Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Tuesday July 16 Ag News

Livestock Heat Stress Management During Summer Conditions 
Larry Howard, NE Extension Educator, Cuming County 

The heat and humidity of summer in many parts of Nebraska continues, and I will share some tips on how to handle livestock in these potentially dangerous conditions.

Heat stress is hard on cattle and other livestock, especially when combined with high humidity and low wind speeds. Heat stress can reduce feed intake, weight gain, reproductive efficiency and milk production, while increasing susceptibility to diseases. 

Signs of heat stress can include animals bunching, seeking shade, and panting, slobbering or excessive salivation, foaming around the mouth, open mouth breathing, lack of coordination and trembling. If such symptoms are observed, handlers should assume the animal is suffering from too much heat and immediately try to minimize the stress to the animal, especially by reducing handling or movement of the animal. Previous health of individual animals is an important risk factor, as animals with past health problems will be more affected by heat stress than animals with no prior health problems. These animals will generally be the first to exhibit signs of heat stress and be the most severely affected.

During the heat of summer, livestock management must include providing: shade, ventilation and air flow, plenty of clean and cool water, skin wetting, cool water drench (if the animal becomes very heat distressed), and sprinklers or hoses. Shade can be provided by trees, buildings or other sunshades. In addition, the temperature can be lowered by spraying cool water on the roof and walls of buildings where the animals are being housed. Improved ventilation can be provided by fans or opening windows on a breezy day. Sunshades should be high enough off the ground (10 feet or more) to allow for adequate air movement. If you spray the cattle, the droplet size should be large enough to wet the skin, not just the hair. A small droplet size will usually just wet the hair creating more humidity for the animal, which does not help at all.

During times of heat stress, animals should not be subjected to too much activity, including movement or transportation.  So avoid handling until the cooler part of the day. 

Also remember about human safety. Minimize strenuous work during hot conditions. If personnel must do hard work, take breaks each hour by spending 10-20 minutes doing less strenuous activity, preferably in the shade.  Drink one to two quarts of water per hour.

Signs of heat exhaustion include mood changes, emotional responses, and confusion.  If a person gets overheated, they should not return to strenuous work that day. Instead, working inside or taking the rest of the day off is advisable. Failure to do this may result in the person developing heat stroke.

Additional resources   ---
 Heat Stress: Handling Cattle Through High Heat Humidity Indexes
Feeder Cattle Heat Stress, Are You Ready for Summer?

Dairy Margin Coverage Lunch N Learn

Nebraska Extension and the Nebraska State Dairy Association are hosting two Farm Bill Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) Lunch N Learn sessions. Each Lunch N Learn will focus on the dairy related changes and information in the current Farm Bill.

Enrollment in the DMC program is ongoing at Nebraska USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) county offices now through Sept. 20. The DMC program is a voluntary risk management program that offers producers protection when the difference between the all milk price and the average feed price (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer.

A representative of Nebraska FSA also will be present at the education sessions.  Dairy producers also can learn more about the DMC program by visiting USDA’s online DMC Decision Support Tool. It can be found by going to

July 25 - Beatrice Chamber of Commerce; 218 N 5th Street, Beatrice, NE
July 26 - Madison County Extension Office; 1305 S. 13th Street, Norfolk, NE

Time: 11:30 am - 1:00 pm

There is no fee to attend and lunch is provided. RSVP's are requested to ensure an adequate number of lunches. Click on "Register Now" below to RSVP for a session.

Thanks to Aschoff Construction and Automated Dairy Specialists for their sponsorship for the lunch for these Lunch N Learn sessions.

Click here to register.....   

NE Extension Silage webinar

August 2nd, 2019, 12 noon 

Nebraska Extension is hosting a Silage Webinar on August 2, 2019 at 12:00 noon CST.  Dr. Hugo Ramirez-Ramirez, Assistant Professor in Dairy Nutrition and Management at Iowa State University will discuss silage moisture, chop length, inoculants, packing, covering, spoilage and safety during this one-hour webinar. 

