in Dorchester.
✧         Brent Miller, son of Roy & Sarah Miller of Oakland, will be a senior at UNL majoring in agribusiness.  The Miller’s are members of CVA headquartered in York.
✧         Maria Harthoorn, daughter of Barry & Sue Harthoorn of Ainsworth, will be a sophomore at UNL majoring in agricultural economics.  The Harthoorn’s are members of Farmers/Ranchers Co-op headquartered in Ainsworth and CVA headquartered in York and customers of Farm Credit Services of America headquartered in Omaha.
✧         Valerie Bohuslavsky, daughter of Jeffrey & Dawn Bohuslavsky of David City, will be a freshman at UNL majoring in agribusiness.  The Bohuslavsky’s are members of Frontier Co-op Company headquartered in Brainard, CVA headquartered in York, and Aurora Co-op Elevator Company headquartered in Aurora.
✧         Ethan Aschenbrenner, son of Gary & LaDonna Aschenbrenner of Scottsbluff, will be a 1st year student at NCTA majoring in ag production systems.  The Aschenbrenner’s are members of WESTCO headquartered in Alliance and the Panhandle Co-op Association headquartered in Scottsbluff.
✧         Drew Hofman, son of Brent & Deb Hofman of Indianola, will be a sophomore at UNK majoring in agribusiness.  The Hofman’s are members of Ag Valley Co-op headquartered in Edison and Frenchman Valley Farmers Co-op headquartered in Imperial.

“The Nebraska Cooperative Council Education Foundation is honored to provide students with financial support, allowing them to be able to study agricultural business/economics.  Education is one of the fundamental cooperative principles, and this program continues to be an important part of our efforts to help youth understand the cooperative way of doing business and interest them in pursuing careers in the agricultural industry here in Nebraska,” according to Gerald Schmidt, Foundation Board Chairman.

The purposes of the Nebraska Cooperative Council Education Foundation are to promote and encourage high school graduates to pursue higher education in the agricultural and agribusiness fields through scholarships and the implementation of school-to-work programs with participating Nebraska cooperatives; to encourage high school graduates to remain in Nebraska in agricultural pursuits all of which will result in community betterment; and the preservation of agriculture as a way of life.

National Beef Statement on Iowa Premium

The transaction was completed today and National Beef Packing Company, LLC now owns the Iowa Premium beef processing facility located in Tama, Iowa. This transaction enables National Beef to expand its beef processing operations into the State of Iowa and add over 850 employees to the National Beef family.

More information about National Beef is available at

Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Awards Deadline Extended to June 25

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig and Department of Natural Resources Acting Director Bruce Trautman invite Iowans to nominate families in their communities for the Farm Environmental Leader Award. Farmers who voluntarily take actions, like planting cover crops or installing conservation infrastructure in their fields, are eligible for the award. The deadline to nominate a deserving farmer has been extended to June 25.

To qualify, individuals must make environmental stewardship a priority and incorporate best management practices into their operation. As true stewards of the land, they recognize that improved water quality and soil sustainability reaps benefits that extend beyond their fields to citizens of Iowa and residents even further downstream.

“Iowa farmers do an incredible job feeding and fueling the world in a way that’s sustainable and acknowledges important conservation practices,” said Gov. Reynolds. “They go above and beyond improving water quality and soil sustainability which serves as a model for others to follow.”

“I commend the farmers who have implemented conservation practices that help us achieve the goals outlined in the Nutrient Reduction Strategy,” said Secretary Naig. “The award recipients are leading by example and helping preserve Iowa farm land for the next generation.”

“It is always gratifying to be able to recognize the farmers who are voluntarily leading the way when it comes to protecting our land and waters,” said DNR Acting-Director Trautman. “Being conscientious of our natural resources will ensure a rich legacy for future generations.”

An appointed committee of representatives from both conservation and agricultural groups will review the nominations and select the winners. The recipients will be recognized on Wednesday, Aug. 14 at the Iowa State Fair.

Since the creation of the award in 2012, more than 500 farm families have been recognized. Winners are presented a certificate as well as a yard sign donated by Bayer. The nomination form, a list of previous awardees and other information can be found at

RFA: Welcome to Iowa, Mr. President —And Thank You for Year-Round E15!

