Friday, April 20, 2018

Friday April 20 Cattle on Feed, Milk Prod., + Ag News


Nebraska feedlots, with capacities of 1,000 or more head, contained 2.69 million cattle on feed on April 1, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This inventory was up 9 percent from last year. 

Placements during March totaled 480,000 head, down 3 percent from 2017. 

Fed cattle marketings for the month of March totaled 465,000 head, unchanged from last year.  Other disappearance during March totaled 15,000 head, up 5,000 head from last year.


Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 740,000 head on April 1, 2018, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Cattle on Feed report. This was up 1 percent from March 1, 2018 and up 10 percent from April 1, 2017. Iowa feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head had 570,000 head on feed, down 3 percent from last month and down 7 percent from last year. Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in all Iowa feedlots totaled 1,310,000 head, down 5,000 head from last month but up 2 percent from last year.

Placements of cattle and calves in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during March totaled 107,000 head, a decrease of 9 percent from last month and down 8 percent from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head placed 38,000 head, down 16 percent from last month and down 46 percent from last year. Placements for all feedlots in Iowa totaled 145,000 head, down 11 percent from last month and down 22 percent from last year.

Marketings of fed cattle from Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during March totaled 93,000 head, down 12 percent from last month but unchanged from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head marketed 51,000 head, up 34 percent from last month but down 9 percent from last year. Marketings for all feedlots in Iowa were 144,000 head, unchanged from last month but down 3 percent from last year. Other disappearance from all feedlots in Iowa totaled 6,000 head.

United States Cattle on Feed Up 7 Percent

Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 11.7 million head on April 1, 2018. The inventory was 7 percent above April 1, 2017. This is the second highest April 1 inventory since the series began in 1996. The inventory included 7.54 million steers and steer calves, up 4 percent from the previous year. This group accounted for 64 percent of the total inventory. Heifers and heifer calves accounted for 4.19 million head, up 14 percent from 2017.

Placements in feedlots during March totaled 1.92 million head, 9 percent below 2017. Net placements were 1.85 million head. During March, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 315,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 285,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 530,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 531,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 185,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 75,000 head.

Marketings of fed cattle during March totaled 1.84 million head, 4 percent below 2017. Other disappearance totaled 67,000 head during March, 20 percent above 2017.

March Milk Production up 1.5 Percent

Milk production in the 23 major States during March totaled 17.8 billion pounds, up 1.5 percent from March 2017. February revised production at 15.9 billion pounds, was up 1.8 percent from February 2017. The February revision represented a decrease of 12 million pounds or 0.1 percent from last month's preliminary production estimate.

Production per cow in the 23 major States averaged 2,038 pounds for March, 22 pounds above March 2017. This is the highest production per cow for the month of March since the 23 State series began in 2003.

The number of milk cows on farms in the 23 major States was 8.74 million head, 29,000 head more than March 2017, but 2,000 head less than February 2018.

IOWA:   Milk production in Iowa during March 2018 totaled 450 million pounds, up 2 percent from the previous March according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Milk Production report. The average number of milk cows during March, at 220,000 head, was unchanged from last month but 4,000 more than last year. Monthly production per cow averaged 2,045 pounds, unchanged from last March.

January-March Milk Production up 1.5 Percent

Milk production in the United States during the January - March quarter totaled 54.4 billion pounds, up 1.5 percent from the January - March quarter last year.

The average number of milk cows in the United States during the quarter was 9.41 million head, 9,000 head more than the October - December quarter, and 38,000 head more than the same period last year.


Milk production in Nebraska during the January-March 2018 quarter totaled 366 million pounds, up 3 percent from the January-March quarter last year, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. The average number of milk cows was 60,000 head, unchanged from the same period last year.


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               Many folks are planting irrigated pastures this spring.  While it might be your best crop choice, don’t expect miracles.

               Many farm advisors, including myself, suggest you consider planting irrigated pasture due to poor crop prices and high pasture costs.  But sometimes, in our enthusiasm, we cause you to expect too much.  So let’s try to set the record straight.

               Irrigated pasture takes more management skill and dedication and work than other crops.  Growing the crop is easy.  But timing harvest or irrigation, plus grazing properly to get the most out of pasture takes knowledge, experience, and a little luck.  These decisions are made almost daily.  So don’t expect to relax just because your grass has water.  Even with water, many plants won’t grow much when it gets too hot.

               If you are using annual forages like oats, sudangrass, and millet, be sure you have some backup feed.  On paper, it looks great to stagger plantings so grazing is available all season long.  But what happens if cool weather slows growth or rain delays planting a new section or hail wipes out a month’s worth of feed?  Or what if you simply try to graze too many animals for your pasture?

