Thursday, February 28, 2019

Wednesday Februay 27 Ag News


A chemical compound typically cast as a supporting actor in corn’s defense against a tiny pest might instead take a leading role, says a research-based rewrite from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The Nebraska study showed that spraying a corn plant with one of its own compounds — 12-oxo-phytodienoic acid, or OPDA — can help deter the virus-carrying, pollination-disrupting insect known as the corn-leaf aphid.

OPDA has long been recognized as vital for synthesizing jasmonic acid, a defensive hormone deployed in response to aphids puncturing stalks and sucking corn sap through their syringe-like mouthpieces. That puncturing also kick-starts production of benzoxazinoids: compounds believed important in forming callose, a carbohydrate-laden layer that heals wounds and blocks access to its sugar-transporting phloem tissue.

But experiments from Nebraska’s Joe Louis and colleagues suggest that OPDA alone, minus the aid of the plant’s two more famous safeguards, can protect against the pinhead-sized insect by triggering a buildup of callose. That knowledge could eventually help corn raise its carbohydrate shield before rather than after aphids attack, Louis said.

Based on recent feedback from the fields, stronger defenses could prove important going forward.

“In the last few years, our entomology extension folks are getting calls from farmers saying that they are continuously seeing these corn-leaf aphids in the fields during the corn-growing season,” said Louis, Harold and Esther Edgerton Assistant Professor of Entomology. “In the Midwest, we’re seeing those increasing reports during the field season.”


Louis’ team performed its experiments with a line of corn named Mp708, which exhibits callose buildup and a rise in the defense-related protein Mir1-CP. Because Mp708 also features higher levels of OPDA and jasmonic acid, researchers thought that both — the former as a precursor to the latter — were essential to raising those defenses.

Yet the new study indicates that jasmonic acid and benzoxazinoids might not be so essential after all. In one experiment, the team sprayed OPDA on two types of corn plants — one with normal levels of jasmonic acid, the other without — finding that the latter deterred aphids just as well as their jasmonic-rich counterparts. And after exposing OPDA-treated vs. untreated plants to aphids for 24 hours, the researchers discovered that the treated plants had been colonized by roughly 30 percent fewer aphids, which spent less time trying to feed after piercing corn leaves.

The team also measured a corresponding rise in the Mir1-CP proteins, even without increases in jasmonic acid or benzoxazinoids.

“So we’re thinking that if we can activate some of those potent defensive proteins and their downstream defenses, we can provide resistance against the insects,” Louis said. “That’s what we’re looking for.”

Louis now wants to know how the Mir1-CP protein actually affects aphids. His team is also looking for other lines of high-OPDA corn to determine whether they show increases in callose and defense-related proteins when attacked.

More broadly, he said, the team’s recent and future findings might inform the protection of cereal crops beyond corn.

“These crops are equally attacked by many of these phloem-feeding aphids,” Louis said. “So, it could be of interest to other researchers working in the area of monocot crops.”

The researchers reported their findings in the journal Plant Physiology. Louis authored the study with Nebraska’s Suresh Varsani and Sajjan Grover, graduate students in entomology; Kyle Koch, doctoral alumnus in entomology; Tiffany Heng-Moss, professor of entomology and dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources; Gautam Sarath, adjunct professor of entomology; Cornell University’s Georg Jander and Shaoqun Zhou; Texas A&M University’s Pei-Cheng Huang and Michael Kolomiets; W. Paul Williams of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service; and Pennsylvania State University’s Dawn Luthe.

The team received support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture and from the National Science Foundation.

Ricketts Highlights Nebraska’s First ICATT Apprenticeship Program

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts joined the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest (GACC Midwest), CLAAS Omaha, and Graepel North America at CLAAS of America’s North America headquarters for a signing ceremony highlighting Nebraska’s first Industry Consortium for Advanced Technical Training (ICATT) Apprenticeship Program.  At the signing ceremony, which was part of the Growing Nebraska’s Skilled Workforce event at CLAAS, the Governor was joined by CLAAS Omaha CFO Matthias Ristow and Graepel North America President Mark Zumdohme.

“The Growing Nebraska’s Skilled Workforce event brought together leading innovators to help more Nebraskans find a pathway to many of the great opportunities that are available in our state,” Governor Ricketts said.  “Companies like CLAAS of America and Graepel North America have high-quality jobs and tremendous career paths for our state’s workforce.  The German Dual Study Apprenticeship Program is an innovative way to address the skilled workforce shortage by helping both people who are looking for great jobs, and employers working to recruit and develop talent.”

ICATT is the leading apprenticeship program in the Midwest for high-tech manufacturers and companies with complex technologies or logistics and was established by GACC Midwest.  It is open to any manufacturer who wants to build a sustainable pipeline of talent. 

At the signing ceremony, CLAAS and Graepel, two German companies with North American operations based in Omaha, became the first two high-tech manufacturers in Nebraska to sign on to the apprenticeship program and commit funds for the program.  At the event, CLAAS and Graepel also signed on to become a part of the Registered Apprenticeship Program with the United States Department of Labor (USDOL).  Both the ICATT and USDOL programs, funded by CLAAS and Graepel, will cooperate with Metropolitan Community College where graduates will receive an associate’s degree at the end of the program.

“Apprenticeship programs are a terrific option for Nebraskans seeking a clear path to rewarding vocational careers,” said Nebraska Department of Economic Development Director Dave Rippe.  “Investing in our workforce and creating new opportunities is one of the pillars of growing Nebraska, and we look forward to working with our partners and with employers across the state to raise awareness about the programs that are available.”   

“Today’s event showcases how much Registered Apprenticeships have gained momentum in Nebraska to provide exceptional opportunities for our workforce in advanced manufacturing industries,” said Nebraska Commissioner of Labor John H. Albin.  “We will continue to partner with an increasingly diverse group of employers to help build new programs throughout the state.”

Following the signing ceremony was a panel discussion featuring government and manufacturing industry leaders that focused on how to address the skilled workforce shortage in Nebraska and across the country.


The University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Clayton Yeutter Institute of International Trade and Finance has announced 13 inaugural members of its advisory council. The council members’ collective expertise spans the areas of trade policy and law, commodities markets, global business operations, trade and development, and advanced trade and finance education.

“The breadth of these advisory council members’ achievements in trade and finance complements the Yeutter Institute’s interdisciplinary mission,” said Jill O’Donnell, the institute’s director. “This is an outstanding group of individuals, and their enthusiasm for serving on the Yeutter Institute Advisory Council is a testament to Clayton’s legacy and to the importance they place on trade and finance education. The institute will benefit enormously from the contributions of every member.”

The advisory council members will provide strategic counsel to the director on the institute’s formation and programming. The inaugural members are:

> Edward Alden, Ross Distinguished Visiting Professor, University of Western Washington; senior fellow, Council on Foreign Relations
> Tim Andriesen, managing director, agricultural products, CME Group
> Kelly Brunkhorst, executive director, Nebraska Corn Board and Nebraska Corn Growers Association
> Andrea Durkin, founder, Sparkplug, LLC; editor-in-chief, TradeVistas; adjunct associate professor, Georgetown University School of Foreign Service
> Dan Fulton, retired CEO, Weyerhaeuser Company
> Veronica A. Haggart, retired international trade lawyer; former commissioner, U.S. International Trade Commission
> Mark Jensen, president and CEO, Farm Credit Services of America and Frontier Farm Credit
> Katrin Kuhlmann, president and founder, New Markets Lab; adjunct professor, Georgetown University Law Center; lecturer on law, Harvard Law School
> Kenneth I. Levinson, executive director, Washington International Trade Association
> Warren H. Maruyama, partner, Hogan Lovells
> Joe Stone, executive vice president and chief risk officer, Cargill
> Ambassador Darci Vetter, vice chair, agriculture, food and trade, Edelman
> Cristena Bach Yeutter

The vision of University of Nebraska–Lincoln alumnus and renowned trade expert Clayton Yeutter, the Yeutter Institute connects academic disciplines related to law, business and agriculture to prepare students for leadership roles in international trade and finance, support interdisciplinary research and increase public understanding of these issues. To learn more, visit


Wilbur-Ellis Company LLC Acquires Wiles Brothers Fertilizer, Inc.

Wilbur-Ellis Company LLC, a recognized leader in precision agriculture technology and the distribution and marketing of plant protection, seed and nutritional products, announced last week it acquired the assets of Wiles Brothers Fertilizer, Inc., one of the top independent agriculture retailers in the state of Nebraska.

Family-owned and operated since 1976, Wiles Brothers Fertilizer has been a highly successful, independent ag retailer, providing its customers with fertilizer, crop protection, seed products and application services. 

"After nearly 50 years in business, we are excited about the opportunity to become a part of Wilbur-Ellis Company," said Wiles Brothers Fertilizer founder Marvin Wiles. "As we've gotten to know Wilbur-Ellis, we have found that their commitment to integrity and excellence is consistent with our own values. The customers we have served for years will see real benefits from a continued association with Wilbur-Ellis for both the near- and long-term future."

This purchase expands the Wilbur-Ellis footprint firmly into the highly productive crop areas of Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa. The Wiles Brothers business and location will serve as a major platform from which to test and launch a collection of agronomic advisory services and cutting-edge technologies.

"We are proud to announce the addition of Wiles Brothers Fertilizer to Wilbur-Ellis," said Wilbur-Ellis Company Central Midwest Area Manager Eric Lacey. "This is a strategic addition in a geography where we don't have a presence. The team at Wiles has a great reputation in the ag retail industry and are known as progressive growers with a long track record of winning state and national yield contests. We look to continue and build upon their strong presence and talent as we launch unique value propositions in the market."

As of February 13, 2019, Wiles Brothers Fertilizer employees and assets became part of Wilbur-Ellis Company. This full-service agribusiness retailer is located at 606 Wiles Road, Plattsmouth, Neb., 68048. Nick Waters will assume responsibilities as branch manager.


All layers in Nebraska during January 2019 totaled 8.45 million, up from 7.56 million the previous year, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Nebraska egg production during January totaled 223 million eggs, up from 199 million in 2018. January egg production per 100 layers was 2,633 eggs, compared to 2,633 eggs in 2018.


