Thursday, November 7, 2013

Thursday November 7 Ag News

EPA Proposes New Electronic Reporting Rule for NPDES Permitted Facilities
Amy Millmier Schmidt, UNL Livestock Bio-environmental Engineer

The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing a regulation requiring all current paper-based National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) reports from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) to be submitted through an electronic system. The proposed rule does not change which animal feeding operations need permits or increase the number of reports filed by permitted facilities, but it does increase accessibility to this information by the public.

This proposed rule is part of a settlement agreement between the EPA and the Natural Resources Defense Council, Waterkeeper Alliance, and the Sierra Club designed to provide the agency with greater oversight of NPDES-permitted CAFOs to ensure water quality protection and human health. EPA anticipates that the rule could save significant resources for agencies currently processing paper reporting documents and will provide a nationally-consistent data set about NPDES-permitted operations.

The electronic reporting system would include all discharge monitoring reports (DMRs), notices of intent to discharge in compliance with a general permit, and program reports (inspection reports, violation determinations, and enforcement actions). EPA intends to make the data set publicly available to provide the public with information on facility and government performance that is not currently available.

Following receipt of public comments (through October 31, 2013), the rule will be reviewed and finalized. Release of a final rule can likely be expected in early 2014.

Nebraska BQA: Antibiotic Use Guidelines

Rob Eirich, UNL Extension Educator and Nebraska Director of BQA

Cattlemen have demonstrated a commitment to animal health through well vaccination programs developed in relationship with their veterinarian. All operations find a time when animals must be treated with an antibiotic after disease diagnosis. At that time, producers need to follow important antibiotic use guidelines established through the National Beef Quality Assurance program.

Selection of an animal health product is the first step in antibiotic use. The USDA Food and Drug Administration require that all animal health products be labeled for proper usage. When selecting a product, veterinarians and producers must take into consideration cause for treatment, dosage, method of administration, and withdrawal time.

It is required that the label be followed and all extra-label drug use must have a veterinarian prescription. BQA also recommends using antibiotics that are administered subcutaneous (SQ) – under the skin, intranasal (IN), oral, or intravenous (IV) – in the vein. Only use intramuscular (IM) – in the muscle injections when required by the product label. A strong Veterinarian, Client, Patient Relationship is highly valuable when selecting products.

When administering product use clean and sterile syringes and needles. Use proper needle size based on animal size, route of administration, and viscosity of product. The most common needle sizes are 16 or 18 gauge, length 1/2” to 1”. Needles should be replaced if bent, damaged, or dull and after every 10-15 injections. Here is a link to a table can assist in needle selection

All injections should be administered in the triangle area located in the neck region. If administering intramuscularly (IM) only 10 cc per injection site is recommended, as well as multiple sites two to four inches apart. Using proper handling and restraint methods will assist in administering animal health products correctly.

Producers must always maintain animal health records. These records should contain animal identification, diagnosis, treatment date, product used, location and route of administration, dosage, and withdrawal time and date. These records should be kept on file for a minimum of three years.

Cattlemen strive to prevent animal diseases through strong Herd Health and Vaccination Protocols, but when diagnosis requires treatment they are committed to following proper antibiotic usage.

For more information about Nebraska Beef Quality Assurance or to get BQA certification, contact Rob Eirich, UNL Extension Educator and Nebraska Director of BQA at the UNL Panhandle Research and Extension Center 308.632.1230 or .

Pasture Rangeland Forage Insurance is a Risk Management Tool for 2014

Aaron Berger, UNL Extension Educator

The USDA Risk Management Agency is once again offering the Pasture Rangeland Forage (PRF) Insurance program for the 2014 crop year to include Nebraska in a Rainfall Index (RI) area. This last year, 2013, was the first year that Nebraska was part of Rainfall Index program.

The Rainfall Index model is based on weather data (precipitation) collected and maintained by the NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. The index reflects how much precipitation is received relative to the long-term average for a specified grid area during a given two-month time frame.

Factors Affecting Insurance Premiums

Insurance premiums and indemnities are based on the level of coverage (70% - 90%) and level of production (60% - 150%) selected by the producer.

Producers can insure their land for either grazing or for haying. For land that is insured for haying, forage production must come from perennial forages such as grass or alfalfa. Annual forages are not eligible under this program. Land insured for haying has a higher premium than grazing land as a higher level of forage production is expected.

