Monday, July 21, 2014

Monday July 21 Ag News

It Is Time to Begin Scouting for Soybean Aphid
Tom Hunt, Extension Entomology Specialist

Soybean aphid colonization has been slow to start this year, however, we are beginning to get reports of soybean aphids in southwest Minnesota and a few other states.  While we have had only one report of soybean aphids in Nebraska, and it was at a very low number, this is when we generally start finding them.

Start scouting now, as populations can start late and build fast. In 2011 we monitored a soybean field in Dixon County that was almost devoid of aphids on July 22, but by August 18 was over 2000 aphids per plant in areas of the field that were left untreated.

Soybean Aphid Description

The soybean aphid is soft-bodied, light green to pale yellow, less than 1/16th inch long, and has two black-tipped cornicles (cornicles look like tailpipes) on the rear of the abdomen.  It has piercing-sucking mouthparts and typically feeds on new tissue on the undersides of leaves near the top of recently colonized soybean plants.  Later in the season aphids can be found on all parts of the plant, feeding primarily on the undersides of leaves, but also on stems and pods.

Soybean Aphid Occurrence in Nebraska

Soybean aphids have been reported in most soybean producing regions of Nebraska, although the highest and most economically damaging populations typically occur in northeast Nebraska.  It's usually mid-July before we begin to regularly find aphids, while soybeans are entering or in R3 (beginning pod stage). Nebraska aphid populations can reach economically damaging populations in late July, but most reach economically damaging populations in August, while soybeans are in the mid-reproductive stages (R4-R5).  In some years there are many fields where the aphid populations peak in late R5 (beginning seed) to early R6 (full seed). Of course, there are exceptions to any rule, so you should be watching for soybean aphid colonization and population increases.

Cool Conditions May Lead to White Mold in Soybeans

Loren Giesler, UNL Extension Plant Pathologist

Most of Nebraska's soybean crop is flowering, ranging from the early to late stages of bloom. With this week's cool temperatures, conditions are right for white mold (Sclerotinia Stem Rot) to start the infection cycle. Those growers with fields with a history of this disease should be aware that it may be more severe this year with the current weather trend. General information on Sclerotinia Stem Rot of soybean can be found in a regional Extension publication or in the Plant Disease section of CropWatch at Schlerotinia Stem Rot.

We do not typically see Sclerotina Stem Rot in Nebraska as temperatures during flowering are usually warmer than this year. Therefore, we do not have any consistent fungicide trial data to evaluate products. I recommend you look at the University of Wisconsin Fungicide Test Summary to compare treatments.

Application during bloom is critical if you're targeting Sclerotinia Stem Rot. If you're not targeting a specific soybean disease, applications are typically at the R3 stage for the added yield boost and crop health response.

Management for Sclerotinia Stem Rot is difficult, but fungicide sprays at flowering are the most effective timing if fungicides are used.  If you're considering a fungicide application to manage this disease, now is the time. Once flowers are infected, the disease will spread slowly, so stopping the initial infection is critical.


Bruce Anderson, UNL Extension Forage Specialist

               Ergot has been found in a few Nebraska pastures this summer.  This fungus can be toxic to cattle, horses, and other livestock so check your pastures and hay fields to see if your animals may be at risk.

               Ergot is a fungus that grows on the seed head of grasses.  Cereals like rye and wheat have been affected most often historically, but forage grasses like brome and fescue and wheatgrasses also are susceptible.  Weather like we have experienced this year – a cool, wet spring followed by hot, humid summer conditions – is ideal for ergot to develop.

               Ergot has killed several cattle in Missouri this summer.  It produces alkaloids that cause vasoconstriction of small arteries, thus restricting blood flow to extremities like the tips of tails and ears as well as to feet and legs.  Lameness, swelling of the fetlock and hock joints, and even loss of hooves can occur.  Animals also are less able to dissipate heat so they spend more time than usual standing in shade or water.

               Ergot bodies look a lot like mouse droppings in grass seedheads.  They are blackish or dark brown or purple and shaped like a cylinder. Examine your pastures and hay fields for these ergot bodies.  An occasional one here and there shouldn’t be a problem but if they show up in most of your seedheads, remove any grazing animals.

