Monday, February 29, 2016

Monday February 29 Ag News

Feeding the First Calf Heifers After Calving
Steve Tonn, Nebraska Extension Educator – Beef Systems, Washington County

One of the challenges is providing a high quality diet to first-calf heifers after calving.  In many situations, the energy needs are not met and the first calf female loses weight and body condition from the time of calving to the start of the breeding season.

Energy is the primary nutrient regulating reproduction.  Undernourished heifers are delayed in their resumption of estrous cycles.  Energy available to postpartum heifers includes energy eaten every day and energy reserves in the form of fat and muscle (body condition).  First-calf heifers should be in body condition score 6 at calving.

The pounds of protein or energy needed by first-calf heifers compared to a mature cow at the same stage of gestation or lactation are not all that different.  However, the percent of the diet that needs to be protein or energy between these two groups of females is different.

The difference is because of the amount of feed/forage that they can eat.  The mature cow can eat more feed compared to the younger female.  This difference becomes even more important before and after calving for first-calf heifers.  Research conducted at the University of Nebraska reported in 2004 Nebraska Beef Report that first-calf heifers have a 17% reduction in feed intake beginning 3 weeks prior to calving and potentially lasting for up to 3 weeks post calving.

For this reason, first-calf heifers should be managed and fed separately from the mature cows.  The first-calf females post calving need to consume a diet that is at least 62% TDN and 10-11% crude protein, depending on the level of milk production.

Forage testing is the cheapest nutritional strategy available.  Knowing the quality of our forages is necessary because many of our hays will not meet the first-calf heifer’s energy needs.  A high energy feed may need to be supplemented.  Corn, distillers grains, gluten feeds, 20% cube, or silage may be good choices.  Make sure that the protein requirement is met, especially when corn or silage is fed.

To complement a higher energy diet, also feed an ionophore to heifers.  An ionophore gives heifers more energy per mouthful, particularly in late gestation and early lactation, to optimize what she can get out of the forage.  Research has shown that by feeding an ionophore her postpartum interval can be shortened.

The young beef female poses challenges, but she is the future of your cow herd.  Don’t short her after calving, especially don’t skimp on energy.  She has enough challenges between calving and the beginning of the breeding season.  Don’t over feed her, but give her the opportunity to be a productive part of the herd.

Management Questions to Consider:

Do I know the quality of my forages?
Do I separate young cows from mature cows?
What is my least cost energy supplement for my heifers and cows?
What is the body condition score of my first-calf heifers at calving? Breeding?

Additional resources:

-        UNL Beef website:
-        UNL BeefWatch (monthly e-newsletter that you can subscribe to):
-        UNL BeefWatch Podcasts (these are more intimate chats with some of the authors of the BeefWatch articles, you can also subscribe or download them):

Nebraska Cow-Calf Symposium is March 22-23 in Columbus

The Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska (A-FAN) would like to announce the upcoming “Nebraska Cow-Calf Symposium and Tour” which will be held on Tuesday, March 22nd and Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016, at the Ramada Inn & Conference Center in Columbus, NE. The event will begin at 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday and will feature information about the opportunities that beef barns have to offer.

The Nebraska Cow-Calf Symposium will include presentations from Morgan Hayes with the University of Illinois Extension, Kelly Jones and Roberto Eizmendi with Cactus Feeders, Willow Holoubek with AFAN and Jason Warner with Great Plains Livestock Consulting Inc. A beef building tour will also take place on Wednesday, March 23rd and will include a variety of different barns.
“We are excited about the chance to offer, specifically, eastern Nebraska a way to grow in the beef industry despite the decrease in pasture land and the increase in land price,” explained Willow Holoubek, Executive Director of AFAN, the Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska “We have always talked about opportunities to bring home the next generation and with the innovation of these different types of beef barns, we feel this is an opportunity to include the beef industry in those conversations.”

If you are interested in attending, please visit to view the full agenda and to register. Early bird tickets are $55 until March 11th. For questions please contact Emily Skillett at (402) 421-4416 or

Windbreak Workshop

Amy Timmerman, NE Extension Educator, O'Neill

The Upper Elkhorn NRD, Lower Niobrara NRD, Natural Resources Conservation Services, Nebraska Forest Service, and Nebraska Extension are teaming up together to offer a windbreak workshop.

Topics to be discussed are:
·    Tips for successful tree planting and site preparation
·    Factors for a successful and healthy windbreak, most common issues encountered with re-enrolling CRP Windbreaks
·    Post planting care of young windbreaks, weed and grass control tree shelters, and fabric cutting

Overall this workshop is a great opportunity to explore how to restore declining windbreaks, how to create new windbreaks, and ways to maintain windbreaks of all ages. There will also be a question and answer period for specific questions.

This program will be offered:
Wednesday March 9, 2016, 1:00 PM – 3:30 PM
Holt County Courthouse Annex
128 N 6th Street, O’Neill, NE 68763

There is no fee for this program. Questions regarding the program please contact the Holt County Extension Office at 402-336-2760. 

Trade Missions Build Relationships and Expand Markets for Iowa Corn

The world over, one adage holds true, people want to do business with individuals and organizations they know and trust. To see how markets work and to talk face-to-face with customers around the world, Iowa farmers through the Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB) along with the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) and the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) have boots on the ground in major export markets. Building relationships amongst Iowa corn farmers and international buyers remains a key to USGC and USMEF’s work that can be directly attributed to sales of U.S. corn products.

“During these missions, Iowa corn farmers learn more about their customers’ businesses and these activities show them we value their partnership,” said Heckman. “This is really the only way to move the needle in knowing buyers’ needs, the quality of the product they are seeking, and how we can meet their expectations.”

In 2015, Iowa corn farmers went on several trade missions to discuss topics such as crop progress, DDGs, meat trade visits and communicating the results of the corn quality report.

“Every meeting includes us telling the story of our farm which helps them put a face to the product they buy,” Heckman explained. “Sometimes they simply want to learn about corn planting or harvest. Other times they want to discover our methods for corn or livestock production. These simple exchanges of knowledge yield some of the most important connections. If price is the same with our competition, the relationships we have built will win the business.”                                                                                                                                                                  

Examples of Recent Trade Servicing Missions:

In an effort to provide a transparent and objective view of the most recent U.S. corn crop, USGC released the 2015/2016 Corn Harvest Report. The overall report showed the crop was better than the average based on the previous four years on most attributes, with 94 percent of the samples grade U.S. No. 2 or better. U.S. farmers journeyed around the world sharing the report with international buyers.

    ICPB Director Wayne Humphreys and a farmer from Louisa County traveled to Mexico l where he met with two different consulates, made three facility inspections and completed four corn quality presentations. In Torreon, Mexico, his presentation was attended by 25 buyers who collectively import 20 percent of the country’s corn and DDGS. Transloading facilities in the area are increasing capacity from 80 cars to 110 cars to meet current industry standards. “Mexico is the second largest buyer of U.S. corn,” said Humphreys. “Iowa sends corn to Mexico by rail, which customers appreciate because it can be loaded on rail cars and shipped directly to the source reducing the amount of handling and maintaining the quality. This includes corn in all forms such as DDGs and ethanol. Our Mexican customers including the feed buyers I spoke to are extremely important to us. They have come to rely on the quality and availability of U.S. corn for the success of their businesses.”

    ICPB Director Roger Zylstra, a corn farmer from Jasper County traveled to Chile to participate for a corn harvest quality rollout. Chile has imported corn from the US in the past but currently is using only small quantities of U.S. corn. The purpose of this journey was to reestablish Chile contacts and try to develop this market. Chile currently has extensive modern Poultry and Pork enterprises. The next meeting was with Asprocer, a fully integrated pork producer. They source their corn from ADM and transport it 40 miles to their feed mill. They are interested in using more U.S. corn if they can get good quality corn. “They were impressed with the detail of the quality report,” said Zylstra. “They also asked about our use of GMO’s and if they would continue to dominate our corn supply. I think the effort by the US Grains Council to compile and present the corn quality report will help open new markets and maintain current markets for U.S. and Iowa corn farmers.”

FY 2016 Exports Forecast at $125.0 Billion; Imports at a Record $118.5 Billion

USDA Economic Research Service - Feb 2016 update

Agricultural exports in FY 2016 are forecast at $125.0 billion, $6.5 billion below the November projection and $14.7 billion below FY 2015 exports. Lower prices, strong competition, and reduced demand account for most of the decline. Grain and feed exports are forecast at $27.2 billion, down $1.4 billion from the November forecast as strong competition reduces volumes and ample global supplies reduce unit values of corn and wheat. Oilseed and product exports are forecast at $25.4 billion, down $900 million from the previous forecast in response to lower soybean and soybean meal export volumes and prices. A strong dollar relative to weaker currencies in Brazil and Argentina has reduced U.S. competitiveness. Cotton exports are forecast at $3.2 billion, unchanged from November. The forecast for livestock, poultry, and dairy is lowered $2.5 billion from the previous forecast to $25.7 billion as lower prices drive declines for virtually all products. Horticultural exports
are lowered $1.8 billion, but remain at a record $34.7 billion, mainly due to lower volumes and unit prices for many commodities (a combination that has not affected exports since 2009).   

U.S. agricultural imports are forecast at a record $118.5 billion, down $3.5 billion from  November but $4.5 billion higher than in FY 2015. The U.S. agricultural trade surplus is forecast at $6.5 billion, down from $25.7 billion in FY 2015 and the lowest since FY 2006. 

