Monday, July 14, 2014

Monday July 14 Ag News

Zilmax Has No Apparent Detrimental Effect on Cattle Health

            The cattle feed additive Zilmax has no noticeable detrimental effect on cattle health or well-being, according to research by scientists from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service.

            The study was undertaken after Zilmax's maker, Merck Animal Health, temporarily suspended sales of the additive last year when concerns emerged in some quarters that it might cause lameness in cattle, said Ty Schmidt, a UNL animal scientist, who worked with colleagues including Jeff Carroll and Nicole Sanchez, both of USDA-ARS.

            During the 26-day study, scientists collected blood, via catheters; body temperature; and video images from 20 heifers, which were divided into two groups, with half receiving Zilmax at the recommended dose and half not receiving it. On the last day of the trial, four days after Zilmax supplementation was discontinued, heifers were exposed to a simulated stress event to mimic the stress response that would be anticipated in cattle being shipped from the feedlot to packing plant.  At the conclusion of the trial, heifers were harvested at UNL and their hearts, liver, lungs, kidneys and adrenal glands were studied.

            Results from the study demonstrated some differences in physiological and endocrine markers of stress and muscle accretion in heifers that were supplemented with Zilmax compared to heifers not fed Zilmax. Heifers fed Zilmax had an increase in parameters that indicate increased muscle mass. The increase in these parameters was expected, as the drug label for Zilmax includes statements pertaining to increases in creatinine and creatine phosphokinase, Schmidt said.

            Results from this study, he added, also demonstrated that heifers supplemented with Zilmax had a decreased production of the stress hormone cortisol, and decreased body temperature during the simulated stress event. Histopathology of the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, and adrenal glands revealed some differences between the heifers supplemented with Zilmax and the heifers not receiving Zilmax. The livers and right adrenal gland of the Zilmax heifers were slightly smaller than heifers that were not fed Zilmax, but there was no difference in lungs, kidneys, or heart.

            "Overall, the results of this trial indicate that while there are variations in the body temperature, endocrine and metabolic parameters and histopathology of major organs of Zilmax supplemented heifers, these differences are minor and show no indication that supplementation of Zilmax is detrimental to the health or well-being cattle," Schmidt said.

            In addition to Schmidt, Carroll and Sanchez, others who participated in the study were: Steve Jones and David Steffen, UNL, and graduate students Joe Buntyn and Sara Serien, also of UNL.

NE's June Precipitation 200%-400% Above Normal

Al Dutcher, UNL State Climatologist

There is no doubt that June was exceptionally wet across the eastern three-fourths of the state.  National Weather Service cooperative observer reports indicate 9-15 inches of moisture fell across northeast Nebraska, with the central third of the state receiving 6-10 inches. East central, southeast, southwest, and west central Nebraska reported 3-7 inches of moisture.  The Panhandle region was the driest area with 2-5 inches of moisture reported.

Considering that June normally brings about 4 inches of moisture to eastern Nebraska and about 3 inches to western Nebraska, precipitation across the eastern three-fourths of the state averaged 200%- 400% of normal.  In fact, the greatest monthly June precipitation total was 16.76 inches, recorded by a NeRAIN observer in the Hubbard area.  To place this value in context, 60% of normal annual precipitation fell during  June at Hubbard.

All of the consternation about the lack of moisture during the winter and early spring has now become a distant memory. There has been a substantial shrinkage of the drought signature across Nebraska during the past 45 days. On the current U.S. Drought Monitor, drought across eastern and central Nebraska and all traces of extreme (D3) and exceptional (D4) drought across the state have been eliminated.

Unfortunately, most of the June moisture was accompanied by severe wind and hail that brought widespread crop and infrastructure damage.  Areas of the state that have escaped wind and hail damage are beginning to enter the critical corn reproductive phase.  As of July 6, 8% of the Nebraska corn crop had tasseled, which should easily reach 75% by July 17.

Short-term models indicate cooler than normal temperatures are likely through June 18, with highs consistently in the 70s and 80s.  High temperatures July 19-25 are projected to return to the upper 80s to mid 90s. Growing degree day units are running 60-180 units behind normal across the western half of Nebraska for the past 60 days, while GDD units are within plus or minus 60 units from normal in the eastern half.

It is too early to complete a risk analysis in regards to freeze susceptibility, but the current thought is that the Dakotas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan currently have the highest hard freeze (< 28°F) risk. If temperatures average more than 2°F below normal for the next 45 days, extreme northern Iowa and Nebraska would likely see their hard freeze risk rise above 50%.  A detailed freeze risk analysis will be performed (if needed) during the second half of August and the results will be presented in the late August edition of CropWatch.

