Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Monday September 26 Ag News


For the week ending September 25, 2022, there were 5.4 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Topsoil moisture supplies rated 40% very short, 37% short, 23% adequate, and 0% surplus.
Subsoil moisture supplies rated 43% very short, 37% short, 20% adequate, and 0% surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn condition rated 17% very poor, 19% poor, 26% fair, 32% good, and 6% excellent. Corn dented was 96%, near 97% last year, and equal to the five-year average. Mature was 71%, near 69% last year, and ahead of 64% average. Harvested was 13%, near 12% last year and 10% average.

Soybean condition rated 14% very poor, 19% poor, 26% fair, 34% good, and 7% excellent. Soybeans dropping leaves was 81%, near 85% last year, and equal to average. Harvested was 13%, near 15% last year and 14% average.

Winter wheat planted was 40%, behind 57% last year and 56% average. Emerged was 4%, behind 18% last year and 15% average.

Sorghum condition rated 27% very poor, 28% poor, 20% fair, 19% good, and 6% excellent. Sorghum coloring was 95%, near 98% last year and 97% average. Mature was 43%, behind 58% last year and 52% average. Harvested was 7%, near 10% last year and 8% average.

Dry edible bean condition rated 4% very poor, 9% poor, 36% fair, 46% good, and 5% excellent. Dry edible beans dropping leaves was 82%, behind 88% last year. Harvested was 45%, behind 61% last year.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 45% very poor, 25% poor, 22% fair, 7% good, and 1% excellent.  

Iowa Crop Progress & Condition Report

Farmers took advantage of 5.5 days suitable for fieldwork to get harvest underway during the week ending September 25, 2022, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Fieldwork included harvesting row crops, chopping silage, and cutting hay.

Topsoil moisture condition rated 14 percent very short, 29 percent short, 56 percent adequate and 1 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture condition rated 20 percent very short, 30 percent short, 49 percent adequate and 1 percent surplus.

Corn in the dent stage or beyond was 97 percent, 1 week ahead of the 5-year average. Sixty-three percent of Iowa’s corn crop was mature or beyond, 2 days behind last year but 1 day ahead of the average. Harvest of the State’s corn crop was 5 percent complete, 5 days behind last year and 1 day behind the 5-year average. Corn condition remained 64 percent good to excellent.

Ninety percent of soybeans were coloring or beyond, 3 days behind last year. Soybeans dropping leaves or beyond were at 61 percent, 3 days behind last year and 1 day behind the 5-year average. Soybean harvest reached 7 percent, 4 days behind last year and 3 days behind the average. Soybean condition rated 62 percent good to excellent.

Ninety-eight percent of the State’s third cutting of alfalfa hay was complete.

Pasture condition rated 34 percent good to excellent.

USDA Crop Progress Report: Corn 12% Harvested, Soybeans 8% Harvested

The U.S. corn and soybean harvests moved ahead at a relatively slow pace last week, remaining behind the five-year averages nationwide for both crops, USDA NASS reported in its weekly Crop Progress report on Monday.


-- Harvest progress: 12% of corn was harvested as of Sunday, Sept. 25, up 5 percentage points from the previous week. That puts the current harvest progress 5 percentage points behind last year's 17% and 2 percentage point behind the five-year average of 14%.
-- Crop development: Corn dented was estimated at 92%, 2 percentage points behind the average. Corn mature was estimated at 58%, 3 percentage points behind the five-year average of 61%.
-- Crop condition: 52% of corn was rated in good-to-excellent condition, unchanged from the previous week and 7 percentage points below last year's rating of 59%.


-- Harvest progress: 8% of the crop was harvested as of Sunday, also up 5 percentage points from the previous week. That is 7 percentage points behind last year's 15% and 5 percentage points behind the five-year average of 13%.
-- Crop development: 63% of soybeans were dropping leaves, 2 percentage points behind the five-year average of 65%.
-- Crop condition: 55% of soybeans were rated in good-to-excellent condition, unchanged from the previous week and 3 percentage points below last year's rating of 58%.


-- Planting progress: Winter wheat planting moved ahead 10 percentage points last week to reach 31% as of Sunday. That is 1 percentage point ahead of the five-year average of 30%.
-- Crop development: 9% of winter wheat was emerged as of Sunday, 3 percentage points ahead of the five-year average of 6%.


