Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wednesday November 14 Ag News

Platte Valley Cattlemen Monthly Meeting Scheduled
Paul Wilke, President, Platte Valley Cattlemen

The November meeting of the Platte Valley Cattlemen is scheduled for Monday, November 19, at Wunderlich’s Catering.  The social hour at 6:00 P.M. will be sponsored by Rosendahl Farms Feed & Seed and Terry Ramold of Kent Feeds.  The meal will start at 7:00 P.M., with the meeting to follow.  For this meeting, Rick Rasby, UNL Beef Specialist, to be our speaker.  His topic will be managing the cow herd during these drought conditions.  Hope to see you then!

UNL Extension Television Program Airs in December on NET 2

A University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension television program highlighting the profession of animal manure and nutrient management will air in December on NET2.

Viewers can tune into "Modern Manure Management" Dec. 13 at 8 p.m., Dec. 16 at 2 p.m., Dec. 27 at 8:30 p.m. or Dec. 30 at 2:30 p.m.

Manure is a valuable resource in Nebraska, said Leslie Johnson, UNL Extension animal manure management project coordinator.

Some have called it "brown gold," she said. The fertilizer nutrients in 10 tons of chicken manure are worth up to $325.

Using manure as a fertilizer recycles nutrients, reduces contamination of natural resources and can save producers money. In order to get these benefits, manure has to be handled effectively from farm to field. "Modern Manure Management" explains the present state of the manure handling profession, Johnson said.

The program highlights the role of consultants, professional manure applicators and the growing support industry related to manure management.

The progression of the industry from the early, horse-drawn spreaders to GPS-guided modern dry spreaders, tanker injectors and towed hose systems is explored and shows the high level of technology and know-how that is used today to manage this billion-dollar "brown gold" industry.

For more information, visit

Cattlemen's College at ICA Annual Convention features cattle handling and targeted solutions for feedyard, cow-calf producers

The first day of the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association 2012 Annual Convention is jam-packed with information Iowa cattle producers can put to use immediately. The convention, which is Dec. 10-12 at the Prairie Meadows Events Center in Altoona, starts off with Cattlemen’s College on Monday, Dec. 10.

The centerpiece of the Cattlemen’s College is a workshop that will serve both the feedyard producer, as well as those in the cow-calf business. Low-stress cattle handling is an important part in both production systems because it assures consumers that cattle are being well-treated while they are being handled in a manner that produces the best quality beef from that animal.
Curt Pate, an internationally known stocksmanship clinician, will conduct the workshop twice. One session will be specifically targeted to cow-calf producers, and the other for feedyard operators. All participating in the workshop will receive Beef Quality Assurance Certification.

Another session for all producers will be lunchtime speaker Dr. Dan Thomson of Doc Talk on RFD-TV. Thomson will discuss the interpretations of the Beef Quality Assurance Program practices by consumers. He’ll provide insight into current and future opportunities cattle producers can gain through enhancements to the BQA program.

Cattlemen’s College, which is sponsored by Pfizer Animal Health, has two separate tracks. Feedyard operators will hear speakers address bottom line feedlot efficiencies, and how various strategies can maximize growth and performance of not only the cattle currently at the bunk, but those placed in the future, too. Another session in this track will look at verification programs that can add more value to cattle, especially when looking at the global market.

Pasture quality will certainly be a concern for those beef producers in the cow-calf track. In cooperation with the Iowa Forage and Grasslands Council, Dr. Rob Kallenbach, University of Missouri, will speak on pasture management and forage procurement options for producers interested in managing their pastures to maximize cows per acre. In the second session of the track, the discussion will turn to advances in gene marker technology that will help producers concentrate on improving their breeding program to attract the best prices from the feeder calf market.

ICA is “Kickin’ It Cowboy Style!” while celebrating its 40th Anniversary at its 2012 Convention and Annual Meeting. Early registration paid before Dec. 1 is just $75 per person and covers all events and meals during the three-day event. Full registrations after that time will be $125 per person. For those who want to attend the meeting at a lower cost, a registration level that doesn’t include any meals is available at $25.

More information and conference and hotel registration information can be found online at, or with the registration form included in the October, November and December issues of the Iowa Cattleman magazine.

Commodity Classic Registration, Housing Open Thursday

Commodity Classic Logo Registration and housing reservations for the 2013 Commodity Classic will open online 9 a.m. CST Thursday, Nov. 15, with hotel rooms expected to book fast.

