Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tuesday September 30 Ag News

Bruce Anderson, UNL Extension Forage Specialist

Your corn is about to get combined.  Maybe you are wondering if you should bale some of the stalks.  Is it worth it?

What are corn stalk bales worth?  One way to look at it is from the cost stand point.  Nutrients removed by stalk bales may need to be replaced with extra fertilizer.  Using this fall’s prices, stalks contain about ten dollars worth of nitrogen, phosphate, sulfur, and lime per ton.

Corn stalk removal also can reduce soil organic matter, increase erosion risk, and increase soil water evaporation.  Nebraska research shows that dryland corn yield declines about two bushels for each ton of residue removed while irrigation cost increases similarly to maintain corn yield.  That’s another eight dollars or so per ton.

Baling stalks tends to cause much more wear and tear on equipment than other baling operations so labor and equipment costs average twenty to twenty-five dollars per ton.  Totaled together, these costs amount to forty to fifty dollars per ton of corn stalks removed.

So, what are corn stalks worth as a feed?  One rule of thumb suggests the dollar feeding value is just a bit higher than straw.  But feed value of stalks varies greatly, and cattle tend to waste more of it.  If you bale the entire field you may only have three to four percent protein and less than fifty percent TDN.  Harvest just the tailings in the two or three rows behind the combine and TDN increases to the lower fifties and protein to about five percent.  But you should test to make sure.

Are baled corn stalks worthwhile?  These numbers suggest that it may be a toss-up, depending a lot on local feed supplies and your individual ability to either cut costs or feed efficiently.

Sales Tax Exemption for Agricultural Repair and Replacement Parts

Kim Conroy, NE Tax Commissioner

LB 96, passed by the Unicameral in April 2014, provides a sales and use tax exemption for repair and replacement parts used to repair agricultural machinery and equipment. This sales tax exemption becomes effective October 1, 2014. The farmer or rancher purchasing eligible repair and replacement parts must issue a properly completed Nebraska Resale or Exempt Sale Certificate, Form 13, Section B, exempt category 2, to the seller to exempt the purchase from sales tax.

The Nebraska Department of Revenue has updated the “Nebraska Agricultural Machinery and Equipment Sales Tax Exemption” information guide to incorporate the changes made by LB 96. In addition, the Nebraska Resale and Exempt Sale Certificate, Form 13, has been updated to identify the exemption for repair and replacement parts used to repair agricultural machinery and equipment.

Farmers or ranchers who paid sales tax on depreciable repair and replacement parts for agricultural machinery and equipment used in commercial agriculture prior to October 1, 2014, may obtain a refund of the tax paid by filing a Nebraska Sales and Use Tax Refund Claim, Form 7AG-1. The Department will continue to accept refund claims for tax paid on depreciable repair and replacement parts as long as the refund claims are filed within three years after the date of purchase.

Nebraska Farm Bureau Reminds Farmers, Ranchers of Sales Tax Change

The Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation (NFBF) is reminding farmers and ranchers that repair and replacement parts for agricultural machinery and equipment will no longer be subject to Nebraska sales and use taxes, effective Oct. 1. The change in Nebraska state law is the result of the passage of Nebraska Farm Bureau supported legislation during the 2014 session of the Nebraska Unicameral.

“Nebraska Farm Bureau is an advocate for Nebraska’s farm and ranch families and that includes having a daily presence at the State Capitol to represent our members. We are pleased to have worked on behalf of our members to be part of the effort to provide this much needed change in Nebraska tax policy,” said Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president.

Prior to the change, Nebraska was one of only eight states that charged sales tax on repair and replacement parts on agricultural machinery and equipment.

“Nebraska’s previous sales tax policy put Nebraska farmers and ranchers doing business with in-state equipment dealers at a competitive disadvantage with their counterparts in neighboring states. It also created an incentive for Nebraska farmers and ranchers to cross state lines for repair needs,” said Nelson.

The change in state law is estimated to save Nebraska farmers and ranchers between $9 million and $10 million collectively each year. The legislation initiating the tax policy change was introduced by Sen. Annette Dubas of Fullerton. Governor Dave Heineman signed the bill into law in April.

“We are very appreciative of Sen. Dubas and her colleagues in the legislature who helped to make this change. We thank Gov. Heineman for his support as well,” said Nelson.

Iowa agriculture cooperatives agree on best environmental practices

Members of the Agriculture’s Clean Water Alliance (ACWA), agreed to the Code of Practice for 2014 outlining guidelines for consistent and responsible application of nutrients during a recent meeting.

“The Code of Practice is essential to ensuring consistent use of best practices as we move into fall nutrient application,” said Dave Coppess, executive vice-president of sales and marketing at Heartland Coop and vice-president of the ACWA. “It is important that we all are on the same page and agree on how and when we will apply nutrients in a way that is best for the environment and the farmer.”

The ACWA Code of Practice is a formal agreement among the retailers stating they will delay fall anhydrous applications without a nitrification inhibitor until soil temperatures are 50 degrees F and trending lower. ACWA members use the county soil temperature and forecast maps compiled by Iowa State University, available at http://extension.agron.iastate.edu/NPKnowledge, as a reference point for soil temperatures.

“Accountability is a key benefit and concern of ACWA,” said Roger Wolf, ACWA executive director. “It is important that all members act responsibility and the Code of Practice is just one way that they hold each other responsible for their actions and demonstrates that the ag supply chain can voluntarily align with the public mission programs such as the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.”

The Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy is a science-based initiative that seeks to reduce nitrate and phosphorous loads in Iowa waterways by 45 percent from point and nonpoint sources.

ACWA encourages farmers in targeted subwatersheds to adopt nutrient management enhancements to maximize nutrient use efficiency and help protect the watershed’s water quality. Nutrient management enhancements include use of nitrogen stabilizers, slow release fertilizers, incorporation or injection, soil nitrate testing and other technologies that minimize loss of nitrogen to surface or ground water sources. Special NRCS Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) funds are available for eligible farmers in these areas.

Other practices to reduce nitrate flow from tile systems include tile line denitrification bioreactors, constructed wetlands, conservation stream buffers and fall cover cropping systems. More information on these targeted watershed initiatives is available at www.acwa-rrws.org/.

“Accurate fertilizer application is always important to farmers and in this time of softening grain prices it is definitely top of mind,” said Coppess. “The Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy is a year old and the agriculture community remains committed to implementing practices to further the strategy and protect water quality.”

For more information about the ACWA, visit www.acwa-rrws.org/.

New Look and Feel for MyBeefCheckoff.com

The beef checkoff launched a totally redesigned MyBeefCheckoff.com on Sept. 28, providing checkoff payers, leaders, staff and media with an easy-to-navigate selection of checkoff resources and information to highlight checkoff programs and results.

For the first time, MyBeefCheckoff.com will display photos and profiles of both Beef Board members and members of the Federation of State Beef Councils who serve on checkoff program committees. Where this is especially important is in another new feature, a “Meeting Center” that incorporates information from the old MyBeefCheckoffMeeting.com blog (which will go offline soon) along with new ‘visual rosters’ to help all checkoff payers better understand who represents them on each committee. The meeting center will offer committee materials – such as meeting agendas, minutes, presentations, etc. – as well as reporting from and photos of the meetings, and display it all in the Meeting Center.

The remake modernizes and simplifies organization of materials and makes everything accessible from drop-down menus at the top of every page. In addition, the site is “responsive,” which means it views the same on all electronic devices, from computer to laptop to tablet to smartphone.

“MyBeefCheckoff.com is really our one-stop source of information about our national $1-per-head beef checkoff,” says Jeanne Harland, chairwoman of the checkoff’s Producer Communications Working Group and a producer from LaFayette, Ill. “Through this site, producers have an opportunity to get to know their checkoff by reading about the latest results of our investments into checkoff programs.”

The home page also features a MyBeefCheckoff Facebook feed, daily news feed, and facts for producers to share via their own social-media platforms.

For more information about your beef checkoff investment, visit the new MyBeefCheckoff.com.

Nation's Ag Co-ops Set Record for Annual Sales and Income

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that the nation's farmer, rancher and fishery cooperatives set a new sales record in 2013, with total business volume of more than $246 billion. That surpasses the previous record, set in 2012, by $8 billion, a 4 percent gain. U.S. co-ops also enjoyed robust job growth over the previous year.

This third consecutive year of record sales by ag cooperatives reflects increased sales in the overall farm economy in 2013. U.S. crop production and livestock sales both increased 6 percent in 2013, while production input (farm supply) sales increased 2 percent.

"These sales and net income records for ag cooperatives, combined with strong gains in employees for 2013, underscore the strength and productivity of the nation's farmer- and rancher-owned cooperatives. These co-ops play a vital and growing role in the nation's economy," Vilsack said.

Secretary Vilsack made the announcement to mark the start of National Cooperative Month in October. He also signed a Cooperative Month proclamation that salutes the nation's entire cooperative business sector, which includes about 30,000 co-ops. In addition to agriculture, the nation's co-ops play a major role in electricity and telecommunications services, credit and financial services, housing and in many other sectors of the economy.

Ag co-ops also enjoyed record net income (before taxes) of $6.2 billion, besting the previous high of $6.1 billion, set in 2012. Co-op income is either reinvested in the co-op for needed improvements or returned to the member-owners. It then circulates in local communities.

The number of full-time employees working for ag co-ops climbed by almost 7,000 in 2013, to 136,000, up 5 percent from 2012. Counting seasonal employees, ag co-ops employ 191,000 people.

In addition to marketing and processing their members' crops and livestock, co-ops are also major players in the farm supply market. Co-op sales of petroleum, feed, seed and crop protectants were all up in 2013. Fertilizer sales declined, the only major farm supply to see sales drop in 2013.

With grain and oilseed prices generally lower in 2014, it appears unlikely that co-ops will set a fourth consecutive sales record when the results are tallied next year. However, livestock, poultry and dairy producers and their co-ops will benefit from lower feed costs, which should offset at least some of the decline in revenue from grain and oilseed sales.