Dr. Ramirez is an Assistant Professor of Dairy Nutrition and Management at Iowa State Unviversity.  His area of expertise is dairy cattle nutrition.  Dr. Ramirez's research focuses on corn silage perservation and storage.  Before joining the faculty at Iowa State University, Dr. Ramirez was Assistant Professor in Dairy Science at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas.  He received both is Master's of Science and Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 

There is no charge for this webinar, and you can register for the webinar by going to  After you register, you will receive information to join the webinar via email.

The recording of this webinar will be available at the Nebraska Dairy Extension webpage under "Webinars". 

Barchart Announces Grain Buyer Roadshow Across Multiple Midwest Cities - August 26-30

Barchart, a leading provider of data and analytics to the commodities industry, is excited to announce the launch of the cmdtyExchange Roadshow, a free conference series being held in five states across the Midwest this summer.  Taking place August 26-30, the cmdtyExchange Roadshow will bring grain buyers, elevators/co-ops, processors, commodity professionals, and industry experts together to gain insights and perspectives on the 2019 grain market, and to share information on the latest data and tools used to manage physical grain buying.

In addition to learning about the tools and technology currently driving commodity markets, the program gives attendees an in-depth look at data, analytics and tools behind Barchart's cmdty product line - including an overview of Barchart's patent-pending county, growing region and state-based grain price and basis indexes.  To view the full agenda, please select a city on our website.

"We're excited to take the cmdtyExchange conference on the road this summer and have the opportunity to connect with grain buyers and other agricultural professionals across the Midwest," says Mark Haraburda, Barchart's CEO. "Technology and data are driving change in today's commodity markets and we look forward to exploring these topics with the agricultural community, and providing insight into how our cmdty product line can help ag professionals drive more value for their business."

In May, Barchart hosted the inaugural cmdtyExchange conference in Chicago which brought together over 300 agriculture and commodity professionals. The 3-day event included panel discussions from industry-leading speakers and sponsors, startup presentations from emerging AgTech startups, multiple networking opportunities, as well as an in-depth look at the cmdty product line.

cmdtyExchange Roadshow dates and locations include:
    8/26 - Old Boston's Restaurant & Pub - Ft. Dodge, Iowa
    8/27 - FireWorks Restaurant - Lincoln, Nebraska
    8/28 - 44 Stone Public House - Columbia, Missouri
    8/29 - The Gin Mill - Decatur, Illinois
    8/30 - The Warehouse - Marion, Ohio

To register and to learn more about the cmdtyExchange Roadshow, please visit

Pork Checkoff Announces #RealPigFarming Student Social Forces

The Pork Checkoff has selected 13 college students to represent the #RealPigFarming Student Social Forces team this year. Candidates were selected based on their involvement in the pork industry and their strong communication skills. The team will be active July through December.

“Social media is ingrained in young people’s lives,” said Claire Masker, director of sustainability communications for the Pork Checkoff. “It’s an easy tool for them to share their insights and inspiration about an industry that they are so proud to be a part of. With so many diverse social media channels, they each have an opportunity to share their passion for pig farming with their followers.”

The 2019 class of Social Forces include:
Mekenzie Beattie, University of Nebraska Lincoln
Morgan Fitzsimmons, Iowa State University
Rachel Frazier, Iowa State University
Cole Spain, Iowa State University
Jake Sterle, Iowa State University

Arthur (Tré) Smith, Oklahoma State University
Kathryn Helmink, Southern Illinois University Carbondale
Jenna Wheeler, Lake Land College
Anna Link, University of Missouri Columbia
Hunter Frobose, Ohio State University
Courtney Griffith, Butler Community College
Shelby Shank, Murray State University
Blake Price, Northwest Missouri State University

“Consumers continue to have questions about how pigs are raised, and pig farmers know the answers better than anyone else,” Masker said. “Through the Pork Checkoff’s social media outreach program, real farmers are sharing their real stories with consumers through #RealPigFarming.”

The hashtag (#) before RealPigFarming helps people search social media posts with the same phrase, making it easier for them to follow conversations, Masker said.

