Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Monday August 12 Ag News


For the week ending August 11, 2019, there were 5.0 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 2 percent very short, 12 short, 78 adequate, and 8 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 1 percent very short, 11 short, 79 adequate, and 9 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn condition rated 1 percent very poor, 4 poor, 20 fair, 60 good, and 15 excellent. Corn silking was 95 percent, near 99 for both last year and the five-year average. Dough was 41 percent, well behind 74 last year and 62 average. Dented was 3 percent, behind 16 last year and 11 average.

Soybean condition rated 1 percent very poor, 4 poor, 22 fair, 62 good, and 11 excellent. Soybeans blooming was 87 percent, behind 96 both last year and average. Setting pods was 66 percent, behind 78 last year and 76 average.

Winter wheat harvested was 90 percent, behind 97 last year and 99 average.

Sorghum condition rated 0 percent very poor, 1 poor, 16 fair, 70 good, and 13 excellent. Sorghum headed was 68 percent, well behind 90 last year, and behind 82 average. Coloring was 9 percent, behind 20 last year and 16 average.

Oats harvested was 89 percent, behind 98 last year, and near 92 average.

Dry edible bean condition rated 1 percent very poor, 11 poor, 37 fair, 43 good, and 8 excellent. Dry edible beans blooming was 87 percent. Setting pods was 46 percent.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 1 percent very poor, 3 poor, 15 fair, 66 good, and 15 excellent.


Iowa farmers continued to experience abnormally dry field conditions across most of the State during the week ending August 11, 2019, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there were 5.9 days suitable for fieldwork. Fieldwork activities included spraying fungicides and insecticides and harvesting hay and oats.

Topsoil moisture condition was rated 7 percent very short, 29 percent short, 62 percent adequate and 2 percent surplus. East central, south central and southeast Iowa districts reported topsoil moisture conditions as over 55 percent short to very short. Subsoil moisture condition was rated 4 percent very short, 23 percent short, 70 percent adequate and 3 percent surplus.

Ninety-two percent of the corn crop has begun to silk, 17 days behind last year and nearly two weeks behind the 5-year average. Forty-one percent of the crop reached the dough stage, 10 days behind last year and 8 days behind average. One percent of the crop statewide reached the dented stage. Corn condition rated 65 percent good to excellent.

Eighty-seven percent of the soybean crop has started to bloom, 15 days behind last year and 12 days behind average. Fifty-six percent of the crop has started setting pods, also 15 days behind last year and 12 days behind average. Soybean condition rated 63 percent good to excellent.

Eighty-nine percent of the oat crop has been harvested for grain, 2 days behind both last year and average.

The second cutting of alfalfa hay reached 92 percent, 5 days behind average. The third cutting of alfalfa hay reached 25 percent, 1 week behind average. Hay condition declined to 57 percent good to excellent.

Pasture condition declined for the sixth straight week and rated a season low 46 percent good to excellent. There were no major livestock issues reported this past week.

Corn, Soybean Conditions Unchanged From Previous Week

Corn and soybean development continued to lag behind the average pace last week, according to the latest USDA NASS Crop Progress report released Monday. Condition ratings for both crops held steady but remained the lowest since 2012.

As of Sunday, Aug. 11, 90% of corn was silking, up 12 percentage points from 78% the previous week but 7 percentage points behind the five-year average of 97%. That was an improvement from last Monday's report when silking was running 15 percentage points behind average. Corn in the dough stage was pegged at 39%, up 27 percentage points from 23% the previous week but 22 percentage points behind the five-year average of 61%. That was further behind average than in last Monday's report when corn in the dough stage was 19 percentage points behind the average. Corn dented was 7%, behind last year's 24% and 9 percentage points behind the five-year average of 16%.

Corn's good-to-excellent condition rating was estimated at 57%, unchanged from the previous week but still the lowest good-to-excellent rating for this time of year in seven years.

Soybean development also continued to lag behind average last week. The portion of the crop that was blooming was 82%, up 10 percentage points from the previous week but 11 percentage points behind the five-year average of 93%. That was a slight improvement from last Monday's report when blooming was running 15 percentage points behind average. Soybeans setting pods reached 54% as of Sunday, 22 percentage points behind the average pace of 76%. That was also an improvement from last week's report, when soybeans setting pods was 26 percentage points behind the average pace.

Like corn, the condition of the soybean crop also held steady last week with a good-to-excellent rating of 54%. That compares to last year's 66%, and also remains the lowest good-to-excellent rating for the crop since 2012.

Winter wheat harvest continued to slowly inch toward the finish line, reaching 89% complete as of Sunday, behind last year's 93% and 7 percentage points behind the five-year average of 96%.

Spring wheat harvest progress was also slow, up only 6 percentage points from the previous week to reach 8% as of Sunday, behind last year's 32% and 22 percentage points behind the five-year average of 30%.

Spring wheat condition -- for the portion of the crop still in the field -- was estimated at 69% good to excellent, down from 73% the previous week.

Sorghum heading reached 61% as of Sunday, behind the five-year average of 74%. Sorghum coloring was estimated at 26%, behind the average of 35%. Sorghum mature was estimated at 19%, behind the average of 23%. Sorghum condition was rated 66% good to excellent, down 2 percentage points from 68% the previous week. Oats were 48% harvested, behind the average of 64%.

