Friday, May 31, 2019

Thursday May 30 Ag News

USDA Reminds Producers to Report Prevented Planting and Failed Acres

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Sarah Beck in Cuming County reminds producers to report prevented planting and failed acres in order to establish or retain FSA program eligibility. Producers should report crop acreage they intended to plant, but due to natural disaster, were prevented from planting.

Prevented planting acreage must be reported on form FSA-576 (notice of loss), no later than 15 calendar days after the final planting date as established by FSA and the Risk Management Agency.
According to Beck, the final planting date for Corn is May 25, 2019; and Soybeans is June 10, 2019.
Producers with failed acres should also use form FSA-576 to report failed acres.

For losses on crops covered by the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program and crop insurance, producers must file a notice of loss within 15 days of the occurrence of the disaster or when losses become apparent. Producers must file a timely notice of loss form for failed acres on all crops including grasses.

Please contact the Cuming County FSA office at (402)372-2451 to schedule an appointment to file a notice of loss. To find your local FSA office, visit


 Growers, crop consultants, ag professionals and extension educators are encouraged to attend Nebraska Extension's weed management field day from 8.30 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 26 at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s South Central Agricultural Laboratory near Clay Center.

The field day will include on-site demonstrations of herbicides for weed control in corn, popcorn and soybean. An early morning demonstration will focus on weed control in soybeans followed by a demonstration of projects for weed control in corn and popcorn.

“A number of projects will be demonstrated during the field day, including weed control in XtendFlex soybean, Enlist Corn, and Alite 27 Soybean,” said Extension Weed Management Specialist Amit Jhala.

New this year for participants to learn about research project aimed at terminating cereal rye before and after planting soybean and control of volunteer corn in Enlist Corn.

Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) continuing education units are available.

There is no cost to attend the field day, but participants are asked to register at

The South Central Agricultural Laboratory is 4.5 miles west of the intersection of Highways 14 and 6, or 12.4 miles east of Hastings on Highway 6. GPS coordinates of the field day site is 40.57539, -98.13776.


Growers, crop consultants and extension educators interested in management of glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth are encouraged to attend Nebraska Extension's field day, supported by the Nebraska Soybean Board, from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. July 10 near Carleton.

Palmer amaranth is a member of the pigweed family and is one of the most troublesome weeds in soybean fields because of its resistance to glyphosate and some other herbicide groups. Greenhouse dose-response studies have confirmed resistance when glyphosate was applied even at higher rates.

At the field day, experiments will demonstrate how to control glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth in Roundup Ready 2 Xtend, Enlist and Alite 27 soybeans in Nebraska. Keynote speaker, Jason Norsworthy will share his experiences for management of glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth. Norsworthy is a professor of weed science at the University of Arkansas

Three certified crop adviser credits will be available.

 There is no cost to attend the field day. However, pre-registration is required before 3 p.m. on July 9. To register, visit

Directions to the field day: From Geneva, go south on Hwy 81 for 14.6 miles, turn west onto Hwy 4 for 5.3 miles. Site is located on the south side of Hwy 4 between C St. and Renwick St. in Carleton. GPS coordinates: 40°18’24.7”N 97°40’29.0”W.

For more information, contact Amit Jhala at 402-472-1534 or

Southeast Nebraska High Risk for Wheat Head Scab

Randy Pryor, NE Extension Educator

Dr. Stephen Wegulo, UNL Plant Pathologist, and I checked wheat fields in the area yesterday (Wednesday, May 29th) and he declared Southeast and South Central Nebraska as a high risk area for a wheat scab outbreak or fusarium head blight, the same fungus organism as fusarium corn stalk rot.  You may recall 2015 was one of the worst outbreak of head scab in wheat in Nebraska which was also a wet year during wheat heading stage.

Most of the fields we checked are in the wheat flowering stage which is the time to act with a fungicide application.  Now is the time to consider a fungicide application with 3 products to choose from.  The following are the highest rated products for scab protection:  Prosaro at 6.5 oz; Caramba at 14 oz; or Mivavis Ace SE at 13.7 oz.

Dr. Wegulo rates these products the same for head scab control, therefore, price accordingly to save money.  Due to the wet weather preceding flowering and continuing into the flowering period, fusarium head blight (scab) is likely to occur. Now is the time to make a decision to spray for scab; once symptoms appear, it is too late to spray.

The key is this, the field needs to be headed out and at beginning flower stage, not boot stage.  Once headed and at beginning flower stage you typically have about 6 days to act with a fungicide application, so it’s a very tight window of time to act. After 6 days from beginning flower stage, research indicates head scab control diminishes significantly.  Once scab symptoms appear on the wheat heads, it’s too late to do anything.  An added bonus is there is added protection from late season foliar diseases that are expected to increase in severity with all the moisture and humidity even though the crop is not showing any symptoms of foliar diseases at this time.

For more information, go to CropWatch or call the Saline County Extension Office at 402-821-2151.


In the Northern Plains Region (Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota) there were 30,000 workers hired directly by farm operators on farms and ranches during the week of April 7-13, 2019, down 6 percent from the April 2018 reference week, according to USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Workers numbered 25,000 during the week of January 6-12, 2019, unchanged from the January 2018 reference week.

Farm operators paid their hired workers an average wage of $15.58 per hour during the April 2019 reference week, up 6 percent from the April 2018 reference week. Field workers received an average of $16.13 per hour, up $1.61. Livestock workers earned $13.42 per hour compared with $13.47 a year earlier. The field and livestock worker combined wage rate, at $14.60, was up 60 cents from the April 2018 reference week. Hired laborers worked an average of 42.9 hours during the April 2019 reference week, compared with 41.0 hours worked during the April 2018 reference week.

Farm operators in the Northern Plains Region paid their hired workers an average wage of $15.79 per hour during the January 2019 reference week, up 7 percent from the January 2018 reference week. Field workers received an average of $16.64 per hour, up $1.88. Livestock workers earned $13.42 per hour, compared with $13.47 a year ago. The field and livestock worker combined wage rate at $14.70, was up 65 cents from the January 2018 reference week. Hired laborers worked an average of 42.9 hours during the January 2019 reference week, compared with 41.4 hours worked during the January 2018 reference week.


There were 20,000 workers hired directly by farms in the Cornbelt II Region (Iowa and Missouri) during the reference week of January 6-12, 2019, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Farm Labor report. Farm operators paid their hired workers an average wage rate of $15.55 per hour, up $1.70 from January 2018. The number of hours worked averaged 34.9 for hired workers during the reference week, compared with 32.8 hours in January 2018.

During the reference week of April 7-13, 2019, there were 24,000 workers hired directly by farms in the Cornbelt II Region (Iowa and Missouri). Farm operators paid their hired workers an average wage rate of $15.39 per hour during the April 2019 reference week, up $1.75 from April 2018. The number of hours worked averaged 37.1 for hired workers during the reference week, up from 31.7 hours in April 2018.

April Hired Workers Down 3 Percent; Wage Rate Increased 7 Percent from Previous Year

There were 629,000 workers hired directly by farm operators on the Nation's farms and ranches during the week of April 7-13, 2019, down 3 percent from the April 2018 reference week. Workers hired directly by farm operators numbered 499,000 during the week of January 6-12, 2019, down 7 percent from the January 2018 reference week.

Farm operators paid their hired workers an average wage of $14.71 per hour during the April 2019 reference week, up 7 percent from the April 2018 reference week. Field workers received an average of $13.80 per hour, up 8 percent. Livestock workers earned $13.61 per hour, up 6 percent. The field and livestock worker combined wage rate, at $13.73 per hour, was up 8 percent from the 2018 reference week. Hired laborers worked an average of 40.7 hours during the April 2019 reference week, up 1 percent from the hours worked during the April 2018 reference week.

Farm operators paid their hired workers an average wage of $14.96 per hour during the January 2019 reference week, up 6 percent from the January 2018 reference week. Field workers received an average of $13.77 per hour, up 7 percent, while livestock workers earned $13.80 per hour, up 7 percent from a year earlier. The field and livestock worker combined wage rate, at $13.78 per hour, was up 7 percent from the January 2018 reference week. Hired laborers worked an average of 39.3 hours during the January 2019 reference week, up 3 percent from the hours worked during the January 2018 reference week.

Meat Animals Production, Disposition, and Income 2018 Summary

Total 2018 production of cattle and calves and hogs and pigs for the United States totaled 85.1 billion pounds, up 5 percent from 2017. Production increased 5 percent for cattle and calves and 5 percent for hogs and pigs.

Total 2018 cash receipts from marketings of meat animals increased slightly to $88.2 billion. Cattle and calves accounted for 76 percent of this total and hogs and pigs accounted for 24 percent.

The 2018 gross income from cattle and calves and hogs and pigs for the United States totaled $88.7 billion, up slightly from 2017. Gross income increased slightly for cattle and calves and increased slightly for hogs and pigs from previous year's gross income.

Cattle and Calves: Cash receipts from marketings of cattle and calves increased slightly from $66.9 billion in 2017 to $67.1 billion in 2018. All cattle and calf marketings totaled 58.9 billion pounds in 2018, up 4 percent from 2017.

Hogs and Pigs: Cash receipts from hogs and pigs totaled $21.1 billion during 2018, up slightly from 2017. Marketings totaled 40.1 billion pounds in 2018, up 5 percent from 2017.

Milk Production, Disposition, and Income 2018 Summary

Milk production increased 1.0 percent in 2018 to 218 billion pounds. The rate per cow, at 23,149 pounds, was 235 pounds above 2017. The annual average number of milk cows on farms was 9.40 million head, down 7,000 head from 2017.

Cash receipts from marketings of milk during 2018 totaled $35.2 billion, 7.1 percent lower than 2017. Producer returns averaged $16.28 per hundredweight, 8.0 percent below 2017. Marketings totaled 216.6 billion pounds, 0.9 percent above 2017. Marketings include whole milk sold to plants and dealers and milk sold directly to consumers.

An estimated 1.02 billion pounds of milk were used on farms where produced, 2.6 percent more than 2017. Calves were fed 91 percent of this milk, with the remainder consumed in producer households.

RMA Announces Special Provisions for Cover Crop Terminations

The Risk Management Agency announced changes to cover crop termination rules in eight states.

According to the May 28 Manager’s Bulletin, “Producers in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin have been severely affected by wet weather and muddy field conditions. Additionally, many acres of failed fall-seeded crops, like winter wheat and barley, have been appraised and released for termination. However, the excess moisture has delayed the normal and customary timeframe for mechanical or chemical termination of the crops. In some situations, producers are unable to fully terminate the fall-seeded crops prior to the onset of some of the plants reaching the headed or budded stage. If not for the wet weather, producers would have been able to terminate the crops timely in the normal and customary timeframes.”