"I am excited for the opportunity to bridge the disconnect between pig farmers and consumers by proactively engaging in conversation about modern pork production practices,” said Morgan Fitzsimmons, a new member of the #RealPigFarming Student Social Forces and a student at Iowa State University. 

“The social forces team will be encouraged to use #RealPigFarming as advocates for the pork industry,” Masker said. “While serving on this team, the students will be able to improve their communications skills and expand their professional network within the industry.”

Iowa Corn Welcomes RAGBRAI Cyclists with the Delicious One Percent

Iowa Corn will be welcoming RAGBRAI cyclists with homegrown, fresh sweet corn. Signs along the route will inform riders about the difference between sweet corn and field corn, which represents 99 percent of all corn acres. Stops along the 500 mile plus route will be offering sweet corn to riders, the opportunity to talk with local farmers and tour the Iowa Corn trailer.

STOP ONE: Sunday, July 21 in Walnut – Corner of Highland and Antique City Drive
STOP TWO: Monday, July 22 in Stuart – Stuart City Park
STOP THREE: Tuesday, July 23 in Norwalk – Norwalk City Park
STOP FOUR: Thursday, July 25 in Bloomfield – Southwest Corner of Bloomfield Town Square

WHEN: July 21-25, 2019

Check out our highlight video here... Follow along on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Sensor-Ing A Change

Carol Brown, Iowa Soybean Association

The agriculture industry has been using sensors in precision agriculture for some time, but researchers at the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) are pushing the boundaries on what can be discovered with this technology.

For soybean farmers to stay competitive in national and international markets, yield is vital. But now other factors are becoming equally important, including protein and oil content. Can soybean yield and nutritional values be accurately mapped in the field? Can the industry be smarter about soybean seed quality? A project recently underway is exploring these questions.

“In the past, measuring soybean protein and oil content required the collection of soybean seed samples and laboratory analyses,” says Peter Kyveryga, ISA Analytics director. “With recent innovations in sensor technologies, it is now possible to map soybean protein and oil in the field.”

ISA is leading a project with Iowa State University (ISU) and John Deere Co. to map protein and oil content while soybeans are developing and during harvest. The success of this project could impact farmer management decisions and how they grow and market their crop.

The research team, with support from the United Soybean Board, collected and calibrated aerial images of soybean fields on two central Iowa farms and five ISU research farm fields every 10 to 15 days between June and early September. They studied fields with both 15- and 30-inch rows.

“The researchers have flown over my fields with drones and planes, and they did an intensive probe sampling all across one of the fields,” says Dave Struthers, who farms near Collins. “I’ve got all kinds of colorful maps and lots of data.”

Kyveryga is analyzing that data from the 2018 growing season, which includes yield data, protein and oil maps and in-season aerial images.

“The higher yields don’t always correlate with high protein or high oil values,” says Kyveryga. “In general, field areas with higher protein had lower oil content, but this wasn’t consistent across all the fields.”

Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering professor Matt Darr is the lead from ISU on this project. He believes protein sensing and aerial imagery have a strong future.

“Quantifying the magnitude of soybean protein variability and connecting that to management and environmental factors is the first step toward a higher quality product,” he says.
Figure 1: Maps of an ISU research farm soybean field, divided into 75×75-foot grid, indicating soybean yield, protein and oil content. The top row represents the standard deviation in each grid. The bottom row represents average yield (bu/acre), and percent of protein (center) and oil (right) relative to the levels in all five fields where soybean quality data was collected during harvest by a near infrared (NIR) sensor.

Aerial imagery offers a unique approach to measure infield variability at a scale that is not available with past technologies, says Darr, who also heads the ISU Digital Agriculture Innovations Team.

“The broad access and low cost of high-resolution imagery today provide researchers and growers with new techniques and insights for crop production,” says Darr.

At harvest, ISU researchers equipped a combine with sensors and collected spatial data from five farmers and ISU research farm fields. They measured yield as well as protein and oil of the harvested grain.

