Friday, May 16, 2014

Friday May 16 Cattle on Feed Report + Ag News

Nebraska feedlots, with capacities of 1,000 or more head, contained 2.49 million cattle on feed on May 1, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.  This inventory was up 4 percent from last year.

Placements during April totaled 420,000 head, down 5 percent from 2013. 

Fed cattle marketings  for  the month of April  totaled 415,000 head, down 10 percent  from  last year.   Other disappearance during April totaled 15,000 head, up 5,000 head from a year ago.

Cattle and calves on feed for slaughter market in Iowa for all feedlots totaled 1,250,000 on May 1, 2014 according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service, Iowa Field Office.  The inventory is down 1 percent from April 1, 2014 but  up  2  percent  from  last  year.    Feedlots with  a  capacity  greater  than  1,000  head  had  660,000  head  on  feed,  down 1 percent from last month but up 6 percent from last year.  Feedlots with a capacity less than 1,000 head had 590,000 head on feed, down 1 percent from last month and down 2 percent from last year.

Placements during April totaled 131,000 head, an increase of 8 percent from last month and up 1 percent from last year.  Feedlots  with  a  capacity  greater  than  1,000  head  placed  69,000  head,  down  3  percent  from  last  month  and  down 22 percent from last year.  Feedlots with a capacity less than 1,000 head placed 62,000 head. This is up 24 percent from last month and up 51 percent from last year.

Marketings for April were 141,000 head, unchanged from last month but down 19 percent from last year. Feedlots with a capacity greater  than 1,000 head marketed 76,000 head, up 10 percent  from  last month but down 22 percent  from  last year.   Feedlots with a capacity less than 1,000 head marketed 65,000 head, down 10 percent from last month and down 17 percent from last year. Other disappearance totaled 5,000 head.

United States Cattle on Feed Down 1 Percent

Cattle and calves on feed for slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 10.6 million head on May 1, 2014. The inventory was 1 percent below May 1, 2013.

Placements in feedlots during April totaled 1.64 million, 5 percent below 2013. Net placements were 1.55 million head. During April, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 385,000, 600-699 pounds were 255,000, 700-799 pounds were 396,000, and 800 pounds and greater were 600,000.

Marketings of fed cattle during April totaled 1.78 million, 2 percent below 2013. Marketings for April are the lowest for the month since the series began in 1996.  Other disappearance totaled 83,000 during April, 20 percent above 2013.

Number of Cattle on Feed on 1,000+ Capacity Feedlots by Month - States and US: 2013 and 2014

                      :                   :                            :                May 1, 2014                
                      :                   :                            :--------------------------------------------
       State       :   May 1, 2013   :  April 1, 2014   :            :  Percent of    :  Percent of 
                      :                   :                            :Number :previous year : previous month
                      :     --------------- 1,000 head --------------          ----- percent ----     
Arizona ..........:        275               277                  277          101            100     
California ........:        495               475                  450           91             95     
Colorado ........:        960               970                  960          100             99     
Idaho .............:        210               210                  215          102            102     
Iowa ..............:        620               670                  660          106             99     
Kansas ..........:      2,070            2,090               2,010           97             96     
Minnesota ......:        130               136                  138          106            101     
Nebraska .......:      2,400            2,500               2,490          104            100     
Oklahoma ......:        295               275                  255           86             93     
South Dakota .:        225               240                  235          104             98     
Texas ............:      2,540            2,500               2,430           96             97     
Washington ....:        220               210                  208           95             99     
Other States ...:        320               320                  320         100            100     
United States ..:    10,760          10,873              10,648          99             98     

Number of Cattle Placed on Feed 1,000+ Capacity Feedlots - Month - States & US: 2013 and 2014

                      :                  :                      :             During April 2014             
                      :    During     :    During        :--------------------------------------------
       State       :  April 2013  :  March 2014  :             :  Percent of    :  Percent of 
                      :                  :                      :Number : previous year : previous month
                      :    ------------ 1,000 head -----------           ----- percent ----     
Arizona ..........:       26             30                 26           100             87     
California ........:       62             53                 57            92            108     
Colorado ........:      140            165               130            93             79     
Idaho .............:       33             34                  32            97             94     
Iowa ..............:       89             71                  69            78             97     
Kansas ..........:     335           390                 325            97             83     
Minnesota ......:       16             18                 16           100             89     
Nebraska .......:      440           410                420            95            102     
Oklahoma ......:       51             52                 43            84             83     
South Dakota .:       26             37                 28           108             76     
Texas ............:     435           470                420            97             89     
Washington ...:       26             43                  35           135             81     
Other States ..:       41             35                 35            85            100     
United States .:    1,720        1,808             1,636            95             90     

