Thursday, November 9, 2017

Wednesday November 8 Ag News

Cuming County Farm Service Agency Committee Elections to Begin; Producers to Receive Ballots Week of November 6th

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) County Executive Director Sarah Beck in Cuming County today announced that FSA will begin mailing ballots to eligible voters for the 2017 FSA county committee elections on Monday, November 6, 2017. Producers must return ballots to the Cuming County FSA office by Dec. 4, 2017, to ensure that their vote is counted.

“County committee members play an important role in their communities and provide a link between the agricultural community and USDA,” said Beck.

This year, Local Administrative Area 3 is up for election and the candidate in this year’s election is:

Vincent Meiergerd is nominated for Cuming County, to serve as a committee member. Meiergerd has produced corn, soybeans, and alfalfa for 35 years. He is an active member of the Cattlemen's Association.

Nearly 7,800 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, emergency programs and eligibility.

Producers must participate or cooperate in an FSA program to be eligible to vote in the county committee election. Approximately 1.9 million producers are currently eligible to vote. 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 November 6, 2017. Ballots include the names of candidates running for the local committee election. FSA has modified the ballot, making it more easily identifiable and less likely to be overlooked. Voters who do not receive ballots in the coming week can pick one up at the Cuming County FSA office. Ballots returned by mail must be postmarked no later than Dec. 4, 2017. Newly elected committee members and their alternates will take office Jan. 1, 2018.

For more information, visit the FSA website at You may also contact the Cuming County FSA office at (402) 372-2451.

Northwest Iowa Field Day to Feature Sheep Grazing Cover Crops

Sheep producers and agribusiness staff are invited to a field day featuring ewes and cover crops on Nov. 28 in Plymouth County. The field day is sponsored by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Northwest Iowa Sheep Producers, Iowa Sheep Industry Association and the Iowa Sheep and Wool Promotion Board. ISU Extension and Outreach beef specialist Beth Doran organized the event.

“Cover crops have been used to stretch grazing in the fall and early spring for cattle, but less research has been conducted regarding their potential with sheep,” Doran said. “This field day features two northwest Iowa sheep producers who actively graze cover crops.”

The field day will begin at 10 a.m. at the Tyler Meyer farm, located at 2465 500th Street, Ireton. Meyer aerial-seeded a cereal rye and radish mix for his mature ewes to graze. He will share lessons he’s learned with fall and spring grazing.

In the afternoon, Travis Hawkins of Le Mars will share his experience with ewes grazing a blend of cereal rye, radishes, rape and turnips. In late August he aerial-seeded this mix into standing corn. His farm is located at 11363 Nature Ave.

The field day includes a noon lunch at the Craig Cooperative in Craig, and updates from the Northwest Iowa Sheep Producers Association and ISU Extension and Outreach. Registration is $5 per person, and is due Nov. 21. Register by using the event flyer registration form or download form from the Iowa Beef Center website. Complete and send to ISU Extension and Outreach Plymouth County, 251 12th St. SE, Le Mars, Iowa 51031, or call that office at 712-546-7835.

Attendees are encouraged to dress for winter conditions as the morning and afternoon sessions will be outside. For biosecurity reasons, participants should wear clean clothes and footwear. For more details on the individual field day sites, see the event flyer or contact Beth Doran at or phone 712-737-4230.

Design of Drainage Water Quality Practices Focus of Workshop

The design and layout of new practices currently being considered for water quality improvements of farmland drainage will be the focus of a workshop scheduled for Dec. 14 in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

The day-long program will be held at the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Webster County office at 217 South 25th St., Suite C12, Fort Dodge. It will provide information essential for designing and planning new water quality practices such as bioreactors, controls structures, saturated buffers and wetlands. While the economic benefits of tiling are well recognized, there are also environmental impacts from drainage. These new technologies can be useful in minimizing negative environmental impacts.

The workshop also qualifies for Certified Crop Advisor credits. A sign-up sheet for the credits will be available on the day of the workshop.

