Monday, February 28, 2022

Monday February 28 Ag News

– Todd Whitney, NE Extension

Alfalfa can be successfully seeded in the Spring or Fall depending on field weed pressure; moisture conditions; and timing. Once established, perennial alfalfa plants can complete well with weeds. However, first year stand establishment can be a challenge when moisture is limited; and weed pressure is high.

If herbicide resistant weeds are currently growing in fields, then light tillage may be needed to control these weeds while creating a firm seedbed for alfalfa drilling. Also, combining light tillage plus herbicide may be a best management seedbed preparation practice.

Since new alfalfa seedlings are susceptible to injury from many herbicides, it is critical to follow all chemical label instructions. Usually, the alfalfa will need at least two to four trifoliated leaves before herbicides are applied; and 2,4-D usage is not recommended.

Glyphosate-tolerant or Round-up Ready alfalfa varieties provide more flexibility for controlling weeds currently growing in fields. Initial glyphosate application should occur between alfalfa emergence and 4th trifoliate leaf alfalfa growth stages to remove non-glyphosate tolerant alfalfa seedlings and control weeds that are present.

Our UNL “Seeding Alfalfa” NebGuide G2247 lists other steps for successfully establishing new alfalfa stands. For example, alfalfa grows best at 6.8 soil pH with a pH range from 6.5 to 7.5. Seed alfalfa between Apr. 1 and May 15 in eastern & southern Nebraska; and sow seed between April 15 and May 15 in western and northern regions.

Target seeding depth is ¼ to ½ inch in the find-textured soils and ¾ inch depth in sandy soils. Seedlings placed too shallow will dry out rapidly and die due to poor roots. While seeds planted more than 1 inch deep may be unable to emerge after germinating.

Record Spring Crop Insurance Guarantees Form Strong Safety Net for a Volatile 2022 Growing Season

This year's spring crop insurance guarantees are some of the highest on record, keeping pace with soaring input costs to provide a solid financial backstop in a growing season shrouded in volatility and uncertainty.

The spring crop insurance guarantee for corn is $5.90 per bushel, $1.05 higher than last year and the highest since 2011. For soybeans, the guarantee set a record at $14.33, up $2.46 from last year. Spring wheat also established a record at $9.19 per bushel, increasing 41% from last year's guarantee.

The guarantees are an essential component of revenue protection crop insurance policies, the most popular subsidized insurance option among U.S. farmers. The spring guaranteed prices are computed by averaging the daily closing price of the December corn, November soybean and September spring wheat contracts throughout February. Those numbers are combined with the farm's actual production history (APH) to determine a level of revenue. Farmers can elect to insure up to 85% of that revenue, with most choosing to purchase 75%, 80% or 85% depending on what the premiums are in their area.

Farmers should also expect premiums to increase along with the higher coverage levels.

Assuming farmers make USDA's trendline yield of 181 bushels per acre, the cost of production is $4.97 per bushel. If the farmer averages 200 bushels per acre, their cost of production falls to $4.50 per acre. If they purchase an 80% revenue protection policy, they're guaranteed a price of $4.71 per bushel.

On soybeans, a trendline yield of 51.5 bpa results in a production cost of $11.65 per bushel compared to an 80% guarantee of $11.46 per bushel.

On a related note..... Farmers who have not yet enrolled in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs for the 2022 crop year have until March 15, 2022, to sign a contract.

Farmers Union Kicks Off 120th Anniversary Convention

National Farmers Union (NFU) convenes its 120th Anniversary Convention this afternoon in Denver, Colorado, to celebrate American farm families and to set the organization’s policy positions and priorities for the coming year. More than 450 Farmers Union members from across the country are expected to gather for the annual event, which runs through March 1.

“Our annual convention is an exciting opportunity for Farmers Union members to gather together, in person, to work towards our shared goal of economic prosperity and social justice. With all the challenges we face today, our grassroots organization is needed more than ever to confront these obstacles,” said NFU President Rob Larew.”

During the three-day event, family farmers and ranchers will hear from speakers on efforts to establish competitive markets in agriculture through the Fairness for Farmers campaign. There will also be a conversation with representatives from other essential workers’ organizations and institutions, and participants will consider what Farmers Union members and their communities can learn from the shared experience of the pandemic.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack will virtually headline the general session on Tuesday. Senator Jon Tester of Montana will provide live remarks on Sunday evening, and Colorado Governor Jared Polis and Colorado Agricultural Commissioner Kate Greenberg will speak on Monday afternoon.

Outside of the general sessions, attendees will have the choice of several breakout sessions that include exploring NFU’s history of fighting for fair markets, engaging the next generation of agriculture leaders, addressing confusion on the carbon markets, and discussing the potential of biofuels.

These conversations will set the stage for the organization’s annual line-by-line policy review during the final day and a half of the convention.  

“Farmers Union members will determine the direction of our organization and will emphasize issues that Congress and the administration ought to address in the year ahead,” Larew explained. “The policies we adopt this week will be influential in Washington, D.C., because lawmakers know that NFU’s policies are representative of the collective interests and concerns of America’s farm and ranch families.”  

In addition to debating and voting on NFU’s policy book, delegates to the convention will elect the organization’s vice president. Two candidates – current NFU Vice President Patty Edelburg of Wisconsin and Jeff Kippley of South Dakota – have thrown their hats into the ring and will have an opportunity to present their platform. NFU President Rob Larew is running unopposed for re-election.

General session and panel discussions will be live streamed on NFU’s Facebook page at More information on convention programming can be found at Follow along using the hashtag #NFU2022.

Johnson, Arends Awarded Farmers Union’s Highest Honor

National Farmers Union (NFU) yesterday presented its highest honor, the Meritorious Service Award, to two longtime stewards of the organization, who have dedicated their careers to strengthening family farm agriculture.  Former NFU president Roger Johnson and retired long-time NFU staff members Sue Arends, were awarded with the Meritorious Service Award to Farmers Union and to American Agriculture.

“Roger and Sue spent their lives and careers bettering life for American farm and ranch families and their communities,” said NFU President Rob Larew. “It is important to celebrate champions for family farmers and rural communities and to honor these individuals in particular for their service. I am proud to recognize their contributions with our organization’s highest honor, the Meritorious Service Award.”

Roger and Sue join past recipients of the Meritorious Service Award, including former Members of Congress and a former United States President, who have made particularly noteworthy contributions to family agriculture, humanity, and Farmers Union at the state and national levels.

Roger Johnson – Meritorious Service Award to Farmers Union and to American Agriculture

Roger Johnson provided National Farmers Union with strong and stable leadership during his tenure as president from 2009 to 2020. His leadership began in Farmers Union as a Torchbearer and he brought his philosophical commitment to the ideals of Farmers Union with him through other endeavors, including service as North Dakota’s commissioner of agriculture. Roger’s care for rural communities and agricultural professions has been evident throughout his life.

As president of National Farmers Union, Roger Johnson shepherded the organization through a variety of changes that ultimately put it on more solid financial footings and strengthened the Farmers Union brand. As a third-generation family farmer from Turtle Lake, N.D., and having graduated from North Dakota State University with a degree in agricultural economics, Roger’s broad and deep knowledge of the practicalities of farming and of agricultural policies and programs was a great asset to the organization in its legislative, educational, and cooperative work; he was uniquely well-versed in his advocacy for family farmers, their livelihoods, and their rural communities. Roger also prioritized Farmers Union’s commitment to the international community of farmers through NFU’s work with the World Farmers Organization.

Sue Arends – Meritorious Service Award to Farmers Union and to American Agriculture

Sue Arends has had a lifetime of involvement in Farmers Union and has demonstrated a deep commitment to the organization’s values, members, and board of directors. Sue grew up in a Farmers Union family in North Dakota, then spent the early part of her career with Rocky Mountain Farmers Union. She was hired by National Farmers Union in 1987, where she spent the remainder of her professional career until her retirement in 2019. In her work with Farmers Union colleagues and NFU’s board of directors, Sue provided not only an extensive knowledge of the organization and a careful watch over critical records, but also a warm and welcoming presence for newcomers and old friends alike.

Sue’s meticulous recordkeeping in her work at Farmers Union gave confidence to the organization’s leadership and members that the organization was operating in a legal and transparent manner. Sue provided crucial guidance during transitional periods in the National Farmers Union office and demonstrated over and over the importance of building relationships with Farmers Union members and colleagues so the organization could continue its important work. Again, Sue’s recordkeeping was invaluable in ensuring that the business of NFU’s annual convention was conducted appropriately.

NGFA encourages STB to establish pro-competition conditions for CP-KCS rail merger

In comments submitted to the Surface Transportation Board (STB) on Feb. 28, the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) encouraged the STB to ensure competitive opportunities for rail shippers continue under the merger of Canadian Pacific Railway and Kansas City Southern Railway.

“The NGFA generally does not oppose the merger of CP and KCS, but the Board should be proactive in conditioning any approval of the merger with conditions that strictly hold the railroads to their commitments concerning competition and service, and to generally preserve and encourage additional rail-to-rail competition…,” the comments stated.

STB announced it had accepted the merger application for consideration in November 2021.

CP and KCS serve separate regions, so their proposed merger would not pose the same problem as past major railroad mergers, which reduced shippers’ options from two Class I railroads to one, or three railroads to two, NGFA noted.

“However, despite the efforts of the STB to preserve rail-to-rail competition when evaluating and conditioning the approval of prior mergers between Class I railroads, the consolidation of the rail industry into essentially two rail duopolies in the Western and Eastern United States has resulted in the overall diminishment of rail-to-rail competition systemwide,” NGFA noted.

Therefore, the Board should practice “proactive vigilance” when it comes to imposing meaningful conditions on the merger designed to maintain competitive opportunities for rail shippers. Several areas in which the Board could do so include:
(1) establishing or directing the railways to establish reasonable terms for the continued use of existing gateways post-merger;
(2) clarifying that parties may challenge the reasonableness of Rule 11 rates established by the merged railroad at its interchanges with other railroads;    
(3) conditioning merger approval on the applicants agreeing to enter into reciprocal switching arrangements at certain locations; and
(4) enabling rail shippers and other customers of the merged railroad to seek payment of money damages for service failures that result from the railways failing to adhere to their representations concerning service levels post-merger.   

The Board also should maintain oversight over the implementation of the merger transaction for at least five years, consistent with prior merger proceedings, NGFA noted.

USDA Amends the National List for Organic Handling, Crops, and Livestock

The Organic Foods Production Act created the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (National List) as a tool for managing the substances used in organic production over time. In general, natural substances are allowed in organics and synthetic substances are prohibited. The National List identifies the limited exceptions to these general rules. The National List also identifies nonagricultural and nonorganic agricultural substances (ingredients) that may be used in organic handling. Changes to the National List require a National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) recommendation and USDA rulemaking, a process that provides multiple opportunities for public comment.