Number of Cattle Mkted on 1,000+ Capacity Feedlots by Month - States and US: 2013 and 2014

                       :                   :                      :             During April 2014             
                       :    During     :    During         :--------------------------------------------
       State        :  April 2013  :  March 2014   :              :  Percent of  :  Percent of 
                      :                   :                      :    Number    :previous year :previous month
                      :    ------------ 1,000 head -----------           ----- percent ----     
Arizona ..........:       28             24                   25            89            104     
California ........:       49             70                   67           137             96     
Colorado ........:      150            130                130            87            100     
Idaho .............:       36             33                   26            72             79     
Iowa ..............:       97             69                   76            78            110     
Kansas ..........:      350            345                385           110            112     
Minnesota ......:       18             16                  13            72             81     
Nebraska .......:      460            395                415            90            105     
Oklahoma ......:       60             46                   62           103            135     
South Dakota .:       30             35                   30           100             86     
Texas ............:      460            430                480           104            112     
Washington ....:       35             29                  36           103            124     
Other States ...:       42             38                  33            79             87     
United States ..:    1,815          1,660            1,778          98            107     

Online Registration Now Open for USGC Annual Meeting
This summer, Omaha, Nebraska, is your gateway to the world, as the U.S. Grains Council meets to set course for the year ahead. The Council is pleased to announce registration is now open for the 54th Annual Board of Delegates Meeting July 28-30, 2014. Make your reservation today and join about 200 U.S. corn, barley, sorghum farmers and agribusiness representatives to learn about keynote speaker Howard G. Buffet’s foundation’s commitment to agriculture, Council efforts in Africa, the future of freight and other key issues affecting our industry around the world.

“This year, the Council is celebrating ‘Partnerships & Possibilities,’” says Julius Schaaf, USGC chairman. “We’ll explore this theme with three days of discussion revolving around export growth, global strategy, emerging opportunities and competitive challenges.”

Volunteer leadership, engagement and vision are at the foundation of the Council’s work around the world and around the clock. In Omaha, the Board of Delegates will elect officers and directors for the upcoming year. The Advisory Teams will review the Unified Export Strategy – the Council’s program goals, priorities and strategies – for 2015. Attendees will leave with a refreshed perspective on the work necessary to keep the United States at the forefront of global agricultural trade.

“We look forward to a productive meeting with the goal of ensuring the United States remains the world’s most reliable, transparent and trusted partner in advancing global food security through trade,” Schaaf said.

Online registration is now available by clicking here....  Check-back with on the Council’s website for additional details. Be there this July and register today!

U.S. Soybean Meal Exports Hit Record Volume

(from USSEC)
Exports of U.S. soybean meal achieved a record level for the first six months of the current marketing year according to the latest Census report.

Export shipments for the period October 2013 to March 2014 reached 7,023,122 metric tons (MT), surpassing the same periods for the 2010 and 2013 marketing years when supplies from South America were reduced.  The volume increase came at the very beginning of the season as South American shipping delays caused buyers to turn to the U.S. as soon as new crop was available.  Much of this early demand came from the European Union, which has recognized U.S. quality and U.S. logistical advantages, especially from ports on the East Coast.

Another region that has seen a notable uptick is Southeast Asia, where shipments of U.S. soybean meal have recovered compared to the prior marketing year.  Shipments to Southeast Asia rose 49% (1766/1185) during the first 6 months of the current marketing year.

The seasonality of export demand for U.S. soybean meal has increased, as the U.S. has become very competitive to most destinations during the first half of the marketing year.  Export volume for the first 6 months is expected to represent 70% of total export shipments this marketing year.

