Saturday, July 30, 2016

Friday July 29 Ag News

Lower Elkhorn NRD appoints new board member to Subdistrict 2

The Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) Board of Directors interviewed two candidates at their July meeting to fill their vacant seat.  Mark Hall and Garry Murren, both of Norfolk, spoke to the board and shared their reasons for applying and their interests in protecting our natural resources.  Hall was selected by a vote of 7 to 6 over Murren, a long-time friend of his family.

Hall is ready for the challenges ahead.  He commented, “Providing good quality water and preserving it for the future is very important.  I’m excited to learn more from the board members and staff as well as the public I’ll be representing.  The NRD has a wide range of responsibilities and I look forward to discovering more about the various programs offered.”  Hall is a farm manager and was previously a computer technician.

The seat was previously held by Chris Carlson of Norfolk, since 2005.  Carlson recently moved outside of the district and was no longer able to represent Subdistrict 2.

In other action, the board approved a flow meter installation and maintenance inspection policy, and discussed phase requirements for the groundwater management area.

The next board meeting will be held on Thursday, August 25th at 7:30 p.m.  A budget hearing will be held at the start of the meeting to set the fiscal year 2017 budget.

Using Benchmarks to Evaluate Your Herd

Steve Tonn, NE Extension Educator, Washington County

In today’s agriculture, knowledge is power.  Production data provides producers with the knowledge necessary for management decisions.  The old saying of “If you can’t measure it, You can’t manage it” is still true and even more valuable today.

The fall will soon be here and for many preparing grain bins, combines, trucks and grain carts will be their first thoughts.  However for cow calf producers data collection and analysis on their cow herd should also be an important fall task.  Maybe consider combining data collection with pre-weaning vaccinations rather than at weaning time. This may spread out the work load and make it easier to collect the data.

What are some key data to collect?  Number of cows exposed for breeding, average cow age, pregnancy percentage, calving percentage, weaning percentage, average weaning age, average weaning weight, weight per day of age, adjusted 205 day weight, pounds weaned per cow exposed, replacement percentage, culling percentage, cow weight, % calves born at 21 days, % calves born at 42 days, % calves born at 63 days, % calves born after 63 days, calf death loss %, % heifers calved early, % heifers calved at 21 days, % heifers calved at 42 days, % cows calved at 21 days, % cows calved at 42 days, and average cow condition score at weaning.

Why is data collection so important?  Because then it allows you to use a powerful management tool called benchmarking.  Benchmarking allows producers to measure their production performance compared to previous years and/or other producers. For cow calf producers it is the management process of comparing their herd’s production performance to the average of a set of benchmark herds to identify their herd’s strengths and weaknesses.  Benchmarking can help direct your management efforts toward critical production factors.

The North Dakota Beef Cattle Improvement Association has developed the Cow Herd Appraisal Performance Software (CHAPS) program to help producers understand cow calf records. Search the internet for CHAPS 2000 for more information on the software program.  It is available for purchase by producers.

One of the values of the program is the five-year averages that provide benchmarks for CHAPS and non-CHAPS producers.  The benchmarks provide valuable information on how your herd competes within the industry.  I have attached a copy of the benchmarks from the CHAPS herds with a total of 88,000 cows exposed to bulls and processed from 2010 to 2014.  These benchmarks are from larger sized herds than what you may have but why not compare your herd to the best.

The current benchmark values indicate the average CHAPS producer had a Pregnancy Rate of 93.1%; Pregnancy Loss .65%; Calving Rate 92.5%; Calf Death Loss 3.4%; Weaning Rate 89.8%; Average Weaning Wt. 558 lbs.; and Lbs. Weaned/Cow Exposed 495. See the attached table for more benchmarks.

How do your production records compare to these benchmarks?  Where did your herd beat the benchmark averages?  Where did the benchmark averages beat your herd’s numbers?

Examine your herd’s weaknesses one by one to see if you can do something to improve. Depending on the situation, it may take a whole year or more to remove or change a major weakness, but benchmarking should help you to focus your limited management time. As you remove your weaknesses from your herd, herd profits tend to go up.

Another step beyond production benchmarking is to do financial benchmarking on your whole farm. To truly benefit from financial benchmarking your farming operation internally and externally to peer farms, membership in an organization committed to this concept as a best practice can yield the most benefits.

Soybean Aphids Found in Northeast Nebraska; Scouting Warranted 

Thomas Hunt - NE Extension Entomologist

This week soybean aphids were found in several northeast Nebraska fields at low numbers. Although it has been too hot for soybean aphids to thrive, populations could quickly increase with cooler temperatures. Scouting is recommended at this time.

On Thursday, July 28 low numbers of soybean aphids, about 5-10 aphids per plant, were found in a Wayne County soybean field. The infestations appeared to be recent as all the aphids were found on the top 1-2 inch leaflets. The field was in early R3, which makes sense as aphids prefer later maturing soybeans (e.g., late planted soybean). Other fields with aphids averaged about 2-3 aphids per plant. Natural enemies of the aphid, such as lady beetles, green lacewings, insidious flower bugs, and other insect predators were found along with the aphids. These natural enemies may help hold the populations in check or at least slow their growth.

While the field should be monitored, it does not require any management action as the aphid numbers are well below the 250 aphids-per-plant threshold and the field has plenty of soybean aphid predators. It does, however, signal the need to begin scouting soybean fields for soybean aphids.

Many of these fields could be considered to be “seeded” with soybean aphid. When temperatures decline, we could see soybean aphid populations increase significantly. In past years we have monitored soybean fields that were almost devoid of aphids in mid-July, but by mid-August were well over 2000 aphids per plant. Given this, it’s time to review soybean aphid biology and management. If you have not started to scout for aphids, start now.

Sclerotinia Stem Rot (White Mold) in Soybean: What to Look For 

Loren Giesler - Extension Plant Pathologist

Over the past couple weeks there have been questions on what to look for when scouting for signs of white mold in soybean. This article is intended to show the differences in the apothecia and other common fungi observed in soybean fields. Apothecia are the mushroom like fruiting structures formed by Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, the causal agent of white mold. These structures release the spores that start the disease cycle.

White mold or Sclerotinia stem rot is a disease that starts earlier in the season during flowering. The actual infection occurs on the senescing flower which is used by the fungus as a food source. Infections in soybean typically start at a node. You can tell when the infection occurred based on how high up the plant the stem lesions and fungal growth are. The much warmer temperatures during flowering this year should result in much lower or no disease development in many portions of the state where there was significant disease the past three years. When temperatures are over 85°F during flowering, there is a much lower risk of development.

Typically, plant symptoms will not appear until the fungus has progressed to the point that plants are dying. In the field you will notice individual or small pockets of dead or dying plants. Upon close inspection you will see a white cottony fungal growth on the stems. You may also see dark black bodies (sclerotia) of the fungus on the stems. If it is drier and plants are dead, the stems will be very light (bleached) in color. When dead stems are split, often you will see the sclerotia inside. Keep in mind that the disease will not spread much if temperatures are in the 90s. The optimum temperature for growth of this fungus is 75°F.


    The 18th annual Soybean Management Field Days Aug. 9-12 will focus on staying competitive in a global marketplace, increasing profits and meeting the world's growing food and energy needs starting in Nebraska. The field days will offer producers research-based information to improve their soybean profitability.

    The field days are sponsored by the Nebraska Soybean Checkoff in partnership with Nebraska Extension in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources and are funded through soybean checkoff dollars. The efforts of the checkoff are directed by the United Soybean Board, promoting progress powered by U.S. farmers.

    "Management is the key word for the 2016 Soybean Management Field Days," said Ron Pavelka of Glenvil, chairman of the Nebraska Soybean Board of Directors. "This year's program will address those big challenges that each farm must manage ... water, weeds, fertility, pests and markets. In a year full of production and economic challenges for Nebraska soybean farmers, I would encourage growers to take this opportunity to put their checkoff to work on their farms."

    The event consists of four stops across the state, each with replicated research, demonstration plots, lunch and time for questions. Producers can obtain ideas and insight about the challenges they face in producing a quality crop at a profitable price in today's global economy.

    Presenters include university specialists, educators and industry consultants. Topics include soybean irrigation; soil fertility, PPO herbicide and conventional soybean studies; grain marketing and farm management; soybean production management strategy comparison; sprayer management for successful weed control in soybeans; and Nebraska soybean checkoff investment. Updates on biodiesel use and markets will also be provided.

    Agronomists, plant disease and insect specialists will be available to address production-related questions. Participants can bring unknown crop problems for identification. Growers can also bring two pressure regulators from each span of a pivot for pressure testing during the field day. Growers will be provided a report on regulator performance.

    The field days begin with 9 a.m. registration and conclude at 2:30 p.m. Free registration is available the day of the event. Dates, locations and directions are:
    > Aug. 9, Robert Johnston Farm near Orchard, south of 859th Road and 514 Avenue.
    > Aug. 10, Shane Greving Farm near Chapman, 374 Ninth Road.
    > Aug. 11, Eberspacher Family Farms near Cordova, 4754 Saltillo Road.
    > Aug. 12, Goff Farms near Schuyler, 1046 County Road H.

    For more information on the field days and driving directions, visit or contact the Nebraska Soybean Checkoff at 1-800-852-BEAN or Nebraska Extension at 1-800-529-8030.

Corn Disease Update: Southern Rust Confirmed in 10 Nebraska Counties 

Tamra Jackson-Ziems, NE Extension Plant Pathologist

Southern rust has been confirmed in samples from 10 Nebraska counties — Adams, Butler, Clay, Fillmore, Lancaster, Nuckolls, Pierce, Polk, Thayer, and Valley. All were from fields with a low incidence of disease at the time. Southern rust is likely more widespread than just these counties. Scouting is recommended to determine its distribution in your fields and area.

Warm temperatures and high humidity will promote development and spread of disease. Rust diseases produce large amounts of spores that can be easily moved by wind for long distances. The fungus can quickly cause disease during favorable conditions because most commercial dent corn hybrids have little resistance to the disease.

