Friday, November 10, 2017

Thursday November 9 Ag News


Based on November 1 conditions, Nebraska's 2017 corn crop is forecast at 1.66 billion bushels, down 2 percent from last year's production, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Area to be harvested for grain, at 9.30 million acres, is down 3 percent from a year ago. Yield is forecast at 179 bushels per acre, up 1 bushel from last year.

Soybean production is forecast at a record 328 million bushels, up 4 percent from last year. Area for harvest, at 5.65 million acres, is 10 percent above 2016. Yield is forecast at 58 bushels per acre, down 3 bushels from last year.

Sorghum production is forecast at 14.4 million bushels, down 19 percent from last year. Area for harvest, at 150,000 acres, is 14 percent below 2016. Yield is forecast at 96 bushels per acre, down 6 bushels from last year.

Sugarbeet production is forecast at 1.44 million tons, up 2 percent from last year. Area for harvest, at 44,600 acres, is down 6 percent from 2016. Record yield is forecast at 32.3 tons per acre, up 2.4 tons from last year.

Potato acres of 19,000 were planted in 2017, up 15 percent with harvest set at 18,900 acres, up 15 percent. Production is forecast at 8.88 million cwt, up 20 percent from last year. Yield is estimated at 470 cwt per acre, up 20 cwt from last year.


Iowa corn production is forecast at 2.54 billion bushels according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Crop Production report. Based on conditions as of November 1, yields are expected to average 197 bushels per acre, up 6 bushels per acre from the October 1 forecast but down 6 bushels per acre from last year. If realized, this will be the second highest yield and production on record behind 2016. Acres harvested for grain remain unchanged at 12.9 million acres.

Soybean production is forecast at 557 million bushels. If realized, this will be the second highest production on record behind last year’s 566 million bushels. The yield is forecast at 56.0 bushels per acre, unchanged from the October 1 forecast, but down 4.0 bushels per acre from 2016. If realized, this will be the third highest yield on record, behind 2016 and 2015. Area harvested remained unchanged at 9.95 million acres.

All crop forecasts in this report are based on November 1 conditions and do not reflect weather effects since that time. The next corn and soybean production estimates will be published in the Crop Production – 2017 Summary report which will be released on January 12, 2018.

USDA:  Corn Production Up 2 Percent from October Forecast

Soybean Production Down Less Than 1 Percent
Cotton Production Up 1 Percent

Corn production is forecast at 14.6 billion bushels, down 4 percent from last year but up 2 percent from the October forecast. Based on conditions as of November 1, yields are expected to average 175.4 bushels per acre, up 3.6 bushels from the October forecast and up 0.8 bushel from 2016. If realized, this will be the highest yield on record for the United States. Area harvested for grain is forecast at 83.1 million acres, unchanged from the previous estimate but down 4 percent from 2016.

Soybean production is forecast at a record 4.43 billion bushels, down less than 1 percent from October but up 3 percent from last year. Based on November 1 conditions, yields are expected to average 49.5 bushels per acre, unchanged from last month but down 2.5 bushels from last year. Area for harvest in the United States is forecast at a record high 89.5 million acres, unchanged from last month. 

All cotton production is forecast at 21.4 million 480-pound bales, up 1 percent from October and up 25 percent from last year. Yield is expected to average 900 pounds per harvested acre, up 11 pounds from last month and up 33 pounds from last year. If realized, the cotton yield forecast for the Nation will be the highest yield on record. Upland cotton production is forecast at 20.7 million 480-pound bales, up 24 percent from 2016. Pima cotton production, forecast at 727,000 bales, was carried forward from an earlier forecast.

Lt. Gov. Foley Signs Memorandum of Understanding in China

Wednesday, Lt. Governor Mike Foley and Director Wang of Hebei Province Department of Human Resources signed a memorandum of understanding to increase exchange of information and build a better relationship between Hebei Province and the State of Nebraska.  Hebei is an important center of agriculture and industry in Eastern China.