               If planting perennial grasses and legumes, you must be patient.  It can take two or three years before maximum production levels are reached.  And that assumes you don’t limit plant root development by grazing too much, too soon.  And speaking of legumes – they won’t replace all your nitrogen needs unless you have over 50 percent legume in your pasture, which then could lead to bloat problems.  So plan to strategically fertilize.

               Irrigated pastures are a wonderful resource.  But they aren’t magic.  The weather, your soils, and you make them work.


Nebraska is the home of Arbor Day and known as the “tree planters state,” but the Emerald Ash Borer will put Nebraska’s tree-planting prowess to the test as the small insect starts to wipe out ash trees.

To help ease the blow, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is providing funding to mitigate the impending devastation caused by the Emerald Ash Borer. Through the NRCS Emerald Ash Borer Initiative, landowners can apply for funding to renovate windbreaks on their land. Landowners have until May 18 to apply.

EABmap(State Level)State Conservationist Craig Derickson said, “The goal of this initiative is to help landowners be proactive in removing and replacing the ash trees in their windbreaks before they become infested. This will help slow the spread of the Emerald Ash Borer and help protect landowners from further tree damage.”

Landowners from across the state are eligible to apply, but applications closest to locations currently infested with Emerald Ash Borer will receive the highest priority (see map). For more information, or to apply for funding through this initiative, visit an NRCS field office before May 18.

National Dairy FARM Program, Beef Quality Assurance Program Seek Nominations for Joint Dairy Award

The National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) Program is partnering with the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program to collect nominations for the first-ever joint FARM/BQA Dairy Award for 2019. The deadline to apply is June 1, 2018.

The awards honor outstanding beef and dairy producers and marketers that demonstrate the best animal care and handling principles as part of their day-to-day operations. This is an opportunity for NMPF member cooperatives and FARM participants to recognize dairy farmers that they believe demonstrate a strong commitment to quality animal care. In 2017, NMPF member Chris Kraft and his family were recognized for the care provided on their two operations in northern Colorado, Badger Creek Farm and Quail Ridge Dairy.

“The FARM Program is excited to continue working with BQA by jointly presenting this award,” said Emily Yeiser Stepp, director of the FARM Animal Care program. “By partnering with BQA, we can grow our pool of nominations and celebrate even more dairy farmers for their commitment to the highest animal care standards.”

The winner of the BQA/FARM Dairy Award is selected by a committee of animal scientists, FARM staff, BQA staff and industry representatives. The winning dairy operation will be chosen based on a set of five criteria:
-    The farm’s collective BQA and FARM practices, accomplishments and goals;
-    Relevant local, regional and national BQA and/or dairy promotion group or cooperative leadership;
-    Promotion and improvement of animal care practices, BQA or FARM program and consumer perception of beef or dairy industries;
-    Effectiveness in promoting and implementing BQA practices; and
-    Completion of the FARM Version 3.0 Animal Care Evaluation and implementation of program requirements.

The award was previously offered solely by BQA, whose awards recognize outstanding members of the beef industry in five categories: Cow-Calf, Feedyard, Dairy, Marketer and Educator.

Any individual, group or organization can nominate a single dairy operation for the award. Individuals and families may not nominate themselves, though they can be involved when preparing the application.

NMPF and its National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) Animal Care Program partners with both NCBA and BQA, working closely to create valuable producer resources on stockmanship, dairy beef welfare and quality, and animal care.


The U.S. Supreme Court this week requested the U.S. Solicitor General – whose job is to defend federal laws – to weigh in on two cases challenging state agriculture laws that affect interstate commerce and, thus, have the effect of dictating the livestock production practices of farmers in other states.

The first case – Missouri v. California – challenges a law approved in 2010 by the California Legislature that bans the sale in the state of out-of-state eggs produced from laying hens housed in so-called battery cages. (California voters in 2008 banned such cages, as well as housing used for sows and veal calves; an initiative on this year’s state ballot would extend the out-of-state sales ban to pork and veal.)

The second case – Indiana v. Massachusetts – contests Massachusetts’ ban on the sale of out-of-state pork, veal and eggs from animals raised in housing systems prohibited by the state.

In both cases, the plaintiffs argue that the state statute violates the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce Clause, which prohibits – in most instances – states from regulating interstate commerce. 

Brazil Soybean Harvest Approaching End

Brazilian farmers finished 91% of their harvesting work as of Thursday, according to Brazilian agricultural consultancy AgRural. The figure is close to the 92% pace on the same date last year and the 90% average over the past five years, according to the consultancy.

Harvesting work in the states of Goias, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Sao Paulo and Rondonia has already finished, and is almost done in Minas Gerais, Parana and Tocantins, AgRural said.

