Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Monday July 13 Ag News


The Great Plains Veterinary Educational Center is celebrating 25 years of providing advanced education in food animal production management to veterinary students and veterinarians.

To celebrate the anniversary, a reception is scheduled from 1 to 3:30 p.m. July 21 at the educational center, located within the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center near Clay Center. Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources Vice Chancellor Ronnie Green, the educational center's founding director Gary Rupp and current director Dale Grotelueschen are scheduled to speak. Tours of the building will be available.

The educational center operates through a cooperative agreement between the University of Nebraska, Iowa State University and the animal research center. The program is primarily in the food animal health and production management of beef cattle. Students who participate in courses have the opportunity to work with herds at the animal research center. The educational center also provides continuing education seminars to practicing veterinarians and livestock specialists.

"In the future, we will continue to work to strengthen and augment our educational offerings and initiate new continuing education options," Grotelueschen said.

The center contains surgery and clinical treatment pathology/microbiology laboratories, instructional classroom space, cubicles for graduate students and a residence hall. Clinical facilities are designed primarily to accommodate specialized treatment and surgical procedures for beef cattle.

UNL faculty at the educational center include Dee Griffin, professor and feedlot veterinarian; Jeff Ondrak, assistant professor and beef cattle clinical veterinarian; Brad Jones, assistant professor of practice; and Katherine Whitman, assistant professor of practice and beef cattle veterinarian. Faculty members teach and provide scheduled and emergency veterinary services to herds at the animal research center in addition to outreach and clinical research efforts.

For more information about the educational center, visit http://gpvec.unl.edu.

Conditions Favorable for Early to Mid Season Soybean Diseases

Loren Giesler, UNL Extension Plant Pathologist

With consistent moisture in many parts of the state, we continue to see some fields developing disease problems. Fields vary significantly in growth stage with most in the later vegetative stages with flowering close to full bloom in some.

The main water-favored disease present in warmer soils is Phytophthora which is showing up in several fields. If moisture and warmer temperatures continue, we expect to see more Phytophthora in fields with a history of this disease. At this time in the season there are no treatments for phytophthora. The only action is to ensure the crop does not undergo any moisture stress if and when conditions become drier.

Pythium also may be evident in some fields. Phytophthora can kill plants at any stage of development, but Pythium typically does not kill plants much past the V5 growth stage. If your stands are good and past that stage, you should not have to worry about Pythium.

I encourage you to get a diagnosis of what the problem is in your fields so that proper management actions can be taken in the future. Based on field history, management actions would include seed treatment and use of resistant varieties (for Phytophthora). In fields where a seed treatment fungicide was used and seedling disease is still developing (in late replant situations), this may be due to the wrong treatment or excessive moisture leading to product failure under extreme conditions.  The most common example of a product rate issue is when mefenoxam or metalaxyl is put on at a rate too low for good Phytophthora control. 

More information on product rates and management for Phytophthora can be found in "Management of Phytophthora Root and Stem Rot of Soybeans" (NebGuide G1785).  Also check the Soybean section in the Plant Diseases area of CropWatch for further information and videos.

Northern Corn Leaf Blight Continues and Gray Leaf Spot Starts

Tamra Jackson-Ziems, UNL Extension Plant Pathologist
Nathan Mueller, Cropping Systems Extension Educator – Dodge/Washington Counties

Northern Corn Leaf Blight (NCLB) is continuing to develop in several eastern Nebraska counties. Disease severity varies widely by field, hybrid, and conditions. Disease is not in every field, is at low levels in many, but is becoming increasingly severe in a few areas.  The most severe disease is limited to the highest risk growing conditions, such as susceptible hybrids, continuous corn, minimum tillage, history of local disease, and early onset of NCLB. Some of these fields are pre-tassel and a few may need treatment with a fungicide to avoid yield loss caused by significant loss of leaf area due to NCLB.  However, there is no treatment threshold for this (or most) diseases. Treatment decisions should be made considering all of the risk factors in each field and assumption that disease may likely continue to worsen later in the season, possibly needing treatment then. The worst NCLB appears to be mainly limited to a few counties in eastern Nebraska.