During his meeting with Director Wang, Lt. Governor Foley welcomed Hebei officials to come visit Nebraska and asked for support from the provincial government in promoting Nebraska as a destination for investment.  Both sides expressed their desire to increase trade, exchange ideas, and work together to develop better relations.

Lt. Governor Foley has been travelling in China since November 5th in order to promote Nebraska goods and develop closer business ties between Nebraska and China.  On November 5th, Lt. Governor Foley addressed the opening ceremony of the China Agricultural Fair in Yangling, Shaanxi along with dignitaries from China, Europe, Asia, and Africa.  Approximately 300,000 people attended the first day of the China Agricultural Fair.  After attending the China Agricultural Fair, Lt. Governor Foley travelled to Beijing and surrounding areas November 6-8th.

In addition to attending the China Agricultural Fair, Lt. Governor Mike Foley has been meeting with business and government representatives from across China to build relationships and encourage more business and investment in Nebraska.  The Lt. Governor will travel to Shanghai on November 9th, and return to the United States on November 11th.

USMEF Lauds USTR for a Definitive WTO Win on Indonesia’s Beef Import Requirements

Today, the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled in favor of the United States in a dispute with Indonesia over its complex and opaque import requirements for beef and beef products. The WTO report found that all 18 of Indonesia’s import measures challenged by the United States were inconsistent with WTO rules and obligations. Today’s ruling marks the end of the WTO dispute settlement process and is expected to open up significant new export opportunities for the U.S. beef industry in the Indonesian market.

U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) CEO Philip Seng said, “We are extremely pleased with the outcome of this case and wish to thank the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) for its effective presentation of the legal arguments against Indonesia’s import controls. The WTO ruling is confirmation of USTR’s decision to bring the case and supports the need for a strong and transparent dispute settlement system in the WTO.”

Seng said USMEF sees Indonesia as a very promising market for the future. It is the fourth most populous country in the world, but with per capita beef consumption of only 3.4 kg Indonesia has almost unlimited potential to become one of the world’s largest beef importing countries. “Today’s WTO report sets the stage for expansion of Indonesia’s beef market. We are excited about the opportunity to play a big part in its development by introducing U.S. beef to a much wider group of Indonesian customers.”

Last year U.S. beef and beef variety meats exports to Indonesia were 10,783 mt valued at $39.4 million, making it our 9th largest export market by volume and 15th largest by value. Through September of this year, exports to Indonesia were 9,934 mt valued at $36.6 million. This marked a 96 percent increase from the first nine months of 2016 in volume and a 78 percent increase in value.

Indonesia is currently the third-largest export market for U.S. beef hearts following Mexico and Hong Kong.

Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices Delay of Effective Date

USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is delaying the effective date of the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices (OLPP) final rule published in the Federal Register on January 19, 2017.

During the course of reviewing the OLPP Rule, in addition to a question about the scope of the statutory authority, a material error in the record was discovered. USDA is delaying the rule so that important questions, such as the likely costs and benefits, can be more fully assessed through the notice and comment process prior to making a final decision on the direction of the rule.

The OLPP final rule amends the organic livestock and poultry production requirements by adding new provisions for livestock handling and transport for slaughter and avian living conditions; and expands and clarifies existing requirements covering livestock care and production practices and mammalian living conditions.

More information is available in the November 9, 2017 Federal Register Notice 2017-24675.

Conaway on Trump Administration’s Delay of Overreaching Organic Livestock Rule

Today, House Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway (TX-11) made the following remarks in response to the Trump administration’s decision to delay the effective date of the controversial and overreaching final rule on organic livestock and poultry practices that was pushed through in the final hours of the Obama administration:

“The organic livestock rule goes far beyond the scope of the National Organic Program, threatening animal health and food safety, and jeopardizing the livelihoods of numerous farmers and ranchers. While I believe withdrawing this costly and unworkable regulation is the best way to provide certainty to livestock and poultry producers across the nation, I do appreciate that Sec. Perdue and his team are taking extra time to evaluate the full implications of the rule. I am hopeful the Trump administration’s commitment to regulatory reform will result in the continued roll-back of burdensome regulations like this one”

The organic livestock rule, initially proposed in April of 2016, vastly expands the list of required animal welfare practices for organic livestock production. Chief among the arbitrarily prescriptive requirements are mandates on outdoor access for poultry that are opposed by numerous industry experts due to the increased risk of diseases for the animals and food-borne illness for consumers.

