Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Tuesday May 13 Ag News

Market and Financial Outlook for Production Ag in Nebraska
Cory Walters, UNL Extension Crop Economist

Recently, the UNL Department of Agricultural Economics released its Market and Financial Outlook for Production Agriculture in Nebraska. The report highlights market, financial, and net farm income expectations for crop and livestock sectors in Nebraska for 2014.

Data used in the report was gathered during late January and early February. Now new information has entered the market, causing a change to our 2014 cash receipts forecast. The most important piece of information to change is grain prices with corn price increasing 11%, soybean price increasing 12%, and wheat price increasing 29%.

A variety of factors have pushed prices higher since January. For corn, planting season weather and strong consumption has led to higher prices.  For soybeans, strong U.S. and world demand appears to be the primary driver of higher prices.   For wheat, the poor crop conditions coupled with adverse weather conditions (i.e., frost and drought) have led to a strong rally in prices.

Using current prices, our cash receipts from crops forecast increases by 12% to $11.327 billion.  If realized, 2014 cash from crops would be higher than found in 2013.

Read the report here... http://www.ianrpubs.unl.edu/sendIt/ec865.pdf


Bruce Anderson, UNL Extension Forage Specialist

Got all your corn planted?  Working on the beans?  Don’t look now, but alfalfa harvest is approaching fast.

You’ve been busy planting crops and getting work done with the late start this spring.  But don’t relax just yet because your alfalfa soon may be ready to cut.

Looking at alfalfa in Nebraska this past week, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see many growers getting ready to start cutting.  In fact, some folks that need high quality for their dairy cows or for a cash crop may already have started cutting, and others should be looking for the next available good weather period.

Being aggressive on the first cutting is critical if high forage quality is needed.  Alfalfa’s forage quality changes faster during the first spring growth than at any other time of the year.  Plants are maturing and temperatures are increasing; both cause quality to decline.  So don’t delay if quality is needed.

But what about alfalfa for beef cows?  That might be a little different story, especially if you need to rebuild hay reserves.  Normally we get our highest total yield by waiting until alfalfa is near full bloom.  Not only is yield highest, this also uses what soil moisture is available for most efficient alfalfa growth.  In dryland fields you may need quite a bit more rain for good summer and fall harvests since many deep subsoils remain dry.  But with a good first cut you at least will have some hay of good enough quality to feed your beef cows next winter.

Timing of hay harvest is important whether your needs are for high quality or for high yield.  With alfalfa becoming ready to cut soon this spring, don’t miss your best time.

Scientists Scrutinize Role of 'Supershedder' Cattle in E. coli Contamination

On average, about 2 percent of the cattle grazing in a pasture, or eating high-energy rations in a feedlot pen, may be "supershedders" who shed high levels of pathogenic organisms such as Escherichia coli O157:H7 in their manure, according to research led by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientist Terrance M. Arthur.

Supershedding is of concern because it could increase the amount of E. coli O157:H7 that makes its way from pasture or feedlot pen into packinghouses where steaks, roasts, ground round or other beef products are prepared. Often referred to as O157, this bacterium is apparently harmless to cattle, but can cause vomiting, severe stomach cramps, diarrhea or other illness in humans.

Findings from studies by Arthur and his colleagues at the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Roman L. Hruska U.S. Meat Animal Research Center in Clay Center, Nebraska, may provide a scientifically sound basis for new and effective strategies to curb shedding of this bacterium. ARS is USDA's chief intramural scientific research agency.

Arthur and his co-workers have designed and conducted studies of 6,000 head of feedlot cattle and more than 13,000 manure, hide and carcass samples. The team was the first to show that, in supershedders, O157 colonization may occur not just in the lower digestive tract, but also throughout the supershedders' entire digestive system. Packinghouse managers can take that information into account when evaluating their facility's sanitation procedures.

The researchers were also the first to determine that supershedding was not restricted to any particular O157 strain. Their work rules out the idea that tactics designed to reduce supershedding should target a specific strain or strains.

Research by Arthur's group has also indicated that, in order for a cattle-management strategy to be deemed successful for reducing transmission of O157, no more than 20 percent of the cattle targeted by the intervention would be shedding the microbe at any one time, and none would be shedding it at supershedder quantities.