Corn Growers Disappointed in Supreme Court Declining to Review Chesapeake Decision

The National Corn Growers Association today expressed disappointment in the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision not to review a lower court ruling allowing the Environmental Protection Agency to micromanage local land use and development decisions under the guise of the Clean Water Act.

While this action relates to the EPA’s so-called “blueprint” for restoring the Chesapeake Bay, it has national implications related to the power and reach of the federal government. The TMDL, or total maximum daily load, is an unlawful overreach of federal regulatory power, NCGA notes.

“The EPA has consistently pushed the legal limits of the Clean Water Act, with the Chesapeake Bay blueprint and the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule being two of the most recent examples,” said NCGA President Chip Bowling, who farms on the Chesapeake Bay watershed in southern Maryland.

“When Congress passed the Clean Water Act, their intention was to create balanced, practical policies to protect America’s water resources with a clear division of power between states and the federal government. In both of these cases, the EPA’s actions represent an unlawful expansion of their authority. That’s why we joined this petition on the Chesapeake Bay TMDL, and we are party to a lawsuit challenging the WOTUS rule,” said Bowling.

“We support the goals of the Clean Water Act, and we remain committed to working with the EPA and other stakeholders to protect our water resources.”

Statement by Zippy Duvall, President, American Farm Bureau Federation, Regarding Supreme Court Petition for Certiorari

"We, of course, are disappointed by the Supreme Court's decision not to examine the lawfulness of EPA's Chesapeake Bay 'blueprint.' EPA has asserted the power to sit as a federal zoning board, dictating which land can be farmed and where homes, roads and schools can be built. We remain firm in opposing this unlawful expansion of EPA's power. We will closely monitor the agency's actions in connection with the Bay blueprint, as well as any efforts to impose similar mandates in other areas. This lawsuit has ended, but the larger battle over the scope of EPA's power is not over.

"Farmers are justifiably proud of their successes in reducing agriculture's impact on water quality in the Chesapeake Bay, and they remain committed to further improvements. We will continue to support state and local programs to improve agriculture's environmental performance, and we will continue to oppose EPA overreach."

Ag Law Education Initiative to Host Webinar on Big Data

Big data has become a buzzword in agriculture.  Big data is seen to have a role in potentially increasing food production and working to make agriculture more environmentally sustainable.  As more and more opportunities develop that allow farmers to utilize data being developed in their operations, issues also arise.  Although the full impact of this new data revolution in agriculture has not yet been met, many questions exist.  Security issues, ownership issues, and economic impacts are some of the unresolved questions.  On March 3rd at 12pm EST, the University of Maryland, Kansas State University, Oklahoma State University, and Texas A&M University will host a webinar Developing Issues in Agriculture: Economic Issues Related to Big Data in Agriculture.  This webinar will be the first in a series of two webinars focused on big data, a later webinar will focus on developing legal issues related to big data.

            Speaker will be Dr. Terry Griffin, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Kansas State University where his research and extension programs focus on cropping systems and precision agriculture.  Dr. Griffin will focus on the economic impact of big data on agriculture.

            The webinar is sponsored by the University of Maryland Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, the Agriculture Law Education Initiative, Kansas State University Department of Agricultural Economics, Oklahoma State University Department of Agricultural Economics, and Texas AgriLife Extension Service.

Click here for more information and to register....

Valuing groundwater during National Groundwater Awareness Week

If you value your life, you should value groundwater, the National Ground Water Association said today in recognition of National Groundwater Awareness Week, March 6-12.

Quite literally, life as we know it would not be possible without groundwater.

“National Groundwater Awareness Week is a time to take stock of this most important natural resource,” said NGWA Director of General Public Outreach Cliff Treyens.

“In times of drought or groundwater contamination — when people are noticeably affected — the value of groundwater becomes clear,” said Treyens. “The principle behind what Benjamin Franklin said two centuries ago remains true today: ‘When the well runs dry, we shall know the value of water.’”

It is estimated that groundwater makes up an estimated 99 percent of all freshwater in the world. At a national level, the United States uses:
-    76 billion gallons of groundwater a day (bgd) for all purposes
-    49.5 bgd for agricultural irrigation
-    15.7 bgd for public water supplies
-    3.5 bgd for individual households through privately owned water wells
-    3 bgd for livestock and aquaculture
-    2.9 bgd for industry (self-supplied)
-    1.1 bgd for mining
-    Nearly 600 million gallons per day for thermoelectric power generation.

Because groundwater is “out of sight, out of mind” for most, National Groundwater Awareness Week provides a convenient opportunity for people to learn about the importance of groundwater to their lives, said Treyens. He urged the public to visit NGWA’s groundwater fundamentals web page, as well as its website,, where well owners can learn information vital to take care of their water quality and their wells.

Here are some more interesting groundwater facts:
-    The 79.3 bgd a day used in the United States equals 1 billion, 586 million bathtubs full of water, enough to circle the Earth more than 60 times
-    India is the largest groundwater user in the world, using 66.3 trillion gallons in one year — enough water to fill an 18-inch-diameter pipeline to the Moon and back — 2,000 times
-    Groundwater is under most of the Earth’s surface
-    Under Africa’s Sahara Desert, there’s 20 times more groundwater than all the surface water in the entire continent’s lakes.

Nebraska uses an estimated 4,710 million gallons of groundwater a day (mgd). Use includes:
-    44 mgd is used for individual household wells
-    234 mgd is used for public drinking water systems
-    4,300 mgd is used for irrigation.

The Nebraska Well Drillers Association joined the National Ground Water Association (NGWA) in urging the citizens of Nebraska to take a moment to consider groundwater and its importance to them, the nation, and the world.

“Nebraska, like every state, depends on groundwater for drinking water, agriculture, industry, and the environment,” said NGWA Public Awareness Director Cliff Treyens. “Life as we know it could not exist without groundwater. It is a resource worth knowing about, appreciating, and valuing.”

CWT Assists with 1.8 Million Pounds of Cheese and Whole Milk Powder Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 6 requests for export assistance from Dairy Farmers of America, Michigan Milk Producers Association and Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold) who have contracts to sell 747,367 pounds (339 metric tons) of Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese, and 1.102 million pounds (500 metric tons) of whole milk powder to customers in Asia and South America. The product has been contracted for delivery in the period from February through July 2016.

So far this year, CWT has assisted member cooperatives who have contracts to sell 8.234 million pounds of cheese, 5.401 million pounds of butter and 6.847 million pounds of whole milk powder to twelve countries on five continents. The sales are the equivalent of 247.519 million 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.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Friday February 26 Ag News

Nebraska Ag Water Management Network Conference Offered on March 10th

Updates on irrigation engineering tools and research on new irrigation technologies, variable rate irrigation and fertigation fundamentals and cover crops will be the focus of the Nebraska Ag Water Management Network Conference that will be held on Thursday, March 10th.  It will be at the Holthus Convention Center, located at 3130 Holen Avenue in York.  The conference will run from 9:30 a.m. to 3:20 p.m., with registration beginning at 9:15 a.m.

Producers, crop consultants, NRD, DNR, NRCS, irrigation districts and other professionals are invited to attend.  Participants are encouraged to share their experiences that have helped make the Nebraska Ag Water Management Network (NAWMN) successful and any ideas they have for growing the network.

Topics that will be covered include:
 ·    Update on status of the NAWMN
 ·    Water-related smart phone apps
 ·    Z-Mag Ag Water Management Guide
 ·    Automated Water Use Database Project
 ·    Cover Crop Research
 ·    NRD Update
 ·    Update from the Upper Big Blue NRD CropTip
 ·    Underground Wireless Sensor Update
 ·    Soil Moisture Sensor Research Update
 ·    Variable Rate Irrigation Science and Engineering and Variable Rate Fertigation Research

A total of 4 continuing education units have been applied for in Soil/Water Management.
The  NAWMN goal is to transfer high quality research information to producers to use water and energy resources more efficiently for crop production and to enhance crop water productivity.

Started in 2005 with 15 collaborators, NAWMN has now grown to nearly 1400 collaborators who implement cutting-edge water management technologies/practices taught in the Network. Many of them regularly contribute water use database to a central NAWMN website. In turn, this information is used by growers across the state to fine-tune their irrigation management and application timing to current plant water needs. The fundamental objective of the NAWMN has been to integrate science, research and education/outreach principles to provide citizens best information available to help them to make better informed decisions in their irrigation management practices, which contributes to the Land-Grant Mission of UNL. The practices/procedures taught in the NAWMN have been based on the scientific and research-based information led by UNL-IANR professor Dr. Suat Irmak.

There is no cost to attend.  Lunch will be provided but we ask participants to RSVP for planning purposes by March 7th to Jenny Rees at the Clay County Office Extension Office at 402-762-3644 or

NASDA President Talks Land Ownership, Future of Ag at USDA Ag Outlook Forum

NASDA President and Nebraska Director of Agriculture Greg Ibach spoke today to attendees of the 92nd Annual USDA Agricultural Outlook Forum on a panel focusing on Land Tenure & Transition.

During his remarks, Ibach focused on NASDA’s policy calling for sound financial security and land ownership policies.

