Monday, July 28, 2014

Monday July 28th Ag News

Stink Bugs
Tom Hunt, UNL Extension Entomologist

Recently (week of 7-20 & 7-27) the incidence of brown stink bugs appearing in corn and soybean fields has been brought to my attention. Like any other insect, there is a threshold when treatment is warranted. For stink bugs that threshold is a bit fuzzy, however, research is being conducted. 

For Soybeans:

Thresholds for stink bugs on soybeans vary considerably by state, and also do not explicitly consider variable costs of control or market value. They range from 0.3/ft-row to 3/ft-row, or 0.2/sweep to 6/sweep and are not consistent with respect to timing, row spacing, or soybean use (seed or grain).  The most common threshold for stink bug in soybeans is 1 bug/row-ft during the reproductive stages.  We believe this is the most appropriate for Nebraska. If using a sweep net, the threshold is 0.25 bugs/sweep.

For reproductive stage corn:

Florida recommends that “for corn in the early silk through milk stage, treatment may be justified when there is 1 stink bug per 5 plants. From the end of milk through the hard dough stages treatment may be justified when there is an average of one stink bug per plant”.

Georgia recommends the “corn is most sensitive to stink bug injury during ear elongation before pollen shed. The treatment threshold at this stage is 1 bug per 4 plants (25% infested plants). Once pollination occurs, feeding though the husk causes damage to individual kernels. Kernels are susceptible to damage up until the milk stage (R3) and possibly early dough stage (R4). The threshold at this time is 1 bug per 2 plants (50% infested plants)”.

Research is ongoing in Nebraska, but until we have more definitive information, use 1 bug per 4 plants (25% infested plants) prior to pollination, and 1 bug per 2 plants (50% infested plants) after pollination up to early dough stage.

NE Corn Board to Meet

The Nebraska Corn Board will hold its next meeting on Thursday, August 14, 2014 at the Hyatt Place, located at 600 Q Street in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The Board will address regular board business and hold election of officers.  The meeting is open to the public.  A copy of the agenda is available by writing the Nebraska Corn Board, PO Box 95107, Lincoln, NE  68509, or calling either 402/471-2676 or 800-NECORN1.

The Nebraska Corn Board’s market development, research, promotion and education programs are funded and managed by Nebraska corn farmers. Producers invest at a rate of 1/2 of a cent per bushel of corn sold.

Haskell Ag. Lab near Concord Plans Open House for August 13

Deb Schroeder, UNL Extension Educator, Cuming County

Join us August 13th from 3:00-6:00 p.m. at the Haskell Agricultural Laboratory for an Open House Celebration of the 100-year anniversary of the Cooperative Extension System.  The Haskell Agricultural Laboratory is located at 57905 866 Road, Concord, NE.  Extension was established with the signing of the Smith-Lever Act of 1914.  This celebration will highlight both Extension’s past and the future.  The Open House will begin at the farm shop with displays of past and current research and programs.  A one hour tour of the farm will run every half hour with the last tour leaving at 4:30 p.m.  After each tour all will be served a special University of Nebraska –Lincoln Dairy Store Centennial ice cream flavor.  The event is free and open to the public.

The lab grew out of local interest that ag research be conducted in the region.  The Experimental Farm Association took donation of a 320 acre farm from the C.D. Haskell Family and turned it over to NU in 1957. About 10 years ago, the site, originally named the Northeast Nebraska Experimental Farm, was renamed the Haskell Agricultural Laboratory after the donors.  The facility continues to conduct research in beef cattle, swine, crop production and crop nutrition, pesticides and other ag and natural resources issues.

The research has been extended to farmers and ranchers in northeast Nebraska and beyond through Extension workshops and publications and has helped producers increase yields, decrease costs, and protect the environment.  In addition, Extension staff helps youth and adults put knowledge to work in areas of 4-H and youth development, parent education, nutrition and health, food safety, community development, entrepreneurship and many more.

Mark your calendar for August 13th.


Bruce Anderson, UNL Extension Forage Specialist
Will you plant alfalfa, grass, or some small-seeded cover crop this August?  It’s an excellent time to plant, if you have moisture and do it right.  So how do you become successful?

Seedbed preparation is crucial for late summer plantings.  Good seed-to-soil contact and weed control are essential.  Half-hearted seedbed preparation produces only half decent stands.

Two types of seedbeds work well in August.  Fully tilled seedbeds are best for many growers. Weeds are eliminated and fields are smooth.  But don't overtill.  Conserve soil moisture whenever possible, and put extra effort into getting a firm seedbed.  You should be able to bounce a basketball on a firm seedbed.  Rolling, harrowing, and waiting for rain or irrigating all help make seedbeds firm.

