Friday, September 9, 2022

Thursday September 08 Ag News

– Brad Schick, NE Extension Educator

Has the decision been made for when the last cutting of alfalfa will happen? This year it might not be an easy decision.

September is here and the dry conditions continue in much of Nebraska. When alfalfa is cut for the last time in the fall, it affects winter survival as well as the spring regrowth. As long as it is cut at the right time, the effects won’t be bad. Alfalfa needs 500 growing degree days or approximately six weeks of uninterrupted growth in the fall to fully prepare for winter by building up nutrients in the roots. This typically means that the beginning of the six weeks of growth will be about 3 weeks before the first frost.

The last cutting can either be before the winterization process or after. If cut during, it adds more stress to the alfalfa. During stressful years for alfalfa such as drought, insect and disease pressure, or more than 4 cuttings, the risk of poorer spring regrowth increases. Newer stands, winter hardy varieties, and more disease resistant varieties can typically handle more plant stress. With multiple years of drought and water use, cutting to allow plenty of growth to catch snow may be a good idea.

Another factor to consider is how badly alfalfa hay is needed. If drought has forced the hand to cut alfalfa in less-than-ideal times, the risk of cutting during the winterization process may outweigh the cost of buying expensive hay. Weather can always throw a wrench in our plans so waiting until after the winterization process to cut again would be less risky.

Any cutting of alfalfa is a stress event for the plant. Minimizing additional stress by avoiding the winterization window will help with winter survival and vigorous spring growth.


The Nebraska Public Service Commission (PSC) will be on hand at Husker Harvest Days (September 13-15) in Grand island, providing  information on the services it delivers and the regulatory authority it has within the state.

Husker Harvest days gives us the opportunity to talk directly with the citizens we serve and the businesses we regulate,” said Commission Chair Dan Watermeier. “With harvest season underway it’s an important time to make sure everyone involved in the selling, or storage of grain understands Nebraska law.”

Under the Grain Dealer Act if a producer/seller wants to ensure their transactions with a grain dealer are covered by the grain dealer’s security posted with the PSC, they must demand payment within 15 days of completion of their contract with the dealer. Producers/sellers who choose not to demand payment within 15 days after completion of their contract will be unsecured creditors of that dealer and forfeit any protection from the grain dealer’s security.

Grain Warehouse operators are also reminded by the PSC of the Emergency Storage Policy. In order to store grain on the ground, an Emergency Storage application must be filed with, and approved by the PSC. The Emergency Storage Application can be found on the Grain Department page of the PSC website.

You can visit the PSC booth at Husker Harvest Days in the Diversified Industry Building Exhibition area beginning at 8:00 a.m., each of the three-days.

Commissioner Watermeier said, “We invite anyone with questions or an interest in the Public Service Commission to stop by and see us at Husker Harvest Days.”

July Beef Exports Stay on $1 Billion/Month Pace; Pork Exports Remain Below Last Year

U.S. beef exports again topped $1 billion in July and posted the fifth-largest volume on record, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Pork exports remained below last year’s pace but continued to gain strength in Colombia and the Caribbean and stayed above year-ago for Mexico, the leading destination for U.S. pork.

Japan leads broad-based growth in July beef exports

July beef exports totaled 126,567 metric tons (mt), up 3% year-over-year. Export value increased 7% to $1.006 billion, topping the $1 billon mark for the sixth time this year. Japan was the pacesetter for July exports, but volumes also increased year-over-year to China/Hong Kong, the ASEAN region, Central America, the Caribbean and Colombia. July exports eased for South Korea and Taiwan, though both markets remain on a record pace in 2022.

For the first seven months of the year, beef exports increased 6% from a year ago to 870,471 mt, valued at $7.2 billion (up 29%). Export value per head of fed slaughter is on a record pace at more than $475.00.

"Global demand for U.S. beef continues to be amazingly resilient, especially at the retail level,” said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. "Exports have also benefited from a partial rebound in the foodservice sector but this recovery is far from complete. Many markets are still gradually easing COVID restrictions, so we definitely see opportunities for further growth as restaurant traffic returns. Headwinds remain formidable, however, including further devaluation of key trading partner currencies."

Pork exports to Mexico continue to outpace year-ago, and at higher prices

U.S. pork exports reached 208,095 mt in July, down 6% from a year ago, valued at $625 million (down 5%). For January through July, exports were 17% below last year at just under 1.5 million mt, valued at $4.24 billion (down 15%).

