Monday, May 2, 2022

Monday May 2 Crop Progress, May Beef Month + Ag News


For the week ending May 1, 2022, there were 5.1 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 31% very short, 32% short, 35% adequate, and 2% surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 34% very short, 44% short, 22% adequate, and 0% surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn planted was 28%, behind 37% last year and 34% for the five-year average. Emerged was 1%, near 2% last year and 3% average.

Soybeans planted was 19%, near 18% last year, and ahead of 14% average.

Winter wheat condition rated 18% very poor, 21% poor, 36% fair, 24% good, and 1% excellent.

Oats planted was 88%, near 91% last year, but ahead of 79% average. Emerged was 48%, well behind 68% last year, but near 47% average.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 47% very poor, 26% poor, 21% fair, 6% good, and 0% excellent.


Despite rain and cold conditions, Iowa farmers made progress planting corn and soybeans with 2.8 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending May 1, 2022, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Fieldwork activities also included tillage, applying anhydrous and nitrogen, planting oats, and limited spraying.

Topsoil moisture condition rated 3 percent very short, 13 percent short, 68 percent adequate and 16 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture condition rated 8 percent very short, 22 percent short, 63 percent adequate and 7 percent surplus.

Despite continued cool soil temperatures, 9 percent of Iowa’s expected corn crop has been planted, 11 days behind last year and 9 days behind the 5-year average. Farmers in the western one-third of the Iowa had at least 3.7 days suitable for fieldwork and made more planting progress than those in the rest of the State. Four percent of the expected soybean crop has been planted, 9 days behind the previous year and 5 days behind the average.

Sixty-three percent of the expected oat crop has been planted, almost 2 weeks behind last year and 1 week behind the 5-year average. Eighteen percent of the oat crop has emerged, 10 days behind last year and 6 days behind the average.

Pasture and hay growth were still slow. Livestock conditions were challenging, with muddy feedlots and pastures.

USDA Weekly Crop Progress: Corn and Soybean Planting Falls Further Behind the Average Pace

Corn and soybean planting progress fell further behind the five-average pace last week as continued cool and wet conditions kept farmers out of their fields across large portions of the Eastern Corn Belt, Upper Midwest and Northern Plains, USDA NASS reported in its weekly Crop Progress report on Monday. And more precipitation in the DTN weather forecast for already-wet areas of the country this coming week could spell even more planting delays.


-- Planting progress: 14% nationwide as of Sunday, May 1 -- double the previous week's 7%. Current progress is now 28 percentage points behind last year's pace of 42% and 19 percentage points behind the five-year average of 33%.
-- Crop development: 3% of corn was emerged as of Sunday, up just 1 percentage point from the previous week and 3 percentage points behind the five-year average of 6%.


-- Planting progress: 8% nationwide as of Sunday, up 5 percentage points from the previous week. That is 14 percentage points behind last year's 22% and 5 percentage points behind the five-year average of 13%.


-- Crop development progress: 23% of the winter wheat crop was headed nationwide as of Sunday. That's 3 percentage points behind last year's 26% and 6 percentage points behind the five-year average of 29%.
-- Crop condition: Nationwide, winter wheat was rated 27% good to excellent, unchanged from the previous week. The percentage of the crop rated very poor to poor increased 4 percentage points from 39% the previous week to 43% as of Sunday.

Ricketts Proclaims “Beef Month” & Highlights Beef Passport Dining Program

This morning, Governor Pete Ricketts proclaimed May as “Beef Month” in Nebraska during a ceremony at the State Capitol.  He was joined by Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) Director Steve Wellman, Nebraska Beef Council Chairman George Cooksley, and Nebraska Cattlemen President Brenda Masek.  At the news conference, Gov. Ricketts encouraged Nebraskans to take part in the 2022 Good Life Great Steaks Beef Passport program organized by the Nebraska Beef Council.

“Nebraska farmers and ranchers take great pride in producing high-quality beef to feed our state, nation, and world,” the Governor’s proclamation declared.  “Beef is part of a nutritious, healthy diet, and when consumers eat beef, they support the industry and encourage growth in the Good Life.”