RMA announced that for the 2019 crop year, insurance may attach to spring-planted crops following a crop even though some plants may have reached the headed or budded stage, provided producers take adequate and appropriate measures to terminate the crops no later than June 5, 2019. Farmers should contact their crop insurance agents for further information.

Court Strikes 2015 Water Rule

A federal court on Tuesday invalidated the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers’ 2015 expansion of federal jurisdiction over small and isolated waters. After years of litigation in suits filed by dozens of state governments and trade groups, this is the first court to reach a final decision on the lawfulness of the 2015 Waters of the United States rule. Several court decisions have preliminarily blocked the rule in many states while the litigation progressed. 

The U.S. Court for the Southern District of Texas ruled that the agencies violated basic requirements of fair process when they concluded the 2015 rulemaking without first releasing for comment a key report that was the basis for many of their most controversial decisions.

The order came in response to suits by a group of 17 private-sector plaintiffs that included the American Farm Bureau Federation and a broad coalition of business and industry organizations as well as the states of Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi. The groups challenged the 2015 WOTUS rule as unlawfully expanding federal jurisdiction at the expense of state and municipal authority and offending basic rules of fair process. Having found the rule unlawful for procedural violations, the court did not consider the various other statutory and constitutional challenges.

AFBF General Counsel Ellen Steen praised the court’s decision. “This decision provides strong vindication for what many of us have said for years — the waters of the U.S. rule was invalid. It is time for the agencies to move on to a legally sound basis for determining federal jurisdiction over waters.”

Several other legal challenges to the 2015 rule remain pending in federal courts across the country. Under the Trump administration, EPA and the Corps of Engineers have proposed to repeal the rule and issue a new regulation that appropriately defines federal waters.

Romania and Greece Look to U.S. Soy for Vegetal Protein Ingredients, Superior Amino Acid Composition for Animal Feed

A new export batch of U.S. Soy is set to arrive in mid-May in Constanta Port, Romania and will immediately be discharged and distributed to Romanian and Bulgarian end users. The shipment consists of 50,000 metric tons (MT) of U.S. soybean meal. Prior to this shipment, all deliveries of U.S. Soy to Romania this year have been beans that were crushed locally. Greece also imported another large vessel containing U.S. soybeans in mid-May, increasing market share in that country as well. The growth of U.S. soy imports into Romania, Bulgaria and Greece represents opportunities offered by the region’s growing feed industries and sustained marketing efforts, combined with technical programs implemented by the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) in the sub region over the past year.

Romania has taken advantage of an excellent window of opportunity for their feed and livestock industries to get access and use soy originating from the U.S. The local industries have fully benefited from U.S. Soy’s quality for the past seven months and this has generated excellent feedback from customers, saying that U.S. Soy has proven to be the ‘gold standard’ for them in terms of all vegetal protein ingredients used in animal feeding.

This is supported by an analysis performed by several European feed mills and commercial labs over the past six months to establish the amino acids profile of U.S. soy products sampled at the import destination. All of the numbers received from the lab analysis have proven that U.S. Soy has a superior amino acid profile versus other origins of soybean meal. Additionally, animals fed with U.S. Soy have performed better. This is in line with the findings of USSEC’s studies conducted in Europe by a research group from Madrid University, strengthening customer confidence in the U.S. soy products they purchase. Romanian nutritionists also take into consideration what they consider to be superior physical characteristics of U.S. soybean meal.

Europe is a key market for U.S. Soy and the growing feed and livestock industries in Eastern European countries and Greece’s aqua sector offer promising opportunities. USSEC will continue to pursue efforts in promoting U.S. Soy and supporting end users by offering technical assistance programs.

The U.S. and EU Animal Pharmaceutical Industries in the Age of Antibiotic Resistance

A New Report from the Economic Research Service

U.S. consumer demand for products raised without any antibiotics has risen, particularly for poultry. In 2017, approximately 44 percent of U.S. broilers were raised without antibiotics, up from 2.7 percent in 2012, according to a new USDA report, The U.S. and EU Animal Pharmaceutical Industries in the Age of Antibiotic Resistance.

Between 2015 and 2017, total U.S. sales of antibiotics for food-animal production declined 30 percent (by weight), after annual increases in each year between 2009 and 2015. From 2010 to 2015, in 17 EU countries, antibiotics sales for production dropped 31 percent.

U.S. restrictions on use of growth-promoting antibiotics enacted in 2017 appear to have contributed to declines in antibiotics sales, and similar European regulations are generally correlated with declines in overall antibiotics sales.

Approvals of food-animal antibiotics have declined both in number and as a share of approvals of all food-animal pharmaceuticals. Since 1992, most new antibiotic approvals for use in food animals have been generic drugs that are also used in human medicine.

This report compiles and analyzes data from a variety of sources, including meat production and export data from multiple countries, antibiotics sales data from both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine and the European Medicines Agency, animal pharmaceutical industry data from firm annual reports and industry trade groups, and license data for U.S. veterinary biologics from USDA’s Center for Veterinary Biologics.

For additional information, please view the report.

Mexico Gets Ball Rolling on USMCA

The Mexican government has launched the process of securing legislative approval for the U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement, the trade deal negotiated last year to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said officials would deliver the text and related documents to the Senate on Thursday afternoon, adding he was optimistic the deal will be ratified.

"We consider it's in our interest, that it's beneficial for there to be more foreign investment, with companies participating to create well-paid jobs in the country," he said at his daily press conference.

The trade agreement, which requires congressional ratification in all three countries, is expected to get broad support from Mexico's main political parties.

Two obstacles to starting the ratification process were cleared in the past month when the Mexican Congress changed labor laws to bring them in line with the new trade deal, and the U.S. lifted tariffs on Mexican and Canadian steel-and-aluminum imports. Mexico and Canada in turn eliminated tariffs imposed in retaliation.

Mr. Lopez Obrador said resolving the steel issue was a condition for Mexico to move forward in the ratification process.

"We've said it before: free trade yes, trade war no," he said. The Canadian government introduced legislation Wednesday seeking to ratify the new pact, known as USMCA. The deal could face the stiffest opposition in the U.S.

Beef Checkoff Refuses to Spend Producer Dollars on Beef Promotion

USDA recently admitted it is keeping Montana producers’ beef checkoff money —a federal tax on cattle producers that must be used to promote beef —from being put to use. For years the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) has claimed the Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America’s (R-CALF USA’s) constitutional challenge to the checkoff would reduce funding for beef promotion. As part of this publicity campaign, on April 25, 2019, the editor of the Western Ag Reporter, Kayla Sargent, started her checkoff story, “Making Money Count in Montana” by stating R-CALF USA’s checkoff lawsuit “has a large portion of Montana’s contributions tied up in a frozen account until the case is settled.”

USDA has now admitted it is the one draining the checkoff of money, in the hopes of protecting the private Montana Beef Council. In 2016, in response to R-CALF USA’s suit, a federal district court held the Montana Beef Council could only use checkoff payments if payers consented to it doing so, because the council is a private entity and uses the money to fund its private speech. If payers don’t consent, the First Amendment requires all of the money to go to the Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB), because it uses the government-mandated tax to fund government speech.

USDA has now informed R-CALF USA that while the Montana Beef Council is technically sending more money to the CBB, USDA is allowing CBB to keep the money in a special account so it will not be used at all, in hopes they will eventually be able to overturn the court’s ruling and put the money back under the private council’s control.

In response to these revelations, R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard stated:
What is clear here is that the beef checkoff program is defying the choices made by Montana producers to stop funding the Montana Beef Council and its abuse of the checkoff funds. It is solely the decision of the CBB and the government to refuse to use that money as it was intended, that NCBA would attempt to distract from this reality by pointing the finger at R-CALF USA is no surprise.

In the past, the private Montana Beef Council has used the money to support the NCBA-controlled Federation of State Beef Councils and the meatpacker-led U.S. Meat Export Federation. The U.S. Meat Export Federation lobbied for the repeal of country-of-origin labeling (COOL) and for trade agreements that harm the economic interests of independent cattle producers, while benefiting NCBA’s corporate donors.

Throughout this case, NCBA has put out misinformation that we are trying to keep the checkoff from succeeding. Now the truth has come out: NCBA and its allies on the Montana Beef Council are so desperate to protect their slush fund they’ll actually reduce the entire checkoff budget for years on the off chance that someday they’ll be able to regain access to that money.

“While the Government and Montana Beef Council are not violating the specific words in the court’s order —as it only required that the money go to the CBB unless producers consent to the money staying with the Montana Beef Council —they are clearly ignoring its spirit. The point of requiring checkoff money to go to the CBB is that is the only way it could be constitutionally expended, so there is no basis to keep the money locked away; everyone thought USDA and the CBB would use the money as required under the Beef Act,” said David Muraskin, a Public Justice Food Project attorney and lead counsel in R-CALF USA’s beef checkoff litigation from which the ruling stems.

“The council and government’s conduct highlights why the suit is so important. By allowing the private councils to have so much control over the checkoff, their concerns, not those of producers determine how the money is spent (or here stashed away). This is why the First Amendment prohibits them from taking money without the payers’ consent,” continued Muraskin.

Attorneys for R-CALF USA include lead counsel David Muraskin, a Food Project Attorney at Public Justice, J. Dudley Butler of Butler Farm and Ranch Law Group, PLLC, and Bill Rossbach of Rossbach Law, P.C. in Missoula, Montana.

Weekly Ethanol Production for 5/24/2019

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending May 24, ethanol production retreated 13,000 barrels per day (b/d), a 1.3% decrease, at an average of 1.057 million barrels per day (b/d)—equivalent to 44.39 million gallons daily. However, it remains 16,000 b/d (1.5%) above year ago levels. The four-week average ethanol production rate moved 0.8% higher to 1.054 million b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 16.16 billion gallons (bg)—the second time this year to breach 16 bg.

Ethanol stocks shrank by 3.3% to 22.6 million barrels. However, this remains 6.4% higher than year-ago reserves. Stocks declined in all regions (PADDs) except the West Coast, which have been building for three straight weeks (up 2.3% since the start of May).

There were no imports reported by EIA for the 28th week in a row. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of March 2019.)

The volume of gasoline supplied declined 0.4% to 9.394 million b/d (394.5 million gallons per day, or 144.01 bg annualized). Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol were trimmed 0.3% to 948,000 b/d, equivalent to 14.53 bg annualized.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production decreased to 11.25%.

Session recordings now available from 2019 Stakeholders Summit

The Animal Agriculture Alliance announced today that materials from the 2019 Animal Agriculture Alliance Stakeholders Summit, themed “A Seat At The Table,” are now accessible online. The Summit was held May 8-9 in Kansas City, Missouri and attracted 335 attendees, making it the largest Summit to date.