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) is excited to help welcome President Donald Trump to Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy, LLC (SIRE) on Tuesday in Council Bluffs, Iowa, to celebrate the elimination of an outdated regulatory barrier that had been stifling competition, increasing gas prices and worsening air pollution.

On May 31, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) completed regulatory changes that finally allow gasoline containing 15% ethanol (E15) to be sold year-round across the country. E15 offers consumers lower costs at the pump, higher octane, and reduced emissions. The EPA announcement was the culmination of a process that began at an October 2018 event, also in Council Bluffs, in which President Trump directed the Agency to implement the regulatory fix before the 2019 summer driving season.

SIRE, an RFA member company, operates a state-of-the-art ethanol biorefinery that produces approximately 130 million gallons of high-octane fuel ethanol per year, along with more than 360,000 tons of nutrient-rich animal feed. Mike Jerke is the company’s President and CEO and represents SIRE on RFA’s Board of Directors.

In anticipation of the president’s visit, RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper stated, “We look forward to joining Mike and the entire SIRE team in welcoming President Trump to America’s heartland, and we thank the President for keeping his promise to remove the unnecessary and ridiculous regulatory barrier that prohibited the summertime use of E15 in most of the country. President Trump understands that ethanol plants like SIRE are important economic engines in rural America, supporting good-paying jobs and bolstering the farm economy. And he knows ethanol reduces prices at the pump, plays a key role in American energy dominance, and helps clean the air we breathe. I can say without hyperbole or exaggeration that without President Trump’s personal interest and advocacy on year-round E15, this critical regulatory reform would not have happened. We are thrilled to have President Trump visit Iowa, so we can personally thank him for his commitment to our nation’s ethanol producers and farmers.”

Jerke added, “It is certainly a high honor to welcome the president of the United States to SIRE. The employees and owners of SIRE are very proud of what we have accomplished here. This plant has helped to revitalize southwest Iowa, providing economic opportunity and a new market for local farmers. The year-round use of E15 will create even more long-term value for our fuel while further lowering prices at the pump. We are grateful for President Trump’s leadership and determination to remove this burdensome regulatory barrier.”

RFA Slams Big Oil Challenge to Trump E15 Rule

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) will file a motion later today to intervene in support of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in response to the American Fuels and Petrochemical Association’s (AFPM) Petition for Review of the recently published rule allowing the year-round use of E15 filed in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. The AFPM’s lawsuit seeks to overturn EPA’s final rule entitled, “Modifications to Fuel Regulations to Provide Flexibility for E15, Modifications to RFS RIN Market Regulations.” The RFA is intervening to support EPA’s E15 rule. 

RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper issued the following statement:

“It was entirely predictable that Big Oil would challenge President Trump’s effort to provide increased competition, consumer choice at the pump, and lower gasoline prices for a higher-octane fuel. But EPA’s legal analysis is sound and is overwhelmingly supported by the public record and a plain reading of the statute. President Trump was correct in calling the regulatory barrier to E15 'unnecessary' and 'ridiculous,' and we greatly appreciate his effort to empower consumers and the American farmer. AFPM’s desperate effort to have the court overturn President Trump’s E15 rule will fail and reflects a callous desire to protect market share at the expense of rural America. The RFA stands with President Trump and consumers across the country who deserve a price break at the pump.”

NBB Applauds Call for Immediate Biodiesel Tax Incentive Extension

Today, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) thanked Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Cheri Bustos (D-IL), Dave Loebsack (D-IA) and 19 other Representatives for urging House leaders to immediately extend the biodiesel tax incentive.

“Biodiesel and renewable diesel represent a sustainable and alternative fuel source that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and supports thousands of green jobs across the country,” the Representatives write.

Kurt Kovarik, NBB’s Vice President of Federal Affairs, added, “On behalf of NBB and its members across the country, thank you to Representatives DeLauro, Bustos and Loebsack for conveying to House leaders the urgency of renewing the biodiesel tax incentive. Biodiesel producers are looking for an immediate resolution to the uncertainty they’ve faced since the start of 2018. The industry needs policy certainty to meet the nation’s goals for low-carbon fuels, green jobs, and cleaner air.”

A copy of the letter is available on Rep. Rosa DeLauro’s website.

