Monday, May 12, 2014

Monday May 12 Ag News

Annie’ Project Being Offered in O’Neill

Annie was a woman who grew up in a small farm community with a goal to marry a farmer and she did. Annie spent her lifetime learning how to be an involved business partner with her farm husband. Together they did great things, but it wasn’t easy. This is Annie’s project – to take her life’s experiences and share it with farm-women living and working in a complex, dynamic, evolving business environment.

Annie’s project is designed to empower farm-women to manage information systems used in critical decision making processes and to build local networks throughout the state.  The target audience is farm-women with a passion for business and involvement.

Farm women will receive training for managing information in the areas of: (1) Financial Records, (2) Production Records, (3) Marketing Plans and Risk Management, (4) Legal/Regulation Records and Documentation, and, (5) Human Resources and Time Management.

This women’s empowerment program will be offered in six sessions beginning on Monday June 2nd, 2014 and continuing through Monday July 7th (every Monday night) from 6:30-9:30 PM at the Holt County Extension Office in O’Neill. Cost of the program $75 per person and class size is limited. Supper is provided every night.  Participants should contact Holt County Extension Office at 402-336-2760 for additional information regarding the program and/or to register.  Registration deadline is May 27, 2014.


Bruce Anderson, UNL Extension Forage Specialist

               Grass growth is stimulated by nitrogen fertilizer just like other crops.  One key to profitable fertilizing of pastures, though, is to time fertilization to stimulate grass growth for when you need it.  We often fertilize cool-season grass pastures in early April to get a good boost in early growth.  By June or July, though, these pastures run out of both moisture and fertilizer.  Add in hot temperatures and their growth nearly stops.

               This spring many pastures received abundant rain. With just a little more moisture, pastures should be able to continue to grow longer into summer if soil fertility is adequate.  To take advantage of this extra soil moisture, fertilize cool-season pastures with thirty to sixty pounds of nitrogen per acre between now and Memorial Day to gain extra summer forage.

               To make May fertilizing work best, I have found that it helps to graze pastures moderately before adding nitrogen fertilizer.  This seems to encourage more thickening of the grass stand and slightly reduces the number of seed stalks produced.  Don’t graze too short, though, or plants will be stunned and regrow more slowly.

               Would it be smart to fertilize again in May if you applied nitrogen earlier this spring?  Normally I say no, especially with nitrogen so expensive.  But if you applied just a light amount earlier and already have grazed off most of the grass, a second application might be beneficial, similar to the multiple nitrogen applications used on irrigated pastures.

               So, if you can use extra grass, fertilize now to take advantage of extra moisture.

I Make America Nationwide Tour To Stop At Elliott Equipment Company, Omaha

Elliott Equipment Company in Omaha, Neb. will host a stop on the nationwide I Make America Harley Tour. On behalf of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), I Make America and its more than 30,000 supporters advocate for pro-manufacturing policies to create more jobs in the U.S. and keep the economy competitive with other countries.

The Harley is taking to the open road in a uniquely designed truck with glass sides. It will stop at Elliott Equipment Company, located at 4427 South 76th Circle in Omaha, on May 15, 2014 from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. U.S. Congressman Lee Terry will take part in the event along with more than 200 Elliott Equipment employees. Congressman Terry will tour the facility and meet with employees.

The purpose of the Harley Tour is to raise awareness about I Make America and its mission, as well as engage AEM Member Companies and their employees to help make a difference.  Everyone who signs up through October 3 has a chance to win the 2014 Harley-Davidson Road King, featuring a custom I Make America paint job.  You do not need to be at the event to enter. Simply visit for a chance to win the Harley and become an I Make America supporter.

“We applaud AEM’s grassroots efforts to educate the public and policymakers in the challenges and opportunities affecting America’s manufacturers,” said Jim Glazer, president, Elliott Equipment.

“I Make America was created to be a force for positive change in the equipment manufacturing industry,” said Dennis Slater, AEM President. “Economic conditions in America remain a challenge and we need our government to partner with us to advance pro-manufacturing policies that address those challenges. I Make America is our platform to spread awareness and maximize our voice in Washington, DC.”

"We are a nation of builders and manufacturing remains the foundation of our economy. I'm grateful to I Make America for coming to Omaha to examine opportunities and the obstacles facing our local manufacturers today,” said Congressman Terry.

