Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Tuesday February 20 Ag News

Planning for the Calving Season
Larry Howard, NE Extension Educator, Cuming County

For some producers the calving season is here, while for others, the start of the calving season is still a few months away. Here are some practices that need to be considered when preparing for the calving season.

Make sure to pay attention to nutrition needs of bred heifers or cows prior to calving. Adequate body condition at the time of calving for young females and mature cows is important as it impacts stamina during delivery of the calf, colostrum quality, calf vigor, and also impacts subsequent rebreeding. Adequate nutrition during the last trimester of pregnancy and especially the last 50-60 days prior to calving is important. Two-year-old heifers and three-year-old cows are vulnerable during this time period. These young females are still growing themselves while growing a calf inside them. As this calf grows and takes up room, rumen capacity is impacted and the amount of feed the young female can eat is reduced. The impact of this condition can be compounded when this time period prior to calving coincides with cold weather and available forage that is low in energy and protein. Body condition can deteriorate rapidly under these conditions.

Be sure to review your herd health plan with your veterinarian.  Address possible management options to reduce the health problems that have historically been an issue.

Examine calving facilities making sure they are in good working order. Inspect gates, pens, alleys and head catches, fixing or replacing broken items. Good lighting is an important part of a calving facility.  Plan to provide wind protection along with a clean, dry environment. Wet, muddy conditions are stressful both to cows and calves.

Check all your calving supplies. Make sure you have on hand plastic sleeves, obstetrical lube, obstetrical chains or straps, esophageal feeders, calf feeding bottles, calf puller and any other equipment that you will need. Test flashlights or spotlights to make sure they are working as well.  Have colostrum or colostrum replacement products on hand. The calf’s ability for absorption of immunoglobulin across the intestine decreases rapidly 6-12 hours after birth. Therefore it is critical that the calf receive colostrum during this time. It is a good practice to immediately milk out a heifer or cow when she is assisted at calving and provide this colostrum to the calf.  If quality or quantity of the colostrum is a concern, other sources of colostrum or colostrum replacement products should be used. Use caution when bringing outside sources of colostrum into the herd as disease transfer can occur. The best source of colostrum is from within your own herd. Colostrum replacement products can be a good option to utilize when calves are not vigorous at birth, after a prolonged calving event, cold stress or where there is poor maternal bonding. Visit with your veterinarian about which colostrum replacement products are best for your operation.

Have a plan and equipment for warming calves if calving during cold weather. Calves born during cold, wet conditions can quickly succumb to hypothermia. Have facilities, tools and supplies on hand to deal with this type of event. For mild hypothermia, (body temperature between 94 and 100°F) giving a calf warm, body temperature colostrum or colostrum replacement products along with drying the calf off with towels and warm air can quickly bring a calf’s temperature back to normal. For extreme hypothermia a combination of warm colostrum with a warm bath can be used. Calves should be dry, alert and have a normal body temperature before being returned to their mother.

There are several good Extension resources available to producers related to calving. “Assisting the Beef Cow at Calving Time” from Nebraska Extension is a good resource.

2017 Outstanding Pork Service Award Winners Announced

Russ Vering, President of the Nebraska Pork Producers Association recognized the 2017 Outstanding Pork Service Award winners at a ceremony held in conjunction with NPPA’s Annual Meeting. The Outstanding Pork Service Awards are given annually to recognize exceptional work by an individual, company, or organization that has advocated the fundamental efforts of the Nebraska Pork Producers Association. Plaques were presented to each of the 2017 winners by NPPA President Vering.

Mark Stephens of Bob Stephens and Associates was recognized with the Outstanding Pork Service Award for Promotions for his more than 30 years of guiding the Association’s promotional needs. His passion for pigs, the people who raise them made his willingness to volunteer, teach and share his knowledge is why Troy McCain of Aurora was named as the recipient of the 2017 Outstanding Pork Service Award for Producer Outreach. As the local food movement continues to grow, it’s giving new farmers like Travis Dunekacke, a niche marketer the opportunity to raise specialty pork for local chefs while educating consumers about where their food comes from. Travis’s engagement in niche production makes him a notable recipient of the 2017 Outstanding Pork Service Awards for Industry Outreach. QC Supply, headquartered in Schuyler has been a strong supporter of the Nebraska Pork Producers Association and has been a valued partner since 2004. Recognizing their longevity, QC Supply was named as Outstanding Pork Service Award for Allied Members.  

