Friday, November 24, 2017

Friday November 24 Ag News

NE Extension Hosts Animal Care Wednesday Webinars

Next Webinar: Nov. 29, Galen Erickson, Nebraska Extension beef feedlot specialist, will review nutrition highlights from the 2018 Nebraska Beef Report

When: First Wednesday of the month (unless on or near a holiday) at 11:00 am CST

Who: Extension/4-H personnel and livestock professionals in Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Wyoming, and South Dakota

Purpose: Provide a brief snapshot of an Animal Welfare/Care topic, and how Extension personnel can use the information in their jobs to educate themselves, answer client and youth questions, or to strengthen programming.

Meeting layout: 15-20 minutes of presentation (limit to one concept), 10-15 minutes Q&A and/or discussion - total meeting: approximately 30 minutes.

To join the webinars: Click on To join from a mobile device or call in via phone, please contact for instructions.


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               Have you ever tested the quality of your grass hay and been disappointed at the low relative feed value?  Well, maybe your worry is unnecessary.

               Farmers and ranchers often tell me their prairie hay or cane hay or other grass hay looks really good but when a lab tested it the relative feed value, also called RFV, was surprisingly low, maybe in the 70s or 80s.  So what’s wrong with the hay?

               Well actually, nothing may be wrong.  You see, relative feed value was initially developed primarily to test legumes like alfalfa for the dairy industry.  It used two types of fiber, the ADF and the NDF to calculate RFV.  The NDF helped estimate intake and ADF estimated energy.

               However, this system assumed all fiber had the same digestibility.  We know that is not true, and it especially misrepresents the forage quality of grasses.  Grasses have more fiber than legumes but grass fiber usually is more digestible than legume fiber.  So grass hay frequently is ranked lower than it should be using relative feed value.

               Fortunately, new, low-cost tests have been developed that do a very good job of measuring digestible fiber, thus doing a better job of estimating forage quality of grasses.  This test is called relative forage quality, or RFQ for short.

               Forage scientists and animal nutritionists have worked together with these tests to also revise the intake and energy estimates so results from these tests predict how animals will truly perform much more accurately.

               While this new RFQ test is especially useful when testing grassy hays, it also has been proven to be better with alfalfa and other legumes.  So when you test forages in the future, look for labs that offer relative forage quality.  Your numbers will be more accurate.

How do atmospheric shifts affect soil-dwelling microbes?

Rising levels of carbon dioxide, ozone and other gases can affect crop growth. Microorganisms inside crops, on their roots or within nearby soil also influence crops by contributing nutrients, curbing disease and combating stresses such as drought. But little is known about how microorganisms respond as atmospheric conditions change.

Research led by Nebraska’s Daniel Schachtman recently showed that a microbial community’s response can depend on the species of crop – or genetic profile of the species – that co-inhabits its soil.

The team found that microbial communities near hybrid vs. inbred corn responded differently to elevated ozone levels. And the diversity of microbe populations living on soybean roots changed when exposed to more carbon dioxide.

The study suggested that differences in microbe-feeding compounds released by hybrid vs. inbred corn roots – or corn vs. soybeans – may explain why their microbial communities responded differently. In this way, the effects of rising atmospheric gas levels may trickle down from plants to the microbes in and around roots.

That knowledge could inform genetic engineering of crops to produce more compounds that promote beneficial microbes, ultimately boosting yields amid changing climates.

The researchers plan to further investigate differences among the compounds released by different varieties of corn.

 $6.6M saved through N-U budget reduction recommendations

The recommendations were made by Nebraska's Budget Response Teams, university-wide groups charged with identifying $30 million in cost savings to help address a budget shortfall resulting from cuts in state funding and increasing costs.

The teams represented facilities, human resources, information technology, purchasing and other operational areas within the university system. The university reported the budget savings in a Nov. 20 update to employees.

The bulk of the savings resulted from position eliminations, largely through attrition and eliminating vacant positions.

“These are real dollars — equivalent to a 2 percent tuition increase — a credit to (Budget Response Team) members and other campus personnel who are working hard to implement cost-reduction plans with the simultaneous goal of moving the university forward in these challenging times,” said Marjorie Kostelnik, senior associate to the president of the University of Nebraska system and past dean of the University of Nebraska's College of Education and Human Sciences.

Kostelnik was appointed earlier this year to lead implementation of the Budget Response Teams’ plans.

Kostelnik also acknowledged the challenges still ahead, particularly in view of the seriousness of the state’s fiscal situation. She noted that successfully navigating the challenges will require “sacrifice and a real commitment to change” by all employees.

The Budget Response Teams, comprising almost 100 subject-matter experts from across and outside the university, were appointed in January by President Hank Bounds and the NU chancellors to re-think operating expenses. Strategies identified by the teams include consolidation of NU’s facilities, energy, procurement and human resources functions into more streamlined university-wide teams, as well as continued integration of the system's information technology services.

In all, more than 70 cost-reduction strategies were recommended, then approved by a university-wide steering committee, the chancellors and the president. 

Kostelnik will continue to issue regular communications to employees about work done by the Budget Response Teams. The updates will include fiscal progress, details from individual teams and common questions and answers.

Candidacy Period Opens Dec 1 for NE Soybean Board

In 2018, soybean farmers that reside in Districts 1, 3 and 6 are eligible to run for a director position on the Nebraska Soybean Board.

