Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Monday July 8 Ag News

Midwest Corn Production Clinic
Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019
Registration begins at 7:30 a.m; Clinic is from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
University of Nebraska Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center
1071 County Road G, Ithaca, NE

Weeds, pests, weather, nutrients...and the list goes on. You’ve got a lot to manage to keep crops healthy and growing strong. Ne­braska Extension’s Midwest Corn Production Clinic can help you make those decisions, whether you are working as a consultant, industry representative or grower. This one-day, research-based workshop tackles issues that are central to making those decisions with the goal of a more profitable corn crop.

Agronomy Cultural Practices
- Discover (or be reminded of) the difference between corn growth and development.
- Dig plants and stage corn – get dirty
- Examine the most critical development stages for corn and what can happen:
too wet, too cold, too hot? Hail? Crusting? Discolored corn?
- Let’s discuss what you’ve seen in 2019

Genetics/Production: How much of the yield potential can be fulfilled?
- Plant Population is a decision that can expand or cap yield opportunities
- Timing of good weather and bad weather stresses are critical to yield
- How does hybrid maturity interact with planting date?…come and see

Insect Damage in Corn
- Get hands-on training on scouting and thresholds for European corn borer
- Learn how to identify and scout for insect damage in corn at different stages
of crop growth

Plant Pathology
- Update on Bacterial Leaf Streak
- Anticipating and identifying diseases at various crop stages throughout the season
- Considering corn development when making effective and economical
management decisions

Soil Fertility
- Nutrient management will be discussed with a focus on nitrogen management strategies

IPM for Successful Weed Management in Corn
- Discussion about integrating multiple tactics for weed management
- What’s in your weed management toolbox?
- Where do cover crops fit as a weed management tool?

Soybean Production Clinic - Aug. 27 - $115 by 8/21, $120 after
Corn Production Clinic - Aug. 28 - $115 by 8/22, $120 after
Both Corn/Soy Production Clinics - $170 by 8/22, $220 after

Pre-registration required. All registrants will be sent a confirmation letter, receipt and finalized schedule. Space is limited; your registration is not guaranteed unless payment is received. Fees include training, lunch and reference materials.

More information and registration at https://enrec.unl.edu/crop

Midwest Soybean Production Clinic

Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2019
Registration begins at 8:00 a.m; Clinic is from 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
University of Nebraska Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center
1071 County Road G, Ithaca, NE

This soybean production training session focuses on current research-based produc­tion and management recommendations for improving yield and profit potential. The clinic provides an opportunity for hands-on interaction and to check out field demos up close. The training will help participants make sensible decisions with a better understanding of variety selection, weed and pest control, management systems, soil types, and more.

Cultural Practices
- Examine first-hand why and how earlier soybean planting is a crucial first step
to improving soybean field potential
- See how four seeding rates and four seeding depths impact soybean
emergence, plant branch numbers, and pod numbers at the lowest stem nodes

- Continued improvement in varieties and agronomic management is crucial
for producers to generate ever greater on-farm soybean yield potential

Insect Management in Soybeans
- Get hands on experience in scouting for key pests at different growth stages
- Learn about the options and management strategies for insect pests

Plant Pathology
- Learn the main disease occurring at each growth stage & how to identify them
- Management options and which ones are most consistently profitable

Soil Fertility
- Value of seed contained nutrients early in season
- What nutrients are needed and when
- Review of Nebraska soybean fertility research

IPM for Successful Weed Management in Soybean
- Discussion about integrating multiple tactics for weed management
- What’s in your weed management toolbox?
- Where do cover crops fit as a weed management tool?

- Learn about irrigation scheduling strategies for soybeans and
how to choose which ones would be best for you
- Review of Nebraska soybean fertility research

Soybean Production Clinic - Aug. 27 - $115 by 8/21, $120 after
Corn Production Clinic - Aug. 28 - $115 by 8/22, $120 after
Both Corn/Soy Production Clinics - $170 by 8/22, $220 after

Pre-registration required. All registrants will be sent a confirmation letter, receipt and finalized schedule. Space is limited; your registration is not guaranteed unless payment is received. Fees include training, lunch and reference materials.

More information and registration at https://enrec.unl.edu/crop

Baleage vs. Haylage: What’s really the difference?

Steve Niemeyer – NE Extension Educator

Often times the terms baleage and haylage are used interchangeable in conversation due to the state or country of the farm/ranch or simply by the type of operation. So how are baleage and haylage different and why are they used?

The ensiling or fermentation process of preserving forages takes place in both haylage and baleage, hence the names. Baleage can be confused with traditional dry hay because it is still a square or round bale, but it is simply hay that is too moist to store safely as dry hay so it is wrapped or otherwise sealed in plastic. Baleage can be fermented as individual bales or in a tube/inline. 