Having a history of southern rust in corn does not have any impact on disease development now, because this pathogen does NOT overwinter in infected residue. The spores must be carried into the area by winds from diseased areas. Southern rust has been confirmed across much of Kansas and other states to our South. If the disease continues to spread and worsen in Nebraska, those fields planted later are at highest risk for disease and potentially severe yield impacts because of how early the disease is developing. However, it is important to remember that it can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks for widespread and severe southern rust to develop if it is going to do so. For that reason, we recommend scouting fields, especially those at higher risk, such as later planted fields that are earlier in their maturity and have the greatest potential for yield loss.

Many people have noted the lack of activity on the southern corn rust monitoring website that historically was used to track observations of southern rust across the country. Federal funding for this website and its affiliated southern rust monitoring projects was eliminated and activity there by state pathologists has greatly declined during the last two years. The Nebraska section is being maintained; however, information for some states may not be current. Access reports from local university plant pathologists, diagnostic laboratories, and county Extension offices for the most recent information regarding southern rust distribution.

The characteristics used for differentiating common rust and southern rust are described and illustrated in the NebGuide, Rust Diseases of Corn in Nebraska. The simplest and most reliable way to differentiate the diseases without a microscope is to examine both leaf surfaces for spore production. Southern rust spore production is usually limited to the upper leaf surface and tends to be tan to orange. The most reliable method for identifying corn rust diseases is based on examination of microscopic spore characteristics. This can be done for samples submitted to the UNL Plant & Pest Diagnostic Clinic.

Gray Leaf Spot

Gray leaf spot fungal disease has begun to develop in some areas of the state during recent days. Look for gray to tan rectangular lesions that develop on lower leaves first. Gray leaf spot lesions don’t cross leaf veins, giving them smooth linear margins. If favorable conditions continue, lesions will grow larger, taking up more leaf area, and develop higher on the plant with greater potential for yield impact above the ear leaf.

Common Rust

Common rust has been developing across Nebraska for several weeks.  Common rust spores are usually brick-red to brown in color, however, the color difference is not a reliable method for identification when both are not available for comparison and because the spore type can change and turns black later in the season for both diseases. Common rust spores can be produced abundantly on both the upper and lower leaf surfaces. Common rust is usually not a substantial threat to plant health and corn yield, as many contemporary hybrids already have some resistance that slows spread of the disease.


Timely fungicide applications can be very effective at controlling rust and other fungal diseases in corn. It is important to remember that making applications too early might mean that the protection they provide may be worn off before substantial southern rust or gray leaf spot develops, leaving plants vulnerable to disease spread. Systemic fungicides can provide protection from disease spread for about 21 days, so application timing is important to make the best use of the protective and curative characteristics of the products. Applications made several weeks ago likely no longer provide protection from fungal foliar diseases. Pay close attention to the label restrictions on the most recent version of the product’s label as changes have been made for pre-harvest intervals and other use parameters.

A list of foliar fungicides labeled for use on corn in Nebraska and their characteristics are summarized in the 2015 Guide for Weed Management with Insecticides and Fungicides. Results from foliar fungicide trials conducted in Nebraska corn are available in CropWatch. These results were gathered from trials with natural infestations of gray leaf spot and sometimes mild southern rust.
Physoderma Brown Spot

Another disease that has begun to develop in Nebraska corn fields is Physoderma brown spot. This disease is normally not a concern, except in rare cases, such as on susceptible hybrids exposed to wet conditions. However, the yellow lesions on the leaf blade may be misleading for some people who mistakenly call it southern rust.

The pathogen causing Physoderma brown spot requires standing water on plant parts. Lesions can develop in a banding pattern across the leaves after they emerge through the plant’s whorl during alternating wet/dry periods. The pattern can appear across whole leaves or all the leaves of a plant. Lesions may develop in both the midrib and on the leaf blade with very different appearances. On the leaf blade, the small yellow/brown lesions may be alarming and appear similar to southern rust pustules, but lack the colored spores on the surface that can be wiped away. Lesions that develop in the midrib are often larger than those on the leaf blade and are usually black. The pathogen overwinters in infected corn residue from previous seasons. Management of Physoderma brown spot is rarely necessary.

Councell Elected New U.S. Grains Council Chairman

Chip Councell, a 10th generation farmer from Talbot County, Maryland, was elected as the new U.S. Grains Council (USGC) chairman during the organization’s 56th Annual Board of Delegates Meeting this week in Louisville, Kentucky.

Councell and his family produce corn, wheat and soybeans and operate a a farm stand selling local consumers a wide variety of produce including watermelons, sweet corn and pumpkins. Through work with USGC and the Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board, he has become a leading farm educator and conservationist.

“At this point in my life, my passions are my family, my farm and the U.S. Grains Council," Councell told USGC delegates shortly after his election. "Our programs are having a true impact around the world, and despite challenges facing the farm economy now, I am excited and optimistic about the future of our industry."

Councell told delegates the organization will continue to focus on its core market development mission for feed grains while building export markets for U.S. ethanol and communicating to customers about the work the U.S. grains industry does to produce reliable and high-quality crops.

"Our mission statement – developing markets, enabling trade and improving lives – is direct and to the point. Those six words guide us in every commodity, in every market, in every country around the world," he said. "Over the next year, we will expand on what we have done for 56 years – we will continue to develop markets and look for new opportunities for barley, sorghum, corn, DDGS, ethanol and beyond."

He takes the helm at the Council having served for two years as an officer of the organization and in community and farm organization leadership positions both locally and nationally. In 2010, the family was selected as Talbot County’s Soil Conservation District Cooperators of the Year for their conservation efforts and in 2014, Councell was selected for the Maryland Governor’s Agriculture Hall of Fame for his contributions to the local industry.

At the Louisville meeting, the Board of Delegates also elected other members of the Council’s 2016-2017 Board of Directors. That body now includes:
    Philip "Chip" Councell, Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board, chairman
    Deb Keller, Iowa Corn Promotion Board, vice chairman
    Jim Stitzlein, Consolidated Grains and Barge Company, secretary/treasurer
    Alan Tiemann, Nebraska Corn Board, past chairman
    Thomas Sleight, U.S. Grains Council, president and chief executive officer
    Darren Armstrong, Corn Growers Association of North Carolina, Inc., at-large board member
    Ray Defenbaugh, Big River Resources LLC, agribusiness sector/ethanol and co-products director
    Craig Floss, Iowa Corn Promotion Board, checkoff sector director
    Dick Gallagher, Iowa Corn Promotion Board, corn sector director

    Greg Hibner, Hawkeye Gold, LLC, a J.D. Heiskell Company, agribusiness sector director
    Charles Ray Huddleston, Texas Grain Sorghum Association, sorghum sector director
    James Raben, Illinois Corn Marketing Board, at-large director
    Charles Ring, Texas Corn Producers Board, at-large director
    Mark Seastrand, North Dakota Barley Council, barley sector director
    Jim Stuever, Missouri Corn Merchandising Council, at-large director

The new board was seated Wednesday and will serve until July 2017.

Educational Series to help Livestock Industry Prepare for Veterinary Feed Directive

 Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Iowa Farm Bureau, and the Iowa Veterinary Medical Association are partnering to offer an educational series about the Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD). Iowa State Extension beef specialist Chris Clark said Iowa veterinarians, livestock producers, and feed industry personnel are invited to participate.

“The program will include a general overview of the VFD, species break-outs and discussion panels featuring veterinarians, producers and feed industry personnel,” Clark said. “The implementation date of Jan. 1, 2017, is approaching and at this point people may have some specific questions or scenarios that they are unsure about. Hopefully we can help answer some questions and clarify some of those issues.”feedlot cattle

Iowa veterinarians, livestock producers and feed industry personnel are invited to attend any of the 11 locations. Each program features breakout and discussion sessions, with a primary objective of helping attendees learn about the roles and responsibilities of all involved parties.

“Implementation of the VFD will require cooperation and communication between veterinarians, producers and feed industry personnel,” Clark said. “It’s important that each party knows not only their own responsibilities but also what to expect from the other two parties. It may be really valuable to hear what others are thinking and planning in regard to implementation of the VFD.”

The series runs from Aug. 22 through Sept. 1 with specific times set for each location. There is no fee to attend, but preregistration is encouraged to assist organizers with planning. Please register by calling the number associated with the desired session.

    Monday, Aug. 22, 1 to 4 p.m. – First United Methodist Church, Emmetsburg; RSVP to the Palo Alto County Extension Office, 712-852-2865

    Tuesday, Aug. 23, 1 to 4 p.m. – ISU Extension meeting room, Orange City; RSVP to the Sioux County Extension Office, 712-737-4230

    Tuesday, Aug. 23, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. – ISU Extension meeting room, Storm Lake; RSVP to the Buena Vista County Extension Office, 712-732-5056

    Wednesday, Aug. 24, 1 to 4 p.m. – NE Iowa Dairy Center, Calmar; RSVP to the Benton County Extension Office, 319-472-4739

    Wednesday, Aug. 24, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. – Buzzy’s, Welton; RSVP to the Benton County Extension Office, 319-472-4739

    Thursday, Aug. 25, 9 a.m. to noon – Heartland Acres Agribition Center, Independence; RSVP to the Benton County Extension Office, 319-472-4739

    Monday, Aug. 29, 9 a.m. to noon – Swan Lake Conservation Center, Carroll; RSVP to the Carroll County Extension Office, 712-792-2364

    Monday, Aug. 29, 6 to 9 p.m. – Cass County Community Center, Atlantic; RSVP to the Cass County Extension Office, 712-243-1132

    Tuesday, Aug. 30, 1 to 4 p.m. – ISU Extension Office Hancock County, Garner; RSVP to the Hancock County Extension Office, 641-923-2856

    Wednesday, Aug. 31, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. – ISU Extension Office Washington County, Washington; RSVP to the Washington County Extension Office, 319-653-4811

    Thursday, Sept. 1, 1 to 4 p.m. – Carpenters Hall, Chariton; RSVP to the Lucas County Extension Office, 641-774-2016

For more general information, contact Clark at 712-250-0070 or email at You also can contact your regional Iowa State Extension livestock specialist.