Producers using this insurance will need to choose the time periods throughout the year for which they wish to get insurance. There is more information and a decision support tool on the PRF Decision Support Tool page.

Using this tool provides some insights.

Assuming this tool is accurate, the purchase of Pasture Rangeland Forage Insurance for precipitation in the spring/summer of the year would have been a paying proposition for many producers over the last 30 years.
Insuring time periods with the highest levels of precipitation that impact rangeland forage production is the best approach for matching precipitation risk with potential drought impacts.

Factors to Use in Evaluating Use of Insurance

The following are things to know when evaluating this insurance as a possible risk management tool.
1. Land can be insured for grazing or haying using PRF insurance. Acres insured for haying cost more to insure and also pay more when an indemnity occurs.
2. The insurance is subsidized 51 - 59% by the Federal Government depending on level of coverage.
3. Research on rangeland and pasture has shown that April through July precipitation accounts for a majority of the variation in forage production for this region.
4. This insurance product is best utilized over the long term where a producer participates every year and doesn’t try to outguess what the next year will bring.
5. Because the precipitation data is based on NOAA weather recording stations, what occurs at these locations will often differ from rainfall on a producers insured acres. Over the long term these differences and any indemnities that occur due to precipitation deficits should even out.

Pasture Rangeland and Forage Insurance is a risk management tool that producers should consider utilizing to provide income to offset loss of forage production due to drought conditions. The deadline for participating in the PRF Insurance program for 2014 is November 15, 2013.

Fun for ALL Horse-Lovers at Nebraska Horse Expo 2013

With unparalleled educational programs, outstanding horses representing dozens of breeds and top-of-the-line clinicians and entertainment, the 12th Annual Nebraska Horse Expo once again provides avid horse people as well as non-horse owners with more than a few reasons to attend, participate and enjoy – AND get a start on their holiday shopping! Expo 2013 is scheduled for November 15, 16 and 17th at the Lancaster Event Center (84th & Havelock, Lincoln).
The Best of the Horse Industry

Expo clinicians include top-notch horsemanship experts such as Richard & Sarah Winters and Mark & Miranda Lyon, as well as Olympic dressage coach Jane Savoie and gaited horse experts Larry Whitesell and Jennifer Bauer. A host of Midwest equine professionals bring their expertise on a wide variety of disciplines and topics. These clinicians and professionals will be available to answer your training, horsemanship, care and communication questions.
Extreme Horseman Trail Challenge

Trail Ride Challenge organizer Kelli Paulson has partnered with the Expo to provide a unique opportunity for riders to compete over a judged trail course designed to challenge and build confidence in you and your horse! Three divisions (Novice, Trail Rider & Extreme) are in Saturday’s competition with the top 10 “Extreme” division finalists coming back to compete for Expo glory during Saturday night’s evening performance. 

Battle of the Breeds

Competitors of many breeds have teamed up to compete throughout the weekend and showcase the versatility of their mounts in the Battle of the Breeds (formerly the “Mane Challenge”). Teams are made up of 2-4 horse/rider combinations from the same breed that will complete in a variety of classes including combined pleasure (English or Western), driving, jumping, trail and games. Watch the versatility of drafts to mini’s, Mustangs and Quarter Horse as the event allows for flexibility for those to show mounted, with carriage or in-hand.
Driving Derby Invitational

Cheer on your favorite carriage as drivers compete in a thrilling, timed obstacle course! With a combination of marathon and cone obstacles, carriage drivers must negotiate a course of numbered obstacles where the fastest time, without any faults, wins!
Photo & Art Contests

Horse-loving shutter bugs have shared their best images in the Nebraska Horse Expo’s Photography Contest while Nebraska students from kindergarten through high school display their artistic talent in the NHC’s first Art Contest. Check out the work of these talented photographers and artists as they display photos and artwork of their favorite subject—the horse of course. Located in the vendor area. 
Special Kid & Family Activities

Horse-crazy kids can to learn to draw horses, trick rope and even become a Rodeo Queen or Rodeo Clown at the Expo’s many kid and family-friendly workshops. Children of every age will be able to get their photo taken with Santa—who is making a special stop at the Expo with a few of his own hoofed friends. Ol’ St. Nick said he may even don his best cowboy boots for the occasion. The Expo’s new interactive area will feature a mini Grand Prix jumping course, courtesy of The International Omaha, as well as presentations by cowboy poets, historians and singers.  Husker fans won’t have to miss the big game which will be tuned in (if available) on a big screen tv in the “Expo N-Zone”!
Don’t Forget Holiday Horse Shopping!