Both baleage and haylage begin with mowing the forage and combining into a windrow typically. The next step is where the differences begin to be more apparent. Haylage is forage chopped using a silage chopper and packed in a bunk, silo, or bag. Some producers may chop right after the mower or allow for some minimal drying prior to chopping to reach a moisture content of 60-70 percent. This is sometimes referred to as the wilt stage and also may be referred to as silage. This is a common moisture for producing haylage although haylage is more commonly chopped at a lower moisture content of 40-60 percent, which also may be called low-moisture haylage. Producing chopped silage is a tried and true method that continues to produce high quality forage with which most producers are knowledgeable or at least familiar. Neighbors or silage crews can usually be found easily and are able to perform all the tasks associated with making silage or haylage. Haylage may not be an option for producers who do not have the equipment needed to feed a silage. In this case, baleage may be a better option, with minor equipment changes needed to feed and with more management flexibility than haylage.

Baleage is partially dried forage, preferably 45-55 percent moisture, which is baled and wrapped with at least 6 layers of 1 mil plastic. Monitoring the moisture content is critical in reducing the risk of spoilage once baled. The process of fermentation in baleage is slower and less complete compared to haylage or silage due to a more loosely packed forage (more oxygen), a larger particle size (less available sugars), and lower moisture, typically. The slower fermentation results in a pH higher than that of haylage. A pH of around 5.0 is present in the bales, which results in more challenging preservation during the fermentation process.

Baleage can create high quality forage if done properly. Some advantages over dry hay include less loss during storage, fewer weather delays at harvest, and faster turnaround from when the forage is down in both regrowth and time on the ground. The equipment changes are not significant but need to be considered. Wrapping equipment is cheaper than a silage chopper, but handling the bales requires different equipment than the classic bale spear or grapple. Disadvantages include getting forage baled at the best moisture content, wrapping within the first 12-24 hours to minimize damage and quality loss, plastic maintenance if holes occur by the environment or animals, plastic disposal, and reduced ability to transport without proper equipment. 

Baleage and haylage produce high quality feed when harvested and stored correctly. High quality baleage may be utilized as a cheaper protein supplement alternative on winter range. Each have advantages and disadvantages. While distinct processes result in two different products, the terms haylage, baleage, wet hay, chop, wilt silage, or another are often used interchangeably in conversation. Being clear on the method being discussed is important when attempting to produce a high quality forage for livestock.


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               Most folks with prevent plant acres are wondering what to plant that they can harvest after September first.  Maybe, though, a longer term view would be better.

               Okay, what do I mean by a longer term view.  Well, in the case of these prevent plant acres, longer term could mean anything from later this fall to next spring and even further.

               For example, many graziers have had tremendous success using mixtures dominated by oats and turnips.  These mixtures are best planted in late July to early August and then allowed to grow preferably at least eighty or ninety days, or until killed by a hard freeze.  This usually means waiting until November before grazing.

               Another possibility is with cereals.  In many locations, winter cereals like winter wheat, winter triticale, winter barley, and winter rye can be planted in the fall, mid-September through October, and then be grazed, cut for hay, or chopped for silage the following spring.  You can wait to plant your acres until fall or maybe double crop by planting summer annuals like sorghum-sudangrass now, harvest them soon after September first, and then plant one of these winter cereals.  These cereals then can be harvested next spring.

               For a real long term option, you might consider planting alfalfa.  Don’t plant it now, though.  Summer heat will likely get it before plants develop enough roots to absorb moisture to survive.  Wait until late August to plant.  Then you should have a good crop ready to cut next spring.

               Obviously, you didn’t want to have to deal with prevent plant acres.  Rather than trying to just salvage something by planting quickly, think about whether a longer term view might serve you better.


               Alfalfa seeded this spring is ready, or soon will be ready, to cut.  How do you harvest to get the most from your first-year alfalfa?

               Seeding year alfalfa is different from established stands.  Stems are spindly, roots are small and shorter, and growth is a little slower.

               You can harvest seeding year alfalfa as early as 40 days after seedlings emerge.  Notice that I said 40 days after emergence rather than after planting.  It takes plants about 40 days to develop their ability to regrow from the crown after cutting.  If plants are cut before this development takes place, maybe to control weeds, at least one set of leaves must remain on the plant for it to regrow.

               Although alfalfa seedlings can be harvested 40 days after emerging, I think it’s better to wait until 60 to 70 days after emergence, at late bud to early bloom stage, before first cut.  Yield will be a little higher and plants will withstand weather stress easier with a little extra growth.  This extra time also allows roots to penetrate the soil more deeply, helping avoid problems from soil compaction or surface soil dryness.

