Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Monday June 6 Crop Progress + Ag News


For the week ending June 5, 2022, there were 5.4 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 11% very short, 25% short, 62% adequate, and 2% surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 16% very short, 32% short, 51% adequate, and 1% surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn condition rated 1% very poor, 4% poor, 20% fair, 62% good, and 13% excellent. Corn emerged was 88%, behind 93% last year, and near 89% for the five-year average.

Soybean condition rated 1% very poor, 4% poor, 16% fair, 67% good, and 12% excellent. Soybeans planted was 96%, near 97% last year, but ahead of 90% average. Emerged was 75%, behind 82% last year, but near 71% average.

Winter wheat condition rated 20% very poor, 17% poor, 34% fair, 24% good, and 5% excellent. Winter wheat headed was 74%, near 75% last year and 73% average.

Sorghum condition rated 0% very poor, 4% poor, 24% fair, 71% good, and 1% excellent. Sorghum planted was 77%, ahead of 69% last year and 72% average.

Oats condition rated 10% very poor, 13% poor, 25% fair, 45% good, and 7% excellent. Oats emerged was 95%, near 98% last year, and equal to average. Headed was 14%, well behind 50% last year and 41% average.

Dry edible beans planted was 40%, near 43% last year, but ahead of 27% average. Emerged was 13%, near 9% last year and 10% average.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 10% very poor, 19% poor, 43% fair, 26% good, and 2% excellent.


A few days of light rainfall resulted in 4.8 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending June 5, 2022, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Fieldwork activities included replanting wet fields, cutting hay, and chemical applications where winds allowed.

Topsoil moisture conditions rated 2 percent very short, 12 percent short, 78 percent adequate and 8 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture conditions rated 3 percent very short, 17 percent short, 74 percent adequate and 6 percent surplus.

Planting is almost complete, with 98 percent of Iowa’s corn crop planted, 11 days behind last year but 3 days ahead of the 5-year average. Eighty-seven percent of the corn crop has emerged, 6 days behind last year and 1 day behind average. Corn condition rated 86 percent good to excellent.

Ninety-four percent of soybeans have been planted, 5 days behind last year but 6 days ahead of the 5-year average. Sixty-nine percent of soybeans have emerged, 1 week behind last year but 1 day ahead of average. Iowa’s first soybean condition rating of the crop year was 0 percent very poor, 2 percent poor, 16 percent fair, 67 percent good, and 15 percent excellent.

Ninety-six percent of the oat crop has emerged, almost 2 weeks behind last year and 1 week behind the 5-year average. Twenty-two percent of the oat crop has headed, 5 days behind last year. Iowa’s oat condition rated 82 percent good to excellent.

Forty-two percent of the State’s first cutting of alfalfa hay has been completed. All Hay condition rated 73 percent good to excellent.

Pasture condition rated 64 percent good to excellent. No livestock issues were reported.

USDA Weekly Crop Progress Report: Corn Planting Moves Ahead of Average Pace

The pace of corn planting slowed last week, but nevertheless, farmers were able to push this year's planting progress ahead of the five-year average, USDA NASS said in its weekly Crop Progress report on Monday.


-- Planting progress: 94% nationwide as of Sunday, June 5, up 8 percentage points from the previous week. Current progress is now 2 percentage points ahead of the five-year average of 92%.
-- Crop development: 78% of corn was emerged nationwide as of Sunday, up 17 percentage points from the previous week and just 3 percentage points behind the five-year average of 81%.
-- Crop condition: 73% of corn was rated in good-to-excellent condition, near last year's rating at the same time of 72% good to excellent and near the higher end of a 12-year range that has spanned from 63% to 79% for the crop's initial rating of the season.


-- Planting progress: 78% nationwide as of Sunday, up 12 percentage points from the previous week, and just 1 percentage point behind the five-year average of 79%.
-- Crop development: 56% of soybeans had emerged nationwide as of Sunday, 3 percentage points behind the five-year average.


-- Crop development: 79% of the winter wheat crop was headed nationwide as of Sunday, 5 percentage points behind the five-year average of 84%.
-- Harvest progress: 5% of winter wheat was harvested as of Sunday, ahead of 2% last year, but 1 percentage point behind the five-year average of 6%.
-- Crop condition: 30% of winter wheat was rated good to excellent, up 1 percentage point from the previous week but 20 percentage points behind last year's rating at this time of 50% good to excellent.


