Thursday, March 31, 2016

Thursday March 31 Ag News


Nebraska corn growers intend to plant 9.70 million acres this year, up 3 percent from 2015, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Soybean planted acreage is expected to be 5.30 million acres, unchanged from last year.

All hay acreage to be harvested is expected to total 2.7 million acres, unchanged from a year ago.

Winter wheat acres seeded in the fall of 2015 are estimated at 1.35 million, down 9 percent from last year.

Sorghum growers in Nebraska intend to plant 270,000 acres, unchanged from a year ago.

Oat intentions are estimated at 145,000 acres, up 7 percent from last year.

Dry edible bean acreage intentions are estimated at 115,000 acres, down 18 percent from 2015.

Sugarbeet acres are expected to be 40,800 acres, down 14 percent from a year ago.

Sunflower producers expect to plant 44,000 acres, down 10 percent from 2015. Oil type varieties account for 27,000 acres, down 7 percent from a year ago. Non-oil varieties made up the balance of 17,000 acres, down 15 percent from last year.

Estimates in this report are based on a survey conducted during the first two weeks of March.


Iowa farmers intend to plant 13.9 million acres of corn for all purposes in 2016, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Prospective Plantings report. This is an increase of 400,000 acres from 2015.

Producers intend to plant 9.7 million acres of soybeans in Iowa this year. This is a 150,000 acre decrease from 2015.

Iowa farmers intend to plant 90,000 acres of oats for all purposes, down 35,000 acres from last year. If realized, this would be the lowest planted acreage on record for Iowa.

Farmers in Iowa expect to harvest 1.2 million acres of dry hay for the 2016 crop year. This is 40,000 acres more than Iowa farmers harvested in 2015.

Planted acres for winter wheat, at 25,000 acres, is up 5,000 acres from last year.

USDA Prospective Plantings Report - March 31, 2016

Corn Planted Acreage Up 6 Percent from 2015
Soybean Acreage Down Less Than 1 Percent
All Wheat Acreage Down 9 Percent
All Cotton Acreage Up 11 Percent

Corn planted area for all purposes in 2016 is estimated at 93.6 million acres, up 6 percent from last year. If realized, this will represent the highest planted acreage in the United States since 2013, and will be the third highest planted acreage in the United States since 1944.

Soybean planted area for 2016 is estimated at 82.2 million acres, down less than 1 percent from last year. Compared with last year, planted acreage intentions are down or unchanged in 23 of the 31 estimating States.

All wheat planted area for 2016 is estimated at 49.6 million acres, down 9 percent from 2015. The 2016 winter wheat planted area, at 36.2 million acres, is down 8 percent from last year and down 1 percent from the previous estimate. Of this total, about 26.2 million acres are Hard Red Winter, 6.60 million acres are Soft Red Winter, and 3.37 million acres are White Winter. Area planted to other spring wheat for 2016 is estimated at 11.3 million acres, down 14 percent from 2015. Of this total, about 10.7 million acres are Hard Red Spring wheat. The intended Durum planted area for 2016 is estimated at 2.00 million acres, up 3 percent from the previous year.

All cotton planted area for 2016 is estimated at 9.56 million acres, 11 percent above last year. Upland area is estimated at 9.35 million acres, up 11 percent from 2015. American Pima area is estimated at 215,000 acres, up 36 percent from 2015.


Nebraska corn stocks in all positions on March 1, 2016 totaled 956 million bushels, up 16 percent from 2015, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Of the total, 530 million bushels are stored on farms, up 23 percent from a year ago. Off-farm stocks, at 426 million bushels, are up 8 percent from last year.

Soybeans stored in all positions totaled 118 million bushels, up 9 percent from last year. On-farm stocks of 41.0 million bushels are 28 percent above last year, and off-farm stocks, at 76.8 million bushels, are up 1 percent from 2015.

Wheat stored in all positions totaled 42.8 million bushels, up 17 percent from a year ago. On-farm stocks of 2.90 million bushels are up 26 percent from last year, and off-farm stocks of 39.9 million bushels are up 16 percent from last year.

Sorghum stored in all positions totaled 8.47 million bushels, up 144 percent from 2015. On-farm stocks of 600 thousand are down 8 percent while off farm holdings of 7.87 million are up 175 percent from last year.

On-farm oats totaled 750 thousand bushels, up 15 percent from 2015.


Iowa corn stocks in all positions on March 1, 2016, totaled 1.53 billion bushels, up 4 percent from March 1, 2015, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Grain Stocks report. Of the total stocks, 61 percent were stored on-farm. The December 2015-February 2016 indicated disappearance totaled 660 million bushels, 15 percent above the 575 million bushels used during the same period last year.

Iowa soybeans stored in all positions on March 1, 2016, totaled 328 million bushels, up 27 percent from the 258 million bushels on hand March 1, 2015. Of the total stocks, 47 percent were stored on-farm. Indicated disappearance for December 2015-February 2016 is 128 million bushels, 15 percent less than the 151 million bushels used during the same quarter last year.

Iowa oats stocks stored on-farm on March 1, 2016, totaled 1.0 million bushels, unchanged from March 1, 2015.

USDA Grain Stocks Report - March 31, 2016

Corn Stocks Up 1 Percent from March 2015
Soybean Stocks Up 15 Percent
All Wheat Stocks Up 20 Percent

Corn stocks in all positions on March 1, 2016 totaled 7.81 billion bushels, up 1 percent from March 1, 2015. Of the total stocks, 4.34 billion bushels were stored on farms, down 1 percent from a year earlier. Off-farm stocks, at 3.47 billion bushels, are up 3 percent from a year ago. The December 2015 - February 2016 indicated disappearance is 3.43 billion bushels, compared with 3.46 billion bushels during the same period last year.

Soybeans stored in all positions on March 1, 2016 totaled 1.53 billion bushels, up 15 percent from March 1, 2015. Soybean stocks stored on farms are estimated at 728 million bushels, up 19 percent from a year ago. Off-farm stocks, at 803 million bushels, are up 12 percent from last March. Indicated disappearance for the December 2015 - February 2016 quarter totaled 1.18 billion bushels, down 1 percent from the same period a year earlier.

All wheat stored in all positions on March 1, 2016 totaled 1.37 billion bushels, up 20 percent from a year ago. On-farm stocks are estimated at 320 million bushels, up 15 percent from last March. Off-farm stocks, at 1.05 billion bushels, are up 22 percent from a year ago. The December 2015 - February 2016 indicated disappearance is 375 million bushels, 4 percent below the same period a year earlier.

Durum wheat stocks in all positions on March 1, 2016 totaled 41.5 million bushels, up 10 percent from a year ago. On-farm stocks, at 16.7 million bushels, are up 3 percent from March 1, 2015. Off-farm stocks totaled 24.8 million bushels, up 16 percent from a year ago. The December 2015 - February 2016 indicated disappearance of 18.8 million bushels is 194 percent above the same period a year earlier.

Barley stocks in all positions on March 1, 2016 totaled 137 million bushels, up 16 percent from March 1, 2015. On-farm stocks are estimated at 57.6 million bushels, 37 percent above a year ago. Off-farm stocks, at 79.5 million bushels, are 4 percent above March 2015. The December 2015 - February 2016 indicated disappearance totaled 43.4 million bushels, 15 percent above the same period a year earlier.

Oats stored in all positions on March 1, 2016 totaled 75.3 million bushels, 27 percent above the stocks on March 1, 2015. Of the total stocks on hand, 26.8 million bushels were stored on farms, up 29 percent from a year ago. Off-farm stocks totaled 48.5 million bushels, up 26 percent from the previous year. Indicated disappearance during December 2015 - February 2016 totaled 7.57 million bushels, slightly above the same period a year ago.

Grain sorghum stored in all positions on March 1, 2016 totaled 201 million bushels, up 68 percent from a year ago. On-farm stocks, at 24.8 million bushels, are up 175 percent from last March. Off-farm stocks, at 176 million bushels, are up 59 percent from a year earlier. The December 2015 - February 2016 indicated disappearance from all positions is 121 million bushels, 18 percent above the same period last year.

Sunflower stocks in all positions on March 1, 2016 totaled 1.06 billion pounds, 52 percent above March 1, 2015. All stocks stored on farms totaled 461 million pounds and off-farm stocks totaled 599 million pounds. Stocks of oil type sunflower seed are 768 million pounds; of this total, 325 million pounds are on-farm stocks and 443 million pounds are off-farm stocks. Non-oil sunflower stocks totaled 292 million pounds, with 136 million pounds stored on the farm and 156 million pounds stored off the farm.

Nebraska Beef Council Seeks Director Candidates

The Nebraska Beef Council (NBC) will hold Board of Director Elections in five districts in 2016.  This opportunity is open to Nebraska beef producers that are at least 21 years of age, a resident and registered voter of a county in the district that he or she will represent, have been actively engaged as a producer in Nebraska for at least the previous five years and is in compliance with all checkoff  laws for the 12 months prior to the call for candidates.

Nebraska Beef Council directors volunteer their time to represent beef producers’ checkoff collections and investments on the state, national and international level. The Board’s major responsibility is to oversee checkoff expenditures by determining promotion, research and education programs for checkoff investments.  The term is four years and will begin on January 2, 2017.

Producers interested in becoming a beef council director are encouraged to visit with current and past directors to learn more about this valuable experience and its commitment.

Beef producers who are passionate about the industry and who are willing to provide leadership to the beef checkoff program and its investments are needed as we continue to face challenges in the industry.  We need strong leaders to enhance our mission and strengthen beef demand in the global marketplace.

Districts hosting an election in 2016:

District 1- Banner, Box Butte, Cheyenne, Dawes, Deuel, Garden, Kimball, Morrill, Scotts Bluff, Sheridan, Sioux
District 3- Burt, Cedar, Cuming, Dakota, Dixon, Madison, Pierce, Stanton, Thurston, Wayne
District 5- Buffalo, Custer, Garfield, Greeley, Hall, Howard, Sherman, Valley
District 7- Butler, Cass, Colfax, Dodge, Douglas, Hamilton, Merrick, Nance, Platte, Polk, Sarpy, Saunders, Washington, York
District 9- Dawson, Franklin, Frontier, Furnas, Gosper, Harlan, Kearney, Phelps, Red Willow

For additional information, log onto or contact the Nebraska Beef Council office at 1-800-421-5326. 

Statement by Steve Nelson, President, Regarding Legislative Action on Property Taxes (LB 958)

“We appreciate the Legislature’s work today in advancing LB 958 for further consideration. This measure provides much needed additional dollars into the state’s property tax credit program targeted to providing immediate relief to Nebraska’s farm and ranch families who have been hit the hardest by skyrocketing property tax bills. Over the last decade property taxes collected on agricultural land have increased 176 percent.”

“Further, we appreciate the discussion on the legislative floor the last couple of days regarding the need for collaborative efforts to make structural changes to Nebraska tax policy that addresses the property tax issue for all Nebraskans. Those discussions set the stage for additional work on the property tax issue during the interim and into the 2017 legislative session.”

“Nebraska Farm Bureau is committed to working with the Legislature to address the broader issue of property taxes. The harsh reality is that property taxes are carrying far too heavy a load in our overall tax system. Property taxes account for 48 percent of the total combined property, income and sales tax collections statewide.”

“It is imperative we work together as Nebraskans to develop a strategy to make the needed structural changes to better balance our tax system, including reforms in the way we fund schools in Nebraska given that roughly 51 percent of total school spending in Nebraska comes from property taxes, while nationally, the average is 32 percent. How we fund education must be addressed moving forward.”


    Fellowship applications for Nebraska LEAD (Leadership Education/Action Development) group 36 are available for men and women involved in production agriculture or agribusiness.

     "Up to 30 motivated men and women with demonstrated leadership potential will be selected from five geographic districts across our state," said Terry Hejny, Nebraska LEAD Program director.

    In addition to monthly three-day seminars throughout Nebraska from mid-September through early April each year, Nebraska LEAD fellows also participate in a 10-day national study/travel seminar and a two-week international study/travel seminar.

    Seminar themes include leadership assessment and potential, natural resources and energy, agricultural policy, leadership through communication, Nebraska's political process, global perspectives, nuclear energy, social issues, understanding and developing leadership skills, agribusiness and marketing, advances in health care and the resources and people of Nebraska's Panhandle, Hejny said.