               These first harvest recommendations may be earlier than some folks like to cut.  However, after this early cutting the regrowth of seedling alfalfa will become more similar to established alfalfa, giving you the opportunity for two or maybe even three cuts the first year.  And, it helps control many weeds as well.

              One last point – never cut seeding year alfalfa during the four week period before a killing freeze.  Winter injury can be severe due to reduced winterhardiness.  So look ahead at the calendar to plan when future cuts might be taken to avoid cutting during this sensitive time.

               First year alfalfa can be productive, just manage it right.

Ricketts, Ethanol Board Comment on EPA RFS Volumes Proposal

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts, who is a past chair of the Governors’ Biofuels Coalition, issued the following statement on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) announcement of the proposed renewable volume obligations (RVOs) for 2020 under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

“While Nebraska appreciates the EPA’s timely release of renewable volume obligations, this proposal does not reflect the agency’s legal duty to enforce a robust RFS or the President’s commitment to our farmers.  I urge Administrator Wheeler to reallocate waived gallons and ensure that the agency is giving our farmers and ethanol producers the predictability they need, especially during tough times for agriculture.”

During numerous meetings with EPA officials, Governor Ricketts has highlighted the need for robust biofuel targets as an integral part of sustaining domestic demand for biofuels, especially in a challenging trade environment and a time of low commodity prices.

“The Nebraska Ethanol Board is extremely disappointed in the proposed Renewable Volume Obligation numbers released by the EPA,” said Nebraska Ethanol Board Administrator Roger Berry.  “The fact that EPA did not account for any of the lost gallons due to Small Refiner Exemptions directly undermines demand for the quality fuel produced by our hard working farmers and the 1,400 Nebraskans employed in the ethanol industry.”

 Smith Releases Statement on EPA’s Proposed 2020 RVOs

Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) today released the following statement expressing his disappointment with the EPA’s proposed rule on Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for 2020.

“The RFS has benefitted farmers and consumers for years and has wide bipartisan support. Unfortunately, the EPA’s proposed rule does not take into account the ongoing abuse of small refinery exemptions. These arbitrary exemptions to the RFS are damaging its integrity. By not addressing the small refinery exemption, the 2020 policy proposed by the EPA diminishes any gains from the President’s recent win on E15.”

Smith recently led a bipartisan letter to the EPA to stop these exemptions and to reallocate lost volume from past waivers. He also is a cosponsor of H.R. 3006, which would require any waivers to be submitted before the volumes are determined, so they can be reallocated.

Mexican retailers to tour Iowa ethanol supply chain as a model for Mexico’s emerging fuel market

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) and Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) are hosting a tour in conjunction with the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) in Iowa this week to show Mexican retailers the opportunities for sourcing, marketing, and retailing ethanol-blended gasoline as Mexico’s transportation sector evolves by demonstrating how ethanol blends were successfully incorporated across Iowa.

Decision-makers from some of the largest Mexican retailer groups will make their way to Iowa this week for the mission, which includes tour stops that highlight each step of the ethanol supply chain from the corn field to the gas pump. The trade mission group will visit a farm, ethanol plant, fuel terminal, bulk fuel storage facility and terminal, and a handful of retail and convenience store stations. In addition to tours of these locations, Mexican marketers will get the opportunity to sit down with key representatives of the businesses and gain information they can use in their own operations in Mexico. The tour will also include meetings with a design, construction and equipment installation company for retail stations and bulk storage facilities, as well as meetings with several ethanol marketers from across the region.

“I’ve participated in eleven marketer workshops with the USGC across Mexico in the past 18 months, and interest in ethanol seems to be increasing with every event,” said Ron Lamberty, ACE Senior Vice President. “We want these key Mexican retailers to see that contrary to the ethanol ghost stories they’ve read online, E10 is successfully sold everywhere in the U.S.  As high as fuel prices are in Mexico, when marketers go to a workshop and hear they can sell a high-performing, lower-cost product like ethanol and make more money, it probably sounds too good to be true.  By coming to Iowa and seeing stations using the same dispensers they use, and transport trucks and terminals like the ones they have in Mexico, it becomes “real” for them, and can dramatically shorten the time it will take to get significant ethanol volumes moving in Mexico.”

“IRFA is privileged to host this group of influential businesses that will shape the future of Mexico’s ethanol market,” said Lucy Norton, IRFA Managing Director. “Drawing on Iowa’s decades of experience, we look forward to sharing how expanding availability of ethanol blends throughout Mexico will result in improved air quality and lower consumer fuel costs.  In turn, this emerging market will greatly benefit the U.S. ethanol industry and corn farmers.”