Exports to Mexico, the top market for U.S. pork, remain well above last year’s record pace, while shipments to Colombia, the Caribbean and South Korea continued to strengthen in July. Exports to China/Hong Kong were lower than a year ago in July but posted the largest volume since September and the highest value in 12 months.

“July pork exports were below last year but the good news is that the per-unit price of U.S. pork is trending higher in the international marketplace, even while our major competitors’ prices remain below year-ago levels,” Halstrom said. “Export value per head in July reached $67.10, nearly even with year-ago and the highest since last July. We are also encouraged by the recent trendlines for pork variety meat exports, especially to China and Mexico.”

Lamb muscle cut exports trend higher

July exports of U.S. lamb muscle cuts reached 161 mt, up from just 49 mt last year. Export value totaled $949,000, up 58% from a year ago. Through July, muscle cut exports increased 94% to 1,282 mt, valued at $7.7 million (up 82%). Led by the Dominican Republic and the Netherlands Antilles, exports to the Caribbean more than doubled from a year ago to 645 mt (up 110%) and increased 99% in value to $4.7 million. Exports also increased to Mexico, the Philippines and Panama.

Alfalfa Intensive Training Seminar (AITS) Registration Now Open

Registration to attend one of the most successful programs available for training and educating professionals in the alfalfa industry about alfalfa growth and management is now open! NAFA's Alfalfa Intensive Training Seminar (AITS), scheduled for October 11-13, will be held virtually, making it convenient and affordable for anyone to participate from any location.

AITS is a must for anyone growing or working within the alfalfa community, including agronomists, sales managers, crop advisors, nutritionists, extension agents, and alfalfa farmers. AITS features the same valuable content and interaction with the nation's leading experts in the fields of alfalfa production and management you've come to expect.

A partial list of topics to be covered includes: the role of alfalfa in animal diets; pest management; mowing & field drying; genetics, variety testing and selection; seed and seed production; growth and development; irrigation and water use; and much, much more. A full copy of the agenda can be found at

Presented in a convenient series of three half-day sessions, AITS provides a thorough tutorial designed to enhance your knowledge of the nation’s 4th most valuable crop. Don't miss this great opportunity to interact with industry professionals and enhance your knowledge of all things alfalfa. Register today at  

Weekly Ethanol Production for 9/2/2022

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending September 2, ethanol production expanded 2.0% to a 4-week high of 989,000 b/d, equivalent to 41.54 million gallons daily. Production was 7.2% more than the same week last year but 0.2% below the five-year average for the week. The four-week average ethanol production volume decreased 0.9% to 982,000 b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 15.05 billion gallons (bg).

Ethanol stocks tightened 1.7% to 23.1 million barrels, the lowest volume since June. However, stocks were 13.5% higher than a year ago and 8.2% above the five-year average. Inventories thinned across all regions except the Rocky Mountains (PADD 4) and West Coast (PADD 5).

The volume of gasoline supplied to the U.S. market, a measure of implied demand, increased 1.6% to 8.73 million b/d (133.78 bg annualized). Demand was 9.2% less than a year ago and 7.3% below the five-year average.

Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol ticked down 0.1% to a 6-week low of 905,000 b/d, equivalent to 13.87 bg annualized. Net inputs were 0.1% less than a year ago but 0.9% above the five-year average.

There were zero imports of ethanol recorded after 36,000 b/d hit the books the prior week. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of July 2022.)

NGFA urges Congress to prevent additional rail service disruptions

The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) urged Congress to intervene, if necessary, to prevent any interruptions of rail service that could occur if negotiations fail between rail carriers and labor groups.

In a Sept. 8 letter to leaders of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, NGFA and 30 other members of the Agricultural Transportation Working Group asked Congress to prevent a rail stoppage “of any duration,” noting that uninterrupted rail service is vital to the American agricultural economy.

“A complete stoppage of the rail system would lead to shutdowns or slowdowns of rail-dependent facilities resulting in devastating consequences to our national and global food security,” the groups noted.

Railroads and rail labor have until Sept. 16 to reach an agreement that would prevent a lockout or strike after the Presidential Emergency Board published a proposed settlement on Aug. 17. If an agreement is not reached, Congress should act “to avoid significant economic damage to U.S. supply chains and further uncertainty for rail customers.”

A freight rail stoppage occurring during harvest would exacerbate global food insecurity, further increase inflation, and escalate the already severe service delays rail customers have been facing, the letter stated.

