Monday, April 2, 2018

Monday April 2 Crop Progress + Ag News

For the week ending April 1, 2018, there were 3.3 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 2 percent very short, 18 short, 73 adequate, and 7 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 2 percent very short, 23 short, 73 adequate, and 2 surplus.

Field Crops Report: Winter wheat condition rated 1 percent very poor, 5 poor, 43 fair, 39 good, and 12 excellent.

Oats planted was 10 percent, behind 25 last year and 20 for the five-year average.


A cold, wet week prevented fieldwork across most of Iowa during the week ending April 1, 2018, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there was just 0.4 day suitable for fieldwork.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 3 percent very short, 9 percent short, 73 percent adequate, and 15 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 4 percent very short, 14 percent short, 74 percent adequate, and 8 percent surplus. Northwest Iowa reported the highest surplus subsoil moisture level at 22 percent while parts of south central and southeast Iowa remain in abnormally dry to moderate drought conditions according to the March 27, 2018, U.S. Drought Monitor.

Two percent of oats have been planted, 4 days behind last year’s progress at this time and 3 days behind the 5-year average.

Livestock conditions varied across the State. Heavy snow and muddy lots have both presented challenges for calving in many areas.

First Crop Progress Report of Season Shows Worst Winter Wheat Conditions Since 2002

U.S. winter wheat appears to be starting off the 2018 growing season in the worst condition in over a decade, according to USDA's first weekly Crop Progress report issued Monday.

For the week ended April 1, 2018, winter wheat was rated only 32% in good-to-excellent condition, well below 51% at the same time last year and the lowest good-to-excellent rating since 2002.

Meanwhile, for the crops USDA included in its report this week, planting was progressing at a near-average pace. Sorghum was 9% planted, compared to 13% last year and an 11% five-year average. Cotton planting was 7% complete, compared to 3% last year and a 3% average. Rice was 17% planted, compared to 15% last year and a 13% average.  Oats were 26% planted as of April 1, compared to 24% last year and a 29% average. Emergence was at 25%, compared to 21% last year and a 25% average.

Nationwide, based on reports from 48 states, topsoil moisture was rated 24% very short to short compared to 14% last year and 76% adequate to surplus compared to 86% last year. Subsoil moisture was rated 28% short to very short compared to 19% last year and 72% adequate to surplus compared to 81% last year.


                Every growing season, agronomists play a vital role in providing expertise and support for farmers. Once again this season, farmers can show their appreciation for their agronomic support teams during Agronomy Week to be celebrated April 2-6.

                Launched last year by the DEKALB, Asgrow and Deltapine brands, the annual event takes place the first week of April to help farmers recognize the contributions of their agronomists, seed dealers and crop consultants who help them get the most out of every acre.

                Pete Uitenbroek, DEKALB, Asgrow and Deltapine brand lead, notes that Agronomy Week was created as an industry-wide celebration. “We’re proud to promote recognition for agronomic team members throughout our industry,” he says. “These dedicated professionals work closely with farmers throughout the growing season, guiding key decision-making and monitoring crop performance to help them maximize their success.”      

                During Agronomy Week, farmers, regardless of seed brand, can pay tribute to their agronomic team by nominating up to three individuals. U.S. farmers who submit nominations will be entered into a sweepstakes for a chance to win a daily prize as well as the grand prize – tickets to a NASCAR race for one farmer and up to three members of their agronomic support team.*

                Farmers can nominate their agronomic professionals and enter the sweepstakes at or by posting the professionals’ names on the DEKALB Asgrow Facebook page or Twitter with #AgronomyWeek and #contest.

                Returning this season to help encourage farmer participation in Agronomy Week will be NASCAR driver Clint Bowyer, who spoke with farmers about the event at the recent Commodity Classic show in Anaheim, California.  “Growing up in Kansas, I have a great appreciation for farmers,” Bowyer says. “I’m honored to support such a worthy industry and excited to be part of Agronomy Week again.”

                Uitenbroek notes that in farming, like racing, an experienced support crew is essential for a strong start and winning performance. “We encourage all farmers to participate in Agronomy Week and help establish this celebration as a strong tradition throughout our industry.”  

Nebraska Beef Council Seeks Director Candidates

Nebraska Beef Council directors volunteer their time to represent beef producers’ checkoff collections and investments on the state, national and international level. The board’s major responsibility is to oversee checkoff expenditures by determining promotion, research and education programs for checkoff investments. The term is four years and will begin on January 2, 2019.

