Monday, November 4, 2019

Monday November 4 Ag News


For the week ending November 3, 2019, there were 5.1 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 1 percent very short, 11 short, 84 adequate, and 4 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 1 percent very short, 9 short, 86 adequate, and 4 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn condition rated 2 percent very poor, 6 poor, 19 fair, 56 good, and 17 excellent. Corn harvested was 60 percent, near 62 last year, and behind 69 for the five-year average.

Soybeans harvested was 94 percent, ahead of 88 last year, and equal to average.

Winter wheat condition rated 1 percent very poor, 5 poor, 22 fair, 53 good, and 19 excellent. Winter wheat emerged was 97 percent, ahead of 92 last year, and near 95 average.

Sorghum condition rated 2 percent very poor, 3 poor, 21 fair, 65 good, and 9 excellent. Sorghum harvested was 54 percent, behind 71 last year and 73 average.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 1 percent very poor, 4 poor, 16 fair, 60 good, and 19 excellent.


Iowa farmers continued to deal with challenging field conditions  as  the  first  accumulating  snowfall  of  the year  fell  across  parts  of  the  State  during  the  week ending  November  3,  2019,  according  to  the  USDA, National  Agricultural  Statistics  Service.  Statewide there were 4.4 days suitable for fieldwork. Fieldwork activities  included  harvesting  soybeans  and  corn  for grain,  spreading  manure,  applying  anhydrous,  baling corn stalks, and fall tillage.

Topsoil moisture condition was rated 0 percent very short,   1   percent   short,   81   percent   adequate   and 18percent  surplus. Subsoil  moisture condition  was rated 0 percent very short, 2 percent short, 81 percent adequate and 17 percent surplus.

Forty-three   percent   of   the corn crop   has   been harvested  for  grain, 8  days  behind  last  year  and 11 days  behind  the  5-year  average.  Producers  in  the north  central  district  were  able  to  harvest  over  one-quarter of their expected crop this past week. Moisture content of field corn being harvested for grain was at 21  percent.  Corn  condition  rated  67  percent  good  to excellent.

Eighty percent of the soybean crop has been harvested, 3 days behind last year and 1 week behind average.

Areas  in  Iowa  are  still  dealing  with  muddy  feedlots, while  others  reported  no  livestock  issues  this  past week.

Corn Harvest Hits Halfway Point; Still Second-Slowest Pace in Past 20 Years

The U.S. corn harvest finally hit the halfway point last week while the soybean harvest was about three-quarters complete as of Sunday, Nov. 3, according to USDA NASS' latest Crop Progress report released Monday.

Nationwide, corn harvest progressed another 11 percentage points last week to reach 52% as of Sunday, 23 percentage points behind the five-year average of 75%. That was further behind the average pace than the previous week when harvest was running 20 percentage points behind the five-year average.

Meanwhile, soybean harvest moved ahead 13 percentage points last week to reach 75% as of Sunday. That was 12 percentage points behind the five-year average of 87%, an improvement from last Monday's report, when harvest was running 16 percentage points behind average.

Winter wheat progress maintained a near-normal pace last week. As of Sunday, 89% of winter wheat was planted, slightly ahead of the five-year average of 88%. Winter wheat emerged was estimated at 71%, just slightly behind the five-year average of 74%.  Winter wheat condition was estimated at 57% good to excellent, up 1 percentage point from 56% the previous week.

Sorghum harvested reached 78%, ahead of the five-year average of 72%. Cotton harvested was estimated at 53%, also ahead of the average pace of 51%.

Register today for the "Increasing Dairy Profitability" webinar series

Kim Clark, NE Dairy Extension Educator

We are hosting an “Increasing Profitability Webinar Series” the first three Tuesday’s at 12:00 noon CDT in November.

November 5: Lameness and Profitability by Dr. Jan Shearer
November 12: Maximizing Income over Feed Costs by Dr. Victor Cabrera
November 19: Spores and Milk Quality by Dr. Andreia Bianchini

Register for the webinars at  After you register, you will receive an email to join the webinar.  The link to join the webinar is the same for each week.

We will be recording and archiving each webinar on

Iowa Beef Center Offers Baleage Information as Winter Forage Option

Wet conditions have created significant challenges this year for cattle producers who want to put up hay for winter forage needs. Shorter days and cooler fall temperatures add to the challenge of putting up dry hay.

According to Iowa State University Extension and Outreach specialists, producers who still need to put up hay this fall may want to consider making baleage as an option for dealing with cold and wet weather conditions. Denise Schwab, extension beef specialist, Brian Dougherty, extension ag engineer, and Brian Lang, extension field agronomists, provide directions on making high quality baleage in an Iowa Beef Center article published Nov. 1.

