Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Tuesday October 31 Ag News

Grazing Corn Stalk Fields with Beef Cattle
Larry Howard, NE Extension, Cuming County

This past week, we have heard reports in parts of the state where high winds have caused some downed corn and has left 20-70 bushels per acre of corn on the ground.  Prior to grazing cornstalks with cattle, an estimate should be made of the amount of corn that is present in the field. University of Nebraska-Lincoln has an excellent publication that addresses this issue.  Extension Circular EC 287 Grazing Crop Residues with Beef Cattle  provides information on a simple method for estimating the bushels of corn that are on the ground.

An 8-inch ear of corn contains about 0.50 lb of corn grain; therefore, 112 8-inch ears would equal 1 bushel (1 bushel = 56 pounds). By counting the number of ears, the amount of corn can be estimated. If corn is planted in 30-inch rows, count the number of ears in three different 100-foot furrow strips and divide by two to give an approximate number of bushels per acre.

For example, after walking three, 100-foot strips, a total of 30 ears of corn were counted. Total ears of corn, which is 30, divided by 2, equals an estimated 15 bushels of corn per acre on the ground. Small ears and broken ears should be counted as half ears, while very large ears could be counted as an ear and a half. Any amount beyond 8-10 bushels per acre will require a well-planned grazing strategy to ensure that too much grain is not consumed by grazing cattle.

If it is determined that there is excessive corn on the ground, the following are strategies to implement to help minimize the risk of digestive upsets (acidosis), lameness and abortions for cattle grazing the cornstalks.
·    Limit access to corn by cross fencing the field and using a method called “strip grazing” where cattle are only given access to the determined amount of corn that they should eat for a given day. This method is the most reliable method for controlling corn intake. If downed corn is on an irrigated center pivot, one option for strip grazing is to attach the electric fence to the center pivot and move the pivot to move the fence.
·    Consider the class of livestock that is going to be grazed. Cattle that haven’t grazed cornstalks before, such as weaned calves or yearlings, will often take time before they actively seek out corn. This can give the cattle time to adjust and acclimate to the corn. Weaned calves or yearlings can also make best use of the corn and convert it into a saleable product as they are growing and adding pounds that can be marketed.
·    Non-pregnant cows that would benefit from gaining weight are another class of livestock that can be a good choice for grazing downed corn. Cull cow prices often seasonally increase from the late fall into the spring which complements the use of this resource.
·    Cows that have previous experience with grazing cornstalks will seek downed corn immediately. Cows should be adjusted to corn prior to giving them access to the field. Start cows on 2-3 pounds of corn a day and work them up to 10-12 pounds per day over a 7-10 day period. Adjusting cows to corn will help to reduce the risk of digestive upsets.
·    Have cattle full prior to turning out for grazing and provide good quality hay so cattle don’t over consume corn immediately. Feeding palatable hay or other feed daily can also help to reduce the amount of corn that cattle will be eating.
·    The use of a Monensin supplement fed daily can help to stabilize feed intake and reduce the risk of founder and bloat which are caused by overeating.

Managing cattle that are grazing cornfields with excessive downed corn can be a challenge for producers. However, with planning and strategy, cattle can clean up and make good use of this situation, benefiting both the farmer and the cattle producer.

Nebraska Extension Beef Webinar - Wednesday, November 1

Nebraska Extension is hosting another webinar, this one is specifically focused for feedlot owners and employees.  These are starting a monthly get together using webinars to hit timely topics, and allow for some discussion of educational needs. The webinar is Wednesday, November 1 from 12:30 to 1:30. You can access it easily by clicking the link below. We are using a program called zoom which is free to download.

The topic tomorrow will be new information related to manure value and why we need to recycle this resource. The information will hopefully help with moving manure more easily to cropping neighbors, or provide insight on why you want to use it on your own acres.

They will have a discussion before the formal information is shared about topics that you may need help on or more information provided. An example will be this current proposed reporting requirement or other information you want to know more about.

Please plan to participate, or any employees too. They did the first one in early October and has been viewed 125 times since we recorded it. So, these will be available for searching on our youtube channel as well.

