Thursday, April 21, 2022

Wednesday April 20 Ag News

– Ben Beckman, NE Extension Educator

A dry fall and winter has most of Nebraska starting spring in a moisture deficit.  As we head into the growing season, assessing pasture conditions at the correct time is critical to successful planning. How can you use trigger dates to inform your drought planning this year?
One of the main factors driving annual forage production in Nebraska’s grazinglands is available moisture.  Both cool and warm season grasses in the state rely heavily on spring and early summer precipitation at a time when the plant is rapidly growing.  This period of rapid growth varies by species, and is driven by air temperature, day length, and soil moisture.  Once optimal conditions have passed, getting significant growth even if it does rain is difficult.
With this in mind, we can set up some trigger dates to assess moisture levels and pasture conditions, informing the implementation of a drought management plan.
• April 15 to May 10: smooth bromegrass pastures with below average precipitation, annual production may be reduced 25-50%.
• May 20 to June 10: Assess earlier precipitation levels. If March-May precipitation was 50-75% of the long-term average, reduce stocking rates 30-40% or more depending upon grass species and plant health.
• June 15 to June 30: Approximately 75 to 90% of grass growth on cool-season dominated range sites and 50% of grass growth on warm-season dominated range sites will have happened.  Rainfall after late June results in limited benefit to cool-season grass production.
• July 15: Precipitation after this date will have limited benefit to warm-season tallgrass production but can still result in some forage growth from shortgrass warm-season species such as buffalograss and blue grama.
Knowing when to pull the trigger on drought plans is not an easy decision, but it can mean the difference between managing with conditions or scrambling to catch up.  This year, use trigger dates for your operation to successfully implement drought mitigation strategies.

Green Plains Achieves Breakthrough 60% Protein Concentration, Record-High Renewable Corn Oil Yield

Green Plains Inc. today announced that product and technology innovation efforts have led to the production of greater than 60% protein concentrations with yields as high as 4 pounds per bushel at its Wood River, Nebraska, biorefinery, using the patented Fluid Quip Technologies MSC™ system. The breakthrough was accomplished through a full-scale production changeover across the entire plant’s fermentation and production processes. Modifications for the trial also resulted in record-high low-carbon renewable corn oil yields of up to 1.4 pounds per bushel, further expanding the company’s ability to supply a strategic feedstock to the fast-growing renewable diesel market.

“We believe that for the first time in history, a dry-mill biorefinery has been able to achieve protein concentrations over 60% with yields approaching 4 pounds per bushel, which can drastically improve the economics of a biorefinery,” said Todd Becker, President and Chief Executive Officer. “This is a truly game-changing event as we believe no other technology exists at this commercial scale that can provide 60% or greater, fermented, pre-digested protein products that can radically transform how we feed the world. As we embarked on our journey to transform our facilities to the biorefineries of the future, we anticipated achieving higher protein levels over time, but this trial is rapidly exceeding our expectations. Our speed of innovation will continue to accelerate as we work jointly with our customers to deliver even more value.”

Internal and external product validation efforts are underway to assess additional nutritional value beyond protein concentration levels and begin formulation for a variety of diets in aqua, pet and swine. Products from the trial at Wood River will be included in aquafeed diets produced on multiple extrusion platforms at the company’s Omaha innovation center and then validated through customer and internal feeding trials at its Shenandoah Aqualab, creating a unique end-to-end, in-house innovation platform. With the opening of its Innovation Center at Omaha, Green Plains now operates three innovation centers, allowing it to move from benchtop, scale-up, feed production to finished product testing.

“While 50% protein was the starting point, we believe the market for fermented plant and yeast-based proteins has significant price inelasticity as they are valued as nutritional solutions and do not trade like commodities,” said Leslie van der Meulen, Executive Vice President, Product Marketing and Innovation. “We are in advanced conversations with global customers to use this revolutionary product to help solve specific needs through our fermentation and innovation platform. We are focused on building long-term relationships and becoming a cornerstone provider of sustainable, low-carbon, antibiotic-free ingredients.”

“With this success, the disruptive, transformational technologies we are deploying are demonstrating the potential to distance us from historical volatility and continue to unlock the true value of Fluid Quip Technologies’ leading ag-tech platform for Green Plains, our partners, customers and shareholders alike,” added Becker. “Between MSC protein and ingredients, low-carbon renewable corn oil and Clean Sugar Technology, along with our exclusive partnership with Novozymes, we believe the strength of our innovative IP portfolio is unmatched in agriculture today. We now have a thorough understanding of how to optimize our patented MSC technology with engineered mechanical changes and additional biological formulation upgrades. We will continue to develop this process to fully transform our current operations while remaining on track to meet our 2024-25 objectives.”