While 33 ag cooperatives recorded more than $1 billion in sales in 2013, 33 percent (726 co-ops) had less than $5 million in sales.

The value of cooperative assets fell in 2013 by almost $1 billion, with liabilities decreasing by $5.3 billion and owner equity gaining $4.5 billion. Equity capital still remains low but is clearly showing an upward trend, with a 15 percent increase over the previous year.

Patronage income (refunds from other cooperatives due to sales between cooperatives) increased by almost 33 percent, to $1.2 billion, up from $900 million in 2012.

U.S. farm numbers remained about the same in 2013 as in 2012, with USDA counting 2.1 million in both years. There are now 2,186 farmer, rancher and fishery cooperatives, down from 2,236 in 2012. Mergers account for most of the drop, resulting in larger cooperatives.

Producers held 2 million memberships in cooperatives in 2013, down about 7 percent from 2012. The number of cooperative memberships is slightly less than the number of U.S. farms, but this does not mean that every producer is a member of an agricultural cooperative. Previous studies have found that many farmers and ranchers are members of up to three cooperatives, so farm numbers and cooperative memberships are not strictly comparable.

Farmers have chance to direct $3.3 million to nonprofits

Farmers now have the opportunity to contribute $3.3 million to organizations in their communities.  To honor and support the tradition of service organizations in rural America, the America’s Farmers Grow Communities program is partnering with farmers to direct $2,500 donations to individual nonprofit organizations. The program, which kicked off its fifth year on August 1, benefits 1,324 counties across 40 states.

Organizations that received funding in the past include fire departments, food pantries, community groups, and youth service programs like FFA and 4-H. In the smaller, rural communities where this program operates, a donation like this can make the difference in dozens of lives. The results include better-equipped volunteer fire departments, food pantries stocked with more fresh produce, improved meeting halls and fair grounds, and opportunities for youth leadership development.

Since its inception in 2010, Grow Communities has invested more than $16 million in 6,000 nonprofit organizations across rural America. In Nebraska alone, Grow Communities has provided $1,157,500 to nonprofit organizations over the past five years.

America’s Farmers Grow Communities is part of the America’s Farmers initiative. These programs, supported by the Monsanto Fund, have awarded over $23 million to rural communities since 2010. Connect with America’s Farmers on Facebook or @AmericasFarmers on Twitter. Join the #GrowCommunities conversation today.

To enroll or learn more, visit www.AmericasFarmers.com, or call toll-free 877-267-3332.

New Calculator Can Help Soybean Farmers with Seed Decisions

Facing lower soybean cash prices this year, farmers are looking for opportunities to add to their bottom lines. Growing identity-preserved (IP) soybeans is one option for additional profit opportunities, but the costs can seem overwhelming to farmers thinking about getting started.

U.S.-soy-industry-led board QUALISOY developed a calculator that can help farmers determine how much profit they can add by growing IP soybeans, including high oleic varieties.

The calculator, based on a Purdue University study, helps farmers navigate the typical steps required to produce and segregate IP soybeans and gives them an estimate of added profit potential. The United Soybean Board’s Value Task Force funded the study.

“The charge of the Value Task Force is to try to find the next big thing that could really create opportunities for soybean farmers, and we feel that there is a lot of opportunity in IP soybeans,” says Dan Corcoran, a soybean farmer from Piketon, Ohio, and chair of the Value Task Force. “Whether a farmer has ever grown IP soybeans before or not, this tool will help determine the potential value that is out there.”

This calculator, available for use on http://soyinnovation.com/inputs-handling/, also gives a quick look into the limited costs associated with growing IP or high oleic soybeans.

“The soybean calculator is easy to access and has straightforward questions,” says Corcoran. “It takes you on a logical path to get a basis for non-IP products and what it takes to deliver a crop. Then it goes into the additional costs and revenue associated with growing IP soybeans.

“This tool helps you make an educated business decision by removing a large amount of guesswork. It gives soybean farmers a good overview of exactly what we need to invest when we choose to grow IP.”

Right now, opportunities available for soybean farmers to grow IP include non-GMO, food-grade and high oleic soybeans. However, high oleic soybeans have easier handling procedures compared with other IP soybeans. The calculator takes those factors into consideration when delivering its results.

“With the current state of soybean prices, it is important for soybean farmers to grow a product that has increasing demand,” concludes Corcoran. “This concept of growing a product that customers are demanding is beneficial for farmers in general.”

U.S. Biodiesel industry Challenges EU Trade Barriers

The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) on Tuesday filed comments with the European Commission challenging unfair trade duties that have blocked U.S. biodiesel from being exported to Europe since 2009.

NBB urged the commission to allow duties on U.S. biodiesel to expire this year as scheduled, citing overwhelming evidence that global trade for biodiesel has changed dramatically since the duties were imposed and that continuing the duties is protectionist and unnecessary.

NBB also emphasized that European biodiesel producers are able to sell biodiesel in both Europe and the United States without duties or limitation and can freely participate in U.S. policies such as the Renewable Fuel Standard and the U.S. biodiesel tax incentive. At the least, NBB said, U.S. producers should be able to participate in the European market without having to pay punitive duties

“We have presented a strong case for ending these protectionist barriers that are unfairly hurting U.S. biodiesel producers even as European producers are taking advantage of the U.S. market,” said Anne Steckel, NBB’s vice president of federal affairs. “As we speak, European biodiesel producers are sending biodiesel to the U.S., with significant policy support, while at the same time the European market has been cut off from U.S. producers.”

“The bottom line is that biodiesel trade is dramatically different in 2014 than it was in 2009 when the U.S. industry was just getting off the ground,” Steckel said. “Eliminating these duties will level the playing field and allow U.S. producers to fairly compete in accordance with international law – just as we are allowing European producers to do in the U.S. market.”

The original biodiesel trade duties were imposed by the European Commission on July 7, 2009 and were slated to expire this year. However, the Commission is currently conducting an “expiry review” over whether to reinstate them at the request of European industry. The review is expected to last 12 to 15 months.

Among the points highlighted in NBB’s filing Tuesday:
-    U.S. imports of biodiesel from the EU have grown in recent years while EU imports of U.S. biodiesel have been virtually eliminated.
-    The U.S. biodiesel tax incentive, which was the primary basis for the EU’s initial trade duties, is currently not in effect and hasn’t been in effect for three of the past five years.
-    Because it is structured as a blender’s incentive, the U.S. biodiesel tax incentive is available to European producers, when it is in effect, in the same way it is available to U.S. producers. Additionally, European imports to the U.S. can qualify for the RFS, the policy that requires specific volumes of renewable fuels to be blended into the U.S. fuel supply.
-    The U.S. biodiesel market has evolved significantly since 2009 and, with required volumes under the RFS creating a strong and growing domestic market, it is unlikely that eliminating the trade barriers would lead to a flood of U.S. biodiesel exports to Europe.

Mosaic Cuts Production

Mosaic Co. said Tuesday it is cutting back phosphate fertilizer production because of high sulfur and ammonia prices.

The move isn't expected to result in employee layoffs, but will lead to lower operating rates at Mosaic's mines and concentrates plants, the company said.

"Phosphate raw material input costs are disconnected from fundamental agricultural economics, and have escalated despite weaker grain and oilseed prices," Chief Executive Jim Prokopanko said.

He said the company will focus on margins in the near term and limit the buildup of inventory during the seasonally-slow part of the year.

The company also said it expects potash and phosphate sales volumes to be at or near the lower-end of the previously communicated ranges for the third quarter. The less-optimistic guidance stems from weather-driven production outages in potash and by timing of shipments in phosphates.

Cheminova Launches HARROW™ Herbicide

Cheminova, Inc. today announced the launch of HARROW™ Herbicide, a selective herbicide for use in field corn that provides both burndown and residual control of annual grass and broadleaf weeds. An affordable alternative to Basis® Blend herbicide, HARROW may be applied fallow, at preplant, preemergence and postemergence. It provides control of key weeds including annual bluegrass, foxtail, lambsquarters and velvetleaf.

“With HARROW, field corn growers have a flexible herbicide solution that may be used to control weeds at almost any time during the growing season,” said Ken Phelps, Product Manager, Cheminova, Inc. “In addition, HARROW complements our existing portfolio of sulfonylurea herbicides which has grown to include 12 products providing growers effective and affordable weed control across both row and specialty crops.”

The active ingredients in HARROW are rimsulfuron and thifensulfuron-methyl. HARROW will be packaged in 8 x 20 ounce bottles and is on sale September 25.

CWT Assists with 2.7 Million Pounds of Cheese

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 8 requests for export assistance from Northwest Dairy Association and Tillamook County Creamery Association to sell 1.116 million pounds (506 metric tons) of Cheddar, Gouda and Monterey Jack cheese to customers in Asia and the Middle East. The product will be delivered December 2014 through March 2015.

Year-to-date, CWT has assisted member cooperatives in selling 85.642 million pounds of cheese, 48.189 million pounds of butter and 33.171 million pounds of whole milk powder to 43 countries on six continents. These sales are the equivalent of 2.117 billion pounds of milk on a milkfat basis. Figures are adjusted for cancellations that occurred during the month.

Assisting CWT members through the Export Assistance program, in the long-term, helps member cooperatives gain and maintain market share, thus expanding the demand for U.S. dairy products and the U.S. farm milk that produces them in the rapidly growing world dairy markets. This, in turn, positively impacts U.S. dairy farmers by strengthening and maintaining the value of dairy products that directly impact their milk price.

Merck Animal Health Launches Dairy C.A.R.E. Initiative

Merck Animal Health today introduced a new Dairy C.A.R.E. initiative to support the significant efforts of dairy producers to provide the best quality care for their animals. An extension of the Dairy Care365™ program, this new initiative focuses on providing resources on animal husbandry practices and hiring. Dairy C.A.R.E. also offers communication resources to help producers enhance awareness and understanding of their commitment to animals within their own communities. 