Shopping on the internet can be quick and easy, but it simply can’t compare with the shopping experience at Expo 2013! The “Holidays & Horses Trade Show” is sure to put a dent in most equestrian’s Christmas lists, bringing the area’s leading equine-related retailers, manufacturers, service providers and organizations under one (heated!) roof while allowing shoppers to see, evaluate, try on and buy everything from the hottest new tack, apparel and how-to DVDs, to insurance, arena footing, trucks, trailers, feeds, supplements and equine-related art and gifts.

New in 2013 will be the Black Friday Sale where vendors will be offering special Friday-only deals for holiday shoppers. You’ll find an array of interesting new products for you and your horse and have a chance to get ahead on your holiday shopping while taking advantage of end-of-the-season savings offered by many exhibitors… FRIDAY ONLY! 

Evening Entertainment

Bring the lil’ buckaroos Friday evening and watch them join in the Grand Entry!  Kids can bring their stick horses and be escorted in the Grand Entry by Nebraska area Rodeo Queens and our honored guests—the athletes of the Nebraska Special Olympics. The Friday evening excitement of the Colt Starting Challenge and Saturday evening Extreme Horseman Trail Challenge Finals will include harmonious interludes of the “Dancing with Horses Musical Revue.”  On Saturday night, stay for the Thad B. Ita Memorial Bull Riding & Big 10 Rodeo Challenge presented by the UNL Rodeo Association (dance to follow).

You can visit for more information.

Purchasing Feeds for the Cow Herd

Rick Rasby, UNL Extension Beef Specialist

A nutrient test for quality is the best way to know the nutrient profile of forages. Not all feeds/forages are average, some are less than average and some are better than average. If forages are needed to be purchased, price all possible sources on a price per pound of nutrient basis on a 100% dry matter basis. This places the comparison on the same moisture basis. Analyzing cattle feeds for moisture, protein, and energy is recommended. Results of a feed analysis are reported on an as-is and dry matter basis. Nutrients should always be balanced on a dry-matter basis because nutrient requirements for beef cattle are reported on a dry-matter basis. After formulation on a dry-matter basis, values can be converted to an as-is basis (using the dry matter content of the feed) to determine the actual amount of feed (as-is) that should be fed. As an example, if the ration calls for feeding 24 pounds per head per day of a feed on a 100% dry matter basis and that feed is 90% dry matter and 10% moisture, then on an as-fed basis, you would need to feed 27 pounds per head per day (24 pounds/0.90 = 26.6 pounds).

Purchasing Feeds/Forages on a Pound of Nutrient Basis

Protein and energy supplements are designed to compensate for deficiencies in crude protein or energy content of the base diet. For beef cows the base diet is forage. The objective of a good supplementation program should be to supply the required amount of protein or energy rather than a specific amount of supplement. Therefore when choosing among various feeds a good strategy is to calculate the cost of each supplement or feed on a cost per pound of nutrient in the supplement then purchase the feed or supplement that is most economical. To calculate cost per pound of nutrient, simply divide the cost per ton of the supplement by the number of pounds of nutrient in a ton of the supplement. This assumes that all supplements are similar in moisture content. The result is the cost per pound of nutrient (example: crude protein or TDN). When all feed options are priced on a cost per pound of nutrient the most economical supplement can be identified. There are other factors to consider when purchasing feeds. With today’s fuel prices purchasing a supplement with a greater concentration of nutrient may decrease delivery cost because fewer tons will be needed to supply the same amount of protein. Supplements may differ in the amount of waste that results when they are fed or delivered. For example, alfalfa hay does not cost the same amount to deliver to cattle and results in more waste than feeding cubes but may still be the more economical supplement. Producers can easily account for cost differences in transportation, feeding and waste, and the purchase price of various supplements by using the “Feed Cost Calculator” found on the web at (click on “Livestock Production Decision Aids” then click on “Feed Cost Cow-Q-Lator”). Distillers grains can be purchased in three different moisture contents; dried (10% moisture), modified (50% moisture), or wet (65% moisture). If dried is priced at $225 per ton and wet is priced at $80 per ton, which is the best buy as an energy source if both are 110% TDN? Dried distillers is $0.11 per pound of energy on a 100% dry matter basis and wet is $0.10 per pound of energy on a 100% dry matter basis. Assuming that the equipment is available to feed either dry or wet distiller grains, then wet is the best buy.