Recorded presentations from the Summit’s 26 expert speakers are available to view at: Presentations from the 2016, 2017 and 2018 Summits are also available at the same link. Highlights and quotes from the sessions can be accessed at:

"If you weren’t able to take your seat at the table this year, or if you just want to watch your favorite session again, I highly encourage you to watch the presentations from this year’s Summit,” said Kay Johnson Smith, Alliance president and CEO. “Attendees heard from a wide variety of expert speakers on topics including consumer preferences, product marketing and labeling, influencer engagement, sustainability, animal welfare, alternative proteins, blockchain technology, farm security and many, many more.”

The conference agenda and speaker biographies can be viewed at: This year’s successful event would not have been possible without the support of our sponsors, who are also listed on the Summit website.

The 2020 Summit is set for May 7-8 at the Renaissance Capital View Hotel in Arlington, Virginia. Stay tuned to and #AAA20 for event updates.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Wednesday May 29 Ag News

JBS USA Announces Nearly $100M Investment at Grand Island Beef Production Facility

JBS USA, a leading U.S.-based, global food company, today announced a $95 million expansion project at its Grand Island, Neb., beef production facility. The project includes new, improved animal handling facilities, a state-of-the-art, temperature-controlled harvest floor and facility reconfiguration designed to improve team member experience, food safety and product quality.

The 107,000 square-foot expansion and facility enhancements will better position the company to sustainably meet evolving customer and consumer expectations for high-quality, great-tasting U.S. beef products. This expansion project has already begun and is anticipated to be completed in early 2021. Operations at Grand Island will continue uninterrupted throughout project execution.

"Today’s announced expansion is an important strategic investment to secure Grand Island as an unquestioned leader in food quality, animal care and beef innovation for years to come,” said Tim Schellpeper, JBS USA Fed Beef President. “Around the world, from North and South America to Asia and Africa, consumers crave the superior taste and quality of American beef. Partnering with leading Nebraska and other area beef producers, we are proud to invest in a vibrant future for U.S. beef.”

Located in the heart of American cattle country in central Nebraska, JBS Grand Island partners with more than 670 local producers to export U.S. beef to more than 30 countries around the world, including Canada, Chile, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Mexico and Singapore, under such signature brands as 1855 Black Angus©, Swift© and Swift Black Angus©. The expansion project will allow the company to strategically capitalize on increased international demand forecasts for high-quality U.S. beef and value-added beef products.

“JBS Grand Island has been a standard-bearer for American beef for over half a century,” said Zack Ireland, Grand Island Plant Manager. “Our team sends the best U.S. beef products the country has to offer to customers both domestically and globally. Today’s announcement strengthens our long-standing commitment to local farmers and ranchers, our team members, key customers and the community of Grand Island, whose support has been critical to our ongoing success.”


Congressman Don Bacon (NE-02) today urged Congress to support the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) trade agreement; a bipartisan treaty that benefits American farmers, ranchers, businesses, and workers by fixing longstanding imbalances and cutting regulations. This trade agreement will grant American farmers and businesses greater freedom to sell their goods and products throughout North America without the interference of government appropriations.

“Failure to bring this approval to the floor would put American farmers and workers at risk. As a nation of free trade, we must do what is best for America,” said Rep. Bacon. “To do this, non-tariff barriers and unfair subsidies must be eliminated and replaced. USMCA offers a fairer playing field for America. Every change in this agreement is better than NAFTA. I urge Congress to bring this to the House floor for approval.”

Rep. Bacon is a member of the House Agriculture Committee which has general jurisdiction over federal agriculture policy including agriculture, forestry, nutrition, water conservation, and other agriculture-related fields. The Committee can recommend funding appropriations for various governmental agencies, programs, and activities, as defined by House rules.


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

Wet, muddy pastures require special grazing techniques.

As this year’s wet weather continues, most pastures are soft and wet.  Grazing can quickly get these pastures muddy and damaged by hoof traffic.

Use special grazing techniques to limit damage in soft, muddy pastures.  The worst thing you can do is graze a pasture for several days until it’s all torn up and then move to a new area.  Trampling that occurs repeatedly over several days greatly weakens plants; doing this across a wide area can reduce production for months, even years.

In contrast, pastures muddied up by grazing only briefly usually recover quickly.  Maybe not as fast as when the ground is solid, but fast enough to minimize yield or stand loss.

Take advantage of this rapid recovery by moving animals frequently, at least once a day, to a new area.  This might require subdividing pastures with temporary electric fences to increase the number of new areas you can move cattle into.  Fencing supplies you use around corn stalks during winter should work well for this temporary use.  Once the ground firms up you can return to your normal grazing rotation.

Another option is to graze all your cattle together in one small ‘sacrifice’ area until the rest of your pasture ground gets solid again, feeding hay if needed.  This protects most of your pasture acres from trampling losses.  But it can virtually destroy the area grazed so it might need reseeding.  This may be a small price to pay, though, to protect the rest of your acres.

Don’t let mud and trampling ruin your pastures.  Temporary grazing adjustments can save grass now and for the future.


Do you plan to use summer annual forages to boost pasture or hay supplies this year?  If so, get your seed soon before supplies get tight.

Hay supplies started out this spring at record low amounts.  In many states, alfalfa winterkill was much higher than average, which means hay production could be lower than usual this summer.  The wet, cold spring has compromised pasture and hay field growth.  It also has played havoc with planting crops throughout the corn belt, causing some farmers to change their planting plans, sometimes to include planting more summer annual forages.

Put this all together and what could happen?  More summer annual forages planted to rebuild hay supplies.  Summer annual forages planted to replace lost alfalfa hay acres.  Plantings of summer annual forages to boost pasture availability.  And summer annual forages planted when it gets too late to plant anything else.

Get the picture?  Demand for summer annual forage seed could be high.  So – if you think you might want or need to plant some summer annual forage grasses this year after wheat, in regular cropland, or wherever and have not already obtained your seed, do it soon.  Waiting until the last minute could limit your choices.

There was a good seed supply to begin this season, especially when you consider all the choices – sudangrass, sorghum-sudan hybrids, forage sorghum, teff, pearl millet, foxtail millet, and Japanese millet.  But that can change quickly.

These summer annual forage grasses can be a great resource and insurance that you have enough feed for your livestock.  But you first need the seed to take advantage of their potential.

Climate Assessment Response Committee to Meet

Amelia Breinig, assistant director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, has scheduled a meeting of the Climate Assessment Response Committee (CARC) for June 4. The meeting will begin at 9:30 a.m. in room 901, Hardin Hall, on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln East Campus.

Officials will brief CARC members on existing, as well as predicted, weather conditions and provide a water availability outlook.

For more details, call the Nebraska Department of Agriculture at (402) 471-2341.

Organic Agronomy Training Series to Feature Iowa State Faculty

Organic producers and service providers can participate in a three-state training opportunity, known as The Organic Agronomy Training Series (OATS) Collaborative, Aug. 14-15 in La Crosse, while also hearing from an Iowa State University Extension and Outreach specialist.

The program will offer a science-based education for agricultural professionals including agronomists, technical service providers, extension staff, agency personnel, educators and farmers – both organic and those interested in transitioning to organic.

“OATS is the first combined effort between Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota to target educators or service providers who work with transitioning farmers,” said Kathleen Delate, professor and organic extension specialist in horticulture and agronomy at Iowa State University.

Delate will speak Aug. 14 on “Pest Management in Organic Grain Systems.” The first day also includes classroom workshops on organic certification, crop rotations, nutrient and pest management, as well as markets.

The second day will include a field trip to local organic farms where hands-on training in basic and innovative organic practices, including organic no-till, will be demonstrated.

Presentations will show attendees how to guide farmers through the transition to U.S. Department of Agriculture organic compliance, including weed management, insect and disease management, fertility strategies and designing rotations to benefit both agronomic and economic goals.

Participants can network with other organic-focused professionals and visit a nearby organic operation for experiential learning.

The training is supported by Pipeline Foods, Clif Bar and the Organic Trade Association’s Organic Grains Council, in partnership with Iowa State University, the University of Minnesota, the University of Wisconsin, Albert Lea Seed Co., and the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES).

The training will be held at the Radisson Hotel, 200 Second St. South, 200 Harborview Plaza in La Crosse. The cost of the two-day training is $85.

Registration is available at More information, including workshop descriptions, is available on the Organic Agronomy Training Series website

Urea Continues to Shift Higher

Retail urea prices increased 5% compared to last month while the rest of the retail fertilizer prices tracked by DTN were mixed.

According to retail fertilizer prices tracked by DTN for the third week of May 2019, urea had an average price of $428/ton, up $20 from the same time last month.

Five other fertilizers were higher than last month, although the move to the high side was fairly muted. DAP had an average price of $497/ton, fractionally higher; potash $392/ton, up $4; 10-34-0 $487/ton, up $4; anhydrous $595/ton, up $1; and UAN28 $270/ton, up $2.

The remaining two fertilizers were slightly lower compared to last month but again the move lower was small. MAP had an average price of $527/ton, down $3, and UAN32 $314/ton, down $1.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.47/lb.N, anhydrous $0.36/lb.N, UAN28 $0.48/lb.N and UAN32 $0.49/lb.N.

All eight of the major fertilizers are now higher compared to last year with prices shifting higher. DAP is 3% higher, MAP is 4% more expensive, both potash and 10-34-0 are all 11% higher, UAN28 is 12% more expensive; UAN32 is 14% higher and both urea and anhydrous are now 18% more expensive compared to last year.

Late Planting with Grain Sorghum Could Provide Farmers Opportunity

Grain sorghum is one crop option that can provide opportunity to growers in regions impacted by historically adverse weather during the 2019 planting season. As wet conditions persist for farmers across the U.S., producers calculating options as major crop plant deadlines loom need to keep the following considerations in mind when planting grain sorghum.

Grain sorghum can typically be planted later than other crops, and sorghum is a lower risk option, specifically as it relates to seed costs. For example, sorghum seed typically costs $9-$18 per acre depending on seeding rate, while corn seed typically costs $55-$110 an acre depending on seeding rate and traits. Harvest costs are often lower, as well.

“Grain sorghum provides a number of benefits to growers as we enter a replant and late/prevent plant time period for the 2019 growing season,” said Brent Bean, Sorghum Checkoff agronomist, Ph.D. “There is typically a yield benefit for soybeans, cotton and corn when planted after sorghum. In addition, its root system is often able to penetrate compacted soils and can reduce diseases and nematodes that plague other crops.”