Producers interested in becoming a beef council director are encouraged to visit with current and past directors to learn more about this valuable experience and its commitment.

Election packets are available beginning on April 2, 2018 and can be obtained by calling the Nebraska Beef Council office at 800-421-5326. All candidate materials contained in the election packet must be completed and mailed to the third party office, postmarked by June 15, 2018.

“Beef producers who are passionate about the industry and who are willing to provide leadership to the beef checkoff program and its investments are needed as we face the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead,” said Ann Marie Bosshamer, executive director for the Nebraska Beef Council. “We need strong leaders to enhance our mission and strengthen beef demand in the global marketplace.”

Districts hosting an election in 2018:
District 2- Cherry, Keya Paha, Brown, Rock, Grant, Hooker, Thomas, Blaine, Loup
District 4- Boyd, Holt, Knox, Antelope, Wheeler, Boone
District 6- Arthur, McPherson, Logan, Keith, Lincoln, Perkins, Chase, Hayes, Dundy, Hitchcock
District 8- Seward, Lancaster, Otoe, Adams, Clay, Fillmore, Saline, Gage, Johnson, Nemaha, Webster, Nuckolls, Thayer, Jefferson, Pawnee, Richardson

For additional information, visit or contact the Nebraska Beef Council office at 1-800-421-5326.

NCBA Cattlemen's Webinar Series: "Cattle Traceability Study Overview"

April 3, 7:00 p.m. CDT

The webinar will detail the research behind the report including results of producer and stakeholder surveys, economic analysis of obstacles and opportunities, and a look at other beef exporting country traceability efforts.

The next webinar, "Genetics: Putting the Tools to Use: Buying your next Bull", will be held on April 19th.  Register for either NCBA webinar at

Management Considerations to Improve Success of Artificial Insemination Program April 10 

Producers with an interest in the use of artificial insemination are encouraged to attend an upcoming program “Management Considerations to Improve Success of Artificial Insemination” by Dr. Rick Funston on Tuesday, April 10 at 6:30 PM MDT / 7:30 PM CDT. This will be an online meeting which can be accessed via the internet or by calling in by phone.

Dr. Funston will address the following:
• Benefits of utilizing estrus synchronization
• Fixed timed artificial insemination protocols
• Management strategies to achieve higher conception rates

The meeting is free to attend. To participate, participants need to register for the meeting in order to receive the meeting room link or phone number. To register, please email Nebraska Extension Educator Aaron Berger at or contact by phone at 308-235-3122 by Monday, April 9.


The monthly meeting of the Dodge County Cattlemen will be held on Tuesday April 10th at Z's Bar and Grill in Scribner, NE.  Social hour is at 6:30pm, and the meal will follow.  The social is sponsored this month by Central Valley Ag.  The featured presenter after the meal is Andy Langemeier with the Nebraska LEAD program.  Spouses are encouraged to attend.  Hope to see you there! 

Ragweed Can Pose a Serious Threat to Soybean Yield 

Once thought to be an innocent bystander to field crop production, common ragweed can "drastically reduce soybean yields," according to research conducted by University of Nebraska-Lincoln agronomy graduate student Ethann Barnes and other weed scientists at the Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center near Mead.

An article published this week on the American Society of Agronomy website described Barnes' 2015-2016 research and the journal article reporting it: Common Ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia L.) Interference with Soybean in Nebraska. The journal article was co-authored by Ethann R. Barnes, Amit J.Jhala, Stevan Z. Knezevic, Peter H. Sikkema, and John L. Lindquist. Barnes, Jhala, Knezevic and Lincquist are in the university's Department of Agronomy and Horticulture and Sikkema is at the University of Guelph-Ridgetown.

Among the findings reported was that one ragweed plant every 1.6 feet of soybean row decreased soybean yield by 76% in 2015, and by 40% in 2016. The yield loss was attributed to competition for light rather than competition for water or other mediating factors.

“The ultimate goal of this area of science is for growers to count the number of weeds or make a measurement in their field three weeks into the season. From there they could see whether it's financially a viable option to control their weeds or just leave them in the field,” Barnes said in the web article. By knowing how much damage the weeds might do, farmers can weigh that loss against the cost of killing the weeds.


