Saturday, November 18, 2017

Friday November 17 Cattle on Feed + Ag News


Nebraska feedlots, with capacities of 1,000 or more head, contained 2.52 million cattle on feed on November 1, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This inventory was up 9 percent from last year. Placements during October totaled 680,000 head, up 11 percent from 2016. Fed cattle marketings for the month of October totaled 435,000 head, down 2 percent from last year. Other disappearance during October totaled 15,000 head, up 5,000 head from last year.


Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 690,000 head on November 1, 2017, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Cattle on Feed report. This was up 6 percent from October 1, 2017, and up 15 percent from November 1, 2016. Iowa feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head had 470,000 head on feed, up 8 percent from last month but down 10 percent from last year. Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in all Iowa feedlots totaled 1,160,000 head, up 7 percent from last month and up 4 percent from last year.

Placements of cattle and calves in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during October totaled 142,000 head, an increase of 34 percent from last month and up 10 percent from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head placed 106,000 head, up 51 percent from last month and up 9 percent from last year. Placements for all feedlots in Iowa totaled 248,000 head, up 41 percent from last month and up 10 percent from last year.

Marketings of fed cattle from Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during October totaled 99,000 head, up 4 percent from last month and up 3 percent from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head marketed 70,000 head, down 4 percent from last month but up 27 percent from last year. Marketings for all feedlots in Iowa were 169,000 head, up 1 percent from last month and up 12 percent from last year. Other disappearance from all feedlots in Iowa totaled 4,000 head.

United States Cattle on Feed Up 6 Percent

Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 11.3 million head on November 1, 2017. The inventory was 6 percent above November 1, 2016.

Cattle on Feed - By State                             

                       (1,000 hd    -    % Nov 1 '16)

Colorado .......:        980           108            
Iowa .............:        690            115          
Kansas ..........:      2,290          102        
Nebraska ......:      2,520          109          
Oklahoma .....:       320            108           
Texas ............:      2,640          106         

Placements in feedlots during October totaled 2.39 million head, 10 percent above 2016. Net placements were 2.32 million head. During October, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 675,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 590,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 510,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 368,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 160,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 90,000 head.

Placements by State                                 

                        (1,000 hd  -  % Oct '16)

Colorado .......:      195            95             
Iowa .............:      142           110          
Kansas ..........:      430           110           
Nebraska ......:      680           111          
Oklahoma .....:       59            94                
Texas ............:      505           113             

Marketings of fed cattle during October totaled 1.80 million head, 6 percent above 2016.  Other disappearance totaled 73,000 head during October, 28 percent above 2016.

Marketings by State                                  

                        (1,000 hd  -  % Oct '16)

Colorado .......:     150           107             
Iowa .............:       99           103             
Kansas ..........:      375           107             
Nebraska ......:      435            98              
Oklahoma .....:       57           100              
Texas ............:      445           113             

PVC Monthly Meeting is Mon Nov 20th

The monthly meeting of the Platte Valley Cattlemen will be on Monday November 20th at Wunderlich's in Columbus.  Social hour starts at 6pm, with the meal at 7pm.  Thanks to Rosendahl Farms Feed & Seed for sponsoring the social, and also thanks to Cooperative Supply in Dodge, Howells, Leigh, and Richland for sponsoring the evening meal.  Guest speaker for the evening will be Dr. Luke Strehle of Nebraska Vet Services, and he will be talking about various cow/calf related topics.  Hope to see you there! 

Ricketts Announces Agreement with Bulgarian Soybean Processers

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts announced that the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) has signed letters of intent with nine soybean processing companies in Bulgaria to promote the use of Nebraska-grown soybeans and soybean products in their facilities.

“This is a great opportunity which is growing demand for Nebraska soybeans,” said Governor Ricketts. “Bulgaria is a country with a high demand for quality protein and is a relatively untapped market.  Positioning Nebraska around the world as a top state for quality agricultural commodities will support our farmers and ranchers, increase our global market share, and continue to grow Nebraska’s number one industry.”

The nine companies who signed the letters of intent with NDA wish to maximize their output and are looking to source Nebraska and U.S. soybeans. The companies currently use about 2 million metric tons of soybeans per year and have a total production capacity of 2.7 million metric tons.