Cotton setting bolls was 77%, slightly ahead of the average of 76%. Cotton bolls opening was at 20%, ahead of the average of 10%. Cotton condition was rated 56% good to excellent, up 2 percentage points from 54% the previous week. Rice headed was pegged at 76%, behind the average of 85%. Rice harvested was 7%, slightly behind the average of 9%. Rice condition was rated 70% good to excellent, up 2 percentage points from 68% the previous week.

Farmers Prevented from Planting Crops on More Than 19 Million Acres

Agricultural producers reported they were not able to plant crops on more than 19.4 million acres in 2019, according to a new report released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). This marks the most prevented plant acres reported since USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) began releasing the report in 2007 and 17.49 million acres more than reported at this time last year.

Of those prevented plant acres, more than 73 percent were in 12 Midwestern states, where heavy rainfall and flooding this year has prevented many producers from planting mostly corn, soybeans and wheat.

“Agricultural producers across the country are facing significant challenges and tough decisions on their farms and ranches,” USDA Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey said. “We know these are challenging times for farmers, and we have worked to improve flexibility of our programs to assist producers prevented from planting.”

Cover Crops

USDA supported planting of cover crops on fields where farmers were not able to plant because of their benefits in preventing soil erosion, protecting water quality and boosting soil health. The report showed where producers planted 2.71 million acres of cover crops so far in 2019, compared with 2.14 million acres at this time in 2018 and 1.88 million at this time in 2017.

To help make cover crops a more viable option, USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) adjusted the haying and grazing date of cover crops, and USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service held signups in select states that offered producers assistance in planting cover crops. Meanwhile, USDA added other flexibilities to help impacted producers, including adjusting the deadline to file acreage reports in select states.

About the Report

This data report aggregates information from crop acreage reports as of August 1, 2019, which producers file with FSA to maintain program eligibility and to calculate losses for various disaster assistance programs. The crop acreage data report outlines the number of acres planted, prevented from planting, and failed by crop, county and state. To find more information, view the Aug. 12 report.

Because some producers have not completed their filing and data are still being processed, FSA will make available subsequent data reports in September, October, November, December and January. You can find reports from 2007 to the present on FSA’s Crop Acreage Data webpage.

To receive FSA program benefits, producers are required to submit crop acreage reports annually regarding all cropland uses on their farm. This report includes data for producers who had already filed for all deadlines in 2019, including the mid-July deadlines, which are for spring-seeded crops in many locations.

Other Prevented Planting Indicators

In addition to acreage reports filed with FSA, producers with crop insurance coverage for prevented planting file claims with their insurance providers. These claims are provided to RMA and may differ from the prevented planted acres reported to FSA. More information on prevented plant coverage is available on the RMA website.


Based on August 1 conditions, Nebraska's 2019 corn production is a record forecast at 1.79 billion bushels, up slightly from last year's production, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Acreage harvested for grain is estimated at 9.65 million acres, up 4 percent from a year ago. Average yield is forecast at 186 bushels per acre, down 6 bushels from last year.

Soybean production in Nebraska is forecast at 287 million bushels, down 14 percent from last year. Area for harvest, at 4.95 million acres, is down 12 percent from 2018. Yield is forecast at 58 bushels per acre, down 1 bushel from last year.

Nebraska's 2019 winter wheat crop is forecast at 56.3 million bushels, up 14 percent from last year. Harvested area for grain, at 970,000 acres, is down 4 percent from last year. Record yield is forecast at 58 bushels per acre, up 9 bushels per acre from 2018.

Sorghum production of 15.5 million bushels, is down 3 percent from a year ago. Area for grain harvest, at 165,000 acres, is down 5,000 acres from last year. Yield is forecast at 94 bushels per acre, unchanged from last year.

Oat production is forecast at 1.18 million bushels, down 22 percent from last year. Harvested area for grain, at 19,000 acres, is down 3,000 acres from last year. Yield is forecast at 62 bushels per acre, down 7 bushels from 2018.

Dry edible bean production is forecast at 2.43 thousand cwt. The average yield is forecast at 2,310 pounds per acre. Acres planted by class are as follows: Pinto, 49,400; Great Northern, 44,500; Black, 2,600; Light Red Kidney, 11,800 acres.

Sugarbeet production is forecast at 1.37 million tons, down 3 percent from 2018. Area for harvest, at 43,200 acres is down 900 acres from last year. Yield is estimated at 31.6 tons per acre, down 0.3 ton from a year ago.

Alfalfa hay production is forecast at 3.42 million tons, down 6 percent from last year. Expected yield, at 3.80 tons per acre, is down 0.5 ton from last year. All other hay production is forecast at 2.56 million tons, down 23 percent from last year. Forecasted yield, at 1.60 tons per acre, is down 0.2 ton from last year.


Iowa corn production is forecast at 2.52 billion bushels according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Crop Production report. Based on conditions as of August 1, yields are expected to average 191.0 bushels per acre, down 5.0 bushels from last year. Corn planted acreage is estimated at 13.6 million acres. An estimated 13.2 million of the acres planted will be harvested for grain.