-- Harvest progress: Spring wheat harvest inched ahead 2 percentage points last week to reach 96% complete as of Sunday, 1 percentage point behind the average pace of 97%.

Remember to look up and look out for powerlines this harvest season

Harvest is getting underway for many farmers across the state, and Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) wants to remind equipment operators to look up and look out for powerlines as they head back out to the field.

NPPD encourages equipment operators to keep their machines 20 feet away from powerlines to avoid the possibility of any electricity arcing from the line to the equipment.

“It’s easy for an equipment operator to accidentally get a piece of equipment too close to a powerline or even make contact if they are not aware of their surroundings,” says NPPD Vice President of Delivery Art Wiese. “If large equipment gets too close to a powerline, electricity can arc from the line to the equipment, potentially causing major damage and severe or fatal injury to the operator.”

If a powerline falls onto a vehicle or piece of equipment, anyone inside the vehicle should remain there until help can arrive and deenergize the powerline. When a powerline is touching a vehicle or lying on the ground, it can electrify both the vehicle and the ground in the surrounding area. If a fire forces you to exit the vehicle, then do so by jumping away from the vehicle, landing on two feet, and shuffling as far away from the area as possible.

    Each day review all farm activities and work practices that will take place around powerlines and remind all workers to take precautions.
    Know the location of powerlines and when setting up the farm equipment, be at least 20 feet away from them. Contact your local public power provider if you feel this distance cannot be achieved.
    Use caution when raising augers or the bed of a grain truck or wagon. It can be difficult to estimate distance, and sometimes a powerline is closer than it looks. For large equipment, use a spotter to make certain the equipment stays a safe distance from the line.
    Always adjust portable augers or elevators to their lowest possible level – under 14 feet – before transporting them. Variables like wind, uneven ground or shifting weight can cause unexpected results.

More information on harvest safety can be found on NPPD’s website at https://nppd.com/outages-safety/electrical-safety.

Free Skin Cancer Screening October 11

September 26, 2022: Methodist Fremont Health and Skin Envy will provide free skin cancer screenings from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, October 11, at Methodist Fremont Health Medical Center’s Health Park Plaza, 450 East 23rd Street in Fremont. Screenings will be performed by Brittany Burbach, APRN, and are offered by appointment only.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. One type of skin cancer, melanoma, is extremely dangerous because it can spread quickly to other parts of the body. But with early detection and proper treatment, the cure rate for most skin cancers is incredibly high.

Anyone can get skin cancer, but people with red or blond hair, blue or green eyes, or fair skin that freckles or burns easily are at increased risk.

One of the most common signs of skin cancer is a mole or freckle that changes size, shape, color or texture, especially over a short period of time.

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is the number one cause of skin cancer, but UV light from tanning beds is just as harmful. Exposure to sunlight during the winter months puts you at the same risk as exposure during the summertime.

To get a free skin cancer screening, visit bestcare.org or call 402-727-3439 to reserve your spot today. Appointments are required and there are limited spots available.


– Samantha Daniel, NE Extension Educator

Last year, portions of eastern Nebraska saw an unprecedented number of fall armyworm caterpillars feeding on alfalfa, brome regrowth in pastures, and newly seeded small grain crops such as wheat, triticale, and rye. While we may not see similar numbers this year, it is a good idea to be “Fall armyworm aware” and keep an eye out for this insect.
Fall armyworm caterpillars can be distinguished from other Lepidopterans by markings on the head that resemble an inverted “Y” and four spots on the last abdominal segment that form a square. This insect does not overwinter in Nebraska, but rather migrates north from southern states when populations build up in late summer. Once caterpillars are ¾ inch, they can do considerable damage in a few days. Because of this, it is important to scout fields and pastures in the early morning and late afternoon, when caterpillars are most active, to spot them when they are small.
Remember a reasonable treatment threshold is finding 3 or more caterpillars per square foot within a field or pasture. There are several insecticides labeled to control this insect including Mustang Maxx, Besiege, and Sevin. For forage crops be sure to check the grazing restriction and post-harvest interval. When considering a chemical treatment option, keep in mind caterpillars ¾ inch or longer are close to maturity and can be harder to control with an insecticide.
Fall armyworm feeding declines with cooler temperatures and the adult moths eventually migrate south. In the meantime, be sure to keep an eye on your pastures and newly seeded fields for any sign of infestation.

