Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Wednesday August 18 Ag News

– Todd Whitney, NE Extension

Cover crops can complement corn silage systems; especially when soil erosion protection is a concern. As the name implies, cover crops provide ‘cover protection’ for bare soils subject to erosion by rain droplets when residue has been removed. Beyond erosion benefits, the choice of cover crops usage as a single plant species or mix may be further based on soil health goals; growing season remaining after silage harvest; intended cash crop for the upcoming year; and economics.

If corn silage harvest occurs early enough in the fall such as mid- to late-August; both small grains and brassica will likely have enough time to produce favorable forage yields (when moisture is not a limiting factor). Research indicates that cover crop forage production will double for each month that the fall growing season can be extended. As planting dates move later into the fall, there may be less usage of brassica plants such as turnips, canola and radishes. Among the small grain cover crop choices, cereal rye is usually the most preferred species choice for fall and early spring growth and grazing. Oats, winter wheat and triticale may also provide fall forage grazing, but cereal rye breaks dormancy earlier in the Spring. Thus, rye will potentially provide more spring forage production if corn will be the intended crop planted on previous silage fields.

Oats, wheat, triticale, and barley may be preferred if the intended next crop can have delayed Spring planting.

The bottom line is that living plants can protect soils as well as provide grazing forage.

Nebraska Brings Beef Nutrition to East Coast

The Nebraska Beef Council recently partnered with the Campbell University football program, the North Carolina Beef Council, and Crystal Zabka-Belsky, registered sports dietitian from Omaha, to bring a taste of the Beef State to the Tar Heel State. The multi-state collaboration focused on beef as a premier protein for fueling and performance, coupled with skill development and hands-on meal preparation to implement effective nutrition habits for athletes throughout the training season and beyond.

During the event, players were tasked with building balanced performance meals featuring beef. In a pre-session survey, one-third of the athletes indicated that their lack of knowledge when it came to preparing beef, along with their perception that beef is an expensive protein, led them to seek alternative meal options. The Beef Checkoff helped offer education sessions to over 100 student athletes on the Campbell football team focusing on the nutrient availability and cost-per-serving analysis of various beef dishes.

While the program took place in North Carolina, Campbell’s head coach, Mike Minter, is a former Husker and two-time national champion (’94 & ’95) who played 10 years in the NFL and understands the benefit beef plays in fueling, performance, and recovery.  

Volunteer to help in the Birthing Pavilion at the 2021 Nebraska State Fair

Promotion and Education Committee will be busy at the 2021 Nebraska State Fair. They are looking for volunteers for the Livestock Birthing Pavilion. Volunteers are needed each day of the Nebraska State Fair from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. to help welcome those visiting the Livestock Birthing Pavilion. Work a shift when you attend the fair and help share your love and knowledge of the industry.
Nebraska’s Largest Classroom will be held Tuesday, August 31, Wednesday, September 1 and Thursday, September 2 in the Livestock Birthing Pavilion. During this three-day event, the Nebraska State Fair will welcome more than 100 schools (public/private/homeschools) and almost 4,000 students, teachers and sponsors.
Volunteers will share the beef story with attendees at this educational event. For more information about either of these events or to sign up to help, contact Gina Hudson at (402) 469-3157 or email

The NCW committee would like to thank the Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation, the NCW Beef Cook Off Funds and the Nebraska Beef Council for their help in making this education and promotion project possible.

Young Farmers and Ranchers Meet to Discuss Taxes, Climate, Trade, and Cattle Market Uncertainty

It is a brave new world in agriculture today. A world of drones, high tech implements, and cutting-edge technology on livestock operations monitoring animals 24/7, 365 days a year, analyzing their well-being, productivity, and performance. All to make farms and ranches more efficient and sustainable.

This was one of the messages given to Nebraska’s congressional delegation from members of the Nebraska Farm Bureau (NEFB) Young Farmers and Ranchers (YF&R) Committee. Rather than their annual trip to Washington, D.C., members of the committee met virtually to discuss climate/environmental markets, the elimination of stepped-up basis and 1031 exchanges, market conditions within the cattle industry, and international trade.

“Given the Biden administration’s focus on climate, we need to have a seat at the table during these discussions. We want to see climate policies that are built upon voluntary, incentive-based programs, and market driven opportunities. They must promote resilience and adaptation in rural communities, and they must be science-based,” said Brady Revels, chairman of the NEFB YF&R Committee.

