Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Monday August 29 Crop Progress & Ag News


For the week ending August 28, 2022, there were 6.4 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 46% very short, 35% short, 19% adequate, and 0% surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 42% very short, 37% short, 21% adequate, and 0% surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn condition rated 17% very poor, 17% poor, 27% fair, 29% good, and 10% excellent. Corn dough was 89%, near 92% last year and 93% for the five-year average. Dented was 59%, near 61% last year and 58% average. Mature was 8%, near 7% last year and 5% average.

Soybean condition rated 12% very poor, 16% poor, 29% fair, 34% good, and 9% excellent. Soybeans setting pods was 98%, near 96% last year and 95% average. Dropping leaves was 10%, near 11% last year and 8% average.

Sorghum condition rated 35% very poor, 25% poor, 20% fair, 15% good, and 5% excellent. Sorghum headed was 85%, behind 99% last year and 98% average. Coloring was 33%, well behind 57% last year, and behind 49% average. Mature was 1%, near 2% both last year and average.

Dry edible bean condition rated 2% very poor, 4% poor, 34% fair, 55% good, and 5% excellent. Dry edible beans setting pods was 86%, behind 94% last year. Dropping leaves was 5%, behind 20% last year.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 52% very poor, 26% poor, 15% fair, 6% good, and 1% excellent.


Rain across most of the State resulted in 5.5 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending August 28, 2022, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Fieldwork included harvesting corn for silage and cutting hay.

Topsoil moisture condition rated 16 percent very short, 29 percent short, 53 percent adequate and 2 percent surplus. Despite recent rains, over half of topsoil was considered short to very short on moisture in the Northwest, West Central, Southwest, South Central and Southeast Districts. Subsoil moisture condition rated 20 percent very short, 33 percent short, 45 percent adequate and 2 percent surplus.

Corn in the dough stage or beyond was 92 percent, 3 days behind last year but 2 days ahead of the 5-year average. Fifty-two percent of Iowa’s corn crop has reached the dent stage or beyond, 4 days behind last year. Three percent of the State’s corn crop was mature, 1 week behind last year and 4 days behind the 5-year average. Corn condition remained 66 percent good to excellent.

Ninety-five percent of soybeans were setting pods, 6 days behind last year but 2 days ahead of the average. Soybeans were coloring at 7 percent, 5 days behind last year and 3 days behind the 5-year average. Soybean condition rated 63 percent good to excellent.

Oats harvested for grain reached 93 percent, almost 2 weeks behind last year and 15 days behind the average.

Sixty-five percent of the State’s third cutting of alfalfa hay was complete.

Pasture condition rated 31 percent good to excellent. Some pastures were still stressed from lack of precipitation.

USDA Crop Progress Report: Corn Condition Down Slightly, Soybean Condition Unchanged

Corn condition fell slightly again last week, while soybean condition held steady, USDA NASS reported in its weekly Crop Progress report released Monday, Aug. 29.  The percentage of corn reaching maturity was near the five-year average, while the percentage of soybeans dropping leaves was behind the average pace, NASS said.


-- Crop development: Corn in the dough stage was estimated at 86%, 2 percentage points behind the five-year average of 88%. Corn dented was estimated at 46%, 6 percentage points behind the average of 52%. Corn mature was estimated at 8%, near the five-year average of 9%.
-- Crop condition: 54% of corn was rated in good-to-excellent condition, down 1 percentage point from 55% the previous week and 5 percentage points below last year's rating of 60%. The current rating is the fourth lowest going back to 2000.


-- Crop development: 91% of soybeans were setting pods, 1 percentage point behind the five-year average of 92%. Four percent of soybeans were dropping leaves, 4 percentage points behind last year's 8% and 3 percentage points behind the five-year average of 7%.
-- Crop condition: 57% of soybeans were rated in good-to-excellent condition, unchanged from the previous week and still 1 percentage point above last year's rating of 56%. The current rating is tied for the seventh lowest since 2000.


-- Harvest progress: Spring wheat harvest moved ahead 17 percentage points last week to reach 50% complete as of Sunday. That is 36 percentage points behind last year's 86% and 21 percentage points behind the five-year average of 71%.
-- Crop condition: 68% of the crop remaining in fields was rated in good-to-excellent condition, up 4 percentage points from 64% previous week and far above last year's rating of 11%.


