Saturday, July 25, 2015

Friday July 24 Cattle on Feed + Ag News


Nebraska feedlots, with capacities of 1,000 or more head, contained 2.28 million cattle on feed on July 1, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This inventory was up 2 percent from last year. This is the highest July 1 inventory since the data series began in 1994.  Placements during June totaled 375,000 head, down 3 percent from 2014.  Fed cattle marketings for the month of June totaled 480,000 head, down 4 percent from last year.  Other disappearance during June totaled 15,000 head, down 10,000 from last year.


Cattle and calves on feed for slaughter market in Iowa for all feedlots totaled 1,205,000 on July 1, 2015, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Cattle on Feed report. The inventory is down4 percent from June 1, 2015, but up 5 percent from July 1, 2014. Feedlots with a capacity greater than 1,000 head had 640,000 head on feed, down 2 percent from last month but up 3 percent from last year. Feedlots with a capacity less than 1,000 head had 565,000 head on feed, down 7 percent from last month but up 7 percent from last year.

Placements during June totaled 116,000 head, an increase of 6 percent from last month and up 23 percent from last year. Feedlots with a capacity greater than 1,000 head placed 67,000 head, up 3 percent from last month and up 24 percent from last year. Feedlots with a capacity less than 1,000 head placed 49,000 head. This is up11 percent from last month and up 23 percent from last year.

Marketings for June were 166,000 head, up 35 percent from last month and up 19 percent from last year. Feedlots with a capacity greater than 1,000 head marketed 76,000 head, up 3 percent from last month and up 9 percent from last year. Feedlots with a capacity less than 1,000 head marketed 90,000 head, up 84 percent from last month and up 29 percent from last year. Other disappearance totaled 5,000 head.

United States Cattle on Feed Up 2 Percent

Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 10.2 million head on July 1, 2015. The inventory was 2 percent above July 1, 2014. The inventory included 6.91 million steers and steer calves, up 7 percent from the previous year. This group accounted for 67 percent of the total inventory. Heifers and heifer calves accounted for 3.33 million head, down 7 percent from 2014. July 1, 2015 heifers and heifer calves inventory is the lowest percent of total July inventory since the series began in 1996.

By State              (1,000 hd, % of July 1 '14)

Colorado .......:           830            98    
Iowa .............:           640             103     
Kansas ..........:          1,940          102      
Nebraska ......:          2,280          102    
Texas ............:          2,480          100     

Placements in feedlots during June totaled 1.48 million, 1 percent above 2014. Net placements were 1.41 million head. During June, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 350,000, 600-699 pounds were 250,000, 700-799 pounds were 336,000, and 800 pounds and greater were 545,000.

By State              (1,000 hd, % of June '14)

Colorado .......:            80            84      
Iowa .............:            67            124     
Kansas ..........:           335           106         
Nebraska ......:           375            97         
Texas ............:           375           101       

Marketings of fed cattle during June totaled 1.75 million, 5 percent below 2014. Marketings are the lowest for June since the series began in 1996.  Other disappearance totaled 69,000 during June, 8 percent below 2014.

By State              (1,000 hd, % of June '14)

Colorado .......:         125            83      
Iowa .............:          76           109     
Kansas ..........:         400            95          
Nebraska ......:         480            96    
Texas ............:         385            92        

United States All Cattle on Feed Up 2 Percent

Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for all feedlots totaled 12.1 million head on July 1, 2015. The inventory was up 2 percent from the July 1, 2014 total of 11.9 million head. Cattle on feed in feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head accounted for 85 percent of the total cattle on feed on July 1, 2015, up slightly from the previous year.

July 1 Cattle Inventory Up 2 Percent

All cattle and calves in the United States as of July 1, 2015, totaled 98.4 million head, 2 percent above the 96.3 million on July 1, 2014. The last time all cattle and calves inventory for July 1 increased was 2006.

All cows and heifers that have calved, at 39.8 million, were up 2 percent from July 1, 2014.