Iowa egg production during January 2019 was 1.44 billion eggs, up 1 percent from last month and up 11 percent from last year, according to the latest Chickens and Eggs report from the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

The average number of all layers on hand during January 2019 was 57.0 million, down 1 percent from last month but up 3 percent from last year. Eggs per 100 layers for January were 2,520, up 1 percent from last month and up 8 percent from last year.

US January Egg Production Up 5 Percent

United States egg production totaled 9.41 billion during January 2019, up 5 percent from last year. Production included 8.23 billion table eggs, and 1.18 billion hatching eggs, of which 1.09 billion were broiler-type and 89.6 million were egg-type. The total number of layers during January 2019 averaged 393 million, up 3 percent from last year. January egg production per 100 layers was 2,395 eggs, up 2 percent from January 2018.
All layers in the United States on February 1, 2019 totaled 392 million, up 3 percent from last year. The 392 million layers consisted of 330 million layers producing table or market type eggs, 59.2 million layers producing broiler-type hatching eggs, and 3.53 million layers producing egg-type hatching eggs. Rate of lay per day on February 1, 2019, averaged 77.2 eggs per 100 layers, up 2 percent from February 1, 2018.

Red Meat Production Down 1 Percent From Last December

Commercial red meat production for the United States totaled 4.37 billion pounds in December, down 1 percent from the 4.40 billion pounds produced in December 2017.

By State      (million lbs.  -  % Dec '17)

Nebraska .........:     648.1             96      
Iowa ................:     661.4            103      
Kansas .............:     464.6             96      

Beef production, at 2.12 billion pounds, was 2 percent below the previous year. Cattle slaughter totaled 2.58 million head, down slightly from December 2017. The average live weight was down 12 pounds from the previous year, at 1,368 pounds.

Veal production totaled 6.5 million pounds, 2 percent below December a year ago. Calf slaughter totaled 53,600 head, up 16 percent from December 2017. The average live weight was down 35 pounds from last year, at 210 pounds.

Pork production totaled 2.23 billion pounds, down slightly from the previous year. Hog slaughter totaled 10.5 million head, down slightly from December 2017. The average live weight was unchanged from the previous year, at 286 pounds.

Lamb and mutton production, at 13.2 million pounds, was up 3 percent from December 2017. Sheep slaughter totaled 201,800 head, 7 percent above last year. The average live weight was 131 pounds, down 5 pounds from December a year ago.

January to December 2018 commercial red meat production was 53.4 billion pounds, up 3 percent from 2017. Accumulated beef production was up 3 percent from last year, veal was up 2 percent, pork was up 3 percent from last year, and lamb and mutton production was up 5 percent.

Grassley Recognized by Ag Retailers Association

The Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) recognized Senators Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Roger Wicker, R-Miss., with its 2018 Legislator of the Year award.

"We are pleased to honor two very deserving Senators this year with our Legislator of the Year award," said ARA President and CEO Daren Coppock. "We are grateful for their dedication and continued support of the agriculture industry."

In the presentation of the award, Grassley was recognized for his leadership as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, securing a historic number of federal judicial confirmations during the 115th Congress, including two Supreme Court justices. A longtime supporter of agriculture and agriculture retail, this is the second time Grassley has been honored as ARA Legislator of the Year.

"Iowa is an agricultural powerhouse. As a leading producer of pork, corn, soybeans and eggs, agriculture anchors Iowa's economy and helps put food on tables across America," Sen. Grassley said. "Supporting workers and businesses that help Iowa's farmers succeed has been a top priority during my time in the Senate. It's an honor to receive this recognition."

Wicker was honored for his support on important industry issues, such as promoting precision agriculture and rural broadband deployment.

"With nearly 37,000 farms covering more than 10 million acres and generating more than $7 billion in economic activity, Mississippi is home to many hard-working men and women who provide critical support to our farmers and ranchers," Wicker said. "I will continue to promote policies that help America's agricultural producers thrive."

ARA presents its Legislator of the Year award annually to a member, or members, of Congress who champion legislation important to the agricultural retail industry. The awards were presented during the ARA Board of Directors and Committee Meetings in Washington, D.C.

USMEF Economist Stresses Importance of Trade with Japan at USDA Outlook Forum

The importance of Japan as a trading partner for U.S. agriculture was the focus of a Feb. 22 panel discussion at the USDA Agricultural Outlook Forum in Arlington, Virginia. U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) Economist Erin Borror explained that Japan is the leading value destination for both U.S. beef and U.S. pork, with 2018 exports expected to reach $2.1 billion and $1.65 billion, respectively, when year-end data is available. But Borror also cautioned that the competitive terrain in Japan has gotten steeper for U.S. red meat due to Japan’s preferential trade agreements with Australia, the European Union, Canada, New Zealand, Mexico and Chile, and this situation will worsen unless the United States secures similar access terms with Japan.

Borror noted that U.S. beef export value per head of fed slaughter averaged a record $320.72 in 2018, up 14 percent year-over-year and shattering the previous high ($300.36) set in 2014. Japan accounts for one-fourth of this total, or $82.75 per head. The ratio is similar for U.S. pork export value, which averaged $51.46 per head slaughtered in 2018. Japan accounted for $13.18, or 26 percent of the total per-head value.

She also explained that beef and pork make up a significant portion of U.S. agricultural exports to Japan. The projected $3.92 billion in combined red meat product exports represent about 30 percent of the $13 billion in total U.S. ag exports to Japan, second only to grains and feeds.

Furthermore, Japan’s red meat consumption is likely to expand at a faster rate once the benefits of lower import duties are passed along to consumers. In South Korea, for example, the tariff rate on U.S. beef has dropped by more than half since 2012 under the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, and U.S. beef enjoys a tariff rate advantage over its competitors. Most pork from the United States and other major suppliers enters Korea at zero duty. Red meat is now more affordable and accessible for Korean consumers who have responded enthusiastically, with per capita consumption setting new records. A similar development in Japan will only benefit the U.S. beef and pork industries if they are on a level playing field with competitors.

Without a U.S.-Japan trade agreement, potential losses for the U.S. meat industry are substantial. On a per-head basis, Borror estimates lost export opportunities for U.S. beef will reach $18.70 by 2023 and $42 by 2028. For pork, the per-head loss is projected to be $4.55 by 2023 and $7.06 by 2028. U.S. exporters are already feeling the effects of tariff disadvantages of 11 percentage points for beef cuts and 6.4 percentage points for beef tongues and skirts. For pork, the most immediate impact is on processed and value-added products, where tariffs are quickly being phased to zero. This is already eroding U.S. market share for important products such as ground seasoned pork. Japan’s imports of U.S. ground seasoned pork were valued at $288 million last year.

“Unless the U.S. and Japan can quickly reach a trade agreement, lost opportunities will mount as Japanese companies seek more value-added, further processed products from suppliers such as the EU and Mexico,” Borror explained. “Decisions that are being made today will transform the business and without clear indications that the U.S. and Japan will reach an agreement, the U.S. industry is likely to suffer permanent losses in market share and related investment. Japan is irreplaceable as a trading partner, given its demand for high-value chilled pork cuts, and it is seen as an increasingly important market for value-added pork. At a time when U.S. companies are looking to produce more value-added and branded products, the industry cannot afford to miss these opportunities in Japan.”

These lost export opportunities also carry serious implications for U.S. agriculture and the rural economy. Exports to Japan are estimated to directly support more than 4 percent of the jobs in the meat packing and processing industry. Absent a trade agreement with Japan, an annual cost of $5.2 billion in direct economic losses to other businesses and industries will result in the top 15 meat packing and processing states. Over the next 10 years, an estimated 23,600 jobs outside the meat industry would be lost in those 15 states.

Joining Borror on the discussion panel were Jeffrey Schott, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, and Ben Conner, vice president of policy for U.S. Wheat Associates. More details from Borror’s presentation are available online.

Borror also addressed the USDA Outlook Forum on Feb. 21, covering a range of topics impacting global red meat trade. These included the spread of African swine fever (ASF) in China, which has the potential to increase China’s need for imported pork. ASF’s expansion in Europe also impacts global trade, as some countries have suspended imports from European Union member states in which ASF is confirmed.

Borror also detailed the impact of ongoing trade disputes on U.S. red meat exports, including imposition of retaliatory duties on U.S. pork by China and Mexico. China also increased the duty rate for U.S. beef last year, and Canada imposed retaliatory duties on prepared beef products imported from the United States.

Retaliation has weighed less heavily on U.S. beef exports, which were record-large in 2018 and surged by more than $1 billion over the previous year. Pork export volume held steady with the record pace of 2017, but export value was pressured greatly in the second half of the year, following retaliatory actions by China and Mexico. Borror explained the retaliatory tariffs have been paid by the U.S. pork industry as prices for hams, picnics, feet and hocks – key items for export to Mexico and China – were down an average of about 20 percent from June through December last year, and this translated into year-over-year losses of $11.75 per head. Industry losses, just for these products, amounted to $860 million.

 African Swine Fever Confirmed on Three Vietnam Farms

African swine fever has been detected on three farms in northern Vietnam, the Animal Health Department said on Tuesday.  Authorities have culled all the pigs on the farms located in Hung Yen and Thai Binh provinces, southeast of the capital Hanoi.

The highly contagious fever is incurable in pigs but does not harm people. The disease has spread rapidly across neighboring China since August, affecting 25 provinces and regions.  Pork accounts for three quarters of total meat consumption in Vietnam, a country of 95 million people. Most pigs are consumed domestically.

Prices for Most Fertilizers Continue to Climb

Average retail prices for most fertilizers were slightly higher the third week of February 2019, according to retailers surveyed by DTN. As was the case last week, all but two fertilizers increased in price compared to a month earlier.

Prices of six fertilizers were up from last month, though most were up only slightly. MAP had an average price of $536 per ton, potash $385/ton, 10-34-0 $470/ton, anhydrous $596/ton, UAN28 $271/ton and UAN32 $317/ton.

