Thursday, May 9, 2019

Wednesday May 8 Ag News

Ricketts Announces International Trade Mission to Vietnam and Japan

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA), and the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED) announced plans to lead a trade mission to Vietnam and Japan this September. 

“Vietnam is one of the fastest growing economies in the world,” said Governor Ricketts.  “With nearly 100 million people and a growing middle class, Vietnam represents a tremendous opportunity to increase our state’s agricultural exports.  We also look forward to returning to Japan to grow trade with one of our longest-standing and most critical international partners.”

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Ag Services, agricultural export totals from the United States to Vietnam grew 57.8% from approximately $2.5 billion in 2017 to $4 billion in 2018.  In 2017, Nebraska’s total agricultural exports to Vietnam were $38.4 million.  Beef exports alone, from Nebraska to Vietnam, went from $5.4 million in 2017 to $12.3 million in 2018, a growth of 127%.

NDA Director Steve Wellman and staff were in Vietnam in August 2018 to promote Nebraska agriculture and introduce potential buyers and distributors to Nebraska beef.  Wellman stressed the importance to Nebraska of increasing agricultural trade opportunities in Vietnam.

“The key to export success is building on existing relationships and creating new opportunities in international marketplaces, and there’s a lot of room for growth in ag exports to Vietnam, particularly in beef, pork, corn, soybeans and distillers grains,” said Director Wellman.  “Farmers and ranchers are the best people to tell the story of Nebraska agriculture and to show consumers and agribusiness leaders the quality ag products that Nebraska has to offer.  I encourage Nebraska agriculture representatives to consider joining us on this upcoming trade mission.”

The itinerary for the upcoming trade mission was developed in cooperation with the Governor’s Office, NDA, DED, Vietnamese officials and the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi.  U.S. Ambassador Daniel Kritenbrink is a native of Ashland, Nebraska, and a graduate of the University of Nebraska in Kearney.  The delegation is expected to meet with Vietnamese government officials responsible for trade decisions, agricultural officials and industry leaders currently using Nebraska products.

“Trade continues to be a top priority and an essential part of growing Nebraska,” said DED Director Dave Rippe.  “This trade mission to Vietnam and Japan will allow us to generate momentum and forge new partnerships abroad.  The resulting opportunities will have a positive impact on our communities and families here at home.”

The trip is scheduled for Sept. 3rd-10th to Hanoi, Vietnam and Tokyo, Japan.  Since space is limited, people interested in participating in the trade mission should email Angel Velitchkov, Counsel for International Trade, at to ask questions and/or register.

Governor Ricketts has led trade missions to many countries including members of the European Union, Japan, China and Mexico to encourage the growth of Nebraska agriculture.  The Governor’s Council for International Relations named Vietnam as one of several targeted countries that Nebraska should focus on to increase exports and identify new business opportunities.


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               Wet spring weather may have prevented you from planting alfalfa before you jumped into planting corn.  Let's examine some late alfalfa planting alternatives.

               Normally, I want alfalfa planted by mid-May on dryland sites and by the end of May under irrigation in Nebraska.  Planting later greatly increases the risk of hot, dry, windy weather killing new seedlings before they have enough root system to support the moisture needs of the plants.

               Planting by the deadline may be difficult this spring.  One way to plant more quickly is to seed no-till.  Crop residues of corn, milo, beans, and small grains are not a problem for many drills, but ridges along the rows can make the field too rough for comfortable hay making in some places.  Weeds can be controlled post-emerge using herbicides like Poast Plus or Select for grasses and Buctril, Pursuit, Raptor, and Butyrac for broadleaves.  Roundup, of course, can be used with tolerant varieties.  Mowing weeds, especially broadleaves,  also helps.  A burndown spray using Roundup or Gramoxone before planting may be needed if weeds already are present.

               If you can't plant by the deadline, it often is best to wait until August rather than seed alfalfa just before hot weather.  But then you may need to plant something to meet your hay needs.

               Summer annual grasses like sorghum-sudan hybrids, foxtail millet, and teff are good choices but get your seed soon.  Bin-run conventional hybrid corn might be possible if planted real thick in narrow rows.  Berseem clover, any of the summer annual grasses, or even soybeans for hay could be used if you decide to wait a full year before trying to plant again next spring.

               Choose quickly, though, so you don't miss chances to plant.


               Free for the taking.  Free lunch.  Absolutely no cost.  Something for nothing.  Don’t you love it when you can get something for free?