    The Nebraska LEAD Program is designed to prepare spokespersons, problem-solvers and decision-makers for Nebraska and its agricultural industry.

    In its 35th year, the program is operated by the Nebraska Agricultural Leadership Council, a nonprofit organization, in collaboration with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources and in cooperation with Nebraska colleges and universities, business and industry, and individuals throughout the state.

    Applications are due no later than June 15 and are available via email from the Nebraska LEAD Program at Application requests can also be sent to 104 ACB, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 68583-0940.

    For information about the selection process, visit or call 402-472-6810.

2016 Nebraska Beef Ambassador Contest

The Nebraska Cattlewomen are excited to announce the 2016 Nebraska Beef Ambassador Contest that will be held June 10th, 2016 at the Mid Plains College in Broken Bow, NE starting at 10:00am.

The Nebraska Beef Ambassador Program provides an opportunity for youth, ages 14 - 24 years old, to become spokespersons and future leaders for the beef industry. The two divisions, senior and collegiate, will be judged upon three different areas of the industry consisting of a mock consumer promotional event, mock media interview and an issues response.

Place holders will receive a cash prize while the winners, in addition to a cash prize, will take home a custom belt buckle. To sweeten the deal, the Nebraska Cattlemen's Foundation will be providing a scholarship to the winner of the collegiate division.

If you or someone you know enjoys public speaking and are passionate about the beef industry then take a shot at becoming the next Beef Ambassador!

Please contact The Nebraska Cattlewomen at or call (308)760-6464 for a complete set of rules and to register.

View the 2016 Nebraska Beef Ambassador Contest flyer here...

Mounting Pressure in the U.S. Farm Sector

Nathan Kauffman, Assistant Vice President and Omaha Branch Executive

The U.S. agricultural economy has continued to weaken in the first quarter of 2016 and is expected to remain soft through the year. The weakening has been relatively gradual over the past few years, but it has been persistent and has intensified in recent months amid mounting financial stress for some agricultural producers. Future cash flow appears likely to remain a top concern for producers over the coming year as agricultural credit conditions, and the path of interest rates, evolve.

Farm Income

U.S. farm income has continued to decline, and is expected to remain low as planting season approaches across the country. The USDA projects real net farm income to be slightly less than a year ago; that projection would mark the second-lowest farm income total in more than 30 years. Prolonged weakness in the farm sector primarily has been driven by several consecutive years of low crop prices and persistently elevated input costs, while recent weakness in the livestock sector also has been a factor.

Data from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s Survey of Agricultural Credit Conditions paint a similar picture for the Tenth District. The survey indicates farm income in the Kansas City Fed District began to decrease in mid-2013. Since then, more bankers have reported further declines, and the fourth quarter of 2015 was the 11th consecutive quarter of lower farm income in the District. Among 190 survey respondents, only three bankers indicated farm income was higher than a year ago, whereas 166 reported income had declined. Moreover, 81 percent of respondents indicated they expect income to be even lower in the next quarter.

Agricultural Credit

The need for financing, and the potential for future financial stress, has continued to increase throughout U.S. farm country. Loan demand in the Tenth District is expected to increase again in the first quarter of 2016, which would be the third consecutive year in which lending needs in the farm sector increased relative to the previous year. Similarly, bankers responding to the fourth quarter survey indicated they expect loan renewals and extensions to continue to accelerate. Conversely, the rate at which loans are repaid at agricultural banks in the District was expected to soften further.

Persistently strong loan demand at agricultural banks has been coupled with reports of increasing use of USDA Farm Loan Programs through the Farm Service Agency (FSA). From 2013 to 2015, FSA loan volumes increased more than 40 percent. Consistent with bankers’ recent anecdotal reports of increased use, about 55 percent of FSA funds available for operating loans had already been used from October 2015, the beginning of the FSA fiscal year, to mid-March. Bankers noted the increased use is due, in part, to an effort to mitigate risk connected to an increasingly pessimistic outlook for future cash flows.

Interest Rates

Pessimism about cash flows and profit margins appears to be the main factor driving the weak outlook in the agricultural economy, whereas interest expenses have remained low. Despite strong loan demand and an increase in the federal funds target rate in December, interest rates on most farm loans have remained historically low. In fact, interest expenses for U.S. corn producers accounted for only 9 cents per bushel of production in 2014, the latest year for which data are currently available. In contrast, the average monthly change in corn prices was nearly 40 cents per bushel in 2015. Indeed, the average daily change in corn prices of 8 cents per bushel in 2015 is roughly equal to total annual interest expenses on a per bushel basis, suggesting that commodity prices and production expenses are likely to outweigh potential near-term concerns about higher interest rates.

Higher interest rates generally exert downward pressure on farmland values, but other factors also may be important in the current outlook for farm real estate. Specifically, private sector forecasts of long-term interest rates suggest cash rents may need to fall significantly to have a sizable impact on farmland values in the Corn Belt. In March, the Blue Chip Economic Forecast for the U.S. 10-year Treasury rate was 2.7 percent for 2017. The capitalized value of farmland, calculated by dividing cash rents by the 10-year Treasury rate, has tracked rather closely with the actual value of farm real estate over time. Applying the Blue Chip Treasury rate assumption for 2017, Chart 7 shows that a 25 percent drop in cash rents (equivalent to the largest two-year decline in Iowa during the 1980s) would lead to a decrease of 18 percent from the recent peak.

A drop in farmland values of this magnitude in the Corn Belt would be notable, but it would be unlikely to trigger widespread concerns about solvency in the sector overall. An 18 percent drop in farmland values nationally, for example, would push the U.S. farm sector debt-to-asset ratio to 16.1 from USDA’s current projection for 2016 of 13.2, holding debt levels constant at levels forecast for this year. This would also be a noteworthy rise in the debt-to-asset ratio but still well below levels observed during the farm bust of the 1980s.

Vilsack to Travel to Germany and France

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will travel to Berlin and Paris next week to discuss areas of mutual interest between the European and American agricultural sectors. In Berlin, Vilsack will meet with German officials as well as farmers about rural economic development opportunities and to underscore the importance of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). He will then lead the U.S. delegation to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Meeting of Agriculture Ministers, which is being held in Paris.

While in Berlin April 4-5, Vilsack will meet with German Minister of Food and Agriculture Christian Schmidt and other government officials, as well as with an organization of rural youth and young farmers. He will discuss how the TTIP agreement, currently being negotiated between the United States and the European Union, will benefit both parties' agricultural sectors by stimulating rural economies, streamlining import procedures, providing more food choices for consumers, addressing climate change, and increasing food security.

Vilsack will then travel to Paris, where he will co-chair the OECD agricultural ministerial that takes place April 7-8. He and other agriculture ministers from OECD countries and partner economies around the world will explore how their governments can work together to feed a growing world population, while managing natural resources and dealing with climate change.

Why is Bayer Fighting EPA to Protect a Pesticide?

Dana Sargent, Bayer Vice President for Regulatory Affairs

You may have seen some media stories about our current disagreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over registrations for our pesticide flubendiamide, marketed in the U.S. as Belt.  In short, EPA asked us to voluntarily withdraw our registrations for flubendiamide-containing products, making them unavailable to growers in the U.S.  We rejected that request and, as expected, EPA then filed a formal Notice of Intent to Cancel these registrations.

Today we are officially taking the step that we previously said we intended to take and we have formally asked for a hearing before EPA’s Administrative Law Judge.  With this action, I wanted to answer a few basic questions about why we are doing it and what it means.

What does it mean that you’re asking for a hearing?

We have a fundamental disagreement with EPA over science and process surrounding the registration of flubendiamide and Belt.  We have been working with them to resolve the disagreement.  Now EPA is trying to cancel it through a streamlined hearing in an effort to shield its science from independent peer review and to avoid other government and stakeholder input on its approach.  We disagree with this and are invoking our right to have an EPA Administrative Law Judge hear both sides and make a determination on what process should be followed.  As a matter of standard practice, the Administrative Law Judge’s initial determination will then be reviewed by the EPA Environmental Appeals Board. 

Why are you trying to protect a pesticide EPA says is harmful?

The science is on our side.  EPA requested real-world studies to learn if the product would cause harm to a particular aquatic invertebrate species.  EPA has concluded that flubendiamide poses no risk of concern to humans (either through diet or worker exposure), fish, mammals, crustaceans, mollusks, beneficial insects, pollinators, or plants.  Over the course of five years, we conducted real world monitoring to study Belt’s impact in the one area in which EPA raised a question.  The results were clear – residues of Belt were below levels EPA said may pose harm.  Unfortunately, instead of accepting that real world data, EPA based its decision on theoretical computer modeling which is, of course, dependent on many assumptions and inputs.  We fundamentally disagree with EPA’s over-reliance on theoretical modeling when real-world studies have shown residues are well within previously established safe levels.  We think this should be subjected to independent review.

Is this a flaw in EPA’s conditional registration rules that allows an unproven product to be used?
EPA’s conditional registration process actually makes it possible to bring new tools to growers while balancing environmental safety. In this case, for example, we submitted all data and studies to support a full registration and after an extensive review, EPA accepted them.  At the time of the original conditional registration, EPA already concluded that flubendiamide poses no risk of concern to humans (either through diet or worker exposure), fish, mammals, crustaceans, mollusks, beneficial insects, pollinators, or plants.  It made a particular determination at that time that registering flubendiamide would be in the public’s interest. The conditional registration allowed growers to safely use this tool while additional data was being generated and evaluated by the EPA.   

While we want all of our products to receive full registration when introduced, we think the conditional registration process is an important one.  Science evolves and our understanding of how products are used is enhanced through experience. Without this, a process that can take 10 years to bring a new tool to growers could take much longer and it would be difficult to make a business case to bring many safe, effective products to the market. We will stand by whatever the science says on our products, but it is critical that science be our guide.

Can’t growers just use something else? Why do they need this one?

Belt is registered for use on nearly 200 crops in the U.S.  From tree nuts and fruit in California to soybeans and cotton in the east, growers have used Belt for nearly a decade now.  Proper stewardship practices and adherence to integrated pest management practices means growers need access to more technologies, not less.  A technology as effective and with a safety profile as favorable as Belt fits the bill perfectly.  And if growers can’t preserve access to products like this one, it raises questions about what other tools they may lose.

So what happens next?

Our next step is to have a formal hearing before the EPA’s Administrative Law Judge.  As a matter of standard practice, the Administrative Law Judge’s initial determination will then be reviewed by the EPA Environmental Appeals Board. The Hearing can last up to 75 days.  In the meantime, growers can still use Belt and retailers and distributors can still sell it.  We are asking that the Administrative Law Judge and Environmental Appeals Board address Bayer’s argument about whether a more complete public review will take place.

March 31 USDA Prospective Plantings and Grain Stocks reports

USDA Prospective Plantings Report - March 31, 2016

Corn Planted Acreage Up 6 Percent from 2015
Soybean Acreage Down Less Than 1 Percent
All Wheat Acreage Down 9 Percent
All Cotton Acreage Up 11 Percent

Corn planted area for all purposes in 2016 is estimated at 93.6 million acres, up 6 percent from last year. If realized, this will represent the highest planted acreage in the United States since 2013, and will be the third highest planted acreage in the United States since 1944.

Soybean planted area for 2016 is estimated at 82.2 million acres, down less than 1 percent from last year. Compared with last year, planted acreage intentions are down or unchanged in 23 of the 31 estimating States.

All wheat planted area for 2016 is estimated at 49.6 million acres, down 9 percent from 2015. The 2016 winter wheat planted area, at 36.2 million acres, is down 8 percent from last year and down 1 percent from the previous estimate. Of this total, about 26.2 million acres are Hard Red Winter, 6.60 million acres are Soft Red Winter, and 3.37 million acres are White Winter. Area planted to other spring wheat for 2016 is estimated at 11.3 million acres, down 14 percent from 2015. Of this total, about 10.7 million acres are Hard Red Spring wheat. The intended Durum planted area for 2016 is estimated at 2.00 million acres, up 3 percent from the previous year.