From a demand standpoint, despite ongoing negotiations and tariff restrictions with China, the U.S. has sold multiple vessels to China in the last month. NSP CEO Tim Lust said this demand and market signals offer optimism for global feed grain needs like sorghum.

“Despite trade uncertainty, demand for feed grain remains strong across the globe,” Lust said. “Furthermore, anticipated feed grain shortages from areas impacted by adverse planting weather will create significant localized demand for additional starch sources like sorghum. We continue to receive feedback from ethanol plants and other end-users about the need to fill gaps in supply this winter. Some have already posted sorghum bids, and others are strongly considering doing so.”

Growers should also consider that current guidance from USDA shows in order to collect a Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payment, farmers must plant a program crop or alfalfa. Final plant dates for crop insurance vary by region, but growers can contact their local insurance agent for insurance coverage and options. Sorghum also works well as a cover behind prevented planting, and resources on this provision are available from the USDA Risk Management Agency.

Additional agronomic and marketing resources, including information on Sorghum Management Following a Wet Winter and Spring, Pre-emergence Weed Control, Fertilizing Grain Sorghum, Seeding Rate, sorghum marketing connections, Sorghum Checkoff marketing staff, are available at

For information on local bids or additional information, producers can contact National Sorghum producers at 800-658-9808.

Canada Introduces Legislation to Ratify North American Trade Pact

Canada's Liberal government on Wednesday introduced legislation that would ratify the revised version of the North American free-trade pact, moving ahead less than two weeks after the Trump administration lifted tariffs on the country's steel and aluminum exports.

The announcement from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau comes hours before U.S. Vice President Mike Pence visits Ottawa on Thursday to discuss the trade treaty, now referred to as the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA. It is intended to replace NAFTA, or the North American Free Trade Agreement, which President Trump criticized as flawed and in need of improvement.

"With the tariffs now lifted, the members of this house can now move to begin the ratification process of the new Nafta," Trudeau said in a statement in Canada's legislature.

Canada is the largest foreign supplier of steel and aluminum to the U.S., according to trade data. Canadian officials linked ratification to the removal of metals tariffs.

Earlier this week, Canada's legislature passed by a wide margin, 255-47, a government motion that formally kick-started the ratification process. The support to get a ratified trade pact exists, but the government has been coy about when a vote would be called.

Trudeau and others have said Canada wants to move "in tandem" with the U.S. and Mexico. The timing of ratification in Congress remains uncertain, as the Trump administration will require support from a sizable number of Democrats. An increasingly personal clash between Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has raised questions about whether the two can collaborate on legislation.

In Mexico, there is no clear timeline for ratification from that country's senate, but the process is widely expected to be smooth and get multipartisan support.

Ratification of the trade agreement in Canada could be complicated by this fall's election. The legislature is scheduled to end its current session late next month, with lawmakers and political aides expected to begin preparations for the Oct. 21 national election.


The Fuels Institute FUELS2019 conference in Dallas provided attendees with the opportunity to take a deep dive into topics around internal combustion engines, the future of retail, biofuels and more. FUELS2019 explored the market through a series of panel discussions and presentations that evaluated the pressures from the environment, government regulations and consumer behavior.

“This was a great opportunity to build new relationships, especially with the members of the retail community,” said Director of Renewable Fuels Mark Palmer. “Gaining insights from the various sectors represented at the conference helps us better understand the challenges and opportunities we have for getting more ethanol into the marketplace.”

There were roughly 150 participants in attendance from all aspects of the liquid transportation industry including retailers, refiners, auto manufacturers, ethanol producers and RIN traders.

The National Corn Growers Association was a sponsor of the event, providing participants with the opportunity to “refuel” their phones at charging stations. NCGA Manager of Renewable Fuels Peter Magner also attended the conference.

Economics of Soil Health to be Assessed across North America

Management practices that improve soil health can be good for the farm and the environment, but farmers need information on economics when deciding whether to adopt these practices.  To address this critical issue, Cargill and the Soil Health Institute have announced a new partnership to assess, demonstrate and communicate the economics of soil health management systems across North America. 

"At Cargill, we're committed to helping farmers increase their productivity so that we can nourish a growing population. We work with partners like The Soil Health Institute to give farmers the tools and resources they need to bring greater sustainability to their operations, while ensuring their productivity," said Ryan Sirolli, global row crop sustainability director, Cargill. "Farmers are looking for a more robust picture of the economic benefits of investing in soil health on their farms. By partnering with the Soil Health Institute, we will be able to provide the research and insight they need to understand how investing in soil health can provide both financial and environmental benefits. Together, we can help farmers build drought resilience, increase yield stability, reduce nutrient loss and increase carbon sequestration."

"The most desirable information on how soil health affects profitability comes from real-world, on-farm data.  However, a challenge is that every farm is different, making it difficult to know how repeatable results are from one farm to another," said Dr. Wayne Honeycutt, CEO of the Soil Health Institute.  "Insight into how reproducible results are across different soils, climate zones, and production systems can be obtained with experimental research plots; recognizing that research plots are very different from farms."

"The bottom line is that when it comes to assessing economics, both types of information are useful - the research experiment and the farmer experience," said Dr. Cristine Morgan, Chief Scientific Officer of the Soil Health Institute.  "That is why we are using a two-pronged approach for assessing profitability of soil health systems that integrates results from research sites with those experienced by nearby farmers," she added.

Supported by an $850,000 grant from Cargill, Dr. Morgan will lead the Soil Health Institute's Agricultural Economist in developing enterprise budgets to compare profitability of soil health-promoting systems with conventional management systems on approximately 100 farms near 120 research sites across North America.  "This will significantly expand our existing partnership with the National Association of Conservation Districts and USDA-NRCS for understanding profitability of soil health systems," added Morgan.

"Together, Cargill and the Soil Health Institute can address the single most influential factor affecting adoption of soil health systems ─ the economic impact on farmers. This partnership will produce more meaningful and profitable programs for growers and accelerate adoption so that agriculture can be part of the solution to the environmental challenges we face," added Sirolli.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

May 28 Crop Progress & Condition Report - NE - IA - US


For the week ending May 26, 2019, there were 2.2 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 0 percent very short, 0 short, 60 adequate, and 40 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 0 percent very short, 0 short, 72 adequate, and 28 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn planted was 81 percent, behind 95 last year and 94 for the five-year average. Emerged was 50 percent, well behind 77 last year and 73 average.

Soybeans planted was 56 percent, well behind 84 last year, and behind 74 average. Emerged was 23 percent, well behind 49 last year, and behind 36 average.

Winter wheat condition rated 1 percent very poor, 3 poor, 26 fair, 59 good, and 11 excellent. Winter wheat headed was 19 percent, behind 32 last year, and well behind 50 average.

Sorghum planted was 23 percent, well behind 52 last year and 50 average.

Oats condition rated 1 percent very poor, 1 poor, 33 fair, 56 good, and 9 excellent. Oats planted was 94 percent, near 98 last year, and behind 99 average. Emerged was 78 percent, behind 92 last year and 95 average. Headed was 1 percent, behind 14 both last year and average.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 1 percent very poor, 2 poor, 17 fair, 70 good, and 10 excellent.


Heavy rainfall and damaging storms kept Iowa farmers from making much planting progress with only 1.0 day suitable for fieldwork statewide during the week ending May 26, 2019, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. South central and southeast Iowa farmers reported less than a half day suitable for fieldwork this past week with little to no planting progress. Several comments were received about Iowa farmers investigating prevented planting options.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 0 percent very short, 0 percent short, 41 percent adequate and 59 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 0 percent very short, 1 percent short, 44 percent adequate and 55 percent surplus.

Only 6 percent of the expected corn crop was planted this past week. Iowa corn growers now have 76 percent of the expected crop planted, 10 days behind last year and 2 weeks behind the 5-year average. This is the smallest amount of corn planted by May 26 since 1995 when 75 percent of the expected crop had been planted. Forty-two percent of the crop has emerged, 9 days behind last year and 10 days behind average.

Less than one-third of the expected soybean crop has been planted, two weeks behind last year and average. This is the smallest percent of soybeans planted by May 26 since 1993 when just 23 percent of the expected crop had been planted. Eight percent of the crop has emerged, 12 days behind last year and 8 days behind average.

Eighty-seven percent of the expected oat crop has emerged, 8 days behind average.

There were reports that some alfalfa hay is ready to be cut, but wet conditions prevented Iowa farmers from entering the fields. Hay condition decreased slightly to 60 percent good to excellent.

Pasture condition improved to 64 percent good to excellent. Continued rains made feedlots muddy and stressed cattle.

Corn, Soybean Planting Slogs on in Waterlogged US Midsection

Farmers in the waterlogged midsection of the U.S. continued to slowly slog along in planting corn and soybeans last week, but made little headway in narrowing the gap between this year's progress and the five-year average, according to USDA NASS' weekly Crop Progress report released Tuesday. The report was delayed a day due to the Memorial Day holiday.

An estimated 58% of U.S. corn was planted as of Sunday, the slowest progress since at least 1980. Corn planting was up 9 percentage points from 49% the previous week but was still well behind 90% at the same time last year and 32 percentage points behind the five-year average of 90%. That was further behind average than in last week's report when corn planting was 31 percentage points behind the average pace.

Corn emergence also continued to be slow with an estimated 32% of the crop emerged as of Sunday, the lowest total for this time of year since 2008. Emergence was far behind 69% last year and 37 percentage points behind the five-year average of 69%. In last week's report, emergence was 30 percentage points behind the average.

Soybean planting progress continued to fall further behind the average pace. As of Sunday, an estimated 29% of the crop was planted, the slowest progress since 2009. Progress was up 10 percentage points from the previous week but was behind last year's 74% and 37 percentage points behind the five-year average of 66%. Soybeans emerged was 11%, 24 percentage points behind the average of 35%.

Winter wheat was 66% headed as of Sunday, behind last year's 71% and 10 percentage points behind the five-year average of 76%. USDA estimated that 61% of winter wheat was in good-to-excellent condition, down 5 percentage points from 66% the previous week.

Spring wheat growers continued to close the gap between 2019 planting progress and the five-year average last week. NASS estimated that 84% of spring wheat was planted as of Sunday, 7 percentage points behind the five-year average of 91%. That was closer to the average pace than the previous week when planting was 10 percentage points behind normal. Spring wheat emerged, at 47%, was 22 percentage points behind the five-year average of 69%.

Sorghum was 28% planted, compared to 48% last year and a five-year average of 44%. Oats were 85% planted as of May 26, compared to 93% last year and an average of 96%. Oats emerged were at 65%, compared to 80% last year and an average of 86%.

Cotton planting was 57% complete, compared to 61% last year and near the average of 58%. Rice was 84% planted, compared to 97% last year and an average of 96%. Sixty-three percent of rice was emerged, compared to 83% last year and an average of 83%.

