Monday, October 21, 2019

Monday October 21 Ag News


For the week ending October 20, 2019, there were 6.0 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 1 percent very short, 10 short, 84 adequate, and 5 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 1 percent very short, 7 short, 85 adequate, and 7 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn condition rated 2 percent very poor, 5 poor, 18 fair, 56 good, and 19 excellent. Corn mature was 94 percent, near 98 last year and 97 for the five-year average. Harvested was 30 percent, near 33 last year, and behind 35 average.

Soybean condition rated 1 percent very poor, 4 poor, 20 fair, 62 good, and 13 excellent. Soybeans dropping leaves was 97 percent, near 99 both last year and average. Harvested was 60 percent, ahead of 52 last year, but behind 67 average.

Winter wheat emerged was 85 percent, near 82 last year, and equal to average.

Sorghum condition rated 2 percent very poor, 2 poor, 13 fair, 67 good, and 16 excellent. Sorghum mature was 95 percent, near 98 last year and 97 average. Harvested was 22 percent, behind 41 both last year and average.

Dry edible beans harvested was 90 percent.

Pasture and Range Report: Pasture and range conditions rated 1 percent very poor, 3 poor, 18 fair, 62 good, and 16 excellent.


Field conditions throughout Iowa improved allowing farmers 5.1 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending October 20, 2019, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Fieldwork activities included chopping silage; applying fertilizer and manure; and harvesting hay, seed corn, soybeans, and corn for grain.

Topsoil moisture condition was rated 0 percent very short, 1 percent short, 78 percent adequate and 21 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture condition was rated 0 percent very short, 2 percent short, 78 percent adequate and 20 percent surplus.

Eighty-seven percent of the corn crop has reached maturity, 3 weeks behind last year and over 2 weeks behind the 5-year average. Fifteen percent of the crop has been harvested for grain, 11 days behind average. Corn condition rated 66 percent good to excellent.

Ninety-four percent of the soybean crop has begun dropping leaves or beyond, 9 days behind average. Over 30 percent of the State’s expected soybean crop was harvested during the week ending October 20, 2019. This brought the total harvested to 48 percent statewide, 4 days ahead of last year but 5 days behind average. This marks the first time the 2019 soybean crop has been ahead of the 2018 soybean crop; harvest of last year’s crop was also behind average due to wet field conditions. Soybean condition rated 65 percent good to excellent.

The third cutting of alfalfa hay is nearly complete at 97 percent, almost 3 weeks behind average.

Pasture condition improved from the previous week to 50 percent good to excellent which was the highest rating since the first week of August. Feedlots remain muddy.

US Corn, Soybean Harvest Slowest Since 2009

The U.S. corn and soybean harvest made some headway last week but is the slowest it's been since 2009, according to USDA NASS' latest Crop Progress report released Monday. 

As of Sunday, 86% of corn was estimated as mature, 11 percentage points behind the five-year average of 97%. That was closer to the average pace than last week, when corn mature was running 19 percentage points behind average.  Nationwide, corn harvest progressed 8 percentage points to reach 30% as of Sunday, 17 percentage points behind the five-year average of 47% and further behind the average pace than the previous week when harvest was 14 percentage points behind the five-year average.   The condition of corn still in fields was rated 56% good to excellent, up 1 percentage point from 55% the previous week.

The gap between the current percentage of soybeans dropping leaves and the five-year average continued to narrow last week, reaching 94% as of Sunday, just 3 percentage points behind the five-year average of 97%.  Soybean harvest also picked up speed last week, moving ahead 20 percentage points last week to reach 46% as of Sunday. That was still 18 percentage points behind the five-year average of 64%, but was an improvement from last Monday's report, when harvest was running 23 percentage points behind average. As with corn, the pace of this year's soybean harvest is the slowest since 2009 when 30% of the crop was harvested as of Oct. 18.  Soybean condition held steady at 54%.

Spring wheat harvest inched ahead another 2 percentage points to reach 96% as of Sunday, 4 percentage points behind the five-year average of 100% complete. The lack of progress was due to the northwestern U.S. Plains continuing to struggle with adverse weather.

In contract, winter wheat progress remained in line with the average pace last week. As of Sunday, 77% of winter wheat was planted, slightly ahead of the five-year average of 75%. Winter wheat emerged was estimated at 53%, equal to the five-year average.

Sorghum mature was estimated at 92%, ahead of the average of 89%. Sorghum harvested reached 49%, behind the five-year average of 53%.

Ricketts Cuts Ribbon at Costco Poultry Plant

On Saturday, Governor Pete Ricketts took part in the ribbon cutting ceremony for Costco’s new chicken plant in Fremont.  The poultry operation will turn Nebraska-grown broilers into Costco’s popular rotisserie chickens and other chicken products.  Costco sells 90 million rotisserie chickens at its stores annually, and the plant in Fremont will help meet this demand.  At full capacity, the facility will process over 2 million chickens each week.