               Ergot remains fairly stable in hay so if it is present, either destroy the hay or dilute it severely with other feed.  Fields can be shredded to remove seedstalks but don’t resume grazing until enough regrowth develops to restrict animals from eating the old, shredded clippings.

               Ergot toxicity is rare in our pastures but be on the lookout so it doesn’t become a problem for your animals.


               What can you do with corn damaged severely by hail or drought or even wind?  Fortunately, there are several forage alternatives.

               The most common salvage operation for corn damaged by hail, wind, drought, or other calamities is to chop it for silage.  Don't be in a hurry, though.  Standing corn currently could be over 80 percent moisture.  The easiest way, and maybe the best way, to lower moisture content is simply wait until some stalks start to turn brown.  Waiting also allows surviving corn to continue to add tonnage.

               If waiting isn't desirable, reduce moisture by windowing the crop and allow it to wilt one-half to one full day before chopping.  You also could mix grain or chopped hay to freshly chopped corn to lower the moisture content.  It takes quite a bit of material for mixing though – about 7 bushels of grain or 350 pounds of hay to lower each ton of silage down to 70 percent moisture from an original 80 percent moisture.  That's 7 bushels grain or 350 pounds of hay for each ton of silage.

               Or, you can allow that windrowed corn to dry completely and bale it as hay.  Be sure to test it for nitrates before feeding.

               Grazing might be the easiest way to use damaged corn, and this is a good way to extend your grazing season.  You might even plant some sorghum-sudangrass or oats and turnips between rows to grow more forage for grazing if you can wait until late fall before grazing.  Be sure to introduce livestock slowly to this new forage by feeding them before turning in to reduce the chances of digestive problems.  Also, strip graze the field to reduce trampling losses and get more grazing from the corn.

               We can’t change what Mother Nature has dished out.  All we can do is make the best of a bad situation.

New Channel Seedsman Comes to Pierce County

Putting Seedsmanship at Work® into practice, Channel has hired Larry Carstens as a Channel Seedsman in the Pierce County area.

Carstens’ role will be to work proactively with local farmers to deliver expert advice, customized service and elite seed products to help improve productivity and profitability. Channel Seedsmen focus on getting to know their customers and their farms inside and out, and using that knowledge to provide in-depth, hands-on service and support every step of the way.

“We are excited to have Carstens join the Channel team,” said Channel District Sales Manager Tony Kurtenbach. “His knowledge and expertise will be a great fit for farmers looking for the service and support a Channel Seedsman can provide.”

One of Carstens’ primary responsibilities will be implementing the Channel® Field Check Up Series with local farmers. This series allows Channel Seedsmen to work with the farmer throughout the season to observe and monitor crop development.

Walking farmers’ fields allows Channel Seedsmen to diagnose issues and design custom recommendations to increase the farm’s profitability. Year-round farm visits include personal consultations through the four major growth stages: seedling, reproductive, vegetative and maturity. For more information about Channel and the Channel Seedsmanship approach, visit

Valmont Announces Second Quarter 2014 Results

Valmont Industries, Inc. a leading global provider of engineered products and services for infrastructure and mechanized irrigation equipment for agriculture, reported second quarter sales of $842.6 million compared with $878.7 million for the same period of 2013. Second quarter 2014 operating income was $104.8 million versus $144.3 million in 2013. Second quarter net income was $64.0 million versus $89.6 million in 2013, or $2.38 in diluted earnings per share compared to $3.33 in 2013. Last year's second quarter included a $4.6 million, (or 16 cents per diluted share) pre-tax gain from the disposal of a galvanizing facility in Perth, Australia.

For the first six months of 2014, sales were $1,594.3 million versus $1,698.3 million in 2013. Valmont's first half net earnings were $120.0 million, or $4.46 per diluted share, compared with 2013 first half net earnings of $167.1 million, or $6.22 per diluted share.

"Positive sales comparisons in the Engineered Infrastructure Products Segment driven by acquisition growth were more than offset by lower sales in the remaining segments," said Mogens C. Bay, Valmont's chairman and chief executive officer. "In the Irrigation Segment, sales declined in North America due to lower crop commodity prices, partly offset by increased international sales. The Coatings and Utility Support Structures Segments each posted modest sales declines. In "Other," the deconsolidation of Delta EMD late in 2013 and lower sales at our grinding media and tubing businesses led to unfavorable sales comparisons.