In several east central counties, where the disease first became visible two to three weeks ago, disease severity has been increasing in some high risk environments. Lesions have not been observed in corn planted after alfalfa. However, some NCLB lesions can be found in numerous no-till corn fields that followed soybeans and more prominently in corn following corn where a susceptible hybrid was planted. In higher risk growing conditions, the disease has spread within the corn canopy to upper leaves. Hybrids with both low to moderate ratings are being impacted in these environments.

Other diseases, such as Gray Leaf Spot (GLS), are also developing. As a reminder, GLS is also caused by a fungus (Cercospora zeae-maydis) that survives in infected plant debris from the previous season(s).  It consistently begins on the lower leaves and continues to move higher on the plant as long as weather conditions are favorable.  This disease is favored especially by temperatures of 70-90°F and periods of 12 or more hours of very high relative humidity in the canopy (>90%). GLS lesions begin as yellow flecks that expand to rectangular gray to tan lesions between leaf veins.

Severity of symptoms is evaluated by the amount of leaf area covered by lesions and how high on the plant they have reached. Lesions may take as little as 14 days to develop in susceptible hybrids and up to 28 days to develop in more tolerant hybrids. At this point, GLS lesions are largely limited to the lower corn leaves and are less threatening to yield.  Keep in mind that conditions are often more favorable for GLS later in the season after tasseling when the disease tends to increase in severity more quickly. The same high risk factors for NCLB also apply to GLS development.

High Risk Factors for Disease
    Susceptible hybrids
    Disease history
    Continuous corn
    Minimum tillage
    Favorable weather

GLS has been the predominant disease in fungicide trials conducted at the UNL South Central Agricultural Laboratory during previous years.  When they were needed, applications made at tasseling and soon thereafter have most consistently provided yield returns under significant disease pressure. In addition, applications made after tasseling of most products provided improvements in standability (in push lodging tests) compared to the nontreated control during several trial years.  For more information see Highlights from the 2014 UNL Corn Fungicide Trials or fungicide trial results from previous years in the Corn Disease Management section of CropWatch.

Not all fields will need a fungicide application for either Northern Corn Leaf Blight or Gray Leaf Spot. It's important to:
    Scout fields regularly to identify diseases and monitor their development.
    Familiarize yourself with the high risk disease factors and in which fields they occur.
    Review the disease ratings for your hybrids

Disease Identification Key to Treatment

A number of bacterial diseases are also active this year and could be mistaken for fungal diseases. Make sure you correctly identify the problem(s) before developing a management plan.  If you are unsure about the identity of these or other diseases, you can submit samples to the UNL Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic. Sampling instructions and sample submission forms can be found in the Plant Disease Management section of CropWatch.

"Farm To Consumer" Is Focus Of August 11 Food Dialogues In Minneapolis

Consumer concerns about the impact food production practices may have on their long-term health or the health of the planet abound. Increasingly, farmers, ranchers and the entire food chain are working to address these concerns by offering more information and answering questions, including rating systems and sharing stories about how a particular food product is sourced. The Food Dialogues®: Minneapolis will bring together a panel of leaders in the food space, including food and retail executives, and farmers for a conversation about what more can be done to bridge the information gap between food production practices, consumer concerns on health and the environment and the choices that are being made when sourcing food products.  This event, scheduled for August 11, will be moderated by Bloomberg agriculture policy journalist and Minnesota native, Alan Bjerga.

"Farmers, ranchers and food executives have the ability to be even more connected to consumers than ever before," said Gene Stoel, Soybean Grower and MN Soybean Research and Promotion Council Board Member. "Yet, more must and can be done. This Food Dialogue panel discussion will tackle tough questions related to food production – from GMO safety to animal welfare. Agriculturalists are seeking opportunities to speak directly with food companies, key decision makers and ultimately the consumer. Every time food production practices are discussed, we would like to be in the conversation."