Through the Beef Passport program, Nebraskans can qualify for prize drawings by dining at over 40 participating restaurants across the state that serve premium Nebraska beef.  Diners will receive a stamp on their passport for each restaurant they visit.  Stamps can be collected now through September 30, 2022.  To request a passport, see a list of participating restaurants, and get information on program rules and prizes, go to

Nebraska ranks first in the nation for commercial cattle slaughter and second for beef exports, all cattle on feed, and commercial red meat production.  In 2021, Nebraska exported a record $1.81 billion of beef, which surpassed the state’s previous annual high by 25%.  Nebraska is the leading exporter of U.S. beef to the European Union, South Korea, Colombia, Israel, and Kuwait.


– Ben Beckman, NE Extension Educator

Dry and cool weather has caused spring green-up to lag. With warmer temperatures in the forecast, many cool season species may come on fast as they make up for lost time.  Are you prepared to capture this flush of spring growth?

Cool season species statewide are ready to grow as soon as temperatures and moisture allows.  This includes perennial species like smooth brome as well as planted annuals like rye, barley, or oats.  While this flush of growth is needed for animals that will be turned out to pasture to have something to graze on, maturing too fast can cause some issues.

Grasses lose quality as they begin to develop seedheads and mature.  The trade-off to this is the additional yield being produced.  As grazing managers, we are constantly walking the line between quality and quantity, trying to find the optimum level for both.  The danger with fast spring growth is the grass maturing faster than we can graze it, resulting in low quality forage and lower grazing efficiency.

So, what can we do?  Try flash grazing to quickly graze pastures initially.  This allows animals to utilize more forage in the vegetative state, while at the same time setting the plants back a bit and delaying maturity.  The trick is setting back plant growth enough that we can come around for a second grazing period to a vegetative plant while not apply so much pressure the plant’s health suffers. After an initial quick rotation, we can slow things down again and graze normally as pasture growth slows later this spring.

USDA Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service to Present on Drought Assistance Programs During May 12 Webinar

Nebraska USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will provide an overview of USDA drought assistance programs during a webinar scheduled for Thursday, May 12. The webinar is part of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Center for Agricultural Profitability webinar series devoted to topics for farm and ranch management, profitability, economics and farm survival. It will begin at 12 p.m. CT, and those interested in participating can register at

Nebraska FSA Price Support, Conservation and Environmental Programs Chief Pat Lechner and Nebraska NRCS Outreach Coordinator Brach Johnson will provide an overview of USDA drought assistance programs. The webinar will be moderated by Brad Lubben, UNL associate professor and Extension policy specialist. Randy Saner, UNL beef systems Extension educator, also will present during the webinar.

“FSA county offices already are busy implementing drought assistance programs such as the Livestock Forage Disaster Program,” said Nebraska FSA State Executive Director John Berge. “This and other programs available through both FSA and NRCS are designed to help producers mitigate some of the impact of extreme, adverse weather.”

Persons with disabilities who require accommodations to attend or participate in the webinar should contact the Nebraska FSA State Office at (402) 437-5581 or Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339, or email by Monday, May 9.

Nebraska Beef Council May Board Meeting

The Nebraska Beef Council Board of Directors will meet at the NBC office in Kearney, NE located at 1319 Central Ave. on Tuesday May 17,  2022  beginning 10:00 a.m. CDT. The NBC Board of Directors will discuss foreign marketing and finalize the strategic plan. For more information, please contact Pam Esslinger at

AI Season is Just Around the Corner

Steve Niemeyer, Nebraska Extension Educator
Kacie McCarthy, UNL Cow-Calf Specialist

Some spring calving herds are starting to gear up for the breeding season by utilizing either natural service, artificial insemination (AI), or a combination of both.  According to a recent NAHMS survey, 84.85% of operations utilize natural service only and 10.3% utilizing AI and exposure to bulls. The implementation of estrous synchronization has the potential to shorten your calving window, concentrates labor, allows for more uniform management of cows, and can create a more uniform calf crop. Artificial insemination allows producers to advance the genetic merit of their herd, reduces the number of bulls used during the breeding season, can increase weaning weights, and when combined with estrous synchronization it can shorten the calving season.

