Thursday, May 8, 2014

Wednesday May 7 Ag News

Bruce Anderson, UNL Extension Forage Specialist

               When moisture is plentiful and temperatures get warm, grass grows rapidly.  There are several ways you can reap maximum benefits from extra grass.  But you must be able to control when and where your animals graze to take advantage of this grass.  And that means fencing and management.

               One option for extra grass is to cut hay for winter feed.  If you select this option, choose the area you plan to cut for hay now so you can prevent animals from grazing there, both before and after cutting hay.  Build or repair fences if needed.

               Another option is stockpiling extra growth in a pasture for grazing next winter.  This can save on winter hay and is inexpensive to try.  It also is a good way to strengthen plants following drought or a hard winter.  On summer rangeland, you need to start accumulating growth no later than early July by fencing cows out of the planned winter pasture.  If, instead, your winter pasture will be from cool-season grasses like bromegrass, wheatgrass, or fescue, be ready to fence off and save the winter grazing portion by late July.  And don't overgraze that area this summer or late season growth will be slow.

               Finally, simply start or improve a planned rotational grazing program this summer.  Your pasture plants will recover well during their rest periods, building deep and healthy root systems that will maintain production when it finally does turn dry.

               Don't just be satisfied when abundant rain gives you extra grass.  Take advantage of this growth for long term benefits.

Waters of the United States Definition Proposed by EPA

On April 21, 2014 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) published for public comment a proposed rule defining the scope of waters protected under the Clean Water Act (CWA), in light of several U.S. Supreme Court cases. The agencies proposed to define “waters of the United States” for all sections of the CWA to mean: traditional navigable waters; interstate waters, including interstate wetlands; the territorial seas; impoundments of traditional navigable waters, interstate waters, including interstate wetlands, the territorial seas, and tributaries, as defined, of such waters; tributaries, as defined, of traditional navigable waters, interstate wat ers, or the territorial seas; and adjacent waters, including adjacent wetlands.

In tandem with the proposed rule, the agencies have issued an interpretive rule that continues existing statutory and regulatory exemptions from CWA Section 404 permitting requirements for normal farming, silviculture and ranching practices where these activities are part of an ongoing farming, ranching or forestry operation. The interpretive rule is immediately effective and expands the list of existing agricultural exemptions to include an additional 53 activities that are exempt from permitting requirements so long as they are conducted consistent with Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) conservation practice standards.

U.S. Pork, Beef Exports Increase Pace in March

The pace of U.S. beef and pork exports increased sharply in March, driven by double-digit increases to leading markets Mexico, the China/Hong Kong region and South Korea, according to statistics released by the USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

U.S. pork exports reached their highest monthly total since October 2012: 209,704 metric tons (mt) valued at $606.7 million, increasing 29 percent in both volume and value over March 2013.

Exports of U.S. beef rose 12 percent in volume to 93,380 mt valued at $516.2 million, an increase of 17 percent.

When measured in proportion to overall U.S. beef and pork production, March exports also showed gains. Total pork exports (muscle cuts plus variety meat) equated to 31.5 percent of total U.S. pork production in March (26 percent of muscle cuts alone) versus 28 and 23.5 percent, respectively, a year ago. Beef exports accounted for 14 percent of total production and 11 percent of muscle cuts – up from 12 and 9 percent in 2013.

The export value per head slaughtered set a new record of $69.93 for pork in March, topping the $60 per head mark for the first time and up from $50.38 last year. The export value per head of fed slaughter for beef was $271.57, up from $222.20 a year ago.

“Even with high prices and supply concerns, we are working to keep the visibility of U.S. beef and pork high in our key export markets, and they continue to respond positively,” said Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO. “Among the many encouraging signs are the continued strength of the Mexican market in both pork and beef, and the rebound of South Korea, which has been an area of focus for USMEF as that market has been challenged over the past year by an over-supply of domestic product.”

