Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Wednesday April 30 Ag News

Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation - PAC Endorses Ben Sasse in U.S. Senate Primary

Ben Sasse has received the official “Friend of Agriculture” endorsement by NFBF-PAC, Nebraska Farm Bureau’s political action committee. Sasse is one of four Republican candidates seeking to win the U.S. Senate primary election May 13.

“We are extremely excited to provide our support and backing to Ben Sasse in the primary election. Ben was the overwhelming choice of our county Farm Bureau’s as we worked through our grassroots endorsement process,” said Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president.

“Sasse has built a strong grassroots network of support across Nebraska which comes from meeting and listening to the concerns of real Nebraskans. He’s demonstrated to our membership that he is committed to being a strong voice for Nebraska’s farm and ranch families and will carry that voice to Washington D.C., not only through his words, but in his actions,” said Nelson.

According to Nelson, Sasse has demonstrated a strong grasp of the key issues effecting farmers and ranchers and is committed to protecting the long-term viability of American agriculture.

“Whether it’s the flood of federal regulations, other government intrusions into farm life, or protecting agriculture from those who don’t value and understand its complexity, we believe Sasse will be a force for farm and ranch families,” said Nelson.

“He understands farmer’s and rancher’s management and marketing decisions are best driven by the free market, but he also knows crop insurance and farm programs are necessary to protect farmers and ranchers from the volatility and risk inherent in agriculture from the weather and global markets,” said Nelson.

The decision to endorse a Republican candidate in the primary was not taken lightly, Nelson said, and Nebraska Farm Bureau is fully aware of the competitive nature of this primary race.

“However, our process for making endorsements is a grassroots process that is solely determined by the input from County Farm Bureaus. In this case there was overwhelming consensus from County Farm Bureaus to support Ben Sasse,” Nelson said.

In making the announcement, Nelson shared Farm Bureau’s perspective on what separates Sasse apart from others in the field including:

·         Sasse’s passion and abilities to get America’s fiscal house in order.
“Sasse not only has both the passion and the commitment to slow out of control federal spending and government growth, but he has the skills and abilities to turn things around in Washington, D.C. He’s made a career fixing broken institutions. That clearly describes the situation in Washington D.C. and the future prosperity of Nebraska farm and ranch families is heavily dependent on Congress’ ability to get our country’s fiscal situation under control,” said Nelson.

·         Sasse’s proven ability to listen to the needs of agriculture and rural Nebraska.
“Sasse’s workman like grassroots campaign has shown that he genuinely cares about what farmers, ranchers and rural communities have to say and we are confident he’ll do the same in Washington D.C.  Nebraskans will have his ear,” said Nelson

·         Sasse’s knowledge and expertise in repealing Obamacare and making reforms to health insurance markets.
“Nebraska farmers and ranchers are on the front lines of dealing with the ramifications of health care reform because many are self-employed and hold individual health insurance policies. Those people have felt the brunt of the costs and uncertainties of the Affordable Care Act. We believe Ben Sasse can make the difference in the health care arena,” said Nelson.

·         Sasse’s ability to effectively represent agriculture in Washington, D.C.
“Farmers and ranchers represent less than two percent of the population and agriculture needs someone in Washington who has the energy, connections and leadership abilities that are needed to expand our voice.  Sasse is not a Washington insider. He’s a Nebraskan with Washington experience. We believe he’ll hit the ground running and truly effect change that will benefit farm and ranch families and all Nebraskans,” said Nelson.


State Conservationist Craig Derickson announced today that the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is currently accepting applications for the National Water Quality Initiative. The goal of this initiative is to improve two impaired watersheds located in eastern Nebraska. Interested participants have until July 1 to apply.

The targeted watersheds were identified with help from state agencies, partners, and the USDA State Technical Committee.  The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality is working with the local Natural Resources Districts in these watersheds through the Nonpoint Source Water Quality Grants-Section 319 Program.  Including these watersheds in the National Water Quality Initiative will strengthen the overall effort to improve water quality in impaired streams in Nebraska. The selected watersheds are:
  *   Bazile Creek - located in Antelope, Pierce, and Knox counties
  *   Wahoo Creek - located in Saunders County

Derickson said, "Through this effort, eligible producers in the selected watersheds will invest in voluntary conservation practices to help provide cleaner water for their neighbors and communities."

NRCS will provide funding and expertise to producers interested in installing conservation practices such as cover crops, filter strips, terraces, no-till and other erosion control practices to improve water quality. NRCS staff will work with individual landowners to develop a conservation plan to apply practices that work best for their farming operation in each particular watershed.

One of the producers assisted last year through the National Water Quality Initiative was Saunders County farmer Austin Vermeline. He worked with Sean Elliot, NRCS Soil Conservation Technician in the Wahoo Field Office to install terraces and basins on land that he farms near Malmo.

Vermeline said that making a better farm is important to him, and the National Water Quality Initiative has helped him make progress toward that goal. "To be a farmer, you have to take care of the land. We can't just let our topsoil wash away," Vermeline said. He foresees long-lasting benefits from the terraces and other work that was done last fall. "It will help the land hold its value and also hold onto its water. It will reduce erosion, and it'll help protect the groundwater."

According to Tom Mountford, assistant manager with the Lower Platte North NRD, there are additional funding opportunities for landowners within the Wahoo Creek sign up area.

"This is an exciting opportunity for landowners to put conservation on the ground. The Lower Platte North NRD will be coordinating funds with other special grant funding from the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality and the Nebraska Environmental Trust to accomplish long term goals for the watershed.

"Producers in the Wahoo Creek watershed who sign up for National Water Quality Initiative will receive an additional 25% in cost share funding through the Lower Platte North NRD. We also have the new Lands for Conservation program, which provides an incentive payment of $220 per acre for producers to get conservation structures constructed on the land during the growing season. Construction must be done between June 1 and September 15, and the field must be available for construction by August 1," Mountford said.

The Bazile Creek watershed eligibility area lies within four Natural Resources Districts - the Upper Elkhorn, Lower Elkhorn, Lewis and Clark, and Lower Niobrara NRDs. All of the NRDs are dedicated to providing assistance to improve water quality and quantity, according to Dennis Schueth, general manager of the Upper Elkhorn NRD.

"The four NRDs are excited for the landowners within the Bazile Creek watershed to have access for additional funding for best management practices. We are hopeful that landowners will take this opportunity to contact their local NRCS offices and ask questions and apply for this new funding mechanism for this watershed.

"The National Water Quality Initiative will fit perfectly with funding that the four NRDs have secured locally through grants from the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality's Nonpoint Source Water Quality Grants-Section 319 and the Nebraska Environmental Trust.  The districts are hoping to educate the landowners within the Bazile Creek watershed and provide additional funding to reduce the level of nitrate-nitrogen levels in this area that are at or over the Federal Health Standard of 10 ppm," Schueth said.

Interested landowners and operators should check with the local NRCS  office to see if their farm or ranch is located in one of the targeted  watersheds. Additional information about the National Water Quality  Initiative, and detailed maps of the sign up areas, are available at

Northeast Nebraska RC&D Receives Grant from Nebraska Environmental Trust

Northeast Nebraska RC&D announced today that it will receive $24,134.00 from the Nebraska Environmental Trust for the “Integrated Management of Noxious Weeds in Biologically Sensitive Areas by the Northeast Nebraska Weed Management Area”. The Trust Board announced funding for the project at its meeting on April 3, 2014 in Lincoln. This is the third and final year of award. The project is one of the 132 projects receiving $21,750,000 in grant awards from the Nebraska Environmental Trust this year. Of these, 56 were new applications and 76 are carry-over projects.

Invasive species are cited frequently as significant threats to biological diversity in Nebraska’s Natural Legacy Project planning document (NNLP). To address issues with invasive species, NNLP recommended development of collaborative conservation efforts to implement strategies that address specific issues in biologically unique landscapes (BUL’s) identified in the plan. One such group is the Northeast Nebraska Weed Management Area (NNWMA).  NNWMA is composed of a diverse group of partners and covers 8 counties and 4,610,212 acres of private, public, and tribal land. Eight BUL’s are partially or wholly within NNWMA boundaries.  These include prairies that contain federally threatened Western Prairie Fringed Orchid and state listed Small White Lady Slipper Orchid, as well as habitats that are home to 34 other Tier 1 plant, mussel, fish, insect, bird, and mammal species.

In this project biological control agents (insects) are released to control noxious weeds on ecologically sensitive sites.  The group also conducts annual education and outreach tours and workshops.  Releases are prioritized and targeted at places where herbicide use is not desired. Targeted plants are Purple Loosestrife, Leafy Spurge, Salt Cedar, and non-native Phragmites.  Appropriate insects are used for purple loosestrife and leafy spurge.

The Nebraska Legislature created the Nebraska Environmental Trust in 1992. Using revenue from the Nebraska Lottery, the Trust has provided over $213 million in grants to over 1,600 projects across the state. Anyone – citizens, organizations, communities, farmers and businesses – can apply for funding to protect habitat, improve water quality and establish recycling programs in Nebraska. The Nebraska Environmental Trust works to preserve, protect and restore our natural resources for future generations.                                               

For more information about this project or any of the RC&D programs and services please contact the office at 402-582-4866 or email

Smith on Expanding Trade to Benefit Nebraska Exporters and Consumers

Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) today spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives in favor of expanding trade agreements to address tariffs and non-scientific barriers to American exports.  Trade agreements expand export opportunities and fuel competition which benefits consumers and can strengthen and protect American interests and influence around the world.

Remarks as prepared:
Given 95 percent of consumers live outside our borders, the U.S. must continue to pursue trade agreements.  Despite what you hear from critics, the U.S. had a trade surplus with our 20 free trade agreement partners in 2012.

Trade agreements expand opportunities and fuel competition which benefits consumers and can strengthen and protect American interests and influence around the world.  Though trade agreements make sense strategically and economically, some nations are not playing by the rules.

Barriers to agriculture are the most pressing issue for my home State of Nebraska, but every industry is subjected to outdated tariffs and non-scientific barriers, which countries fashion to protect their own domestic industries.

If the U.S. fails to lead, our exports will be placed at a competitive disadvantage to those from countries moving forward with aggressive trade agendas.  To enhance U.S. leverage in the marketplace, we need to pass the Bipartisan Trade Priorities Act.  By renewing TPA, we would demonstrate seriousness about formulating enforceable, science-based rules, and empower the rest of the world to follow suit. 

Family Farming and Ranching is the Economic Engine of our State

In celebration of the United Nations’ International Year of Family Farming for the month of May, Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU) is highlighting the economic value and importance of family farm and ranch agriculture and their rural communities has in our state and nation.