               Input costs keep rising.  Seed, fertilizer, pesticides, fuel, hay, supplements, trucking – everything seems to get more expensive.  But miraculously, the most important input is still free.  That input is sunlight.

               Grassland managers need to capitalize on free sunlight to be profitable.  That’s especially important after receiving good rains.  With good moisture and the return of warm temperatures, pastures and rangeland are poised to grow rapidly.

               Just because sunlight is free, though, don’t take it for granted.  Instead, take advantage of as much free sunlight as possible.  As your grazinglands capture more solar energy, they become more productive and your livestock more profitable.

               The only way to capture solar energy is with healthy, green leaves.  The more land area completely covered by green leaves, the more sunlight that’s captured and converted into more grazable forage.  Neither bare ground nor dead litter will grow more grass.

               This season, as you check your livestock and pastures, don’t just look over the pastures.  Also look down.  Straight down.  How much bare ground do you see?  How much dead litter or brown, dying leaves?  And – how much healthy, green leaf area?  The more green, the better.

               Increasing the amount of green leaves capturing sunlight begins with proper stocking rate.  Once that’s accomplished, avoid grazing too short.  Move animals to new pastures while you still have lots of green leaves remaining to capture sunlight.

               Then your plants will harvest that sunlight, regrow more rapidly, and produce more forage for your animals to graze later on.

Eastern Nebraska Winter Wheat Update 

Nathan Mueller - NE Extension Educator

Wheat in eastern Nebraska makes up about 5% of the state's total wheat acres but is the third most planted annual crop after corn and soybean. Delayed planting and a cool spring have put the crop behind in maturity, though progress is similar to last year. Good yield potentials remain due to good soil moisture, decent stands and spring tillering, and a forecast for cool to normal temperatures the first half of the summer.

Northeast and East Central Nebraska

Wheat grown in these districts make up about 20% of the eastern Nebraska wheat acres. Planting last fall included a narrow window at the beginning of October with wetter than ideal soil conditions, followed by a larger planting window from October 20 through the end of October. Fall tillering did not occur in wheat planted near the end of October. Growers who increased their seeding rate in late October have good plant populations (over 1 million plants per acre) that will help compensate for a lack of fall tillering. A multi-year study done by K-State near Colby, Kansas has shown that increasing the seeding rate when planting at a later than optimal planting date will help maintain yields.

Minor winterkill was observed this year in low residue areas, on tilled ground, and in shallow-planted spots within fields. In a few instances, late-planted fields have been abandoned or sprayed out due to a combination of winterkill, ponded water/ice, and erosion/deposition from flooding.

Currently, growth stages of fields checked in Boone, Butler, Colfax, Dodge, Nance, Platte, Stanton, and Washington counties range from mid tillering (Feekes 3) to jointing (Feekes 6), with most at Feekes 4-5, which is similar to last year (Figure 4). Growers were encouraged to spring top-dress their wheat early to promote spring tillering on late-planted fields. Spring tillering this past month has been good with plants likely to produce three to four heads. Herbicide application for winter annual weeds and early emerging summer annuals is on the to-do-list before wheat reaches jointing (Feekes 6) if 2,4-D or Dicamba is to be included. Other herbicides, like Affinity Broadspec and Huskie, have more flexibility and can be safely applied after jointing. Growers do need to be aware of crop/cover crop rotation restrictions with some wheat herbicides, so do your homework and read labels.

Wheat was significantly shorter than normal during the last growing season, and the expectation is the same for this year. We know from past experience that late-planted wheat is likely going to be shorter. Lack of soil moisture has not been a limiting factor in east-central and northeast Nebraska this spring, unlike some areas a year ago. Disease pressure was low this spring for fungal leaf spots. However, we will need to watch the movement of stripe and leaf rust, documented in Kansas last week. The cool wet spring has been a favorable environment for wheat soilborne mosaic virus, so be sure to monitor fields for symptoms, especially on susceptible varieties. Some yellowing of wheat plants has been due to nitrogen or sulfur deficiencies.

Upcoming Wheat Field Days in Eastern Nebraska

Wheat and Pulse Crop Field Day, Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center (ENREC) near Mead — Tuesday, June 18 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Contact Nathan Mueller for more information or visit

On-Farm Research Options Still Available for this Season

Laura Thompson - NE Extension Educator

As you consider how to increase efficiency and get more yield from the same or fewer inputs this year, on-farm research may be just the tool you need to get local data for sound decision-making.

There’s still time to add an on-farm research component to your operation for this year. Nebraska Extension educators can help design a research plan to test your question in your field, using your equipment and planting practices. This ensures the findings apply directly to your particular situation.