Costco plans to hire between 800 and 1,000 Nebraskans to work at the plant by the time it’s fully operational.  In addition to the jobs at the Fremont facility, Costco is partnering with more than 100 farm families to build new chicken barns in Nebraska.  Additionally, corn and soybean growers will supply the equivalent of 2,000 acres of corn and 2,000 acres of soybeans to Costco every week. 


The long-range strategic planning process for the beef industry is underway, a process that takes months to coordinate and pulls together key leaders from all over the country representing different sectors of the beef business.


Updated every five years, the Beef Industry Long Range Plan is the standard by which the beef industry focuses on one strategic direction, identifying key areas to advance beef demand.
Since 1995, industry leaders have gathered to develop an aligned, comprehensive plan with the goal of increasing consumer demand for beef. These leaders are brought together to study and compile major areas of opportunity facing beef for the next five years. The current plan, in place since 2016, focuses on increasing beef demand in four key areas:
-    Driving growth in beef exports
-    Protecting and enhancing the business and political climate for beef
-    Growing consumer trust in beef and beef production
-    Promoting and strengthening beef’s value proposition

The newly appointed committee will begin convening over the next several months and will consider all aspects of the industry from production trends, economic factors, foreign markets, consumer trends, and the competitive climate. The group will evaluate the current plan and determine, based on industry trends and insights, where the industry should maintain and/or shift focus over the next five years.


The new plan, which will be effective from 2021 through 2025, will be developed by a group of leaders representing key beef segments from across the industry. This Long Range Plan Task Force will be led by Kim Brackett, owner/operator of Brackett Ranches, a cow-calf and stocker operation in Idaho. “Having helped develop our current long-range plan, I was encouraged with how it has been embraced by the industry, especially by Checkoff committees,” said Brackett. “Our new plan will be researched and fashioned with as much care, and I’m sure be received with as much enthusiasm.”

The balance of the task force includes individuals devoted to ensuring the long-term success of the beef industry.
    Keith Belk, Department Head of Animal Science, Colorado State University (Fort Collins, CO)
    Tim Brady, Director of Risk Management at Agri Beef packing (Boise, ID)
    Donnell Brown, Owner/Manager of R.A. Brown Ranch (Throckmorton, TX)
    John Butler, CEO the Beef Marketing Group, feeder (Manhattan, KS)
    Paul Defoor, Co-CEO at Cactus Feeders, Inc. (Amarillo, TX)
    Joe Goggins, Auction Market/Seedstock (Billings, MT)
    Ken Griner, President of Usher Land & Timber, Inc., cow/calf and seedstock (Chiefland, FL)
    Mary Kraft, Dairy Owner/Operator (Fort Morgan, CO)
    Jon Lowe, Sr. VP, Cattle & Equine Business, Zoetis animal health (Parsippany, NJ)
    Dean Meyer, Farmer/Feeder (Rock Rapids, IA)
    William Rishel, Rishel Ranch, seedstock (Lincoln, NE)

    Suzy Strassburger, President, Strassburger Steaks, LLC, a specialty meat purveyor (Carlstadt, NJ)
    Jerry Wulf, Partner/Advisor Wulf Cattle, seedstock (Hancock, MN)


The Beef Checkoff, its committees and contracting organizations, use the Long Range Plan as their guidebook. All funding decisions and focus areas of Checkoff projects and programs, by design, must follow the key areas outlined in the plan that align with Checkoff budget categories: promotion, research, consumer information, industry information, producer communication and foreign marketing. To ensure this focus, each year Checkoff committees continue to renew their alignment by identifying key plan initiatives as their priorities. Checkoff contractors take this direction and develop Checkoff-funded programs in support of those priorities.

The coordination of these meetings and processes is handled operationally through a joint effort between the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.  The task force will analyze its research and findings over the next months, with a goal of presenting the new plan to Cattlemen’s Beef Board members and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Board of Directors for approval at the industry’s annual business meeting in Denver the week of July 27, 2020.

Visit to read the current full and abbreviated versions of the Beef Industry Long Range Plan.


Milk production in Nebraska during the July-September 2019 quarter totaled 345 million pounds, down 2 percent from the July-September quarter last year, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. The average number of milk cows was 58,000 head, 1,000 head less than the same period last year.

July-September Milk Production up 0.5 Percent

Milk production in the United States during the July - September quarter totaled 54.3 billion pounds, up 0.5 percent from the July - September quarter last year.  The average number of milk cows in the United States during the quarter was 9.32 million head, 10,000 head less than the April - June quarter, and 66,000 head less than the same period last year.