“When it comes to managing a productive dairy operation, there are a lot of parts that need to be moving in harmony, and it’s important that we provide our customers with more than products to help them achieve success,” said Scott Nordstrom, D.V.M., director of dairy technical services for Merck Animal Health. “Training and maintaining sound policies and practices are critical to that success. They also help a producer to establish very clear performance expectations for employees who are hands on with the animals every day.” 

Developed with input from veterinarians, university experts and dairy farmers, Dairy C.A.R.E. includes workforce resources, sample animal care commitment statements and policies, and standard operating procedures (SOPs) that outline how animals should be handled to optimize their health and well-being. Working with their veterinarians, dairy farmers can customize these materials to meet the specific needs of their farm or use them to enhance the programs.

The initiative also includes the Dairy Care365™ animal handling training videos that feature real on-farm settings to provide a realistic representation of how cows behave and react to their surroundings. Through these videos, employees learn how to work with dairy cattle and youngstock safely and effectively, move cows to the milking parlor and handle non-ambulatory cows. Available in English and Spanish, every video concludes with testing to gauge employee understanding of the material. 

Merck Animal Health is offering hands-on Dairy C.A.R.E. workshops to help farmers customize the materials for their farms, which are free and open to farmers who register for the Dairy Care365TM program. For more information about the Dairy C.A.R.E. initiative and workshops, visit www.DairyCare365.com.

Calls Growing to Boycott Discover for HSUS Credit Card

Alex Fitzsimmons, Center for Consumer Freedom

HumaneWatch, a project of the Center for Consumer Freedom, has called for a boycott of credit card company Discover for its decision to start a new affinity card benefiting the deceptively named Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). Below are some facts about HSUS that prompted our call to boycott the organization:
-    The Oklahoma Attorney General has opened an investigation of HSUS, issuing subpoenas in July.
-    In May, HSUS paid up to  $15.75 million to settle a federal RICO lawsuit alleging bribery and fraud.
-    Charity Navigator revoked its rating of HSUS in June, replacing it with a “Donor Advisory.”
-    HSUS gets a “C-minus” grade from the well-respected CharityWatch.
-    HSUS has a radical agenda to put farmers out of business.
-    HSUS only gives 1% of the money it raises to local pet shelters, despite its name and its ads full of dogs and cats.

This announcement coincides with the recent launch of BoycottHSUS.com, where visitors can learn more about HSUS and sign our petition.

USDA Grain Stocks & Small Grains summaries - Sept 30 2014


Nebraska old crop corn stocks in all positions on September 1, 2014 totaled 141 million bushels, up 77 percent from 2013, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.  Of the total, 48.0 million bushels are stored on farms, up 118 percent from a year ago.  Off-farm stocks, at 93.3 million bushels, are up  63 percent from last year. 

Old crop soybeans stored in all positions totaled 6.73 million bushels, down 32 percent from last year.  On-farm stocks of 1.45 million bushels are down 42 percent from a year ago and off-farm stocks, at 5.28 million bushels, are down 28 percent from 2013. 

Old crop sorghum stored in all positions totaled 1.30 million bushels, up 68 percent from 2013.  On-farm stocks totaled 170,000 bushels and off-farm holdings are 1.13 million.

Wheat stored in all positions totaled 66.3 million bushels, up 31 percent from a year ago. On-farm stocks of 10.0 million bushels are up 52 percent from 2013 and off-farm stocks of  56.3 million bushels are up 28 percent from last year. 

Oat stocks on farm are 1.00 million bushels, up 67 percent from last year.

Iowa Grain Stocks

Iowa  corn  stocks  stored  in  all  positions  on  September  1,  2014  totaled  268 million  bushels  according  to  the  USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service September 1 – Grain Stocks report.  This is 32 percent more than the same quarter last year.  Of the total stocks, 34 percent were stored in on-farm storage facilities.  The indicated quarterly disappearance from June through August totaled 460 million bushels, 27 percent more than the 362 million bushels used during the same quarter last year.

Iowa  soybeans  stored  in  all  positions  on  September  1,  2014  totaled  21.6 million  bushels,  down  46  percent  from September 1, 2013.  This is  the lowest September 1 stocks since 1973.  Of the  total stocks, 27 percent were held  in on-farm storage facilities.  Indicated disappearance for  the June - August quarter was 72.6 million bushels, 15 percent more than the 63.2 million bushels used during the same quarter last year.

Iowa oat  stocks  stored  in  on-farm  facilities  on September  1,  2014  totaled  2.3 million  bushels,  4  percent  less  than  the 2.4 million bushels on hand September 1, 2013.

USDA: Corn Stocks Up 50 Percent from September 2013

Soybean Stocks Down 35 Percent
All Wheat Stocks Up 2 Percent

Old crop corn stocks in all positions on September 1, 2014 totaled 1.24 billion bushels, up 50 percent from September 1, 2013. Of the total stocks, 462 million bushels are stored on farms, up 68 percent from a year earlier. Off-farm stocks, at 774 million bushels, are up 42 percent from a year ago. The June - August 2014 indicated disappearance is 2.62 billion bushels, compared with 1.95 billion bushels during the same period last year.

Old crop soybeans stored in all positions on September 1, 2014 totaled 92.0 million bushels, down 35 percent from September 1, 2013. Soybean stocks stored on farms totaled 21.3 million bushels, down 46 percent from a year ago. Off-farm stocks, at 70.6 million bushels, are down 30 percent from last September. Indicated disappearance for June - August 2014 totaled 313 million bushels, up 6 percent from the same period a year earlier.

Based on an analysis of end-of-marketing year stock estimates, disappearance data for exports and crushings, and farm program administrative data, the 2013 soybean production is revised to 3.36 billion bushels, up 69.2 million bushels from the previous estimate. Planted area is revised up 307,000 acres to 76.8 million acres, and harvested area is revised up 384,000 acres to 76.3 million acres. The 2013 yield, at 44.0 bushels per acre, is up 0.7 bushel from the previous estimate. A table with 2013 acreage, yield, and production estimates by States is included on page 17 of this report.

All wheat stored in all positions on September 1, 2014 totaled 1.91 billion bushels, up 2 percent from a year ago. On-farm stocks are estimated at 722 million bushels, up 30 percent from last September. Off-farm stocks, at 1.19 billion bushels, are down 9 percent from a year ago. The June - August 2014 indicated disappearance is 711 million bushels, down 28 percent from the same period a year earlier.

Durum wheat stocks in all positions on September 1, 2014 totaled 60.2 million bushels, down 9 percent from a year ago. On-farm stocks, at 41.4 million bushels, are down 4 percent from September 1, 2013. Off-farm stocks totaled 18.9 million bushels, down 20 percent from a year ago. The June - August 2014 indicated disappearance of 18.4 million bushels is up 25 percent from the same period a year earlier.

Barley stocks in all positions on September 1, 2014 totaled 179 million bushels, down 9 percent from September 1, 2013. On-farm stocks are estimated at 98.0 million bushels, 7 percent below a year ago. Off-farm stocks, at 80.8 million bushels, are 11 percent below September 2013. The June - August 2014 indicated disappearance is 83.6 million bushels, 17 percent below the same period a year earlier.

Oats stored in all positions on September 1, 2014 totaled 73.2 million bushels, 15 percent above the stocks on September 1, 2013. Of the total stocks on hand, 40.5 million bushels are stored on farms, 9 percent higher than a year ago. Off-farm stocks totaled 32.7 million bushels, 24 percent above the previous year. Indicated disappearance during June - August 2014 totaled 22.0 million bushels, compared with 37.5 million bushels during the same period a year ago.

Old crop grain sorghum stored in all positions on September 1, 2014 totaled 34.0 million bushels, up 125 percent from a year ago. On-farm stocks, at 1.95 million bushels, are up 223 percent from last year. Off-farm stocks, at 32.1 million bushels, are up 121 percent from September 1, 2013. The June - August 2014 indicated disappearance from all positions is 58.4 million bushels, up 125 percent from the same period a year ago.

Old crop sunflower stocks in all positions on September 1, 2014 totaled 201 million pounds, down 41 percent from a year ago. All stocks stored on farms totaled 25.1 million pounds and off-farm stocks totaled 176 million pounds. Stocks of oil type sunflower seed are 114 million pounds; of this total, 19.8 million pounds are on-farm stocks and 94.0 million pounds are off-farm stocks. Non-oil sunflower stocks totaled 87.0 million pounds, with 5.30 million pounds stored on the farm and 81.7 million pounds stored off the farm.


Winter wheat  production  is  estimated  at  71.1 million bushels,  up  78  percent  from  last  year,  according  to  USDA’s  National  Agricultural  Statistics Service.    Planted  acreage  totaled  1.55 million  acres,  up  5  percent  from  a  year  earlier.   Acres harvested  for grain  totaled 1.45 million acres, 27 percent above 2013.   Yield at 49 bushels per acre, is up 14 bushels from a year ago and a record high.

Oat production is estimated at 1.60 million bushels, down 2 percent from 2013.  Planted acreage totaled 90,000, down 40 percent from a year earlier.  Area harvested for grain, at 20,000 acres, is down 5,000 acres from a year ago.  Yield of 80 bushels per acre, is up 15 bushels from last year and a record high.

Iowa Ag News – Small Grains

OAT production is estimated at 3.52 million bushels, down 11 percent from last year according to the USDA, National  Agricultural  Statistics  Service,  Small  Grains  2014  Summary.   This  is  Iowa’s  second  lowest  oat production on  record.  Oats planted  at 145,000  acres  is down 34 percent  from  last  year.   Harvested  area  for grain  is 55,000 acres, down 8 percent from 2013.   Oat yield, at 64.0 bushels per acre,  is down 2 bushels from last year.