Arthur and his coinvestigators, including ARS scientists Joseph M. Bosilevac, James L. Bono, Dayna M. Brichta-Harhay, Norasak Kalchayanand, John W. Schmidt, Steven D. Shackelford and Tommy L. Wheeler, all at Clay Center, have documented these and related findings in peer-reviewed scientific articles published in 2014, 2013, and 2009 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

ARS and the Beef Checkoff program funded the research. These studies support the USDA priority of improving food safety. Read more this work in the May/June 2014 issue of Agricultural Research magazine.

FSA County Committee Election Boundaries & Nomination Period

Thurston Farm Service Agency (FSA) County Executive Director, Josie Waterbury, announced that county committee election nominations will begin June 16, 2014.  Farmers, ranchers, and landowners are encouraged to nominate farmer and rancher candidates to serve on their local FSA county committee by the August 1, 2014 deadline. 

"I encourage all farmers, ranchers, and landowners to participate in the county committee election process by nominating candidates by the August 1 deadline," said Waterbury.  "County committee members are a valuable asset because they are local producers who participate in FSA programs themselves and have a direct connection to farmers and ranchers in the community.”

To be eligible to serve on the FSA county committee a person must participate or cooperate in a program administered by FSA, be eligible to vote in a county committee election, and reside in the local administrative area in which the person is a candidate.  Local Administrative Area #1 is up for election in 2014 and consists of Thayer, Pender, and Flournoy Townships. 

Producers may nominate themselves or others, and organizations representing minorities and women may also nominate candidates.  To become a candidate, an eligible individual must sign the nomination form FSA-669A.  The form and additional information about FSA county committee elections are available online at http://www.fsa.usda.gov/elections or you may visit your local FSA office to obtain a copy.  Nomination forms for the 2014 election must be postmarked or received in the local FSA office by close of business on August 1.

FSA county committee members are reimbursed for their time and travel to participate in meetings at the Thurston County FSA Office.  Elected county committee members serve a three-year term and are responsible for making decisions on FSA disaster, conservation, commodity, and price support programs, as well as other important federal farm program issues.

Election ballots will be mailed to producers beginning November 3, 2014.  The voted ballots are due back to the local county office via mail or in person by December 1, 2014. 

IFB President Names to Ag Science and Technology Board

The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST), one of the nation's most prestigious, varied and credible sources for the study, development and communication of agriculture and food science research, has appointed Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) President Craig Hill to their Board of Trustees.

Hill fills the position vacated by American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) President Bob Stallman.

CAST is an organization dedicated to widening the reach of task force reports and scientific progress in various areas of scientific study. "Hundreds of member societies, companies, cooperatives and non-profit entities are a part of CAST. Developed in 1972, the group is the pre-eminent source of science-based information which lawmakers, regulators, policymakers, media and the public turn to -- not just in Iowa -- but around the nation. Members of the CAST Board of Trustees are asked to share their knowledge and perspectives concerning emerging issues and challenges facing agriculture and food production systems in order to further the CAST mission to communicate credible science-based information about agriculture. We know that Mr. Hill's extensive experience in dealing with ag issues, both at the state and national levels, will make him a valuable asset to the Trustees. We welcome him to our expanding circle of active stakeholders," said Linda Chimenti, CAST executive vice president.

"Some of the best minds in the nation share their work through CAST. Whether it is research shared on genetically modified seeds or soil science, this work is vital in keeping agriculture and food and energy production sustainable, not just in Iowa, but around the nation. It is a privilege to serve on this esteemed Board of Trustees," said Hill. Hill begins his three-year term immediately.

Third Annual Summit Focused on New Market Drivers

As Iowa tractors start rolling into the fields for spring planting, farmers know that weather is one factor they can't control; but there are many more which they can leverage to assure a farm's profitability in 2015 and beyond. The 2014 Iowa Farm Bureau Economic Summit, 'Finding the Next Set of Market Drivers for Agriculture,' brings the nation's leading experts to Scheman Center, July 21-22, in Ames to help Iowa crop and livestock farmers succeed, long after this year's crop is out of the ground.

"The growing integration of technology and data into farming, changes in land values and opportunities in livestock production have the potential to also become the key drivers in ag profitability in the next decade," says Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) President Craig Hill. The 2014 IFBF summit is designed to help Iowa farmers understand those drivers and take advantage of emerging market opportunities.