*    Beef cows, at 30.5 million, were up 3 percent from July 1, 2014.
*    Milk cows, at 9.30 million, were up 1 percent from July 1, 2014.
Other class estimates on July 1, 2015 and the percent change from July 1,2014, are as follows:
*    All heifers 500 pounds and over, 15.9 million, up 2 percent.
*    Beef replacement heifers, 4.90 million, up 7 percent.
*    Milk replacement heifers, 4.20 million, up 2 percent.
*    Other heifers, 6.80 million, down 1 percent.
*    Steers, weighing 500 pounds and over, 14.1 million, up 3 percent.
*    Bulls, weighing 500 pounds and over, 1.90 million, unchanged.
*    Calves under 500 pounds, 26.7 million, up 2 percent.

The 2015 calf crop is expected to be 34.3 million, up 1 percent from 2014. Calves born during the first half of the year are estimated at 24.8 million, up 1 percent from the previous year.

Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for all feedlots totaled 12.1 million head on July 1, 2015. The inventory was up 2 percent from the July 1, 2014 total of 11.9 million head. Cattle on feed in feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head accounted for 85 percent of the total cattle on feed on July 1, 2015, up slightly from the previous year.

Ricketts, Reynolds Hold Last Chance Rally to Support the Renewable Fuel Standard

Today, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts and Iowa Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds joined Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson and Novozymes General Manager Kyle Nixon at the company’s enzyme plant in Blair, Nebraska to express the potential economic impact on Nebraska and Iowa of the pending EPA proposal to slash billions of gallons from America’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). If enacted, it would threaten thousands of jobs and the billions of dollars of investments by ethanol producers and technology providers in Nebraska and Iowa.

“Agriculture is Nebraska’s number one industry, and ethanol is one of the key agricultural growth industries that have added billions in revenue and thousands of jobs over the past decade to our state,” said Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts. “These efforts were undertaken in expectation that such efforts would meet the commitment of this nation to renewable fuels established by the Renewable Fuel Standard. Nebraskans have cause for concern because the EPA’s proposal to slash billions of gallons of biofuels from the RFS has the potential to negatively impact the future growth of our state. The RFS is an achievable and ambitious target and must be maintained.”

According to a 2015 economic analysis by Fuels America, the RFS is driving $184 billion in economic activity and more than 850,000 jobs with $46 billion in wages across America. This is the result of years of investment by the biofuel sector to bring clean, low carbon renewable fuels to market. This activity creates a ripple effect as supplier firms and employees re-spend throughout the economy. The local impact for Nebraska is $11.1 billion and nearly 40,000 jobs. Likewise, the impact for Iowa is $19.3 billion and 73,000 jobs.

“A robust Renewable Fuel Standard creates quality careers, increases family incomes, reduces our dependence on foreign oil, provides sustainable renewable energy, and fosters growth in the biofuels and agricultural industries,” said Iowa Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds. “Those of us in America’s Heartland know the importance of a strong Renewable Fuels Standard and we hope as more supportive comments arrive before the July 27th deadline, the EPA will reverse course and partner with us to continue growing America’s renewable energy sector through a strong Renewable Fuel Standard.”

Today, the United States creates 14 billion gallons of home-grown biofuels for our cars, trucks and our growing military needs—more than we import from Saudi Arabia. The group that will likely feel the impact of this proposal the most is America’s farmers.

“EPA’s decision to not follow the intent of Congress when it developed the RFS2 in 2007 is highly disappointing to all of agriculture,” said Steve Nelson, President of the Nebraska Farm Bureau. “Renewable fuels, more specifically corn based ethanol, has been a tremendous success story for the nation as a whole as well as to Nebraska’s rural economy. The RFS has reduced our country’s dependence on foreign crude oil, reduced air pollution, increased farm incomes and has provided good paying jobs within rural America. EPA’s proposal is a step in the wrong direction and ignores the benefits ethanol and biofuels have provided.”

Novozymes has played a leading role in the development of the existing biofuels industry and the growing advanced biofuels industry. Enzymes from its Blair, Nebraska plant allow agricultural products like corn starch and corn stover to be converted into conventional and advanced biofuels. The enzyme plant has helped realize two of the Obama Administration’s key goals for renewable energy: creating short-term construction and long-term professional jobs, and helping move the U.S. away from foreign oil and towards homegrown renewable fuel, energizing the economy and increasing domestic security.

“The RFS is not just a policy it’s how we live our lives. Today Novozymes has 127 full time employees in Nebraska and Iowa—jobs that were created in large part, due to the RFS,” said Kyle Nixon, Novozymes General Manager. “We care deeply for our communities and want to see benefits like jobs, worker training and tax revenues continue to grow.”