Soybean production is forecast at 502 million bushels. The yield is forecast at 55.0 bushels per acre, 2.0 bushels lower than 2018. Soybean planted acreage is estimated at 9.20 million acres with 9.13 million acres to be harvested.

Oat production for grain is forecast at 5.20 million bushels. The expected yield is 65.0 bushels per acre, up 2.0 bushels from the July forecast and from 2018. An estimated 80,000 acres will be harvested for grain.

Iowa hay yield for alfalfa and alfalfa mixtures is expected to be 3.30 tons per acre with a total production of 2.31 million tons, up 1 percent from the previous year. The projected yield for other hay is 2.40 tons per acre, with production at 912,000 tons, up 30 percent from 2018.

The forecasts in this report are based on August 1 conditions and do not reflect weather effects since that time. The next corn and soybean production forecasts, based on conditions as of September 1, will be released on September 12.

USDA:  Corn Production Down 4 Percent from 2018

Soybean Production Down 19 Percent from 2018
Winter Wheat Production Up 3 Percent from July Forecast

Corn production for grain is forecast at 13.9 billion bushels, down 4 percent from 2018. Based on conditions as of August 1, yields are expected to average 169.5 bushels per harvested acre, down 6.9 bushels from 2018. Area harvested for grain is forecast at 82.0 million acres, down 2 percent from the previous forecast, but up less than 1 percent from 2018. Area planted for all purposes totaled 90.0 million acres, down 2 percent from the previous estimate but up 1 percent from 2018.

Soybean production for beans is forecast at 3.68 billion bushels, down 19 percent from 2018. Based on conditions as of August 1, yields are expected to average 48.5 bushels per harvested acre, down 3.1 bushels from 2018. Area harvested for beans is forecast at 75.9 million acres, down 4 percent from the previous forecast, and down 14 percent from 2018. Area planted for all purposes totaled 76.7 million acres, down 4 percent from the previous estimate, and down 14 percent from 2018.

All cotton production is forecast at 22.5 million 480-pound bales, up 23 percent from 2018. Based on conditions as of August 1, yields are expected to average 855 pounds per harvested acre, down 9 pounds from 2018. Upland cotton production is forecast at 21.7 million 480-pound bales, up 24 percent from 2018. Pima cotton production is forecast at 790,000 bales, down 1 percent from 2018. All cotton area harvested is forecast at 12.6 million acres, up 24 percent from 2018. All cotton planted area totaled 13.9 million acres, up 1 percent from the previous estimate but down 1 percent from 2018.

All wheat production for grain is forecast at 1.98 billion bushels, up 3 percent from the previous forecast and up 5 percent from 2018. Based on August 1 conditions, yields are expected to average 51.6 bushels per harvested acre, up 1.6 bushel from the previous forecast, and up 4.0 bushels from 2018. Area harvested for grain is forecast at 38.4 million acres, unchanged from the previous forecast, but down 3 percent from 2018.

Winter wheat production for grain is forecast at 1.33 billion bushels, up 3 percent from the previous forecast and up 12 percent from 2018. Based on August 1 conditions, yields are expected to average 53.2 bushels per harvested acre, up 1.4 bushels from last month, and up 5.3 bushels from 2018. Area harvested for grain is forecast at 24.9 million acres, unchanged from the previous forecast, but up 1 percent from 2018.

Hard Red Winter production, at 840 million bushels, is up 4 percent from the previous forecast. Soft Red Winter, at 257 million bushels, is down 1 percent from the previous forecast. White Winter, at 229 million bushels, is up 1 percent from the previous forecast. Of the White Winter production, 24.6 million bushels are Hard White and 204 million bushels are Soft White.

Durum wheat production for grain, is forecast at 57.3 million bushels, down 1 percent from the previous forecast and down 26 percent from 2018. Based on August 1 conditions, yields are expected to average 42.3 bushels per harvested acre, down 0.6 bushel from the previous forecast, but up 3.0 bushels from 2018. Area harvested for grain is forecast at 1.36 million acres, unchanged from the previous forecast, but down 31 percent from 2018.

Other spring wheat production for grain is forecast at 597 million bushels, down 1 percent from the previous forecast and down 4 percent from 2018. Based on August 1 conditions, yields are expected to average 49.2 bushels per harvested acre, up 2.0 bushels from the previous forecast, and up 0.9 bushel from 2018. Area harvested for grain is forecast at 12.1 million acres, unchanged from the previous forecast, but down 6 percent from 2018. Of the total production, 566 million bushels are Hard Red Spring wheat, down 4 percent from 2018.


The third edition of Agricultural Land Management Quarterly will feature results from the 2019 Nebraska Farm Real Estate Market Survey, including land values and cash rental rates. Nebraska cover crop utilization and lease considerations will be part of the discussion. The Sept. 1 lease termination deadline and the importance of a written lease will also be covered. 

The webinar is Aug. 19 at 6:00 p.m. CT and can be viewed online at agecon.unl.edu/landmanagement.

Jim Jansen and Allan Vyhnalek of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Department of Agricultural Economics lead the webinar. Jansen’s work focuses on agricultural finance and land economics. He directs the annual Nebraska Farm Real Estate Market Survey and Report. Vyhnalek is a farm succession and transition extension educator.

Participants are encouraged to sign up in advance and submit questions before the event at agecon.unl.edu/landmanagement.