Ten Napel Is New Field Agronomist for Northwest Iowa

Leah Ten Napel has been named the new field agronomist for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach in northwest Iowa.

A native of LeMars, Ten Napel most recently was an agronomist with Central Valley Ag Coop in Hinton. She graduated from Iowa State in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in agronomy and seed science.

Ten Napel said she knew when she graduated that she wanted to return to northwest Iowa and work with farmers in her community. With the new position, she will help advise farmers in nine counties and looks forward to meeting new people across her region.

“I’ve gotten to know producers from Plymouth County pretty well, and now I am looking forward to meeting growers throughout northwest Iowa,” said Ten Napel.

She credits her grandparents for introducing her to agriculture through their farm, which led Ten Napel and her three siblings to participate in 4-H and FFA. Her projects consisted of livestock, static exhibits and citizenship projects.

She also got to know other field agronomists, including now-retired field agronomist Joel DeJong, who previously held the same position.

“We are really excited to have Leah join us and for her eagerness to serve as a field agronomist for northwest Iowa,” said Rebecca Vittetoe, field agronomist for ISU Extension and Outreach in southeast Iowa. “As a native from northwest Iowa and with her previous work experience in ag retail, Leah already has good relationships, and she’ll be able to continue to build relationships to help serve farmers and ag retailers across her region.”

Ten Napel is marred to Derek Ten Napel and the couple lives on an acreage they recently purchased from his grandparents. They raise sheep and also run a trucking business.

Leah Ten Napel started Sept. 12 and will be based at the ISU Extension and Outreach Plymouth County Office. She can be reached at lre@iastate.edu or 712-541-3493.

Naig Concludes Successful Annual 99 County Tour

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig completed his annual 99 county tour late last week by hosting a roundtable with a group of Marshall County cattlemen at The Flying Elbow, home to Iowa’s Best Burger for 2022. To commemorate his annual successful statewide tour, Secretary Naig released a brief video which includes a personal message and a selection of photos highlighting some of his visits from across the state this year.

“Every year I have the privilege to travel to each of Iowa’s 99 counties to promote the people, farms, and businesses that make our agriculture community so special. It’s an opportunity for me to see and hear the challenges they face so I can help identify and advocate for solutions,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig. “From river to river and border to border, I see first-hand many of the impressive things happening in communities big and small. We can all be proud that agriculture is the backbone of our economy.”

Iowa Organic Conference Registration Open

The 22nd annual Iowa Organic Conference will be held Monday, Nov. 21, at the University of Iowa in Iowa City.

The conference is a joint effort between Iowa State University and the University of Iowa. Producers and experts from across the country will share tips for transitioning into organic production and methods to enhance organic operations.
The theme is “Building Resiliency through Biodiversity and Conservation in Organic Farming,” with keynote speaker, Rattan Lal, World Food Prize Laureate and professor of soil science at Ohio State University, speaking on “Why Soil Quality in Organic Systems Matters.”

The conference begins at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 20, with vendor setup, and a reception featuring local and organic food and drinks at 6 p.m. The conference lunch on Monday afternoon highlights local and organic produce, meats and dairy products assembled into a gourmet meal by Barry Greenberg, executive chef, and his dining team.
Monday’s breakout sessions start at 8 a.m. and include information on transitioning into organic farming, weed management, organic livestock production, and alternative crops such as black beans and split peas. Sessions include improving soil quality, pest management, organic no-till, what you need to know for organic inspection, diversifying your rotations and more.
“The Iowa Organic Conference is the largest university-sponsored organic conference in the country,” said Kathleen Delate, professor and organic extension specialist in horticulture and agronomy at Iowa State. “Last year’s conference brought over 30 exhibitors, ranging from organic seed sales, to local food system non-profits, to government offices working with transitioning and certified organic farmers. Despite the challenges of drought this year, organic farmers are anticipating successful organic yields with organic soybean prices currently averaging $31.85 per bushel and organic corn at $11.85 per bushel.”

Conference registration is available online. Registration is $100 until Nov. 10 and $120 after.