This year's Commodity Classic will make use of two first-class venues, each within a free, five-minute shuttle ride of each other. Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center will be the site for the General Session, trade show and educational sessions. Additional educational sessions also will take place at the Orlando World Center Marriott, as will Commodity Classic's Evening of Entertainment, sponsored by Monsanto.

Commodity Classic is presented annually by the National Corn Growers Association, American Soybean Association, National Association of Wheat Growers and National Sorghum Producers. The event offers a wide range of learning and networking opportunities for growers in the areas of production, policy, marketing, management and stewardship-as well as showcasing the latest in equipment, technology and innovation.

NAGC Incorporated, Looking for Partners

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) and Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) announce the incorporation of the National Agricultural Genotyping Center (NAGC). Structured as a non-profit initiative for the purpose of agricultural development, the NAGC will leverage the benefits of high-throughput genotyping with the support of two of the nation's most prominent organizations in the fields of science and agriculture. With incorporation complete, the NAGC now seeks partners looking to become a part of this project.

"In the coming years, genotyping is expected to be a part of every aspect of agriculture from breeding to production to the table," said DeVonna Zeug, chair of NCGA's Research and Business Development Action Team. "NAGC will also be a driver for business development and a conduit for new technology into agriculture."

NAGC was created to ensure high-throughput genotyping is available to everyone and utilizes Los Alamos's Multiplexed Oligonucleotide Ligation-PCR (MOL-PCR) platform to generate highly accurate information faster and more cheaply than currently possible. MOL-PCR is able to detect desirable genetic variations in DNA sequences, the presence of specific pathogens, and other agents. Identification of these variations has important applications in crop and livestock breeding programs, the development of drugs and vaccines and the diagnosis of human, animal and plant disease.

The access to genotyping technology available at NAGC will help drive scientific discoveries and translate these discoveries into solutions for production agriculture, food safety, functional foods, bioenergy, and national security.

"As a national security science laboratory, we find the prospect of working with NACG exciting," said Dr. David R. Pesiri, leader of Los Alamos's Technology Transfer Division. "Agricultural security is a key element of national security and our partnership with NAGC complements this aspect of our mission."

2012 Census of Agriculture in Spotlight this Thanksgiving

Nearly four centuries after the very first Thanksgiving feast, Americans sitting down with their families can still taste the role agriculture plays in the holiday – and the even bigger role it plays in their lives.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), U.S. farmers will raise 254 million turkeys, and harvest 768 million pounds of cranberries and 47 billion pounds of potatoes this year. The most recent NASS data reports that producers also grew 1.1 billion pounds of pumpkins and 1.9 billion pounds of green beans to provide many sides dishes this Thanksgiving. Compare that with the menu that history tells us the Thanksgiving consisted of in 1621: a handful of wild turkeys and geese, along with a few baskets of assorted beans, corn and pumpkins grown by pilgrims and Native Americans.

"The modernization of agriculture has tremendously changed the landscape of farming between then and now," said Renee Picanso, director of the NASS Census and Survey Division. "Advancements in agriculture, along with the value farmers and ranchers provide to the U.S. economy and their individual communities, are even more in focus this year because of the upcoming 2012 Census of Agriculture."

Conducted every five years by NASS, the Census is a complete count of all U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them. The Census looks at land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices, income, expenditures and other topics.

All those who serve farmers and rural communities – from federal, state and local governments to agribusinesses and trade associations – use information from the Census. Legislators also use the data when shaping farm policy and agribusinesses factor it into their planning efforts.

Whether they raise hogs, cattle, sheep, corn, soybeans, wheat, chickens, alfalfa, melons, turkeys, nuts, carrots, pumpkins or any other type of livestock or crop, USDA encourages all U.S. farmers to participate in the Census.

"The Census remains the only source of uniform, comprehensive agricultural data for every county in the nation," said Picanso. "It's a critical tool that gives farmers a voice to influence decisions that will shape the future of their community, industry and operation."

To the general public, the Census provides a snapshot of how much farming has changed over the years.

For example, according to Census data, the number of farms in the United States peaked in 1935 at 6,812,350, with an average farm size of 154.8 acres. By comparison, the 2007 Census of Agriculture counted 2,204,792 farms with an average farm size of 418 acres. And while 91 percent of farms in the United States are small, with income of less than $250,000, the remaining 9 percent of farms account for 85 percent of total sales of agriculture production. Therefore, it's vital for every producer – regardless of size of operation to respond to the Census.