Link to webinar:

To access the webinars using a telephone dial 408-638-0968 or 646-876-9923. The meeting id is 751-919-398. 

NE Cattlemen Convention Registration Open!

The Annual Nebraska Cattlemen Convention & Trade Show held Dec. 5-8 at the Younes Conference Center in Kearney, NE will  feature beef industry experts and related industry vendors.

Some of this year's convention speakers & topics include:
-    Young Cattlemen's Round Table - Wednesday Dec. 6th, 2017: "Be Inspired, Be Impactful, Get Involved"
-    Feedlot Council - Wednesday Dec. 6th, 2017: Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality Update - Jim Macy, Director, Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality & University of Nebraska - Lincoln Feed and Feeding Efficiency Research - Galen Erickson, Ph.D., UNL
-    Natural Resources & Environment Committee - Thursday Dec. 7th, 2017: Compliance with New Federal Air Emissions Reporting and more!
-    Education and Research/ Taxation Joint Committees - Thursday Dec. 7th, 2017: 2018 Nebraska Tax Reform and Relief & Future of Education Funding in Nebraska
-    General Session - Wednesday Dec. 6th, 2017: Hear from Nebraska Cattlemen and National Cattlemen's Beef Association leaders!

You won't want to miss this convention jam-packed with educational opportunities. Not to mention an entire day of Cattlemen's College on Tuesday! Many other great speakers will be presenting during the council and committee meetings. The trade show will be open Wednesday evening and Thursday. You won't want to miss the opportunity to converse with our industry partners.

View full schedule here...

USDA Announces Enrollment Period for Safety Net Coverage in 2018

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that starting Nov. 1, 2017, farmers and ranchers with base acres in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) safety net program may enroll for the 2018 crop year. The enrollment period will end on Aug. 1, 2018.

“Since shares and ownership of a farm can change year-to-year, producers must enroll by signing a contract each program year,” said Farm Service Agency (FSA) Acting Administrator Steve Peterson. “I encourage producers to contact their local FSA office to schedule an appointment to enroll.”

The producers on a farm that are not enrolled for the 2018 enrollment period will not be eligible for financial assistance from the ARC or PLC programs for the 2018 crop should crop prices or farm revenues fall below the historical price or revenue benchmarks established by the program. Producers who made their elections in previous years must still enroll during the 2018 enrollment period.

“This week FSA is issuing approximately $850 million in rice payments,” said Peterson. “These payments are part of the $8 billion in 2016 ARC and PLC payments that started in October to assist enrolled producers who suffered a loss of revenue or price, or both. Over half a million producers will receive ARC payments and over a quarter million producers will receive PLC payments for 2016 crops.”

The ARC and PLC programs were authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill and offer a safety net to agricultural producers when there is a substantial drop in prices or revenues for covered commodities. Covered commodities include barley, canola, large and small chickpeas, corn, crambe, flaxseed, grain sorghum, lentils, mustard seed, oats, peanuts, dry peas, rapeseed, long grain rice, medium grain rice (which includes short grain and sweet rice), safflower seed, sesame, soybeans, sunflower seed and wheat. Upland cotton is no longer a covered commodity. For more details regarding these programs, go to

For more information, producers are encouraged to visit their local FSA office.

Voting Begins for 2017 FSA County Committee Elections

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will begin mailing ballots to eligible farmers and ranchers across the country for the 2017 Farm Service Agency (FSA) county committee elections on Monday, Nov. 6, 2017.

“County committee members play an indispensable role in our efforts to provide assistance to producers,” said FSA Acting Administrator Steve Peterson. “They provide local input as decisions are made about the services we provide, including disaster and emergency programs. I strongly encourage all eligible producers to cast a vote for a candidate that brings expertise and a diverse perspective to their local committee.”

To ensure their votes are counted, producers must return ballots to their local FSA offices by Dec. 4, 2017. Nearly 7,700 FSA county committee members serve FSA offices nationwide. Each committee has three to 11 elected members who serve three-year terms of office. One-third of county committee seats are up for election each year. County committee members apply their knowledge and judgment to help FSA make important decisions on its commodity support programs, conservation programs, indemnity and disaster programs, and emergency programs and eligibility.