“Agricultural lands are America’s legacy and access to these lands is the biggest hurdle to our next generation of farmers and ranchers. As the chief promoters of agriculture in our states, NASDA Members are all too familiar with the need to provide the next generation with access to affordable credit and easily accessible programs provided by the Farm Service Agency. One way Nebraska is complementing USDA’s efforts is by providing tax exemptions to beginning farmers and tax credits to agricultural asset owners as they partner through our NExtGen Program.”

“There is also a critical need to help our farm and ranch families gain access to farm succession planning services. If we do not help our farm families plan their future, farms will continue to be carved up and sold to the highest bidder causing even higher levels of consolidation in the industry.”

Ibach was joined by Neil Hamilton, Professor of Law and Director of the Agricultural Law Center, Drake University, Damona Doye, Regents Professor and Rainbolt Chair of Agricultural Finance, Oklahoma State University, and Randall Hildreth, a landowner from Georgia.

NASDA is a nonpartisan, nonprofit association which represents the elected and appointed commissioners, secretaries, and directors of the departments of agriculture in all fifty states and four U.S. territories. Ibach will host the 2016 NASDA Annual Meeting in Lincoln, Nebraska on September 21- 24.

Bill Advances to Ease Farm Equipment Weight Restrictions

A bill that would relax weight and load restrictions for farm equipment on Nebraska’s roads has advanced out of a legislative committee.

The Transportation and Telecommunications Committee voted 7-0 on Thursday to send the measure to the full Legislature for debate.

The newest version of the bill would exempt tractors, combines, fertilizer spreaders and other heavy farm implements from the restrictions on Nebraska’s highways. Some producers have complained that the current rules haven’t kept pace with modern farm equipment, which is larger and heavier than in the past.

Weight and load restrictions would remain in place for bridges.

The Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation and the Nebraska Cattlemen Association have identified the bill as one of their top priorities in this year’s session.

Current National Drought Summary

Increasingly warm weather prevailed across much of the nation, with beneficial rain observed from Texas to the central and northern Atlantic Coast. Seasonable dryness over the Great Plains accompanied temperatures averaging 10 to 15°F above normal, with numerous daily record highs noted over southern portions of the region. Out west, progressively warmer weather heightened concerns of early snow melt, with early-week rain and mountain snow falling short of weekly normals and doing little to ease long-term drought.

Central Plains

Sunny skies and above-normal temperatures prevailed across this drought-free region, with daytime highs reaching 90°F in central and southwestern Kansas and upper 70s to lower 80s elsewhere. While still within the central Plains’ climatologically dry season, the recent abnormal warmth hastened winter wheat out of dormancy and will heighten the need for topsoil moisture over the upcoming weeks.

Looking Ahead

Stormy, occasionally cold weather in the East will contrast with warmth and dryness across much of the west. A potent winter storm will march northeastward across the Great Lakes, producing additional locally heavy showers across the Atlantic Coast States as well as moderate to heavy rain and snow in the Midwest. In the storm’s wake, briefly chilly conditions east of the Mississippi will give way to a rapid warm up by early next week. Generally tranquil weather will prevail from the Plains into the upper Midwest, though here, too, increasingly warm conditions will develop into next week. Unfavorably warm, dry weather will persist from California and the Great Basin into the lower Four Corners Region, while periods of rain and mountain snow continue farther north from the Northwest into the northern and central Rockies. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for March 1 – 5 calls for above-normal temperatures across western and central U.S. as well as much of the Northeast, with cooler-than-normal conditions confined to the upper Midwest. Meanwhile, below-normal precipitation is anticipated from the central and southern Pacific Coast eastward onto the High Plains and upper Midwest.


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

Winter will be over soon and another grazing season will begin. Who knows how much moisture lies ahead.  Today I’ll suggest some ways you can limit the forage problems drought could cause.

Drought is likely to be a problem again this summer, at least somewhere.  Because hay can be costly when pastures are short, we need to consider ways to minimize damages if we receive less than average rainfall.  Fortunately, early spring is a time you can take action that can minimize some of drought’s problems.

For starters, prepare a strategy for using any remaining hay.  One of the better options is to feed hay a bit longer into spring before turning cows out to permanent pasture.  I know this action is exactly opposite of my usual recommendation to graze more and feed less hay. But, allowing pastures to accumulate a bit more growth before grazing begins will provide more total grazable forage if drought prevents much regrowth later on.  Leftover hay also can be used later during the grazing season to give pastures more time to recover between grazings.

Another strategy is planting annual forages for pasture or hay.  Some excellent choices are oats planted as early as possible or summer annual grasses like sudangrass, sorghum-sudan hybrids, and pearl millet planted once soils are good and warm.  Late May or early June usually is best for these grasses.  So reserve some ground now for these drought-insurance grasses, before you plant everything to corn, beans, and other crops.  And don’t forget about possibly planting these grasses or even some fall cover crop forages into wheat stubble as a double crop after harvest.

If the rains don’t come, planning and acting now to reduce potential forage losses from drought will pay big dividends.

Senior Execs Replaced at Grain Firm Gavilon

A shake-up is taking place atop Omaha, Nebraska-based grain trading firm Gavilon, making good on promises of big changes from Marubeni, the Japanese trading house and Gavilon's owner, following struggles in its food division.

Gavilon Group is replacing CEO Jim Anderson with Lew Batchelder, a veteran Archer Daniels Midland executive who oversaw ADM's international operations. Gavilon Chief Operations Officer John Neppl and North American grain boss Greg Konsor are stepping down as well, with Chris Faust promoted to vice president and general manager of Gavilon's North American grain division. Faust was formerly regional vice president for its grain division.

Marubeni CEO Fumiya Kokubu said on an earnings call this month "we will be taking dramatic measures" at Gavilon as the company, which Marubeni acquired in 2013, "continues to experience difficulty."

Last Chance for Landowners to Order Trees for Spring Planting

Nebraska Association of Resources Districts (NARD) announces more than 700,000 trees and shrubs have been ordered for Nebraskans across the state so far, with plant to plant them in the spring of 2016. Each seedling does its part in enhancing the state’s beauty and conserving our natural resources.

Since the Natural Resources Districts (NRDs) creation in 1972, more than 95 million trees and shrubs have been planted across the state with the help of the NRDs.

“The value of these trees is priceless,” said Terry Martin, President of the Nebraska Association of Resources Districts. “Trees and shrubs offer landowners dozens of benefits many people may not even realize.”

For less than a dollar a tree, conservation trees can shade and shelter homes, reduce energy costs, protect and increase crop yields, reduce soil erosion caused by water and wind, improve water quality, control snow and preserve winter moisture, protect livestock, provide food and cover for wildlife, control noise, capture atmospheric carbon, raise property values, and add beauty to our landscape.

Each of the 23 Natural Resources Districts administer their own tree program, so available species and tree and shrub options may differ from district to district.

“Our forestry staff know their trees,” said Martin. “We help hundreds of landowners every year select good trees and shrubs to plant for their region, and offer assistance with designing and planting windbreaks.”

The Natural Resources Districts thank the state’s landowners for doing their part in conserving Nebraska’s natural resources.

Many NRD Conservation Tree Program order deadlines are coming up. Some are due as soon as March 1st! Contact your local Natural Resources District to put your tree orders in today. You can go to to locate your local NRD.

To learn about the wide variety of trees each NRD offers, go to


Nebraska's layer numbers during 2015 averaged 7.70 million, down 19 percent from the year earlier, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. The annual average production per layer on hand in 2015 was 298 eggs, down 1 percent from 2014.

Nebraska egg production during the year ending November 30, 2015 totaled 2.29 billion eggs, down 20 percent from 2014.

Total number of chickens on hand on December 1, 2015 (excluding commercial broilers) was 9.44 million birds, down 18 percent from last year.

The total value of all chickens in Nebraska on December 1, 2015 was $35.9 million, up slightly from December 1, 2014. The average value increased from $3.10 per bird on December 1, 2014, to $3.80 per bird on December 1, 2015.

US Highlights - Chicken and Egg Annual Summary

United States Average Number of Layers Down 4 Percent: Layer numbers during 2015 averaged 350 million, down 4 percent from the year earlier. The annual average production per layer on hand in 2015 was 276 eggs, down slightly from 2014.

United States Egg Production Down 4 Percent: Egg production during the year ending November 30, 2015 totaled 96.4 billion eggs, down 4 percent from 2014. Table egg production, at 83.1 billion eggs, was down 6 percent from the previous year. Hatching egg production, at 13.3 billion eggs, was up 4 percent from 2014.

United States December 1 Inventory Numbers: The total number of chickens on hand on December 1, 2015 (excluding commercial broilers) was 471 million birds, down 3 percent from last year.

United States Total Value: The total value of all chickens on December 1, 2015 was $2.06 billion, up 3 percent from December 1, 2014. The average value increased from $4.11 per bird on December 1, 2014, to $4.36 per bird on December 1, 2015.

New Software Developed to Monitor Sheep Feedlots

Iowa Beef Center has developed software to assist sheep feedlot managers with both detailed monitoring of animal performance along with business transactions involving the sheep feeding enterprise.

The ISU Sheep Feedlot Monitor Software (AS 7) is now available for purchase in the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Store and ensures sheep feedlots are efficient and monitored properly.

The software program was developed by Garland Dahlke, assistant scientist with the Iowa Beef Center at Iowa State University.

“This new software will provide sheep feedlot managers the same information cattle feedlots have to monitor their operation and stay efficient throughout the year," Dahlke said.