If you haven’t planted yet, some studies like testing different planting populations are easy to design and conduct. Studies on planting speed, planting depth, or starter fertilizers also might still be planned. If you’re still applying fertilizer, you might test different N rates, N stabilizer products, or application methods. During the crop season, you might test foliar fungicide applications, irrigation management strategies, or interseeding cover crops. 

Working with university educators to design a research project can help ensure the reliability of the results and application to your operation.

The Nebraska On-Farm Research Network (NOFRN) approaches topics that are critical to a farm’s productivity, profitability, and sustainability. If you’re interested in testing a product or practice this season, please contact your local Extension Educator or one of the NOFRN program coordinators as soon as possible. Coordinators are Nebraska Extension Educators Keith Glewen (402-624—8030, and Laura Thompson (402-245-2224,

To view helpful information for getting started, visit A number of NOFRN research protocols have already been developed for this year and Extension Educators can help develop a customized plan for your individual question.

If you already have an on-farm research project underway, consider sharing your plans with your local extension educator. Your educator can help identify additional information to be collected during the study to help ensure meaningful results.

Agricultural Trade, Land Values and Technology Highlight Soil Management and Land Valuation Conference

Farmers, rural appraisers, real estate brokers and others interested in Iowa’s land market have the opportunity to hear the latest from experts May 15, during the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Soil Management and Land Valuation Conference.

Now in its 92nd year, the oldest-running conference of its kind at Iowa State will be held in the Scheman Building on the Iowa State campus in Ames. Experts will tackle such issues as the 2018 farm bill, the ongoing U.S.-China trade negotiations and the U.S. ag economy. A panel will discuss agricultural machinery and land prices, as well as ag financial conditions.

Conference speakers will also discuss the economic significance of the Iowa and U.S. beef industry, as well as key developments in agricultural technology and entrepreneurship.

“The conference offers networking opportunities for professionals who have an interest in agricultural land, land management and land valuation,” said Wendong Zhang, assistant professor and extension economist at Iowa State. “Additionally, participants have an opportunity through an online survey prior to the conference, to ‘gaze into their crystal balls’ and will be asked to provide their estimates of future land values in Iowa and corn and soybean prices.”

The survey had previously been done on paper, but Zhang said the online responses will be more efficient. Surveys should only take three minutes, and can still be completed at

The Iowa Appraiser Examining Board has approved the conference for six hours of continuing education. The Iowa Real Estate Commission has also approved six hours of continuing education for renewal of a real estate and broker’s license.

Participants should register as soon as possible and can do so online.

More information, including a full agenda, can be found on the conference website at, or by calling Zhang at 515-294-2536.

Risk Management Tools for Dairy Producers Highlighted in Webinar

I-29 Moo University will host a webinar to review the Dairy Revenue Protection and Dairy Margin Coverage programs at noon on Friday, May 17.  Presenters will include:
-    Marin Bozic, assistant professor in economics at the University of Minnesota.
-    Josh Newton, crop insurance team leader with Compeer Financial.
-    Cassandra Monger, dairy industry specialist with Compeer Financial.

Bozic will outline developments in the Dairy Revenue Protection program and how producers are benefitting from it, as well as provide forecasts for the next year.

Newton and Monger will focus on the Dairy Revenue Protection program from a lender’s perspective, including results from the first quarter in 2019. They will discuss how the Dairy Revenue Protection program is set up to serve each operation, how it fits into a producer’s overall risk management plan and execution of the program from application to endorsement.

There is no fee or pre-registration required for the webinar. Producers can access the webinar at noon on May 17 by visiting

The I-29 Moo University is a consortium of extension dairy specialists from Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. Now in its 13th year, the consortium provides resources and education to enhance a sustainable dairy community along the I-29 corridor by focusing on best management practices, utilization of research-based expertise and resources, and advocating the benefits of a vibrant dairy community.

For more information about this webinar or other I-29 Moo University programs, Fred M. Hall, dairy specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach at 712-737-4230 or

Perdue to Travel to Japan and South Korea

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue will travel to Japan and South Korea May 11th to May 15th to participate in the G-20 Agriculture Ministers’ Meeting and engage with his counterparts on important issues facing agriculture around the world. The Secretary will also deliver a keynote address at the G-20 Innovation and Agriculture seminar on Saturday, May 11th and speak at Cotton Council International’s annual Cotton Day on May 14th.