According to AEM, about one in six private sector jobs in the U.S. depend on the manufacturing base. Congress can help to create business conditions that will grow the economy and U.S. manufacturing jobs by encouraging infrastructure investment, protecting U.S. farming and increasing American exports for our economy to keep pace with other countries.

About I Make America –

I Make America is supported by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) and its 900 member companies. We are joined by the memberships of like-minded associations, American business owners, and citizens and local elected officials across the nation. To learn more about I Make America, visit us at Keep up to date on the latest I Make America campaign news on Twitter @IMakeAmerica and on Facebook at

About the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) -

AEM is the North American-based international trade group providing innovative business development resources to advance the off-road equipment manufacturing industry in the global marketplace. AEM membership comprises more than 900 companies and more than 200 product lines in the agriculture, construction, forestry, mining and utility sectors worldwide. AEM is headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with offices in the world capitals of Washington, D.C.: Ottawa, Canada; and Beijing, China.

About Elliott Equipment Company –

For over 65 years, Elliott Equipment Company has been a leader in the design and manufacture of truck mounted, customizable material-handling aerial work platforms and cranes.  Elliott products are used around the world in applications including utility construction, mining, sign & lighting, oil & gas and highway maintenance. Headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, Elliott’s team continues to manufacture the highest quality products backed by the best warranty in the industry.

World Pork Expo seminars provide information and insights

World Pork Expo is a hub of information for pork producers and related professionals, and at the forefront are more than a dozen free seminars scheduled for Wednesday, June 4, and Thursday, June 5. From on-farm management ideas, to research updates and technology insights, the seminars provide useful information that Expo attendees can apply to their pork-production businesses back home. Presented by the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), Expo will take place June 4-6 at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa.

“The seminars provide valuable information and address the most current and pertinent topics that pork producers face,” says Howard Hill, DVM, NPPC president and Iowa pork producer. “You can pick and choose which seminars to attend — there’s something for everyone.”

Business seminars offer management tips

Kicking off the business seminars at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, DSM will present a session on eubiotics. The discussion will center on how these feed ingredients enhance nutritional welfare and promote profitable pig production.

Wednesday at 3 p.m., Purina Animal Nutrition, Zinpro Corporation and DSM will present Feeding for 30® — A focus on sow longevity. Producers, nutritionists and industry experts will share advice on consistent parity structures and achieving the goal of 30 pigs per sow per year.

On Thursday, SFP will sponsor two sessions, at 9:30 a.m. and again at 10:45 a.m., featuring a panel discussion on cost-efficient manure management. Panelists will talk about minimizing phosphorus and nitrogen loss, and maximizing the agronomic benefits of applied manure.

Thursday at 3 p.m., Purina Animal Nutrition will present tips for getting pigs off to the right start. Experts will share new research and proven strategies for employee training, piglet health and organizing a pre-weaning toolbox.

More seminar and PORK Academy details available

The Pork Checkoff will sponsor PORK Academy seminars on both Wednesday and Thursday. These seminars will cover timely topics ranging from tips on safe pig handling and using a reproductive decision tree, to the economics of world markets.

All seminars will take place in the Varied Industries Building. More details about the business seminars and PORK Academy are available at

Among its many attractions, World Pork Expo features the world’s largest pork-specific trade show, with more than 375 commercial exhibits, and at least 310,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor exhibit space. Trade show hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, June 4, and Thursday, June 5, as well as from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday, June 7. The swine shows begin Tuesday, June 3, and conclude with the breeding-stock sales on Saturday, June 7. Additional information is available when you connect with World Pork Expo on Facebook, follow World Pork Expo on Twitter (#NPPCWPX), or download the official app by searching for “World Pork” in the Apple Store, Android Market or Blackberry’s App World.

World Pork Expo, the world's largest pork-specific trade show, is brought to you by NPPC. On behalf of its members, NPPC develops and defends export markets, fights for reasonable legislation and regulation, and informs and educates legislators. For more information, visit

High Oleic Soybean Motor Oil Drives Innovation

A motor oil with a high-oleic-soybean-oil base just took the next step toward commercialization. The oil, tested on more than one million miles in 100 Las Vegas taxicabs, delivered impressive results in tests by demonstrating the ability to extend the life of engines.