Iowa Beef Center to Offer BQA Transportation Trainings

Proper transportation can prevent bruising and improve the health status and meat quality of cattle delivered to harvest. Beef Quality Assurance Transportation is a new program that provides information for farmers and professional truckers who are involved with transporting cattle. In light of the fact that BQAT certification will be required by several major packers beginning Jan. 1, 2020, Iowa Beef Center has scheduled three BQAT trainings in mid-August for both commercial truckers and farmer/feeders who deliver cattle direct to packers.

By using best practices, transporters can save the beef industry millions of dollars each year. The certification program covers many topics including cattle handling guidelines and diagrams, loading/unloading, hot/cold weather factors, evaluating cattle before loading and biosecurity, according to Beth Doran, extension beef specialist with Iowa State University.

"Transportation quality assurance plays a critical role in the health and welfare of cattle," Doran said. "When a transporter has this certification, they demonstrate to the consumer that they are taking care to keep cattle as healthy and safe as possible."

BQAT trainings will be held:
    Friday, Aug. 9, 1- 3 p.m. with meal provided at noon; Carroll County Extension office, 1205 West U.S. Highway 30, Suite G, Carroll. RSVP by Aug. 6 to Erika Lundy, ellundy@iastate.edu or the Carroll County Extension office, 712-792-2364.
    Monday, Aug. 12, noon - 3 p.m. with meal provided at noon; Buzzy’s Bar and Grill, 414 Main St., Welton. RSVP by Aug. 8 to Denise Schwab, 319-472-4739 or dschwab@iastate.edu.
    Tuesday, Aug. 13,1:30 - 3:30 p.m. with light refreshments provided; Terrace View Event Center, 230 St. Andrews Way, Sioux Center. RSVP by Aug. 9 to Beth Doran, 712-737-4230 or doranb@iastate.edu.

There is no cost to attend. However, preregistration is requested to plan for adequate food and supplies. Tyson and Cargill are helping fund the sessions. The Iowa BQA Program is funded by the Iowa Beef Industry Council and the Beef Checkoff; education is delivered by Iowa Beef Center extension specialists. See more information on BQAT on the IBIC website at https://www.iabeef.org/cattlemens-corner/iowa-bqa.

Master Pork Awards Nominations Due August 1

Nominations for 2019 Master Pork Producers, Master Pork Partners, and the Environmental Steward Award are now being accepted by the Iowa Pork Producers Association. The deadline for the nominations is Aug. 1, 2019.

The awards program is a joint effort between the Extension Service at Iowa State University and the Iowa Pork Producers Association. The Master Pork Awards Program began in 1942 as an effort to stimulate pork and lard production in support of World War II efforts. The awards program has shifted program standards over the years, but still serves the objective of promoting diversity, efficiency, and excellence in pork production in Iowa.

The Master Pork Producer award recognizes outstanding Iowa pork producers. Awardees will be evaluated based on their pork production statistics, and their commitment to We Care® principles which outline values in food safety, animal well-being, worker safety, community outreach and protection of both the environment and public health.
New categories for partner awards

There are two new categories for the 2018 Master Pork Partner awards. The partner awards were established in 2014 to recognize individuals demonstrating positive impacts on Iowa pork production through important partnerships with pig farmers, but are not involved in day-to-day, on-farm duties and management. In addition to the general partner award, the new categories seek to recognize Veterinarian of the Year and Driver of the Year.

The IPPA Environmental Steward Award looks to recognizes an individual who demonstrates the positive contributions the pork industry makes to the natural environment. Applications are evaluated on the following criteria: manure/nutrient management, soil & water conservation, air quality, public relations, wildlife habitat, and environmental management innovations. The Environmental Steward Award was established in 2007.

To find more information and nomination forms and instructions for these awards, go to www.iowapork.org/producer-resources/ and click on the information on the left side of the page. You can also contact the IPPA office at 800-372-7675 or email info@iowapork.org.

Pork and Beef Exports Rebound in May; Volume and Value Reach 2019 Highs

May exports of U.S. pork and beef were steady with last year’s strong volumes and increased year-over-year in value, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

Pork exports totaled 217,999 metric tons (mt) in May, steady with last year’s pace, while value increased 1% to $567.8 million – the highest monthly value total since April 2018. For January through May, pork exports were still 4% below last year in volume (1.035 million mt) and down 10% in value to $2.57 billion.