Saturday, May 11th
-    Secretary Perdue meets with Japan’s Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, Takamori Yoshikawa.
-    Secretary Perdue speaks at the G-20 seminar, highlighting the need for innovation in the agricultural sector to increase production and feed the world.
-    Secretary Perdue joins his counterparts from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, and Mexico for a luncheon to discuss coordination and cooperation on global agriculture issues.
-    Secretary Perdue participates in the G-20 and attends a breakout session titled Fostering Innovative Human Resources and New Technologies.

Sunday, May 12th
-    Secretary Perdue participates in the G-20 and visits the Northern Cultural Museum and Komehachi Rice Farm with G-20 heads of delegation.

Monday, May 13th
-    Secretary Perdue meets with U.S. Ambassador to Japan William Hagerty and Japan’s State Minister of Health, Labor, and Welfare Yoshinori Oguchi.
-    Secretary Perdue attends a U.S. Meat Export Federation promotional event to underscore the importance of the Japanese market for U.S. meat. Japan is the top overseas market for U.S. beef and pork. Japan lifted an almost 15-year ban on U.S. goat and sheep meat imports in 2018.
-    Secretary Perdue attends the U.S.-Japan Agriculture Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony with Ambassador Hagerty to recognize six prominent Japanese food industry members who have made significant contributions to expanding U.S. agricultural exports to Japan.

Tuesday, May 14th
-    Secretary Perdue speaks at Cotton Council International’s annual Cotton Day event to promote U.S. cotton to industry partners all along the textile supply chain.
-    Secretary Perdue meets with U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Korea Harry Harris.

Wednesday, May 15th
-    Secretary Perdue meets with Korean Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Gae Ho Lee and Minister of Food and Drug Safety Eui Kyung Lee.
-    Secretary Perdue speaks with Seoul National University students to engage future leaders in agriculture and participates in a discussion on innovative agricultural technology.
-    Secretary Perdue attends a reception hosted by U.S. Ambassador Harry Harris to recognize partners in the U.S.-Korea agricultural relationship.

Most Fertilizer Prices Move Lower for Second Week in a Row

A majority of retail fertilizer prices are lower for the second week in a row, according to data tracked by DTN for the last week of April 2019.

Like last week, prices of five of the eight major fertilizers were lower compared to last month.  The move has been fairly muted, however. DAP had an average price of $498/ton, down $11, while MAP was $528/ton, down $5. The price of three fertilizers dropped by an average of $4/ton: anhydrous to $595/ton, UAN28 to $268/ton, and UAN32 to $315/ton.

The remaining three fertilizers were higher compared to the prior month, but again the move was fairly inconsequential. Potash had an average price of $390/ton, up $4; urea $413/ton, up $8; and 10-34-0 $487/ton, up $13/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.45/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. MAP is 3% more expensive, DAP is 5% higher, potash is 10% more expensive, UAN28 is 11% higher, urea is 12% more expensive, 10-34-0 is 13% higher, UAN32 is 14% more expensive and anhydrous is 17% higher compared to last year.

Weekly Ethanol Production for 5/3/2019

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending May 3, ethanol production expanded 12,000 barrels per day (b/d), a 1.2% increase, at an average of 1.036 million barrels per day (b/d), equivalent to 43.51 million gallons daily. The four-week average ethanol production rate moved 0.9% higher to 1.031 million b/d—equivalent to an annualized rate of 15.81 billion gallons.

Ethanol stocks narrowed 1.0% to a 40-week low of 22.5 million barrels. Reserves have fallen 7.8% since hitting record highs seven weeks prior, although stocks remain 2.1% greater than year ago volumes. Stocks built in the Gulf Coast (PADD 3) and Rocky Mountain (PADD 4) regions, but were flat or lower in other PADDs.

There were no imports reported by EIA for the 25th week in a row. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of February 2019.)

The volume of gasoline supplied grew 7% to 9.871 million b/d (414.6 million gallons per day, or 151.32 billion gallons annualized). Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol backed off to 919,000 b/d—down 1.0% and equivalent to 14.09 billion gallons annualized.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production decreased to 10.50%.

New EPA Guidance Stifles Innovation for Second Generation Biofuels

On May 7, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued guidance on cellulosic pathways under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor issued the following statement expressing disappointment with EPA’s latest move:

"EPA's guidance changes the rules mid-game on critical pathway approvals for cellulosic ethanol,” said Skor. “Second generation biofuels, such as advanced cellulosic ethanol, can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 100 percent. Rather than adding more bureaucracy to an already slow approval process, EPA should work to expand opportunities for technologies that can have a greater impact on reducing carbon emissions. EPA should instead move expeditiously to remove unnecessary hurdles and approve regulatory pathways for today’s clean fuels that promote future growth, investment and innovation in biofuel technology."