Frenchman Valley Coop Drives Innovation And Yield with Platte Peak Crop Performance

In the face of rising input costs, leaders at Frenchman Valley Farmers Cooperative, Imperial, Neb., say they are redoubling efforts to provide innovative options for farmers seeking better ROI (return on investment). They recently unveiled two new products under the Platte Peak Crop Performance crop input brand as more evidence.

“Stand Strong” is the tagline introducing the new nutrient-packed starter fertilizer formulations –V5 and V5+Bio – that include different micronutrients and biological components. An image of a sword-swinging knight accompanies the brands.

“These are extraordinary products, and we have to find ways to convey that fact,” says Ben Sauder, Frenchman Valley Vice President of Agronomy in providing background on the new products.  “Our new V5+Bio really the full-meal deal for boosting crop performance with an in-furrow starter at planting time and it can help farmers make more money and keep more of what they earn.”

With Platte Peak™ Crop Performance, a new line of trademarked crop inputs, Sauder says Frenchman Valley Cooperative (FVC) has taken steps toward providing the best possible crop input line-up under local control, thereby bringing new products and systems designed to improve yield, reduce greenhouse gases and remove waste from the crop input distribution system.

Sauder says Platte Peak brand is a natural next step for FVC. “We have devoted years and countless resources into providing our growers with the most logical solutions to our tough problems,” he says. “Economic viability is the key component of sustainable crop production and it’s at the heart of our new efforts with Platte Peak Crop Performance.” he says. Sauder says FVC is pushing greater sustainability through the brand in four key areas:

1. Strategic Sourcing.  “We deal directly with product providers and have them formulate high quality crop inputs to meet the unique needs of farmers in our four-state service area,” says Sauder. “With timely shipping and fewer warehouses, we create economic value by removing waste in the system. We can then pass along those savings to our members.”

2. Concentrated Inputs.  “Moving water is expensive and fuel intensive,” explains Sauder. “When we can move concentrated active ingredients and blend them closer to their end use on the farm, not only do we save money, but we have a fresher, better, more potent product for use in the field.”

3. Innovative Biologicals.  “There is a biological revolution coming in agriculture, and we intend to be on the forefront of that movement,” says Sauder. “V5-Bio is our most recent biological release, and it now joins CARBON CYCLE™, our residue reducer.”

4. Autonomous Application. “Our new computer-guided applicator means we can cover more acres in a given day with fewer people,” he explains. “Having a driverless rig means being able to reallocate human resources in a way that’s safer and more efficient. It will actually help us cover more acres with less fuel and reducing the potential for accidents day and night.”

In today’s ag climate, says Sauder, his team is tasked with making the most of every acre, controlling weeds that are resistant to chemicals, and conserving soil, water and air. The Platte Peak Crop Performance initiative is being undertaken with the same rigor FVC applies to any new offering.

“We are always looking to gain efficiency and provide the best solutions for farmers,” he says. “We want to help growers make the most out of every dollar they spend with us”


Milk production in Nebraska during the January-March 2022 quarter totaled 351 million pounds, down 3% from the January-March quarter last year, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. The average number of milk cows was 57,000 head, 2,000 head less than the same period last year.

U.S. January-March Milk Production down 1.0 Percent

Milk production in the United States during the January - March quarter totaled 56.3 billion pounds, down 1.0 percent from the January - March quarter last year. The average number of milk cows in the United States during the quarter was 9.38 million head, unchanged from the October - December quarter, but 85,000 head less than the same period last year.

IOWA: Milk production in Iowa during March 2022 totaled 484 million pounds, up 1 percent from the previous March according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service - Milk Production report. The average number of milk cows during March, at 227,000 head, was 1,000 above last month but unchanged from March 2021. Monthly production per cow averaged 2,130 pounds, up 15 pounds from last March.

March Milk Production down 0.4 Percent

Milk production in the 24 major States during March totaled 18.8 billion pounds, down 0.4 percent from March 2021. February revised production, at 16.8 billion pounds, was down 0.7 percent from February 2021. The February revision represented an increase of 8 million pounds or less than 0.1 percent from last month's preliminary production estimate.  Production per cow in the 24 major States averaged 2,113 pounds for March,  7 pounds above March 2021. The number of milk cows on farms in the 24 major States was 8.90 million head, 68,000 head less than March 2021, but 15,000 head more than February 2022.

