Thursday, July 31, 2014

Wednesday July 30 Ag News

Nebraska Soybean Management Field Days Set Aug. 12-15 at Four Locations

The 16th annual Soybean Management Field Days Aug. 12-15 focuses on staying competitive in a global marketplace, increasing profits and meeting the world's growing food and energy needs starting right here in Nebraska.

The field days are sponsored by the Nebraska Soybean Board in partnership with UNL Extension in the university's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources and are funded through soybean checkoff dollars. The efforts of the checkoff are directed by the United Soybean Board promoting progress powered by U.S. farmers.

The field days will offer producers unbiased and research-based information to improve their soybean profitability. Greg Peters of DeWitt, chairman of the Nebraska Soybean Board of Directors, says Soybean Management Field Days is an opportunity for soybean producers to see firsthand some management tips they may use on their operations. It also gives them a chance to visit with other producers as well as some experts from the university and industry about issues they may have that are not covered by the field day, or to give the soybean board ideas for field days next year.

The event consists of four stops across the state, each with replicated research/ demonstration plots, lunch and time for questions. Producers can obtain ideas and insight about the challenges they face in producing a quality crop at a profitable price in today's global economy.

Topics include:  herbicide applications, water quality and resistance management; growth, development and growth enhancement products; multiple soybean input study – row spacing, fungicides - foliar and seed applied, insecticides, and nutrient management; soybean irrigation management; grain marketing/ag policy/risk management; Nebraska Soybean Checkoff investment; and how to handle, store and use biodiesel in the farming operation.

By participating in the Soybean Management Field Days, producers will see their checkoff dollars at work bringing leading technology and ideas to producers.

Presenters include university specialists, educators and industry consultants.

Agronomists, plant disease, and insect specialists will be available to address production-related questions. Participants can bring unknown crop problems for complimentary identification.

The field days begin with 9 a.m. registration and conclude at 2:30 p.m. Free registration is available the day of the event. Dates, locations and directions are:
       – Aug. 12 - Louis Stukenholtz farm near Auburn.  Go 8.5 mi. W. of Peru or 7.5 mi. N. of Auburn OR 13.5 mi. S. of Nebraska City.  Field day site is ½ mi. W. of intersection of Hwy. 75 and Cnty. Rd. 736.
       – Aug. 13 - Corey and Chris Stengel farm near Shickley.  From Shickley, go W. on Hwy. 74 for 4 mi., go N. on Cnty. Rd. 2 for 2 mi.  Field day site is located just west of the intersection of Cnty. Rds. 2 and R.
       – Aug. 14 - Craig Frenzen near Belgrade.  From Fullerton, go N. on Hwy. 14 approx. 5 mi. to Hwy 52. Go W. on Hwy. 52 for 3 mi. to Cnty. Rd. 227/Cemetery Rd. Go S. on Cnty. Rd. 227/Cemetery Rd. 3 mi. or from Belgrade, go 1 mi. E. on Hwy. 52 to Cnty. Rd. 227/Cemetery Rd. and approx. 3 mi. S. Field day site is on W. side of the road.
       – Aug. 15 - Dennis Mueller farm near Snyder.  Go 1 mi. S. of Snyder on Hwy. 79. Field day site is on the W. side of the road.

The field days are sponsored by the Nebraska Soybean Board in partnership with UNL Extension in the university's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources and are funded through checkoff dollars. The United Soybean Board (USB), through soybean checkoff investments, is committed to making your checkoff pay off.

For more information about the field days and maps to sites, visit the Soybean Management Field Days Web site at Or contact the Nebraska Soybean Board at 800-852-BEAN or University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension at 1-800-529-8030.

Lawmakers Want Good TPP Deal For Agriculture

Nearly one-third of the U.S. House urged the White House to pursue a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement without countries that prove unwilling to fully open their markets to all U.S. agricultural products.

The TPP is a regional negotiation that includes the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, which account for nearly 40 percent of global GDP.

In a letter sent this afternoon to President Obama, 140 members of the House, led by Ways and Means trade subcommittee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., and Ranking Member Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., indicated that congressional support for the TPP would be jeopardized if U.S. negotiators accept anything less than elimination of all trade barriers to U.S. agricultural goods. They pointed to Japan’s current offer, demanding special treatment for its agricultural sector, including exemption from tariff elimination for certain “sensitive” products, including pork. (Click here to read the letter.)

“If accepted,” the lawmakers said in the letter, “this unprecedented and objectionable offer would significantly limit access for U.S. farmers and ranchers to the Japanese market and, most likely, to other TPP countries as well.”

They also said that accepting such a deal – as well as a less-than-ambitious offer from Canada – would set a “damaging” precedent for, and compromise, U.S. negotiations with future TPP members and on future free trade agreements, including one with the European Union.