-- Planting progress: 82% of the spring wheat crop was planted as of Sunday, up 9 percentage points from the previous week, but down 15 percentage points from the five-year average.
-- Crop development: 55% of spring wheat has emerged, 28 percentage points behind the five-year average of 83%.


Hoefer Joins NePPA as Allied and Producer Services Director

Steve Hoefer of Lincoln, Nebraska has joined the staff of the Nebraska Pork Producers Association (NPPA) as the Allied and Producers Services Director. He has been involved in the pork industry for forty plus years since growing up on a diversified crop and livestock operation in northeast NE. Hoefer attended the University of Nebraska at Lincoln and received his degree in Animal Science with a production option.

Hoefer’s responsibilities, as NPPA’s Allied and Producer Services Director, include managing all Allied Industry memberships, events, and meetings, as well as soliciting new members. He will also be working with the National Pork Producer Council (NPPC) in managing the Strategic Investment Program (SIP), maintaining producer investor relationships, and the recruitment of new members.

Hoefer brings with him an extensive background in all facets of the swine industry including farm experience, sales, consulting on facility construction, genetics, nutrition, pig flow, ventilation, and PQA audit preparation. Prior to joining NPPA, Steve was a Livestock Disease Traceability Coordinator for the State of Nebraska. In this position he was responsible for disease oversight of all livestock entering and leaving the State.

Hoefer assumed his position with NPPA on June 6 and stated that he, “has a passion for pork production and believes he can be a resource in growing Nebraska’s pork industry”.

CAP Webinar: Tips for Making Annual Forages Work for You

Jay Parsons, Professor and Farm and Ranch Management Specialist
Mary Drewnoski, Associate Professor and Beef Systems Specialist

In this webinar, Mary Drewnoski (UNL Animal Science) joins Jay Parsons (UNL Agricultural Economics) to discuss tips and advice for incorporating annual forages into your cropping plans this year. With a majority of Nebraska range and pasture in poor or very poor condition to start off the grazing season, many cattle producers are considering the availability of alternate forage resources. Annual forages planted on cropland offers a potentially valuable feed resource while fulfilling crop rotation needs. Planting dates, seeding mix, and expected forage production will be discussed for various scenarios with a focus on conditions this year. Grazing and timing of forage availability will also be discussed along with options for obtaining crop insurance through the annual forage insurance plan.

This webinar is part of the weekly series hosted by the UNL Center for Agriculture Profitability.  Register here:  cap.unl.edu/webinars.

Lifelong learner has winning bid on tractor donated to Northeast Community College campaign

A lifelong learner who has taken scores of classes at Northeast Community College is the new owner of a tractor donated to the College through an online auction process.

Chuck Baumert, of Norfolk, was the successful bidder for the 1972 John Deere 4020 offered on Bob and Shelley Noonan’s recent farm retirement auction. The Noonans had earmarked proceeds from the sale of the tractor to be donated to the Nexus campaign to build new agriculture facilities at Northeast.

Ryan Marthaler, district representative for BigIron Auctions, the company that handled the Noonan retirement auction, said he quickly understood that Bob’s work as an agriculture instructor at Northeast was important to him.

“He felt that his time teaching had left an impact on the local community, the farming community, and even the state of Nebraska,” Marthaler said, “and he wanted to give back to the college.”

Chuck Baumert also has strong ties to Northeast Community College, going back nearly 50 years. He earned a degree in auto mechanics from Northeast in 1974 and began working for the Ford garage in Norfolk, but that did not end his time as a student.

“Throughout the time I was there, I took evening non-credit stuff from Northeast,” Baumert explained.

After 10 years at that job, Baumert went on to a 32-year career as a mechanic at Nucor Steel, again taking classes from Northeast for things like welding and basic machining.

“Northeast has been pretty much a part of my life,” he said.

Baumert retired in 2016, but his need for education did not end. He had purchased a farm during his years at Nucor and required knowledge to manage it properly. Once again, he turned to Northeast Community College for help.

“I took every ag class that would benefit me,” he said, “and I finally ran out.”

Baumert said one of the classes he took was on forage, taught by Bob Noonan.

“Bob and I became great friends.”

