Monday, January 15, 2018

Monday January 15 Ag News

Cuming Co. Extension Board to Elect New Officers

The Cuming County Extension Board will hold their re-organizational meeting on Monday, January 29.  The meeting will be held in the Courthouse Meeting Room beginning at 7:00 p.m. The 2017 President will preside at the meeting until new officers are elected.  Other items of business for the meeting are finalizing plans for Board of Supervisors luncheon, January 31 and NACEB Annual Meeting.  The full agenda for the Extension Board meeting is available for review at the Extension office.

What is the Economic Value of Beef Manure?

Amy Timmerman – NE Extension Educator

Manure has value. That value may result from improvements in soil quality, increases in yield, and replacement of commercial nutrient required for crop production. Previous articles on manure’s value have focused on its soil health (, environmental benefits (, and tools for estimating manure’s value ( This article will focus on the economic benefits of manure. Key take home messages include:
1) Targeting fields requiring supplemental phosphorus (P) produces the largest economic value from manure.
2) Targeting fields requiring supplemental potassium (K) significantly increase manure’s value.
3) Additional value result from manure nitrogen (N) and micro-nutrients as well as from yield increases. However, these benefits are typically less important than P and K.

The assumptions used for this analysis are found at


Manure is a supplemental source of P, organic-N, ammonium-N, and micro-nutrients commonly required by many fields. Cropland receiving surface applied manure (not incorporated) benefits from both the organic-N and P. The value of the nutrients in beef manure (open lot) is heavily influenced by the value of the P and to a lesser extent the organic-N (see Figure 1 ( and assumptions for all figures presented. All assumptions are found at end of article. ). Because feedlot manures and many solid manures contains little ammonium-N, incorporation to conserve N would produce little additional value.

For slurry manures such as captured by a beef barn with a pit below a slatted floor, immediate incorporation of manure is important for gaining value from the important ammonium-N content. Slurry manures generally conserve the ammonium-N fraction commonly lost from open lots. Figure 2 ( illustrates the value of incorporating beef manure with a below barn pit. Approximately 35% of its value results from the ammonium-N conserved by direct injection.

Note the importance of P to achieving value from both of these manures. Almost half or more of each manure’s value will only be realized by applying manure to fields requiring P supplementation (typically, fields with Bray soil P levels below 30 ppm). Thus, farmers wanting to gain the greatest value from manure should target those fields with low soil P levels. A 25 ton load of open lot beef manure has a fertility value of $350. However, 2/3 of this value will not be realized if applied to a field with high soil P levels.


To further enhance the value of manure, targeting those fields that have a K requirement offers additional value. Soil tests for highly productive fields are increasingly identifying a need for K supplementation. Manures are an excellent source of K. For the beef feedlot manure example shared in Figure 1, the manure’s value has almost doubled by applying it to a field with a K requirement (Figure 3


Economic value can also be gained from a yield response to manure. Such yield responses can be a result of improved soil structure and greater drought tolerance of the soils receiving manure or from the increased biological activity in the soil producing a number of benefits such as greater nutrient availability to the plant. A recent worldwide literature review of 159 research comparisons of the nutrient replacement value of manure observed an average yield increase of 4.4%. Adding a 5% yield increase to a 200 bushel/acre corn crop will produce some additional value. However, note that this yield boost does not compare with the value of the P and K in manure assuming a 5% yield increase is achieved.

Similar benefits are observed for manures produced in other beef systems houses in open lots, bedded back barns, and barns with a deep pit.


Key to gaining the economic value from manure nutrients is the rate at which manure is applied. To receive the returns shown in this articles graphics, the following practices must be followed:
1. Manure should be applied at a rate that does not exceed the crop N requirements for a single year. Excess manure N application is likely to be leach beyond the root zone and be lost. See Determining Crop Available Nutrients from Manure ( for more information.
2. Manure applied at rates near the crops N requirement typically over apply P and K. However, these nutrients will continue to be available to crops in future years. To gain the manure’s P and K value, target those fields requiring supplemental P and K (see Nutrient Requirements for Agronomic Crops in Nebraska ( or your state specific recommendations). In addition, avoid re-applying manure to the same field until soil testing suggests need for supplemental P and K.

Accessing the economic value of manure begins by targeting fields low in P and K.

Chemigation Training Schedule for 2018

Nebraska Extension Chemigation Training has been scheduled at a number of sites for growers needing their chemigation certification in 2018. Training opportunities run from January into the first week of June. Online chemigation training is available for recertification only.