New Soil Health Management Manual, Field Guide and Assessment Card Available

The Iowa Soil Health Management Manual, Iowa Soil Health Field Guide, and Iowa Soil Health Assessment Card were recently published to increase understanding of soil health concepts and awareness of best management practices to protect soil health. These three publications are a collaborative effort between Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and can now be ordered or downloaded for free at the Extension Store.

The manual, field guide and assessment card were developed as sources of information for farmers, agronomists and other agriculture professionals managing soils and to provide documentation of how different management practices affect soil.

“These publications introduce a concise and practical synthesis of soil health concepts and allow readers to link principles of soil health to actual management practices that build soil health,” said Mahdi Al-Kaisi, professor of agronomy and extension soil management specialist at Iowa State University.

The Iowa Soil Health Field Guide highlights the relationship between soil characteristics and provides information about soil health and its importance to sustainable agriculture systems. The Iowa Soil Health Management Manual provides information about soil functions and services that are essential for sustainable agriculture systems, and the Iowa Soil Health Assessment Card includes rating descriptions for each indicator presented on the score card that represents the worst and best soil conditions at the time of evaluation.

“These educational materials explain the concept of soil health, as well as promote soil health,” said Al-Kaisi. “The soil assessment card is easy to use in diagnosing soil health field indicators and potential solutions or recommendations to improve soil health.”

Print and electronic versions of the publications are now available online at the Extension Store. The publications are free of charge; a shipping and handling fee is required for the print versions. For questions regarding the publications or information about soil health, please contact Mahdi Al-Kaisi at 515-294-8304 or

NCGA Thanks President Obama for Signing National Biotech Disclosure into Law

The National Corn Growers Association praised President Barack Obama today for signing into law an important agreement that protects America's food supply from a harmful patchwork of state-level food labeling laws. The law will provide consumers with more information than ever before and ensure a transparent, national food labeling system.

"We are grateful to President Obama for swiftly signing into law a bill that is crucial for American farmers and consumers," said National Corn Growers Association President Chip Bowling.  "His signature brings consistency to the marketplace and prevents the negative ramifications of conflicting state and national food labeling standards."

America's corn farmers, along with other family farmers across the country, rely on agricultural biotechnology to meet the demand of an ever-growing global population, while reducing their impact on the environment. The bill passed today ensures that mandatory, on-pack labels do not place an unwarranted stigma on safe, proven technology.

NCGA, working with partners across the value chain, has pushed for a solution to this issue for more than two years now as a member of the Coalition for Safe Affordable Food.

"We are pleased to have been part of a coalition of more than 1,100 agricultural and food groups representing the entirety of our national food supply system, from farm to fork, in coming together to advocate for a bipartisan solution," Bowling added. "We look forward to continuing our work with the coalition to ensure that, as the law enters the rule making process at USDA, implementation remains in line with Congressional intent." 

Statement by Steve Nelson, President, Regarding President Signing GMO Labeling Law

“Biotechnology is a critical part of food production which has made it possible for farmers to reduce their environmental impact while continuing to produce safe and healthful crops for consumers domestically and around the world. President Obama’s signing of the GMO Labeling bill into law will help eliminate a state-by-state patchwork of unnecessary GMO labeling laws that would only drive up costs for consumers.”

ASA Applauds President for Signing GMO Compromise Bill into Law

Today President Barack Obama signed the landmark GMO labeling compromise bill into law. American Soybean Association President Richard Wilkins, a soybean farmer from Greenwood, Del. applauded the President with the following statement:

“The American Soybean Association congratulates and thanks President Obama for today signing into law the bipartisan GMO compromise bill. This law will provide stability in the marketplace for both producers and consumers, while avoiding a messy patchwork of state laws. We are happy to put this fight behind us, and continue to provide safe, affordable food for the American people, just as we have for generations.”

DFA Statement - President Barack Obama Signs Federal GMO Labeling Legislation

John Wilson, Senior Vice President and Chief Fluid Marketing Officer

“Today marks a significant victory for agriculture producers as well as consumers with President Barack Obama signing into law a federal framework for the labeling of genetically modified (GM) foods.

This bill provides one uniform, national standard for the labeling of GM foods so every consumer in the United States, not just Vermont, can have easy access to information about the food they purchase.

We support the sound science behind GMs and the increased productivity and sustainability they have afforded the nation and the world. This bill allows consumers the choice and opportunity to have a greater understanding about the food our nation’s farmers provide.

We would like to thank the president, the House of Representatives and the champions of the legislation, specifically Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas and Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, for their leadership in this effort.”


The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), which represents about 20,000 dock workers at 29 West Coast ports, will meet Aug. 10-12 in San Francisco to decide whether to begin talks now on an extension of its contract with the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA), which represents port facilities owners. The PMA and ILWU signed a five-year contract in early 2015 – retroactive to July 1, 2014 – after protracted labor talks and a nearly four-month work slowdown that negatively affected U.S. exporters. The U.S. meat and poultry sectors lost an estimated $40 million a week during the slowdown.

Over 110 trade associations in March sent a letter to the ILWU and the PMA, urging them to begin early discussions on a contract extension or a new contract. The groups, representing manufacturers, farmers and agribusinesses, wholesalers, retailers, importers, exporters, distributors, transportation and logistics providers and other supply chain stakeholders, also suggested the two sides develop a new model, including early and continuous dialogue between the parties, for future negotiations and called on the union and the port association “to avoid actions that would slow, stop, or disrupt cargo movement during negotiations.”

The International Longshoremen’s Association, representing East Coast and Gulf Coast dock workers already has begun talks on an extension of its current contract, which expires in September 2018.

Premier Ag Sector Investment Banker to Headline Export Exchange 2016

The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) are pleased to announce that Christopher W. Nolan Sr., managing director and co-head of food, beverage and agribusiness coverage at PricewaterhouseCoopers Corporate Finance LLC, will be the keynote speaker for Export Exchange 2016, scheduled for Oct. 24 to 26 in Detroit.

Nolan’s experience in providing advisory services to the world’s leading ag commodities trading companies gives him a unique outlook on the international grains market, which he will discuss during his presentation entitled Global Megatrends Affecting Agribusiness.

Held every other year by USGC and RFA, Export Exchange brings together international buyers and U.S. sellers of distiller's dried grains with solubles (DDGS), as well as other feed grain products. The 2016 event is expected to attract nearly 500 attendees, including 200 from 30 countries participating as part of USGC trade teams.

"I am honored to be the keynote speaker at Export Exchange,” Nolan said. "The international grains market is always expanding, and I look forward to sharing my views on the trends and future for this booming industry.”

Prior to joining PwC CF, Nolan was a mergers and acquisitions specialist for 23 years. His background includes numerous domestic and cross-border transactions in the food, beverage, agriculture, industrial, building products, chemicals and pharmaceuticals sectors.

His current focus has enabled him to complete numerous advisory assignments in food, beverage and agribusiness, including transactions related to ag equipment, animal feed, dairy and dairy ingredients, and milling.

"We are pleased that Mr. Nolan will address the Export Exchange as its keynote speaker,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “As a veteran investment banker with more than 20 years of mergers and acquisitions experience and a current focus in the ag sector, he can provide a bird’s-eye view of the global grains market.”

"We are thrilled to have Christopher Nolan joining us to provide the broad perspective our customers at Export Exchange are looking for as they learn about the advantages of U.S. grain products," said Tom Sleight, USGC president and chief executive officer. "Agriculture is the most global of all sectors, and it's critical both our customers and those serving them in the U.S. grains industry have a high-level view of the factors affecting their businesses in the years to come."

Other confirmed speakers include:

-    Nancy DeVore, president of DHF Team, who will speak on the global grains outlook;
-    Dr. Jerry Shurson, professor of swine nutrition at the University of Minnesota, who will speak on DDGS nutrition;
-    Kyle Tapley, senior agricultural meteorologist at Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s Information Systems, who will discuss weather trends and the global grain market; and
-    Paul Hishmeh, director of data and technology at Field to Market, who will present on big data and sustainability.

More information about ExEx 2016, including registration details, is available at or on social media using the hashtag #ExEx16.

Caterpillar Planning More Layoffs

Another dismal earnings report by Caterpillar Inc. will lead to more layoffs by the heavy equipment maker. The company said in a statement that it will be restructuring in light of global uncertainty and political turmoil overseas.

Exact details about where the job cuts will happen were not released, but Caterpillar had 100,000 full-time workers on its payroll at the end of the second quarter. That was down from 111,200 a year earlier. The company employs about 800 in the Milwaukee area alone.

Caterpillar reported this week that its second-quarter net income dropped to $550 million, compared with $802 million in mid-2015.

In February, Caterpillar said it was cutting 700 jobs and closing five manufacturing plants across the country in 2016.

Mid-Year BASF Sales, Earnings Down

In the second quarter of 2016, BASF saw a slight improvement in the macroeconomic environment. The increase in oil price and pickup in demand since the end of March underline this development.

"We experienced robust demand, especially from the automotive and construction industries. However, the macroeconomic situation remains difficult to predict," said Dr. Kurt Bock, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF SE.

Sales of BASF Group decreased by 24% in the second quarter to €14.5 billion compared with the same period of 2015. Two-thirds of this decline were the result of portfolio effects (minus 16%). These were mainly due to the divestiture of the gas trading and storage business as part of the asset swap with Gazprom at the end of September 2015.

In addition, lower raw material prices, especially in the Chemicals segment, led to a drop in sales prices (minus 7%).

Except for Agricultural Solutions, all segments contributed to the slight increase in sales volumes. In the chemicals business, which comprises the Chemicals, Performance Products and Functional Materials & Solutions segments, volumes rose 4%. There were negative currency effects in all divisions (minus 3%).