2022 Youth Crop Scouting Competition Winners Announced

Brandy VanDeWalle - Extension Educator

Nebraska Extension strives to recruit the next generation of agronomy professionals by annually conducting the Nebraska Youth Crop Scouting Competition. On Aug. 3, 2022 at the Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center, teams were able to talk with extension staff and scout actual plots at the center. This competition is a great experience for those wanting to work in many different fields of agriculture. It provides a fun competitive environment where teams can receive hands-on learning about all aspects of crop scouting.

Receiving first place and a cash prize of $500 was Kornhusker Kids team, coached by Chris Schiller. Team members were James Rolf, Logan Consbruck, Isaac Wooldrik, Levi Schiller and Ian Schiller.

Second place and $250 went to Colfax County 4-H Team #1, coached by Steve Nelson. Team members were Josh Eisennman, Mic Sayers, Rylan Nelson, and Hayden Bailey.

Third place with a $100 cash award was Colfax County 4-H #2 team, also coached by Steve Nelson. Team members were Callen Jedlicka, Cody Jedlicka, Daphne Jedlicka and Justin Eisennman.

Also participating were two teams from Johnson County 4-H, coached by Jon Schmid. Team members from Johnson County #1 included Wesley Schmid, Sophia Schmid, Bo McCoy and Elliot Werner. Johnson Co. #2 team consisted of Levi Othmer and Cameron Werner. Arlington FFA members Aaron Fuchs, Braden Monke and Ethan Hilgenkamp also participated, coached by Kali Agler.

An in-person regional competition will be held among Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota and Missouri teams at the Beck Agricultural Center near West Lafayette, Indiana on Thursday, Sept. 15, hosted by Purdue Extension. Participants from Kornhusker Kids 4-H and Colfax County #1 are eligible to compete, representing the state of Nebraska.

For more information on the Youth Crop Scouting Competition, contact Brandy VanDeWalle or go to the CropWatch Youth hub https://cropwatch.unl.edu/youth.

Cuming County Cow/Calf Association Cover Crop Field Day

The Cuming County Cow/Calf Association is hosting a field day at Tom and Garrett Ruskamp's farm. Will visit 3 sites; livestock grazing, relay crop, and cover crop. Burgers and beverages at the conclusion. Please RSVP to Garrett Ruskamp at 402-380-2236 by Monday, September 12th. Tour site is located at 582 B Rd, Dodge, NE.  

Nebraska Ethanol Board Sept. 12 Board Meeting to Host Bluestem Biosciences, Inc.

Bluestem Biosciences, Inc. will be the featured speaker for the upcoming Nebraska Ethanol Board meeting, Monday, Sept. 12 in Grand Island. Bluestem Biosciences, a renewable chemicals company headquartered in Omaha, is focused on the sustainable bio-production of chemicals through anaerobic fermentation with an identified path toward industrial scale. Its overall mission is to diversify and decarbonize the chemical industry. Bluestem recently completed its $5,000,000 pre-seed financing and the formation of its Strategic Advisory Board.

“At Bluestem we are designing novel biology to transform agriculture and ethanol infrastructure,” said Billy Hagstrom, CEO and co-founder. “We believe anaerobic fermentation has numerous advantages, and the emergent tools of synthetic biology will allow us to execute on our vision to create chemical from organisms, not oil.”

The Nebraska Ethanol Board will meet in Grand Island at 10 a.m. at Bosselman Enterprises’ conference room at 1607 S. Locust Street. Other agenda highlights include:
    Public Opportunity for Questions, Comments or Concerns
    Husker Motorsports presentation
    Fuel Retailer Update
    Nebraska Corn Board Update
    Renewable Fuels Nebraska Update
    Technical & Research Updates
    Marketing Programs
    Funding Requests
    State and Federal Legislation
    Ethanol Plant Reports

This agenda contains all items to come before the Board except those items of an emergency nature.  Nebraska Ethanol Board meetings are open to the public and also published on the public calendar.

