Thursday, July 17, 2014

Wednesday July 16 Ag News

UNL Beef Feedlot School to be Held in West Point Aug 14

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln will be offering a Beef Feedlot School at West Point, NE in August.  Feedlot employees in the area are encouraged to attend the event on August 14th at the Cuming County fairgrounds in West Point.  The goal of this program is to assist with the training of feedlot employees in the areas of animal health, management, nutrition, and Beef Quality Assurance (BQA training).  

Feedlot Audits– Mr. Rob Eirich

Third party audits are not new to cattlemen but this topic has regained interest because consumers want to know how and where their beef is raised. Rob Eirich identifies what information is being requested and how this will help to improve product integrity and consumer confidence. There are several key elements for 3rd Party Audits and tools available to assist feedyards.
Dealing With Foot Problems In Feedlots- Dr Richard Randle

The occurrence of foot rot is variable and often dependent on season.  During periods of extreme moisture, drought, frozen pen conditions or mud the incidence can increase.  Dr Randle will discuss the common causes, proper identification, and treatment options currently available.  Examples of feet from the packing plant will be used to discuss common challenges observed in feedlots.
Rumen Anatomy & Physiology- Feedlot Nutrition- Dr Matt Luebbe

Understanding the relationship between ruminal microorganisms and the host is a key component to feedlot nutrition and management.  Basic principles of nutrition and management will be discussed using the Husker Beef Lab and a ruminally fistulated steer.
Optional Beef Quality Assurance Training (BQA)

BQA training will be offered immediately following the School by Rob Eirich.  Additional cost for BQA training is $20/person.

The program will start with registration at 1:00 and adjourn at 4:45 with an optional Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) training at 5:00.

Please pre-register by phone, fax, e-mail, or mail, by Friday, August 8th for the Feedlot School ($10/person or $20 at the door). To Register Contact: Matt Luebbe at the Panhandle Research & Extension Center,   4502 Avenue I, Scottsbluff, NE  69361. Or  Phone: 308-632-1260 - Fax: 308-632-1260 - E-mail:  Please do not send cash.

For more information or to pre-register please contact Matt Luebbe ( at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center ph. 308-632-1260.

Farmland prices stabilize in Iowa, increase in Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming

Prices and demand for farmland remained strong in the first six months of 2014 in the four-state territory of Farm Credit Services of America (FCSAmerica). Farmland values appear to have stabilized in Iowa, where the market showed signs of softening in the last half of 2013. In Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming, land values continue to increase.

The number of auctions remained at 2013 levels in Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota after dropping 25 percent from a historic high in 2012. Cropland in these three states showed the greatest gains through June 2014. In Wyoming, much of the increase in farm values was driven by strong livestock prices.

These findings are based on FCSAmerica’s  semi-annual appraisal of 64 farms identified as benchmarks for land value and real estate trends. The FCSAmerica appraisal team updates values for its benchmark farms based on real estate sales through January 1 and July 1 of each year, providing one of the most robust agricultural real estate valuation databases in the Midwest.

Lower commodity prices had led to reports in early 2014 of more cautious land buyers and declining farmland values. But several years of record high profitable production and low interest rates continued to positively impact the farmland market through June. As a whole, the 64 benchmark farms rose in value by 2.4 percent in the first six months of 2014.

The chart below shows the average change in benchmark farm values by state. The number of benchmark farms for each state is shown in parenthesis.

State                    Six Month     One Year      Five Year        Ten Year

Iowa  (21)               -0.9%            -3.7%        103.0%        245.5%
Nebraska  (18)        1.5%             2.2%        143.6%         314.7%
South Dakota  (23)  5.8%             13.6%       117.2%        332.7%
Wyoming  (2)          5.8%              9.5%           7.8%          68.6%


Bruce Anderson, UNL Extension Forage Specialsit

               Can a Horse Whisperer help you handle cattle more easily?  Find out in August at the Nebraska Grazing Conference.

               Curt Pate, one of the consultants on the movie, “The Horse Whisperer”, will discuss and demonstrate low-stress animal handling techniques during the Nebraska Grazing Conference in Kearney.  Pate, who is sponsored in part by the Beef Checkoff, will talk about stockmanship and stewardship, then be followed by three Nebraska ranchers who have used low stress methods on grazinglands.

               The conference begins on Tuesday, August 12, at the Kearney Ramada.  Please note that this location is different from previous years.  While the location may be different, the topics will be as useful as ever.