Stubble from cereal crops like wheat also makes a good seedbed.  So can hailed out beans.  Hailed out corn is a bit tougher but many no-till drills can place seeds into stubble soil very nicely, as long as there isn’t excessive residue.  Make sure you control weeds like foxtail, sunflowers, and volunteer grain before stubble seeding.  Use herbicides like glyphosate or Gramoxone before planting to kill existing weeds if needed.

Whenever planting in August be wary of grasshoppers.  They love to eat new seedlings.  Spray field margins with insecticides if more than 20 hoppers per square yard are present.

Remember, these preparations are useless without moisture.  I discourage planting into dry soil because we never know if fall rains will be good or bad.

But if you have moisture, then plant – shallow for rapid emergence and early for seedlings to develop good cold tolerance.

With help from Mother Nature, you’ll be happy with the results.

EPA’s Murky Water Rule

Senator Mike Johanns

A far-reaching water proposal by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would open the floodgates to expensive permits and compliance costs for a variety of industries and individual land owners. And as concerned citizens weigh in on the proposal before it is finalized, EPA’s unwillingness to provide details has muddied the water on its downstream implications.

Congress gave EPA regulatory authority in the Clean Water Act over navigable waterways, but EPA’s proposal would go way beyond what I believe Congress intended. The rule would redefine federal regulatory reach to include everything from farm ponds to drainage ditches to low lying areas that are dry for most of the year. Basically, if EPA believes there’s a chance that a drop of water could eventually make it to a navigable water, they want to regulate it.

American agriculture stands to be particularly hard hit by this federal overreach. EPA claims the rule will clarify what the agency can and cannot regulate, but it actually has created confusion and ambiguity in ag circles. When faced with specific questions during listening sessions with producers, EPA has failed time and again to provide adequate responses. In fact, the agency has refused to discuss specifically how the rule would work. This lack of transparency makes participating in the democratic comment process to improve the rule virtually impossible. Even EPA’s attempt to clarify exemptions for certain federal Clean Water Act permits has led to a boatload of confusion.

Last week, I joined my Republican colleagues on the Senate Agriculture Committee in a meeting with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, and let her hear the concerns our constituents voice to us virtually on a daily basis. At the heart of our discussion was this proposed water rule. The fact that Senators who represent producers across the nation all expressed common concerns illustrates just how far-reaching and problematic this proposal is.

Although the Administrator was meeting with Senate Republicans, ag producers’ beef with the ambiguity surrounding EPA’s water rule spans political perspectives. For example, some of the rule’s early supporters within the industry recently asked the Administrator for greater clarification of what would fall in EPA’s new and expanded scope.

The reality is, this confusion could have been avoided had EPA opened a meaningful dialogue with ag producers and actively sought to address their concerns before putting pen to paper. When I was Secretary of the Department of Agriculture (USDA), we hosted farm bill forums in all 50 states to better understand the concerns of the folks our policies would impact.  We made it a priority to work with stakeholders and find the best solution for all involved before writing a proposal.

EPA has a long way to go to improve its strained relationship with the ag community.  Administrator McCarthy acknowledged that she needs to do a better job of working with producers.  If she is sincere in this desire, she would scrap this flawed proposal and engage in a robust discussion with America’s farmers and ranchers before pursuing new, potentially-burdensome regulations.

IA Water Summary Update Shows July Cool, Dry, Drought Free

The past two weeks were unusually cool and dry across Iowa. July 2014 will likely rank among the 10 coolest Julys on record, according to the latest Iowa Water Summary Update. The average statewide precipitation was 0.86 inches, or less than half of the normal 2.05 inches.

The drought monitor shows the state maintaining normal conditions. In October 2013 nearly all Iowa was in some form of drought. Currently, all but extreme southeast Iowa is drought free -- a complete change over the last nine months.

As moisture from the wet month of June works its way through the streams and soils of Iowa, overall stream flows are approaching normal levels. Groundwater levels are generally higher than they were a year ago, and normal rainfall should help maintain these levels.

Despite the past two weeks of below normal precipitation, the average rainfall for 2014 is above average. The National Weather Service predicts below normal temperatures for August through October with normal precipitation through early September.

For a thorough review of Iowa's water resource trends, go to

The report is prepared by the technical staff from the Iowa DNR, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, IIHR--Hydroscience and Engineering and the U.S. Geological Survey, in collaboration with The Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department.

USBCA Makes Further Progress toward Value Chain Cooperation

Last week, the U.S. Biotech Crops Alliance's Domestic Working Group met in Washington to jointly review task force reports focused on four areas necessary to develop an industry-wide protocol for the introduction of new biotechnology traits.