The remaining two fertilizers were slightly lower in price compared to the third week of January. DAP had an average price of $512/ton and urea $404/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.44/lb.N, anhydrous $0.36/lb.N, UAN28 $0.48/lb.N and UAN32 $0.50/lb.N.

All eight of the major fertilizers are now higher compared to last year with prices shifting higher. MAP is 8% more expensive, DAP is 11% higher, potash is 12% more expensive, both urea and 10-34-0 is 13% higher, UAN28 is 17% more expensive and both anhydrous and UAN32 is now 20% higher compared to last year.

Land O'Lakes, Inc. reports annual results for 2018, Posts $14.9 billion in sales

Land O'Lakes, Inc. today reported net sales of $14.9 billion and net earnings of $255 million for the year ending December 31, 2018 compared with net sales of $13.7 billion and net earnings of $365 million in 2017. The company's net earnings included a non-recurring charge for the estimated withdrawal liability associated with its participation in a multi-employer pension plan. Excluding the effect of this charge, the company's fiscal year net earnings were $309 million.

"As Land O'Lakes, Inc. and many others in our industry navigated a year marked by change, challenge and transition, we continued building on core strategies for future success in a changing marketplace," said Beth Ford, president and CEO of Land O'Lakes, Inc. "With a strong foundation built on technology, differentiated services and a world-class branded products portfolio, we enter 2019 well-positioned to lead farmer-to-fork innovation in unique and unexpected areas."

In 2018, Dairy Foods capitalized on its focus on growth areas in the sector. Marketplace-back, on-trend convenience foods, along with snack, desserts and food service delivered strong performance, which helped offset lower retail product mix and compressed margins on milk powders. In Animal Nutrition, insights and breadth of the product offering along with improved premix margins helped mitigate a challenging livestock environment in which producers were sometimes trading down. Business results in Crop Inputs and Insights were lower, reflecting increased competitiveness and a shift in product mix attributed to low commodity markets and the general decline of farm income. The Land O'Lakes SUSTAIN business, launched by Land O'Lakes to help farmers mitigate environmental impact while increasing potential profits, welcomed new customers and new partnerships throughout the year.

Farm Bureau Asks for More Flexible Livestock Hauling Rules

The American Farm Bureau Federation is asking the Department of Transportation to give livestock haulers flexibility in meeting certain hours of service requirements to better address the unique needs of the live animals they’re transporting, while still prioritizing road safety.

Farm Bureau’s comments to DOT and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration were submitted in response to a petition filed by the organization and several others asking that DOT allow drivers who complete fatigue management training, have a sufficient safety record, and are willing to follow certain documentary requirements to drive 15 hours during a 16-hour work day and rest the currently required 10 hours.  Current rules limit drive time to 11 hours and limit on-duty hours to 14.

“Farm Bureau believes that the 11-and 14-hour rules were not drafted with livestock haulers in mind and thus do not accommodate the unique character of their loads and nature of their trips. Livestock hauling is like no other, and, therefore, requires flexibility due to the many circumstances that go along with hauling live animals,” the group said.

While some livestock hauls from the ranch to the market, and from the market to the next destination, can be completed in the currently allowed 11 hours, several cannot, making the additional four hours of drive time necessary to complete the longer hauls between where cattle are born, fed and harvested, Farm Bureau explained.

Allowing additional drive time would benefit the animals because they rely on a moving trailer to keep them comfortable. In fact, industry guidelines mandate that drivers avoid any stops while hauling livestock, especially in warmer weather, as the trailers are designed to cool the animals down while in motion.

“Clearly, the majority of livestock cannot withstand the stress of 10 hours stopped without airflow or the added time on the trailer necessitated by such an extended rest,” Farm Bureau said.

Unloading the animals for a 10-hour break isn’t feasible either. First, there are very few livestock rest areas along the interstate system. Second, there’s potential for injury to the animals during the unloading and reloading processes. Third, the comingling of animals at a rest stop presents severe biosecurity risks.  Drivers who reach driving time limits while hauling animals will face a difficult decision: comply with animal welfare laws and guidelines or comply with HOS rules, Farm Bureau pointed out.

As the exemption petition states, by completing extra training and conducting trip planning activities, livestock haulers can use the extra drive time in an equally safe manner. Farm Bureau also believes the current HOS rules do not take full advantage of modern fatigue management research and the experience of other countries showing that on-duty time limits alone are not optimal tools for managing operator fatigue in the livestock hauling industry.

In granting the exemption, DOT would be bringing HOS rules up to date with current approaches to fatigue management and aligning those rules with Secretary Chao’s performance-based, data-driven approach for overseeing the safety of the nation’s transportation systems and operators.

“Under this exemption, livestock haulers would be able to more appropriately manage their own rest and work schedules under fatigue management measures outlined in the petition, to ensure both the well-being of their livestock and the safe operation of their commercial motor vehicles,” Farm Bureau said.

Along with Farm Bureau, the petition was signed by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Livestock Marketing Association, American Beekeeping Federation, American Honey Producers Association and the National Aquaculture Association.

Senators Urge Commerce to Conduct Transparent Review of Argentina’s Biodiesel Subsidies

Today, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) thanked a bipartisan group of 14 Senators – led by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) – for writing to Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross regarding his agency’s recently launched “changed circumstances” review of U.S. duties on biodiesel imports from Argentina. In the letter, the Senators ask Commerce to develop a complete record of Argentina’s biodiesel trade actions before determining whether revisiting the U.S. duties is warranted.

The letter notes that in early 2018 the U.S. Department of Commerce issued countervailing duty and antidumping orders on imports of certain biodiesel products from Argentina, following an extensive trade investigation. Then in December 2018, Commerce initiated “changed circumstances” reviews to assess Argentina’s most recent modification to its export tax regime and whether it warrants a review of the U.S. antidumping and countervailing duty orders issued only months before.

“It is unclear why Commerce would afford a special review to Argentina and its biodiesel industry when the ink on these antidumping and countervailing duty orders is barely dry,” the group of Senators state in the letter.

“In the short period since the antidumping and countervailing duty orders were imposed, U.S. biodiesel producers have been able to compete on a more level playing field and the U.S. biodiesel industry has begun to recover from the injury caused by the unfair trade practices of the Argentine government and industry,” they continue.

Domestic biodiesel production increased by 17 percent or more than 300 million gallons in 2018, compared to 2017.

The letter is co-signed by Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO), Mike Braun (R-IN), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Patty Murray (D-WA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Tina Smith (D-WI), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), John Thune (R-SD), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). 

Kurt Kovarik, NBB’s Vice President of Federal Affairs, added, “NBB and its members appreciate the leadership of Senators Grassley, Cantwell and others from across the country who raised their concerns about fair trade with Secretary Ross. Over the past two years, Argentina has made more than a dozen changes to its export tax rates and has continued to massively subsidize its biodiesel industry. Given this history, Commerce should understand that Argentina is very likely to continue subsidizing its domestic biodiesel industry in the future. Commerce’s changed circumstances reviews must take into account a full record of Argentina’s actions since the closing of Commerce’s prior investigation.”

U.S. Dairy Industry Faces Billion-Dollar Losses If EU Geographical Indications Schemes Proliferate

The U.S. dairy industry - and the U.S. economy - could be hit with $9.5 billion to $20-billion in revenue losses if the European Union (EU) is successful in expanding restrictions on the use of generic terms like parmesan, asiago, feta and others, according to a new study conducted by Informa Agribusiness Consulting, commissioned by the Consortium for Common Food Names (CCFN) and the U.S. Dairy Export Council. The study, which provides timely information in light of U.S.-EU trade negotiations, examines the potential impact the EU's aggressive geographical indications (GI) agenda would have if imposed on a broad variety of U.S. cheeses and markets.

Seizing the common names that U.S. marketers have used for generations would confuse and alienate both domestic and international consumers, leading to a dramatic drop in demand for U.S. cheese. Prices could fall 14%, and consumption of U.S.-produced cheeses could drop by 306 million to 814 million pounds in the first three years. At the same time, EU cheese exports could see a surge of 13%, thereby exacerbating the existing $1.4 billion U.S.-EU dairy trade deficit. The impact of GI restrictions would also have grave effects on the broader dairy industry, through plummeting milk prices and shifting demand, as well as on the broader U.S. economy. Informa's study reveals that between 108,000 and 223,000 jobs could be at risk, while GDP could fall $12 billion to $25 billion over three years.

"The threat is serious and mounting; the EU is very clear in its intentions and the scope of its GI restrictions continues to expand," said CCFN Executive Director Jaime Castaneda. "Already we have seen European groups attempt to seize usage of specific names in the U.S. market, including parmigiano, asiago, romano, and gruyere. And in key export markets around the world, the EU is abusing GI policies to dismantle competition and erect barriers to trade. Only collaborative actions between the U.S. government and impacted industries will stop the EU's increasingly aggressive efforts and ensure that other countries hold the line against the EU."

In testimony this week to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, Castaneda urged the Administration to be as strong and persistent in protecting market access opportunities for U.S. agriculture on this issue as the EU has been in fighting to impose GI-related market restrictions.

"This study sends a clear warning to U.S. negotiators to stand firm, and not to give into the EU's sweeping demands on GI protections that over-step the bounds of fair trade," Castaneda said.

In addition to assessing the impact of banning the use of terms currently under attack by the EU, the study also looked at the impact if subsequent GI status is approved for popular cheeses like provolone and mozzarella. The EU has not provided clear assurances that use of these additional terms will not be restricted in future, and EU GIs continue to proliferate. The study found that damage would continue to mount in this scenario, reaching a cumulative $71.8 billion in lost farm revenue over 10 years.

Weekly Ethanol Production for 2/22/2019

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association, ethanol production rebounded to an average of 1.028 million barrels per day (b/d), or 43.18 million gallons daily. This was 32,000 b/d (3.2%) higher than the previous week. The four-week average ethanol production rate rose slightly (0.4%) to 1.005 million b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 15.41 billion gallons.

Stocks of ethanol declined 204,000 barrels, or 0.8%, to 23.7 million barrels.

There were no imports for the fifteenth week in a row. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of November 2018.)