The webinars are free and open to the public. Recorded webinars are available online.

Another agricultural land management webinar is scheduled for Nov. 18.

For more information, contact Jim Jansen at 402-261-7572 or jjansen4@unl.edu.


Registration is open for a one-day international trade conference hosted by the Clayton Yeutter Institute of International Trade and Finance at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, in collaboration with the Nebraska Farm Bureau.

“What’s on the Horizon for International Trade?” is Oct. 10 at the University of Nebraska College of Law, Hamann Auditorium, 1875 N. 42nd St. The conference is free and open to the public.

The conference will begin with a 30-minute primer on key legal and economic trade concepts to set the stage for subsequent discussions with leading experts and former trade policy officials. They will share insights on today’s fast-moving trade-policy dynamics, including the future of the World Trade Organization, how new trade agreements may reshape the competitive landscape, the impact of tariffs on supply chains, and the estimated economic implications of recent tariffs on Nebraska’s economy.

Edward Alden, Ross Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Western Washington and senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, will deliver the opening keynote.

A lunchtime panel will feature a discussion between former U.S. Chief Agricultural Negotiator Darci Vetter and current university students. Vetter serves as global lead for public affairs and vice chair for agriculture and food at Edelman.

Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, will provide closing remarks. A reception will follow.

Advance registration is required. To view the full agenda and to register, visit https://yeutter-institute.unl.edu. Conference sessions will be live-streamed for those unable to attend in person.

The program is approved for 4.5 hours of Continuing Legal Education credit. In-person attendance is required to receive credit.

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


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               Following corn silage harvest, your ground can lay bare for seven to nine months.  Instead, let’s plant some crops to grow and cover it until next season.

               After silage harvest, bare ground has two things working against it.  One is exposure to wind and water erosion.  And two, it isn’t growing anything.  Cover crops might help you overcome both problems.

               But what should you plant?  Well, that depends primarily on what you want to achieve with your cover crop.  For example, hairy vetch and winter peas are good cover crops if you want to improve your soil by planting a legume that will produce 30 to 40 pounds of nitrogen per acre for next year’s crop.  Or maybe use a deep-rooted radish to breakup some hardpans.

               Are you still hoping for some feed this fall?  Then oats, spring triticale and barley, annual ryegrass, and turnips might be better choices because these plants have the greatest forage yield potential yet this fall.  Spring oats, triticale, and barleys also will die over winter so they won’t interfere with next year’s crop.  But, dead residue from these spring cereals is not very durable, so it provides less effective soil protection and for a shorter duration.

               For better soil protection, winter rye is the best choice among the cereals.  And cereal rye can provide abundant grazable growth early next spring to get cows off of hay sooner.  Wheat and triticale also can be good cover crops.  Of course, wheat then can be harvested later for grain while triticale makes very good late spring forage.

               What is becoming especially popular is planting a mixture of several types of plants to reap some of the benefits of each one.

               Cover crops can preserve or even improve your soil, and can be useful forages as well.  Consider them following your early harvests.


               To make good silage, a little help from inoculants can improve fermentation.  When and how can you get the best use from them?

               Silage inoculants can be hard to figure out.  There is no clear cut, consistent way to predict when inoculants will be most useful or cost effective.  Silage fermentation is just too complex.

               Inoculants primarily reduce storage losses.  The most effective ones contain homolactic acid bacteria like Lactobacillus plantarum.  Fermentation starts and ends quicker with inoculated silage so more silage remains for feeding.  Typically, you save about 5 percent.  Some inoculants also improve aerobic stability by using the heterolactic acid bacteria Lactobacillus buchneri 40788.  They reduce spoilage losses when silage is re-exposed to air, thus extending bunk life.  These bacteria are especially useful at reducing spoilage on the face of bunker silos.

               Inoculants consistently improve wet silage, especially sorghum silage.  If you start chopping early enough to prevent silage from being too dry at the end, inoculants should help.

               In the past, inoculants rarely improved properly made corn silage – silage at the right moisture, chopped fine, packed well, and sealed tight.  Nor did they improve dry silage.  But recently developed inoculants, with more effective strains of fermentation bacteria, are producing slightly better quality silage even from these feeds.

               If you use an inoculant, make sure that it contains live bacteria.  Also check to see that the inoculant provides at least 100,000 colony forming units per gram of wet forage when applied at the recommended rate at the chopper.  You need plenty of live bacteria for the inoculant to do you any good.

               But used in the right conditions, inoculants can be worth it.

The Implications of this Year’s Rains on Next Year’s Calf Crop

Steve Niemeyer – NE Extension Educator

This year it is going to be very important to test the nutrient content of forages and hays and to feed or graze accordingly. 

A snowy/rainy spring gave way to above average rainfall for the summer in much of the mid-section of the country. While most of us know better than to complain about rain, the moisture has sure presented challenges for this year’s hay crop.

Abundant moisture resulted in rapid growth and maturity in forages. The continued rain delayed cutting the forage, adding to the maturity of the crop, and unfortunately, a lot of hay has been rained on between cutting and baling. This combination is most certainly going to result in poor quality hay, even if tonnage is adequate.

Even forages that are intended for late summer, fall, or winter grazing are likely to be lower in protein and energy than usual due to the rapid and abundant growth which resulted in a lot of stem and seed head production and not as much leaf material.