Producers must participate or cooperate in an FSA program to be eligible to vote in the county committee election. Approximately 1.7 million producers are currently eligible to vote in this year’s election. Farmers and ranchers who supervise and conduct the farming operations of an entire farm, but are not of legal voting age, also may be eligible to vote.

Farmers and ranchers will begin receiving their ballots the week of Nov. 6. Ballots include the names of candidates running for the local committee election. FSA has modified the ballot, making it easily identifiable and less likely to be overlooked. Voters who do not receive ballots in the coming week can pick one up at their local FSA offices. Ballots returned by mail must be postmarked no later than Dec. 4, 2017. Newly elected committee members will take office Jan. 1, 2018.

For more information, visit the FSA website at

Harvest Revenue Insurance Prices

The month of October is important for growers in the key Corn Belt states who purchase revenue-based crop insurance policies. It's when the harvest prices for those policies are set.

With 22 trading days in October now finished, the running average as of 10/31/17: $3.49 per bushel for corn and $9.75 per bushel for soybeans.

For the vast majority of spring-planted crops, planting price guarantees calculated in February were soybeans $10.19 and corn $3.96.

You can also check out a running tally of RMA's harvest prices and prices recently in discovery here:

Revenue policies with harvest-price protection cover losses caused by a difference in the harvest price (determined in October) from the projected price (determined in February). They also cover revenue losses in the event prices tumble between planting and harvest, as they did for corn in 2008.

For producers in 31 states, the closing price of the December corn contract during each trading day of February is averaged to determine a revenue-insurance-projected price guarantee. The November contract closes are averaged during February for projected price for soybean revenue-based insurance contracts. The September Minneapolis spring wheat closes are averaged for wheat revenue insurance. States with earlier planting have their spring guarantees set at a different time.

"The amount of insurance protection is based on the greater of the projected price or the harvest price," according to the Risk Management Agency's website. "If the harvested plus any appraised production multiplied by the harvest price is less than the amount of insurance protection, the producer is paid an indemnity based on the difference."

NAWG President Defends NAFTA Trade Deal at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Today, NAWG President Gordon Stoner, along with several U.S. agricultural stakeholders and business community representatives, participated in a NAFTA panel titled “The Future of NAFTA: The Stakes for American Agriculture and Business.” The panel took place at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C. and was moderated by Neil Herrington, the U.S. Chamber’s Vice President of the Americas.

 “The NAFTA trade agreement was key in growing international markets for U.S. wheat,” stated NAWG President and Montana Grower Gordon Stoner. “Just last year alone, Mexico was our largest export market with about 3 million metric tons of wheat and is consistently in the top 10.”

Each year U.S. wheat production is about 58 million metric tons, or about 2.13 billion bushels. The United States exports around 50% of its wheat (1 billion bushels) to more than 100 countries each year.

“With U.S. wheat farmers already enduring financial distress, open access to the Mexican and Canadian markets is needed now more than ever. Our farm economy is struggling, and we look to current and new trade markets to sell our high-quality product,” continued Stoner. “As the Administration continues to be flippant about NAFTA re-negotiations, Mexico has already begun sourcing wheat from other countries. NAWG continues to stress for the Administration to ‘Do No Harm’ and to look ahead for opportunities for new trade deals.”

Additional panelists included:
-    Mr. Randy Spronk, Managing Director, Spronk Brothers III; Ranger Farms
-    Dr. Dermot Hayes, Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor in Agriculture and Life Sciences, Chair in Agribusiness, Iowa State University
-    Mr. Bob Peterson, Chairman & CEO of Melton Truck Lines, Inc.
-    Dr. Albert M. Green, CEO, Kent Displays, Inc.

U.S. Grains Council Adds Overseas Staff To Boost Global Presence, Grain Sales

The U.S. Grains Council is adding a new strategic director in Asia and assistant director in Southeast Asia as part of a global resource expansion meant to capture near-term demand for feed grain sales and build long-term demand for ethanol among global customers.