NeFU President John Hansen said “As our country population continues to shift from rural to urban, our focus at Nebraska Farmers Union in the International Year of Family Farming is to not only draw attention to the important economic role family farm agriculture plays in rural communities, but our state and nation including urban communities.  When family farmers and ranchers are profitable, they are a major source of new wealth in our national economy, and a major economic driver that creates jobs and tax revenues from the farm to the city.”

NeFU noted from the latest available ag statistics from USDA, that Nebraska is ranked first in commercial red meat production, cattle slaughter, Great Northern beans production, irrigated land harvested, and popcorn production. Nebraska is ranked second in the nation in all cattle and calves, Pinto beans production, and beef and veal exports, third in corn for grain production, corn for exports, all dry edible beans production, Proso millet production, and third in cash receipts from all farm commodities.

When the production of all grain and livestock is considered, family farm and ranch agriculture in Nebraska produces over $24 billion of new wealth to Nebraska’s economy, which is 6.2% of the U.S. total.  “The diversity and capacity of Nebraska agriculture is truly amazing.  When we say ‘So goes agriculture, so goes Nebraska’, we are describing the economic engine of our state.  It is important that our public officials and general population do not take the economic blessings of our agricultural production for granted,” said Hansen.

While Nebraska agriculture is enormously productive, it still struggles with rural depopulation as do rural states across the nation.  NeFU noted that according to the 2010 U.S. Census, 59.5 million people or 19% of the total U.S. population lives in rural areas.  This compares to a worldwide rural population that consists of 46%.  Although 19% of the U.S. population lives in rural America, only 10% of the medical physicians practice medicine in rural communities.  That puts a strain on both accessibility and affordability of health care services.

Adding to the challenges of distance for access to health and other services and merchandise is the fact that only 11% of rural U.S. residents live in areas where high speed broadband access is readily available to farm residents as compared to 100% access for their urban counterparts.  “In 2014, everyone in our nation regardless of where they live should have access to affordable high speed broadband internet services,” Hansen said.  “Rural residents need the latest weather, markets, crop and general news information.  Like all businesses, they need to send and receive documents and attachments, check their email, and use the internet to expand their marketing opportunities.” 

“Family farming and ranching continues to be the economic engine of our state and national economies.  Through their hard work and skills, Nebraska farm and ranch families create $24 billion of new wealth,  jobs, economic activity, and tax revenues that power our state and nation,” concluded John Hansen, NeFU President.


Bruce Anderson, UNL Extension Forage Specialist

Many people are trying oat pasture this spring.  The potential seems great, but you may be disappointed if you don’t graze it right.

Oat pastures have increased in popularity in recent years as one way to reduce problems from drought.  Oat pastures can be very productive and last through early summer, but they also are disappointing sometimes.  While we don’t know all we need to know, here are a few grazing recommendations that will help you succeed.

Oats grows rapidly.  Once it gets five or six inches tall, it quickly can shoot up to a foot tall in almost no time.  As nice as this sounds, if initial oat growth gets that tall it may not stool out, tiller, and regrow after grazing very well.  So it’s important to start grazing early and to graze hard enough to keep your oats vegetative and leafy, thereby stimulating it to constantly form new tillers.

So how early is early?  That’s hard to say, but if your animals start to first graze when oats get six to eight inches tall and they remove about half the growth it will recover rapidly and tiller well.  You probably will need to give your oats a couple weeks to regrow after this first grazing, though, before grazing again.

After this first grazing to stimulate tillering, keep oat regrowth between six and sixteen inches tall using either continuous or rotational stocking.  Begin with a light stocking rate, maybe about one animal every two acres.  Then adjust animal number as oat growth changes.  Don’t worry if a few plants head out.  But if many plants get tall and approach the boot stage, either plan one last hard graze-out grazing or consider cutting for hay.

We will need to experiment a bit to perfect it, but oat grazing looks promising.

Cattle producers encouraged to make comments on facility rules

The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association is asking cattle producers to make comments on proposed administrative rules for Iowa animal feeding operations. The proposed rules are a result of a months-long negotiation process between the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over the jurisdiction of a federal permitting program.

“We watched those negotiations closely, and believe the work plan agreement is one cattle producers can work with while promoting improved water quality,” says ICA Chief Executive Officer Matt Deppe. 

The proposed rules have been presented to Iowa’s Environmental Protection Commission, and are open for public comment until May 13. “It is important that livestock producers speak in support of the proposed rules, whether by attending one of the six meetings that will be held around the state, or by submitting written comments,” Deppe says. “There are some groups that will never be satisfied as long as there is livestock in Iowa; we must let DNR know that we think these rules and workable and fair.”

When making comments, ICA encourages livestock farmers to make these points:
•    Introduce yourself, describe your feedlot operation, explaining the current controls in place to protect Iowa’s water quality. If you have had a positive relationship with DNR, describe it.
•    Note your support for the proposed rule changes that have been agreed to by EPA and DNR in the work plan. These rules bring Iowa regulations in line with federal requirements. (Specifically, these are amendments to Iowa DNR Rules Chapters 64 and 65, regarding CAFOs and NPDES permit requirements.)
•    These rules conform with state law, which does not allow the state to have stricter guidelines than federal law on Clean Water Act regulations.
•    The proposed rules allow the DNR to evaluate each operation based on their findings, rather than putting a one-size-fits-all regulation into place. Through rule changes to Chapters 64 and 65, operations that are actually discharging will be required to apply for a permit or eliminate the discharge.

Written comments can be emailed to Gene Tinker at or sent to Gene Tinker, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, 502 E. 9th St., Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0034.

Hearing locations where farmers can also comment are:
·    Tuesday, May 6, 6 p.m. - Lime Creek Nature Center, 3501 Lime Creek Rd., Mason City.
·    Wednesday, May 7, 6 p.m. - Board Room, Clay County Administration Bldg., 300 W. 4th St., Spencer.
·    Thursday, May 8, 6 p.m. - Meeting Room, Carroll County Courthouse, 114 E. 6th St., Carroll.
·    Friday, May 9, 11 a.m. - Fourth Floor Conference Room, Wallace State Office Bldg., 502 E. 9th St., Des Moines.
·    Monday, May 12, 6 p.m. - Room 115, Dairy Center, Northeast Iowa Community College, 1527 Highway 150 South, Calmar.
·    Tuesday, May 13, 6 p.m. - Education Center, Marr Park, Washington County Conservation Board, 2943 Highway 92, Ainsworth.

Annual Update for Veterinarians Is May 21

The annual Iowa State University “Update for Veterinarians” program by ISU's Beef Center features a full day of education and demonstrations focused on beef cattle. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach beef program specialist Joe Sellers is organizing the program and invites practitioners who work with cattle to make plans now to attend the May 21 event at the Iowa State University McNay Research Farm near Chariton.

“In addition to six speakers from Iowa State, we’re pleased to have Ken Coffey from the University of Arkansas with us,” Sellers said. “This program is an opportunity for our veterinary colleagues to get in-depth information on fescue and grazing issues, as well as specific animal health concerns. Also, the program has been approved for five hours of continuing education credits.”

Registration begins at 9 a.m. at the McNay headquarters with the first speaker starting at 9:15 a.m. The group will then travel to the beef facilities for two sets of breakout sessions. Three more presentation sessions will follow lunch at the farm headquarters, with the program ending about 3:30 p.m.

Those who preregister by May 15 will pay $50 per person, which includes the noon meal. Those who preregister after May 15 and those who register onsite will pay $70. All registrations are done through the Lucas County Extension Office in Chariton.

The brochure with registration form is available on the IBC website. For more information, contact Sellers by phone at 641-203-1270 or by email at

The speakers and their topics in presentation order are:
-    University of Arkansas animal science professor Ken Coffey: Managing fescue
-    ISU Extension and Outreach beef veterinarian Grant Dewell, senior clinicians Steve Ensley and Patrick Phillips, and veterinary diagnostician Doug Snider: Live animal demos -- Trichomoniasis sampling, BSE examinations, liver biopsy sampling for mineral troubleshooting 
-    ISU Extension and Outreach cow-calf specialist Patrick Gunn and beef program specialist Joe Sellers: Heifer development, mapping the genome on the ISU Angus herd, issues with ergot alkaloids in 2013
-    Ensley and Snider: What do we do with liver biopsy results? Responding to mineral deficiencies
-    Dewell and Phillips: Trichomoniasis testing and monitoring
-    Coffey: Comparing fall and spring calving on fescue-based pastures

Beef Management Update Features Grazing and Calving Topics

Beef producers interested in learning more about fescue management and comparing fall versus spring calving should plan to attend one of two upcoming beef management update sessions in southern Iowa. The sessions are May 20 and May 21 and feature animal science professor and beef cow specialist Ken Coffey from the University of Arkansas.

Joe Sellers, beef program specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and session organizer, said Coffey will be in the area for the annual veterinarian update May 21 at the McNay farm. “We’re pleased to be able to offer producers these two opportunities to hear Dr. Coffey speak on grazing and calving,” Sellers said.

The May 20 update will be held at the Afton Community Center on the west side of the town square. The May 21 location is the Rathbun Regional Water Association Headquarters, 16166 Highway J29.

Session start time is 7 p.m. for both locations. The session cost is $10, payable at the door.

“Coffey will give an update on fescue management, as well as using other pastures during breeding,” Sellers said. “He’ll also present information on comparing fall and spring calving, and I’ll talk about supplementation strategies for grazing cattle.”

The program flyer is available on the Iowa Beef Center website. For more information, contact Sellers by phone at 641-203-1270 or by email at


Preliminary prices received by farmers for winter wheat for April 2014 averaged $7.15 per bushel, an increase of 9 cents from the March price according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

The preliminary April corn price, at $4.65 per bushel, increased 19 cents from the previous month.

The preliminary April sorghum price averaged $8.00 per cwt, an increase of 17 cents from March.

The preliminary April soybean price, at $14.30 per bushel, was up 70 cents from last month.

The preliminary April dry edible bean price, at $50.00 per cwt, was down $4.00 from March.

The April alfalfa hay price, at $127.00 per ton, was down $6.00 from last month. The other hay price, at $98.00 per ton, was down $6.00 from last month.

The preliminary April oat price was withheld to avoid disclosing data for individual operations. The March price for oats was $4.01. 

USDA Reports April Farm Prices Received Index Advanced 4 Points

The preliminary All Farm Products Index of Prices Received by Farmers in April, at 115 percent, based on 2011=100, increased 4 points (3.6 percent) from March. The Crop Index is up 4 points (4.3 percent) and the Livestock Index increased 4 points (3.1 percent). Producers received higher prices for hogs, corn, soybeans, and broilers and lower prices for oranges, barley, and peanuts. In addition to prices, the overall index is also affected by the seasonal change based on a 3-year average mix of commodities producers sell. Increased monthly movement of milk, broilers, and oranges offset the decreased marketing of corn, soybeans, hay, and wheat.