The letter to Congressional leaders highlights bipartisan, regionally diverse support for renewing the biodiesel tax incentive. The letter is also signed by Reps. T.J. Cox (D-CA), Cindy Axne (D-IA), Angie Craig (D-MN), Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH), Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), John Larson (D-CT), Jahanna Hayes (D-CT), David Cicilline (D-RI), Jim Langevin (D-RI), Jim Himes (D-CT), Don Bacon (R-NE), Sean Casten (D-IL), Jared Golden (D-ME), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Chris Pappas (D-NH), Joe Courtney (D-CT), Dusty Johnson (R-SD), and Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI).

Biodiesel Industry Gathers to Discuss Tax Incentive, RFS With Capitol Hill Offices

Tomorrow, more than 70 National Biodiesel Board (NBB) members will fan out across the nation’s capital to meet with 130 Congressional offices and discuss the status of the biodiesel tax incentive and the Renewable Fuel Standard. The meetings are part of NBB’s annual member meeting and Washington, DC fly in, which begins this afternoon.

Kurt Kovarik, NBB’s Vice President of Federal Affairs, stated, “Biodiesel and renewable diesel are produced, distributed and used across the United States. The industry supports more than 60,000 jobs across multiple economic sectors. Gathering in Washington each year is important to our members so that they can meet as constituents with their Representatives and Senators. We are hosting a record 130 meetings this year to discuss the uncertainty our industry’s companies and workers along with farmers are facing, due to the biodiesel tax incentive’s lapse and the negative impact of small refinery exemptions on the Renewable Fuel Standard."

Among the 130 confirmed meetings, NBB members will visit the offices of House and Senate leaders, including Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL), Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-NJ), Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN), Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA), Sen. John Thune (R-SD), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Sen. Todd Young (R-IN).

Senators Urge USDA to Expedite Crop Insurance Guidelines

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio joined a bipartisan group of his colleagues in urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to expedite the development of the cover crop guidelines that were established in the 2018 farm bill. As a member of the Farm Bill Conference Committee, Brown helped secure provisions to improve the Crop Insurance Coverage program. Cover crops have been shown to improve soil health, which reduces run-off and protects water quality.

"According to the 2017 Census of Agriculture published last month, between 2012 and 2017, cover crops on average increased 50 percent nationwide, with the Corn Belt states reaching nearly an 80 percent increase, and with five states in the Midwest having more than a 100 percent increase," the senators wrote. "While much progress needs to be achieved across the country in order to reach our cover cropping potential, there has been noteworthy progress to date, and finalization of Section 11107 guidance soon can maintain this momentum."

The senators also requested that haying and grazing of cover crops on prevent plant acres be allowed prior to the current USDA-mandated Nov. 1 harvest date. The senators believe that November 1 is too late to feasibly graze or mechanically harvest forage crops in most northern states, and it discourages planting soil-protecting cover crops on prevent plant acres in these states because harvesting or grazing prior to November 1 results in a reduction in prevent plant payments. An earlier harvest date would provide more equitable treatment for the thousands of producers who are forced to utilize prevent plant this year and would result in soil-building cover crops on substantially more acres.

The letter was led by Sens. John Thune of South Dakota and Dick Durbin of Illinois and was also signed by Sens. Joni Ernst of Iowa, Deb Fischer of Nebraska, John Hoeven of North Dakota, Tina Smith of Minnesota, and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan.

Dairy Farmers – Industry to Congress: Help Us by Passing USMCA

The U.S. dairy industry is urging Congress to quickly ratify the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) with an outreach campaign highlighting the importance of the agreement to the success of America’s dairy farmers and manufacturers.

In a letter sent to representatives of top-producing dairy states, the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC), the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), and the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) detail how provisions of USMCA positively impact the U.S. dairy industry. The timely resolution of ongoing trade disputes and negotiations is critical to growing the dairy sector’s international market share as well as maintaining credibility with U.S. trading partners. Therefore, the dairy community is asking Congress for immediate passage of this important trade agreement.

The organizations write:
“On behalf of the dairy farms and businesses in your district, please pursue a USMCA vote without delay by working to resolve any outstanding issues as swiftly as possible and then quickly ratify the trade deal to send a clear message to the world that America still values fair trade and robust trade partnerships with our allies.”

“Solidifying and expanding trade opportunities abroad through USMCA will improve the prospects of dairy farms here at home,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “In the midst of uncertainty surrounding our trade relationships and yet another year of meager milk prices, the United States lost an average of seven dairy farms a day in 2018. The passage of USMCA will instill a renewed sense of optimism in our dairy farmers.”