Many groups have rallied their members to voice their concerns in support of the RFS and encourage the public to join the effort in support of biofuels. Some of the activities to date include:
·      Bipartisan letter signed by 37 senators including Iowa senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst and Nebraska senator Deb Fischer urging the agency to set strong biofuel volume requirements for 2014 and beyond
·      Letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy signed by Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds
·      Letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy signed by Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts
·      Letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy signed by Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse
·      Testimony at the EPA’s recent field hearing and participation in a Rally for Rural America in Kansas City by Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and Nebraska Energy Office Director David Bracht (on behalf of Governor Ricketts)
·      All group members filing written comments to the EPA
·      Fuels America online petition (nearly 200,000 signatures)

Dakota County is Nebraska’s Newest Livestock Friendly County

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts today announced Dakota County as Nebraska’s newest Livestock Friendly County (LFC), designated through a program administered by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA).

“Dakota County officials have shown their strong commitment to rural economic development and agriculture,” said Gov. Ricketts. “By pursuing a Livestock Friendly County designation, Dakota County has shown their dedication to the livestock industry and the vital role it plays in their local economy.”

The LFC program was created by the Legislature in 2003 to recognize counties that nurture and support the livestock industry. Agriculture is Nebraska’s number one industry, with on-farm receipts of over $24 billion in 2014. Livestock receipts are over half of that total. Counties that are officially designated as Livestock Friendly Counties can use the designation to encourage growth in existing livestock operations and to attract new businesses. Dakota County is home to many livestock and poultry operations, as well as meat processing facilities, the Governor said.

“The Livestock Friendly County program helps acknowledge the positive economic impact that a viable livestock industry has on communities across our state,” said NDA Assistant Director Bobbie Kriz-Wickham. “A strong livestock industry has a significant role as a marketplace for local grain production and uses local businesses for equipment, supplies, and professional services.”

With the addition of Dakota County, there are now 30 counties designated as Livestock Friendly through the state program.

Counties wishing to apply for the LFC designation must hold a public hearing and the county board must pass a resolution to apply for the designation. Then a completed application must be submitted to NDA. Local producers or groups can encourage county officials to apply.

Additional information about the Livestock Friendly County program is available on the NDA website at or by calling 800-422-6692.

Upper Big Blue NRD Board Fills Vacant Director Seat

The Upper Big Blue NRD Board of Directors have selected Paul Bethune of York to fill the seat vacated by long-time board member Steve Buller who retired from the board in May 2015.  Paul Bethune represents Sub-District 8.  There were three other applicants who expressed interest in filling the seat.  They were Roberta (Bobbi) Janda, Jim Schneider, and Greg Staehr.  The board selected Bethune by majority vote through an open roll-call.  Bethune was then given the oath of office administered by John Turnbull, NRD General Manager.  Bethune will be completing the rest of Buller’s term which will expire in January 2017.

Bethune stated in his letter for board consideration that he has been employed with his family business, Bethune Construction, LLC, since 2000.  He is a 1996 graduate of the University of Nebraska receiving a B.S. in Natural Resources.  He wrote:  “I am an outdoorsman.  I hunt, fish, and camp as much as time allows.  I am interested in water quality and quantity, fish and wildlife habitat, recreation, flood control, and soil and water conservation.  I am a member of the local Pheasants Forever.  I am a den leader for Cub Scout Pack 173.  I have also coached Little League baseball in the past.”

On behalf of the Upper Big Blue NRD Board of Directors and staff we wish to welcome Paul Bethune as a new board member.

Public Hearings Scheduled at the Upper Big Blue NRD Regarding the FY2016 Budget and Tax Request

The Upper Big Blue NRD Board of Directors have scheduled a Public Hearing for the FY2016 Budget on Thursday, August 20, 2015 at 7:30 p.m., and a Special Public Hearing for the FY2016 Tax Request for Thursday, September 17, 2015 at 7:30 p.m.

Both of these hearings will be conducted at the Upper Big Blue Natural Resources District office building located at 105 N. Lincoln Avenue, York, Nebraska.  The proposed budget for FY2016 continues to include safety measures for protecting District citizens and enhancing the delivery of quality services.  The public is welcome and encouraged to attend these Public Hearings.