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               This winter left many of you with more hay and corn stalk bales left over than expected.  Save some of that feed in case of drought, but any extra hay might provide extra value if it is used strategically.

               Get extra value from carryover hay by using that hay in ways that will be valuable especially to you.  Usually that means feeding hay instead of something else that would be more expensive.  Another option, though, is to feed hay so you can make other resources more profitable.

               For example, replace old, thinning alfalfa fields with new seedings this spring.  Then use carryover hay to substitute for lost yield during this seeding year.  Future hay yields from new fields should be more abundant and reliable.

               Or how about adding legumes to cool-season grass pastures or hay meadows.  We usually lose some forage production during the year of legume establishment as you control competition from the existing sod, but your carryover hay can be fed instead as needed.  Better grazing and future meadow production should be the result.

               Another possibility that could be especially useful is to feed hay a little longer this spring before turning cows out to pasture.  Or maybe feed this hay mid-summer to provide extra rest and recovery time for your pastures, increasing their productivity.  Grass that is growing slowly due to dry or cold conditions then will get extra time to recover before experiencing this year’s stress of grazing.

               You also could use less fertilizer on pastures or haylands and make up for the reduced production with your carryover hay.  Or maybe chop less silage and use hay next winter instead.

               If you think about other ways you can use that hay yourself, maybe you, too, can find its extra value.


               Spring is approaching and cool-season grass pastures are starting to green-up.  We should begin thinking about fertilizing.

               Grass growth is stimulated by nitrogen fertilizer just like other crops.  Although nitrogen fertilizer can be costly, it is less expensive this spring and favorable cattle prices greatly increase the potential to profit from the increased grass growth produced from nitrogen.

               Our Nebraska research shows that you get about one pound of additional calf or yearling gain for every pound of nitrogen fertilizer applied.  With grazingland becoming more scarce and expensive, boosting yield with fertilizer should be especially valuable this year.

               However, this fertilization rule-of-thumb assumes that the amount applied is within our general recommendations, which are based on the potential amount of extra grass growth expected.  This is affected mostly by moisture.  More importantly, it also assumes that your grazing management will efficiently harvest this extra growth.

               If your animals graze continuously on one pasture throughout the season, much of the extra growth is wasted.  They trample, manure and foul, bed down on, and simply refuse to eat much of the stemmy grass.  Less than one-third of the extra grass ends up inside your livestock.

               To make fertilizer pay, cross-fence pastures to control when and where your animals graze.  Give animals access to no more than one-fourth of your pasture at a time, letting the rest regrow.  Graze off only about one-half of this growth before moving to another subdivision.  Maybe even save one subdivision for hay.  If your pastures aren’t subdivided, fertilizer dollars might be better spent on cross-fences and watering sites.

               Follow these suggestions and more of your pasture growth will be eaten, and more profits will come from fertilizer and pastures.


Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig today announced that Julie Kenney has been hired as the new Deputy Secretary for the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. She started with the Department on April 2.

“Julie has a passion for agriculture and will be a tremendous asset to the Department.  Her background and experience are a natural fit for the Department and I’m excited to have her on our team,” Naig said.

As Deputy Secretary, Kenney will assist in management responsibilities for the Department focused on the areas of personnel, budget and policy.  She will also support the Department’s efforts to be accessible to Iowans by traveling regularly to represent the Department at meetings across the state.

“It’s an honor to serve as Deputy Secretary and I look forward to working with Secretary Naig and the team at the Department. The Department plays an important role in protecting consumers, improving our natural resources and promoting Iowa agriculture,” Kenney said.

Before joining the Department, Kenney had been active in the agribusiness industry for nearly 15 years, serving in marketing and communications roles for private industry and agricultural associations and checkoff programs. Kenney and her family also own and operate a corn and soybean farm in Story County.

Kenney, maiden name Kock, grew up on her family’s crop and livestock farm near Lohrville, Iowa.


ICGA President Mark Recker

On behalf of Iowa’s corn farmers, I would like to congratulate Julie Kenney on her new role as Deputy Secretary of Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship under Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig. Julie has been an active member of the Iowa Corn Growers Association and contributed significantly to the success of the CommonGround program as a longtime volunteer.