All cotton planted area for 2016 is estimated at 9.56 million acres, 11 percent above last year. Upland area is estimated at 9.35 million acres, up 11 percent from 2015. American Pima area is estimated at 215,000 acres, up 36 percent from 2015.

USDA Grain Stocks Report - March 31, 2016 

Corn Stocks Up 1 Percent from March 2015
Soybean Stocks Up 15 Percent
All Wheat Stocks Up 20 Percent

Corn stocks in all positions on March 1, 2016 totaled 7.81 billion bushels, up 1 percent from March 1, 2015. Of the total stocks, 4.34 billion bushels were stored on farms, down 1 percent from a year earlier. Off-farm stocks, at 3.47 billion bushels, are up 3 percent from a year ago. The December 2015 - February 2016 indicated disappearance is 3.43 billion bushels, compared with 3.46 billion bushels during the same period last year.

Soybeans stored in all positions on March 1, 2016 totaled 1.53 billion bushels, up 15 percent from March 1, 2015. Soybean stocks stored on farms are estimated at 728 million bushels, up 19 percent from a year ago. Off-farm stocks, at 803 million bushels, are up 12 percent from last March. Indicated disappearance for the December 2015 - February 2016 quarter totaled 1.18 billion bushels, down 1 percent from the same period a year earlier.

All wheat stored in all positions on March 1, 2016 totaled 1.37 billion bushels, up 20 percent from a year ago. On-farm stocks are estimated at 320 million bushels, up 15 percent from last March. Off-farm stocks, at 1.05 billion bushels, are up 22 percent from a year ago. The December 2015 - February 2016 indicated disappearance is 375 million bushels, 4 percent below the same period a year earlier.

Durum wheat stocks in all positions on March 1, 2016 totaled 41.5 million bushels, up 10 percent from a year ago. On-farm stocks, at 16.7 million bushels, are up 3 percent from March 1, 2015. Off-farm stocks totaled 24.8 million bushels, up 16 percent from a year ago. The December 2015 - February 2016 indicated disappearance of 18.8 million bushels is 194 percent above the same period a year earlier.

Barley stocks in all positions on March 1, 2016 totaled 137 million bushels, up 16 percent from March 1, 2015. On-farm stocks are estimated at 57.6 million bushels, 37 percent above a year ago. Off-farm stocks, at 79.5 million bushels, are 4 percent above March 2015. The December 2015 - February 2016 indicated disappearance totaled 43.4 million bushels, 15 percent above the same period a year earlier.

Oats stored in all positions on March 1, 2016 totaled 75.3 million bushels, 27 percent above the stocks on March 1, 2015. Of the total stocks on hand, 26.8 million bushels were stored on farms, up 29 percent from a year ago. Off-farm stocks totaled 48.5 million bushels, up 26 percent from the previous year. Indicated disappearance during December 2015 - February 2016 totaled 7.57 million bushels, slightly above the same period a year ago.

Grain sorghum stored in all positions on March 1, 2016 totaled 201 million bushels, up 68 percent from a year ago. On-farm stocks, at 24.8 million bushels, are up 175 percent from last March. Off-farm stocks, at 176 million bushels, are up 59 percent from a year earlier. The December 2015 - February 2016 indicated disappearance from all positions is 121 million bushels, 18 percent above the same period last year.

Sunflower stocks in all positions on March 1, 2016 totaled 1.06 billion pounds, 52 percent above March 1, 2015. All stocks stored on farms totaled 461 million pounds and off-farm stocks totaled 599 million pounds. Stocks of oil type sunflower seed are 768 million pounds; of this total, 325 million pounds are on-farm stocks and 443 million pounds are off-farm stocks. Non-oil sunflower stocks totaled 292 million pounds, with 136 million pounds stored on the farm and 156 million pounds stored off the farm.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Wednesday March 30 Ag News


Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) Director Greg Ibach has announced that the fourth edition of the popular magazine, Nebraska Agriculture and You, is now available in both print and digital formats.

“This magazine has been a great platform for our department to share interesting and factual articles about the agriculture industry in Nebraska,” said Ibach. “Small communities and farm families are still the fabric of agriculture in our state and we have features of both in this issue. Consumers are also becoming more and more interested in how their food is produced and where it comes from and we make sure to tell those stories as well.”

The magazine will be distributed over the next few weeks at several locations throughout the state including office waiting rooms, extension offices, libraries, businesses and chambers of commerce. The digital version of the magazine is currently available by visiting and clicking on the magazine cover.

Nebraska Agriculture and You is produced by NDA in partnership with Journal Communications. Production costs are covered by support from advertising sponsors.

“We have had great support from many businesses, commodity groups, farm organizations as well as farmers and ranchers that has allowed us to produce a quality publication with no direct costs to the department,” said Ibach. “The magazine is a great communications tool for us to tell the true story of Nebraska agriculture.”


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               Spring pastures are growing fast and early.  Since spring management affects your production all year, stay tuned as I share some early grazing thoughts.

               Spring pastures ready to graze several weeks earlier than usual is nice, but it also raises some questions about management and risks.  For example, if you wait to turn animals out to pasture until close to your normal beginning date, chances are the grass will get so far ahead of your animals that it quickly will become stemmy and low quality.  However, if you start grazing today as you normally would when you begin, any cool temperatures might slow grass growth so much that your pastures will run short way before summer even begins.  So what should you do?

               First, go ahead and start grazing early, but use fewer animals than usual.  Try to match your stocking rate with the growth rate of the grass.  It may be better to under stock early than over stock; you can add more animals later as growth begins to accumulate.

               Since this early grass has quite high forage quality, use animals that can make use of better quality feed.  And give them access to some hay to reduce scours and help them adjust to this new, green feed.

               Also, rotationally graze through pastures very rapidly.  Just top off the pasture, allowing lots of leaves to remain ungrazed.  This will keep your pasture growing as fast as possible.  If it’s too difficult to rotate animals rapidly through all your paddocks, put some animals in each paddock if you can or open the gates.

               Finally, as grasses start to elongate, begin slowing rotational grazing to ration out remaining grass and to guarantee that plants get enough rest for regrowth.  Good luck, you can do it.

Control Calf Scours in Midwest Beef Cattle Farms

Producers looking to minimize the problem of calf diarrhea (scours) in their herds should look beyond vaccine programs to the common causes and solutions to prevent spread of the disease, according to a new Iowa State University Extension and Outreach publication titled “Control of Calf Diarrhea (Scours) in Midwest Beef Cattle Farms.”

Because scours are typically caused by pathogens shed in manure, producers should treat the clinical signs while the calf recovers from the pathogens. Cow health ahead of calving, good hygiene, segregation of calves by age, immunization, and biosecurity all play a part in halting the spread through other calves.

This publication is authored by Grant Dewell, associate professor in beef production and extension beef veterinarian, and Vicki Cooper, senior clinician and diagnostic pathologist. It can be accessed online at the ISU Extension and Outreach Store.

“An outbreak of calf scours can be devastating to a cow-calf operation and even a few cases can cause problems for the best producers,” Dewell said. “Good management before and after calving is critical for calves to thrive in the first few weeks of life.”

This new publication will help producers identify signs of scours so they can treat calves effectively and learn a variety of management methods to help minimize future problems.

Treat, Prevent Hypomagnesaemia (Grass Tetany) in Beef Cattle

Hypomagnesaemia (grass tetany) is caused by low magnesium in the blood, and most commonly found in older, lactating cows feeding on lush spring grass. Producers should monitor their herds for signs of tetany, be ready to treat it and work to minimize the causes of the disease, according to a new Iowa State University Extension and Outreach publication titled “Treatment and Prevention of Hypomagnesaemia (Grass Tetany) in Beef Cattle.”

Before physical signs are obvious, cows may have a grass tetany in beef cattledecrease in milk production and udder edema. Physical signs of grass tetany include irritability, twitching, incoordination, staggering, collapse and paddling. Cases left untreated will lead to coma and death. However, prevention can be accomplished by delaying turnout until grass is taller than six inches and supplementing magnesium in the diet.

This publication is authored by Grant Dewell, associate professor in beef production and extension beef veterinarian, and Steve Ensley, senior clinician and veterinary toxicologist. It can be accessed online at the ISU Extension and Outreach Store.

“Grass tetany is a recurring problem for spring calving cow herds and loss of a cow during early lactation is costly and leads to orphan calves,” Dewell said. “Proper care of pastures beforehand and careful attention to cows is critical to prevent death loss.”

This new publication will help producers identify signs of hypomagnesaemia in order to initiate treatment quickly, and provides advice on monitoring forages and magnesium supplements.

Branstad, Reynolds Remind Iowans of Future Ready Iowa Summit

Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds are reminding Iowans from all over the state to sign up before Monday, April 11, 2016, in order to secure their spot at the Governor's 2016 Future Ready Iowa Summit which takes place on April 19 at Hy-Vee Hall in Des Moines.

The purpose of the summit is to elevate the statewide conversation about how to close the skills gap, one of the biggest challenges Iowa faces. It's critical to build on efforts already under way to assure that students and workers have the career opportunities they deserve, and business and industry can hire the skilled employees they need.

The all-day summit is open to the public, with space for about 1,000. Branstad and Reynolds hope to attract a broad cross section of Iowans, including business, labor and nonprofit leaders; educators, students and parents; and state and local policy makers. The summit website, which includes information on how to register, is available at

Additionally, an active campaign on twitter will be using the hashtag, #FutureReadyIA, at the summit.

NH3, UAN28 and Urea Race Higher

The average retail price of some nitrogen fertilizers accelerated during the fourth week of March 2016, while the price of other fertilizers held steady, according to retailers surveyed by DTN.

As was the case last week, five of the eight major fertilizers edged higher compared to a month earlier. Both anhydrous and UAN28 were 6% higher compared to last month, while urea was 5% higher. Anhydrous averaged $569/ton, UAN28 $276/ton and urea $390/ton.

Two other fertilizers were also higher in price but the move to the high side was fairly slight. MAP averaged $501/ton while UAN32 averaged $312/ton.

Prices for the remaining three fertilizers slipped compared to last month but again the move was fairly minor. DAP averaged $475/ton, potash $371/ton and 10-34-0 $561/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the urea averaged $0.42/lb.N, anhydrous $0.35/lb.N, UAN28 $0.49/lb.N and UAN32 $0.49/lb.N.

Despite the recent rally in some fertilizers, all products remain double digits less expensive compared to a year ago, with 10-34-0 now 12% lower.

MAP, urea and UAN32 are all now 16% lower while both DAP and UAN28 are 17% less expensive from a year previous. In addition, anhydrous is 19% lower and potash is 24% less expensive compared to a year earlier.

USDA Announces $5.2 Million For Nanotechnology Research

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced an investment of more than $5.2 million to support nanotechnology research at 11 universities. The universities will research ways nanotechnology can be used to improve food safety, enhance renewable fuels, increase crop yields, manage agricultural pests, and more. The awards were made through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), the nation's premier competitive, peer-reviewed grants program for fundamental and applied agricultural sciences.

"In the seven years since the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative was established, the program has led to true innovations and ground-breaking discoveries in agriculture to combat childhood obesity, improve and sustain rural economic growth, address water availability issues, increase food production, find new sources of energy, mitigate the impacts of climate variability and enhance resiliency of our food systems, and ensure food safety. Nanoscale science, engineering, and technology are key pieces of our investment in innovation to ensure an adequate and safe food supply for a growing global population," said Vilsack. "The President's 2017 Budget calls for full funding of the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative so that USDA can continue to support important projects like these."

Universities receiving funding include Auburn University in Auburn, Ala.; Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station in New Haven, Conn.; University of Central Florida in Orlando, Fla; University of Georgia in Athens, Ga.; Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa; University of Massachusetts in Amherst, Mass.; Mississippi State University in Starkville, Miss.; Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Mo.; Clemson University in Clemson, S.C.; Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Va.; and University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wis.

With this funding, Auburn University proposes to improve pathogen monitoring throughout the food supply chain by creating a user-friendly system that can detect multiple foodborne pathogens simultaneously, accurately, cost effectively, and rapidly. Mississippi State University will research ways nanochitosan can be used as a combined fire-retardant and antifungal wood treatment that is also environmentally safe. Experts in nanotechnology, molecular biology, vaccines and poultry diseases at the University of Wisconsin will work to develop nanoparticle-based poultry vaccines to prevent emerging poultry infections. USDA has a full list of projects and longer descriptions available online.