WINTER WHEAT  production,  at  735,000  bushels,  is  down  33  percent  from  last  year.    Planted  acreage  at 26,000 is down 13 percent from 2013.  Winter wheat harvested area is 15,000 acres, down 29 percent from last year.  Winter wheat yield, at 49.0 bushels per acre, is down 3 bushels from 2013.

USDA Small Grains 2014 Summary - September 2014

All wheat production totaled 2.04 billion bushels in 2014, down 5 percent from the revised 2013 total. Area harvested for grain totaled 46.5 million acres, up 3 percent from the previous year. The United States yield is estimated at 43.8 bushels per acre, down 3.3 bushels from the previous year. The levels of production and changes from 2013 by type are winter wheat, 1.38 billion bushels, down 11 percent; other spring wheat, 601 million bushels, up 12 percent; and Durum wheat, 57.1 million bushels, down 2 percent.

Oat production is estimated at 70.5 million bushels, up 9 percent from the revised 2013 total but represents the fourth lowest production on record. Yield is estimated at 67.8 bushels per acre, up 3.7 bushels from the previous year. Harvested area, at 1.04 million acres, is 3 percent above last year. This is the third lowest acreage harvested for grain on record.

Barley production is estimated at 180 million bushels, down 17 percent from the revised 2013 total. Average yield per acre, at 73.4 bushels, is up 2.1 bushels from the previous year and represents a record high for the United States. Producers seeded 2.98 million acres in 2014, down 16 percent from last year. Harvested area, at 2.46 million acres, is down 19 percent from 2013.

Monday, September 29, 2014

September 29 Crop and Harvest Progress Reports - NE - IA - US


For  the week ending September 28, 2014, above normal  temperatures accelerated the dry down of row crops as producers waited for grain moisture levels to decline, according to the USDA’s  National  Agricultural  Statistics  Service.   Rain  at  midweek  was  heaviest  in  central  counties  with amounts  limited  elsewhere. There  were  6.1  days  suitable  for  fieldwork.  Topsoil  moisture  supplies  rated  4 percent very short, 23 short, 70 adequate, and 3 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 8 percent very short,  25 short, 65 adequate, and 2 surplus.
Field Crops Report:

Corn  conditions  rated  2  percent  very  poor,  6  poor,  19  fair,  51  good,  and  22  excellent.    Corn  dented  was  97  percent,  near  99  for  both  last  year  and  the  average. Corn mature was  63  percent,  near  60  last  year  and 66 average. Corn harvested was 7 percent, near 8 last year, but behind 16 average.

Soybean conditions rated 1 percent very poor, 5 poor, 20 fair, 54 good, and 20 excellent.   Soybeans dropping leaves was  76  percent,  behind  82  last  year,  but  near  77  average.  Soybeans  harvested was  6  percent,  behind 12 last year and 17 average.

Sorghum conditions rated 2 percent very poor, 5 poor, 32 fair, 39 good, and 22 excellent. Sorghum coloring was 97 percent, near 99  last year, but ahead of 93 average. Sorghum mature was 60 percent, ahead of 46  last year and 43 average. Sorghum harvested was 2 percent, equal to last year and near 4 average.

Alfalfa hay conditions rated 2 percent very poor, 5 poor, 29 fair, 52 good, and 12 excellent.  Alfalfa hay fourth cutting was 77 percent complete, near 73 last year and 79 average.

Winter wheat  planted was  78  percent,  ahead  of  63  last  year  and  68  for  the  five-year average. Winter wheat emerged was 43 percent, ahead of 26 last year and 31 average.
Livestock,  Pasture  and  Range  Report: 

Pasture  and  range  conditions  rated  6  percent  very  poor,  7  poor,  33 fair, 45 good, and 9 excellent.  Stock water supplies rated 1 percent very short, 5 short, 92 adequate, and 2 surplus. 

Access the National publication for Crop Progress and Condition tables at: http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/usda/nass/CropProg//2010s/2014/CropProg-09-29-2014.txt

Access  the  High  Plains  Region  Climate  Center  for  Temperature  and  Precipitation  Maps  at: http://www.hprcc.unl.edu/maps/current/index.php?action=update_region&state=NE&region=HPRCC

Access the U.S. Drought Monitor at: http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/Home/StateDroughtMonitor.aspx?NE


Above average temperatures pushed crops towards maturity during the week  ending September  28,  2014,  according  to  the USDA, National Agricultural  Statistics  Service.    There  were  5.3  days  suitable  for fieldwork.  Activities for  the week  included harvesting early corn and soybeans, chopping silage, and harvesting hay. 

Topsoil  moisture  rated  0 percent  very  short,  5 percent  short, 83 percent adequate, and 12 percent surplus.  Subsoil moisture levels rated  1 percent  very  short,  8 percent  short,  82 percent  adequate,  and 9 percent surplus.  Southwest Iowa was the wettest with over one-third of its topsoil in surplus condition.

Ninety-six  percent  of  Iowa’s  corn  crop  was  in  or  beyond  the  dent stage. Corn mature  reached 58 percent,  surpassing  last  year, but  still 8 days behind normal.   Corn harvest has begun across  the State, with 76  percent  of  the  acreage  reported  in  good  to  excellent  condition. 

Leaves were turning color on 94 percent of the soybean crop, equal to the five-year average for this stage for the first time this season.  Sixty-five percent of  the soybean acreage was dropping  leaves,  still 3 days behind normal.   Soybean harvest was underway and 74 percent of  the acreage was in good to excellent condition.

The  third  cutting  of  alfalfa  hay was  91 percent  complete,  just  over 2 weeks  behind  both  2013  and  average.   Pasture  condition  rated 67 percent good  to excellent.   Little stress on  livestock was observed.  High manure levels have been reported in some pits and lagoons.

USDA Weekly Crop Progress

Soybean harvest increased by 7 percentage points and corn harvest rose 5 percentage points in the week ended Sept. 28, according to USDA's latest Crop Progress report.  Ten percent of the nation's soybeans are in the bin, compared to 3% last week and a 17% five-year average.

Twelve percent of the corn crop is harvested, compared to 7% last week and a 23% five-year average. Forty percent of U.S. corn still is not mature.

Winter wheat is 43% planted and 14% emerged, compared to five-year averages of 36% and 12%, respectively. Spring wheat harvest is nearly complete at 94% complete.

Monday September 29 Ag News

Cuming County 4-H Members Participate at Ak-Sar-Ben

Cuming County 4-H members had another good year at the 87th annual Ak-SaBen Youth Livestock Exposition that was held September 25-28 at the Century Link Center in Omaha.  According to Larry Howard, UNL Extension Educator in Cuming County, there were twenty nine (29) 4-H members from Cuming County that participated.

In the Rabbit show, Joshua Sebade of Emerson exhibited his Netherland dwarf which was named the Best of Show, Champion Fancy Breed and Best of Breed.  Evie Schlickbernd of West Point was awarded Best of Breed with her Mini Satin.

Complete show results are as follows:

Rabbit Show

Fancy Mini-Rex - Purple:  Evie Schlickbernd, West Point
Fancy Mini-Satin - Purple:  Evie Schlickbernd, West Point x2, Blue:  Evie Schlickbernd, West Point; Joshua Sebade, Emerson.
Fancy Netherland-Dwarf - Purple:  Joshua Sebade, Emerson, x2 - Blue:  Joshua Sebade, Emerson
Showmanship - Purple:  Joshua Sebade, Emerson

Market Beef Show

Calf Challenge
Live - Purple: Heath Schroeder, West Point - Red:  Nathan Groth, Beemer
Showmanship - Purple:  Heath Schroeder, West Point - Blue:  Nathan Groth, Beemer
Overall - Blue:  Heath Schroeder, West Point - Red:  Nathan Groth, Beemer
Market Heifer
Purple:  Ryan Schroeder, Wisner
Blue:  Kali Stratman, West Point; Evie Schlickbernd, West Point; Cassidee, Stratman, West Point
Market Steer
Purple:  Emily Ludwig, Wisner; Haley Schroeder, West Point; Chase Albers, Wisner; Megan Scroeder, Wisner
Blue:  Heath Schroeder, West Point; Cassidee Stratman, West Point
Red:  Ross Klitz, West Point
Purple:  Megan Schroeder, Wisner; Haley Schroeder, West Point; Cassidee Stratman, West Point
Blue:  Ross Klitz, West Point; Ryan Schroeder, Wisner; Evie Schlickbernd, West Point; Heath Schroeder, West Point
Herdsmanship: Purple

Market Lamb Show

Market Ewe Lamb
Blue:  Tymare Ott, Wisner; Chase Ott, Wisner
Market Wether Lamb
Blue:  Kennedie Ott, Wisner x2; Chase Ott, Wisner
Red:  Kennedie Ott, Wisner; Tymarie Ott, Wisner
Red:  Kennedie Ott, Wisner
Herdsmanship: Blue

Breeding Beef Show

Simangus-Calved Jan 1, 2013-Feb 28, 2013
Purple:  Emily Ludwig, Wisner
Mainetainer-Calved May 1, 2013-June 30, 2013
Blue:  Kali Stratman, West Point
Angus-Calved Apr 1, 2013-Apr 30, 2013
Blue: Shaila Bennett, Beemer
Blue:  Shaila Bennett, Beemer; Emily Ludwig, Wisner
Herdsmanship:  Blue

Market Swine Show

Market Gilt
Blue:  Kate Gnad, West Point; Megan Groth, Beemer; Elizabeth Karnopp, Oakland; Nathan Groth, Beemer x2; Jamie Plagge, West Point; Anna Karnopp, Oakland; Allison Guenther, West Point
Market Barrow
Purple:  Blake Guenther, West Point; Hunter Schroeder, West Point
Blue:  Elizabeth Karnopp, Oakland; Kate Gnad, West Point; Anna Karnopp, Oakland; Hunter Schroeder, West Point; Tiffany Plagge, West Point
Purple:  Hunter Schroeder, West Point; Blake Guenther, West Point; Tiffany Plagge, West Point
Blue:  Jamie Plagge, West Point; Nathan Groth, Beemer; Elizabeth Karnopp, Oakland; Anna Karnopp, Oakland
Herdsmanship:  Blue

Dairy Show

Jersey-Winter Yearling 12/1/2012-2/28/2013
Blue:  Paige Rolf, West Point
Jersey-Fall Yearling 9/1/2012-11/30/2012
Blue:  Paige Rolf, West Point
Blue:  Paige Rolf, West Point
Herdsmanship:  Purple

2014 Fitting Challenge

Blue:  Ryan Schroeder, Wisner; Heath Schroeder, West Point; Haley Schroeder, West Point
Blue:  Paige Schroeder, Fremont; Megan Schroeder, Wisner; Hunter Schroeder, West Point


Bruce Anderson, UNL Extension Forage Specialist

I have a real legal dilemma today.  And it has to do with cover crops, cover crops that you want to graze or harvest as forage.