"Nebraska has been a national leader in chemigation research, application and training," said Bill Kranz, director of the Extension Chemigation Training Program and northeast extension district associate director. Other states have modeled their programs after Nebraska.

Participants will receive educational materials and training so they can properly calibrate the chemical system injection pump for the amount of chemical and water they want to apply, Kranz said.

The training also will cover the evolution and application of chemigation from EPA's initial approval in the late 1980s to the Nebraska Chemigation Act and chemigation rules and regulations as developed by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ). The Act allowed NDEQ to contract with the University of Nebraska to deliver training.

View the full Chemigation Training schedule for 2018 here....   For information on certification and recertification training opportunities, and study materials see the Nebraska Extension webpage: Using Chemigation Safely and Effectively....

 Spring Lecture Series to Focus on Advances in Irrigation

Advances in irrigation management will be the focus of a new lecture series being offered this spring at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The lectures make up the university’s annual spring semester water and natural resources seminar organized by the School of Natural Resources and the Nebraska Water Center.

“Evolving and advancing irrigation management practices are at the very core of Nebraska’s powerful and productive agricultural economy. It is safe to say that without development of the irrigation technologies and management we have today, our state economy would be far different than it is,” said Chittaranjan Ray, director of the Nebraska Water Center. “Irrigation is not without risk, responsibility and a clear focus on the future.”

The series opens with a 3:30 p.m. Jan. 17 talk by Cody Bailey of Reinke Manufacturing. The talk, "A Unique View of an Advanced Center Pivot Irrigation System," is in the Hardin Hall Auditorium.

Subsequent lectures, held roughly every-other-Wednesday afternoon through April 18, will look at advances in the irrigation equipment, science and management practices. Each talk is 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the Hardin Hall Auditorium.

According to the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, there were just under 2.2 million acres of crop and pastureland under irrigation in 1964. Fifty years later, in 2014, that number had increased to just under 8.3 million acres, representing just under half of the total cropland harvested in the state.

Lectures in the seminar series are:
    Jan. 17 — Cody Bailey, Reinke Manufacturing, “A Unique View of an Advanced Center Pivot Irrigation System”

    Jan. 31 — Williams Memorial Lecture, Ken Quandt, McCrometer Corporation, “McCrometer Flow Connect: Building on Irrigation Flow Meter Fundamentals”

    Feb. 14 — Trenton Franz, hydrogeophysicist, School of Natural Resources, “Spatiotemporal Prediction of Soil Properties and States in Variably Saturated Landscapes”

    Feb. 28 — Daran Rudnick, assistant professor, biological systems engineering, “Performance of Tools and Technologies for Scheduling Irrigation and Fertigation in Western Nebraska”

    March 14 — Kremer Memorial Lecture, Kurtis Charling, Lindsay Corporation, “Using Proven Science, Research, and Big Data to Simplify and Optimize Irrigation Management”

    April 4 — Derek Heeren, assistant professor, biological systems engineering, “Variable Rate Irrigation: Potential Benefits, Limitations, and Management Practices”

    April 18 — Xin Qiao, assistant professor, biological systems engineering, “Irrigation Management in Western Nebraska and Future Opportunities”

In addition to being offered free to the public, the seminar can be taken for student credit through the School of Natural Resources.

Individual lecture videos and speaker PowerPoint presentation will be posted online.

Overview of Tax Law Changes for Ag Operations

Tina Barrett - Executive Director of Nebraska Farm Business Inc.

As I wrote an article on possible tax reform back in October 2017, it seemed like it was still a long shot. Now we have signed legislation that really is a significant change to the tax structure … at least for a while. Most of the individual tax changes will “sunset” in 2025 or return to current law if Congress doesn’t act again to extend or make the changes permanent. Most of the provisions only affect future years so we have some time to digest all the changes and really understand the impact. Following is an overview of some of the changes that may affect ag operations.

Increased Standard Deduction

The 2017 Tax Relief Act sets the standard deduction at $24,000 and eliminates the personal exemption. This will significantly reduce the number of individuals who itemize their deductions and simplify many tax returns. The 2017 standard deduction was $12,700 for Married Filing Joint Returns. With the elimination of personal exemptions, the child tax credit was increased to $2,000 per child and the family income limit was increased so more families will qualify. The personal exemption amount in 2017 was $4,050 for each member of the household. In general, your family size and the age of your children will largely determine whether this combined exemption will increase or decrease your tax bill.