Pork export value averaged $54.83 per head slaughtered in May, the highest monthly average since May 2018 ($55.05). For January through May, export value averaged $48.74 per head, down 12% from the same period last year. May exports accounted for 27.3% of total U.S. pork production and 23.2% for muscle cuts only, down from 27.8% and 24%, respectively, a year ago. For January through May, exports accounted for 25.4% of total pork production (down from 27.5%) and 22.1% for muscle cuts (down from 23.7%).

May beef exports were also steady year-over-year in volume (117,541 mt) while export value increased 1% to $727.6 million – the second-highest on record, trailing only the August 2018 total of $751.7 million. For January through May, exports were 3% below last year’s record pace in volume (530,088 mt) but only slightly lower in value at $3.3 billion.

Beef export value per head of fed slaughter averaged $312.85 in May, down slightly from a year ago. For January through May, beef export value averaged $309.33 per head, down 3%. May exports accounted for 14.6% of total U.S. beef production and 12% for muscle cuts only, each down slightly from a year ago. For January through May, exports accounted for 14% of total production and 11.3% for muscle cuts – down from 14.6% and 11.9%, respectively, a year ago. (Please note: due to a calculation error, the percentage of beef production exported was incorrectly reported from January 2017 through April 2019. These ratios have now been corrected, and are about 1.1 percentage points higher than originally reported.)

Rebound in Japan and China/Hong Kong offsets slower pork exports to Mexico

After trending lower through the first four months of 2019, May pork exports to leading value market Japan increased 5% from a year ago in volume (36,373 mt) and 3% in value ($148.6 million, the highest in 18 months.) Stronger May volumes included growth in chilled pork, up 2.5% to 19,795 mt. For January through May, exports to Japan were still 5% behind last year’s pace in volume (159,539 mt) and down 7% in value ($642 million). But chilled exports held close to last year at 87,362 mt, down less than 1% (valued at $414.9 million, down 2%). Japan’s import data shows the biggest decrease from the U.S. is in ground seasoned pork (GSP), where the U.S. faces the full 20% duty and competitors pay 13.3%. Japan’s imports of U.S. pork fell by $76 million through May, including a $46 million decrease in GSP.

Despite the continued 50% retaliatory duty on U.S. pork going to China, May also brought an uptick in pork exports to China/Hong Kong, which increased 33% from a year ago in volume to 45,442 mt, while value increased 5% to $84 million. Through the first five months of 2019, exports to the region still trailed last year by 7% in volume (173,642 mt) and 25% in value ($326 million).

On May 20, the 20% retaliatory duty on most U.S. pork entering Mexico was removed as the U.S., Mexico and Canada reached an agreement on steel and aluminum tariffs. While the return to duty-free status is expected to fuel a rebound in pork exports to Mexico, it came too late to have much impact on May results as exports fell 26% from a year ago in volume to 52,555 mt and 15% in value to $98.4 million. For January through May, exports to Mexico were down 19% in volume (284,946 mt) and 27% in value ($454.9 million).

“May export results for U.S. pork were very encouraging, especially the renewed momentum in Japan and China/Hong Kong,” said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. “When exports to Mexico get back on track and trade talks with Japan and China show progress, this will be a very welcome lift for the U.S. pork industry.”

All of U.S. pork and beef’s major competitors gained tariff relief in Japan this year through the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the economic partnership agreement between Japan and the European Union, making red meat trade a major focus of the ongoing U.S.-Japan trade agreement negotiations. Access for U.S. agricultural products was also a priority in the high-level U.S.-China trade talks that broke off in early May but which are expected to resume following President Trump’s June 29 meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Other January-May highlights for U.S. pork include:

    South America is the leading tonnage growth market for U.S. pork in 2019 as continued growth in Colombia and Chile pushed exports 40% above last year’s record pace in volume (71,240 mt) and 37% higher in value ($171.8 million). Exports to Peru cooled in May but remain significantly higher year-over-year.
    Exports to Oceania continue to climb, increasing 45% in volume (52,502 mt) and 30% in value ($138.7 million) from a year ago. Australia is one of U.S. pork’s top-performing markets in 2019, with volume up 45% from last year’s record pace to 48,110 mt and value increasing 29% to $125.4 million. U.S. share of Australia’s imports climbed to 52%, compared to 45% last year. Exports to New Zealand were also significantly higher in both volume (4,392 mt, up 43%) and value ($13.3 million, up 33%).
    Also coming off a record year in 2018, exports to Central America climbed 11% in both volume (37,416 mt) and value ($88.2 million). While exports to leading market Honduras were up slightly from a year ago, double-digit growth was achieved in Guatemala, Panama, Costa Rica and Nicaragua.
    While pork exports to Taiwan slowed in May, January-May volume still increased 60% from a year ago to 9,972 mt while value was up 44% to $22 million.