While it is always a good practice to test the nutrient content of forages and hays, this is going to be a very important year to test it and to feed or graze accordingly based on the nutrient content of the forage and the nutrient requirements of the cattle at various stages of production.

For example, research has shown that a greater percentage of cows will conceive when they are on an increasing plane of nutrition rather than on a decreasing plane of nutrition. Therefore, May calving cows and heifers may need supplemental protein and energy during the breeding season even though grass is abundant this summer.

Early spring calving cows typically graze deferred forages in the winter and receive hay and supplement from calving time until green grass is available, again. If the winter forage is lower in quality than most years, this could result in lower body condition of the cows coming into calving. Once calving ensues, the energy needs of the now lactating cow doubles, making this a difficult time for the cow to gain weight if necessary. Cows calving in a body condition score below 5 (1-9 scale) are less likely to rebreed and also have reduced immunoglobulins to pass onto the newborn in the colostrum. Therefore, maintaining a body condition score of no less than 5 on mature cows and no less than 6 on heifers during the winter is important and should be closely monitored this winter, due to forage maturity and quality.

Sending forage and hay samples to a commercial laboratory is an economical way to know what hay to feed at each production segment as well as how much supplement to feed to ensure requirements are met without overfeeding costly supplement.

University of Nebraska Extension personnel are available to assist in estimating nutrient requirements and ration formulation.

Fischer Statement on EPA Granting 31 Small Refinery Exemptions

U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, released the following statement on the announcement that the EPA will grant 31 exemptions to small refineries:

“I’m pleased to see President Trump and the administration head in a positive direction by waiving fewer gallons of ethanol this time around, but there’s more that must be done. For Nebraska farmers and ethanol producers, there needs to be order and transparency in what is now a messy exemption process. That’s why I’m focused on building support for my bipartisan bill – the RFS Integrity Act – that will fix this issue and provide rural America with much-needed certainty and predictability.”

Earlier this summer, Senator Fischer introduced the bipartisan RFS Integrity Act of 2019. The bill aims to add order and transparency to a messy and opaque Small Refinery Exemption process. It sets a deadline for refiners to apply for exemptions and requires the EPA to account for lost gallons when coming up with Renewable Volume Obligations. Additionally, the legislation mandates more transparency in how and when the EPA reports Small Refinery Exemptions. Currently, the RFS Integrity Act has nine cosponsors, five Republicans and four Democrats.

Nebraska Ethanol Board comments on refinery biofuel waivers

On Aug. 9, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced they granted 31 small refinery biofuel waivers for 2018. This follows the 54 waivers the Trump Administration granted in 2016 and 2017, which caused 2.6 billion gallons of demand destruction. These new waivers add another loss of 1.4 billion gallons, for a total loss of 4 billion gallons.

“Over the past two years, the EPA has granted hardship waivers to refineries owned by companies like Exxon Mobil and Chevron,” said Roger Berry, Nebraska Ethanol Board administrator. “Their continued handouts to the oil industry comes during a time when heartland farmers are really struggling due to depressed commodity prices, flooding and trade wars. Securing access and demand for homegrown, cleaner-burning biofuels should be top priority from an economic and environmental standpoint, not destroying the marketplace program the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) was created for.”

Berry urges everyone to show their continued support for the RFS. American Coalition for Ethanol highlights the many benefits of the RFS: it’s a program that saves American families hundreds of dollars a year in gasoline purchases; has deterred more than $40 billion in foreign oil purchases thus far; reduces lifecycle greenhouse gases emissions by 42 percent; and serves as a catalyst for technology innovation and private-sector investment in advanced biofuels.

The EPA released proposed 2020 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) for the RFS and is accepting comments on the proposal until Aug. 30, 2019. The public is invited to engage and make their voices heard regarding the proposed rule here.

“Exempting refiners from blending their obligated share of ethanol directly undermines demand for the quality fuel produced by our hard working farmers and the 1,400 Nebraskans directly employed in the ethanol industry,” Berry said. “I urge all who care about access to cleaner-burning fuel to contact your members of Congress to call for immediate action and submit your comments by Aug. 30. State the need to reallocate the 4 billion lost gallons in the 2020 RVOs.”


The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) has confirmed a case of Vesicular Stomatitis (VS) in a horse in Lincoln County.

VS is a viral disease which primarily affects horses and cattle, but can also affect sheep, goats and swine. The disease is characterized by fever and the formation of blister-like lesions in the mouth and on the dental pad, tongue, lips, nostrils, hooves and teats. When the blisters break, there is usually salivation and nasal discharge. As a result of these painful lesions, infected animals may refuse to eat and drink, which can lead to weight loss. There are no USDA-approved vaccines for VS.

NDA has quarantined the livestock on the affected farm. The farm will remain under quarantine for at least 14 days after the onset of lesions in the last affected animal on the premises.

“Protecting the health and safety of Nebraska’s animals is of the utmost importance in the state,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Dennis Hughes. “Unfortunately, based on VS confirmations in other states and transmission patterns, it was not unexpected to see this disease show up in Nebraska.”

“We want horse and cattle owners to be aware and consider taking precautions, particularly with animals that may be comingling with other animals at events over the next several months especially now that we know the disease is in Nebraska,” Hughes said.