Pork Notes

Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) has been a factor both in the United States and in a number of export markets, creating supply concerns going into the summer. But exports remained strong in March to virtually all key markets, despite a 4 percent decline in U.S. pork production for the month. Thus, the export increase likely reflects the fact that some product was shipped out of cold storage from previous months’ production.

    Mexico: up 38 percent in volume (54,284 mt) and 75 percent in value ($121 million).
    Japan: up 22 percent in volume (45,358 mt) and 8 percent in value ($175.3 million). This was the largest monthly sales volume to Japan since May 2011, driven by growth in chilled and ground seasoned pork exports.
    Hong Kong/China: up 49 percent in volume (41,295 mt) and 59 percent in value ($93.6 million) – the largest monthly total since February 2013, reflecting growth in muscle cut sales.
    South Korea: up 73 percent in volume (16,104 mt) and 83 percent in value ($46.4 million) – the biggest export month since March 2012.
    ASEAN: up 90 percent in volume (9,703 mt) and 93 percent in value ($25.4 million).
    Central/South America: up 29 percent in volume (10,985 mt) and 32 percent in value ($28.5 million), driven by record exports to Colombia (5,049 mt, up 193 percent; valued at $12.6 million, up 177 percent).

Beef Notes

U.S. beef production dipped 5 percent in March and 5 percent for the first quarter compared to year-ago levels, but exports remained positive, helping to set a new record for the Choice beef cutout value in mid-March at $2.42 per pound.

    Mexico: up 82 percent in volume (19,495 mt) and 94 percent in value ($90.1 million).
    Japan: down 10 percent in volume (16,649 mt) and 6 percent in value ($107.5 million) compared to year-ago levels as sales to Japan surged in March 2013 upon the announcement of expanded market access. U.S. beef exports to Japan for the first quarter remain up 21 percent in volume (46,681 mt) and 16 percent in value ($292.1 million).
    Hong Kong: up 88 percent in volume (12,224 mt) and 112 percent in value ($80.6 million) – continuing the upward trend since access for U.S. beef was expanded in February 2013.
    South Korea: up 10 percent in volume (9,601 mt) and 37 percent in value ($65.8 million), despite being a primary target for Australia’s drought-related surge in beef production and exports.
    Central/South America: up 4 percent in volume (2,864 mt) and 16 percent in value ($13 million), driven by larger shipments to Colombia and Guatemala.

Lamb Notes

U.S. lamb exports dipped across the board in March, reaching 740 mt (down 41 percent) valued at $1.9 million (down 37 percent). For the first quarter, lamb exports are down 16 percent in volume (2,645 mt) and 12 percent in value ($6.6 million).

Retail Meat Prices: Up, Up and Away

Summer grilling season will cost meat lovers a few more dollars this year, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. Wholesale meat prices climbed higher during the first quarter of the year and retail meat prices quickly followed suit.

“Retail prices for beef and pork cuts have steadily pushed into new record territory,” said John Anderson, AFBF’s deputy chief economist.

“For pork, the average retail price per pound in March – $3.83 – was higher than the prior four months and eclipsed the record level set last fall,” Anderson said.

“For beef, the price move in March was more dramatic. Consumers saw the sixth straight month of new record retail prices for fresh beef products, at $5.40 per pound, which is a 23-percent increase compared to the 2010-2012 average,” he explained.

The sharp increase in retail beef prices has not occurred in a vacuum, Anderson noted. Retail pork prices are currently 18 percent higher than in 2010-2012 while chicken is up 9 percent.

“Farmers and ranchers are raising smaller numbers of hogs and cattle. This is the key factor contributing to higher retail meat prices, a trend that is likely to continue through the summer and, at least for beef, into next year,” Anderson said.

The long-term effects of searing back-to-back droughts in 2011 and 2012 resulted in less feed available for cattle, and ultimately forced a substantial decline in cattle numbers that is now resulting in lower beef production. Year-to-date beef production is down by close to 5 percent according to the Agriculture Department.

Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus or PEDv, a serious hog disease that poses no risk to humans or food safety, is expected to result in a 2 percent decline in 2014 production according to USDA, further influencing retail prices for bacon, ham, pork chops and other products.