Hill says speakers at the 2014 IFBF Economic Summit are national experts that will help Iowa farmers explore a number of areas which have potential to greatly influence profitability of Iowa-grown commodities. One issue is China's rapid economic growth and its evolving demand for food. "As more Chinese move away from rural areas and into cities, they are making different choices in the types and quality of food they consume. That could make profound changes in Chinese buying patterns for soybeans, corn, pork and other products that Iowa produces," says Hill.

Iowa farmers are also facing a new set of federal government farm programs this year following the passage of the farm bill. Big data, drones and other fast-evolving technological advances in agriculture will also have an impact on how Iowans farm. The two-day IFBF Economic Summit is designed to provide farmers insight into managing these issues and more, by bringing in several national experts, including: David Oppedahl, economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago; Mary Kay Thatcher, farm policy expert for the American Farm Bureau Federation; Kansas State University's Kevin Price, a national expert on the use of drones in agriculture; and Will Zhang, an Iowa-based expert on China. Tom Vilsack, U.S. Agriculture secretary, is tentatively scheduled to give the keynote luncheon remarks on the opening day.

The summit registration, which includes access to all presentations and lunch on both days, is $50 for Farm Bureau members. For non-members, registration completed before July 11 is $150. Registration costs increase after July 11 to $75 for Farm Bureau members and $175 for non-members. For more information or to register for the event, log on to www.iowafarmbureau.com or call Lavonne Baldwin at 515-225-5633, or email lbaldwin@ifbf.org.

BQA training, Carcass Challenge awards, policy discussion all on tap June 5-6 for Iowa’s cattle producers

Whether you are interested in becoming certified in Beef Quality Assurance (BQA), learning more about efficient feedyard management tools, celebrating with the steer donors and winners of the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association Carcass Challenge Contest, or participating in discussion about policy issues, an early June event is the place for you.

On June 5-6, the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association will combine all these events at the new Hansen Agriculture Student Learning Center in Ames.

BQA training is from 1-3 p.m. on June 5. Dr. Kip Lukasiewicz, a well-known BQA trainer, will start the session demonstrating and discussing low-stress, effective cattle handling.  BQA certification will follow that session.

At 3:30 p.m. and 4:15 p.m., two concurrent educational sessions on BQA feedyard management tools will be held.

Dr. Nathan Pyatt, a technical consultant with Elanco, will talk about the new FDA feed guidance regulations and the use of antibiotics in the feedyard in the first session. In the second session he will discuss practical tips for implementing BQA protocols in total mix ration (TMR) processes and delivering those rations to the bunk.

Speaking opposite of Pyatt will be Dr. Brett Terhaar, a senior technical veterinarian with Elanco. His first session is about managing moderate to high-risk cattle to reduce death loss and lower total vet med bills per head. The second session that Terhaar will present is chute-side techniques in the feedyard to reduce implant defects and improve vaccine response.
The ICA Carcass Challenge awards program will begin with a 5 p.m. reception, followed by a banquet and awards announcement.  The program, which is finishing its third year, showcases Iowa’s feedyard performance and cattle genetics in an event which is a major project for the Young Cattlemen’s Leadership Program class.
On Friday, June 6, the focus of the meeting will turn to policy educational sessions and policy development discussions. The day starts at 8 a.m. with a discussion of national policy topics led by Ashley McDonald, deputy environmental counsel for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. Her presentation will be followed by a review of state issues presented by ICA contract lobbyist Lindsay Phillips and Justine Stevenson, the ICA Director of Government Relations and Public Policy.

At 10 a.m., concurrent sessions will be held. One will be a beef products policy discussion, and the other will be an education session on predicting and verifying calf performance, presented by Warren Weibert, the owner and general manager of Decatur County Feedyard, and Dr. Mark Allan, director of marketing and genomics at Trans Ova in Sioux Center.

In the afternoon, three concurrent sessions will be held. They are cattle production policy discussion; business issues policy discussion, and an educational session on animal disease traceability and premises registration, led by State Veterinarian Dave Schmitt and Kevin Petersburg, the assistant district director in the Iowa office of USDA-APHIS.

All meals, except the Carcass Challenge banquet, are free and will be provided at the events. If you plan to attend, please call 515-296-2266 to register so adequate meal plans can be made.

ICA encourages adoption of facility rules by EPC

The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association submitted its comments to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) regarding proposed rules to the Environmental Protection Commission about a work plan agreement between DNR and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

“We approve and support the amendments proposed for Chapters 64 and65 requiring CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) to comply with the federal National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit requirements,” said Justine Stevenson, ICA’s director of government relations and public policy. “The proposed rule changes were approved by the EPA to ensure that the DNR is meeting the specifications of the federal Clean Water Act.”