Biosynthetic Technologies, the company that developed this technology for the past 5 years, recently achieved certification from the American Petroleum Institute (API) on a motor oil containing 35 percent of a synthetic ester, called an estolide, made from high oleic soybean oil. This certification is expected to facilitate commercialization of the technology. Farmers and other consumers may see this high-oleic-soybean-oil derived product in stores in as little as two years.

“This is a great example of the innovation brought forward by high oleic soybeans,” says Lewis Bainbridge, farmer from Ethan, South Dakota, and chair of the United Soybean Board’s (USB’s) Oil Action Team. “We have to be patient for these new products to come to the market, but this is certainly an encouraging step in the right direction.” 

High oleic soybeans, currently grown in select areas of the United States, produce oil that delivers higher stability in high-heat situations. This characteristic makes this soybean oil more attractive to premium industrial users, such as motor-oil manufacturers. That could result in big demand for U.S. soybeans and added profitability for U.S. soybean farmers.

The API certification verifies the motor oil formulated with the biosynthetic ester passed the rigorous standards required for motor oil use, clearing the way for use by motor oil manufacturers. The soy checkoff funded a project with Biosynthetic Technologies to achieve API certification.

“The motor oil market in the United States is approximately 1 billion gallons per year,” says Greg Blake, of the Irvine, California-based biosynthetic-oil manufacturer. “High oleic soybean based synthetic oils offer superior performance and benefits to the existing synthetic market and we expect that market to continue to grow.”

Motor oils made with the new, high-oleic-soybean-based estolide do not thin out at high temperatures to provide superior engine protection. The estolide also does not evaporate at high temperatures like some petroleum oils, adding yet another benefit to the motor oils. These characteristics offer the potential for longer oil change intervals, as demonstrated in the field tests conducted on taxicabs in Las Vegas.

Cattle Prices Moderate After Hitting Record Highs

Cattle prices have started to moderate after reaching unexplained record highs in the first four months of the year, says Purdue Extension agricultural economist Chris Hurt.

He believes that the highest prices of the year are now likely in the past.

In the first quarter of 2014, Nebraska steers sold at an average price of $147 per live hundredweight - more than $20 higher than the previous first-quarter record price. Nationally, finished cattle prices were up 17 percent during the first quarter. With production only down 4 percent, the hike has been somewhat unexplained.

"It was not so surprising to have record-high cattle prices, but the real surprise was the lofty heights of those new records," Hurt said.

While there are a few factors that could have played into higher prices, Hurt said none of them seem to have been big enough to force prices to the levels they reached.

Some of those include overall low meat and poultry supplies, reduced beef production, low broiler egg hatchability and expected reduction in pork availability from the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus.

"PEDv in hogs may have been the real kicker, primarily because the pork market appears to have sharply overshot prices due to the uncertainty of the actual death loss from the disease," Hurt said. "Much like pork, we are left with an incomplete understanding of why cattle prices were so high, especially in March and April.

"Like in the pork sector, this may mean that cattle prices were caught up in the fear of very short meat and poultry supplies and may have become overpriced."

The high cattle prices translated to higher retail beef prices for consumers. The per-pound retail beef price average hit a record $5.55 in the first quarter of 2014 and is expected to be $5.67 for all of 2014. That's a 7 percent increase over the 2013 average of $5.29 per pound.

Live cattle prices have started to come down a bit, however, and Hurt said the moderation should continue. Finished cattle prices are expected to move to the mid- to low-$140s per live hundredweight in May and June, range between $135 and $139 in the third quarter, then bounce back to the low- to mid- $140s for the last quarter.

The average price per live hundredweight last year of $126 is expected to be near $142 for 2014.

Higher cattle prices could ultimately lead producers to consider growing their operations, Hurt said.

"Unexplained high prices in the first four months of 2014 have added new excitement for cattle producers as they see strong profitability potential for the first time in years," he said. "This means that the conditions have become positive for some beef cow producers to move toward expansion."

Reduced female slaughter and fewer heifers placed in feedlots suggest expansion might have already started. Heifers slaughtered were down 7 percent in the first quarter of 2014, while cow slaughter numbers were down 8 percent.

"The reduced female slaughter alone accounted for 2 percent fewer animals in the total slaughter mix," Hurt said.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's most recent quarterly Cattle on Feed Report, the number of heifers in feedlots was down 6 percent as of April 1, while the number of steers in feedlots was up 3 percent.