The good news for consumers is that although they will pay a bit more for meats this summer, there will be plenty of everyone’s favorites to go around.

“Meat supplies will continue to be plentiful,” said Anderson. “From burgers to brats, steaks to chops and everything in between, consumers will have no problem finding their favorite meats for summer barbeques and cook-outs,” he said.

Vilsack Announces Continued Progress on 2014 Farm Bill Implementation

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced continued progress during the first 90 days of implementing the Agricultural Act of 2014 (the 2014 Farm Bill), which President Obama signed into law on February 7. The 2014 Farm Bill reforms agricultural policy, reduces the deficit, and helps grow the economy.

"The new farm bill supports the proud men and women who feed hundreds of millions around the world, and supports critical economic development in rural America. USDA has made this bill's implementation a top priority," Vilsack said. "I am pleased to report that our department continues to make tremendous progress getting new initiatives off the ground and making important reforms to existing programs."

Since the Farm Bill was signed, USDA has made progress throughout all Farm Bill titles including announcements on trade and marketing promotion, the establishment of conservation programs, the initiation of specialty crop and local food programs, funding for rural development programs, and more.

Among the first major farm bill initiatives to be implemented were disaster relief programs for livestock producers, many of whom have been waiting years for assistance. On April 15, USDA announced disaster relief through the Livestock Indemnity Program and the Livestock Forage Disaster Program. After the 2008 Farm Bill passed, it took over one year to set up disaster assistance programs. In 2014, it took under 10 weeks. As of May 1, 2014, approximately 33,000 applications have been received and $16.3 million in payments has been disbursed.

In the coming months, producers will be asked to enroll in one of the new farm bill's risk management programs. USDA is now accepting applications from Land Grant Universities, 1890 Colleges, Hispanic-serving institutions and tribal colleges to create web-based tools that will help provide producers with information on the Agricultural Risk Coverage Program and Price Loss Coverage Program, as well as the larger protection program for dairy and the non-insured crop disaster assistance program.

TITLE I – Commodity Programs
    Agricultural Risk Coverage Program and Price Loss Coverage Program: On April 29, 2014 USDA began a competitive process to award funding for farm bill decision aids and outreach tools. Proposals are being accepted through May 9, 2014 and awards will be announced in May 2014.
    Supplemental Agriculture Disaster Assistance: On April 14, 2014 USDA published a final rule to implement the disaster assistance provisions. Sign up for these programs began on April 15, 2014.
    Dairy Forward Pricing Program: Final rule published on March 21, 2014, that re-established the Dairy Forward Pricing Program.
    County and Regional Loan Rates: County and regional loan rates were announced in a press release on March 28, 2014.
    Extension of Programs: On March 28, 2014 FSA published on the Federal Register notices for the extension of the following programs: (1) Marketing Assistance Loans; (2) Milk Income Loss Contract; (3) Dairy Indemnity Payment Program; (4) Non-Insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program; and (5) Sugar.

TITLE II – Conservation
    Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program: On May 1, 2014 USDA announced the availability of $20 million through this program. Applications will be accepted through June 16, 2014.
    Agricultural Conservation Easements Program: On May 1, 2014 USDA announced the availability of funds through this program. Applications will be accepted through June 6, 2014.
    Lesser Prairie Chicken Conservation Report: This report will be submitted to Congress the week of May 5, 2014.
    Conservation Programs: Applications are currently being accepted for the Conservation Stewardship Program and Environmental Quality Incentives Program.

