Friday, January 26, 2018

Friday January 26 Cattle on Feed Report + Ag News


Nebraska feedlots, with capacities of 1,000 or more head, contained 2.61 million cattle on feed on January 1, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This inventory was up 10 percent from last year.  Placements during December totaled 460,000 head, up 2 percent from 2016.  Fed cattle marketings for the month of December totaled 425,000 head, down 3 percent from last year. Other disappearance during December totaled 15,000 head, up 5,000 head from last year.


Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 700,000 head on January 1, 2018, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Cattle on Feed report. This was unchanged from December 1, 2017, but up 17 percent from January 1, 2017.

Placements of cattle and calves in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during December totaled 100,000 head, a decrease of 18 percent from last month and down 4 percent from last year.

Marketings of fed cattle from Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during December totaled 98,000 head, down 11 percent from last month and down 4 percent from last year Other disappearance from feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head in Iowa totaled 2,000 head.

United States Cattle on Feed Up 8 Percent

Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 11.5 million head on January 1, 2018. The inventory was 8 percent above January 1, 2017. The inventory included 7.34 million steers and steer calves, up 4 percent from the previous year. This group accounted for 64 percent of the total inventory. Heifers and heifer calves accounted for 4.15 million head, up 16 percent from 2017.

By State                      (1,000 hd  -  % Jan 1 '17)

Colorado .......:               970                 108   
Iowa .............:                700                 117      
Kansas ..........:             2,290                106      
Nebraska ......:             2,610                110       
Oklahoma .....:               315                 105     
Texas ............:             2,640                109       

Placements in feedlots during December totaled 1.80 million head, 1 percent above 2016. Net placements were 1.73 million head. During December, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 470,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 410,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 445,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 279,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 100,000 head,and 1,000 pounds and greater were 95,000 head.

By State                (1,000 hd   -   % Dec '16)

Colorado .......:             120            92   
Iowa .............:             100             96      
Kansas ..........:             400            101     
Nebraska ......:             460            102     
Oklahoma .....:              54             100    
Texas ............:             385            105      

Marketings of fed cattle during December totaled 1.75 million head, 1 percent below 2016. Other disappearance totaled 74,000 head during December, 35 percent above 2016.

By State                (1,000 hd   -   % Dec '16)

Colorado .......:            135           100     
Iowa .............:              98             96       
Kansas ..........:             405            94       
Nebraska ......:             425            97      
Oklahoma .....:              52           121       
Texas ............:             385          105       


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

Much expense and many long hours go into harvesting and storing hay for winter feeding.  So why waste it!  Hay feeding waste can be reduced.

Cattle can waste as much as 45 percent of their hay when it is fed without restrictions.  How can you reduce these losses to minimize costs and maintain an adequate hay supply?

Your first step should be to limit how much hay is available.  Research shows that it takes 25% more hay to feed cattle a four-day supply compared to feeding them every day.  Daily feeding reduces the amount of hay refused, trampled, fouled, over-consumed, or used for bedding.

A second step is to restrict access to the hay by using hay racks, bale rings, electric fences, feed bunks, or anything else that will keep animals off the hay.  It’s especially important to limit the amount of hay accessible to trampling.  So use racks or bale rings with solid barriers at the bottom to prevent livestock from pulling hay loose and then dragging it out to be stepped on.

If you feed hay on the ground, either as loose hay, unrolled round bales, or as ground hay, it is especially important to follow these guidelines.  Limit the hay fed to an amount animals will clean up in a single meal.  Anything left over will be stepped on, fouled, or used for bedding instead of as feed.  And if you can – use an electric wire or other barrier to restrict access to only one side of the feed on the ground.  But also be sure to distribute that hay enough so all cows have access to it at the same time.

With a little foresight and careful management, you can stretch your hay further.


A University of Nebraska-Lincoln research team is exploring the potential of sweet sorghum ethanol as an income source for agricultural producers in western Nebraska.

Sweet sorghum is a cultivar of sorghum primarily grown for its juice. Due to its high sugar content and stability during drought, researchers have identified it as a potential ethanol feedstock crop for non-irrigated farmland. The sugar syrup from the stalks would be fermented to make ethanol.

For sweet sorghum to compete with corn – the leading feedstock for ethanol production in the United States – it must be more lucrative and more economical. Considering factors such as yield and the cost of processing, researchers estimate that the current sweet sorghum-ethanol pathway is a barely break-even prospect in western Nebraska.