Registration begins at 7:45 a.m. with the morning session starting at 8 a.m. The morning session will focus on the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy, woodchip bioreactor sizing and layout, water table management with shallow tiles and installation of control structures. Jamie Benning, water quality program manager with ISU Extension and Outreach, will provide an update on the status of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy and how different combinations of practices can be helpful. Matt Helmers, professor and extension agricultural engineer at Iowa State, will discuss the sizing and layout of woodchip bioreactors.

Chris Hay, senior environmental scientist with the Iowa Soybean Association, will conclude the morning with information on managing drainage with control structures.

The afternoon session will begin with Dan Jaynes, research soil scientist with the National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment, USDA-ARS, discussing site selection and the design of saturated buffers. The event will close with Kapil Arora, agricultural engineering specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach, presenting on siting wetlands for small watersheds.

Additional information and online registration are available. Registration can also be done by contacting the ISU Extension and Outreach Webster County office at 515-576-2119 or Registration is $150 and includes morning refreshments, lunch and workshop materials. Registration cost increases to $175 if done after Dec. 8.

Each participant should bring a laptop computer equipped with a USB drive. Microsoft Excel software used for designing select practices will be provided on a thumb drive. All laptops must have Excel pre-installed on them to run the spreadsheets and to perform design calculations. Use of laptops will be limited to practices using the spreadsheets for making design calculations.

The workshop is presented by ISU Extension and Outreach, the Iowa Soybean Association, and the USDA Agricultural Research Service.

Ethanol Stocks, Blending Demand Ease

The U.S. Energy Information Administration released a weekly report midmorning Wednesday, Nov. 8, showing decreases for U.S. ethanol inventory and blending demand while plant production rose again during the week-ended Nov. 3.

The EIA's Weekly Petroleum Status Report showed fuel ethanol stocks fell by 200,000 barrels (bbl), or 0.9%, to 21.3 million bbl, with a year-over-year supply overhang at 2.1 million bbl, or 10.9%.

Domestic plant production edged up 1,000 barrels per day (bpd) to a 1.057 million bpd two-month high during the week reviewed, while up 55,000 bpd, or 5.5%, year over year. For the four weeks ended last week, ethanol production averaged 1.043 million bpd, up 40,000 bpd, or 4.0%, against year prior.

Net refiner and blender inputs, a measure for ethanol demand, tumbled 12,000 bpd, or 1.3%, to a 918,000 bpd four-week high, while down 5,000 bpd, or 0.5%, year over year. For the four-week period ended Nov. 3, blending demand averaged 924,000 bpd, up 4,000 bpd, or 0.4%, against the comparable period a year ago.

China to Pledge More U.S. Soy Imports During Trump Visit

China will commit to buy more U.S. soybeans during President Donald Trump's visit to Beijing this week, a U.S. industry official said, underlining the importance of trade in farm goods even as tensions grow between the world’s top two economies. China is the world's biggest soybean importer and the U.S. is its second largest supplier.

According to Reuters, Chinese soybean buyers will sign a letter of intent with the U.S. Soybean Export Council committing to purchasing a certain volume of soybeans in the future.

The volume under the new deal will be 'much less' and will reflect orders due to be signed in the current marketing year that were not included in the July agreement. But China will also promise to buy more U.S. soybeans in future, according to a source familiar with the plan.

A signing ceremony is scheduled to take place as Trump meets Chinese President Xi Jinping.

China will also promise to buy more U.S. beef, barley and dairy products, including cheese, the source said. China dropped a 14-year ban on U.S. beef imports this year.

The U.S. sold 20.7 million tonnes of beans to China in the first nine months of this year, up 14.8 percent from a year ago. In 2016, it sold 38.2 million tonnes, or 40 percent of China's total soybean imports.

Food and Farm Facts Educator Guides, Trivia Game Available

Educator guides for Food and Farm Facts, the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture’s 32-page, full-color book of facts and easy-to-read infographics, are now available for grades 4-6 and 7-12.