The rail network is experiencing significant service disruptions, shippers noted in a previous letter to President Joe Biden on July 1, and an additional disruption of rail service related to a labor dispute would “push an already stressed rail network to the brink” and have immediate impacts on the nation’s supply chain.

Clean Fuels, EPA Agree to Pause Litigation on Separated Food Waste Recordkeeping

Today, Clean Fuels Alliance America and the U.S. Department of Justice filed a joint motion with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit concerning Clean Fuels Alliance America v. EPA, a suit in which Clean Fuels challenges new recordkeeping requirements for biodiesel and renewable diesel producers who use separated food waste, such as used cooking oil, as a feedstock. The parties agreed to put the case in abeyance through November 30, 2022, while Clean Fuels and its members continue working with the Environmental Protection Agency to develop practical compliance options for biodiesel and renewable diesel producers.

On August 11, 2022, the Court of Appeals granted Clean Fuels’ motion to sever the dispute from the RFS Power Coalition case, a consolidated group of challenges to EPA’s final 2020 Renewable Fuel Standard rule. Clean Fuels sought this action because EPA had failed to revise the new separated food waste requirements in the rewritten 2020 RFS rule and because Clean Fuels’ members demonstrated harm from the new requirements. When the Court granted Clean Fuels’ motion for severance, it put the case on a track for quicker resolution. EPA and Clean Fuels members have been working to develop alternative methods for biodiesel and renewable diesel producers to meet the new recordkeeping requirements.

Clean Fuels’ Vice President of Federal Affairs Kurt Kovarik stated, “We appreciate EPA’s willingness to meet with our members, listen to the issues they faced in complying with the new recordkeeping requirements, and work cooperatively to help our members meet the requirements. Biodiesel and renewable diesel are the cleanest low-carbon fuels on the market today. Along with the RFS program, they are essential tools in meeting the nation’s climate goals.”

Biodiesel and renewable diesel reduce carbon emissions by more than 70% on average, compared to petroleum diesel.

Honey Industry Votes to Continue the Research and Promotion Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) today announced that U.S. honey first handlers and importers have approved continuing the National Honey Board research and promotion program.

In the referendum, 73.8% of first handlers and importers voting, who represented 85.5% of the volume of honey or honey products voting in the referendum, were in favor of continuing the program. Over 50% of the first handlers and importers voting and over 50% of the volume voting in the referendum were required for the program to continue.

To be eligible to participate in the referendum, first handlers and importers had to handle or import at least 250,000 pounds of honey or honey products during the representative period of Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2021, and be subject to assessments under the program.

The Honey Packers and Importers Research, Promotion, Consumer Education and Industry Information Order, which has been administered by the National Honey Board since 2008, requires USDA to conduct a referendum every seven years to determine whether the industry is in favor of continuing the program. For the program to continue, first handlers and importers had to approve the program by a majority of handlers and importers voting in the referendum, who also represent a majority of the volume represented in the referendum.

The honey research and promotion program is authorized under the Commodity Promotion, Research and Information Act of 1996. The program was developed to administer an effective and coordinated program of generic promotion, consumer information and related research designed to drive consumption of honey and honey products in the U.S.

For more information about the National Honey Board, visit the National Honey Board AMS webpage page or visit their website at

Scoular acquires four facilities in northwestern Kansas

Scoular has signed an agreement to acquire four grain handling facilities in northwestern Kansas, enabling the company to more than double its handling and storage capacity for area farmers.

The four facilities, purchased from ADM, are in Goodland, Brewster, Monument and Oakley. The parties expect to close the transaction in September. The four facilities will be operational for fall harvest. Scoular will handle corn, wheat and milo at these facilities.

Scoular has been building its presence in northwestern Kansas since 2007 after acquiring its first facility in Goodland. It later purchased facilities in nearby Cheyenne County and Winona before acquiring an additional facility five miles west of Goodland last year. With the latest acquisition, Scoular will own 11 facilities in northwest Kansas; eight are Scoular-operated facilities and three are Scoular-leased.

“We are excited to expand our presence in northwestern Kansas, create value for farmers and invest in our value-chain network providing highest quality and dependable supply to our customers,” said Scoular Regional Manager Derek Spears.

Meristem Announces Two New Tech-delivery Systems Designed to Boost the Performance of Biologicals

Meristem announced here today the commercial launch of two patent-pending biological delivery systems – BIO-CAPSULE™ and MICROBILIZE™ – building on their effort to bring real productivity gains to farmers.  Both innovative technology systems result from work with leading industry partners and are designed to work seamlessly with farming operations to dramatically increase the performance of a broad range of biologicals.