Total Red Meat and Beef Production at Record High in 2021

Total red meat production for the United States totaled 55.9 billion pounds in 2021, slightly higher than the previous year. Red meat includes beef, veal, pork, and lamb and mutton. Red meat production in commercial plants totaled 55.8 billion pounds. On-farm slaughter totaled 91.9 million pounds.

Beef production totaled 28.0 billion pounds, up 3 percent from the previous year. Veal production totaled 58.1 million pounds, down 16 percent from last year. Pork production, at 27.7 billion pounds, was 2 percent below the previous year. Lamb and mutton production totaled 143 million pounds, down slightly from 2020.

Commercial cattle slaughter during 2021 totaled 33.9 million head, up 3 percent from 2020, with federal inspection comprising 98.0 percent of the total. The average live weight was 1,371 pounds, down 2 pounds from a year ago. Steers comprised 48.7 percent of the total federally inspected cattle slaughter, heifers 29.6 percent, dairy cows 9.4 percent, other cows 10.7 percent, and bulls 1.6 percent.

Commercial calf slaughter totaled 391,300 head, 14 percent lower than a year ago with 98.1 percent under federal inspection. The average live weight was 237 pounds, down 8 pounds from a year earlier.

Commercial hog slaughter totaled 129 million head, 2 percent lower than 2020 with 99.5 percent of the hogs slaughtered under federal inspection. The average live weight was down 1 pound from last year, at 288 pounds. Barrows and gilts comprised 97.3 percent of the total federally inspected hog slaughter.

Commercial sheep and lamb slaughter, at 2.26 million head, was up 2 percent from the previous year with federal inspection comprising 85.1 percent of the total. The average live weight was down 3 pounds from 2020 at 122 pounds. Lambs and yearlings comprised 92.7 percent of the total federally inspected sheep slaughter.

There were 905 plants slaughtering under federal inspection on January 1, 2022 compared with 858 last year. Of these, 726 plants slaughtered at least one head of cattle during 2021 with the 12 largest plants slaughtering 50 percent of the total cattle killed. Hogs were slaughtered at 645 plants, with the 14 largest plants accounting for 58 percent of the total. For calves, 3 of the 165 plants accounted for 55 percent of the total and 1 of the 534 plants that slaughtered sheep or lambs in 2021 comprised 17 percent of the total head.    

Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, and Texas accounted for 50 percent of the United States commercial red meat production in 2021, up 1 percent from 2021.

By State, total 2021 Red Meat Production

(million pounds)
Nebraska ......:   7,968.4     
Iowa .............:   8,797.5     
Kansas ..........:   6,156.0     
Texas ............:   4,758.0     

USDA Seeks Nominees for the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is seeking nominees for the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board (Cattlemen’s Beef Board) to succeed 39 Members with terms that expire in March 2023. The deadline for nominations is June 9, 2022.

Nominees are needed to succeed members in Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin, Northwest Unit (Alaska, Hawaii, and Washington), Southwest Unit (California and Nevada) and Importer Unit.

The Cattleman’s Beef Board is authorized by the Beef Promotion and Research Act of 1985 and is composed of 101 members representing 34 separate states, four units of geographically grouped states, and one importer unit.

Beef producers within the United States who own cattle or any importers that import cattle or beef may be nominated. Producers and importers must be nominated by a certified producer organization and submit a completed application. The Secretary of Agriculture will select individuals from the nominations submitted.

A list of certified producer organizations, the nomination form and information about the Cattlemen’s Beef Board are available on the AMS Cattlemen’s Beef Board webpage and on the board’s website, For more information, contact Barbara Josselyn at (202) 713-6918 or

Phosphate Prices Reach All-Time High in Leading Fertilizer Market Higher

Retail fertilizer prices tracked by DTN for the second week of April 2022 show all eight major fertilizers had higher prices than the previous month. This has been the trend in recent weeks.

Leading the way higher was DAP. The phosphorus fertilizer was 8% more expensive compared to last month and had an average price of $1,047/ton, which is an all-time high price in the DTN data set.

Two fertilizer prices were also significantly higher compared to last month. DTN designates a significant move as 5% or more.

MAP and urea were both 7% higher than in late March. MAP had average price of $1,071/ton while urea is at $1,017/ton (all-time high).

The remaining five fertilizers were slightly higher looking back to last month. Potash had an average price of $875/ton, 10-34-0 $906/ton, anhydrous $1,534/ton (all-time high), UAN28 $630/ton (all-time high) and UAN32 $730/ton (all-time high).

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $1.11/lb.N, anhydrous $0.94/lb.N, UAN28 $1.13/lb.N and UAN32 $1.14/lb.N.