Past projects include a University of Georgia project developing a bio-nanocomposites-based, disease-specific, electrochemical sensors for detecting fungal pathogen induced volatiles in selected crops; and a University of Massachusetts project creating a platform for pathogen detection in foods that is superior to the current detection method in terms of analytical time, sensitivity, and accuracy using a novel, label-free, surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) mapping technique.

Brazil Opens Two New Rail-Port Grain Terminals in North

VLI, a Brazilian logistics operator, announced it had opened two new grain terminals in the northern state of Tocantins, continuing the improvement in logistics in Brazil's expansion regions.

The terminals serve the north-south railroad, also essentially controlled by VLI, on which beans and corn from Maranhao, Tocantins, Piaui, Bahia and eastern Mato Grosso will be transported to the northern port of Itaqui.

The R$264 million ($73 million) investment will increase grain capacity along the north-south route by up to 6 million metric tons (mmt), estimates VLI.

One of the facilitators of future growth in Brazilian grain production will be improved rail and barge transport to northern ports, which will replace expensive road freight from the isolated Cerrado region in the center of the continent.

VLI's main shareholder in miner Vale, who runs the final part of the rail link that also serves Carajas, one of the world's largest iron ore mines.

Grain traffic via the center-north corridor, as VLI calls the railway route, has risen from 2.6 mmt in 2012 to 4.2 mmt n 2015

With the expansion and the opening of new terminals at Itaqui, the volume could rise to 10 mmt.

VLI will invest R$1.7 billion (472 million) in the center-north corridor, including investment in terminal infrastructure, waggons and other modifications.

Soybean area has been growing quickly over the last decade across the eastern Cerrado, which the rail link serves. However, expansion will likely pause next year due to limited credit and a more cautious approach after three years of drought losses in various parts of the region.

Syngenta R&D investment to yield 16 product launches in 2016 

Syngenta will launch 16 new crop protection products in 2016, with multiple launches expected over the next five years, according to Jeff Cecil, head of crop protection product marketing for Syngenta, North America.

In total, Syngenta has some 50 or more new crop protection innovations in the U.S. pipeline alone, including 19 new active ingredients with potential for in North America, 15 label or use expansions, and at least 10 new premixes.

“That’s pretty remarkable,” Cecil said. “I’ve been in this industry for more than 20 years, and I’ve never seen this kind of pipeline coming out of any company.”

The pace is, in large part, due to the investment Syngenta makes in research and development (R&D)—more than $1.3 billion globally each year. That translates into more than $3.5 million every day, Cecil noted.

Most of the new 2016 crop protection product introductions will stem from the active ingredients from three new product registrations introduced in 2015:

·         Acuron® herbicide contains four active ingredients, including the 2015 introduced active ingredient bicyclopyrone, and three complementary, overlapping modes of action for multi-targeted control of the most difficult weeds in corn.

“Acuron is a step change in control of large-seeded broadleaf weeds like giant ragweed, and it’s also providing benefit against other weeds that have become resistant to certain chemistries in the marketplace,” said David Laird, head of product biology for Syngenta, North America. “It’s really a new standard for residual herbicide weed control in the U.S.”

A 2016 product built on this technology is Acuron Flexi corn herbicide. Developed for growers who need to control difficult weeds with added flexibility, it features three active ingredients, including bicyclopyrone, and two modes of action. Where registered, growers can use Acuron Flexi without geographic or soil-type restrictions and can mix it with atrazine (AAtrex® brands) or glyphosate herbicides, depending on farming practices.

·         Solatenol® fungicide offers residual disease control in corn, soybean, wheat, peanuts, potatoes, and various fruit and vegetable crops.

“We’ve launched four new products based on Solatenol technology alone,” Cecil said. “Trivapro™ is our fungicide for row crops. In dozens of 2015 trials, it lasted longer and worked harder than competitive programs.” The other Solatenol-based products are Aprovia® fungicide for apples, grapes and pears; Aprovia® Top fungicide for fruiting and cucurbit vegetables; and Elatus® fungicide for peanuts and potatoes.

·         Orondis® fungicide contains the active ingredient oxathiapiprolin and offers a new mode of action for controlling economically devastating soil and foliar diseases on a variety of crops. In 2016, Syngenta will offer this fungicide in three multipacks of separately registered products: Orondis Opti, a combination of Orondis and chlorothalonil fungicides for long-lasting, broad-spectrum control of foliar diseases in potatoes and vegetables; Orondis Ultra, a combination of Orondis and mandipropamid fungicides for control of downy mildews on leafy vegetables and other crops; and Orondis Ridomil Gold® SL, a combination of Orondis and mefenoxam fungicides for best-in-class protection against devastating soil-borne diseases in tobacco and vegetables.

“Orondis provides excellent systemic control and can be used at very low use rates,” Laird said, adding that it’s been about 30 years since agriculture has seen a product with this level of oomycete activity and movement in the plant.

In agriculture, increased yield is a constant goal, noted Cecil. But factors, such as resistance, environmental conditions and pest shifts, can complicate growers’ efforts in the field. “That’s why we are committed to a robust pipeline of new technologies that will help resolve challenges and make increased yield a reality,” he said.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Tuesday March 29 Ag News

Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               Fall-planted rye, triticale, and wheat as well as spring pastures soon should be ready to graze.  These fields can give great grazing, but be sure you take steps to avoid problems with grass tetany.

               Grass tetany is caused by low blood magnesium. Low blood magnesium can be due to low levels of magnesium in lush spring grass, but it also is caused by mineral imbalances like high potassium and nitrogen or low calcium in the diet.

               Grass tetany primarily affects older, heavy milking cows or sheep, but young stock also can be affected.  It occurs most frequently in spring during cool, cloudy, moist conditions when lush, immature grass starts growing rapidly.

                 Animals affected by tetany often graze away from the herd, are irritable, show muscle twitching, awkwardness, and staggering, and they are somewhat wide-eyed and staring.  When affected severely, the animal will collapse, thrash around, throw its head back, maybe lapse into a coma, and possibly die.

               To prevent grass tetany, first wait to graze until grass is more than 6 inches tall.  Also, feed or graze legumes like clover or alfalfa when you start on pasture since they have high magnesium levels.

               Feeding about 10 to 20 grams per day of supplemental magnesium via commercial or home-made salt-mineral mixes may be the best way to reduce tetany problems, but start supplementing as much as thirty days before grazing begins.  Magnesium oxide is one of the best and cheapest sources of magnesium.  Mix equal parts of magnesium oxide with dical, salt, and ground corn for a simple home-made supplement that provides adequate magnesium when each cow eats about one pound of the mix per week.

               As always, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.         

Price Risk Management and LRP

Kate Brooks, Asst Professor, Dept of Ag Econ, University of Nebraska

Every operation should develop and maintain a marketing plan. The plans can be very simple to very complex, depending on your situation and level of detail. These plans need to be flexible and updated as things change.   Price risk management is one piece of this marketing plan that we will discuss in further detail.

Many producers may have grown complacent with managing market risk because they may not have found it beneficial due to increasing cattle prices over the past several years.  As we move through the first part of 2016, volatility has continued and long-term price outlook has continued bearish with the increasing size of the cattle herd.  As market conditions have changed, producers need to again consider their marketing strategies and consider managing their price risk.

In managing price risk, producers first need to consider their total costs of production.  This will help to establish their price risk, and how to go about managing it.  Producers should find a level of risk and pricing method they can accept. The best pricing methods may change from year to year and what your neighbor did may not be the best choice for you.  There are several options for selling and pricing your cattle.  Some producers may only use cash markets or cash forward contracts, while other producers may feel comfortable using the futures market or options market.  Price protection through the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) futures and options contracts can create new risks in the form of margin calls and may not be a good option for many smaller-scale producers. Livestock Risk Protection (LRP) Insurance is another option for these producers to consider to protect against downswings in the national cattle market price.

LRP Insurance is a single-peril insurance program offered by the USDA Risk Management Agency and is available from a licensed agent through the private crop insurance industry.  An LRP policy is available for both feeder and fed cattle and is similar to a put option, allowing a producer to establish a floor price for protection while leaving upside price potential open.  Unlike market contracts and options, LRP does not require a margin account or broker. LRP also has the advantage of not requiring a minimum number of cattle to be insured and 13% of the premium is subsidized.  More information on LRP for feeder cattle can be found at:, and for fed cattle at:

Planning is essential.  Creating a marketing plan can help alleviate stress as well as emotion in implementing your marketing strategy.  Understanding your cost of production will help establish your pricing objectives and the triggers that make the marketing plan more valuable.  Make sure you continually evaluate your plan and establish contingency or backup plans you can implement if there are price or market changes that differ from your original expectations.  

Nebraska Farmers Union PAC Announces Primary Endorsements

NEBFARMPAC, the political action committee of the Nebraska Farmers Union, Nebraska’s second largest general farm organization with over 4,000 farm and ranch families announced its Primary endorsements for the Legislature, State Board of Education, and Public Power Districts. 

NEBFARMPAC Secretary John Hansen said “This year we have 5 Nebraska Farmers Union members running for Legislature, one for State Board of Education, and one for Omaha Public Power District.  We encourage our members to become educated on the issues and be constructively engaged in the public policy process.  We are always pleased when our members step up and assume the risks and responsibilities and run for public office.  We encourage them to consider serving at all levels of government.  Public service comes with good citizenship.”

Based on their position on family farm and ranch issues and input from county and district officers, the NEBFARMPAC Board of Directors announced the following endorsements for candidates for the Primary election with NeFU members in bold:

Nebraska Legislature:
Carol Blood in Legislative District 3; Mike McDonnell in Legislative District 5; Tony Vargas in Legislative District 7; Sara Howard for Legislative District 9; Jake Seeman in Legislative District 13; Joni Albrecht in Legislative District 17; Larry Scherer in Legislative District 21; Jerry Johnson in Legislative District 23; Kate Bolz in Legislative District 29; Dan Quick in Legislative District 35; Bill Armbrust in Legislative District 39; Al Davis in Legislative District 43; and Sue Crawford in Legislative District 45.

State Board of Education:
Lisa Fricke in District 2 and Rachel Wise in District 3.

Nebraska Public Power District:
Gary Thompson in Subdivision 8 and Zak Hookstra in Subdivision 10.

Omaha Public Power District:
Rick Yoder in Subdivision 4 and Craig Moody in Subdivision 5.

NEBFARMPAC will make additional endorsements after the Primary Election.

Donating to Kansas & Oklahoma Fire Relief Funds

The Anderson Creek Fire that started in Oklahoma and spread northward into Kansas has destroyed nearly 400,000 acres of land, fences, personal property and livestock.

Nebraska Cattlemen members have taken it upon themselves to gather hay and fencing supplies to ship southbound to operations in need. Other members and supporters that would like to help may give monetary donations to Kansas Livestock Foundation and the Oklahoma Cattlemen Foundation. These funds will be used for fencing supplies, animal health efforts and other needs. Both foundations have an online donation form or you may mail a check with "Fire Relief Fund" in the memo line to the address' below.  Make checks payable to: 

Kansas Livestock Foundation
6031 S.W. 37th, Topeka, KS 66614
Oklahoma Cattlemen's Foundation
P.O. Box 82395, Oklahoma City, OK 73148

We appreciate the efforts put forth by NC members to help our friends during this troubled time.

ISU Farm Poll Shows Farmers Increasing Use of Nutrient Loss Reduction Practices

Practices and strategies that minimize nutrient loss and soil erosion and increase soil health can have positive impacts on water quality while maintaining and improving productivity. The 2015 Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll found that many farmers have increased their use of key practices in recent years.

Farm Poll participants were asked about how their use of various types of tillage, nutrient management, pest management and other conservation and agronomic practices may have changed over the last 10 years. The list of practices was drawn primarily from the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy. Farmers were asked to report whether they had made a major decrease, a moderate decrease, no change, a moderate increase or a major increase in their use of each of the practices.