               Among the featured topics will be ranchers and experts describing livestock watering options as well as research and on-ranch experience with mob grazing.  Grazing management that helps grasslands recover from drought will be discussed from both native range and managed pasture perspectives.  And along with this discussion will be a demonstration of a mobile app that will make monitoring changes in your grazinglands easier.

               Other topics will include the impact of grazing on soil health, dual purpose switchgrass for bioenergy or forage, and wildlife responses to grazing strategies.

               Full registration for the 2-day conference is $80 if postmarked by August 1 and $95 at the door.  The one-day registration rate is $45 by August 1 and $55 at the door.

               Make plans now to attend the Nebraska Grazing Conference at the Kearney Ramada on August 12 and 13.  For more information, contact your local extension office.

NCTA, Governor to dedicate pivot at “Celebrate Irrigation 2014”

College students learning irrigation technology skills will get a chance to show off a new teaching tool at their Curtis campus on September 12.

Agricultural partners and educators joined forces for the new Irrigation Technician concentration at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture.  They will dedicate a new center pivot system with a ribbon cutting and program, “NCTA Celebrates Irrigation 2014.”

Governor Dave Heineman is the keynote speaker at an 11 a.m. program, along with NCTA students, University of Nebraska leaders, and Chris Roth, president of Reinke Manufacturing, Inc., of Deshler, Neb.

Reinke is partnering with NCTA to develop the new technical skill course, and donated not only supplies and advice but in late May donated and installed the latest in technology, a GPS-equipped center pivot at the NCTA field laboratory, said Ron Rosati, NCTA dean.

“We appreciate our great partnership with Reinke, which allows us to provide hands-on learning from the welding and electronics laboratories to the farm field,” Rosati said. “This is another example of partnership between the private sector and NCTA providing opportunities for students and strengthening the agricultural economy of Nebraska.”

Nebraska irrigates more than 8.5 million acres of crops through surface and groundwater supplies.

Upgrades in technology and water efficiency requirements have prompted farmers around the globe to convert to center pivots, creating demand for trained technicians to install and maintain the systems.

The NCTA program will be the only certificate training program (16 credit hours) offered by a Nebraska college. Students will be prepared to enter the workforce immediately, or take additional training for an associate degree.

Ken Goodall, Reinke’s western U.S. sales director, said Reinke is matching $1,000 pledges from dealers for college scholarships up to $2,000 per student, in return for a pledge to work three years as an irrigation technician.

Corn Congress Elects Five Growers to 2015 Corn Board

Delegates attending the National Corn Growers Association's Corn Congress in Washington this morning elected five farmers to serve on the organization's Corn Board.  Taking office on Oct. 1, the start of NCGA's 2015 fiscal year, is new board member Jim Zimmerman of Wisconsin.  Current board members Bob Bowman of Iowa, Lynn Chrisp of Nebraska, Kevin Skunes of North Dakota and Paul Taylor of Illinois were re-elected.

"Each year, we have a terrific slate of candidates for the Corn Board, growers who have already had an impressive career of volunteer service for American agriculture," NCGA Chairwoman Pam Johnson, who chairs the nominating committee, said. "It's inspiring to see such an interest on the part of these growers, especially at a time when our industry faces so many challenges. They are all going to be a great addition to the board, and do great things for all farmers."

Bowman, who currently serves on NCGA's Corn Board, functions as the board's liaison to the Research and Business Development Team. He also serves as president of the Iowa Corn Promotion Board. He is a past president of the Iowa Corn Growers Association and past member of the U.S. Meat Exporters Federation Executive Committee. He farms with his son, growing row crops, including some identity-preserved production, in addition to running a custom fertilizer and pesticide application business.

Also a current Corn Board member, Chrisp acts as liaison to the Ethanol Committee. Additionally, he serves on both the Finance and CEO Search Committees. Previously, he has served as the Corn Board's liaison to the Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team, chaired NCGA's National Corn Yield Contest and served on the Nebraska Corn Growers Association Executive Committee. He farms a highly productive irrigated operation in south central Nebraska consisting of 1,150 acres.  With his son Brandon and part-time seasonal help, Lynn raises mostly corn with some soybeans.

