Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Wednesday February 28 Ag News


Nebraska Extension will host farm and ranch estate planning workshops at four locations across Nebraska in March. The workshops will offer information concerning how farm and ranch estates can be passed to ensure the financial stability of families.

Workshops will be held in Lexington, Mead, Neligh and Wilber. Registration will start at 9:30 a.m. at each location.

“The consequences of not having an appropriate plan in place can jeopardize the financial stability and future for families,” said Extension Educator Allan Vyhnalek. “More importantly, it’s important for one’s wishes to be known so the legacy of farms and ranches can be passed to the individuals or entities intended.”

Vyhnalek works out of the university’s agricultural economics department and focuses on farm and ranch succession and transition.

Workshop presentations are designed to provide basic information to individuals who haven’t yet started to think about succession or transition plans for their assets. Workshop topics will include: proper family communications; decision-making; concept of fair versus equal; preparing to meet with an attorney; and more. In addition, an agriculture attorney will offer information on planning for wills, trusts and other end of life documents.

Registration fees vary by each location. Fees include handouts, lunch, refreshments and presentations. To register, contact the location of interest.

Workshop dates and locations:
-    LEXINGTON: March 14, Dawson County Extension Office, 1002 Plum Creek Pkwy. - Call 308-324-5501
-    NEAR MEAD: March 15, Eastern NE Research and Ext. Cntr, 1071 Co. Rd. G. - Call 402-624-8030
-    NELIGH: March 20, Antelope County Courthouse, 501 M. St. - Call 402-887-5414
-    WILBER: March 23, Saline County Extension Office, 306 W. 3rd St. - Call 402-821-2151

For more information, contact Vyhnalek at 402-471-1771 or

Patented vaccine technology offers options for cattle care

A new divisional patent issued to researchers at Kansas State University's College of Veterinary Medicine could help lead cattle producers to a path of least resistance by providing a nonantibiotic treatment option for beef cattle liver infections.

The latest work by the university'sT.G. Nagaraja and M.M. Chengappa, and former College of Veterinary Medicine researchers Sanjeev Narayanan and Amit Kumar, "Composition and Methods for Detecting, Treating and Protecting Against Fusobacterium Infection," uses vaccine-based technology that circumvents antibiotic use and the potential public health concerns associated with antibiotic resistance when treating cattle and sheep for liver abscesses caused by Fusobacterium. The liver infections are a significant economic concern to the feedlot industry.

The researchers' work improves a previous patent they earned for their novel approach to preventing fusobacterial infections, said Nagaraja, university distinguished professor of microbiology in the diagnostic medicine and pathobiology department of the College of Veterinary Medicine.

"We have identified a protein and learned the mechanisms of how the protein attaches to cells, so we created compositions and methods to use the protein to prevent the attachment of Fusobacterium to the cells in the rumen — the first compartment of a cow stomach — and liver," Nagaraja said. "If bacteria do not attach to cells, they are highly unlikely to cause infection."

Chengappa, also a university distinguished professor of microbiology in the diagnostic medicine and pathobiology department, said the original patent covers the use of the researchers' invention within expression systems, adjuvants, injectable solutions, oral compounds and vaccines.

"The new patent broadens the scope of how the invention can be utilized," Chengappa said.

A recent study by West Texas A&M University for a major animal health company found that liver abscesses cost the beef industry $56 million annually. Options for treating cattle with such infections and other diseases have been affected by new regulations regarding antibiotic use in livestock, called the Veterinary Feed Directive, enacted by the Food and Drug Administration in January 2017.

"Alternative methods to antibiotics for prevention, control and treatment of disease in animals are of great value as we move into a time of increased focus on antibiotic stewardship," said Mike Apley, Frick professor of clinical sciences at Kansas State University. "This focus is apparent in regulatory, legislative and consumer attention given to antibiotic use in food animals. Effective vaccines for common diseases are especially valuable in our prevention and control protocols."