Change to the Individual Tax Rate Structure

The law retains seven brackets and a marriage tax penalty. (Two individuals can make more money at a lower rate than a married couple.) The maximum rate has been reduced from 39.6% to 37%.
Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)

The original house proposal would have eliminated the AMT tax. This tax was imposed many years ago with the idea that it kept high-income taxpayers from taking advantage of too many tax benefits. However, the limits were not indexed for inflation and the levels where the AMT tax would kick in started to affect many taxpayers. Instead of full repeal, the compromise bill increased the limit again so fewer taxpayers will be subject to the tax. Without full repeal, it doesn’t really simplify the tax code.

Interest and Real Estate Taxes

We have fielded more questions about the elimination of interest and real estate taxes than anything else over the past few months. It is important to recognize that not all interest and real estate taxes are the same. The discussion of elimination of these came mostly from Schedule A (Itemized Deductions). For most farmers, these are the Real Estate taxes paid on the house and mortgage interest on the house. This had nothing to do with business interest or real estate taxes paid on your farm real estate.

There is a provision to limit interest on businesses that gross more than $25 million. This could affect cattle feeders and other large operations. There are some rules that will allow these businesses to still deduct interest. If this affects you, you will want to work with your tax preparer to see what you need to do.

Estate and Generation-Skipping Taxes

The house proposal eliminated the “death” tax and the generation-skipping transfer taxes while retaining a full step-up in basis. However, the proposal didn’t make the compromise bill. The compromise doubles the exclusion per person from $5 million to $10 million, but only through 2025 so we are back to dealing with an unknown. Since few of us know exactly what year we are going to die, it is really hard to plan on anything other than the $5 million per person exclusion. The rates will continue to be indexed for inflation so the actual amount a person can pass on in 2018 will be $11.2 million. This increase is beneficial, but without a permanent law, it is really just a benefit for a few years.

New Tax Rate for Small Businesses

There has been a lot of discussion about the pass-through business income.  This includes S-Corps and Partnerships as well as Schedule C and F businesses.  The compromise has settled on a 20% deduction for your farm income.  For example, if you recognize $100,000 on your Schedule F, you will automatically get a $20,000 deduction.  This effectively lowers your tax bracket by 20%.  If your total income is over $315,000, the deduction starts to get complicated.  The final regulations on this new law will be interesting as it gets unveiled in 2018.

New Tax Rate for Corporations

The corporate tax rate (for C-corporations) will be a flat 21%. For many with C-corporations, this will actually be a tax increase since we are used to using the 15% bracket.  However, when it comes time to recognize more income (high profit years, liquidation, etc) it will be very nice to have a cap at 21% instead of the max rate of 39%.

Section 179 and Bonus Depreciation

The new law sets the Section 179 deduction at $1 million (up from $500,000) and raises the purchase phase out to $2.5 million. As most producers weren’t reaching the maximum deduction when it was $500,000, this is not a major change. The new law does reinstate bonus depreciation at a rate of 100% through 2022.  For those of you looking to put up a building, this may be a good time. The law also changed the rules so bonus depreciation will apply to both new and used property.

Elimination of the Section 1031 for Personal Property

We often think of 1031 Exchanges being for real estate, but actually that part of the code section is regularly used on farm returns with equipment trades. The new tax law eliminates the ability to use this section for personal property (equipment). When you trade tractors this year, you will have to recognize the gain on the sale of the old tractor and will put the new tractor on deprecation at full value. This won’t really make a huge difference on your tax return with the increased amounts of bonus and Section 179, but for Nebraskans, this will be a large impact to your Personal Property Tax Return.  Expect that bill to increase, starting with your 2019 return.


The 2017 Tax Relieve Act contains many changes and it’s hard to try and quantify the effect on farms in general. It will take a personalized approach to see if this is a win for you. In general, this seems to be a good thing for farmers. The biggest downside is the return of the “sunset” and being back to the need to wait on extender bills.

New Beef Cuts for the New Year

The annual What's Hot culinary forecast released by the National Restaurant Association named "new cuts of meat" as the top trend for 2018. As the authority on all things beef, the Beef. It's What's For Dinner. Culinary Center chefs and meat scientists have put together a list of the top five innovative cuts you need to know.
     1) Shoulder Tender
     2) Sirloin Bavette
     3) Coulotte
     4) Petite Sirloin
     5) Tri-Tip Roast

While many of these cuts are available to the home cook, some are just starting to gain popularity in restaurants.