For more UNL beef information go to

CWT Assists with 6.8 Million Pounds of Cheese and Butter Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 32 requests for export assistance from Bongards Creameries, Dairy Farmers of America, Foremost Farms USA, Land O’Lakes, Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold) and Tillamook County Creamery Association to sell 3.344 million pounds (1,517 metric tons) of Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese and 3.463 million pounds (1,571 metric tons) of butter to customers in Asia, Central America, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. The product will be delivered in November 2013 through April 2014.

Year-to-date, CWT has assisted member cooperatives in selling 114.980 million pounds of cheese, 84.471 million pounds of butter, 44,092 pounds of anhydrous milk fat and 218,258 pounds of whole milk powder to 37 countries on six continents. These sales are the equivalent of 2.963 billion pounds of milk on a milkfat basis.

Assisting CWT members through the Export Assistance program positively impacts producer milk prices in the short-term by helping to maintain inventories of cheese and butter at desirable levels. In the long-term, CWT’s Export Assistance program helps member cooperatives gain and maintain market share, thus expanding the demand for U.S. dairy products and the farm milk that produces them.

Strong Dollar Drives Oil Lower

(AP) -- The price of oil fell Thursday, as an unexpected rate cut by the European Central Bank strengthened the dollar and OPEC said global supplies of oil are abundant.

Benchmark U.S. crude for December delivery fell 60 cents to $94.20 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international benchmark, fell more sharply, dropping $1.78, or 1.7 percent, to $103.46 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

Aiming to encourage Europe's modest growth rate, the ECB cut its benchmark interest rate to a record low 0.25 percent, a move not generally expected until at least next month.

The cut weakened the euro and strengthened the dollar, making commodities like crude more expensive for traders using currencies other than the U.S. currency. The euro was down to $1.3365 from $1.3520 before the rate cut was announced.

A report from some of the world's key oil producers forecasting rising energy supplies in the coming years also weighed on prices.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said it expects demand for its crude oil to fall to 29.2 million barrels a day in 2018 from 30.3 million barrels a year this year. OPEC said rising supplies from other sources, such as Canadian oil sands, crude from Latin America and the increased use of biofuels would contribute to the fall in demand for its own output.

"This year's (report) demonstrates again that there is no shortage of oil and resources are plentiful," OPEC Secretary General Abdullah Al-Badry said in the group's 2013 World Oil Outlook report.

OPEC also predicted that global oil demand would rise from 81.2 million barrels a day in 2013 to 89.7 million barrels a day in 2020 and 100.2 million barrels a day in 2035. At the same time, renewables and other fuels will cut into oil's share of global energy use, from 32.2 percent in 2010 to 26.3 percent in 2035.

In the U.S., drivers are being treated to lower gas prices. The average price for a gallon of gas fell a penny to $3.22. That matches the lowest price for all of last year. AAA said earlier this week that it expects the national average will drop as low as $3.10 per gallon before the end of the year, with prices in some states going below $3 per gallon as the holidays approach.

Callisto GT herbicide set to provide convenience and performance

Syngenta announces that Callisto® GT post-emergence herbicide has received registration from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and all major corn-producing states.

A premixed formulation of Callisto and Touchdown® herbicides, Callisto GT provides convenience and superior post-emergence control of emerged broadleaf weeds and grasses, plus residual broadleaf weed control in glyphosate-tolerant corn.

“Resistant weeds have changed growers weed control strategies, and glyphosate is now best used in a tank mix to control targeted weeds,” said Gordon Vail, technical product lead with Syngenta. “Market research shows 85 percent of treated Callisto acres are tank mixed with glyphosate, so we have formulated this premix to provide added convenience for growers and channel partners.”

R&D trials conducted in 2012 showed that Callisto GT provided 95 percent control of pigweeds, including waterhemp, Palmer amaranth and redroot pigweed. When AAtrex® 4L herbicide was added, control increased to 97 percent.