The preliminary All Farm Products Index is up 8 points (7.5 percent) from April 2013. The Food Commodities Index, at 125, increased 3 points (2.5 percent) from last month and increased 18 points (17 percent) from April 2013.

All crops:

The April index, at 98, increased 4.3 percent from March but is 8.4 percent below April 2013. The index increase for oilseeds & grains more than offset the index decrease for fruit & tree nut production.

Food grains: The April index, at 101, is 3.1 percent above the previous month but 4.7 percent below a year ago. The April price for all wheat, at $6.92 per bushel, is up 17 cents from March but down 79 cents from April 2013.

Feed grains: The April index, at 79, is up 3.9 percent from last month but 32 percent below a year ago. The corn price, at $4.73 per bushel, is up 22 cents from last month but $2.24 below April 2013. Sorghum grain, at $8.41 per cwt, is 17 cents above March but $3.19 below April last year.

Oilseeds: The April index, at 114, is up 5.6 percent from March but unchanged from April 2013. The soybean price, at $14.50 per bushel, increased 80 cents from March and is 10 cents above April 2013.

Livestock and products:

The April index, at 133, is 3.1 percent above last month and 23 percent higher than April 2013. Compared with a year ago, prices are higher for milk, cattle, hogs, eggs, calves, broilers, and turkeys.

Meat animals: The April index, at 133, is up 3.1 percent from last month and 27 percent higher than last year. The April hog price, at $91.60 per cwt, is up $9.70 from March and $29.80 higher than a year ago. The April beef cattle price of $149 per cwt increased $1.00 from last month and is $24.00 higher than April 2013.

Dairy products: The April index, at 127, is up 1.6 percent from a month ago and 31 percent higher than April last year. The April all milk price of $25.50 per cwt is up 30 cents from last month and $6.00 above April 2013.

Poultry & eggs: The April index, at 139, is up 3.7 percent from March and 9.4 percent above a year ago. The April market egg price, at $1.09 per dozen, increased 4.0 cents from March and is 44.5 cents higher than April 2013. The April broiler price, at 68.0 cents per pound, is 3.0 cents higher than March and 2.0 cents above a year ago. The April turkey price, at 68.3 cents per pound, is unchanged from the previous month but up 2.1 cents from a year earlier.

Prices Paid Index Up 2 Points

The April Index of Prices Paid for Commodities and Services, Interest, Taxes, and Farm Wage Rates (PPITW) is at 112 (2011=100). The index is up 2 points (1.8 percent) from March and 6 points (5.7 percent) above April 2013. Higher prices in April for feeder cattle, feeder pigs, complete feeds, and hay & forages more than offset lower prices for diesel, herbicides, insecticides, and self-propelled machinery.

Weekly Ethanol Production for 4/25/2014

According to EIA data, ethanol production averaged 898,000 barrels per day (b/d)—or 37.72 million gallons daily. That is down 12,000 b/d from the week before. The four-week average for ethanol production stood at 911,000 b/d for an annualized rate of 13.97 billion gallons.

Stocks of ethanol stood at 17.2 million barrels. That is a 4.2% increase from last week and tied for the highest level of the year.

Imports of ethanol were non-existent for the week, down from 11,000 b/d the previous week.

Gasoline demand averaged 365.1 million gallons daily. At 865,000 b/d, refiner/blender input of ethanol hit its highest level of the year.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production was 10.33%.

On the co-products side, ethanol producers were using 13.616 million bushels of corn to produce ethanol and 100,219 metric tons of livestock feed, 89,347 metric tons of which were distillers grains. The rest is comprised of corn gluten feed and corn gluten meal. Additionally, ethanol producers were providing 4.68 million pounds of corn distillers oil daily.

DTN Retail Fertilizer Trends

Retail fertilizer prices continue to show strength the fourth week of April 2014 as corn planting starts across most of the Corn Belt, according to fertilizer retailers tracked by DTN. This marks the 10th-consecutive week all retail fertilizers' prices were higher. 

The average price of only one fertilizer was up with any significance. Anhydrous was up 9% compared to a month earlier. The nitrogen fertilizer had an average price of $692 per ton.  The remaining seven fertilizers were higher compared to a month earlier, but the move to the high side was fairly minor. DAP had an average price of $587/ton, MAP $620/ton, potash $476/ton, urea $555/ton, 10-34-0 $530/ton, UAN28 $355/ton and UAN32 $402/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.60/lb.N, anhydrous $0.42/lb.N, UAN28 $0.63/lb.N and UAN32 $0.63/lb.N.

With fertilizers moving higher in recent months, five of the eight major fertilizers are now double digits lower in price compared to April 2013.  Urea is now down 3%, DAP is 5% lower and MAP 6% less expensive. Both UAN28 and UAN32 are now 12% lower while 10-34-0 is down 13%. Also, both potash and anhydrous are 19% less expensive than a year earlier.

Subcommittee Examines Economic Factors, Regulatory Burdens Plaguing the Livestock Industry

Rep. Rick Crawford, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee's Subcommittee on Livestock, Rural Development, and Credit, today held a public hearing to review the state of the livestock industry. Members heard from two panels of witnesses that ranged from the Chief Economist of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to an array of experts representing the animal agriculture industry. Together, they highlighted issues, such as regulatory burdens, feed costs, drought, animal disease, and trade, that are impacting this sector of the agricultural economy.

"Today's hearing offered our members an opportunity to explore a variety of issues impacting the livestock industry. Our farmers and ranchers have endured a great deal over the past few years from record droughts to higher input costs and the ongoing burden and uncertainty associated with mandatory country-of-origin labeling rules. Combined, all of these issues and others have tightened operating margins, which create challenging business conditions for our producers. I hope we will use what we have learned to work on real and lasting solutions to the problems we discussed," said Chairman Rick Crawford (R-AR-01).

"In the San Joaquin Valley, our livestock producers are struggling to hold on in the face of a devastating drought, and farm workers who usually have tired hands from working the fields may soon be standing in line at food banks to feed their families. As harmful as this drought is to California livestock, the fact is that the industry nationwide is battling other factors like the country-of-origin labeling law and the RFS that endanger their bottom lines. Today’s hearing gave us the opportunity to highlight the natural, bureaucratic, and regulatory challenges facing the industry," said Ranking Member Jim Costa (D-CA-16).

Testimony was provided by:
Dr. Joseph Glauber, Chief Economist, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C.
Mr. Roger Johnson, President, National Farmers Union, Washington, D.C.
Mr. Shane Miller, Senior Vice President, Pork Margin Management, Tyson Fresh Meats, Dakota Dunes, South Dakota
Dr. Howard Hill, President, National Pork Producers Council, Cambridge, Iowa
Mr. Michael T. Smith, Special Projects Manager, Harris Ranch, Selma, California; on behalf of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association
Mr. William P. Roenigk, Senior Vice President and Economist, National Chicken Council, Washington, D.C.
Mr. Clint Krebs, President, American Sheep Industry Association, Ione, Oregon
Mr. Matthew T. Cook, President and CEO, Norbest, Inc., Washington, D.C.; on behalf of the National Turkey Federation

NPPC Details Challenges Faced By Hog Farmers

Hog farmers are dealing with a deadly pig disease and the threat of trade retaliation against their products, both of which will have a negative impact on the U.S. pork industry, the National Pork Producers Council told congressional lawmakers today in testimony before a House Agriculture subcommittee.

In a hearing on the state of the U.S. livestock industry held by the Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock, Rural Development and Credit, NPPC President Dr. Howard Hill, a veterinarian and hog farmer from Cambridge, Iowa, detailed the effects on hog farmers of the U.S. country-of-origin labeling (COOL) law and of the porcine endemic diarrhea virus (PEDv).

COOL, which requires meat to be labeled with the country where an animal was born, raised and slaughtered, caused the Canadian pork industry to reduce production as U.S. hog farmers sought to avoid the costs and complications associated with the law, Hill pointed out. Additionally, the statute prompted Canada and Mexico to bring trade cases to the World Trade Organization, which is expected to rule on them this summer.

Should the WTO decide that the COOL law doesn’t meet U.S. international trade obligations, Canada and Mexico would be allowed to place retaliatory tariffs on U.S. products. NPPC is urging Congress to consider a legislative fix to the labeling law.

PEDv, said Hill, has killed about 7 million pigs in 30 states since last April, losses that likely will reduce slaughter this summer by more than 10 percent. Such reductions would push U.S. hog prices up by 15 to 25 percent and force consumer pork prices up, according to economist Steve Meyer, president of Paragon Economics in Adel, Iowa.

Additionally, reduced hog numbers mean less feed, less medicine, fewer veterinary services and shortened hours at packing and processing plants, Hill testified.

NPPC wants the U.S. Department of Agriculture to conduct a thorough investigation on the pathway PEDv and another virus used to gain entry into the U.S. swine herd, to conduct more research on the viral propagation of the diseases and to commit more resources to determining the pathogenesis of and ways to control the viruses.

The U.S. pork industry also urged USDA to “take a thoughtful and measured approach” to developing the PEDv reporting program it announced last week. Hog farmers need a program that is “practical, workable and that can be successful,” Hill said.

Johnson Discusses COOL, Competition and RFS at House Livestock Hearing

Today National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson testified before a U.S. House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock, Rural Development and Credit hearing to review the state of the livestock industry.

“Farmers and ranchers are proud of what they produce and studies have shown that 95 percent of consumers want Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL),” Johnson said. “The World Trade Organization said the law is compliant. COOL has won twice in federal court. It is unfortunate to hear so many members of the subcommittee be more concerned about the fortunes of multinational packing and food companies rather than on-the-ground family farmers and ranchers. We know that consumer trust is of the utmost importance, and accurate COOL labels must be preserved.”

Rural America has lost 34 percent of beef operations and 91 percent of hog farms since 1980 – a total loss of 1.1 million livestock farms. There are also fewer meatpackers and processors. Today, the top four beef packers have control over 81 percent of cattle slaughter in the U.S., and the top four swine processors control 65 percent of hog sales.

“Fewer livestock buyers result in less competition, greater opportunity for antitrust violations, and a difficult market for the remaining farmers and ranchers,” said Johnson. “The U.S. Department of Agriculture has the authority to prohibit deceptive or fraudulent buying practices by processors and may protect farmers and ranchers if they have been harmed by unfair trade practices, but appropriations riders over the last three years have kept USDA from implementing these basic fairness rules. Future riders that impede enforcement of the Packers and Stockyards Act must be defeated.”

Biofuel production and the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) help the rural economy as a whole. In 2006, when the RFS was enacted, net farm income was $57.4 billion. In 2012, net farm income stood at $112.8 billion and meat production has not declined significantly since the enactment of the RFS.