In the 30-inch width rows, protein content tended to be higher with higher yield. In the 15-inch rows, protein decreased when yields dipped below 55 bu/acre and then increased with yields above 55 bu/acre. Two of the seven fields had relatively large areas (up to 60 and 70 percent) that indicated protein content lower than 34 percent.

Three fields had 80 to 95 percent of the area with oil content lower than 19 percent. According to Kyveryga, soybeans with protein lower than 34 percent and oil lower than 19 percent can put the U.S. at a disadvantage in international trade.

“This research is a key aspect of understanding the technology and will be a springboard to fully understand how we can modify our management practices to improve soybean quality,” says Darr.

“It would be good to have this kind of technology someday,” says Struthers. “But there are a lot of steps that would have to happen for farmers to be compensated for soybeans with higher protein or oil content. The processor would need the ability to segregate higher quality beans from the rest and premium pricing scale would also need to be in place.”

In the next phase of the project, through machine learning and analytical methods, the research team will identify factors that might drive spatial variability in soybean protein and oil, including soil, management, weather or genetics. They will collect dense data from soil organic matter and soil testing to look at potential trends between soybean quality and soil fertility.

Kyveryga says researchers will also explore the relationship between amino acid content and different vegetation indices from calibrated aerial imagery collected on the farmers’ fields.

“Using sensors in agriculture was once thought of as futuristic,” says Kyveryga. “This emerging technology of mapping soybean fields for protein and oil content could be beneficial.”

Researchers say someday farmers could improve profitability by adopting management practices for better soybean nutritional value.

U.S. Pork Industry Battling Challenges From Trade to Labor Shortage, NPPC President Tells Capitol Hill

The U.S. pork industry faces numerous challenges both at home and abroad that, if not addressed, will pose significant harm to our farms, rural communities and ultimately consumers, National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) President David Herring, a pork producer from Lillington, N.C., testified this morning before the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture.

"One of the most damaging threats to the U.S. pork industry has been the punitive, retaliatory trade tariffs that China and other countries have imposed," Herring told the subcommittee.

China is the largest consumer and importer of pork in the world, but U.S. hog farmers have been sidelined, Herring told the subcommittee, due to China's 62% tariff on American pork that have cost domestic producers $1 billion on an annualized basis. "There is an unprecedented sales opportunity for U.S. pork producers in China as that country continues to battle the spread of African swine fever and experiences a major reduction in domestic production," he said. "Instead, this trade opportunity is fueling jobs, profits and rural development for our international competitors. We seek an end to the trade dispute with China and the restoration of more favorable access to the world's largest pork-consuming nation."

Herring also called for expeditated negotiation of a trade agreement with Japan, where U.S. pork producers are losing market share due to new trade agreements Japan has formed with the European Union and TPP-11 nations.

In addition to trade issues, U.S. pork producers are working to prevent the spread of African swine fever (ASF), an animal disease affecting only pigs and with no human health or food safety risks, Herring explained to the subcommittee. "We can all agree that we need to keep this deadly swine-only disease out of the USA," he said. To that end, NPPC has been advocating for strengthened biosecurity at our borders and is requesting appropriations funding for 600 additional U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agricultural Inspectors at our borders.

In his testimony, Herring also highlighted several other priorities for U.S. pork producers, including:
-    Visa reform to address a serious labor shortage that could lead to farms and packing plants closing operations. NPPC supports visa system reform that provides agricultural employers with sustained access to year-round labor.
-    Implementation of the 2018 Farm Bill as intended by Congress, including development of a Foot-and-Mouth-Disease vaccine bank needed to quickly contain and eradicate an outbreak.
-    The right regulatory framework for gene-edited livestock, an innovation that promises to strengthen U.S. pork's competitive position globally. Through its "Keep America First in Agriculture" campaign, NPPC is aggressively working to establish oversight within the U.S. Department of Agriculture where it belongs, not with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which has claimed jurisdiction.

"Addressing these challenges will make U.S. hog farmers even more competitive, expand production, fuel job growth and contribute to rural communities across the country," Herring said.