Promoting Livestock For Future Growth

U.S. Senator Deb Fischer

Raising livestock has always been a part of life in Nebraska. Our ranchers have made beef Nebraska’s largest industry. In 2017, we exported $1.26 billion worth of beef, making Nebraska the largest beef exporting state in the country for two years in a row. We have topped a billion dollars in beef exports for four years running.

Our state is the national leader in all areas of beef production, from cow/calf to cattle on feed to processing, but beef isn't the only area where Nebraska ranchers, and farmers, have found success. In 2017 Nebraska's pork production totaled $479 million, making us the fifth largest exporter. Together, Nebraskans increased their total beef exports by 12 percent and pork exports by 20 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

While impressive, Nebraskans are eager to build on this success. Organizations such as the Nebraska Farm Bureau, the Department of Agriculture, and the Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska have dedicated time and manpower to promote livestock production. This has included offering workshops and classes that help farmers investigate ways to expand into livestock production, as well as offering assistance with finance, permitting, fertilizer requirements, and water well placement.

Local and state leaders have done a great job helping our state expand its livestock production. I'm ready to work with them to help further the success of Nebraska ranchers. I am a strong voice for Nebraska on the Senate Agriculture Committee and excited to announce that I will be serving as the Chairman of the Livestock Subcommittee.

The Livestock subcommittee oversees a number of programs and policies relevant to our state's livestock industry. This includes foreign trade and market development, domestic marketing programs, international commodity agreements and export controls, and livestock inspection and certification of meat.

I have firsthand knowledge about the importance of livestock to our state's economy. I have been a Nebraska cattle rancher for over 40 years and worked with agriculture producers and rural and economic development groups all across our state. One of my first pieces of legislation in the Nebraska Legislature was to protect private information shared by livestock producers. I look forward to doing the same kind of work on the Senate Ag Committee.

In this vein, I've already begun drafting policy that will help our farmers and ranchers. I recently led a bipartisan group of senators to introduce the Fair Agricultural Reporting Method (FARM) Act. This bill would protect farmers, ranchers, and livestock markets from burdensome EPA reporting requirements for animal waste emissions. The Farm Act gives an exemption for animal waste emissions at a farm from CERCLA reporting requirements. These requirements were never intended to affect animal agriculture. They were meant to address dangerous industrial pollution, chemical plant explosions, and the release of hazardous materials into the environment.

Nebraska agriculture producers should be able to concentrate on doing their job of feeding the world without being burdened by unnecessary red tape. Working together with Nebraskans, I am committed to promoting policies that will allow our ag producers to build on recent success. As a member of the Senate Ag Committee and chairman of the Livestock subcommittee, I'll be focusing on doing what's best for our livestock producers.

Track Record of Support for Agriculture, Fischer Receives Nebraska Farm Bureau “Friend of Agriculture” Designation

U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer has been designated a “Friend of Agriculture” by NFBF-PAC, Nebraska Farm Bureau’s political action committee. Fischer, who is seeking re-election to the U.S. Senate, received the designation based on her strong track record of supporting Nebraska’s farm and ranch families, according to Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson.

“Time and again Sen. Fischer has gone to bat for Nebraska’s farm and ranch families, whether it’s involved working legislation in the Senate, or working directly with the administration. We are pleased to once again provide our support and backing to Sen. Fischer as she seeks re-election,” said Nelson.

Fischer’s list of actions supporting agriculture is extensive with many of them involving Nebraska Farm Bureau’s highest policy priorities. Farm Bureau pointed to several in announcing Fischer as a “Friend of Agriculture” including:

    Fischer’s introduction of legislation to address misguided regulations on anhydrous ammonia retail facilities that would have left farmers to pay thousands of dollars in increased fertilizer costs with no real benefit to public safety.

    Fischer’s efforts to force the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to withdraw or vacate the “Waters of the U.S.” rule, a far-reaching regulation that would have infringed on the property rights and management of private land.

    Fischer’s work on the “FUELS Act”, legislation to exempt the vast majority of Nebraska’s farms and ranches from having to comply with the EPA’s Spill Prevention Containment and Control (SPCC) regulations originally designed to address spills from large scale fuel storage facilities, such as oil refineries.