Average weekly gasoline supplied to the market grew 2.1% to 8.981 million b/d (377.2 million gallons per day, or 137.68 billion gallons annualized). Refiner/ blender net inputs of ethanol tapered 0.6% to 882,000 b/d—equivalent to 13.52 billion gallons annualized, while the four-week average stands 0.5% higher than the year-ago level.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production increased to 11.45%.

RFA Statement on Status of Year-Round E15 Rule

In remarks to the House Agriculture Committee today, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue said the final rule allowing year-round E15 may not be done in time for the start of the summer driving season. Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper had the following statement:

“We were very disappointed to hear that the regulatory fix allowing year-round E15 may not be completed by the beginning of the summer driving season. The American ethanol industry and farmers across the country have suffered greatly as a result of former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s efforts to destroy demand for renewable fuels and undermine the effectiveness of the Renewable Fuel Standard. That is why President Trump’s promise last October to allow year-round sales of E15 by this summer was met with such enthusiasm and appreciation, and why the suggestion today that EPA will break that promise represents such a gut punch, if it is indeed true.

“We have no doubt that the so-called ‘RIN reforms’ sought by oil refiners are bogging this rulemaking down. Thus, I reiterate the request we formally made last month to split RIN reform and year-round E15 into two separate rulemakings and expedite the E15 rule. The year-round E15 provisions are straightforward, and there is no reason they could not be promulgated by this summer, particularly as President Trump made the commitment to resolve this red-tape regulatory barrier nearly five months ago. Ethanol plants are shutting their doors and laying off workers, while farmers are facing the worst market conditions in more than a decade—we need EPA to honor the President’s promise to allow year-round E15 now!”

EPA Statement on RVP/RIN market reform proposal

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the following statement on the Renewable Fuel Standard Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) / Renewable Identification Number (RIN) market reform proposal:

“EPA is planning on releasing its RVP/RIN market reform proposal in March, and working expeditiously to propose and finalize the rule consistent with the President’s direction before the start of the summer driving season.”

National Sorghum Producers Launches New, Mobile-Friendly Website

National Sorghum Producers launched a new and enhanced version of with a refreshed brand and focus on increased grassroots engagement. The website offers an easy-to-use advocacy platform for enhanced member engagement along with the latest news and issues impacting the sorghum industry.

“The importance of grassroots representation by producer organizations is more critical now than ever,” said Jennifer Blackburn, NSP external affairs director. “This website acknowledges our member base at the heart and soul of our organization and provides a space where sorghum farmers can learn about the latest legislative and regulatory issues impacting their farms and engage easily and effectively at home or on the go.”

New and updated features include:
    Responsive, dynamic sizing that will allow for uninterrupted viewing on computers, smartphones, tablets and more.
    An advocacy page where farmers can sign up to receive action alerts from NSP along with tips to become more engaged at home and in Washington, D.C.
    Impact page featuring wins and the financial return NSP has achieved on behalf of sorghum producers, starting from its founding in 1955 to ending the China case in 2018 and more.
    All-new Sorghum Grower magazine section where articles can be browsed by issue or topic, plus digital advertising availability.
    A page for the newly-developed "Sorghum Smart Talk" podcast where viewers can listen to latest episodes.
    More information about the National Sorghum Foundation and its scholarship programs, plus ways to donate.

Those interested in viewing the website can go to

Animal Ag Alliance Stakeholders Summit to Kick Off with Consumer Focus Group

The Animal Agriculture Alliance’s 2019 Stakeholders Summit themed, A Seat At The Table,will kick off with a live consumer focus group to help attendees better understand consumer perceptions of animal agriculture. The event be held May 8-9 at the InterContinental at the Plaza Hotel in Kansas City, Missouri. Discounted registration rates are available through April 1. To view the agenda and register, visit

Summit attendees will have the unique opportunity to hear directly from their customers and ask them questions about how they find information about food and farming during the focus group panel, conducted by Anne-Marie Roerink of 210 Analytics. Panelists will be asked to share how they decide what to buy at the grocery store and order off of the restaurant menu, including whether issues like animal welfare, sustainability and antibiotic use factor into their decisions.

Roerink provides customized research with a specialty in food retailing for clients such as the North American Meat Institute, Food Marketing Institute, National Grocers Association, National Confectioners Association and many others. Through countless consumer studies, she has developed an excellent perspective on the ever-changing wants and needs of the grocery shopper in a one-size-fits-no-one world. Prior to founding 210 Analytics, Roerink was the Head of Research for the Food Marketing Institute. Anne-Marie designs and authors the annual Power of Meat study, along with similar studies in produce, deli prepared, frozen, SmartFood, bakery, candy and other categories.

One of the attendees at this year’s Summit will be Wanda Patsche, a pig farmer from Minnesota. Wanda earned first place in the Alliance’s “A Seat At The Table” farmer photo contest, winning a trip to the Summit. Her photo featured a porkchop with the tagline “when you only had one job…and you nailed it.” Second place went to Melinda Bastian, a cattle rancher from Missouri.

The 2019 Summit has been approved for seven CEUs eligible for ARPAS members. Be sure to check the Summit website for the most up-to-date Summit information. You can also follow the hashtags #AAA19 for periodic updates about the event.

American Agri-Women elects two new officers at annual convention

American Agri-Women installed its executive committee at its annual convention, held recently in Springfield, Ill. Two new officers joined the standing members of the executive committee.

Lesley Schmidt of Kansas Agri-Women was elected to a two-year term as vice president of education. Natalina Sents from Iowa Agri-Women was elected to a two-term as secretary.

Officers returning for their second year of a two-year term are Jeanette Lombardo of California Women for Agriculture, president; Karolyn Zurn of Minnesota Agri-Women, first vice president; Katie Yost of Montana Agri-Women, treasurer; and Doris Mold of Minnesota Agri-Women, past president.

Schmidt has a passion for agriculture and teaching others about the ag industry. She represents the fifth-generation of her Kansas family farm, where she raises crops and livestock with her family. Schmidt is also a civil designer, cartographer and permitting specialist for a private engineering firm. She has previously served as president of Kansas Agri-Women, is a current board member of the AAW Foundation, Agri-Business Council of Wichita and Challenge Foundation. She has been involved in many other agriculture and community organizations including 4-H, CommonGround, Kansas Beef Endurance Team, the Kansas Agriculture and Rural Leadership (KARL) program with an international study tour in South Africa and Young Professionals of Wichita. Schmidt graduated from Fort Hays State University with degrees in technology studies, agriculture and certificates in leadership studies and civic leadership. She is also a certified sports coach and track and field official, with the goal of officiating in the Olympics.

Sents has served as interim secretary since February 2018. Immediately after graduating from Iowa State University with a degree in agricultural business, Sents pitched, planned, and partnered with Beck’s Hybrids on a year-long 50 state road trip, honoring farmers through blogs and photography in all 50 states. After completing the “Why I Farm Road Trip” and returning to the Midwest, she finished a number of freelance projects, and began speaking about her traveling experiences around the country. In October 2017, Sents joined the Successful Farming staff as the Digital Content Editor of In that role, she coordinates the back end of the website, and manages the brand’s social media accounts and strategy. While new machinery is her area of focus, Sents enjoys writing a variety of news and information in a way that serves farmers. Those responsibilities allow her to travel several times a month. Outside her full-time job, she still speaks at conferences around the country and does consulting work on the side. As a hobby, Sents works in the restaurant industry, and enjoys learning about other perspectives of food and agriculture through that lens.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Monday February 25 Ag News

Charting Commodities: Technical vs Fundamental Analysis
Austin Duerfeldt - Agricultural Systems Economist Extension Educator

A new series of articles, Charting Commodities, is going to cover the basics of some of the more common indicators used in technical analysis. As a starting point, I realize that defining technical analysis and comparing it to fundamental analysis would be beneficial before starting these articles. Let’s take a look at what technical analysis and fundamental analysis are.

Technical Analysis

Technical analysis is the study of past trading activity and price changes. Under this method it is thought that by understanding past events in trading, patterns will emerge that can help indicate future price movements. Two underlying principles define technical analysis. The first is that the market price discounts every factor that influences the commodity price. An example of this would be that the release of the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report by USDA should not create any major trend shift in trading. Technical analysis states the market has already adjusted to match the report before its release.

The second important principle of technical analysis is that price movements are not random, but move in definable patterns and trends. These patterns and trends repeat over time. A fantastic commodity to assess this is cattle. There is a well documented 10- to 12-year cycle that many analysts refer to. The biggest hurdle is learning a few indicators that work for you. Trying to use too many indicators makes timely market interpretation difficult. The second hurdle is not forcing an indicator onto a chart. You have to let the pattern develop on its own.

Fundamental Analysis

Fundamental analysis is the use of quantitative and qualitative measures to determine future market trend. On the quantitative side, those who use fundamental analysis will look at reports. In the commodity markets this reporting commonly takes the shape of USDA reports such as the WASDE. In terms of qualitative measures, this tends to be difficult to measure. National trade agreements, tariffs, new production regulations, the weather forecast, and other events tend to be the focus of attention. As an example, orange juice futures will tend to take a jump in price in the spring if a late freeze is predicted for Florida. Why? Because a late freeze will decrease supply. Supply and demand is the driving focus, and two simple formulas define market expectations. If demand is greater than supply, prices will increase. If supply is greater than demand, prices will decrease. These formulas describe a basic economic principle called the Law of Supply and Demand.

Technical analysis and fundamental analysis are both valid approaches when interpreting commodity markets. Both methods can provide helpful insight at times. By understanding how the market moves and reacts to certain stimulants, it allows managers to better grasp the choices they will be facing. Neither method of analysis is a substitute for a well thought out marketing plan.

Reproductive Losses in Beef Cattle: Diagnosing the Cause 

Steve Neimeyer – NE Extension Educator

Reproductive losses account for $1 billion dollars in lost revenue to the beef industry each year. All the way from conception to birth, we depend on a lot of things to go right, whether we are talking about natural or artificial breeding programs. Nevertheless, reproductive failure whether presented as early or late term abortions (miscarriages) result in those animals never being born and having a stark effect on the operation’s bottom line. Utilizing proper health and nutrition programs are ways we can try to reduce reproductive failure from occurring. Yet, if failures occur, diagnosing the cause can be helpful in preventing the issue in the future.   