    U.S. Atlantic Spiny Dogfish Study: The week of May 5, 2014, USDA will submit a report to Congress on the existing market in the U.S. for the U.S. Atlantic Spiny Dogfish.
    Emerging Markets Program (EMP): On April 17, 2014, FAS published a Notice of Funding Availability for EMP, with $10 million available in 2014. EMP applications are reviewed on a rolling basis during the fiscal year. Applications received after May 19, 2014, will be considered for funding if funding remains available.
    Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops (TASC): On April 17, 2014, FAS published a Notice of Funding Availability for TASC, with $9 million available. Applications received after May 28, 2014, will be considered if funding remains available. The week of May 5, 2014, FAS will publish a final rule to broaden the range of projects funded by the program.
    Market Access Program (MAP): On April 16, 2014 the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) announced the 2014 funding for the Market Access Program. Sixty-two non-profit organizations received $171.8 million in funding.
    Foreign Market Development Cooperator Program (FMD): On April 16, 2014 the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) announced the 2014 funding for FMD, with 22 trade organizations receiving $24.6 million.

TITLE IV – Nutrition Programs
    Multiagency Taskforce on Commodity Programs: On April 24, the Under Secretary for FNCS signed a memorandum appointing members to the multi-agency taskforce to provide coordination and direction for commodity programs.
    Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program Pilot: On April 7, 2014 FNS announced an RFP for this pilot program, which will take place during the 2014-2015 school year.
    SNAP-related Provisions: On March 21, 2014, FNS released an Implementation Memorandum to States communicating major SNAP related provisions of the Act.
    Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP): On March 10, 2014, FNS released an Implementation Memorandum to States on phasing out the eligibility of women, infants and children.
    Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) Payments: On March 5, 2014, the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) released an Implementation Memorandum to States on the elimination of standard utility allowances in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for LIHEAP payments less than $20.
    Community Food Projects: On February 27, 2014, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) released a Notice of Funding Availability for the Community Food Projects Competitive Grants Program, with $5 million available.

TITLE V – Credit
    Microloans: On March 26, 2014, FSA issued an agency directive implementing non-discretionary microloan provisions.
    Modifications to Farm Loan Programs: On March 24, 2014, FSA issued a news release announcing changes to Farm Loan Programs as part of the Farm Bill.
    Farm Loan Programs/Direct Farm Ownership: On February 7, 2014, FSA implemented changes in the interest rate on Direct Farm Ownership loans that are made in conjunction with other lenders.

TITLE VI – Rural Development
    Business and Industry Loan Guarantee: The week of May 5, 2014, Rural Development will announce the availability of funding through this program to provide support for local or regional food producers.
    Definition of Rural Housing: On March 13, 2014, Rural Development issued guidance to State Directors, field staff and stakeholders on implementing new eligibility requirements regarding the definition of rural housing. The week of May 5, 2014, Rural Development will publish maps identifying which rural areas are eligible for housing programs.
    Rural Cooperative Development Grants: On April 29, 2014 USDA announced the availability of $5.8 million through this program.
    Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program: On April 22, 2014 USDA announced 116 project awards through this program. The total award of nearly $387 million included $150 million in grants supported by the Farm Bill.
    Value Added Producer Grants (VAPG): On March 25, 2014, Rural Development published a notice in the Federal Register extending the application period for Fiscal Year 2013 and 2014 funding for VAPG, with up to $25.5 million available for these grants.

TITLE VII – Research and Related Matters
    Agricultural and Food Policy Research Centers: On April 15, 2014 awards for these four research centers, totaling about $4 million, were announced.
    Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR): Letters soliciting nominations to the FFAR Board were mailed to interested parties and a Federal Register notice was published on April 4, 2014. Nominations are currently being reviewed.
    Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative: On March 17, 2014, NIFA released a Notice of Funding Availability for the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative, with $20 million available in FY 2014.
    Specialty Crop Research Initiative: On March 17, 2014, NIFA released a Notice of Funding Availability for the Specialty Crop Research Initiative, with $76.8 million available in FY 2014.
    Citrus Disease Subcommittee: A subcommittee has been formally established within the National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics Advisory Board, under the Specialty Crop Committee, and solicitation letters for nominations were issued March 17, 2014.
    Budget Submission and Funding: On March 10, 2014, REE submitted its first Budget Submission and Funding report to Congress.

TITLE VIII – Forestry
    Insect and Disease Infestation: On March 19, 2014, Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell sent a letter to all state governors notifying them of the opportunity to submit requests for designating their priority insect and disease areas for treatment.