“Biofuels do not significantly drive up the price of food. In fact, according to USDA, only 16 percent of grocery costs go back to farmers and ranchers,” said Johnson. “The World Bank found that crude oil is the number one determinant of global food prices. We should reduce our dependence on oil consumption in order to become more food secure, and biofuel production is an excellent way to do that.”

Johnson’s written testimony provides additional details and outlines NFU’s position on other important issues, including the impact of trade on the livestock sector and a proposal to allow the importation of beef from a region of Brazil with a history of foot and mouth disease.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Tuesday April 29 Ag News

Be Cautious Planting around Power Lines

As farmers make plans to return to their fields for spring planting, Cuming County Public Power District urges farm workers to be particularly alert to the dangers of working near overhead power lines.  Electricity is one of the most overlooked, yet deadly hazards of working on a farm.  According to the National Safety Council, farmers are at an increased risk for electrocution and electric shock injury compared to non-farmers.  In fact, 3.6 percent of youth under the age of 20 who work and/or live around farms are killed each year from electrocution.  CCPPD urges workers to evaluate farm activities and work practices and to share that information with others – an activity that doesn’t take a lot of time but can literally save lives.  By following a few safety rules, these tragic accidents can be prevented.  Start by making sure everyone knows to maintain a minimum 10-foot clearance from the lines.

“The minimum 10 foot distance is a 360-degree rule – below, to the side and above lines,” says Willy Anderson, Safety Director at Cuming County PPD.  “Many farm electrical accidents involving power lines happen when loading or preparing to transport equipment to fields, or while performing maintenance or repairs on farm machinery near lines.  It can be difficult to estimate distance and sometimes a power line is closer than it looks.  A spotter or someone with a broader view can help.”

The most common source of electric shocks come from operating machinery such as large tractors with front loaders, portable grain augers, fold-up cultivators, sprayers with large booms, moving grain elevators and any equipment with an antenna.  Handling long items such as irrigation pipe, ladders and rods also pose the risk of contact with power lines.  Coming too close to a power line while working is dangerous because electricity can arc, or “jump,” to conducting material or objects.

Be aware of increased height when loading and transporting tractors on trailer beds. Many tractors are now equipped with radios and communications systems that have very tall antennas extending from the cab that could make contact with power lines. Avoid raising the arms of planters, cultivators or truck beds near power lines and never attempt to raise or move a power line to clear a path.

Remember, non-metallic materials such as lumber, tree limbs, tires, ropes and hay will conduct electricity depending on dampness, dust and dirt contamination.  Do not try to clear storm-damage debris and limbs near power lines or fallen lines.

Overhead electric wires aren't the only electrical contact that can result in a serious incident. Pole guy wires, used to stabilize utility poles, are grounded.  However, when one of the guy wires is broken it can cause an electric current disruption. This can make those neutral wires anything but harmless. If you hit a guy wire and break it, call the utility to fix it. Don't do it yourself. When dealing with electrical poles and wires, always call the electric utility.

Even the best laid plans often go awry and CCPPD wants farm workers to be prepared if their equipment does come in contact with power lines. 

“It’s almost always best to stay in the cab and call for help,” Anderson said.  “If the power line is energized and you step outside, your body becomes the path to the ground and electrocution is the result.  Even if a line has landed on the ground, there is still potential for the area to be energized.  Warn others who may be nearby to stay away and wait until the electric utility arrives to make sure power to the line is cut off.”

Cuming County Public Power District does provide solutions for leaving the cab if necessary, as in the case of fire or electrical fire.

“In that scenario, the proper action is to jump – not step – with both feet hitting the ground at the same time,” Anderson said.   “Do not allow any part of your body to touch the equipment and the ground at the same time. Hop to safety, keeping both feet together as you leave the area.”

Once you get away from the equipment, never attempt to get back on or even touch the equipment. Many electrocutions occur when operators try to return to the equipment before the power has been shut off.

Managers should make sure workers are educated on these precautions and danger areas need to be thoroughly identified and labeled.  Call CCPPD or your local utility to measure line height-- no one should attempt this on their own without professional assistance.  Designate preplanned routes that avoid hazard area and educate other workers on their location.

Farmers may want to consider moving or burying power lines around buildings or busy pathways where many farm activities take place. If planning a new out building or farm structure, contact CCPPD for information on minimum safe clearances from overhead and underground power lines. And if you plan to dig beyond normal tilling, activities such as deep-ripping or sub-soiling, call 811 to mark underground utilities first.

For more electrical safety information, visit  or call 402-372-2463.

US Senate Candidate Osborn Releases Agriculture Principles

(from Osborn for Senate, Inc.)

Our farmers and ranchers make Nebraska great.  Agriculture contributes over $24 billion to Nebraska’s economy – 6.2 percent of the U.S. total.   I am proud to say Nebraska is the nation’s top producer of beef and that Nebraska products are exported around the world.  Our farmers and ranchers work every day to ensure a safe, abundant and affordable food supply is available to the world.   Unfortunately, fewer and fewer Americans understand the risk farmers take with every storm cloud and the work it takes to make food available in the grocery store.

As your Senator, I will work to protect Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers.    First, it is critical to limit burdensome regulation on farmers and encourage access to open markets.  Second, to remain competitive Nebraska farmers must have access to the best technology available.   Third, animal agriculture practices must be protected.  Nebraska farmers are stewards of the land and their animals.


Increase Access To Markets By Limiting Government Regulation:
·         Under this administration, we have seen increased regulation that is often outside of agency authority and detrimental to the agriculture industry.  I will fight against rogue agency proposals, like the recent FDA grain distillery proposal and EPA’s overreach on regulating waters of the US, to ensure Congressional intent is followed.    
·         I will work to open markets, expand economic development and support a strong rules based trading system so Nebraska farmers can competitively export their products.

Access to Technology:

·         U.S. agriculture’s competitive advantage in world markets will be maintained only by the continued support for technology and I will seek to preserve opportunities for future biotech products. I support science-based regulation of biotech crops and oppose the use of socioeconomic criteria when approving and controlling their use.
·         Agricultural products produced using approved biotechnology should not be required to designate individual inputs or technologies on the product label. I support existing FDA labeling policies.  Also, it is critical famers have uniform standards and therefore I oppose state policies on biotech labeling, identification, use and availability.

Protect Animal Agriculture:

·         Activists, including HSUS, continually work to place restrictions on our farming operations based on nothing but propaganda.  I support the use of practices based in sound science and approved by veterinarians.
·         I also oppose state mandates, similar to the California egg production standards, that limit access to both domestic and global markets.   

More information at

USDA Reports Meat Animals Production, Disposition, and Income 2013 Summary

Total 2013 production of cattle and calves and hogs and pigs for the United States totaled 73.4 billion pounds, up slightly from 2012. Production increased 1 percent for hogs and pigs and slightly for cattle and calves.

Total 2013 cash receipts from marketings of meat animals increased 4 percent to $92.1 billion. Cattle and calves accounted for nearly 75 percent of this total and hogs and pigs accounted for over 25 percent.

The 2013 gross income from cattle and calves and hogs and pigs for the United States totaled $92.7 billion, up 4 percent from 2012. Gross income for cattle and calves increased 3 percent and hogs and pigs increased 6 percent over previous year's gross income.

Cattle and Calves:

Cash receipts from marketings of cattle and calves increased 3 percent from $66.8 billion in 2012 to $68.7 billion in 2013. All cattle and calf marketings totaled 55.3 billion pounds in 2013, up slightly from 2012.
Nebraska ...:  $10,577,747,000 
Iowa ..........:   $3,983,234,000

Hogs and Pigs:

Cash receipts from hogs and pigs totaled $23.4 billion during 2013, up 6 percent from 2012. Marketings totaled 33.4 billion pounds in 2013, up 1 percent from 2012.
Nebraska ......:    $ 854,593,000
Iowa .............:    $ 7,588,336,000

USDA:  Milk Production, Disposition, and Income 2013 Summary

Milk production increased 0.3 percent in 2013 to 201 billion pounds. The rate per cow, at 21,822 pounds, was 102 pounds above 2012. The annual average number of milk cows on farms was 9.22 million head, down 12,000 head from 2012.

Cash receipts from marketings of milk during 2013 totaled $40.3 billion, 8.7 percent higher than 2012. Producer returns averaged $20.12 per hundredweight, 8.4 percent above 2012. Marketings totaled 200.2 billion pounds, 0.3 percent above 2012. Marketings include whole milk sold to plants and dealers and milk sold directly to consumers.

An estimated 980 million pounds of milk were used on farms where produced, 2.4 percent more than 2012. Calves were fed 90 percent of this milk, with the remainder consumed in producer households.

By State 
(#'s marketed, $'s cash recepts)
Nebraska ....:      1,157.0 bil. lbs., $242,970,000
Iowa ...........:      4,593.0 bil. lbs., $941,565,000

Iowa Corn Checkoff Holds Director Elections

Since 1978, Iowa corn growers have elected their peers to serve on the Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB) to oversee the investment of funds generated by the Iowa corn checkoff. As established by Iowa Code, a portion of the board seats are up for election each year.

On July 15, corn growers in Crop Reporting Districts 1 (Northwest), 3 (Northeast) and 6 (East Central) can vote at their local county extension office for their representation on the ICPB for a 3-year term. The Board's primary activities include domestic and foreign market development, research into new and value-added corn uses, and education about the corn industry.

Other corn producers within districts 1, 3 and 6 who are interested in running for a position may still file a petition with the ICPB. Petitions can be obtained by contacting the ICPB office and must contain the signature of 25 corn producers from the same district as the prospective candidate. Completed and notarized petitions must be delivered to the ICPB office no later than 4:30 p.m. on May 2, 2014. Once all grower petitions have been received, a final list of candidates will be generated and all names will be listed on the election ballots.

Current candidates are as follows:

USDA Crop Reporting District #1 (Lyon, Osceola, Dickinson, Emmet, Sioux, O'Brien, Clay, Palo Alto, Plymouth, Cherokee, Buena Vista and Pocahontas)
-- Lowell Appleton, O'Brien County
-- Kelly Nieuwenhuis, O'Brien County

USDA Crop Reporting District #3 (Howard, Winneshiek, Allamakee, Chickasaw, Bremer, Fayette, Clayton, Black Hawk, Buchanan, Delaware and Dubuque)
-- Greg Alber, Buchanan County
-- Kermit Allard, Black Hawk County

USDA Crop Reporting District #6 (Benton, Linn, Jones, Jackson, Iowa, Johnson, Cedar, Clinton, Muscatine and Scott)
-- Pete Brecht, Linn County
-- Lance Lillibridge, Benton County

Anyone who has produced and marketed 250 bushels of corn or more in Iowa in the previous marketing year (September 1, 2012 to August 31, 2013) is eligible to vote in the election. Producers unable to visit the extension office on July 15 may vote by absentee ballot. Absentee ballots are available by request May 30 - June 30 by contacting the Iowa Corn office at 515-225-9242. Absentee ballots must be postmarked no later than July 15.