Tuesday May 28 Ag News

Scout Emerging Corn for Insects; Don’t Assume Protection
Justin McMechan - NE Extension Crop Protection and Cropping Systems Specialist

As corn begins to emerge, be alert to the potential for damage from early season insects such as cutworms, wireworms, white grubs, or other insects.

Wireworms and white grubs are most often associated with fields that have been in pasture or CRP where the grasses were allowed to grow for more than one year. It is rare to see these problems in continuous corn, but exceptions happen. Since wireworms and white grubs feed underground and cutworms feed on or below the soil surface, scout for plant damage and then dig in soil around the plant to identify the insect causing the damage. A variety of other insects are sporadic early season pests of corn.


Cutworms and other insects may hinder emerging corn plants this spring, even if seed was treated with insecticide or Bt corn hybrids were used. High populations of insects can overwhelm the protection method, regardless of whether it was an insecticide applied at planting (liquid, granular, or seed treatment) or a Bt corn hybrid.

In some cases products are not labeled for the full spectrum of Nebraska insects. For example, Bt corn hybrids expressing the Cry 1F and VIP3A Bt proteins list control of black cutworm on the label, but only VIP3A lists control of another soil cutworm (dingy cutworm) species. See the Handy Bt Trait Table for a list of which hybrids express which Bt proteins.

Cutworms can cause serious damage to corn in the first couple weeks after emergence so it is important to scout fields early for damage. Several species of cutworms attack corn. The severity and the area affected will vary greatly, depending on species involved, previous crop history, and weather conditions.

The black cutworm does not overwinter in Nebraska, and infestations depend on moths moving up in spring winds from the south. They are most commonly found in the eastern one-fourth of the state. We have been capturing black cutworm moths in pheromone traps in several counties in eastern Nebraska. Fields with winter annual weeds or abundant crop residue are more attractive to the egg-laying black cutworm moths in the spring. Special attention should be placed on fields where a cover crop has been planted. Black cutworms moths are attracted to the dense cover crop vegetation to lay eggs.

After hatching, cutworm larvae may begin feeding on the cover crop and later move to a cash crop when the cover crop is terminated. In 2016, Dunbar et al. captured significantly higher numbers of black cutworm moths in rye cover crop plots from late April through early May. A couple of weeks later corn plants were assessed for cutworm damage, but no significant cutworm damage was observed. Such observations reinforce the need to scout fields even when adults have been observed. True armyworm has a similar behavior to black cutworm in that it targets areas of dense vegetation for egg laying. Significant populations of true armyworm adults were observed in early May in eastern Nebraska. Unlike black cutworm, true armyworm feeds at the edges of the leaves.

Several other cutworm species (dingy, claybacked, army, and Sandhills cutworms) overwinter as partly grown caterpillars (Figure 1) and can be found more widely in Nebraska. Remember that early detection of a problem is essential because most cutting occurs within seven days of plant emergence.

Treatment. Generally, a postemergence "rescue" treatment should be considered if cutting is observed on 3-5% or more of plants and the worms are one inch or less in length. Rescue treatments are effective in controlling soil cutworms.

Insecticides containing pyrethroids or chlorpyrifos will give satisfactory control as postemergence sprays. If soil is dry or crusted, rotary hoeing immediately before or after a chlorpyrifos application may enhance control. Products containing pyrethroids should not be incorporated.


Wireworms are the larvae of click beetles. The adult beetles prefer to lay eggs in grass and the larvae can remain in that stage for up to six years, depending on the species. Wireworms are our earliest corn pests each season, as they can feed on the seed before germination, causing reduced plant emergence. Later feeding may kill or stunt small emerged plants.

All wireworm feeding is done underground. Wireworms are white, yellow, orange, or brown with hard shells. They tend to be more numerous in fields that have been in grass or pasture or fields that have had grassy weed problems. In 2018, greater numbers of click beetles, the adult stage of wireworm, were observed in cover crop plots relative to the no cover crop treatment. Wireworms prefer cooler soil temperatures under 70°F, so fields that were planted early or have heavy surface residue may be at higher risk than tilled fields.

Treatment. There is no rescue treatment for wireworms, so the main decision at this time is whether there is sufficient stand reduction to warrant replanting. The use of seed treatments like Cruiser and Poncho has greatly reduced the incidence of wireworm damage. These products are excellent early season stand protectors.

White Grubs

White grubs are the larvae of May (or June) or Japanese beetles. They prefer to feed on grasses and most commonly damage corn in eastern Nebraska. There are two basic types of grubs.

Annual grubs complete their development in one year. Both masked chafers and Japanese beetles have similar life cycles. They do most of their feeding in the late summer and fall and are not considered serious pests of spring-planted field crops.

Three-year grubs, however, can damage corn severely in the last two years of their larval stage. The larvae overwinter deep in the soil. As the soil warms they begin feeding on plant roots. Damage to corn may not occur until the corn is in the 2- to 6-leaf stage. This is difficult because up to the time of feeding, the stand may look fine. Often three-year grub damage is near shelter belts where the adults may congregate to feed and mate.

To identify white grubs examine the pattern of spines on the underside of the last abdominal segment. Three-year grubs have two rows of parallel spines in a line; annual white grubs have spines scattered randomly.

Treatment. Like wireworms, there is no rescue treatment for white grubs. Again, high risk areas need to be treated at planting. Products for white grub control are similar to wireworm control.

If wireworm or white grub damage is serious enough to warrant replanting, use planting time treatments, although the odds of damage diminish with the warming of the soil.

For More Information ...

On insecticide products and rates, see the Insect Management section of the 2019 Guide for Weed, Disease and Insect Management in Nebraska (EC 130).

On managing cutworms, see the UNL Extension NebGuide Corn Cutworms (G1153)

What to do with Cows that have Lost Calves

Mary Drewnoski, Nebraska Extension Beef Systems Specialist

Due to the recent severe weather, many cow-calf producers have a significant number of first-calf heifers or cows that have lost calves this spring. The following are things to evaluate and think through in making decisions regarding what to do with these cows. Options with cows that have lost calves:
 1.    Keep and expose cows to rebreeding for spring calving in 2020.
 2.    Put weight on and sell as cull cows later this spring or summer.
 3.    Sell cows immediately and replace immediately with a cow-calf pair or wait to replace in the fall with a bred heifer/cow.

Factors to consider when evaluating options:

1. Age and potential productivity of cows that have lost calves.

Evaluating the value of a cow today based on her expected future production potential minus her remaining production costs is referred to as net present value. Develop a partial budget for the estimated cost to retain a cow that has lost a calf from now until she will next wean a calf. How many calves can she be expected to wean based on her current age? Young cows (ages 2-5) have a greater potential to have the life expectancy needed to cover the costs of holding and rebreeding them. Older cows with dental deterioration have less remaining production potential and it may be best to sell them immediately or in the late spring or summer, prior to historical seasonal cull cow market declines in the fall.

2. Cost and availability of summer pasture as well as fall and winter feed.

For many cow-calf producers, summer pasture is in short supply. All available grass or harvested feed may be needed for cows that have calves. If an abundance of pasture is available, will it be fully utilized with producing cows or replacement heifers? If pastures will not be fully stocked, then retaining cows that lost calves for weight gain or rebreeding may be a good use of this resource.

3. Current cattle cycle and projected cattle prices.

Cattle numbers have been growing since 2014 and are expected to peak in 2019 or 2020 and then hold steady or begin trending down. This larger supply of calves will be one of the factors that will influence calf prices for the next few years. Will current projected calf prices be adequate to cover costs of holding non-productive cows? Cows retained this summer for breeding are essentially replacement animals. They won't be providing any income from calf production till the fall of 2020. Does this added cost fit into your herd management plans and the number of productive cows you want to have in the herd for the next several years?

4. Bio-Security Risk of bringing in bred cows or cow-calf pairs.

Bringing in outside cattle into a herd brings with it bio-security risks. Use care when purchasing bred cows or cow-calf pairs and then integrating these new purchases into the herd. Young calves can be especially susceptible to disease risks.

5. Selling Cull Cows and Purchasing Cow-calf Pairs.

Selling a cow that has lost her calf and buying back a cow-calf pair is an option that many producers will consider. Besides the bio-security risk, evaluating this option financially involves comparing the value of a cull cow today, against the price of a cow-calf pair and the expected value of a weaned calf in the fall. Then take into account the additional cost of carrying a cow-calf pair through the summer and early fall versus a dry cow. Assuming the cow brought into the herd was of equal future productive value as the cow culled from the herd, this would give you the net cost of the exchange. Doing this allows a person to compare what would be the estimated cost/value of the bred cow in the fall that came from the purchased cow-calf pair versus retaining and breeding the cow that is currently part of the herd and lost her calf.

6. Cost of Production.

Knowing cost of production will be important when evaluating replacement options. Costs for overheads related to labor and equipment in caring for cattle don't change very much based on the number of cows that are in the herd. If overhead costs remain the same while productive cow numbers drop, the overhead costs per cow will increase. Carefully evaluate the impact of having fewer productive cows in the herd and the impact of that on overhead costs per cow.

7. Cash flow and financial needs.

The need to meet financial obligations and service debt may require that any cows without calves be sold. Visit with your ag lender about what may be best for the overall financial needs of the operation when evaluating what to do with cows that have lost calves.

Deciding what to do with cows that have lost their calves is a decision which needs to be thought through in order to effectively evaluate what options may be best. Several factors can influence the best choice to make in your situation. Whether keeping the cows and rebreeding them or selling them now as cull cows, careful considerations of cost and benefits is key to figuring out the best option.

Bill Luckey of Columbus Appointed to National Pork Board

The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced the appointment of five members to the National Pork Board. Bill Luckey of Columbus, Nebraska was among those selected and will serve a three-year term.

Other appointed members are: Russell A. Nugent III, Lowell, Ark.; Gene Noem, Ames, Iowa; Alicia Pedemonti, Hopkinton, N.H.; and Michael P. Skahill, Williamsburg, Va.

The National Pork Board is composed of 15 pork producers nominated by the National Pork Producers Delegate Body, which is made up of 132 producer and importer members.

Bill Luckey owns a wean-to-finish operation in Columbus, Nebraska where he also holds partial ownership of a sow farm. Bill is responsible for the daily care of 740 nursery pigs and 1,400 finisher pigs. In addition, his family operates a 2,000 head custom contract finisher. They market 10,000 pigs annually. Bill also raises corn, soybeans and cattle on 700 acres.