Extreme heat during pollination appears unlikely for at least three-fourths of the corn acreage in Nebraska.  However, if the 90s stick around through early August and precipitation during this period remains below normal, replanted corn acreage could be impacted by pollination issues.  The greatest yield threat for most corn producers during the next two weeks will be from thunderstorms.

Models are having difficulty resolving the timing of individual precipitation events and how much moisture they will provide.  Precipitation is expected this weekend, with drier conditions developing much of next week.  The summer monsoon season in the southwestern U.S. is projected to increase over the next two weeks and could translate into active weather for western Nebraska July 19-30.

Determining Nitrogen Status

Charles Shapiro, Extension Soil Scientist – Crop Nutrition, Haskell Ag Lab, Concord

Whether a specific field has significant nitrogen this year depends on many factors. Wide areas of the state have had so much rain that nitrate leaching is a good possibility. Where water stood or the ground has been saturated for a week or more, there also may be denitrification losses (nitrogen lost to the atmosphere).

You could take a soil sample to determine where the nitrogen is, but to get an accurate assessment you would need to go to 5 ft and this takes some time and effort.

Crop canopy sensors also could play an important role in making these determinations. Our recommendation for their use is to include strips of fully fertilized areas (maybe 50 lb more than usually needed) that are used for a comparison. While such strips may not be common, if they're available, comparing the normal and the fully fertilized areas will help determine if additional nitrogen is needed. The UNL NebGuide, Using a Chlorophyll Meter to Improve N Management (G1632), suggests that when the readings on a normal nitrogen strip drop to 95% or less than the fully fertilized strip, additional nitrogen is recommended.

If you don't have any sensors and you don't have a comparison area, you can observe the corn carefully in the field. Walking through the field and examining the lower leaves can help indicate nitrogen deficiency. The lower leaves will yellow from the tip to the stalk in a V-shaped pattern.  At this time of year the whole plant should be green.

Nitrogen can be applied at any time. Corn nitrogen is just over 60% of the total nitrogen is taken up by R1 (pollination). This is for corn that is growing normally. If it is nitrogen deficient, partial remediation is possible, but the longer you wait the less response you'll get.

After R1 the nitrogen in the leaves moves to the grain, so some yellowing of the bottom leaves is normal. Corn grown for grain whose lower leaves stay green until physiological maturity probably has been over fertilized.

2014 Cropland Lease Arrangements in Nebraska

Jim Jansen, Extension Educator in Cedar and Knox Counties

As part of the Nebraska Farm Real Estate Market Survey, each year panel members are surveyed on new or emerging issues related to the agricultural land market in Nebraska. The special feature recently published as part of Nebraska Farm Real Estate Market Highlights 2013-2014 report evaluated the types of contractual rental arrangements used in Nebraska to lease agricultural land along with the availability of grain storage as part of the agreement.

Panel members were asked to estimate the percent of each style of cropland lease arrangement in their area including:
-    Crop Share: landowner receives percentage of actual crop yield as payment for leasing the agricultural land to tenant. Landowner may share input and production costs of raising the crop.
-    Cash Lease: landowner receives an agreed upon cash payment amount for leasing the agricultural land to the tenant.
-    Cash Lease with Flexible Provisions: landowner and tenant set a base cash rental rate which can flex upon actual crop yields, prices, or a combination of the two. Final cash payment made to the landlord for leasing the agricultural land to the tenant may have premiums or discounts made to the base rate depending upon the agreements set up by the two parties.

Land lease arrangements for 2014 varied widely across Nebraska. On average use was divided among cash lease (48%), crop share (41%) and cash lease with flexible provisions (11%).

Average Percent Distribution                                                    

                    Crop             Cash        Cash Lease
                   Share           Lease        w/Flexible Provisions
       - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Percent - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Northwest       74                20                 6
North              39                52                9
Northeast        19               68               14
Central           33                56               11
East               43               46                12
Southwest      34                58                9
South            49                43                 8
Southeast      46                44                11
State             41               48                 11

Survey panel members indicated that use of the different types of leases across the state correlated to the primary types of crops historically raised in a district and their yield expectations.

First Participants in Conservation Stewardship Program Can Renew for Five More Years

The first participants of the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) have until Sept. 12, 2014, to renew their contracts and make decisions on additional conservation activities that will benefit priority natural resource issues.

The Conservation Stewardship Program is offered by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). It is the Farm Bill program that helps farmers and ranchers take conservation investments to the next level. The program provides farmers and ranchers who are already established conservation stewards financial and technical assistance to further improve water quality, soil health and wildlife habitat.