During the meeting, representatives from all parts of the value chain worked together to assess findings on risk assessment, management, mitigation and responsibility. While the task force reports provided valuable insight, there was generally agreement that all parties will need to work together on a comprehensive approach in order to create a formula that will be acceptable to all parties.

Discussions, while spirited, did result in some fundamental agreements on the next steps forward. In the coming weeks, the Domestic Working Group leadership will generate a hypothetical situation and plan from which the full group will work moving forward.

"We will need to change our approach to reach an agreement, but I remain optimistic that we can have a final proposal to the industry as a whole by the December plenary session," said National Corn Growers Association Director of Biotechnology and Economic Analysis Nathan Fields.

Established under a memorandum of understanding signed in 2012, the USBCA already has developed, and is working to implement, consensus positions on key policy issues designed to improve the introduction, stewardship, domestic and international regulatory policy, and distribution in U.S. and export markets of commodities and processed products containing or derived from modern biotechnology.

The USBCA's founding organizations are the National Corn Growers Association, American Soybean Association, American Seed Trade Association, Biotechnology Industry Organization, National Grain and Feed Association, and North American Export Grain Association.  Other national organizations that subsequently have become participants in the USBCA include American Farm Bureau Federation, Corn Refiners Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Oilseed Processors Association, North American Millers' Association, United Sorghum Checkoff Program, U.S. Canola Association, U.S. Grains Council and U.S. Soybean Export Council.

CME Plans Hog Futures Changes

CME Group Inc. has released details of a plan to change contract specifications for its $10.2 billion lean hog futures market in a request for feedback circulated to customers Friday.

"We identified these potential changes to our CME Lean Hog futures contracts specifications through our ongoing product review process and outreach to customers, and we're now seeking broader customer feedback," said CME spokesman Chris Grams.

Last week, the exchange confirmed plans were underway to review existing livestock product specifications, including trading hours, after some have cited high volatility in those markets.

Grams said at the time that the exchange was working "to ensure we are providing the most effective risk-management and price-discovery tools possible and that they continue to reflect the changing needs of our customers."

The proposed changes include lengthening the period of time the exchange considers when calculating the average prices paid in the cash hog markets into an index, which is then used as a benchmark to settle expiring hog futures contracts.

CME said in the notice the wider swath of prices paid in the physical markets would "decrease the volatility of the Index and would allow prices for a greater number of cash market hogs to be reflected."

Other proposed changes include moving the expiration of the hog futures contract to the end of the month to align the contract settlement for live-cattle futures, and increasing the number of contract months to 12 from eight.

"In the near future, we'll revisit the potential changes to hours for both our CME cattle and hog contracts," added Grams.

Hog futures market participants expressed mixed opinions on the potential modifications to trading.

"I can see no argument against a more careful handling of the cash index and I don't see the point of a hedge vehicle that stops in the middle of the month," said Dennis Smith, a commodities broker at Archer Financial Services in Chicago, adding that he disagreed with the suggestion to add more contract months to the hog market.

"Nobody trades the [existing] May hog futures contact, so why would the exchange create more of those?" said Smith.

Others said they were disappointed that the proposed changes didn't include shortened trading hours. The main livestock trading session, which includes trading in CME's Chicago-based pits, runs from 10:05 a.m. ET to 2 p.m. ET. Contracts can be traded electronically nearly around the clock, from the time markets open on Monday mornings to 4:55 p.m. ET Friday afternoons, with one-hour breaks each day in the late afternoon.

The rise of electronic trading has prompted CME and other exchanges to rethink trading sessions that used to revolve around various industries' business days. However, more sporadic trading during U.S. overnight hours can at times produce wide swings in livestock prices, some market participants said.

Congressional District Profiles from the Agriculture Census Provide New Decision-Making Tools for Leaders

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) today released the 2012 Census of Agriculture Congressional District Profiles for the 113th Congress. NASS conducts the Agriculture Census once every five years.

“The congressional district profiles paint a picture of agriculture at the local level by providing data on farms and ranches and the people who operate them in each district,” said NASS Administrator Joseph T. Reilly. “As congressional leaders leave the nation’s capital and head home to their districts for summer recess, this information serves as a timely data tool to help them assess agriculture and rural community issues in their area.”

A variety of data points are published in the congressional district profiles including:
-    Number of farms, land in farms, average size of farm
-    Market value of products sold, average per farm
-    Crop sales, livestock sales
-    Government payments, average per farm receiving payments
-    Value of sales by commodity group
-    Top crop and livestock items
-    Economic characteristics
-    Operator characteristics

The congressional district profiles continue the series of products NASS has published following the May release of the 2012 Census of Agriculture results. NASS will release new products throughout the year to highlight census data on the more than 3.2 million U.S. farmers providing food, fuel, feed and fiber to the world.