The National Corn Growers Association today renewed its pressure on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to follow President Trump’s commitment to farmers and stop giving Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) waivers to big oil companies, re-running the organization’s ad that first ran last month.

NCGA members are in Washington, D.C. this week for Corn Congress and meetings with lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Farmers will be urging policymakers to support legislation in the House, H.R. 3006, and Senate, S. 1840, that would seek to stop waiver abuse and address the harm these waivers are causing.

Since early 2018, EPA has granted 53 RFS small refinery exemptions (SREs), or waivers, totaling 2.61 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons of renewable fuel. There are currently 39 refinery exemption petitions pending for the 2018 compliance year. NCGA has highlighted 39 reasons why the EPA should not grant additional waivers.... 

Crary Engineers High Wear Infinity Rotor

Staying on the cutting edge of innovation, Crary Industries, Inc. has introduced the Infinity Rotor to their well-known fan systems. The Crary Infinity Rotor is engineered for use in any harvest condition and excels in sandy and dusty environments where excessive wear is noticeable on equipment parts.

The new Infinity Rotor extended lifespan has proven triple that of other rotors in both lab and field tests. Crary has raised the bar and subsequently set the new standard of expectation for fan rotors.
“The Infinity Rotor was designed with durability in mind to minimize our customer’s downtime,” said Crary Ag engineer product manager, Ben Richard.

The Infinity Rotor is engineered and optimized for maximum wear life and air output with detailed design features:
· Fully welded, high strength steel to allow for higher operating speeds than aluminum rotors.
· Dynamically balanced for high speed performance with minimized vibration.
· Tungsten inert gas (TIG) welded and strategically placed balance clips for increased durability.
· Patent pending carbide clad inside lower blade edges, designed to increase longevity in specific locations determined by extensive field research of blade wear patterns.

“With a three time increase in life over standard steel rotors, most customers will eliminate the need to replace a rotor during the lifetime of their fan,” said Richard.

The new Infinity Rotor will also minimize downtime and the need for repeated replacement parts, saving users time and money. As a crucial part in the design of any fan, accept no substitutes to the Crary Infinity Rotor.

Farm Bureau Welcomes Progress on Water Rule Changes

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall

“The Administration has moved its effort to repeal the 2015 Waters of the United States rule to the Office of Management and Budget, the last step before formal issuance. This is good news and welcome news.

“For too long, farmers and ranchers have had to live with real regulatory confusion. Some hear they must follow the pre-2015 rule. Others have to follow the 2015 rule, even though courts have found it illegal. The confusion only heightens the risk farmers and ranchers face in these already uncertain times.

“We applaud EPA and the Corps of Engineers for taking the next step to set aside the unlawful 2015 rule. We urge the agencies to take the final step and right this wrong once and for all.”

USDA Announces Record-Breaking Funding for 2019 Farm to School Grants

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced today the award of more than $9 million in USDA Farm to School Program grants that will increase the amount of healthy, local foods served in schools and create economic opportunities for nearby farmers. 

This year marks an all-time high of funding and projects in the program, with grants supporting 126 selected projects across 42 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. These projects are expected to serve more than 3.2 million students in over 5,400 schools.

“The farm to school grants announced today connect schools with the farmers, ranchers, and producers in their communities,” Secretary Perdue said. “Everybody wins with Farm to School. USDA is proud to help the next generation better understand where its food comes from, while strengthening local economies.”  
This record-breaking year for the USDA Farm to School Grant Program was made possible by increased funding from Congress for fiscal years 2018 and 2019, which enabled USDA to award 52 more grants than the previous highest year of 2016 when 74 were granted. Grants range from $20,000 to $100,000 and fund equipment purchases and experiential learning activities, including planting school gardens, offering taste tests to children, and organizing field trips to local farms and food producers. 

Farm to school activities strengthen local economies. USDA’s 2015 Farm to School Census found that in the 2013-2014 school year alone, schools purchased more than $789 million in local food from farmers, ranchers, fishermen, and food processors and manufacturers. Schools provide producers stable markets and long-term revenues, and the program introduces students to agricultural career paths. 