Korea, Taiwan lead strong month for beef exports

Beef exports to South Korea remained on a record pace in May, climbing 11% to 23,004 mt and 13% in value to $165 million. January-May exports to Korea were 11% above last year in volume (101,761 mt) and 15% higher in value ($743.5 million). With continued growth at retail and foodservice, U.S. share of Korea’s chilled beef imports reached a post-BSE high of 61%, up from 57% last year and 52% in 2017. Chilled beef from the U.S. totaled 22,268 mt, up 8% year-over-year, valued at $224 million, up 12%.

Following a fairly steady first quarter, beef exports to Taiwan strengthened for the second straight month in May at 5,873 mt (up 27% from a year ago), valued at $52.6 million (up 28%). Through May, exports to Taiwan were 11% above last year’s record pace in volume (24,478 mt) and 4% higher in value ($218.2 million).

Though slightly below last year’s level, May export volume to leading market Japan rebounded to 29,749 mt, while value was down 3% to $190.8 million. Export volume through May was steady with last year’s pace at 128,045 mt while value increased 1% to $828 million. This performance was driven in part by a large increase in beef variety meat exports (mainly tongues and skirts), which jumped 23% in volume (24,135 mt) and 20% in value ($157.5 million). Despite the tariff disadvantages, U.S. beef’s share of Japan’s imports has held nearly steady this year at 41%, but with a level playing field there are tremendous opportunities for growth. For example, Japan’s imports of Canadian and Mexican beef increased by 76% and 39%, respectively, through May.

“The explosive growth U.S. beef has achieved in Korea and Taiwan is a testament to the quality of the product and the outstanding customer base the U.S. industry has established over the years,” Halstrom said. “That same dynamic is present in Japan, on an even larger scale. But for Japan to remain the ‘strong growth’ column, it is essential that we have market access comparable to our key competitors.”

Other January-May highlights for U.S. beef include:

    Mexico is a very solid market for U.S. beef in 2019. Although exports through May were 2% below last year’s pace at 97,102 mt, value increased 8% to $462.1 million. This was due to strong growth in muscle cut exports, which were up 7% from a year ago in volume (59,357 mt) and 10% in value ($361.5 million).
    Exports to the Dominican Republic remain on a tremendous roll, soaring 50% above last year’s record pace in volume (3,741 mt) and gaining 39% in value to $30.3 million. U.S. beef continues to capitalize on market access improvements secured in the Dominican Republic-Central-America-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR), with exports to Central America also increasing 5% from a year ago in volume (5,699 mt) and 10% in value ($33.8 million). Growth leaders in the region include Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.
    January-May exports to Egypt, the largest destination for U.S. beef livers, were down 7% year-over-year in volume at 28,912 mt, but increased 6% in value to $34.8 million. Exports strengthened in May, increasing 26% in volume (6,224 mt) and 35% in value ($7.1 million) year-over-year. This was significant, as changes in Egypt’s halal certification process that took effect May 1 are a concern for the U.S. industry. But at least so far, these changes do not appear to be slowing exports.
    Retaliatory tariffs in China and other market access challenges limited U.S. beef exports to China/Hong Kong, with January-May volume down one-third to 38,405 mt and value declining by 27% to $322 million.

Mexico fuels big month for U.S. lamb exports

Recent momentum for U.S. lamb exports has been led by strong variety meat demand in Mexico. Lamb variety meat exports to Mexico set a record in 2018 at more than 10,000 mt and are well ahead of that pace this year. One of the factors driving this success is the growing popularity of lamb neck meat for barbacoa, an item USMEF has aggressively promoted to importers in Mexico. Lamb muscle cut exports to Mexico also climbed significantly in May as combined lamb and lamb variety meat exports reached 1,155 mt, up 41% from a year ago, while value increased 67% to $1.4 million.

On a global basis, May lamb exports totaled 1,310 mt, up 31% from a year ago, while value increased 30% to $2.3 million. This pushed January-May exports 51% above last year in volume (6,710 mt) and 26% higher in value ($11.5 million). For muscle cuts only, January-May lamb exports were up 14% in volume (1,041 mt) and 19% in value ($6.7 million).

Organic Trade Association Releases Questionable Study; NMPF Fights Back

The National Milk Producers Federation fought back after the Organic Trade Association released a study done by Emory University on June 26 that supposedly found that 60 percent of 35 conventional milk samples that were tested had antibiotic residues – a study that came with head-scratching conclusions when compared to the wealth of research already available on the issue.