    Fischer’s introduction of the Fair Agricultural Reporting Method Act (FARM Act) to exempt farms and ranches from reporting routine air emissions from farm animals and their manure; regulations intended to address emissions of hazardous wastes from Superfund sites.

    Fischer’s ongoing support for trade deals to expand markets for Nebraska agricultural products.

    Fischer’s support for repealing Obamacare, which has resulted in skyrocketing health care costs for farm and ranch families.

    Fischer’s efforts to drive sound transportation and infrastructure policy by helping secure the first long-term highway bill in over a decade, while also working to expand broadband internet access for greater Nebraska.

    Fischer’s efforts to help deliver federal tax reform to lower tax rates, double the estate tax exemption, and other provisions that allow farm and ranch families to retain their hard-earned dollars for reinvestment in their operations.

    Fischer’s recent appointment to the Senate Agriculture Committee allowing her to bring a Nebraska perspective to the development of the next Farm Bill.

    Fischer’s ongoing effort to fix federal trucking regulations that fail to meet the unique needs of transporting livestock animals and create challenges for livestock haulers.

    Fischer’s work to support agriculture friendly appointments in the Trump administration, including support for Sonny Perdue as Secretary of Agriculture and Scott Pruitt as administrator of the EPA.

“With fewer and fewer people engaged in the day-to-day production of food, fuel, and fiber, it is critical to have candidates who understand the needs of production agriculture and its role in our overall national security. As a rancher, Sen. Fischer understands those needs well and provides a critical voice for our interests in Washington D.C.,” said Nelson.

Farm Bureau Statement on AG Act Workforce Legislation

The American Farm Bureau Federation is calling on all members of Congress to support House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte in his goal of including the AG Act in the Securing America’s Future Act.

“We are at a crisis point in agriculture,” American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall said.  “Chairman Bob Goodlatte wants to address our problem and has included the AG Act in pending legislation related to the DACA issue. Chairman Goodlatte’s AG Act would establish a new H-2C agriculture worker program that is far superior to the existing H-2A program. The new H-2C program offers a much brighter future for agriculture.  For farmers in sectors like dairy, mushrooms and others, who are excluded from H-2A and have nowhere else to turn, the H-2C program offers a path forward in meeting their future labor needs.

“At the same time, we are continuing to work with Chairman Goodlatte and other members of Congress to provide greater assurances on how the AG Act would affect our existing workforce.  Farmers today rely on these workers. They sustain our farms. They are part of the fabric of many rural economies. Farm Bureau policy supports providing these workers the opportunity to earn permanent legal status. That is our goal and we will do everything we can to achieve it.

“We applaud Chairman Goodlatte’s leadership and support him in his effort to include a solution for agriculture’s labor issue in the Securing America’s Future Act.”

Zoetis Develops First Holstein Reference Genome

Zoetis has developed the first complete Holstein de novo reference genome, giving geneticists the ability to map regions of the genome influencing a range of health and disease outcomes. This significant development will promote advancement of the dairy industry through healthier, more productive animals.

The genome was completed with several new technologies and three sequencing platforms to order the Holstein genome as accurately as possible. With this level of accuracy, scientists can more easily identify genes that advance herd health and productivity and, alternatively, those genes that impede the dairy industry’s progression.

“Sequencing a genome is the most important step toward fully understanding it,” said Sue DeNise, PhD, executive director, Zoetis Animal Genetics Global Research and Development. “In the future, discoveries made from the new Holstein reference genome will allow us to identify new targets for disease resistance and utilize natural selection processes to improve health and welfare of cattle,” DeNise said. “It’s like going from analog TV to high-definition TV. We’ll have even better insight into which genes reside to help animals resist and withstand diseases, such as pneumonia and mastitis.”

Until now, the dairy industry looked to the first reference genome assembled for cattle in 2009, which was derived from a beef cow named L1 Dominette 01449, a Hereford born in Montana. While Dominette’s genome assembly piloted the cattle genomics era, a single reference genome was not enough to demonstrate the full genetic differentiation of a species. Genetic makeup fundamentally differs from breed to breed due to genetic drift and selection due to  breed divergence. Comparing a Hereford genetically with other breeds of cattle — such as Holsteins — was only the beginning.