Speakers discuss sustainability, antibiotic use and animal welfare at 2019 Summit

The Animal Agriculture Alliance’s 2019 Stakeholders Summit kicked off today with record attendance, bringing 335 food and agriculture stakeholders to Kansas City, Missouri. The event, themed “A Seat At The Table,” started with a consumer focus group led by Anne-Marie Roerink of 210 Analytics.

Six consumers were asked about their meat purchasing habits, including how much price, taste, appearance, animal welfare, antibiotics and labeling claims matter. The consumers agreed taste, price and appearance are important when they stand at the meat case, but had differing opinions when it came to animal welfare and antibiotic use. Some said animal welfare is a main driver of their purchasing decisions, while others agreed it was important, but wasn’t top-of-mind. Several panelists mentioned they rely on the retailers to source humanely-raised meat and poultry products. 

When asked if antibiotic use labels have an impact on purchasing decisions, some panelists mentioned how they realize that what goes into the animal eventually impacts their health, so they prefer not to have antibiotics, but are eager to learn more about why antibiotics may be used and the different types that are used in livestock production. A key theme from the panel discussion was trust in labels with most of them feeling wary of label enforcement and the meanings behind different labels.

To continue the discussion of food labels, G. Donald Ritter, DVM, director of technical marketing at Mountaire Farms Inc. discussed the new One Health Certified program. Ritter called the program “a triple win,” explaining that “One Health Certified recognizes that the health of animals, people and the planet are linked together and strives to create optimal outcomes for all three.”

Ritter said current meat labels are confusing as he highlighted 18 different antibiotic labels and several unintended consequences of striking antibiotics from the supply chain. The program was built by a coalition of chicken, turkey and pork stakeholders along with NGO’s, university scientists, government advisers and 36 leading retailers and restaurant chains who shared the same vision of wanting a better labeling program. The purpose of One Health Certified is to reduce consumer confusion and take care of the animals in a responsible and sustainable way. It will also be the first certification program to include environmental impact and will likely be available this summer.

Next, a panel of leaders in the beef industry took the stage to discuss sustainability in a session titled, “From Birth to Burger: Industry-Led Beef Supply Chain Animal Welfare and Sustainability Efforts.” Kristen Parman, vice president of membership services at Livestock Marketing Association kicked off the session by introducing the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program and the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (USRSB) as two examples of collective efforts to provide consumers with high-quality beef.

“The conversation around sustainability has been happening for a very long time,” said Debbie Lyons-Blythe, rancher at Blythe Family Farm. “Take care of the land, take care of the animals, take care of the people and make money,” is how Lyons-Blythe defined sustainability. “If you don’t make money, you’re not a sustainable business.” She appreciates engaging with USRSB because of the importance put on getting grassroots input from producer organizations and individual ranchers like herself, instead of the traditional top-down approach.

Justin Nelson, vice president of cattle procurement at Tyson Foods explained sustainability is about having a business model that allows companies and farms to operate for years and provide a product people love while simultaneously protecting the environment. “Sustainability requires transparency,” said Nelson.

Each panelist was asked how to effectively communicate about beef sustainability. Parman said, “tearing down the walls and letting people come in. Not being afraid to have a dialogue and tackle the misinformation.” Lyons-Blythe added, “it’s all about respect” and was careful to avoid using the term “educate” as it should be more of a conversation with the public. Nelson ended the session by reiterating how transparency is key and “seeing is believing,” recommending attendees invite retailers to their operations.

Attendees will also hear from restaurant and foodservice brands today about how their companies make decisions on topics like animal welfare, antibiotic use and sustainability. To tune in to the livestream to listen to today’s afternoon sessions, visit

Be sure to check the Summit website for the most up-to-date Summit information. You can also follow the hashtags #AAA19 for periodic updates about the event. For general questions about the Summit please contact or call (703) 562-5160.