Skunes, who was also reelected to the Corn Board, serves as liaison to the Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team. He previously chaired both the North Dakota Corn Utilization Council and the North Dakota Farm Bureau. Along with his wife, Betty, and their two sons, he farms 4,900 acres of corn and soybeans in Cass Country, N.D.

Current Corn Board member Paul Taylor serves on NCGA's Association Relations Committee and as the association's representative to 25x'25. In the past, he has served as vice chair of the NCGA Ethanol Committee and as president of the Illinois Corn Growers Association and Wisconsin Soybean Association. Taylor continues a farming tradition on land which has been in his family for nearly 100 years in northern Illinois. There, he raises corn, seed corn, food-grade non-GMO soybeans and canning vegetables for Del Monte, including sweet corn, lima beans and green peas. While he no longer raises livestock personally, he continues to value that component of our agricultural system.

Current NCGA Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team Chair Zimmerman was the only new member elected to the Corn Board. He serves as a director for the Wisconsin Corn Promotion Board and an advisor to the Integrated Pest and Crop Management Program. Formerly, he served as president of the Wisconsin Corn Growers Association. Zimmerman farms corn, soybeans and wheat in east central Wisconsin. A strong advocate for innovation in agriculture, his operation utilizes precision farming techniques and no-till/strip-till practices. In addition to his farm, he runs a 550,000-bushel grain storage facility, holding a state grain dealer license and a federal warehouse license.

The NCGA Corn Board represents the organization on all matters while directing both policy and supervising day-to-day operations. Board members represent the federation of state organizations, supervise the affairs and activities of NCGA in partnership with the chief executive officer and implement NCGA policy established by the Corn Congress. Members also act as spokesmen for the NCGA and enhance the organization's public standing on all organizational and policy issues.

Farmland Leasing Meetings Provide Timely Information

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is offering farm leasing meetings throughout Iowa during July and August. The three-hour workshops focus on issues related to land values and rental rates,  Iowa’s Water Quality Initiative, and the Agricultural Act of 2014.

Farm management specialists with ISU Extension and Outreach are addressing current cash rental rate surveys, factors driving next year's rents such as market trends and input costs, and answering questions land owners, tenants or others attending have about farmland leasing. Each workshop attendee receives a 100-page booklet of useful materials about farm leasing arrangements.

Other topics include Iowa Cash Rental Rate Survey and Land Values Survey, comparison of different types of leases, impacts of yields and prices, and calculating a fair cash rent.

Meeting locations are listed online through the ISU Extension and Outreach Calendar at and are available by contacting a local county extension office. Meeting fees and registration requirements may vary by location.  Here's the schedule so far....

Monday, July 28, 2014
    9:00 AM - 12:00 PM  Farmland Leasing Meeting   Oskaloosa/Mahaska County
    1:30 PM - 4:00 PM  Farmland Leasing & Land Value   Spirit Lake/Dickinson County
    6:30 PM - 9:00 PM  Farmland Leasing Meeting   Cherokee/Cherokee County

Tuesday, July 29, 2014
    9:00 AM - 12:00 PM  Farmland Leasing Meeting   Boone/Boone County
    6:30 PM - 9:00 PM  Farmland Leasing and Land Value Meeting   Le Mars/Plymouth County

Wednesday, July 30, 2014
    9:00 AM - 12:00 PM  FArmland Leasing and Land Value Meeting   Emmetsburg/Palo Alto County
    1:30 PM - 4:00 PM  Farmland Leasing and Land Value Meeting   Estherville/Emmet County
    6:00 PM - 8:30 PM  Farmland Leasing Meeting   Nashua/Chickasaw County
    6:00 PM - 8:30 PM  Farmland Leasing Meeting   Nashua/Floyd County
    6:30 PM - 8:30 PM  Farmland Leasing    Spencer/Clay County
    7:00 PM - 10:00 PM  Farmland Leasing Meeting    Altoona/Polk County

Thursday, July 31, 2014
    9:00 AM - 12:00 PM  Farmland Leasing Meeting   Nevada/Story County
    9:00 AM - 11:00 AM  Farmland Leasing & Land Value Meeting   Pocahontas/Pocahontas County
    1:30 PM - 4:00 PM  Farmland Leasing & Land Value Workshop   Storm Lake/Buena Vista County
    7:00 PM - 10:00 PM  Farmland Leasing Meeting   Grinnell/Poweshiek County
    7:00 PM - 10:00 PM  Grinnell Farmland Leasing Meeting - July 31   Grinnell/Poweshiek County

ISU Extension and Outreach and Ag Decision Maker have several helpful farm leasing information files and decision tools.  They can be found at under the heading Whole Farm.