District 1 – Antelope, Boyd, Cedar, Holt, Knox, Madison, Pierce
District 3 –  Cedar, Butler, Dodge, Douglas, Sarpy, Saunders, Washington
District 6 – Fillmore, Gage, Jefferson, Saline, Seward, Thayer

Election Period:

December 1 – Candidacy Petition period starts
April 15 – Candidacy Petitions are due to the Nebraska Soybean Board office
July 11 – Ballots mailed to eligible voters obtained from Farm Service Agency (FSA) soybean farmer list
July 31 – Last day to return ballots to tabulation office
October 1 – Nebraska Soybean Board newly elected directors term begins

Who can be a candidate?

* A resident of Nebraska
* A resident of the District in which the election is held
* A soybean farmer for the previous five years, who is at least 21, owns or shares the ownership and risk of loss for such soybeans, by reason of being a partner in a partnership, or is a shareholder in a corporation, or is a member of a limited liability company
* And has submitted a candidacy petition with 50 valid soybean farmers’ signatures in the Districts
which they live

Who can vote?

A soybean farmer that is:
*A resident of Nebraska
*A resident of the District in which the election is being held
*A soybean farmer who owns or shares the ownership and risk of loss for such soybeans, by reason of being a partner in a partnership, or is a shareholder in a corporation, or is a member of a limited liability company, during the current or immediate preceding calendar year

For more information, call (402) 441-3240

ELD Comment Deadline Approaching

The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association encourages individuals to submit comments on the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) rule.

Earlier this week, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)held a meeting to announce that ag haulers will receive a 90-day extension to comply with the ELD mandate. The rule is set to go into effect December 18, but this extension temporarily exempts ag haulers and will allow the agency to analyze a long-term delay and review comments relating a request to delay the rule for livestock haulers. However, it is more important now than ever for the livestock industry to file comments telling FMCSA that the ELD rule will not make hauling livestock more safe and that we cannot be regulated under the same rules as other industries because our cargo is alive.

The ELD mandate would require most truckers to implement the use of electronic logging devices in place of paper log forms they currently use. In combination with restrictive Hours of Service requirements, this rule would severely limit the ability of livestock haulers to get cattle to their destination in a timely manner.

The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association has submitted comments on behalf of its members, but it is crucial that as many comments are submitted as possible asking the DOT and FMCSA to amend the rule for livestock haulers. Comments are due by November 30.

For more information on how to comment and information to include in your comments, visit or contact JanLee at

Iowa Corn Partners with FFA Chapters to Bring Harvest Lunches to Southern Iowa Farmers

This harvest season the Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB) partnered with FFA Chapters across Southern Iowa to bring more than 1,000 lunches to farmers as they worked to bring in their crops.

District 9 partnered with FFA programs in Washington, Mediapolis, Keota, and Davis Counties to serve more than 350 meals. District 7 sponsored harvest meals in the towns of Red Oak, Fontenelle, Clarinda, Shenandoah, Greenfield, Corning and Mount Ayr. The FFA Chapters of Red Oak FFA, Nodaway Valley FFA, Davis-Martin FFA, Southwest Valley FFA, Clarinda Browne FFA and Mount Ayr FFA served 100 meals at each town.

“This gave us a chance to thank our local producers for their efforts in supporting our organization and their local communities,” explained Iowa Corn District Field Manager Alyssa Preston. “It was great to see the initiative from the FFA students in making this happen.”

FFA members delivered the boxed lunches directly to farmers in the fields as well as some chapters stopped at grain terminals to deliver the meals to semi-trucks waiting in line to take back to their harvest crews still in the fields.

“A couple of FFA students in our chapter approached me with the idea,” said Trent Steinhart, Washington FFA Advisor. “I gave them the go ahead and they asked Iowa Corn to be the sponsor. The coolest part was seeing the interaction between the students and the local grain farmers in the area. Just being able to meet with them for that short period of time to deliver lunches proved to be an extremely valuable opportunity for our FFA students. We will absolutely consider doing this program again next year and the students have even begun brainstorming how to improve and expand it for next year.”

Monsanto Employees Pack 100,000 Meals for Distribution to Missouri Food Banks

Nearly 250 Monsanto Company employee volunteers gathered at their St. Louis headquarters on Thursday, November 16 to package 100,000 tomato based pasta meals for Missouri children and families impacted by hunger and food insecurity.

Within Missouri, it’s estimated that one in three children face food insecurity on a regular basis and for adults, the number is one in five. Although many may believe hunger is an urban issue, it also extends into rural areas.

“Monsanto is committed to addressing hunger and food insecurity within our backyard in Missouri as well as in other communities where our employees and farmer customers live and work,” said Brett Begemann, Monsanto’s President and Chief Operating Officer. “We hope this collaborative effort by our volunteers will make a difference in the lives of many who are affected by hunger.”

Monsanto partnered with Meals of Hope, a Florida-based not for profit organization that provided the food and supplies for the first-time event. The packing was completed within four hours. The company also invited 80 students from four nearby high schools who are members of the National FFA Organization to pack meals as well as participate in a college and careers workshop focused on the Ag industry.  The students met with Monsanto employees, spoke with the company’s college recruiters and learned about various careers within agriculture.  Additionally, employees donated non-perishable items before the packing event to Operation Food Search of St. Louis.

Meals of Hope distributed the packed meals to its member food banks in Missouri where the need is greatest.  This past summer, Monsanto, along with several other organizations supported efforts by Missouri Farmers Care to raise awareness about food insecurity in the state’s rural areas. This event is an extension of Monsanto’s commitment to that effort.

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