CommonGround, a key National Corn Growers Association program, includes 19 different states with over 200 women farmer volunteers. In Iowa, CommonGround volunteers focus on engaging those who make the food purchasing decisions for their families and giving them the tools to make informed food choices. During her time as a volunteer, Julie used her communications expertise and her role as a mother and farm wife to help tell the story of America’s farm families. One of the highlights of her time as a volunteer included serving as a guest on Bill Nye the Science Guy television show talking about the science behind GMOs. We know this experience will serve her well in connecting with consumers and promoting Iowa agriculture in her new position.

As Deputy Secretary, Kenney will aid in management responsibilities for the Department focusing on the areas of personnel, budget, and policy. She will also support the Department’s efforts of being assessable to all Iowans by traveling regularly to represent the Department at meetings across the state.

Before joining the Department, Kenney worked as a marketing and communications professional for nearly 15 years, serving various roles for private industry, agricultural associations, and checkoff programs. She has a bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa.
Julie and her husband Mark own and operate a fifth-generation corn and soybean farm in Story County and have two children, Lauren and Landon.

We look forward to working with Deputy Secretary Kenney in her new role on several key issues facing Iowa’s corn growers.

Iowa Pork invests in continued water quality progress

The Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA) is once again partnering with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) to offer funding for pig farmers interested in new nutrient loss reduction technologies.

IPPA has provided $25,000 to IDALS to be used for various projects over the next year. The funds will help offset up to 50 percent of the costs for pig farmers to install saturated buffers or bioreactors on their farm land. Preference will be given to sites that provide the greatest opportunity for nitrate reduction and be geographically dispersed throughout the state to aid in education and demonstration opportunities.

"This additional $25,000 investment by the Iowa Pork Producers Association will help support our efforts to scale-up the adoption of these edge-of-field practices focused on improving water quality. Both bioreactors and saturated buffers are still fairly new practices and this investment will help us continue to place these practices throughout the state to show farmers how they might fit in their operation," said Mike Naig, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture. "Thank you to the Iowa Pork Producers Association for continuing to invest in the water quality efforts in our state."

Participating producers will be asked to share information and experiences with other farmers through IPPA and IDALS programs. 

Hog farmers interested in the program can submit basic farm information for project consideration at For more information, contact either Tyler Bettin at IPPA at (800) 372-7675 or; or Matt Lechtenberg at IDALS at (515) 281-3857 or

"IPPA is very pleased to continue this successful partnership with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. While these are not specific practices to livestock, we know public/private partnerships such as this continue to drive momentum of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy," said 2018 IPPA President Gregg Hora, a producer from Fort Dodge. "Efforts from the 2017, and now 2018 funding, will allow enhanced demonstration of these projects across the state while continuing to move the needle on water quality improvements."

Bioreactors are excavated pits filled with woodchips, with tile drainage water flowing through the woodchips. As water from the tile line passes into the bioreactor, denitrifying bacteria converts nitrate into di-nitrogen gas.

Saturated buffers divert water flowing through underground tile lines into buffers along a river or stream, aiding nutrient removal before the water enters the waterway.

This new offering from IPPA builds on its continuing efforts in support of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy, including cover crop research, field day support and educational outreach.

"Through funding of this effort, support of the Water Quality Initiative, continued investments in the Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance and many other projects, Iowa pork producers remain committed to continuous improvement and practice adoption, while also celebrating tremendous positive strides that have been made over previous decades," Hora said. "Pig farmers take environmental management and regulations designed to protect our natural resources very seriously. Today's barns contain all manure to be used as crop nutrients and are designed to protect our rivers, streams and drinking water."

The Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy science assessment cites an average 4 percent reduction in Nitrate loss and up to 46 percent reduction in Phosphorous loss when using swine manure as a nutrient source compared to commercial fertilizer, while also having positive impacts on soil organic carbon, soil structure and runoff. Research from the University of Arkansas shows that efficiencies of modern pork production enabled pig farmers to reduce water use 41 percent land use 78 percent and carbon footprint 35 percent from 1959-2009.

NPPC Pre-World Pork Expo tours showcase pork production

The 2018 World Pork Expo, June 6-8, will showcase a wealth of activities, but now there are two more to add to the list. The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) has organized one- and two-day pre-Expo tours to provide intimate views of Midwest pork production and a range of agriculture.

"Whether traveling from another state or another country, Expo visitors should plan to arrive early and take advantage of the informational opportunity that these tours offer," says Greg Thornton, tour organizer for NPPC. "Not only are the tours a great way to gain insight and ask questions, but also to interact with fellow pork professionals from all over the world."