What is the dilemma, you ask?  Well, the dilemma is that, from a legal standpoint, it may be illegal for you to use your cover crop as a harvested forage or for grazing.

The problem stems from herbicides used.  With the exception of glyphosate, most herbicides commonly used with our annual crops have rotational restrictions on how soon various crops can be planted after that herbicide was used.  That includes forage crops.  And if the label doesn’t specifically mention your cover crop, or one of the species in your cover crop cocktail, then the rotational restriction automatically becomes the maximum interval, which usually is 18 months.

So – what does this mean from a practical standpoint?  For starters, if you graze or harvest as forage a cover crop that falls under a rotational restriction, technically you are breaking the law.  And potential penalties are severe.  Your livestock could be quarantined or even destroyed.  And it doesn’t matter whether the crop was seed corn, hailed out, chopped for silage, or combined normally.

Does this mean these cover crops aren’t safe?  Well, the correct answer is ‘we don’t know for sure’.  Sufficient herbicide residue tests have not been conducted to determine a tolerance level for the herbicide on that specific cover crop.  That’s why it’s illegal.  Even if you or other farmers have used this cover crop forage with no ill effects in the past, it is still illegal.

Now – will you get caught if you use it anyway?  Well, that’s another story and a risk, similar to speeding down the highway. that you must decide for yourself.  The risk of harm or of getting caught may be small, but penalties severe.

New UNL Extension Crop Publications

The following publications were recently revised by UNL Extension and are available on the Extension Publications website. Those listed relate to agricultural crop production or rural living. View hundreds of other publications free online at this site.

EC846 Nebraska Cash Corn Price and Basis Patterns (Revised) - http://www.ianrpubs.unl.edu/epublic/live/ec846/build/ec846.pdf

EC2004 Precision Agriculture: Management Practices for Collecting Accurate Data and Avoiding Errors During Harvest - http://www.ianrpubs.unl.edu/epublic/live/ec2004/build/ec2004.pdf

G2245 Corn Soil-Water Extraction and Effective Rooting Depth in a Silt-Loam Soil - http://www.ianrpubs.unl.edu/epublic/live/g2245/build/g2245.pdf

G2243 Sudden Death Syndrome of Soybean (New) - http://www.ianrpubs.unl.edu/epublic/live/g2243/build/g2243.pdf.

'2,000 Bull Project' Targets Cattle Traits

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists are investigating methods to help beef cattle producers further improve genetic evaluations for routinely measured traits such as growth and calving ease. They are also targeting economically important traits like feed efficiency and disease resistance that are expensive or difficult to measure.

In 2007, scientists started the "2,000 Bull Project" at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Roman L. Hruska U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (USMARC) in Clay Center, Nebraska, to study relationships between genomic variation and economically important traits in 16 breeds. ARS is USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency, and this research supports the USDA priority of promoting international food security.

USMARC geneticists Mark Thallman and Larry Kuehn and their colleagues worked with U.S. cattle breed associations to obtain genomic profiles of 2,000 bulls from those 16 breeds to promote the development of genomic predictions. For each breed, the project provided the first substantial set of high-density genotypes, which are being used by breed associations as a starting point to incorporate genomic data into their breed improvement programs.

Growth is a routine and easily measured trait that is related to increased feed consumption, but an animal's feed efficiency-how much feed is required to produce a unit of growth-is more economically important to producers. However, individual feed intake is not practical to measure on large numbers of animals in commercial operations. Instead, a more feasible approach is to use research populations to develop genomic predictions for traits such as individual feed intake, disease resistance and meat tenderness that are expensive or difficult to measure.

At USMARC, thousands of cattle have been evaluated for such traits, and about 15,000 have been genotyped. The researchers' goal is to detect genomic regions that affect these traits to improve the accuracy of genomic tests available to producers. Also, the scientists are sequencing the genomes of bulls that have the most descendants in the USMARC population, which may lead to more accurate predictions across breeds and benefit the industry.

As part of this effort, geneticist Warren Snelling is focusing on identifying DNA sequence variation that affects gene function to help predict important traits consistently across many breeds. Snelling has demonstrated that this technique can be used to identify genetic markers predictive of meat tenderness.

Read more about this research in the September 2014 issue of Agricultural Research magazine.


Preliminary prices received by farmers for winter wheat for September 2014 averaged $5.45 per bushel, a decrease of 37 cents from the August price according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

The preliminary September corn price, at $3.30 per bushel, decreased 38 cents from the previous month.

The preliminary September sorghum price averaged $5.65 per cwt, a decrease of 46 cents from August.
The preliminary September soybean price, at $11.00 per bushel, was down $1.00 from last month.

The September alfalfa hay price, at $109.00 per ton, was down $3.00 from August. The other hay price, at $86.00 per ton, was down $1.00 from August.

The preliminary September dry edible bean price, at $28.00 per cwt, was down $2.70 from last month. 
Oat prices were withheld to avoid disclosing data for individual operations. 


The preliminary September 2014 average price received by farmers for corn in Iowa was $3.30 per bushel according to the  latest  USDA,  National  Agricultural  Statistics  Service  –  Agricultural  Prices  report.  This  is  down  $0.31  from  the August price, and $2.36 lower than September 2013.

The preliminary September 2014 average price received by farmers for soybeans, at $11.30 per bushel, was down $1.10 from the August price, and $2.60 lower than the September 2013 price.

The preliminary September oat price was $3.40 per bushel, down $0.07 from August, and $0.62 below September 2013. 

All hay prices in Iowa averaged $140.00 per ton in September, down $5.00 from the August price, and $51.00 per ton less than September 2013.   Alfalfa hay prices fell $57.00 per  ton from one year ago,  to $153.00 and other hay prices were $30.00 per ton lower than last year, at $100.00.  

The preliminary September average price was $25.80 per cwt for milk, up $1.20 from August, and $5.40 per cwt above one year ago.  

September Farm Prices Received Index Decreased 3 Points

The preliminary All Farm Products Index of Prices Received by Farmers in September, at 106 percent, based on 2011=100, decreased 3 points (2.8 percent) from August. The Crop Index is down 3 points (3.3 percent) but the Livestock Index was unchanged. Producers received lower prices for hogs, corn, soybeans, and cattle. Higher prices were received for broilers, milk, strawberries, and apples. In addition to prices, the overall index is also affected by the seasonal change based on a 3-year average mix of commodities producers sell. Increased monthly movement of soybeans, corn, potatoes, and calves offset the decreased marketing of cattle, wheat, cotton, and barley.

The preliminary All Farm Products Index is up 3 points (2.9 percent) from September 2013. The Food Commodities Index, at 119, decreased 1 point (0.8 percent) from last month but increased 13 points (12 percent) from September 2013.

All crops:

The September index, at 87, decreased 3.3 percent from August and is 12 percent below September 2013. Index decreases for oilseeds & grains and vegetable & melon production more than offset the index increases for other crop production and fruit & tree nut production.

Food grains: The September index, at 83, is unchanged from the previous month but 14 percent below a year ago. The September price for all wheat, at $5.72 per bushel, is down 26 cents from August and $1.08 below September 2013.

Feed grains: The September index, at 58, is down 7.9 percent from last month and 36 percent below a year ago. The corn price, at $3.38 per bushel, is down 25 cents from last month and $2.02 below September 2013. Sorghum grain, at $6.58 per cwt, is 55 cents below August and $1.59 below September last year.

Oilseeds: The September index, at 89, is down 8.2 percent from August and 15 percent lower than September 2013. The soybean price, at $11.20 per bushel, decreased $1.20 from August and is $2.10 below September 2013.

Livestock and products:

The September index, at 131, is unchanged from last month but up 21 percent from September 2013. Compared with a year ago, prices are higher for cattle, milk, broilers, calves, hogs, turkeys, and market eggs.

Meat animals: The September index, at 133, is down 2.9 percent from last month but 23 percent higher than last year. The September hog price, at $73.40 per cwt, is down $9.80 from August but $2.70 higher than a year ago. The September beef cattle price of $156 per cwt is down $2.00 from last month but $34.00 higher than September 2013.

Dairy products: The September index, at 124, is up 3.3 percent from a month ago and 24 percent higher than September last year. The September all milk price of $25.00 per cwt is up 90 cents from last month and up $4.90 from September 2013.

Poultry & eggs: The September index, at 133, is up 5.6 percent from August and 16 percent above a year ago. The September market egg price, at 82.5 cents per dozen, decreased 3.6 cents from August but is 0.2 cents above September 2013. The September broiler price, at 66.0 cents per pound, is up 5.0 cents from August and 11.0 cents above a year ago. The September turkey price, at 77.3 cents per pound, is up 1.7 cents from the previous month and up 9.4 cents from a year earlier.