 Delay Sought For Reporting Farm Air Emissions

With a Nov. 15 deadline looming, the National Pork Producers Council and the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association today filed a brief in support of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s motion to delay a mandate that farmers report certain air emissions from manure on their farms.

In April, a federal court, ruling on a lawsuit brought by environmental activist groups against EPA, rejected an exemption for farms from reporting “hazardous” emissions under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Emergency Planning Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA). CERCLA mainly is used to clean hazardous waste sites but has a federal reporting component, while EPCRA requires entities to report on the storage, use and release of hazardous substances to state and local governments, including first responders.

EPA had exempted farms from CERCLA reporting, reasoning that while emissions might exceed thresholds that would trigger responses under the law such responses would be “unnecessary, impractical and unlikely.” The agency limited EPCRA reporting to large, confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), requiring them to make one-time reports. Under the decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, all livestock farms, not just CAFOs, are required to report.

Between 60,000 and 100,000 livestock and poultry farmers will need to file air emissions reports with the U.S. Coast Guard National Response Center (NRC), beginning Nov. 15, as well as written reports with their regional EPA office within 30 days of reporting to the NRC.

Some farmers already have tried filing reports, but the NRC system has been overwhelmed. NRC operators are refusing to accept reports for more than a single farm per call because of concern that the phone systems will be tied up for non-emergency purposes. In one instance, an NRC operator sent notices out to more than 20 state and federal response authorities, including the Department of Homeland Security, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a state policy agency, after receiving a phone call.

In seeking a second delay in implementing the CERCLA reporting mandate – the original filing deadline technically was the day the federal court threw out the exemption – EPA, NPPC and the poultry and egg association are asking the court to give the agency more time to “provide farmers more specific and final guidance before they must estimate and report emissions” and to develop a system that will enable farmers to comply with their legal obligations.

In Final Decision, Commerce Department Confirms Unfair Subsidies by Argentina, Indonesia of Biodiesel Imports

Today the Commerce Department issued a final determination in a case brought by the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) Fair Trade Coalition regarding subsidized biodiesel imports from Argentina and Indonesia. Earlier this year, the Commerce Department made a preliminary finding that Argentina and Indonesia provide subsidies to their biodiesel producers in violation of international trade rules. Today’s decision cements that earlier finding, and the cash deposit rates required of importers of biodiesel will be updated to reflect this final determination.

“The biodiesel industry has been injured for the past several years due to unfairly traded imports from Argentina and Indonesia. We appreciate that these unfair subsidies are being addressed, so we can fix this particular obstacle to continued growth in the domestic industry,” said Doug Whitehead, chief operating officer of the National Biodiesel Board. “Though not yet over, this is a step forward in ensuring the product that supports nearly 64,000 jobs is not undercut by unfair imports.”

To reflect the final determination, the Commerce Department will update the cash deposit rates that importers of Argentinian and Indonesian biodiesel must pay on biodiesel imported from those countries. The cash deposit rates range from 71.45 to 72.28 percent for biodiesel from Argentina, and 34.45 to 64.73 percent for biodiesel from Indonesia, depending on the particular foreign producer/exporter involved.

The NBB Fair Trade Coalition filed these petitions to address a flood of subsidized and dumped imports from Argentina and Indonesia that has resulted in market share losses and depressed prices for domestic producers. Biodiesel imports from Argentina and Indonesia surged by 464 percent from 2014 to 2016, taking 18.3 percentage points of market share from U.S. manufacturers. Imports of biodiesel from Argentina again jumped 144.5 percent following the filing of the petitions. These surging, low-priced imports prevented producers from earning adequate returns on their substantial investments and caused U.S. producers to pull back on further investments to serve a growing market.