Today, USDA published a final rule in the Federal Register amending the National List for substances scheduled to sunset in 2022, based on NOSB recommendations and public input.
National List Amendments: 2022 Sunsets final rule

This final rule addresses recommendations from previous NOSB public meetings to remove:
    One substance currently allowed in organic crop production (Vitamin B1).
    One substance currently allowed in organic livestock production (procaine).
    14 nonorganic ingredients (including eight nonorganic colors) currently allowed in organic handling. See the linked notice below for details.

 Based on public comment, this rule also renews the allowance for:  
    Sucrose octanoate esters for use in organic crops, and livestock production.
    Oxytocin for use in organic livestock production.  

This final rule is effective March 30, 2022.

Statistics Canada Reports 2021 Farm Cash Receipts

Statistics Canada reported total farm cash receipts for 2021 at a record $81.920 billion, up $9.896 billion or 13.7% from the previous year and higher for an 11th consecutive year. Statistics Canada reports a 9.2% increase in crop receipts, a 13.4% increase in livestock receipts and a 71.8% increase in direct payments which reached $5.9 billion, largely crop insurance payments.

Total crop receipts are shown at a record $46.049 billion, reported higher for a seventh consecutive year. As a percentage of total receipts, crop receipts make up 56.2% of total receipts, down from 58.5% achieved in 2020, which was the highest percentage seen in data going back to 1970.

At the same time, crop receipts include vegetables, fruit, cannabis, Christmas trees and various other crops. When cash receipts are totaled for all major or principal field crops, 2021 receipts total $32.269 billion, a record level that accounts for 70.1% of total crop receipts, up 1 percentage point from 2020.

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Friday February 25 Cattle on Feed Report + Ag News


Nebraska feedlots, with capacities of 1,000 or more head, contained 2.66 million cattle on feed on February 1, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This inventory was up 2% from last year.  Placements during January totaled 535,000 head, unchanged from 2021.  Fed cattle marketings for the month of January totaled 460,000 head, down 1% from last year.  Other disappearance during January totaled 15,000 head, up 5,000 head from last year.


Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 610,000 head on February 1, 2022, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service - Cattle on Feed report. This was up 2 percent from January but down 2 percent from February 1, 2021. Iowa feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head had 585,000 head on feed, up 3 percent from last month and up 3 percent from last year. Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in all Iowa feedlots totaled 1,195,000 head, up 2 percent from last month and up slightly from last year.

Placements of cattle and calves in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during January 2022 totaled 110,000 head, up 29 percent from December but unchanged from January 2021. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head placed 85,000 head, up 37 percent from December and up 39 percent from January 2021. Placements for all feedlots in Iowa totaled 195,000 head, up 33 percent from December and up 14 percent from January 2021.

Marketings of fed cattle from Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during January 2022 totaled 98,000 head, up 7 percent from December but unchanged from January 2021. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head marketed 63,000 head, up 110 percent from December and up 40 percent from January 2021. Marketings for all feedlots in Iowa were 161,000 head, up 32 percent from December and up 13 percent from January 2021. Other disappearance from all feedlots in Iowa totaled 9,000 head.

United States Cattle on Feed Up 1 Percent

Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 12.2 million head on February 1, 2022. The inventory was 1 percent above February 1, 2021. This is the highest February 1 inventory since the series began in 1996.

On Feed, by State (1,000 hd - % Feb 1 '21)

Colorado ......:              1,140          102                
Iowa .............:                610            98                  
Kansas ..........:              2,540          101               
Nebraska ......:              2,660          102               
Texas ............:              2,940          101           

Placements in feedlots during January totaled 2.00 million head, 1 percent below 2021. Net placements were 1.94 million head. During January, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 420,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 445,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 545,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 414,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 105,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 70,000 head.

Placements, by State  (1,000 hd - % Jan '21)

Colorado ......:                      200           103                 
Iowa .............:                     110           100                 
Kansas ..........:                     480           100                 
Nebraska ......:                     535           100                 
Texas ............:                     390            96                 

Marketings of fed cattle during January totaled 1.77 million head, 3 percent below 2021.  Other disappearance totaled 64,000 head during January, 14 percent above 2021.

Marketings, by State  (1,000 hd - % Jan '21)

Colorado ......:                  185           103               
Iowa .............:                  98           100               
Kansas ..........:                  420            93                
Nebraska ......:                  460            99                
Texas ............:                 355           101             

Cattle on Feed and Annual Size Group Estimates

Cattle and calves on feed for slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head represented 81.9 percent of all cattle and calves on feed in the United States on January 1, 2022. This is comparable to the 81.6 percent on January 1, 2021.

Marketings of fed cattle for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head during 2021 represented 87.2 percent of total cattle marketed from all feedlots in the United States, up slightly from 87.0 percent during 2020.

USDA Issues a Complaint Against Bruce Camenzind for Alleged Violations of the Packers and Stockyards Act

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued an administrative complaint against Bruce Camenzind (Camenzind), doing business as Clarence E. Camenzind Funnel Trust, BK Farms, and Dixon Ranch in Blair, Neb., on Jan. 25, 2022, for alleged violations of the Packers and Stockyards (P&S) Act.

An investigation by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) revealed that from June through October 2019, Camenzind operated as a livestock dealer, purchasing 178 head of livestock valued at $133,947 and selling 218 head of livestock valued at $125,313 without maintaining bond coverage.

In addition, the investigation revealed that in four of these transactions, Camenzind issued checks for $36,751 that were returned unpaid or denied by the bank because Respondent failed to maintain sufficient funds when presented.

The P&S Act authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to assess civil penalties up to $29,270 per violation against any person after notice and opportunity for hearing on the record. If the allegations are admitted or proven in an oral hearing, Saavedra may be ordered to cease and desist from continuing violations of the P&S Act and assessed a civil penalty.

The P&S Act is a fair trade practice and payment protection law that promotes fair and competitive marketing environments for the livestock, meat and poultry industries.

NC Calls for Beef Drafts to be Cashed

Nebraska Cattlemen requests those who have received a beef draft during the 2021 Nebraska State Fair to use the draft as soon as possible. Beef drafts will no longer be honored after May 1st, 2022.  All beef drafts can be used at grocery stores for beef purchases or at restaurants while enjoying a beef meal.

During Labor Day weekend at the Nebraska State Fair, Nebraska Cattlemen hands out beef drafts to honor veterans and active-duty service members. The gift certificates are purchased with funds through the Nebraska Cattlemen’s Beef for Troops program.

Nebraska Cattlemen members and affiliates have supported this program for several years. The Farmer Stockman Council looks forward to continuing the Veteran’s Day recognition during the 2022 Nebraska State Fair.

Iowa Beef Producers Assume National Leadership Positions

Beef producers, advocates, students and organizations from across the country convened to discuss industry topics such as beef demand trends, international trade, and Beef Checkoff Contractor updates during the Cattle Industry Convention held Feb. 1-3, 2022, in Houston. Nine producer leaders from Iowa attended, representing the Iowa Beef Industry Council while serving in various capacities of leadership on the Federation of State Beef Councils and the Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB).

Janine Moore of What Cheer, Iowa, was nominated and successfully elected to serve as the Federation of State Beef Council’s Region III Vice President. Janine will act as a regional liaison to the Federation of State Beef Councils on behalf of qualified state beef councils from Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin.

The vision of the Federation of State Beef Councils, a division of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), a contractor to the Beef Checkoff, is to build beef demand by inspiring, unifying and supporting an effective state and national Beef Checkoff partnership. It provides a voice and performance vehicle by which producers and qualified state beef councils (QSBCs) collectively influence and give direction to the Beef Checkoff.

Among other duties, the Regional Vice President works closely with state beef councils, coordinates regional activities, facilitates Federation Division regional elections and champions Checkoff efforts within the region, especially state beef council engagement in the Federation.

Janine’s leadership will be instrumental in helping Iowans remain apprised of the most current Beef Checkoff promotions. It’s important that the diversity of Midwestern producers is represented in beef promotional activities. Janine’s newly appointed position presents a great opportunity for Iowans and other Midwestern state, who share a similar size and scope of operations, to strengthen our voice at the decision-making table.

Furthermore, Iowa continues to have a strong delegation of representatives on the Cattlemen’s Beef Board. CBB serves as the Beef Checkoff mothership and administers authorization requests to contracts each year. CBB representatives are selected from each state by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. We want to thank Stephanie Dykshorn of Ireton, Iowa, for her time in leadership as her term has now come to completion. Madrid beef producer, David Bruene, was appointed for a second, three-year term while Mike Holden, of Scranton, was selected as a new representative. Ross Havens of Wiota and Jenni Peters of Bellevue also represent Iowans within CBB.

Market Outlook Resources Available for Iowa's Crop and Livestock Producers

Crop and livestock producers can get a look at where markets are headed in the February edition of the Ag Decision Maker

A wealth of resources are available, including an article by Chad Hart, professor in economics and extension grain markets specialist at Iowa State, on how the South American drought is impacting crop production; and an article by Lee Schulz, associate professor in economics and livestock economist at Iowa State, on the expansion of Iowa’s beef herd. (Note: The articles were written prior to the military escalation by Russia, which has and will have significant implications for agricultural markets; in general, boosting crop futures prices and lowering livestock futures prices.)

Information files on livestock basis levels in Iowa, and historical livestock prices, are also available.

The United States Department of Agriculture shows additional downward movement on South American crop production, according to the February report, and crop prices are rising.

Futures prices show strength well into 2024, with corn futures above $5 and soybean futures above $12.50. While crop prices have remained strong enough to cover inputs and provide some solid profit opportunities, Hart said producers should remember what happened back in 2013.

“This situation reminds me a lot of the 2013 marketing year, when we began the year with strong prices and profit windows, but we ended the year with lower prices and challenging returns,” he said. “While I hope we do not repeat that, it is a good reminder that now is a great time to put a marketing plan in place to capture and protect the healthy returns markets are offering.”

In his article titled “Iowa’s beef cow herd is off and running,” Schulz says Iowa now ranks 10th in beef cows, up from 13th a year ago. The state’s 925,000 beef cows is an increase of 65,000 head from last year – the largest gain of any state. Idaho rose 34,000 head and Minnesota grew by 25,000.

“The beef cow herd is the foundation of the total cattle inventory and Iowa appears to be leading the national herd by about two years in the current cattle cycle,” according to Schulz.