The TPP was envisioned as a high-standard, 21st century trade agreement, so Japan and Canada must be held to the same high standards as other TPP partners, said the House members. “We owe our farmers and ranchers the best deal possible,” they concluded.

The National Pork Producers Council, which has taken a similar position on Japan’s recalcitrance on tariff elimination, welcomed the congressional show of support for U.S. agriculture.

“U.S. pork producers are grateful that Chairman Nunes, Ranking Member Rangel and many other House members are looking out for America’s farmers and ranchers,” said NPPC President Dr. Howard Hill, a veterinarian and hog farmer from Cambridge, Iowa. “It’s very important that Japan and other countries know that the U.S. Congress isn’t going to agree to a trade deal that would leave on the negotiating table billions of dollars in U.S. sales and tens of thousands of U.S. jobs.

“NPPC will not support the TPP unless the Gate Price in Japan is eliminated and all tariffs on pork in Japan and the other TPP nations are abolished,” Hill added.

Japan is the fourth largest market for U.S. agriculture, which shipped $12.1 billion of products to the island nation in 2013; Canada is the second largest export destination for U.S. agricultural goods, importing $21.3 billion worth in 2013.

Weekly Ethanol Production for 7/25/2014

According to EIA data, ethanol production averaged 954,000 barrels per day (b/d)—or 40.07 million gallons daily. That is down 5,000 b/d from the week before. The four-week average for ethanol production stood at 946,000 b/d for an annualized rate of 14.50 billion gallons.

Stocks of ethanol stood at 18.6 million barrels. That is a 3.6% increase from last week.

Imports of ethanol were 7,000 b/d, up from last week.

Gasoline demand for the week averaged 378.3 million gallons daily.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production was 10.59%.

On the co-products side, ethanol producers were using 14.465 million bushels of corn to produce ethanol and 106,469 metric tons of livestock feed, 94,918 metric tons of which were distillers grains. The rest is comprised of corn gluten feed and corn gluten meal. Additionally, ethanol producers were providing 4.97 million pounds of corn distillers oil daily.

All Retail Fertilizers Lower Again

For the second week in a row, average retail fertilizer prices tracked by DTN slid lower, though the declines were slight.  For the fourth week of July 2014, all eight of the major fertilizers were lower compared to last month, though none were down by any consequence once again.  DAP had an average price of $585 per ton, MAP $617/ton, potash $483/ton, urea $527/ton, 10-34-0 $562/ton, anhydrous $683/ton, UAN28 $345/ton and UAN32 $394/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.57/lb.N, anhydrous $0.42/lb.N, UAN28 $0.62/lb.N and UAN32 $0.62/lb.N.

With fertilizers moving higher earlier in the year, just one of the eight major fertilizers is now double-digits lower in price compared to July of 2013.  DAP, MAP and urea are all now nearly unchanged from last year. 10-34-0 is down 6% while anhydrous, UAN28 and UAN32 are all now 7% less expensive. Potash is 14% lower compared to a year earlier.

Cattle Producers Gather in Denver to Help Establish Direction for Industry

More than 650 cattle producers are expected to gather at the Cattle Industry Summer Conference in Denver this week to help set direction for industry programs. The conference will run July 30 - Aug 2. 

The event includes meetings of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Cattlemen’s Beef Board, American National CattleWomen and National Cattlemen’s Foundation. Among the purposes of the yearly conference is to create a framework for checkoff and policy efforts on behalf of U.S. cattle producers for the 2015 fiscal year, which for NCBA and the Cattlemen’s Beef Board begins Oct. 1.

Keynote speaker at Thursday’s Opening General Session is Steffan Tubbs, well-known Colorado reporter on KOA radio and co-host of a community affairs program on Colorado Public Television. Tubbs, who has nearly 25 years of news experienced and has received the prestigious Edward R. Murrow award four times, will talk about his soon-to-be-released documentary film called Droughtland, which focuses on the devastating conditions of the recent drought in Southeastern Colorado and what the drought has meant to a huge portion of the West.

Also during General Session I, W.D. Farr Scholarships will be presented to two graduate students by the National Cattlemen’s Foundation. The $12,000 scholarships are presented to students who want to further their educations in in meat science and animal agriculture. General Session I is sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc.

During General Session II on Friday, Kevin Good of CattleFax will outline the state of the cattle industry, the factors that have gotten the industry where it is and what his organization expects to see in the future. The session is sponsored by Bayer Animal Health.

“We’re seeing unprecedented conditions in our industry, and the producers who understand all of the factors for how we got here will be best positioned for success in the future,” according to Bob McCan, a beef producer from Victoria, Texas and NCBA president . “The working sessions at the Summer Conference will not only help provide that understanding, but will give participating producers a chance to play a leadership role in determining where we go from here.”

