Ashburn VA

Saturday
Clear
97°F / 72°F
Wind: 8 WNW
Average Humidity: 56
The Next Three Days

Sunday
Partly Cloudy
97°F / 75°F
Wind: 4 NW
Humidity: 49

Monday
Partly Cloudy
98°F / 76°F
Wind: 9 WSW
Humidity: 56

Tuesday
Partly Cloudy
96°F / 74°F
Wind: 7 WNW
Humidity: 58
Close
@C - CORN - CBOT
Month High Low Last Chg
Sep '16 336'6 326'6 335'0 0'6
Dec '16 343'2 333'2 341'6 1'0
Mar '17 352'4 342'6 351'4 1'2
May '17 358'6 349'0 357'0 1'0
Jul '17 364'0 354'4 362'4 1'6
Sep '17 367'6 359'4 367'0 1'6
@S - SOYBEANS - CBOT
Month High Low Last Chg
Aug '16 1037'0 985'0 1006'4 -26'0
Sep '16 1029'6 978'0 998'6 -26'6
Nov '16 1016'4 966'2 988'2 -24'2
Jan '17 1016'2 967'0 989'2 -23'4
Mar '17 1007'6 960'6 982'2 -22'2
May '17 1001'0 959'6 978'2 -21'0
Jul '17 1000'0 960'4 978'2 -20'4
@K - HARD RED WINTER WHEAT - KCBT
Month High Low Last Chg
Sep '16 419'6 400'0 419'0 11'4
Dec '16 445'6 425'6 445'0 11'4
Mar '17 462'2 442'6 462'0 11'6
May '17 470'6 454'0 473'0 12'0
@L - LIVE CATTLE - CME
Month High Low Last Chg
Aug '16 110.425 107.350 109.950 2.425
Oct '16 108.525 105.550 108.075 2.375
@C - COTTON #2 - ICEFU
Month High Low Last Chg
Oct '16 72.75 71.72 72.52 -0.14
Dec '16 73.46 71.86 72.68 -0.29
Mar '17 74.00 72.44 73.32 -0.20
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National
Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Substance Misuse Prevention Resources for Low Income Pregnant Women and Mothers In Order to Battle the Opioid Epidemic
Columbia, Missouri, July 22, 2016 ? Today, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack urged all State Health Officers to use the resources and opportunities provided through their Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) agencies in their substance misuse prevention efforts.
World
Gulke: Weather Markets Turn 'Treacherous'
With prices dropping, Jerry Gulke says farmers may have to rely on big yields, rather than high prices, to help their bottom line this fall.
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New Drone Regulations: What Does It All Mean?
On June 21, 2016, the Federal Aviation Administration released the much anticipated new Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) or drone regulations, also referred to as Part 107. These rules go in effect Aug. 29, 2016, and cover a broad spectrum of commercial uses for drones weighing less than 55 pounds (take?off weight). One of the most significant changes is that commercial operations that fit within the framework of Part 107 will no longer require Federal Aviation Administration approval by exemption, which has typically taken months to secure. Previously, commercial operators needed a “Section 333 exemption,” which allowed an operator with a Federal Aviation Administration-approved certificate of authorization to fly in the National Airspace. Needless to say, these certification rules restricted and discouraged the potential use of drones for agriculture and many other commercial purposes. The new Part 107 regulations seek to ease some of these restrictions by establishing a new certified “Remote Pilot in Command” (R-PIC) position and a remote pilot certification process. The person operating the small UAS must either hold a remote pilot airman certificate with a small UAS rating or be under the direct supervision of a person who does hold a remote pilot airman certificate. To qualify for a remote pilot certificate, you will have to be at least 16 years old and pass an initial in-person aeronautical knowledge test at a Federal Aviation Administration?approved testing center. If you already have a Part 61 pilot certificate other than a student pilot certificate, then the requirements are to complete a flight review within the previous 24 months and complete a small UAS online training course provided by the Federal Aviation Administration. Before the certificate is issued, you will be vetted by the Transportation Security Administration for background checks. The R-PIC must conduct a preflight check of the small UAS to ensure it is in a condition to operate safely. The manned private pilot Federal Aviation Administration knowledge test is no longer required. If you already have a Section 333 exemption, you can continue to operate the UAS under the exemption until it expires. After that, you may choose to operate your UAS under the Part 107 rules by obtaining a remote pilot certificate. The aircraft should remain within the visual line of sight of the R-PIC and only daylight operations are permitted. So delivery of Christmas gifts or nocturnal activities by drones will still be prohibited. The maximum altitude is 400 feet above ground level. If higher than 400 feet above ground level, then remain within 400 feet of a structure. This will permit drones to inspect tall buildings and storage structures. Some of