Schulz says producers can use knowledge of the cattle cycle to improve profitability on their farms, if they do two basic things. First, buy low and sell high, and secondly, find out what other producers are doing, and do something different. Obviously, these are more easily said than done.

The livestock market outlook article and information files examine current and historical inventories, price projections and planning information.

Swine Production Seminar Set in Northwest Iowa

Pork producers in northwest Iowa are invited to attend a one-day swine production seminar on March 30 in Okoboji. The program is sponsored by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, University of Minnesota Extension, Hubbard Feeds and Elanco.

Iowa State Extension swine program specialist Dave Stender said the program is geared toward pork operation decision-makers including owners and managers. He will assist with hosting the program that runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Arrowwood Resort Conference Center, 1405 Hwy 71, Okoboji. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. and lunch will be provided.

There’s no cost and although no preregistration is required, please call Stender for a lunch count at 712-225-6196.

“Regardless of the type of operation, if you’re involved in making decisions on your farm, you’ll want to attend this program,” Stender said.

Primary topics are herd health, industry insights, market outlook and production practices.  Speakers are Jon Greteman of CIH, Dan Hamilton of PIC, Orlando Gil of TCTS Global, Chris Rademacher of Iowa State and Andy “Caygeon” Junkin of Agriculture Strategy.

SHIC Announces New Associate Director Megan Niederwerder

The Swine Health Information Center (SHIC) is pleased to announce Megan Niederwerder, DVM, PhD, has been chosen for the new role of associate director. Most recently an assistant professor in the Department of Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University, Niederwerder has an expected start date of April 1 with SHIC. “The SHIC mission is consistent with my professional goals of increasing the efficiency of pork production through improving swine health,” Niederwerder commented. “It is an honor to be named the first associate director and I look forward to contributing to the breadth of swine health and disease objectives led by SHIC for the industry.”

In November 2021, the National Pork Board (NPB) Board of Directors provided an additional $15 million to fund the SHIC for another five-year period, through 2027. Subsequent to this extension, the SHIC Board of Directors approved adding the role of associate director for the organization. “The addition of Megan as associate director will help to make SHIC even more impactful and able to meet the needs of pork producers,” remarked SHIC Executive Director Paul Sundberg, DVM, PhD, DACVPM. “We’ll be able to multiply return-on-investment results as SHIC remains faithful to its mission to protect the health of the US swine herd through comprehensive preparedness, monitoring, response, and communications activities.”

Specifically, Niederwerder will assist Sundberg in directing overall expectations and accountability as well as ensuring quality programs and services. This includes collaborating to provide oversight and implementation of the Center’s budget, long range planning, and strategic initiatives. Additionally, Niederwerder will interact closely with the pork community, assisting efforts to build awareness of SHIC, establish and maintain working relationships in the pork industry, and successfully meet the Center’s mission.

“SHIC continues to deliver beyond expectations to the swine industry,” stated Daryl Olsen, DVM, chair of the SHIC Board of Directors. “As the scope of our efforts in prevention, preparedness, and response to emerging and potential foreign swine disease issues grows, so does our need for qualified leadership for the organization. Megan will be an outstanding addition to SHIC with her experience, passion, and knowledge.”

After earning her veterinary degree at Kansas State University, Niederwerder was in clinical practice for three years. Upon her return to Kansas State, she obtained her PhD in infectious diseases of swine, including research projects involving porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus, porcine circovirus type 2, and porcine epidemic diarrhea virus. “My dissertation research as a veterinarian scientist was related to the clinical response of swine to viral diseases,” she explained. “I developed a passion for the health and prevention of disease in swine as well as productivity of the US pork industry.”

During her time as a faculty member in academia, Niederwerder led an internationally renowned research program on viral diseases of swine with focus areas on the risk and mitigation of African swine fever virus introduction through feed and the use of the gut microbiome as an alternative tool for porcine respiratory disease. “I see improvements in swine health to be two-fold, including increasing the health of swine with endemic disease exposure and decreasing the risk of foreign animal disease exposure,” Niederwerder said.

“SHIC is well-positioned to lead the generation of novel swine health data, be the foremost global swine disease news source, and address challenges to swine health with creative solutions for stakeholders,” Niederwerder concluded. “I look forward to advancing the SHIC mission through the role of associate director and working with Paul, the SHIC Board of Directors, and the SHIC Working Groups to serve the needs of US pork producers.”

January Egg Production Up 1 Percent

United States egg production totaled 9.59 billion during January 2022, up 1 percent from last year. Production included 8.29 billion table eggs, and 1.31 billion hatching eggs, of which 1.22 billion were broiler-type and 89.7 million were egg-type. The total number of layers during January 2022 averaged 391 million, down 1 percent from last year. January egg production per 100 layers was 2,452 eggs, up 2 percent from January 2021.
All layers in the United States on February 1, 2022 totaled 390 million, down 1 percent from last year. The 390 million layers consisted of 323 million layers producing table or market type eggs, 63.6 million layers producing broiler-type hatching eggs, and 3.56 million layers producing egg-type hatching eggs. Rate of lay per day on February 1, 2022, averaged 78.9 eggs per 100 layers, up 2 percent from February 1, 2021.


All layers in Nebraska during January 2022 totaled 8.40 million, up from 8.20 million the previous year, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Nebraska egg production during January totaled 210 million eggs, up from 204 million in 2021. January egg production per 100 layers was 2,497 eggs, compared to 2,482 eggs in 2021.

Iowa egg production during January 2022 was 1.22 billion eggs, down 4 percent from last month and down 4 percent from last year, according to the latest Chickens and Eggs report from the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service.  The average number of all layers on hand during January 2022 was 47.3 million, down 3 percent from last month and down 3 percent from the same month last year. Eggs per 100 layers for January were 2,586, down 1 percent from last month and down slightly from last January.

Researchers Developing New Vaccine for Piglet Killer PEDV

To address climbing economic losses from swine that contract the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, Virginia Tech researchers in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine are developing a vaccine to combat the disease that has a near 100 percent mortality rate in newborn piglets.

The disease emerged in the United States in 2013 and has since caused around $600 million in annual losses to swine producers. When combined with increased food prices for consumers and decreased exports of hogs, the associated loss amounts to more than $900 million annually in the U.S.

While there are two commercially available vaccines for the virus commonly known as PEDv, neither are effective in preventing the disease. Mike Zhang, the principal investigator of the project and a professor in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering and Turner Faculty Fellow, saw the urgency for an effective vaccine against this virus.

With a four-year, $630,000 grant from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Zhang and co-principal investigator X.J. Meng, a University Distinguished Professor of molecular virology in the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, are researching a nanoparticle-based vaccine to curb this highly contagious coronavirus among swine.

Because of PEDv being in the coronavirus family, the researchers hope to gain knowledge and insight in order to swiftly produce vaccines against human coronaviruses and their variants.

"This project will give us the opportunity not only to development a vaccine for swine, but gain insight into coronaviruses," Zhang said. "While the viruses are different from each other, they share a lot of similarities. A lot of things that we learn from this project can be used to develop vaccines against human coronaviruses in the future."

Meng, also a professor of internal medicine at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, the director of the Center for Emerging, Zoonotic, and Arthropod-borne Pathogens, and the interim director of the Fralin Life Sciences Institute, lent his help with his renowned knowledge as a virologist.

"PEDv is one of the most devastating illnesses in the swine industry," Zhang said. "Right now, we don't have a good mitigation method. We want a safe and reliable tool in the arsenal of those in industry and our research will lead to that."

Over the last few years, vaccine development has targeted a safer, more effective way to deliver an immune response. So far, that target has landed on nanoparticle-based vaccines, to safely deliver a strong immune response in hosts to protect against disease.

First Load of Tariff-Free U.S. Wheat Arrives in Vietnam

Following productive talks with the United States last year, the Vietnamese government eliminated a three percent U.S. wheat import tariff on Dec. 30, 2021. On Feb. 6, 2022, the first shipment of U.S. wheat purchased without a tariff arrived at port in Ho Chi Minh City carrying more than 68,350 metric tons of soft white and hard red spring wheat grown in the Pacific Northwest and Northern Plains.

“With the import tariff reduced to zero, the Vietnamese buyer saved almost $1 million on this vessel load of U.S. wheat alone,” said Robert Hanson, Agricultural Counselor, USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, Hanoi. “We thank the Vietnam government for ending the tariff, a decision that will hold the line on food costs and help make U.S. wheat more competitive in Vietnam’s growing market.”

“The Foreign Agricultural Service worked hard to cut this barrier and level the playing field for U.S. wheat in Vietnam,” said Vince Peterson, President, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW). “Vietnam first reduced the U.S. wheat import tariff from five percent to three percent in July 2020. The talks continued until Vietnam published the final decree, and USDA and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai announced in November 2021 that the tariff would be eliminated.”

Vietnam imports an average of about four million metric tons of wheat per year. Australia and Canada are large wheat suppliers to Vietnam and had enjoyed duty-free access to Vietnam for many years under regional trade agreements.

However, even with the applied U.S. wheat import tariff, Vietnamese millers doubled U.S. import volume to more than 520,000 metric tons between 2015 and 2021. In addition to soft white and hard red spring wheat, Vietnam imported U.S. hard red winter and soft red winter wheat in 2021. That returned about $130 million to U.S. farmers and the wheat supply industry.

“Eliminating the U.S. wheat import tariff came at the right time for Vietnam given the run up in U.S. and global wheat prices,” said Peterson. “We will keep helping Vietnamese customers gain more value with the U.S. wheat supplies needed to meet the growing demand there for better quality wheat foods.”

Friday, February 25, 2022

Thursday February 24 Ag News


Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) Director Steve Wellman has announced the hiring of Dr. Roger Dudley for the position of state veterinarian. Dr. Dudley has worked for NDA since 2011, serving as state epidemiologist and deputy state veterinarian. He will replace Dr. Dennis Hughes who retired in December 2021.

“Dr. Dudley has extensive experience in veterinary medicine, an excellent understanding of animal epidemiology and outstanding leadership skills,” said Director Wellman. “He already has established relationships with veterinarians throughout the state and with USDA officials. He is the best person for the job of keeping Nebraska’s livestock healthy and safe.”

Dudley attended the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in pre-veterinary science. He then earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Kansas State University. Prior to working for the state of Nebraska, Dudley worked at the Gothenburg Animal Hospital from 1996-2011. He worked his way up from associate veterinarian to owning and operating the business. In addition to working in veterinary medicine in Nebraska, Dudley has also worked in Iowa and Minnesota.