“Our nation’s food supply depends on more young people entering the field of agriculture as farmers retire,” said Perdue. “Farm to school inspires young people to consider careers in agriculture and food systems.”

Since 2013, the USDA Farm to School Grant Program has offered annual grants to schools, school districts, nonprofits, state agencies, agricultural producers, and Indian tribal organizations to plan, implement, or provide training on farm to school activities. FNS is committed to working with schools and agricultural partners to ensure healthy habits take root in early childhood.

Please visit the USDA FNS website for more information about Farm to School projects and grant awards:  

Transform WG Insecticide Receives Expanded Federal EPA Registration

Today, Corteva Agriscience offers farmers another tool to control destructive insects by announcing an expanded federal label from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for Transform® WG insecticide with Isoclast™ active. Eight new crops, including corn and alfalfa, are on the expanded label, which also restores the previously labeled use for soybeans and cotton.

With a distinct chemistry and mode of action, Transform® WG insecticide selectively controls sap-feeding insects without disrupting beneficial insects that help limit aphids and other pests. The distinctive chemistry of Transform® WG insecticide offers both systemic and translaminar activity, providing excellent residual control of aphids and several other sap-feeding insects through both contact and ingestion.

“Availability of Transform WG insecticide is much welcomed news for soybean growers,” said Bridgette Readel, Market Development Specialist, Corteva Agriscience. “The new and distinct mode of action will play a pivotal role in efforts to inhibit the increasing incidence of insect resistance to current insecticides. Transform will provide soybean growers with a viable and effective alternative.”

In large numbers, soybean aphids can reduce plant vigor and growth, reducing yields as much as 50% in outbreak years. In the Upper Midwest and Northern Plains, soybean aphids are likely to cause the most injury during reproductive growth stages, typically mid-July through late August. Growers are encouraged to scout for signs of soybean aphid damage that may include leaf puckering and the appearance of dark, sooty mold fungus as well as reduced pod and seed counts.

Transform® WG insecticide does not flare mites and offers application flexibility since it can be foliar-applied via ground or air at low use rates. With effective control at low use rates, Transform® WG insecticide is a cost-effective treatment option. The short re-entry preharvest interval allows growers to get back in the field with minimal downtime.

Transform® WG insecticide with Isoclast™ active is the only Insecticide Resistance Action Committee (IRAC) Group 4C insecticide on the market, an effective resistance management option for soybean growers. A favorable environmental profile is an additional benefit of Transform® WG insecticide.

Growers should check with their individual state regulatory agency or retailer to confirm that Transform® WG insecticide is approved for use in their state.

New Animal-Free Ice Cream Hits the Market

Biotech startup Perfect Day is releasing an ice cream product that's considered to be the first animal-free dairy product, available in a limited run. Co-founders Ryan Pandya and Perumal Gandhi expect they'll ruffle some feathers with their claim. After all, there are already a plethora of ice cream alternatives on the market from soy-to-coconut-to almond-based goods.

But Pandya and Gandhi say their product, which they're selling exclusively on their site, is a step-change above that: Perfect Day ice cream contains whey proteins identical to what's in cow's milk. The startup's just happens to be made through a fermentation process rather than coming from an animal.

"This is so new in that it has the heart and soul of being plant-based but is an animal protein," says CEO Pandya. The company plans to partner with food companies rather than create its own brand, but decided to put out this limited run to introduce customers to the concept of animal-free dairy. "We wanted to have an opportunity to show people early what Perfect Day looks like and tastes like," says Pandya.

To make their dairy proteins, the co-founders took the essential DNA of milk and inserted it into micoflora--yeast, fungi, or bacteria depending on the type of dairy they're trying to produce. The microflora use fermentation to turn sugar into milk proteins that are identical to those from a cow. The company then combines the proteins with plant-based fats and nutrients to get a dairy product that's both vegan and lactose free.

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