But a growing national herd won't offer immediate relief to consumers worried about retail beef prices, Hurt said.

"The expansion of the beef herd is just beginning and will likely extend for multiple years," he said. "This means small supplies and strong prices of beef in 2015 and 2016."

Hurt's full report "How did cattle prices get so high?" can be downloaded in text or podcast format from the University of Illinois Farmdoc website.

Millennials – Are they really that different from other generations?

For the beef checkoff, there are two important goals in the Beef Industry Long Range Plan around which key elements of the program are built - building beef demand and protecting beef’s image. To accomplish these goals, beef checkoff programs have focused on consumers’ ages, household status, and their interest in both food and nutrition.

Recently, given consumers’ ever changing relationship with beef, producers who oversee the program decided it was time to take a fresh look at their target audience to make sure the checkoff seizes every opportunity to positively impact beef demand. While the previous target food- and health-involved consumers would remain on their radar, consumer research led these producers to look more closely on a group of 25-34-year-olds, part of the so-called millennial generation, to fall into the food and health category.

Target Audience Research Approach
The checkoff conducted a study in late 2013 using both qualitative and quantitative methods to better understand the target audience overall. This research included focus groups among ‘mature millennials’ (ages 25-34 years) to learn more about what really defines these consumers in a face-face setting, along with  a survey of 1,250 from this group through online research to gain a perspective on the millennial generation versus non-millennials.

The purpose of the study was to identify the most promising target segments for beef in terms of their attitudes, values, lifestyles and motivations relative to their perceptions of beef.

So what did the study find? Millennials eat beef a couple times a week, which is not different than non-millennials, and their reasons for choosing beef are also the same; most, regardless of generation, want a great-tasting meal, value and a food they feel confident preparing.

And, both groups of consumers recognize beef nutrients such as protein and iron, however, B vitamins and zinc are nutrients less associated with beef.

While there are many similarities across generations, there are also a number of clear differences. For example, millennials are more likely to be influencers and want to share their beef eating experiences with others. This group of consumers is eager to learn how to cook better and is very engaged with food. Importantly, when millennial are disappointed with a meal outcome they are much less likely to try this meal again, which obviously affects their beef eating experience and how willing they are to try  new beef recipes.

Although both millennials and non-millennials say that their parents were influential in teaching them to cook, millennials also said they tend to use websites, social media and cooking shows to learn to cook. The checkoff knows from this and other research that this generation is much more tech-savvy and are more inclined to use technology to seek, find and share information.

Focusing on educating all consumers on the nutritional benefits of beef and not losing sight that taste is still the primary driver for beef consumption will help the beef industry reach the target market of both millennials and non-millennials.

As a result of this and other research, the checkoff this month launches a new digitally-delivered consumer advertising campaign aimed at not only capturing the attention of millennials, but inviting them to engage in the beef experience. Watch for more information throughout the summer about how the checkoff continues to study and track this millennial audience, and ways the checkoff is reaching this audience with positive messages about beef’s attributes.

Zoetis Reports Healthy First Quarter Financials

Zoetis Inc. reported its financial results for the first quarter of 2014. The company reported revenue of $1.1 billion for the first quarter of 2014, an increase of 1% from the first quarter of 2013. Revenue reflected an operational increase of 4%, with foreign currency having a negative impact of 3 percentage points.

"We began the year with 4% operational growth in revenue, adjusted net income growing faster than sales, and we remain confident in meeting our financial objectives for the year," said Zoetis Chief Executive Officer Juan Ramón Alaix. "Despite some challenges in the first quarter, we grew sales operationally in three of our regional segments and across all our major species. Our performance in the U.S. and across emerging markets helped offset an operational decline in certain developed markets in Europe and Asia-Pacific," said Alaix.

Net income for the first quarter of 2014 was $155 million, or $0.31 per diluted share, an increase of 11%, compared to the first quarter of 2013. Adjusted net income for the first quarter of 2014 was $191 million, or $0.38 per diluted share, an increase of 7% and 6%, respectively, compared to the first quarter of 2013.

Adjusted net income for the first quarter of 2014 excludes the net impact of $36 million, or $0.07 per diluted share, for purchase accounting adjustments, acquisition-related costs and certain significant items.

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