Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Monday December 11 Ag News

Nebraska Crop Production Budgets Updated for 2018 
Robert Klein - Western Nebraska Crops Specialist

The Nebraska Crop Budgets have been updated for 2018 costs and conditions and include five new budgets relative to corn-soybean rotations. In total there are 78 crop production budgets for 15 crops as well as information on crop budgeting procedures, machinery operation and ownership costs, material and service prices, and a crop budget production cost summary.

Crop production budgets are grouped by crop and provided in two formats: PDF and an editable Excel that allows you to customize the budget to reflect your operation.

These budgets were developed and edited by Robert Klein, extension western Nebraska crops specialist; Roger Wilson, extension farm management/enterprise budget analyst (retired); Jessica Groskopf, agricultural economics extension educator; and Jim Jansen, agricultural economics extension educator — agricultural economics. Contributing to the budgets in their specialty areas were: Robert Wright, extension entomologist; Tamra Jackson-Ziems, Loren Giesler, and Stephen Wegulo, extension plant pathologists; Paul Jasa, extension engineer; and James Schild, extension educator in Scotts Bluff and Morrill counties.

Download the 2018 Crop Budgets here.... https://cropwatch.unl.edu/budgets

These budgets usually reflect the low one-third in cost per unit of production. For most producers this is a good basis to use for comparison and identify areas where they might be able to lower costs.

For example if your machinery costs are a lot higher than we have in the budgets, you may want to examine ways to reduce the expense by doing custom work or selling some machinery and hiring custom work for that operation.

These budget projections were created using assumptions thought to be valid for many producers in Nebraska; however, each farming operation is unique. These budgets are being released in both Adobe PDF and Excel worksheet formats. The worksheet format allows producers to modify them to match their specific situation. A video by now-retired Nebraska Extension Enterprise Budget Analyst Roger Wilson on the budget website walks viewers through out to best customize a budget for their operation.

In addition to the advantages of having customizable budgets, there is also a caveat: The danger of releasing a tool that can subsequently be modified is that there is no way to verify whether alterations were made or unrealistic data was entered. Users of this tool are responsible for independently verifying all results prior to relying on them.

Dry November Conditions Lead to Major Shift in Drought Monitor

Last week's Drought Monitor for Nebraska showed approximately 61% of the state has now moved into the "Abnormally Dry" category, an increase from just 9% last week. Moderate drought conditions were indicated for just 2% of the state, unchanged from last week.

In November Nebraska saw above-average temperatures and below-normal precipitation, averaging as much as 5 degrees above normal in west and north-central portions of the state, wrote Nebraska State Climatologist Martha Shulski in the November Climate Update. Several locations in western Nebraska ranked in the top 10 warmest Novembers on record, including McCook, North Platte, Scottsbluff, Sidney, and Valentine.

Nebraska typically enters its dry season in November, but this November, precipitation was even lower than normal.

"Several locations, particularly in eastern Nebraska, reported less than a tenth of an inch of moisture, qualifying them for one of the top 10 driest Novembers on record. Monthly totals were less than a quarter inch in southern Nebraska and in the northeast, Shulski wrote.

Nebraska Cattlemen Convention and Trade Show News

2018 NC Board of Directors Officers

President: Galen Frenzen, Fullerton
President Elect: Mike Drinnin, Clarks
Vice President: Ken Herz, Lawrence
 Past President & Nominations Chair: Troy Stowater, Wayne

Member Services Vice Chairman

Region 1: Lewis Coulter, Bridgeport
Region 2: Brenda Masek, Purdum
Region 3: Tyler Weborg, Pender
Region 4: Steven Fish, Norfolk
Region 5: Jared Jaixen, Loup City
Region 6: Steve Stroup Benkelman
Region 7: Ed Klug, Columbus
Region 8: Richard Hollman, Hallam
Region 9: Shannon Petersen, Gothenberg

Council Leaders

Cow/Calf Chair: Nancy Peterson DVM, Gordon
Cow/Calf Vice Chair: Frank Utter, Brewster
Farmer/Stockman Chair: John Lange, Bruning
Feedlot Chair: Jerry Kuenning, Imperial
Feedlot Vice Chair: Dean Wilken, Bloomfield
Seedstock Chair: Mark Goes, Odell
Seedstock Vice Chair: Larry Dybdal, Newcastle

Committee Chairman

Animal Health & Nutrition: Jeff Fox, DVM, Beemer
Brand & Property Rights: Duane Gangwish, Wayne
Education: Sarah Kabes, Carleton
Marketing & Commerce: Stephen Sudnerman, Norfolk
Natural Resources & Environment: Chris Schluntz, Republican City
Taxation: Ken Herz, Lawrence
Member Services: Justin Jarecke, Kearney