“Atrazine is an excellent tank-mix partner,” said Vail. “Atrazine adds an additional mode of action for weed-resistance management. If atrazine cannot be used, a dicamba product like NorthStar® can be used to provide a different mode of action in the battle against resistant weeds.”

Callisto GT targets emerged broadleaf weeds and grasses, such as Palmer amaranth, lambsquarters, waterhemp and ragweeds. Following a post-emergence application in up to 30-inch corn, susceptible weeds take up the herbicide through the treated foliage and cease growth soon after application.

“As the newest addition to the Callisto Plant Technology® (CPT) family of corn herbicide brands, Callisto GT provides growers with greater convenience, top performance and a solution to help farmers grow more corn,” said Vail. Other CPT brands include Halex® GT, Lexar® EZ, Lumax® EZ, Callisto Xtra and Zemax®.

The Andersons Report Strong Third Quarter Sales

The Andersons, Inc. announced third quarter net income attributable to the company of $17.2 million, or $0.91 per diluted share, on revenues of $1.2 billion. In the third quarter of 2012, the company reported results of $16.9 million, or $0.90 per diluted share, on revenues of $1.1 billion.

For the first nine months of 2013, the company earned $59.3 million, or $3.15 per diluted share, on revenues of $4.0 billion.

In the same period of 2012, The Andersons reported results of $64.5 million, or $3.43 per diluted share, on $3.6 billion of revenues.

At the end of July, the company and Lansing Trade Group formed a 50/50 joint venture and acquired Thompsons Limited, a grain and food-grade bean handler/processer and agronomy input provider, headquartered in Blenheim, Ontario, and operating 12 locations across Ontario and Minnesota.

The Grain Group had operating income of $14.3 million in the third quarter of 2013 versus $10.8 million for the same period last year.

Both space income and gross profit on sales in the third quarter were higher than the prior year.

Meanwhile, revenues for the Grain Group were $766 million and $677 million for the third quarter of 2013 and 2012, respectively.

Last year, its operating income through September was $45.5 million on revenues of $2.1 billion.

Defeat Of Food Labeling Measure Was a ‘Mini Tax Revolt’ Analyst Says

Defeat of a ballot initiative that would have required labeling of food with genetically engineered ingredients in Washington state can be considered a mini-tax revolt of sorts, according to an expert with the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Initiative 522’s mandate would have raised food prices by hundreds of dollars per consumer each year.

“The mandate would have imposed a ‘tax’ on a perfectly safe technology that some activists object to on purely philosophical grounds,” said Gregory Conko, CEI’s executive director and an expert on biotechnology regulation. “The world’s most respected scientific bodies, including the National Academies of Science, the American Medical Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the science academies of dozens of other countries have concluded bio-engineered foods are at least as safe as – and often safer than – foods produced with more conventional methods.”

Conko said voters rejected paying more for food to satisfy this unnecessary requirement and that, ironically, the higher costs of enforcing the measure would have fallen most heavily on food producers who want to avoid genetically engineered ingredients. “A company that knowingly used engineered ingredients would simply have to change its labels,” Conko said. “But a company that wants to remain ‘GE-free’ must independently test or otherwise verify that the ingredients are not genetically engineered to avoid expensive litigation.”

Moreover, Conko said, the measure sought to stigmatize perfectly safe and nutritious products by making consumers believe these products were so unsafe government had to require a warning. The most aggressive I-522 supporters even admitted labeling was but a first step toward driving these products out of the market.

“Labeling advocates say consumers have a right to know what’s in their food,” Conko said. “But genetic engineering is not a thing that is in their food. It is merely a technique used to breed better crops. And the Food and Drug Administration already requires bio-engineered foods to be labeled if their safety or nutritional value is changed in any meaningful way, such as lower levels of vitamins or minerals or newly introduced allergens.

“Besides, voluntarily labeled Non-GE foods are becoming ubiquitous, so consumers already have sufficient information to choose or avoid bio-engineered foods.”

Initiative 522 went down by a 55 percent-45 percent margin, although thousands of mail-in ballots are still being counted. Majorities opposed I-522 in all but four counties – King County, which includes Seattle, and three others on the state’s eastern end. Washingtonians in the rest of the state, where actual farming takes place, voted overwhelmingly against the measure.

Why? “Because they realized it would do nothing but raise costs and needlessly frighten consumers,” Conko said.

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