Bill is currently serving on the board of directors for the Swine Health Information Center. He has also been active on numerous National Pork Board committees and currently serves as chairman of the International Marketing Committee. In addition, has given over 50 speeches as an Operation Main Street 2.0 speaker. Previously, Bill served on the National Pork Producers Council board of directors from 2008-2014 and on the Nebraska Pork Producers Association (NPPA) board of directors from 2001-2007 where he was president from 2006-2007. NPPA President, Tim Chancellor offered his congratulations stating, “It gives me great pleasure to extend my warmest congratulations to Bill on his appointment to the National Pork Board. I am confident that Bill will continue his unwavering dedication to the pork industry.”

The program was created and is administered under the authority of the  Pork Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act of 1985. It became effective September 5, 1986, when the  Pork Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Order  was implemented. Assessments began Nov. 1, 1986.

Since 1966, Congress has authorized the development of industry-funded research and promotion boards to provide a framework for agricultural industries to pool their resources and combine efforts to develop new markets, strengthen existing markets, and conduct important research and promotion activities. The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) provides oversight of 22 boards, paid for by industry assessments, which helps ensure fiscal accountability and program integrity.

More information about the board is available on the AMS  National Pork Board  page and on the National Pork Board website,

NC/NSDA Host a May 29 webinar on "no-match letters"

The Social Security Administration (SSA) recently announced that beginning in spring 2019, it would begin reissuing Employer Correction Request Notices, commonly referred to as "no-match letters." The SSA had previously issued no-match letters but discontinued the practice in 2012. Since the announcement, an estimated 570,000 employers nationwide have received no-match letters and more are likely on the way. 

No-match letters will be sent to employers who submitted wage and tax statements (Form W-2) for employees that contain name and Social Security Numbers that do not match SSA records. Reasons for these discrepancies can be innocuous, like marital name changes and typos on forms, but they can also indicate immigration status. These notices have the potential to expose employers to increased liability during I-9 audits and must be corrected within 60 days of receipt. 

If you received a letter or are worried about potential employment liability, please consider participating in this webinar. Topics will include background on no-match letters and potential legal risks for employers; guidance and a timeframe for responding; and how to take proactive steps to reduce your risk of receiving future no-match letters. 

The webinar is open to current dues-paying members of either Nebraska Cattlemen or the Nebraska State Dairy Association. 

Date and Time: 12:00 pm CST on May 29, 2019. The webinar will be recorded for viewing after its completion for those that can't participate live.

Featured Speakers:
    David Zaritzky Brown, Brown Immigration Law PC, LLO
    Torrey J. Gerdes, Baylor Evnen, LLP
    Susan M. Foster, Baylor Evnen, LLP

How to Register:
All participants must register in advance by clicking here... After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Please send your questions to in advance of the webinar. This will help ensure that all questions are answered and the appropriate information is made available.

Nebraska Ethanol Board Welcomes New Administrator

The Nebraska Ethanol Board (“NEB” or “the Board”) is pleased to announce that Roger Berry began working at the Board today and will assume the position as NEB’s Administrator following the next board meeting this Friday, May 31.

Berry is from Nebraska, farmed in the state and has served in senior positions in agricultural organizations. Most recently, he spent over three years as Director of Market Development at the Nebraska Corn Board. In that role, Berry worked with NEB staff to carry out ethanol promotion events, spoke about ethanol markets and policy at industry conferences and was involved in industry ethanol policy discussions.

“I commend the NEB members on their choice in Roger Berry to serve as Administrator following my departure,” said current NEB Administrator Sarah Caswell. “Roger is the right person to lead the work of the board at this crucial time for Nebraska’s ethanol industry. He knows the importance of ethanol as a value-added agriculture market, especially during these times of trade uncertainty and an ongoing downturn in the farm economy. His farming background and deep experience and knowledge of the industry will enable him—from day one—to effectively direct the work of the NEB and its staff to carry out the mission of the NEB to the benefit of Nebraska’s ethanol industry stakeholders, including farmers, ethanol producers, consumers and the state’s economy.”

“We thank Sarah for her great work on behalf of the board,” said Nebraska Ethanol Board Chairperson Jan tenBensel. “Her guidance and forethought on industry issues is commendable, and we appreciate all she’s done. This will allow for a seamless transition to Roger, who is a familiar face who is well-known and well-respected in the ag community. He has notable, established relationships with commodity and trade groups both locally and nationally. Roger will be another great asset to the agency.”

ACE welcomes Governor Ricketts to 32nd annual conference

During Renewable Fuels Month in the Cornhusker State, the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) announces it will host Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts as the keynote speaker during its 32nd annual ACE conference. Governor Ricketts will kick off the general session on Wednesday, August 15, welcoming attendees and providing an update on how Nebraska is advancing ethanol in the marketplace. The organization’s upcoming event takes place August 14-16 at the Omaha Marriott Downtown at the Capitol District.

“For decades, ethanol has been an amazing success story, helping grow Nebraska and communities all across the heartland,” said Governor Pete Ricketts. “We look forward to hosting the 32nd annual conference of the American Coalition for Ethanol in Omaha this year.”

“We’re thrilled Governor Ricketts can join us again as we gather together to discuss pressing industry issues,” said Brian Jennings, ACE CEO. “The governor is a great advocate, and we look forward to hearing an update on Nebraska’s E30 demonstration program, as well as his perspective on a number of trade and policy issues impacting the industry.”

The 2019 ACE conference general session will follow Governor Ricketts’ welcome with an update from ACE leadership. Jennings will be joined by Ron Lamberty, ACE Senior Vice President, and Duane Kristensen, ACE Board President representing Chief Ethanol Fuels’ two Nebraska plants in Hastings and Lexington, in discussing the past year’s successes and challenges and highlighting upcoming opportunities for ACE members.

More agenda details will be available soon. For more information about the event, please contact Shannon Gustafson at and visit to register. There are several conference sponsorship opportunities available. The 2019 Sponsorship and Advertising Guide also offers bundled advertising opportunities in ACE’s Ethanol Today magazine for event sponsors. Contact Chuck Beck at to find out how you can maximize your reach while minimizing the expense.

Nebraska Farm Bureau Disaster Relief Efforts Connect Utah Boy and Virginia Bridge to Help Cedar County

It all started with six-year-old Kai Baldwin of Vernal, Utah. He saw a news story about the flooding in Nebraska and could not hold back the tears. “How will they get home and save their animals without a bridge?” he asked his mom. “We have to send them our money!”

Touched by her son’s desire to help, Kai’s mom, Kristin Forbis, researched a reputable source where a donation could be sent, and the pair invited friends and family to empty their pockets and add their change to Kai’s piggy bank donation of $3.21. The donations would be sent to the Nebraska Farm Bureau Disaster Relief Fund, knowing that 100 percent of it would be used to help farmers, ranchers, and rural communities.

“I let him set his own goal, and Kai decided a new bridge would cost $60,” said Forbis. “Kai walked our neighborhood gathering change and was ecstatic as he counted every nickel and penny.” Forbis also posted the fundraiser on her Facebook page, Kai raised $285.28. The check was sent to the Nebraska Farm Bureau Disaster Relief Fund along with Kai’s ‘Dear Nebraska, I’m sorry you got flooded…’ card and all his hope that a bridge could now be fixed.

Enter Jesse Wise of Culpeper, Virginia, a farmer who raises hay on 200 acres near Culpeper and feeds it to his cow/calf pairs. He also owns Wise Services and Recycling, a scrap metal recycling business. Recently, a customer had Wise scrap a functional temporary bridge, and Wise thought he would find a home for the bridge somewhere in Nebraska.

“I knew people were hauling hay to Nebraska; I didn’t have enough hay to share, but I wanted to help. So, I wondered if Nebraska could use the bridge we scrapped. Believe me, I had a lot of dead silence on the phone as I tried to find the bridge a home,” Wise laughed. “It’s not every day you get a call saying; ‘I have a bridge for you, can you use it?’” he said.

After getting nowhere, Wise called staff members from the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation, which manages the Nebraska Disaster Relief Fund. The Foundation began working with Cedar County Commissioner Craig Bartels who lives near Belden, Nebraska.

“There is a good chance that at least two bridges, if not more, will need to be replaced in Cedar County,” said Bartels. “We have several miles of road in Cedar County that is completely washed out and in need of repair. With all the rain that continues to fall, and all the mud, it is hard to fix those well-traveled roads, and now the less traveled ones are in need of repair too.”

Two months after floods devastated Nebraska causing billions of dollars of damage, road crews are working hard to repair 3,300 miles of roads that were closed due to flood damage. According to the Nebraska Department of Transportation website, it is estimated that 27 state bridges were washed out or damaged. The number of county bridges damaged is still unknown.

It costs a lot to load a bridge and transport it across the country, but Wise put the pieces together. The cost to get the bridge to Nebraska is being split by Wise Services and Recycling, who donated the bridge; Neff Crane Rental, who donated their crane time to load the bridge onto a truck; and Read Transportation, who transported the bridge from Culpeper to Coleridge. “We thank them for their generosity and support of our rural community needs,” Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president said.

Talk of bridges had died down in the weeks leading up to the day Kai received a Thank You card in the mail from the Nebraska Farm Bureau with a note attached to call for updates. “I was told that just days after receiving Kai’s donation the Nebraska Farm Bureau staff received a call that Mr. Wise of Virginia had a bridge to donate. They immediately thought of Kai and after a few seconds of silence said to me, ‘It’s Kai’s bridge!’ and that left me just speechless,” Forbis said.

As for Kai, he hasn’t seemed surprised with the announcement of the bridge donation, as if a hard-working stranger across the country donating a bridge is the most natural thing he’s ever heard. Maybe that’s because six-year-old Kai Baldwin of Vernal, Utah and Jesse Wise of Culpeper, Virginia have something very rare in common. A kind heart and the desire to help in whatever way they can.

The Nebraska Farm Bureau Disaster Relief Fund continues to seek financial donations to meet the growing aid requests. To donate, apply for aid, or access other disaster assistance resources, visit

Ban on Dicambia Use Dismissed by Arkansas Supreme Court

The Arkansas Supreme Court has dismissed the state's appeal of a judge's decision to block the enforcement of a 2018 herbicide ban, saying the case is moot now that new restrictions are in effect.

According to the Associated Press, justices dismissed the appeal of a Clay County judge's order prohibiting the state from enforcing its dicamba ban against a group of farmers in that county. The court in 2018 had halted the judge's order while they took up the appeal.

The 2018 ban was issued after the board received nearly 1,000 complaints the previous summer that the herbicide drifted onto neighboring crops and caused damage. That ban had prohibited dicamba's use from April 16 through Oct. 31.

The board in February approved a new ban that allowed dicamba's use through May 25.