In the second quarter, income from operations (EBIT) before special items declined by €336 million to €1.7 billion compared with the strong prior-year quarter. Significantly higher earnings in the chemicals business could not compensate for substantially lower contributions from the Oil & Gas segment. Compared with the previous second quarter, EBIT was down by €321 million to €1.7 billion.

In a market environment that remains difficult, second quarter sales in the Agricultural Solutions segment declined by 13% to €1.5 billion compared to the same quarter of the previous year. Lower volumes and negative currency effects were the key factors for this development. Prices rose slightly. EBIT before special items fell by €45 million to €320 million, owing primarily to lower sales volumes. In the first half, sales declined by 9% to €3.2 billion. EBIT before special items decreased by €28 million to €911 million.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Thursday July 28 Ag News

Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               It’s almost August and fall is just around the corner.  Could you use some extra pasture or hay in late September and October?  Oats might be your answer.

               Oats may be one of our most under-used fall forages.  That's right.  Plain old dull oats.  It grows fast, thrives under cool fall conditions, has good feed value, and can produce over 2 tons of hay or pasture yet this year.  Plus, it dies out over winter, so it protects soil without causing planting problems next spring.

               To plant oats, drill about 3 bushels of oats per acre in early August for maximum yield potential.  A fully prepared seedbed usually is best, but you can plant oats directly into wheat stubble or other crop residues if weeds are killed ahead of planting.  Even flying oats onto corn fields severely damaged by weather or to be chopped early for silage can work, although rye tends to work better for flying on seed.  Avoid fields with herbicide carryover, and topdress 40 pounds of nitrogen per acre unless the previous crop was heavily fertilized.

               With good moisture, oats will be ready to graze about 6 to 8 weeks after emergence.   Calves and yearlings can gain over two pounds per day.  But be careful to avoid grass tetany on lush oat pasture; ask your veterinarian if you should supplement with magnesium.  Also, don't suddenly turn livestock out on oat pasture if they have been grazing short or dry pastures.  Sudden respiratory problems can occur.

               For hay, cut oats soon after plants begin to dry out following a killing freeze, or cut earlier if plants reach a desirable growth stage.  Oats can accumulate nitrates, so test hay before feeding.

               If you have good soil moisture, give fall oats a try.  Some of your best forage growth may still be ahead of you.


              August plantings of alfalfa work great, especially when you have moisture.  But few things are more frustrating or costly than having nice, new alfalfa seedlings eaten up by grasshoppers.

               So do something about it.  Begin by scouting for grasshoppers.  If you find more than 2 or 3 grasshoppers per square yard out in the field to be planted or more than 10 grasshoppers per square yard in field margins, treatment with insecticides probably will be beneficial.

               Treat field margins before new alfalfa seedlings begin to emerge to head off potential invasions.  If many grasshoppers are getting large, use the highest rate allowed on the label.          

               Also be sure to carefully read and follow all label directions.  For example, you might want to treat both the field and field margins.  However, while many pyrethroid insecticides like Baythroid, Declare, Renounce, Tombstone, Warrior, and Mustang as well as Lorsban, Imidan, Nufos, and Paradigm are labeled for controlling grasshoppers in alfalfa, some are not labeled for use on the field margin.  Be sure to check before spraying.

               Whenever using any insecticides, please be especially careful to avoid injuring bee and other important pollinating insects.  Some precautions you can take to protect bees include time of day when spraying, using less toxic insecticides, and avoiding areas with blooming plants.

               This could be a really good time to start a new alfalfa field.  Protect that investment with proper grasshopper control.

Current National Drought Summary

Despite heat and high humidity levels, parts of the Midwest received significant rain. Specifically, showers and thunderstorms produced at least 2 to 4 inches of rain in parts of the upper Mississippi Valley and environs. However, rain mostly bypassed some Midwestern locations, including the lower Great Lakes region. Outside of the Midwest, showers were generally light and scattered, although spotty rainfall provided local relief from hot weather in the Four Corners States and the lower Southeast. Late in the drought-monitoring period, coverage and intensity of shower activity increased in the Gulf Coast region as a weak disturbance over the Gulf Mexico moved inland and helped to focus rainfall. Most of the remainder of the country experienced hot, mostly dry conditions, leading to an expansion of short-term drought in the south-central U.S. and contributing to an increase in wildfire activity in parts of the West. Temperatures above 100°F were commonly observed early in the period on the Plains, but Midwestern temperatures above 95°F were limited to the southwestern fringe of the major corn and soybean production areas. Late in the period, heat replaced previously cool conditions in the Northwest, while temperatures fell to near- or below-normal levels in much of the Plains and Midwest.

Looking Ahead

During the next few days, an active weather pattern will feature the interaction between a disturbance in the Southeast and cold fronts crossing the Plains and Midwest. As a result, 5-day rainfall totals could reach 2 to 4 inches or more from the Mississippi Delta into the Mid-Atlantic States. Surrounding areas, including the northern and central Plains and the Midwest, could see 1- to 2-inch totals in a few spots. In the West, showers will be heaviest across Arizona and New Mexico, with most other areas remaining hot and dry. Elsewhere, lingering heat will be mostly confined to the lower Southeast, although hot weather will build eastward and return to the High Plains during the weekend.

The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for August 2 – 6 calls for the likelihood of above-normal temperatures across the eastern half of the U.S., while cooler-than-normal conditions can be expected in parts of the Northwest and Southwest. Meanwhile, odds will be tilted toward above-normal rainfall in much of the Southeast, Southwest, and the upper Great Lakes region, while drier-than-normal weather should occur in the Northeast, Northwest, and south-central U.S.

Production Area Doesn't Affect Soy Phosphorus Digestibility in Pigs

Research at the University of Illinois is helping to determine the effect of growing conditions on the nutritional value of soybean meal. "The digestibility of phosphorus is the same in soybean meal grown in various regions in the United States," says Hans Stein, professor of animal sciences at Illinois.

"The chemical composition of soybean meal is somewhat dependent on the area in which soybeans are grown, but it was not known if there are differences in the concentration of phytate among soybeans grown in different areas," Stein says. He and Kelly Sotak-Peper, then a doctoral candidate, set out to determine whether any differences existed.

They sourced soybean meal from crushing plants in three different areas within the United States: the northern growing area (comprising Michigan, Minnesota, and South Dakota), eastern growing area (Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio), and western growing area (Iowa, Missouri, and Nebraska).

They measured no statistically significant differences in concentrations of phosphorus, or in the percentage of phosphorus bound to phytate, among soybean meal from the different regions. There were also no differences in apparent total tract digestibility (ATTD) or standardized total tract digestibility (STTD) among pigs fed soybean meal from the three growing areas.

When microbial phytase was added to the diets to break down phytate, the ATTD and STTD of phosphorus for soybean meal from all growing areas increased by 24 and 22 percent, respectively.

"When you have ingredients that come from a wide variety of growing conditions, there's a risk that using book values for nutritional information will not give you accurate information for a given batch," says Stein. "What these data indicate is that an average value for ATTD and STTD of phosphorus may be used regardless of the area in which the soybeans are grown."

The research was supported by funding from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Soybean meal was donated by AG Processing Inc., Omaha, Neb.; Archer Daniels Midland Company, Decatur, Ill; Bunge North America, St. Louis, Mo.; and Cargill Inc., Elk River, Minn.

The paper, "Effects of production area and microbial phytase on the apparent and standardized total tract digestibility of phosphorus in soybean meal fed to growing pigs," was published in the June 2016 issue of the Journal of Animal Science. The full text can be found at

ASA Attends Risk Management Agency’s ‘State of Crop Insurance’ Roundtable

Risk Management Agency (RMA) Administrator Brandon Willis hosted a discussion about current crop insurance issues with the American Soybean Association (ASA) and other farm and lending groups last week.

Soybeans remain the second-ranked insured commodity, with 2015 liability of $24.3 billion. Corn is ranked first with almost $40 billion of total liability; wheat is a distant third with $8.4 billion. Cotton, almonds, rice, nursery, grapes, orange trees and apples round out the top 10.

Organic and specialty crop participation are growing rapidly; whole farm revenue protection now has policies in 42 states, with 50 percent of that liability in Washington, Idaho and Oregon.

The new Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO) gained little market share in soybeans, with liability of only $17 million. The yield exclusion (YE) option created in the 2014 farm bill likewise saw little interest, with only 5 percent of insured soybean acres buying the yield exclusion option. The largest percent of participation for YE has been for prunes, with 39 percent of insured acres.

Willis explained that the 20-year average loss ratio for the crop insurance program is 0.87, well below the 1.00 loss ratio mandated by law.

Willis also discussed changes to double-cropping procedures, which have been important to soybean farmers in a number of areas. Changes to double cropping rules will allow eligible double cropping acres to be based on either the greatest number of acres double cropped in two of the past four crop years, or the percentage of acres historically double cropped in two of the past four crop years in which the first insured crop was planted.

ASA supported these changes in December 2015 comments to RMA.

Mild winter prompts Syngenta to warn of early stinkbug threat to soybeans

With the record warm temperatures this past winter and confirmations from early entomologist reports, Syngenta encourages growers to monitor stinkbug populations as they actively threaten soybean yields from the South to the Midwest and beyond.

The NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information reported this past December to be the warmest on record in the contiguous United States. Although the warm weather El NiƱo brought this winter could provide some benefits to crop yields, it could also allow for an early onset of active insects.

Ames Herbert, extension entomologist at Virginia Tech, predicts the mild weather will result in higher-than-normal stinkbug infestations in field corn, cotton and soybean this season. Herbert identified the brown marmorated stinkbugs in small grain fields in North Carolina as early as May.

In southern Louisiana, redbanded stinkbugs threaten R2-R3 soybeans, reports David Kerns, extension entomologist at Louisiana State University, via the Syngenta Pest Patrol Hotline. He advises growers in the northern part of the state to prepare for treatment accordingly.