The antibiotics detected by the study, which was funded by The Organic Center, included sulfamethazine and sulfathiazole, which aren’t allowed for use in lactating dairy cattle. One sample also tested positive for amoxicillin levels higher than what is approved by the FDA. The conventional samples also tested positive for pesticides and growth hormones, while organic milk samples tested were found to have no pesticides, antibiotics or growth hormones.

Many questions were raised about the study immediately after its release, after lab experts began to analyze the methodology of the study including its size, the standards used for the testing, and the four-year lag period between sample collection and the published analysis. The research also conflicted with rich data found by the National Milk Drug Residue Monitoring Program conducted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). That report in 2018 found that out of the 60,000 milk samples tested for sulfonamide drugs, none of the samples tested positive. Over the past decade, sulfonamide antibiotics were present in only 99 samples of the 884,455 tested.

NMPF released a joint statement with the International Dairy Foods Association and the National Dairy Council restating the safety of milk and calling out the flaws in the study. The article, written for USA Today, was quickly amended to include a section on “reasons for skepticism” highlighting the potential flaws of this study. NMPF has requested a meeting with FDA to discuss next steps.

NCBA, State Affiliates Urge Congress to Ratify USMCA

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) today sent a letter signed by 39 of its state affiliates to U.S. Senate and House leaders urging them to support the swift ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

The letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is NCBA’s latest salvo in the battle to build support for USMCA ratification, coming less than two weeks after the group launched a new media campaign to push the accord.

“American cattle producers need to maintain our unrestricted, duty-free access to markets in Canada and Mexico, and that’s exactly what USMCA would guarantee us,” said NCBA President Jennifer Houston. “Jeopardizing that access by having Congress not take action on USMCA is simply not an option for us.”

In addition to calling on Congress to quickly ratify USMCA, the letter also encouraged the Capitol Hill leaders to oppose efforts to re-instate failed policies of the past, such as mandatory country-of-origin labeling, or MCOOL.

“MCOOL was U.S. law for six years until it was repealed by Congress in 2015 to avoid $1 billion of retaliatory tariffs from Canada and Mexico that were sanctioned by the World Trade Organization (WTO),” the letter says. “The truth is MCOOL cost the U.S. beef industry hundreds of millions of dollars to implement, and the vast majority of consumers never paid attention to it. Our industry has suffered enough with this bad idea and we do not need to relive the sins of the past.”

NCBA Cattlemen's Webinar:  Data Driven Value

July 16, 2019 - 7:00 p.m. CDT

Whether you are selling or buying feeder calves, there are more options for creating a data rich story around those calves today than ever before.  Join the webinar to hear from three leading programs about the services they offer to cattlemen around adding information and value to feeder cattle, and taking risk out of feeder cattle purchasing decisions for the feedyard.

Register Now:  https://www.ncba.org/cattlemenswebinarseries.aspx
Meet the Speakers

Chris Engel
Chris serves as the Director of Angus Link at the American Angus Association®. Although Chris didn’t grow up on a farm or ranch, he was drawn to agriculture from an early age. He credits his passion for the beef industry to those who have mentored him along the way—both in school and throughout his career. Chris received his Bachelor of Science degree in Animal and Veterinary Sciences from Clemson University. After graduating, he gained valuable experience in production while working on a diversified farming operation in South Carolina. Following his time there, he held a number of different positions in both the crop production and animal health industries. Prior to joining the Angus Association in April of 2018, Chris was the Marketing Manager for Merck Animal Health’s U.S. cattle vaccine portfolio. Since joining the Association, Chris has collaborated with numerous individuals within the Association, as well as members of allied industry organizations, to launch Angus Link — a program designed to deliver value to all sectors of the beef industry by better communicating genetic performance potential of feeder cattle from ranch to rail.

Chip Kemp
Chris is the Director of American Simmental Association (ASA) and International Genetic Solutions (IGS) Commercial and Industry Operations.  His duties range from assisting progressive commercial producers with genetic awareness of crossbred cow herds to the development of new technologies that highlight the profit potential of genetic knowledge in the beef industry – regardless of breed type.  IGS is the largest beef genetic evaluation on the planet and provides multi-breed EPDs to those involved.  The awareness and data from this approach provide meaningful tools to all facets of the beef industry.  Prior to ASA, Chip was an instructor for 18 years at the University of Missouri.  In this role he was involved in classroom teaching, coaching of competitive livestock judging teams, oversight of internships, and coordination of a USDA approved meats processing facility.  Chip was also the founder of JudgingPro.com, an online resource for livestock evaluation videos and classroom aids.  He spent two years with the Beef Division of IBP, inc. in Amarillo, TX.  He grew up working for Gerloff Farms, an Angus and SimAngus seedstock operation based in Missouri, and is still involved with this program.  Chip and his wife Nicky, have two grown children and reside in Auxvasse, MO.