"Over the past year, the Council's leadership has heard loud and clear that what our members want is new demand, and they are willing to invest in it by allowing us to hire high-quality people around the world," said Tom Sleight, Council president and CEO. "Particularly as we have pivoted to promoting ethanol exports globally, we have focused on ensuring we have the right people in our overseas offices to do this work well and quickly."

Tim Tierney joined the Council as director of strategic marketing/ethanol, North Asia, on Monday, filling a new role that seeks to capitalize on both longstanding relationships in the region and emerging opportunities for biofuels. Tierney will be based in Singapore.

Tierney came to the organization from Syngenta and DuPont, where he worked on products developed for the ethanol industry. Earlier in his career, he worked for the Council for more than 10 years as director in Japan, director of international operations based in Washington, and as a trade servicer.

Caleb Wurth will join the Council's Southeast Asia regional office in Kuala Lumpur as assistant director in November.

Most recently with ADM, he has experience marketing corn and corn co-products to feedlots and working on containerized grain export logistics, both of which are particularly relevant to the region in which he will be working. As a student at Kansas State, he took part in a Council- and FFA-sponsored I-CAL program to educate young leaders on international trade issues.

These additions complement other staff expansions over the last year that are meant to help find, develop and capture wholly new demand for corn, sorghum, barley, distiller's dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and ethanol.

"We know that farmers need sales now to deal with the economic conditions they are facing. Demand supports prices, and we are in the business of both increasing sales over time and capturing purchases being made for this marketing year," Sleight said.

Many of the additional roles focus on ethanol, with consultants newly on board in Latin America, Canada, China and Mexico. The Council has added feed grain-focused consultants in Vietnam, the Arabian Gulf and Western Mexico. Assistant directorships in Mexico and Kuala Lumpur have been in place since late 2016.

This staffing-up process also included offering several existing staff promotions within the organization's global operations and filling positions that came open for consultants in Latin America and Egypt and staff in Tunis and China.

"A robust network of staff and consultants is what makes the Council so effective globally," Sleight said. "We are appreciative of the support and the confidence of our members, and we have our marching orders to find new sales wherever possible."

AGCO Reports Third Quarter Results

AGCO, Your Agriculture Company (NYSE:AGCO), a worldwide manufacturer and distributor of agricultural equipment, reported net sales of approximately $2.0 billion for the third quarter of 2017, an increase of approximately 12.8% compared to the third quarter of 2016. Reported net income was $0.76 per share for the third quarter of 2017, and adjusted net income, excluding restructuring expenses, was $0.79 per share. These results compare to reported net income of $0.50 per share and adjusted net income, excluding restructuring expenses, of $0.51 per share for the third quarter of 2016. Excluding favorable currency translation impacts of approximately 2.7%, net sales in the third quarter of 2017 increased approximately 10.1% compared to the third quarter of 2016.

Net sales for the first nine months of 2017 were approximately $5.8 billion, an increase of approximately 8.7% compared to the same period in 2016. Excluding unfavorable currency translation impacts of approximately 0.1%, net sales for the first nine months of 2017 increased approximately 8.8% compared to the same period in 2016. For the first nine months of 2017, reported net income was $1.77 per share and adjusted net income, excluding restructuring expenses and a non-cash expense related to waived stock compensation, was $1.91 per share. These results compare to reported net income of $1.20 per share and adjusted net income, excluding restructuring expenses and a non-cash deferred income tax adjustment, of $1.63 per share for the first nine months of 2016.

Third Quarter Highlights

-    Reported regional sales results(1): North America +6.7%, Europe/Middle East (“EME”) +15.2%, South America +4.5%, Asia/Pacific/Africa (“APA”) +29.4%

-    Constant currency regional sales results(1)(2): North America +5.8%, EME +10.9%, South America +4.8%, APA +25.9%

-    Regional operating margin performance: North America 5.6%, EME 9.7%, South America 3.3%, APA 7.3%

-    Maintaining full-year outlook for net income per share

“AGCO delivered solid sales and earnings performance in the third quarter, while continuing to make strategic investments in new technologies, productivity enhancements and new market development,” stated Martin Richenhagen, AGCO’s Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. “We produced sales growth and operating margin improvement across all regions while market demand remained at low levels. Long-term growth continues to be a key focus, and we are working to expand our product offerings through internal product development efforts and through bolt-on acquisitions. We recently completed two acquisitions that broaden our product portfolio. In September, we acquired Precision Planting, a leader in innovative planting technology, and in October, we completed the purchase of the forage division of the Lely Group, which significantly enhances our hay and forage product line in Europe.”