NASS will mail out Census forms in late December to collect data for the 2012 calendar year. Completed forms are due by February 4, 2013. After receiving a form, producers can fill out the Census online via a secure website, or fill out the form and mail it back. Respondents are guaranteed by law that their information will be kept confidential.

Federal law requires every farmer and rancher, regardless of the size or type of operation, to participate in the Census. For Census purposes, a farm is any place from which $1,000 or more of agricultural products were produced and sold, or normally would have been sold, during the Census year.

For more information, visit The Census of Agriculture is your voice, your future, your responsibility.

A Record Year for Growmark in 2012

Higher commodity prices and solid volume growth in most GROWMARK business units produced record sales for the Illinois-based cooperative.  Marshall Bohbrink, vice president, finance, risk management, and chief financial officer, reported net sales of $10 billion for the 2011-2012 fiscal year, the highest in company history.

Net income attributable to GROWMARK was $243 million, the second highest level in history.  Total patronage in the amount of $158 million was returned to GROWMARK member-owners, also a company record.

GROWMARK is a regional cooperative providing agriculture-related products and services, as well as grain marketing in 31 states and Ontario, Canada.

Soy Checkoff Program Unveils New Smartphone App

Ever wonder whether it's worth it to apply a fungicide? How about the most cost-effective seeding rate? The national soy checkoff has put that information in the palm of your hand.

A new app developed by the United Soybean Board includes two calculators that help farmers plan for their next crop. One helps users determine whether the yield benefits of various input combinations justify the costs. The other uses the main maturity rates for a farmer's region, the cost of soybean seed and an estimated price of the soybeans at the time of sale to determine an optimal seeding rate based on a percentage of return.

The app also includes documents and videos that describe the research behind each tool.

"This is a really easy way for farmers to get an idea about seeding rates for soybeans based on both the cost of the seed and the price of the harvested grain," says Seth Naeve, lead investigator and associate professor of agronomy and plant genetics at the University of Minnesota. "It's a way for them to utilize that information together to provide them with a numerical suggestion for seeding rates."

The Extreme Beans app is available for Apple iPhone and Android-enabled smartphones and other devices. Farmers can easily find it in their device's app store by simply searching by the title.

The Extreme Beans app is a result of the soy checkoff-funded 'Maximum Yield Through Inputs' study, which compared the yields from plots where various inputs were applied to plots without additional inputs. Researchers threw everything but the kitchen sink at the soybeans, Naeve says.

"The checkoff is continually looking for ways to give farmers tools to improve production and increase the value of their soybeans," says Jim Schriver, chair of USB's production committee and soybean farmer from Bluffton, Ind. "When we see opportunities to help add value to the product, not only in terms of production but also quality, we want to help it come to market, and one of the best ways to do that is through a tool."

Some Seek to Split Farm Bill

Conservative House Republicans want to split the farm bill into two pieces -- stripping out the funding for food stamps and other nutrition programs that account for the majority of the bill from the core programs aimed at agribusinesses.

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, the chairman of the Republican Study Committee, an influential conservative group of lawmakers in the larger GOP conference, said that if the farm bill is brought to the House floor before the end of the year, he and other conservatives are going to push to divide the legislation into two pieces.

Such a move would be almost certain to fail in a vote on the House floor as Democrats would fear it would imperil funding for programs aimed at lower-income Americans who rely on federal support to feed their families.

The overall prognosis for the farm bill remains uncertain. In the six weeks remaining before the lame-duck session of Congress expires, congressional leaders' efforts are going to be primarily focused on reaching a deal to avert the so-called fiscal cliff of tax increases and spending cuts that would be implemented from next year under current law.

There has been some suggestion that the farm bill could ultimately be attached to a wider budget deal, particularly if savings from the farm bill could be used toward a larger deficit-reduction target in such a compromise.

Conservative Republicans have made no secret of their desire to reduce funding for food stamps and other nutrition programs.

Nearly 80% of the roughly $1 trillion farm bill is funding for food stamps and other programs targeted at lower-income Americans.

The version of the farm bill approved by the House Agriculture Committee early this year would cut funding for food stamps by $16 billion from current levels. Conservative members of the panel wanted to cut it by $30 billion.

When the Senate debated its version of the farm bill in June, an attempt by conservative Republicans to split the legislation into two was handily defeated by Democratic lawmakers.