“A very important piece of our mission at Meristem is opening up a faster pathway to more farmers for new innovative technology,” said Mitch Eviston, Meristem Founder and CEO in unveiling the two new patent-pending systems. “We’re out to clear any hurdle to using these new beneficial biologicals and with BIO-CAPSULE™ and MICROBILIZE™ we take two more giant steps. This is all about creating greater productivity for American farmers.”

The BIO-CAPSULE TECHNOLOGY™ Planter Box Delivery System, is a revolutionary packaging system designed to carry, protect, and dispense a multitude of biologicals into a seed lubricant blend plus micronutrients. It will be launched commercially in crop-year 2023 as part the REVLINE HOPPER THROTTLE™ product evolution.

“REVLINE HOPPER THROTTLE Corn, now powered by BIO-CAPSULE, is truly a game changer because the new technology allows for so many proven ingredients to work together effectively as a single product,” said Joe Gednalske, Meristem Product Development Lead, who already holds 41 patents on crop inputs and application technology. For crop year 2023, said Gednalske, one of Bio-Capsules will be charged with Terrasym®, an industry leading proprietary bio-stimulant developed by NewLeaf Symbiotics that helps plants increase nutrient uptake to develop a massive root structure. Another BIO-CAPSULE will be charged with a microbial team proven to fix nitrogen and solubilize nutrients. In the base is an 80/20 talc blend with iron and manganese, plus 1.35 pounds of a specially-formulated zinc.

“The BIO-CAPSULE TECHNOLOGY enables these microbes to stay separated from talc and zinc to keep their full strength all the way to when they are deployed at planting,” explains Gednalske. “That means more vigor and vitality in the furrow.”

NewLeaf Technical Product Director, Dr. Allison Jack, says the BIO-CAPSULE system is key to what’s next because it delivers live microbes in powder formulation directly to the seed in a way that ensures they only become active during seed germination. “The microbes are protected until they are ready to use. The BIO-CAPSULE will give us the opportunity to show what our new corn rootworm biological can do,” she said. “We’ve just gotten the green light from the EPA and are excited to work with Meristem on demonstrating its efficacy and its convenience, pending state approvals.”

MICROBILIZE™ Microbe Technology Delivery System, the second patent-pending product announced, covers a liquid formulation technology that enhances microbe health, increases vigor, and speeds reproduction at the target.  MICROBILIZE uses a surfactant system, fulvic acid and other ingredients to increase the shelf life and performance of microbes. The first commercial launch for MICROBILIZE is a new improvement of Meristem’s industry leading residue management and nutrient release product --- EXCAVATOR™.

“With MICROBILIZE, the surfactant package penetrates the cuticle for faster breakdown of the residue,” said Gednalske. “We’ve seen a dramatic increase in microbe survivability and productivity.” Gednalske worked with researchers at DPH Biologicals™ and others to measure the impact of MICROBILIZE™. Meristem will license the technology to other providers of biologicals with the tagline “Powered by MICROBILIZE Microbe Technology Delivery System.” Meristem’s EXCAVATOR™ carries a unique collection of six different residue-eating microbes, reaching a total of 700 billion total colony-forming units (CFUs) per gallon.

“As biologicals become more mainstream, it is important for these products to consistently perform to earn grower trust,” said Mick Messman, president and CEO of DPH Biologicals. He added that innovations like the MICROBILIZE™ delivery technology paired with DPH Bio’s unique biological platform play an important role in generating a new level of consistent performance that will drive rapid adoption. “Trusted biologicals are proving their ROI (return on investment) and we have seen significant growth with our portfolio over the past year. We look forward to continued collaborations with Meristem to develop and introduce new innovative biological solutions.”

John Gertz, Meristem’s COO, said combining EXCAVATOR™ and REVLINE HOPPER THROTTLE™ can truly be considered the starter system for the next generation. “That’s why we focused on getting these new delivery systems right – to bring more real productivity to American farmers.” He said BIO-CAPSULE is a step-change innovation enabling a bolt-on of new formulations without the expense of re-registration, which reduces waste. “Simply put, we can help farmers add more bushels and keep more of what they earn from each one.”

“We serve farmers best when we can bring them innovation that helps them produce more output for every unit of input,” summarizes Rob McClelland, Meristem President and CMO. “But we must make it convenient for them at field-level. And that’s what these new delivery systems are about – safeguarding the product and making it easier for farmers to improve crop health, yields and ROI. We’re excited for the opportunity this brings our dealer-partners to be market leaders.”

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