The Food Dialogues®: Minneapolis is co-sponsored by the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council, Nebraska Soybean Board and the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance®. The August 11 event will be held at the Mill City Museum, with check-in and a networking reception beginning at 5:30 p.m. CT. The panel discussion will begin at 7 p.m. CT. For more details and to register to attend this event, visit http://www.fooddialogues.com/events/fd-minneapolis.

Farm Tours & Workshops Introduce Beginners to Farm & Ranch Opportunities in Nebraska

The Center for Rural Affairs is offering a free summer series of Latino Beginning Farmer and Rancher workshops in Columbus, Lincoln, Lexington and Crete, Nebraska. The sessions will be held every Saturday from July 11 to September 12, 2015.

“These in-depth workshops are perfect for those with the passion to start your own farm or ranch business,” said Erin Schoenberg, event organizer. “The guest speakers we have lined up are top-notch. These are great opportunities to learn from expert presenters and network with other farmers.”

In addition to the classroom sessions, several area farm tours will be included in the course.  Participants can pick and choose which workshops and farm tours work best for them to attend, based on their location.  All workshops and tours will be presented or interpreted in Spanish.

July 11 - Columbus; Farm Tour at Jim Knopik’s Farm near Fullerton, NE
July 18 - Columbus; Workshop with Legal Aid and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
July 25 - Columbus; Workshop with Buy Fresh Buy Local and Extension
July 25 - Lexington; Workshop with Garcia Farms and UNL’s Ag Economics’ Dave Goeller
August 1 - Columbus; Workshop with local Farmers’ Market Manager Shirley Enguist
August 8 - Columbus; Farm tour at Prairie Pride Poultry near York, NE
August 11 - Columbus; Farm tour at Pekarek’s Produce near Dwight, NE
August TBD -  Lexington; Workshop with local bookkeeper and SCORE member Doug Lynn presenting
August 29 - Lincoln; Farm tour at Open Harvest’s Dig Deeper near Lincoln, NE
September 12 - Lincoln/Crete/Columbus/Lexington; Farm tours at Prairie Pride Poultry, 26th Street Farm, Fox Run Farms and others

All Columbus workshops will be held at the Columbus Public Library and the Lexington workshops will be held at the Lexington Public Library.

For more information or to sign up, contact Erin Schoenberg at erins@cfra.org or (402) 822-0066.

NREL Senior Analyst to discuss E15 infrastructure report at ACE Conference

Kristi Moriarty, the principle author of a recent government report examining the compatibility of existing fuel station infrastructure for E15 will speak during the American Coalition for Ethanol’s (ACE) Conference August 20 in Omaha, Nebraska. Moriarty is a Senior Analyst with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

“One reason the ethanol industry petitioned EPA to approve the use of E15 is because existing standards indicated the blend was compatible with most existing equipment,” said ACE Senior Vice President Ron Lamberty. “Unfortunately, gas station owners have been misled by ethanol detractors into believing that adding E15 would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in new equipment. We’re looking forward to hearing from Kristi Moriarty, the lead author of the NREL report which destroys the E15 compatibility and cost myths,” said Lamberty.  

The theme of the August 19-21 ACE Conference is “Quiet Ingenuity, Bold Advance.”   The event will also feature a talk on technology and advanced biofuel innovations involving Ray Defenbaugh, President and CEO of Big River Resources LLC, Delayne Johnson, CEO of Quad County Corn Processors, and Jeff Oestmann, President and CEO of East Kansas Agri-Energy, LLC, a retailer panel discussion on E15 and flex fuel sales, a progress report on ethanol and DDGs exports, ethanol plant board member training, and much more.

Click this link to view the agenda and register for the ACE Conference.... https://ethanol.org/events/conference

U.N. Body Approves Guidance For Trichinae Risk

A new international guidance for establishing negligible risk for trichinae in swine could significantly boost exports of U.S. pork, according to the National Pork Producers Council.

With strong support from NPPC and the National Pork Board, which provided scientific input, the United Nations’ food-safety standard-setting body, the Codex Alimentarius Commission, Saturday finalized global guidelines that provide a way for countries to define negligible risk for trichinae and establish methods for monitoring risk over time.