Throughout his career, Dudley has participated in leadership and management training programs including the PeopleFirst Leadership Certification Program at the State of Nebraska and the Beef Cattle Production Management Series at Great Plains Veterinary Education Center at Clay Center, Nebraska. He is an active member of the Nebraska Veterinary Medical Association. Dudley and his wife have six children and six grandchildren.

“Veterinary medicine is my career and my passion,” said Dudley. “I look forward to continuing my work with the Nebraska Department of Agriculture and taking on this leadership role to help protect the livestock industry.”

Ricketts Proclaims “FFA Week” in Nebraska

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts and Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) Director Steve Wellman hosted members of the Nebraska FFA Association at the State Capitol to proclaim “FFA Week.”  FFA is a youth organization that develops students into competent agricultural leaders.  FFA provides experiential learning opportunities, encourages community involvement, and promotes teamwork and communications skills.  FFA Week is celebrated nationally February 19-26, 2022.

“FFA equips students with the education and experience to grow Nebraska agriculture,” said Gov. Ricketts.  “Agriculture is the heart and soul of what we do here in Nebraska.  To be strong as a state, we must pass on our passion for agriculture to the next generation.  FFA is doing vital work to develop young leaders with the skills to build on our reputation as an agricultural powerhouse.”

The Nebraska FFA Association was the sixth state group chartered by the National FFA Organization.  Nebraska currently has over 11,000 FFA members in 203 chapters.  Throughout the years, State agencies have partnered with Nebraska FFA chapters to promote agricultural education, career readiness, and professional development.

“FFA and ag education give students real opportunities to learn about agriculture and consider careers in farming, ranching, and ag-related industries that are vital to the food, feed, and fuel we produce every day.  Nebraska FFA chapters and their members represent our state’s can-do spirit.  Organizations like FFA are teaching our next generation of Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers.  Being involved in FFA is one of the most important things we can do to strengthen and grow Nebraska’s ag industry.”

The Nebraska State FFA Convention will be held April 6-8, 2022 at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln.


The value of Nebraska’s 2021 field and miscellaneous crops is forecast at $16.0 billion, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This is up 31% from 2020.

The value of corn production is expected to total $10.0 billion, up 26% from the previous marketing year. Nebraska’s corn price is projected to average $5.40 per bushel, up $0.93 from the last marketing year.

The value of soybean production is expected to total $4.42 billion, up 45% from the previous marketing year. Nebraska’s soybean price is projected to average $12.60 per bushel, up $2.40 from the last marketing year.

The value of winter wheat production is expected to total $272 million up 72% from the previous marketing year. Nebraska's winter wheat price is projected to average $6.60 per bushel, up $1.95 from the last marketing year.

The value of alfalfa production is expected to total $586 million, up 59% from the previous marketing year. Nebraska's alfalfa price is projected to average $157.00 per ton, up $44.00 from the last marketing year. The value of other hay production is expected to total $261 million, up slightly from the previous marketing year. Nebraska's alfalfa price is projected to average $102.00 per ton, up $18.00 from the last marketing year.

IOWA: The production of Iowa's field and miscellaneous crops was valued at $22.7 billion in 2021, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service - Crop Values 2021 Summary. This was up 36 percent from 2020.

The value of corn for grain production totaled $13.9 billion, up 31 percent from the previous year. Iowa's corn price averaged $5.45 per bushel, 81 cents above the last marketing year.

The value of soybean production was $8.08 billion, up 44 percent from 2020. The average price increased $1.90 from the previous year to $13.00 per bushel.

Cattle producers discuss state priorities during Cattlemen at the Capitol

The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association (ICA) creates influence by placing the right leaders, in the right place, at the right time. Yesterday, we saw great participation from our grassroots membership, as board members, county leaders, cattle producers from all sectors and students showed their loyalty and commitment to Iowa’s cattle industry by attending Cattlemen at the Capitol.

Thousands of Iowa cattlemen and women have found camaraderie through shared values and ICA’s mission: “To grow Iowa’s beef business through advocacy, leadership and education.” During Cattlemen at the Capitol, elected officials heard about the need to protect and promote Iowa’s beef business, while limiting government involvement.  

“Cattlemen at the Capitol gives the most foundational component of Iowa’s beef business - the producer sector - an additional opportunity to send home priority action regarding the future of our business,” Matt Deppe, ICA CEO said.

While the pull of beef on the menu brought state legislators to the Capitol Rotunda, the open dialogue with our members captured their attention and created meaningful discussions regarding our state priorities. Amongst those priorities were ICA’s commitment to:  
    Protecting our legacy from foreign animal disease;
    Growing Iowa’s beef business through processing capacity; and
    Preventing additional government ownership of land.

The ICA annually hosts Cattlemen at the Capitol and many other engagements to ensure we have the right leader, in the right place, at the right time. This specific event provides cattle producers the opportunity to take local relationships and build impact through one-on-one interactions that will ultimately make a difference for the industry.

While ICA represents the interests of 8,000 beef-producing families and associated businesses at the state level through staff and leaders, we find it important for state legislators to hear directly from their constituents.

Registration Now Open for World Pork Expo 2022

Registration is now open for the 2022 World Pork Expo, hosted by the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC). World Pork Expo is the world’s largest pork-specific event, and will take place June 8-10 at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.

Attendees, media and exhibitors can learn more about the Expo and register at the World Pork Expo website

“Attendees can look forward to another exceptional event,” said NPPC President Jen Sorenson, communications director for Iowa Select Farms in West Des Moines, Iowa. “This year’s Expo includes hundreds of vendors and a dynamic track of programming that is second to none. There’s sure to be something for everyone connected to the pork industry.”

Start Planning Your Expo Experience

The 2022 Expo is packed with three days of education, networking opportunities and activities. Included with the cost of admission are valuable educational seminars which feature topical discussions on issues of interest to the pork industry. These seminars also showcase the latest products, process enhancements and more.

Other activities you won’t want to miss include:

Trade Show — Explore hundreds of vendor booths hosted by organizations throughout North America.

NPPC Hospitality Tent — Visit one-on-one with NPPC board members and staff to learn more about legislation, regulation and public policy issues that directly impact pork production.

Big Grill — Enjoy a free pork lunch served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. all three days of the Expo. We anticipate preparing more than 10,000 lunches!

Additional Registration Information

Registration is now available online until June 2. Registration includes entry to the Expo for all three days. Discounted rates are available during pre-registration, including $10 per adult (ages 12 and up) and $1 for children (6 to 11 years old), while children under 5 are free. Registration on-site will be $20 per adult. There is an on-site Friday-only option for $10.

Save the date for June 8-10 to visit Des Moines. Three days of education, fun, networking and delicious pork awaits you!

USDA Extends Deadline for Spot Market Hog Pandemic Program

Hog producers who sold hogs through a spot market sale during the COVID-19 pandemic now have until April 15, 2022, to submit their applications for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Spot Market Hog Pandemic Program (SMHPP). SMHPP, which is part of USDA’s Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative, originally had a deadline to submit applications by Feb. 25, 2022.   

SMHPP assists hog producers who sold hogs through a spot market sale from April 16, 2020, through Sept. 1, 2020, the period during which these producers faced the greatest reduction in market prices due to the pandemic. USDA is offering SMHPP in response to a reduction in packer production and supply chain issues due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in fewer negotiated hogs being procured and subsequent lower market prices. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) began accepting applications for SMHPP on Dec. 15, 2021.

“In response to stakeholder feedback and our analysis of the program to date, we will be making adjustments to clarify the definition of a spot market sale and to hog eligibility, while including documentation requirements to prevent erroneous payments,” said FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux. “We’ll be announcing those updates soon and want to assure hog producers that there will be ample time to submit their applications for assistance.”  

Applying for Assistance  

Eligible hog producers can apply for SMHPP by completing the FSA-940, Spot Market Hog Pandemic Program application. Visit to learn more.  

Applications can be submitted to the FSA office at any USDA Service Center nationwide by mail, fax, hand delivery or via electronic means. To find their local FSA office, producers can visit Hog producers can also call 877-508-8364 to speak directly with a USDA employee ready to offer assistance.  Service Center staff continue to work with agricultural producers via phone, email, and other digital tools. Because of the pandemic, some USDA Service Centers are open to limited visitors. Contact your Service Center to set up an in-person or phone appointment. Additionally, more information related to USDA’s response and relief for producers can be found at    

Commercial Red Meat Production Down 5 Percent

Commercial red meat production for the United States totaled 4.56 billion pounds in January, down 5 percent from the 4.80 billion pounds produced in January 2021.

By State     (million pounds - % of Jan '21)

Nebraska ........:               650.6             96       
Iowa ...............:               743.5             96       
Kansas ............:               485.0             97       

Beef production, at 2.27 billion pounds, was 2 percent below the previous year.  Cattle slaughter totaled 2.70 million head, down 2 percent from January 2021.  The average live weight was down 1 pound from the previous year, at 1,398 pounds.

Veal production totaled 4.6 million pounds, slightly below January a year ago.  Calf slaughter totaled 32,300 head, slightly below January 2021.  The average live weight was unchanged from last year, at 247 pounds.

Pork production totaled 2.28 billion pounds, 8 percent below the previous year.  Hog slaughter totaled 10.4 million head, 7 percent below January 2021.  The average live weight was down 1 pound from the previous year, at 294 pounds.

Lamb and mutton production, at 9.8 million pounds, was 6 percent below January 2021.  Sheep slaughter totaled 154,100 head, 5 percent below last year.  The average live weight was 127 pounds, down 2 pounds from January a year ago.

Survey Says: Consumers Want Food Made with U.S. Crops

The United Soybean Board (USB) released results of a new survey, highlighting consumer perceptions of U.S. soybeans, soybean farmers and the U.S. food supply chain. According to the survey, consumer support of domestic agriculture has only grown stronger, with 78% of consumers – an 8% increase since the last survey in December 2020 – saying it’s important to purchase U.S.-grown food, including soybeans.

“It’s encouraging to see support of U.S. agriculture increase over the past year, a true testament to the work of soybean farmers through their checkoff to strengthen consumer perceptions of U.S.-grown soybeans,” said Belinda Burrier, Chair of USB’s Communication and Education Committee and a soybean farmer from Maryland. “Understanding our customers’ attitudes is a critical component as our investments aim to demonstrate the nutritional value of soybeans, ultimately increasing demand and bringing value back to the farm.”

Other key takeaways from the study include:
    U.S. farmers continue to be the most trusted source when it comes to food safety, with 83% of consumers ranking them No. 1 among members of the supply chain, an increase of 5% since the last survey in December 2020.
    The vast majority of consumers, 82%, have a very/somewhat positive view of U.S. farmers who grow crops, including soybeans. This is a 3% increase since the December 2020 survey.
    Soy is seen as healthy by more than half of consumers, with 60% saying that soy-based food is somewhat/very healthy and 26% having a neutral view of soy. However, only 39% are aware that the soybeans used in popular foods are grown sustainably.

