Thursday, February 15, 2018

Thursday February 15 Ag News

Sen. Fischer Appointed to Chair of Livestock, Marketing, and Agriculture Security Subcommittee
Steve Nelson, President, NE Farm Bureau

“Congratulations to Sen. Deb Fischer on her selection as Chair of the Livestock, Marketing, and Agriculture Security Subcommittee. As a rancher, Sen. Fischer brings a tremendous level of livestock agriculture expertise to the committee and has a proven track record of working with agriculture producers. One of her first actions as a Nebraska state lawmaker was to protect private information shared by Nebraska livestock producers as part of a national animal identification system. She represented the needs and interests of Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers with that successful legislation and has been doing so ever since. We look forward to continuing to work with her in her role as Chair of the Subcommittee, and as a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee.”


Producers, landowners and other agricultural policy stakeholders seeking information on the 2018 farm bill are encouraged to register for a series of five forums scheduled at locations across Kansas and Nebraska. Experts from K-State Research and Extension and Nebraska Extension will discuss farm bill issues and policy options, and gather input to share with policymakers to help inform the continuing development

A new federal farm bill is due this year and is under development in Congress. With action completed on a federal budget including some agricultural programs, the farm bill process could pick up quickly with proposals and legislation fully debated in the coming weeks.The meetings will provide an overview of the current debate and current economic conditions in agriculture which help frame the discussion and will look at crop and dairy commodity programs, conservation programs, and nutrition programs and other policy issues, as well as proposed crop insurance changes.

Leading the discussion will be Mykel Taylor and Art Barnaby from Kansas State University and Brad Lubben from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Taylor is a farm management specialist with expertise in producer decision-making, including in-depth analysis of the 2014 farm program enrollment decision. Her analysis of past decisions and outlook will provide perspective on the commodity programs, the potential changes and the decisions ahead in 2019. Barnaby is a national expert in crop insurance with keen insight on the features and performance of crop insurance. His work will explore the proposed changes and the potential ramifications to the program and to producer crop insurance and risk management decisions. Lubben is a noted expert in agricultural policy with insight on both the farm bill issues and the process. He will help frame the debate and the expectations for new programs and policies to provide perspective on the broader budget and policy challenges facing members of Congress in writing the new farm bill.

Each meeting will run from 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. with refreshments and lunch served. The five meetings are scheduled in the following locations:

DODGE CITY, KS.: Feb. 28, Knights of Columbus Hall, 800 W. Frontview, Dodge City, KS
Host: Andrea Burns, or 620-227-4542

MANHATTAN, KS.: March 1, Pottorf Hall - CiCo Park, 1710 Avery Ave., Manhattan, KS
Host: Rich Llewelyn, or 785-532-1504

MEAD, NEB.: March 5, ENREC near Mead, Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center, 1071 County Road G, Ithaca, NE
Host: Keith Glewen, or 402-624-8030

SCOTTSBLUFF, NEB.: March 6, Panhandle Research and Extension Center, 4502 Avenue I, Scottsbluff, NE
Host: Jessica Groskopf, or 308-632-1247

HASTINGS, NEB.: March 7, Adams County Fairgrounds, 946 S. Baltimore, Hastings, NE
Host: Ron Seymour, or 402-461-7209

The registration fee is $20 if pre-registered five days before the date of each meeting, and will increase to $30 after the deadline or at the door. The fee covers the meal, refreshments and meeting materials. To register, visit and clicking on the meeting you wish to attend.

Further information is available on the web from either of the host institutions at K-State at or at Nebraska at or by contacting the meeting host at each location.


Industry representatives and corn and soybean growers wanting to learn how to better manage corn and soybean pests should plan to attend the Nebraska Extension crop scout training for pest managers program March 13 at the Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center near Mead.

Experts from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln will provide in-depth information on topics including: factors influencing the growth and development of corn and soybeans; corn and soybean insect management; weed control management; identifying weeds - plant morphology; using a key to identify weed seedlings; and crop diseases and quiz.

Certified Crop Advisor continuing education credits are available with 6 in pest management, 1 in crop management and .5 in fertility/nutrient management.

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m., and the workshop is from 9 a.m-5 p.m.

Cost for this training is $165 which includes a resource book. For participants attending the training only (no resource book) the fee is $50.  Fees include lunch, refreshment breaks, workshop materials and instruction manual. Registrants should preregister to reserve their seat and to ensure workshop materials are available the day of the training session. Updated reference materials are included in this year's take- home instruction manual.