The software provides animal performance evaluations based on real time feed consumption and financial information that can be tied to health data. This creates a basis for the estimation of current growth and subsequent performance.

The business components include day to day costs, income accounting and a built in option to track feed and drug inventory and generate billing statements for custom feeding operations.

For more information on the downloadable software visit the Store at:

New Specialty License Plate for Iowa Agriculture

A new specialty license plate is now available throughout Iowa for passenger vehicles, trucks and trailers. The license plate recognizes the important role that agriculture plays in the state economy.

Revenue from the sale of the plate will support three youth organizations that help students learn about agriculture, leadership, and life skills. The three organizations are the Iowa FFA Foundation, Iowa 4-H Foundation and Iowa Agriculture in the Classroom.

The Iowa FFA Foundation serves the 14,800 student member organization in 225 chapters across Iowa. It helps students develop their potential for premier leadership, personal growth, and career success.

South Africa Now Taking U.S. Pork

South Africa now is accepting U.S. pork exports. The National Pork Producers Council, which worked with the Obama administration to convince Pretoria to lift a de facto ban on U.S. pork, welcomed the news.

The United States can ship to South Africa a variety of raw, frozen pork, including bellies, hams, loins, ribs and shoulders, for unrestricted sale and other pork for further processing.

“NPPC is pleased that South Africa has followed through with a commitment to open its market to U.S. pork. Now, we can sell safe, high-quality and affordable U.S. pork to more than 50 million new consumers,” said NPPC President Dr. Ron Prestage, a veterinarian and pork producer from Camden, S.C. “U.S. pork producers had been on the outside looking in as competitors from Brazil, Canada and the European Union sold pork to South Africa, which banned our product using non-science-based restrictions that didn’t pass the red face test.”

One of those restrictions was to prevent the spread of Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) to South African livestock even though the risk of disease transmission from U.S. pork products was negligible. There is no documented scientific case of PRRS being transmitted to domestic livestock through imported pork. (New Zealand, a PRRS-free nation, imported pork for 10 years from PRRS-positive countries without getting the disease.)

In early January, after the Obama administration threatened to suspend its trade benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act – duty-free access for products exported to the United States – South Africa announced it would partially lift its ban on U.S. pork.

“While we now can sell pork in South Africa,” Prestage said, “there is no scientific reason to restrict any of our pork, so we’ll continue to work with the governments in Washington and Pretoria to get complete access to that market.”

U.S. Should Be Better Prepared For Pests, Diseases

In testimony today, the National Pork Producers Council urged congressional lawmakers to work with the Obama administration to improve the preparedness of the United States to deal with a foreign pest infestation or disease outbreak.

While over the years improvements have been made to the systems that safeguard U.S. agriculture, former USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Administrator Bobby Acord, testifying on behalf of NPPC, told a subcommittee of the House Committee on Homeland Security, much more needs to be done to prevent plant and animal pests and diseases from entering the country and devastating U.S. food producers.

Accord, who served as APHIS administrator from 2001 to 2004, told the committee’s Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response and Communication that the introduction of foreign pests and diseases can have severe consequences for agriculture production, consumer prices and, potentially, food availability. They also could adversely affect U.S. exports, with foreign trading partners closing their markets to U.S. goods.

“There seems to be a growing consensus that there are serious flaws in the country’s preparedness to deal with threats to U.S. agriculture and the food supply,” said Acord.

Among actions NPPC suggested the federal government take to be better prepared to address a foreign pest infestation or disease outbreak:
•           A sufficient quantity of vaccine to control and eradicate an outbreak of Foot-and-Mouth Disease.
•           A more robust review of biosecurity measures in each sector of the agriculture industry.
•           More vigorous scrutiny of imports at ports of entry.
•           An animal identification system to better trace the movement of livestock to control the spread of a disease and to determine the origins of an outbreak.
•           More funding for the systems that safeguard U.S. agriculture.
•           Share data, including on animal movements, to improve disease response.

A blue ribbon panel last fall released a report on U.S. bio-defenses that highlighted the need for improvements in the system for protecting the U.S. livestock herd and the nation’s food supply, and concerns about the country’s preparedness to deal with foreign animal diseases were raised in a November hearing of the House Agriculture Committee.

BASF Crop Protection pipeline valued at €3 billion

BASF now projects its crop protection pipeline to achieve peak sales of €3 billion for products launched between 2015 and 2025. Following its strategy to bring comprehensive solutions to farmers, the company will launch new products for all crop protection indications in row and specialty crops. This promising pipeline is the result of continuous investments in research and development. In 2015 alone, BASF spent €514 million on R&D in the Crop Protection division.

“We have been very successful in translating ideas and challenges into best-in-class products and services for growers across the globe,” said Markus Heldt, President of BASF’s Crop Protection division. “Innovation remains a crucial component of agriculture today. It is a dynamic market, with ever-changing needs and new challenges, and we are happy that we can contribute with new solutions and technologies,” Heldt added.

In the fungicide area, BASF is making great progress in bringing a new blockbuster compound to farmers across the globe starting from 2019 on. Already at an advanced phase of development, the new fungicide has demonstrated outstanding biological performance and is expected to become a key tool for effective disease control. Extensive research on this proprietary compound shows a high potential for broad spectrum activity against a wide range of pathogens in many crops, such as corn, cereals, soy, and specialty crops.

BASF is a leading provider of both novel active ingredients and new formulations for herbicides. A new advanced dicamba formulation is a leading forthcoming innovation in the herbicide field. Engenia™ is designed for use in dicamba/glyphosate-tolerant cropping systems and is a highly efficient tool for the control of resistant weeds in row crops. Pending registration, Engenia™ is anticipated to be available first in the Americas later this year.

The herbicide pipeline also includes innovations in herbicide tolerance and weed resistance management technologies. BASF is developing compounds targeting novel sites of action that have shown outstanding control of resistant weeds, such as black grass, in a range of crops. These new introductions should reach markets by the beginning of the next decade. In addition, a new herbicide tolerant system for rice, Provisia™ Rice System, is targeted to enter the market in 2017. These new members of BASF’s herbicide family complement a very attractive portfolio that already offers such star products as Kixor® and the Clearfield® Production System to farmers around the globe.

BASF’s insecticide portfolio is also expanding with two new compounds increasing the number of tools for insect control and resistance management by the end of the decade. The compounds show strong commercial potential and are the result of successful collaboration with other partners. The active ingredient broflanilide, brings a new mode of action that has demonstrated excellent levels of control for chewing pests – the biggest insecticide market segment – for use in row and specialty crops as well as the professional pest management market. The other novel active ingredient, Inscalis™, is effective against piercing-sucking insects, providing long-lasting control of aphids, whiteflies, and certain leafhoppers, psyllids and scales for use in specialty crops, row crops and ornamentals. Both products will be launched in several markets across the globe.

“For us, innovation goes beyond the discovery of new molecules and agrochemical compounds,” said Heldt. “We are investing in areas such as IT, formulation technologies, biological crop protection and new business models as well.” In 2015, Functional Crop Care, the business area in BASF that offers solutions for healthier plants and higher yields to supplement conventional crop protection, launched Limus® nitrogen management. Limus® is a patented product that helps crops maintain optimal nitrogen availability through the most critical growth stages of plant development, which leads to more consistent yields. Other solutions from the Functional Crop Care segment are in the market introduction phase and, in total, should generate more than €500 million in sales for BASF by 2020.

“Although commodity prices have been lower and the agrochemical sector has slowed down, we have full confidence in the long-term global trends,” said Heldt. “We need a robust agriculture sector as the basis for our planet’s future growth. We can only support farmers’ success in delivering healthy and affordable food if we continue to invest in new sustainable solutions to increase their yields. So that is what we will continue to do,” concluded Heldt.

BASF’s track record in successfully commercializing new products has proven to be a key growth pillar for the Crop Protection unit. Recently, more than 40% of the business sales were generated by products launched in the past five years. To further expand its market success with innovations, BASF Crop Protection will continue to invest approximately 9% of its sales in R&D.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Thursday February 25 Ag News

Midwest Dairy Association Names Next CEO; Mike Kruger to Retire After 35 Years

Midwest Dairy Association, a non-profit organization which manages dairy farmer checkoff funds in a 10-state region, has named Lucas Lentsch as its next CEO. Lentsch, who is currently serving as South Dakota’s secretary of agriculture, will begin working for the organization in mid-April, transitioning into the group’s leadership post as the current CEO, Mike Kruger, moves toward retirement on July 1, 2016.

“We’re excited about this new chapter for our organization,” said Jerry Messer, Richardton, N.D., Midwest Dairy chairman. “We are looking forward to a seamless transition from Mike Kruger’s legacy of leadership to a new perspective from Lucas Lentsch.”

Lentsch was selected by a search committee of 12 dairy farmers from across Midwest Dairy’s geography and was approved by the organization’s 34 dairy farmer board members who serve at the corporate level.Kincannon & Reed, a leading executive search firm focused on the food and agribusiness sectors, assisted Midwest Dairy Association in the recruitment of Lentsch.

Lentsch to play key role for dairy community

In his new role, Lucas Lentsch will lead the organization, which represents nearly 20 percent of the nation’s dairy farmers, in building trust and sales on behalf of farmers across the Midwest. He will play a key role in working with Dairy Management Inc. at the national level. Capitalizing on his expertise in government and business development, Lentsch also will play a key role in continuing Midwest Dairy’s leadership on A Path Forward, an effort to help the region capture its share of the growing consumer dairy market in years to come.