“NASS is committed to providing timely, accurate and useful statistics and part of that is ensuring that data are available to leaders to make informed policy decisions on behalf of the constituents they represent in their districts,” said Reilly. “Coming up in August, we plan to publish the 2012 American Indian Reservations report and the 2012 Race, Ethnicity, and Gender Profiles, which will provide even more information for policymakers and advocates.”

For access to the 2012 Census of Agriculture Congressional District Profiles and all the other Census data and tools, visit

Tyson to Shed Three Plants

Tyson Foods Inc. said Friday that ahead of its purchase of Hillshire Brands Co., it will close three facilities it acquired in the 2001 purchase of beef and pork processor IBP Inc.

The closures, which will result in about 950 job cuts, come as Tyson was criticized by some analysts and investors over the price of its $7.7 billion deal for Hillshire, which makes Ball Park brand hot dogs, among other products. As of September 2013, Tyson had about 115,000 employees.

The company will close its Cherokee, Iowa, plant effective Sept. 27. Its Buffalo, N.Y., and Santa Teresa, N.M., sites are expected to close during the first half of calendar 2015.

Closing the three facilities, which the company said have been struggling financially, is intended to improve Tyson's performance in prepared foods.

Tyson will shift some production capacity to other plants. The company said the Iowa site would have had a prohibitive renovation cost, and it cited the distance of the New York and New Mexico plants from its Midwest raw-material supply base.

The Cherokee plant produces deli meats, ham, Canadian bacon and hot dogs. The Buffalo facility produces hot dogs, sausage and ham. The New Mexico site provides cooked items including dinner meats, diced ham and roast beef.

In June, Tyson won an auction for Hillshire, outbidding Pilgrim's Pride Corp. A formal merger agreement was announced July 2.

The deal puts Hillshire's Jimmy Dean brand sausages, Ball Park hot dogs and other meat products under the roof of Tyson, the largest U.S. meat processor by sales.

Tyson Mexico Poultry Biz Sold

Brazilian meat processor JBS SA and its unit Pilgrim's Pride on Monday said they reached an agreement to acquire poultry businesses in Mexico and Brazil from Tyson Foods Inc. for $575 million.

Of the transaction total, $400 million will be for Tyson Foods' operations in Mexico and the rest for poultry businesses in Brazil. The total amount will be paid in cash, JBS said in a statement. The acquisition still must be approved by authorities.

JBS and Pilgrim's Pride will add the acquired portfolio to their existing business, while Tyson cited a lack of scale in its decision to sell.

"Although these are good businesses with great team members, we haven't had the necessary scale to gain leading share positions in these markets," said Donnie Smith, president and chief executive of Tyson Foods. "In the short term, we'll use the sale proceeds to pay down debt associated with our acquisition of Hillshire Brands. Longer term, we remain committed to our international business and will continue to explore opportunities to extend our international presence."

The Mexican business, known as Tyson de Mexico, is based in Gomez Palacio in North Central Mexico. It has three plants and and seven distribution centers and employs more than 5,400.

Tyson's Brazil operation, known as Tyson do Brasil, has three production plants, two in Santa Catarina and one in the state of Parana, and employs 5,000.

In recent years, JBS has expanded aggressively in a wave of acquisition.

Earlier this year, JBS and Tyson waged an intense battle over Hillshire Brands Co. Tyson won the auction in early June with its offer of $63 a share, about a 70% premium to Hillshire's valuation before the bidding began. Including the assumption of debt, the deal is valued at $8.55 billion.

AgData Acquired by Vista Equity Partners

AgData, a leading provider of strategic data and analytical solutions to the world's largest agricultural, crop protection and animal health manufacturers announced that it has completed a transaction to be acquired by Vista Equity Partners, a leading private equity firm with over $11.5 billion in cumulative capital commitments in software, data and technology-enabled services companies. AgData was previously a portfolio company of SFW Capital Partners.

Founded in 1985 with headquarters in Charlotte, N.C., AgData's core product, Integrated Data Solutions, allows the world's leading input manufacturers and trait providers to analyze complex sales data, analyze sales trends, as well as to develop and maintain marketing and seed rebate programs. The company also offers AgCelerate Industry Standard Platforms, a suite of SaaS-based solutions that allow growers to self-verify their industry profile and also allows retailers to review, report, and manage transactions and licenses for growers.

The company connects with approximately 8,000 retail locations in the United States and Canada and receives, analyzes, and reconciles more than 35 million transactions annually. Its solutions served as the basis for nearly $3 billion in cash rebates paid in 2013 by agriculture and animal health input manufacturers to distributors, retailers, growers and veterinarians.

The financial terms have not been disclosed.

No comments:

Post a Comment