Baumert said he was looking for a tractor when Noonan scheduled his retirement auction. He paid $17,500 for the tractor, and he believes he got a good deal.

“I prayed about it, weighed it out, and I think I gave a fair price for it, considering the work that was done on it,” Baumert said. “I think I paid what it was worth.”

Marthaler said used farm equipment is selling at all time high prices right now.

“The main reason is supply chain issues. It is very difficult to get new machinery right now, so people are buying used equipment. The price of used equipment is probably 20-30 percent more than it would have been even 18 months ago.”

But, with prices at all-time highs, Marthaler said the tax burden for retiring farmers can also be high.

“There are a couple of things BigIron does to help manage that tax burden,” he said. “We can hold the settlements until the following tax year for customers. And we can also help farmers donate some or all of their proceeds to a charity.”

Nancy Brozek, partner in McMill CPAs and Advisors, said getting the best tax advantage from a charitable donation is a complicated question.

“When people are looking at donating to a charity, they really need to talk with their tax preparer to see what is more advantageous to them.”

Brozek specializes in farm finances, and she said she has many clients considering retirement right now.

“They are looking at what to do with their land and equipment,” she explained. “Do they send it down to their children, do they donate it, or do they continue on and sell that property piece by piece?”

Marthaler said the all-online auction offered by BigIron is a popular way for retiring farmers to dispose of their property.

“You don’t have to worry about extremely hot or cold days, mud or snow.”

The online auction option also provides a bigger bidder pool, making sure the retiring farmer gets the highest possible price for his equipment.

“Bidders at the Noonan auction came from 21 states and two foreign countries,” Marthaler said. “And buyers included people in the Denver area and from Winnipeg, Ontario, Canada.”

Northeast has received a check representing the proceeds of the sale of the tractor, less the auctioneer’s fees.

“We have costs for advertising, and office staff we need to pay,” Marthaler said. “But we will work with the owner and the charity to make sure the charity receives the largest donation possible.”

The money was added to the Nexus capital campaign to build and equip new agriculture facilities at Northeast Community College.

Dr. Tracy Kruse, Northeast vice president of development and external affairs and executive director of the Northeast Foundation, said Northeast welcomes all contributions and will be happy to work with potential donors to find the best way for them to make a gift.

“There are different ways for you to fund a donation,” Kruse said. “You might be in a position to just write a check, or you might want to give a directed gift like Bob and Shelley Noonan.”

Kruse said another way to donate would be through planned giving.

“We have a Planned Giving Advisory Council with members throughout the 20-county service area. These professionals can provide information and assistance on a variety of ways to make a legacy gift.”

For more information on ways to donate to Northeast Community College, contact the Northeast Foundation at (402) 844-7240 or at foundation@northeast.edu. Online donations may be made at northeast.edu/giving/donate.


– Ben Beckman, NE Extension Educator

One tool that can be used to great effect when controlling weedy plants is an herbicide application.  To get good control, we must be sure we have the right product to address the weed we want to manage. Proper weed ID is critical for this first step, but herbicide trade names don’t help make this pairing any easier.

For example, let’s look at a popular pasture herbicide; Grazon P+D.  Grazon P+D is a picloram and 2,4-D mixture with a wide spectrum of broadleaf control in pasture settings that was especially liked for its action against leafy spurge.  Currently discontinued by the original manufacturer, there are other picloram/2,4-D generics that producers can find and use.  Don’t worry, if you still have some Grazon P+D on hand, you can use that up too.

Now this is where things get a bit confusing.  About the time Grazon P+D was phasing out, another herbicide hit the market, Grazon Next HL.  This Corteva product, despite a similar name, is a Milestone/2,4-D mix that doesn’t control leafy spurge.  It does have great action against many other broadleaf weeds found in range and pasture, however.

We need to be careful and not confuse Grazon Next with another Corteva product: Graslan L. Graslan is a Tordon/2,4-D mix which again has a wide spectrum of control against broadleaves in range and pasture and does have action on leafy spurge.

Herbicides are diverse and selecting the right one can be tricky.  It’s easy to assume a similar name or manufacturer means similar control will occur, but this isn’t always the case.  Read the product label, especially the active ingredients and controlled species portions, for a successful application.

Iowa Dairy Farms to Hold Open Houses in Celebration of Dairy Month

The state’s dairy industry will be on full display this month in celebration of National Dairy Month. At least three major dairy open houses have been planned, in addition to other events that are occurring across the state.