McDonald's Sets New Welfare Standards for Chickens

McDonald's Corp will require suppliers to follow new standards for raising and slaughtering chickens served in its restaurants, the company said on Friday, the latest changes affecting popular menu items like McNuggets.

Animal activists said the mandates fall short of commitments made by other restaurants, such as Burger King and sandwich chain Subway, and failed to address their primary concern about chicken production: birds bred to grow quickly to large sizes, reports Reuters.

Under McDonald's updated guidelines, suppliers such as Tyson Foods Inc and Cargill Inc must comply by 2024 with rules dictating the amount and brightness of light in chicken houses, provide birds with access to perches that promote natural behavior, and take other steps to improve animal welfare.

The world's largest restaurant chain by revenue also pledged to conduct trials with suppliers to measure the wellbeing of different chicken breeds.

The treatment of animals in the food chain has become increasingly important to some consumers in recent years as animal welfare groups have released undercover videos showing abuse at U.S. facilities, including those associated with Tyson.

McDonald's requirements are the latest changes to affect its menu that address concerns about animal and human health. It previously stopped buying chicken meat for U.S. restaurants from birds raised with antibiotics deemed important to human health and said it would shift to using cage-free eggs in the U.S and Canada.


The Organic Farmers Association recently announced their 2017-2018 Policy Priorities, including policy positions on hot organic issues such as hydroponics, animal welfare, organic checkoff and the farm bill.

Last week, the Organic Farmers Association Steering Committee voted to approve the organization's first policy positions, established as "urgent policy positions," because they occurred outside their annual policy development process. Policy Committee members reviewed and approved submitting the positions to the OFA certified organic farm membership for a vote and comment. With high farmer support for all the proposed policies the Steering Committee voted to approve their use.

The policies are timely as the National Organic Standards Board meeting begins today, Tuesday, October 31 in Jacksonville, Florida and a highly contentious topic regarding whether hydroponic production will be allowed under the organic standards will be discussed. OFA farm members voted to follow the recommendations of the NOSB Crops Subcommittee and not allow hydroponics under the organic label.

Dave Chapman, OFA Policy Committee member says, "having Organic Farmers Association certified organic farmers vote to oppose organic hydroponics speaks volumes. We have seen a growing outcry from farmers over this issue for the past few years and farmers are adamant that healthy soil is the foundation of the organic label. We must keep the soil in organic."

Other OFA policies address issues such as the organic checkoff, where 77% of OFA certified organic farmer members voted to oppose the proposed Organic Research and Promotion Program (ORPP) that would mandate organic farmers and handlers to pay an assessment on organic net sales each year. The membership also voted to urge the USDA to implement the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices Rule (OLPP) without further delay, scheduled to go into effect November 14.

"We urge the USDA to act on behalf of America's sustainable family farmers and listen to their needs by implementing the organic animal welfare act and discontinuing the organic checkoff proposal," says Jim Riddle, OFA Steering Committee Chair and Minnesota organic farmer.

As the House and Senate Agriculture committees work to draft the 2018 farm bill, OFA now has its farm bill priorities clearly outlined and directed by their farm membership.

Michael Adsit, an organic farmer in Michigan and member of both the OFA Steering and Policy Committees commented, "as a member of OFA leadership, I am pleased we now have formal policy directive from organic farmers across the country that detail the USDA programs farmers need to be successful now and in the future. The future of agriculture is organic, and we must have a farm bill that helps fulfill this growing market demand with US supply."

To view the full Organic Farmers Association Policy Priorities, visit

Organic Farmers Association will continue to engage their members in policy development and plan to begin their annual policy development process in the next few months. These policy positions will be ratified by the certified organic farm members before becoming permanent pieces of OFA policy platform.

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