More Than 6,000 PED-positive Pig Farms

The National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN) reports 221 positive accessions out of 822 tested at eight veterinary diagnostic labs for the week ending 19 April 2014, reports the American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV). In addition, it says, the Network adjusted a couple of earlier week’s numbers.

The number of states reported to the NAHLN as having at least one confirmed case of PED now stands at 29. AASV reports, however, that cases have also been diagnosed in Virginia, which would bring the actual state count to 30.  Those states with 100 or more positive tests are: Iowa, 1,834; Minnesota, 980; North Carolina, 605; Illinois, 578; Oklahoma, 355; Indiana, 324; Ohio, 283; Kansas, 240; Missouri, 138 and Michigan, 130.

For the most recent week (week of 13 April), 46 of the 221 new positive results were in Minnesota, followed by Illinois (43) and Iowa (41).

Also reporting one or more positive results were California, Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas and Wisconsin.

The total number of pig farm samples (termed 'laboratory biological accessions' in the official report) that have tested positive for the PED virus (PEDv) since April 2013 now stands at 6,019, which includes 721 for the month of April so far.

Since testing was fully reported in November 2013, 15,863 farm samples have been tested, of which 32 per cent have tested positive for the virus.

Food Marketing Tactics To Be Explored At Food Dialogues: Chicago On June 10

The U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) announces its next Food Dialogues: Chicago. Integrity in Food Marketing event will be held at the InterContinental Hotel, June 10, from 9:30-11 a.m. CDT. As consumers ask more questions about how their food is grown and raised, food companies are increasingly telling the story behind their food from start to finish – how it is raised or grown, how it is made in the plant or kitchen to how it is packaged.

USFRA's research tells us that nearly 60 percent of people feel it's extremely important for grocery stores and restaurants to provide information about the way the food they sell is grown and raised. The Food Dialogues: Chicago. Integrity in Food Marketing will explore how food professionals – from farmers to food manufacturers, retailers and marketers to foodservice executives – can share information on these complex food-production issues while not confusing, misrepresenting or alarming consumers. 

Further, food and marketing experts will share their experiences and learnings during this open and honest discussion, with the goal of engaging companies that utilize unique marketing activities, such as video campaigns, to tell their food-production stories.

"People are looking for more information about their food than ever before and it's incumbent on every member of the food industry to be transparent on how food is grown, raised and made," said Nancy Kavazanjian, USFRA Vice Chairperson. "Our goal is for a wide variety of food companies to help us to explore how food is marketed."

The Food Dialogues moderator and panel will be announced in the coming weeks. After the morning session, a closed afternoon will ensue for food professionals only, featuring a more in-depth look at this topic. To sign up for updates and more information as soon as it is available, visit the Food Dialogues: Chicago section on The panel will stream live online.

"USFRA succeeds in bringing communities together to have important conversations about how food is grown and raised and marketed in the U.S. today, whether they're easy conversations or not," said Randy Krotz, chief executive officer of USFRA. "The Food Dialogues:  Chicago. Integrity in Food Marketing will be an important discussion for consumers and the entire food chain."

For more information about USFRA or its signature event series, The Food Dialogues, visit

CME Changes Daily Price Limits for Grains, Beans

The CME Group plans to change the way it sets one-day price limits in corn, soybean and wheat futures trading and to remove price limits for all grain and oilseed options.

The new variable limits, which will apply to all grain, soybean and soybean-related contracts on the Chicago Board of Trade, will be based on market prices and will be changed twice a year-on May 1 and November 1, reports the Red River Farm Network.

For corn, the new daily price limit will drop to 35 cents, from 40 cents currently.

The soybean limit rises to $1.00 from 70 cents, and the Chicago wheat daily price limit will drop from 60 cents to 45 cents per bushel.


Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) was recognized today as a leader in sustainability efforts at Walmart’s first Sustainability Product Expo in Rogers, Ark. During the event, Rick Smith, DFA’s president and chief executive officer, participated in a panel discussing sustainable agriculture and building more efficient supply chains. Executives from Cargill and Monsanto joined Smith on the panel.

The expo brought together representatives from organizations that are recognized as leading the way in sustainability efforts. Additional panels included executives from well-known brands such as Pepsi, General Mills, Campbell Soup Company and Kellogg’s. The sessions were moderated by Doug McMillon, Walmart’s president and chief executive officer.

As a panelist, Smith described how DFA is committed to sustainability, from its nearly 15,000 farmer-owners across the country to the Cooperative’s 33 manufacturing facilities that produce dairy ingredients and branded retail products.

Smith stated that it is part of DFA’s core strategy to make it easier and more profitable for members to farm and that the Cooperative supports those efforts by providing Farm Services and evaluations of on-farm practices with the Gold Standard Dairy Program.

“Our program allows us to align with industry efforts such as National Milk Producers Federation’s Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) program and the stewardship measurement efforts undertaken by the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy,” said Smith. “In addition, we have an internal program that allows us to work closely with customers on efforts aligned to their needs.”

The panelists joined Walmart in a pledge to work together to build a more sustainable supply chain. This was supported by each business’s own pledge, including DFA’s, which stated: From farm to table, Dairy Farmers of America’s farmer-owners and employees are committed to producing safe, quality and wholesome dairy products through integrity-based, sustainable practices. We have a moral obligation to feed the world, and we are dedicated to ensuring our members are able to fulfill that obligation for generations to come.

Toward that obligation, we will have more than 90 percent of our nearly 9,000 member farms participating in our Gold Standard Dairy program, or similar efforts toward optimization, by 2020.

USDA Reports Cheese Production was Up 2% in 2013

Total cheese production, excluding cottage cheeses, was 11.1 billion pounds in 2013, 2.0 percent above 2012 production. Wisconsin was the leading State with 25.7 percent of the production.  Italian varieties, with 4.74 billion pounds were 2.2 percent above 2012 production and accounted for 42.7 percent of total cheese in 2013. Mozzarella accounted for 78.1 percent of the Italian production followed by Provolone with 7.6 percent and Parmesean with 6.8 percent. California was the leading State in Italian cheese production with 30.8 percent of the production.  American type cheese production was 4.42 billion pounds, 1.5 percent above 2012 and accounted for 39.8 percent of total cheese in 2013. Wisconsin was the leading State in American type cheese production with 19.0 percent of the production.

Butter production in the United States during 2013 totaled 1.86 billion pounds, 0.2 percent above 2012. California accounted for 34.1 percent of the production.

Dry milk powders (2013 United States production, comparisons with 2012)
Nonfat dry milk, human - 1.48 billion pounds, down 16.2 percent.
Skim milk powders - 631 million pounds, up 65.7 percent.

Whey products (2013 United States production, comparisons with 2012)
Dry whey, total - 961  million pounds, down 3.8 percent.
Lactose, human and animal - 1.04 billion pounds, up 1.3 percent.
Whey protein concentrate, total - 498 million pounds, up 8.3 percent.

Frozen products (2013 United States production, comparisons with 2012)
Ice cream, Regular (total) - 1,052 million gallons, down slightly.
Ice cream, Lowfat (total) - 651 million gallons, down 2.8 percent.
Sherbet (total) - 77.1 million gallons, up 77.0 percent.
Frozen Yogurt (total) - 80.4 million gallons, up 39.6 percent.

CWT Assists with 7.3 Million Pounds of Cheese, Butter and Whole Milk Powder Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 26 requests for export assistance from Bongards Creameries, Dairy Farmers of America, Foremost Farms, Michigan Milk Producers Association and United Dairymen of Arizona to sell 873,031 pounds (396 metric tons) of Cheddar, Gouda and Monterey Jack cheese, 3.748 million pounds (1,700 metric tons) of 82% butter and 2.668 million pounds (1,210 metric tons) of whole milk powder to customers in Asia, Africa, Central and South American, Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. The product will be delivered April through October 2014.

Year-to-date, CWT has assisted member cooperatives in selling 47.203 million pounds of cheese, 42.085 million pounds of butter and 7.809 million pounds of whole milk powder to 33 countries on six continents. These sales are the equivalent of 1.420 billion pounds of milk on a milkfat basis.

Assisting CWT members through the Export Assistance program, in the long-term, helps member cooperatives gain and maintain market share, thus expanding the demand for U.S. dairy products and the U.S. farm milk that produces them in the rapidly growing world dairy markets. This, in turn, positively impacts U.S. dairy farmers by strengthening and maintaining the value of dairy products that directly impact their milk price.

USDA Announces Additional Support for Small and Midsized Farmers and Ranchers

Today, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced additional support and resources for America's small and midsized farmers and ranchers. Today's announcement includes $7 million in university research awards in support of small and midsized producers; $8.8 million in technical assistance for small, socially-disadvantaged producers and Rural Cooperative Centers; and a marketing certification program for small and very small grass-fed beef producers. This is the second major USDA package this year in support of small and midsized producers. The first package included efforts to increase access to capital, provide better risk management tools, expand marketing opportunities, and offer food safety training and educational resources specific to America's small and midsize producers. Today's announcement builds on these efforts.

"Small and midsized producers are a vital part of America's agricultural future, and we are dedicated to ensuring their success," said Secretary Tom Vilsack. "The programs and opportunities announced today are part of our ongoing commitment to ensure that smaller farmers and ranchers get access to the resources they need to thrive. USDA is continually reviewing our resources, programs and policies to make sure we are working for producers of all sizes."

More information about USDA tools and resources available to small and mid-sized farmers, including information about today's announcement, is available on USDA's Small and Mid-Sized Farmer Resources webpage.

Efforts announced by the Secretary today include:

$7 million in grant awards to 10 universities to develop programs that will assist small and medium-sized farmers grow their operations, enhance their production and become economically viable. These awards, made by USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Small and Medium-Sized Farms program, focus on developing models to assist small farmers in their decision making with respect to management strategies, new technologies, sustainability, competitiveness and viability. These awards prioritize strategies enhancing access to markets, developing local and regional food systems, assessing the impact of economic changes to new and beginning farmers, and conducting outreach activities which can inform relevant public policy to enhance small farmers' well-being. For example, the University of Illinois received $495,000 to research risk mitigation participation strategies for small and midsized producers in the advanced biofuel industry, while Oklahoma State University was awarded $484,000 to research economic development opportunities for small and mid-sized farms in the local and regional food system. Clarkson University in New York received $499,000 to study anaerobic digesters for small farms and University of Vermont was awarded $499,662 to research how to improve the quality of labor management decisions for small and medium-sized farm operators. A full list of awardees and their projects is available on the NIFA website.