Stevenson pointed out that current laws and the proposed rules allow the DNR to take action against those who do not follow the law.

Additionally, the proposed rules give DNR the ability to inspect and evaluate farm operations on a case-by-case basis, rather than applying a “’one-size fits all’ approach that does not ensure water quality,” she said.

“Cattle producers understand the significance of having clean water, and work daily to ensure the future of their operations and the environment for future generations,” Stevenson said in the submitted comments.

Comments on the proposed rules were due to the DNR by May 13. Iowa cattle producers have made comments at all six of the public hearings around the state, and more have submitted written comments.

S.D. Ranchers Relief Fund Announces Final Distribution

Thanks to generous contributions from around the country and the globe, the Rancher Relief Fund (RRF) is set to disburse the last of $5.4 million donated to assist livestock producers in the wake of winter storm Atlas.

Bob Fortune, president of the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association observed, "The outpouring of support for those impacted by the devastating storm has far exceeded our expectations and we're excited to be able to distribute meaningful contributions to more than 600 ranch families who suffered losses. Thanks to the generous donations from so many individuals and companies, we have been able make a real difference for many of our family ranches."

All disbursements are based on criteria established by a Steering Committee comprised of representatives of the founding livestock organizations - the South Dakota Cattlemen's Association, the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association and the South Dakota Sheepgrowers Association. In cooperation with the Black Hills Area Community Foundation and representative members of South Dakota Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters (SDVOAD), the remaining donations will be disbursed in the coming weeks.

Cory Eich, president of the South Dakota Cattlemen's Association, noted, "With nearly 43,000 head of livestock reported lost by RRF applicants, we know Atlas took its toll on western South Dakota and neighboring states. However, we are pleased to be able to provide timely assistance and, in conjunction with livestock disaster programs available through the Farm Bill, we are hopeful this effort will make a difference in supporting these family businesses and the rural economy. We can't thank the Rancher Relief Fund donors enough."

The RRF Steering Committee has established a goal of closing the fund by June 1. Until then, tax deductible donations are still being accepted for the Rancher Relief Fund and can be made online by going to the Black Hills Area Community Foundation's website at www.giveblackhills.org.

Record Biodiesel Production Adds to Soybean Farmers’ ROI

Last year’s record-breaking biodiesel-production total means record-breaking industrial demand for U.S. soybean oil and bigger profits for U.S. soybean farmers.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the U.S. biodiesel industry produced 1.36 billion gallons of biodiesel in 2013, 37 percent more than in 2012. The EIA says that production required the use of at least 5.5 billion pounds of U.S. soybean oil.

That volume is the oil from more than 468 million bushels of U.S. soybeans.

Research has shown that the biodiesel industry’s demand for U.S. soybean oil increased soybean value by 74 cents per bushel between 2006 and 2012.

Rob Hanks, United Soybean Board director and a soybean farmer from Le Roy, Minnesota, says he’s thrilled to see biodiesel bring such a major return on investment back to the U.S. soybean farmers who helped start the industry and have continued to support it ever since.

“U.S. soybean farmers have been very supportive of biodiesel for more than 20 years,” he says. “It’s really gratifying to see those farmers reaping the benefits of that support.”

According to research commissioned by soybean farmers in Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota through their state soy checkoff boards, biodiesel contributed to a $15 billion increase in soybean-oil revenues, or 74 cents per bushel, between 2006 and 2012.

Hanks also points out that using soybean oil for biodiesel supports the U.S. animal agriculture sector. As the biodiesel industry’s demand for soybean oil rises, so does the supply of soybean meal. That larger supply reduces the prices poultry and livestock farmers pay for feed.

U.S. soybean oil remains the primary the feedstock for U.S. biodiesel production. The soy checkoff partners with the National Biodiesel Board to conduct research on biodiesel’s benefits and promote its use.

Researchers Find New Gene Expression Mechanism of PRRS Virus

A collaborative study involving Kansas State University researchers has discovered a new gene expression mechanism in porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome, or PRRS, virus -- an important swine pathogen that costs the U.S. pork industry more than $600 million a year. The discovery provides a new avenue for scientists to explore strategies to control and prevent the disease.