"Under the typical conditions considered, there are insufficient benefits to farmers and ethanol plants to make the sweet sorghum-ethanol pathway an attractive economic opportunity," said Richard Perrin, Jim Roberts Professor of Agricultural Economics at Nebraska. However, the researchers found that there are a few circumstances that would improve the crop's viability.

Currently, the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard mandates consumption of specific levels of renewable fuels made from various feedstock categories. Under the markets created by the program, ethanol plants would be almost certain to obtain a premium for sweet sorghum ethanol compared to corn ethanol, making the former more economical. However, according to the researchers, the volatility of the premium and political opposition to the program make this benefit risky.

Another consideration that could enhance the crop's viability is an increase in yields. A $13.5 million, multi-institutional research project led by the university may provide the necessary yield increases. That effort aims to improve sorghum as a sustainable source for biofuel production.

"If the research efforts raise biomass yields by 20 to 30 percent, or show that yields are actually 20 to 30 percent higher than our estimate, the benefits to both the producer and the ethanol plant would be sufficient to make adoption of sweet sorghum for ethanol a sustainable possibility," Perrin said.

Joining Perrin in the research effort were Lilyan Fulginiti, professor of agricultural economics at Nebraska; Ismail Dweikat, professor of agronomy and horticulture at Nebraska; and Subir Bairagi, post-doctoral fellow at the International Rice Research Institute.

Details of the research were reported in the January issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics.


The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship today announced that they will continue contacting farmers who have previously registered a livestock premises in an effort to update the Iowa Premises Registration database. Farmers are asked to respond to the letter and either confirm the information is correct or respond with their updated information.

In February, the Department will be sending letters to producers that had previously registered premises in Grundy, Guthrie, Hamilton, Hancock, Hardin, Harrison, Henry, Howard, Humboldt, Ida and Iowa counties

In March, letters will be sent to producers in Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Johnson, Jones, Keokuk, Kossuth, Lee, Linn and Louisa counties.

“We a very appreciative of the positive response we have received from the farmers that have been contacted to this point and just want to encourage those that will be receiving letters in February and March to do the same,” said Mike Naig, Iowa Deputy Secretary of Agriculture.

All Iowa livestock farmers are encouraged to make sure that all locations where they have livestock have a premises identification number (PIN) and to make sure their information is up-to-date.  All the information in the premises ID database is completely confidential and protected under federal law and can only be used for animal health purposes.

Farmers can complete or renew their premises registration by completing the form found on the Department’s website at  and submitting the signed form to the Department.

A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about premises identification can be found on the Department’s webpage under “Hot Topics.”  Or, if farmers have questions they can contact the Department’s Animal ID Coordinator toll free at 888-778-7675 or by email at More information is also available on the USDA’s Animal Disease Traceability Home Site at

The Department will continue alphabetically through the remaining counties over the next several months.  Iowa currently has more than 32,500 premises registered.


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPAs) this week asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to grant another delay in farm emissions requirements, which were set to begin on Jan 22. A court decision is pending.

The EPA’s request followed a letter sent by ten democratic senators to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt emphasizing the importance of providing more time to effectively inform farms about their reporting requirements, including: Senators Baldwin, D-WI; Bennet, D-CO; Cardin, D-MD; Carper, D-DE; Coons, D-DE; Heitkamp, D-ND; Kaine, D-VA; Klobuchar, D-MN; Smith, D-MN; Van Hollen, D-MD.

In April 2017, the court 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.

The court late last year pushed back the reporting deadline after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – supported by a brief from the National Pork Producers Council and the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association – asked it to delay the mandate so that the agency could have “more time to provide farmers more specific and final guidance before they must estimate and report emissions and to develop a system that allows farmers to comply with their legal obligations.” 

Farmers, Ranchers Back Precision Ag Bills

New legislation that will help close rural America’s digital divide by creating a task force to focus on the needs of precision agriculture has the support of farmers and ranchers.

The Precision Agriculture Connectivity Act of 2018 (S. 2343, H.R. 4881) would create a task force to bring together public and private stakeholders to evaluate current programs affecting broadband internet access on cropland and ranchland, identify and measure existing gaps in coverage, and develop policy recommendations to address that gap. The task force is also responsible for developing specific steps the Federal Communications Commission, USDA and other federal agencies can take to address gaps in coverage.