Two-day Midwest Agriculture Tour

The Midwest tour makes stops in Iowa, Illinois and northern Indiana to provide an up-close look at modern pork production practices, facilities, equipment and feed processing. Insights into the growth of U.S. pork exports and agricultural shipping practices round out the tour.

The tour starts on Monday with a visit to Fair Oaks Farms and the Pig Adventure and Pork Education Center in Indiana. Visitors will get an insider's view of modern pork production in a bio-secure environment. They can also tour the Dairy Adventure and Crop Adventure centers before enjoying lunch on site.

The next stop includes a barge cruise down the Mississippi River, where participants will learn how agricultural products move from the Midwest to the rest of the world.

Highlights for Tuesday, June 5, include a presentation on how U.S. pork production systems are organized and the growth in exports; a stop at a large feed mill owned and operated by JBS; and a visit to a modern grow-finish barn to view facilities and equipment from manure handling to ventilation.

"All stops will allow ample time for attendees to interact with industry experts and ask questions," Thornton notes. The tour bus will return to Des Moines by late afternoon on June 5.

Cost for the Midwest Agriculture Tour is U.S. $450 per person, which includes bus transportation, lodging on June 4, meals on tour days and World Pork Expo admission. Individuals are responsible for booking their own hotel rooms before the tour begins and during Expo.

One-day Iowa Agriculture Tour

Iowa is the United States' agricultural heartland and this one-day tour is designed to provide a snapshot of area agri-businesses related to modern pork production.

The tour begins in Des Moines on Tuesday morning, June 5, when attendees will board a tour bus to visit DuPont Pioneer headquarters to learn how researchers are improving agriculture productivity through seeds with better herbicide tolerance, disease and insect protection, improved agronomic performance, and increased end-use value. During lunch, there will be a presentation by a leading expert who will further explain the business and management sides of U.S. pork production. Attendees will visit JBS for a walking tour of a large feed mill, and a grow-finish barn will showcase production technologies and equipment, with the opportunity to interact with farm personnel.

The tour ends in Des Moines in late afternoon. The cost for this all-day tour is U.S. $150 per person, which includes bus transportation, breakfast and lunch on the tour, and admission to World Pork Expo.

"The tours are designed to build a deeper understanding of U.S. pork production and the businesses that support the industry," says Jim Heimerl, NPPC president and producer from Johnstown, Ohio. "Tour participants will further benefit from their experiences as they attend Expo and walk the trade show aisles, sit in on seminars or visit with producers."

Tour Registration is Open

Registration for both tours is available online as part of attendee registration — space is limited, so don't delay. In addition to tour details, the website provides information on World Pork Expo hotels, advice for international visitors, helpful travel tips and Expo facts.

Celebrating 30 years of World Pork Expo, the 2018 event takes place June 6-8 at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines. This year, Expo features an expanded trade show with record-setting exhibit space and more than 500 U.S. and international companies. Trade show hours run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, June 6, and Thursday, June 7, and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday, June 8. Free educational seminars, entertainment, swine shows and breeding stock sales are just some of the other events scheduled.

Whether you're a producer, an employee or a visitor from another country, World Pork Expo is the place to see all things pork.

USMEF Statement on China’s Additional Duties on U.S. Pork

U.S. Meat Export Federation President and CEO Dan Halstrom

We regret the Chinese government’s decision to impose an additional 25 percent duty on imports of U.S. pork and pork variety meat. The United States is a reliable supplier of pork products to China, and this decision will have an immediate impact on U.S. producers and exporters, as well as our customers in China. We are hopeful that the additional duties can be rescinded quickly, so that U.S. pork can again compete on a level playing field with pork from other exporting countries.

Exports have been a key driver of growth in the U.S. pork industry, and with nearly 27 percent of U.S. pork production exported last year, international trade is critical to the continued success and profitability of the U.S. industry. China is a leading destination for U.S. pork and especially for pork variety meat. In 2017, U.S. exported 495,637 metric tons (mt) of pork and pork variety meat to China/Hong Kong, valued at $1.08 billion – our second-largest international market by volume and third-largest by value. For pork variety meat exports only, this was our largest destination in both volume (321,116 mt) and value ($741.8 million), accounting for 63 percent of U.S. export value. Variety meat exports make a critical contribution to industry profitability, and last year these exports to China/Hong Kong alone equated to more than $6.00 per U.S. hog slaughtered.