$8.8 million for technical assistance funding opportunities for small, socially-disadvantaged producers and Rural Cooperative Centers.

In support of rebuilding America's rural economy, USDA's Rural Development Agency is making funding available to small and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers as well as Rural Cooperative Centers. The Small, Socially Disadvantaged Producer Grant program (SSDPG) will make $3 million available to provide technical assistance to small, socially-disadvantaged agricultural producers through eligible cooperatives and cooperative development centers. Awardees will be able to conduct market research, product and/or service improvement, feasibility studies, training, and implement business plans. Applications are being accepted through June 30, 2014. More information about how to apply is on the Rural Development website.

The Rural Cooperative Development Grant Program (RCDG) will make up to $5.8 million available to Rural Cooperative Development Centers, which in turn, provide technical assistance to individuals and entities improving the economic condition of rural areas by supporting start-up, expansion or operational improvement of rural cooperatives and other business entities. Cooperatives have often been the mechanism used by small and midsized producers to work together to access new markets or market value added products. Information about how to apply is on the Rural Development website. In 2013, business and cooperative funding through Rural Development helped 17,773 rural businesses, including 4,200 farmers and 4,472 small businesses. These investments created or saved over 41,600 jobs. Under the 2014 Farm Bill USDA will be creating an Interagency Working Group to improve coordination of programs and services between federal agencies and national and local cooperatives through the RCDG program.

USDA Certification for Small and Very Small Producers of grass-fed beef. Administered by USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), this new verification program is tailored to meet the needs of small-scale livestock producers and the growing grass-fed beef industry. It allows small and very small-scale producers to certify that their animals meet the requirements of the grass-fed marketing claim standard, helping them differentiate themselves and communicate value to their customers. As part of USDA-wide efforts to create more opportunities for small-scale livestock producers, AMS is targeting producers that market 49 cattle or less each year by designing a less costly application process for these producers to use the USDA Certified Grass-Fed claim. Producers who are certified under the new program will receive certificates that allow them to market cattle to slaughter facilities as USDA certified grass-fed, increasing their market value and creating new economic opportunities throughout the supply chain.

Green Plains Reports Record First Quarter 2014 Results

Omaha-based Green Plains Renewable Energy, Inc. (Nasdaq:GPRE) announced today its financial results for the first quarter of 2014. Net income for the quarter was $43.2 million, or $1.04 per diluted share, compared to net income of $2.6 million, or $0.08 per diluted share for the same period in 2013. Revenues were $733.9 million for the first quarter of 2014 compared to $765.5 million for the same period in 2013.

"Our financial results for the first quarter demonstrate the earnings capability of the company," stated Todd Becker, President and Chief Executive Officer. "The size, scope and scale of our low-cost production platform positioned the company to produce significant results, particularly in a strong margin environment. Our merchant businesses also performed exceptionally well this quarter, allowing us to realize higher income from our opportunistic strategy around markets adjacent to our assets.”

During the first quarter, Green Plains' ethanol production segment produced 230.8 million gallons of ethanol, or approximately 95.5% of its daily average production capacity. Non-ethanol operating income, from the corn oil production, agribusiness, and marketing and distribution segments, was $41.1 million in the first quarter of 2014 compared to $21.2 million for the same period in 2013.

"With the record first quarter, Green Plains is off to a strong start for 2014," said Becker. "Solid domestic and export demand, as well as tight domestic stocks for ethanol, provide a favorable environment for us to continue to lock away forward margins. In the current environment, we expect results for the next several quarters to remain strong."

ADM Reports Adjusted First Quarter 2014 Earnings of $0.55 per Share

Archer Daniels Midland Company (NYSE: ADM) today reported financial results for the quarter ended Mar . 31, 2014. The company reported adjusted earnings per share of $0.55, up from $0.46 in the same period last year . Net earnings for the quarter were $267 million, or $0.40 per share, comparable to the $0.41 per share in the same period one year earlier . Segment operating profit was $691 million, up 10 percent from the year-ago period. Adjusted segment operating profit was $780 million, up 17 percent from the year-ago period.

“Our businesses delivered mixed results in the first quarter,” said ADM Chairman and CEO Patricia Woertz. “Our Ag Services business again generated weak results due to a low margin environment as well as logistics and weather challenges in the U.S. Continued strong performance in Corn was supported by the robust ethanol market. And the sustained, solid results in Oilseeds were driven by good margins and volumes in North and South American soybean crushing.

“We continued to make good progress during the quarter in our ongoing portfolio management and other key initiatives to improve the earnings power and returns of the company.”

Oilseeds Earnings Strong on Soybean Crushing

Oilseeds operating profit of $358 million represented an increase of $50 million from the same period one year earlier .  These numbers exclude a charge for cocoa hedge timing effects of $24 million, or ($0.03) per share, versus a gain of $5 million in the year-ago period.

Crushing and origination operating profit was essentially flat, at $161 million. North American soybean crushing operations benefited from good crush capacity utilization in a favorable margin environment driven by strong domestic and export meal demand. That was offset by lower results in North American softseeds. In South America, soybean crushing operations saw improved utilization, and the logistics network saw increased volumes as it began moving the large harvest to world markets in an improved  environment. European results were essentially flat.

Refining, packaging, biodiesel and other generated a profit of $113 million for the quarter, up $5 million as improved European biodiesel results offset a decline in North America due to the absence of $20 million in biodiesel tax credits recorded in the year-ago period.

Cocoa and other earned $30 million in the quarter, up $57 million from the year-ago period, as the margin environment in the cocoa business continued to improve.

Oilseeds results in Asia for the quarter were down $17 million from the same period last year, principally reflecting ADM’s share of lower results from Wilmar International Limited.

Corn Processing Results Improved on Strong Ethanol Margin Environment

Corn processing operating profit of $261 million represented an increase of $64 million from the same period one year earlier . These numbers exclude negative timing effects of $65 million, or ($0.06) per share, versus a loss of $44 million, or ($0.04) per share, in the year-ago period.

Sweeteners and starches results declined $13 million to $107 million, with overall sales volumes for the quarter down slightly.

Bioproducts results increased $77 million to $154 million. Strong export demand and lower industry production volumes combined to drive a steadily improving margin environment throughout the quarter.

Agricultural Services Weak Amid Lack of Margin Opportunities
Agricultural Services operating profit was $153 million, similar to the year-ago period. Results for the quarter include the recovery of about $20 million of a previously established loss provision.

Merchandising and handling earnings declined $17 million to $69 million, as margins were limited both by inverted corn, soybean and wheat markets and by increased costs that were exacerbated by weather.  Transportation results recovered $27 million to $33 million. Pent-up barge freight demand caused by the harsh U.S. winter pushed freight rates up significantly as river traffic returned in March.

Milling and other results declined $8 million to $51 million as a lack of the seasonal carry in the wheat futures market reduced grain and feed merchandising opportunities.

Horn Flies: Control tips for producers to take back lost gains

When it comes to raising cattle, every pound counts. And, as every producer knows, there are always several factors that can steal dollars from the bottom line. In fact, one of the most economically devastating threats, especially for pastured cattle, measures only about the size of a pencil eraser — it’s the horn fly.

“Even though horn flies are small pests, they can be a big problem,” said Roger Winter, DVM, Technical Services Veterinarian for AgriLabs. “According to the USDA, the detrimental impact of horn flies is more than $1 billion per year in the U.S., with up to $60 million dollars spent on insecticidal control. Financial loss can be attributed to reduction in weight gains, feed efficiency and milk yields as well as loss of blood and energy used trying to dislodge flies.”

Blood Loss Equals Lost Gains

Horn flies take anywhere from 25-38 blood meals per day and with large numbers feeding on one individual animal. This can result in a significant amount of blood loss each day. Unlike most other flies, horn flies remain on the host animals constantly and leave only for a brief period to lay eggs on very fresh manure.

“Horn flies have a piercing-sucking mouth part that is similar to a mosquito but is more painful because it’s larger,” said Bob Pennington, MS, Consulting Veterinary Entomologist for SmartVet. “Hundreds of flies, each biting around 30 times a day, can result in up to one-third of a liter of blood lost per animal, per day. That’s a considerable amount of energy loss.”

Numerous studies have been conducted to understand the economic impact of horn flies on cow and calf-weaning weights. Very conservative figures show that horn flies can result in one-tenth to one-third of a pound in reduction in weight gains per calf, per day. For example, in a 5-month period (150 days), that equals 15 to 50 pounds reduction in weaning weights. At approximately $1.60 per pound, a 30-pound weight reduction results in an average income loss of $48 per head due to horn flies. If a producer has 50 head of cattle, that equals $2,400 total income loss, and for 100 head it’s $4,800.

When to Treat

“Instead of feeding regularly, cows are fighting the awful bite from horn flies by switching their tails, throwing their heads, kicking and stomping to dislodge them,” said Pennington. “When doing this, they are not as efficient when it comes to grazing and meat and milk production.”

Treatment and prevention are key to controlling horn flies. The best time for producers to justify taking horn fly control measures that will generate a positive return on investment is when the flies reach the economic threshold. On average, if more than 200 flies are observed on a single beef cow or stocker animal it is considered the “treatment threshold.” For a single calf or lactating dairy cow, it’s 50 flies.

“Throughout the fly season, weekly monitoring for horn flies is highly recommended,” said Winter. “It’s usually best to monitor between the hours of 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. when horn flies are most visible on the shoulders and sides of cattle. On hotter days, the flies tend to migrate to the cow’s belly where it’s cooler and harder to observe.”

Fly Season Control Options

Horn fly infestations can vary greatly by region due to climate. In Northern areas, the season usually lasts anywhere from four to five months, whereas in Southern states, they can endure more than half a year of horn fly nuisance. For this reason, season-long control is typically recommended.

Pennington suggests these tips to consider when developing a herd fly-control program:
-    Withhold tagging or pour-on treatments until horn fly numbers reach about 100 per side of animal. This will keep them from being applied too early. It takes more than 200 flies per cow to have an economic impact on weight gain of nursing calves.
-    Remove insecticide ear tags in the fall.
-    Use of oral larvicide treatment such as Rabon™ or an Altosid® is a good way to reduce fly breeding in manure.

Lastly, the most important way to safeguard against horn flies becoming resistant to insecticide is to rotate different modes of action. There are many methods available to control horn flies such as insecticidal ear tags, dust bags, concentrated pour-ons, animal sprays, backrubbers and oral larvicides available in minerals and feed supplements. Horn flies are notorious for building resistance to some classes of chemicals, so producers should use an integrated program with multiple products for the best protection.