The military’s plans to expand its use of biofuel in planes, ships and other vehicles would generate at least about $10 billion in economic activity and create more than 14,000 jobs by 2020, according to a report commissioned by Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2).

Just as importantly, if the Department of Defense is able to expand its use of advanced biofuels like it has said it wants to do, it would jump-start the biofuel market, which in turn would speed adoption of biofuel by commercial airlines, vehicle fleets and other users, according to the report.

Led by the Navy and Air Force, the Department of Defense wants to reduce its dependence on oil by getting as much as 50 percent of its fuel from advanced biofuels by 2020. DoD’s top leaders have said reducing the military’s use of oil is essential to national security, troop safety and avoiding fuel price spikes.

But under the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that Congress is expected to take up in the next several weeks, the military – the nation’s biggest user of oil and gasoline - would be prohibited from expanding its use of biofuel.

“The military often leads major economic transitions in our country –  think about aviation, communications or the Internet,” said Nicole Lederer, co-founder of E2, whose 800-plus members include business executives and investors who advocate for sound environmental policy that can lead to economic prosperity.

“Yet right now in Washington, some shortsighted lawmakers are poised to block a potentially major transformation of our national energy supply - and also hold back the significant economic growth and job gains that would come with it,” she said.

Vice Adm. Dennis McGinn (US Navy-RET), president of the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), said:

“ACORE recognizes the important national security and energy security benefits of the U.S. military's increased use of biofuel. This report from E2 also highlights the tremendous economic potential of the defense biofuels program. It has already attracted private capital for technological innovation and commercial-scale biorefinery construction, thereby creating geographically-diverse jobs.

”Most importantly, this initiative accelerates America's move to a more diverse and secure energy portfolio" McGinn said.

Russ Teall, president and founder of biorefinery builder Biodico, which recently signed an agreement to provide advanced biofuels to the U.S. Navy, said:

“The military is the biggest driver of the biofuel industry right now. If Congress stops the military from doing what the military knows is best, Congress also could threaten the growth of the Made-in-America biofuel industry.”

E2 commissioned High Road Strategies, an industrial, economic and energy consulting firm, to conduct the study, which is based on biofuel goals previously announced by DoD. According to the report:
   • Between $9.6 billion and $19.8 billion of economic activity could be generated by 2020 if the DoD is allowed to meet its previously announced biofuel goals.
   • Between 14,000-17,000 new jobs could be created by 2020. If measured on a job-year basis, the total number of jobs created would be more than double that amount.
   • Of these jobs, more than 3,000 will be agricultural jobs from biomass production, and about 1,200 will be in biorefinery operation. An additional 10,000 jobs will be created from biorefinery construction.
   • These economic and job impacts will be broadly distributed geographically, with the greatest benefits to states that create the strongest incentives for biorefineries.
   • In order to meet the military’s cost and volume targets, advanced biofuel companies are leveraging $3.4 billion of private capital invested since 2007 to build new commercial facilities.
   • Military demand is helping to shape the early market and scale the advanced biofuel industry, which could help the commercial aviation industry and other industries to meet their hopes and plans to expand their use of biofuel.

For the complete report and for more information about E2’s work on military issues, please see

U.S. Poultry, Egg Exports Set New Records

The value of U.S. poultry exports through the third quarter of 2012 set a new year-on-year record of more than $4 billion, while the quantity of poultry exported was only marginally lower than the all-time record set in 2008, according to data posted last week by the Foreign Agricultural Service.

American egg exports through the third quarter also set new records, fuelled by increased demand from Mexico and the European Union, reports the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council.

Exports of poultry meat for January through September reached 3.04 million metric tons valued at $4.032 billion, up six and 14 percent, respectively, from the same period in 2011.

Cumulative exports of broiler meat (excluding chicken paws) through the third quarter hit 2.4 million tons valued at $3.1 billion, up six and 18 percent, respectively, setting year-on-year records.

The top markets for U.S. chicken were Mexico, 408,978 tons, up 21 percent; Russia, 206,923 tons; up 59 percent; Canada, 127,790 tons, up 23 percent; Angola, 123,135 tons, up 3 percent; and Cuba, 112,122 tons, up 82 percent.

Exports to other important markets were Iraq (including transshipments via Turkey) 99,005 tons, up slightly; Taiwan, 98,669 tons, up 26 percent; Hong Kong, 85,245 tons, down 54 percent; Kazakhstan, 74,095 tons, up almost four-fold; and China, 65,279 tons, up 43 percent.