Preparing cows for the Breeding Season

There are a few things we need to be thinking about to prepare our cows for the breeding season and to have successful AI rates. These management options would include  cows being in a positive plane of nutrition, a good yearlong mineral program to meet any deficiencies (NebGuide G2340), cows in 5 to 6 body condition score (BCS;ECS281), and inventory your supplies. Furthermore, we recommend having conversations with your veterinarian to ensure you have appropriately timed your pre-breeding vaccination program (at least 30 days prior to breeding for successful conception) and it is also a good time to get any synchronization products you may need. Other things to consider are making sure your working facilities are in good working condition, have accurate records to identify females and record breeding information. In addition, a successful AI program depends on understanding what protocol you are using and following it exactly as it is recommended.

Keep in mind that moving to pasture or transporting cows should be done shortly after breeding (1 to 4 days post AI) or waiting after 35 days. This will help reduce the incidence of early fetal loss, since maternal recognition of pregnancy is established around day 16. When you are transporting or moving a large group of animals, make sure you keep stress, heat, and working stress to a minimum.

For those summer calving and breeding herds, it is important to remember that forage may be declining during this critical time. Review some helpful considerations with supplementation and body condition recommendations from last year’s article on managing summer calving herds during breeding season (

Selecting a synchronization and AI protocol

The goal of estrous synchronization is to bring cows into heat at the same time. If producers decide to use synchronization, understanding how different protocols can fit their operation, goals, and facilities will all be important to consider. Perhaps you are wanting to start with a smaller group of animals, synchronization of heifers before the cow herd can be an option to start implementing these reproductive technologies. Review this past article about protocols that can be used with heifers (

Not every producer may know how to AI, so identifying AI technicians or working directly with bull stud/AI companies to help with that process will be important to secure prior to breeding. What supplies do you need to have for AI? Proper equipment and facilities should be used to ensure the safety of the animals and technicians, this includes good working chute(s) and facilities such as a breeding barn, low stress animal handling, access to warm water, water bath to thaw semen, paper towels, OB sleeves, and a person to keep records of cows being bred. For more information, refer to the UNL Extension beef publication Estrous Synchronization Handbook (EC283) or this great review in a March issue of BeefWatch Newsletter (

Perhaps you would like to capitalize on having more calves born earlier in the calving season, but want to start simple and do not want to deal with the increase in labor, cost, and facilities to implement a multiple day synchronization and AI protocol? A simple, one shot, one time through the chute may be an option and then use bulls for natural service during the breeding season. A nice summary of this protocol can be found here ( Data from the University of Nebraska reported that heifers born during the first 20 days of the calving season compared to those born later were heavier at weaning, pre-breeding, and calving. This in turn, produced heifers that were more likely to be cycling by the start of the breeding season and more likely to get pregnant. The benefit of conceiving early results in heifers staying in the herd longer, thus increasing profitability.

For an effective breeding season to be successful with synchronization and AI, nutrition, estrous cycle control, female management, proper facilities, labor, and expertise will need to be considered.

NeFB Foundation Receives Grant to Provide Learning Opportunities in After-School and Summer Programs

The Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation was awarded a two-year Expanded Learning Opportunity Grant funded by proceeds of the Nebraska Lottery approved by the Nebraska State Board of Education. The nearly $89,000 grant will provide hands-on enrichment activities and services delivered by after-school and summer programs across Nebraska until June 2024.

The Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation has partnered with the Nebraska Department of Education, Nebraska Game & Parks, and Midwest Dairy Association on the project. The project titled, “Walk to Unlock Nebraska – An Interactive Agricultural and Historical Adventure,” will provide Community Learning Centers (CLC) across Nebraska the opportunity to engage in both a physical activity program and STEAM- (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) focused educational materials.

“The partnership lends a wealth of knowledge, expertise, and resources to create a great experience for students and reach a wider audience. We are excited to collaborate with each of these groups,” said Courtney Shreve, director of outreach education for the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation.

The goal of the program is to increase access to physical activity opportunities and access to historical, agricultural, and STEAM curriculum. Each participating Community Learning Center will utilize the Walk Across Nebraska program to track the miles students walk on an interactive map. Four different trails with multiple stops will lead participants on a virtual walk across the state. Each stop on the map will provide an extended learning opportunity in the form of a video, book, poster, or curriculum piece to draw connections to the information students are learning in their daily classrooms.