ASA Hails WRRDA Conference Report, Calls for Quick House, Senate Passage

The leaders of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee and Senate Environment & Public Works Committee released the conference report for the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) earlier this afternoon. The conference report includes multiple soybean industry priorities including provisions that will free up significant funding within the Inland Waterways Trust Fund for additional waterways infrastructure projects; increasing the level of Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund dollars that will be spent on port maintenance and dredging; streamlining the Army Corps of Engineers’ project review process; increasing Corps flexibility to maintain navigation during low water events; and promoting the use of alternative financing and public-private partnerships to fund waterways infrastructure.

“This is a huge step forward to ensure the continued success of the soybean supply chain, and leaders in both the House and Senate deserve a great deal of credit for shepherding this bill through a challenging policymaking climate,” said American Soybean Association President and Iowa farmer Ray Gaesser. “Specifically, House Transportation & Infrastructure Chairman Shuster and Senate Environment & Public Works Chairwoman Boxer, Ranking Members Rahall and Vitter, and Subcommittee Chairman Gibbs and Ranking Member Bishop have exhibited exemplary cooperation and bipartisan leadership in the interest not only of farmers who need a reliable waterways system to move products to market, but the countless other industries that rely on that infrastructure as well.”

The conference report now goes before the full House and Senate, which is expected to occur next week.

Senate Trying to Move Forward on Tax Extenders Package

According to the American Soybean Association (ASA), the full U.S. Senate is considering the tax extenders package passed by the Senate Finance Committee in April. The tax extenders package includes a two-year extension of the $1 per gallon biodiesel tax incentive, and a reinstatement of the pre-2014 expensing amounts for farm infrastructure and equipment under Section 179. Both issues are among ASA’s key policy priorities.

The first procedural motion passed easily to allow the Senate to move to debate on a bill (HR 3474) that would be the vehicle for the Senate tax extenders bill (S 2260). Revenue measures must originate in the House of Representatives, thus the Senate must attach the tax extenders to a bill that came from the House. However, efforts by some Senators who oppose the measure, or wish to offer amendments, continue to pose a threat to the bill going forward.  One dispute centers on whether the cost of extending the tax credits should be offset with funding cuts or increased revenues elsewhere. The Senate has been stalled by procedural battles on other measures as well, as Senators seek to offer and vote on amendments addressing contentious and often unrelated issues.

The biodiesel tax credit expired on Dec. 31, 2013 and the biodiesel industry’s production has stalled in the absence of this tax credit.

The reinstatement of Section 179 expensing at previous levels would enable farmers and other small business owners to expense investments made in new technology, equipment and infrastructure in their operations. Given the land-based and capital-intensive nature of farming, not to mention the ever-advancing technology we need to farm sustainably and competitively, this program helps us to stay on the cutting edge of our industry.

On the House side, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., is planning to address the extenders individually rather than as a package. The fate of the biodiesel tax credit under this process is uncertain.

Keep Treated Seed Separate from Harvested Soybeans to Protect Against Shipment Contamination

Once planting is complete, soybean farmers may be tempted to combine their remaining treated seed with soybeans still in the bin from last year’s harvest. But doing so would not be a good idea, says Dwain Ford, a soy checkoff farmer-leader from Illinois.

“It is illegal in the United States to put treated seed into your soybeans and take them to the elevator. It is unacceptable not only in the United States, but worldwide, as well,” says Ford, the United Soybean Board’s international opportunities target area coordinator. “It’s important that U.S. soybean farmers use and know the laws here in the United States for disposing of treated seeds and that they’re very conscious in ensuring that those are disposed of in the proper, legal manner.”

Soybean seed treated with crop-protection products has become more popular in recent years, and that’s why it has also become more important for farmers to properly dispose of leftover seed.

Providing high-quality, contamination-free soy shipments helps the United States remain the preferred supplier of soybeans around the world and helps U.S. farmers maintain access to key markets. Some international customers forbid the presence of any treated seed in soybean shipments.

“I believe that U.S. soybean farmers are very conscious about this and do a very good job in segregating and keeping those treated seeds out of commercial soybeans,” Ford adds. “However, customers can reject a whole shipload of our soybeans over just a few soybeans that have been treated, and that could cost all of us millions of dollars.”

Additionally, farmers violating U.S. laws on treated seed disposal may be subject to legal action.