The VS virus is primarily transmitted through the bites of infected insects or midges, so consider treatments to reduce flies and other insects in quarters where animals are housed. VS also can be spread by nose-to-nose contact between animals.

Nebraska has not seen this disease in livestock since 2015. To assist in helping prevent the spread of the disease into the state, Nebraska has placed import restrictions for livestock coming into the state from states that has confirmed VS cases. If you are considering moving an animal into Nebraska from an affected state, please call 402-471-2351 to learn more about the importation order.

Individuals from Nebraska transporting animals to other states should contact the destination state to learn about their import requirements before transporting animals.

“The VS virus itself usually runs its course in five to seven days, and it can take up to an additional seven days for that infected animal to recover from the symptoms,” said Hughes.

Although humans can become infected when handling the affected animals, it rarely occurs. To avoid human exposure, people should use personal protective measures when handling affected animals.

“Freezing temperatures kill the insects that spread the virus, so, until cold weather moves in, VS will continue to be a threat,” Hughes said.

For more information on VS, visit: http://www.nda.nebraska.gov/animal/diseases/vs/index.html.

$284,000 Raised for Ronald McDonald Houses

“One hundred and twenty-one days ago, I had a kidney transplant. I didn’t know if I was ever going to attend the Iowa State Fair again, and I sure didn’t dream I’d be doing this,” said Brian Thill before choosing the champion steer in this year’s event.

“Our family knows the hidden costs that families go through when you have an ill one. I remember my wife and I having a discussion about [the fact that] it costs $42 to park, and those types of things can add up when you’re in the hospital,” said Thill. “Thank God the Ronald McDonald House is there for those families.”

Thill, of Pleasantville, served as the official judge for the 37th annual Governor’s Charity Steer on August 10. The show and auction raised over $284,000 for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Iowa in Des Moines, Iowa City and Sioux City. The houses are located near hospitals and provide a “home away from home” for families of seriously ill children. The Iowa Beef Industry Council and Iowa Cattlemen’s Association sponsor the annual steer show and auction, which was hosted by Governor Kim Reynolds in the Pioneer Livestock Pavilion at the Iowa State Fair.

Since its inception in 1983, the Governor’s Charity Steer Show has raised over $3.8 million for the Ronald McDonald Houses of Iowa. This year’s event included 25 steers, the Iowa youth who raised them and celebrity show persons, including Governor Kim Reynolds.

Thill selected “Richard”, the steer raised by Makia Smith and shown by Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg, as this year’s “Judge’s Choice.” Richard was sponsored by the Crawford County Cattlemen’s Association and purchased by a coalition of Sioux County Businesses for $9,000, with an additional $1,000 support from the lieutenant governor and others. The market value of the steer was also donated, bringing the total donation to $11,498.72.

The steer shown by Brian Moore, Former District 58 State Representative, was chosen by the crowd as People’s Choice. “Straight Profit” was raised by Riley Miller, sponsored by the Jackson County Cattlemen, and purchased by Johnson Family Farms.

Justine Stevenson, representing the Seeds of Hope Foundation, earned the Showmanship Award from judge Terry Chapman of Tipton. Stevenson’s steer, “Seeds of Hope”, was raised by Brianna Wolfer of Albia and sponsored and purchased by the Monroe County Cattlemen and supporters, including the family of Chasen Stevenson.

Tyson to Rebuild Kansas Plant

Tyson Foods said Monday its beef plant in Holcomb, Kansas, will be shut down indefinitely after a weekend fire, but the company will rebuild and employees will be paid until production resumes.

A spokeswoman for Tyson said about 3,800 people work at the plant.

The plant is located in Holcomb, Kansas, but is often referred to as the Garden City plant, which is nearby. About 1,200 workers had to be evacuated from the plant Friday night when the fire broke out about 8:30 p.m. CDT. No injuries were reported from the fire.

"This is a difficult time for our team members and their families, and we want to ensure they're taken care of," said Steve Stouffer, group president of Tyson Fresh Meats. "Today, we will notify our full-time, active team members that they'll be paid weekly until production resumes."

The Wall Street Journal reported the Holcomb facility processes up to 6,000 cattle a day, which accounts for about 5% of U.S. cattle slaughter.

Stouffer said the team members may be called on to work during this time to help with clean-up and other projects, but regardless of the hours worked, all full-time active employees are guaranteed pay.

Tyson Foods operates six plants in Kansas, and Stouffer said the company is taking steps to move production to alternative sites. "Tyson Foods has built in some redundancy to handle situations like these and we will use other plants within our network to help keep our supply chain full," Stouffer said.

NCBA, PLC Welcome Finalization of Federal Rules Modernizing ESA Implementation

Today the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and Public Lands Council (PLC) welcomed the finalization of federal rules to modernize implementation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  This package from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) consists of three rules which improve the manner in which those agencies administer the ESA.  The rules address Sections 4, 4(d), and 7 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, which deal with listing and critical habitat, threatened species protection, and interagency consultation, respectively.

"The ESA affects cattle-producing families across the country,” said NCBA President Jennifer Houston.  “We are grateful to Secretary Bernhardt and the staff at FWS and NMFS for bringing this long-awaited regulatory relief to American cattle farmers and ranchers.”