Possible Causes

It is often difficult to pinpoint exactly what went wrong when abortions occur. All livestock producers expect a certain degree of late-term abortions or stillbirths. It is generally accepted that any cattle operation will have 1-2% of “normal” pregnancy loss after a month or two of gestation. With spring calving herds, January and February are when many abortion cases are submitted to the SDSU veterinary diagnostic laboratory. In about half of the cases submitted to the SDSU Diagnostic lab, no abnormalities are detected (Table 1). There are many reasons for this, such as that the infectious agents are often not detectable anymore by the time the fetus is expelled, or stillborn calves were aborted due to abnormal presentation or twin pregnancies.

In the rest of the cases, something abnormal is found. A frequent finding is inflammation in the placenta that may or may not be traced to a specific germ. The placenta in a pregnant animal is the gateway from the mother’s blood supply (carrying nutrients and oxygen, but possibly bacteria and viruses) to the fetus. If something affects that critical tissue, then the fetus may become starved from oxygen and die. When germs are found, they are often more environmental than contagious in nature, and very few cows experience problems. Lastly, sometimes infectious agents such as IBR, BVD, or leptospirosis are identified, for which effective vaccines are available.

Abortion Diagnosis

So what should a cattle producer do when a late-term abortion is encountered? Start with your local veterinarian to discuss the details of your issue and whether there are similar problems in other neighboring herds. When the number of abortions in a group exceeds one or two, it’s generally time to get a diagnosis.

Sample Submission

Diagnostic success can be improved by promptly submitting the proper samples. While the following recommendations are likely sufficient for most veterinary diagnostic laboratories, your veterinarian should confirm these with their particular lab. When possible, the entire fetus and placenta – chilled but not frozen – is the most desirable specimen. The placenta is of particular importance and should be included whenever possible. Significant microscopic changes and germ identification often stem from examining the placenta. Other samples to submit if you do not want to send in the whole fetus include, heart, lung, liver, kidney, spleen, brain, skeletal muscle (tongue or diaphragm), fetal stomach fluid and fetal thoracic fluid or heart blood. A veterinarian will likely collect and send these samples off for you; however, the herd history information should be given to them to assist with choosing diagnostic tests. 

Information to include:

·    Number of animals in the herd, including recent purchases or movements
·    Number of abortions and previous diagnoses, if any
·    Age and breed of dams
·    Gestational age of abortions
·    Pertinent treatment or vaccinations
     Using Results

Depending on the results, your veterinarian will follow up and advise you on potential herd management changes. If an environmental cause such as mold is identified, examining feed sources is a necessary intervention to determine what feeds are contaminated. In addition, if infectious agents are found, implementing a sound pre-breeding vaccination program for next year’s heifers is a must, Cow vaccine boosters to prevent early and late term abortions should also be considered.

The Bottom Line 

With reproduction, focusing on what we can control and diagnose is the key to helping avoid these losses within our herd.


For the month of February 2019, topsoil moisture supplies rated 1 percent very short, 7 short, 77 adequate, and 15 surplus, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 1 percent very short, 6 short, 83 adequate, and 10 surplus.

Field Crops Report: Winter wheat condition rated 1 percent very poor, 2 poor, 37 fair, 51 good, and 9 excellent.

The next monthly report (for March) will be issued March 25, 2019. Weekly reports will begin April 1st for the 2019 season.

Hoegemeyer announces availability of Enlist E3TM soybeans for the Western Corn Belt

As part of our commitment to bring growers the right seed, Hoegemeyer Hybrids is pleased to announce we will carry newly available Enlist E3TM soybeans for the 2019 planting season.

“Our customers have been eagerly awaiting Enlist E3 soybeans,” said Stephan Becerra, Hoegemeyer General Manager. “This is going to be a very effective option, especially for those farmers battling resistant weeds, which, unfortunately, have been an increasing problem in our area.”

Enlist E3 soybeans deliver one of the most advanced soybean technologies on the market, with tolerance to 2,4-D choline in EnlistTM herbicides, glyphosate and glufosinate. By building on the glyphosate and glufosinate systems in soybeans and adding a third herbicide tolerance, Enlist E3 soybeans provide a new standard for weed control and yield potential.

As part of the Enlist weed control system, Enlist E3 soybeans can be sprayed with Enlist Duo® and Enlist One® herbicides. Both herbicides feature 2,4-D choline with Colex-D® technology to provide superior weed control with minimized potential for physical drift and near-zero volatility. Enlist herbicides are up to 96 percent less volatile than 2,4-D ester. When used with low-drift nozzles, drift with Enlist herbicides is reduced by as much as 90 percent compared with traditional 2,4-D.

“What we like about the Enlist weed control system is that it’s easy to use and does what it says,” noted Hoegemeyer Soybean Leader, Mike Carr. “You’ll find the Enlist herbicides go where they’re supposed to and kill weeds fast. With weeds out of the way, the beans really thrive. There’s no need to compromise yield for weed control with Enlist E3 soybeans.”

Hoegemeyer will offer 10 Enlist E3 soybean varieties for the inaugural season of this new technology. Carr commented, “These varieties were selected especially for their performance in the Western Corn Belt. E3 soybeans are the result of an extensive breeding and development effort. Additionally, growers across the corn-belt have tested some of these varieties in the field so we are confident in our recommendations. The genetics look great and believe farmers will be pleased.”

Bergin named Center for Rural Affairs development director

The Center for Rural Affairs recently hired Nick Bergin, of Bronson, Iowa, as development director.

Bergin will lead the organization’s individual donor fundraising activities and coordinate institutional funding strategies.

“Nick brings a passion for storytelling and community, and will be an asset in our outreach and donor cultivation,” said Brian Depew, Center executive director.

Prior to joining the Center, Bergin spent a decade as a newspaper reporter, then worked for 18 months as a marketing director of a for-profit business.

“Rural people have unique voices, dreams, and challenges,” Bergin said. “I’m proud to be a part of the Center’s ongoing work to create strong and sustainable communities.”

Bergin is based in the Lyons office and can be reached at 402.687.2100 ext. 1035 or

No Details Yet on Farm Bill Implementation

Nancy Johner, Nebraska Farm Service Agency

FSA offices across the state have had a busy few weeks in February, working hard to help you meet enrollment requirements and timelines for programs like the Market Facilitation Program, as well as processing 2019 farm operating loans. We know you are preparing for spring planting and perhaps calving season (if you haven't already started), so please know we will do all we can to get you in and out the door when you drop by our offices for these and other services.

One of the most common questions we are getting these days is "what are you hearing about the new Farm Bill?"

At this point, we know the Farm Bill was enacted on Dec. 20, 2018, and we know they are working hard at FSA headquarters in Washington, D.C., to analyze it to understand all the changes that were initiated through it.

Beyond that, we don't have much in the way of official 2018 Farm Bill details. I am sure you are anxious to get enrolled in the main commodity crop safety net programs - the Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs -- both of which were retained, or to learn more about the increased farm operating and ownership loan limits that were approved. Trust me when I say the Nebraska FSA staff across the state is excited to get started, too.

As soon as we have more Farm Bill details, we will get that information out to you. Here's what you can do in the meantime: If you've added or lost acres to your farm or ranch operation, changed addresses or are banking at a different financial institution than last year, let us know. All these changes are important to your FSA record and our timely delivery of program benefits to you. Taking care of this now is one less thing we will have to worry about when the new Farm Bill details come out.

Catching Up on Reports

David P. Anderson, Extension Economist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

USDA continues to catch up on reports stalled by the shutdown and as part of catching up released the January Cattle on Feed report on Friday, February 22. The report has lost a little bit of it's normal timeliness, but still contains a few interesting nuggets.

The headline numbers were placements down 1.8 percent, marketings down 0.6 percent, and January 1 Cattle on Feed up 1.7 percent. The year-over-year increase in cattle on feed continues to get smaller. Another month of reduced placements, the fourth in a row below the year before, means that total placements in 2018 were 1 percent below 2017. So fewer cattle were placed from a larger cowherd and larger calf crop.

One of the more interesting numbers in the report was the quarterly estimate of the breakdown of steers and heifers on feed. Heifers on feed totaled 4.41 million head, up 6.2 percent from the year before. That was the most January 1 heifers on feed since 2012. Slightly fewer steers (0.8 percent) were reported on feed compared to a year ago. Slaughter data, through early February, indicated heifer slaughter up 8.5 percent while steer slaughter is down about 0.6 percent.

The delayed February cattle on feed report will be released on March 8. Several confounding factors will affect that report including bad weather in feeding country and rising fed cattle prices.
Cattle Inventory This Week

The Cattle inventory report will be released Thursday February 28th. I expect it will show a small increase in beef cow numbers. We are likely about to the end of the growth part of the cattle cycle, as heifers on feed in the cattle on feed report, and cow and heifer slaughter data indicate. There are several other numbers in the report worth looking at beyond the headline all cattle and calves number. Watch for the number of heifers held back for replacement. That should show another decline as the cycle peaks out. Also watch for the calf crop estimate, in particular for revisions to past years data based on placement patterns. The number of cattle on small grains pasture will be interesting also gauging supplies of feeder cattle to come from wheat pasture country.

CropLife America Applauds Leadership on PRIA Passage

CropLife America (CLA) praised leaders of the 116th Congress for passing a long-term Pesticide Registration Improvement Act (PRIA) reauthorization that will strengthen and improve pesticide registration through 2023. House and Senate leadership, congressional appropriators and authorizing committees (House and Senate Ag, and House Energy and Commerce) have worked diligently over the past two years to preserve the benefits and process improvements first realized with PRIA’s original enactment in 2004.

“PRIA represents a collaborative effort between a diverse group of organizations ranging from agriculture, commercial pesticide users, state and federal regulators, and environmental advocacy groups,” said Chris Novak, CLA president and CEO. “This law provides certainty for consumers, farmers and our members, ensuring pesticides are reviewed and re-reviewed in a thorough and timely manner.”