In 2017, executives and owners of the Bulgarian companies visited Nebraska to learn more about the cycle of soybean production in the state – planting, harvesting, processing and exporting to international markets. NDA used federal Emerging Markets Program grant funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to facilitate the visit and conduct a comprehensive market research study to promote the sale and use of soybeans and soybean products in the growing markets of Eastern Europe.

The Bulgarian company owners and executives visited a soybean farm in Geneva, the Aurora Cooperative, the grain storage and trading operations of Gavilon and Scoular in Omaha, a shipping container/loading facility in Council Bluffs and the ADM soybean processing facility and power plant in Lincoln. Nebraska Soybean Board members were on hand to introduce their organization and how they help support soybean producers and promote their vital product nationally and globally.

“Good personal relationships with the owners and executives of several soybean processing facilities in Bulgaria are a tremendous asset for the future,” said NDA Interim Director Mat Habrock. “We share similar appreciation for people, culture and agriculture.”

Bulgaria has been a member of the European Union since 2007. At $138 million out of a total export value of $1.9 billion, the EU was Nebraska’s third largest export market of soybeans and soybean products in 2015. (Source: USDA Foreign Ag Service)

PRIME Class II Applications Available

Applications are now being accepted for Class II of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association PRIME Program. This program is designed for Nebraska producers who want to increase their knowledge and better themselves and their operation in all aspects. All sessions are focused on maximizing the long-term viability of the operation through the latest research, emerging technologies, farm management practices, and peer relationships.

The program consists of three sessions, lasting approximately two days each, plus attendance at the Nebraska Corn Growers Association Annual Meeting. Participants can expect a total time commitment of 6-8 days away from the farm over a 12-month period. The material will be relevant and presented by the best that the industry has to offer. Locations of the sessions will be determined once the class has been selected.

A registration fee of $190 is required up enrollment. The fee will be waived for NeCGA 3-year members. All other costs of the program will be covered by NeCGA. The class will consist of 8-12 corn farmers selected from applications and local association board recommendations.

Applications should be submitted by December 22nd, 2017. Participants will be selected and notified in January. Primary selection criteria will be the applicant’s desire and ability to participate and contribute during all sessions. Diversity among farm size, geographic location, and background will be sought as well. Questions and applications should be directed to Morgan Wrich, Director of Grower Services, at OR (402) 438-6459.

New Location for Nebraska Cattlemen Cattlemen's College

The 2017 Cattlemen's College, will kick off the 2017 Nebraska Cattlemen's Convention and Trade Show on Tuesday, December 5. The event this year will be held at the Buffalo County Fairgrounds Ag Pavilion. The college is sponsored by Zoetis. This producer education program is designed to address issues that will improve production and profitability. 

The new location will allow for a full day of classroom speakers and time at the chute. The schedule will showcase many great speakers this year and now is the time to register for the event. This is an event that should not be missed. 

    How do you transition from being the child to a partner? Lacey Hall and Alex Ibach Farm Credit Services of America

    The 2016 National Beef Quality Audit; Navigating Pathways to Success. Deb VanOverbeke, Ph.D., Assistant Dean, Academic Programs College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Oklahoma State University

    Can cover crops pull double duty? Conservation and economical forage production. Mary Drewnoski, Ph.D., Beef Systems Specialist, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

    Selecting and developing the right replacement heifers to optimize revenues versus costs for enhanced profitability. Nancy Grathwohl Heter, Cattle Genetics Specialist, Zoetis

    Nutritional and management strategies to increase reproductive efficiency in range cows. Travis Mulliniks, Ph.D., University of Nebraska West Central Research and Education Center

    Antibiotic stewardship and consumer awareness. Christi Calhoun, Ph.D., Food Chain Relations, Zoetis

    Let's go chute side. Andrew Dorn, Allflex USA, Rob Erich, UNL BQA Director

    The value of a beef Cow and other economic ranch tools. Bridger Feuz, Livestock Marketing Specialist, University of Wyoming Extension

    Timing of vaccination in newly arrived feedlot cattle. Brian Vander Ley, DVM, Great Plains Veterinary Education Center

    NCBA policy update. Kent Bacus, Director of International Trade and Market Access, NCBA

    Producer Panel - Dealing with labor issues. A challenge in the beef industry is finding a labor force that can help producers get their work done when the tasks need to be completed.

The Cattlemen's College will begin at 12:00 a.m.and concludes at 8:30 p.m. Cost to attend Cattlemen's College is $60 and registration information can be found at or by calling the NC office at 402.475.2333.