Previous to his appointment as agriculture secretary by South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard in 2013, he was director of agriculture development for South Dakota. He also spent more than 10 years in business and community development in northeast South Dakota. He was raised on a family dairy farm and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in dairy manufacturing from South Dakota State University.

“It has been an honor serving as secretary of agriculture for South Dakota’s farmers and ranchers, and I am now looking forward to serving the more than 8,000 dairy farm families of Midwest Dairy Association,” said Lentsch. “As a passionate advocate for agriculture, I am excited to lead the team of Midwest Dairy Association forward as their CEO.”

Lentsch and his family plan to relocate this spring to the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, where Midwest Dairy’s corporate office is located.

Mike Kruger to close career of dairy leadership

On his retirement date, Mike Kruger will have completed 35 years of service to dairy farmers through their checkoff program. He assumed leadership of a Midwest Dairy Association predecessor organization, American Dairy Association of Minnesota, in 1985 after serving as assistant manager for five years. He guided the organization as it evolved to become American Dairy Association/Dairy Council of the Upper Midwest and later Midwest Dairy Association.

In addition to serving as Midwest Dairy’s CEO, Kruger held various leadership roles at Dairy Management Inc., the national checkoff program, through which he provided guidance and influence in representing the interests of Midwest Dairy Association and other state and regional organizations across the country. 

In addition to forming Midwest Dairy Association, Kruger’s accomplishments were:
-    Transitioning the organization to follow a unified national marketing plan that moved away from a generic advertising focus to strategic partnerships and innovation;
-    Establishing dairy farmers’ leadership in child health and wellness through Fuel Up to Play 60 and outreach to the region’s leading health organizations; and
-    Elevating the importance of the Midwest Dairy Foods Research Center including developing a position for a dairy economist at the University of Minnesota.

“I’ve been one of the lucky few to have spent my career serving dairy farmers, who I think embody the essence of American values and represent a product that is fundamental to sound nutrition and enjoyment,” Kruger said. “It’s been an honor and a privilege.”

 Nebraska Pork Producers Elect New Directors and Officers

Nebraska’s Pork industry gathered in Lincoln for their Annual Meeting to address industry issues, recognize the Outstanding Pork Service Award winners, Allied Members and elect new directors and officers.

Russ Vering with Central Plains Milling in Howells was elected President for the Association. Darin Uhlir of St Paul will serve as 1st Vice President; Tim Chancellor of Broken Bow assumed the position of 2nd Vice President, and Kevin Peterson of Osceola was elected to fill the 3rd Vice President position. Elected to their first two-year term as Directors are Mike Wisnieski of Omaha and Shana Beattie of Sumner. Dan Meiergerd of Dodge and Alesha Meyer of Diller were elected as alternate directors.

Karen Grant, Meadow Grove; Matt Clark, McCool Jct.; Ron Browning, Fremont; Tim Chancellor, Broken Bow; Kevin Peterson, Osceola; and Duane Miller, Davenport, Nebraska were all elected to serve another two-year term on the Board of Directors.

Retiring from the Board of Directors were Alden Zuhlke of Plainview and Scott Spilker of Beatrice. Shane Meyer of Diller retired from the Executive Committee. Dr. Benny Mote will replace Dr. Larry Berger on the Executive Committee as the representative from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Joining Nebraska’s pork industry as the breakfast keynote speaker was Governor Pete Ricketts who was introduced by Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) who was an impromptu guest that addressed the gathering. Industry issues were addressed by National Pork Board’s Vice President of Strategic Communications, Kevin Waetke; Ansley Mick, Executive Director for We Support Agriculture; Dr. Ron Brodersen, President of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians and John Hinners, Assistant Vice President of the U.S. Meat Export Federation.

Pork Production Down 1 Percent from Last Year

Commercial red meat production for the United States totaled 4.06 billion pounds in January, down 1 percent from the 4.09 billion pounds produced in January 2015, according to USDA in its montly livestock slaughter report.

Beef production, at 1.95 billion pounds, was 1 percent below the previous year.  Cattle slaughter totaled 2.36 million head, down 2 percent from January 2015.  The average live weight was up 23 pounds from the previous year, at 1,381 pounds.

Veal production totaled 6.7 million pounds, 2 percent below January a year ago.  Calf slaughter totaled 41,800 head, 5 percent above January 2015.  The average live weight was down 17 pounds from last year, at 274 pounds.

Pork production totaled 2.08 billion pounds, 1 percent below the previous year.  Hog slaughter totaled 9.74 million head, slightly below January 2015.  The average live weight was down 2 pounds from the previous year, at 285 pounds.

Lamb and mutton production, at 11.2 million pounds, was 4 percent below January 2015.  Sheep slaughter totaled 161,400 head, 3 percent below last year.  The average live weight was 139 pounds, down 1 pound from January a year ago.

By State - Jan 2016 Red Meat Production

                  million pounds - % of Jan 2015

Nebraska .....:     639.1            103      
Iowa ............:     585.5             96      
Kansas .........:     420.2            102      

IFBF hosting spring cover crop management webinar 

As record numbers of conservation-minded Iowa farmers have recently incorporated cover crops into their farms’ environmental protection plans, many farmers have questions regarding the management of the cover crops.  At 10:00 a.m., Tuesday, March 15, the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) will feature a cover crop management webinar to help farmers prepare for spring management considerations including crop termination planning and equipment adjustments.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) has worked with hundreds of farmers across the state in recent years to secure cost share funding to plant post-harvest cover crops.  Fall 2015 was a good season for cover crop establishment and growth, with adequate moisture and growing temperatures.  The tremendous fall growth of many cover crops proved extremely valuable, as the covers helped hold soil in place and protected waterways during heavy rain events.

With the successful fall cover crop growth, farmers could face challenges this spring with the crop management.  The IFBF webinar will feature a variety of expert speakers including Iowa State University (ISU) Extension staff, a plant physiologist from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and an experienced cover crop farmer from Wellman, Iowa.

The experts will cover topics such as: cover crop effects and benefits on soil health, spring termination considerations, planter settings for planting into cover crops, and burndown choices.  “As hundreds of Iowa farmers planted fall cover crops for the first time in 2015, there are many questions regarding their maintenance this spring, said Ed Kordick, IFBF commodity services manager.  “This timely webinar will provide insight into handling the common challenges farmers may face this spring when managing their cover crop.”

Farmers can access the webinar at  Pre-registration is not required for online viewing, but attendees are encouraged to test their computer’s ability to participate prior to the webinar.

For more information, contact Kordick at

Schedule Finalized for AG CONNECT Main Stage at Commodity Classic

The educational experience at Commodity Classic will be even bigger and better in 2016, thanks to the addition of a new presentation area located right on the trade show floor.

The AG CONNECT Main Stage, which will be located near Aisle 100 on the trade show floor, is presented by Commodity Classic and Successful Farming®.   The stage will feature a series of seminars, panel discussions and demonstrations that are sure to attract large audiences.

The 2016 Commodity Classic will be held in New Orleans, Louisiana, March 3-5.  Registrations for Commodity Classic are on pace for another record-breaking attendance.   This year’s event will also feature the largest trade show in the two-decade history of Commodity Classic, which should ensure large crowds at the AG CONNECT Main Stage.

The line-up for the AG CONNECT Main Stage is as follows:

•      “What’s New Session Previews” which will provide short 3-minute sneak peeks of the 40-minute “What’s New” sessions scheduled for Friday and Saturday
•      “Stop the Fighting on the Way to the Funeral Home™” presented by Jolene Brown will put a humorous spin  on managing family issues related to farming and transitions between generations.
•      “What is the Next American Agricultural Dream?” In which futurist Brian David Johnson provides his outlook  for the future of American agriculture
•      “Ag Showcase: Tools of the Future” will include key areas of innovation such as robotics and sensors.

•      “Farmer Panel Discussion:  Data-Driven Decision Agriculture” in which innovative farmers will share  information on how they use and apply data in their operations.
•      “Agribusiness Executive Panel Discussion:  Innovation in Spite of a Tough Market” will highlight how leading agribusiness companies are investing in innovation.
•      “Ag Showcase:  Winning the War on Weeds” will help growers decipher what herbicide sites and modes of action can mean in weed control strategy.
•      “Ag Showcase:  Big Data ROI” in which Tyler McClendon, Dr. John Fulton and Doug Hackney will discuss how  to find buried value in data and how different data streams can improve productivity and profitability.

•      “Cooking Demonstration” will feature a well-known chef sharing Creole recipes featuring eggs and poultry.
•      “More Profit in 2016 Through Better Agronomy” will feature Brian and Darren Hefty of Ag PhD talking about  key decision points in a farming operation.
•      “Who’s Hiding the Humor?™” during which Jolene Brown will share how a positive sense of humor extends to better health and other benefits.

The AG CONNECT Main Stage provides a new venue for grower education in addition to the Learning Center Sessions, What’s New Sessions and Mini What’s New Sessions that are offered at Commodity Classic.

“Education is a hallmark of Commodity Classic and the addition of the AG CONNECT Main Stage takes it to a new level,” said Commodity Classic Co-Chair Sam Butler, an Alabama soybean farmer.  “There’s a dynamite line-up of diverse and powerful presentations designed to inspire, inform and entertain.  We’re very excited about the value this new opportunity adds to the Commodity Classic experience.”