“I especially appreciate the tireless efforts of Pat Roberts, Debbie Stabenow, Collin Peterson, Mike Conaway and Rodney Davis who all made significant contributions to seeing this important PRIA reauthorization through,” stated Beau Greenwood, CLA executive vice president, government relations and public affairs.

The original intent of PRIA was to establish a more predictable and effective registration and evaluation process for pesticide decisions. The law couples the collection of fees with specific decision review periods. This reauthorization includes technical changes and extends authority for the Environmental Protection Agency to collect updated pesticide registration and maintenance fees through 2023.

Mexico Nearly Doubles Export Commitments of U.S. Soybeans

US Soybean Export Council

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published its first tranche of weekly Foreign Ag Service (FAS) export data in six weeks on January 31st. The data for the week ending December 20thshowed that Mexico had purchased about 167,000 tonnes of U.S soybeans while exports made shipments totaling 103,000 tonnes over the same week. This latest update brings current outstanding sales for the 2018/19 marketing year to 2.365 million tonnes versus just 881,000 tonnes during the same week in 2017. Not only have unshipped sales blown past last year’s totals for late-December, accumulated exports for the 2018/19 marketing year of 1.546 million tonnes are well ahead of 1.222 million tonnes the same week in 2017.

While much of the market’s attention has been focused on ongoing trade discussions with China, Japan, and the European Union, the U.S. soybean market appears to be benefiting from the fruits of the recently formed U.S. Mexico – Canada –Agreement (USMCA) that has been agreed to by leaders of the three North American countries. By maintaining favorable relations with our neighbor to the south, U.S. soybeans will continue to feed the expanding protein needs of Mexican livestock producers.

The Andersons Declares Cash Dividend

The Andersons, Inc. announced a second quarter 2019 cash dividend of 17 cents ($0.17) per share payable on April 22, 2019, to shareholders of record as of April 1, 2019.

This is The Andersons' 90th consecutive quarterly cash dividend since listing on the Nasdaq on February 20, 1996. There are approximately 32.5 million common shares outstanding.

Founded in 1947 in Maumee, Ohio, The Andersons, Inc. is a diversified company rooted in agriculture. The company conducts business from more than 130 locations in the commodity trading, ethanol, plant nutrient and rail sectors. Guided by its Statement of Principles, The Andersons strives to provide extraordinary service to its customers, help its employees improve, support its communities and increase the value of the company.

Ag associations consolidate, focus on growing identity-preserved industry

The Midwest Shippers Association (MSA) and the Northern Food Grade Soybean Association (NFGSA) have consolidated to form the Specialty Soya and Grains Alliance (SSGA), effective immediately.

“Selling ag commodities globally continues to be increasingly more difficult,” said Tom Slunecka, chief executive officer for Ag Management Solutions (AMS), which will handle management of SSGA. “It’s important to have a strong, focused organization that has the resources necessary to compete with other global entities. The consolidation of NFGSA and MSA will position SSGA as the market leader in the global food industry.”

SSGA represents producers, processors, shippers and industry members of identity-preserved (IP) soybeans and specialty grains from coast-to-coast. SSGA’s board will be comprised of directors from the two former boards; its members include specialty grains and IP soybean producers, processors, genetic/seed providers, export traders, international export companies and qualified state soybean boards (QSSBs).

“One of the most vital pieces of selling specialty soya and grains is to have a strong and flexible transportation system,” said SSGA board member Andy Bensend, a Wisconsin farmer who formerly served as MSA chair. “We’re excited for our SSGA members coast-to-coast. This consolidation will allow us to provide the production, processing and shipping resources our members need while maximizing the efficiencies of our two boards.”

Bob Sinner, NFGSA vice-chairman prior to consolidation, says the time was right for the two organizations to join.

“In order for farmers to have successful options to grow and sell value-added crops, it’s vital that this new organization be focused on helping our members both expand and find new markets while at the same time assisting our customers’ ability to access our products more efficiently,” said Sinner, president of North Dakota-based SB&B Foods, Inc. “SSGA is committed to providing the resources necessary for our members to thrive, and for our customers to easily find those high-quality products.”

SSGA received a $1.5 million Agricultural Trade Promotion grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to begin operations. This one-time opportunity was created as part of the larger Trade Mitigation Program, which President Donald Trump and USDA crafted to help farmers hurt by the trade war with China.

“Aided by the grant from USDA, SSGA will begin the process of creating a new electronic marketplace that will communicate to buyers around the globe in ways that have never been done before,” Slunecka said.

Farm Dog, John Deere, and ADAMA Unveil Mobile-to-Sprayer Integration Solution

Farm Dog, John Deere, and ADAMA recently previewed their mobile-to-sprayer integrated solution to 750 agriculture professionals at the 2019 Develop with Deere Conference in Chicago from January 23-24.  The solution increases labor efficiency on the farm by simplifying information sharing and reducing the likelihood of operational errors for agronomists, growers, and spray equipment operators.

"We are spending unnecessary time on communication hand-offs between agronomic decision-makers and equipment operators – too many calls, faxes, emails, and texts.  In addition to labor waste, we estimate that miscommunication occurs in up to one-third of these hand-offs due to everyday occurrences such as spotty phone signals, illegible handwriting, and stubby fingers.  It's the agricultural equivalent of a frustrating game of Telephone," said Liron Brish, CEO of Farm Dog.

The solution seamlessly integrates two key activities in precision agriculture for pest and disease management – treatment recommendation based on in-field observations and variable rate spray application.  Growers and agronomists will now be able to create treatment recommendations within the Farm Dog mobile application and send them directly from the field to variable rate spray equipment via John Deere Operations Center, without risk of miscommunication of key information.  Artificial intelligence empowers users with insights into treatment history, local regulations, crop specifics, and other key agronomic inputs.

Added Brish: "This integration removes communication hand-off costs and risk, ensuring that everybody responsible for keeping fields healthy is aligned in real-time."

The joint collaboration project between Farm Dog, John Deere, and ADAMA is supported by the Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation (BIRD Foundation).

Corteva Teams with DroneDeploy to bring Real-Time Drone Mapping to its Leading UAV Fleet

 Corteva Agriscience, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont, announced today a global agreement with DroneDeploy to use DroneDeploy in its fleet of more than 400 DJI drones across the Company’s global Seed Production and Supply Chain, as well as its Pioneer Strategic Account Management and Agronomy teams in the U.S., Canada, Brazil and Europe. DroneDeploy is the market leader in commercial drone software and aerial site intelligence for the construction and agriculture sectors.

“This agreement fortifies Corteva Agriscience as a leader in the use of advanced UAV technology,” said Jeremy Groeteke, Corteva Agriscience U.S. Digital Agriculture Lead. “The field intelligence technology will enable our Pioneer agronomy and strategic account management teams to work with farmers to provide real-time aerial views of their operation.”

The advanced mapping software from DroneDeploy combined with the expertise of Corteva Agriscience field teams offers immediate insights to diagnose and correct agronomic, disease or pest concerns, as well as to optimally place products. UAV operators can survey a 160-acre field in less than 15 minutes, quickly spotting variations in plant and soil health. Every operator will be trained on how best to harness the power of the aerial technology and will be certified according to local aviation regulations.

“We are also deploying the advanced UAV technology in our seed production network,” said Matt Kurtz, Corteva Agriscience Global Seed Technology Lead – Seed Production and Supply Chain. “We are aggressively evaluating and implementing decision agronomy tools like DroneDeploy to enable our agronomists and contract seed growers to make timely decisions impacting seed yields and quality.”

“Based on our market leader position, we are aware that Corteva Agriscience operates the largest agricultural drone fleet in the world,” said Mike Winn, DroneDeploy CEO and co-founder. “Corteva Agriscience is now deploying the most advanced crop scouting technology on drones using DroneDeploy’s Live Map technology to deliver real-time crop insights and enabling immediate actions by their agronomists in the field.”

“This is an exciting time in the ag industry and the move will certainly strengthen and differentiate Corteva Agriscience from competitors,” Groeteke said. “When you couple this drone investment with our other digital offerings provided by Granular Ag and Encirca® services, we will provide growers with even more data so they can make timely, informed agronomic decisions.”

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Friday February 23 Cattle on Feed Report + Ag News


Nebraska feedlots, with capacities of 1,000 or more head, contained 2.56 million cattle on feed on January 1, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This inventory was down 2 percent from last year. Placements during December totaled 410,000 head, down 11 percent from 2017. Fed cattle marketings for the month of December totaled 430,000 head, up 1 percent from last year. Other disappearance during December totaled 20,000 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 690,000 head on January 1, 2019, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Cattle on Feed report. This was down 1 percent from both December 1, 2018, and January 1, 2018.

Placements of cattle and calves in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during December totaled 85,000 head, down 20 percent from last month and down 15 percent from last year.

Marketings of fed cattle from Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during December totaled 92,000 head, down 12 percent from last month and down 6 percent from last year. Other disappearance from feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head in Iowa totaled 3,000 head.

United States Cattle on Feed Up 2 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 January 1, 2019. The inventory was 2 percent above January 1, 2018. The inventory included 7.28 million steers and steer calves, down 1 percent from the previous year. This group accounted for 62 percent of the total inventory. Heifers and heifer calves accounted for 4.41 million head, up 6 percent from 2018.

On Feed, By State:   (1,000 hd  -  % Jan 1 '18)

Colorado ......:               1,010              104       
Iowa .............:               690                   99         
Kansas ..........:             2,330                 102         
Nebraska ......:             2,560                 98        
Texas ............:             2,730                103         

Placements in feedlots during December totaled 1.77 million head, 2 percent below 2018. Net placements were 1.69 million head. During December, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 445,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 460,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 402,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 285,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 90,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 85,000 head.

Dec '18 Placements by State                     

                          (1,000 hd  -  % Dec '17)

Colorado ......:         145           121    
Iowa .............:         85              85     
Kansas ..........:         395            99        
Nebraska ......:         410            89       
Texas ............:         410           106        

Marketings of fed cattle during December totaled 1.74 million head, 1 percent below 2017. Other disappearance totaled 75,000 head during December, 1 percent above 2017.

