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 www.ccppd.com  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 http://shaneosborn.com/my-agriculture-principles/

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 FoodDialogues.com. 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 www.fooddialogues.com.

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: sustainability.monsanto.com.

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