Attendees are encouraged to download the Commodity Classic mobile app to build their own schedule, receive alerts and keep up on event details.   Information on downloading the mobile app is available at

Farm Bureau Donations Benefit Hungry Americans

The farm and ranch families of Farm Bureau raised more than $1.1 million and donated a record of more than 48 million pounds of food to assist hungry Americans as part of Farm Bureau's "Harvest for All" program. Combined, the monetary and food donations also reached a record level of the equivalent of more than 49 million meals.

Now in its 14th year, Harvest for All is spearheaded by members of Farm Bureau's Young Farmers & Ranchers program, but Farm Bureau members of all ages from across the nation contribute to the effort. In all, 19 state Farm Bureaus and the American Farm Bureau Federation heeded the call to action, helping ensure Americans in need can enjoy the bounty of food farmers and ranchers produce.

In addition to raising food and funds for the initiative, farmers and ranchers tallied nearly 16,000 volunteer hours assisting local hunger groups in 2015.

"We're pleased to continue Farm Bureau's long tradition of helping nourish those who need help the most," said Cole Coxbill, a rancher and crop farmer from Wyoming who chairs the AFBF YF&R committee.

"More than 50 percent of Americans that struggle with hunger live in rural areas and farming communities," Coxbill said. "Through the coordinated efforts of America's farmers and ranchers and Harvest for All, we're helping to lower that statistic."

Harvest for All is one of the most important community service efforts undertaken by Farm Bureau members. Although the U.S. economy is stronger overall compared to several years ago, many Americans still need help securing adequate food for their families.

Soil Health Institute Appoints Inaugural Members to Board of Directors

The Soil Health Institute marked a milestone today in the organization’s efforts to bring world-class leaders together to help improve soil health. The Institute announced it has appointed 13 members to its first-ever board of directors.

“Ensuring we have healthy soils is one of the most important, yet challenging, jobs of our time,” says Bill Buckner, chairman of the board. “To accomplish this critical goal, we brought together leaders from across the agriculture sector. Most importantly, this board is comprised of a diverse mix of farmers and ranchers, who are experiencing the critical nature of keeping our soils healthy.”

The board, the first of its kind, features representatives from all areas of agriculture and farming practices, including organic and conventional operations, row crops and specialty crops, and native and improved-pasture cattle ranches. Four full-time farmers have been currently named to the board.

The Institute expects to ultimately add an additional nine directors with six of those being farmers/ranchers. The board also includes soil research experts, as well as environment, conservation and industry leaders. “We have assembled a board of visionaries with different perspectives,” Buckner says, “all of whom are working toward one common goal – improving soil health.”

Board member V. Larkin Martin, a row crop farmer from Northern Alabama, provides first-hand insight from the farming front lines. She wants to know as much as she can about her soils, so she can not only make good business decisions for her farm, but make sound environmental decisions that benefit everyone.

“Farmers have to live with the risks of variable weather conditions and variable soils. We can’t control the weather, but we can control how we take care of our soil,” Martin says. “We would benefit from having more information about soil health in general, as well as practical information about how it can be improved through farmer practices. The Soil Health Institute’s vision is to go beyond simply measuring the nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium in our soil, but to understand the importance of organic matter, microbial interactions and more. We need the Institute to help identify and coordinate this research and transfer that insight to farmers in a useful format, so we can make the best possible decisions for the land.”

Members will work together and challenge each other to help solve our soil health challenges. The full list of current board members includes:
    Bill Buckner, President/CEO, The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation
    Neil Conklin, Ph.D., President, Farm Foundation, NFP
    Daniel DeSutter, President, DeSutter Farms
    William Flory, President, Flory Farms
    Jim Gulliford, Executive Director, Soil and Water Conservation Society
    Jerry Hatfield, Ph.D., Laboratory Director, National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment
    Diana Jerkins, Ph.D., Research Director, Organic Farming Research Foundation
    Bruce I. Knight, Principal/Founder, Strategic Conservation Solutions, LLC
    Andrew W. LaVigne, President/CEO, American Seed Trade Association
    Klass Martens, Owner, Lakeview Organic Grain
    V. Larkin Martin, Martin Farm
    Lara Beal Moody, P.E., Senior Director of Stewardship and Sustainability, The Fertilizer Institute
    Jay Vroom, President/CEO, CropLife America
    Wayne Honeycutt, President/CEO, Soil Health Institute

“Since the Soil Health Institute’s inception, we knew we couldn’t just talk about the soil – we had to have our hands in it, so we could drive real, effective and lasting change,” Buckner says. “Our board selection demonstrates that approach. We’re proud to bring together this strong group of leaders who will reshape agriculture as we know it.”

Rabobank Releases Report on Dairy Production Consolidation

The profitability of large dairy farms is driven by economies of scale, leading Rabobank to believe the long-standing trend of consolidating milk production is here to stay.  These findings are part of a new report from the Rabobank Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory group, which explores consolidation in the U.S dairy sector

“Over the last few decades we have seen a transition in the industry and the rise of larger farms,” notes  report author and Rabobank dairy analyst Tom Bailey. “These larger operations have created a great deal of positive change for the U.S. dairy industry, including reduced environmental impact through much more efficient production.”

The report, “Economies of Scale Driving Consolidation in U.S. Dairy: Farmers and Processors Should Both Pay Attention,” goes on to note the increase in larger dairy operations has picked up speed over the last decade as market volatility and industry changes have made dairy farming more challenging. Data going back to 1970 indicates the U.S. dairy industry has seen a steady increase in the average size of dairy farms as larger operations benefited from economies of scale.

“The dairy market is definitely more voliatile than it was 30 years ago, but if consolidation and growth are done proprty, the operation is ultimately more profitable for large and efficient producers,” notes Bailey.

The increasing rate of change has boosted consolidation of U.S. milk production, putting increasing influence in the hands of large farms and sending ripples throughout the U.S. dairy industry. With large farms likely accounting for the majority of growth in the coming years, U.S. dairy producers and processors alike should be considering the potential impact of this change.

“We find many of the most motivated and successful dairy owners seek growth as part of their future strategy,” notes Bailey. “We expect both challenges and opportunities for producers and processors alike over the next 10 years. As large farms increase their market share, they will continue to put pressure on processors to give them a voice in how their milk is used, they will also face headwinds from increased regulations, consumer pushback, and the implications of being a highly visible part of the industry. For large farms to appropriately address these challenges will take time and money.”

Next wave of water-optimized Agrisure Artesian® corn hybrids expected for 2017 growing season

Building on a long-standing commitment to helping farmers make the most of their available water, Syngenta announced the discovery of newly identified water-optimizing corn genes. These genes will be deployed in select Agrisure Artesian® hybrids available for planting in 2017.

Following the successful introduction of Artesian™ hybrids in 2012, Syngenta scientists have continued to study how corn plants respond to water stress at the gene level — research that contributed to the identification and validation of these newly identified genes offered in the latest corn hybrids from Agrisure Artesian.

“The development of Artesian hybrids with these additional genes signifies our continued commitment to help growers across the Corn Belt make the most of their available water,” said Duane Martin, Ph.D., Syngenta product lead, commercial traits.

Built for season-long water optimization, Artesian hybrids perform in a variety of soil types and climates, helping improve yield stability and consistency on virtually any acre. Growers will be able to better manage the unpredictability of weather and optimize the conversion of available water to grain with access to these latest corn hybrids.

“During the past several growing seasons, we observed how Artesian hybrids maximized yield in favorable conditions and increased yield when water was limited — and we are excited to offer growers more options for the 2017 growing season,” said Dirk Benson, head, seed product development. “These advanced hybrids contain even more native genes for consistent, dependable performance in all weather conditions.”

Artesian corn hybrids are available from Golden Harvest® Corn and NK® Corn and through licensing agreements with independent seed companies.

Pepperoni Tops Americans' List of Favorite Pizza Toppings


There's no question that Americans eat it, love it, and are even comforted by it. In a recent Harris Poll, Americans weigh in on what they like, don't like, and where to find the best. Pepperoni is tops on Americans' list of favorite pizza toppings. Anchovies, on the other hand, rank first on the list of least favorite toppings. And in the great debate over New York style versus Chicago deep dish, Americans may have an answer as New York is seen as the best state to get a good slice while Illinois lands second.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,193 U.S. adults surveyed online between Jan. 13 and 18.

Pepperoni may be in the top spot, but it's certainly not the only thing Americans like to put on their pies. Sausage and mushrooms rank second and third, while a simple cheese pizza ranks fourth. Adults point to onions as fifth, olives in sixth, and bacon as their seventh favorite. Ham/Canadian bacon and pineapple are tied for eighth place, while peppers round out the top ten.

While the toppings may be the cherry on top, a solid foundation can make or break the meal. When it comes to crust style, there's no majority rule though a plurality (29%) prefer thin crust. A bit more distantly, adults turn to regular crust (18%), deep dish (15%), and stuffed crust (14%). Fewer than one in ten prefers thick crust (9%), French bread (4%), or Sicilian crust (3%).

Interestingly, generation appears to play a factor in preferred crust style: Millennials don't just want toppings on their pizza; they want it in their pizza! Stuffed crust is the number one pick for this group, while all other generations default to thin crust as their top choice.