Vilsack to Address Agriculture Forum in Mexico

On Monday, May 19, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will speak at the Global Forum on Agro Food Expectations in Mexico City, Mexico.  The Forum is an annual event organized by Secretaría de Agricultura, Ganadería, Desarrollo Rural, Pesca y Alimentación (Mexico’s Department of Agriculture).  The forum brings together hundreds of farmers, agribusinesses, financial participants, academia, and many other stakeholders from throughout the country to review the latest agricultural situation and outlook for Mexico.

Secretary Vilsack will join Mexico's Secretary of Agriculture Enrique Martínez y Martínez and Gerry Ritz, Canada’s Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, on a panel titled “Integration of Agro-Industrial Markets in North America: Challenges and Opportunities.”

Secretary Vilsack, Secretary Martinez and Minister Ritz will discuss how the countries can continue to work together to create jobs and economic opportunity for the agricultural sectors in the United States, Mexico and Canada. 

USGC Expanding Market for US DDGS

U.S. distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) have gained popularity in markets around the world, with 9.7 million metric tons – valued at $2.9 billion – exported in 2013 to more than 45 countries. Behind this market expansion are Council-directed and implemented educational seminars and feeding trails, complimented by consistent end-user contact and support. In emerging markets around the world, the Council continues to work to expand the market for U.S. DDGS.

While Mexico is the third-largest market for U.S. DDGS, its southern region remains an underserved livestock sector with growth potential for U.S. exports. According to a 2012 Council assessment, the potential exists to more than double current exports by providing technical and practical education to local cattlemen. To further this effort the Council has conducted a feeding trial in the area.

"The Council's Mexico office will work closely with (end-users in southern Mexico) to ensure understanding and success," said Julio Hernandez, US Grains Council director of Mexico. "We are already working with regional importers to develop a smooth flow of DDGS to the region."

Elsewhere, the Council in August 2011 successfully achieved the inclusion of DDGS and other U.S. commodities on the Saudi Arabian import subsidy list. Inclusion on this list is essential in eliciting interest from Saudi importers of these products.

"With DDGS on the import subsidy list, the Council has undertaken a broad-based effort to educate Saudi feed millers, poultry and livestock producers about this corn co-product," said Cary Sifferath, USGC regional director in the Middle East and Africa. "This bulk shipment of DDGS to ARASCO creates excellent opportunities for future U.S. exports to Saudi Arabia."

This effort paid off when a Saudi Arabian company, ARASCO, purchased a bulk shipment of U.S. DDGS destined to reach Saudi Arabia in January 2014.

And in Southeast Asia, imports of U.S. DDGS have increased again this year, growing from 252,548 tons in January to March 2013 to 352,674 tons in the same period this year, an increase of almost 140 percent. So far this marketing year, Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia are top 10 importers of U.S. DDGS. Consistent trade and technical education of end-users is being provided by the Council through educational programs (including seminars and visits) to advance corn co-product sales into these growing markets.

From Latin America to the Middle East to Southeast Asia, the Council is working to build value in U.S. corn, sorghum, barley and their co-products. The Council has invested its global efforts to expand alternative markets, allocating more than $1.8 million for the development of U.S. DDGS market globally.

Comments Extended for Proposed Pesticide Rules to Protect Farm Workers

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is extending the comment period for the proposed revisions to the agricultural Worker Protection Standard for an additional 60 days, until August 18, in response to requests from growers, industry, farmworker advocates and states for additional time to provide input.

"The opportunity to revise the rule may not come again for some time, so we are committed to getting it right," said Jim Jones, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. "Updating the 20-year old regulation to provide more protections to the nation's two million farm workers and their families from pesticide exposure is a priority for EPA."

The proposed changes provide significant improvements to worker training regarding the safe use of pesticides, including how to prevent and effectively treat pesticide exposure. Increased training from every five years to every year and signage would help farmworkers protect themselves and their families from pesticide exposure.

Workers and others near treated fields would be better protected from pesticide overspray and fumes. In addition, the EPA has proposed that children under 16 be legally barred from handling all pesticides. These revisions protect workers while ensuring agricultural productivity and preserving the traditions of and exemptions for family members working on family farms.

Food Safety Scientists Double Up on Ground Beef Testing This Summer

Brian Ronholm, USDA Acting Under Secretary for Food Safety

As grilling season heats up, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service is enhancing our food safety testing program for ground beef. While FSIS has a range of safeguards to reduce E. coli in ground beef, this summer we will begin new testing to improve the safeguards against Salmonella as well. Salmonella is commonly found in ground beef and, in fact, caused an illness outbreak in January 2013 in six states. Salmonella is an especially difficult bacteria for food safety experts to address because it is so prevalent in almost all food sources.