Nebraska Cattlemen Awards

Industry Service Award Recipient: John Pollak
Hall of Fame Inductee: J.D. Alexander

Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation Awards

Nebraska Range & Conservation Endowment Award: Mitchell Stephenson
Nebraska Beef Industry Endowment Award: Andrea Cupp, Mary Drewnoski
Cattlemen's Heritage Society, Shari Flaming
Friend of the Foundation Award: Gary Tibbetts - Zinpro Corporation

Husker Harvest Days Begins $7 Million Site Upgrades

Husker Harvest Days, the world's largest irrigated working show, has started major infrastructure upgrades and convenience renovations at its Grand Island, Neb. facility. Plans are designed to make the site one of the most modern farm show facilities in the U.S.

Husker Harvest Days celebrated its 40th anniversary at the 2017 event in September and there is even more reason to celebrate next year with the multi-million dollar upgrades set to be completed for the 2018 show. Construction is underway at the Husker Harvest Days show site, where crews are already laying the groundwork for the $7 million renovation project.

HHD is located near Grand Island, Neb., and the Grand Island City Council voted unanimously to invest $2 million in the show site over the next ten years - or $200,000 per year. Informa, the parent company of Farm Progress' Husker Harvest Days, has committed to host the show in Grand Island for at least 20 more years. Matt Jungmann, Farm Progress show director, notes this Western Corn Belt show brings an average $7.6 million to the community every September.

When completed, these upgrades will include about six miles of pavement on the HHD streets, about 10,000 feet of storm sewer and drainage system, new water lines for plumbing, an underground electrical distribution system, additional new and remodeled restrooms, and perimeter fencing around the site to lock the site down during the off-season and protect infrastructure. The upgrades are set to be finished by August 15, 2018.

December Farm Finance and Ag Law Clinics

Openings are available for one-on-one, confidential farm finance and ag law consultations being conducted across the state each month. An experienced ag law attorney and ag financial counselor will be available to address farm and ranch issues related to financial planning, estate and transition planning, farm loan programs, debtor/creditor law, water rights, and other relevant matters. The clinics offer an opportunity to seek an experienced outside opinion on issues affecting your farm or ranch.

Clinic Sites and Dates

    Grand Island — Thursday, December 7
    North Platte — Thursday, December 14
    Norfolk — Friday, December 15
    Lexington — Thursday, December 21

To sign up for a free clinic or to get more information, call Michelle at the Nebraska Farm Hotline at 1-800-464-0258.  The Nebraska Department of Agriculture and Legal Aid of Nebraska sponsor these clinics.


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               Summer weather can cause hay to be baled too wet or silage chopped too dry.  Now that hay and silage has heated and turned brown.  How should you feed these forages?

               Hay baled too wet or silage chopped to dry can get excessively hot and cause certain chemical reactions to occur.  These chemical reactions and the heat that produces them will darken your forage and make it smell sweet like caramel.

               Livestock often find such hay or silage very palatable.  But, the chemical reaction that caused this heat-damaged forage reduces its energy value and also makes some of the protein become indigestible.  Unfortunately, tests for crude protein do not distinguish between regular crude protein and this heat-damaged protein.  As a result, your forage test can mislead you into thinking you have more usable protein in your forage than actually is there.

               If your forage test is done using NIR, heat-damaged protein may be one of the analyses reported.  If the heat-damaged protein is high enough, the test also will report an adjusted crude protein that is different from the regular crude protein.  However, the NIR test for heat-damage may not be accurate enough for you if your ration contains a lot of this forage and has little or no extra protein in it for your cattle.

               When heat-damaged protein is suspected, request from your lab a chemical analysis for heat-damaged protein.  Then use this test to correctly adjust the amount of crude protein your forage actually will provide to your animals.

               Forage tests can tell us a lot about the nutrient supplying ability of our forages.  But we need to make sure we conduct the right tests and then use the results wisely.

Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy Annual Report Available

 Iowa State University, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources today highlighted the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy Annual Progress Report that is now available at http://www.nutrientstrategy.iastate.edu/documents.

The annual report provides progress updates on point source and nonpoint source efforts to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus loads leaving the state. The Report follows the “logic model” framework that identifies measurable indicators of desirable change that can be quantified, and represents a progression toward the goals of achieving a 45 percent reduction in nitrogen and phosphorus loads leaving the state.

“There are a wide variety of factors that impact water quality and this report seeks to identify and quantify all of the work being done.  We continue to see progress among all aspects of measures that have been identified, we just need to continue to accelerate and scale-up our efforts,” said Iowa Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig.