Genome sequencing is often compared to decoding a software program. The process determines the order of DNA bases in a specific genome — the order of A’s, C’s, G’s and T’s that together make up an organism’s DNA. Cattle have 30 pairs of chromosomes and about three billion bases to put into order. To facilitate a highly accurate sequence, a single Holstein bull was utilized from straws of semen available commercially. These samples from a single animal contain the entire DNA blueprint for an animal, providing unique insights into the Holstein breed.

“By generating a complete Holstein reference genome, we can better understand the genetic basis of dairy cattle phenotypes,” said Mike Layfield, senior director, strategic marketing, Global Genetics at Zoetis. “Promoting the health and wellness of dairy cattle has long been a key aspect of the Zoetis portfolio. This development is a strong testament to the innovative spirit and industry dedication of those in Zoetis’ genetics business.”

This development comes at a time when dairy producers are focused on raising healthy cows to help maximize their productivity while improving efficiencies and sustainability. This new development could help optimize their investment in raising the right cattle for their operation. Producers can improve Dairy Wellness through genomic testing tools such as Clarifide® Plus, which offers producers detailed predictions for wellness traits and reliable assessments of genetic risk factors for diseases in Holstein cattle — including the two most costly diseases in dairy cattle, mastitis and lameness.

Zoetis has a substantial portfolio devoted to the health and wellness of dairy cattle. This new genome sequence helps further Zoetis’ innovative products and services that are supported by industry-leading expertise and research, providing dairy producers the reliable, dependable information needed to achieve operational and herd goals. Learn more about the Zoetis commitment to the continuum of care of dairy cattle by visiting Dairy Wellness and ClarifidePlus.com.

 Increased investment in Golden Harvest® seeds results in more robust portfolio for farmers

Deeply rooted in genetics, agronomy and service, Golden Harvest® seeds will be a major benefactor of Syngenta's incremental $400 million investment over the next five years. The investment will strengthen the diverse Golden Harvest product portfolio, enhance service offerings and further demonstrate its commitment to farmers. This funding is in addition to the $1.3 billion the company already invests in research and development (R&D) annually.

“With the mega-merger industry consolidations happening and market prices where they are today, it’s more important than ever to provide farmers with differentiated hybrids and varieties, as well as exceptional service,” said David Hollinrake, President, Syngenta Seeds, LLC and North America Region Director. “Golden Harvest is committed to equipping farmers with customized seed options and the local agronomic knowledge they need to address the unique requirements of every field.”

Strengthening the portfolio

Built on a legacy of reliable performance against in-field challenges, Golden Harvest is expanding its strong seed portfolio to help farmers get the most yield out of every field. Golden Harvest will double its seed breeding staff, increase trial testing by one-third and increase new corn chassis by 58 percent, giving farmers an even more differentiated portfolio of hybrids and varieties to choose from.

“Golden Harvest corn and soybeans feature the latest genetics to boost performance in varying soil types, weather conditions and pest pressures,” said Hollinrake. “Starting with genetics and traits, the additional investment will provide farmers with more choice and more yield, in the Golden Harvest brand they can count on.”

The genetic potential of Golden Harvest corn is protected with the latest Agrisure® traits technology. Agrisure Viptera® is the only trait available today that effectively controls western bean cutworm, which is one of the most destructive pests to corn. No other trait in the industry provides better or more comprehensive above-ground insect control. And for farmers seeking to manage corn rootworm, the Agrisure Duracade® trait offers the latest control technology on the market. Farmers seeking ultimate insect control, simplicity and choice should consider planting Agrisure Duracade 5222 E-Z Refuge®, the most advanced trait stack on the market. Agrisure Duracade 5222 E-Z Refuge combines the Agrisure Duracade and Agrisure Viptera traits to offer premium, broad-spectrum control of 16 yield-limiting pests, with the convenience and simplicity of a 5% in-bag E-Z Refuge.

The Golden Harvest portfolio includes Enogen® corn hybrids in select geographies, which feature an in-seed innovation benefiting farmers marketing grain to ethanol plants and those producing grain or silage for livestock feed. A recent expansion of the Enogen footprint resulted in two new agreements with ethanol plants, bringing product marketability to 31 plants. This game-changing technology supports rural communities by keeping enzyme dollars local and helps make ethanol even more sustainable.
Increased field support

A deep commitment to genetics, agronomy and service is at the root of Golden Harvest. The additional investment will also boost field support, putting more boots on the ground to help farmers manage their crops throughout the entire growing cycle.