”With the mild winter we had it looks like redbanded has found its way back into the state” said Gus Lorenz, extension entomologist at the University of Arkansas. “I don’t want you to forget about the fact that these things are a little bit worse than our regular stinkbugs. They are a little harder to kill, they bounce back a lot quicker, they eat more and cause more damage in a shorter amount of time.” He reminds growers that the threshold for redbanded stinkbugs has been dropped from 9 per 25 sweeps to 5 per 25 sweeps.

While some stinkbug species might emerge sooner, the green stinkbug tends to become visible in the Midwest in July, according to University of Nebraska Extension. In states farther south, North Carolina Cooperative Extension predicts stinkbugs to reach peak populations in late August through early October, primarily in mid-September, which will affect late-stage soybeans.

Purdue University Extension explains that stinkbugs cause severe injury to soybeans by puncturing pods and sucking fluid from the developing bean, causing pods to form hardened, knotty spots of poor quality, or to drop from plants altogether.

“If growers aren’t keeping up with the latest pest updates, they could certainly be caught off guard if stinkbugs become aggressive this season,” said John Koenig, insecticide technical product lead at Syngenta. “Being proactive in preparing for stinkbugs and other pests is crucial to preventing yields from suffering.”

For protection against stinkbugs, Syngenta offers Endigo ZC insecticide, which effectively prevents yield loss from damaging insects. It provides fast knockdown and extended residual control through three industry-leading technologies, including a proprietary Zeon® concentrate formulation. It also serves as an excellent rotational product in an integrated pest management program and has excellent tank-mix compatibility.

Bunge Sees Farmers' Bin-Building Slowing

Though crop prices remain under pressure, grain trading giant Bunge (BG) doesn't see much more leeway for U.S. farmers to store away crops rather than sell them on the cheap, says CEO Soren Schroder during the 2Q conference call. "My impression is that increases in storage capacity have peaked." Towering steel bins have increasingly dotted the US farm belt, allowing farmers to hold back grain in hopes of better prices to come. Schroder says that with another likely combined record corn-and-soybean crop to come this year, US farmers ought to sell crops at a more-normal rate. BG's 2Q net income jumped 41% thanks to strong grain-trading performance. Shares, inactive premarket, are down 1.6% this week.

Meat Boom Seen Boosting Soybean Crushers

Bunge, among the world's largest soybean processors, expects to ride a wave of meat in years to come as packers boost production of chicken, hogs and cattle in the US and elsewhere, Schroder says. Soybean meal is a chief product made from the oilseeds and a key livestock ingredient. Meat-sector expansion is "at the core of our belief that we can grow earnings in a structural way," he notes. "That should be a story that is reasonably predictable for the next couple of years." In China, where soybean-processing capacity has outpaced demand lately, Schroder says the process will take a bit longer.

Cover Crop Survey Reflects Enthusiasm for the Soil-Saving Practice

Insight from 2,020 farmers from across the country reflected enthusiasm for cover crops and—for the fourth year in a row—found a yield boost in corn and soybeans following cover crops. Multi-year data from the survey shows the yield boost increases as cover crops are planted year after year, a revelation that points to an appealing long-term benefit of the conservation practice. The survey offers data unavailable elsewhere, providing a vital glimpse into farmers’ use of and perceptions about cover crops: Previous SARE/CTIC Cover Crop Surveys have been used by researchers and farm groups, and even cited in Congressional testimony.

The survey was conducted in March 2016 by the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program and the Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC) with help from the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) and Purdue University. The full report is available online at

Acreage planted to cover crops continued its steady rise among survey participants, reaching an average of 298 acres per farm in 2015 and projected to grow to a mean of 339 acres in 2016. Those figures are more than double the acreage survey participants said they planted in 2011.

Yield Benefits

Corn yields rose an average 3.4 bushels per acre, or 1.9 percent, after cover crops, and soybean yields increased 1.5 bushels per acre, or 2.8 percent. Analysis of the survey data revealed that yield increases rose to 8.3 bushels per acre of corn after cover crops had been used for more than four years on a field. In soybeans, the average yield gain increased from 0.1 bushel per acre after a single year in cover crops to 2.4 bushels after four years of cover crops.

The modest average gains reported for 2015 are in line with agronomists’ expectations for a good growing season, says Rob Myers, Regional Director, Extension Programs for SARE at the University of Missouri.

“Cover crops really shine in challenging years, when the improvements they influence on soil moisture holding capacity and water infiltration can minimize cash crop yield losses to stress,” Myers notes. “In a favorable growing season, we expect to see less of a yield impact. However, the link between the length of time in cover crops and yield improvements points to the long-term benefits of building soil health.

“It’s also important to note that two-thirds of this year’s survey respondents agreed that cover crops reduced yield variability during extreme weather events,” he adds. “These farmers are taking the long view and recognizing that not every season turns out like 2015.”

Myers added that a mild surprise in this year’s survey was how many farmers reported a profit benefit from cover crops. Of the farmers surveyed, 33% found their profit improved as a result of using a cover crop, while only 5.7% said their profit decreased; remaining responses were split between those reporting no change in profit and those not yet having enough data/experience to evaluate profit impact.

More Than Money

“The vast majority of cover crop users report the most important benefits of cover crops to be improved overall soil health, reduced erosion and increased soil organic matter,” says Chad Watts, executive director of CTIC. “Though the yield benefits, profitability and resilience provided by cover crops are widely recognized by the farmers in the survey, the benefits they highlight most are long-term soil health impacts.”

Other highlights of the survey include:

-   Cereal rye was the top species of cover crop planted by survey respondents, planted by 82% of the group and covering 187,044 acres among the participating farmers.

-   A majority of respondents—52%—reported that their soybean yields always or often rise after a cover crop of cereal rye; less than 4 percent said their yields sometimes or always decreased after rye.

-   Cereal rye cover crops also proved helpful in other ways, with 82% of farmers reporting that the rye helped with weed management—including 26% who found it also helped with tough herbicide-resistant weeds.

-   Crimson clover was the most widely planted legume cover crop, while oilseed radish is the most common Brassica (mustard-type) cover crop species.

-   Farmers were asked what would help motivate other farmers to adopt cover crops or increase their use; the top-ranked response was tax credits, followed by getting a discount on their annual crop insurance premium payment.

-   Cover crop mixes are gaining popularity. In all, blends of species were planted on nearly as many acres as cereal rye among survey respondents. Most—61%—said they designed their own blends, while 22% rely on advice from their cover crop seed salesperson or crop consultant for advice on mixing species.

“This year’s cover crop survey brought more insight and new questions to the four-year survey effort,” says Andrew LaVigne, president and CEO of ASTA. “Understanding the opinions, influences and practices such as what cover crop users find important when they purchase seed will be extremely informative for crop advisors, seed companies, policymakers, agricultural retailers and other people interested in increasing the adoption and success of cover crops.” Relaunched with Improved Functionality and New Online Seed Guide

DuPont Pioneer has launched a new and improved website offering growers new tools to learn about the wide variety of products available to help maximize yield and with an improved ability to manage their accounts. The site has been updated for ease of use on any device, whether in the office or in the field.
“The addition of a new, easy-to-use online seed guide gives growers the ability to create custom lists of products based on relevant product details such as crop maturities, key technology traits and agronomic scores by geography,” said Drew Porter, director, U.S. & Canada product marketing, DuPont Pioneer. “These new mobile tools, along with support from the local DuPont Pioneer teams, are helping growers choose the best high-performing products to manage their farms profitability and efficiently, season after season.”

The interactive seed guide gives growers all the tools they need to choose products that perform well in their local area. Growers need only enter their postal zip code to find valuable information about every Pioneer® brand product. Information is detailed, local and customizable for each grower to help them evaluate the right mix of products for their operational goals.

Growers can log in and manage their accounts at the touch of a button. The secure site continues to give them access to programs like TruChoice® Financing deferred payment program, and allows growers to sign up for local information through tools like Walking Your Fields®, an electronic newsletter. Materials throughout the site have been reorganized to make them easier for growers to find throughout the year. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Wednesday July 27 Ag News

Three Public Hearings Scheduled at the Upper Big Blue NRD
The Upper Big Blue NRD Board of Directors have scheduled three upcoming Public Hearings.  The first two Public Hearings are the FY2017 Budget and the District Rule 8: Erosion & Sediment Control revisions scheduled for Thursday, August 18, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.  A Special Public Hearing for the FY2017 Tax Request is scheduled Thursday, September 15, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.

All three of these Public Hearings will be conducted at the Upper Big Blue Natural Resources District office building located at 319 East 25th Street, York, Nebraska.  The proposed budget and tax request for FY2017 continues to include safety measures for protecting District citizens and enhancing the delivery of quality services.  The Rule 8 revisions are reformatted to remain consistent with changes in statute passed by the Nebraska Legislature.  The public is welcome and encouraged to attend these Public Hearings.

Trade Visit to Demonstrate U.S. Wheat Competitive Advantages to Venezuelan Millers

Quality control and purchasing managers from three Venezuelan flour mills will visit North Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Ohio July 31 to Aug. 6, 2016, to learn more about the value of working with the U.S. wheat supply chain. With funding from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) is sponsoring this trade team in cooperation with the North Dakota Wheat Commission, Nebraska Wheat Board, Kansas Wheat Commission and Ohio Small Grains Marketing Program.

Chad Weigand, USW Assistant Regional Director for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, said U.S. wheat exports to Venezuela are not as strong as they once were, in part because increased government intervention and limited access to U.S. dollars have forced millers there to make cost a primary buying decision.

Venezuela imports durum, high protein spring wheat and soft red winter wheat. However, current market conditions there have given Mexican durum a competitive advantage. Canadian western red spring wheat has only recently come up in price to near parity with U.S. hard red spring (HRS) wheat, but the high U.S. dollar value continues to favor Canadian origin export prices. For the vibrant cookie and snack market in Venezuela, soft red winter grown in eastern Canada continues to compete with U.S. soft red winter (SRW). 

Participants on this team represent some of the largest mills in Venezuela, but they do not have significant knowledge of U.S. wheat quality, its marketing system or federal inspection services.