IA DNR Stakeholder Advisors to Review Water Quality Standards Aug. 20

Water quality stakeholder technical advisors will meet Aug. 20 in Des Moines to help Iowa DNR prioritize issues and set water quality goals for Iowa's streams and rivers.

Every three years, Iowans have the opportunity to provide input to the Iowa DNR to help set goals and participate in ensuring water quality standards are current. The DNR began this process Feb. 17 by meeting with DNR staff and the 2011 technical team. The process continues with the stakeholder meeting Aug. 20 from 10 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., in the fourth floor conference rooms at the Wallace Building, 502 E. Ninth St. Des Moines.

This meeting will include a discussion of current and new water quality standards and issues the DNR and stakeholders know about and the feasibility and concerns associated with these.

Following this meeting, the "triennial review" process will seek input during six public meetings to be held around the state in early September. Written comments are also encouraged.

The completed product of this process will include a Triennial Review Work Plan summarizing the state's water quality standards goals for the next three years.

The three-year review is mandated in the federal Clean Water Act, and Iowa's clean water program is covered under Chapter 61 of the Iowa Administrative Code. Questions about the review process should be directed to Rochelle Weiss, DNR water quality standards coordinator, 515-281-4736, or

Southerland Introduces Legislation to Sink EPA’s Land Grab

The Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corp of Engineers continue to be in hot water on Capitol Hill over the proposed rule expanding federal jurisdiction over “waters of the United States.” The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Public Lands Council applaud the efforts of Rep. Southerland (R-Fla.) today to invalidate this rule.

Under the proposal, nearly all waters in the country will be subject to regulation, regardless of size or continuity of flow. Southerland’s bill H.R. 5078 Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protect Act halts any action of the EPA and the Corps regarding the proposed definition of “waters of the United States.”

“The EPA continues to claim that their proposal does not expand the reach of the Clean Water Act,” said Bob McCan, NCBA President and Texas cattleman, “but the way the proposal is written, there is no other interpretation. The vague and subjective wording gives regulators the authority and access to nearly any water, and with it, all land use activities including ranching.”

For the first time, ditches are included in the definition of a “tributary” and many will now come under federal jurisdiction. Activities near a jurisdictional ditch will now require a federal permit. As a result, many cattle operations will be required to get Sec. 402 National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits, Sec. 404 Dredge and Fill permits or Sec. 311 Spill Prevention Control, and Countermeasure spill plans.

The bill also includes a provision previously offered as stand-alone legislation by Rep. Ribble (R-Wis.) that will invalidate the “interpretive” rule, which attempts to define and interpret the “normal farming, silviculture and ranching activities” exemptions under Sec. 404 of the Clean Water Act.

According to the EPA, the 56 exempted NRCS practices, including prescribed grazing, were chosen because they have the potential to discharge if they are done in a “water of the U.S.” Effectively, the agencies have made cattle grazing a discharge activity, forcing cattle producers to obtain a NRCS-approved grazing plan or else be subjected to the 404 permitting scheme and the penalties under the Clean Water Act. 

“This proposal takes the authority Congress granted EPA far beyond the scope of Congressional intent,” said Public Lands Council President Brice Lee, a Colorado rancher. “Not only is this illegal, but it clearly disregards the Supreme Court's interpretation of the Clean Water Act jurisdiction. We appreciate Mr. Southerland and Mr. Ribble’s efforts to prevent the agencies from finalizing this regulation, which we see as the largest federal land grab in history.”

NCBA and PLC strongly support this legislation and encourages the House to pass this bill, protecting the rights of private property owners across the country.

Weekly Ethanol Production for 7/11/2014

According to EIA data, ethanol production averaged 943,000 barrels per day (b/d)—or 39.61 million gallons daily. That is up 16,000 b/d from the week before. The four-week average for ethanol production stood at 940,000 b/d for an annualized rate of 14.41 billion gallons.

Stocks of ethanol stood at 17.9 million barrels. That is a 1.9% decrease from last week.

Imports of ethanol were 5,000 b/d, down from last week.

Gasoline demand for the week averaged 380.4 million gallons daily.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production was 10.41%.