TITLE IX – Energy
    Rural Energy for America Program: The week of May 5, 2014 USDA will publish a Notice of Funding Availability announcing the availability of approximately $70 million in funding for loan guarantees and grants.
    Biodiesel Fuel Education Program: The week of May 5, 2014, REE will announce the availability of $960,000 for grants to educate consumers about the benefits of biodiesel fuel use.

TITLE X – Horticulture
    Farmers Market Promotion Program: The week of May 5, 2014 USDA will announce the availability of $15 million through this program.
    Local Foods Promotion Program: The week of May 5, 2014 USDA will announce the availability of $15 million through this program.
    Specialty Crop Block Grants: On April 17, 2014 USDA announced the availability of approximately $66 million through this program.
    Plant Pest and Disease Management and Disaster Prevention: On April 3, 2014, USDA announced $48.1 million in funding for 383 projects to help prevent the introduction or spread of plan pests and diseases. Applications are being accepted through May 23, 2014.
    National Clean Plant Network: On March 24, 2014, The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announced a Request for Applications (RFA) for the National Clean Plant Network, with $5 million available.
    Christmas Tree Research and Promotion Order: On April 7, 2014, the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) published a notice lifting stay on the Christmas Tree Research and Promotion.
    Bulk Shipments of Apples to Canada: On April 4, 2014, AMS published a final rule in the Federal Register amending regulations under the Export Apple Act to allow bulk containers to be shipped to Canada without U.S. inspection.

TITLE XI – Crop Insurance
    Permanent Enterprise Unit Subsidy: On May 1, 2014 RMA completed the update to its systems to reflect the permanent enterprise unit subsidy as mandated by the Farm Bill. This will impact crops beginning with the May 20, 2014 actuarial filing and continue through the November 30, 2014 actuarial filing.
    Prohibition of CAT on Crops Used for Grazing: On April 15, 2014, RMA issued a guidance document to amend the Special Provisions of Insurance for the annual forage policy. This amendment sets forth the prohibition of CAT coverage on crops and grasses used for grazing.
    Premium Amounts for Catastrophic Risk Protection (CAT): On April 3, 2014, RMA issued a public release of actuarial documents to revise the premium rates charged for CAT coverage to be based on the average historical "loss ratio" plus a reasonable reserve.
    Publication of Information on Violations of Premium Adjustments: On March 27, 2014, the Risk Management Agency (RMA) established a section entitled "Rebating Violations and Sanctions" in the Frequently Asked Questions section of its public website. RMA will add information to this section when it determines that rebating violations have occurred.

TITLE XII – Miscellaneous
    Pima Cotton: On May 2, 2014 USDA announced that the Foreign Agricultural Service will accept claims under the Pima Agriculture Cotton Trust Fund for calendar year 2014.
    Catfish Inspection: On April 30, 2014 the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and Food and Drug Administration signed an MOU to improve food safety, fraud prevention, and inspection of catfish and catfish products. FSIS continues to submit monthly reports to Congress on implementation of this provision from the Farm Bill.

More announcements on the new agriculture research foundation, educational tools for producers, improvements to conservation programs, and other Farm Bill provisions will continue to be made in the coming weeks and months.

To stay up-to-date on USDA's Farm Bill implementation progress, visit

ASA Pushes for Broad Land Grant Coalition to Develop Farm Bill Implementation Tools

In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack this morning, the American Soybean Association (ASA) and six other national farm groups urged USDA to consider the needs of soybean growers and growers of all crops when awarding funds included in the 2014 Farm Bill to land grant universities for the development of websites and web-based tools to assist producers in deciding which of the new law’s farm programs to sign up for.