To be successful in securing relief, a party must file not only with the Commerce Department, but also with the International Trade Commission (ITC). The Commerce Department determines whether the imports are subsidized and/or dumped, while the ITC determines whether the domestic industry has been injured by reason of such unfairly traded imports. The Commerce Department also determines the margin of duties to impose on imports based on the degree of dumping and subsidies found.

Today, November 9, the ITC is holding a public hearing in Washington, DC, beginning at 9:40AM ET, at which coalition members will testify before the ITC commissioners. The ITC is scheduled to hold its final injury vote on subsidies on December 5th. If the ITC’s final injury vote in December is affirmative, the Commerce Department will publish final countervailing duty orders on the question of subsidies.

The coalition filed both antidumping and countervailing duty petitions with the Commerce Department. Antidumping petitions address concerns whether imports coming into the United States are priced below fair value. Countervailing duty petitions address subsidies provided by foreign governments benefiting imported product. Today’s decision is on the subsidies question.

The antidumping investigations are following a different schedule: Commerce is scheduled to issue final antidumping determinations in early January, which would be followed by another ITC injury vote as it relates to dumped imports.

Ways and Means Committee Passes Tax-Reform Bill After Striking Self-Employment Provision

In advancing their tax-reform bill to the House floor for debate, the House Ways and Means Committee removed language that would have subjected rental income to self-employment taxes.

The topic had become a major sticking point in the tax-reform package for agriculture because it would have taxed more than 1.8 million farmland landlords, including farmers who lease land back to their family partnerships.

"When H.R. 1 was introduced, we realized that it would expand the types of income subject to self-employment tax, including for rental of land. That would have meant that landowners who were renting cropland for farming would have seen an increase in the self-employment taxes," said Brad Palen, principal and a CPA with K-Coe Isom, an agricultural accounting firm. "After we met with House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway and expressed our concerns, we were pleased to see this provision removed by the Ways and Means Committee."

K-Coe Isom stated its staff met with House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway, R-Texas, along with staff from the American Farm Bureau Federation and the accounting firm of Clifton Larson Allen. The accounting firms explained their concerns about the impact that the self-employment changes would have had on farmers.

"Chairman Conaway understood our concerns and said he would help make sure that farmers weren't hurt by this self-employment tax provision," Palen said. "He clearly stayed true to his word today and helped avoid what would have been a significant tax increase on many farmers."

The tax-reform bill was voted out of the House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday afternoon on a party-line vote as House Republicans seek to get the legislation to the full House, potentially as early as next week. The bill seeks to cut a net $1.5 trillion over 10 years with an overhaul of corporate tax rates and simplification of personal taxes.

Soil Health Partnership applauds No-till November

The Soil Health Partnership is joining in on some fall fashion advice for farmers: keep the stubble this fall. Stubble in the field looks great—plus it’s good for erosion control and overall soil health.

During a month-long campaign called “No-Till November,” the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service —a supporter of the Soil Health Partnership—is encouraging farmers to “keep the stubble” on their harvested crop fields.

More than half of the farms enrolled in the SHP practice some sort of no-till, including Dan Roehrborn, who farms in Sheboygan Falls, Wisc. He says he’s been practicing no-till on bean acres for about 10 years.

“We save money on fuel and equipment by leaving it alone. Our no-till ground doesn’t erode as much, and is easier to work with in the spring,” Roehrborn says. “We like how the ground behaves when it’s time to plant and it doesn’t require as much work for the next year’s crop.”

The NRCS campaign is mirrored after the national cancer awareness “No Shave November” campaign. “No-Till November” encourages farmers to keep a different kind of stubble by parking tillage equipment in their machine sheds this fall and keep crop stubble on their fields.

“The effects of reducing tillage is an important aspect of the long-term data we’re collecting on the real, working farms enrolled in our program,” said Nick Goeser, SHP director. “The novel research across our farm network will shed new light on how it improves farm profitability.”