“Agriculture is a natural fit for this project. With approximately 91 percent of Nebraska’s land used for agriculture, this project will provide an opportunity for students to walk virtually across the state and see crops, livestock, and agribusinesses through videos, virtual field trips, and curriculum,” said Shreve.

The Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation will build out family engagement materials to help Nebraska families understand how agriculture impacts their lives. Specifically, the team will provide curriculum, marketing materials, and community connections with volunteers to lead agricultural literacy efforts.

The Flying Elbow takes down Iowa's Best Burger competitors

The Flying Elbow is tucked in among other businesses on North 13th Street in Marshalltown, Iowa. Local business owners support one another by encouraging their customers to stop by a neighboring boutique, restaurant, and/or shop. And it’s clear - Iowa’s Best Burger Contest has not only increased foot traffic at The Flying Elbow, but the adjacent, small businesses. The Flying Elbow, an alternative sports bar, was six years in the making. It did not happen by chance; it is the result of pitfalls and perseverance. Now it’s been named Iowa’s Best Burger.  

Garrett Goodman, a Marshalltown native, considers himself a foodie, or “a person with a particular interest in food,” according to the Oxford English Dictionary. Goodman’s passion for preparing food took off early in life, as he spent the weekends cooking alongside his step-dad, a chef. Similarly, his great-grandfather worked in the restaurant business. With no formal culinary training, Goodman can affirm, “You can learn a lot in the field just by doing.”

“In high school, both of my parents were working all of the time. So I was cooking for the family, helping out with my brother and sister,” Goodman said. “Then I got out of the house, and it turns out none of my roommates could cook. So I was cooking for three dudes all of the time.”

Goodman spent the next decade in corporate information technology (IT) then one day decided it was time for a change. While he enjoyed the steady work, he no longer found it fulfilling. Goodman thought, “This isn’t my passion; this isn’t my dream.” His dream was to make people happy. “And the best way to do that is through their stomachs,” he thought. Goodman then entered the restaurant business. Not wanting to get in over his head, he started with a food truck.

“I found a food truck, and spring was coming,” Goodman recalls. “And then we ran into roadblocks.” Goodman’s dad passed away unexpectedly, pushing his opening date back to the fall of 2017. But, it ended up being worth the wait. Goodman’s business, featuring pro-wrestling themed hot dogs, picked up 1,000 Facebook likes and 100 five-star reviews in a matter of months. Business was booming. Goodman thought, “Maybe I have something here.” So he began his search for a brick and mortar, which he would find in December 2017.

The building, located at the corner of State and Center, formerly housed the Corner Tap. After months of renovations, Goodman once again opened for business. Eager customers waited in lines, stretching out the door. Then suddenly, business came to a screeching halt. In July 2018, a tornado swept through Marshalltown, destroying the restaurant. Goodman intended to rebuild. He wrote a business plan, purchased a building site, and worked on financing, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.  

Two years later, Goodman stumbled upon the building The Flying Elbow is now located in, at 229 North 13th Street. The owner of the building, John Hermanson, had purchased the building with the intent of a restaurant with a deck/patio space and a partnership was born. Renovations kicked off in January of 2021 and in September 2021, The Flying Elbow opened its door to the public, serving hot dogs and other food items. The restaurant presents a flair of wrestling memorabilia, including classic merchandise, action figures and vintage wrestling matches. It offers “a little bit of something for everyone.”

“I didn’t want to be a niche establishment for adventurous foodies. I wanted to create a place that everybody could eat at. I’ve always had a little bit of something for everyone,” Goodman said. “(We’re) still doing hot dogs. We’ve added corn dogs and a few different things to the menu: loaded fries and grilled sandwiches.” In late January, Goodman felt compelled to do something “different, new and fun.” He offered the smashburger, a thin beef patty packed with flavor.  

“I’ve always wanted to do smashburgers, so I came up with a plan to release a small menu. Within three days, I was smashing burgers,” Goodman said. “In that week, we did the same amount of sales that we did in all of January. We sold out in three days and the buzz started happening.”  