“With key decision makers like these, we have to demonstrate why performance and value is worth more, but it is very difficult for our staff to conduct activities in Venezuela,” said Weigand. “By coordinating with our state wheat commissions, however, we can bring these customers to the United States to see our production and export system at work. That first-hand experience will help increase their confidence in U.S. wheat.”

Weigand, who is based in USW’s regional office in Mexico City, is leading the team, which includes Jenny Villasuso, Purchasing Manager for MONACA, the second largest milling group in Venezuela. Laura Paz is Purchasing and Quality Manager for Pastas Capri in Caracas, one of Venezuela’s largest pasta producers. Violeta Rosales is Purchasing Manager for Molinos Hidalgo, which operates a mill in Catia La Mar.

USW is the industry’s market development organization working in more than 100 countries. Its mission is to “develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance the profitability of U.S. wheat producers and their customers.” USW activities are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 19 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. USW maintains 17 offices strategically located around the world to help wheat buyers, millers, bakers, wheat food processors and government officials understand the quality, value and reliability of all six classes of U.S. wheat.


Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today reminded Iowa farmers that funds are available to help install practices focused on protecting water quality.  Practices eligible for this funding are cover crops, no-till or strip till, or using a nitrification inhibitor when applying fertilizer.

The cost share rate for first-time users of cover crops is $25 per acre, no-till or strip till are eligible for $10 per acre and farmers using a nitrapyrin nitrification inhibitor when applying fall fertilizer can receive $3 per acre. Farmers are eligible for cost share on up to 160 acres.

First-time users that apply by August 1 will be the first applications funded.  First-time users that apply after August 1 will still receive priority consideration, but funds will also be made available to farmers that have used cover crops in the past for cost share assistance at $15 per acre.

“We already have $1.6 million in applications from more than 700 farmers interested in trying a new practice on their farm to better protect water quality. However, we do have some funds available, both for first time users and those interested in trying cover crops again. I hope interested farmers will contact their local Soil and Water Conservation District soon to learn more about the assistance that is available,” Northey said.

Farmers are also encouraged to visit their local Soil and Water Conservation District office to inquire about additional opportunities for cost share funding through other programs offered at their local SWCDs.

The cost share assistance was announced on May 11.  Since then, the Governor has signed into law $9.6 million to support the Iowa Water Quality Initiative.

In the last 3 years this statewide program has been available, over 2,900 farmers in each of Iowa’s 99 counties have put in nutrient reduction practices on over 294,000 acres.  The state provided about $6.2 million in cost share funding to help farmers try a water quality practice and Iowa farmers provided more than $6.2 million of their own resources to support these water quality practices.


Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today encouraged Iowans interested in protecting our state’s soil and water resources to consider running to serve as a Soil and Water Conservation District Commissioner.  Anyone interested in becoming a commissioner should contact their local Soil and Water Conservation District.  Nomination papers must be filed by August 31, 2016.

“Each of Iowa's 100 Soil and Water Conservation Districts are managed by five volunteer commissioners who help their community meet their conservation priorities,” Northey said.  “Commissioners help oversee the distribution of federal, state and local conservation aid in their community.”

Each of the 100 Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) in Iowa (one in each county and two in Pottawattamie) is composed of five commissioners and are the local legal subdivisions of state government responsible under state law for soil and water conservation work within their boundaries. Candidates are elected locally on a nonpartisan ballot during the general election.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provide assistance to the commissioners as they seek to address the natural resource issues that are most critical in their districts.

The Conservation Districts of Iowa has more information about being a Soil and Water Conservation District Commissioner available at

Fertilizer Prices Remain Slightly Lower

As the growing season marches on, retail fertilizer prices continue to decline slowly, according to retailers tracked by DTN for the third week of July 2016.

All eight of the major fertilizers were lower in price compared to the previous month, but, as been the case in recent weeks, none were down an amount of any significance. DAP had an average price of $464/ton, MAP $493/ton, potash $357/ton and urea at $357/ton. 10-34-0 was at $546/ton, anhydrous $546/ton, UAN28 $260/ton and $304/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.39/lb.N, anhydrous $0.33/lb.N, UAN28 $0.46/lb.N and UAN32 $0.48/lb.N.

Retail fertilizers are lower compared to a year earlier. All fertilizers are now double digits lower.

Both UAN32 and 10-34-0 are 14% lower, MAP is 17% less expensive and DAP is 18% lower. UAN28 is 20% lower, Anhydrous is 21% less expensive, urea is 24% lower and potash is 27% less expensive compared to last year.

DYK Beef Checkoff Audio Shorts - Foreign Marketing

Did you know ... at a recent checkoff-funded supermarket promotion in Lebanon – themed “U.S. Beef Takes Care of Your Health” – chefs grilled U.S. beef for shoppers and distributed an educational leaflet — Eat Right with U.S. Beef? In the Middle East, retail growth continues at a rapid pace and, due to a remarkable change in shopping habits, consumers increasingly seek the convenience, ambience, and wider variety of products offered in modern grocery stores. To ensure an increasing presence for U.S. beef in the region, the beef checkoff supports regular in-store promotions aimed at consistent, year-round sales of U.S. beef, using cooking demonstrations and tastings to showcase underutilized cuts and processed products.

Did you know ... hotels and restaurants in the former Soviet republic, Azerbaijan, are promising markets for alternative U.S. beef cuts? Given that, beef-checkoff export promotions have shifted focus from Russia to other markets in the region. Traditionally high levels of beef consumption improve opportunities for developing sales of high-quality U.S. beef, including offal. Earlier this year, the checkoff funded a workshop for chefs in Baku designed to create demand for a greater variety of U.S. beef cuts and grades and to expand the number of foodservice outlets selling U.S. beef and veal.

Did you know ... a key beef-promotion strategy in Taiwan is to educate restaurants and chefs about U.S. beef production, safety, and versatility? Increased demand in other Asian markets for Asia-specific U.S. cuts, such as chuck flap, top blade and boneless chuck short ribs, is driving family style restaurants to seek alternative high-quality beef products at a competitive price. With this in mind, the checkoff helped fund a “New Cuts and Creative Cuisine Seminar” for chefs, cooking instructors and other key restaurant staff in Taiwan, designed to highlight new dish ideas and reinforce the high U.S. beef-safety standards to Taiwan’s new generation of menu planners and buyers.

Did you know ... the checkoff helped fund spring retail promotions, featuring U.S. beef striploin, ribeye and chuck, recipe cards and educational materials in Oman – one of the most promising retail sectors for U.S. beef in the world? The Middle East imports a large share of its food to meet growing demand for premium items, including high-quality beef muscle cuts. The region’s large youth population is driving many of the trends in the food and beverage industry, with social media helping shape attitudes. This in-store U.S. beef promotion introduced shoppers to a variety of U.S. beef cuts and encouraged local distributors to overcome their hesitancy to promote U.S. beef muscle cuts with retailers by providing the marketing and merchandising knowledge to help them penetrate this sector effectively.

To learn more about your beef checkoff investment, visit

EIA: Ethanol Stocks Down

The Energy Information Administration released data Wednesday showing ethanol inventories and domestic production fell while blender inputs increased slightly last week.

The data showed total inventories were drawn down 800,000 bbl or 3.6% to 20.4 million bbl for the week-ended July 22, with a year-over-year surplus reduced to 800,000 bbl or 4.1%.

Regionally, PADD 1 East Coast supplies fell by 100,000 bbl to 7.4 million bbl while PADD 2 Midwest supplies rose 100,000 bbl to 6.5 million bbl. PADD 3 Gulf Coast supplies fell 700,000 bbl to 3.7 million bbl while inventories in PADD 4 Rocky Mountain and PADD 5 West Coast were unchanged.

Plant production decreased 31,000 bpd or 3.0% to 998,000 bpd while up 27,000 bpd or 2.8% year-over-year.

Net refinery and blender inputs increased 2,000 bpd to 936,000 bpd during the week-ended July 22, while up 41,000 bpd or 4.6% year-over-year.

Japan Wants to Approve TPP, Despite U.S. Political Opposition

While the Republican Party and many Democrats may have cooled on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Japan is forging ahead on the 12-country Asia-Pacific agreement. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who's Liberal Democratic Party recently secured a majority in the upper house of Japan's legislature, is working to get the Diet to ratify the TPP this fall. Japan is not interested in re-working the deal.

"Renegotiation is impossible because there is a delicate balance," Atsuyuki Oike, deputy chief of mission at Japan's U.S. embassy, recently told reporters at a National Foreign Trade Council briefing on the agreement.

The TPP, negotiations on which were initiated in late 2008 and concluded last October, is a regional trade deal that includes the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, which account for nearly 40 percent of global GDP.

Fed Keeps Key Interest Rate Steady

(AP) -- The Federal Reserve is keeping interest rates unchanged while noting that near-term risks to the economy have diminished.

The Fed said Wednesday that the U.S. job market has rebounded, with strong job gains in June after a slump in May. But it said in a statement after its latest policy meeting that it still plans to monitor global economic threats and financial developments to ensure that they don't slow the economy.

The central bank gave no hint of when it might resume the rate hikes it began in December, when it raised its benchmark rate from a record low.

Some economists think a hike is possible in September, if hiring remains solid and the turbulence that followed Britain's vote to leave the European Union continues to stabilize.

The decision to leave its key rate unchanged in a range of 0.25 percent to 0.5 percent was approved on a 9-1 vote. Esther George, the president of the Fed's Kansas City regional bank, dissented for the third time this year, arguing for an immediate quarter-point rate hike.

The more positive tone in this statement, compared with the previous statement in April, will likely raise expectations that the central bank could be ready to boost rates at it September meeting if the economy keeps improving.

"Near-term risks to the economic outlook have diminished," the Fed said.

But it repeated a previous pledge to "continue to closely monitor inflation indicators and global economic and financial developments."

A few months ago, it was widely assumed that the Fed would have resumed raising rates by now. But that was before the U.S. government issued the bleak May jobs report and Britain's vote last month to quit the EU triggered a brief investor panic. Since then, though, a resurgent U.S. economy, the bounce-back in hiring and record highs for stocks have led many economists to predict a Fed move by December if not sooner.