With promotion and education being key pillars of the checkoff, the survey validated that informing consumers is an effective tool, with 72% of respondents feeling more positive about soy as a food ingredient after learning about the sustainability of soybeans. Likewise, communicating about soy as a high-quality “complete” protein proved to be the most impactful statement on consumers’ perception of soy, highlighting an essential opportunity to demonstrate its excellent protein profile to health-conscious consumers.

“Driving home soy as a complete protein, coupled with awareness that this product is sustainably grown, poses a real opportunity for our industry to raise the profile of soyfoods,” said Mace Thornton, vice president of communications and marketing strategy for USB. “Insights from this survey will inform investment decisions of the checkoff’s farmer-led Communication and Education Committee and ultimately help deliver sustainable soy solutions to every life, every day.”

New to USB’s strategic plan, the Communication and Education Committee oversees checkoff investments in strategies that build trust in and elevate the reputation of U.S. Soy to drive new and increased value back to farmers.

Weekly Ethanol Production for 2/18/2022

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending February 18, ethanol production expanded by 15,000 barrels per day (b/d), or 1.5%, to 1.024 million b/d, equivalent to 43.01 million gallons daily. Production was 55.6% more than the same week last year, which was affected by the pandemic and especially weather-induced infrastructure issues, but 2.8% less than the same week two years ago. The four-week average ethanol production volume decreased 0.3% to 1.017 million b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 15.59 billion gallons (bg).

Ethanol stocks ticked up 0.1% to 25.5 million barrels. Stocks were 11.9% higher than a year ago and 3.2% more than the same week two years ago. Inventories built in the Midwest (PADD 2) and West Coast (PADD 5) but scaled back across the remaining regions.
The volume of gasoline supplied to the U.S. market, a measure of implied demand, increased 1.0% to 8.66 million b/d (132.71 bg annualized). Gasoline demand registered 20.1% higher than a year ago but 4.2% less than the same week two years ago.

Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol perked up by 4.3% to 871,000 b/d, equivalent to 13.35 bg annualized and an eight-week high. Net inputs were 20.1% more than a year ago but 3.4% less than the same week two years ago.

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

NCBA Pleased to See Next Steps in Processing Capacity Funding

Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the availability of up to $215 million in grants and resources as part of a continued effort to strengthen the meat and poultry processing sector and create a more resilient food supply chain. NCBA appreciates the Administration’s efforts to expand and diversify processing capacity and looks forward to working with USDA to ensure proper implementation of the funds.

“Investing in packing capacity is critically important for the cattle industry,” said NCBA Director of Government Affairs and Market Regulatory Policy Tanner Beymer. “The expansion of regional processing facilities will bolster resiliency within the beef supply chain and help return marketing leverage to cattle producers."

As part of previously announced federal investments totaling $1 billion, these funds will be allocated to three main areas: the newly created Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program (MPPEP), workforce development, and technical assistance.


USDA Rural Development will make $150 million available through the Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program (MPPEP). Under this program, grants of up to $25 million will be available to offset costs of construction, expansion, and acquisition of equipment.

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) will allocate $40 million dollars to existing workforce development programs to assist new and expanding processors with recruiting, training, and retraining adequate labor.

USDA is also making $25 million available through the MPPEP for technical assistance. These funds will be used to establish partnerships between organizations who specialize in meat and poultry processing and MPPEP applicants, recipients, and future applicants of Meat and Poultry Inspection Readiness Grants.

February 2022 Dairy Market Report Now Available

The stage is being set for 2022 to be a considerably better year than most of the last several for U.S. dairy farmers. Record exports, flat milk production, just over half a percent milk solids production growth, and over 2 percent consumption growth made a winning combination during the fourth quarter of 2021, sending some key prices to long-time high levels at the start of this year. Meanwhile, as foreign and domestic demand increase, domestic stock levels are not burdensome, by several metrics, for most major dairy product categories.

Read the full report here....  

Propane Flame Weeding Provides Optimal Solution to Herbicide Shortages, Weed Resistance Issues

As producers face new challenges like complying with environmental regulations and reduced herbicide effectiveness or availability, many are discovering the unique benefits offered by propane-powered weeding systems. New propane flame weeding technology uses heat to rupture the internal cells of plants for a clean, highly effective solution for weed control that reduces reliance on herbicides and combats increasing weed resistance issues.

According to research supported by the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC), flame weeding technology is up to 90 percent effective against weeds when applied twice in a growing season to row crops. Flame weed control can be used on a variety of crops, in a variety of weather conditions and growth stages, and allows farmers to return to the field immediately after treatment for reduced downtime.

Because propane is an approved alternative fuel under the Clean Air Act and is certified for organic practices, propane flame weeding has replaced tedious manual labor practices for many organic producers.

“In recent years, many organic farmers have found propane flame weeding to be a cost- and time-efficient solution for weed control, but an increasing number of traditional farmers are now recognizing the many benefits of this new technology as well,” said Michael Newland, director of agriculture business development at PERC. “While conventional farmers have been able to rely on herbicides for effective weed control in the past, weed resistance continues to be more of a problem, and limited availability or higher costs can make securing the chemicals needed for sufficient weed management more difficult. Propane flame weeding provides a time- and cost-efficient option that both organic and traditional producers nationwide should consider.”

To combat weed resistance, some producers must purchase additional chemical treatments — many of which come with higher risks to the crops and environment — and varying restrictions across the nation means these chemicals may not be a viable option either. With propane-powered flame weeding, producers can avoid these risks all together because propane is naturally cleaner and avoids the disruption of essential soil nutrients that commonly occurs with cultivation and tillage weed control methods.

To learn more about propane-powered flame weeding systems and view case studies, visit For more information about propane’s versatility and propane farm equipment, visit

 LeGrand, Miller Lead Corn Harvest Quality Rollout In Spain

The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) leaders and staff are in Spain this week to conduct a Corn Harvest Quality rollout with Spanish importers. Josh Miller, vice chairman of the Council's Board of Directors, provided an overview of the 2021 growing season in Indiana where he is a grower.

U.S. Grains Council leaders and staff visited Spain this week to offer Spanish grain buyers a look at the organization’s 2021/2022 Corn Harvest Quality Report. Council Vice Chairman Josh Miller, a farmer from Indiana; President and CEO Ryan LeGrand; and Middle East/Africa/Europe Manager of Global Trade Reece Cannady participated in the rollout event.

In January 2022 the European Union (EU) removed 25 percent import duties on U.S. corn that were imposed in June 2018. This action opened an export opportunity for up to 2 million metric tons (MMT), or 80 million bushels, of U.S. corn. The Council’s engagement this week is vital in promoting U.S. corn exports to its Spanish counterparts.

The Corn Harvest Quality Report provides the Council an opportunity to showcase the outstanding quality of the 2021 crop to Spanish importers, especially with regard to bulk shipments, and to remind customers that the U.S. agricultural sector is committed to being a reliable supplier of agricultural exports.

"Spain is a valued customer and a stronghold for U.S. agricultural exports to Europe," Miller said. "The market is a consistent customer for U.S. distiller's dried grains with solubles (DDGS), and Spain looking at buying U.S. corn is a product of our logistical certainty."

LeGrand provided opening remarks at the event in Madrid before Cannady presented the findings of the report. Miller provided attendees with a firsthand account of the 2021 growing season in the United States, sharing his personal experiences and answering questions about his crop.

To wrap up the program, Sergio Dettmer, senior risk management consultant at StoneX, an institutional-grade financial services network, offered a virtual presentation on U.S. corn and DDGS production, supply and distribution.

The Council hopes that by presenting the findings of the 2021/2022 report, the Spanish market will have increased confidence when purchasing U.S. corn.

The 2021/2022 Corn Harvest Quality Report provides information about the quality of the current U.S. crop at harvest as it enters international merchandising channels. A second Council report, the 2021/2022 Corn Export Cargo Quality Report will be released soon, measuring corn quality at the point of loading for export.

Bushel Builds Connection to the CIBO Carbon Bridge Program, Helping Incentivize Regenerative Agriculture Practices

CIBO, the science-based technology company that supports growers and enterprises on their journey to regenerative agriculture, has announced its first CIBO Carbon Bridge partnership with Bushel to bring visibility to sustainable practices throughout the supply chain. Bushel, a Fargo, ND, software company focused on building the digital infrastructure for the grain industry, has committed to collaborating with companies that provide new market opportunities for growers.

Carbon Bridge provides significant pay-for-practice financial incentives that help farmers meet the early-year financial investments required to transition to regenerative farming. Using Carbon Bridge, growers can access the best per-acre payments available starting year one, based on real-world cost estimates. The program also gives agronomic support for qualifying growers interested in adopting new practices.

"The new partnership with Bushel is helping to increase the pace and penetration of regenerative adoption and setting the stage for more collaboration across the ag value chain," said Nitzan Haklai, VP, Business Development at CIBO Technologies. "But just as importantly, we're focused on helping farms make the transition, and meeting those early-stage investment costs that can truly become very real roadblocks to a better future for farmers and consumers."

Regenerative agricultural practices like cover-cropping and no-till are effective at reducing greenhouse gasses (GHGs) while building climate-resilient soils. But for growers, the early-year costs of implementing new practices slow adoption for individual farms and at scale across the country. Traditional carbon marketplaces pay growers for carbon sequestration via regenerative practices, but many of these marketplaces come with costs that outpace the costs of early-year implementation, and it can take farms years to realize financial rewards. Carbon Bridge was launched to change this dynamic.

"We believe that bringing visibility to these new programs is a critical piece of helping US growers, and hopefully the rest of the value chain, realize the operational and financial benefits of climate-smart agriculture," says Bushel's Director of Sustainability, Allison Nepveux. "We believe that creating reductions in carbon emissions will be one of the first true monetizable business opportunities for food and agriculture supply chains. That starts with making sure switching to regenerative practices is economically viable for growers. The CIBO program is a great example of testing and enabling that. We hope this collaboration is just the beginning of a much bigger vision for our grain facilities and their growers."

Bushel provides software technology solutions for the agricultural industry with its flagship mobile application used at nearly 2,000 grain facilities. Last year, Bushel acquired FarmLogs, a leading provider of technology farm management systems for row crop farms. This creates a digital infrastructure to connect the farm gate to the grain facility onto downstream customers with permission from all parties. This expands sustainability opportunities for both growers and grain facilities through verified on-farm practices from field to CPGs, and eventually the end consumer.