Nebraska Farm Bureau works to equip young farmers and ranchers in Nebraska to lead effectively and advocate for positive change in agriculture, by sharing personal stories of how decisions made in Washington, D.C. affects their farms and ranches. “We had a good and diverse group that visited with some members of our Nebraska delegation bringing a lot of perspective to the issues facing agriculture,” said Revels.

There are a lot of concerns among young people in agriculture about President Biden’s move to eliminate stepped-up basis and 1031 exchanges. “Tax proposals announced by the Biden administration would repeal the stepped-up basis, increase the capital gains tax rate, and make it more difficult for farmers and ranchers to use like-kind exchanges. Preserving the step up basis tax provision is imperative to keeping farms and ranches in the family,” Revels said.

Another issue front and center addressed concerns on marketing conditions within the cattle industry. “NEFB strongly supports Sen. Deb Fischer’s Cattle Market Transparency Act as it provides needed and common-sense reforms that will boost price transparency in U.S. cattle markets,” Revels said.

Young farmers and ranchers are talking about the importance of expanding international markets. Every dollar in agricultural exports generates $1.28 in economic activities such as transportation, financing, warehousing, and production. Nebraska’s top agricultural exports include soybeans and soybean products, beef, corn, pork, and ethanol.

“We need to extend Trade Promotion Authority, which expired in July 2021. This would allow for new agreements to be reached. We need to negotiate an agreement with the UK and the European Union and support U.S. participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership now known as the CPTPP,” Revels said.

Young farmers and ranchers attending the National Affairs virtual visit were:
Brady Revels, chairman, YF&R Committee – Douglas County Farm Bureau
Lance Atwater, YF&R representative, NEFB Board of Directors - Adams/Webster County Farm Bureau
Joe and Jaden Melnick, South Central Region representatives, YF&R Committee – Adams/Webster County Farm Bureau
Desarae Porter, North Central Region representative, YF&R Committee – Thomas County Farm Bureau
Tyler and Alysha Ramsey, At-Large representatives, YF&R Committee – Adams/Webster County Farm Bureau
Sye Tecker, Southwest Region representative, YF&R Committee – Dundy County Farm Bureau
Adam and Kaylyn Venteicher, Northwest Region representatives, YF&R Committee – Pierce County Farm Bureau


According to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service, 74% of Nebraska farms had access to computers in 2021. This compares to the national average of 67%. In Nebraska, 85% of farms had internet access, up 1 percentage point from the last time this data was collected in 2019.


Seventy-two percent of Iowa farms own or use a desktop or laptop computer, 5 percentage points higher than the U.S. percentage, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service Farm Computer Usage and Ownership report. Farms using smart phones for their farm business was 73%, 4 percentage points below the national percentage.

Eighty-two percent of Iowa farms have internet access, up 7 percentage points from 2019. Cellular service is the most common method of accessing the Internet on Iowa farms, with 67% of farms in Iowa accessing the internet utilizing cellular methods. The proportion of Iowa farms using broadband (DSL, cable, fiber optic) connection was the second most common method for accessing the internet with 49%. Satellite service at 17% was the third most common way for Iowa farms to access the internet.

Farm Computer Usage and Ownership Highlights

Nationally, 82 percent of farms reported having access to the internet with 98 percent paying for access. In 2021, 29 percent of farms used the internet to purchase agricultural inputs, which was an increase of 5 percent from 2019. Additionally, 21 percent of farms used the internet to market agricultural activities, which was an increase of 2 percent from 2019. Farms which conducted business with non-agricultural websites in 2021 decreased by 6 percent to 47 percent.  

In 2021, 50 percent of internet connected farms utilized a broadband connection while 70 percent of internet connected farms had access through a cellular data plan. Additionally, 67 percent of farms had a desktop or laptop computer while 77 percent of farms had a smart phone.

Weekly Ethanol Production for 8/13/2021

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending August 13, ethanol production eased by 13,000 barrels per day (b/d), or 1.3%, to 973,000 b/d, equivalent to 40.87 million gallons daily and the lowest level since April. Production was 5.1% above the same week last year, which was affected by the pandemic, but was 4.9% below the 2019 level. The four-week average ethanol production volume decreased 1.4% to 996,000 b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 15.27 billion gallons (bg).