Ying Fang, associate professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology at Kansas State University, led a study that looked at the unique gene expression mechanism of the PRRS virus. She and colleagues found a new protein in the virus, nsp2TF, was generated through novel ribosomal frameshifting signals.

The research recently appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, or PNAS, study, "Transactivation of programmed ribosomal frameshifting by a viral protein."

Fang conducted this study with her European collaborators, including Eric Snijder and his team members at Leiden University Medical Center in The Netherlands, and Andrew Firth, Ian Brierley and Brierley's lab members at the University of Cambridge. Yanhua Li, Fang's doctoral student in pathobiology, China, made important contributions to this study. Zhi Sun, Fang's former doctoral student, and Longchao Zhu, visiting scholars in diagnostic medicine and pathobiology in Fang's lab, also were involved in the study.

The study builds on a 2012 PNAS study Fang and her European collaborators conducted while she was at South Dakota State University. In it, researchers identified the nsp2TF protein in the PRRS virus. The protein is expressed through a new gene expression mechanism called -2 ribosomal frameshifting.

"Frameshifting occurs when a ribosome encounters a 'slippery' sequence and downstream signal in messenger RNA," Fang said. "This causes the ribosome to shift two nucleotides backward, which results in all the genetic codons downstream of the shifted site to be read differently and produce a new protein that has a different function."

With the most recent study, Fang and colleagues have shown that this -2 frameshifting requires a PRRS virus protein, nsp1beta. It is the first time a virus's genetic mechanism has been found to require the action of a transacting viral protein rather than a RNA structure to induce a ribosomal frameshifting, which is novel in the protein translation field.

The function of the nsp2TF protein is currently under investigation, Fang said. The protein contains a genetic element that may be responsible for suppressing the pig's immune system.

The newly identified ribosomal frameshifting mechanism may provide an additional antiviral target. Fang's research lab cloned the PRRS virus and then genetically engineered nsp2TF protein knockout viruses.

"These knockout viruses could be potentially used to develop vaccines," Fang said. "Additionally, this novel mechanism of gene expression may also be used by other viruses or in cellular gene expression."

Fang joined Kansas State University in 2013.

"Dr. Fang is recognized as one of the top PRRS experts in the world," said M.M. Chengappa, university distinguished professor of microbiology and head of the department of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology. "We are so fortunate to have faculty of her caliber and stature at Kansas State University. She brings enormous depth and breadth to our research and graduate training program."

10-34-0 Higher as Corn Planting Continues

Retail fertilizer prices continue to show strength with corn planting in some areas at full stride, according to retailers tracked by DTN for the first week of May 2014. This marks the twelfth consecutive week all retail fertilizer prices were higher.

Only one fertilizer was up a significant amount. 10-34-0 was up 7% compared to a month earlier as corn planting continues to ramp up. The starter fertilizer had an average price of $551/ton.  The remaining seven fertilizers were higher compared to a month earlier, but the move to the high side was fairly insignificant. DAP had an average price of $595/ton, MAP $631/ton, potash $479/ton, urea $559/ton, anhydrous $698/ton, UAN28 $353/ton and UAN32 $406/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.61/lb.N, anhydrous $0.43/lb.N, UAN28 $0.63/lb.N and UAN32 $0.63/lb.N.

With fertilizers moving higher in recent months, five of the eight major fertilizers are now double-digits lower in price compared to Apr/May of 2013.  Urea is now down 2%, DAP is 3% lower and MAP 4% less expensive. Both UAN32 and 10-34-0 are now down 10%, UAN28 is down 12% and both potash and anhydrous are now 18% less expensive than a year earlier.

CWT Assists with 2.8 Million Pounds of Cheese, Butter and Whole Milk Powder Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 11 requests for export assistance from Dairy Farmers of America, Foremost Farms, Michigan Milk Producers Association, Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold), and Tillamook County Creamery Association to sell 1.166 million pounds (529 metric tons) of Cheddar cheese, 551,156 pounds (250 metric tons) of 82% butter and 1.047 million pounds (475 metric tons) of whole milk powder to customers in Asia, Africa, Central America, the Middle East, and South America. The product will be delivered May through November 2014.

Year-to-date, CWT has assisted member cooperatives in selling 51.535 million pounds of cheese, 42.647 million pounds of butter and 8.856 million pounds of whole milk powder to 35 countries on six continents. These sales are the equivalent of 1.492 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.