With U.S. exporters facing tariff and non-tariff barriers in China and other key markets, it is especially important to expand and diversify our export destinations for U.S. red meat. USMEF is working constantly to identify new and emerging markets in regions such as Central and South America, Southeast Asia and Africa, and to expand our customer base in mainstay markets such as Mexico, Japan, South Korea and Canada.

Statement by Steve Nelson, President, Regarding China’s Tariff on U.S. Pork

“Today, China announced it will levy a tariff of 25 percent on U.S. pork and pork products in retaliation to the U.S. imposing tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. China’s response is what we had feared all along and we are extremely concerned about this turn of events.”

“These tariffs will impact Nebraska’s already hurting agriculture economy. Nebraska Farm Bureau recently released a trade report called ‘Nebraska Agriculture & International Trade,’ and it showed Platte and Holt Counties were the most reliant on exports of pork, with each county receiving more than $20 million in value from pork exports. Several other counties in Northeast and North Central Nebraska derive more than $10 million in value from pork exports and would also be sensitive to any export slowdown related to the Chinese tariffs. Also, with pork processing facilities in Fremont, Crete, and Madison, these communities could feel the effects too.”

“These Chinese tariffs could be a damper on pork prices, slowing an already struggling agriculture economy in Nebraska and the U.S. We can’t emphasize enough the importance of trade and how concerning this latest action by China is for Nebraska farmers and ranchers.”

U.S. and Nebraska Numbers on Trade

What are the potential effects to the U.S. and Nebraska from the Chinese tariff on pork?
-    The National Pork Producers Council has said that the U.S. exported $1.1 billion in pork to China last year.
-    According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foreign Ag Service, Nebraska exported $479 million in pork, of which $29 million, or 6 percent, went to China and Hong Kong.
-    The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA-NASS) recently released its Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report. The report showed the overall U.S. hogs and pigs count as of March 1 was 3.1 percent greater than last year. The March 1 market hog number reached 66.7 million head, the largest ever recorded. In other words, U.S. supplies of pork are growing, and growth in exports is needed to help absorb the growing supplies.  The Chinese tariff will make the needed growth more difficult to attain and could be a damper on pork prices. Today, the June lean hog futures contracts were off nearly 4 percent with the news from China.


NPPC newsletter

The Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) last week released a favorable and broad interpretation of the omnibus spending bill provision addressing the Electronic Logging Device mandate.  The interpretation states, “Livestock (as defined in 49 CFR 395.2) and insect haulers are not required to comply with the ELD rule for the duration of the fiscal 2018 appropriations bill, which runs through Sept. 30, and any subsequent continuing resolutions.”

Last week, the president signed $1.3 trillion federal spending bill that provided for a delay in the mandate.

Fats and Oils: Oilseed Crushings, Production, Consumption and Stocks

Soybeans crushed for crude oil was 4.95 million tons (165 million bushels) in February 2018, compared to 5.24 million tons (171 million bushels) in January 2018 and 4.54 million tons (155 million bushels) in February 2017. Crude oil produced was 1.89 billion pounds down 5 percent from January 2018 but up 8 percent from February 2017. Soybean once refined oil production at 1.26 billion pounds during February 2018 decreased 1 percent from January 2018 and decreased slightly from February 2017.

Canola seeds crushed for crude oil was 152 thousand tons in February 2018, compared to 157 thousand tons in January 2018 and 167 thousand tons in February 2017. Canola crude oil produced was 128 million pounds down 6 percent from January 2018 and down 8 percent from February 2017. Canola once refined oil production at 112 million pounds during February 2018 was up 11 percent from January 2018 but down 3 percent from February 2017. Cottonseed once refined oil production at 49.0 million pounds during February 2018 was up 17 percent from January 2018 and up 8 percent from February 2017.

Edible tallow production was 86.8 million pounds during February 2018, up 31 percent from January 2018 and up 21 percent from February 2017. Inedible tallow production was 323 million pounds during February 2018, up 9 percent from January 2018 but down 3 percent from February 2017. Technical tallow production was 110 million pounds during February 2018, up 16 percent from January 2018 but down 4 percent from February 2017. Choice white grease production at 114 million pounds during February 2018 increased 7 percent from January 2018 but decreased 5 percent from February 2017.