Six percent say they really have no preference when it comes to crust type, just give them the pizza already! Meanwhile a paltry 2% may be missing out on all the goodness as they say they don't eat pizza at all.

While Americans may be more or less united in eating pizza, they're also pretty aligned against certain ways to top it. Anchovies rank number one as America's least favorite pizza topping. Beyond that, one person's treasure indeed seems to be another's trash as most other top ten favorites also make an appearance on the least favorites list. Mushrooms fall second, followed by pineapple, onions and olives to round out the top five. Pepperoni, the number one favorite, is sixth on the least favorite list. Peppers and sausage rank seventh and eighth, while meat in general falls ninth. And an ordinary pie just won't do for some, as a plain cheese pizza rounds out the list of top ten least favorites.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Wednesday February 24 Ag News


The value of Nebraska’s 2015 field and miscellaneous crops is forecast at $9.78 billion, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This is a 4 percent decrease from 2014.

The value of corn production is expected to total $6.09 billion, up 1 percent from the previous marketing year. Nebraska’s corn price is projected to average $3.60 per bushel, a decrease of $0.17 from the last marketing year.

The value of soybean production is expected to total $2.61 billion, down 7 percent from the previous marketing year. Nebraska’s soybean price is projected to average $8.55 per bushel, a decrease of $1.18 from the last marketing year.

NASS National Crop Values Estimates

According to USDA, the value nationwide for field and miscellaneous crops for 2015 is forecast at $135,711,812,000, down 9.4% from $149,815,239,000 calculated in 2014.  The national average corn price was figured to $3.60 per bushel for 2015, down a dime from the prior year and down from $4.46 in 2013.  All wheat came in at $5.00 per bushel in 2015, down 99 cents in a year and down $1.87 in two years.  The average per bushel price for soybeans in 2015 came in at $8.80, compared to $10.10 in 2014 and $13.00 in 2013. 


The production of Iowa’s field and miscellaneous crops was valued at $14.0 billion in 2015, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Crop Values summary. This was a 2 percent decrease from 2014.

The value of corn production totaled $8.77 billion, down slightly from the previous year, even though production was up 6 percent. Iowa’s corn price averaged $3.50 per bushel, a decrease of $0.21 from the last marketing year.

Down 3 percent from 2014, the value of soybean production was $4.79 billion, even though production was up 11 percent. Average prices dropped $1.31 from the previous year to $8.65 per bushel.

Value of production decreased in 2015 from 2014 for oats, winter wheat, alfalfa hay, and all forage. Value of production increased from the previous year for other hay.

NE Extension Looking for Cooperators for On-Farm Nitrogen/seeding rate study

The University of Nebraska is collaborating with the University of Illinois and the University of Kentucky in securing growers for an on-farm study to research the profitability and effectiveness of on-the-go variable rate planting and nitrogen application in corn production. The individual experimental units are usually about 250+ feet in length and two combine passes wide. The main effects are N rate and seeding rate each with four levels. 
For N rate the levels are
1)           Producer’s rate +25 lb/ac
2)           Producer’s rate
3)           Producer’s rate -25 lb/ac
4)           Producer’s rate -50 lb/ac
For Seeding rate the levels are
1)           Producer’s rate + 3,000/ac
2)           Producer’s rate
3)           Producer’s rate - 3,000/ac
4)           Producer’s rate - 6,000/ac

In short, the participating grower must have the capability to variable rate nitrogen application either before, during or after planting and to variable rate plant a minimum of an 80 acre center pivot field.

Growers will be compensated for financial loss for treatments other than their own. Fields which receive nitrogen through fertigation are not eligible.

If interested, please contact Keith Glewen at the ARDC near Mead by calling 402-624-8000. 

Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture 2016 Teachers of the Year Announced

The Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture’s Board of Directors, Promotion and Education Committee and staff have selected two teachers as their 2016 Teachers of the Year.

Anica Brown, a seventh grade teacher at Pound Middle School in Lincoln and Judi Roach, a fourth grade teacher at North Elementary in Sidney were honored.

“Both of these educators demonstrate how teachers can incorporate agriculture examples and hands on teaching methods into standards-based curriculum to engage the next generation in critical thinking about where their food, fiber and fuel comes from,” said Megahn Schafer, executive director of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture.

Brown currently teaches seventh grade science at Pound Middle School in Lincoln. She enhances her lessons with an agricultural perspective by connecting with farmers and ranchers in Nebraska through the Foundation's Ag Pen Pal program. Brown’s Pen Pals include, Brock and Kerry Elsen, Buffalo County Farm Bureau members, Darren and Stacy Nelson, Platte County Farm Bureau members, Ben Hendrix, Dundy County Farm Bureau member, Cheryl Feala from North Bend and high school students from the Cody Killgore FFA Chapter. Brown is one of many teacher in the program who have multiple Ag Pen Pals. She wants to show the diversity of agriculture across Nebraska.

“These experiences are rich in diversity and bring to life real lessons about Nebraska agriculture that help my students grow in their knowledge about food production in our state,” Brown said.

She began with the Ag in the Classroom program while teaching fourth grade at Belmont Elementary School in Lincoln. Brown grew up in the city but spent many summers with her grandma, aunts and uncles who lived on farms just west of Emerald and near Malcolm, Nebraska.

“My students are engaged in learning about Nebraska’s roles in food and livestock production through the wonderful letters and, we hope, visits that will come about because of this program,” she said.

Judi Roach first participated in the Ag Pen Pal program in 2012, when her fourth grade students wrote letters to Jeff and Robyn Huffman, Lincoln County Farm Bureau members and Ag Pen Pals. The student’s exchanged letters, visited via Skype technology and were able to take a field trip to the Huffman farm. “The visit to the farm made the whole Ag Pen Pal experience come full circle,” said Roach.

Judi’s class participated in multiple Google handout sessions with Jeff. During each session the students asked questions and Jeff would answer them. During one particular session Jeff showed the class how the corn planter worked and shared when he would begin planting. On the first day of planting Jeff was able to virtually show the class how to fill the planter and how it operated. “It was great that we were there on the first day of planting via technology!” Roach said.

Through the incorporation of the Ag Pen Pal program and Ag in the Classroom, Roach’s class has created an Ag Pen Pal Show that is shared with grades 1-4. They are using video footage from their field trip and are going to be showing it throughout the year. Roach’s class continues to be an Ag Pen Pal with the Huffman family.

Each teacher is being awarded an all-expenses paid trip to the National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference in Litchfield Park, Arizona, June 20-24. The conference brings educators together from all over the United States to collaborate on how to incorporate agriculture into their curriculum and engage students. Teachers will have the opportunity to attend tours of local ag businesses along with farms in the area.

Classroom Grants Awarded to Support Ag Learning

The Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation (IALF) has awarded 172 grants to schools throughout Iowa to support the integration of agriculture into classroom instruction or after school programs with an academic focus.

The Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher Supplement Grants are designed to help teachers initiate new projects or expand existing projects that promote agriculture literacy in students. Grants can be used to fund innovative lessons, activities, classroom resources, guest speakers, outreach programs, fieldtrips, and other projects.

"This year's grant projects will focus on integrating agriculture into 21st century skills and language arts curriculums," said IALF education program manager Cindy Hall. "We hope these grants will allow teachers to make real world connections to what they are already teaching."

Some of the innovative applicants will be conducting projects this spring including agriculture reading units, hydroponics, comparing historical and modern farming, poultry, dairy, bees and many more. Successful applicants will use agriculture as the vehicle to teach many of the concepts already taught in their classroom like social studies and language arts.

One grant recipient, Julie Voss, commented, "I look forward to contacting local farmers to see if I am able to secure a guest visitor. I am most grateful for the opportunity to share the love of agriculture and farming with my students."

The grants are a special project of IALF and made possible through support from the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation.

"We are very pleased to be able to provide this support to classroom interested is teaching agriculture," said IFBF director of community resources Barb Lykins.

The projects will be completed before the end of the school year with final reports to be submitted by June 5. For more information visit

CHS returns $519 million to owners

Farmers, ranchers and cooperatives across the United States will share in an estimated $519 million cash distribution from CHS Inc. (NASDAQ: CHSCP), the nation's leading agricultural co-op and a global energy, grains and foods company. The distribution ranks among the largest in CHS history and extends a five-year record of significant cash returns to owners.

David Bielenberg, CHS Board chairman and a Silverton, Ore., farmer, said the 2016 cash returns to owners demonstrate CHS commitment to maintaining a strong financial foundation, providing economic returns to its owners and continuing to invest in the company's future.

"The ability of our owners, who are also our customers, to directly share in the financial success of CHS is a unique benefit of a cooperative business," said Bielenberg. "And, this cash return is added value that enables farmers, ranchers and member cooperatives to invest in their own futures and in the communities where they live."

The 2016 cash return to owners is based on CHS net income of $781 million for the fiscal year ending Aug. 31, 2015. Between fiscal 2012 and 2016 (based on fiscal 2011 – 2015 earnings) CHS has distributed a total of $2.7 billion in cash, a $544 million annual average.

The distribution beginning this month to about 1,100 member cooperatives and approximately 50,000 individual members and others consists of patronage paid on business conducted with CHS in fiscal 2015. During fiscal 2016, CHS will also redeem previously earned equity to eligible member cooperatives and individual members, as well as pay quarterly dividends on its five classes of CHS preferred stock.