NFU Submits Additional Livestock Testimony

Today National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson submitted additional testimony to the U.S. House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock, Rural Development and Credit, following up on an April 30, 2014, hearing on the state of the livestock industry. Johnson’s comments respond to discussion that occurred during the hearing.

"Witnesses and congressional Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) opponents insist that COOL holds no value to consumers, but NFU knows that is simply not true,” said Chandler Goule, NFU senior vice president of programs. “A 2003 Colorado State University study confirms that consumers are willing to pay a premium to know the origin of their food. Furthermore, COOL compliance costs amount to less than one-third of a cent per pound of meat, which certainly doesn’t justify the protests of the packers and processors reaping billions of dollars of profit.”

Of the seven witnesses who testified at the April hearing, only two represent organizations with strictly farmer or rancher members and the remaining five witnesses represent packer-producer organizations or meat companies. This presented a disproportionate opportunity for packers and processors to express their views in conflict with family farmers and ranchers.

“Congress acted in favor of COOL by including it in the 2002 and 2008 Farm Bills and demonstrated support for COOL by defeating an effort to undermine it in the 2014 Farm Bill. All parties in the livestock sector would be well-served to look toward a future in which consumers wish to know more about their food – an objective fulfilled in part by COOL,” said Johnson.

Johnson’s written comments elaborate on other important livestock issues, including an outline of common-sense rules about the relationship between meatpackers and contract poultry growers, which are currently being blocked by appropriations riders. NFU’s testimony also cites the May 5, 2014, discovery of a cow infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy in Brazil as an additional reason to oppose the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s proposal to allow the importation of animal products from Brazil.

U.S. Tractor Sales Strong During April

The Association of Equipment Manufacturer's monthly "Flash Report" reports that the sale of all tractors in the U.S. for April 2014 were up .9% compared to the same month last year.  For the month, two-wheel drive smaller tractors (under 40 HP) were up 3% from last year, while 40 & under 100 HP were up 7%. Sales of 2-wheel drive 100+ HP were down 14%, while 4-wheel drive tractors were down 8%.  Meanwhile, combine sales were down 3% for the month.

For the four months in 2014, a total of 61,587 tractors were sold which compares to 59,381 sold thru March, 2014, representing a 4% increase year to date.  Year to date, two-wheel drive smaller tractors (under 40 HP) are up 8% over last year, while 40 & under 100 HP are up 4%. Sales of 2-wheel drive 100+ HP are down 6%, while 4-wheel drive tractors are down 7%.  Sales of combines for the first four months totaled 2,728, a decrease of 8% over the same period in 2013.

USDA World Agricultural Outlook Board Chair Dr. Gerald Bange to Retire

Chief Economist Joseph Glauber has announced the May 31, 2014, retirement of USDA World Agricultural Outlook Board Chair Dr. Gerald Bange and the appointment of Dr. Seth Meyer as Acting Board Chair. Dr. Meyer is currently a Senior Economist in the Office of the Chief Economist (OCE) and will assume his new duties June 1.

"USDA has benefited enormously from Bange's distinguished leadership as Chair of the World Board," Glauber said, "where he was responsible for the monthly forecasts of the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report and the Joint Agricultural Weather Facility." Bange also served as Program Chair for USDA's respected, largest annual meeting, the Agricultural Outlook Forum.

"Meyer is well-prepared for the demands of the post," Glauber said. Meyer joined USDA's Office of the Chief Economist in 2013 as a Senior Economist for domestic agricultural policy. Prior to joining USDA, Meyer was an economist in the Economic and Social Development Department at the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization. Meyer also served as a Research Associate Professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of Missouri-Columbia as part of the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute.

Even With Delayed Planting, Full-Season Hybrids May Be Best Option

Looking out across wet fields, it’s tempting to consider switching to shorter season corn hybrids to ensure timely crop maturity in the fall.

DuPont Pioneer research, in 18 years of testing, has identified approximate optimum dates for switching to earlier hybrids — the timeframe may be later than most growers thought.

The research shows that switching to an early maturity hybrid too soon will probably not benefit yield performance and may result in reduced profitability.

Extensive local research conducted by DuPont Pioneer pinpoints the optimum date to switch hybrids in each corn growing region. To help guide these decisions, Pioneer researchers conducted planting date studies for more than 18 years, from 1987 through 2004. Results indicate that growers should plant full-season hybrids up until a key date in each region.

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