Dec '18 Marketings by State                      
                          (1,000 hd  -  % Dec '17)

Colorado ......:         140           104    
Iowa .............:          92            94      
Kansas ..........:         410           101     
Nebraska ......:         430           101      
Texas ............:         345            90       


Thurston Manufacturing Co., Thurston, Neb., has filed for voluntary Chapter 11.  The paperwork was filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the state of Nebraska on January 23, 2019.

The maker of Blu-Jet branded farm equipment, Thurston Manufacturing also conducts business as Simonsen Iron Works, which it acquired in May 2013.

According to the court filing, the 20 largest unsecured claims who are not insiders are owed $1,235,715.

Ricketts Addresses USDA's 95th Ag Outlook Forum

Governor Pete Ricketts addressed the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) 95th Annual Agricultural Outlook Forum in Washington, D.C. His address came during a panel titled "The Evolving Regulatory Landscape and Adoption of Precision Agriculture."

During his address, Ricketts highlighted the opportunities biotechnology has created in Nebraska, and called for the federal and state governments to encourage innovation by creating a pro-growth regulatory climate.

Other panelists who joined Governor Ricketts included:
- Barbara Glenn, CEO of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture
- Mitch Abrahamsen, Executive Vice President of Recombinetics
- Jack Bobo, Vice President of Intrexon

Frontier Coop & Midwest Farmers Cooperative Explore Unification Opportunities

After careful consideration, the Boards of Directors at two of Nebraska’s leading farmer-owned cooperatives have unanimously approved and signed a non-binding Letter of Intent (LOI). By signing the LOI, the boards of Frontier Coop and Midwest Farmers Cooperative have unanimously approved proceeding with a study that will enable them to explore in more depth the benefits of unifying the cooperatives.

The challenges of global competition, changing technologies, increased compliance and regulatory mandates, as well as an overall increase in the cost of doing business have created a need to continue to evolve the two companies. To remain sustainable in changing times, certain levels of growth are sometimes needed to meet the challenging and evolving future.

Board Chairman for Midwest Farmers Cooperative, Neil Stedman, sees value in pursuing the project. “This unification study will help us understand if working with Frontier Coop will provide us with the opportunities we need to support our membership and grow in this business environment,” said Stedman. “We are part of a dynamic industry that is constantly changing, as a result we need to be examining opportunities than can ensure our long-term relevancy to our patron owners, employees and industry partners.”

By agreeing to the LOI, the two businesses will now focus on examining the merits of combining the two cooperatives.

“We are excited to explore this opportunity with Midwest Farmers Cooperative and the benefits it could bring to our membership,” said Frontier Coop Board Chair Greg Sabata. “It is always important to bring growth to your business and be able to invest in your people and technology for better member services in the future.”

This unification of equals would potentially provide a solid foundation for the future and generate benefits for members, customers and employees in multiple areas. This includes strengthening member services, avoiding investment duplication and enhancing their ability to grow and compete.

The study phase, or due diligence, will begin shortly and is expected to wrap up later this spring. Once it is complete, the boards will assess the findings and determine if a unification would be beneficial to members of both cooperatives.

Members are encouraged to contact their Board members with any questions throughout the process.

Frontier Coop Offers Dicamba Application Trainings

Frontier Cooperative will be holding a series of meetings to help you get certified if you plan to use dicamba soybean products this year. Anyone who sprays or handles one of the Soybean dicamba products must be certified by the EPA before they can use these products on their farm.

Frontier Coop is teaming up with WinField United to offer this training. The training will be followed by a discussion about the adjuvants Frontier Coop offers, and why we believe they are the best fit for dicamba applications. This is also a great time for a refresher on best practices so you can achieve the results you expect from our products.

The training covers the following products: Monsanto’s XtendiMax® herbicide with VaporGrip® Technology; DuPont™ FeXapan™ herbicide plus VaporGrip® Technology and BASF’s Engenia® Herbicide.

The meeting dates are as follows: 
Tuesday, March 5: Genoa Community Center, Morning Session
Wednesday, March 6: Schuyler Oak Ballroom, Morning Session
Thursday, March 7: Wahoo Starlite Ballroom, Morning Session

The meeting Agenda is as follows:
9:00 - 9:20 a.m. Registration
9:30 - 11:00 a.m. Certification Training
11:15 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Adjuvant Discussion & Recommendations
12:00 - 1:00 p.m. Complimentary Lunch

Please pre-register using the links here ( if you would like to attend. If you do not preregister, please be sure to bring your state certified applicator number.

Co-op leaders review solid performance at annual meeting

The dairy farmer-owners of Associated Milk Producers Inc. (AMPI) will share $2.4 million in cash payments, a return on their dairy cooperative investment. The payment will be mailed in March, much earlier than anticipated, announced AMPI Chairman of the Board Steve Schlangen to about 300 annual meeting attendees gathered at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Bloomington, Minn.

The cash payment is a portion of the nearly $12 million of 2018 earnings allocated to AMPI owners’ accounts as a result of the cooperative’s solid performance. “Getting cash in the hands of members is a priority,” said Schlangen, a dairy farmer from Albany, Minn.

Retaliatory trade tariffs sent cheese markets plunging in the second half of 2018, capping off four years of an industry-wide economic drought. AMPI leaders navigated the challenging dairy environment to achieve $1.6 billion in product sales.

Cheese accounted for the largest portion of the company’s product portfolio, with production surpassing a record 700 million pounds. That accounts for 64 percent of the company’s sales, a 5 percentage-point increase. This follows significant investments in cheese technology at the co-op’s Sanborn, Iowa, and Paynesville, Minn., cheese and whey manufacturing plants.

“AMPI investments and member milk production are in sync with customer demand,” reported Donn DeVelder, AMPI co-president and CEO. “We make what we sell, focusing on the domestic market.”

Despite trade uncertainties, domestic demand remained strong. Annual U.S. natural cheese consumption is estimated to have risen 2.6 percent in 2018. Per capita, Americans now eat an average 38 pounds per person, with Cheddar representing 11 pounds.

“As a leading American-style cheese producer — of which Cheddar is king — AMPI is making strategic investments to capitalize on consumption trends,” said Sheryl Meshke, AMPI co-president and CEO. “Our customers are wrapping their brands around more sticks, chunks, shreds and slices of AMPI cheeses. As consumers crave more cheese, we will be the farmer-owned cooperative that delivers.”

AMPI-made cheese continues to be among the industry’s best, tallying 19 top-three finishes in major industry competitions in 2018. Meshke says delivering quality, locally sourced cheese on a large scale gives AMPI a competitive edge in the marketplace.

“Today’s consumer wants to know where their cheese comes from,” she said. “We can pinpoint the family farms, the cheesemakers and the rural communities that benefit.”

The AMPI annual meeting culminates with delegates considering resolutions and reviewing the cooperative’s legislative priorities for the coming year.

AMPI is headquartered in New Ulm, Minn., and owned by dairy farm families from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota. AMPI members marketed 5.7 billion pounds of milk, resulting in $1.6 billion in sales for the cooperative in 2018. AMPI owns 10 Midwest-based manufacturing plants where nearly 10 percent of the nation’s American-type cheese and butter is produced. The cooperative’s award-winning cheese, butter and powdered dairy products are marketed to foodservice, retail and food ingredient customers.

China Purchase Promises for U.S. Beans Continue, But So Do Tariffs

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced that in White House meetings today the Chinese government committed to buy an additional 10 million metric tons of U.S. soybeans. While this news brings purchase commitments from China to approximately 16.5 million, the total purchases still do not add up to the value to soybean growers of seeing retaliatory trade tariffs rescinded.

“It is good to see our beans moving to China again,” said Davie Stephens, a grower from Clinton, Ky., and president of the American Soybean Association (ASA). “While piecemeal purchases such as this one can be a part of the solution, what our industry needs right now is structural reform that leads to China rescinding its tariff on U.S. beans and fully reopening the market,” Stephens continued.

ASA says the industry’s greatest fear is long-term damage to the relationship it has built and sustained with China. The value of U.S. soybean exports to China has grown 26-fold in 20 years, from $414 million in 1996 to $14 billion in 2017. China imported 31 percent of U.S. production in 2017, equal to 60 percent of total U.S exports and nearly one in every three rows of harvested beans. Over the next 10 years, Chinese demand for soybeans is expected to account for most of the growth in global soybean trade, making it a prime market for the U.S. and other countries.

ASA calls for the Administration to continue its talks with China in an effort to rescind the tariffs as part of the negotiated outcomes.

Enlist Soybeans Get Last Approval

Soybean growers gained another herbicide trait platform today with the notification that Enlist E3 had been granted import approvals in the Republic of the Philippines. China opened its doors to the biotech trait in January, but seed companies were waiting for this latest approval. The Philippines is a top buyer of U.S. soybean meal, used primarily to feed livestock.

Jointly developed by Dow AgroSciences and MS Technologies, Enlist E3 soybeans are tolerant to new 2,4-D choline in Enlist Duo and Enlist One herbicides, as well as glyphosate and glufosinate herbicides. Enlist Duo herbicide is a combination of new 2,4-D choline and glyphosate. Enlist One herbicide is a singular 2,4-D choline product that can be tank mixed with qualified glufosinate products. Dow AgroSciences is now part of Corteva Agriscience, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont.

Corteva Agriscience and MS Technologies said in a news release that the trait would be available in "introductory launch" volumes in many seed brands for U.S. growers in 2019. Brands will include many Corteva Agriscience seeds as well as many licensees. Full commercial quantities across all Corteva Agriscience brands will be available in 2020, including Corteva Agriscience's flagship Pioneer brand, as well as from Stine Seed Company and Merschman Seed Company, the press release said.

Grain dust explosions rose in 2018, while injuries and fatalities declined, according to Purdue report

The number of grain dust explosions increased in 2018, but the resulting injuries and fatalities decreased from the previous year, according to an annual report issued by Purdue University’s Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering.

There were 12 grain dust explosions in 2018, compared to seven in 2017 and a 10-year average of 8.4 per year. There was one fatality and four injuries nationwide in 2018, compared to five deaths and 12 injuries in 2017. Explosions occurred at two feed mills, two ethanol plants and eight grain elevators, the report said.