"If you like Brisket, you might want to try a Tri-Tip Roast. Or, if you're in the mood for Strip Steak, you will probably enjoy the Coulotte," explains Chef Laura Hagen, senior director, culinary, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, a contractor to the beef checkoff. "It's exciting to see innovative cuts gain popularity across the country. Diners and home cooks shouldn't let a name they don't recognize keep them from trying something new."

Whether dining in or eating out, you can count on the beef experts to help navigate these innovative cuts. The new has a section dedicated to beef cuts with details on everything including where the cut comes from, how to cook it, and similar cuts that can be substituted.

For example:
- The Shoulder Tender is a lean cut that is shaped like the Tenderloin, but smaller. Like Tenderloin, it can be cut into medallions and is great for grilling, roasting, or broiling.

- The Sirloin Bavette, also known as the Sirloin Flap, is a thin boneless cut that's great for fajita meat. It should be marinated and then grilled or broiled.

- The Coulotte, a juicy, savory roast, is known by many other names including Top Sirloin Cap. It is best roasted in the oven or smoked slowly on the grill. It can also be cut into Coulotte Steaks.

- The Petite Sirloin, also known as the Ball Tip, is a small roast. It's a great cut for someone looking to maximize value and can be roasted, broiled, or braised.

- Finally, the Tri-Tip Roast is well known across much of the west, but is just gaining popularity on the East Coast. This lean cut is tender, full of flavor and can be grilled, roasted, braised, or broiled.

The new year is the perfect time to try a new cut of beef or a new beef recipe. With more than 60 percent of whole muscle beef cuts considered lean and CattleFax experts predicting beef prices to be down in 2018, people can enjoy beef's great taste all year long.

Applications Available for the 2018 America’s Pig Farmer of the Year Award

The National Pork Board is seeking the next America’s Pig Farmer of the YearSM, with applications now open for the annual industry award at The award recognizes a U.S. pork producer who demonstrates excellence in raising pigs using the We Care ethical principles and in sharing his or her story with the public. The application period is open through March 11.

“This program creates a national platform to connect pig farming with today’s consumers,” said National Pork Board President, Terry O’Neel, Friend, Nebraska. “Identifying a pig farmer who can share the story of pork production allows all pig farmers to continue to raise pigs and underscore their important role in feeding the world.”

A panel of third-party judges will again help to determine the final award recipient, with the winner announced during national pork month this October. The public can also play a role in selecting the 2018 winner through viewing short clips of the finalists on their farms at, and voting for their favorite through the Pork Checkoff’s social media outlets.

“This award embodies the We Care ethical principles pig farmers demonstrate every day,” O’Neel said. “I encourage those who enjoy sharing their pig farming story to apply today. The past winners have traveled throughout the country, meeting with consumers, sharing what it means to be a pig farmer and how they personally produce healthy, wholesome food.”

Anyone can nominate a U.S. pork producer who is at least 30 years old as of Jan. 1, 2018, at Complete rules of the award program are on the site as well, along with answers to frequently asked questions.

CWT Assists with 3.3 million Pounds of Cheese and Butter Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 21 requests for export assistance from Dairy Farmers of America, Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold), Tillamook County Creamery Association and United Dairymen of Arizona. These cooperatives have contracts to sell 2.652 million pounds (1,203 metric tons) of Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese and 688,945 pounds (313 metric tons) of butter to customers in Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and Oceania. The product has been contracted for delivery in the period from January through April 2018.

Total CWT-assisted member cooperative 2018 export sales are 2.652 million pounds of American-type cheeses and 690,047 pounds of butter (82% milkfat) to 9 countries on three continents. These sales are the equivalent of 40.006 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.

Fuel Economy in U.S. Vehicles Hits New Highs

The real-world fuel economy of new U.S. cars and trucks hit a record 24.7 miles per gallon in the 2016 model year, a government report said, even as regulators consider whether to revise fuel efficiency requirements.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said in a report that fuel economy rose by just 0.1 mpg in 2016 and is projected in the 2017 model year to hit another record of 25.2 miles per gallon.

With low oil prices and Americans buying more trucks and SUVs, automakers are concerned that rising fuel efficiency requirements through 2025 may be too stringent, reports Reuters.

Environmentalists say automakers must do more to make vehicles more efficient.

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