“Given the complexity of choices in the commodity and crop insurance titles of the farm bill, these tools will be critical for producers in our organizations to make well-informed decisions,” wrote the groups in the letter. “It is important that academic institutions representing different regional views on farm programs participate in this work. As a result, we urge you to select a lead institution possessing substantial experience with revenue-based risk management tools and representing a broad-based, national consortium of land-grant universities. In order to be effective, these web-based decision tools will need to come from institutions that have both the confidence of producers and a strong familiarity with the cropping practices and farm economics of the Midwest and northern Great Plains, which have the majority of acres subject to program decisions.”

The letter came following the Senate Agriculture Committee’s hearing this morning on USDA’s implementation of the farm bill, and included the American Farm Bureau Federation, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Barley Growers Association, National Corn Growers Association, the National Sunflower Association and the U.S. Canola Association, in addition to ASA. USDA anticipates making its awards for website development and other decision aids on May 22, with the final tools expected to be in place by late summer.

Weekly Ethanol Production for 5/02/2014

According to EIA data, ethanol production averaged 894,000 barrels per day (b/d)—or 37.55 million gallons daily. That is down 4,000 b/d from the week before and a six-week low. The four-week average for ethanol production stood at 910,000 b/d for an annualized rate of 13.95 billion gallons.

Stocks of ethanol stood at 17.1 million barrels. That is a 0.4% decrease from last week. Stocks were just above the 20-day supply mark for the first time in 10 weeks.

Imports of ethanol remained unchanged at zero b/d.

Gasoline demand for the week averaged 366.2 million gallons daily.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production was 10.25%.

On the co-products side, ethanol producers were using 13.555 million bushels of corn to produce ethanol and 99,773 metric tons of livestock feed, 88,949 metric tons of which were distillers grains. The rest is comprised of corn gluten feed and corn gluten meal. Additionally, ethanol producers were providing 4.66 million pounds of corn distillers oil daily.

25x'25 Responds to Third National Climate Assessment

The 25x'25 Alliance issued the following statement in response to the Third National Climate Assessment released in Washington Tuesday:

The 25x'25 Alliance commends the U.S. Global Change Research Program for its candid appraisal of changing climate conditions that are currently effecting agricultural production and could have a broad negative impact on the nation's farmers, ranchers and forestland owners as the century passes.

The Third National Climate Assessment issued by the program Tuesday is the most comprehensive, authoritative and transparent scientific report on U.S. climate change impacts ever generated. The assessment confirms that climate change is affecting every region of the country and key sectors of the U.S. economy and society, including agriculture. The document puts emphasis on the need to combat the threats climate change presents now and increase the preparedness and resilience of American communities.

While climate change poses challenges, the assessment makes clear that U.S. agriculture and forestry can offer many solutions. The authors of the assessment understand that renewable energy - wind, solar, biomass, biofuels, geothermal and hydro - will play a key role in reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that are causing climate change. In fact, studies from the Pew Center on Global Climate Change and others show farms and forests have the potential to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions some 25 percent through carbon dioxide sequestration and through land management and harvest practices that reduce emission. Emissions can also be avoided through the use of clean energy sources like biofuels, providing that regulators leave intact the required blending requirements called for by Congress in the federal Renewable Fuel Standard.

The assessment clearly shows that the risks posed by climate change are present and growing quickly, threatening crop and livestock production. It underscores the need to adapt quickly to changing conditions - longer, hotter summers; significantly greater and more intense precipitation events, particularly early in the season; and extreme weather events like drought, floods, tornados and other intense storms.

The 25x'25 goal is achievable and its pursuit by American agriculture and forestry is improving energy security and stimulating economic growth, all while simultaneously generating solutions to climate change. To help insure those solutions are realized, 25x'25 has developed Agriculture and Forestry in a Changing Climate: Adaptation Recommendations, a roadmap that offers near-term, high-value and low-cost solutions to a changing climate that only farmers, ranchers, and foresters can deliver. The National Climate assessment supports the 25x'25 belief that with forethought, leadership and the right priorities, U.S. agriculture and forestry systems will meet its food, feed, fiber and fuel goals by overcoming the challenges posed by changes in weather and prospering from their improved resiliency to them.