Bacon is Back - And Capturing a Growing Share of the Pork Cutout

Michael Nepveux - AFBF Economist

Nowadays it seems like bacon is on everything as consumers go hog wild for the most popular part of the pig.  Well beyond a burger topping, bacon is being paired with  everything from steak to popcorn. You’ll even find it in a glass of “bacon washed” whiskey. Spurred by this growing popularity and the price volatility that comes with it, on May 13 CME Group announced it had begun to publish a new Fresh Bacon Index to provide those across the bacon supply chain with a transparent weekly price to understand the market dynamics of bacon that is sold in the cash market.

The new index reflects the value of one load of 40,000 pounds of fresh, derind pork bellies in cents per pound. It uses a combination of negotiated and formula transactions from USDA reported data to establish a weekly bacon price each Monday. The USDA publishes prices for fresh, derind bellies on a weekly basis (LM_PK610 and LM_PK620). To calculate the index price, the number of pounds is multiplied by the price in each weight category in these USDA reports, and then summed to determine the total weekly value. This weekly value is then divided by the sum of the weights from each category, with the result being a weekly weighted average of fresh, derind bellies quoted in cents per pound.

This new index focuses on fresh pork bellies, an important distinction. CME Group used to have a successful contract that was a physically delivered contract for frozen bellies, but it slowly went out of favor as the market moved away from frozen to a fresh belly market and was delisted in 2011. Lean-hog futures are traded in Chicago, but pork-belly pricing is limited to physical markets. It should be clarified that this new bacon index is not a futures contract, it is a reference price for fresh pork bellies used to make bacon.

Pork Belly Volatility

One reason cited by CME Group in developing this index is increasing volatility of pork belly values in recent years. Pork bellies are the most volatile of all the pork primal cuts, with volatility increasing greatly since 2011. For most of the first decade of the 2000s, pork belly prices hovered largely in the $60-$100/cwt range, but that substantially changed in the new decade with pork belly price swings reaching as low as $63/cwt and as high as $215/cwt. The coefficient of variation, a measure of variability of the data in relation to the mean of the population, was reasonably steady throughout the earlier timeframe but began to spike dramatically beginning in 2011.

Pork Cutout

The Pork Carcass Cutout is an estimate of the value of a 53-54% lean, 205 lb. hog carcass using wholesale prices that are paid for sub-primal pork cuts. A composite value is derived each day for each of the pork primals. Those composite values are then used to represent a single composite value of the pork carcass. There are six primals for the pork carcass that are used to calculate the cutout: loin, butt, picnic, rib, ham and belly. The cutout is a series of mathematical calculations through which current pork subprimal prices and typical industry yields are used to calculate primal values. The calculated primal values are factored against their typical yield from the carcass and combined into the final cutout value. As a result of the calculated nature of the cutout, various primal values can significantly impact the final value of the cutout.

Changes in the Pork Cutout

The degree to which various subprimal and primal cuts contribute to the cutout changes over time.  The overall value of the cutout has increased by $5.71 relative to the three-year average, with the change being mostly driven by the belly and ham primals. The loin primal, another important cut that contributes a large share to the overall value of the cutout, actually declined relative to the three-year average. It should be mentioned that volatility plays a large role here. In the matter of a month, the value of the pork belly has fallen by almost $40, a drop of approximately 25%. This results in the pork belly’s contribution to the overall value of the cutout falling from 30% to 25%.

One interesting development is the consistent two-decade decline of the share of the loin primal, which has dropped from about 35% to less than 25%. Hams have been trending sideways throughout the time period, neither gaining nor losing share of the cutout. In contrast to loins, pork bellies have been steadily gaining share of the cutout. At the same time, increasing volatility has meant wide swings in the share of the cutout that bellies account for.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Friday May 24 Cattle on Feed + Ag News


Nebraska feedlots, with capacities of 1,000 or more head, contained 2.56 million cattle on feed on May 1, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This inventory was down 4 percent from last year. Placements during April totaled 435,000 head, up 4 percent from 2018. Fed cattle marketings for the month of April totaled 440,000 head, up 2 percent from last year. Other disappearance during April totaled 15,000 head, down 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 680,000 head on May 1, 2019, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Cattle on Feed report. This was down 4 percent from April 1, 2019, and down 7 percent from May 1, 2018. Iowa feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head had 625,000 head on feed, down 2 percent from last month and down 1 percent from last year. Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in all Iowa feedlots totaled 1,305,000 head, down 3 percent from last month and down 4 percent from last year.

Placements of cattle and calves in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during April totaled 85,000 head, down 18 percent from last month but up 6 percent from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head placed 66,000 head, up 20 percent from last month and up 27 percent from last year. Placements for all feedlots in Iowa totaled 151,000 head, down 5 percent from last month but up 14 percent from last year.

Marketings of fed cattle from Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during April totaled 113,000 head, up 13 percent from last month and up 30 percent from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head marketed 72,000 head, up 16 percent from last month and up 44 percent from last year. Marketings for all feedlots in Iowa were 185,000 head, up 14 percent from last month and up 35 percent from last year. Other disappearance from all feedlots in Iowa totaled 6,000 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 11.8 million head on May 1, 2019. The inventory was 2 percent above May 1, 2018. This is the highest May 1 inventory since the series began in 1996.

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

Colorado .......:            1,060              113    
Iowa .............:              680                   93       
Kansas ..........:            2,380                104   
Nebraska ......:            2,560                 96          
Texas ............:            2,790                106         

Placements in feedlots during April totaled 1.84 million head, 9 percent above 2018. Net placements were 1.78 million head. During April, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 355,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 250,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 447,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 495,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 210,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 85,000 head.

Placements By State  (1,000 hd  -  % April '18)

Colorado .......:                170                  117    
Iowa .............:                  85                  106    
Kansas ..........:                 435                  114      
Nebraska ......:                 435                  104   
Texas ............:                 415                  108        

Marketings of fed cattle during April totaled 1.93 million head, 7 percent above 2018.  Other disappearance totaled 60,000 head during April, 5 percent below 2018.

Marketings By State   (1,000 hd  -  % April '18)

Colorado ........:                165                  110                  
Iowa ..............:                 113                  130                 
Kansas ...........:                 420                  100                 
Nebraska .......:                 440                  102                 
Texas .............:                 465                  104                 

Lower Elkhorn NRD board discusses future flood-control projects

As the area continues to recover from the recent flood events, communities are looking for assistance in studying possible solutions for the future.

The Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) Board of Directors discussed possible options for these communities at their May board meeting.  One of the LENRD’s 12 responsibilities includes flood prevention and control as well as prevention of damages from flood water and sediment.

The City of Battle Creek has had a history of flood-related problems.  City officials recently approached the LENRD board, asking if the potential flood-control projects that were deemed feasible in 2014 could be revisited.  The LENRD board of directors instructed staff to work with the City of Battle Creek in developing a proposal for the board to consider, identifying the project the city would like to pursue as well as updated construction costs for the potential project.

Battle Creek’s City Council met on May 13th and voted to explore options for a 1,200-acre flood-control reservoir on the south side of Battle Creek.

Over 100 citizens of the Battle Creek area attended the May 23rd LENRD Board of Directors meeting.  After a lengthy discussion the board voted to move ahead with the process of securing funding for a flood-control project.  The board voted 11 to 2 to file a letter of intent with FEMA/NEMA for flood protection for Battle Creek.  The board also voted 12 to 1 to direct staff to contract with consulting firms to prepare all the necessary documentation and complete a grant application to the State of Nebraska Water Sustainability Fund in the amount of $36 million as well as a grant application to the USDA Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations program.

LENRD General Manager, Mike Sousek, said, “There are multiple benefits to think about when considering a project of this size.  First and foremost is the flood-control potential.  Along with that comes the benefits of recharge and retiming as well as recreation.”  Sousek continued, “The vote tonight has started the ball rolling to secure funding for a project.  This is just the first of many steps in this process.”

The 2 reservoirs that have been proposed for the area, south of Battle Creek, are a 160-acre pool for approximately $17 million and a 1,200-acre pool for $36 million.

The Village of Pender is requesting assistance to complete a drainage study of the area.  The LENRD board directed staff to develop an interlocal agreement to provide 50% of the cost of the study not to exceed $19,400 of district funds.

Some concerned citizens of Norfolk also requested assistance with a study.  The board instructed the LENRD staff to work with the City of Norfolk to address the request for a drainage study on the east side of Norfolk.

Sousek added, “Other towns or communities who need flood-control assistance should contact the LENRD as soon as possible so funding can be applied for before the deadlines.”

In other action, the board made a motion to schedule a Public Hearing to be held on Thursday, June 27th at 7:30 p.m. to receive public testimony on proposed changes to the LENRD’s Groundwater Management Area Rules and Regulations.

LENRD Assistant General Manager, Brian Bruckner, said, “The proposed changes include amendments to Rule 1, which would add language outlining additional penalties when enforcing the plan’s rules and regulations, inclusion of some definitions for terms that relate to current groundwater management strategies, and other changes to integrate management components that are included in the recently adopted Integrated Management Plan.”

A complete summary of the proposed changes is available at the LENRD office in Norfolk and on the district’s website.

The next LENRD board meeting will be Thursday, June 27th at 7:30 p.m. at the LENRD office at 1508 Square Turn Boulevard in Norfolk.  Stay connected with the LENRD by subscribing to their monthly emails at


During the next few weeks, USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will conduct two major inquiries, contacting nearly 5,700 producers across Nebraska to determine crop acreage and stock levels as of June 1, 2019.

“These are two of the most important surveys NASS conducts, due to the widespread and significant impact of their results,” explained Patrick Boyle, Deputy Director of the Northern Plains Regional Field Office. “When producers complete these surveys, they contribute essential information that determines the expected acreage and supply of major commodities for the 2019 crop year. The results are necessary for everyone who relies on agriculture for their livelihoods. This includes those providing farm and ranch supplies, those purchasing commodities directly from the producers, and everyone else involved in ensuring a safe and affordable food supply reaches the consumer in a timely manner.”

Data for the June Agricultural Survey are gathered via the Internet, mail, phone, or by in-person interview. For the June Area Survey, trained National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) enumerators representing NASS visit select tracts of land to interview the operators of any farm or ranch within that selected tract. Producers are asked to provide information on planted acres, acres expected to be harvested, and grain stocks. This survey also collects data on livestock inventory, cash rents, land values, and value of sales.

“NASS protects the privacy of all respondents and publishes only state- and national-level data in these reports, ensuring no operation or producer can be identified. I urge all producers to respond to these surveys when contacted, and thank them for their cooperation,” said Patrick Boyle.