“With these new rules, commonsense will once again be inserted into the ESA process,” added PLC President Bob Skinner.  “Among other things, prioritizing critical habitat designations on occupied territory, streamlining the consultation process, and rolling back the ‘Blanket 4(d) Rule’ demonstrates that the agencies are reaffirming their commitment to both conserve sensitive species and safeguard rural economies.”

Barring court action, the rules package will officially take effect following a 30-day objection period.

New Rules Mean Real-World Species Protection

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall

“Today’s Endangered Species Act reforms serve the needs of imperiled species as well as the people most affected by implementation of the law’s provisions. This makes real-world species recovery more likely as a result.

“These new regulations restore the traditional distinction between threatened and endangered species. That’s important. In the real world, the things we must do to restore a threatened species are not always the same as the ones we’d use for endangered species. This approach will eliminate unnecessary time and expense and ease the burden on farmers and ranchers who want to help species recover.

“Today’s rulemakings will also simplify environmental review and interagency consultations while maintaining effective species protections.

“Keeping species on the endangered list when they no longer face the threat of extinction takes valuable resources away from species that still need ongoing protection under the ESA. These new regulations will provide much needed consistency in the listing and de-listing process to better allocate critical resources to species in need.

“Finally, we are pleased to see one other, common-sense matter: Lands to be designated as unoccupied critical habitat for threatened and endangered species will have to actually include at least one physical or biological feature needed to conserve the species. Farm Bureau welcomes all of these changes.”

More Waivers, More Woes for Struggling Soy Markets

Amidst what now seems an unending trade war in which soy growers are caught in the middle, farmers of the U.S.’ number one export crop received another blow late in the week. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Friday night its decision to grant even more waivers of Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volumes, awarding a whopping 31 of 38 total Small Refinery Exemption (SRE) applications for the 2018 compliance year.

Davie Stephens, a soy grower from Clinton, Kentucky and president of the American Soybean Association (ASA) responded, “Of course ASA is unhappy. These exemptions undermine President Trump's pledge to support the RFS and undermine the Administration’s efforts to support farmers who are already bearing the brunt of trade disruptions. EPA’s decision is another blow to yet another market for soybean farmers.”

Last month, EPA announced biomass-based diesel and advanced biofuels volumes for 2021 will remain stagnant. And, EPA again failed to account for the significant gallons lost due to SRE, which makes the proposed volume, in effect, a reduction for biofuels.

Stephens explained the latest round of waivers in context; “Reduced demand for biodiesel resulting from retroactive exemptions is estimated already to be as high as 2.5 billion gallons since 2017, which basically undercuts the purpose of the RFS. Add in this latest round of refinery exemptions coupled with the lack of growth in the proposed annual RFS volumes, and those factors send biodiesel backwards when it should be moving forward.”

The waivers announced Friday evening combined with those issued for 2016 and 2017 RFS volumes brings the total number to more than 80 retroactive waivers, which significantly reduces biodiesel demand and, bottom line, results in billions of dollars in economic harm to the U.S. biodiesel industry, including soybean farmers.

Stephens concluded, “We would like for EPA to more carefully consider the capabilities of the biodiesel industry and to support its positive potential. We’re talking about producing higher levels of domestic, renewable fuels that enhance energy diversity and security; promoting jobs and value for farmers and rural economies; and helping the environment with reduced emissions. It seems like a win, win for EPA to support the RFS.”

Disruption in Fed Beef Slaughter

Stephen R. Koontz, Dept of Ag and Resource Economics, Colorado State University

Tyson's Finney County, Kansas, facility suffered a fire late Friday, August 9. The good news is that there were no reports of injuries, a testament to the planning and operation of the facility and emergency responders. The bad news - for cattle markets - is that this plant will remain closed indefinitely. The fire is reported to have started in the box shop but major damage - as in a collapsed portion of the roof - was also reported. The Finney County facility is west of Holcomb and Garden City, Kansas, and is a major fed cattle slaughter and boxed beef fabrication plant. The plant slaughters approximately 6,000 head per day and between 27,000 and 30,000 head per week. The is 4.5-5% of the national fed cattle slaughter.

The impact of this event on fed cattle markets will be substantial. The market is in the middle of the third quarter: supplies are heaviest, slaughter weights are ramping up, and competing meat supplies will begin their fall increase. This is the quarter with the highest volume of beef supplies and forecasts are for sustained supplies into the fourth quarter. The week of August 12 will begin with 50,000-to-60,000 animals in the southern plains needing to go to a different plant than which they were originally scheduled. And that's just the cash market trades. The number of formula cattle is substantially larger. Disruption in the southern plains will spillover nationally. I anticipate that there will be more than a modest degree of panic as the largest annual supplies are moved around temporally and spatially. The rest of this month will be difficult and there is the potential for the disruption and accompanying volatility to continue into much of the fall. The inventory of cattle are rather clear but the impact of this disruption on planning and orderly marketing is not.

The countering pressures are that packer returns are excellent: farm-to-wholesale margins are very strong. This disruption will maintain incentives for a packer to run as many hours as possible. Market-ready inventories of cattle are strong but are being depleted through the summer and this will persist into the fall. Further, prices for fed cattle have been reasonable through the summer - after early summer collapses - and feeding costs have been declining. Also, margins for retailers have been very strong and some of the strongest in recent years. There are clear economic factors countering market disruptions. But cattle markets will likely see continued volatility through the fall and possibly the remainder of the year.