While the timing of the newly patented methods is convenient for producers, the research evolved over a much longer period of time.

"Understanding the pathogenesis and factors contributing to the liver abscessation in feedlot cattle was a novel scientific field discovery 30 years ago," said Kelly Lechtenberg, a former doctoral student under Nagaraja. Lechtenberg earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 1987 and a doctorate in 1988, both from Kansas State University. He currently leads Midwest Veterinary Services in Oakland, Nebraska, and the Veterinary and Biomedical Research Center in Manhattan.

"The work of Drs. Nagaraja and Chengappa is instrumental in understanding the liver abscess disease process, identifying optimal points of intervention and providing the insight necessary to develop effective vaccines," Lechtenberg said.

The new Fusobacterium patent is effective for 20 years and is administered through the Kansas State University Research Foundation.

The Science of Gene Editing Takes Center Stage at Pork Industry Forum

Science, technology and global health author and journalist Michael Specter opened the annual pork industry forum today, offering his insights on gene editing to the more than 350 pig farmers and pork industry professionals on site in Kansas City.

Specter, who writes for The New Yorker and is currently working on a book about the breakthrough technology of gene editing, served as keynote speaker. He then led a conversation with a renowned panel of pork industry experts who each shared their perspective on the role of this emerging technology.

“Gene editing is a potentially revolutionary tool that will improve the lives of humans in clear and tangible ways,” Specter said. “And we may well see the first widely accepted benefits in animals and plants. There is a clear opportunity for the agriculture industry to lead the way.”

In its simplest definition, gene editing technology allows for precise changes to be made to the DNA of living cells, which holds the potential to eradicate diseases, transform agriculture and enable massive leaps forward in environmental and life science. Specter and the panel’s presentation in Kansas City offered a single forum for those with a stake in pork production to share ideas on its application to the global pork industry. The panel of experts, facilitated by Specter, included:
-    Charlie Arnot, CEO of Look East and an industry leader on food and agriculture issues, offered insight into consumer social acceptance of gene editing.
-    Dan Kovich, a veterinarian and director of science and technology with the National Pork Producers Council, discussed the current regulatory environment for this emerging technology.
-    Kevin Wells is on the animal science faculty at the University of Missouri’s college of agriculture, food and natural resources. With a Ph.D. in genetics, Wells highlighted the scientific benefits associated with gene editing.
-    Bradley Wolter, is president of The Maschhoffs LLC, and a pork producer in Illinois. Wolter, who has a doctorate in swine growth and development, reviewed gene editing’s potential on-farm application.

 “We have to start now by generating social acceptance of gene editing,” Arnot said. “That means overcoming the public’s scientific illiteracy by opening a dialogue to build both acceptance and support. This will allow us to move forward as a society.”

“Acceptance of gene editing faces its distinct challenges – and largest among them is public perception,” Wells said. “What is so unique to gene editing is that there is no biological reason to regulate the technology. However, that could well be the first step in growing consumer acceptance.”

Wolter, of The Maschhoffs, sees concrete on-farm application of gene editing despite being so early in its development and acceptance.

“It will have a positive impact on livestock production, making pigs resistant to diseases and improving food safety, animal welfare and environmental impact,” Wolter said. “However, you cannot invest in a technology without clearly understanding the regulatory environment.”

“A one-size-fits all regulatory approach will not work for many emerging technologies, but especially for gene editing,” the National Pork Producers Council’s Kovich said. “A path forward exists, allowing for regulatory scrutiny, but trade-offs may be required. We need to establish a risk-based regulatory framework.”

Toward that end, gene editing technology will move forward in an environment that acknowledges public interest while simultaneously encouraging investment for its expansion. Wells noted that China already is looking to the future of gene editing by investing approximately $15 billion in animal sciences.

The National Pork Industry Forum continues through Friday, March 2.  

Prices of Three Fertilizers Reach Highest Level in Almost Two Years

Average retail fertilizer prices were slightly higher again the third week of February 2018, according to retailers surveyed by DTN.