Smashburgers found a spot on the regular menu, and have been flying off the grill. Goodman says, “We served 350 pounds of beef in that first week.” The restaurant has continued to serve large quantities of beef, averaging 350 pounds of beef a week. In February, the restaurant’s loyal customers, also referred to as Elbowmaniacs, helped The Flying Elbow secure a spot among the Top 10 restaurants in Iowa’s Best Burger Contest - less than six months after adding smashburgers to its menu.

“Ever since, it’s been busy, busy, busy. We’re serving 400 plus pounds of beef right now. And we’re using the best product,” Goodman said. “I’ve always wanted to use the best product I could. My mentality has always been to use the best product, prepare it the best way we can and the rest will work itself out.”

Goodman’s smashburger features a blend of chuck, brisket and short rib, which is fresh, never frozen and sourced from Midwest cattle. He also incorporates Wagyu beef, raised by a Marshalltown producer, into the mix. Goodman said, “It’s basically a custom blend that nobody else has, and the flavor from the Wagyu took it over the top.” In the end, patrons are presented with a “nice, juicy patty with crisp edges.” Goodman says, “The beef speaks for itself.”

The Flying Elbow customers are offered choice in their selections. The “Attitude Menu” allows customers the choice of a hot dog, grilled sandwich, loaded fry, or burger. They can then choose different topping combinations. But in the end, “it all boils down to the basics,” Goodman said.

“We have a fresh baked, sesame seed bun. We (also) use the best beef we can and have researched the best way to prepare it,” Goodman says. “Seared meat is the best meat because you are bringing out flavors that you can’t with a thicker patty.”

The Flying Elbow sells a lot of the “Real American.” The burger is named after Hulk Hogan’s theme song, and is Goodman’s take on the popular fast food, standard cheeseburger. It features the basic toppings: ketchup, mustard, pickle, and grilled, minced onion, which complement the fresh burger patty. Other popular burgers include: The Brisco, George the Animal, and Tombstone.

Goodman reflected on Iowa’s Best Burger Contest, a two-phase competition sponsored by the Iowa Beef Industry Council and Iowa Cattlemen’s Association. The first phase is based on votes from the public. For a month, burger lovers went online and voted for their favorite Iowa burger joint. At the end of the month, the 10 restaurants with the most votes were placed in the “Top 10.” From there, three anonymous judges visited each of the restaurants, scoring the burger patties based on taste, doneness, and presentation. Goodman relayed:

“I’m very thankful. There are some great restaurants in this competition, and I just want to say ‘thank you’ to those who voted for us, and the Iowa Beef Industry Council and Iowa Cattlemen’s Association for hosting the contest. I’m excited, and I think this is going to be a good thing for the business. I’m excited to serve more customers, get our product out there, and see where this takes us.”

The Flying Elbow, located at 229 N 13th Street, Marshalltown, Iowa 50158, is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m Friday through Saturday. Hours of operation may change, heading into summer. Goodman encourages interested parties to follow The Flying Elbow on Facebook for updated hours.  

Additionally, the Iowa Beef Industry Council and Iowa Cattlemen’s Association kindly ask new and existing customers to be courteous to restaurant staff, while visiting The Flying Elbow. Former contest winners have reported an influx in sales, well after Iowa’s Best Burger announcement was made. We hope you will be understanding of potentially longer wait times. The Flying Elbow looks forward to serving you, and will do the best it can to make this an experience for all visitors.

USDA Grain Crushings and Co-Products Production

Total corn consumed for alcohol and other uses was 511 million bushels in March 2022. Total corn consumption was up 12 percent from February 2022 and up 8 percent from March 2021. March 2022 usage included 91.6 percent for alcohol and 8.4 percent for other purposes. Corn consumed for beverage alcohol totaled 4.33 million bushels, up 7 percent from February 2022 and up 16 percent from March 2021. Corn for fuel alcohol, at 455 million bushels, was up 12 percent from February 2022 and up 8 percent from March 2021. Corn consumed in March 2022 for dry milling fuel production and wet milling fuel production was 92.6 percent and 7.4 percent, respectively.