New Directors Elect for the Nebraska Pork Producers

Jared Lierman, President of the Nebraska Pork Producers Association (NePPA) is pleased to announce the addition of five new directors. Directors can serve up to three two-year terms. “I am excited to add these diverse individuals to the Board of Directors. Gaining from their knowledge and experiences, will ensure continued opportunities and success for Nebraska’s pork farmers”, said Lierman.

Newly elected Directors Include: Aaron Holliday, Columbus: Aaron is currently a nursey and finishing manager for JaMor Pork. He has been in the Swine industry for over 15 years and has been directly involved in all aspects of the swine industry. From Sow Farms and Boar Studs to Harvest Plants and everything in between. Aaron was a member of the NePPA Leadership Group of 2019, and a member of the 2021 Pork Leadership Institute sponsored by National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) and the National Pork Board (NPB). He is currently working toward earning a master’s degree in Animal Physiology, with plans to graduate at the end of the year. Arron said, “he is excited to join the Nebraska Pork Producers Association Board and looks forward to becoming more involved at the local, state, and regional levels”.

Justin Hankins, Omaha: Justin is a credit analyst at Farm Credit Services of America, specializing in the Agribusiness Capital Swine & Beef division of the company, with over 15 years in the banking, finance world. His education at the University of Nebraska--Kearney includes a BS in Business Administration with emphasis in management and a minor in economics. He attended the Iowa State University School of Ag Banking. Justin was a member of the 2017 NePPA Pork Leadership Program.
Cody Lambrecht, Blair: Cody is a recent graduate of South Dakota State where he did his undergrad in Ag Science and Swine Production before returning home. He is currently working with the family operation, Lambrecht Farms, as a herdsman within the farrow to finish and cow calf operations.  Branching out on his own as Lambrecht Livestock, he built a finishing unit and is currently custom feeding for the family operation. 

Katie Stack, Fremont: Katie became the Carcass Evaluation and Animal Welfare Manager for Hormel Foods, (now WholeStone Farms) plant in 2017, she moved into a Hog Procurement role in 2019, and the Manager of Hog Procurement in 2021. She grew up on a small cow/crop operation in Northeast Illinois, worked on a farrow to finish operation throughout college, and started with Hormel Foods as a Production Supervisor at a facility in Southern Wisconsin. Additional Involvement in the Industry: I am a TQA and PQA Advisor, I participate on the Animal Welfare Committee with NAMI, I am PAACO Certified for meat plant auditing, and I am currently participating in the SHIP Traceability working group. She has an Agriculture Business and Animal Industry Management bachelor’s degree from Illinois State University.
David May, Henderson: David grew up in Hampton NE on 40-50 sow farrow to finish family operation. After leaving the pork industry for a few years, David bought an acreage in 2017 and had a feeling his two daughters at home would “LOVE” pigs. He purchased four gilts in the fall of 2017, planning to breed them for January litters for fair season. The Family operation currently has 18 sows about half purebred of multiple breeds (Berkshire, Duroc, Spot, Poland China, Tamworth) and others crossbred. Our farm name Maykin’ Bacon Show Pigs and Butchers is a direct reflection of our operation. We breed for show pigs and quality pork that is sold to local butcher shops. We sell both show pigs and feeder pigs in state and out of state.

Retiring from the Board of Directors is Mike Wisnieski. Mike is with Standard Nutrition located in Omaha and joined the Board in 2016. Wisnieski has served as both a National Pork Producer Council (NPPC) and National Pork Board (NPB) Pork Forum delegate. He participated in the national Pork Leadership Institute, and has made several trips to Washington, D.C. representing Nebraska’s pork farmers on Capitol Hill during NPPC’s Legislative Action Conferences. “Mike was a very active Director. His knowledge, leadership, and enthusiasm for the pork industry was always appreciated and we thank him for his service,” said Lierman.


– Brad Schick, NE Extension Educator

With drought plaguing Nebraska and surrounding states this year, producers may want to salvage soybeans as forage instead of for grain. Many can remember when soybeans were only used for forage many decades ago, so it can definitely be done.

Grazing, haying, or ensiling can all be done with soybean plants. Grazing is very simple and has a relatively low risk of bloat, however, if there are many bean seeds themselves, high oil consumption can cause issues in cattle, especially calves.  Young calves should not be allowed access to beans. For mature cattle, providing some grass hay can help reduce this risk. Use strip grazing to force the use of the entire plant.