Young Cattlemen's Round-table to be Held During Annual Convention

The YCC Class of 2016 will host the Young Cattlemen's Round-table during the 2017 NC Annual Convention. The Round-table will be held Wednesday, December 6 starting at 12:00 noon, with registration and lunch with a welcome at 12:30.

The goal of the round-table is to inspire members to get involved in the Nebraska Cattlemen and experience the benefits of the organization. Speakers at the round-table will engage attendees to discuss what is happening in the beef industry and how they can get more involved.

David Schuler will inspire attendees to get involved in the beef industry by becoming an industry advocate. Be impactful in the beef industry, Tessa Quittner will share how you write your story. Wrapping up the event will be Al Swajgr who will share his involvement in the beef industry.

Get involved in the Nebraska Cattlemen. Now is a great time to be involved in the beef industry. Register to attend the Young Cattlemen's Round-table and network with like-minded people and make valuable connections.

The Class of 2016 members: Reiss Bruning, Bruning, Jentry Cain, Berywn, Bradley Christensen, Columbus, Tricia Goes, Odell, Heidi Pieper, Farnam, Doug Smith, Ph.D., Curtis, Adam Guenther, West Point, Kenny Stauffer, Larkspur, CO and Kelly Terrell, Gothenburg.

Nebraska YCC is sponsored by Farm Credit Services of America and Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation.

 Farmers and Ranchers College Opens with David Kohl Dec. 7 

Now in its 17th year, the program provides educational workshops for producers in south central Nebraska through a collaborative effort of business, industry, and higher education leaders, said Brandy VanDeWalle, Extension Educator in Fillmore County. The Farmers and Ranchers College Committee consists of Fred Bruning of Bruning, Bryan Dohrman of Grafton, Sarah Miller of Carleton, Jennifer Engle of Fairmont, Ryne Norton of York, Jim Donovan of Geneva, Bryce Kassik of Geneva, Eric Kamler of Geneva, and VanDeWalle.

Program Schedule

-    December 7, 1-4 p.m.:  "Positioning for Success in the Economic Reset” with David Kohl, Professor Emeritus, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech University, at the Opera House in Bruning.
-    January 30, 10 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.:  “Partners In Progress Beef Seminar,” Cow/Calf College at the US Meat Animal Research Center near Clay Center. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m.
-    February 23, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.:  “Crop Insurance, Farm Bill Policy Update & More!”  with Steve Johnson, Extension Farm Management Specialist, Iowa State University, and Brad Lubbben, Nebraska Extension Ag Policy Specialist, at the Fillmore County Fairgrounds in Geneva. Registration at 9:30 a.m.

RSVPs Requested

Contributions and support from area businesses allow participants to attend at no cost; however, it is requested that people register online or by calling the Fillmore County Extension office (402-759-3712) at least one week in advance to provide an accurate meal count.

 Nebraska Soybean Day and Machinery Expo Dec. 14

Dicamba issues and recommendations for achieving more precise herbicide applications are among the timely pest management and production topics slated for this year's Nebraska Soybean Day and Machinery Expo.

The event, which includes equipment and exhibitor displays, will be from 8:30 a.m. to 2:15 December 14 in the pavilion at the Saunders County Fairgrounds in Wahoo, said Keith Glewen, University of Nebraska Extension Educator and program coordinator.

“We are bringing back Jason Norsworthy due to the popularity of his presentation last year.  This year he is going to focus on a topic that has gained widespread attention and is on the mind of most growers – dicamba,” said Glewen.

Norsworthy is professor of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences and Elms Farming Chair of Weed Science at the University of Arkansas. He will discuss issues associated with dicamba use, including likely causes for non-target damage based based on field observations by university weed scientists across the U.S.  He will highlight research conducted to understand off-target movement of the new, lower-volatility formulations of dicamba relative to older formulations.  He will also provide input on ways to minimize the likelihood for damage from off-target dicamba movement in 2018.

Chris Proctor, Nebraska Weed Management Extension Educator, will be addressing recommendations for achieving more precise weed management applications for successful weed control in soybeans. The role of accurate measurements is often overlooked in the big picture of herbicide resistance, but plays a role that farmers can change, Proctor contends. Key factors he'll be discussing are the importance of: 1) using correct herbicide rates,  2) knowing your real tank size, and 3) knowing the difference between dry and liquid ounces.  When herbicide measurements and applications are managed properly, growers can save money and improve weed control, Proctor said.