Ethanol stocks declined 3.2% to a five-week low of 21.6 million barrels. Stocks were 6.4% above the year-ago level but 7.7% below the same week in 2019. Inventories tightened across all regions except the East Coast (PADD 1) and Rocky Mountains (PADD 4).

The volume of gasoline supplied to the U.S. market, a measure of implied demand, weakened by 1.0% to 9.33 million b/d (143.07 bg annualized). Gasoline demand was 8.1% above a year ago but 3.0% below the same week in 2019.

Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol pared back 1.0% to 921,000 b/d, equivalent to 14.12 bg annualized. Net inputs were 7.1% above a year ago but 4.2% less than the same week in 2019.

There were zero imports of ethanol recorded for the third consecutive week. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of June 2021.)

Potash Price Up 13% From Last Month, Leads Pack of Six Retail Fertilizer Prices Higher

Most average retail fertilizer prices continued to rise the second week of August 2021, once again led by potash, according to sellers surveyed by DTN.

Like last week, six of the eight major fertilizers were higher compared to last month, with only potash up a significant amount, which DTN designates 5% or more. Potash was up 13% compared to the prior month and now has an average price of $563 per ton. The remaining five fertilizers were just slightly higher. DAP had an average price of $695/ton, MAP $755/ton, urea $555/ton, 10-34-0 $630/ton and anhydrous $740/ton.

Two fertilizers, UAN28 and UAN32, were slightly lower in price looking back a month. UAN28 had an average price of $366/ton and UAN32 $418/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.60/lb.N, anhydrous $0.45/lb.N, UAN28 $0.65/lb.N and UAN32 $0.65/lb.N.

Retail fertilizer prices compared to a year ago show all fertilizers have increased significantly.  10-34-0 is now 35% more expensive, urea is 56% higher, potash is 59% more expensive, UAN32 is 61% higher, DAP is 63% more expensive, UAN28 65% higher, DAP is 66% more expensive and MAP is 74% higher compared to last year.

Cattle Group Urges Denial of NCBA Request for a “Processed in the USA” Label

In formal comments submitted yesterday, R-CALF USA urged the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to deny the request by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) to allow beef packers to use a “Processed in the USA” label for all beef produced from cattle harvested in the United States, including beef from foreign cattle.

In June, the NCBA petitioned the FSIS to initiate a rulemaking to make a “Processed in the USA” label on meat products eligible for generic approval, meaning the label could be universally applied to all meat produced from both domestic and imported animals slaughtered in the United States. In its petition, the NCBA asserts that a “Processed in the USA” label would ensure that consumers could distinguish “genuine American product.”

In its comments, R-CALF USA states it strongly opposes the NCBA petition and asserts the petition applies the same inappropriate standard currently in use by the FSIS to allow foreign-origin beef to be commingled with domestic-origin beef under the “Product of the USA” label. It states the NCBA petition incorporates that inappropriate standard by allowing beef from foreign cattle to be commingled with domestic cattle under the proposed “Processed in the USA” label.     

R-CALF USA further asserts the terms “United States of America” or “USA” functions as a trademark name or geographical indication for United States cattle producers and the beef produced from their cattle.  As such, the group argues, the “USA” name itself on a beef product corresponds to the United States of America as the product’s specific origin; it is an indication that the product was produced under the safest, most stringent production practices in the world; and it is associated with the good names and reputations of United States cattle producers, their exceptional animal husbandry practices, their cattle, and their resultant beef.

“The NCBA petition attempts to capitalize on the fact that using “USA” in conjunction with any ancillary language – in this case “Processed in the” – on any beef product will accord that product an advantage in the domestic market. And this would be a clever deception,” R-CALF USA wrote.

R-CALF USA concludes by stating the NCBA petition undermines the interests of U.S. cattle farmers and ranchers who want to retain and capitalize on their good reputations in the marketplace, as well as consumers who deserve to know which country the beef product’s origin, quality and reputation is attributed to. And that, according to R-CALF USA, certainly is not the country where the animal was merely slaughtered.

AFBF Urges EPA to Prioritize Sound Science in Pesticide Decisions

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall commented today on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) announcement that the agency is revoking all tolerances for the pesticide chlorpyrifos.

“Farmers and ranchers care deeply about the quality of our crops - nothing is more important than producing safe, nutritious food. So, we must be guided by the most reliable determinant of safety, which is science. This administration has repeatedly made commitments to abide by science, yet the EPA decision on chlorpyrifos strays from that commitment and takes away an important tool to manage pests and insects. We urge EPA officials not to make determinations on pesticides outside of the regular registration review process already underway. The integrity of the registration review process and commitment to using sound science must be prioritized in a decision of such far-reaching consequences.”