Farmers and ranchers rely on data every day to grow more food, fuel and fiber than ever before while lessening their environmental impact, American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall noted in a letter of support to the bills’ sponsors, Sens. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Reps. Bob Latta (R-Ohio) and Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa).

“Today’s farmers and ranchers are using precision agricultural techniques to make decisions that impact the amount of fertilizer they need to purchase and apply to the field, the amount of water needed to sustain the crop, and the amount and type of herbicides or pesticides they may need to apply,” Duvall wrote.

While FCC data shows that 39 percent of rural Americans lack access to minimum broadband speed service (25 Mbps/3 Mbps), compared to only 4 percent of urban Americans, there is no information about connectivity on cropland and ranchland.

“Bringing together the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the FCC and public and private stakeholders to address the needs of precision agriculture ensures current and future generations of farmers and ranchers will have the technology needed to maintain our food security and manage resources efficiently,” Duvall said in the letter.

AFBF is part of the Ag Broadband Coalition, which strongly supports passage of the Precision Agriculture Connectivity Act of 2018.


NPPC Chief Veterinarian Dr. Liz Wagstrom and Director of International Trade Policy, Sanitary and Technical Issues Courtney Knupp last week joined pork producers on NPPC’s Trade Committee and its Animal Health and Food Security Committee in Denmark, Poland and Germany to explore the steps being taken to prevent or limit the spread of African Swine Fever (ASF) to commercial pig production sites. Also on the trip were Barb Determan, president of the U.S. Animal Health Association and representatives with the American Association of Swine Veterinarians and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

All three countries require traceability of animals and reporting of all animal movements. They also enforce increased biosecurity in ASF-positive zones – although Denmark is free of the disease – and focus on surveillance of wild boar and dead domestic animals that have signs consistent with ASF, zoning/regionalization of areas with positive animals and ensuring that meat from animals in positive zones is not exported outside of the domestic market.

The U.S. pork industry representatives are expected to communicate their findings to their respective organizations, and conclusions also will be discussed with the working group for the Secure Pork Supply Plan, a collaboration among the pork industry, state and federal government officials and Iowa State University and the University of Minnesota.

Secretary Perdue Weighs in on H-2A Overhaul

USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue touted the benefits of House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte’s (R-VA) AG Act during a town-hall style event at a Pennsylvania dairy farm this week. Secretary Perdue said that he hopes Chairman Goodlatte’s bill will be included as part of a broader immigration bill, saying he didn’t see another opportunity to address the farm sector’s labor shortages in the near future.

The House is weighing passing the measure which is the closest agriculture has ever come to getting an effective guest worker program. The bill currently has growing support. Read more on Perdue’s comments on Chairman Goodlatte’s AG Act here.....

NSP:  Sorghum Oil to Biodiesel

On Thursday the National Sorghum Producers submitted comments urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to approve the proposed rule to allow sorghum oil produced at ethanol plants to be sold into the biodiesel supply chain. Approval will mean immediate production of up to 20 million additional ethanol-equivalent gallons of clean-burning, job-creating and domestically-produced gallons of advanced biofuel. Approval will also level a playing field long tilted against Sorghum Belt ethanol plants by allowing the same market access enjoyed by corn-only ethanol plants.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue Confirmed for World Meat Congress

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue will be a featured speaker at the 22nd World Meat Congress (WMC), taking place May 30-June 1, in Dallas, Texas. Perdue will address WMC participants on Thursday morning, May 31, during the “Global Politics of Food” session.

Perdue is a strong voice for trade in the Trump administration, stressing the importance of market access for U.S. agricultural exports and preserving the gains achieved through NAFTA and other free trade agreements. He also participated actively in the reintroduction of U.S. beef in China, including a media reception announcing U.S. beef’s arrival in the market and USMEF’s initial supermarket promotions.

“One of the advantages of hosting the WMC is that it provides an opportunity to showcase the U.S. agricultural model for industry leaders from across the globe,” said U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) CEO Emeritus Philip Seng. “We are very excited to have Secretary Perdue on the agenda, because he is such a strong advocate for U.S. producers and a true champion for trade. In addition, we look forward to hearing his insights on the Trump administration’s philosophy on trade and its approach to trade agreement negotiations.”