Prices Paid Index Unchanged

The September Index of Prices Paid for Commodities and Services, Interest, Taxes, and Farm Wage Rates (PPITW) is at 111 (2011=100). The index is unchanged from August but 4 points (3.7 percent) above September 2013. Higher prices in September for feeder cattle, potash & phosphate, LP gas, and herbicides offset lower prices for complete feeds, feeder pigs, hay & forages, and feed grains.

Quality and Handling of the 2014 Iowa Crop

Charles R. Hurburgh, Jr.
Professor, Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, Iowa Grain Quality Initiative

Every year brings on a new set of challenges for harvest and grain management; in the past five years we have gone from very wet to very dry. Last year’s scorching heat at the very end of the season caused large variations in quality even within the same field. In 2014, planting pace was about normal, temperatures were 1-3 degrees below normal and moisture was well above normal - especially in the August and September grain fill period. Western and southwestern Iowa were 3-6 inches over normal for moisture in this period. This combination of weather conditions put the 2014 crop 7-10 days behind normal maturity. Over most of the state, the cold temperatures on September 13-14, 2014, were just above major frost damage levels. Fortunately the 8-14 day outlook from the National Weather Service (NWS) is for above-normal temperatures and normal moisture. Now we need heat for a successful harvest.

On September 1, 2014, USDA projected the corn yield in Iowa to be 185 bu/acre, up 20 bu/acre from 2013, and the soybean yield to be 51.0 bu/acre, up 6.5 bu/acre from 2013. Both crops are anticipated to be at record levels for total production, 2.44 billion bushels for corn and 510 million bushels for soybeans. These numbers are important for grain storage decisions because the production versus carryover versus storage balance looks like (numbers in billion bushels):

Iowa Production

      Corn             2.44
      Soybeans     0.51
Carryover (both)   0.82 as of June 1 (may be high now)
To store in 2014 - 3.77 billion bushels


 On Farm 2.10
 Off Farm 1.40   
               3.50bb - Even with the use since June, this is a very tight situation

Nebraska Notes

Corn - Nebraska's 2014 corn crop is forecast at 1.57 billion bushels. Corn stocks totaled 444 million bushels as of June 30; 190 million bushels were on farm.
Soybeans - Nebraska's soybean harvest is forecast at 284 million bushels. Soybean stocks totaled 36.9 million bushels, of which 3.9 million bushels were on farm.

Quality - Corn

Moderate temperatures and adequate moisture in grain fill should create well-filled kernels, which will give generally high test weights (57 lb/bu and higher). High test weight means above average storage properties. This is good because a considerable amount of 2014 corn is going to have to carry over in to 2016. How high the test weights get will depend on the weather for the next week or two. Warm temperatures will complete the fill; cool and wet will slow down maturity. Either way, the lateness of the growing season will ensure above-average moisture. Average moisture for Iowa is about 17-18%; delaying maturity will take away several high drydown days; expect 20% moisture or more unless October is very warm. A very wet crop like 2009 is not so likely with our current weather conditions and forecasts.

Corn with high test weight stores well, but producers are reminded not to mix 2014 with 2013 corn, which had poor storage properties. For best results, rotate stock for corn that has been carried over, which does create logistical issues when done during harvest. If you have high test weight corn, consider more bin cooling or dryeration, stopping at a percent or so higher moisture than normal. This will increase dryer capacity, as long storage bins have aeration at 0.1 cfm/bu or greater. Identify the highest test weight fields or hybrids and place in long-term storage bins.

Exceptions: Corn with leaf blight, storm damage, or frost damage will need to be harvested quickly to avoid ear loss. This corn will also be on the lower end for test weight and storability. If the cool wet weather is extended, scout for field mold as buyers would be looking primarily for vomitoxin in these cases.

The tight storage situation will mean heavy flow to grain elevators in the later season once farm bins are full. Consider sending some grain to the elevator early and continue with this plan throughout the season. Elevators will have to fill piles covered with tarps and other less flexible storage this year. Allowing elevators to start filling early will even the flow and reduce the risk of having to put wetter corn in these storage locations.

Quality – Soybeans

Expect generally well-filled pods with large beans with good protein and oil, except where frost or sudden death syndrome (SDS) was a factor. A warm period will allow soybeans to take their usual rapid nosedive in moisture, but this will probably occur later than normal. Soybeans will rewet in the field after the initial fall, and from then on field drying is much slower. The window for harvesting at lower moistures may be short this year. Soybean moistures up to 14-15% can be managed with aeration, but soybeans are often stored in bins that do not have this equipment.

The key management actions are the same as always, although there may be a little more leeway in storage times/shelf life.
-    Uniform drying and cooling
-    Adequate aeration (0.1 + cfm/bu)
-    Cooling cycle every 10-15 degree change of outside air versus grain
-    Get below 40o F as fast as possible
-    Take out the center core of fines immediately
-    Regular inspection, temperature monitoring
-    Temperature change is important (3 degrees increase in two weeks without aeration being run is significant)
-    Stay within temperature-moisture guidelines even if we are on the high end this year

Iowans to tour farms in South African region Oct. 6-13, gauge investment potential

A group of Iowans will assess the outlook for agricultural investments in Africa on a week-long fact-finding tour in October to farms in South Africa, Zambia and Mozambique.

The delegation headed by noted ag journalist Ken Root and analyst Maurice Clark will tour properties managed by EmVest Agricultural Corp., a Pretoria, South Africa-based ag fund involved in growing, processing and distributing various commodities across three countries and five regions in sub-Saharan Africa. Participants in the Peoples Company Africa Tour organized by ag real estate specialists Peoples Company will view farming practices in this emerging market firsthand on Oct. 6-13.

Home audiences can get their own view of the region through the lenses of farming techniques and mechanization as well as investment risk assessment through reports during and after the trip. Root and a videographer aim to document farming practices, culture, government regulations and overall land productivity as presented by EmVest farm managers.

Reports from the field will be posted on the Twitter, Facebook and YouTube accounts of Peoples Company, and on its website at peoplescompany.com/blog/. Root also plans to air updates on the Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network and on the Agribusiness Report during newscasts on WHO-TV, Des Moines, and KCRG-TV in Cedar Rapids. A thorough perspective will be a feature of the eighth annual Land Investment Expo presented by Peoples Company on Jan. 23 at the Sheraton Hotel West Des Moines.

The seed for this fact-finding tour was planted in a Land Expo keynote by EmVest CEO Susan Payne at the fourth annual event in 2011, said Peoples Company President Steve Bruere. Payne’s initial talk on agriculture’s role in food security to communities, regions and countries was well received by the Land Expo audience and earned her a repeat invitation in 2013, when she termed opportunities in Africa “the highest impact investment you can make.”

Payne also commented that she likes coming to Iowa because it’s the agricultural heartland of America and she operates from the agricultural heartland of Africa.

Through repeat presentations at the Land Investment Expo, “Susan opened everyone’s eyes as far agriculture in Africa,” Bruere said. “A lot of people now view Africa as the final frontier for agricultural production in the world.

“What’s very intriguing to me about what Africa can offer is not only as a producer but also as a supplier. With a growing population of hungry people in the region, it’s a domestic market play for investors. This Iowa delegation will be seeing the ability to produce and helping to understand what’s going on with the economy and other factors land investors must look at.”

This year’s update on African agriculture should fit nicely with keynote presentations by other experts already confirmed for January’s 2015 Land Investment Expo, Bruere added. Influential investor Dennis Gartman, who keeps a close eye on Brazilian soybeans, corn and cotton in his role as editor and publisher of The Gartman Letter as well as frequent contributor on CNBC and Bloomberg TV, will discuss commodities and capital markets. Eric O’Keefe, editor of The Land Report, the magazine of the American landowner, also will appear as a keynote speaker.

More information about the 2015 Land Investment Expo is available at www.LandInvestmentExpo.com or by phoning 855-800-LAND (5263).

2015 National Beef Ambassadors Selected

Rachel Purdy (Wyoming), Will Pohlman (Arkansas), Alicia Smith (Texas), Kalyn McKibben (Oklahoma), Demi Snider (Ohio) were chosen as the 2015 National Beef Ambassador Team at the annual National Beef Ambassador competition, which is funded in part by the beef checkoff and managed by the American National CattleWomen, Inc, contractor to the beef checkoff. (Pictured L to R: Kalyn McKibben, Rachel Purdy, Will Pohlman, Alicia Smith and Demi Snider.)

Twenty senior contestants, ages 17-21, were judged in the areas of consumer promotion, education and outreach strategy, media-interview technique and issues response at the event in Denver, Sept. 26-27.

Contestants from throughout the country vied for a spot on this elite team of agriculture advocates and for the $5,000 in cash prizes sponsored exclusively by Farm Credit. Additionally, five educational scholarships totaling $5,000 were awarded by the American National CattleWomen Foundation, Inc. and Monsanto.

This year’s contest also hosted a junior competition for youth beef-industry advocates, ages 12-16. Ten passionate contestants vied for cash prizes, competing in three judged categories: consumer promotion, media-interview technique and issues response. The first-place winner was Phillip Saunders (Virginia). The second place winner was Bret Lee (Louisiana), and the third place winner was Abbey Schiefelbein (Minnesota). They all took home checks from Farm Credit for their top scores.  

While preparing for this national beef promotion and education competition, youth across the nation learn about beef and the beef industry with support from state CattleWomen and Cattlemen’s associations and state beef councils. The preparation highlights industry issues of current consumer interest. Winners of the state competitions compete at the national level, where they receive additional training. After the event, the youth ambassadors speak to industry issues and misconceptions and educate their peers and meal-time decision makers about beef nutrition, cattle care, safety and more during consumer events, in the classroom and online.

Follow the National Beef Ambassadors on Twitter at @beefambassador and visit www.nationalbeefambassador.org or www.ancw.org for more information.

USDA Launches Current Agricultural Industrial Reports Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) announces the launch of the Current Agricultural Industrial Reports (CAIR) survey program. NASS will collect and publish vital statistics for the dry and wet alcohol milling and flour milling sectors.