Joint Committees and Subcommittees will meet on Thursday and Friday to develop proposals for 2015 checkoff-funded research, education and promotion programs. Also on Friday NCBA policy committees will meet to determine priorities and discuss strategies for 2015. The NCBA Board will hold a session on Saturday, as will members of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board.

“Though the market has been good, our challenges remain sizeable,” says McCan. “It’s tremendous that we have so many leaders at the state and national levels who take time out of their schedules here to help chart our course.”

Cargill to Close Wis. Beef Plant

Cargill Inc. said Wednesday it is closing a Wisconsin beef plant that employs 600 workers, the latest example of how tight cattle supplies are roiling the meat business.

The closure comes after years of drought in major cattle-raising regions of the U.S. have forced ranchers to cull their herds, resulting in the smallest national cattle herd in more than six decades.

Cargill, one of the largest U.S. beef processors, said it would close the beef slaughter facility in Milwaukee, effective Aug. 1. The plant, which it purchased in 2001, has the capacity to process 1,300 to 1,400 animals daily. A separate ground-beef plant that shares the site and employs roughly 200 people will remain open.

Cargill said it made the decision after an 18-month analysis of the region's cattle supply. "The harsh reality is that the U.S. beef cattle herd is at its lowest level since 1951, with any significant herd expansion being years away," said John Keating, president of the company's Cargill Beef division, which is based in Wichita, Kan.

Cargill, which currently operates six other cattle slaughter plants, also closed one in Plainview, Texas, last year, citing the cattle shortage. National Beef Packing Co., another major producer, announced in January it would close a California processing plant that employed 1,300 workers, also because of shortages.

The dearth of cattle has sent prices for beef soaring to record highs, forcing restaurant companies and supermarkets to adjust, too, by promoting smaller steaks or pushing other items such as chicken. The situation also has led to a revival in sales of finely textured beef, a relatively low-cost beef ingredient made from processing slaughterhouse trimmings that critics dubbed "pink slime."

Tight cattle supplies have been exacerbated this year by a precipitous drop in the cost of animal feed, which has caused ranchers to keep more female cattle to breed animals and rebuild herds, in the short term cutting the number of animals entering the supply chain.

Be Wary of Wheat Quality after Wet Weather

This summer’s excessive rain has left the wheat harvest lagging behind and the crop in suboptimal condition, according to one grain management expert.

Dr. Max Hawkins, a nutritionist with Alltech’s Mycotoxin Management Team, said that the most common mycotoxin issue with wheat is Deoxynivalenol (DON), produced by Fusarium graminareum mold. This is the same mold that produces Fusarium Head Blight (FHB), and the two are commonly associated in wheat. However, in some cases DON can still be present even if FHB is not spotted.

Fusarium graminareum prefers extended wet periods or relative humidity more than 90 percent with temperatures from 59 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. The maps for June rainfall and temperature indicate these factors have been in play across a major portion of the Grain Belt.

“In the 2014 wheat crop, there are reports from across the U.S. of DON levels ranging from two parts per million (ppm) to 14 ppm. There are areas where the wheat has been relatively free of DON and bushel test weights have been excellent,” Hawkins said. “However, the areas contaminated with DON are increasing as rainfall and temperature play a more significant role. There have been recent reports of wheat being rejected at grain terminals for DON levels ranging from five ppm to more than 10 ppm.”

A standard alternative to corn in poultry and swine diets, wheat can be formulated into a diet on a lysine basis and provide similar nutritional value. Wheat can also be utilized to stretch a short corn supply or at certain times be a more economic replacement for corn. However, just as in corn, there can be a risk for mycotoxins.

“Wheat producers may have used fungicide to help prevent FHB but this requires proper timing and application rates to be more effective,” Hawkins said. “If there is variability in plant maturity across a field at application, this will result in fungicide being improperly timed for a percentage of the wheat crop. This will result in a percentage of the plants not being protected against FHB and at risk for DON formation.”

Since DON tends to be higher on light weight, damaged kernels or fines, Hawkins advises these tips for wheat growers:
-    Be proactive by increasing fan speed on combines to 1375 to 1475 rpm and increasing shutter openings to 3.5 inches.
-    When storing grain, it should be screened as it goes into storage and screened again when it is removed from storage.
-    Screening should not be used for livestock feed.
-    If the wheat grain contains DON, the straw from the crop will contain DON also so care must be used if the straw is destined for feeding or bedding.

“It is highly recommended to have the grain analyzed prior to feeding. Alltech’s 37+TM laboratory provides an in-depth analysis of 38 different mycotoxins and not only analyzes for DON but also for six different Type B Trichothecenes that can be formed by Fusarium graminareum,” Hawkins said. “The employment of a total mycotoxin management program that covers all areas from the field to the feeder will provide the greatest amount of information and the safest feed possible.”

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