All eight of the major fertilizer prices were up slightly compared to last month. DAP had an average price of $460 per ton, MAP $496/ton, potash $345/ton, urea $357/ton, 10-34-0 $416/ton, anhydrous $495/ton, UAN28 $231/ton and UAN32 $265/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.39/lb.N, anhydrous $0.30/lb.N, UAN28 $0.41/lb.N and UAN32 $0.41/lb.N.

Following increases in recent months, the prices of four fertilizers are now higher compared to last year. Anhydrous is now 1% more expensive, potash is 4% higher, DAP is 6% more expensive and MAP is 10% higher than last year.

The remaining four fertilizers are still lower in price compared to a year prior. Urea is 1% less expensive while both UAN28 and UAN32 is 4% lower and 10-34-0 is 6% less expensive than a year ago.

Consider Corn Challenge Shines a Light on Corn’s Growing Potential in Bio-Economy

Six new technologies, that are poised to change the way the public perceives our country’s most abundant crop, were highlighted today in Anaheim, Calif. as winners of the inaugural Consider Corn Challenge, an open innovation contest hosted by the National Corn Growers Association. The diverse range of science unveiled shows that corn is squarely situated on the cutting-edge of technology, ready to support a wave of growth sweeping through the renewable products industry.

More than thirty, scientists and start-up companies answered the global call to bring forth their best ideas focused on the conversion of corn into bio-renewable chemicals. Contest entries reinforced that corn can improve the environmental footprint of many products used by consumers, including plastic bottles, acrylics, solvents, fibers, packaging, and coolants.  Many of the submissions included bio-advantaged molecules, with the ability to deliver performance and value that exceeds petrochemicals.

The six winners of the competition are: 
-    Lygos – The Berkley, CA company is producing Bio-Malonic™ acid (Bio-MA) from renewable sugars using cutting edge biotechnology. It is used today in diverse markets, including high-tech composites and coatings, electronics, flavors & fragrances, and pharmaceuticals. Traditionally Malonic Acid is currently made in China from petroleum, through an expensive process that employs hazardous chemicals.  Lygos’ system uses non-toxic chemicals and mild conditions resulting in an environmentally friendly process with superior economics that can be deployed in the U.S.
-     Annikki - Technology to produce FDCA (furandicarboxylic acid), a replacement for petroleum derived terephthalic acid for plastic bottles, fibers, and nylons was the winning entry from the Chicago, Ill. company. FDCA is a versatile bio-advantaged molecule with the potential to replace 100 million tons of petrochemicals. FDCA is not only 100 percent renewable, it also provides superior performance properties.  This allows plastic soda bottles to be lighter, use less energy in manufacturing and extend the shelf life for carbonated products.
-    Iowa Corn Promotion Board – This technology developed by Iowa corn farmers, is for the production of MEG (monoethylene glycol). MEG has a range of diverse applications from coolants and heat transfer fluid to packaging material. Today, many major consumer products groups are searching for ways to reduce their packaging’s environmental footprint and Iowa Corn’s bio-renewable MEG may be the answer. Millions of tons are produced annually with a value estimated to be more than $25 billion.
-    Vertimass – Vertimass of Irvine, CA, is seeking to produce aromatic chemicals using renewable corn ethanol to replace petrochemicals. The markets they are targeting are very large: 10’s of millions of tons, and a value in excess of $100 billion annually. This process represents a potentially very large new market, diversifying opportunities for ethanol plants and increasing corn utilization.
-    Sasya – Sasya, of Maple Grove, Minn, is producing methylmalonic acid which can compete in methyl methacrylate markets for making acrylic glass, and adhesives. The methyl methacrylate market is estimated to be 5 million metric tons and is worth more than $7 billion.
-    South Dakotas State University – SDSU’s efforts are focused using renewable precursors such as glycerol and lactic acid to make unsaturated polyester resins (UPRs).  Today, UPRs are used to make large plastic tanks, as a binder in fiber glass sheets and other reinforced plastics. 