With approximately 16 percent of the U.S. milk supply exported annually, strengthening trading relationships and expanding international market opportunities is vital to the financial well-being of the U.S. dairy industry. USMCA preserves U.S. dairy sales to Mexico, the U.S. dairy industry’s largest foreign customer, while increasing market access in Canada and tackling nontariff barriers that can hinder exports.

“It is time for Congress to swiftly pursue a USMCA vote by working closely with the Administration to resolve outstanding concerns and then quickly ratify this agreement to bring USMCA across the finish line,” said Tom Vilsack, president and CEO of USDEC. “The successful resolution of the Section 232 retaliatory tariffs helped pave the way for this critical trade agreement; while we work together to secure its passage Congress must also stand against the imposition of any additional tariffs that could jeopardize forward progress.”

Michael Dykes, President and CEO of the International Dairy Foods Association said, “On behalf of our dairy industry which pumps $620 billion into the U.S. economy each year, we are making a strong appeal to Congress to vote to ratify USMCA now. To pave the way for USMCA ratification, we ask the Administration to restore a market principled approach to trade –transparent, rules-based and predictable for our North American trading partners. The time has come to focus on what’s important to our economy—maintaining American jobs, growing U.S. export markets, and restoring America’s reputation as a reliable supplier.”

Passage of USMCA would bring a much-needed lift to the United States dairy industry with the U.S. International Trade Commission estimating $277 million in increased sales to our North American partners once the agreement is fully implemented.

 House Agriculture Committee Unveils New Website

The House Agriculture Committee unveiled a new website today, featuring a modern, responsive design that works on phones, tablets, and desktops. The new website can be found at the same link:

“I’m proud of our new website, that makes it easier for folks to navigate and find out what the committee is up to,” said Chairman Collin C. Peterson. “We’ve taken a modern approach that works on all devices and with this new platform, the people we fight for are able to find the critical information they need.”

The new site also features rebranded committee imaging as well as links to the committee’s YouTube, Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Summer Heats Up And So Are Brisket Prices

David P. Anderson, Extension Economist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

Brisket prices are heating up just like summer temperatures. One of the most interesting beef demand trends over the last few years has been the growth in demand for briskets. It's not just new craft bbq joints popping up everywhere in Texas, but even big chains like Arby's jumping in and they all serve brisket.

Briskets used to be an inexpensive beef cut that benefited from long, slow cooking at low temperatures. They are no longer inexpensive. What used to be a very inexpensive cut, the primal brisket is now only behind the primal rib and loin in value. In the last week of May, the comprehensive cutout brisket value was $213.47 per cwt., up 19.4 percent from the same week the year before. Just during May brisket prices jumped from $194.39 to $213.47 by the end of the month. The monthly average price was up 12 percent compared to last year. In comparison, only the primal short plate was up as much as 1 percent and the primal rib and loin were both down about 1 percent from a year ago.

Many top-end bbq joints, called by some craft bbq, working to produce a truly exceptional meal use and advertise USDA Prime or Branded briskets. USDA Prime briskets hit $215.76 per cwt at the end of May and were outpaced by Branded primal briskets that hit $220.82 per cwt. Prime, Branded, and Choice primal briskets are up 21 percent compared to a year ago, while Select and Ungraded are "only" up 17 and 15 percent, respectively.

This is a case where demand is outstripping supply, leading to quickly rising prices. Fed steer and heifer slaughter is up a little less than 2 percent through May compared to last year. Quality grade composition of beef supplies matter. About 8.1 percent of cattle graded, graded Prime in May, compared to 6.9 percent in May 2018. Slightly fewer cattle graded Choice 70.1 percent in May 2019 compared to 70.4 percent in May 2018. Select supplies were down just over a percentage point in May. Increasing steer slaughter and cattle on feed should increase available supplies in coming months.

The future growth rate in the nation's cattle herd will be critical for brisket prices. While we cut many products from other primal beef cuts, a brisket is a brisket (forgive my simple economist description). As herd growth slows and overall cattle prices decline, brisket supply growth won't keep up with current demand growth. It's likely that restaurant prices will rise in response to higher wholesale brisket costs to try to preserve a bit of margin.

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