Also on the agenda is Michael Swanson, Wells Fargo Chief Agricultural Economist.  Swanson believes growing top-yielding soybeans requires the right inputs, requiring a team effort.   "Are you paying a benchwarmer on your team a superstar’s salary?," Swanson asks. “Are you managing like ‘the money ball’ or a ‘sentimental’ manager.” This talk will focus on getting the metrics right.

The expo also will include an update on the Nebraska Soybean Checkoff and association information.

Producers will be able to visit with representatives from seed, herbicide, fertilizer and equipment companies and view new farm equipment during a 30-minute break at 10:10 a.m.

While the event and noon lunch are free, the Saunders County Soybean Growers Organization asks that each attendeee donate one or more cans of nonperishable food to the food pantry. Registration is available at the door.

For more information visit the program website, call (800) 529-8030 or e-mail

 This program is sponsored by Nebraska Extension in the university's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the Nebraska Soybean Board, Saunders County Soybean Growers Organization and private industry.

Nebraska Cattlemen will Host Tour to Australia

Nebraska Cattlemen will again host an international tour and has selected Australia for its 2018 tour destination.  Nebraska Cattlemen Past President Jeff Pribbeno and his wife, Connie, of Imperial, will host the tour that will cover the spectrum of Australia's cattle industry from April 28 to May 10. The tour will include the country's hallmark sights, sounds, and wildlife and will feature Beef Australia 2018. The beef exposition has become a signature event for the Australian Beef Industry. The program includes ranch and feedlot tours. 

NC is excited to host the tour, NC Executive Vice President Pete McClymont, said because Quadrant will conduct the tour. "Several NC leaders know Quadrant's general manager Graeme Mitchell, who is well known and respected throughout Australia's cattle industry. Quadrant's team will have us on the inside track for Beef Australia which is a feature event of the tour."

Beef Australia is the country's national beef expo, one of the world's great beef cattle events, and is held  once every three years in Rockhampton, in the state of Queensland. Beef Australia 2018 will be held from May 6 to 12 and will be a celebration of all facets of the Australian beef industry. It will feature more than 4,500 cattle from over 30 breeds; a trade fair promoting more than 500 businesses; a symposium, seminars and property tours to deliver new research information to producers; and restaurants, celebrity chefs and cooking demonstrations for visitors to appreciate the quality and flavor of Australian beef.

Space is limited and because of airline reservation policy, NC hopes to fill the tour before Christmas.

For tour details, call Nebraska Cattlemen at 402-475-2333, or Ralf Humbert at Trump Tours 479-271-9898, or email


While there is huge potential for sub-Saharan Africa to increase agricultural productivity, the odds that the region will become the world's next breadbasket are low, according to a new study from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Breadbaskets are regions that produce a large and stable surplus of one or more major food crops that not only meet local demand, but substantially contribute to the food supply in other regions. By this definition, there are only a few major breadbaskets in the world. The only rain-fed corn and soybean breadbaskets are the U.S. Corn Belt, Brazilian Cerrados and Argentinean Pampas.

"Even though there are not very many breadbaskets, they are critically important because they account for a major part of global food production," said Patricio Grassini, assistant professor of agronomy and horticulture at Nebraska and a co-author of the study.

Current yields in sub-Saharan Africa are well below what could be achieved given the region's farmable land and annual rainfall. The area receives more rainfall per year than other breadbaskets around the world. Given these factors, there is a persistent narrative that sub-Saharan Africa has the potential to become a grain breadbasket if production is intensified.

However, the study noted that a lack of data on soil depths that will support root growth has limited rigorous evaluations of how well sub-Saharan soils can support high, stable yields. According to Grassini, this is a critical parameter because deeper soils can buffer against rain-free periods. Current soil-depth data lacks adequate underpinning data, Grassini said.

Soils in the U.S. Corn Belt are deep and young, laid down during the past 20,000 years, whereas sub-Saharan soils are weathered and much older, dating back at least 540 million years. In the U.S. Corn Belt, the soils are deeper than 1.5 meters. 

For this study, researchers used data provided by the Global Yield Gap and Water Productivity Atlas for 105 locations in major corn-producing countries in the region. Researchers explored a number of different soil-depth scenarios – from 0.5 to 1.5 meters – to determine production potential for sub-Saharan Africa.