CNH Industrial Reports Lower Sales, Net Income

CNH Industrial N.V. announced consolidated revenues of $6,753 million for the second quarter 2016, down 2.9% compared to the second quarter 2015. Net sales of Industrial Activities were $6,450 million in Q2 2016, down 2.8% compared to the same period in 2015.

Reported net income was $129 million in the second quarter, which includes an additional non-tax deductible charge of $49 million following finalization of the European Commission settlement on the truck competition investigation. Adjusted net income was $216 million for the quarter.

Agricultural equipment's net sales decreased 7.5% for the second quarter 2016 compared to the same period in 2015 (down 6.3% on a constant currency basis), as a result of lower industry volume, unfavorable product mix in the row crop sector in NAFTA and unfavorable industry volume in the small grain sector in EMEA. Net sales increased in APAC, mainly driven by higher volume in Australia. Sales in specialty tractors and harvesters in EMEA remain strong, and in LATAM sugar cane harvester demand offset the industry decline for tractors.

Meanwhile, operating profit was $301 million for the second quarter ($263 million in the second quarter 2015). The increase was primarily due to positive pricing and cost containment actions, including material cost reductions, and favorable foreign exchange impact. Operating margin increased 2.0 p.p. to 10.7%.

Tuesday July 26 Ag News

LENRD - Cost-share on flow meters available until June 30, 2017
The Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) received a grant from Nebraska’s Water Sustainability Fund (WSF) and has cost-share available for producers who have yet to install flow meters on their irrigation wells.  All irrigation wells in the LENRD will need a district approved flow meter installed by January 1, 2018.

To assist landowners with the expense of this requirement, the LENRD will provide financial support of $500 per flow meter.  It is important to note that landowners must first apply and be approved for reimbursement, prior to purchase and installation of the meter.  Application for the flow meter cost-share can be completed by visiting your local Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) office and filling out the appropriate application forms.  These requests are then forwarded to the LENRD for processing.

In addition, the LENRD will offer incentive payments of $250 per flow meter to producers who are approved for the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) funding.  The EQIP program is administered by NRCS and offers a host of incentives for irrigation water management.

LENRD water resources manager, Brian Bruckner, said, “The deadline to have flow meters installed on all irrigation wells is January 1, 2018.  These incentives are available for producers who get signed up for the cost-share by June 30, 2017.  The maximum payment that a producer can receive is $5,000 per year for irrigation practices.”

Nebraska’s Natural Resources Commission approved nearly $11.5 million in projects through the WSF, with $900,000 being awarded to the LENRD for water and soil conservation.  The LENRD will provide a match of $600,000.  This will allow the district to have $1.5 million available for cost-share assistance on irrigation flow meters.

Corn Disease Update meetings offered at 4 locations by Nebraska Extension

Tamra Jackson-Ziems, NE Extension Plant Pathologist

I will be presenting “Corn Disease Update” meetings, hosted by Nebraska Extension and sponsored by the Nebraska Corn Board at the following locations/dates/times over the next 2 weeks:

·         Thursday July 28 Antelope County Fairgrounds, Neligh, NE  at 6:30 pm, with meal served, hosted by Amy Timmerman, Nebraska Extension Educator

·         Thursday Aug 4 Dawson County Fairgrounds, Lexington, NE at 1 pm, with refreshments, hosted by Sarah Schlund, Nebraska Extension Educator

·         Friday Aug 5 Stumpf Farm, Grant, NE at 1 pm, hosted by Strahinja Stepanovic, Nebraska Extension Educator

We welcome crop consultants, industry personnel, and growers to these meetings, as well as corn samples you’d like to bring and discuss.  Please RSVP to the host Nebraska Extension Educator for that location for our meal/refreshments head count.

Farm Drainage Field Day

A Farm Drainage Field Day will be held on Wednesday, August 10, 2016 9:00am - 2:00pm. You'll have an opportunity to see up close how a modern system drainage is installed and learn about the value of pattern tiling.

This Field Day, put on by Veldkamp Drainage, will feature:
-    Live equipment demonstrations
-    A lift station display
-    Plastics 101: an introduction to tile manufacturing

In the event of rain, the Field Day will be held August 11. The field is located on Highway 30 and County Road 17 west of Rogers, Nebraska.

Featured Speaker

"Understanding Wetland Compliance" - Michael P. Gutzmer, New Century Environmental LLC

Michael P. Gutzmer, PhD has a total of 40 years of environmental management-related experience. Before starting his own consulting business in 2007, Dr. Gutzmer was an Environment Regional Manager for the Electric Power Research Institute in the Great Plains region for 5 years. He was an Environmental Supervisor in Environmental Services at Nebraska Public Power District. Before that, Dr. Gutzmer worked for several state and federal environmental agencies including the Bureau of Land Management in Arizona, Iowa Conservation Commission, Texas Water Commission and the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality.

Dr. Gutzmer received a BS degree in agriculture and natural resources from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln and an MS degree in biology from Texas State University. He completed his PhD in environmental sciences at Lacrosse University. He is a Certified Fisheries Scientist, Professional Wetland Scientist, Certified Wildlife Biologist, Certified Senior Ecologist, and a Certified Environmental Professional and a Technical Service Provider for the National Resource Conservation Service.

Dual Force Technology

An innovative way of installing 2 lateral lines spaced 15' apart in 1 pass and you can see it in action!

When - Wednesday, August 10, 2016 from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM (CDT)
Where - 602 County Road 17, Schuyler, NE 68661

Veldkamp Drainage - Organizer of Farm Drainage Field Day

Veldkamp Drainage is a farm drainage specialist based in Columbus, Nebraska. Veldkamp installs modern pattern tiling systems to improve your bottom line. For more information contact David Veldkamp at 402-720-4530 or visit

New Video Tells Story of Farmers’ Commitment to Water Conservation

 Recent hot, dry weather has many Nebraska soybean farmers using irrigation to keep their crops on track during a critical stage of development for soybean plants. But it’s not as simple as turning on a faucet. A new video produced by the Nebraska Soybean Board (NSB) explains how one Nebraska farm family uses technology to conserve water, a priority for farmers throughout the state.

Ray and Kevin Kucera grow soybeans and corn on their farm near Cedar Bluffs, Nebraska. In the video, they share how they monitor soil moisture and time their irrigation using SoyWater, an online tool developed by the University of Nebraska–Lincoln (UNL) with funding from the Nebraska Soybean Board. By applying the right amount of water at the right stage of development, the Kucera’s conserve a precious resource. “It really takes a lot of guess work out of our work,” said Ray Kucera.

UNL Extension Educator Chuck Burr specializes in helping farmers use water in a sustainable way. In the video he says Nebraska’s farmers are good stewards of natural resources, often using technology to manage water use. “Nebraska is leading the nation in the percentage of farmers that are monitoring soil moisture and making those irrigation scheduling decisions,” said Burr.

Farmers have always cared for the land and water they depend on to raise a crop. Today’s producer relies on research-based tools and technology to maintain soil and water quality and manage irrigation. Victor Bohuslavsky, NSB executive director, says it’s important to help people understand farmers’ commitment to conservation. “We’re hoping Nebraskans will take a few minutes to watch this video and learn why farmers across Nebraska are focused on sustainability for future generations,” said Bohuslavsky.

Farmer-Leaders Elected to Board of Directors for Iowa Corn

Iowa Corn announced today the results of the Board of Directors elections for the Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) and Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB).

Those elected as ICGA Directors will continue to bring grassroots policy issues forward and be the collective voice for 8,000 corn farmer-members, lobbying on agricultural issues at the state and federal level. They include:

*For those re-elected

District 1 – Dean Meyer, Lyon County *
District 3 – Mark Mueller, Bremer County
Direct 6 – Jim Greif, Linn County *

Since 1978, Iowa corn farmers have elected their peers to serve on the ICPB to oversee the investment of funds generated by the Iowa corn checkoff. ICPB Directors will continue to promote a thriving Iowa corn industry through research into new and value-added corn uses, domestic and foreign market development and providing education about corn and corn products. These individuals include:

District 2 – Tom Renner, Hancock County
District 5 – Roger Zylstra, Jasper County *
District 7 – Ralph Lents, Adair County
District 8 – Gary Petersohn, Ringgold County

Both organizations are charged with creating opportunities for long-term Iowa corn grower profitability. Elected Directors will begin to serve on September 1st, 2016.

Early Deadline Approaches for Applied Reproductive Strategies in Beef Cattle Workshop

The early registration and hotel reservation deadline for the 2016 Applied Reproductive Strategies in Beef Cattle Workshop to be held Sept. 7-8 in Des Moines is quickly approaching. After Aug. 8, professional and student registration fees will increase to $250 and $150 respectively, and the guaranteed room block with the Embassy Suites will no longer be honored.

Online registration and a link to print a form for mailing are on the conference website at Telephone registration is not accepted, and registration is not complete without payment.

Host site organizer Iowa State University cow-calf specialist Patrick Gunn said the workshop is a must-attend event for cow-calf producers, bovine veterinarians, industry representatives, students and extension personnel.

“Don’t miss out on the opportunity to hone your reproductive management skills at this two-day event highlighting the latest information on reproductive technologies in beef cattle,” Gunn said. “Up to 15 continuing education units for veterinarians in Iowa and adjoining states as well as professional animal scientists have been approved for this year’s meeting.”

Those interested in receiving CEUs should see the workshop website or contact their professional association.

Twenty scientists and veterinarians from 13 states will cover the latest research and best management practices related to topics including handling hormones and frozen genetics, nutrition, sexed semen, embryo transfer, in vitro fertilization, reproductive health, genetics, fetal programming and pregnancy detection.

The event is provided through a cooperative effort by Iowa State, Iowa Beef Center and the Beef Reproduction Task Force. The task force is a multi-state extension activity in cooperation with the North Central Agricultural and Natural Resources Program Leaders Committee and the Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service. Key goals of the task force include promoting widespread adoption of reproductive technologies among cow-calf producers and educating the beef industry on management considerations to increase the likelihood of successful breeding of animals through artificial insemination.