Individuals and farms can pre-qualify for CIBO Carbon Bridge and sign up to see when the program is available in their area.  

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Wednesday February 23 Ag News

 Nebraska Receives Federal Approval for Public Assistance Following Mid-December Storm Damage

President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. has approved Governor Pete Ricketts’ request for a federal disaster declaration related to the thunderstorms, high winds, and tornadoes that struck Nebraska on December 15, 2021.  The storm system downed powerlines, broke tree limbs, damaged small structures and agricultural equipment, and caused power outages.

The Governor’s letter requesting the federal disaster declaration detailed the extensive damages caused by the storm.  “The cities of Beatrice, Bradshaw, Columbus, Fairbury, Geneva, Guide Rock, Syracuse, Tecumseh, Red Cloud, and Wymore all experienced damage to the city electrical distribution infrastructure and/or excessive debris issues,” the Governor wrote.  “Farmers Mutual of Nebraska, the state’s largest farm insurer, claims the storm will be one of the largest losses caused by a December storm in over 130 years, with over 4,000 claims and losses topping $30 million.”

The federal disaster declaration authorizes public assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for Adams, Buffalo, Burt, Cass, Cuming, Fillmore, Gage, Hamilton, Harlan, Jefferson, Johnson, Kearney, Nemaha, Nuckolls, Otoe, Pawnee, Platte, Polk, Richardson, Saline, Sarpy, Saunders, Thayer, Washington, and Webster counties.  Communities are eligible to apply for assistance for “emergency work and the repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities.”  Private property damages from the storm did not meet the threshold to trigger a request for individual assistance from FEMA.

The federal disaster declaration also makes funds available through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.  These federal funds, available anywhere in Nebraska, can help to share the costs of public projects undertaken to decrease the risk of future damages from natural disasters.

2021 Annual Milk Production up 1.3 percent from 2020

The annual production of milk for the United States during 2021 was 226 billion pounds, 1.3 percent above 2020. Revisions to 2020 production increased the annual total 89 million pounds. Revised 2021 production was down 18 million pounds from last month's publication. Annual total milk production has increased 12.8 percent from 2012.

Production per cow in the United States averaged 23,948 pounds for 2021, 171 pounds above 2020. The average annual rate of milk production per cow has increased 10.2 percent from 2012.

The average number of milk cows on farms in the United States during 2021 was 9.45 million head, up 0.6 percent from 2020. The average number of milk cows was unrevised for 2021. The average annual number of milk cows has increased 2.3 percent from 2012.

2021 Milk Production By State

                           (million lbs.   -   % change from '20)

Nebraska .....:           1,423.0          -2.5    
Iowa ............:           5,538.0           3.1    

January Milk Production down 1.4 Percent

Milk production in the 24 major States during January totaled 18.2 billion pounds, down 1.4 percent from January 2021. December revised production, at 18.0 billion pounds, was down 0.8 percent from December 2020. The December revision represented a decrease of 35 million pounds or 0.2 percent from last month's preliminary production estimate.

Production per cow in the 24 major States averaged 2,053 pounds for January, 14 pounds below January 2021.

The number of milk cows on farms in the 24 major States was 8.88 million head, 63,000 head less than January 2021, and 5,000 head less than December 2021.

Iowa: Milk production in Iowa during January 2022 totaled 475 million pounds, up 2 percent from the previous January according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Milk Production report. The average number of milk cows during January, at 225,000 head, was unchanged from last month but up 3,000 from January 2021. Monthly production per cow averaged 2,110 pounds, up 5 pounds from last January.

Most Fertilizer Prices Continue Upward Climb

Average retail prices for most fertilizers continued to climb the second full week of February 2022, according to sellers surveyed by DTN. For the second week in a row, prices of all but one of the major fertilizers were higher compared to last month.  Seven of the eight major fertilizer prices were higher, with one fertilizer up a considerable amount, which DTN designates as anything 5% or more.

The average retail price of 10-34-0 was 5% more expensive compared to a month ago. The starter fertilizer had an average price of $837 per ton.

DAP had an average price of $874/ton compared to last month, MAP $935/ton, potash $815/ton, anhydrous $1,488/ton (all-time high), UAN28 $603/ton (all-time high) and UAN32 $703/ton (all-time high).

UAN32 was $700 per ton for the first in the history of the DTN dataset. This is an all-time-high price for the liquid nitrogen fertilizer.

One fertilizer was lower in price from the prior month. Urea was slightly lower with an average price of $891/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.97/lb.N, anhydrous $0.91/lb.N, UAN28 $1.08/lb.N and UAN32 $1.10/lb.N.

Most fertilizers continue to be considerably higher in price than one year earlier.  MAP is now 44% more expensive, DAP is 46% higher, 10-34-0 is 60% more expensive, urea is 95% higher, potash is 102% more expensive, UAN32 is 144% higher, UAN28 146% is more expensive and anhydrous is 181% higher compared to last year.

ASA Selects Gena Perry as WISHH Executive Director

The American Soybean Association (ASA) announces Gena Perry as executive director of ASA’s World Initiative for Soy in Human Health program. Perry, who currently serves as project director global strategy, will be promoted Feb. 28 to WISHH’s top staff role.

“We are pleased Gena will take the reins at WISHH, where she has a proven record leading highly successful work with U.S. soybean organizations as well as international programs and partnerships,” said WISHH Chair and ASA Director Gerry Hayden, a soybean grower from Kentucky. “Gena worked closely with WISHH’s farmer leadership on our new strategic plan and is uniquely qualified to grow WISHH’s role in connecting global trade and development. She is already cultivating WISHH partnerships and opportunities.”

Perry joined WISHH in 2019 as project director of WISHH’s USDA-funded Food for Progress poultry project in Ghana. Before joining WISHH, she lived and worked in West Africa as liaison for AgriCorps and 4-H Ghana then took on the role of AgriCorps chief of staff. Perry received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agribusiness from the University of Georgia, where she also conducted research on management tools for livestock producers and aquaponics. She steps into the position following Liz Hare, who was in the role since 2018 and continues to serve as a consultant to WISHH during this transition.

“I’m excited to lead WISHH’s unique work at the intersection of trade and development,” said Perry. “I look forward to expanding our activities with U.S. soybean growers and our U.S. and international partners to create better access to protein-rich foods and feeds while improving food security in developing and emerging markets.”

The 22-year-old WISHH organization is now working in a record 28 countries in Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. WISHH has a strong record of implementation of programs with the support of 24 state soybean organizations, the United Soybean Board, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and others.

Sharda receives Deere & Company grant to innovate planting systems

Ajay Sharda, Patrick Wilburn — Carl and Mary Ice Keystone research scholar and associate professor in the Carl and Melinda Helwig Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at Kansas State University, has received a grant from Deere & Company to innovate planting systems to more accurately place seeds and maximize productivity and profitability.

Sharda will lead the three-year, $285,000 project, "New innovations and controls for planting systems," in an effort to help further evolve planter technology and aid producers.

"With rising input costs, increasing size of farming operations, uncertainty of available planting days and global supply chain issues, producers are continuously looking for newer innovations in planter technology to accurately place inputs while planting at higher operating speeds," Sharda said. "This project will focus on the evaluations of newer planting systems, developing implementation practices and establishing newer technology innovations needed for accurate seed and nutrition handling and placement for even emergence."

Sharda said the project goals will be accomplished through continuous on-farm research on producer's fields. The spatial data collected from crop production fields with real-world operating scenarios will help drive the innovation process to produce more intelligent and functional systems for farmers.

"Successful completion of this project would identify enhancements needed within row units for accurate placement of seed and nutrition for optimal emergence and yields," he said.

USDA NIFA Invests $16M for Undergraduate Agriculture Research and Extension Experiences
Diverse college students

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced today a $16 million investment in agricultural education and workforce development for undergraduate students from diverse backgrounds.  This investment will ensure that all students, including underrepresented and underserved students, are prepared and have a fair opportunity to compete for professional jobs in science and agricultural fields.

“Our nation is increasingly facing the challenge of meeting the demand for qualified graduates in the agricultural, food and renewable resources sectors of the U.S. economy,” said NIFA Director Dr. Carrie Castille. “USDA’s investments in students today through programs like this will expand opportunities for tomorrow’s workforce to develop the skills and training necessary to meet the needs of the agricultural sector, while ensuring that all voices across the fabric of our society are heard and included.”

These investments are part of the Research and Extension Experiences for Undergraduates (REEU) program, which promotes research and extension learning experiences for undergraduates such that upon graduation they can enter the agricultural workforce with exceptional knowledge and skills. This initiative helps colleges and universities provide opportunities for undergraduate students, including those from underrepresented and historically underserved groups, minority-serving institutions, community colleges, and universities. The program is funded by NIFA’s Agriculture Food and Research Initiative Education and Workforce Development Program.  

Some highlights of the 23 funded projects include:

    The University of Maine System will create the first five-year REEU site focused on both marine- and land-based aquaculture. The program will incorporate Indigenous cultural and ecological knowledge through a unique codesign of student projects with interdisciplinary aquaculture faculty, the aquaculture industry, and Wabanaki Traditional Knowledge Keepers; engage Tribal college and university students; and train students in applied aquaculture research through industry and mentoring to increase capacity for sustainability research and leadership. ($750,000)

    The University of Nebraska (Lincoln) will provide experiential learning through student participation in an integrated, interdisciplinary research pipeline that creates novel crop traits and applies innovative bioprocessing and formulation technologies to develop new food and feed applications. Research-based, experiential training will expose students to diverse disciplines such as plant breeding and biotechnology, bioprocess engineering, food science, and human and livestock nutrition. The program will develop recruitment networks with 1890 Land-grant Universities and other Historically Black Colleges and Universities to enhance underrepresented minority participation in the agricultural science, technology, engineering and math workforce. ($742,668)

    The University of Texas Health Science Center (Houston) will provide 12 months of interprofessional training to undergraduate students who are interested in a health care profession. Undergraduates will receive scholarships and primarily come from Minority-Serving Institutions and universities not designated as top research universities. The program will provide nutrition education, applied research and community engagement opportunities led by medical/dental/nursing and health professionals and scientists at the University of Texas Health Science Center-Houston, in addition to partnering with community organizations. ($749,999)

    Florida International University (Miami), a Hispanic-serving Institution, will recruit and train outstanding minority undergraduate Fellows in research and Extension to prepare them for careers in the scientifically challenging and globally competitive U.S. food and agriculture industry. Training will focus on plant health and production, bioenergy, natural resources and environment, agriculture economics with a focus on natural resource sustainability, sustainable agriculture, and agricultural climate adaptation. The program will enhance multicultural diversity in the skilled agricultural workforce by recruiting from traditionally underrepresented groups and will increase the percentage of undergraduate degrees awarded in food and agricultural sciences relative to the number of undergraduate degrees in all fields of study. ($392,742)

USDA is committed to equity and inclusion in all of its programs and services. Investments like this opens doors, creates opportunities and helps build a future workforce that mirrors America.

