Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Tuesday December 30 Ag News

Winter Livestock Care
Larry Howard, UNL Extension Educator, Cuming County

Rain, sleet, snow, ice, freezing temperatures – winter can be a real struggle for four legged animals.     Most livestock are well adapted to cold weather, but sick, elderly, or young animals and those under unusual stress are more susceptible.

Most livestock can handle wind chills about 20°F without much stress.   But, to stay healthy, they need a dry place to escape cold rains, wet snow, and wind.

While natural protection and windbreaks may be adequate, three sided sheds opening away from prevailing winds are best.   Allow enough room for livestock to lie down safely without being trampled or smothered.   The larger the animal the more room they will need.   Good, clean, dry bedding insulates livestock from the cold ground, which draws away body heat.

High Quality Food
Feeding good quality hay or alfalfa to ruminants (cattle, sheep, goats, llamas, alpacas) and horses is effective for body heat production during cold weather.   Body heat is generated when these animals are digesting these feedstuffs.   During cold weather, animals will need to eat more to maintain their body condition.

One of the most important considerations for winter feeding is adequate water.   Water is essential for digestion, which produces heat in fiber breakdown.   Do not assume that livestock can meet their water needs by eating snow – to get enough water eating snow would take most of their feeding time.   Ingesting large quantities of snow also reduces the core body temperature.

Water above 40°F is ideal to ensure good consumption.   Automatic water units are best; if that is not possible, be sure to provide water several times a day.   In freezing temperatures, you will need to break ice or provide fresh water periodically if you don't have a tank heater.

Minimize Mud
All too often, where there are animals in the winter, there is mud.   Feeding in muddy locations increases the amount of feed wastage.   Mud makes foot and hoof diseases more likely.   Livestock walking on frozen muddy ground are more susceptible to foot and leg injuries.   With good management and planning, the negative environmental and animal health aspects of mud can be minimized.

The best winter practice is to make sure that your livestock is in good condition before cold weather hits.   Addressing the nutritional, environmental and health needs of livestock in the winter will help to ensure optimal animal welfare and performance.

Land Application Training Days Offered in January/February

Larry Howard, UNL Extension Educator, Cuming County

University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension workshops at nine extension offices across the state in January and February will provide livestock and crop farmers with information on how to turn manure nutrients into better crop yields while protecting the environment.

Re-certification will be during the first two hours of the day-long Land Application Training.  Dates, times and locations include:
-    Jan. 26 – 9 a.m. 128 N Sixth St. Ste 100 (Extension Office, O’Neill.
-    Jan. 29 – 9 a.m. 2345 Nebraska Ave. (Extension Office), York
-    Jan. 29 – 9 a.m. 200 S Lincoln St. (Courthouse), West Point
-    Feb. 3  - 9 a.m. 210 E 23rd St (Pinnacle Bank Meeting Room), Columbus
-    Feb. 5  - 9 a.m. 412 N. State St., (Library Meeting Room), Osmond

Livestock producers with livestock waste control facility permits received or renewed since April 1998 must be certified.  A farm must complete an approved training every five years, and farm personnel responsible for land application of manure are also encouraged to attend.

The workshops will help livestock producers put to use the nutrient management planning requirements of Nebraska’s Department of Environmental Quality regulations and increase the economic value of manure, said Leslie Johnson, UNL AMM coordinator.  Participants who attend the day-long event will receive NDEQ Land Application Training Certification.

This in-depth, one day class targets newly permitted livestock operations.  Operations that have already attended this initial training, but will need re-certification, may attend the morning portion of the training.

Attendance during the morning of one of the Land Application Training workshops will fulfill NDEQ requirements for re-certification of producers who have completed the initial land application training five or more years ago.

This portion of the workshops will consist of a two-hour program including updates on changing regulations and other manure management topics, such as protecting herd health with biosecurity, pathogens found in manure and the manure value implementing the farm’s nutrient plan are also encouraged to attend.

Pre-registration is required for all workshops.  A $60 fee per operation (includes one representative) will be charged for the day-long Land Application Training workshops plus a $15 fee for each additional participant to cover costs including lunch.

The Land Application Training Re-certification portion of the workshop is $30 for each participant.

These workshops are sponsored by the UNL Extension AMM Team which is dedicated to helping livestock and crop producers better utilize our state manure resources for agronomic and environmental benefits.