USDA Fats and Oils: Oilseed Crushings, Production, Consumption and Stocks

Soybeans crushed for crude oil was 5.79 million tons (193 million bushels) in March 2022, compared with 5.23 million tons (174 million bushels) in February 2022 and 5.65 million tons (188 million bushels) in March 2021. Crude oil produced was 2.28 billion pounds up 10 percent from February 2022 and up 2 percent from March 2021. Soybean once refined oil production at 1.79 billion pounds during March 2022 increased 16 percent from February 2022 and increased 2 percent from March 2021.

USDA Flour Milling Products

All wheat ground for flour during the first quarter 2022 was 230 million bushels, down 2 percent from the fourth quarter 2021 grind of 235 million bushels but up 3 percent from the first quarter 2021 grind of 225 million bushels. First quarter 2022 total flour production was 106 million hundredweight, down 1 percent from the fourth quarter 2021 but up 3 percent from the first quarter 2021. Whole wheat flour production, at 5.25 million hundredweight during the first quarter 2022, accounted for 5 percent of the total flour production. Millfeed production from wheat in the first quarter 2022 was 1.67 million tons. The daily 24-hour milling capacity of wheat flour during the first quarter 2022 was 1.60 million hundredweight.

2021 Flour Milling Products

As part of the Current Agricultural Industrial Reports (CAIR) program, the 2021 Annual Summary of the Flour Milling Products contains quarterly data and annual totals for 2021. All wheat ground for flour in 2021 was 913 million bushels, down 1 percent  from 2020. The total flour production was 421 million hundredweight, down 1 percent from 2020. Total whole wheat flour production in 2021 was 19.8 million hundredweight, down 2 percent from 2020.

USDA Announces May 2022 Lending Rates for Agricultural Producers

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced loan interest rates for May 2022, which are effective May 2, 2022. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) loans provide important access to capital to help agricultural producers start or expand their farming operation, purchase equipment and storage structures or meet cash flow needs.

Operating, Ownership and Emergency Loans

FSA offers farm ownership and operating loans with favorable interest rates and terms to help eligible agricultural producers, whether multi-generational, long-time, or new to the industry, obtain financing needed to start, expand or maintain a family agricultural operation. FSA also offers emergency loans to help producers recover from production and physical losses due to drought, flooding, other natural disasters or quarantine. For many loan options, FSA sets aside funding for historically underserved producers, including veterans, beginning, women, American Indian or Alaskan Native, Asian, Black or African American, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, and Hispanic farmers and ranchers

Interest rates for Operating and Ownership loans for May 2022 are as follows:
    Farm Operating Loans (Direct): 2.875%
    Farm Ownership Loans (Direct): 3.375%
    Farm Ownership Loans (Direct, Joint Financing): 2.500%
    Farm Ownership Loans (Down Payment): 1.500%
    Emergency Loan (Amount of Actual Loss): 3.750%

FSA also offers guaranteed loans through commercial lenders at rates set by those lenders.
You can find out which of these loans may be right for you by using our Farm Loan Discovery Tool (also available in Spanish).

Commodity and Storage Facility Loans

Additionally, FSA provides low-interest financing to producers to build or upgrade on-farm storage facilities and purchase handling equipment and loans that provide interim financing to help producers meet cash flow needs without having to sell their commodities when market prices are low. Funds for these loans are provided through the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) and are administered by FSA.

    Commodity Loans (less than one year disbursed): 2.750%
    Farm Storage Facility Loans:
        Three-year loan terms: 2.625%
        Five-year loan terms: 2.625%
        Seven-year loan terms: 2.625%
        Ten-year loan terms: 2.625%
        Twelve-year loan terms: 2.625%
    Sugar Storage Facility Loans (15 years): 2.750%

Improvements & Cautions

Stephen R. Koontz, Dept of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Colorado State University

The cattle markets bring a mix optimistic and caution news. Fed cattle prices are at levels not seen since mid-2015. The substantial heifer composition of FI fed slaughter and the reasonably aggressive beef cow slaughter and liquidation clearly communicates the tightening future beef supplies. Boxed beef comprehensive cutout values continue to counter-seasonally soften but only from last year’s greater than $300 per cwt amounts. Beef demand continues to look very strong even as beef valuations and packer margins shrink. The beef supply chain gives the modest perception of something of a return to normal given the repeated restart issues of the past year. Beef production has been very strong since problems experienced in January. And retail beef prices are finally not the protein setting record high valuations.