It is important to note that the "no change" category could signify that a farmer had adopted the practice more than 10 years before the 2015 survey.

“On the whole, the results indicate that Iowa farmers are moving in the right direction on most of these key practices,” said J. Arbuckle, associate professor of sociology and extension sociologist for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. “Many farmers report that they are increasing their use of practices that can reduce or prevent soil degradation and nutrient loss, and reducing their use of practices that can have negative impacts.”

Nearly half of farmers surveyed - 46 percent - reported increasing use of no-till over the last decade. The use of fall tillage had decreased, with 36 percent of farmers reporting a moderate or major drop in use of that practice, while 14 percent reported an increase in their use of tillage in the autumn months. There was a similar trend for spring tillage; 36 percent of farmers reported a decrease and 10 percent reported an increase in tillage during the spring.

Farmers also appear to be changing their nutrient management practices in ways that align with Nutrient Reduction Strategy recommendations. Sixty-one percent of farmers indicated they had increased their use of soil testing and other related methods to determine optimal fertilizer rates. Additionally, 47 percent had increased their use of GPS-facilitated precision practices like variable rate fertilizer application, and 46 percent reported that they had increased use of nitrogen stabilizers.

The timing of nitrogen fertilizer application can have a substantial effect on nutrient loss. The Nutrient Reduction Strategy recommends that nitrogen be applied in the spring and/or during the growing season, and discourages fall application. Results showed that almost a third of farmers had shifted away from fall application of nitrogen. Conversely, 38 percent reported an increase in the use of growing-season application of nitrogen, and 33 percent had increased their use of spring application.

“Farmers often adopt practices on a gradual basis, trying them out first on a small scale to see if they make sense for their operations,” Arbuckle noted. “For a lot of the practices, farmers reported ‘moderate increases’ that may represent such trial adoption. It’s very important to provide information and technical assistance necessary to help them transform those initial steps into long-term adoption.”

Farmers reported changes in several other major types of conservation and agronomic practices. Sixty-two percent indicated that they had increased use of practices focused on improving soil health. Nearly 60 percent reported increased installation of agricultural drainage such as tile or ditches, 54 percent had increased use of structural conservation practices such as terraces, grassed waterways, contour buffer strips, and buffer strips along streams, and 35 percent had increased use of cover crops to some extent.

“There’s still a lot of work to be done to meet Nutrient Reduction Strategy nutrient loss goals, and soil erosion and poor soil health continue to be major problems in Iowa,” Arbuckle said. “But results from the 2015 Farm Poll suggest that many Iowa farmers are taking important steps to improve water quality and reduce soil degradation.”

The Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll has been in existence since 1982, surveying Iowa farmers on issues of importance to agricultural stakeholders. It is the longest-running survey of its kind in the nation.

Animal Ag Continues to Add Meat to National Economy

The animals that feed us are also feeding our economy, according to a new soy-checkoff-funded study. The analysis shows animal ag, U.S. soy’s top end user, increased gross national product by $123 billion in economic output, improved household earnings by over $21 billion and added 645,629 jobs from 2004-2014.

According to the Economic Analysis of Animal Agriculture, during 2014 alone, U.S. animal agriculture’s support of the national economy included:
-    $440.7 billion in economic output
-    2,363,477 jobs
-    $76.7 billion in earnings
-    $19.6 billion in income taxes
-    Those figures all increased from 2013.

“The fact that our animal ag sector is growing is very beneficial for U.S. soybean farmers,” says Mike Beard, a soy checkoff farmer-leader who grows soybeans and raises hogs on his farm in Frankfort, Indiana. “With 97 percent of soybean meal going to animal ag, the strength of poultry and livestock production are incredibly important to the U.S. soybean industry.”

During 2014, U.S. animal agriculture consumed an estimated 27.9 million tons of soybean meal, or the meal from about 1.2 billion bushels of U.S. soybeans. This soybean meal was fed primarily to:
-    Broilers: 464 million bushels
-    Hogs: 327 million bushels
-    Dairy cows: 112 million bushels

The report concluded that U.S. soybean farmers shouldn’t let their support for the animal ag industry weaken. Poultry and livestock farmers face many pressures, which also threaten the profitability of all soybean farmers.

Fewer Hogs and Higher Prices

The nation's pork producers have indicated to USDA that they are not expanding the breeding herd and, in fact, intend to reduce farrowings this spring and summer. According to Purdue University Extension economist Chris Hurt, this means pork supplies will be somewhat less than had been anticipated and that hog prices will be somewhat higher.

For the USDA's March Hogs and Pigs report, pork producers indicated that the size of the nation's breeding herd was unchanged from the same date one year earlier. The herd had been in an expansion phase from the last half of 2014 through 2015. That expansion was largely because of record-high profits due to baby pig losses from the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PED).

That expansion phase seemingly has now ended.

"There is some unevenness in the change in breeding herd numbers over the past year," Hurt says. "One constant is that the Southern Plains states have been the most aggressive in adding breeding herd numbers over recent years. For the 16 states that USDA surveys for the March report, the breeding herd is up 9 percent in Oklahoma and 10 percent in Texas."

Over the past two years, the Southern Plains have led the country in expansion by increasing their breeding herd by 15 percent. Some of the primary Midwestern states reported a decrease in their breeding herds over the past year.

"Generally, record corn yields in most western Corn Belt states were not a sufficient reason to increase the breeding herd," Hurt says.

Iowa reported its breeding herd as down 5 percent, Missouri was down 4 percent, and Minnesota was down 2 percent. In Indiana, where corn yields were reduced by summer flooding, the breeding herd was down 7 percent.

"The second most important information from this inventory report is that pork producers intend to reduce the number of sows farrowed by 1 percent this spring and by 3 percent this summer," Hurt says. "If they follow through on these intentions, pork supplies next fall and winter will be smaller than previously anticipated. Smaller anticipated supplies will likely boost price prospects."

According to Hurt, the inventory numbers in this latest inventory report can be used to forecast pork supplies for the remainder of 2016 and the first quarter of 2017. Market hog inventories indicate that pork supplies may be near unchanged in the second and third quarters of this year. Fourth-quarter supplies are also expected to be near unchanged, reflecting modestly smaller spring farrowings, but somewhat more pigs per litter. For the 2016 calendar year, pork production is expected to be unchanged to up 1 percent. Pork supplies in the first quarter of 2017 will come from the 3 percent smaller summer farrowings. However, with more pigs per litter and heavier weights, pork production is expected to be only about 1 percent smaller.

Live hog prices in 2015 averaged $50.23 per hundredweight for 51 percent to 52 percent lean carcasses, according to USDA.

"My current forecast is that prices will be in a range of $49 to $54 for all of 2016, about $1 higher than last year," Hurt says. "Live-weight prices averaged about $46 in the first quarter of this year. Prices are expected to rise to the $55 to $58 range for averages in the second and third quarters and finish the year in the mid-to-higher $40s.

"Hog prices stand ready to make their normal seasonal rally into the early summer," Hurt says. "Current prices in the higher $40s are expected to move to the higher $50s or low $60s by June and July. Strong prices are expected until September when the normal seasonal pattern begins a sharp decline."

Current prospects are for costs of production to be at the lowest level in nine years due to low feed costs. Those costs are estimated to be near $50 per live hundredweight for the entire year of 2016. "This means that this year's outlook is for an average profit of about $6 per head compared to an estimated $3 per head of loss for 2015," Hurt says. "Losses of $9 per head are expected in the first quarter and $6 per head in the final quarter. Profits of $21 per head are anticipated in the second quarter and $18 per head in the third quarter."

Hurt believes that the pork production industry appears to be headed for a year in which they will cover all costs and with some modest profits left over. "Producers have avoided a bigger buildup in the breeding herd that could have driven the industry back toward losses," he says. "For right now, the industry seems to have supply in alignment with pork demand such that prices cover the full cost of production. In the future, producers will need to keep expansion of the breeding herd at 1 percent or less per year.

"At this time of year, producers are reminded of the threat of higher feed prices if weather should turn harmful to the growing U.S. crops," Hurt concludes. "Some coverage of new-crop feed supplies should be considered with current price prospects at the lowest level in nine years.

Rabobank Global Beef Quarterly Q1: South American Beef Exports to Rise

South America's beef exporters are set to increase exports by an estimated 11 percent in 2016. This increase is supported by favorable currency values, improved access to importing countries and increased availability of beef.

While Brazilian consumers are seeing their purchasing power decline, local beef prices remain high. On the supply side, cattle producers have been encouraged to maintain cows in their herd rather than sending them to slaughter—a result of high calf prices driven by low calf availability. Meanwhile, the weaker currency has made Brazilian beef very competitive on international markets, and strong global demand has pushed local market prices higher. The resulting high domestic beef prices have pushed consumers towards cheaper competing proteins, such as poultry, freeing up additional beef for exports.

Other regional highlights from the Beef Quarterly Q1 2016:
•            Despite a slowing economy, official Chinese imports of beef continue to increase. China’s official beef imports surged by 60 percent YOY in 2015, reaching 473,000 tonnes.
•            Supplies are drying up, as Australian beef production is expected to remain low in 1H 2016.
•            The USDA’s outlook report released on February 25th, forecast that U.S. imports of beef and veal will drop by 24 percent to 900,000 tonnes.

China to End State Corn Stockpiling Amid Glut

China will end its state corn stockpiling program this year, replacing it with other subsidies, amid surging reserves in the world’s second-biggest grower, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

The government will encourage state and private firms to buy corn at market prices and offer credit support to farmers, Xinhua reported late Monday, citing a press briefing by the National Development and Reform Commission. It will also promote changes in crop cultivation and move to reduce existing stockpiles, the news agency said. The changes will affect the 2016-17 season.

China said in January it was assessing changes to its corn purchasing and reserve program to make it more market based. The government began subsidizing output in 2008, acquiring grain at above-market prices to protect farm incomes. That increased domestic production by more than 35 percent and China now grows and consumes more than any nation except the U.S.

An official at the State Administration of Grain declined to comment Tuesday on the Xinhua report. A phone call to the National Development and Reform Commission wasn’t answered.

Agriculture Minister Han Changfu said this month that China will seek to reduce acreage planted with corn in less-efficient production areas. The government had already announced a 10 percent cut in the price it pays for corn in September as a way to deplete inventories.

Domestic corn stockpiles are forecast at 111.5 million tons at the end of the 2015-16 season, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show. That’s more than double the reserves held in the U.S. and more than half of world inventories.

USGC Statement on China Corn Policy Changes

A statement from U.S. Grains Council President and Chief Executive Officer Tom Sleight:

“Like others, we are closely following the market implications of the announcement from China that it will end its corn stockpiling program and reduce its surpluses of corn that have negatively impacted global markets.

“Our offices in Washington and Beijing have been monitoring signals that reforms were coming. While we are surprised they have been accelerated, we are hopeful they will be a step in the right direction toward more market-oriented decisions related to the supply and demand for corn.

“Although domestic corn prices in China have declined by about 30 percent in the past six months, and this announcement has had market impacts already, Chinese corn is still priced well above the world market. We will be seeking additional details about this announcement and monitoring its ongoing impact on feed grains markets, particularly as farmers in both our country and China begin planting.

“The Council has engaged in China for more than 30 years on a wide range of issues. We value this complex relationship and look forward to continuing to work in the market for mutual benefit.”

 NFU to Survey Family Farmers and Ranchers on 2014 Farm Bill Policies

With the 2014 Agricultural Act in full effect and a new Farm Bill debate on the horizon, the National Farmers Union (NFU) is conducting a survey of family farmers and ranchers across the country to gain a greater understanding of the effectiveness of these programs.

“As a farmer-led organization, we work closely with our diverse membership to advocate for policies that support family farmers and ranchers and the communities where they live,” explained NFU President Roger Johnson. “After the review, we will be able to better gauge the effectiveness of current farm policies and identify our advocacy priorities for the next Farm Bill process.”

The survey, announced earlier this month at the 114th Anniversary Convention in Minneapolis, Minn., is meant to complement the feedback gained through a simultaneous series of member listening sessions held across the country.

The survey will remain open through July 31, 2016, after which time responses will be collected and analyzed by NFU staff to establish policy proposals and engage partners for the upcoming Farm Bill debate.