NIFA invests in and advances agricultural research, education, and Extension across the nation to make transformative discoveries that solve societal challenges. NIFA supports initiatives that ensure the long-term viability of agriculture and applies an integrated approach to ensure that groundbreaking discoveries in agriculture-related sciences and technologies reach the people who can put them into practice. In FY2021, NIFA’s total investment was $1.96 billion.

ADM Sets Record For Single Soybean Shipment From Northern Brazil

U.S. grains merchant ADM said Feb. 22 it has carried out the largest soybean shipment in the history of the Ponta da Montanha Grain Terminal (TGPM), located in the northern Brazilian city of Barcarena, as it shipped 84,802 tonnes in a single vessel.

It also represented the largest volume ever shipped on a grain vessel from ports located in the Amazon Basin, the company told Reuters.

"This showed us that we have one more option to move soybeans through the TGPM, using our own vessel," ADM's South America Logistics Director, Vitor Vinuesa, said in a statement.

"This is definitely something we will do again more often."

ADM-owned bulk carrier MV Harvest Frost, which is 237 meters (777.56 ft) long and 40 meters wide, set sail last week for the port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands, where the company also owns a terminal.

The company said all the soybeans moved will be crushed by ADM itself, obtaining products such as soymeal, cooking oil, and biodiesel.

The previous record for shipments from Brazil's northern region was set at the port of Santarem in 2020, when 82,531 tonnes of soybean were moved in a single vessel.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Tuesday February 22 Ag News

Extension to host risk management workshop for cattle producers in West Point

Nebraska Extension will host a risk management workshop for cattle producers in West Point from 10:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on March 16 at the Nielsen Center, 200 Anna Stalp Ave. Cattle producers will learn strategies designed to reduce risk exposure to achieve a profitable outcome in uncertain times.

Current issues facing the cattle industry will be discussed to help producers to make more informed decisions facing the industry.

Topics will include managing drought risk with PRF insurance, managing price risk and strategies to achieve better profitability. Specific marketing tools covered during the workshop to manage price risk will include futures and options as well as Livestock Risk Protection (LRP) Insurance. Participants will be guided through a case study to better understand strategies discussed during the workshop.  

Funding for this project is provided in partnership with the USDA-NIFA under Award Number 2018-70027-28586.

The workshop is free and a meal will be provided courtesy of KTIC Radio, but registration is required by March 11. For more information, and to register by March 11, please call Nebraska Extension in Cuming County at 402-372-6006.

Central Valley Ag Announces New Board Leadership

Central Valley Ag Cooperative has announced a transition of the leadership of its board of directors. Dave Beckman, previous board chairman, has stepped down from chairman. Luke Carlson, a board member from York, Neb., has been unanimously elected to serve as chairman. Dave will continue to serve on the board of directors throughout the year. He plans to help with the transition until his term is up in November 2022.

Dave Beckman, a producer from Elgin, Neb., began his service on CVA’s predecessor cooperative boards in 1991 when he was elected to Farmers Co-op Exchange (FCX). “I certainly had no intention of serving as a director for 30 years, but the time has passed quickly,” said Dave. His passion for the co-op kept him an active member on the board, eventually taking the chairman position in the mid-90s. Throughout various mergers and acquisitions, Dave held his position as chairman from 1999 until December 2021.

“The opportunity to work with many talented co-op directors and management people, while positioning our cooperative to meet the needs of our owners both today and in the future, is what kept drawing me back to serve,” stated Beckman. “I have been blessed to serve as board chairman for many years, that responsibility has now been passed to Luke Carlson. Luke has shown great leadership in the boardroom, and I am excited to see what the future holds.”

Carlson produces corn and soybeans near Silver Creek, Neb.; he is passionate about the agricultural industry and obtained his bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Science from Northwest Missouri State University. He has served as a leader for various local organizations, such as the York County Farm Bureau and the Polk County Recreation Association. Luke served as an associate director on the Central Valley Ag board for one year before being elected to the board by the patrons in 2017. He has completed all four phases of the cooperative council director training and has attended FC Services Advanced Governance Series Director Training.

“I would like to thank Dave for his years of leadership and dedication to CVA. His guidance has placed CVA into a position to maintain relevance in an extremely competitive marketplace for generations to come,” said Luke. “It is my honor and pleasure to serve as the next chairman of Central Valley Ag. I look forward to working together with the board and management to strategically guide CVA.”

Mark Philips of Akron, Iowa, will serve alongside Luke as vice chairman, and Jacob Porter of Mankato, Kansas, will serve as secretary on the Central Valley Ag board of directors.


For the week ending February 20, 2022, topsoil moisture supplies rated 35% very short, 48% short, 17% adequate, and 0% surplus, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 27% very short, 45% short, 28% adequate, and 0% surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Winter wheat condition rated 6% very poor, 12% poor, 46% fair, 33% good, and 3% excellent.

IOWA: Temperatures were up and down during the month, with only scattered reports of fields with snow cover remaining. Mild weather allowed for a lot of grain movement from farms to elevators and ethanol plants as well as livestock going to market. Some farmers were spreading manure on crop fields and getting equipment ready for the Spring. Livestock producers were busy with calving and lambing. Overall, livestock were reported to be in good condition although fluctuating temperatures were causing more sickness in livestock than usual. Across the State, producers are concerned about the lack of precipitation and dry conditions and hoping for Spring rains to replenish soil moisture levels.

Silage for Beef Conference Will Be Offered in Person and Online

Beef producers who attend this year’s Silage for Beef Conference March 17 will learn how to maximize the potential of silage as one of the largest components of their bottom line.

The conference returns for a fourth year as a one-day event with a full slate of topics and presenters on this vital part of beef cattle diets. New this year, the event focuses on small grain silage and will be available to attend in person or by livestream.

The conference is provided by the Iowa Beef Center and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, along with University of Nebraska Extension and Lallemand Animal.

Registration is free although attendees are asked to register by March 2 here... During the online registration process, attendees will choose to either stream the conference online or attend in person at the Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center in Ithaca, Nebraska. The event begins with a welcome at 8:30 a.m. and will conclude by 4 p.m.
Topics, speakers and affiliations
    Agronomic management of small grain for silages, by Daren Redfearn, professor at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.
    When to harvest small grain silage, by Mary Drewnoski, associate professor at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.
    Sorghum silage: A solution for limited water, by Matt Atkins, assistant scientist and extension dairy specialist, University of Wisconsin.
    Why fermentation analysis is important and what it means for your operation, by John Goeser, director of nutritional research and innovation at Rock River Laboratory and adjunct assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
    Fundamentals of silage harvest management, by Becky Arnold, custom harvest business development manager, Lallemand Animal Nutrition.
    Inoculants for small grain silage, with Limin Kung, professor at the University of Delaware.
    Economics and ROI on quality forage in grower and finishing rations, by Jhones Sarturi, associate professor at Texas Tech University.
    Making small grain silage work, a panel discussion by Dan Loy, director of the Iowa Beef Center and professor at Iowa State University.

"This is a great opportunity for us to bring current research information to the cattle industry in Nebraska, Iowa and beyond," said Dan Loy, director of the Iowa Beef Center at Iowa State. "Hopefully the livestreaming option increases the reach of this information to a national and international audience."


– Ben Beckman, NE Extension

Are you feeding cane, millet, or oat hay, or maybe corn stalk bales, to your cows this winter?  If so, don’t let high nitrate levels kill your cows or cause abortions.

Nitrates occur naturally in all forages.  At low levels, nitrates either are converted into microbial protein by bacteria in the rumen or they are excreted.  But when nitrate concentrations get too high, they can cause issues.

When stress affects pasture and hay production, nitrates often reach potentially toxic levels.  Some plants are more likely to be high in nitrates than others.  Annual grasses like cane, millet, oats, and even corn often have elevated nitrate levels.  So do certain weeds like pigweed, kochia, and lambsquarter.  If your hay has lots of these weeds or is an annual grass, be alert to the potential for high nitrates.

That doesn’t mean these feeds always are toxic, nor does it mean that high-nitrate hay can’t be fed safely.  But always test these feeds for nitrates in a lab before feeding, to determine how to feed them safely.

If we do have high nitrates, there are many ways to feed the hay safely.  Diluting with grain or low nitrate forages is most common.  Frequent, small meals that slowly increase the amount of nitrate fed helps cattle adapt to high nitrate hay.  Remember with this last approach that any time cattle go off feed then come back, like after a snow storm or if a feeding was missed, they are more likely to consume more hay than normal.  This raises the amount of nitrate consumed and can result in poisoning, even in an adapted herd. Finally, make sure cattle have plenty of clean, low nitrate water at all times.

Nitrate concerns are nothing to sneeze at, but with the right tools, can be managed safely.  Test hay you think may have an issue, especially annual grasses and hay with a high percentage of weeds.  If tests come back high, plan to feed safely by dilution, or gradually increase the amount of the feed to adapt animals to it.   


The Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB) has released its official 2021 Annual Report. Visitors to the CBB’s website can view specific sections of the report online or download the full report as a PDF.

The 2021 CBB Annual Report includes information about projects and results within each of the organization’s program areas: promotion, foreign marketing, consumer information, industry information, research and producer communications. The report also contains a financial statement of assets, liabilities and net assets from September 30, 2020, to September 30, 2021.

“Compiling our annual report is an opportunity for us to examine what the Beef Checkoff and its contractors accomplished during the previous fiscal year and consider what we should focus on in the future,” said Greg Hanes, CBB CEO. “It’s also another example of the Checkoff’s ongoing efforts to be more transparent with the producers who invest in our programs. We want them to know how their dollars are making a difference.”

Highlights within the 2021 CBB Annual Report include:
    Fifteen million views of the Beef in the Early Years educational content encouraging parents to consider beef as a first food for their children.
    A 20 percent increase in export value compared to the previous record pace established in 2018.
    Incremental beef sales of 1.5 million accomplished through a partnership with retailer Sam’s Club designed to increase online beef purchases.
    A 27.8 percent increase in producer subscriptions to the CBB’s newsletter, The Drive, both in print and online.

“The CBB shares the information within the annual report to solicit feedback and encourage producer involvement,” Hanes said. “The Beef Checkoff is an industry-wide initiative, and it has the greatest impact when all stakeholders work together. We’re looking forward to even more collaboration and success throughout 2022.”