"We found that for the region to meet its own demand and have a small surplus of (corn), they need to have the same soil depth as soils in the U.S. Corn Belt, and that is very unlikely," said Nicolas Guilpart, a former postdoctoral researcher at Nebraska and a co-author of the study. Guilpart is now an associate professor at AgroParisTech in France.

Co-author Kenneth Cassman, emeritus professor at Nebraska and fellow of the Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute, said rapidly increasing demand could also limit sub-Saharan Africa's breadbasket potential.

"By 2050, the population of sub-Saharan Africa is expected to more than double," he said. "This means that even if agricultural production intensifies, it will likely not be able to produce a surplus of food to be exported to global markets."

The results of the study were published in the latest issue of Environmental Research Letters.

Support for the research was provided by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute.

Additional co-authors include researchers from Wageningen University and ISRIC-World Soil Information, both in the Netherlands, and the International Crops Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics in Kenya.


Iowa Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig today announced a new program aimed at increasing acres of cover crops in the state. Iowa farmers who plant cover crops this fall (2017) may be eligible for a $5 per acre premium reduction on their crop insurance in 2018. The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) worked with the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Risk Management Agency (RMA), who oversees the federal crop insurance program, to establish a 3 year demonstration project aimed at expanding the usage of cover crops in Iowa.

Beginning today, IDALS will open the online sign-up and application process for farmers and landowners to certify eligible land for the program at the following link:

“We see this new crop insurance premium reduction as a great way to reach a broader group of farmers and landowners in order to promote continued interest in planting cover crops,” Naig said.  “This streamlined incentive coupled with traditional state and federal cost share programs provides farmers and landowners with a variety of options to gain experience with cover crops and expand their use. Cover crop seeding dates have recently been extended, so there is still an opportunity to seed more acres this fall.”   

Crop insurance is an integral part of the farm safety net that helps farmers manage the risks associated with growing a crop and provides protection for farmers impacted by severe weather and challenging growing seasons. Cover crops can help prevent erosion and improve water quality and soil health, among other benefits.

“Crop insurance is critical to the health of the rural economy, and proper use of cover crops is critical to the health of the soil that farmers need,” said RMA Acting Administrator Heather Manzano.

Applications will be taken until January 15, 2018. Cover crop acres currently enrolled in state and/or federal programs are not eligible for this program.

Cover crop seeding dates have recently been extended. Farmers are encouraged to continue seeding winter hardy cover crops as harvest wraps up to provide protection from the elements this spring.

The new premium reduction will be available for fall-planted cover crops with a spring-planted cash crop. Some policies may be excluded, such as Whole-Farm Revenue Protection or those covered through written agreements. Participating farmers must follow all existing good farming practices required by their policy and work with their insurance agent to maintain eligibility.

Brazilian Soybean Planting Three-Quarters Finished

Brazilian soybean farmers had finished 73% of their planting as of Nov. 16, according to agricultural consultancy AgRural. That's the same pace as last year on the same date and ahead of the five-year average for the date of 68%, AgRural said. Good weather around the country helped speed the planting work, according to the group. Brazil is the second-biggest soybean producer in the world, after the US.

 USDA Invests More Than $1 Billion to Improve Health Care in Rural Areas

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue today announced that USDA provided more than $1 billion in Fiscal Year 2017 to help improve access to health care services for 2.5 million people in rural communities in 41 states.

“USDA invests in a wide range of health care facilities – such as hospitals, clinics and treatment centers – to help ensure that rural residents have access to the same state-of-the art care available in urban and metropolitan areas,” Perdue said. “I understand that building a prosperous rural America begins with healthy people. Ensuring that rural communities have access to quality medical care is a top priority for USDA.”

USDA invested in 97 rural health care projects that served 2.5 million people in Fiscal Year 2017 through the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program. The loans can be used to fund essential community services. For health care, this includes constructing, expanding or improving health care facilities such as hospitals, medical clinics, dental clinics and assisted-living facilities, as well as to purchase equipment. Public bodies, non-profit organizations and federally recognized tribes in rural areas and towns with up to 20,000 people are eligible for these loans.