Registration and lodging details, along with a preliminary agenda, are available from the WMC website Registrations received by March 14 will qualify for the discounted early bird rate.

Bright LED Dairy Cases Speed Off-Flavors in Skim Milk

As grocery stores save energy by changing their dairy cases from fluorescent to LED lighting, Cornell researchers have found that milk -- particularly skim or fat-free milk -- becomes more susceptible to off-flavors from LED light than from standard fluoresence.

To battle bad taste, dairies and grocery stores should consider moving away from plastic packaging that allows light infiltration, the food scientists report in the Journal of Dairy Science.

Light-emitting diode (LED) lighting was always assumed to be less damaging to milk due to its lower power consumption, said Robin Dando, assistant professor of food science and a co-author on the research. That assumption seems to be wrong.

"LEDs look good, save retailers money and keep carbon from damaging the environment," said Dando. "It's less energy, and we assumed it would be less light energy being channeled into the milk too, but that's not what we found. The light still really affects the flavor."

Dando and co-author Ana C. Chang, M.S. '17, now a Cornell doctoral student in nutritional sciences, brought in trained tasters and untrained consumers to compare milk from dairy cases with LED and fluorescent lighting.

Taste-testing panels noted that LED light impairs fresh flavor properties more than fluorescent. An earlier study also said skim milk's taste is more affected than 2 percent fat milk; the researchers believe fat offers protection from the light by either making it harder for the light to reach riboflavin and other photosensitive compounds, or may give the milk a flavor of its own that slightly masks the off-note.

"The consumers did not like the slight off-flavor from the light in the 2 percent milk, but they really didn't like it in fat-free skim milk. It changed much more noticeably," said Dando.

"We were surprised that LED may be causing sensory changes earlier than fluorescent light," said Chang. "There has been more research on fluorescent light, but there isn't much in the literature on LED. We wanted to see the difference between them."

The researchers found light-protective packaging offered near-complete protection from LED exposure, with a similar flavor profile as milk unexposed to light. However, consumers disliked such packaging's appearance, likening it to orange juice jugs.

Why does flavor change in the presence of light? Dando speculates that riboflavin and residual chlorophyll in the milk absorbs energy from light, and can release it into the milk, causing changes to proteins and fats that may have off-putting flavor consequences.

The paper, "Exposure to Light-Emitting Diodes May Be More Damaging to the Sensory Properties of Fat-Free Milk Than Exposure to Fluorescent Light," was funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

From the Cart to the Keyboard: How food purchasing habits will impact the beef industry

The manner in which groceries are bought and sold is undergoing a swift and significant transition. The potential impact of these changes on the beef and cattle sector is the topic of a new report from the RaboResearch Food and & Agribusiness group. The report, “Food Fight! Online and Brick & Mortar Battle for Business. How Can Beef Ensure a Seat at the Table?,” explores how food reaches the average American consumer and what the beef industry will need to do to make beef an integral part of the consumption experience in this new world.

The report finds that of food purchased for in-home consumption, approximately 20 percent will be purchased online by 2025. These online purchases include not only traditionally packaged groceries but also complete meals packaged for home preparation in the meal kit category.

“Changes in where consumers buy groceries, when they buy, and what they buy will inevitably force changes all the way through the supply chain. Nowhere will these changes be more dramatic than in perishables such as meat,” notes report author and RaboResearch Food & Agribusiness Senior Protein Analyst Don Close. “

The report goes on to note that access to a broader pool of customers independent of geography provides online shopping outlets with the ability to meet a wider variety of customer requests than brick and mortar stores; customers who want branded products or prime graded products can be supplied, as can the conventional shopper who wants the mid-range of choice product. This holds true for customers who want a natural, NHTC, organic, or antibiotic-free product, and even for customers who want grass-fed product. Customer pools are large enough for the supplier to be able to fulfil their niche expectations.

“These niche desires will result in additional demands on cattle quality and production specifications, which will lead to a wider price spread across all classes of cattle, as well as a more detailed premium and discount schedule,” notes Close.  “These changes are indicative of a permanent change in the way food reaches the average American consumer—and if the beef industry is to ward off any further decline in beef consumption, it must embrace these changes and make beef an integral part of the consumption experience, regardless of where it is purchased,” notes Close.

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