To register, visit For more information, contact Nebraska Extension at (402) 624-8030, (800) 529-8030, or e-mail Keith Glewen at

York and Seward County Leaders Tour Dairy Farms

Community leaders from York and Seward counties in Nebraska were treated to  dairy tours on January 25. The Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska (AFAN) and the Nebraska State Dairy Association (NSDA) hosted the tour of Beavers Dairy in Carleton and Butler County Dairy in Rising City.  The two dairies provided a good look at two different types of dairy production

The community leaders learned about robotics while touring Beavers Dairy. Brett Beavers talked with them about the challenges that livestock producers face and provided a tour of his dairy, complete with demonstrations of robotic milkers and feed pushers. They discussed the water cycle that dairies implement (from the barn flushes all the way to the pivot), and the leaders learned how dairy expansion can support the economies of their local communities.

The group also toured Butler County Dairy in Rising City, where conversations rolled around how a large dairy can integrate into a community, provide steady jobs and provide a tax base to the county. The group visited the maternity barn and learned about the role genetics plays in milk production and healthy cows. They also visited the calf ranch at the dairy to learn how farmers care for the calves during the drastic weather fluctuations. 

This tour provided these county officials the opportunity to connect with actual dairy farmers and employees to see how dairies both large and small provide a quality product while also benefiting their entire communities.

“Both dairies we toured shared their desire to grow their herds,” said York County’s Lisa Hurley, “but feel they can’t until they have a place for their milk to go. ‘Find me a processor’ was a common statement. This struck home with me because York is continually focused on our seed corn industry, but we have natural resources surrounding our county that could be utilized to our advantage by adding a dairy processor.”

Kristen Hassebrook, Executive Director of AFAN, was pleased with how the tours succeeded in explaining how much positive impact successful dairy operations can make on their communities. “Given the positive response we’ve had from the tour participants,” she said, “we will be planning similar events for other community leaders to introduce them to the commitment and passion Nebraska farmers and ranchers have for providing quality food to the state and the world.”

Nebraska faculty selected by São Paulo Research Foundation for collaborative project funding

Two University of Nebraska-Lincoln faculty members, Steven Thomas and Chris Calkins, have been selected for funding by the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) in Brazil through the SPRINT initiative - São Paulo Researchers in International Collaboration. The program aims to promote the engagement of U.S. researchers with higher education institutions in the State of São Paulo, Brazil. Participants will further develop ongoing research projects and work cooperatively to establish joint research projects for the medium and long term.

Steven Thomas, associate professor in the School of Natural Resources, will explore the influence of land use practices and canopy cover restoration on nutrient spiraling in tropical and temperate stream ecosystems, alongside collaborator Davi Gasparini Fernandes Cunha of the University of São Paulo. Fertilizer use differs considerably between the states of Nebraska and São Paulo. In Nebraska, fertilizer use has been established for decades and nutrient enrichment in streams draining these agricultural landscapes is well documented. In São Paulo, fertilizer use is increasing as agronomic systems modernize but it remains uncertain whether nutrient impacts in these streams parallel those observed in their temperate counterparts.  The study will compare and contrast nutrient retention in Brazilian and Nebraskan streams using state-of-the-art experimental and numerical approaches. The collaboration between Dr. Thomas and Dr. Cunha embodies the fundamental spirit of the SPRINT competition by partnering researchers across career stage, discipline, and geography but who share a common passion to understand our streams and our world.

Chris Calkins, professor in the Department of Animal Science, will address the beef aging process and technological advances to implement systems and evaluate meat quality, collaborating with Sérgio Bertelli Pflanzer Júnior of the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP). Of interest to the two beef-producing powerhouses (Nebraska and Brazil) is the growing popularity of dry-aged beef, both domestically and internationally.  Due to tenderness and enhanced flavor, dry-aged beef is sold at a premium compared with traditional, wet-aged beef, throughout the world.  Traditional wet aging involves storage of beef primal cuts in vacuum bags, which extends shelf life and reduces moisture loss. Dry aging is a process whereby beef carcasses, primals, and/or subprimals are stored unpackaged under controlled temperatures, humidity and/or air flow for a certain period of time to allow the natural enzymatic and biochemical processes that result in improved tenderness and the development of the unique and distinct flavor. Despite the added value, the dry aging process is inconsistent and not well defined, thus the purpose of the collaborative project: defining ideal conditions for dry aging.