Brazil is the world's second-biggest producer of soybeans after the US, where farmers are just beginning to plant their crop for harvesting in late September through November.

Senators Call for Scrutiny in Brazilian Beef Deal

Farm-state senators want a national security review for the latest purchase of a US agriculture company by a foreign-based entity. Brazil's Marfrig Global Foods this month agreed to buy a majority stake in National Beef, the fourth-largest cattle processor in the US, raising eyebrows among US lawmakers who noted last year's corruption probe into Brazil's meat safety system -- which they say included some shipments from Marfrig.

Senators including Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) and Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio) want the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US to probe the National Beef deal, which follows China National Chemical Corp.'s purchase last year of pesticide maker Syngenta, and the 2013 purchase of Smithfield Foods by China's WH Group.

Thieves Take 8,000 Disneyland Tickets From California FFA

Thieves made off with 8,000 Disneyland tickets worth about $800,000 when they stole a box trailer from a youth agricultural education organization that was going to distribute them to participants at a conference in Southern California. The trailer owned by the California FFA was stolen Wednesday from the group's office in Galt, south of Sacramento.

The California Highway Patrol says security footage shows a dark pickup truck backing up to the trailer and driving it away. FFA Director Matt Patton said the thief broke through a gate and broke a lock before hooking the trailer to the pickup truck.

The trailer also was loaded with another $800,000 in audio and visual equipment for use at the group's upcoming annual leadership conference in Anaheim, which starts Sunday.

Disneyland has since canceled the tickets and is working to print new ones for the California students attending the four-day conference so they can visit Disney's California Adventure Park on Tuesday.

Fake Vet Consents to Findings in $4.7 Million Cattle Fraud Case

Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft's Securities Division announced a consent order Thursday with Robert D. Hawkins, who consents to findings that he aided Cameron J. Hager in allegedly soliciting over 90 investors from at least 21 different states in a $4.7 million cattle fraud scheme.

The division's findings allege that Hawkins posed as a veterinarian for Hager's company, 5A Holdings LLC, to show investors cattle that he claimed were owned by 5A.

Per the order, Hawkins will pay $20,000 to the Investor Education and Protection Fund, with $10,000 suspended for 10 years so long he doesn't violate the Missouri Securities Act or the terms of the order. He is restrained from selling securities and barred from registering as an investment agent in Missouri. Hawkins will also cooperate with the division in any pending proceedings in this matter.

Hager, 42, Clinton, Mo., was charged in a nine-count indictment returned under seal by a federal grand jury in Kansas City in late March.

The federal indictment alleges that Hager, who operated 5A Holdings engaged in the fraud scheme from July 17, 2015, to March 28, 2018. Hager allegedly induced victims to invest in a "cattle fund" that was used to purchase herds of cattle to be sold later at a substantial profit, although he never actually purchased or intended to purchase any cattle.

According to a federal forfeiture complaint, filed in a separate but related civil proceeding, Hager received approximately $4.7 million dollars from approximately 89 investors. Investment amounts ranged from $1,000 to $267,000.

According to the indictment, Hager told victim investors that he would arrange to purchase herds of cattle from farmers or ranchers who had reasons to sell their herds because of financial distress and inability to maintain their herds. Hager and his organization, he allegedly claimed, evaluated the cattle, including having the cattle examined by a "seasoned veterinarian," and determined that a predictable profit could be realized by maintaining and feeding the cattle until an optimum time for marketing the cattle. Hager allegedly claimed that 5A Holdings realized net returns greater than 20 percent on investments in herds of cattle during 2015, 2016, and 2017.

Hager induced other individuals to recruit investors, the indictment says, although he knew the representations they made to potential investors were false. Hager used money obtained from investors to pay commissions, for the purpose of perpetuating referrals of additional investors.

Before the scheme unraveled, according to court documents, Hager used the majority of investor funds for his personal living expenses, including paying his home mortgage, travel expenses, lodging, airfare, payments for religious conferences, numerous Amazon purchases, ATM withdrawals, building supplies, credit card payments, paying taxes and purchasing personal vehicles.

In some cases, money obtained from investors was used to provide "returns" to other investors with the false representation that the "returns" of money resulted from the sale of cattle. Any money that was returned to investors was money that had been supplied by other investors and not money resulting from sales of cattle. As a result of Hager's misuse of investors' funds, the total loss to his victims is currently estimated at $3.5 million.

The indictment also contains a forfeiture allegation, which would require Hager to forfeit to the government any property derived from the proceeds of the alleged offenses, including $394,074 in an Equity Bank account, his 46.6-acre residential property (currently listed for sale with an asking price of $899,000), a 2013 Ford F-150 pickup truck, a 2006 Toyota 4Runner and two 2017 Winnebago travel trailers.

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