Grain dust was identified as the fuel source in three of the 2018 explosions.

“Grain dust acts as a fuel for these explosions, and all it takes is a small spark for ignition to occur,” said Kingsly Ambrose, associate professor of agricultural and biological engineering at Purdue, and author of the report. “That’s why it’s critical to keep the facility clean, make sure employees and contract workers are properly trained and ensure that equipment is properly maintained and in good working order.”

Illinois and Iowa each reported two explosions last year, while Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas each reported a single incident. The year’s sole fatality, along with one injury, occurred in a Nebraska grain elevator explosion. The remaining injuries in 2018 occurred at grain elevator explosions in Iowa and Kansas.

USDA Sees a Larger Corn Crop and Smaller Soybean, Wheat Crops for Next Year

USDA sees higher corn acres, production, exports and prices for the 2019-20 crop as well as lower ending stocks at the end of the year. It's a different story for soybeans as production and yield are lowered, but a high carryover, relatively low exports and overall higher supply will translate into continued higher ending stocks.  USDA released its initial Grains and Oilseeds Outlook early Friday at the USDA Agricultural Outlook Forum.


Production is pegged at 14.89 billion bushels (bb), which would be 3% above the 2018-19 crop. Yield is projected at 176 bushels per acre (bpa), "based on a weather-adjusted trend, assuming normal planting progress and summer growing season weather." And planted acres is projected at 92 million acres (ma), up from 89.1 ma for the 2018-19 crop.

USDA raised feed and residual use for corn by 125 million bushels (mb) to 5.5 bb. Ethanol production remains steady at 5.575 bb. Exports are bumped up 25 mb to 2.475 bb.

Ending stocks for the 2019-20 crop are projected at 1.65 bb, down 85 mb from the 2018-19 crop. The stocks-to-use ratio would fall to 10.9% for 2019-20 compared to 11.6% for the 2018-19 crop.

The average farm-gate price is bumped up 5 cents a bushel to $3.65 a bushel as well.


Soybean production is pegged at 4.175 bb, an 8% decline from the record 2018-19 crop.  The average yield is projected at 49.5 bpa, down 2.1 bpa from last year.

With a projected carryover of 910 mb, total supplies of 5.105 bb will be a record volume. USDA increase domestic crush to 2.235 bb, up 18 mb from the 2018-19 crop.

Exports are increased to 2.025 bb, up 150 mb from the 2018-19 crop, but still lower than most recent current years such as 2016-17 and 2017-18. Ending stocks for the 2019-20 crop are pegged at 845 mb, down 65 mb form the 2018-19 crop, but still historically high. The stocks-to-use ratio falls from 22.2% for 2018-19 to 19.8% for 2019-20. Still, that remains high compared to 2016 and 2017 crops.

Soybean prices are expected to increase an average of 20 cents to $8.80 a bushel.


Wheat production is projected at 1.9 bb, up about 16 mb from the 2018-19 crop.  Planted acres are pegged at 47 ma, down 800,000 acres from a year earlier. Yield is forecast at 47.8 bpa, up .2 bpa from last year as well.

Beginning stocks are projected at 1.01 bb, but domestic food and seed use is expected to rise by 10 mb, as is feed and residual use, bringing total domestic use to 1.133 bb, up 20 million bushels from 2018-19.

Exports, however, are projected to decline 25 mb to 975 mb. That puts ending stocks for 2019-20 at 944 mb, down 66 mb from 2018-19.

The average farm-gate price for wheat is projected at $5.20 a bushel, up five cents from the old crop.

Another Record Year for Meat Production Forecast for 2019

U.S. meat production continued to climb to record levels in 2018 and that trend will continue in 2019.  Total red meat and poultry production grew 2% to a record 102.4 billion pounds last year, and USDA expects these categories to increase by 2% again in 2019, to reach a new record of 104.7 billion pounds. These projections were released early Friday in USDA's outlook for livestock and poultry, at the agency's annual Agricultural Outlook Forum in Arlington, Virginia.


Commercial beef production for 2019 is forecast to increase by 3% to 27.61 billion pounds, which broke the previous record for production set in 2002. Total commercial cattle slaughter is expected to rise in 2019 by nearly 1%.

Beef exports are forecast to have increased by 11% for 2018, with competitive U.S. beef prices and global demand holding steady. For 2019, exports are expected to rise 2% to reach 3.26 billion pounds.  Beef imports are expected to reach 3.01 billion pounds, just barely up from 2018 levels.

The 5-Area steer price for 2018 is expected to average $115 to $122 per cwt, up slightly from 2018. Cow-calf operators and backgrounders will likely see lower prices in 2019, given higher projected feed prices and large supplies of cattle in feedlots. Feeder steer prices are forecast to average $141 to $148 per cwt, compared to $147 in 2018.


Hog producers continue to expand herds, despite lower returns. Several new plants opened up in the last two years, which has added capacity and allowed producers to take advantage of expectations of strong demand.

Commercial pork production is forecast to reach a record level of 27.34 billion pounds in 2019, up 4% from 2019. Despite these expected record-high slaughter numbers, the recent expansion of slaughter capacity should absorb this growth, USDA said.

Pork exports increased in 2018, with low prices and increased global economic growth overriding the effect of tariffs and trade disputes. Exports are forecast to increase 6% again in 2019, to 6.3 billion pounds. Pork imports declined 5% in 2018, thanks to rising pork production and low domestic pork prices, which made the U.S. market less competitive abroad. This trend is expected to continue in 2019, with pork imports forecast to drop slightly to 1.06 billion pounds.

U.S. hog prices are forecast to average $41 to $44 per cwt for 2019, down from $46 on average last year.

USDA: Grain Crushings and Co-Products Production

Total corn consumed for alcohol and other uses was 511 million bushels in December 2018. Total corn consumption was up 2 percent from November 2018 but down 5 percent from December 2017. December 2018 usage included 92.0 percent for alcohol and 8.0 percent for other purposes. Corn consumed for beverage alcohol totaled 2.55 million bushels, down 13 percent from November 2018 but up 13 percent from December 2017. Corn for fuel alcohol, at 461 million bushels, was up 1 percent from November 2018 but down 6 percent from December 2017. Corn consumed in December 2018 for dry milling fuel production and wet milling fuel production was 90.5 percent and 9.5 percent, respectively.

Dry mill co-product production of distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) was 1.93 million tons during December 2018, down slightly from November 2018 and down 2 percent from December 2017. Distillers wet grains (DWG) 65 percent or more moisture was 1.40 million tons in December 2018, up 6 percent from November 2018 but down 2 percent from December 2017.

Wet mill corn gluten feed production was 290,178 tons during December 2018, up 2 percent from November 2018 but down 9 percent from December 2017. Wet corn gluten feed 40 to 60 percent moisture was 256,146 tons in December 2018, down slightly from November 2018 and down 17 percent from December 2017.

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

Soybeans crushed for crude oil was 5.51 million tons (184 million bushels) in December 2018, compared with 5.34 million tons (178 million bushels) in November 2018 and 5.29 million tons (176 million bushels) in December 2017. Crude oil produced was 2.13 billion pounds up 4 percent from November 2018 and up 6 percent from December 2017. Soybean once refined oil production at 1.45 billion pounds during December 2018 decreased slightly from November 2018 but increased 6 percent from December 2017.

Canola seeds crushed for crude oil was 156,703 tons in December 2018, compared with 161,507 tons in November 2018 and 172,013 tons in December 2017. Canola crude oil produced was 134 million pounds, up slightly from November 2018 but down 9 percent from December 2017. Canola once refined oil production, at 127 million pounds during December 2018, was down 17 percent from November 2018 but up 7 percent from December 2017.

Cottonseed once refined oil production, at 44.2 million pounds during December 2018, was down 10 percent from November 2018 and down 19 percent from December 2017.

Edible tallow production was 72.0 million pounds during December 2018, down 22 percent from November 2018 and down 8 percent from December 2017. Inedible tallow production was 338 million pounds during December 2018, down 4 percent from November 2018 but up 4 percent from December 2017. Technical tallow production was 110 million pounds during December 2018, down 1 percent from November 2018 but up 14 percent from December 2017. Choice white grease production, at 118 million pounds during December 2018, increased 1 percent from November 2018 and increased 14 percent from December 2017.

ACE returns to Mexico in 2019 to address ethanol questions from service station owners

American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) Senior Vice President Ron Lamberty traveled to Mérida, Mexico, this week for the first ethanol technical information forum held in 2019 for Mexican petroleum equipment installers and retailers. The forums are a joint effort of the U.S. Grains Council and the Mexican Association of Service Station Providers (AMPES), to inform Mexican petroleum marketers about opportunities in sourcing, marketing, and retailing ethanol-blended gasoline, as Mexico’s transportation fuel sector continues to evolve.

“These workshops continue to help more Mexican fuel marketers, equipment suppliers, and some government officials understand offering gasoline with 10 percent ethanol is a safe and economically sensible way to have cleaner air and provide less expensive options at the pump for drivers in Mexico,” Lamberty said. “‘The math’ of ethanol blends is undeniably attractive for station owners and consumers right now, and our goal this year will be helping businesses learn how they can obtain and transport our product to places where it can be blended and delivered to stations. Fuel equipment companies say the workshops have inspired interest from retailers and prospective wholesale distributors of ethanol.”

Located in the northwest part of the state of Yucatán, Mérida receives gasoline shipments at the port of Progresso, about 25 miles from the city. A private company is building a fuel receiving terminal at the port, and owners of the new facility attended the workshop. “Pemex has an older refined products terminal there, and the owners of this new terminal say they’re building it recognizing it could be an attractive upgrade for the Mexican oil company, as well as U.S. refiners right across the Gulf of Mexico,” Lamberty said. “At the forum, I pointed out the economic advantages to bringing in ethanol as well, since it could lower costs and increase octane for any refiner who wants to start blending in the Yucatán.”

“Government officials have also expressed interest in more ethanol in the Mexican fuel marketplace to address the country’s gasoline shortage, reduce the cost of fuel, and combat illegal fuel theft through gasoline pipeline tapping,” Lamberty added.