About 20,000 CSP contracts nationwide are reaching the end of their initial five-year contract period. In Nebraska, there are 1,057 contracts that may be renewed for an additional five years where participants agree to install additional conservation measures.

“CSP farmers are conservation leaders and go the extra mile to conserve Nebraska’s natural resources,” NRCS State Conservationist Craig Derickson said. “The 2014 Farm Bill continued that strong commitment and heightened the program’s focus on generating conservation benefits.”

Since CSP began in 2009, more than 58 million acres have been enrolled in the program nationally – an area the size of Indiana and Wisconsin combined. In Nebraska, 4.8 million acres have been enrolled.

“This program allows landowners to reach the next level of conservation and opens the door to trying new conservation activities,” Derickson said.

To learn about technical and financial assistance available through CSP, visit, the Conservation Stewardship webpage or local USDA service center. For more on the 2014 Farm Bill, visit

IFBF Says Long-Awaited Supreme Court Ruling on EPC Board Member Case is a Disappointment for the Democratic Process

Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF), the state’s largest grassroots farm organization, is appreciative of the care the Iowa Supreme Court took in its deliberations of Iowa Farm Bureau Federation v. the Environmental Protection Commission; however, we respectfully disagree with its conclusion that anyone, regardless of current residency, employment or affiliation, may lead the rulemaking process and decide what regulations apply to Iowans.  The Iowa Farm Bureau still believes in clean government and that good public policy requires that Iowa residents, not Montana residents, should decide Iowa law.

In October 2010, IFBF and several other organizations challenged the validity of a rule, at a time when one former EPC board member lived out of state, and another regulator lobbied for an environmental advocacy group. IFBF also argued that they must not be a paid advocate of a special interest group for the very rules they are charged with adopting as a government regulator.

“This is about an appointed board, who is charged with the duty of representing and considering the environmental and business interests of all Iowans.  A board that serves the public needs Iowans who bring various expertise and viewpoints to the table, and the court said that being paid by a lobbying organization is just another permissible bias,” said IFBF Government Relations Counsel, Christina Gruenhagen.  “Under this ruling, it is difficult to imagine a circumstance where the court will disqualify anyone from serving as an officer in the executive branch.  The court also determined today that actual residency isn’t a requirement of office, even when mandated in the controlling statute.”

IFBF says moving forward, the state’s focus should be on implementing Iowa’s science-based water quality initiative, which places emphasis on critical watersheds and improving water quality.

ISU Extension Webinar July 21 Offers Update on Farm Program

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) are conducting a live update webinar on the farm program called Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC). The webinar titled “ARC PLC Decisions: Update, Election and Enrollment” is scheduled for July 21 at 7 p.m.

Participants will get an update on the new farm program, including the opportunity to update base acres and farm yields, then to elect and enroll a farm in one of the new farm programs – Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC).

Farmers, along with their landowners on rented ground, can make a one-time, unanimous and irrevocable election by FSA farm number for the life of the five-year farm program. The party at risk will then enroll annually in the ARC county, ARC individual farm, or the PLC program. If the farm is not enrolled in ARC or PLC for 2014, then it automatically defaults and can only be enrolled in the PLC beginning in 2015.

Speakers include ISU Extension and Outreach Economist Chad Hart and USDA FSA Chief Program Specialist Kevin McClure. The webinar will last approximately one hour.

To attend, log onto  Contact the Polk County Extension office at (515) 957-5760 with any questions.

SD Vet Board Tackles Old Quarantine, New PED Rules

(AP) -- The South Dakota State Veterinarian Dustin Oedekoven will take steps Tuesday to repeal a nearly 40-year-old rule requiring quarantine for baby calves entering the state without their mothers.

Animal Industry Board members will hear the proposal at their board meeting.

"I think the need may not be as evident now, and, as a result, a lot of people don't know," Oedekoven said about the quarantine requirement.

The board will discuss updates on the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea, or PED, virus and host a public hearing on the license for a Yankton livestock auction that recently changed hands.

The calf rule, which calls for 60 days of separation, was put in place at a time when young dairy calves were moved into the state from a lot of different sources, Oedekoven said. But the federal government recently passed a rule requiring a paper trail for animals moving across states. Modern practices can mitigate other risks controlled by the quarantine, he said.

South Dakota officials already closely monitor the movement of calves, said Roger Scheibe, executive director of the South Dakota Dairy Producers. The group supports the potential change.

"It's just one less thing they have to worry about," Scheibe said about farmers. "There has not been a problem."