Grain Crushings and Co-Products Production

Total corn consumed for alcohol and other uses was 482 million bushels in February 2018. Total corn consumption was down 8 percent from January 2018 but up 2 percent from February 2017. February 2018 usage included 91.7 percent for alcohol and 8.3 percent for other purposes. Corn consumed for beverage alcohol totaled 2.36 million bushels, down 19 percent from January 2018 and down 23 percent from February 2017. Corn for fuel alcohol, at 434 million bushels, was down 9 percent from January 2018 but up 2 percent from February 2017. Corn consumed in February 2018 for dry milling fuel production and wet milling fuel production was 90.7 percent and 9.3 percent respectively.

Dry mill co-product production of distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) was 1.83 million tons during February 2018, down 8 percent from January 2018 and down 3 percent from February 2017. Distillers wet grains (DWG) 65 percent or more moisture was 1.26 million tons in February 2018, down 12 percent from January 2018 but up 3 percent from February 2017.

Wet mill corn gluten feed production was 285 thousand tons during February 2018, down 6 percent from January 2018 but up 6 percent from February 2017. Wet corn gluten feed 40 to 60 percent moisture was 255 thousand tons in February 2018, down 7 percent from January 2018 and down 13 percent from February 2017.

USDA Announces Commodity Credit Corporation Lending Rates for April 2018

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Commodity Credit Corporation today announced interest rates for April 2018. The Commodity Credit Corporation borrowing rate-based charge for April is 2.000 percent, up from 1.875 percent in March.

The interest rate for crop year commodity loans less than one year disbursed during April is 3.000 percent, up from 2.875 percent in March.

Interest rates for Farm Storage Facility Loans approved for April are as follows, 2.375 percent with three-year loan terms, up from 2.250 percent in March; 2.625 percent with five-year loan terms, up from 2.500 percent in March; 2.750 percent with seven-year loan terms, unchanged from 2.750 percent in March; 2.875 percent with 10-year loan terms, up from 2.750 percent in March and; 2.875 percent with 12-year loan terms, up from 2.750 percent in March.

CWT Assists with 2 million Pounds of Cheese Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 11 requests for export assistance from cooperatives that captured contracts to sell 2.017 million pounds (915 metric tons) of Cheddar and Gouda cheese to customers in Asia, Central America and the Middle East. The product has been contracted for delivery in the period from March through June 2018.

CWT-assisted member cooperative 2018 export sales total 29.146 million pounds of American-type cheeses, and 5.613 million pounds of butter (82% milkfat) to 20 countries on five continents. These sales are the equivalent of 395.464 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis.

Assisting CWT members through the Export Assistance program in the long term helps member cooperatives gain and maintain market share, thus expanding the demand for U.S. dairy products and the U.S. farm milk that produces them. This, in turn, positively affects all U.S. dairy farmers by strengthening and maintaining the value of dairy products that directly impact their milk price.

USDA Issues Final Decision on California Federal Milk Marketing Order

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today published in the Federal Register a final decision to establish a Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO) for California. The proposed FMMO would incorporate the entire state of California. The final decision is based on the evidentiary record of a public hearing held in Clovis, Calif., from September to November 2015. A recommended decision regarding the proposed program was published Feb. 14, 2017.

USDA will conduct a referendum among dairy producers to determine whether they support the proposed FMMO. The referendum will be held from April 2, 2018 through May 5, 2018. USDA will mail ballot materials to all known eligible dairy producers supplying milk to the proposed marketing area. The FMMO would become effective if approved by two-thirds of the voting producers, or by producers of two-thirds of the milk represented in the voting process.

FMMOs are legal instruments that regulate the sale of milk between dairy farmers and the first buyer. Where appropriate, the proposed California FMMO adopts the uniform order provisions contained in the 10 current FMMOs in the national system. These uniform provisions include, but are not limited to, dairy product classification, end-product price formulas, and the producer-handler definition. The proposed order would recognize the unique market structure of the California dairy industry through tailored, performance-based standards to determine eligibility for pool participation. The proposed order provides for the recognition of producer quota as administered by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA).

California represents over 18 percent of all U.S. milk production and is currently regulated by a state milk marketing order administered by CDFA.