For additional information on these workshops and other resources for managing manure nutrients, visit http://manure.unl.edu

Farmland Rents Expected to Drop in 2015

U.S. farmland rents for 2015 are on track to be down 5 to 10 percent from the top fees of a year ago due to lower grain prices, but landowners remain stubborn about deeper cuts and some are adding clauses to boost revenue if grain prices bounce back.  More than half the 230 million acres of corn, soybean and wheat land in the United States are rented. Rents, the biggest cost in growing crops, doubled during the farm boom of the past six years.

"Most of the bankers I've talked to indicate the market is more flat than what we thought. We are still seeing 5-10 percent down from the extreme tops in the really strong markets where cash rents had been above $400 an acre," said Jim Farrell, chief executive of Farmers National in Omaha, Nebraska, the largest U.S. farm management company.

Farrell, who expects most 2015 leases to be signed by year-end, said there has been less deterioration in fringes of the Corn Belt where rents are lower than in Iowa and Illinois, reports Reuters.

"It's been holding fairly steady in response in part to the increase in grain prices that happened since the end of September."

Corn prices fell to a five-year low of $3.18-1/4 a bushel in October on abundant harvests. Prices are up $1 since then. Soybeans and wheat, which follow corn in acreage numbers, saw similar bounces.

Balancing Access to Markets, Technology Plays Key Role in Team Discussions

This December, the National Corn Growers Association's Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team met in St. Louis to review the organization's policy in their area of expertise, discuss progress on several ongoing programs and hear from industry representatives about upcoming challenges and opportunities.

Looking at a variety of issues, including how to best support agricultural exports, stress the importance of respecting refuge requirements and facilitate successful communication across the value-chain on their issues, the team will use their in-depth knowledge of the subject matter to develop the nuanced, strategic suggestions needed to help the Corn Board guide NCGA policy effectively.

"During the winter months, it can begin to feel like farmer leaders spend a large amount of time participating in meetings for a variety of agricultural groups," said Team Chair John Linder, a farmer from Ohio. "As my involvement has increased, I have come to even-more fully appreciate the breadth and scope of the myriad issues facing farmers today.  By developing teams with specialization in major areas of opportunity and taking the time to analyze the issues in a critical, thorough manner, we are able to most effectively provide input on how, in our area, the Corn Board can shape NCGA policy and, subsequently, maximize the effectiveness of farmer-funded market development and production activities."

The meeting, held in conjunction with meetings for the other five action teams and committees, allowed the growers to dig into the specific policies listed in the portion of the strategic plan corresponding with their team's focus area. Carefully debating the implications of any proposed changes, team members worked diligently to carefully craft a precise, well-constructed document for presentation to the Corn Board and, eventually, Corn Congress.

"Through these discussions, we develop a solid appreciation for the importance of the exact connotation of each word used, and of those not used, in our strategic plan," said Linder.  "But these discussions generate greater thought and analysis than a simple wordsmithing exercise.  Examining the future of the industry, the scope of NCGA's role in it and the potential pitfalls of seemingly benign statements leads us to policy recommendations that play a vital role in determining how the organization will proceed on our behalf."

The team also delved more deeply into a variety of areas certain to impact the future of corn farming through presentations from and discussions with leadership from agri-industry.  Through these discussions, the farmers gained up-to-the-minute information that they will scrutinize and, as events unfold, incorporate into future recommendations.

In addition to Linder, team members include Vice Chair Don Duvall of Illinois, Corn Board Liaison Jim Zimmerman of Wisconsin, Mike Beard of Indiana, Chris Edgington of Iowa, Robert Gordon of Texas, Mark Gross of South Dakota, Robert Hemesath of Iowa, Brandon Hunnicutt of Nebraska, Jon Miller of Ohio, Scott Miller of Michigan, Dwight Mork of Minnesota, Jim Raben of Illinois, Jay Reiners of Nebraska, and Rosalind Leeck of the Indiana Corn Growers Association. NCGA staff in attendance included Director of Biotechnology and Economic Analysis Nathan Fields, Director of Public Policy Zach Kinne, Communications Manager Cathryn Wojcicki and Administrative Assistant Maggie Fogerty.

Iowa Counties Sign Up to Evaluate Animal Confinement Sites

Counties interested in evaluating proposed animal feeding facilities must adopt and submit a construction evaluation resolution to the Iowa DNR between Jan. 1 and 31.

About 87 counties pass a resolution each year, which allows them to review construction permit applications required for larger totally roofed animal feeding operations (confinements).