Soy Checkoff Leads Industry to Think Beyond the Bushel

With a focus on building preference for U.S. soy, farmer-leaders of the soy checkoff met last week to continue implementation of the checkoff’s long-range strategic plan. The checkoff is working in three areas to meet U.S. soy’s end users’ needs – meal, oil and sustainability.

End users of U.S. soy don’t buy bushels of beans; they buy the components: meal and oil. And checkoff farmer-leaders have plans to improve these products, add value for farmers and build preference for U.S. soy among these end users.

“We have a dynamic plan and really set ourselves on the right track at this meeting,” says Jared Hagert, United Soybean Board (USB) chair and farmer from North Dakota. “We’re really looking at programs that make U.S. soybeans more than just a commodity and help us to better meet our end users’ needs.”

One way U.S. soy is already meeting end users’ needs is through high oleic soybeans. Oil from these varieties provides the stability that many food end users need. By collaborating with DuPont Pioneer and Monsanto, the checkoff is helping make these varieties available in more growing areas.

The soy checkoff continues work on increasing protein, and in turn available amino acids, in U.S. soybeans. This will build preference for U.S. soybean meal among the animal agriculture sector, which already consumes nearly 97 percent of all U.S. soy.

End users are also facing their own demands, especially in the area of sustainability. U.S. soy is sustainably produced and can help end users meet their sustainability goals. The checkoff is working with these end users to let them know what U.S. soybean farmers are doing to be sustainable and to learn what more end users require.

“The time to drive these initiatives forward is now,” adds Hagert. “As a board, we are excited about our work and dedicated to improving profit opportunities for all U.S. soybean farmers.”

USGC Expands Digital Portfolio With Grains-In-All-Forms Portal, Conversion App

The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) released a grains conversion calculator app and a U.S. grains-in-all-forms exports portal at its recently-concluded annual meeting in Sarasota, Florida, to help members of the global grain trade access critical information more easily.

“We are excited to expand our digital presence to include these products that will be helpful for both domestic and international stakeholders,” said USGC Chairman Alan Tiemann, who farms in Nebraska. “The grains conversion app and the grains-in-all-forms portal are cutting-edge resources that contain information, trends and statistics that will help the global grain trade work and grow.”

The Council’s grains conversion app converts English units to metric units and vice versa for grains and related measures. The app is available to download for free in the appropriate app stores for Apple, Android and Windows platforms. It also includes an option to switch between multiple languages including English, Arabic, Japanese, Mandarin, Spanish, French and Korean.

To view the app on iTunes, please visit

The U.S. grains-in-all-forms exports portal is an online calculator that converts volumes of exported U.S. corn, sorghum, barley, their co-products, ethanol and meat products into corn equivalents. This offers a different and holistic view of the amount of feed grains produced by U.S. farmers that are consumed by overseas customers.

Available on the Council’s website,, this portal allows users to access raw export data, corn equivalent data and U.S. dollar values for each country and the world as a whole for the past five marketing years. A related chart tracks the top importers of each of these products by volume and value.

To visit this page directly, go to

The Council works on behalf of corn, barley, sorghum and ethanol producers as well as associated industries to help develop markets and enable trade worldwide. This work is done through technical training, engaging in policy development and implementation and, critically, facilitating the flow of information that drives global grain markets.

Abengoa US Unit Files for Bankruptcy

A U.S. unit of Spanish renewable-energy company Abengoa SA filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Wednesday, bowing to creditor pressure.

Abengoa Bioenergy US Holding LLC reported assets and debts each in the range of $1 billion to $10 billion in its chapter 11 petition, filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in St. Louis.

The voluntary filing by the Chesterfield, Missouri, company, which operates ethanol plants, comes shortly after corn suppliers owed money filed involuntary chapter 7 liquidation petitions against two affiliated Abengoa units in Kansas and Nebraska bankruptcy courts.

The ethanol plants Abengoa operates in the U.S. include a Hugoton, Kan., facility that opened in 2014 with a $132.4 million loan guarantee and $97 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. The Abengoa loan has been repaid in full, an Energy Department spokesman said Wednesday.

Court papers show that several other affiliates joined Abengoa Bioenergy US Holding in bankruptcy, including the two companies that creditors sought to force into liquidation: Abengoa Bioenergy of Nebraska LLC and Abengoa Bioenergy Co.

The voluntary chapter 11 filing gives the company a chance to reorganize under its current leadership. If the creditors' bid for a chapter 7 liquidation had been allowed to move forward, then a trustee would have been appointed to take over and sell off the company's assets.

The Spanish parent, Abengoa, has preliminarily sought protection under Spanish insolvency law and is working on a plan to reorganize and avoid bankruptcy.

Growth Energy: Oil Industry Misleads Again

Even as evidence continues to pour in of the consumer, economic, and environmental benefits of ethanol, the oil industry today spouted its same old, disproven talking points about ethanol and the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

The truth is that ethanol is the most tested fuel in history, and is a less expensive choice for consumers. The United States Department of Energy has tested ethanol-blends for a total distance of six million miles with zero instances of engine damage or performance issues. NASCAR has competed using ethanol more than eight million miles, and thanks to the high octane of ethanol, drivers have benefited from increased engine performance and greater fuel efficiency.

“Though this kind of rhetoric should be shocking, it no longer is,” said Tom Buis, co-chair of Growth Energy. “The oil industry has made a habit of repeatedly trotting out bogus studies for the single purpose of blocking competition and consumer choice to protect their profits. The fact is that rigorous testing and unbiased studies from the government and other industries have repeatedly demonstrated that ethanol and other biofuels are a less expensive, cleaner and better performing alternative to oil.”

It’s obvious that API’s discredited study has no basis in fact and is simply an attempt to maintain its monopoly on the motor fuel marketplace. In reality, a strong, bipartisan majority of Americans support ethanol and the Renewable Fuel Standard, which provides our country with nearly 400,000 jobs and significantly cuts greenhouse gas emissions.

“API's proposal will turn back the clock – and it must be rejected so that cleaner burning, higher performing biofuels will not be eliminated,” added Buis. “Congress should ignore a request that leads to an increase in air toxins and dirtier air to breathe."

Growth Energy Statement on RFS Hearing: Ethanol Aids Climate, Cleans Air and Reduces Toxic Emissions

Today, the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works held an oversight hearing on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). In response, Tom Buis, co-chair of Growth Energy, issued the following statement:

“Homegrown ethanol and the RFS are major wins for the American people. Biofuels, such as ethanol, are a 21st century fuel for 21st century vehicles. It is our only alternative to oil, and the RFS is the most effective policy in reducing cancer-causing chemicals and the toxic emissions that come from oil’s monopoly on our motor fuel supply. The RFS supports consumer choice, creates hundreds of thousands of jobs across America, strengthens our energy security and slashes climate change causing emissions.

“Policies like the RFS improve America’s climate, national security, rural economy and consumer choice. Repealing or changing the RFS would turn back the clock and undermine the progress we’ve made toward increasing America’s energy independence and cleaning our air and environment.”

ACE statement on Senate RFS oversight hearing

Brian Jennings, the Executive Vice President of the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) issued the following statement in advance of today’s Senate Environment and Public Works Committee oversight hearing on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

“While we appreciate that the Administration improved the final Renewable Fuel Standard blending targets for 2016 compared to the purposed rule, regrettably, the methodology used to waive volumes for 2016 protects the old way of doing business by obstructing consumer access to cleaner fuels, stifling competition in the marketplace, and undermining innovation.   ACE members have made significant biofuel production advancements because of the RFS and we know that further innovation is within reach if federal policy continues to reward a competitive marketplace. ACE is strongly committed to ensuring consumers have access to high octane, low carbon, affordable blends of ethanol and we will explore all options at our disposal to achieve that goal with this Administration and the next.”

HydroBio and Monsanto Work to Increase the Sustainability of Seed Production

HydroBio, Inc. is partnering with Monsanto Company to further both companies’ commitments to sustainability and supply chain productivity by using satellite imagery and advanced agronomic modeling.

HydroBio is leveraging its expertise in remote sensing analytics and irrigation management to provide crop water use analytics on four continents through a new research agreement with Monsanto’s Global Supply Chain division. HydroBio is driven by its commitment to increasing farm productivity and managing natural resources on the farm; working with Monsanto to implement a global irrigation management tool exemplifies that mission.

HydroBio’s analytics and field monitoring platform combines hyper-local weather data and satellite imagery to assess crop water demand. Monitoring fields with Monsanto in 10 countries (USA, France, Italy, Hungary, Romania, Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, and South Africa) allows field managers to make better decisions about where, when and how much water to apply improving irrigation application efficiency in the seed production supply chain.

"The HydroBio irrigation management platform increases productivity and conserves resources,” said Barrett Mooney, Co-Founder and CEO of HydroBio about the research agreement. “We are excited to be expanding our impact through collaboration with a global leader in agriculture.”

As global water use continues to increase, HydroBio's advanced remote sensing technology and analytics become increasingly relevant in improving the future of farming, the environment, and food security.

“We are undergoing a tremendous effort to evaluate several management practices that will lead to improved irrigation water application efficiency,” said Giovanni Piccinni, Global Production Sustainability Lead at Monsanto. “The collaboration with HydroBio represents one of the many steps we are taking towards our goal.  The ability to remotely sense crop water needs and introduce variable rate irrigation technology in our seed production fields will be key to achieving our sustainable production goal.”