High Oleic Soybean Oil Passes the Test at Purdue University

As part of a recent test of high oleic soybean oil in a Purdue University dining hall, chefs witnessed the oil’s excellent stability and other positive performance attributes in a product without trans fat. Today, the university is just the latest example of a customer evaluating whether to switch over to using the oil in day-to-day operations.

More customers using high oleic would mean extra demand for high oleic soybean oil and extra profit potential for all U.S. soybean farmers. To seal the deal, however, these customers need to see a larger supply of available oil.

“We’re excited to see this oil perform as we thought it would; now it’s up to us as farmers to show that we can grow enough,” soy checkoff farmer-leader Mike Beard says of Purdue’s trial. Beard grows high oleic soybeans on his farm in Frankfort, Indiana. “We’ve got some top-notch restaurants that want to use it, but switching oils is a major investment. It’s understandable that they’d wait until the supply is stable.”

In 2016, farmers across 11 states planted approximately 450,000 acres of high oleic soybeans, building supply for potential customers. New delivery locations and opportunities for contracts could become available next year, allowing more farmers to benefit from the premiums associated with high oleic varieties.

Increasing high oleic soybean acreage to meet demand will be crucial in capitalizing on the opportunity the oil brings. To maximize market share and soybean farmer profitability, the soybean industry has set a goal of 18 million acres of high oleic soybeans planted by 2023. Meeting that goal could mean as much as an additional $1.7 billion in farmer revenue each year.

Purdue’s trial, a checkoff-funded study conducted by the university’s Food Science Department, found positive results for high oleic’s lifespan, absorption properties and flavor profile, compared with the preservative-fortified canola oil the dining hall used previously.

“High oleic oil is phenomenal in its performance,” says Purdue’s executive sous chef Jack Kennedy. “Comparatively speaking, we find that it lasts longer than the other oils.”

CNBC’s Ron Insana Discusses Current Trade Environment At USGC Summer Meeting

The U.S. economy is in good shape despite rhetoric to the contrary, and agriculture helps significantly by adding surpluses to the U.S. trade balance, CNBC and MSNBC contributor Rob Insana told the audience at the the U.S. Grains Council's (USGC's) 56th Annual Board of Delegates Meeting this week.

Insana’s presentation focused on the global economy and the impact of trade on current U.S. policy and politics. His presentation as a keynote speaker stressed the importance of a positive trade environment and continued exports, noting the benefits of the pending Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement. 

"TPP helps assess the global economic climate," Insana said. "More jobs have been lost to technology than trade; trade has not hollowed out the middle class.

With continued uncertainty surrounding TPP's approval, Insana told delegates they needed to share information about how trade benefits them with their fellow farmers as well as policymakers.

"We now have the ability to export a variety of products. It's vitally important that we continue to do that," he said. "If we can get the world growing at an average of 3 percent, that could have a huge impact on the global economy and trade overall."

Insana's presentation also stressed the importance of agriculture in light of the world's increasing life expectancy.

"Living for 150 years is no longer a far off reality," he said, citing the need for biotechnology to food security and the importance of agriculture in the worldwide economy. Mentorship opportunities, he said, present a unique opportunity to engage current business leaders and millennial entrepreneurs in the future of agriculture and trade. 

Insana closed by reiterating the need to get out the facts about the value of trade to the U.S. economy.

“Feelings have replaced facts these days,” he said, addressing concerns about topics ranging from currency manipulation to economic threats abroad. "In order to create a more positive impression of trade, we need to continue to present facts in a way that creates a positive feeling."

The USGC summer meeting is an opportunity for farmers, agribusiness representatives and other
 stakeholders in the U.S. grain trade to gather and discuss critical issues and the organization's programs to develop grain markets.

Farm Safety For Just Kids Disbands

The board of directors of Farm Safety For Just Kids announced the organization will be dissolved at the end of 2016. Education, research and outreach on critical farm safety issues will continue through the Progressive Agriculture Foundation, an organization with a similar mission.

Farm Safety For Just Kids' library of educational materials and other assets will be donated to the Birmingham, Alabama-based PAF. Management of the 2016 Outreach program will be transferred to PAF. FS4JK will no longer accept monetary donations from individuals or organizations.

"We are proud of the work we have done to promote farm safety for the youngest members of farm families," says Farm Safety For Just Kids Founder and President Marilyn Adams. "We believe this move will further the mission of keeping farms safe for youth. That was the goal 30 years ago, and that remains the goal today. We feel the organization has accomplished what we set out to do almost 30 years ago: To support farm safety education in the U.S. and around the world. I believe that this move will further the mission we all have worked hard to accomplish."

As part of the transition, FS4JK will donate $5,000 to both the National 4-H Council and National FFA Organization to recognize their advocacy work for youth safety in agriculture.

The balance of the organization's assets will be noted to the Progressive Agriculture Foundation.

NMPF Introduces FARM Environmental Stewardship Component to Help Measure Progress Made by Dairy Farms in Sustainability Practices

The Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) Program, administered by the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), is assuming management of the Farm Smart Program, previously managed by Dairy Management, Inc. Farm Smart, an environmental stewardship module for farmers to measure improvements they make in the area of sustainability, will become the voluntary Environmental Stewardship component of the FARM Program, NMPF announced today.

The FARM Environmental Stewardship module integrates the methodology and science of Farm Smart, a carbon footprint assessment tool created by the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. Farm Smart has been field-tested in several full supply chain pilots, and is familiar to the dairy cooperative, processor and retailer communities, but is still relatively new at the farm level. The Farm Smart science-based models are being fully integrated into FARM Environmental Stewardship, but will be updated in the future through a partnership between NMPF and the Innovation Center.

As dairy companies are increasingly asked for information about their environmental practices, the FARM Environmental Stewardship program will allow for the collection and dissemination of information on energy use and greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). The assessment will also help dairy producers identify potential efficiency gains and cost savings, offering them the ability to track progress in a secure, confidential platform.

“FARM Environmental Stewardship is a natural addition to the existing FARM Program pillars, FARM Animal Care and FARM Antibiotic Residue Avoidance, because it will help dairy farmers communicate another positive story with consumers,” said Jim Mulhern, President and CEO of NMPF. “FARM Environmental Stewardship will now begin down the important path of gaining insight, support and engagement at the cooperative and producer level.”

This fall and winter, the FARM Program will hold webinars, release training materials and provide farm resources to assist farmers and companies that want to begin utilizing the assessments. The module will be previewed at the FARM Evaluator Conference this November in Nashville, Tenn., held in conjunction with the NMPF Joint Annual Meeting. An online tutorial will also be made available later this year to cooperatives and producers looking to learn more.

Administration of FARM Environmental Stewardship will be managed by Ryan Bennett, NMPF’s Senior Director for Industry and Environmental Affairs, with overall FARM Program oversight by Emily Meredith, Chief of Staff. More information can be found on the FARM Program website...

CWT Assists with 972,000 Pounds of Cheese and Whole Milk Powder Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted three requests for export assistance from Dairy Farms of America and Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold), who have contracts to sell 90,390 pounds (41 metric tons) of Cheddar and Gouda cheese, and 881,849 pounds (400 metric tons) of whole milk powder to customers in Asia. The product has been contracted for delivery in the period from August through October 2016.

So far this year, CWT has assisted member cooperatives who have contracts to sell 29.916 million pounds of American-type cheeses, 6.949 million pounds of butter (82% milkfat) and 22.860 million pounds of whole milk powder to 21 countries on five continents. The sales are the equivalent of 599.359 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.

New Vive Crop Protection Products Debut on Acres in Six Midwestern States

After being introduced to the market in March, two products that feature a new nanotech delivery system for fungicide and insecticide have performed well in field observations.

The technology, called Allosperse™, uses polymer nanoparticle shuttles to control how and when crop protection products are delivered to the plant after being applied. This is new technology for agriculture that is comparable to how some pharmaceuticals are delivered to precise targets within the human body.

Farmers in Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Iowa and Illinois applied the two new products, AZteroid™ and Bifender™, to corn and soybean acres this spring. In addition, trials were conducted in potato and sugarbeet plots.

It’s still too early to assess yield results, said Dr. Darren Anderson, chief communications officer for Vive Crop Protection, but producer feedback and field observations have been excellent. “AZteroid is the first fungicide built for compatibility with liquid fertilizer, and producers were pleased with their new-found ability to apply starter fertilizer and fungicide in-furrow in a single pass.”

In field observations, corn and soybean plants grown with a combination of starter fertilizer and AZteroid applied in-furrow were larger with significantly more root mass when compared with plants that only received starter fertilizer.

This combination of AZteroid and fertilizer was applied as one uniform mixture, thanks to the Allosperse technology. Crop protection products typically fail to mix thoroughly with liquid fertilizer. However, with Allosperse this problem is no longer an issue. As a result, multiple products can be conveniently applied in a single pass across the field.

“One producer relayed a story of mixing AZteroid with starter fertilizer in the tank, only to be delayed for four days because of rain,” Dr. Anderson explained. “When he was finally able to get in the field, there was only a small amount of residue in the check balls and even that came right off once he got moving.”

Producers said the products worked well when mixed directly in the fertilizer tank as well as when applied through a Dosatron. There were no problems even with a high-zinc starter fertilizer, and the products exhibited excellent mixing properties with glyphosate and Capture® LFR®.

AZteroid contains azoxystrobin and provides broad-spectrum control for a variety of seed and seedling diseases. Bifender contains bifenthrin and provides broad-spectrum control of many serious insect pests dwelling at or below the soil surface.

Bifender has the same excellent fertilizer compatibility as AZteroid and can be tank-mixed with AZteroid by growers who want to simultaneously control seedling disease and soil-borne insect pests. Bifender is particularly useful applied to seed that has not received a seed treatment, but both Bifender and AZteroid can also be used to provide extra protection to treated seed.