USDA financed Community Facilities direct loan projects in the following states: Alaska, Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

The following are a few examples of rural health care projects that USDA funded during FY 2017:
-    LifeQuest Nursing Center received a $40 million loan to build a 123-unit assisted-living facility in Quakertown, Pa. The company will also renovate and expand the kitchen and dining area, build a 10- to 15-bed memory care unit, and build an activity room for memory care residents.
-    The Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas Inc. received a $2.8 million loan to construct a 14,000-square-foot health clinic that will house medical, dental and behavioral health services, a pharmacy, and support services. The new facility, in Iola, will enable the center to expand services, hire more staff and care for more patients. More than 13,000 residents will benefit.
-    Rural Development provided a $6.7 million loan to Valley Wide Health Systems Inc. in Ca├▒on City Colo., (Fremont County) to convert a building to an integrated care center for primary, dental and behavioral health services. Consolidating these services into one building will provide better patient care and eliminate the need for patients to travel to different locations. The clinic anticipates an increase of more than 4,000 patients during its first year of operation.

Funding from USDA’s Community Facilities Direct Loan program is playing a major role in Ontario, Ohio. Avita Health System received $91.4 million to transform a vacant section of a shopping mall into a state-of-the-art hospital that provides vital health care, including substance use disorder treatment and mental health services. These services are essential for Ohio communities that have been affected by the opioid epidemic in recent years. The hospital, which opened in March 2017, serves more than 124,000 rural residents in Richland and Crawford counties.

In addition to health care, the new hospital is providing an economic boost in the form of good-paying, rural-based jobs. It has also been a lifeline to struggling stores and businesses by increasing foot traffic (and therefore business) in what had been a dying shopping mall that struggled after the closure of one of its major anchor stores.

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; homeownership; community services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit

AFBF Survey Reveals Lowest Thanksgiving Dinner Cost in Five Years

American Farm Bureau Federation's 32nd annual price survey of classic items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table indicates the average cost of this year's feast for 10 is $49.12, a 75-cent decrease from last year's average of $49.87. The big ticket item--the 16-pound turkey--came in at a total of $22.38 this year. That's roughly $1.40 per pound, a decrease of 2 cents per pound, or a total of 36 cents per whole turkey, compared to 2016.

"For the second consecutive year, the overall cost of Thanksgiving dinner has declined," AFBF Director of Market Intelligence Dr. John Newton said. "The cost of the dinner is the lowest since 2013 and second-lowest since 2011. Even as America's family farmers and ranchers continue to face economic challenges, they remain committed to providing a safe, abundant and affordable food supply for consumers at Thanksgiving and throughout the year."

The shopping list for Farm Bureau's informal survey includes turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a veggie tray, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and coffee and milk, all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10 with plenty for leftovers.

Consumers continue to see lower retail turkey prices due to continued large inventory in cold storage, which is up almost double digits from last year, Newton explained.

Foods showing the largest decreases this year in addition to turkey, were a gallon of milk, $2.99; a dozen rolls, $2.26; two nine-inch pie shells, $2.45; a 3-pound bag of sweet potatoes, $3.52; a 1-pound bag of green peas, $1.53; and a group of miscellaneous items including coffee and ingredients necessary to prepare the meal (butter, evaporated milk, onions, eggs, sugar and flour), $2.72.

Items that increased modestly in price were: a half-pint of whipping cream, $2.08; a 14-ounce package of cubed bread stuffing, $2.81; a 30-ounce can of pumpkin pie mix, $3.21; a 12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries, $2.43; and a 1-pound veggie tray, $.74.

The stable average price reported this year by Farm Bureau for a classic Thanksgiving dinner tracks with the government's Consumer Price Index for food eaten at home. But while the most recent CPI report for food at home shows a 0.5 percent increase over the past year, the Farm Bureau survey shows a 1.5 percent decline.

After adjusting for inflation, the cost of a Thanksgiving dinner is $20.54, the lowest level since 2013.


Executives Doug Glade and David Darr represented Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), a national dairy cooperative owned by family farmers, during panel discussions at the 2017 Sustainable Agriculture Summit, held in Kansas City, Mo., this week. Several DFA farmer members also attended and participated in the two-day meeting.

One panel, “Do Goals Matter? How to Set and Achieve Supply Chain Sustainability Goals,” which included Doug Glade, executive vice president of commercial operations at DFA, gave attendees an inside look at how companies across the supply chain are holding themselves and their suppliers accountable through public goal setting. Joining Glade on the panel were Courtney Lareau of Mars Petcare and Daniel Sonke of Campbell Soup Company. The session was moderated by Charlene Finck, executive vice president and chief content officer for Farm Journal Media.