The call for proposals invited research in many fields of knowledge, emphasizing agricultural sciences. Nebraska joins the following institutions in being selected for funded proposals: University of Münster (Germany); Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (FNRS, Beligum); University of Victoria (Canada); Leiden University (the Netherlands); Durham University (United Kingdom); Purdue University, Texas A&M University and the University of California San Diego.

The university’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources (IANR) has prioritized faculty collaborations with institutions in São Paulo state over the last several years, including the signing of an agreement with FAPESP in 2016 to advance these collaborations to the next level and the hosting of the Brazil-USA Research Symposium “FAPESP Week” in September 2017. This relationship, which has been supported by IANR’s Office of Global Engagement and the Agricultural Research Division, has given researchers from both countries the opportunity to engage in ongoing projects and apply for joint funding.

This Week's Drought Summary

During the 7-day period (ending Tuesday morning), heavy to excessive rainfall eased or eliminated dryness and drought across much of the eastern, southeastern, and southcentral U.S. Conversely, drought intensified and expanded from the central Corn Belt southwestward across the southern Plains into the Southwest, including much of southern California. Other modest changes to the nation’s drought depiction over the past 7 days included reductions to drought intensity in Montana as a result of recent snowy, cold weather, while dryness and drought expanded in Oregon due in large part to subpar snowpacks.

High Plains

Additional snow in central portions of the region contrasted with dry conditions elsewhere. There were no changes made to the drought depiction in the Dakotas, where a lack of snowfall to date has led to declining prospects for spring meltoff; resultant detrimental impacts on topsoil moisture and stock pond levels remained a primary concern. Meanwhile, a continuation of the recent snowy weather pattern in northeastern Colorado, southeastern Wyoming, northwestern Kansas, and much of Nebraska (30-day surplus of 1-2 inches, liquid equivalent) supported the reduction of Moderate Drought (D1) and Abnormal Dryness (D0). Likewise, moderate to heavy snow (depths averaging 12 to 24 inches, liquid equivalent 1 to 2 inches) in northeastern Montana supported some reduction of the state’s persistent long-term drought. Conversely, southern Kansas remained locked in the same drought which has held a firm, intensifying grip on the southern Plains. However, additional detailed assessment of data coupled with information from the field led to a minor adjustment of the Extreme Drought (D3) which slices over the south-central U.S., with the depiction shifted slightly east from southeastern Colorado into western Oklahoma to reflect the updated information.


Cold weather prevailed, with a swath of welcomed snowfall in central portions of the region contrasting with intensifying drought to the south. From Iowa into southern Michigan, widespread snow (4-12 inches, locally more) boosted moisture prospects, with a liquid equivalent 0.5 inch to locally more than an inch. As a result, there were modest reductions to Abnormal Dryness (D0) in parts of Iowa, southwestern Minnesota, and east-central Wisconsin. Meanwhile, drought continued to intensify from southeastern Missouri into southern Illinois and west-central Indiana. Dryness was most pronounced across eastern Missouri and neighboring portions of Illinois, where 6-month precipitation has averaged a meager 25 to 50 percent of normal (deficits of 8 to 12 inches). In these locales, Severe and Extreme Drought (D2 and D3) were expanded. Similarly, 2- to 4-inch deficits over the past 90 days (less than 50 percent of normal) were noted in the newly-expanded Moderate Drought (D1) and D0 areas of east-central Illinois and west-central Indiana.

Looking Ahead

An unsettled weather pattern will maintain periods of rain and snow over much of the nation, although pockets of dryness will persist. A series of storms will bring moderate to heavy rain and mountain snow to much of the west, although unfavorably dry conditions will persist from California into western Nevada. East of the Rockies, an active southern storm track will bring much-needed precipitation to locales from southeastern New Mexico across the southern two thirds of Texas into southern Oklahoma and the northern Delta. Despite the welcomed storminess, dry weather will linger from the south-central Plains into western Missouri as well as over the lower Southeast. Farther north, another round of moderate to heavy snow is expected from Montana into the Great Lakes and eastern Corn Belt, and may include the Mid-Atlantic as well as Northeastern States. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for February 20 – 24 calls for near- to above-normal precipitation over much of the nation, in particular areas east of the Mississippi save for Florida and the lower Southeast, where drier-than-normal conditions are expected. Below-normal precipitation is also anticipated in the Southwest and on the southern High Plains. Above-normal temperatures over the southern and eastern U.S. will contrast with colder-than-normal weather from the Pacific Coast States into the upper Midwest.