“The renewables industry is already an important driver for the U.S. economy generating billions of dollars in revenue but the additional potential in the emerging bio-economy remains largely untapped,” said Bruce Peterson, chairman of NCGA’s Feed Food and Industrial Action Team. “NCGA is proud to showcase these great technologies. Continued improvements in sustainable corn production underscore corn’s ability to significantly improve the environmental footprint of many common household products.”

This year’s six winning projects were previewed at the 2018 Commodity Classic at the Anaheim Convention Center on Wednesday. Each winner will receive a U.S.$25,000 cash prize.  NCGA will also explore additional opportunities to support contest entries throughout their development and/or commercialization. The contest generated 33 submissions from eight countries along with nearly 4,500 website visits from 82 countries.   

“According to a USDA study from 2016, the U.S. bio-based products industry currently creates 4.2 million jobs and generates $393 billion in value added contributions to our economy, but there are many exciting market segments yet to be explored,” NCGA Director of Market Development Jim Bauman said.

“Today’s winners exemplify the potential for corn to play an ever-expanding role within the bio-economy.  The ability to produce economically competitive, bio-advantaged molecules, compared to traditional petrochemicals, is driving many companies to review how corn can play a larger role in their future procurement strategy.”

Being immersed in the latest ideas and technology related to machinery, crop inputs and agronomic practices is expected at the annual Commodity Classic, Peterson noted, but it is especially meaningful to make this announcement of new, high potential corn uses at a time when farmers are facing another year of low prices.

“This challenge is geared to inspire new concepts, approaches and technologies that will help drive innovation and corn’s value. The growing productive capacity of corn farmers makes it essential that we continue to find innovative new ways to use this versatile crop,” said Peterson. “The Consider Corn Challenge will bring positive attention to our winners and help them move closer to commercialization. Likewise, our expectation is this Open Innovation competition will raise awareness of the capabilities and benefits of corn throughout the scientific community.”

NCGA and state corn associations actively support innovation in research, development and commercialization.

EIA: Ethanol Stocks Surge

Ethanol supply in the United States rose 200,000 barrels (bbl), or 0.9%, to 23.0 million bbl during the week-ended Feb. 23 while plant production plunged 24,000 barrels per day (bpd), or 2.2%, to 1.044 million bpd, according to the latest U.S. Energy Information Administration report.

Compared with data reported a year ago, total supply was down 100,000 bbl, or 0.4%, while plant production was up 10,000 bpd, or 1.0%.

Net refiner and blender inputs, a measure for ethanol demand, tumbled 9,000 bpd, or 1.0%, last week to 876,000 bpd, down 6,000, or 0.7%, versus a year ago.

Dairy Beef Short Course Tour March 27

Dairy beef producers, dairy producers, industry, academia and students along the I-29 region are invited to attend the I-29 Moo University Dairy Beef Short Course Tour held March 27.

Please arrive by 8 a.m. to ensure prompt departure and at 8:15 a.m. and will return at 4:30 p.m.

The tour will include two dairy beef feedlots and a livestock auction barn focused on the sale of dairy beef. The tour will cover Southwest Minnesota and Northwest Iowa.

The tour is sponsored by the I-29 Moo University. The bus will leave the Denny Sanford Premier Center complex (1201 N. West Ave, Sioux Falls, SD 57104) at 8:15 a.m. and arrive back at 4:30 p.m.

The tour schedule includes:

- Opening Discussion on State of the Industry for Dairy Beef (on the bus), led by Warren Rusche, SDSU Extension Beef Feedlot Management Associate & Beth Doran, ISU Extension Beef Specialist

- Binford Farms - Luverne, Minn.: Binford Farms is a family operation owned by Grant & Rebecca and Eric and Shari Binford. They have seven children between the two families ranging in ages from 15 to 4 years of age that they hope will become the next generation in agriculture.