NASS will publish the results in a series of USDA reports, including the Acreage and Grain Stocks reports, on June 28, 2019. Survey data also contribute to NASS’s Crop Production reports, Small Grains Summary, Farms and Land in Farms, and Land Values reports, as well as various livestock reports, including Cattle, Sheep and Goats, and Quarterly Hogs and Pigs.

New Crops and Water Educator in Northeast Nebraska

Welcome to Mitiku Mamo, the new Nebraska Extension educator for water and cropping systems in northeast Nebraska. Officed in Dixon County, Mamo’s geographic area of responsibility extends to Cedar, Knox, and Wayne counties.

Northeast Nebraska is familiar terrain to Mamo, a native of Ethiopia who has worked as a research engineer at the Haskell Ag Lab near Concord for 20 years. His work has focused on irrigation water and nutrient management, water quality, and riparian buffer establishment and maintenance.

He received his B.S from Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia, his M.S. from the National University of Ireland, and his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, all in agricultural engineering. His Ph.D. research focused on how living plant roots affect the detachment rate, erodibility, and shear strength of soils.

Mamo plans to conduct educational programming and on-farm research related to soil health and nutrient management as well as buffer strips and surface water quality. He also will be working with the Bazile Groundwater Management Area as part of the management area is in Knox County.

Mamo can be reached at or (402) 584-3819. His office is at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Haskell Agricultural Lab, 57905 866th Road, Concord.

2019 Corn Grower Open

Come one, come all! It’s time to register for the 2019 Corn Grower Open. This year the Nebraska Corn Growers Association will be hosting the annual members golf tournament at Meadow Lark Hills Golf Course in Kearney on Wednesday, August 14. Shotgun start will be at 10 AM. All members are welcome to form a team and join us on the course for a fun day of fellowship and golf. The cost is $500 per team or $125 per player. The cost includes lunch, heavy hors d’oeuvres after golf, and prizes  If you do not have a full team but would still like to participate, submit your registration form and staff will fill your team with our generous sponsors.

A member team for can be found HERE...

Do you know a company who would be interested in sponsoring the Corn Grower Open? Send them this form... Sponsors are integral to the success of the golf tournament. There are a many options at a variety of sponsorship levels, to fit every companies budget. Questions about sponsorship or golf? Contact Morgan Wrich, Director of Grower Services, at or (402) 438-6459.

Farm Finance and Ag Law Clinics this June

Openings are available for one-on-one, confidential farm finance and ag law consultations being conducted across the state each month. An experienced ag law attorney and ag financial counselor will be available to address farm and ranch issues related to financial planning, estate and transition planning, farm loan programs, debtor/creditor law, water rights, and other relevant matters. The clinics offer an opportunity to seek an experienced outside opinion on issues affecting your farm or ranch.

Clinic Sites and Dates

    Fairbury — Wednesday, June 5
    Grand Island — Thursday, June 6
    Norfolk — Wednesday, June 12
    North Platte — Thursday, June 13
    Lexington — Thursday, June 20
    Norfolk — Thursday, June 27
    Valentine — Friday, June 28

To sign up for a free clinic or to get more information, call Michelle at the Nebraska Farm Hotline at 1-800-464-0258.  The Nebraska Department of Agriculture and Legal Aid of Nebraska sponsor these clinics.

DATE CHANGE:  Veteran farmers invited to barbecue

Veteran farmers in Nebraska are invited to meet and discuss agricultural issues in a free gathering hosted by the Center for Rural Affairs.

The Nebraska Veteran Farmer Barbecue is scheduled from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 15, at the Barreras Family Farm, 11564 County Road P30, near Blair, Nebraska. This event is for current or former active duty, guard, or reserve military service members and their families.

“We’ve listened to veteran farmers across Nebraska and have heard a desire for networking and opportunities,” said Cora Fox, Center for Rural Affairs policy associate and veteran of the National Guard.

This is a potluck-style gathering with a main dish provided. Attendees are encouraged to bring a side dish.

“Veterans attending can see how others have translated the duty and drive of military life into rewarding second careers in farming,” Fox said. “It is often shared that the traits needed to excel in military service: initiative, organization, dedication, and creative problem solving, are also required to start and grow a farm.”

To RSVP, visit or contact Fox at 402.687.2100 ext. 1012 or

This event is funded in part by New Belgium Brewing Company.

Fischer Urges Speaker Pelosi to Reconvene House and Pass Disaster Relief Bill

In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) today called on House leadership to reconvene immediately and call up a vote on the disaster relief bill. Earlier today, a member of the House of Representatives objected to the bill, delaying help for Americans in need. Senator Fischer worked to include Nebraska in this critical bill, which passed the Senate yesterday with strong bipartisan support.

Senator Fischer’s full letter to Speaker Pelosi and Steny Hoyer is below...

I write to respectfully request that you reconvene the House of Representatives to take up and pass H.R. 2157, the Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2019. As you know, this bipartisan bill would help Americans around the country who are still recovering from recent natural disasters. After months of negotiations, this bill passed the Senate by a vote of 85 to 8, with strong support from Republicans and Democrats and the administration.

The fact that this bill received such broad support is not surprising. Americans have a time-honored tradition of helping their neighbors when they are in need.

Many across this country, including Nebraskans, are hurting at the moment. By holding up a vote, Representative Chip Roy delayed relief for Americans. Families now have to continue to wait for the help they need. Moreover, our military installations are waiting for Congress to act so they can rebuild and repair. I am severely disappointed that so many Americans and the men and women of our military will be affected by this hold up.

I have no doubt that if H.R. 2157 were put for an up-or-down vote on the House floor today, it would pass with a significant bipartisan majority, just as it did in the Senate. Additionally, President Trump has indicated that he will sign this bill immediately once it reaches his desk; thus there is no reason to delay the House’s passage of this much-needed legislation.

As such, I ask that you use your authority to reconvene the House immediately and call a vote on this critical measure. We need to get this done so that Congress can provide relief to millions of suffering Americans.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter. I appreciate your consideration of my request. Please know I stand ready to work with you to bring relief to hurting Americans during this difficult time.

Joint Statement from the Chief Veterinary Officers of Canada and the United States

On Wednesday, United States Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO), Dr. Jack Shere working in collaboration with the Canada’s CVO, Dr. Jaspinder Komal, issued the following statement:

We are pleased to announce that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) have agreed to allow safe trade to continue in the event African swine fever (ASF) is reported in either country.

For business continuity, Canada and the United States have worked to modify their export certificates to allow trade of live swine, swine semen, pet food and animal by-products and meat to continue trade in approved disease-free zones in the event of an ASF outbreak. This builds on Canada and U.S. zoning arrangements entered into by CFIA and USDA on August 15, 2018, which set out principles for zoning and trade.

Zoning is an internationally-recognized tool used to help manage diseases and facilitate international trade. If a case of ASF is identified, geographic boundaries are defined to contain the outbreak. These geographic boundaries are control zones established in accordance with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) guidelines. The areas outside of these control zones are disease-free zones.

This zoning arrangement has been established to safeguard the Canadian and American pork industries. In Canada, the pork industry contributes to more than 100,000 jobs and generates close to $24 billion when farms, inputs, processing and pork exports are included. Canada is the third-largest pork exporting country in both value and volume and represents about 20% of world pork trade. In 2017, 1.2 million tons of Canadian pork valued at $4 billion were exported to over 100 countries.

In the United States, pork producers marketed over 120 million hogs in 2017, which provided total cash receipts of more than $20 billion, and provided about 25 billion pounds of meat to consumers worldwide.  Additionally, the U.S. pork industry supports more than half a million jobs in the United States, the majority of those in rural areas. 

The importance of zoning and safe trade was echoed by all levels of governments and industry representatives at the ASF Forum, an international event hosted by Canada April 30-May 1, in collaboration with the United States and supported by leaders from Mexico, the European Union, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the OIE, provincial, territorial and state partners, as well as industry.

A global threat, ASF cannot be addressed in isolation. Only by working together with governments, industry and other stakeholders can we best address the threat of ASF while maintaining trade of pork and pork products which are important to the North American economies.

New Aquaculture Study Deepens Understanding How Soy Meets Nutritional Needs

US Soybean Export Council 

Soybean meal is the No. 1 protein source used in aquaculture worldwide, and U.S. soybean farmers have realized the market potential of the aquaculture industry. According to the U.S. Soybean Export Council, soy went from a possible fishmeal substitute to a critical ingredient in most aquafeeds. With its high protein density and desirable amino acid profile, U.S. Soy is well-suited for the aquaculture sector. As with any growing industry, there are opportunities for improving production and understanding nutritional needs.

The Soy Aquaculture Alliance released the results from a 2018 SAA-funded study looking deeper at those nutritional needs.

The study on using metabolites as a biological marker for nutritional stress in red drum, completed with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, opens the door to a better understanding of the impact soybean-formulated diets have on fish growth and feed conversion, SAA says.

The alliance says improving the metabolic fingerprint of red drum based on a closely studied comparison with the best two performing reference diets over a 12-week feed trial provided a number of insights.

For the study, researchers fed eight unique diets to red drum fish, and then tested liver, intestine, heart, muscle tissue and plasma samples. Results found a metabolic marker in all diets, and fish fed a 60% supplemented soybean meal diet had nearly the same growth, weight and feed conversion as fish fed natural reference diets that included squid, shrimp and fish, SAA says.

The alliance says this research provides a path for assessing this biological marker and allowing nutritionists to develop feed alternatives within acceptable limits for various fish species without causing nutritional stress.

Ultimately, the marker opens the door to further research for higher and better soybean meal inclusion rates to benefit both the U.S. aquaculture industry and the U.S. soybean farmer.

Pioneer Launches #ProudToBeAFarmer Campaign

American farmers are the backbone of this country. Since our nation’s founding, farmers have toiled and strived to feed both this nation and the world.

Since 1926, Pioneer has worked side by side with American farmers, providing the best seed genetics and agronomic insights. Pioneer is proud to be an American business and today announces its #ProudToBeAFarmer campaign to celebrate the nation’s farmers.

From Memorial Day through the Fourth of July, two holidays that honor and celebrate our country’s heritage, Pioneer invites American farmers to go to and submit photos or videos explaining why they are proud to be farmers. Participants will be featured on Pioneer social media channels and weekly winners will be chosen throughout the campaign, with an overall winner named at the conclusion. Weekly winners will be sent a Pioneer-branded prize. The grand prize winner will receive a Yeti® cooler stocked full of the weekly prizes.

As the flagship seed brand of Corteva Agriscience™, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont, Pioneer® is dedicated to helping farmers succeed, both in the field and in life. Farmers are proud, hard-working people who spend their days, and often nights, producing food for the world. Their stories are inspirational and humbling, and Pioneer is with them every step of the way, because we should all be #ProudToBeAFarmer — just as we are proud to be Americans.