As a panelist, Glade talked about how sustainability is important from farm to table and includes DFA farmer members, commercial operations and customer partnerships. As a cooperative, DFA is committed to responsibly producing nutritious, high-quality milk and dairy products with focus on four key areas: responsible farming, innovative solutions, food safety and community.

Another panel during the Summit, “Assuring Responsible Dairy Farm Management,” included David Darr, vice president of sustainability and member services at DFA, and highlighted the industry-wide National Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) program, and how dairy farmers are taking a proactive approach for continuous improvement in areas such as animal care as well as antibiotic and environmental stewardship. Additional panelists for this session were Josh Luth of Foremost Farms, Roberta Osborne of Chobani and Brandon Treichler of Select Milk Producers Cooperative. Emily Meredith, chief of staff for National Milk Producers Federation, served as the panel moderator.

During this panel, Darr discussed how DFA has made enrollment and compliance with the FARM program a priority for its farmer-member owners. He also talked about how DFA is working with partners to help bring more sustainable practices and renewable energy methods to its farmer members such as anaerobic digestion technology that converts manure to energy as well as wind turbines and solar power.

The Sustainable Agriculture Summit is a joint effort of Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, National Pork Board, Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops, U.S. Poultry & Egg Association and U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef. The vision for the Summit is to assemble key stakeholders from across the food and agricultural supply chain and discuss opportunities to advance and improve in agricultural sustainability.

BASF reports end of season dicamba results

In a recent survey, 400 soybean and cotton growers across the country said the newest BASF technology, Engenia® herbicide, designed to battle tough weeds for dicamba tolerant (DT) crops, provided them with cleaner fields in the 2017 growing season. Growers rated weed control from Engenia herbicide an 8.6 out of 10 nationally (on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being best).

In addition to high satisfaction with weed control, 85 percent of growers surveyed planned to use Engenia in 2018 and 83 percent planned to recommend the product.

Growers in Illinois, Iowa and Indiana who were interviewed by Scott Kay, BASF Vice President for US Crop Protection, said stewardship was key to their success with Engenia herbicide, including the following:
-    Adhering to the application checklist
-    Using approved nozzles
-    Understanding what crops were in nearby fields
-    Talking to their BASF representative

While many growers are still harvesting crops, USDA forecasts 2017 soybean production at a record 4.43 billion bushels or 3 percent higher than last year. Soybean yields in key states such as Arkansas and Missouri are also projected to be at or above last year’s record levels. And 2017 national cotton yields are expected to be higher than 2016, up 33 pounds from last year.

“While most growers achieved great results stewarding DT crops this season, some non-DT farms experienced symptomology that may have come from the improper use of the new technology,” said Chad Asmus, BASF Technical Market Manager. “BASF worked with growers to better understand what was occurring.”

BASF field reps investigated 787 soybean symptomology claims during the 2017 season, most of which had no impact on yield. However, in a few isolated cases, yield may have been affected where the terminal growth was inhibited. Main causes include:
-    Incorrect nozzle and/or boom height
-    Wind speed or direction
-    Insufficient buffer
-    Spray system contamination
-    Use of unregistered product
-    Application during temperature inversion

Any combination of these factors could influence off-target movement.

“Developing a fact- and science-based recommendation that focuses on a long-term solution for farmers remains a critical part of working together,” said Asmus. “That’s why we recently met with weed scientists from across the country to share 2017 season results and work collaboratively on a path forward.”

BASF also worked with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop an updated Engenia label for the 2018 growing season. The new label adds requirements for spray application training, record keeping, wind speed limitations, application timing restrictions and more. 

“BASF plans to expand the Engenia On Target Application Academy, our application training program, to make it even easier to get information about how to properly apply crop protection products and use best practices,” said Asmus. 

Application materials in both English and Spanish will be available at in-person training sessions and through enhanced mobile applications. Growers can also expect more equipment application incentives involving boom height and sprayer hoods to be added to the nozzle and direction injection program.

“Growers demanded new technology in the fight against resistant weeds and they looked to DT cotton and soybeans and new chemistries as the next evolution in farming,” said Asmus. “By working together and properly applying crop protection products, more farms can experience cleaner fields and greater yields.”

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