New, Unique Form of Horn Fly Control

Most recently, AgriLabs introduced VetGun™, an innovative, new concept in insecticide delivery that offers producers another tool for treating horn flies. The power behind the VetGun is the AiM-L VetCap™, a scientifically developed capsule containing an EPA-approved topical insecticide called Lamba cyhalothrin — a proven ingredient to control horn flies, face flies and lice on cattle. When used in conjunction with other methods, it can be a very effective solution for resistance management.

VetGun uses precision-engineered CO2 power to project a precise dosage of AiM-L VetCap to treat the animal. It bursts upon impact, allowing the topically applied insecticide to go to work immediately, similar to that of pour-on applications. It’s designed to limit cattle handling and stress, while uniquely applying effective horn fly control.

With this application system, the insecticide can be applied to cattle at a range of 15 to 30 feet, allowing the producer to treat animals from a safe distance. It’s as simple as laying down a lick, hay or feed to create a positive correlation with the dosing process. Most animals show little reaction then return to eating.

“The beauty of the VetGun and AiM-L is you can apply it easily when other methods run out,” said Pennington. “A producer can treat at any time in the pasture when flies reach the economic threshold and only when it’s needed.”

Feed cattle, not parasites

Planning for parasite protection should be top of mind for cow/calf producers before branding and spring turnout each year. Parasites can leave a path of destruction on any herd, but controlling them is as simple as knowing a few key tips.

1.    Read and understand the label

To help achieve the best possible results from deworming products, it is important to be aware of the label indications for the product being used.

“When deworming time rolls around, it is extremely important to read the label every time to ensure you are dosing correctly, reducing the risk for side effects and not creating resistance,” said Gary Sides, PhD, Zoetis Cattle Technical Services. “Not giving cattle the full, labeled dose provides parasites the opportunity to become resistant and prevents cattle from reaching their performance potential.”

Dr. Sides also encourages a close look at the approved label indications for use in young calves. Some dewormers are not approved for calves less than three months of age or if raised on intensive pasture rotation systems.

“Dewormers must be used according to the label directions. That includes administering the product only on animals for which it is approved and not using it on calves unless the label says it is an approved use,” Dr. Sides noted. “It’s important to protect calves from parasites while they are on pasture this summer so choose a dewormer that is approved for use in young calves. When they are not battling parasites, calves are healthier and put their energy toward growth.”

2.    Injectable vs. Pour-on

Depending on geographic location, choosing an injectable or pour-on product can differ because of different weather conditions as well as the types of parasites in the area. Dr. Sides recommends treating cattle with DECTOMAX® 1% Injectable in the spring and DECTOMAX Pour-On in the fall. For producers in the Gulf States and Oregon, Washington and California, treatment recommendations are reversed to accommodate for different parasite control needs. They should treat cattle with VALBAZEN® and/or DECTOMAX Pour-On in the spring, then DECTOMAX Injectable in the fall.

“Injectables really do the best job on internal parasites, but lice control is better with pour-ons,” Dr. Sides explained. “I tend to be more concerned with internal parasites since they can do the most to slow down growth, feed intake and feed efficiency.”

3.    Store and handle products carefully

Storage and handling also can influence product efficacy. Most products list the appropriate temperature range for storage on the product packaging or label. Be sure to follow label indications closely to ensure that producers are getting the most bang for their buck.

“Regardless of what animal health product you are administering, it is important to check the label before each use,” Dr. Sides said.  “Too often, product labels are taken for granted. Help ensure product effectiveness by storing products at appropriate temperatures.”

4.    Practice proper application techniques

When using pour-on products, it is important to ensure proper application techniques. Avoid applying product onto dirty animals as it can be absorbed into the dirt rather than the hide. Also, it is possible that general herd behaviors such as rubbing and licking can reduce the amount of effective product on the animal.

“Convenience often has its drawbacks,” Dr. Sides noted. “There are some circumstances that keep a pour-on from working as well as it could. Dirt and manure on the animal can reduce the amount of product absorbed into the hide, so it is important to apply pour-on onto animals that are as clean as possible. Rain, snow and sleet can often wash the product from the animal if not given sufficient absorption time, so when possible, plan application around the weather.”

When applying a pour-on dewormer, pour the proper dose down the entire backline of the animal and do not just pour the entire dose on one spot.

5.    Deworm based on geographic location

Deworming times can vary depending on geographic location, but it is recommended that producers deworm at green-up in the spring and turnout in the fall.

“Producers should collaborate with their veterinarian to develop a solid deworming program that is best suited for their herd,” Dr. Sides said. “These factors, as well as numerous other things, can change the recommendation for which products should be used from one herd to another.”


It’s an unavoidable dilemma: fresh water and productive soil are vital to sustain life and to grow the food we need. As the global population skyrockets during the next three decades, so will the demand for food, fresh water and healthy soil. This reality creates an urgent challenge for everyone involved in growing food: produce more while using resources more efficiently.

“Agriculture is at the intersection of many major challenges today – whether it’s growing population and food demand, water availability, soil health or climate change,” said Hugh Grant, chairman and chief executive officer at Monsanto. “Addressing these challenges directly is what all of us at Monsanto are focused on every day – working together with farmers and partners around the world to deliver a safe, affordable and nutritious food supply that sustains our planet.”

As part of its broad commitment to sustainability, today Monsanto announced two important companywide commitments to help address critical challenges in the areas of water and nutrient efficiency.

Irrigated Water-Use Efficiency Goal

First, the company will work to increase water-use efficiency in irrigation across its own global seed production operations by 25 percent by 2020. While overall water use will always vary due to the weather, Monsanto estimates that these conservation efforts alone will result in saving between 30 billion and 80 billion gallons of water annually, the equivalent of filling 45,000 to 110,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

Monsanto’s industry-first water-use efficiency commitment includes both Monsanto’s owned and leased operations as well as the contract farms that grow seeds for the company’s products. As part of the commitment, Monsanto plans to provide annual public updates on its progress toward the 25 percent goal in its sustainability updates and reports.

To reach the goal, Monsanto will expand implementation of drip irrigation systems, which enable water-use efficiency of up to 95 percent, compared with other systems that range from 50 to 65 percent efficiency. The company already has deployed these systems at facilities in water-stressed areas like India, Hawaii and Mexico.

“We have a tremendous opportunity to increase efficiency with modern irrigation technology and precision farming best practices,” said Bob Reiter, vice president of global supply chain at Monsanto. “We have been working to test and promote implementation of water-efficient technologies for years, and these efforts will be accelerated with our new irrigated water-use efficiency commitment.”

Nutrient Efficiency Pledge

Water-use efficiency is just one area of Monsanto’s overall focus on sustainability. Soil and nutrients is another critical area.

As announced today at Walmart’s Sustainable Products Expo, Monsanto’s Hugh Grant also pledged that the company will continue to innovate and advance smarter seeds and precision management tools that enable farmers to use nutrients more efficiently and curb greenhouse gas emissions on one million acres in the United States by 2020.

“We’ve estimated that farmers make between 40-50 business critical decisions during the growing season that directly impact how much they can grow and how efficiently they can do it,” said Grant. “Agriculture has the opportunity to deliver new tools to help farmers use resources more efficiently while increasing production. To support these efforts, Monsanto pledges to work and share with farmer customers, stakeholders, industry groups and partners to help accelerate these efficiencies.”

This new effort will complement other recently announced joint projects in soil health and water quality including the Soil Health Partnership hosted by the National Corn Growers Association and co-sponsored by the Walton Family Foundation. Monsanto’s support of cover crop trials through the Agronomy Science Foundation and USDA’s Resilient Economic Agriculture Practices (REAP) initiative reinforces the company’s desire to help farmers understand the potential benefits of management practices that improve soil health.

“Stewardship is number one as my family and I are committed to leave the land better than we found it.  Efficient nutrient utilization is key,” said Leon Corzine, a fifth-generation family farmer and one of our nation’s leading grower representatives from Assumption, Illinois. “I am excited about the future as more tools are becoming available to us on the farm.  Continued advancements in seed technologies (both biotechnology and genetics) and data technologies are helping us build on these improvements, supporting a sustainable farming system as we meet the needs of a growing population.”

Sustainability Progress Update

As Monsanto advances in its sustainability journey, the company released today the Monsanto 2013 Sustainability Progress Update, outlining some key water-related accomplishments made since the company’s last full report in June 2013.

“Sustainability reporting not only enables us to continue to be a more transparent and open company, it also pushes us to work even harder alongside farmers and partners to adapt to challenges and continue to improve agriculture,” said Natalie Rosenbloom, vice president of sustainability and partnerships at Monsanto. “We are dedicated to work with farmers and stakeholders to provide innovations that can help farmers as well as consumers ensure that we get the most out of every seed, every acre and every harvest in a sustainable way.”

Future sustainability progress reports will include updates on Monsanto’s progress toward its irrigation water-use efficiency commitment and its efforts to maximize nutrient efficiency.

In line with Monsanto’s commitment of conserving natural resources, the company offers the full content of the Monsanto 2013 Sustainability Progress Update online at:

Monday, April 28, 2014

April 28 Crop Progress and Condition Report for NE, IA, & US....


For  the week ending April 27, 2014, corn planting picked up momentum but progress was  limited by rain at mid-week across much of  the eastern half of  the state,  according  to  USDA’s  National  Agricultural  Statistics  Service.   An  inch  of  rainfall  was common in eastern and south central counties.  However, little or no moisture was received across western  counties  as  drought  conditions  continued. Soybean  planting  was  underway  but  was limited as producers were focused on corn.  Temperatures averaged 6 to 8 degrees above normal.   The number of days  suitable  for  fieldwork was 5.3.   Topsoil moisture  supplies  rated 14 percent very short, 39 short, 46 adequate, and 1 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 17 percent very short, 45 short, 38 adequate, and 0 surplus.
Field Crops Report:

Winter wheat condition rated 3 percent very poor, 11 poor, 30 fair, 51 good, and  5  excellent. Winter wheat  jointed was  5  percent,  near  6  last  year  but  behind  the  five-year average of 25. 

Oats condition rated 1 percent very poor, 18 poor, 46 fair, 34 good, and 1 excellent. Oats planted was 92 percent, well ahead of 70  last  year and 82 average. Oats  emerged was 61 percent, well ahead of 23 last year and 42 average. 

Sorghum planted was at 2 percent, ahead of 0 last year and 0 average.

Corn planted  was 20 percent,  ahead of  3  last  year  but  near  22  average.  Corn  emerged was 2 percent, near 0 last year and 1 average.

Soybeans planted was 6 percent, ahead of 0 last year and 2 average.
Livestock, Pasture and Range Report:

Stock water supplies rated 5 percent very short, 8 short,  86 adequate, and 1 surplus.  

Hay and forage supplies rated 2 percent very short, 9 short, 85 adequate, and 4 surplus.