What do the technicals say? This disruption will create new technical signals. Live cattle and feeder cattle contracts have fallen sharply since breaking up-trends in late April. Markets found support in late May and early June. This support was tested and held in late June. Throughout the month of August, markets have again been moving lower and approaching support levels. By them self, this behavior would suggest a buy signal and it would have been reasonable for cattle producers to lift some price protection established in the spring. But after the recent news, it is not likely this firm support at around $108 for DEC live cattle and $132 for NOV Feeder Cattle will hold. It may take several days for support to be broken and sell signals clearly generated. But I believe this to be likely. After that, the live and feeder markets will be into new territory - new lows - and charts of the open contracts will be of little use. We will have to look at weekly charts for price levels where the market will likely stop. In short, aggressive downside price protection for cattle producers will be very much needed the rest of the year.

APHIS Announces Plan to Use Farm Bill Funding to Support Animal Disease Prevention and Management

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is announcing initial plans to carry out new animal health activities using resources provided by the 2018 Farm Bill. Section 12101 of the 2018 Farm Bill established a three-part program to comprehensively support animal disease prevention and management. The bill included funding to create two new programs: the National Animal Vaccine and Veterinary Countermeasures Bank (vaccine bank) and the National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program (NADPRP). It also expands funding opportunities for the existing National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN).

This fall, APHIS will issue a sources sought notice to gather updated information from vaccine manufacturers interested in supplying the vaccine bank. The information will be used to develop a forward-looking vaccine acquisition strategy leading to one or more requests for proposals for foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) vaccine to address a potential outbreak. For 2019, APHIS will also make available up to $10 million in funding to be divided between NADPRP and NAHLN based on the quality of proposed projects. Once fully implemented, these three programs will work together to protect and improve the health of our nation’s livestock, helping farmers and ranchers provide high-quality agricultural products to consumers here and abroad.

For our highest consequence animal diseases, it is important to have an effective insurance policy in the extremely rare chance of an outbreak. The new U.S.-only vaccine bank—a concept APHIS officials have long discussed with stakeholders and industry—allows USDA to stockpile animal vaccine and related products to use in the event of an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease or other high-impact foreign animal diseases.

Our most effective strategy to protect animal health is keeping disease out of the country in the first place. To that end, the new preparedness and response program, NADPRP, allows APHIS to enter into cooperative agreements with States, universities, livestock producer organizations, and other eligible entities for targeted projects aimed at preventing animal pests and diseases from entering the United States and reducing the spread and impact of potential disease incursions. In 2019, APHIS funding will build upon and enhance current disease prevention and emergency response efforts by supporting an initial round of training and exercise projects, as stakeholders have long supported this area of importance. APHIS will announce the application period and dates of webinars to assist potential applicants through the process in a future message to stakeholders. APHIS will continue to develop a more formalized annual NADPRP stakeholder consultation and annual priority-setting process to be used for implementation in 2020 and beyond.

Should foreign animal pests or disease strike, diagnosing and detecting the extent of the outbreak as rapidly as possible plays a key role in limiting the impact of the pest or disease on producers. APHIS Farm Bill funding for NAHLN in 2019 will support targeted projects to expand diagnostic capacity and our ability to rapidly respond to adverse animal health events. NAHLN is a nationally coordinated network and partnership of Federal, State, and university-associated animal health laboratories. NAHLN veterinary diagnostic laboratories provide animal health diagnostic testing to detect biological threats to the nation’s food animals, thus protecting animal health, public health, and the nation's food supply. Additional information about NAHLN is available on the APHIS NAHLN web site.

Information about these programs is available on the APHIS website at https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/resources/farmbill. The site will be updated periodically with details about how to apply for these funds.

Peterson, Costa Comment on Implementation of Farm Bill Animal Health Programs

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson of Minnesota and Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture Chairman Jim Costa of California issued statements Monday afternoon following USDA’s announcement of implementation by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of animal health programs authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill.

“I prioritized funding new tools to help the U.S. prevent and fight animal pests and diseases as part of the 2018 Farm Bill, and it’s good to see APHIS making some progress to implement these programs,” said Peterson. “I am glad to see that initial funds for the new National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program will be awarded before the end of 2019, and I and look forward to seeing a broader scope of needs addressed in future years. I am also pleased to see a continued recognition of the importance of the our National Animal Health Laboratory Network and a commitment to move forward on the newly-created National Vaccine and Veterinary Countermeasures Bank. Together, these programs will strengthen our farmers and ranchers’ ability to guard against outbreaks of diseases like African Swine Fever, avian influenza, and other critical animal health threats across the country.”

“This issue has been front and center for us, including at our May hearing with Under Secretary Ibach where I pressed him to implement these programs as soon as possible. I’m pleased by this first step and hope to soon see these programs up and running at full speed,” said Costa. “As Chair of the Livestock and Foreign Agriculture Subcommittee, I’m committed to working with APHIS to avoid and reduce the impacts of situations like the current outbreak of Virulent Newcastle Disease that has had an adverse impact on California’s poultry operations.”

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