Hotel rooms are available at the Iowa House Hotel for Sunday, Nov. 20. Guests may access room reservations by going to iowahousehotel.uiowa.edu and entering group #112122, or calling the hotel at 319-335-3513 and mentioning the Iowa Organic Conference.

For additional conference information and directions to the conference, visit the 2022 Iowa Organic Conference webpage, https://www.regcytes.extension.iastate.edu/iowaorganic/, or contact Kathleen Delate at kdelate@iastate.edu or 515-294-5116.

USDA to Provide up to $20 Million for Construction of On-Farm Grain Storage Facilities in Areas Impacted by Recent Natural Disasters

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will make available $20 million in cost-share assistance to help agricultural producers in Kentucky, Minnesota, South Dakota and surrounding areas to rebuild storage facilities damaged by devastating natural disaster events in 2021 and 2022. This assistance will help producers who were hard-hit by disasters and are currently struggling with a lack of available grain storage have the resources they need as they head into the 2022 crop harvest.

“Over the past two years, weather events in several states caused catastrophic losses to grain storage facilities on family farms as well as a large, commercial grain elevator, leaving stored grain exposed to the elements and affecting commodity marketing options for many producers. USDA heard from congressional leaders, including Minority Leader McConnell, who identified a gap in our disaster assistance toolkit, and we went to work designing a new program to deliver direct assistance to producers who are struggling to meet their on-farm storage capacity needs in the wake of disasters,” Secretary Vilsack said. “Congress has provided USDA with important flexibility through the Commodity Credit Corporation, which gives us the tools to be nimble as we work to support the production and marketing of agricultural commodities and quickly respond to agricultural producers’ needs.”

This assistance from USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will be designed to help producers affected by the December 2021 tornadoes that passed through eleven counties in Kentucky, as well as producers in Minnesota and South Dakota affected by the derechos (severe thunderstorms and straight-line winds) that swept through these states in May 2022 and July 2022.   

Similar to other USDA cost-share programs, USDA anticipates that the funds announced today will cover 75% of the eligible expenses associated with building grain storage capacity or purchasing equipment such as grain baggers for a producer’s own use or for a shared-cost arrangement among a group of producers who want to use a common facility. The program will be primarily focused on supporting producers or groups of producers in their efforts to build new storage capacity in eligible areas where there is a shortage of local grain storage.  Details on the program and the process to seek cost share will be available in a future Federal Register notice, but USDA also has an existing Farm Storage Facility Loan Program that can immediately provide low-interest financing.  Producers should contact their local service center for details or to ensure they are on a list for updates.

To determine locations where producers may be eligible for emergency grain storage facility assistance, state impact area maps for Kentucky, Minnesota, South Dakota and surrounding areas are now available online. These maps depict damaged storage facility locations and counties within a 30-mile radius of these facilities where producers may be eligible for this new program. If a producer believes their county should also qualify for this program, there will be a procedure to consider and add additional counties.

Through proactive communications and outreach, USDA will keep producers and stakeholders informed as program eligibility, application and implementation details are made available in the coming weeks.

Biden-Harris Administration Announces Major Actions to Spur Competition, Protect Producers and Reduce Costs

Today, at a meeting of the White House Competition Council, President Biden will announce two new efforts by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to support fair and competitive meat and poultry markets, as part of the Department’s role in the President’s Competition Council. These efforts include (1) publishing the proposed Inclusive Competition and Market Integrity Rules Under the Packers and Stockyards Act to protect farmers and ranchers from abuse, and (2) a new $15 million Agricultural Competition Challenge to ramp up collaboration with the State Attorneys General (AG) on enforcement of the competition laws, such as the laws against price-fixing.

“Highly concentrated local markets in livestock and poultry have increasingly left farmers, ranchers, growers and producers vulnerable to a range of practices that unjustly exclude them from economic opportunities and undermine a transparent, competitive, and open market—which harms producers’ ability to deliver the quality, affordable food working families depend upon,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who is a member of the White House Competition Council. “USDA is focused on building new, fairer, and more resilient markets, protecting producers, and reducing food costs, and we are proving again today that we will use all tools at our disposal to do so.”