Thank you to our 2019 Summit sponsors: Watt Global Media, Farm Journal, Meatingplace, National Provisioner, American Feed Industry Association, National Pork Producers Council, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Pork Board, Smithfield, United Soybean Board, Elanco, National Turkey Federation, Country Folks, Dairy MAX, Farm Credit, National Biodiesel Board, Summit Livestock Facilities, United Egg Producers, Cobb-Vantress, Inc., Council for Biotechnology Information, Protect the Harvest, Agri Beef, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Veal Association, Empirical, Progressive Dairyman, Kemin, National Chicken Council, Live Oak Bank, North Carolina Farm Bureau, O + B | P, Phileo Lesaffre Animal Care, Vivayic, Eggland’s Best, Brakke Consulting, Inc., Food Industry Environmental Network, Kansas Farm Bureau and Kansas Soybean.

The Alliance also thanks the following members for their continued support of Summit and other Alliance programs: U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, Zoetis, Merck Animal Health, Charleston|Orwig, Diamond V, Alltech, Inc., Aviagen Group, Boehringer Ingelheim, Cattle Empire, LLC, Dairy Farmers of America, Genus PLC - PIC/ABS, Hendrix Genetics, Hy-Line North America LLC, Iowa Soybean Association, Midwest Dairy, Nutrien, Provimi North America, Inc. and Seaboard Foods LLC.

CNH Industrial Reports Lower Revenues, Higher Net Income

CNH Industrial has reported its first quarter revenues, which was down five percent $6.0 billion from the same period last year. But net income rose 30 percent.

Agriculture's net sales decreased 4% in the first quarter of 2019 compared to the first quarter of 2018, but were up 2% on a constant currency basis. Improved sales volume from end-user replacement demand in the North America row crop sector, and from sustained demand in Brazil, coupled with strong price realization performance across all geographies, were partially offset by a general slowdown of activity in Turkey and by extremely dry weather affecting harvest conditions in Australia.

Adjusted EBIT was $168 million in the first quarter of 2019 ($186 million in the first quarter of 2018), with adjusted EBIT margin at 6.7%. Accelerated investment in its precision farming platform and the introduction of Stage V emission requirements-compliant engine applications increased the segment's product development spending by 19% (in constant currency) compared to the first quarter of 2018.

Net of this increase, segment performance improved as a result of price realization achieved, in excess of raw material headwinds and the impacts in the period from the enactment of the U.S. tariffs with respect to China.

Bunge Reports Profits, Names New CFO

Bunge Ltd. extended its leadership revamp as its new chief executive seeks to make the 200-year-old agricultural company nimbler and more profitable.

Gregory Heckman, named Bunge's CEO in April, on Wednesday appointed a new chief financial officer and shifted some executives to global roles in an effort to consolidate decision-making for the world's largest soybean processor.

Bunge, based in White Plains, N.Y., has shaken up its board and leadership team under pressure from investors. Over the past two years, the company has struggled to deliver consistent profits, while discussions with two rivals about a potential sale didn't lead to a deal, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Bunge's board has been pursuing a strategic review and the company is assessing its portfolio of processing plants, food brands and crop-trading facilities for potential sales, executives have said.

John Neppl will join Bunge as CFO, succeeding Thomas Boehlert, who has held the role since 2017. Mr. Neppl has been CFO for Nebraska-based ethanol producer Green Plains Inc.

Bunge on Wednesday reported a $45 million quarterly profit, outpacing analysts' expectations. Profits got a boost from U.S. and European soybean processing, as well as Bunge's expanded vegetable oil operations.

Flooding and wet weather reduced profits by about $20 million over the quarter, the company said. Trade disputes between the U.S. and major buyers of farm goods such as China continue to distort global commodity flows, making it harder to strike long-term supply deals, Mr. Heckman said.

Bunge's agribusiness division, which generates the bulk of its sales, will now fall under three executives, the company said. Raul Padilla, previously Bunge's head of South America, was named president of global operations, while Christos Dimopoulos, Bunge's previous agribusiness president, will now be overseeing global supply chains. Brian Zachman, hired in January, will continue to serve as president of global risk management.

The new structure aims to replace what some analysts had seen as regional fiefs built up over Bunge's decades of global expansion. The company's operations span soybean-processing facilities in China, grain-loading terminals on the Black Sea and Brazilian food plants.

"This is about simplification, accountability and speed," Mr. Heckman said on a conference call. The new setup will help Bunge avoid "self-inflicted mistakes" it has made in the past, he said.

Net income for the quarter was $45 million, or 26 cents a share, compared with a loss of $21 million, or 20 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding special items, Bunge posted earnings of 36 cents a share for the quarter.

Revenue fell 6.6% from a year ago to $9.93 billion. Analysts surveyed by Refinitiv expected $10.76 billion in sales. In its agribusiness, sales fell 7.3% on low volumes though sales rose in its other business segments.

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