Beef Checkoff Launches New Producer Ad Campaign

In February, a new producer-directed advertising campaign called “Open Doors” launched for the beef checkoff. The cattle-ranching Soucie family of Cambridge, Nebraska, are featured in the national ads.

The “Open Doors” concept was born from the creative insight that you never know what you’ll find when you open a door. We open them to let someone or something in that was previously left out. We open them when others can’t open them for themselves. And we open them because progress doesn’t happen if they remain closed.

The idea behind the creative concept was to bring facts to life by taking beef producers on a journey that allows them to experience first-hand the opportunities that lie behind each door the Beef Checkoff Program has opened – and will continue to open – for the industry and their individual operations.

“Our beef checkoff is committed to creating new opportunities that add more value to a beef producer’s operation,” says Jo Stanko, Investor Relations Working Group co-chair. “But sometimes opening new doors means fighting old beliefs by constantly reminding consumers, mommy bloggers and red-meat cynics just how nutritious this total protein package can be.”

Read about more ways your checkoff is opening doors. And to learn more about your checkoff investment, visit

School for Field Crop Scouts Offered by ISU Extension and Outreach

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will offer the Field Crop Scout School Saturday, March 24, at the Field Extension Education Lab near Boone. The day-long course prepares beginning crop scouts to be successful in their field scouting work. Sessions on crop growth and development, weed, disease and insect identification, along with scouting methods and techniques are offered.

“The school provides a basic understanding of crop pests, how to identify them and field guides to help with identification,” said Warren Pierson, program specialist for the Field Extension Education Laboratory with ISU Extension and Outreach. “It’s very important to be able to identify insects, weeds and diseases to carry out a successful integrated pest management plan.”

Registration is limited to 100 participants to ensure small, interactive groups. Students will rotate through hands-on, interactive experiences led by ISU Extension and Outreach specialists. Corn and soybean plant samples will be used to give students the opportunity to work with live plants rather than pictures.

An optional agricultural worker pesticide safety training session, as outlined by the Worker Protection Standard, is offered following the school. Certifications of completion will be provided.

Check-in will begin at 8:30 a.m., with sessions beginning at 9 a.m. and adjourning at 3:15 p.m. The optional agricultural worker pesticide safety training session will then continue until 4:20 p.m.

Online registration and downloadable registration forms are available at Pre-registration is required and must be completed before midnight, March 16. The registration fee of $100 includes field guides, course handouts, lunch and refreshments. FEEL is located at 1928 240th Street, Boone. Additional information and directions are available at

CattleFax elects 2018 Officers, Celebrates 50th Anniversary

Dale Smith, a cattle producer from Amarillo, Texas, was elected 2018 President of CattleFax at the 50th annual business meeting of the organization on Feb. 1, 2018 in Phoenix, Ariz.  Smith is a cow/calf, stocker operator and cattle feeder based out of the Texas panhandle with operations in the Texas Panhandle, Colorado and the Southeast. He has served on the boards of the Texas Cattle Feeders Association, Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, among others.

President Elect is Don Quincey of Chiefland, Fla. Quincey is a 5th generation rancher and cattle feeder in Florida and is a past president of the Florida Cattlemen’s Association. Re-elected as executive vice president was Randy Blach of Centennial, Colo. 

Other directors currently serving terms for CattleFax are: Todd Allen of Newton, Kan.; Pono Von Holt of Kamuela, Hawaii; Mark Frasier of Fort Morgan, Colo.; Jerry Adams of Broken Bow, Neb.; and Jeff Sparrowk of Clements, Calif.  Tom Jensen of Omaha, Neb., is serving as treasurer.

CattleFax’s 50th anniversary was celebrated at the meeting, which was held in conjunction with the 2018 Cattle Industry Convention. First, to kick off the celebration a video highlighting the history and progress of CattleFax was shown. The video is available to view on the CattleFax website, as well as YouTube.

Topper Thorpe, the first analyst hired by CattleFax and its CEO for 30 years, was on hand to introduce the CattleFax Annual Outlook Seminar.  Dee Likes, a former CattleFax employee and the CEO emeritus of Kansas Livestock Association, emceed the evening reception. All of the CattleFax past presidents were honored for their leadership and guidance, as were long-time members, some of whom have been involved with the organization for 45 years or more. Also recognized were past and current CattleFax staff members.