“An educated and vocal membership is one of the things that makes NFU such a strong grassroots organization,” Johnson concluded. “We need to hear from a large number of our members to make sure the farm bill addresses the most serious challenges, including climate change and market consolidation, facing rural America today.”

Farmers and ranchers are invited to complete the NFU Farm Bill survey here...

Smithfield Foods Profit Rises 10%

Smithfield Foods Inc. on Tuesday posted 10% profit growth in its latest quarter, bucking a trend for a year during which the sector struggled with a sharp increase in U.S. hog supplies that pressured the price of pork.

U.S. hog herds rapidly expanded this past year after a deadly virus, which killed millions of baby pigs over the past two years, receded more quickly than many in the industry had expected.

Virginia-based Smithfield, the largest hog producer and pork processor in the U.S., was acquired in 2013 by Shuanghui International Holdings Ltd. for $4.7 billion. Shuanghui later changed its name to WH Group Ltd. and went public in July 2014.

For the fiscal fourth quarter ended Jan. 3, Smithfield posted a profit of $167.8 million, up from $152.6 million a year earlier. Revenue slipped 4% to $3.93 billion.

Report Shows the Fertilizer Industry Supports More Than A Half Million U.S. Jobs

Fertilizers are well known for their contribution to the world’s food supply, but until now, the economic value and jobs provided by the fertilizer industry have not been known. The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) is proud to announce the release of a first of its kind economic impact study that quantifies the fertilizer industry’s contribution to the U.S. economy and at the state and congressional district levels.

The study, conducted for TFI by John Dunham and Associates, found that the fertilizer industry contributed over $162 billion and 515,900 jobs to the U.S. economy in 2014. The scope of the study includes the direct contribution, supplier contribution and downstream positive impact of the entire industry value chain – from manufacturers to wholesalers, retailers and goods and services suppliers.

The entire fertilizer industry directly employs nearly 85,000 people who produce over $68 billion in output. The nation’s fertilizer retailers alone support in excess of 43,000 jobs with a total annual payroll of $23 billion. Fertilizer manufacturers and wholesalers combined contribute another 41,000 jobs with a combined annual economic impact of $46 billion.

“We are proud of the economic contribution the fertilizer industry makes to the U.S. economy and the good jobs that it provides,” TFI President Chris Jahn said. “The people we employ contribute to the economies of communities across the nation.”

“We are excited to be able to share this first of its kind report as it will serve as a valuable resource not just to those in the industry, but also to lawmakers and regulators here in Washington D.C., and around the country,” concluded Jahn.

To learn more about the impact the U.S. Fertilizer has on the economy please visit:

Deere Announces Joint Venture With U.S. Leader in High-Clearance Sprayers

Deere & Company (NYSE: DE) has entered a joint venture with Hagie Manufacturing, the U.S. market leader in high-clearance sprayers. In the agreement, Deere acquires majority ownership of Hagie Manufacturing, which will continue producing sprayers in its current Clarion, Iowa location.

Equipment made by the joint venture will continue to carry the Hagie brand while sales and service for Hagie equipment will be integrated into Deere's global distribution channel over the next 15 months.

"Hagie Manufacturing is known for innovation and its strong customer understanding in high-clearance spraying equipment," said John May, president, Agricultural Solutions and Chief Information Officer at Deere. "High-clearance spraying equipment is a new market for Deere. The expertise at Hagie allows John Deere to immediately serve customers who need precision solutions that extend their window for applying nutrients."

Alan Hagie, chief executive officer at Hagie Manufacturing, said, "We have great products at Hagie that help producers be more profitable but we need a business model that helps us reach more customers. This partnership with Deere allows our solutions to reach customers on a global scale and ensure they are supported with the world-class Deere dealer organization."

May said the joint venture investment allows John Deere to provide a broader range of sprayer options and integrate Deere's precision technology into the Hagie equipment to help customers reduce costs and improve yields.

Abengoa SA Files for Bankruptcy in US

Spanish energy company Abengoa SA has filed for bankruptcy protection in the U.S. as it continues talks with its banks and bondholders to agree on its plan to restructure billions of dollars in debt.

The renewable energy company Monday night filed for chapter 15 protection, the section of the U.S. bankruptcy code dealing with cross-border insolvencies, in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del.

The bankruptcy filing comes after Abengoa said Monday in a regulatory filing that it had won more time to continue negotiations with creditors on restructuring its debts, which total more than EUR14.6 billion, according to court papers.

Under a restructuring plan floated to creditors, the new Abengoa would cut costs and shed noncore assets and emerge as a slimmer business valued at EUR5.395 billion.

Abengoa is one of the world's top builders of power lines transporting energy across Latin America and a top engineering and construction business, making large renewable-energy power plants in places from Kansas to the U.K.

The embattled company, the flagship of Spain's renewable energy industry, has been in talks for months with creditors to avoid what would be one of the country's biggest bankruptcies.

In November, the company sought preliminary protection under Spanish insolvency law and is working with creditors on the parameters of a restructuring plan.

Under chapter 15, a company seeks a U.S. bankruptcy court's recognition of a foreign bankruptcy case--in this case the Spanish proceeding--as the main, or controlling, case. If recognized by a U.S. judge, the Seville-based energy company will receive the benefits of U.S. bankruptcy law, including the so-called automatic stay that halts lawsuits and prevents creditors from seizing assets.

Abengoa, which has last month put some of its U.S. business into chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, said it also intends to put its remaining U.S. registered affiliates into chapter 11 protection.

Abengoa's financial woes trace back to Spain's boom years, when the company began to build such projects for itself, fueled by cheaper bank loans and a desire to expand. The company took on billions of dollars of debt in anticipation of a growth rate that didn't materialize.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Monday March 28 Ag News

SDS Seed Treatment among On-Farm Research Options
Laura Thompson, NE Extension Educator

Last year, over 65 Nebraska farmers completed research projects with the help of the Nebraska On-Farm Research Network. You can view the results of these projects at  The Nebraska On-Farm Research Network provides an opportunity for growers to get questions answered about their own fields. Research typically is conducted with the producer's equipment, on the producer's land, and using the producer's management practices.

This year, the on-farm research network is again seeking three growers who are interested in testing the Bayer CropScience ILeVO® seed treatment for SDS.  Sudden death syndrome can be severe when soybeans are planted into cool, wet soils.  This disease was first identified in Nebraska in 2004 and has become widespread in recent years.  To be eligible to participate in this on-farm research study, farm operators must have a field with a history of widespread SDS that will be planted to soybeans this year. Learn more about participating in the ILeVO® study.

The Nebraska On-Farm Research Network provides an opportunity for farmers to test a variety of products and practices, including planting population, irrigation rates, nitrogen management decision tools, seed treatments, and biological products.  View more details about each study in their research protocols. New study opportunities will be posted throughout April and May, so check back frequently for more options to get involved.  Additionally, you are not limited to the topics presented here.  If you have another research topic in mind, Nebraska Extension cropping systems educators will work with you to design a study to address the questions that matter to you.

Please contact Laura Thompson at, 402-472-8043, or Keith Glewen at, 402-624-8005, if you are interested in participating in this or other research studies.

The Nebraska On-Farm Research Network is sponsored by University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension in partnership with the Nebraska Corn Growers Association, the Nebraska Corn Board, the Nebraska Soybean Board, and the Dry Bean Commission. The goal of the network is to put to use a statewide on-farm research program addressing critical farmer production, profitability, and natural resources questions.

A new tool for selecting commercial beef heifers: genomics

Gary Stauffer – Extension Educator, Holt-Boyd Counties

Spring is quickly approaching. That means warmer weather and green grass are on the way. For the cow/calf producers, it means that calving is in full swing (or about over for some) and the breeding season is just around the corner.

Decisions are being made that will impact the cattle operation for several years, such as the next herd bull to purchase or the sires to breed cows and heifers through artificial insemination.   Some producers spend many hours in selecting the right bull for their operation, looking over pedigrees, EPDs, performance data, etc. There is a tremendous amount of data available on purebred cattle, but limited genetic data on commercial cattle.

In the past, selection for our commercial replacements has been on individual performance, structural soundness, body phenotype and possibly genetic information about sire(s) and/or dam. There has been little to no measure of genetic potential of commercial replacement heifers. However, that is rapidly changing with the use of genomic testing.

Genomic predictions are being developed and available for commercial cattle producers to utilize in their operation.   Commercial cattle often do not have EPDs, which provide a predictive measure of the animal’s genetic potential like purebred cattle. These genetic predictions can be used to select replacement heifers, market feeder calves, and/or make mating decisions.

Through genomic testing, producers are able to make more informed decision that could impact their operation for many years. Depending on the test utilized for genomic testing, producers can gain valuable information on maternal traits, performance traits and carcass traits. Some of the genomic tests are breed specific, such as Angus (>75%) or Gelbvieh; whereas others are non-breed specific. 

Selection decisions can be made by retaining the higher ranking animals that meet your production goals and culling the animals that are below average. In addition, genetic predictions can be utilized in making mating decisions.   If you have low scoring heifers for carcass traits, you could mate your heifers to higher carcass value bulls and increase performance.

Majority of the tests cost between $20-50 per head, depending on the number of traits being evaluated. The greater the number of traits being measured, the higher the price tag for the test.

In addition, the genomic tests offer sire parentage testing.   Think of the opportunity to measure performance differences of multi-sired groups of heifers. One could gain tremendous information on their herd bulls and make decisions accordingly to your specific goals of your operation.

With the genetic information on commercial cattle, producers can make management and marketing decisions that could potentially be very powerful. I would not recommend making selection or management decisions solely on the results of genomic testing.   Genomic testing is another tool in the tool box. Will it be utilized by every producer? No, but those that choose to take advantage of this new technology could increase their rate of progress in their herd dramatically.


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               Are you planting some alfalfa this spring?  Using oats or another companion crop?  Let's examine the advantages and disadvantages of your options.

               Alfalfa often is seeded with a companion crop like oats to

control weeds and erosion, and to provide a crop of grain or hay.  Clear seeding alfalfa alone, without a companion crop, also works well.  A preplant herbicide like trifluralin or Balan or Eptam often is sprayed and incorporated first to control weeds in a clear seeding, but herbicide isn't always necessary.  So – which method is better?

               Your own needs and objectives determine whether a companion crop or a clear seeding is better for you.  I tend to prefer clear seeding where erosion is unlikely because alfalfa production begins sooner, with 2 to 4 tons possible the seeding year.  Companion crops reduce alfalfa yield the first year, and often they cause thinner stands.  Also, yields and stands in following years almost always are better with a successful clear seeding than when using a companion crop.

               Have you noticed that I call oats a companion crop instead of a nurse crop?  That's because companion crops like oats don’t nurse.  They act like weeds, robbing alfalfa seedlings of moisture, sunlight, and nutrients during the seeding year.  However, on erosive ground a companion crop can be necessary or alfalfa may not start at all.

               So if you want alfalfa, plant only alfalfa.  But, if erosion is a problem, include about half a bushel of oats with your alfalfa.  Then kill oats early using Poast Plus or Select herbicide, or Roundup if your alfalfa is Roundup Ready.  Next best is to hay oats early rather than taking grain.  Likewise, if you want oats, plant only oats.  Then seed alfalfa into oat stubble next August if soil moisture is good.  Your alfalfa will be better because of it.

New Corn Herbicides for 2016 

Amit Jhala, NE Nebraska Extension Weed Management Specialist

Several new herbicides have been registered for weed control in corn. These herbicides do not have an active ingredient with a new mode of action, but rather are pre-mixtures of existing herbicides. They can provide excellent weed control if applied according to label directions. A season-long weed management plan should include herbicides with multiple modes of action. (See Classification of Herbicides by Mode and Site of Action and Chemical Family, excerpted from the 2016 Guide for Weed, Disease and Insect Management in Nebraska, available at

In the following list of new corn herbicides for 2016, application timing is indicated as preplant, pre-emergence (after planting but prior to crop emergence), or post-emergence (after crop emergence),

Acuron™ [atrazine (10.93) + mesotrione (2.6%) + S-metochlor (23.4%) + bicyclopyrone (0.65%)]. Acuron may be used pre-emergence or post-emergence (up to 12 inches tall) in field corn, seed corn, and silage corn. It can be used in sweet corn and yellow popcorn, but only pre-emergence. Acuron contains the safener benoxacor. If organic matter content of the field is less than 3%, apply Acuron at 2.5 qt/ac, and if more than or equal to 3%, apply at 3 qt/ac. Do not exceed 3 qt/ac of Acuron per year. EPA Reg. No. 100-1466. Modes of action: 5, 15, 27.