Cattle and calf  condition  rated 0 percent very poor, 1 poor, 11  fair, 77 good, and 11 excellent. Cattle  and  calf  losses  rated  17  percent  below  average,  83  average,  and  0  above  average. Percentage of cows calved since January 1 was 93 percent.

Sheep and  lamb condition  rated 0 percent very poor, 1 poor, 10  fair, 82 good,  and 7 excellent.  Sheep and lamb losses rated 12 percent below average, 88 average, and 0 above average.

Access the National publication for Crop Progress and Condition tables at:
Access  the  High  Plains  Region  Climate  Center  for  Temperature  and  Precipitation  Maps  at:
Access the U.S. Drought Monitor at:


Wet  conditions  continued  to  slow  down  fieldwork  in  Iowa  during  the week  ending  April  27,  2014,  according  to  the  USDA,  National Agricultural  Statistics  Service.    Average  temperatures  were  above normal  for  the week except  in north central and northeast  Iowa.   Cool soil temps remain a concern for farmers planting in the northern part of the State.   Statewide there were 3.0 days suitable for fieldwork.  Other activities for the week included applying fertilizers and herbicides.

Recent  precipitation  improved  soil moisture  levels.    Topsoil moisture levels rated 4 percent very short, 15 percent short, 67 percent adequate and 14 percent  surplus.   Subsoil moisture  levels  rated 14 percent very short,  36  percent  short,  46  percent  adequate  and  4  percent  surplus.  Northwest Iowa remained the driest with 17 percent of topsoil reported in very short condition.

Planting  progress was  ahead  of  the  previous  year’s  progress,  but  still trailed behind the five year average.  Planting for oats was at 68 percent complete,  26  percentage  points  ahead  of  last  year  but  13  percentage points behind average.  Twenty-four percent of oats had emerged, ahead of  last year’s 10 percent, but 18 percentage points behind  the five-year average.    Fifteen  percent  of  the  expected  corn  acreage  was  planted, 13 percentage points ahead of last year but 18 percentage points behind average.   Corn had started  to emerge.   There were scattered  reports of soybeans being planted.

Pasture  condition  rated  10  percent  very  poor,  19  percent  poor, 44 percent  fair,  24  percent  good  and  3  percent  excellent.    Calving conditions  were  reported  as  poor  with  the  wet  conditions  and  cooler temperatures in some areas of the State.


Provided by Harry Hillaker, State Climatologist, Iowa Dept of Ag & Land Stewardship

The  past  reporting  week  brought  fairly  typical  late  April  weather  to Iowa.      The  warmest  days  came  at  the  beginning  and  ending  of  the period.   High temperatures on Easter Sunday (20th) varied from the low 60’s northeast  to mid 80’s west and on Saturday (26t) varied from  the low  60’s  northeast  to  near  80  across  southern  Iowa.     Below  normal temperatures prevailed at mid-week with a  freeze  recorded over much of  the  northwest  one-third  of  Iowa  on  Tuesday  (22nd)  while  daytime highs  were  only  in  the  upper  40’s  over  parts  of  northeast  Iowa  on Wednesday  (23rd) and Thursday  (24th).     Temperature extremes varied from  Sunday  (20th)  afternoon  highs  of  85  degrees  at  Jefferson,  Little Sioux, Logan, Rockwell City and Sioux City  to a  low of 26 degrees at Sheldon on Tuesday morning .   Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 3.0 degrees above normal, varying from about a degree above normal  over  the  northeast  to  six  degrees  above  normal  over  the northwest.      Thunderstorms  were  scattered  over most  of  the  state  on Easter  Sunday  into Monday  (21st)  afternoon  with  locally  heavy  rain over parts of north central Iowa.   Showers and thunderstorms were also widespread  from  Wednesday  (23rd)  morning  into  Thursday  (24th) evening  with  greatest  amounts  to  around  one  and  one-half  inches  in north  central  and  south  central  Iowa.      Finally,  another  period  of showers  and  thunderstorms began Saturday  (26th) night  and  continued beyond the Sunday morning cut-off of this report.   Greatest rain  totals for  the  week  were  across  north  central  Iowa  where  Rowan  recorded 4.02 inches and Mason City 3.77 inches.   Only light rain fell across far northwest Iowa, along the Highway 30 corridor from Ames to Denison and  in  the Burlington area.    Sheldon and Sibley reported the  least rain with 0.16 inches for the week.   The statewide average precipitation was 1.09 inches or slightly more than the weekly normal of 0.93 inches.

Nationwide, Corn - Soybean Planting Move Ahead

Corn planting progress took its largest leap so far this growing season in the week ended April 27, logging in at 19%, according to USDA's weekly Crop Progress Report. That compares to 6% last week and a five-year average of 28%.

Of the three "I" states, Illinois is 32% planted, Indiana 8% planted and Iowa 15% planted. Northern states are just starting field work with soil temps remaining frustratingly cool.  Corn emergence was reported for the first time this year at 3%, compared to a five-year average of 6%.

Soybean planting also was reported for the first time this year at 3%, compared to a five-year average of 4%.

Corn Planted - Selected States

[These 18 States planted 91% of the 2013 corn acreage]
                      :            Week ending            :          
      State        : April 27, : April 20, : April 27, : 2009-2013
                      :   2013    :   2014    :   2014    :  Average 
                      :                    percent                   
Colorado ........:     3           2          16          13    
Illinois ............:     1           5          32          33    
Indiana ..........:     1           1            8          26    
Iowa ..............:     2           2          15          33    
Kansas ..........:     7          21         37          30    
Kentucky ........:    23        10         32          44    
Michigan ........:     -           -            1          13    
Minnesota ......:     -           -            4          30    
Missouri .........:    15         26        47          42    
Nebraska ........:     3          4         20          22    
North Carolina .:    76         43        60          79    
North Dakota ..:     -           -            -          10    
Ohio ..............:     2           -           4          22    
Pennsylvania ..:    10           -           2          13    
South Dakota .:     -           1           11          10    
Tennessee .....:    45         19         53          59    
Texas ............:    68          60        64          69    
Wisconsin .....:     -           -            1          10    
18 States ......:     5           6          19          28    

Corn Emerged - Selected States

[These 18 States planted 91% of the 2013 corn acreage]
                      :            Week ending            :          
      State        : April 27, : April 20, : April 27, : 2009-2013
                      :   2013    :   2014    :   2014    :  Average 
                      :                    percent                   
Colorado .......:     -         (NA)          -           1    
Illinois ...........:     -         (NA)          2          10    
Indiana ..........:     -         (NA)          -           6    
Iowa ..............:     -         (NA)          -           2    
Kansas ..........:     1            5         11           9    
Kentucky .......:     4         (NA)          7          22    
Michigan ........:     -         (NA)          -           1    
Minnesota ......:     -         (NA)          -           1    
Missouri .........:     8            4         10          15    
Nebraska ........:     -         (NA)          2           1    
North Carolina .:    45           17         32          42    
North Dakota ..:     -         (NA)          -           -    
Ohio ..............:     -         (NA)          -           2    
Pennsylvania ..:     -         (NA)          -           1    
South Dakota .:     -         (NA)          -           -    
Tennessee .....:    15         (NA)         12          33    
Texas .............:    59           50         55          59    
Wisconsin ......:     -         (NA)          -           -    
18 States .......:     2         (NA)          3           6    

Soybeans Planted - Selected States

[These 18 States planted 95% of the 2013 soybean acreage]
                      :            Week ending            :          
      State        : April 27, : April 20, : April 27, : 2009-2013
                      :   2013    :   2014    :   2014    :  Average 
                      :                    percent                   
Arkansas .......:     9            7         16          21    
Illinois ............:     -         (NA)          2           3    
Indiana ...........:     -         (NA)          1           8    
Iowa ..............:     -         (NA)          -           2    
Kansas ..........:     -         (NA)          1           1    
Kentucky .......:     -         (NA)          1           4    
Louisiana .......:    25          33         55          36    
Michigan ........:     -         (NA)          -           2    
Minnesota ......:     -         (NA)          -           3    
Mississippi .....:    10          14         24          38    
Missouri .........:     -         (NA)          -           3    
Nebraska ........:     -         (NA)          6           2    
North Carolina .:     1         (NA)          -           4    
North Dakota ...:     -         (NA)          -           1    
Ohio ...............:     -         (NA)          1           6    
South Dakota ..:     -         (NA)          -           -    
Tennessee ......:     -         (NA)          2           3    
Wisconsin .......:     -         (NA)          -           1    
18 States ........:     -         (NA)          3           4    

Winter Wheat Headed - Selected States

[These 18 States planted 87% of the 2013 winter wheat acreage]
                      :            Week ending            :          
      State        : April 27, : April 20, : April 27, : 2009-2013
                      :   2013    :   2014    :   2014    :  Average 
                      :                    percent                   
Arkansas .......:    32          5         17          67    
California ........:    81        85         90          90    
Colorado ........:     -           -           1           1    
Idaho .............:     -           2           5           -    
Illinois ............:     -           -           -          17    
Indiana ...........:     -           -           1           6    
Kansas ..........:     1          2           4          17    
Michigan ........:     -           -           -           -    
Missouri .........:     2           -           -          23    
Montana .........:     -           -           -           -    
Nebraska ........:     -           -           -           1    
North Carolina .:    41         3          20          59    
Ohio ...............:     -           -           -           1    
Oklahoma .......:    19        10         45          59    
Oregon ...........:     -           2           2           -    
South Dakota ..:     -           -            -           -    
Texas .............:    43        34         50          55    
Washington ....:     -           -            -           -    
18 States .......:    13         9          18          26    

Winter Wheat Condition - Selected States: Week Ending April 27, 2014

[National crop conditions for selected States are weighted based on 2013 planted acreage]
      State       : Very poor :   Poor    :   Fair    :   Good    : Excellent
                     :                          percent                         
Arkansas ......:     -            4          33          50          13    
California ......:     -            5          15          25          55    
Colorado .......:    18         15          31          32           4    
Idaho ............:     -           1          11          74          14    
Illinois ...........:     2           6          30          48          14    
Indiana ..........:     1           5          32          52          10    
Kansas .........:    13          24          42          20           1    
Michigan .......:     5          13          40          37           5    
Missouri ........:     2          10          45          38           5    
Montana ........:     1           4          31          47          17    
Nebraska .......:     3          11          30          51           5    
North Carolina :     1           6          23          57          13    
Ohio ..............:     2           8          41          42           7    
Oklahoma ......:    31         34          26           8           1    
Oregon ..........:     -           5          46          41           8    
South Dakota :      -           4          31          63           2    
Texas ...........:    29         36          22          12           1    
Washington ..:     3          15          42          37           3    
18 States .....:    14          20          33          28           5    
Previous week :    13        20          33          29           5    
Previous year .:    16        19          32          28           5