Multiple University Trials Validate Benefit of Commence® for Soybeans

Agnition announced today that multiple recent university research trials demonstrate that Commence® for Soybeans, a seed treatment, increases yield for greater profits. The trails were conducted by the University of Nebraska – Lincoln and Iowa State University. Results were highlighted by the Iowa State Reseach where replicated trials in Ames and Boone Iowa resulted in an average gain of 4.0 bushels an acre over an untreated check.

Many treatments focus on physically protecting seed. Commence® takes a different approach by utilizing the seed to deliver patented technolgoies that enhance the immediate growing environment for healthier soil and plants.

“Commence® is seed treatment done differently,” said Agnition Brand Manager Andy Lanoue. “We use the seed to target soil microbes in the  immediate soil environment where germination and early plant growth occur. Healthier soil leads to faster and more consistent emergence, improved stand count, improved plant health and vigor and plants with increased stress tolerance. Ultimately that results in greater yields and profits.”

Commence® for Soybeans is powered by patented Microbial Catalyst® Technology which enhances the microbial life in the environment around the seed for improved plant growth and development. Stimulating microbes liberates nutrients and drives production of additional components vital to plant vigor.

“The research trials reinforce what we have seen many times in our research farm trails and producer trials: Commence® creates healthier soil for healthier plants that withstand stress and yield more,” Lanoue said.

Agnition is a brand of Ralco, a third-generation, family-owned multinational company with distribution in more than 20 countries. Ralco is a leading global supplier of livestock nutrition, animal health products and crop enhancement technologies that support large segments of the livestock, poultry, aquaculture and crop production industries.

Syngenta recommends overlapping residuals for season-long waterhemp management

Due to the expanding threat of resistant waterhemp, Syngenta urges corn and soybean growers to prepare a management strategy that includes overlapping residual herbicides with multiple, effective modes of action (MOAs) for the upcoming growing season. 

Waterhemp, a small-seeded broadleaf weed, is one of the most common weeds found in corn and soybean fields. According to Purdue University, it can grow as much as 1 inch per day and up to 4 to 5 feet in height, with some weeds reaching up to 12 feet. Producing as many as one million seeds per plant, waterhemp pollen can travel one-half mile or more, and because of the cross-pollination that occurs, resistance spreads.

"The driver weed across most of Illinois is waterhemp," said Aaron Hager, Extension weed specialist at the University of Illinois. "Twenty-five years ago, you couldn’t find two people in Illinois who knew what waterhemp was. Have farmers learned about it now? They sure have. Biology has forced them to learn about driver weeds to understand how to control them."

Joe Wuerffel, Ph.D., research and development scientist at Syngenta, explained that waterhemp is known to germinate as early as March and continue through August. Because of this, it’s imperative to implement a herbicide strategy to control waterhemp and manage future resistance. Overlapping residuals are recommended to improve yields and keep fields weed-free for longer.

“Herbicide resistance in waterhemp is very widespread,” Wuerffel said. “We’ve seen its resistance to six different unique MOAs. We pretty much assume that if you have a waterhemp plant in a field, it’s probably ALS-resistant.”

According to Wuerffel, growers can control waterhemp and protect yields by using multiple, effective MOAs that provide residual control and a start-clean, stay-clean approach to weed control. Acuron® corn herbicide has four active ingredients and three effective MOAs. Its atrazine-free counterpart, Acuron Flexi corn herbicide, has three active ingredients and two effective MOAs. Both contain the active ingredient bicyclopyrone, which provides improved, more consistent waterhemp control.

“Our biggest problem now is with waterhemp, not because it’s such a tough weed, but because it’s so prolific and it’s building a little resistance,” said Glenn Beller, a grower in Lindsay, Nebraska. “Acuron has pretty much kept the waterhemp at bay.”

Syngenta also offers an effective soybean weed control program that starts with pre-emergence, long-lasting residual control from Boundary® 6.5 EC or BroadAxe® XC herbicides. In addition, a post-emergence application of Flexstar® GT 3.5 is an effective herbicide for control when applied to 2- to 4-inch waterhemp.

“Waterhemp grows so fast and it’s gained so much resistance that there really isn’t anything to stop it once it’s over 3 to 4 inches tall,” said Brian Ellison, a grower in Belleville, Illinois. “The residual component in Flexstar GT 3.5 holds them down.”

Decades of research and development have put Syngenta at the forefront of introducing herbicides with extended residual control to help fight resistance. The Syngenta Resistance Fighter® program provides education, local recommendations, and a comprehensive herbicide portfolio to help growers and retailers effectively manage resistant weeds in their area.

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