Recognizing that we need more information about the prevalence of Salmonella in ground beef to better prevent food-borne illness, FSIS is “super-sizing” our pathogen testing program to include Salmonella every time our laboratories test for E. coli in samples of ground beef and ground beef sources. Because the samples taken for E. coli testing are much larger than those we have taken in the past for Salmonella, there is higher likelihood that we will be able to detect the bacteria if it is present.

Once FSIS has collected enough data about the prevalence of Salmonella in ground beef, we will create a new standard to encourage ground beef processors to strengthen their Salmonella controls, resulting in safer products and fewer foodborne illnesses. The data collection process will take some time, but it is critical that the new standard is supported by meaningful data. Of course, we will continue to analyze any positive samples for multi-drug resistance and specific serotypes to determine whether they are contributing to human illnesses.

Salmonella is the most urgent issue facing FSIS when it comes to protecting consumers and it is why we developed our Salmonella Action Plan. This plan details our strategy for reducing the number of Salmonella-related illnesses, and this enhancement to our sampling and testing programs is part of that comprehensive effort. Another part of our war on Salmonella is encouraging consumers to take steps to protect themselves from illnesses, including cooking all ground beef to 160 °F (poultry should be cooked to 165 °F). For more information on ways to keep your family Salmonella-free this summer, we invite you to check out or before your next cook out.

Deere to Expand Waterloo Tractor Facility

John Deere is looking to expand its Waterloo campus with a $39.8 million investment in its tractor testing labs. The Moline, Ill.-based company will come before the Iowa Economic Development Authority Board Friday seeking aid to help with the expansion project, according to state documents.

The project includes an addition of 61,820 square feet for two new buildings, additional testing equipment and infrastructure upgrades, reports the Des Moines Register.

A major manufacturer in Iowa, John Deere has called its Waterloo Works campus the largest tractor factory in the world.

Iowa provided John Deere with $14.8 million in tax credits in 2010 for a $90 million investment at that location. At the time, the agricultural-equipment manufacturer was working on modernizing the plant.

In addition to Waterloo, the company has plants in Dubuque, Ankeny, Ottumwa and Davenport.

Weekly Column: Protecting Our Pollinators

Tom Vilsack, USDA Secretary

This week, USDA and its partners released the results of the eight annual national survey of honey bee losses. The survey shows good news—fewer honey bee colonies were lost this winter than in previous years. According to survey results, total losses of managed honey bee colonies from all causes were 23.2 percent nationwide.

That figure is a significant improvement over the 30.5 percent loss reported last winter, but it is still higher than the eight-year average loss of 29.6 percent and still far above the 18.9 percent level of loss that beekeepers say is acceptable for their economic sustainability.

While we're pleased to see improvement this year, these losses are still too high.

There is still more work to be done to stabilize honey bee populations and ensure the health of pollinator populations and the health of the American population—nearly one third of our diet, including many berries, nuts, fruits and vegetables, comes from plants pollinated by honey bees and other pollinators.

That is why USDA continues to aggressively support research and initiatives that will lead to long-term solutions to improve honey bee health.

Our Agricultural Research Service has put together a program to breed bees that can naturally resist varroa mites, a major factor contributing to honey bee colony declines. Earlier this year, we provided $3 million in technical and financial assistance to encourage farmers in Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin to grow alfalfa, clover and other flowering habitat on working lands to benefit bees and other pollinators.

In addition, the Administration's fiscal year 2015 budget proposal dedicates $71 million for efforts to respond to the decline in honey bee health and support their recovery. Included in this request is funding for the Pollinator and Pollinator Health Innovation Institute, which will support further exploration of the biological, environmental and management issues associated with honey bee decline.

Additionally, this week we launched a new tool to increase public awareness about the reduction of bee populations. The People’s Garden Apiary bee cam at our headquarters will broadcast honey bee hive activity live online at To learn more about USDA and our partners’ efforts to improve honey bee health and how you can help by adopting pollinator-friendly land management practices at home, on the farm, and within your local community, visit

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