September Milk Production up 1.6 Percent

Milk production in the 24 major States during September totaled 16.8 billion pounds, up 1.6 percent from September 2018. August revised production at 17.5 billion pounds, was up 0.5 percent from August 2018. The August revision represented an increase of 32 million pounds or 0.2 percent from last month's preliminary production estimate.  Production per cow in the 24 major States averaged 1,913 pounds for September, 33 pounds above September 2018.  The number of milk cows on farms in the 24 major States was 8.80 million head, 11,000 head less than September 2018, but 7,000 head more than August 2019.

IOWA: Milk production in Iowa during September 2019 totaled 423 million pounds, up less than 1 percent from the previous September according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Milk Production report. The average number of milk cows during September, at 217,000 head, was the same as last month but down 3,000 from last year. Monthly production per cow averaged 1,950 pounds, up 30 pounds from last September.

Man Killed in Accident at Soybean Plant in St. Joseph

(AP) — Federal authorities are investigating the death of a 56-year-old man at a soybean processing plant in St. Joseph.  The accident occurred Monday, October 14th at AG Processing in St. Joseph.

Tony Wilson died as the result of a fall. His hometown was not released.  Police have determined there was no foul play involved in the death.

AGP spokesman Matt Caswell said Wilson's death was an unfortunate incident. No other details were released.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating Wilson's death.

Alabama auctioneer wins World Livestock Auctioneer Championship qualifier

Chuck Bradley, Rockford, Ala., was named Champion at the 2020 World Livestock Auctioneer Championship (WLAC) Western Regional Qualifying Event. Crawford Livestock Market, LLC in Crawford, Neb., hosted the first of three WLAC qualifying events on Friday, October 11. A total of 33 contestants competed for a top ten placing, granting them a spot in the 2020 WLAC Semi-Finals at Dickson Regional Livestock Center, Inc. in Dickson, Tenn.

A relative newcomer to the championship, Bradley started competing in the WLAC in 2017.  Making the events  semi-finals in 2018, and in 2019 received the Reserve Champion title. When asked about winning the Western Regional Qualifying Event, Bradley said winning was reassurance he could compete in the WLAC and to win with so many talented auctioneers at the event was a feat in itself.

Bradley didn’t grow up with an auctioneering background.  His father was a police officer, but he remembered listening to cattle auctioneers as a child, “they were always your hero, the guys that ran the sale.”

Bradley also said, “You know that title of World Champion Livestock Auctioneer is not something that you will ever get to do again, you win it one time. What it means for me and why I want to do it is because of where I came from. I did not grow up in the auction industry. I’m a first-generation auctioneer and to be able to win that title would show that anybody can do it. No matter where you came from or what your background was that if you have a dream you can do it once you set your mind to it.”

In 2014, Bradley attended auctioneer school at North Georgia School of Auctioneering and then took his first auctioneering job selling in Montgomery, Ala. for Montgomery Stock Yards, Montgomery, Ala his sponsor for the event. 

A live cattle sale took place with actual bidders in the seats. Contestants were judged on the clarity and quality of their auction chant; auctioneer presentation; ability to catch bids and conduct the sale; and how likely the judge would be to hire the auctioneer. Judges for each qualifying event are livestock market owners, managers, dealers and/or allied industry members from across the United States.

Also making a great showing were Reserve Champion Steve Goedert, Dillon, Mont.; Runner-Up Will Epperly, Dunlap, Iowa and Top Rookie Collin Gibbs, Miles City, Mont. The remaining contestants who earned a top ten finish are Zach Ballard, Mitchell, S.D.; Neil Bouray, Webber, Kan.; Eric Drees, Caldwell, Idaho; Kyle Layman, North Platte, Neb.; Lander Nicodemus, Cheyenne, Wyo.; Sixto Paiz, Portales, N.M.; and Dustin Smith, Jay, Okla.

Other contestants who competed are Jared Anstine, Kingsville, Mo.; Ted Baum, Elgin, Neb.; Andy Baumeister, Mullin, Texas; Spencer Cline, Kingston, Ark.; Dean Edge, Rimbey, Alberta; Collin Gibbs, Miles City, Mont.; Jacob Hillis, Rideway, Wis.; Travis Holck, Ruthton, Minn.; Jake Hopwood, Valentine, Neb.; Jase Hubert, Olpe, Kan.; Lynn Langvardt, Chapman, Kan.; Josh Larson, Haxtun, Colo.; Curt Littau, Carter, S.D.; Jalen Mathis, Hutto, Texas; Gregg Matney, Lusk, Wyo; Jeremy Miller, Fairland, Okla.; Terry Moe, Watford City, N.D.; Drake Morrow, Opp, Ala.; Larry Nisly, Quaker City, Ohio; Mark Oberholtzer, Loyal, Wis., Kirk Otte, Rushville, Neb.; Ethan Schuette, Washington, Kan.; and Curtis Wetovick, Fullerton, Neb.

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