The Upper Big Blue Natural Resources District (NRD) protects lives, property and the future of this area through a wide-range of stewardship, management and educational programs—from flood control to groundwater monitoring, from irrigation management to outdoor recreation and more.  Activities and projects of the Upper Big Blue NRD are reviewed and approved by a locally elected Board of Directors.  The Upper Big Blue NRD is one of 23 Natural Resources Districts across the state.  For more information, visit or call (402) 362-6601.     


Bruce Anderson, Nebraska Extension Forage Specialist

               I’ve received a number of calls recently about forage options on prevented planting acres.  And frankly, the questions and plans being made have me worried.

               Persistent rain this spring kept many farmers from getting all their crops planted.  As a result, the prevented planting provision of many crop insurance policies has been activated.

               One option for prevented planting acres is to plant a cover crop.  If this cover crop is harvested or grazed before November 1, only a 35 percent payment is received.  However, if haying or grazing is delayed until after November 1, the full insurance payment can be made.

               The idea of receiving a full payment and still harvesting a crop after November 1 looks attractive.  I know several producers who are planting a summer annual grass like sorghum-sudangrass with plans to cut, bale, and sell it as hay after November 1.

               While this might work out well, I think farmers without their own livestock available to use this forage are taking a big risk.

               One big problem is simply getting this feed dry enough to bale.  Summer annual grasses are difficult to dry in the best of conditions.  The only way it is likely to dry in November is if a hard freeze kills the plants and they dry while still standing.

               Which brings us to another problem – lodging.  Tall grasses are prone to lodging during the fall, especially after freezing.  So it may not even be possible to mechanically harvest the crop.  Then, the residue left on the soil by the lodged crop could interfere with planting next spring.

               And finally, even if the crop is baled, finding a buyer could be difficult, especially in an area with plentiful cornstalks.

               So think about risks when planting prevented planting acres.

Valmont Announces Second Quarter Results

Valmont Industries, Inc., a leading global provider of engineered products and services for infrastructure and mechanized irrigation equipment for agriculture, reported second quarter sales of $682.1 million compared with $842.6 million for the same period of 2014. Second quarter 2015 operating income was $54.0 million ($68.3 million before restructuring charges), versus $104.8 million in 2014. Second quarter net income was $27.9 million versus $64.0 million in 2014, or $1.19 per diluted share compared to $2.38 in 2014. Excluding the effects of restructuring, second quarter earnings per diluted share were $1.61. (See Reg. G table on last page).

For the first six months of 2015, sales were $1,352.5 million versus $1,594.3 million in 2014. Valmont's first-half net earnings were $58.6 million, or $2.47 per diluted share, compared with 2014 first-half net earnings of $120.0 million, or $4.46 per diluted share. Excluding the effects of restructuring, six-month earnings per diluted share were $2.89.

House Agriculture Committee Holds USDA Oversight Hearing

On Wednesday, USDA Secretary Vilsack testified before the House Agriculture Committee during an oversight hearing of Department activities. Members of the Committee covered a range of topics in their questions, including discussion of the rule to establish conservation compliance requirements for crop insurance eligibility, the status of submission of AD-1026 forms, and the Department's "actively engaged" proposed rule, among several other topics.

With respect to conservation compliance, there was a discussion about the relationship of the EPA's Waters of the US rule and compliance requirements. Vilsack discussed how these are two separate issues, but also indicated that there may be some dis-clarity in how wetlands identified under the Clean Water Act may or may not be also identified as a wetland by NRCS.

The actively engaged rule was also a topic of interest for several members of the Committee. Vilsack discussed the Department’s intention to develop a rule that follows the Farm Bill requirement to update its rules for determining farm program eligibility, while also ensuring that family farms wouldn't be affected.

SPCC Reform Bill Introduced

This week Representative Crawford (R-AR) introduced H.R. 3129, the Farmers Undertake Environmental Land Stewardship (FUELS) Act, to increase the exemptions levels for farm compliance under the Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) regulation. The bill requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set the level of on-farm above ground storage capacity exemption for a single container at less than 10,000 gallons and self-certification at less than 42,000 gallons aggregate storage if there is no history of a spill. Last year the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) included provisions to increase the exemption level from 1,320 gallons to between 2,500 and 6,000 gallons pending a study from EPA. Late last month, EPA released the required study and determined that the  lower level storage capacity of 2,500 gallons is the appropriate level.  EPA must take action to update their regulation and information on their website to reflect the recent changes.