Each guide features a collection of 12 easy-to-implement activities developed using national learning standards that reflect the knowledge and skills young people need for success in college and careers. Curriculum areas include math, science, social science, health and language arts.

The guides are 9” x 6” booklets with activity cards on a key ring. Each activity card includes step-by-step instructions, discussion questions and an estimated time for completion. The cost per booklet is $6.

A new Food and Farm Facts trivia card set also is available for $10. With more than 250 questions on 46 playing cards, the set brings a popular game element to important national agricultural statistics. In a classroom or living room, the cards test players’ knowledge about agricultural production, sustainability and nutrition. Cards are aligned to the 2017 Food and Farm Facts book.

Food and Farm Facts helps answer the questions “Where does our food come from and who grows it?” by exploring topics about agriculture in the U.S. The book can be used in a variety of ways to help increase agricultural literacy and would be a valuable resource in the classroom, at fairs and events, for student leadership organizations and on social media.

Copies of Food and Farm Facts may be purchased for $4.25 each (up to 49 copies). Price breaks are available for multi-copy purchases starting at 50: 50-99 copies, $3.50 each; 100 or more copies, $2.50 each. Each copy of the book includes a color “America the Bountiful” map poster depicting top agricultural products produced in every state. A pocket guide version of Food and Farm Facts is also available (100 copies for $10) and features several popular infographics from the book.

Purchase Food and Farm Facts books and related resources online at; visit the Food and Farm Facts resource page for tips on using the publication.

Arkansas Sets In-Season Dicamba Restrictions

Arkansas State Plant Board members voted Nov. 8 during a public hearing and board meeting to approve regulatory changes for the application of products labeled for agricultural use that contain dicamba.

In a vote of 10 to 3 with one member recusing, the board voted to prohibit the use of dicamba in Arkansas between April 16 and Oct. 31. The regulations include exemptions for the use of dicamba in pastures, rangeland, turf, ornamental, direct injection for forestry, and home use. The regulation change is now subject to final approval by the executive subcommittee of the Arkansas Legislative Council, according to Terry Walker, Arkansas State Plant Board (ASPB) director.

"It is out of the Plant Board court now and in the hands of the legislature as soon as the final rule is filed," Walker said. He added that because this is a hot issue, it is possible the legislature could get it on the next calendar or call a special session to deal with it separately.

The Plant Board meets again on Dec. 12 for a public hearing and board meeting to consider more proposed regulations that would clarify their ability to request additional information about a pesticide before it is registered for use in the state of Arkansas.

Also hanging over the ASPB is a pending lawsuit filed by Monsanto for the previous ban of its XtendiMax herbicide. Walker said board members have not yet been served papers in the suit.

Bill Would Eliminate Taxpayer Subsidy for Harvest Price Option on Crop Insurance

Corn and soybean farmers saw no benefit this fall from adding the harvest price option to their crop insurance plan, but that wasn't enough to stop a pair of senators and a congressman from introducing legislation that would end the taxpayer premium subsidy on the harvest price option for crop insurance.

Sens. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., introduced a bill they called the Harvest Price Subsidy Prohibition Act, which is the second piece of legislation the pair have introduced this fall to target crop insurance. The senators stated that eliminating the taxpayer premium subsidy for the harvest price option would save $21.1 billion over 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

The harvest price option gives farmers the chance to benefit from a price floor for their crops during the price discovery month of February (for corn and soybeans) and October when prices may move higher. That was not the case for 2017, as the spring guarantee for corn was $3.96 but the CME December corn contract at the end of October was $3.49. The spring price for soybeans was $10.19 but the CME November price for soybeans at the end of October was $9.75.

The harvest price option did work to the benefit of farmers in 2016 when fall prices for corn and soybeans were higher than spring prices.

The senators introduced a bill on Wednesday to eliminate the harvest price option for crop insurance. A companion bill was introduced in the House by Rep. John Duncan, R-Tenn.

Flake and Shaheen stated the cost to taxpayers of offering the harvest price option has escalated over time. The Congressional Budget Office had forecast taxpayers would pay $9 billion over 10 years back in 2013 when Flake first championed a similar bill. The senators noted the cost now is scored at $21.1 billion over 10 years.