Proposed Rule on Inclusive Competition and Market Integrity
USDA is proposing these modernized regulations under the Packers and Stockyards (P&S) Act’s provisions prohibiting undue prejudice, unjust discrimination, and deception to provide for clearer, more effective standards to govern the modern marketplace. The Inclusive Competition and Market Integrity proposed rule would revise regulations under the P&S Act by prohibiting certain prejudices and disadvantages against covered producers in the livestock, meat, and poultry markets. The regulations would prohibit retaliatory practices that interfere with lawful communications, assertion of rights, and participation in associations, among other protected activities—such as retaliating against a farmer or rancher for blowing the whistle on price-fixing. The regulations would also identify unlawfully deceptive practices that violate the P&S Act with respect to contract formation, contract performance, contract termination and contract refusal.

The purpose of the rule is to promote inclusive competition and market integrity in the livestock, meat, and poultry markets.
    First, the proposed rule prohibits certain prejudices and disadvantages against covered producers. Specifically, the proposed rule seeks to protect “market vulnerable individuals” who are those at heightened risk of adverse, exclusionary treatment in the marketplace, which may include on the basis of their race, gender, sexual orientation, and religious affiliation.
    Second, the proposed rule prohibits retaliatory practices that interfere with lawful communications, assertion of rights, and associational participation, among other protected activities.
    Third, the proposed rule identifies unlawfully deceptive practices that violate the P&S Act with respect to contract formation, contract performance, contract termination and contract refusal.
    Finally, the rule proposes recordkeeping requirements to support evaluation of regulated entity compliance, including the ability to inspect relevant records, such as policies and procedures, staff training and producer information materials, data and testing, board of directors’ oversight materials, and other relevant materials.

The second of three priority regulatory Packers and Stockyards Act initiatives USDA announced it would pursue, this rule, will soon be published in the Federal Register and made available for public comment. A preview of the rule is available on the Agricultural Marketing Service website. Once published, stakeholders and other interested parties will have 60 days from the date of publication to submit comments via the Regulations.gov web portal. All comments submitted will be considered as USDA develops a final rule.

Agricultural Competition Challenge to the State Attorneys General
Building on the Biden-Harris Executive Order’s “Whole-of-Government” approach, USDA is also taking action to ramp up enforcement of the competition laws by challenging the state attorneys general (AG) to partner with USDA on competition issues in the food and agriculture space, using up to $15 million in funds from the Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA).

Through a combination of renewable cooperative agreements and memorandums of understanding, these new partnerships will assist state AGs in tackling anticompetitive practices in the agricultural sector and related industries that are contributing to heightened inflationary pressures, lack of choices for consumers and producers, and conflicts of interest and anticompetitive barriers across the food and agriculture supply chains.

Specifically, this initiative will improve state AG capacity to conduct on-the-ground investigations of competition issues, enhance coordination between Federal and state agriculture and competition enforcement authorities, create new and more independent research programs, and ultimately result in more rigorous enforcement of the competition laws.

USDA is working directly with state AG offices to solicit applications and requests for funding under this initiative and looks forward to these partnerships as we work together to secure America’s food systems.

Earlier this year USDA and DOJ announced their commitment to work more closely together to effectively enforce federal competition laws that protect farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural producers and growers from unfair and anticompetitive practices, including by launching the www.FarmerFairness.gov complaint portal for reporting suspected violations of federal competition law. Today’s challenge seeks to expand that collaborative effort to state AGs, who often have additional state authorities they can leverage to help achieve that goal.

Delta Air Lines Readies Refinery to Process Biofuels

Delta Air Lines is taking steps to using biofuel to power its aircraft. Currently, the U.S Renewable Fuel Standard requires U.S. refiners to add increasing amounts of biofuels into the nation's fuel supplies each year.

Delta bought a Pennsylvania oil refinery 10 years ago, in a bid to reduce its fuel costs. This was the first refinery to be purchased by an airline.

Plans call for the refinery to begin using agricultural products such as soybean oil, which can be processed into a biomass-based diesel fuel that satisfies federal blending requirements.

Delta's refinery, Monroe Energy, has recently been evaluating the role that producing sustainable aviation fuel and other renewable fuels could play in the company's move to using sustainable aircraft fuels.

Monroe is now refurbishing two large tanks. The refinery can produce 185,000 barrels-per-day at its Pennsylvania refinery. It is believed that the new tanks will be used to blend biofuels.

Industry observers have noted that Monroe could save hundreds of millions of dollars per year in reduced federal payments if it moved towards manufacturing biofuels.

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