Most fertilizers continue to be considerably higher in price than one year earlier. 10-34-0 is 49% more expensive, MAP is 53% higher, DAP is 68% more expensive, UAN28 is 83% higher, UAN32 is 89% more expensive, urea is 100% is higher, potash is 103% higher and anhydrous is 119% more expensive compared to last year.

Analysis Shows Corn Ethanol’s Energy Balance Is Strongly Positive and Continues to Improve

Today’s corn ethanol now provides nearly three times the energy used to produce it, according to a new analysis by the Renewable Fuels Association, with some biorefineries approaching a four-to-one energy ratio. This continuing improvement in energy balance reflects improved efficiencies in corn production and ethanol processing.

“Our nation’s corn farmers and ethanol biorefineries have been working harder and smarter to improve productivity, and that clearly shows in these new numbers,” said RFA Chief Economist Scott Richman. “This is an important message for policymakers and regulators who should note the progress our industry and its suppliers are making when it comes to sustainability and energy conservation, and it should set the record straight as some detractors continue to dredge up decades-old allegations.”

Richman noted that estimates of the average energy balance ratio for corn ethanol have increased sharply over time. In RFA’s previous analysis, released in March 2016, the association conservatively found the average energy balance ratio of corn ethanol was likely in the range of 2.6 to 2.8, with the top quartile of dry mill biorefineries averaging 3.2 to 3.4.

 Weekly Ethanol Production for 4/15/2022

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending April 15, ethanol production dropped by 48,000 barrels per day (b/d), or 4.8%, to 947,000 b/d, equivalent to 39.77 million gallons daily and the lowest volume since September 2021. Production was 0.6% more than the same week last year and 4.7% above the five-year average for the week. The four-week average ethanol production volume decreased 2.4% to 995,000 b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 15.25 billion gallons (bg).

Ethanol stocks drew down by 1.9% to a thirteen-week low of 24.3 million barrels. However, stocks were 19.0% higher than a year ago and 5.1% above the five-year average. Inventories declined across all regions except the East Coast (PADD 1) and Rocky Mountains (PADD 4).

The volume of gasoline supplied to the U.S. market, a measure of implied demand, increased 1.5% to 8.87 million b/d (135.95 bg annualized). Demand was 2.6% less than a year ago but 5.3% above the five-year average.

Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol ticked down 0.1% to 886,000 b/d, equivalent to 13.58 bg annualized. Net inputs were 0.4% less than a year ago but 5.9% above the five-year average.

There were no imports of ethanol for the twelfth consecutive week. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of February 2022.)

USGC Releases 2021/2022 Corn Export Cargo Quality Report

The average aggregate quality of U.S. corn samples tested for the U.S. Grains Council’s (USGC’s) 2021/2022 Corn Export Cargo Quality Report released this week was better than or equal to U.S. No. 2 on all grade factors.

“As foreign buyers decide what their purchasing contracts will look like and determine what their corn for feed, food and industrial uses may be, clearly understanding this year’s corn quality information is vitally important,” said USGC Chairman Chad Willis. “This report – along with its companion, the Corn Harvest Quality Report – allows stakeholders to see how this year’s exports compare with previous years so they can make informed purchasing decisions.”

The report is based on 430 export cargo samples collected from corn shipments undergoing federal inspection and grading processes at export terminals. It also provides information on grading, handling and how U.S. corn is moved and controlled through export channels.

Average test weight found by the analysis was higher than in 2020/2021 and the five-year average, with nearly 99.8 percent of samples at or above the minimum requirements for U.S. No. 1 grade corn, indicating overall good quality. Chemical composition indicated protein concentration higher than 2020/2021 and the five-year average with lower starch and higher oil concentrations than the previous year. The exports had lower average stress cracks and higher average percent of whole kernels and horneous endosperm than in 2020/2021 and the five-year average. All but two export samples tested below the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) action level for aflatoxins and 100 percent of the samples tested below advisory levels for deoxynivalenol (DON) or vomitoxin.

The export cargo quality report is a companion to the 2021/2022 Corn Harvest Quality Report that provides information about the quality of the most recent U.S. corn crop at harvest as it enters the international merchandising channels.

Both reports provide reliable information on U.S. corn quality from the farm to the customer based on transparent and consistent methodology, offering an early view of grading factors established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), moisture content and other characteristics not reported elsewhere. The reports identify any noticeable changes occurring between these two time periods.

The Council will roll out the new results in a series of crop quality seminars around the world beginning with one in North Asia (South Korea, Japan and Taiwan) on April 26 and more in Panama, Honduras, Guatemala and Colombia in May. These outreach activities help establish clear expectations with buyers and end-users regarding the quality of corn this marketing year.