Binford Farms is a farmer feeder operation with management divided between Grant managing the cattle feeding and Eric managing the farming and trucking aspects of the business. The operation has primarily fed Holsteins since 2002 from 350 pounds to finish with some Holstein calves in the mix.

- Lunch at Tri-State Livestock Auction in Sioux Center, Iowa

- Tri-State Livestock - Sioux Center, Iowa: Mike Koedam, co-owner and cattle buyer will provide us with his insights regarding the buying and selling of dairy beef.

Tri-State Livestock auction market sells all classes of livestock specializing in dairy cattle. They believe that true market value of your livestock can only be achieved through competitive bidding which only an auction can provide.

- Rock River Feeders - Rock Valley, Iowa: Rock River Feeders is a family owned and operated feedlot in Sioux County, Iowa.

Kent and Sylvia Pruismann, along with other family members, have taken great care to develop the feedlot with special attention to animal well-being, environmental sustainability and the incorporation of new technologies.

The feedlot currently houses 3500 head of cattle in outside yards meeting all federal and state manure management regulations.

Kent is a member of the National Cattlemen's Beef Board, so it is no surprise that Beef Quality Assurance is the normal mode of daily operation. All cattle are tagged upon arrival with an electronic identification tag, which is used to track animal origin, health and movement. Placement weight of incoming calves averages 270 pounds.

The feedlot rations are a TMR consisting of earlage, corn, wet distillers grains and mineral supplementation. They market their dairy steers on a high energy grid to JBS in Wisconsin.

Registration for this event is due by March 23 and is $30 per person to cover transportation, snacks and lunch.

If you have questions, contact Tracey Erickson, SDSU Extension Dairy Field Specialist, by email or call 605-882-5140; or Fred Hall, ISU NW Iowa Dairy Specialist by email or call 712-737-4230.

ACE thanks Perdue for pledging President’s RFS support 

The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue reiterated the President’s support of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and biofuels during his keynote address at the 2018 Commodity Classic this morning in Anaheim, California. In response to Secretary Perdue’s remarks, the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings released the following statement:

“ACE members thank USDA Secretary Perdue for reiterating today that the President supports the Renewable Fuel Standard.  As Senator Cruz and others continue their attacks on rural America and the RFS, we expect the Trump administration to uphold the Secretary’s pledge not to do anything to hurt ethanol demand or the RFS.”

Syngenta reports Enogen® premiums-to-date paid to corn growers will top $100 million in 2018

Since its introduction, Enogen® corn enzyme technology has provided corn growers the opportunity to be enzyme suppliers for participating ethanol plants and earn a per-bushel premium. Syngenta today announced that premiums-to-date paid to Enogen corn growers are expected to surpass $100 million during 2018.

Nearly 40 percent of U.S. corn goes toward ethanol production.1 According to Chris Tingle, head of commercial operations for Enogen at Syngenta, providing alpha amylase enzyme to ethanol plants as Enogen grain is helping corn growers maximize return on investment for their ethanol acres. He added that this unique business model supports rural America by keeping enzyme dollars local and helping ethanol plants be more successful.

“With Enogen, ethanol producers can redirect the money they previously used to buy liquid alpha amylase to local farmers instead, in the form of an up to 40-cent-per-bushel premium,” Tingle said. “This is especially significant given current commodity prices and, as these premium dollars are circulated locally, promotes the growth and stability of rural communities through a homegrown fuel that is helping to make America more energy independent.”

Syngenta is currently contracting with more than 1,700 corn growers and has marketing agreements with 31 ethanol plants across 12 states. 2018 ethanol production with Enogen corn is expected to be over 2.5 billion gallons.

“Ethanol has become an important success story,” Tingle added, “and is helping America reduce its dependence on foreign oil, lowering prices at the pump, improving the environment with lower emissions, and growing the economy with jobs that can’t be outsourced. Syngenta is proud to partner with corn growers and the ethanol industry to help provide consumers with the choice to purchase a superior, higher octane fuel and pay less.”

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