SHP’s Angela Knuth farms near Mead, Neb. Several years ago, her farm implemented no-till on bean acres and uses strip-till on corn acres.

“We like the cost savings we’ve seen on no-till. We don’t have to own equipment and we don’t have to run it across the field,” said Knuth. “We have been pleased to see no decrease in yield. We’re hoping to see that continued decrease in our cost of production and improvement in the soil tilth and microbe activity.”

Oklahoma Beef Checkoff Fails

A vote to increase the Oklahoma beef checkoff by $1 has failed with 2,506 opposing the increase and 1,998 backing the measure.

The debate leading up to the vote was an acrimonious affair among various groups. The outcome led to praise by RCALF-USA and the Organization of Competitive Markets, while leaders in the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association complained about out-of-state activism working to defeat the referendum.

"As a rancher, I face challenges every day," said Weston Givens, rancher and president of the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association. "Unfortunately, those daily challenges are nothing compared to the growing challenges that our industry faces such as: aggressive anti-meat activist groups trying to remove beef from the menu and misleading claims about food safety and animal care. It is disheartening that the Oklahoma Beef Checkoff was defeated, but I'm still proud of the strong collaborative effort of the Vote Yes Coalition and our grassroots campaign."

Bill Bullard, CEO for R-CALF USA, said his group was proud to stand with Oklahoma members to defeat the measure. "It is good to know that in America, if you stand up for what is right, you can still win."

Oklahoma farmer and OCM board member Paul Muegge added, "With my years of experience fighting corporate agriculture, I knew we had to stand up to OCA. They are nothing more than the modern-day cattle barons trying to ride rough shod over family farmers and ranchers and using our government to do so."

OCM and R-CALF USA had asked USDA to launch an investigation into the checkoff election and called for an audit of the Oklahoma Beef Council following the theft of $2.6 million by a former employee who pled guilty to fraud charges.

The $1 federal checkoff sends 50 cents to the Cattlemen's Beef Promotion and Research Board while 50 cents goes to state beef councils. Fifteen states also have a state-operated $1 checkoff: Alabama, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Washington.

EU Nations Again Fail to Agree on Continued Use of Glyphosate

(AP) -- European Union nations failed on Thursday to agree on the continued use of one of the world's most widely used weed killers, glyphosate, amid concerns about its possible links to cancer.

EU member nations met to discuss the issue Thursday following a European Parliament vote last month to limit an extension of the license for the weed killer -- used in chemical-giant Monsanto's popular Roundup herbicide -- to five years.

The European Commission has proposed a license extension of 10 years.

Many of the 28 member states that voted -- 14 countries -- were in favor of the commission's plan. Five countries abstained, and nine were against. But the votes weren't enough to renew the license, which expires on Dec. 15.

It's at least the third time EU countries have failed to secure an agreement.

Greens lawmaker Bart Staes said it's time "for the European Commission to accept that support for their proposals is not there."

He said: "The commission must do the right thing and ban this toxic substance."

Environmentalists have been seeking to ban glyphosate, which the World Health Organization's cancer agency said in 2015 is "probably carcinogenic to humans," while the EU's farmer's union wants a 15-year extension.

Banning glyphosate outright would shake Europe's agriculture sector to its foundations, so widely used is the product.

"Once again, we are left in a situation where no decision has been made on the re-authorization of glyphosate -- one of the safest plant protection products on the market which secures so much environmental benefit in terms of better soils and lower greenhouse gas emissions," said Guy Smith, from the British National Farmers' Union.

"We ask the commission to stand by its own science and regulatory procedure, and re-authorize glyphosate for the maximum period possible," he added.

For the moment, the European Commission plans to push ahead with its proposal. An appeals committee made up of member nations is expected to rule on the vote before the end of November, just a few weeks before the license runs out.

France's government has lobbied against a lengthy extension on use of the weed killer, despite protests from farmers who say it shouldn't be banned until there's a viable alternative.