“We continue to focus highly on the main goal of water quality improvement and it is gratifying to see we are moving in that direction. A great deal of collaboration and cooperation has taken place which has enhanced and continues to enhance the partnerships and teamwork being done to successfully meet our end goals,” said Iowa DNR Director Chuck Gipp.

The “logic model” framework recognizes that in order to affect change in water quality, there is a need for increased inputs, measured as funding, staff, and resources. Inputs affect change in outreach efforts and human behavior. This shift toward more conservation-conscious attitudes in the agricultural and point source communities is a desired change in the human dimension of water quality efforts.

With changes in human attitudes and behavior, changes on the land may occur, measured as conservation practice adoption and wastewater treatment facility upgrades. Finally, these physical changes on the land may affect change in water quality, which ultimately can be measured through both empirical water quality monitoring and through modeled estimates of nutrient loads in Iowa surface water.

“While it will take time to reach the 45 percent reduction goal, the indicators we track are moving in the right direction,” said John Lawrence, interim vice president of extension and research at Iowa State University.

Highlights from the report include:


-    The report identifies $420 million in private and public sector funding for NRS efforts, an increase of $32 million compared to the previous year.
-    Since 2013 the Iowa Nutrient Research Center has funded 54 projects with a primary focus on evaluating the performance of current and emerging in-field and edge-of-field practices to reduce nutrient loss.
-    Of the 151 municipal wastewater plants and industrial facilities required to assess their nutrient removal capacity, 105 have been issued new permits and 51 of those have submitted feasibility studies on potential technology improvements to reduce nutrient loss.

-    Outreach events effectively doubled in the last year. In the latest reporting period, partner organizations reported 474 events focused on water quality with 54,500 total attendees.
-    In 2017, 77 percent of farmers surveyed reported that they are knowledgeable about the NRS. This is a 9 percent increase from 2015.

-    Government cost-share programs enrolled 300,000 cover crop acres in 2016. Iowa has experienced a steady increase in cover crop acres since 2011, and statewide estimates (beyond just cost-share) indicate 600,000 acres were planted in 2016.
-    Edge-of-field practices that address only nitrogen, such as bioreactors and nitrate-treating wetlands, are just starting to receive increased focus from cost-share programs.

-    Iowa has an extensive water quality monitoring system in place and at least 88 percent of Iowa’s land naturally drains to a location with water quality sensors installed and maintained mainly by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, University of Iowa — IIHR, and the U.S. Geological Survey.
-    Water monitoring occurs at various scales, from edge-of-field to large watersheds. Long-term data will contribute to our understanding of local and statewide nutrient loss over time.

The report was compiled by the Iowa Nutrient Research Center at Iowa State University with support from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. A draft of the report was shared with the Iowa Water Resources Coordinating Council in late September and their feedback was incorporated into the recently finalized report.

FDA Report on Antibiotics Validates Work by U.S. Pig Farmers

America’s 60,000 pig farmers continue to do what’s right on the farm for people, pigs and the planet when it comes to demonstrating their commitment to antibiotic stewardship. That’s why last week’s findings in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s 2016 Summary Report on Antimicrobials Sold or Distributed for Use in Food-Producing Animals came as no surprise, but as a validation of the hard work U.S. pig farmers have put in to reduce the overall need for antibiotics while still protecting the health and welfare of the pigs under their care.

“This report, which still is based on sales and not actual usage, supports what we already know at the farm level—we’re using fewer antibiotics overall today because we’re committed to reducing the need for them while protecting the health and welfare of our animals,” said National Pork Board President Terry O’Neel, a pig farmer from Friend, Nebraska. “When we must use antibiotics, we work closely with our veterinarians to ensure that we use them according to the FDA-approved label.”

Veterinarian Dave Pyburn, vice president of science and technology at the National Pork Board, says the new report must be viewed for what it is—an estimate of antibiotic use and not a literal measure of use at the farm level. He also points out the inherent size and longevity differences between cattle, pigs and poultry when looking at antibiotic use. Different species will obviously face additional health challenges due to longevity. For example, a broiler chicken typically goes to market in about six weeks, whereas for pigs it’s about six months and for beef cattle it’s 18 months.

“Unfortunately, the FDA report is not truly reflective of overall antibiotic usage by species because the pharmaceutical companies don’t record sales by species,” Pyburn said. “Secondly, the report does not include species-specific data regarding ionophores in its results, making its estimate about which species use more antibiotics than another less than precise. For example, pig farmers use almost no ionophores, but poultry and beef producers use a fair amount of that class of antibiotics.”