For more information about the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and the Beef Checkoff, visit

USDA Cold Storage January 2022 Highlights

Total natural cheese stocks in refrigerated warehouses on January 31, 2022 were up slightly from the previous month and up 3 percent from January 31, 2021.  Butter stocks were up 11 percent from last month but down 33 percent from a year ago.

Total frozen poultry supplies on January 31, 2022 were up 11 percent from the previous month but down 10 percent from a year ago. Total stocks of chicken were up 3 percent from the previous month but down 7 percent from last year. Total pounds of turkey in freezers were up 47 percent from last month but down 19 percent from January 31, 2021.

Total frozen fruit stocks on January 31, 2022 were down 7 percent from last month and down 3 percent from a year ago.  Total frozen vegetable stocks were down 8 percent from last month and down 4 percent from a year ago.

Total red meat supplies in freezers on January 31, 2022 were up 6 percent from the previous month but down 3 percent from last year. Total pounds of beef in freezers were up 4 percent from the previous month and up 1 percent from last year. Frozen pork supplies were up 8 percent from the previous month but down 6 percent from last year. Stocks of pork bellies were up 17 percent from last month and up 43 percent from last year.


Nebraska's layer numbers during 2021 averaged 8.16 million, down 5% from 2020, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. The annual average production per layer on hand in 2021 was 295 eggs, up 4% from 2020.

Nebraska egg production during the year ending November 30, 2021 totaled 2.40 billion eggs, down 1% from 2020.

Total number of chickens on hand on December 1, 2021 (excluding commercial broilers) was 10.2 million birds, up 3% from last year.

The total value of all chickens in Nebraska on December 1, 2021 was $50.9 million, up 61% from December 1, 2020. The average value increased from $3.20 per bird on December 1, 2020, to $5.00 per bird on December 1, 2021.

USDA Chickens and Eggs 2021 Summary

United States Average Layers Down 1 Percent: Layers during 2021 averaged 389 million, down 1 percent from the year earlier. The annual average production per layer on hand in 2021 was 285 eggs, unchanged from 2020.

United States Egg Production Down 1 Percent: Egg production during the year ending November 30, 2021 totaled 111 billion eggs, down 1 percent from 2020. Table egg production, at 95.6 billion eggs, was down 2 percent from the previous year. Hatching egg production, at 15.2 billion eggs, was up 3 percent from 2020.

United States December 1 Chicken Inventory: The total inventory of chickens on hand on December 1, 2021 (excluding commercial broilers) was 523 million birds, up 1 percent from last year.

United States Total Value: The total value of all chickens on December 1, 2021 was $3.00 billion, up 16 percent from December 1, 2020. The average value increased from $4.99 per bird on December 1, 2020, to $5.75 per bird on December 1, 2021.

Growth Energy, EPA Reach Settlement on Deadline for Issuing 2021, 2022 RVO

Following settlement discussions with Growth Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will file a notice in the Federal Register tomorrow seeking comment on a proposed judicial consent decree that would require EPA to finalize the 2021 and 2022 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs), which are the subject of a pending rulemaking, by no later than June 3, 2022. EPA’s notice comes after Growth Energy filed multiple notices of intent to sue and a complaint in federal district court in response to the agency’s extended delay in issuing the RVOs, a direct violation of the deadlines established by Congress for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program.  

“This agreement is a significant milestone for the biofuels industry and reflects Growth Energy’s persistent efforts to hold EPA accountable to its responsibilities under the RFS to issue timely RVOs and provide market certainty,” stated Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “We are pleased that EPA has agreed to take this action.”  

“Furthermore, we are hopeful that EPA’s agreement to submit to judicial oversight of a binding RVO deadline gives credence to the agency’s commitment to get the RFS back on track and provide regulated parties and the biofuels industry with timely guideposts to enhance market certainty and incentivize innovation for the future of biofuels. This is particularly important as EPA moves to consider the blending obligations for the already-delayed RFS “Set” in the year ahead.,” Skor concluded.

RFA’s Cooper: Ethanol has Historic Opportunity to Cut Carbon, Lower Fuel Prices

In his annual State of the Industry Address, Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper said that, while the U.S. ethanol industry has a long history of capitalizing on unique opportunities, the global quest to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 “may very well be the greatest opportunity for growth and value creation in the industry’s history.”  

Cooper’s address served as the keynote during today’s 27th National Ethanol Conference, which began yesterday and concludes tomorrow in New Orleans.

“Just as the ethanol industry seized on opportunities to stimulate the rural economy, reduce smog-forming air pollution, and bolster energy security, we now have—right in front of us—another great opportunity to provide a solution to one of the world’s most daunting challenges: reducing carbon emissions and combatting climate change,” Cooper said. “And we cannot afford to miss this opportunity—not just because it will help our industry grow and thrive, but because the very health of the planet is at stake.”

The ethanol industry has already made great progress toward decarbonization, Cooper said, as today’s corn ethanol reduces greenhouse gas emissions by roughly 50% percent compared to gasoline. And, as highlighted in a new study released at the conference, ethanol is on a trajectory to achieve net-zero carbon emissions well before 2050. But ethanol’s ability to contribute to decarbonization goals goes far beyond the light-duty vehicle fleet, Cooper said.

“With the right chemistry and technology, ethanol can serve not only as a future low-carbon fuel for jets, ocean liners, trucks, and farm equipment, but also as the fundamental building block for sustainable chemicals and plastics,” Cooper said. “In reality, anything you can do with a barrel of crude oil, we can do with a barrel of renewable ethanol.”
Cooper also highlighted a big opportunity for ethanol to help address another vexing problem: high gas prices. Oil prices topped $95 per barrel last week and average retail gas prices hit $3.50 a gallon, which Cooper said “reminds us of an inconvenient reality: We cannot frack our way to low gas prices and energy security. Whether we like it or not, pump prices here in America continue to be shaped by the whims of OPEC and geopolitical events—like the current situation in Ukraine.”

Rather than calling on OPEC to increase production, releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, or suspending the federal gasoline tax, Cooper encouraged the Biden Administration to move quickly to facilitate the sale of higher ethanol blends like E15.

“Today, fuel blenders can buy a gallon of ethanol for about 50 cents less than a gallon gasoline,” he said, noting that E15 is selling for 20 to 25 cents less than E10 in some places in recent weeks. “Make no mistake, the quickest way to lower gas prices would be to restore the ability of retailers to sell E15 year-round and allow them to do it through existing equipment. The Biden Administration could make that happen with little more than the stroke of a pen, and we will continue to encourage them to pursue this commonsense strategy for reducing consumer fuel prices in the near term.”

The Data Doesn’t Lie: It Pays to Participate in the Advanced Acre Rx Program

Farming is the ultimate risk-reward business. Every year, farmers make upwards of 40 critical business decisions that can make or break their operations. With little to no room for second guessing or second tries, there is a tremendous amount of risk placed on the farmer.

To help farmers identify opportunities in their fields to improve ROI without making them carry the full burden of risk that comes with using new products or practices, two years ago WinField® United rolled out the Advanced Acre® Rx (AARx) program.

“From supply constraints and lending cutbacks to extreme weather and evolving pest problems, a farmer’s job is only getting harder,” said Brett Bruggeman, president, WinField United and executive vice president, Land O’Lakes, Inc. “As the leader of a federated cooperative system, it is our duty to ensure our farmer-owners continue to thrive in the face of adversity, and the Advanced Acre Rx program is a critical piece of the farm management puzzle.”

Since launching in 2020, WinField United has tracked the performance of AARx through its Answer Plot® program. The program uses approved yields as benchmarks to track performance, but the real story lies within the ROI of the approach. Data from more than 20 locations across the Corn Belt has shown an average ROI of $83/ac for Elite Rx® corn and almost $16/ac for Elite Rx soybeans when compared to local agronomic recommendations as the baseline.

In 2021, 200,000 acres were enrolled in the program, and 28% of growers enrolled in the AARx program received a payout from WinField United for fields that did not meet predetermined approved yield thresholds.

AARx uses a systems approach to agronomy. Every prescription includes a field-level agronomic plan that features products and ag technology recommendations with a service warranty for performance.* Drawing on more than 20 years of data from the Answer Plot program, AARx prescriptions deliver predictable outcomes based on past performance in local fields.

“WinField United’s dedication to gathering two decades worth of agronomic data on a national scale can really pay off for farmers through AARx,” said Bruggeman. “However, the real key to unlocking the potential of the program is the expertise of trusted local retailers who develop these plans that deliver ROI for the farmers they work with.”

Even when Mother Nature throws a curveball, WinField United stands behind AARx prescriptions. If farmers follow the customized plan and don’t reach an approved yield target, WinField United covers the cost of services.  

Farmers can participate in the Advanced Acre Rx prescription program through their local WinField United affiliated retailer.

Deere Reports First Quarter Net Income of $903 Million

Deere & Company reported net income of $903 million for the first quarter ended January 30, 2022, or $2.92 per share, compared with net income of $1.224 billion, or $3.87 per share, for the quarter ended January 31, 2021.

Worldwide net sales and revenues increased 5 percent in the first quarter of 2022 to $9.569 billion. Equipment operations net sales were $8.531 billion for the quarter, compared with $8.051 billion in 2021.

"Deere's performance in the first quarter was impressive given production issues surrounding the delayed ratification of our UAW contract in late November as well as persistent challenges posed by the supply chain and pandemic," said John C. May, chairman and chief executive officer. "These factors led to higher production costs in the quarter. We continue to work closely with key suppliers to manage the situation, enabling our customers to deliver food production and critical infrastructure. We are proud of the extraordinary efforts being taken by our dealers and employees to get products to our customers as soon possible in today's challenging environment."

Company Outlook & Summary
Net income attributable to Deere & Company for fiscal 2022 is forecast to be in a range of $6.7 billion to $7.1 billion.

"Looking ahead, we expect demand for farm and construction equipment to continue benefiting from strong fundamentals," May said. "At the same time, we are excited about the opportunities to create value for our customers and other stakeholders as outlined in our goals. Because of the hard work that has been done executing the Smart Industrial operating model, we are leveraging technology that delivers improved customer profitability, productivity, and sustainability."

Today the company announced new goals, known as the Leap Ambitions, that are linked to the Smart Industrial strategy and operating model introduced in 2020. The ambitions are designed to boost economic value and sustainability for Deere's customers, as well as for employees, investors, and other stakeholders. Deere is committed to achieving these goals over the remainder of the decade. Details can be found in the presentation accompanying this release as well as in the 2021 Deere & Company Sustainability Report, published today at