Hay from soybeans will have a similar quality to that of alfalfa. However, drying and rolling up hay is difficult with soybeans. The leaves become very fragile while the stems can take a long time to dry. Crimp the stem heavily and resist the urge to rake the windrow unless done only one day after cutting to limit leaf shatter.

Soybean silage is easier than haying. The moisture content needs to be between 60 and 70%. In the past, soybean silage has been packing while corn silage is being packed at a ratio of one ton soybean silage to 3 or 4 tons corn silage. This improves fermentation and will make the overall silage pile have higher crude protein. If doing only soybean silage in a pile, wait until the leaves begin to turn yellow and be sure to use an inoculant. Adding a bushel of rolled corn per ton of silage can help fermentation and as always, be sure to get a very good pack.

Using soybeans other than for grain can be done. Be sure to make a plan and stick to it for the best results.

USDA Report Looks at 12 Months of Food Price Inflation

Retail food prices increased 8.9 percent in the first seven months of 2022, higher than the rate over the same period in 2021 (1.9 percent) and 2020 (3.1 percent). The 20-year historical average for the same months from 2001 to 2020 was 1.7 percent.

All 13 food categories depicted in the chart experienced faster price increases so far in 2022 compared with both the same period in 2021 and historical average price increases through July. All food categories saw price increases of at least 4 percent in the first seven months of 2022. Prices for three food categories increased by more than 10 percent: eggs (20.9 percent), fats and oils (13.4 percent), and poultry (11.8 percent).

Inflationary pressures differ by food category. For example, eggs and poultry prices are currently much higher than their historical average in part because of an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). Fresh vegetables historically experienced higher midyear average price increases compared to most categories, but prices for fresh vegetables increased the least of all categories over the first seven months of both 2022 (4.9 percent) and 2021 (0.4 percent).

Prices will continue to change during the remainder of 2022 and may significantly affect the annual inflation rate. For example, prices increased for all food categories in the second half of 2021, and some increased more rapidly than the first half of 2021.

USDA, Economic Research Service (ERS) researchers project food-at-home prices will increase between 10 and 11 percent in 2022.

Beef. It's What's For Dinner. 300 Returns to Daytona International Speedway

For the third year in a row Daytona International Speedway announced its partnership with Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner to sponsor the 42nd season-opening race for the NASCAR Xfinity Series – The Beef. It's What's For Dinner.® 300. The race is scheduled to kick off the season on Saturday, February 18 at Daytona International Speedway, the day before the 65th annual DAYTONA 500.

Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. is an iconic brand funded through national and state support of beef farmers and ranchers as part of the Beef Checkoff program and managed by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA).

“The partnership we have with the Beef Checkoff and NCBA is unique to our sport and our fans love it,” said Daytona International Speedway President, Frank Kelleher of the Beef. It's What's For Dinner.® 300. The race has given beef farmers and ranchers the perfect platform to reach consumers and tell the tasty story of beef. We have had two incredible Beef. It's What's For Dinner.® 300 events and again can't wait to smell beef on the grills of our campers in February."

The fan-favorite DAYTONA Speedweeks, presented by AdventHealth, kicks off with the Bluegreen Vacations Duel followed by the Beef. It's What's For Dinner.® 300 and the iconic DAYTONA 500. Fans of all ages from across the country will gather to tailgate and fire up their grills as the drivers start their engines. From the love for race day tailgating to a shared sense of legacy, NASCAR and beef have always gone hand in hand.

“We’re honored to be back for a third year and once again sponsor the Beef. It's What's For Dinner.® 300 on behalf of beef farmers and ranchers,” said Clark Price, Federation Division Vice Chair for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. “What better way to celebrate beef as a race-day food favorite than at one of the most famous racetracks in the country.” In addition to the race name, the Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. brand and logo will appear throughout Daytona International Speedway as well as on the winner’s trophy and in victory lane. For race fans and beef fans not attending the race, beef will be promoted on national radio ads and through additional promotional support provided through NCBA’s Beef Checkoff-funded work.  

During the 2022 Beef. It's What's For Dinner.® 300, Austin Hill took the checkered flag. Join us in February to see who takes home the trophy and the beef in 2023.