EPA Revocation of Tolerances for Chlorpyrifos is a Disturbing Precedent for Pesticide Regulation

Today Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) President and CEO Daren Coppock released the following statement in response to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) action against chlorpyrifos:

“ARA is extremely disappointed in the decision to revoke all tolerances for chlorpyrifos. This product has been an essential tool for growers who need to control insect pests so they can deliver the quality produce consumers expect to grocery shelves.  

“EPA has been following a time-honored statutory process for the registration review of chlorpyrifos. Farmers, retailers, and the public all benefit from, and have the right to expect, a science-based process for reviews of pesticide products. In this case, however, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has substituted its judgement for the scientific expertise of the Agency and dictated to EPA a demand to revoke tolerances.

“Not only is this an unjustified usurpation of the Agency’s authority and expertise, but canceling tolerances for a product that remains registered for use creates uncertainty for users. The product is legal to apply for its registered use, but any residue means that the product that the application protected cannot be sold. By issuing this mandate, and EPA not fighting it, anti-pesticide activists have executed an end run around the statute that is supposed to govern these decisions. It’s a disturbing precedent from an Agency publicly committed to science-based decisions.

“ARA urges EPA to reconsider this decision and use every legal avenue available reassert its statutory authority to be the regulator of these products. If not, this will result in a flood of additional lawsuits by anti-chemical activists seeking the same end-run that will jeopardize the continued use of other essential pesticides. Consumers have benefited from a farmer’s ability to control pests and minimize damage to quality that can result without that control. This decision is problematic for this specific tool, but even more troubling is the precedent that may be set.”

FFAR Grant Enhances Protein Content in Peas

Peas are a popular source of protein; their production has a limited environmental footprint and they are economically beneficial for farmers. Although breeding efforts are improving the nutritional content of peas, these gains are not happening fast enough to meet growing demand. To accelerate this research, the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR), with additional funding from Open Philanthropy, is awarding a $1,012,500 Plant Protein Enhancement Project grant to North Dakota State University (NDSU) to build genomic resources, breeding models and tools for improving total protein content in peas. Matching funds were provided by Benson Hill, Keygene, Syngenta and NDSU for a total $1.2 million investment.

“Demand for plant-based protein is soaring, both as a commercial alternative to animal products and as a key protein source to ensure global food security,” said Dr. Jeff Rosichan, FFAR Crops of the Future Collaborative director. “This research is unlocking the genetic potential of a popular, widely consumed crop to expand its role in developing healthy, accessible diets.”

While a variety of pulses such as beans, chickpeas, lentils and peas yield more protein per acre than livestock, peas have the greatest potential for enhancing protein quantity and quality through breeding.

On average, protein is 22 percent of a current pea varieties’ seed. Leveraging the genetic diversity of the USDA pea germplasm collection can potentially help seeds reach a total of 34 percent protein.

NDSU researchers led by Dr. Nonoy Bandillo are addressing this gap by studying the relationships between genes, traits and the environment in increasing pea protein. The researchers are conducting large-scale studies of agronomic and compositional traits of pea germplasm across North America to determine the natural variations underlying protein content. The team is also developing genomic resources to produce DNA-level knowledge for increasing total protein content and evaluating genomic prediction tools. By using genetic information and developing genomic tools to maximize breeding efficiency, the researchers are hoping to increase genetic gains and speed up the development of future pea varieties.

“Everybody talks about a projected world population of nine billion people by 2050,” said Dr. Bandillo. “What they do not tell you is that as part of this growth there will also be a rising demand for pulse crops. As part of demographic growth and urbanization, consumers are now preferring healthier foods and have developed an interest in plant-based protein. Thus, pulse crops, particularly pea, have emerged as a frontrunner. A good example of pulse product that is gaining traction in the alternative protein market is the Beyond Meat burger. My ultimate goal is to develop and release new varieties of pulse crops to meet this growing need.”

FFAR launched the Plant Protein Enhancement Project through its Crops of the Future Collaborative in 2019 to enhance the protein yield of plant-based staple crops and decrease costs. This competitive research program funds grants to enhance the supply chain for plant-based protein in a profitable and sustainable manner. Applicants were not required to secure matching funds.

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