Along with issuing this final decision, USDA conducted a Regulatory Economic Impact Analysis to determine the potential impact of regulating California milk handlers under a FMMO on the milk supply, product demand and prices, and milk allocation in California and throughout the United States. The entire hearing record, including the Regulatory Economic Impact Analysis, is available at Today’s Federal Register notice is available at:

USDA will hold a public meeting beginning at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, April 10, 2018, in Clovis, Calif., to answer questions related to how the proposed California FMMO would operate and how eligible dairy producers can participate in the referendum. Interested parties will have the opportunity to attend in person or watch the meeting live via webcast. Meeting details, as well as information regarding the producer referendum, are available on the AMS website at

American Lamb Board Establishes Goal of 2 Percent Demand Growth Yearly

The American Lamb Board (ALB) has approved a new long range plan for 2018-2022 to focus the work of the checkoff and its stakeholders in the areas of promotion, information and research over the next five years – and it boldly sets a demand growth goal.

The strategic objective of the plan is to increase demand for American Lamb by 2 percent annually over the next five years, for a total demand growth of 10 percent. Per capita consumption of lamb in the U.S. has remained steady over the past ten years at approximately one pound per person per year with nearly 20 percent of lamb consumption occurring during the spring holidays. Urban shoppers are the most likely to consume lamb with the highest consumption occurring on the East and West Coasts. In 2015, lamb demand was up 7 percent compared to 2014 and increased again in 2016 by 2.5 percent.

“The future holds tremendous promise for our industry which produces a unique, flavorful, tender and nutritious protein that meets the changing needs and preferences of consumers,” says Jim Percival, Xenia, Ohio, ALB chairman. “Improving the quality and consistency of our products to ensuring consumers have a great eating experience every time, increasing our industry’s productivity and stabilizing our prices are all critical to the success of creating demand for American Lamb.”

ALB is committed to Five Core Strategies outlined in the Long Range Plan that aim to increase the demand for American Lamb.
-    Grow awareness and increase usage of American Lamb among chefs and consumers.
-    Promote and strengthen American Lamb’s Value Proposition.
-    Improve the quality and consistency of American Lamb.
-    Support industry efforts to increase domestic supplies of lamb.
-    Collaborate and communicate with industry partners and stakeholders to expand efforts to address the first four strategies.

“Using these core strategies, the ALB will create budgets and annual work plans to achieve the goals and initiatives set by the Long Range Plan. America’s lamb producers are excited about the work we’ll be doing over the next several years to increase the demand not just for lamb, but specifically for American Lamb,” Percival says.

The Long Range Plan identifies key trends and opportunities in today’s marketing climate. Global demand growth, interest in buying local and production practices, changing consumer preferences, nutrition perceptions of lamb, as well as the price and perceived value of American Lamb all influenced the five core strategies outlined in the Long Range Plan.

“We trust that other stakeholders and allied industry partners will seek opportunities to align their plans with this plan and find ways to support the industry-wide objectives. We all benefit when we focus our efforts to build demand for American Lamb,” Percival says.

To download the full version of the Long Range Plan, go to

Bank Loans to US Farmers Increase in 2017

Farm banks lent more to the troubled agricultural sector in 2017, according to the American Bankers Association, increasing lending by almost 6% to $106B. Low commodity prices have pushed US agriculture into a multi-year slump, with farm incomes due to fall to the lowest point since 2006. Some farmers have turned to creditors for relief while others have gone out of business altogether. "We're starting to see the effects of a weaker ag sector," says ABA's Brittany Kleinpaste. Farm bank profitability slowed in 2017 from the previous year, with around 96% profitable and around 55% increasing earnings. Banks held a total of $180B in agricultural loans at the end of the year.

Titan Machinery Revenues Up

Titan Machinery Inc. reported financial results for the fiscal fourth quarter and full year ended January 31, 2018.

"We were well positioned to capture the anticipated fiscal fourth quarter acceleration in Agriculture sales activity due to better than anticipated crop yields in our footprint and the resulting improvement in grower sentiment," said Chairman and CEO David Meyer. "As a result of our improved inventory position, we continue to experience increased equipment margins compared to the prior year."

In addition, fiscal full year 2018 performance was highlighted by reduced operating expenses and a more efficient operating structure due to the completion of our restructuring efforts.

For its Agriculture Segment, revenue for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018 was $205.3 million, compared to $201.1 million in the fourth quarter last year. Pre-tax income for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018 was $2.2 million, compared to pre-tax loss of $5.9 million in the fourth quarter last year. Adjusted pre-tax income for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018 was $2.0 million, compared to an adjusted pre-tax loss of $4.8 million in the fourth quarter last year.

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