The Master Matrix development, submittal and approval process allows applicants and county supervisors to discuss options for site selection, facility type and management.

"County supervisors review the master matrix items selected by the applicant and determine if a passing score for the matrix has been achieved. The county then submits a recommendation to the DNR pertaining to the permit application," said Gene Tinker, the DNR's animal feeding operations coordinator.

Producers in counties that file the resolutions must meet higher standards than permitted sites in other counties. They must earn points on a master matrix by choosing a site and using practices that reduce effects on the environment and the community.

Counties that participate in the master matrix process may accompany the DNR on site visits to proposed locations. The county board of supervisors may also appeal the DNR's preliminary approval of a permit to the Environmental Protection Commission.

Mail resolutions between Jan. 1 and 31 to Jerah Sheets at the DNR, 502 E. Ninth St., Des Moines, IA 50319, email to Jerah.Sheets@dnr.iowa.gov or fax it to 515-725-8202. Sign-ups occur annually during the month of January for the upcoming February through January.

For historical information on which counties have adopted resolutions, check the DNR website under animal feeding operations at www.iowadnr.gov/afo. Look under Confinements - Construction Requirements -- Permitted - Master Matrix or www.iowadnr.gov/.

Additional information for counties is available on the Iowa State Association of Counties website at www.iowacounties.org/ under master matrix -- construction evaluation.

Urea Prices Still on the Decline

For the second time in as many weeks, a fertilizer's price moved somewhat significantly, according to retail fertilizer prices tracked by DTN for the fourth week of December 2014. Urea's price was 6% lower compared to a month earlier and had an average price of $461 per ton.

Six of the eight major fertilizers had slightly lower prices compared to a month earlier while the remaining two were up just slightly.

In addition to urea, DAP, MAP, anhydrous, UAN28 and UAN32 also were all lower in price compared to the previous month, but none slipped by any consequence. DAP had an average price of $565/ton, MAP $593/ton, anhydrous $706/ton, UAN28 $320/ton and UAN32 $362/ton.

The remaining two fertilizers were higher in price compared to a month earlier, but again these moves were fairly minor. Potash had an average price of $485/ton and 10-34-0 $573/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.50/lb.N, anhydrous $0.43/lb.N, UAN28 $0.57/lb.N and UAN32 $0.57/lb.N.

Half of the eight major fertilizers are now double digits higher in price compared to December 2013, all while commodity prices are significantly lower from a year ago. DAP is now 14% higher while MAP, 10-34-0 and anhydrous are all 13% higher compared to year earlier.

In addition, urea is 3% higher, potash is 2% higher and UAN28 is 1% more expensive compared to last year.

One nutrient is still lower compared to retail prices from a year ago. UAN32 is 1% less expensive from a year ago.


Preliminary prices received by farmers for winter wheat for December 201 4 averaged $6.10 per bushel, an increase of 73 cents from the November price according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. 

The preliminary December corn price, at $3.90 per bushel, increased 20 cents from the previous month.

The preliminary December sorghum price averaged $7.60 per cwt, an increase of 92 cents from November.

The preliminary December soybean price, at $9.80 per bushel, was up 5 cents from last month. 

The December alfalfa hay price, at $98.00 per ton, was up $2.00 from November. The other hay price, at $85.00 per ton, was up $6.00 from November.


The preliminary December 2014 average price received by farmers for corn in Iowa was $3.80 per bushel according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Agricultural Prices report. This is up $0.17 from the November full month price, but $0.52 lower than December 2013.

The preliminary December 2014 average price received by farmers for soybeans, at $10.1 0 per bushel, was $0.10 less than the November full month price, and $2.90 lower than the December 2013 price.

The preliminary December oat price was $3.30 per bushel, down $0.07 from November, and $0.73 below December 2013.

All hay prices in Iowa averaged $133.00 per ton in December, down $11.00 from the November price, and $36.00 per ton less than December 2013. Alfalfa hay prices fell $42.00 per ton from one year ago, to $153.00 and other hay prices were $26.00 per ton lower than last year, at $104.00.

The preliminary December average price was $21.20 per cwt for milk, down $2.70 from November, and $1.10 per cwt below one year ago.