Soybean Growers Benefit from DuPont Pioneer High-Tech Team-Up

The science behind the Accelerated Yield Technology (AYT™) system from DuPont Pioneer allows researchers to focus on the soybean traits that benefit growers the most. Yet, with all the available technology, Pioneer soybean breeders also rely on intellect and collaboration to develop new products with improved pest resistance and yield potential.

“Growers are bombarded with diseases and insects, many of which are extremely regionalized,” says Don Schafer, DuPont Pioneer senior marketing manager. “Every area of the country has an issue that negatively affects soybean production, which is a challenge seized by DuPont Pioneer soybean breeders.”

Continued advancements in the proprietary AYT system help Pioneer researchers mine an extensive set of germplasm to pinpoint genes that improve plant performance without hindering gains in yield. The expansive AYT system also enables researchers to consider additional innovative product development methods and evaluate more defensive trait options.

“I call this important component of soybean breeding the brain stage,” Schafer says.

Before a soybean breeder begins developing a new soybean variety, they have in mind what soybean plant characteristics and disease and insect tolerances are on a growers’ wish list. The researchers are well aware of growers’ needs because they live and work in the regions they are supporting with soybean development efforts. Pioneer plant breeders spend a lot of time walking fields and working breeding plots. With the aid of the AYT system, they are able to develop products that growers need now as well as predict what traits might be necessary in the future.

The “brain stage” of soybean breeding includes consulting with other Pioneer soybean researchers. A soybean breeder in north central Iowa, for instance, might be looking to develop a soybean variety with standability, soybean cyst nematode (SCN) resistance and good iron chlorosis tolerance.

“A soybean breeder focusing in northern Illinois might see a need for similar traits as north central Iowa, plus brown stem rot tolerance,” Schafer says. “There are geographies that don’t need resistance to brown stem rot, but in northern Illinois it is a mandatory trait.”

In the last five years, Pioneer soybean breeders have seen a revolution in technologies available to more quickly develop Pioneer® brand soybean products. These new technologies, under the umbrella of the AYT system, include molecular markers, molecular breeding and precision trait assays.

Using a team approach, Pioneer soybean breeders tackle the yield-robbing pests prevalent in farmers’ fields and, more importantly, the challenge of increasing soybean yields. Comprised of members from research stations all across North America and Brazil, breeders participate on multiple teams, each with the goal of finding solutions to  specific soybean-growing challenges.

“The Pioneer product development strategy relies on understanding our customers, anticipating their needs and leveraging the know-how to develop the right product for the right acre,” Schafer says. “Plant breeding helps us produce the right product for our customers, wherever they farm.”

Syngenta Introduces 70 Corn Hybrids for 2013

Syngenta has introduced a diverse line-up of 70 new corn hybrids for the 2013 planting season. The new offering includes 27 hybrids containing genetics that are new to the market. Data from 3,988 Syngenta trials indicates that hybrids with the new genetics out-yielded competitive hybrids by 4.9 bu/A.

Six of the new hybrids feature Agrisure Artesian technology. Hybrids with Agrisure Artesian technology offer growers an unprecedented level of season-long drought tolerance. In Syngenta field trials across a variety of water availability levels, soil types and geographies, hybrids with Agrisure Artesian technology have demonstrated the ability to deliver up to 15 percent more yield under drought conditions, while maximizing yield in ideal moisture environments.

Also available this year are hybrids containing the Agrisure Viptera 3220 E-Z Refuge trait stack and the Agrisure 3122 E-Z Refuge trait stack. These products feature a 5 percent integrated, single-bag refuge for Midwestern corn growers—promoting stewardship with utmost convenience. The Agrisure Viptera 3220 E-Z Refuge trait stack offers dual modes of action to control corn borer and above-ground lepidopteran pests, while hybrids with the Agrisure 3122 E-Z Refuge trait stack are intended for use in areas where both corn rootworm and lepidopteran pest management are primary concerns. Both products received EPA registration in July 2012.

Other new hybrids incorporate the Agrisure 3000GT triple stack, the only triple stack with no history of yield drag; the Agrisure GT trait, which provides tolerance to glyphosate-based herbicides; and the Agrisure Viptera 3111 trait stack, a combination of the Agrisure 3000GT triple stack and the Agrisure Viptera trait that provides growers with comprehensive multi-pest control of 14 above- and below-ground pests and features both glyphosate and glufosinate tolerance.

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