French Environment Minister Nicolas Hulot, who rose to fame as the star of a TV nature show, said Wednesday that France would vote against any extension longer than three years.

"We are applying the precautionary principle," he said on BFM television. "We are not waiting for a list of tragic victims before we act."

French Health Minister Agnes Buzyn said Thursday on Radio Classique: "We absolutely must manage to abolish this pesticide. Research and development should find a less toxic substitute as quickly as possible."

Case IH Steiger Quadtrac 620 Tractor Sets New Performance Records for Maximum Pull and Fuel-efficient Horsepower in Nebraska Test Results

The Case IH Steiger® 620 tractor sets the record — whether wheeled or Quadtrac® — for best-in-class power and efficiency.

In recent tests at the Nebraska Tractor Test Laboratory (NTTL), the Steiger Quadtrac 620 tractor performed better than any other tracked tractor in areas of drawbar fuel efficiency, drawbar horsepower and maximum pull.1 This builds on record-setting results released for the Steiger 620 wheeled model earlier this year.2

“These results prove that Steiger tractors have the highest and most effective transfer of power to the ground,” said Mitch Kaiser, Case IH Steiger tractor marketing manager. “But it’s not just about feeling that power in the operator’s seat. An efficient transfer of power to the ground is important to pull larger implements, or pull the implements you already have, faster to cover more acres in a day.”

In newly released Nebraska Tractor Test Laboratory results, the Steiger® 620 tractor — whether wheeled or Quadtrac® — sets new performance records for best-in-class power and efficiency.

Efficient Power engine design

In many high-draft load conditions, Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) emissions technology can aid in providing fuel economy and power generation that surpasses competitive engines. Additionally, it allows the engine to run cleaner, which extends oil change intervals — 600 hours for Case IH versus 450 hours for most competitive units — thus reducing operating costs and helping to keep maintenance lower. Thanks to an efficient transmission and driveline, the tractor also delivers additional drawbar horsepower to increase productivity.

Proven four-track design

More than 20 years of industry-leading track technology can be found on every Steiger Quadtrac tractor, featuring four individually driven, positive drive oscillating tracks. These four-track systems include an exclusive Case IH five-axle design to distribute weight evenly and consistently. Each track maintains constant contact with the ground, giving producers a great ride, optimal pressure, superior flotation, increased traction and less compaction.

The NTTL results reflect the Case IH Customer Driven Product Design process, which includes focus groups and intensive testing by customers and engineers alike to ensure equipment is built for High-Efficiency Farming. This design has resulted in a standard variable rate steering system for smoother operation and exclusive four-point full-cab suspension for a more comfortable ride.

The NTTL is the officially designated tractor testing station for the United States and tests tractors according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) codes. Twenty-nine countries adhere to the OECD tractor test codes, with active test stations in 25 countries around the world.

Enogen® Feed hybrids energize beef and dairy rations, improve profit potential

Enogen® Feed corn hybrids from Syngenta can help beef and dairy producers improve crop production in the field and unlock the energy potential of their ration. With proven genetics and traits, Enogen Feed hybrids deliver excellent agronomic performance, and as grain or silage, are a valuable ration component that helps provide more available energy for cattle.

“Enogen Feed hybrids are unique in that they benefit beef and dairy operations in multiple ways to help increase profit potential,” said Duane Martin, commercial traits product lead, Syngenta. “It’s a simple switch. Incorporating Enogen Feed hybrids into beef and dairy operations is as easy as replacing the corn or silage currently grown and fed on-farm.”

In the field, Enogen Feed corn performs equal to or better than other high-performing corn hybrids1, with no additional agronomic management challenges2, unlike some silage-specific hybrids. Additionally, it offers producers the flexibility to chop for silage or harvest for grain.

When fed as grain or silage, Enogen Feed hybrids represent a step-change in starch and sugar availability, which helps improve digestibility and provides more available energy. Energy is a key component to maximizing beef or dairy production, and corn is an important energy source because it supplies starch, which is converted to sugar during digestion.

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