Anthem® MAXX [pyroxasulfone (45.22%) + fluthiacet (1.38%)].  Anthem MAXX is a new formulation of Anthem, a premix for pre-emergence or early post-emergence control of annual grasses and some small-seeded broadleaf weeds in corn and soybean. EPA Reg. No.279-3468. Modes of action: 14, 15.

Armezon PRO [topramezone (1.12% + dimethenamid-P (56.25%)]. It is an emulsifible concentrate (EC) that provides systemic post-emergence control of emerged broadleaf and grass weeds followed by residual control in all corn types. Application rates depend on soil texture and organic matter content. It may be applied from corn emergence to V8 stage or 30 inches tall field corn and popcorn. For applications when corn is more than 12 inches tall but less than 30 inches tall, direct applications beneath the crop canopy using drop nozzles and appropriate nozzle spacing for best performance. EPA Reg. No. 7969-372. Modes of action:  15, 27.

DiFlexx™ [dicamba (56.6%)]. DiFlexx includes exclusive CSI™ Safener technology which enables corn plants to better withstand herbicidal activity and provides better crop safety. DiFlexx may be used for pre-emergence or post-emergence selective control of broadleaf weeds in corn and fallow croplands. The application rates of DiFlexx vary with weed type and growth stage. Do not apply more than 16 fl oz/ac per application and a total of 24 fl oz/ac per year. Apply maximum of two applications per growing season, separated by two weeks or more. EPA Reg. No. 264-1173. Mode of action: 4.

DiFlexx® DUO [dicamba (19.73%) + tembotrione (2.83%)]. DiFlexx DUO is a selective pre-emergence and post-emergence herbicide for control of annual broadleaf weeds; control and/or suppression of many biennial/perennial broadleaf weeds and control of annual grasses found in corn (field corn, seed corn, popcorn, and corn grown for silage) and for post-harvest burndown weed control. Weed control ceases within hours after DiFlexx DUO is applied.  Symptoms on susceptible weed species include epinastic-like symptoms on stems and leaves with tissues turning yellow and bleached in color and soon becoming necrotic.  Plant death generally occurs within 7 to 14 days after application. EPA Reg. No. 264-1184. Modes of action: 4, 27.

Fierce™ [flumioxazin (33.5%) + pyroxasulfone (42.5%)]. Fierce is a new premix for pre-emergence control of broadleaf and grass weeds.  It is labeled for use in soybeans and no-till and minimum till corn. It should be applied 10 days before planting corn. The use of residual herbicides, such as Fierce, reduces early season weed competition.  Modes of action: flumioxazin is a PPO inhibitor (MOA Group14) and pyroxasulfone is a seedling growth inhibitor (MOA Group 15). EPA Reg. No. 63588-93-59639. Modes of action: 14, 15.

Resicore™ [acetochlor (31%) + mesotrione (3.3%) + clopyralid (2.7%)]. Resicore™ herbicide may be used preplant, pre-emergence, or post-emergence in field corn, field seed corn, and field silage corn. For yellow popcorn, Resicore must be applied prior to crop emergence (i.e., preplant or pre-emergence) or severe crop injury may occur. Resicore is a combination of the herbicides acetochlor (MOA Group 15), mesotrione (MOA Group 27), and clopyralid (MOA Group 4), plus the crop safener furilazole. This combination of three herbicide modes of action controls many grass and broadleaf weeds by interfering with normal germination, growth, and seedling development. When applied after weed emergence, Resicore will provide control of many broadleaf weed species, but will not provide consistent control of emerged grass weeds. Modes of action: 15, 27, 4.

Solstice™ [fluthiacet methyl (2.2%) + mesotrione (38.52%)]. It contains two active ingredients possessing both contact and systemic activity that can be applied post-emergence for selective control of broadleaf weeds in field corn, seed corn, yellow popcorn, and sweet corn. It can be applied up to V8 corn growth stage or until corn is 30 inches tall. Application rate is 2.5 to 3.15 fl oz/ac. If atrazine is mixed with Solstice, do not apply to corn that is more than 12 inches tall. EPA Reg No. 279-3461. Modes of action: 14, 27.

For more information about weed control efficacy and crop safety of these herbicides, refer to the 2016 Guide for Weed, Disease, and Insect Management in Nebraska (EC130) available for sale online at  

Always refer to herbicide product label for complete details and directions for use.

Exports Matter to Nebraska Corn Farmers

With more than 95% of the world’s population living outside the United States and representing 75% of the world’s purchasing power, there is huge market potential for Nebraska corn around the world. From raw grain—to red meat—to ethanol, exports in all forms help support corn prices for Nebraska corn farmers. And each value-added product plays a fundamental role in building global demand.

Enhancing the profitability of Nebraska corn and value-added corn products through market development is one of the cornerstones of the Nebraska Corn Board. That’s why the Nebraska Corn Board has long standing relationships with organizations such as the US Grains Council (USGC) and the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF). With offices in key markets around the world, these organizations work hard to help identify and develop export markets for Nebraska corn. Their international directors are positioned as the ‘boots on the ground’ force that helps recognize opportunity and identify challenges in new and existing global markets.

“Even though most corn grown in Nebraska is used right here in our state for livestock and ethanol—or shipped to dairies in California and feedlots in Texas, we still have a lot at stake when it comes to exports,” said Alan Tiemann, a farmer from Seward, the at-large director on the Nebraska Corn Board and chairman of the U.S. Grains Council. “International exports in all forms help use the U.S. corn supply and create demand that affects our corn prices here at home.”

As the chairman of the USGC, Tiemann has a key role in helping the Council identify new opportunities and priorities in a rapidly changing global market. With the population projected to grow to 9 billion by 2050, USGC is working hard to teach producers around the world how to use feed grains effectively and manage their operations efficiently.

In February, Tiemann helped lead USGC’s 13th annual International Marketing Conference where they highlighted the Council’s mission to drive Excellence in Exports. One key topic of discussion at the conference was ethanol exports. “Ethanol exports continue to be a big priority to the Grains Council. As the number of vehicles increase worldwide, international markets for ethanol are growing dramatically,” added Tiemann.

USGC is the market development arm for Nebraska corn and value-added corn products around the world, while USMEF is the market development arm working to increase our market share for red meat around the world. Both organizations have international directors that work around the globe to build demand, knock down trade barriers and serve our customers in the most critical overseas markets.

Cuba Exploration Mission Offers Iowa Corn Farmer Key Market Insights

As President Barack Obama and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack have wrapped up their historic visit to Cuba, Iowa’s farmers continue to closely follow these developments and stand poised to expand agricultural exports to the country and the rest of the region.

The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) led a delegation from Iowa on an exploratory mission to Cuba last month including Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) Chairman Jerry Mohr, a farmer from Eldridge, Iowa. Mohr and Iowa representatives toured farms, agriculture facilities and other sites to learn about Cuba’s changing economy and market opportunities.

There is no embargo on U.S. food exports to Cuba. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently reported sales of 984,200 bushels of U.S. corn to Cuba valued at $4.4 million so far this marketing year, highlighting the potential of the Cuban market for market developers such as the U.S. Grains Council (USGC). The Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB) invests checkoff dollars in USGC and the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) for the export of corn and corn value-added products.

“Overall, the U.S. will be facing tough competition from Brazil and other exporting countries,” explained Mohr. “There is a potential for ethanol to be imported to supplement the country’s sugar cane production. They are desperately in short supply of quality meats and grocery products to feed their people. We will have the opportunity with our fine Iowa meat products to export meat and milk to Cuba when and if Congress votes to end the sanctions.”

Mohr said one of the challenges for U.S. agriculture exports to Cuba remains the effective credit embargo requiring all transactions with U.S. suppliers to be in cash. “This has been a real problem. Also, the embargo impacts other agricultural exports that are excluded from trade with Cuba,” he stated.

Mohr noted several other observations regarding Cuba’s agricultural industry and its infrastructure:
-    Millions of acres of farmland in Cuba have been out of production for many years, if the land becomes abandoned it will then revert to its native state.
-    The principal crops produced include sugar cane, coffee, bananas, and citrus. Rice, vegetables and tobacco also make up the country’s domestically produced crops.
-    The meat business in Cuba continues to expand, but cannot support the country’s population nor the anticipated arrival of tourists. Food shortages of milk and milk products persist. A key staple in Cuban’s diets include chicken, goat, duck and pork products.
-    Brazil recently built a huge port on the south side of the island to handle the increased shipping that is to be expected. Although the United States has a logistical advantage due to its proximity.

Mohr summarized that the country’s infrastructure poses the greatest challenge to its ability to catch up with the rest of the world, however as an export market the country holds great promise.

Iowa Pork Industry Center Will Offer PQA Plus 3.0 Advisor Certification Sessions

Veterinarians, extension personnel and adult educators in Iowa’s pork industry have the opportunity to become Pork Quality Assurance Plus 3.0 Advisors under the National Pork Board's PQA Plus 3.0 program that will be launched at the World Pork Expo in June. Because the content of this newly revised program has changed significantly, advisors who are currently certified also must successfully complete a 3.0 session if they wish to remain certified as a PQA 3.0 advisor, according to Iowa State University Extension swine veterinarian Chris Rademacher.

“All current PQA Plus advisor certifications will expire on August 31, 2016, regardless of when the advisor most recently certified through the 2.0 program,” Rademacher said. “This also means everyone needs to complete the two-page application form and be approved to attend one of these sessions.”

The Iowa Pork Industry Center at Iowa State is offering seven PQA Plus 3.0 certification sessions beginning in mid-April to help meet this industry need. The sessions will be led by faculty members who are certified PQA Plus 3.0 trainers.

Rademacher is coordinating this training schedule. Each session has a 15-person minimum and a 30-person maximum, with the application deadline approximately 10 days prior to the specific session date, or when the session is filled.

Walk-ins are not allowed for any of the sessions. Individual spots for all sessions are guaranteed only after payment is accepted by IPIC. The cost is $75 per person and includes refreshments and the noon meal.

“Those who wish to become certified or to maintain their certification need to keep their specific session deadline in mind when submitting their application for approval,” Rademacher said.

To be eligible to submit an application or recertify as a current advisor, people must meet the following qualifications:
-    Be a veterinarian, extension specialist or ag educator (defined for this program as a person who spends full time in adult education or at least half time in production training) AND
-    Have a D.V.M. or B.S. in animal science (or equivalent) AND
-    Have two years of recent documentable swine production experience.

2016 Iowa training schedule
-    April 14 – Hansen Ag Student Learning Center, Rooms 1102-1104, Ames
-    May 3 – Borlaug Learning Center, Nashua
-    May 4 – Washington County Extension Office, Washington
-    May 5 – Cass County Community Center, Atlantic
-    May 10 – Sioux County Extension Office, Orange City
-    June 7 – Iowa State Fairgrounds, Varied Industries Building, Room A2, Des Moines
-    June 29 – Hansen Ag Student Learning Center, Rooms 1102-1104, Ames

Those who qualify and are interested in the program should download, complete and submit the appropriate form for their desired session date from the IPIC website at  This page also includes attendance availability for each session, and contact information for the program and the application process.

Ag Producer, Agribusiness Confidence Reach New Lows

Low Prices, Uncertain Income and High Costs Leading Causes

Spring is usually a time for optimism for ag producers as they look forward to another crop, but not this year. Low commodity prices, ongoing high input costs and low income projections have producers feeling more pessimistic about their industry than ever before, according to the latest DTN/The Progressive Farmer Agriculture Confidence Index (ACI).

Overall producer confidence dropped from 92.7 last December to a new record low of 91.5 in March. The value of 100 is considered neutral. Values above 100 indicate optimism, whereas values below signify pessimism.