The Current Industrial Reports program began in 1904 at the Census Bureau and was discontinued in 2011 due to budget reductions. Beginning this year, NASS will collect data and publish the industrial reports. In addition to the flour milling, and dry and wet alcohol milling sectors, CAIR surveys will also result in reports on the cotton, and fats and oilseeds industries.

“As soon as the Census Bureau announced they were discontinuing the Current Industrial Reports, we began hearing from agriculture stakeholders around the country about the impact this decision had on the industry,” said NASS Administrator Joseph T. Reilly. “These reports are such an important element of sound economic policy planning and are used for market analysis, forecasting, and decision making that we knew we had to provide the data and I’m glad that beginning this year NASS is able to do just that.”

To prepare for the program launch, NASS already conducted extensive work building up baseline profiles for the industries. On the ethanol production side, the agency will work with 200 facilities, with a reported nameplate capacity of 14.792 billion gallons per year. On the flour milling side, NASS plans to survey 183 facilities, which have a reported 24-hour milling capacity of 1,594,755 hundredweight.

NASS has a long history of collecting and publishing agriculture data. As is the case with all NASS surveys, information provided by respondents is confidential by law. NASS safeguards the privacy of all responses ensuring that no individual producer or operation can be identified. Survey responses are confidential and used only in combination with similar reports from other producers. Title 7, U.S. Code, Section 2276 and the Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act prohibit disclosure of individual information.


Two years ago, Monsanto launched the Corn Rootworm Knowledge Program, designed to reward the research and academic community for outstanding projects that addressed specific aspects of the pest and how best to manage it. Now, with $6 million in funding and 13 research projects currently underway, Monsanto is expanding the program to include projects on insect pests that can significantly impact all row crops across the U.S.  

Monsanto’s new Insect Management Knowledge Program (IMKP), is set up similar to its predecessor, providing merit-based awards of up to $250,000 per award per year for up to three years for projects that will enhance the collective understanding of insect management. Monsanto has committed an additional $3 million over three years to support this public sector research on insect management.

The IMKP will be guided by an 11-person Advisory Committee that is co-chaired by Dr. Sherri Brown, vice president of science strategy for Monsanto, and Dr. Steven Pueppke, associate vice president of research and graduate studies for Michigan State University. The committee consists of academics and growers, and provides guidance on integrated pest management, as well as recommendations for areas of basic research on insect resistance and management that would be of interest to growers, the academic community and Monsanto.

“With the rootworm program, we saw true collaboration take place between ourselves and the academic community, which has shown us both new ways of thinking and conducting our own research in this vital area of agriculture,” said Brown. “It made perfect sense to expand the program to include insect pests that can impact row crops such as soybeans and cotton.”

Researchers may submit proposals in the areas of sustainable pest management; development of predictive models for developing resistance; biochemical, genetic and molecular characterization of pest resistance to control methods; facilitation of multi-year surveys of U.S. insect pest populations; and farmer education and training on insect management.

“Our hope is that this program, similar to its predecessor, will provide both industry and academia valuable research to continue to enhance our collective understanding of insect management, leading to even more effective solutions for farmers in the future,” said Pueppke.

Applicants and other interested parties should visit www.monsanto.com/insectmanagement for additional information, key dates and instructions on how to apply.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Friday September 26 Hogs & Pigs Report + Ag News


Nebraska inventory of all hogs and pigs on September 1, 2014, was 3.05 million head, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.  This was unchanged from September 1, 2013, but up 2 percent from June 1, 2014.  

Breeding hog inventory, at 390,000 head, was down 2 percent from September 1, 2013, but unchanged from last quarter.  Market hog inventory, at 2.66 million head, was up slightly from last year, and up 2 percent from last quarter.  

The June - August 2014 Nebraska pig crop, at 1.85 million head, was up 4 percent from 2013.  Sows farrowed during the period totaled 170,000 head, up 3 percent from last year.  The average pigs saved per litter was a record high of 10.90 for the June – August period, compared to 10.85 last year.

Nebraska hog producers intend to farrow 175,000 sows during the September – November 2014 quarter, up 6 percent from the actual farrowings during the same period a year ago.  Intended farrowings for December 2014 – February 2015 are 170,000 sows, up 3 percent from the actual farrowings during the same period the previous year.  


On September 1, 2014,  there were 20.7 million hogs and pigs on Iowa farms,  the  third highest  inventory on record according  to  the latest  USDA  National  Agricultural  Statistics  Service  Hogs  and  Pigs  report.  The  September 1  inventory  was  up  8  percent  from June 2014 but down 1 percent from last September’s record high of 20.9 million head. The 1.60 million head increase from June was the largest quarterly increase since 1997.  

The  June-August  quarterly  pig  crop  was  5.46 million  head,  the  biggest  quarterly  pig  crop  in  20  years.  A  total  of  510,000  sows farrowed during this quarter, up 9 percent from the previous quarter. The average pigs saved per litter was 10.70 for the June-August quarter, setting a new record for pigs saved per litter.   

As  of  September  1,  producers  planned  to  farrow  500,000  head  of  sows  and  gilts  in  the  September-November  2014  quarter  and 490,000 head during the December-February 2015 quarter.

United States Hog Inventory Down 2 Percent

United States inventory of all hogs and pigs on September 1, 2014 was 65.4 million head. This was down 2 percent fromSeptember 1, 2013, but up 6 percent from June 1, 2014.  Breeding inventory, at 5.92 million head, was up 2 percent from last year, and up 1 percent from the previous quarter.  Market hog inventory, at 59.4 million head, was down 3 percent from last year, but up 7 percent from last quarter.

The June-August 2014 pig crop, at 29.5 million head, was down 1 percent from 2013. Sows farrowing during this period totaled 2.91 million head, up 1 percent from 2013. The sows farrowed during this quarter represented 50 percent of the breeding herd. The average pigs saved per litter was 10.16 for the June-August period, compared to 10.33 last year. Pigs saved per litter by size of operation ranged from 8.00 for operations with 1-99 hogs and pigs to 10.20 for operations with more than 5,000 hogs and pigs.

United States hog producers intend to have 2.89 million sows farrow during the September-November 2014 quarter, up 4 percent from the actual farrowings during the same period in 2013, and up slightly from 2012. Intended farrowings for December-February 2015, at 2.87 million sows, are up 4 percent from 2014, and up 3 percent from 2013.

The total number of hogs under contract owned by operations with over 5,000 head, but raised by contractees, accounted for 46 percent of the total United States hog inventory, unchanged from last year.

Beef Sustainability Survey

(Kristin Hassebrook, NE Cattlemen)

You have probably noticed in recent years the emergence of a new term, “sustainable beef.” What this means and why we even need to discuss it are certainly topics for debate; however, major retail purchasers of beef in the U.S. have made declarations they will begin sourcing “sustainable beef” in the coming years. This term also appears frequently in questions posed to beef producers by our consumers. This means it will impact us whether we want it to or not. Too often beef has let others define our story and when it comes to some of the key themes of sustainability the U.S. beef community has a great story to tell.

In this effort, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) has undertaken significant scientific research in to the sustainability of beef production. This research is funded by the beef checkoff. The first phase of the Beef Industry Sustainability Assessment has been completed using data from the Meat Animal Research Center in Clay Center, Nebraska. The results were recently certified by NSF International, lending credible, third-party verification to the study, helping to prove that beef is sustainable. The results of phase one can be found HERE.... http://beefresearch.org/beefsustainabilityresearch.aspx

In phase two of the assessment, the work is being expanded to include data from individual cattle producing regions across the country. By looking at regional practices and incorporating that information into the study, the research will be more representative and we will be better able to tell the beef story through sound science. To accomplish this goal we need help from you, beef producers!

We are asking cow-calf and stocker operators to complete this 15 min survey, all results will be confidential and will not be traceable to the individual operation. CLICK HERE FOR SURVEY... https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Nebraska-Cow-Calf-Stocker

We are asking feedyard operators to complete this 25 min survey, all results will be confidential and will not be traceable to the individual operation. CLICK HERE FOR SURVEY... https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Nebraska-Feeder

The Beef Industry Sustainability Assessment is not an attempt to force a change in practices or advocate a one-size-fits-all approach to beef production. There are few things less sustainable than a one-size-fits-all approach. Rather, we are working to prove and showcase beef’s improved sustainability overtime. If you are interested in learning more about this Beef Checkoff Research Program please visit beefresearch.org.

Thank you for your help in this important project for the beef industry.

State High School Students Attend World Food Prize Nebraska Youth Institute

            Nebraska high school students attended the World Food Prize Nebraska Youth Institute at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Sept. 19.

            Food security – people's ability to not live in hunger or fear of starvation – is the focus of the World Food Prize Nebraska Youth Institute. This also is the focus of the World Food Prize Global Youth Institute in Des Moines with which the Nebraska institute is affiliated. The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources collaborates with the World Food Prize Foundation and the Malaika Foundation in hosting the institute.

            Fourteen Nebraska high school students participated in the institute led by the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication in CASNR

            Seven of those students advance to the World Food Prize Global Youth Institute in Des Moines Oct. 16-18. These students will be among the 100 high school students to attend the institute, held in conjunction with the World Food Prize Symposium. The World Food Prize often is internationally regarded at the Nobel Prize for food and agriculture.

            Students that attended this year's World Food Prize Nebraska Youth Institute and will advance to the World Food Prize Global Youth Institute in Des Moines Oct. 16-18 include: Breanna Allen, Crofton High School; Moriah Heerten, Keya Paha County Schools; Sydney Johnson, Pius X High School; James Moseman, Oakland-Craig High School; Kate Osbon, Rock County High School; Mikayla Petersen, Lyons-Decatur Northeast School; Holly Podliska, Humphrey St. Francis.

            More than 250 high school students from across the U.S. and around the world are chosen to attend the global institute.