NASS Begins Gathering Conservation Data Nationwide

The USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service is contacting farmers and ranchers from now through August as part of a national survey of conservation practices.

During the first phase of the National Resources Inventory – Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP), NASS will contact approximately 24,000 farmers and ranchers nationwide to determine if their operations and properties meet eligibility criteria to participate in the survey. Farmers and ranchers deemed eligible may be contacted from October 2015 through February 2016 and asked to participate in the survey, part of a two-year project. The same survey process and schedule will be followed later in 2016 with a different set of producers.

"The survey gives farmers and ranchers the power to provide a more complete and accurate picture of the conservation practices they choose to use on their lands and in their operations," said NASS Administrator Joseph T. Reilly. "If contacted, I urge farmers and ranchers to participate; their responses can help leaders focus on the conservation practices that most benefit both the farmer and the natural resources on which we all rely."

CEAP's purpose is to measure the environmental benefits associated with implementation and installation of conservation practices on cultivated and non-cultivated agricultural lands, according to USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service, the lead agency for the project. NASS conducts the survey for CEAP under a cooperative agreement with NRCS.

China Culled 20% of Hog Herd

China has culled 20% of its hog herd in the last 18 months, forcing prices higher and boosting hog producers' profit margins.

That could lead Chinese producers to begin expanding herds. But with consumption declining far less than production, more imports are needed to fill the gap, according to the third-quarter pork report from Rabobank Food and Agribusiness Research and Advisory.

That may be good news for U.S. pork producers in the last half of 2015 and into 2016.

"After a challenging start to 2015, U.S. hog prices and producer profitability have improved immensely during Q2, helping to bring the outlook for the year much closer to the 'black' than three months ago," the report stated. Rebounding supplies may be able to fill a portion of China's anticipated demand.

The size of China's sow herd imploded by close to 22% between October of 2013 and March of 2015. Total liquidation over those six quarters equaled 11 million head, nearly twice the size of the entire U.S. breeding herd as of June 1.

The combination of China's cut in domestic production and projections for surging growth in China's per capita pork consumption over the next decade could be a great opportunity for global exporters, the report stated.

Groups Praise Senate Finance Committee Leaders for Demanding that Canada Accept More Dairy Imports

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) today praised the Senate Finance Committee’s bipartisan leadership for urging Canada to allow more trade in agricultural products, including dairy, as an outcome of the negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership. If Canada is not willing to allow more dairy trade as a result of the TPP, it risks being left out of the agreement, according to the Senate members.

In a letter to Gary Doer, Canada’s ambassador to the United States, Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and senior Democrat Ron Wyden (D-OR) said Canada’s ability to “commit to significant and commercially meaningful market access for all remaining agricultural products, including dairy, will have a significant impact on Congress’ view of the final agreement. In fact, our support for a final TPP agreement that includes Canada is contingent on Canada’s ability to meet the TPP’s high standards.”

The letter from Hatch and Wyden echoed a similar appeal last week by 21 members of the House of Representatives led by Representatives Reid Ribble (R-WI) and Ron Kind (D-WI), as well as Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX). That letter also went to Canada’s ambassador to the U.S.

The letter comes at a pivotal time, as negotiators from across the Pacific are currently meeting in Hawaii to finalize key issues in the TPP talks, including agricultural trade.

NMPF and USDEC said the Senate letter reinforces the message that a vital element to achieving a balanced outcome in the TPP negotiations is increased access to that country’s dairy market. The two groups want significant increases in access to the Canadian and Japanese dairy markets, as well as ultimately a balance between these sizable new export gains and any new access to our market granted for New Zealand dairy farmers.

“Senators Hatch and Wyden are to be commended for adding their strong voices to the demand that Canada get serious about meeting this agreement’s market access obligations,” said NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern. “Canada’s highly protected dairy market is one of the final issues in the TPP, and so far its negotiators have refused to live up to their commitment to satisfactorily address it.”

“We fully agree with this clear Congressional message that if Canada is looking for a pass on the type of tough decisions that all other TPP countries are being asked to make, it is better to move TPP ahead without them,” added USDEC President Tom Suber. “Our dairy industry is willing to do its part, but Canada needs to do the same if it wants to be part of this agreement.” 

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