NMPF Sends USDA Recommendations on New Safety Net Program

The National Milk Producers Federation has sent a series of recommendations to the Agriculture Department on how to implement the new dairy safety net included the 2014 farm bill. The Margin Protection Program, or MPP, is a voluntary risk management plan that will address fluctuations in margins caused by high feed costs as well as low milk prices. NMPF was instrumental in the program’s enactment. 

NMPF’s recommendations, forwarded in mid-April, cover 17 issues that are either unclear in the legislation or were left up to USDA to decide. Included are the timing for first-year and subsequent registr ations; the timing and structure of premium payments from farmers enrolled in the program; and how farms with different ownership structures will be treated. Several recommendations involve the operation of the dairy product donation program that will be triggered when margins are extremely low.

NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern said he is pleased with discussions with the Agriculture Department over the new program so far. “While USDA has not yet made final determinations on any specific program provisions,” he said, “we are pleased with the positive dialogue and level of understanding we’ve seen.”

Mulhern said NMPF’s goal is to achieve a Margin Protection Program that is both producer-friendly and maintains fiscal integrity in future years.  The program is scheduled to be rolled out on or before September 1st.

CWT Helps Members Export 28 Million Pounds of Dairy Products

April was another strong month for Cooperatives Working Together, with the program helping cooperatives sell 28 million pounds of dairy products overseas. Nearly 140 requests for export assistance were received, and of those, 86 were accepted during last month.  Of the 86 bids accepted, 36 involved cheese totaling 10.9 million pounds; 27 involved butter totaling 12.7 million pounds; and 23 involved whole milk powder totaling 4.4 million pounds.

April’s activity brought the year-to-date CWT export totals to 47.2 million pounds of cheese, 42.1 million pounds of butter, and 7.8 million pounds of whole milk powder. All the products will be shipped by October. It will move the equivalent of 1.4 billion pounds of milk (on a milkfat basis) to 33 countries on six continents.

NFU President Joins USDA Trade Mission to China

Today National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson joins Michael Scuse, under secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and a number of other renewable energy and agriculture leaders from across the country on a mission to promote U.S.-produced biofuels and other agricultural products in northeast China.

“The U.S. ethanol industry has developed into an extraordinarily productive, efficient and competitive sector of the economy. I am pleased to have the opportunity to promote homegrown biofuels and their environmental benefits to our trading partners,” said Johnson.

The United States could increase domestic demand for biofuels by increasing the percentage of ethanol blended with gasoline. However, the U.S. oil industry has consistently blocked proposals to do so.

“Unfortunately, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is hampering the ethanol industry’s further development by proposing to reduce biofuel production targets under the Renewable Fuel Standard,” said Johnson. “I hope American-grown biofuels can comprise a significant part of China’s long-term clean energy strategy, and I urge the EPA to withdraw its proposal in order to continue to drive demand for ethanol both here and abroad.”

Manage Corn Plants’ Nitrogen Needs

New research by DuPont Pioneer and university scientists into nitrogen (N) use by corn plants may change the way growers think about N management practices.

 “Because of the importance of N uptake prior to flowering, when yield potential is first set, corn growers have traditionally targeted N availability to this period," says Jason DeBruin, DuPont Pioneer research scientist. “Late applications were often disregarded, as N for grain development was thought to originate from vegetative tissues rather than current uptake.”

However, extensive Pioneer research conducted over the last five years has shown that N needed for grain development is derived from both remobilized N (from leaves and stalks) and continued N uptake from the soil. In fact, modern hybrids have very different patterns of N uptake compared to older hybrids – less of their total N supply is taken up early, and more is extracted during reproductive development.

“Studies from 20121 and 20132 showed that new hybrids took up 29 percent and 40 percent more N post-flowering, respectively, than older hybrids," explains DeBruin. “Evaluation of Pioneer® brand hybrids marketed from 1934 to 2013 also supports these findings.”

In addition, Iowa State University studies indicated that at high yield levels (225 bu/acre), 70 lbs. of N/acre must still be taken up post-flowering to support grain development3. Without that additional soil-extracted N during grain fill, corn yields would be severely limited.