There was a mix of news in the Cattle on Feed report. Placements were, again, surprising large compared to expectations. But then again maybe the drought-driven behavior by cow-calf and stocker producers reflects conditions worse than understood. Regardless, the very high cattle on feed inventories will impact the market for some time with these placements. But there is also the discussion that cattle feeding enterprises are chasing the available calves in anticipation of a tighter and smaller fall run. The inventory of cattle on feed over 120 days and over 150 days are only modestly tighter than 2021 and 2019. Putting together a useable assessment of these inventories is more difficult with the additional days on feed that is now more common. But futures communicate more clearly than ever a changing supply scenario into the last half of the year.

In addition to supply chains showing some smoothing out of operations, we may also be seeing the first of tighter animal numbers compared to industry capacity in feeding and packing. Of course, the relative supply and demand has not changed yet but the long-term dynamics in the cattle and beef industry is determined drought and feed costs – as well as economic returns. There are many definitive signals for tightening supplies. A variety of feeder cattle market summaries refer to demand as being moderate to good. High feeding costs and tight forage availability combined with lighter and more variable movements in feeder cattle and calves.

CNH Workers Go on Strike

(AP) -- More than 1,000 workers at two CNH Industrial plants went on strike Monday in search of a better deal with the company that makes agriculture and construction equipment.

The United Auto Workers union said Monday the workers in Racine, Wisconsin, and Burlington, Iowa, went on strike at noon after contract talks faltered. The action follows a spate of strikes in the past year, including a high-profile monthlong strike at Deere & Co. that resulted in 10% raises and improved benefits for 10,000 UAW workers at that equipment maker.

"Our members at CNHi strike for the ability to earn a decent living, retire with dignity and establish fair work rules," said Chuck Browning, Vice President and director of the union's Agricultural Implement Department.

The company said in a statement that it is disappointed it couldn't reach an agreement with the union, and it remains committed to the bargaining process.

"We recognize the union's decision creates high anxiety among our represented employees in Burlington and Racine, as well as our other employees, our customers, and our community," said CNH Industrial, which plans to release its first-quarter earnings report on Tuesday.

This is the latest strike by workers who believe they deserve more after keeping plants operating throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Unions have also been emboldened to take action because they believe the ongoing worker shortages give them an advantage in bargaining.

Smithfield Foods Voted Most Trusted Pork Company by American Consumers

Smithfield Foods, Inc. is the pork brand Americans trust the most, according to a recent consumer survey conducted for Newsweek Magazine.

Smithfield was honored for trust, which consumers measure mainly through a product’s pricing, quality and transparency, as a winner of the 2022 BrandSpark Most Trusted Awards, issued in partnership with BrandSpark International leading market research and consulting firm, and Newsweek magazine.

“Smithfield Foods prides itself on providing consumers with wholesome, safe and affordable food,” said Tim Zimmer, executive vice president of marketing for Smithfield Foods. “Being recognized as the most trusted pork brand is a testament to the dedication and commitment of our more than 60,000 team members worldwide to provide “Good food. Responsibly.®”

 AGCO Acquires JCA Industries

Increases engineering and software development capabilities to accelerate the development of highly automated and autonomous machines

AGCO, Your Agriculture Company, (NYSE:AGCO), a worldwide manufacturer and distributor of agricultural machinery and precision ag technology, announced it has acquired JCA Industries, Inc. (“JCA”), d/b/a JCA Technologies, a leader in the development of autonomous software for agricultural machines, implement controls and electronic system components.

JCA, based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, specializes in the design of electronic systems and software development to automate and control agricultural equipment. JCA’s path planning, sensor fusion, and remote-control software products are used today by original equipment manufacturers. In addition, JCA has been serving some of the world’s leading agriculture equipment manufacturers as a provider for electronic designs and software for autonomous machine development.

“The purchase of JCA is another important addition to our precision agriculture capabilities,” stated Eric Hansotia, AGCO’s Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. “JCA is one of the most advanced developers of autonomous machine technologies for off-road OEMs, and this acquisition will accelerate AGCO’s delivery of machine automation and autonomous systems that improve farmer productivity.”

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