Sales of $213.0 million were 7% lower than 2013, due to a decline in North America. International sales rose modestly. Total volumes were comparable to last year.

Center pivot and linear move mechanized irrigation equipment and parts for agriculture in global markets.

Irrigation Segment sales fell 19% to $219.9 million, reflecting a substantial sales decline in North American markets. While last year's market remained influenced by the 2012 drought and high commodity prices, this year's outlook for a decline in North American net farm income weighed on irrigation equipment demand.

Sales increased in most international regions. Despite generally lower global crop prices, a number of international markets remain strong. On a regional basis, sales improved in Brazil, the Pacific region and the Middle East.

Operating income declined 35% to $41.4 million, but remained strong at 18.9% of segment sales. The decline was due to the lower sales levels and deleverage of both fixed factory costs and SG&A.

Farmers encouraged to watch cattle closely for heat stress

High temperatures, high humidity, solar radiation, and low-speed winds create the perfect environment for heat stress in cattle. Based on the forecast outlook for this afternoon and Tuesday, the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association is encouraging the state’s cattle producers to be prepared to make some changes that can make cattle more comfortable, especially in the southwest corner today, and the whole state on Tuesday.

“It’s best that producers plan ahead so they can take quick action if those four factors put parts of Iowa in a high risk zone,” says Matt Deppe, the CEO for the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association. “Compared to other animals, cattle rely on respiration more than sweating to cool down. Wind and cool nights can help, but when temperatures and humidity are high, producers must also consider other ways to keep their livestock comfortable,” he said.

ICA is encouraging cattle producers to take advice from Iowa State University’s Extension Beef Veterinarian, Dr. Grant Dewell, DVM. Dr. Dewell recommends these protective measures:
·    Clean fresh water – consumption of water can double during extreme heat. Cattle need at least 2 gal./100 lbs/day during heat events. Additionally, make sure there is adequate room for cattle to drink, and that supply lines can provide cool water fast enough.
·    Shift to feeding a higher percentage of feed in the afternoon and consider lowering the energy content by 5%.
·    Provide shade if possible. UV radiation is many times the critical factor for livestock losses due to heat stress.
·    Ensure that there are no restrictions to air movement around cattle, such as hay storage.
·    If necessary, begin sprinkling cattle with water if signs of heat stress are evident.

Deppe says producers who start using fans or providing water sprinklers on their cattle should be prepared to use that process until more moderate temperatures return.

Cattle producers can monitor the forecasted heat stress index and find tips for cooling cattle at

Iowa Soybean Association sponsors new events, long-time favorites at state fair

The Iowa State Fair is right around the corner and the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) is doing its part to ensure that fairgoers have fun while learning about agriculture and the role soybean farmers play in helping feed and fuel Iowa, the nation and world.

The association, based in Ankeny and committed to improving the competitiveness of Iowa’s 37,000 soybean farmers, is partnering with the fair and other organizations to bring some old favorites and a few new events to the list of must-see stops:

·         Free rides on fair trams — It’s easy and safe for fairgoers to get from one end of the grounds to the other thanks to the ISA sponsorship of not only the tram tractors and carts, but also the biodiesel that fuels this popular transportation.

·         Ag magic at your fingertips — Through Rhonda Renee’s Thank A Farmer show featuring storytelling, juggling and music, spectators young and old will learn that nearly everything they touch, consume and wear has a direct connection to agriculture and a farmer.  Thirty-minute shows will be performed each day in the Christensen Farms Animal Learning Center at 10 a.m., 12 p.m., 1 p.m., and 4 p.m.

·         Experience fun for all ages — Inside the Ag Building, participants can learn what Iowa farmers are doing to protect Iowa’s water supply as they meander through Farmville and meet Iowa’s farmers. Fairgoers won’t want to miss ‘Farm With Us’, the new, green screen photo booth where they can become a celebrity in a flash and get a free, printed portrait.