"Making a living in agriculture isn't easy or predictable, and there's a case to be made for safety-net programs such as traditional crop insurance," Flake said. "But HPO isn't a safety net, it's a taxpayer-funded windfall. With a $20 trillion national debt, taxpayers shouldn't be expected to pay Big Ag billions of dollars for profits that they never expected to earn in the first place."

Shaheen added that the senators were proposing "a commonsense reform" to save $21 billion for taxpayers. "This is a smart, pragmatic bill that will provide our current crop insurance program with a much-needed fix. We ought to act on it immediately to save taxpayer dollars," Shaheen said.

Flake and Shaheen also introduced legislation targeting crop insurance profits that was scored at cutting taxpayer costs for crop insurance by $3.9 billion over 10 years. The bill would lower the rate of return for crop insurance companies from 14.5% to 8.9%.

Flake and Shaheen proposed identical changes to the crop insurance programs in 2015. Neither senator is a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee.

Cautious Optimism for Next Three Years in Grains, Ethanol Markets

Rising incomes worldwide will underpin global demand and create opportunities for U.S. exports in grains, oilseeds and ethanol according to a new report from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange Division. Meanwhile, global commodity surpluses, trade agreement renegotiations and relative strength of key currencies will set the scope of growth over the next three years.

“In the absence of major weather disruptions, global grain surpluses are expected to persist over the next three years. Acreage expansions and improvements to yields in competing export hubs will be headwinds for U.S. exports,” said Tanner Ehmke, manager of CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange Division. “The bright spot will be the continual growth in demand. As the global middle class grows, so will the opportunities for U.S. exports.”

Overall, U.S. grains, oilseeds and ethanol will face mounting competition in export markets, but there are specific considerations for each commodity.

In the short term, demand for corn will continue on a solid growth path. However, the trajectory is expected to slow over the medium term as livestock and broiler growth slows. The ethanol sector will also struggle to grow demand substantively due to changing market dynamics in Brazil, and remaining challenges related to higher blend levels in the U.S. In the export market, corn will face significant competition from South America and Eastern Europe, specifically Brazil, Argentina and Ukraine.

“The combination of anemic demand growth domestically and rising export competition abroad is expected to result in only minor improvements in the years ahead,” said Ehmke. “Free trade agreements are needed to increase our competitiveness abroad.”

The long-term trends of low prices, declining acreage and rising export competition point to more challenges for U.S. wheat.

“Russia’s dominance in the world wheat market creates an uphill battle for U.S. wheat farmers, many of whom are reducing or eliminating wheat in their rotations in search of more profitable crops,” said Ehmke.

The U.S. is still the world’s largest producer of soybeans, but has handed the mantle of largest exporter to Brazil. This trend is expected to continue as the value of the real remains low compared to the U.S. dollar, and nagging infrastructure challenges in Brazil are improving.

“Global demand growth for livestock feed and biodiesel production will support U.S. soybeans,” said Ehmke. “But Brazil is looking to further its lead in exports and will continue to expand soybean plantings.”

Brazil and China are determined to reduce their dependence on U.S. ethanol. Expansion of U.S. demand also faces challenges, as higher blend levels will be slow to gain acceptance.

“The U.S. could lose Brazil as an export market, and will also be competing globally with Brazil moving forward,” said Ehmke. “The U.S. will shift focus to emerging markets like Mexico, Thailand, India and Indonesia in the medium term. However, the newly developed markets are unlikely to fully offset losses in China and Brazil, resulting in weaker crush margins.”
Farm Supply

Commodity price stagnation and overcapacity in fertilizer production point to a weak fertilizer market over the short to medium term. Crop protection and seed sales are also expected to struggle due to low commodity prices and rising farm debt levels. Seed and chemical prices, though, are expected to rise, stemming from mergers and acquisitions throughout the world and increased environmental regulatory burdens on chemical companies in China.