“The U.N. guidance will greatly increase confidence in the safety of pork and protect consumer health while facilitating trade,” said NPPC President Dr. Ron Prestage, a veterinarian and pork producer from Camden, S.C. “In turn, that will help us get more high-value U.S. pork to foreign destinations.”

A number of countries require testing for trichinae as a precondition to accepting exports of fresh chilled U.S. pork despite the fact that the United States is at negligible risk for the parasite. Other nations will accept only frozen or cooked pork. Elimination of the trichinae mitigation requirements could increase U.S. pork exports by hundreds of millions of dollars annually.

Trichinae is nearly non-existent in the U.S. pork supply because of increased knowledge of risk factors, adoption of controlled management practices and thorough biosecurity protocols, but many U.S. trading partners still have concerns over trichinae because of its prevalence in their domestic swine herds, which can result in severe human health issues.

Dr. Ray Gamble, past president of the International Commission on Trichinellosis, has estimated the prevalence of trichinae in the U.S. commercial swine herd at 1-in-300 million, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recognizes the U.S. commercial herd as low risk.

The guidance approved by the Codex commission allows countries to establish a negligible risk “compartment,” which must include controlled management conditions for swine herds, ongoing verification of the status of the compartment and a response plan for deviations from negligible risk status. Two years of data collection verifying negligible risk levels through slaughter surveillance, which consists of random sampling, is required to establish a compartment. Once established, a compartment can be monitored through on-farm audits, surveillance at slaughter or a combination of both.

The U.S. pork industry’s Pork Quality Assurance (PQA) Plus and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Trichinae Herd Certification programs will be used to create a compartment in the United States, the world’s largest exporter of pork.

 USDA, CSPI Agree with NMPF on Need to Ease Restrictions on Milk in Schools

Federal legislation easing restrictions on serving chocolate milk in schools received expressions of support in June from two prominent sources: the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

The School Milk Nutrition Act, developed jointly by NMPF and the International Dairy Foods Association and introduced in Congress this spring, would stem the tide of declining school milk consumption, among other ways, by allowing schools to offer low-fat as well as fat-free flavored milk. Current regulations only allow flavored milk if it is non-fat. Low-fat flavored versions would be restricted to no more than 150 calories per eight-ounce serving under the new legislation.

At a June hearing of the House Education and Workforce Committee, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack was asked if he could support giving schools the option of offering low-fat flavored milk. According to the Washington publication Politico, Vilsack responded, “I think if adding that option gets kids to drink more milk, we ought to do it.”

Later in the month, Margo Wootan, CSPI’s director of nutrition policy, also supported the concept of relaxing restrictions on flavored milk in schools. Politico quoted Wootan as saying, “I think that having flavored milk in schools is fine. It’s better to have kids drinking fat-free chocolate milk than soda. And one percent milk with a calorie cap is also acceptable to us.”

CSPI, sometimes called the “food police,” is a prominent consumer organization on nutrition issues.

The School Milk Nutrition Act was introduced earlier this year by Representatives Glenn Thompson (R-PA) and Joe Courtney (D-CT) and now has 12 cosponsors. A response to a significant drop in school milk servings since 2012, it reaffirms the requirement that milk be offered with each school meal, and that a variety of milk be offered consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. It also would establish a pilot program designed to increase milk consumption through expanded breakfast programs, a la carte sales, and other new outlets.

NMPF Offers Online Tools to Help Dairy Farmers

The National Milk Producers Federation has updated its online tools for dairy farmers considering their enrollment options in the second year of the Margin Protection Program, the new federal dairy safety net included in the 2014 farm bill.

A three-month sign-up period for the program, also known as MPP, opened July 1st. Producers have until Sept. 30th to enroll for coverage in calendar year 2016.  Producers currently covered by MPP in 2015 can elect now to make coverage changes in 2016.