Making baleage is a method of preserving forage where bales are made at a higher moisture content than dry hay and then sealed in plastic wrap for storage. The high moisture level and airtight environment causes the forage to ferment.

The time needed to cure forage for baleage is drastically reduced compared to production of dry hay, thus reducing the impacts of weather on harvest. This is a significant advantage when trying to harvest forages in conditions that are poor for making dry hay.

The specialists say that producers may be able to use existing equipment for the production and feeding of baleage. One question that often comes up is whether or not a conventional baler can be used for making baleage. The answer is that it depends on the baler. Some newer balers can achieve sufficient bale density for making quality baleage. It is best to consult with the equipment manufacturer if you have specific questions about using your baler for making baleage.

The next equipment decision a producer needs to make is how to wrap the bales in plastic. Bales can be wrapped individually on a bale wrapping table or they can be wrapped in-line with a ‘tube’ wrapper. A third option is to place the bales into individual bags that can be sealed by hand.

The entire article, Baleage Is an Option for Dealing with Wet Fall Harvest Conditions, includes details on making baleage, equipment needs and tips from the specialists for making high quality baleage and feeding considerations. It is posted on the Iowa Beef Center website...  For additional information see the Iowa Beef Center publication "Making the Switch to Baleage." 

Monthly Webinar Looks at Grazing Cover Crops Integrated into Row Crops

Iowa Learning Farms will host a webinar on Wednesday, Nov. 20 at 12 p.m. about the research being done at Iowa State University on grazing cover crops.

Cover crops provide many benefits ranging from reducing soil erosion and building soil organic matter to nutrient cycling and scavenging. Another additional benefit they offer is as an additional forage resource.

During the webinar ISU Extension and Outreach specialists Erika Lundy, extension beef specialist, and Rebecca Vittetoe, extension field agronomist, will share what they’ve learned from the ongoing Iowa State research looking at integrating cattle, crops and cover crops. Lundy’s current extension and research programs are focused on beef cattle nutrition and forage management to improve profitability on the farm level. Vittetoe focuses on the agronomic side with field and forage crop production and integrated pest management with a special emphasis on plant pathology.

Feed expenses continue to be half the cost of production of a beef cattle enterprise. With cover crops growing across the state to protect our soil and waters, then adding cattle to graze those green forage acres is another opportunity to capitalize on the benefits that cover crops can provide. Lundy said, “One of our primary goals with this research was to answer the question ‘if we graze cover crops, do we still have the soil health benefits that we know we get from incorporating cover crops into row crop acres?’ With the results we are generating from this research, we think the answer is, ‘Yes!’”

A Certified Crop Adviser board approved continuing education unit (1 CEU: Crop Management) is available for those who are able to watch the live webinar. Information for submitting your CCA/CPAg/CPSS/CPSC number to earn the credit will be provided at the end of the presentation.

To watch, go to and click the link to join the webinar shortly before 12 p.m. on Nov. 20, to download the Zoom software and log in option. The webinar will be recorded and archived on the ILF website for watching at any time at

Rural Leaders Ask President Trump to Uphold Biofuel Promise

A broad coalition of biofuel and farm advocates today sent a letter to the White House calling on President Trump to fix a flawed proposal from the Environmental Protection Agency, which “fails in its mission to reinvigorate farm economies and reopen biofuel plants across America’s heartland.” The letter was signed by 60 organizations, including the Renewable Fuels Association. It notes that the EPA’s draft plan undermines the administration’s commitment to restore integrity to the Renewable Fuel Standard and accurately account for biofuel demand destroyed by small refinery exemptions (SREs).

“The flawed proposal swaps out a critical component of the SRE remedy sought by farmers and the biofuels industry,” wrote farm and biofuel leaders. “Instead of recovering the gallons exempted by EPA, it proposes to recover only those gallons previously recommended for exemption by the U.S. Department of Energy. This one EPA modification converts a commitment to fully account for SREs into a bureaucratically uncertain path that recovers only one fraction of those gallons lost to SREs and could result in RFS backsliding in 2020. This lack of certainty sabotages efforts toward market recovery and will stop biorefineries from reopening.”

Better Than Expected Fall

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

Fed cattle, feeder cattle, and calf cash prices have all been stronger than expected through this fall. Live cattle and feeder cattle futures contract prices have also shaken off the pessimism of abundant supplies compounded by the unexpected closure of the Tyson beef plant in southwest Kansas. How did the market turn this corner?

There has been the standard discussion of timely marketing of fed cattle, slaughter weights being modestly behind last year's, packer's running substantial fed cattle slaughter on Saturdays, and other supply focused points. What is being discussed less in the strong retailer and, by definition, consumer effects? Packers margins have been very strong in August and September, and likely October, approaching $500 per head. These are the live-to-wholesale beef price spreads. This value is much higher than other months and much higher than prior year highs. This is, of course, due in part to the plant closure. But it is interesting that the Live-to-Retail price spread has moved little in these same two months. The live-to-retail spread is up only less than 2-3%. The retailer margin or the wholesale-to-retail spread has declined sharply. Again, the live-to-wholesale spread is up, the live-to-retail spread is even, so it is the retailer that has taken a chunk out of their margin.

