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....

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...

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...

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

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

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

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.”

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