Despite its species-specific shortcomings, the FDA report clearly shows that the overall usage of antibiotics in livestock is the lowest since 2009. According to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics reports, America’s pig farmers produced over five million more market hogs in 2016 than in 2009 and market weights increased by 16 pounds in that period. Those figures suggest that today’s pig farmers are using far less total antibiotics per pound of pork produced.

“As a scientist, I’m very excited about the work America’s pig farmers have funded to help us get a more precise handle on antibiotic usage,” said public health veterinarian Heather Fowler, director of producer and public health with the National Pork Board. “We’ve been collaborating with some of the best researchers in the world on developing on-farm metrics, so that we can make additional progress in antibiotic stewardship in a way that has a tangible and positive outcome for the health of people, pigs and the planet.”

According to Fowler, the National Pork Board’s work with researchers on creating novel on-farm antibiotic use metrics will advance more quickly in 2018 since much of the groundwork has been completed. Likewise, similar work has been done by the U.S. poultry and beef industries.

Fowler believes ongoing collaboration with academia, governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations is the best way to move forward in solving the complex issue of antibiotic resistance. She points to the Pork Checkoff’s ongoing work and collaboration with partners such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the global One Health initiative. Also, long-time industry programs such as PQA Plus have put even more focus on antibiotic stewardship today, which complements the Checkoff’s investment of more than $6 million for antibiotic-related studies since 2000.

From a farmer perspective, O’Neel said 2017 has been another milestone in antibiotic stewardship. “While some of our detractors may think it’s only legislation or new rules that move us to act, we know differently,” he said. “The data that we are seeing in this FDA report shows that livestock producers were reducing the need and usage of antibiotics prior to the enactment of the FDA guidances going into effect on January 1. It also reflects our ongoing dedication and competency as pig farmers to practice good antibiotic stewardship.”

CWT Assists with 3.4 million Pounds of Cheese and Butter Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 22 requests for export assistance from Dairy Farmers of America, Foremost Farms, Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold) and Tillamook County Creamery Association. These cooperatives have contracts to sell 2.954 million pounds (1,340 metric tons) of Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese, and 440,925 pounds (200 metric tons) of butter to customers in Asia, Central America, the Middle East, North Africa and Oceania. The product has been contracted for delivery in the period from December 2017 through March 2018.

This brings the total CWT-assisted member cooperative 2017 export sales to 70.271 million pounds of American-type cheeses, and 5.246 million pounds of butter (82% milkfat) to 21 countries on five continents. These sales are the equivalent of 766.636 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis.

Assisting CWT members through the Export Assistance program in the long term helps member cooperatives gain and maintain market share, thus expanding the demand for U.S. dairy products and the U.S. farm milk that produces them. This, in turn, positively affects all U.S. dairy farmers by strengthening and maintaining the value of dairy products that directly impact their milk price.

Preserving Insect Protection Technology for the Future

Insect pests can have a devastating impact on a corn crop. Many farmers turn to in-plant insect protection traits to help protect yield potential and profitability. Now, the industry is announcing the expansion of the Take Action program to help farmers fight insect resistance and preserve the long-term effectiveness of Bt technology.

"If we lose the tools we have, there's a financial risk of facing insects we can no longer control," says Don Duvall, farmer from Carmi, Illinois, and chairman of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) Freedom to Operate action team. "Now is the the time to take action before insects become resistant to Bt technology like weeds have become resistant to herbicides."

Through the Take Action program, farmers will have access to the latest tools and information to manage insects and prevent resistance development.

Take Action is an industry-wide partnership founded by the soy checkoff that advocates a diverse approach to weed, disease and now insect management to avoid resistance. NCGA and the Agricultural Biotechnology Stewardship Technical Committee (ABSTC), a consortium of Bt corn registrants, are part of the Take Action program that helps farmers develop insect resistance management plans and refuge strategies for their farms.

"If we are going to stay ahead of insect resistance, we can't cut corners," says Duvall. "Take Action provides information to help farmers meet refuge requirements and preserve this technology for the future."

Take Action advocates three steps farmers can use today to help preserve current insect protection technologies and avoid resistance:
-    Plant the required refuge based on geography and corn product. For corn-growing areas, refuge requirements are 5 percent or 20 percent. For cotton-growing areas, refuge requirements are 20 percent or 50 percent. Farmers should refer to their corn product's Insect Resistance Management (IRM) guide for specific refuge details.
-    Use multiple IRM strategies such as crop rotation, using pyramided traits, rotating Bt traits, and rotating and using multiple modes of action for insecticide seed treatments, soil-applied insecticides and foliar-applied insecticides.
-    Scout fields in-season to determine the efficacy of control measures in place and to identify whether further action is necessary for effective control.

Farmers interested in learning more about Take Action and insect resistance management can visit www.IWillTakeAction.com.

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