A brief video synopsis of the report, “2018-2020: Pressure on Grain and Farm Supply Sectors to Persist” is available on the CoBank YouTube channel.

Aveo™ EZ Nematicide Now Available for Soybean Cyst Nematode Management

Valent U.S.A. LLC announced today the launch of new Aveo™ EZ Nematicide to help protect soybeans from yield loss caused by Soybean Cyst Nematode (SCN), Reniform nematode and more.

Aveo EZ is a biological seed protectant that colonizes the roots of the soybean plant to reduce nematode reproduction. The highly concentrated formulation of Aveo EZ contains more colony forming units (cfu) per ml than competitive products, which means more powerful protection at a lower use rate (0.1 fl oz/140,000 seeds).  Plus, the formulation of Aveo EZ has a long shelf life to help retailers manage their inventory.

Comprised of naturally-occurring microbes, Aveo EZ offers easy handling for seed treaters, requiring standard personal protection equipment. (PPE), including a long-sleeved shirt, long pants and protective gloves when handling treated seed.

In research trials in fields with known SCN infestations, Aveo EZ yielded an additional 1.83 bushels per acre when added to a base treatment, demonstrating stronger performance than competitive seed treatments.1 The performance and handling of Aveo EZ was put to the test in a 2017 national trial among retailers and growers. An overwhelming majority of retailers in the Midwest and the South saw greater than 90% seed coverage, under a wide range of cold and warm conditions when treated.2 Retailers consistently reported that the low use rate of Aveo EZ made it easy to mix and use with other seed treatment products.2 Growers also saw a greater rate of emergence with Aveo EZ compared to the competitive plots.2

Available as a stand-alone product, Aveo EZ gives retailers flexibility to optimize the ratio of nematicide to fungicide and insecticide protection in soybeans.  Seed treaters can easily add SCN protection to a base seed treatment of INTEGO SUITE Soybeans, with minimal adjustment to the treater settings.

“Aveo EZ is a new, user-friendly nematicide that offers convenience for retailers and performance for growers,” says Thad Haes, Seed Protection Business Manager for Valent U.S.A. “We anticipate that the low use rate will create a real benefit for retailers who apply multiple products to the seed and want to achieve quality seed coverage that delivers yield-enhancing performance for their growers.”

Soybean Cyst Nematode is a significant yield-robbing pathogen that is not obvious at the time of initial infestation, but can be found in almost every soybean field, according to Todd Mayhew, Seed Protection Product Development Manager at Valent U.S.A. He encourages growers to take a proactive management approach to SCN. “In some areas of the U.S., SCN is not perceived as a problem because growers have relied on SCN-resistant soybean varieties,” noted Mayhew.  “However, with SCN developing the ability to reproduce on these varieties3, an integrated approach, including a nematicide such as Aveo EZ, is vital for effective management.”

“Aveo EZ complements our growing line of seed protection solutions, including INTEGO SUITE Soybeans,” added Haes.  “At Valent, we are investing in proprietary, below-ground technology to help growers protect their crop from disease, insects and nematodes and optimize its health through water and nutrient-management solutions.”

The Andersons Reports Lower Quarterly Profits

The Andersons, Inc. announces financial results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2017. The company reported third quarter 2017 net income attributable to The Andersons of $2.5 million, or $0.09 per diluted share, on revenues of $837 million. Those results compared to 2016 third quarter net income of $1.7 million, or $0.06 per diluted share, on revenues of $860 million.

"We performed reasonably well in the third quarter when considering that we continue to face some difficult market conditions, and we incurred some unusual expenses and sold two former retail properties," said President and CEO Pat Bowe. "The Grain Group again recorded better year-over-year results driven by good margins on corn and soybean sales and strong space margins for wheat. On a year-to-date basis, our Grain earnings have improved by more than $33 million."

Bowe continued, "Ethanol margins were lower year-over-year for the quarter in spite of strong U.S. exports. Current margins are disappointing. Forward curve margins into the first quarter of 2018 are below last year's levels as well."

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