·         Learn more about conservation — Iowa soybean farmers are excelling in environmental protection and practices and will be recognized on the morning of August 13 at the Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Award ceremony to be held at the Penningroth Center.

·         Relax and play — Fun for children of all ages, Little Hands on Farm located just north of the Animal Learning Center is a place for children to learn how food is grown by participating in a variety of hands-on activities. They can also package soybeans to help feed Iowa’s pork and poultry industries.

·         Eat and enjoy —The Soyfoods Council will present two chances to experience soyfoods at the fair on August 11. The Annual Soy Salad Dressing Professional Chef Contest will be held from 10 a.m. to noon in the Ag building — stop by to test the chef’s creations! The second opportunity is a cooking demonstration and soyfoods contest judging at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. in the Elwell Building.

·         Iowa Food & Family Project exhibit – Again this year, the ISA is partnering with the Iowa Food & Family Project to feed people’s curiosity about how food is grown and the dedicated farmers who grow it. The must-see exhibit will feature activities for children and adults and is open 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. daily in the south atrium of the Varied Industries Building. 


The Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB), announced today that it will host the first Global Conference on Sustainable Beef at the World Trade Events Center in São Paulo, Brazil, Nov. 2-5, 2014. As part of the conference, GRSB will release its long-anticipated definition of global sustainable beef and highlight exciting new developments in beef sustainability.

“GRSB is a global, multi-stakeholder organization focused on improving the sustainability of the beef value chain. We view sustainability as a journey of continuous improvement where economic, societal and environmental factors are balanced to achieve sustainable outcomes” said Cameron Bruett, president of GRSB and head of corporate affairs for JBS USA, the North American subsidiary of JBS S.A., the world’s largest meat processing company, which is headquartered in Brazil. “It is imperative that the broad spectrum of stakeholders involved in the production, processing, distribution, sale and consumption of beef, as well as civil society and allied industries, work together to develop a deeper understanding of sustainability and what it means to their sector, their operations, our society and our planet.”

The conference’s theme, “Sustainable Beef: Building a Vision for Our Future,” sets the framework for the roll-out of GRSB’s principles and criteria, which define sustainable beef and identifies the means to measure progress in the global sustainable beef chain at the national or regional levels. With speakers from around the globe, the conference will also provide a forum for regional sustainability initiatives to showcase their efforts and successes.

“There is some amazing work being done in many regions of the world, particularly in Brazil, in the areas of resource efficiency, genetic improvement, cattle sourcing and capturing efficiencies that will be shared with participants during the conference,” said Eduardo Bastos, President of the Brazilian Roundtable for Sustainable Livestock (GTPS) and Head, Government Affairs, Dow Brazil. “GTPS, as the world’s first regional roundtable on sustainable livestock, and a member of GRSB, looks forward to showcasing the tremendous progress being made in Brazil and how GTPS is making sustainable beef in Brazil a reality.”

Initiated in early 2012, GRSB is the strategic platform where leading stakeholders from the beef industry, environmental organizations and others with an interest in global beef sustainability have agreed to partner in an effort to advance continuous improvement in the global beef value chain through knowledge-sharing, leadership and the adoption of science-based approaches.

GRSB’s initial efforts have focused on collaboration with a wide group of expert stakeholders to identify the principles and criteria that should be included or addressed in an effort to ensure a more sustainable global beef value chain. This effort to define the parameters of sustainable beef has been coordinated by Ruaraidh (Rory) Petre, Executive Director, GRSB.

Petre explained that there are a broad range of ecosystems in which beef can be produced sustainably, which makes a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach an unrealistic goal.

“While a definition for sustainable beef at the global level will have directional validity, it is clear that context-specific elements, including indicators and metrics, will need to be developed at the regional or local level,” said Petre. “It is for this reason, that GRSB promotes the development of regional roundtables, similar to Brazilian Roundtable GTPS, to achieve sustainable on-the-ground improvements. GRSB seeks to influence and empower value chains to make local decisions that lead to positive change, not dictate or prescribe unachievable global standards or certifications.”

The conference will provide an in-depth discussion of those principles and criteria and how they might apply to various regions of the world.
For more information and online registration, please visit

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