“Golden Harvest is in the process of hiring more agronomists, who will work alongside farmers to make sure the right genetics are placed on every acre,” said Bruce Battles, head of agronomy, seeds. “Considering today’s tough commodity market for corn and soybeans, it’s even more important to help the hardworking American farmer get as much return on investment as possible.”

Local, independent Golden Harvest Seed Advisors, who offer farmers the combination of advanced genetics, along with tailored agronomic knowledge, will also benefit from enhanced support.

“With expanded training and local data delivered in real-time, our Golden Harvest Seed Advisors will provide farmers with even more personalized field recommendations,” said Battles. “This will lead to a greater understanding of how seed genetics, soil types and farm management practices work in their environment.”

Syngenta identifies key approach to protect yields from resistant giant ragweed

As corn and soybean growers continue the fight against weed resistance, Syngenta provides key insight into how to manage giant ragweed, a large-seeded broadleaf weed that truly lives up to its name.

Giant ragweed can reach up to 20 feet high, pilfering water, nutrients and sunlight from surrounding corn and soybean plants as it grows. Like other large-seeded broadleaf weeds, it is hard to manage as its seeds germinate deep within the soil profile, shielded from herbicide applications. According to Purdue University, giant ragweed can produce more than 5,000 seeds per plant and is often 1 to 5 feet taller than the crop with which it is competing.

Many growers fight to manage giant ragweed in their fields as it has shown resistance to multiple modes of action (MOAs). The Take Action Organization reports giant ragweed resistance to ALS inhibitors first occurred in Indiana, Illinois, Ohio and Iowa in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Furthermore, glyphosate-resistant giant ragweed was first confirmed in the Eastern Soybean Belt and has now been confirmed in 11 states across the Midwest and Southern U.S.

“Giant ragweed is the worst broadleaf weed problem in all of our corn/soybean cropping systems in Indiana,” said Bill Johnson, professor of weed science at Purdue University. “The fact that it can emerge from soil depths up to 5 inches and that glyphosate (Group 9) and ALS (Group 2) resistance in this weed is common makes control very challenging with our current herbicide arsenal.”

According to Joe Wuerffel, Ph.D., research and development scientist at Syngenta, giant ragweed historically has been one of the first weeds to emerge out of the ground and germinate in early March for 30 to 40 days. “But recently, this difficult-to-control weed has extended its germination period to 60 to 90 days in the growing season, resulting in the need for residual herbicides and multiple MOAs,” said Wuerffel.

Growers must account for early-emerging weeds, like giant ragweed and lambsquarters, and late-emerging weeds, like waterhemp and Palmer amaranth. To protect yields and manage resistant giant ragweed season-long, Dane Bowers, herbicide technical product lead at Syngenta, recommends the following practices:
·        Start clean: Know if giant ragweed is present in the spring, then apply an effective burndown herbicide, or use tillage, to set up a clean field for planting. When growers use tillage to prepare the seedbed, make sure that equipment is set to ensure that emerged weeds are removed and not just injured.
·        Don’t wait: Make timely, full-rate applications before weeds are 3 to 4 inches tall.
·        Use residuals: Apply multiple, effective MOAs with residual activity on giant ragweed.
·        Monitor season-long: A second post-emergence application may be required.

“In this area, we see a lot of giant ragweed,” said Matt Rausch, a grower in Winamac, Indiana. “We’ve had problems where weeds have gotten out of hand late in the season, and after they harden off, they become very hard to kill. It is better to get them under control when they are small, at the beginning of the season.”

For early-season giant ragweed management, growers can apply Acuron® or Acuron Flexi corn herbicides from Syngenta. Acuron has four active ingredients and three effective MOAs, while Acuron Flexi has three active ingredients and two effective MOAs. Both herbicides contain the active ingredient bicyclopyrone, which provides improved control of large-seeded broadleaf weeds like giant ragweed.

For soybeans, a pre-emergence herbicide applied prior to the weed emerging is recommended. A post-emergence application of Flexstar® GT 3.5 herbicide, which delivers two different MOAs, can help control glyphosate- and ALS-resistant giant ragweed.

Decades of research and development have put Syngenta at the forefront of introducing herbicides with multiple, effective MOAs and 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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