Jared Wareham
Jared is the General Manager of Top Dollar Angus. Jared is a self-proclaimed “ranch geek” that loves to learn the nuances of beef production systems coast to coast. Jared and his wife of 17 years, Jill, have three uniquely, wonderful daughters. Together, they manage a 100 head cowherd in west central Missouri.As General Manager of Top Dollar Angus, he works with a growing team of talented young professionals that are united by a collective vision and passion for delivering service and precision to customers within all segments of the beef industry through the verification of superior genetics. Wareham also enjoys writing thought-provoking pieces about the beef industry for Farm Journal Media with his “New Generation” column that appears in Drovers magazine, as well as, serving as a Director for the Farm Credit district that supports Missouri agriculturalists. 

Anniversary of China Tariffs No Cause for Celebration for Soy Growers

Anniversaries often evoke fond memories and collective cheers, but for soybean growers, this past year has been far from positive and instead the most challenging in a generation: The July 6 one-year mark of 25% tariffs placed on U.S. beans exported to China has left the industry with more of a trade hangover than reason to toast.

Davie Stephens, a grower from Clinton, Kentucky, and president of American Soybean Association said, “Before the trade war, U.S. soybean farmers saw prices well over $10 per bushel, but now that number has been in the 8-dollar range way too often. Dealing with weather, weeds, pests and normal markets is tough enough for farmers, but being caught in the middle of a trade war for an entire year is a whole different level. Prices are lower and anxiety is definitely higher for those of us trying to keep our farms going.”

President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed last week at the G-20 summit to reconvene negotiations that stalemated in May, a positive glimmer in an otherwise dismal landscape for U.S. soy growers suffering the impacts of tariffs and hopeful that retaliatory tariffs waged by the two countries starting last July will end and enable their industry to recuperate.

“Hearing that negotiations will resume, we are better off this week than last. But, continued talks between the U.S. and China won’t undo the damage done the past 12 months. The only action that will truly start to repair our industry is an agreement between both countries to rescind the tariffs.”

The U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) reports that shipments of U.S. beans to China were down 19.2 million metric tons, or 705.2 million bushels, in the first 10 months of the current marketing year compared to the 2017/18 marketing year. As the China market continues to erode, opportunities increase for other soy-producing countries to steal U.S. market share. That lost market opportunity along with a significant drop in the price of soybeans has led to an historic carry-over stock of unsold American beans: USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) reported stored soybeans up 47% for June year-over-year.

By far the largest market traditionally for U.S. soybean exports, China continues to promise good-faith purchases of American beans, but the industry that methodically built a strong market in China over four decades wants to see free trade restored rather than filling the gap with government-to-government purchases while negotiations continue indefinitely.

Stephens explained, “We understand that any movement of U.S. beans to China is better than no movement, but the long-term answer for the viability of our industry is not patchwork promises to buy our beans. It’s reopening the door to trade for American farmers by rescinding the tariffs.”

NBB Launches New Ad: EPA's RFS Waivers Harm Biodiesel Producers, Farmers

The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) today launched an ad campaign highlighting the economic damage to biodiesel and renewable diesel producers from the Environmental Protection Agency's small refinery exemptions. The ads are currently scheduled to run for one week in Des Moines, IA, and in Washington, DC.

"The president's EPA is hurting farmers and eliminating jobs by giving special favors to big oil companies," the ad states. "The EPA's big oil bailout is destroying demand for biodiesel."

Kurt Kovarik, NBB's Vice President of Federal Affairs, added, "Just last month, President Trump vowed that his administration would defend America's farmers. Yet his EPA is preparing another flood of RFS exemptions that will harm farmers. The small refinery exemptions destroy demand for hundreds of millions of gallons of biodiesel and renewable diesel, which means a loss of jobs and a loss of value for agriculture.

"The biodiesel industry does not benefit from approval of year-round E15 sales. While that approval was long overdue, it can't make up for the damage from small refinery exemptions."

An estimate from University of Illinois Professor Scott Irwin says the demand destruction could reach 2.45 billion gallons over the next few years causing a $7.7 billion economic loss for the biodiesel industry.

"Just one oil refinery waiver can put an entire biodiesel facility out of business, and that means fewer jobs for rural America," the ad states.

Under the RFS, an oil refinery that processes up to 75,000 barrels of oil per day can qualify for a small refinery exemption. The RFS advanced biofuel obligation for a refinery that size would be as much as 20 million gallons of renewable fuels and primarily would be met with biomass-based diesel.

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