The Iowa State University Dairy Farm will be open to visitors June 10, from 7 a.m. to noon. Visitors of all ages can learn about cow comfort, dairy production and sustainability, view a live milking parlor in action, and take a guided tour of the farm with campus staff and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Dairy treats will be available.

On June 15, the Western Iowa Dairy Alliance will hold an open house at Schelling Dairy near Sioux Center from 5-8 p.m. Visitors will learn about the history of this family dairy, as well as the family’s investment in robotic milking and modern dairy barns.

On June 25, Iowa’s Dairy Center in northeast Iowa will hold the annual Breakfast on the Farm. Breakfast will be served from 8:30 to noon and includes Belgian Waffles, sausage and dairy products including milk, cheese, yogurt and ice cream. Visitors can take a guided tour of the farm, and there will be activities for all ages, including hand-milking a cow, a petting zoo, story time with a local dairy princess, cow inflatables and educational exhibits.

“Dairy open houses are a great way for consumers to learn more about modern dairy practices, ask questions and get a hands-on experience on what happens on today’s dairy farms,” said Jenn Bentley, dairy specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach.

Iowa ranks 12th in the nation for total milk production, and eighth for milk production per cow. The state produces over 5 billion pounds of milk a year, from over 200,000 cows.

The dairy industry provides a $5.6 billion economic impact to Iowa each year, supplying more than 15,500 jobs across the state. The annual economic impact of a single dairy cow is $25,495.
Event details
-    June 10, Iowa State Dairy Farm Open House from 7 a.m. to noon, located at 52470 260th St., Ames.
-    June 15, Schelling Dairy Open House, 5-8 p.m. Transportation to the farm will be provided from the Terrace View Event Center, located at 230 St. Andrews Way, Sioux Center.
-    June 25, Breakfast on the Farm, at Iowa’s Dairy Center, 8:30 a.m. to noon, located at 1527 Highway 150 S., Calmar, Iowa. Breakfast on the Farm will be held rain or shine. Donations are accepted the day of and parking is available on-site.

For more information about the open houses, Bentley can be reached at 563-387-7640 or jbentley@iastate.edu. ISU Extension and Outreach dairy specialist Fred Hall is available at 712-737-4230 or fredhall@iastate.edu.

Cattle Producers Share WOTUS Perspective at EPA Roundtable

Today, cattle producers voiced their concerns with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers’ ongoing Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rulemaking attempt at a roundtable organized by the Kansas Livestock Association (KLA).
“Cattle producers are grateful for the opportunity to share their perspective on WOTUS and explain how rules crafted in Washington will impact the daily operations of farms and ranches across the country,” said National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Environmental Counsel Mary-Thomas Hart. “To be successful in their operations, cattle producers need a clear, limited WOTUS definition that finally provides much-needed certainty after years of shifting rules.”
This roundtable is one of 10 accepted by the EPA and Army Corps. In July 2021, the EPA announced that rather than facilitate public engagement—the typical course of action for major rulemakings—the agency would instead ask private organizations to entirely plan and propose a roundtable with representatives from agriculture, conservation groups, developers, water and wastewater managers, industry, Tribal leadership, environmental justice groups, and state and local governments. KLA went through the arduous process of planning a roundtable to ensure that the voices of cattle producers were heard.
In addition to the roundtables, NCBA has engaged on WOTUS by submitting technical comments on the Biden administration’s proposed phase one WOTUS rule and filing an amicus brief in the case Sackett v. EPA, a challenge to the EPA’s authority under the Clean Water Act. NCBA has called for the EPA to pause WOTUS rulemaking until the case is decided.

Genetically Modified Corn Does Not Damage Non-Target Organisms

The largest, highest quality analysis of data ever conducted reveals that genetically modified Bt corn has little impact on nontarget insects and other organisms, especially compared to growing conventional corn. This study was published today in Environmental Evidence by a USDA Agricultural Research Service scientist and his Swiss colleagues.

Bt corn is corn that has been genetically modified so that it produces proteins from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis to control corn borers, corn rootworms and other major pests of corn. The first Bt corn was approved in 1996 and critics have been suggesting that it also can destroy beneficial insects or other non-targeted organisms.