Where did this go or what is the retailer paying more for? The boxed beef compositive value increased almost $30/cwt in a three-week period prior to Labor Day. The cut that was the biggest mover was loin price: increasing $200/cwt. The ribeye increased about $150/cwt and remains strong into the rib roast holiday season. Other primal cuts are both positive and negative, so it is the middle-meats and steak cuts that the retailer is driving. Finally, an interesting thing that has yet to be explained is the strength of the Choice-Select spread - the USDA Choice grade premium or the Select grade discount. The Choice-Select spread has normal seasonal strength in spring months and then as Choice supplies increase over summer then the premium normally fades. The Choice-Select spread has yet to show anything other than modest and temporary weakness this year. The spread is currently better than +$25/cwt and has been that way since June. A typical Choice-Select spread for this time of year is much closer to $10/cwt. Thus, it is clearly the retailer that has helped the cattle market turn the corner on any pessimism from summer supplies and slaughter disruption. And there does not appear to be any push-back from the consumer.

2019-20 National FFA Officer Team Elected at the 92nd National FFA Convention & Expo

Students from Montana, Virginia, Puerto Rico, New Mexico, Oregon and Ohio have been elected by delegates throughout the United States to serve on the 2019-20 National FFA Officer team.

Kolesen McCoy, an agribusiness and applied economics major at Ohio State, was elected national president.

Kourtney Lehman, an agricultural business management major at Oregon State University, was elected national secretary.

Lyle Logemann, an agricultural education major at Eastern New Mexico University, was elected western region vice president.

Tess Seibel, a nursing major at James Madison University, was elected eastern region vice president.

Mamie Hertel, a financial engineering major at Montana State University, was elected central region vice president.

Yomar Roman, an office administration major at Universidad de Puerto Rico, was elected southern region vice president.

Each year at the National FFA Convention & Expo, six students are elected by delegates to represent the organization as national officers. Delegates elect a president, secretary, and vice presidents representing the central, southern, eastern, and western regions of the country.

National officers commit to a year of service to the National FFA Organization. Each officer travels more than 100,000 national and international miles to interact with business and industry leaders; thousands of FFA members and teachers; corporate sponsors; government and education officials; state FFA leaders; the general public; and more. The team will lead personal growth and leadership training conferences for FFA members throughout the country and help set policies that will guide the future of FFA and promote agricultural literacy.

BASF’s xarvio announces new digital farming collaboration with WinField United

BASF and WinField® United, the crop inputs and insights business of Land O’Lakes, Inc., announced a new collaboration that will make it easier for growers and retailers to access digital farming solutions across multiple platforms.

The two companies will establish a single sign-on connection from WinField United’s ATLAS® platform to the BASF xarvio™ digital platforms, starting with xarvio SCOUTING, a mobile application that can quickly identify weeds and diseases with a click of a smartphone. Over time, growers and retailers will also have the ability to synchronize data between the xarvio and WinField United platforms, saving time with data entry while combining agronomic insights into one place.

“Given the tremendous workloads retailers and growers carry out, both groups will be pleased with the ease of use made possible through this collaboration,” said Paul Rea, Senior Vice President, BASF Agricultural Solutions North America. “WinField United customers will be able to utilize xarvio systems without having to create new credentials, enhancing their experience with both platforms.” 

Leading in advanced analytics and agronomic artificial intelligence, xarvio products help growers optimize crop production efficiency and improve their bottom line, while providing growers with field-level and zone-based solutions. Farmers will be able to access this information through their retailer’s ATLAS portal. ATLAS, WinField United’s online retail portal, allows retailers to tailor data, insights and other pertinent information to their farmers through their branded website. Together, xarvio and ATLAS will enhance data standardization and synchronicity to increase the overall performance of the digital ag tools.

“As a farmer-owned co-op, we are always pushing the envelope to bring new solutions that offer distinct value and benefits to our members,” said Teddy Bekele, Chief Technology Officer, Land O’Lakes. “Interaction between these platforms can augment field activities by helping retail agronomists advise the community of growers they work with to help address growers’ most urgent needs.”

The two companies are planning to expand the agronomic data links between xarvio and WinField United platforms through application programming interface (API). This function would allow for the user’s xarvio SCOUTING data to consolidate into new insight offerings for ATLAS users, such as providing regional-level risk and heat maps to help growers stay on top of pest pressure in their area.

The single sign-on connection will be available to ATLAS users in time for the 2020 growing season.

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