To help producers make decisions, NMPF’s dedicated website, www.futurefordairy.com, offers the following materials:
·       A six-page brochure explaining the program and its benefits to dairy farmers;
·       A PowerPoint slide deck explaining the program in more detail;
·       Four pages of Frequently Asked Questions;
·       A Excel spreadsheet with milk and feed prices, and margins, dating back to 2007;
·       An interactive calculator allowing farmers to estimate future margins based on their forecasts of feed and milk prices.

The Margin Protection Program was designed to insure against the kind of catastrophic losses that many dairy farmers experienced in 2009 and again in 2012. Instead of tying government support to milk prices, MPP allows farmers to protect against the difference between milk prices and feed costs. Dairy farmers insure their farms on a sliding scale, deciding both how much of their production to cover, and the level of margin to protect. The program offers more extensive coverage for low-margin conditions than the previous programs it replaced.

According to the Agriculture Department, more than half of the nation’s 45,000 dairy producers enrolled in the Margin Protection Program during the inaugural sign-up period last fall.  The USDA also reported that approximately 80% of the nation’s milk supply enrolled in the program.  Of the farms in the program, approximately 55 percent elected to pay a premium for coverage above the basic, $4 per hundredweight coverage level.

NMPF was instrumental MPP’s development and strongly encourages producers to use the program.

”The Margin Protection Program is more flexible, more comprehensive and more equitable than any previous federal dairy safety net,” said Jim Mulhern, NMPF’s president and CEO. “It is risk management for the 21st century, and we strongly encourage farmers to choose a coverage plan that fits their circumstances. The updated materials available on our websites can help them do that.”

CWT Helps Move 9.4 Million Pounds of Dairy Products into World Markets

Cooperatives Working Together helped its member cooperatives last month contract to sell 9.447 million pounds of dairy products to customers in 12 countries on four continents. The 3.6 million pounds of American-type cheese, 3.8 million pounds of butter, and 2.0 million pounds of whole milk powder will be shipped from June through November 2015.

The 40 sales contracts in June bring the year to date 2015 totals to 38.4 million pounds of cheese, 30.4 million pounds of butter, and 22.1 million pounds of whole milk powder. Together, those transactions will move the equivalent of 1.2 billion pounds of milk on a milkfat basis to customers in 28 countries on five continents. These sales contracts are equal to nearly 90 percent of the increase in U.S. milk production through May.

Developed by NMPF, CWT is a voluntary export assistance program supported by dairy farmers producing 70 percent of the nation’s milk. By helping to move U.S. dairy products into world markets, CWT helps maintain and grow U.S dairy farmers’ share of these expanding markets.

In a related development, in early June the NMPF board voted to continue CWT through 2018 at the current funding level of four cents per hundredweight. The extension comes at a time of increasing U.S. milk production, declining world dairy prices and increased global competition due to the removal of European Union milk quotas.

“With the United States exporting the equivalent of one-seventh of its milk production, the NMPF board recognized how important CWT is in helping every farmer gain access to fast-growing overseas markets,” said NMPF Board Chairman Randy Mooney. “The program remains a tremendous self-help tool for all of America’s dairy producers.”

CWT Assists with 2.0 Million Pounds of Cheese and Whole Milk Powder Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 9 requests for export assistance from Dairy Farmers of America, Michigan Milk Producers Association, and Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold) who have contracts to sell 1.294 million pounds (587 metric tons) of Cheddar, Gouda, and Monterey Jack cheese, and 661,387 pounds (300 metric tons) of whole milk powder to customers in Asia, Central America, South America. The product has been contracted for delivery in the period from July through December 2015.

Year-to-date, CWT has assisted member cooperatives who have contracts to sell 40.776 million pounds of cheese, 30.395 million pounds of butter and 30.395 million pounds of whole milk powder to thirty one countries on five continents. The amounts of cheese, butter and whole milk powder in these sales contracts represent the equivalent of 1.280 billion pounds of milk on a milkfat basis.

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. This, in turn, positively impacts all U.S. dairy farmers by strengthening and maintaining the value of dairy products that directly impact their milk price.

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