One of the issues with assessments of possible nontarget organism damage by Bt corn has been that each study was limited in scope, environment or size. The paper's three authors have made up for these shortfalls by systematically pulling together data from studies in 12 bibliographic databases, 17 specialized webpages, and the reference sections of 78 review articles that all met the highest standards for research quality.

"We gathered together hundreds of individual studies published between 1997 to 2020 that have looked at whether growing Bt corn changed the environmental abundance of non-target animals such as arthropods, earthworms and nematodes, especially as compared to growing non-genetically modified corn accompanied by the pesticide necessary to control major pests," explained ARS entomologist Steve Naranjo, director of the Arid-Lands Agricultural Research Center in Maricopa, Arizona and one of authors of the study.

Naranjo and entomologists Joerg Romeis and Michael Meissle with Agroscope, ARS' Swiss counterpart, found that this massive aggregation of data showed Bt corn had no negative effects on most invertebrate groups including ladybeetles, flower bugs, and lacewings. Populations of Braconidae insects, which are parasitoid wasps that prey on corn borers, were reduced with Bt corn.

The researchers even examined if authorship or financial support by biotechnology companies affected the outcome of individual studies.

"It might be a bit surprising but according to the analysis, when any negative effects by Bt corn on nontarget organisms were found in the data, they were attributed more often in studies with private sector support than when no backing by biotech companies was declared," Meissle added.

"But after all the number crunching was done, what we found was that, overall, Bt corn just does not have negative impacts on nontarget organisms," said Naranjo.

The quality standards for which studies would be included in the meta-analysis and which would be cut were outlined and vetted by stakeholders, scientists not involved in the meta-analysis project and even members of the journal's review board, none of whom knew if any study's data showed a negative impact on non-target organisms or not.

The result is the largest pool of high-quality data anyone has ever analyzed for this purpose consisting of 7279 individual invertebrate records from 233 experiments in 120 articles, 75 percent of which were from peer-reviewed journals. The entire data set also has been published in BMC Research Notes.

In summary, this major meta-analysis largely proved out previous individual studies. Bt corn represents a highly selective pest control technology with relatively few negative consequences for non-target invertebrates, especially when compared with the use of broad-spectrum insecticides for managing Bt-targeted pests, according to the scientists.

The Market Has Topped
Stephen R. Koontz, Dept of Ag Economics, Colorado State University

One of the adages that makes analysis of cattle and beef markets so difficult is that the playing out of somewhat observable supply and demand scenarios seems to take so long – possibly twice as long as you might think. That said, the cattle and beef markets appear to be returning to much needed and anticipated normalcy. And certainly – or at least more recognizable – than what we’ve lived with the past two years. There will continue to be lots of talk – and sticker shock – regarding inflation. But the large supplies of fed cattle, exacerbated but COVID supply chain issues, look to be worked out through this summer and into fall.

Beef prices are still strong and seasonally strong for the early summer but are softening, packer margins are shrinking but still large, the weekly kill is still very strong, and slaughter weights continue the seasonal decline and are perhaps more so than seasonal norms. Saturday slaughter is strong but below last year and weekly steer and heifer FI slaughter remains strong. Packers appear to be well-crewed, and a huge Saturday kill is not key to a strong weekly volume. These weekly kill numbers were key for market prices over the coming weeks. Short kills and weak prices while heavy kills allowed for stronger fed cattle prices.

High prices and strong volumes translate into solid domestic demand. In this environment it is not surprising at exports of beef – to some destinations – are softer and that imports are higher. It appears that lean beef was needed for blending with fed trimmings for the domestic ground beef market. And export sales to China continue to be bright spot while taking market share from traditional customers.

Beef cow slaughter for the year is nothing short of aggressive. Weekly slaughter for this year is 15% above the high rates of one ago. Interestingly the northern and central plains – and the northern mountain region – received good perception over the past week. It will take a few weeks to impact crop progress but was not anticipated in seasonal forecasts. Pasture conditions are nothing short of horrible with 39% in the very poor and 20% in the poor categories. And it’s worse in Texas. But it is one step in the right direction for forage conditions. The coming weeks will be interesting to watch. The tightening supply situation is clearly in process and will take some years to materialize. While many eyes are on the corn and bean markets, cooler and wetter weather conditions are in some sense good news for the cattle markets and producers.

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