Producers’ attitudes for the present situation remain pessimistic at 94.5, up slightly from 92.2 but down significantly from 109.1 last March. Producer expectations for the future dropped for the second consecutive survey, down from 98.0 last August to 93.1 in December and then to 89.5 in March.

“Farmers continue to struggle with balancing high input costs and low crop prices,” said DTN Markets Editor Katie Micik, director of the confidence index. “With ongoing global row crop surpluses, farmers see little hope to improve incomes this year.”

The confidence index, which surveyed 500 crop and livestock producers March 1-10, measures the sentiments of crop and livestock producers on their overall agriculture sector impressions. Since 2010, DTN/The Progressive Farmer has conducted the ACI three times a year – before planting, before harvest and after harvest. Producers also rate current and long-term input prices and net farm income to gauge their attitudes toward the present situation and future expectations.

In the March survey, 45 percent of farmers described their farm income as bad and 40 percent said income was normal. Micik said this is the second consecutive survey in which more producers considered their current farm income as bad than as normal.

“Over the next year, 86 percent of producers surveyed expect farm income will stay the same or get worse. It is also the second highest recorded in ACI history behind only the 88 percent in March 2012,” said Micik.

Other ACI findings include:

·         47 percent of crop and livestock producers rate input prices as bad
·         18 percent of producers surveyed say input prices will get better the next 12 months
·         Crop producer confidence dropped to an all-time low of 89.7, with present situation at 88.4 and future expectations at 90.6
·         Livestock producer confidence fell for fifth time in last six surveys to 95.9, with present situation at 109.5 and future expectations at 86.8
·         The overall indexes for producers in the Midwest, Southeast and Southwest fell within the pessimistic range at 87.0, 91.3 and 98.5, respectively

Agribusiness Confidence Index

Agribusiness confidence has tumbled dramatically over the past year. According to the latest DTN/The Progressive Farmer Agribusiness Confidence Index, which measured the sentiments of 100 agribusinesses Feb. 29-March 10, agribusiness confidence fell to 83.4 from 98.3. The agribusiness index was in the optimistic range at 104.7 last March.

Agribusinesses are also pessimistic about the current situation and expectations for the next year. The rating for agribusinesses’ present situation fell to an all-time low of 88.3 from a near record high of 121.6 in March 2014 and 114.5 last March.

“While expectations about future conditions have trended negative the past two years, agribusiness pessimism reached an index low of 79.9 in the latest survey. As a result, agribusinesses have a gloomy outlook about profitability and sales,” explained Micik.

Seventy-six percent of agribusinesses rated their current profitability as bad or normal, compared with 66 percent in December and 60 percent a year ago. “The drop in agribusiness confidence is a direct result of crop producer cutbacks on equipment purchases and crop inputs,” explained Micik. “As a result, 28 percent of agribusinesses expect sales to get worse.”

NCGA Helps Ag Research Soar into the Future

The National Corn Growers Association joined the Supporters of Agricultural Research (SoAR) as part of its strategic plan to increase research funding to expand demand and improve productivity and sustainability.

"As a partner of SoAR, NCGA will be able to further its efforts to achieve public polices in the research arena that will benefit all U.S. Corn farmers," said NCGA Research and Business Development Action Team Chair Larry Hoffmann. "While we work to build demand, it is also imperative NCGA maintains important efforts to keep the research pipeline flowing. As members of this respected group, we will amplify our voice by working with like-minded groups and ensure that research funding remains a top priority for Congress."

SoAR was established as a non-partisan coalition of scientific, consumer and producer groups in 2012 to seek sound research policies that focus more of our best minds on feeding America and the world and to advocate for increased funding for such research.

SoAR works with major research institutions, farmer groups, scientific organizations, consumer groups and other private sector partners who believe a strong competitive grants program will encourage top scientists from multiple disciplines-from botany and biology to energy and engineering-to address the many agriculture-related challenges facing our country today.

SoAR advocates for full funding for the Agriculture Food and Research Initiative. AFRI is a program established by Congress in 2008 to award competitive grants for research projects-at any institution-that apply best ideas from any discipline to the many problems confronting today's farmers and consumers.

SOAR Foundation also works to educate various stakeholders about the importance of agriculture research including full funding for the AFRI.  Competitive grants encourage innovation by directing federal funds to the most promising proposals. This approach laid the foundation for America's global leadership in biomedical innovation. Now, SoAR believes the time is right to greatly increase funding for competitive grants in the exciting and rapidly expanding world of agricultural research.

NAWG Announces CEO Stepping Down

            The National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) today announced Jim Palmer has decided to step down as its chief executive officer effective May 31, 2016.

            “Jim has been a tremendous and tireless advocate of the U.S. wheat grower specifically, and the U.S. wheat industry in general, during his tenure as our CEO,” stated NAWG President Gordon Stoner, a Montana wheat grower.  “While we certainly don’t want him to leave NAWG, Jim made it very clear to our Executive Committee recently that he strongly desired to reduce or eliminate a majority of his professional and personal obligations to spend more quality time with his far-flung family.  Our entire officer team is very understanding and supportive of Jim’s personal decision.”

            Stoner said NAWG will immediately begin its national search for a new CEO and has asked Palmer to assist the NAWG Executive Committee in managing that effort.  Stoner emphasized that NAWG is in excellent financial shape and has assembled a very talented and dedicated advocacy and technical support staff, thanks to Palmer’s recruitment skills and enthusiasm for wheat and those who produce it.

            “Our strong financial position and excellent staff will serve as Jim’s legacy,” said Stoner. “Without his consummate financial skills and grassroots insight, NAWG would never have been able to achieve what it has since he came onboard in 2013.  And, we really appreciate his desire to ensure a smooth transition.”

            Palmer said the time is right for a change for both him personally and professionally and for the organization.

            “I have decided not to renew my contract because I believe now is a great time for NAWG to have a CEO with different skill sets than mine. I have strongly recommended to our Executive Committee that they seek someone with proven agriculture policy success as its top skill-set priority, said Palmer.  “While financial and staff management acumen are certainly necessary in any CEO position, top-level agriculture policy development and advocacy experience is very much needed by NAWG as we enter into negotiations for the next Farm Bill.  This particular skill set would complement perfectly our current excellent advocacy and technical support staff.”

            Stoner and Palmer said NAWG will begin accepting qualified resumes immediately.  A position guide will be posted on the NAWG website soon.  Stoner stated that Palmer would be coordinating the receipt of resumes, but would not be serving on the Search Committee.  Anyone interested in seeking the NAWG CEO position should send their letter of interest, resume, references and salary requirements to the attention of Jim Palmer, CEO, National Wheat Growers Association, 415 Second St., NE, Suite 300, Washington, DC  20002. Or, e-mail those documents to  Resumes and accompanying documents need to be received by NAWG no later than May 2, 2016 to be considered.

CWT Assists with 6.2 Million Pounds of Cheese and Whole Milk Powder Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 11 requests for export assistance from Dairy Farmers of America, the Michigan Milk Producers Association, the Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold) and Tillamook County Creamery Association, who have contracts to sell 2.216 million pounds (1,005 metric tons) of Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese, and 3.948 million pounds (1,791 metric tons) of whole milk powder to customers in Asia, the Middle East and South America. The product has been contracted for delivery in the period from March-September 2016.

So far this year, CWT has assisted member cooperatives with contracts to sell 12.209 million pounds of cheese, 7.716 million pounds of butter and 14.676 million pounds of whole milk powder to 14 countries on five continents. The sales are equivalent to 393.441 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.

NFU Beginning Farmer Institute Accepting Applications for 2016-17 Class

Cultivating the next generation of farmers and ranchers to carry on the legacy of American agriculture is the main focus of the National Farmers Union (NFU) Beginning Farmer Institute. NFU encourages new farmers, starting an operation of any size, to apply for the 2016-17 program class.

Through sessions hosted in Washington D.C. and California, the program’s hands-on training emphasizes many of the challenges beginning farmers may face in their careers, such as business planning, access to capital, land acquisition, marketing, and more.

“As the farm population continues to age, we are looking to the next generation of farmers and ranchers to continue to produce food, fiber and fuel. But farming can be an overwhelming business to get started if you don’t have the right tools,” said NFU president Roger Johnson. “For more than five years, the Beginning Farmer Institute has empowered new farmers from across the country to operate successful farm businesses.”

Farmers from all geographic regions and a diverse range of production methods have greatly benefitted from the training. The most recent graduates of the program, who were recognized at the NFU Convention in Minneapolis, Minn., earlier this month, represented seven states. Women and veterans have been among the program’s most active participants.

“More than half the participants have been women and nearly 10 percent have been veterans,” explained Johnson. “I am pleased to see the diversity of skills and backgrounds these beginning farmers are bringing to the industry.”

Applications for the 2016-2017 class must be postmarked by April 30, 2016, and the class roster will be announced on June 10, 2016. More information about the NFU Beginning Farmer Institute is available at

Monsanto Extends Nomination Deadline for “Farm Mom of the Year” Contest

For anyone who’s been considering entering their favorite farm mom into Monsanto’s America’s Farmers Mom of the Year contest, but haven’t done so yet, there’s good news! There are now two extra days to get those nominations in as Monsanto has extended the deadline from Tuesday, March 29, 2016, to Thursday, March 31, 2016.

Due to the holiday and many people on spring breaks, Monsanto wanted to give people as much time as possible to enter their favorite farm mom, so she can get the credit she deserves.  The extended date at the end of March is also consistent with the entry deadline in past years.

Just visit, click on “Farm Mom” under the “Community Outreach” section, and describe in 300 words or less how your farm mom contributes to her farm, family, community and the agriculture industry.

Online nominations must be submitted by Thursday, March 31 (11:59 p.m.)

Additional information about Monsanto’s America’s Farmers Mom of the Year program is available at

Terrorism a Real Threat to U.S. Agriculture

Stewart Truelsen, Missouri Farm Bureau

There are some things you should not read at bedtime. One of them is The Worldwide Threat Assessment by the U.S. Intelligence Community, an annual report of threats to the United States. In testimony before Congress, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said, "In my 50 plus years in the intelligence business I cannot recall a more diverse array of crises and challenges than we face today."

Clapper warned that homegrown extremists are probably the most significant terrorist threat to the homeland this year. In other words, the U.S. faces attacks similar to last December's in San Bernardino, California, that left 14 dead and 22 wounded.

The entire report is even more disturbing. In short, the United States and its assets around the world are facing a multiplicity of threats from terrorist organizations and states like North Korea. These enemies are busy devising new weapons and strategies. Hopefully, they will never get to use them, but make no mistake about it, no part of our country or sectors of the economy are off-limits to terrorists. This includes rural America and U.S. agriculture.

Former Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss received the Distinguished Service to Agriculture award from the American Farm Bureau Federation this year. In addition to his accomplishments in food and agriculture, he played an important role in homeland security and intelligence gathering. He does not assume terrorists will overlook U.S. food and agriculture.

"We have to make sure that America always has a safe supply of food as well as a safe supply of water. Those are somewhat easy targets for the terrorist community to look at," he says. "There is no question that food security is a very vital part of national security and a vital part of what we look at from a counter-terrorism standpoint in the intelligence community every day."

After 9/11, agro-terrorism became more of a concern. A white paper written in 2002 by University of Minnesota economics professor C. Ford Runge outlined threats to livestock and crops from biological weapons.

Among top concerns were the introduction of foot-and-mouth disease in feedlots and the spread of deadly pathogens, like anthrax, on fruit and vegetables. Another threat was the contamination of corn and soybean oil to disrupt all downstream users and manufacturers of processed foods.

Runge concluded in 2002 that it would be hard for terrorists to do serious damage to the American food system because of its diffuse nature. It's so big and spread out. However, it would still be possible for terrorists to cause widespread consumer panic, loss of trade and economic harm.

The current threat analysis raises greater concern for weapons of mass destruction, like ones that could be used against agricultural production and water supplies. The report says, "Research in genome editing conducted by countries with different regulatory or ethical standards than those of Western countries probably increases the risk of the creation of potentially harmful biological agents or products."

That is why Farm Bureau continues to support protecting our nation's food, fiber and water supply and critical industrial agricultural materials, in addition to encouraging farmers and public agencies to recognize the importance of adopting biosecurity measures.