The board has also been closely watching the progress of the PED virus and will discuss updates on that front. Federal dollars are now available for newly infected herds to manage the virus and research new vaccines. And a recent federal order will require the reporting of all infected herds. Farmers dealing with the virus will have to develop a management plan with a veterinarian.

Oedekoven said mandatory reporting already was in place within the state. Thirty-two herds in the state are infected with the virus.

The money available for vaccine research will be a good thing, said Glenn Muller, executive director of the South Dakota Pork Producers Council. And he hopes that producers continue to share and learn from each other even as reporting requirements increase.

At the meeting, board members will also hear testimony on licensing the Stockman's Livestock auction in Yankton, which recently changed owners. All of the nearly 35 livestock auctions in the state require annual license renewal. The hearing is only required because of the change in ownership.

NMPF Endorses Draft U.S.-Canadian Plan for Regionalization of Trade If Countries are Confronted with Outbreak of Serious Animal Disease

The National Milk Producers Federation today endorsed a draft plan for allowing the U.S. and Canada to cope with an outbreak of a serious foreign animal contagion, such as foot-and-mouth disease, suggesting the plan is a template for similar plans involving other important dairy export markets.

The plan, drafted by the Agriculture Department’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, calls for the United States and Canada to recognize each other’s efforts to control an outbreak, while regionalizing how the outbreak is handled, so as to allow continued trade with disease-free areas of the country.

In comments filed with APHIS Monday, NMPF, the voice of 32,000 dairy farmers in Washington, noted that Canada is the second-largest export market for U.S. dairy products, and that an outbreak of a highly contagious animal disease such as FMD in either country could be catastrophic for the U.S. dairy industry.

“We applaud the Agriculture Department for working with its Canadian counterparts to prepare for a foreign animal disease outbreak,” said Jamie Jonker, NMPF’s vice president for sustainability & scientific affairs. “We fully support the draft plan and see it as an effective tool for dealing with an outbreak.”

The plan, officially termed a framework, calls for the two countries to cooperate in establishing quarantine areas that would be the focus of disease eradication efforts in an outbreak. Trade could then resume or continue in areas considered free of disease.

"The framework will facilitate continued trade between disease-free areas, while safeguarding animal health in both countries,” said Jonker. “NMPF encourages USDA to use this approach as a template for other countries that are important U.S. dairy export markets.” These countries include Mexico, China, Philippines, Indonesia, South Korea and Japan.

This is in contrast to another USDA proposal earlier this year, which NMPF determined had significant flaws, because it will allow imports of fresh beef from certain parts of Brazil which have a history of foot and mouth disease.

“We are happy to have Brazil export its enthusiasm for soccer,” said Jonker, “but the last thing we need is for that country to send us its FMD problems.”

Over the last decade, U.S. dairy exports have increased more than 20 percent annually and the United States is now a global leader in exports for products including cheese, skim milk powder, whey products and lactose.


N. SIOUX CITY, SD – PureGrade Liquid Fertilizer, a division of Nutra-Flo Company, is engaging in a grass roots approach to provide agronomic research to growers this summer.

The manufacturer of North America’s best selling starter fertilizers and micronutrients is hosting seven farm tours designed to showcase proven strategies for nutrient management and plant stewardship. The events are located throughout the Midwest and will focus on providing up-to-date agronomy information to area farmers.

“Our goal is to offer a research-based presentation on the power of liquid starter and best management practices,” said Jason Glover, Nutra-Flo marketing director. “Growers will leave with information on the latest developments in fertilization research specific to their local growing conditions.”

The PureGrade performance tours are occurring throughout July, August and September on farms in Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, Minnesota and Michigan. The events will include:
-    A root pit demonstration where growers can see how a solid fertilization program and proper management practices affect plant development below the soil
-    Information on nutrient stewardship and the benefits of implementing the 4R nutrient management practices: right rate, right source, right place, right time
-    Presentation by Monsanto BioAg on the LCO promoter technology behind PureGradeT, a starter fertilizer that enhances young seedling root development and nutritional capabilities
-    Presentation by Kelli Barnett, Nutra-Flo agronomist, on the benefits of implementing proven fertilization techniques
-    Information on new PureGrade products available to growers
-    Question and answer session with local agricultural specialists
-    Drawing for a John Deere electric grease gun

This year's tour includes stops in....

-  July 28th - Cambridge, IA
-  July 31 - Albert City. IA
-  August 4 - Luverne, MN
-  August 15 - Amboy, IN
-  August 22 - Adams, NE
-  September 4 - Dundee, MI
-  September 19 - Culbertson, NE

The PureGrade performance tours are no-cost events open to the public. For more information on the tour closest to you, visit or call 800-831-4815.

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