            Other Nebraska high school students that attended this year's World Food Prize Nebraska Youth Institute were: Baileigh Borer, Humphrey Public; Kyla Dendinger, Crofton High School; Jasmine Hanson, Fremont High School; Victoria Maslonka, Lyons-Decatur Northeast School; Morgan Olsen, Lyons-Decatur Northeast School; Katie Petersen, Crofton High School; Chelsea Wortmann, Crofton High School.

            Last spring, participating students prepared essays on one of 20 topics and on one of nearly 200 countries. This year is the Borlaug Centennial year in honor of what would have been Norman Borlaug's 100th birthday.

            Working with their teachers, students picked one developing country and a key factor affecting that country's food security, and then prepared an essay that detailed research findings and their own recommendations for increasing food security in the country they chose to study. Student presentations on their findings were the morning highlights of the Sept. 19 event.

            Students heard from keynote speaker Walt Schacht, professor, agronomy and horticulture, who spoke on "Agriculture Production from African Rangelands." Gary Sullivan, assistant professor, animal science, and Don Lee, professor, agronomy and horticulture, lead hands on science lessons in animal science and plant science, respectively.

            Students earned a $500 scholarship to CASNR for participating in the Nebraska event.

With Climate Change, the 2012 Summer Could be Normal by End of Century

            Nebraskans who wonder what climate change could portend for the state have a recent reference point: the summer of 2012. The worst drought in the region's recorded history, it could be just a typical summer by century's end, University of Nebraska-Lincoln scientists warn.

            Don Wilhite, longtime climate scientist, led a discussion of climate change at the first Heuermann Lecture of 2014-15 Thursday. Wilhite and other UNL scientists discussed their new report "Understanding and Assessing Climate Change: Implications for Nebraska" before several hundred people at the Nebraska Innovation Campus Conference Center.

            Although the extent of human beings' contribution to climate change remains a point of political contention in the United States, Wilhite said there's virtually no scientific doubt left. Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists now believe human behavior is changing the climate.

            Although the Earth has gone through ice ages and warm periods throughout its history, the warming of the planet is occurring at a faster rate than ever before, and it's become clear to scientists that shifting land use patterns, burning of fossil fuels and other actions are quickening the pace, Wilhite said.

            He pointed to 10 indicators measured globally over decades, all of which indicate the earth's climate is warming. They include temperatures over oceans and land, snow cover, ocean heat content and sea surface temperatures. Wilhite also said that July 2014 was the 353rd consecutive month with a global temperature above the 20th century average.

            Wilhite acknowledged projections are not certain because it's impossible to predict how human behavior might change in the coming decades to contend with climate change. Average temperatures in Nebraska could increase 4-5 degrees up to 8-9 degrees by 2071-2099. Days of 100-degree temperatures could increase by 13-16 per year, up to 22-25. The frost-free season, having already increased 5-25 days, could increase by another two weeks.

            Wilhite pointed to the 2012 summer, when McCook and Lincoln experienced 37 and 17 100-degree days, respectively – 11 and 4.6 days more than normal.

            "2012 would be an average summer" if climate change projections are accurate, Wilhite said.

            Some regions of the United States would be "winners" in climate change, but "losers" would include the Great Plains, the Southwest and the Southeast, Wilhite said.

            Other coauthors of the report offered some perspective in a question and answer session. Deborah Bathke, an assistant professor of practice in meteorology-climatology, said UNL is well-positioned with its variety of expertise to help find answers to climate change. She urged "a positive, solutions-oriented focus rather than a doom and gloom approach."

            Robert Oglesby, a professor of climate modeling at UNL, said the United States has a responsibility to provide leadership on the issue, but many politicians instead point to other countries, such as India and China, where rapid industrialization has had significant environmental impacts.

            "We used to think of ourselves as leaders. Waiting to see how other countries act is not leading," he said. "Do we have the will or do we not have the will?"

            Wilhite said he hopes the UNL report will provide a foundation to state and federal policy makers. In addition to its summary of scientific evidence of climate change, he noted, the report features commentaries from several key sectors in Nebraska, including water resources, energy supply and use, agriculture, forestry, human health, ecosystems, urban systems, infrastructure and rural communities.

            The entire report is available at go.unl.edu/climatechange.

Heuermann Lectures focus on providing and sustaining enough food, natural resources and renewable energy for the world's people, and on securing the sustainability of rural communities where the vital work of producing food and renewable energy occurs.  They are made possible by a gift from B. Keith and Norma Heuermann of Phillips, long-time university supporters with a strong commitment to Nebraska's production agriculture, natural resources, rural areas and people.

            Lectures are archived at http://heuermannlectures.unl.edu.

Nov. 15 Deadline for Perennial Forage, Fall Seeded Crops

Acreage reports are required to maintain eligibility for multiple program benefits. The deadline to report 2015 perennial forage and fall seeded crops is Nov. 15. Acreage reports should reflect accurate crop types, acreages, intended uses and irrigation practices.

Acreage reported to FSA should be consistent between FSA and crop insurance provider, if applicable. If a crop's intended use later changes, producers may update their report with the actual use. Perennial forage that is "left-standing" does not have to be reported until July 15, 2014.

Prevented planted acres must be reported within 15 days of the final planting date for the crop. Failed acres must be reported before disposition of the crop. It is important to notify FSA timely of all acres that were prevented from being planted or that failed due to a natural disaster event.

USDA Makes 2nd Discovery of GMO Wheat Found in Montana

(AP) -- Unregulated genetically modified wheat has popped up in a second location in the United States, this time in Montana, the Agriculture Department said Friday.

No genetically engineered wheat has been approved for U.S. farming, and the discovery of unapproved varieties can pose a potential threat to U.S. trade with countries that have concerns about genetically modified foods.

USDA said Friday that the incident is on a smaller scale than a similar finding in Oregon last year that prompted several Asian countries to temporarily ban U.S. wheat imports.

The herbicide-resistant wheat was found on one to three acres in Montana, while the GMO plants found in Oregon were spread over more than 100 acres. And the plants were found at a university research center in Huntley, Montana, where GMO wheat was legally tested by seed giant Monsanto 11 years ago. The plants in Oregon were found in a field that had never conducted such tests, prompting questions about how it got there.

The department said it is investigating the discovery of the Montana wheat. USDA has said the wheat would be safe to eat but that none of it ever entered commerce.

In a final report also released Friday, USDA said it believes the GMO wheat in Oregon was an isolated incident and that there is no evidence of that wheat in commerce. The report says the government still doesn't know how the modified seeds got into the fields.

The discovery of the GMO wheat in Oregon prompted Japan and South Korea to temporarily suspend some wheat orders, and the European Union called for more rigorous testing of U.S. shipments.

Monsanto Co. suggested last year that some of the company's detractors may have intentionally planted the seeds. Robb Fraley, Monsanto's executive vice president and chief technology officer, said in June 2013 that sabotage is the most likely scenario, partly because the modified wheat was not distributed evenly throughout the field and was found in patches.

"It's fair to say there are folks who don't like biotechnology and would use this to create problems," he said then.

Bernadette Juarez, who oversees investigative and enforcement efforts for USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, said the department wasn't able to prove any such scenarios.

"Ultimately, we weren't able to make a determination of how it happened," she said.

Most of the corn and soybeans grown in the United States are already modified, or genetically altered, to resist certain herbicides. But the country's wheat crop is not, as many wheat farmers have shown reluctance to use genetically engineered seeds since their product is usually consumed directly by people. Much of the corn and soybean crop is used as feed for animals.

There has been little evidence to show that foods grown from engineered seeds are less safe than their conventional counterparts, but several states have considered laws that would require them to be labeled so consumers know what they are eating. Vermont became the first state to enact such a law this year.

APHIS Report Shows Source of Unaproved GM Wheat Inconclusive But Commercial Supplies Not Affected

U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) were notified Friday, Sept. 26 that USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has completed its investigation into the May 2013 discovery of an unapproved Roundup Ready (RR) trait in isolated volunteer wheat plants. APHIS has determined that the source of the RR trait is inconclusive but reconfirmed that there is no indication that any wheat with this regulated trait has entered the commercial supply chain. This is consistent with the results of independent testing by Japan and Korea that has not identified a single event among all classes of U.S. wheat exported to those countries. APHIS also noted that in 2004, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration concluded that the Roundup Ready trait in wheat did not pose a health risk in food or animal feed.

“As we have said before, nothing is more important than the trust wheat growers have earned with our customers,” said Paul Penner, NAWG president and wheat farmer from Hillsboro, Kan. “We appreciate the thorough and diligent investigation that APHIS has conducted and we accept its findings. We also believe those findings show that our customers can be confident that we are still producing a reliable supply of high-quality, wholesome and nutritious wheat.”

“As we move on from this isolated incident, wheat growers remain committed to keeping up the dialogue with partners and customers at home and around the world,” said Roy Motter, USW chairman and a Desert Durum® grower from Brawley, Calif. “We have always provided the resources and information they need to make the best decisions about the wheat they purchase and that will not change.”

Like many other farmer organizations from the United States, Canada and Australia, USW and NAWG believe innovation in wheat varieties is needed in the years ahead. Yield increases are needed because wheat is and will remain essential to helping meet rapidly growing global food demand. Changes in consumer preferences call for more sustainable production through the use of less water, fertilizer, fuel and pesticides and for improved wheat foods. The organizations applaud the increasing private and public research investment in hybridization, high through-put genetic screening and in biotechnology that will help farmers responsibly grow more and better wheat with less impact on the environment.

“At the same time, we understand that choice is paramount,” Motter said. “We respect consumer preferences and are committed to ensuring all customers have access to non-biotech or biotech wheat, whichever they may prefer. And we stand ready to assist all industry segments to assure supplies of non-biotech wheat within reasonable commercial tolerances to markets that require it.”

For more information visit http://www.wheatworld.org/issues/biotech or http://www.uswheat.org/biotechnology.