On the co-products side, ethanol producers were using 14.298 million bushels of corn to produce ethanol and 105,242 metric tons of livestock feed, 93,824 metric tons of which were distillers grains. The rest is comprised of corn gluten feed and corn gluten meal. Additionally, ethanol producers were providing 4.91 million pounds of corn distillers oil daily.

CME to Review Livestock Trading Hours

CME Group Inc. plans to review trading hours for its benchmark livestock futures contracts, a spokesman said Wednesday.

CME has contacted some customers of its futures markets to discuss potential changes to the current trading session, after some have cited high volatility in the market and, at-times, sporadic trading activity.

"Livestock customers and industry participants have asked us to review existing livestock trading hours 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 and the market," said Chris Grams, spokesman for CME, in an email. "We are beginning that process based on customer feedback."

CME, the world's largest futures exchange operator in terms of trading activity, maintains the main U.S. market for trading contracts reflecting anticipated prices for cattle and hogs.

The main trading session for those contracts, 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. CME, which also runs the main U.S. market for trading grain and soybean contracts, last year trimmed the session for those contracts after customers objected to CME's move in 2012 to extend the trading day.

Activity in CME's livestock futures markets increased 7.6% in June, with about 2.2 million cattle and hog futures contracts traded, according to exchange data. Overall activity in the markets over the first six months of this year is running slightly behind the same period in 2013.

Any change to CME's existing livestock sessions would require approval from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Ag Leader Brings New Features To AgFiniti Cloud-Based Platform

On July 1, Ag Leader Technology announced a firmware update to the Ag Leader® Integra display, which adds increased functionality to the AgFiniti® cloud-based platform. A new feature included in this update is the ability to transfer Smart Report™ application details collected by application controllers and logged in the Ag Leader Integra display.

“In the past, Smart Reports were only transferable through use of a USB drive,” explains Dave Wilson, AgFiniti Product Specialist. “With the recent firmware upgrade, growers using the Ag Leader Integra display can now export these Smart Report files wirelessly to AgFiniti, and they can then be shared through email or other AgFiniti sharing options, which makes reporting a more fluid process.”

Additionally, AgFiniti now accommodates advanced search functions for desired files. Users can flter their searches according to date or time period, and by a particular grower or feld, adding a new dimension of fexibility and customization to the AgFiniti cloud-based platform.

Spray Analysis System Technology by WinField Earns Patent

The WinField™ novel low speed wind tunnel design, a key component of the Spray Analysis System, was recognized April 8 by the U.S. Patent Office for its unique role in agricultural spray particle analysis. For farmers, the patent translates to more than new products but also more knowledge, research and insights about adjuvants and spray applications.

WinField experts conduct research in this facility by testing active ingredients and realistic tank mixtures—not just water—while air moves through the wind tunnel. A Sympatec laser then measures the droplet size spectrum that helps determine drift potential and product that may miss its intended target. Within the tunnel, researchers are able to utilize different spray nozzles while measuring up to a 140-degree stream, the widest among the industry. Controlling these variables allows WinField to test thousands of scenarios and document performance, giving farmers confidence when selecting an adjuvant for their environment.

WinField Technical Marketing Manager, Eric Spandl, says, “Our Spray Analysis System allows us to capture data more rapidly than other systems, which spurs quicker and more precise product development.” Spandl’s colleague, Joe Gednalske, director of product development for WinField, adds, “The enclosed tunnel of the Spray Analysis System enables us to conduct research year round and then couple these tests with field studies, which means farmers are continually getting insights they can use when mapping out their management plan.”

The patent serves as testimony to WinField’s commitment to research and its data-to-insights approach. Lillian Magidow, WinField Research Manager, notes, “Our facility is among the top spray labs in the country thanks to a droplet sizing system of this quality and meticulous research on all parts of the system. Our dedication to providing farmers with the utmost knowledge and insights is what led to our technology being patented.”

The Spray Analysis System was developed in 2011 as part of WinField’s pronounced commitment to spray application research. Since its inception, the Spray Analysis System has tested more than 30,000 samples – two to three studies per week on average – which has led to the understanding of how nozzles, equipment settings and adjuvants can be optimized to improve deposition and reduce drift potential.

WinField offers a complete line of adjuvants to help farmers get the best performance from their spray applications by reducing spray drift and increasing crop coverage. For more information, visit Talk to your local agronomist to learn more about the value of adding adjuvants to your spray program and to determine which adjuvants are best for your region and situation.

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