December Farm Prices Received Index Up 1 Point

The preliminary December Prices Received Index (Agricultural Production), at 102 percent, based on 2011=100, increased 1 point (1.0 percent) from November. At 82, the December Crop Production Index is up 2 points (2.5 percent). At 129, the Livestock Production Index decreased 5 points (3.7 percent). Producers received higher prices for corn, market eggs, wheat, and cattle but lower prices for milk, broilers, lettuce, and oranges. In addition to prices, the five-year average monthly mix of commodities producers market impacts the monthly indexes. Increased monthly movement of wheat, oranges, broilers, and milk offset the decreased marketing of corn, calves, soybeans, and grapes.

The preliminary Prices Received Index is up 2 points (2.0 percent) from December 2013. The Food Commodities Index, at 116, decreased 3 points (2.5 percent) from last month but increased 7 points (6.4 percent) from December 2013.

All crops:

The December index, at 82, increased 2.5 percent from November but is 9.9 percent below December 2013. Index increases for oilseeds & grains more than offset the index decreases for vegetable & melon production, fruit & tree nut production, and other crop production.

Food grains: At 92, the index for December is 4.5 percent above the previous month but 6.1 percent below a year ago. The December price for all wheat, at $6.53 per bushel, is up 48 cents from November but is 20 cents below December 2013.

Feed grains: The December index, at 64, is up 6.7 percent from last month but 14 percent below a year ago. The corn price, at $3.77 per bushel, is up 19 cents from last month but is 64 cents below December 2013. At $7.49 per cwt, sorghum grain is 90 cents above November but is unchanged from December last year.

Oilseeds: At 81, the December index is unchanged from November but 21 percent lower than December 2013. The soybean price, at $10.20 per bushel, is unchanged from November but is $2.80 below December 2013.

Livestock and products:

The index for December, at 129, is 3.7 percent below last month but is up 15 percent from December 2013. Compared with a year ago, the price for milk is down from last year. Prices are higher for cattle, market eggs, calves, hogs, broilers, and turkeys.

Meat animals: At 137, the December index is down 2.1 percent from last month but is 27 percent higher than last year. At $66.50 per cwt, the December hog price is down 20 cents from November but is $5.00 higher than a year ago. The December beef cattle price of $168 per cwt is up $1.00 from last month and $38.00 higher than December 2013.

Dairy products: The index for December, at 101, is down 11 percent from a month ago and 7.3 percent lower than December last year. The December all milk price of $20.30 per cwt is down $2.70 from last month and $1.70 less than December 2013.

Poultry & eggs: At 138, the December index is down 2.1 percent from November but is 11 percent higher than a year ago. The December market egg price, at $1.66 per dozen, increased 29.0 cents from November and is up 45.0 cents from December 2013. The December broiler price, at 59.0 cents per pound, is down 5.0 cents from November but is 3.0 cents above a year ago. At 73.4 cents per pound, the December turkey price is down 8.7 cents from the previous month but is 4.7 cents higher than a year earlier.

Prices Paid Index Unchanged

The preliminary December Index of Prices Paid for Commodities and Services, Interest, Taxes, and Farm Wage Rates (PPITW), at 111 percent (2011=100), is unchanged from November but is 5 points (4.7 percent) above December 2013. Lower prices in December for feeder cattle, LP gas, diesel, and gasoline offset higher prices for concentrates, feed grains, feeder pigs, and supplements.

Agriculture industry group releases 2015 safety fact sheet

A snapshot of the agriculture workforce, the economic toll of worker injuries and the benefits of investing in safety are included in a new graphics-driven fact sheet released by the Agricultural Safety and Health Council of America (ASHCA).

The annual cost of occupational injuries in agriculture is $8.3 billion in medical costs and lost productivity, according to, “Facts 2015 –Be Safe. Be Profitable.” The typical cost of one tractor overturn is $1 million.

An effective safety program, however, saves $4 to $6 for every $1 invested, according to ASHCA, a not-for-profit coalition of agribusinesses, producer organizations and safety professionals.

Other facts:
-    Although 87 percent of farms are operated by individuals or families, hired workers perform 60 percent of the work on U.S. farms. Eighty percent of those employees are foreign-born.

-    The agriculture/forestry/fishing sector charts the highest rate of occupational deaths across all industries, 22.2 per 100,000 workers (480 total deaths).

-    An estimated 115 children die in the farm workplace each year. Eighty percent of them were merely present -- not working.

The world will need 70 percent more food by 2050 for the predicted 9.5 billion people. Productive, efficient agriculture includes the preservation and well-being of agricultural workers at every level.

To learn more about ASHCA, the organizations behind it and the ASHCA safety-grants program, visit www.ashca.org.

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