“To help fulfill this mission, the Council offers this report as a service to our partners as part of its mission to develop markets, enable trade and improve lives,” Willis said. “Developing a report of this scope and breadth in a timely manner allows us to do our part in furthering global food security and mutual economic benefit while assisting our valued trading partners in making well-informed decisions about the crop they are considering.”

Be ready to safeguard the future of animal agriculture at 2022 Stakeholders Summit

The future of animal agriculture and the security of our food supply continues to be targeted by animal rights extremist organizations. Two expert panels at the Animal Agriculture Alliance’s 2022 Stakeholders Summit will discuss current trends in activist tactics, legislative initiatives and legal cases and provide recommendations to secure the animal agriculture community against potential threats. Summit Registration is open through May 6 at

“Animal rights extremism is nothing new, but the tactics used by these organizations continue to evolve in attempts to further their agenda of removing meat, milk, poultry, and eggs from grocery store shelves and dinner tables – ultimately, eliminating consumer choice,” said Hannah Thompson-Weeman, Alliance vice president, strategic engagement and incoming president and CEO. “It’s imperative for the farm and food communities to be informed of and be ready for potential threats they could be exposed to as we all come together to safeguard our future. I’m honored to be able to bring the Alliance’s expertise and insights into activism to this important discussion alongside the other experts and panelists.”

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, animal rights extremists have continued to pose a significant threat to food security as they have targeted farms, processing facilities, grocery stores, restaurants, input suppliers and others involved in the supply chain working to provide consumers with safe, affordable, accessible meat, poultry, dairy and eggs. In the session, “Be Ready to Secure the Future of Animal Ag: Understanding Activist Threats,” expert panelists will provide an update on evolving activist threats, including cyber activism, supply chain disruptions and insider threats. Speakers will also provide recommendations for how attendees can be informed and ready for activist tactics by implementing farm security and crisis planning measures. Panelists include:
    Hannah Thompson-Weeman, Vice President, Strategic Engagement, Animal Agriculture Alliance
    Rebecca Morgan, Deputy Assistant Director, NCSC and Deputy Director National Insider Threat Task Force, Office of the Director of National Intelligence
    Andrew Rose, Strategic Advisor and Consultant

The uncertainty around the implementation of California’s Proposition 12 and Massachusetts’ Question 3 continues on, causing a new set of legal and logistical challenges for the agriculture community. Voters in state elections are setting de facto federal standards for how livestock and poultry can be raised, while federal courts appear to be shifting in how they are handling these laws that extend well beyond the state’s borders. In 2021, there were ballot initiative pushes in Colorado and Oregon to criminalize common animal care practices, including artificial insemination, birthing assistance, and spaying and neutering. Additionally, a variety of courts have considered the constitutionality of farm protection laws across the U.S. With so many legal and legislative issues on the docket, it’s critical for the animal agriculture community to stay informed and be ready. During the session “Safeguarding the Future: An Update on Legal and Legislative Issues,” legal experts will provide updates on the latest developments in these areas and other trends, leaving attendees with the insights they need to safeguard the future of their business. Speakers include:
    John Dillard, Principal, OFW Law
    Brianna Schroeder, Partner, Janzen Schroeder Agricultural Law LLC

The Alliance’s annual Summit brings together thought leaders in the agriculture and food communities to discuss hot-button issues and out-of-the-box ideas to connect everyone along the food chain, engage influencers and protect the future of animal agriculture. The 2022 event, themed “Come Together for Animal Ag: Be Informed, Be Ready, Be Here,” will be held May 11-12 in Kansas City, Missouri. The Pre-Summit webinar series began on April 6 and continues each Wednesday leading up to the main event. In-person and virtual attendance options are both available.

Refer a friend to attend the Summit and you could both win $100! If you refer a friend to attend the 2022 Summit who has never attended a previous Summit and they list your name as the person who recommended them when they register for the event, you’ll both be entered in a drawing to win a $100 gift card! Each referral will count as one entry and there is no limit on the number of entries for referrers. All registrations for the in-person event with a referral listed made until online registration closes on May 6 will be entered. Both the referrer and the person referred must be registered to claim the gift card.

Be sure to check the Summit website for the most up-to-date information. You can also follow the hashtag #AAA22 for periodic updates about the event. For general questions about the Summit, please contact or call (703) 562-5160.

Show your support for the Alliance’s outreach efforts by becoming an official Summit sponsor today! For 2022 sponsorship opportunities, please visit

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