Registration Open for NFU Fly-In Webinars

Looking ahead to the National Farmers Union Fall Legislative Fly-in, we are hosting several webinars to help members and fly-in participants prepare for meetings and discussions on legislation.

NFU is partnering with Wisconsin Farmers Union to co-host a workshop on Aug. 29 at 6 p.m. Eastern on how best to share our stories about the issues affecting family farms and rural communities. The event will help participants to connect personal stories with collective interest and to build practical skills for elevating rural issues through storytelling.

The other webinar that is open for registration is the Policy Issues Briefing that will be held on Sept. 7 from 3 to 4 p.m. Eastern Join this interactive webinar to learn more about the policy topics that will be raised with lawmakers during the fly-in. NFU staff will also share tips and tricks for being an advocate for family farmers and ranchers during fly-in meetings.

These events are free and open to fly-in participants.

Register at nfu.org/fly-in.

Reintroducing bison to grasslands increases plant diversity, drought resilience, K-State study finds

A Kansas State University-led study has found that reintroducing bison — a formerly dominant grazer — doubles plant diversity in a tallgrass prairie. The research involves more than 30 years of data collected at the Konza Prairie Biological Station and was recently published in the prestigious journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, or PNAS.

The study found that plant communities also were resilient to the most extreme drought in four decades. These gains are now among the largest recorded increases in species richness because of grazing in grasslands globally, researchers said.

"Bison were an integral part of North American grasslands before they were abruptly removed from over 99% of the Great Plains," said Zak Ratajczak, assistant professor of biology and lead researcher. "This removal of bison occurred before quantitative records and therefore, the effects of their removal are largely unknown."

The study took place in the Flint Hills ecoregion, which is the largest remaining landscape of tallgrass prairie. Researchers examined plant community composition and diversity in three treatments that were designed to capture characteristic management regimes: no mega-grazers were present; bison were reintroduced and allowed to graze year-round; or domestic cattle were introduced and allowed to graze during the growing season.

"Our results suggest that many grasslands in the central Great Plains have substantially lower plant biodiversity than would have occurred before bison were widely wiped out," Ratajczak said. "Returning or 'rewilding' native megafauna could help to restore grassland biodiversity."

The study also found that cattle had a positive impact on plant diversity, compared to having no large grazers present, although increases in plant species richness were significantly smaller than those caused by bison.

"I think this study also shows that cattle can have a largely positive impact on biodiversity conservation in our region, especially considering that many in cattle production conduct the prescribed fires that have kept these grasslands from becoming woodlands," Ratajczak said. "What this study really suggests is that when it's economically and ecologically feasible, reintroducing bison might have an even more positive effect on biodiversity conservation."

Along with addressing land use, researchers also set out to learn how bison affect plant community resilience to climate extremes. Because of the long duration of the study, researchers were able to capture one of the most extreme drought events that has occurred in the Great Plains since the 1930s' Dust Bowl.

Researchers found that after the climate extreme, native plant species in the bison-grazed area were resilient to drought.

"The resilience we found in the bison grasslands is also consistent with the idea that diversity promotes ecological resilience," Ratajczak said. "And this resilience will only become more important if our climate becomes more extreme."

Other K-State researchers on the study include Jesse Nippert, professor; John Blair, university distinguished professor; Allison Louthan, assistant professor; and Jeffrey Taylor, research assistant, all from the Division of Biology in the College of Arts and Sciences. Additional collaborators include Scott Collins, University of New Mexico; Sally Koerner, University of North Carolina; and Melinda Smith, Colorado State University.

"Some of the most meaningful ecological trends take decades to unfold, and we can only identify them using long-term records like those supported by the NSF LTER program," Nippert said. "Without this type of data, fundamental properties of ecosystems may go unnoticed using only short-term experiments."

A series of six grants totaling more than $31.6 million since 1980 from the National Science Foundation funded the study and was conducted as part of the NSF Long-Term Ecological Research, or LTER, program.

"The research done at the Konza Prairie is truly unique and impressive, " said David Rosowsky, K-State vice president for research. "There are very few locations in the world that can provide this type of long-term data that can have such a strong impact on how we interact with our natural resources."

The Konza Prairie Biological Station is jointly owned by Kansas State University and The Nature Conservancy.

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