There are three steps growers can consider to help ensure adequate N availability:
·  Apply 70 percent of the total seasonal N requirement prior to planting to help provide sufficient N for vegetative growth.
·  Apply the last 30 percent of required N as late during the growing season as ground equipment allows, but generally by tasseling.
·  Add a nitrification inhibitor to the late application to help delay N release.

DuPont Pioneer will release EncircaSM Yield later this year to help growers more effectively manage critical crop production inputs, including nitrogen. Encirca Yield will give growers access to insights that explicitly account for financial risk, and tools that allow them to monitor and manage soil N in real-time to improve both profitability and environmental quality.

Don’t Count on Cold to Kill Parasites

Record-breaking snowfall and extremely cold temperatures have cow/calf producers excited for spring and all things that go with it: lush, green pastures; growing calves; and healthy cows. While winter may have taken its toll on many things, resilient parasites have proven to survive even the coldest of winters.

Ridding pastures of parasites is not simple during a long winter — they simply overwinter in cattle or pastures. In fact, studies demonstrate that infective larvae were able to survive on pastures during winter months.

“If parasites didn’t survive the winter, we would never have summer parasites to worry about,” said Gary Sides, PhD, Zoetis Cattle Technical Services. “It is important for producers from all geographies to implement a spring deworming program to help give cows a chance to rebound from the tough winter, be productive during calving and, ultimately, be ready for the next breeding season.”

Controlling parasites in cattle is not just beneficial for an animal’s immune system3 — there are performance advantages as well. It’s estimated that internal parasites cost the cattle industry about $3 billion each year in lost weight gains, poor feed conversion and increased disease.4 Since parasites also can suppress appetites and limit absorption of nutrients5 — ultimately reducing feed efficiency and gain — it’s important to have a deworming plan in place this spring.

“Coming off of a long winter, cows are in tougher shape and do not have any spare nutrients to fight off parasites,” Dr. Sides explained. “Spring is the most critical season in the cow’s life, and with cattle prices at all-time highs, we need to take advantage of every opportunity to keep them in shape, including deworming at branding or turnout.”

Internal parasites, such as Ostertagia ostertagi or the brown stomach worm, can cause significant losses because of their impact on an animal’s health, reproduction, growth and productivity. For cows, it’s important to maintain good body condition and keep them ready for the next breeding season. For calves, every deworming offers the opportunity for significant improvement in productivity.6

“Parasites require grass and cattle to complete their life cycle,” Dr. Sides continued. “Therefore, you can be almost certain that cattle on grass are infected with parasites. Many different internal parasites can cause problems, but the brown stomach worm may be the most damaging internal parasite in cattle.

To help protect cattle against economically harmful parasites such as the brown stomach worm, Dr. Sides recommends using a broad-spectrum dewormer. DECTOMAX® 1% Injectable or DECTOMAX Pour-On control Ostertagia ostertagi infections and protect from reinfection for up to 21 days and is safe for use in pregnant cows, newborn calves and bulls. In the Gulf States and West Coast where liver flukes are a concern, VALBAZEN® provides comprehensive protection against the most damaging parasites.

“Fighting parasites that have overwintered on pastures is a simple, low-cost process and something every cow/calf producer should take advantage of during branding or turnout,” Dr. Sides explained. “By combining effective products with the expertise of their local veterinarians, producers can easily develop an effective parasite control program that best suits their herd and geography.”


DECTOMAX Injectable has a 35-day pre-slaughter withdrawal period. DECTOMAX Pour-On has a 45-day pre-slaughter withdrawal period. Do not use in female dairy cattle 20 months of age or older. Do not use in calves to be processed for veal.  DECTOMAX has been developed specifically for cattle and swine. Use in dogs may result in fatalities.

Cattle must not be slaughtered within 27 days after the last treatment with VALBAZEN.  Do not use in female dairy cattle of breeding age. Do not administer to female cattle during the first 45 days of pregnancy or for 45 days after removal of bulls.

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