these restrictions mentioned above are waivable if the operator demonstrates that the operation can be safely conducted under the terms of a waiver. Members of the public will be able to take the Federal Aviation Administration aeronautical knowledge test at testing centers starting Aug. 29, 2016. A cost of $150 for the knowledge test is anticipated. Following the test, you will have to complete the Federal Aviation Administration Airman Certificate Application Form and apply for the remote pilot certificate. If you fail the test, you can retake the test after 14 days. The new Part 107 regulations have been derived by essentially separating the small UAS from the manned aircraft rules. It is now possible to operate a UAS without a Federal Aviation Administration airworthiness certificate, a pilot license or section 333 exemptions. With the expanding market potential, the drone industry will now attract substantial new private investments. That in effect will spur new innovations, critical scientific research and development and local job growth. If you feel the Federal Aviation Administration Part 107 regulations did not go far enough, the advice is to stay patient. This is the first step in a series of changes and more operational concepts will be approved with time. Agriculture and food production would be significant benefactors in drone applications. Other commercial uses pertain to security, defense, public safety, communication and environmental and transportation services. Industry experts estimate the recent rule changes will help generate more than $82 billion for the U.S. economy and create more than 100,000 jobs over the next 10 years. For a summary of information, read the Federal Aviation Administration’s “Summary of Small Unmanned Aircraft Rule (Part 107).” For more information about the UAS use in agriculture and research, visit UAS in Agriculture Learning Network and read their blog post, “A Summary of FAA Part 107 rules by the UAS in Agriculture Learning Network.” I wish to thank Victor Villegas of Oregon State University Extension and members of the eXtension Community of Practice on UAS for their input into this article. Source: George Silva, Michigan State University Extension
Drought Map Lighting Up
This week’s USDM period (ending on July 19) was characterized by typical hit and miss summer-time shower activity across the country, punctuated by extreme heat in the Southern Plains and the Northeast. The heaviest rains fell in southern Minnesota, southwest Iowa, much of Indiana and eastern Illinois, western Kentucky, eastern North Carolina, along the Gulf Coast and Florida. Below normal precipitation was observed in eastern Texas, northern Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and New England.A strong ridge over the southern Plains contributed to abnormally warm temperatures in New Mexico and Texas during the period. Daily maximum temperatures soared well into the triple digits, as much as 10 degrees F above normal in the area. While not as intense, temperatures 6-8 degrees F above normal were observed in the Northeast. Cooler-than-normal temperatures encapsulated much of the Northwest and High Plains. View Drought Monitor here. SOUTHEAST Much of the Southeast experienced scattered rain showers this past USDM week. Some areas were winners while others were losers. Eastern North Carolina, parts of southwest and eastern South Carolina, the Georgia/Florida border, west central Alabama, southern Mississippi and southeastern Louisiana all experienced above normal precipitation for the 7-day period. The majority of other locations were at or below normal in terms of precipitation. Average daytime temperatures for the region were generally above normal. The most intense heat was focused in western South Carolina where anomalies were as great as 4 degrees F above what is typically expected during the time period. Below average temperatures, associated with the cloud cover, were centered along the Gulf Coast. Warm temperatures, combined with a lack of precipitation, exasperated drought conditions in the region. Degradations were made across Georgia where precipitation was 50 percent of normal or less. An area of Extreme Drought was introduced in Cherokee County and stretching into Bartow County, Georgia where a stream flow gauge was measuring below 2 percent. D0 was stretched south and east covering the quickly deteriorating conditions. Reported impacts are mixed across Georgia but include: loss of corn crops, no grass to feed the cattle resulting in the use of hay to supplement, daily irrigation was not enough to supply plants what they need to survive. On a more positive note, one farmer reported they had a record watermelon harvest season.   MIDWEST Scattered showers affected the region from Minnesota eastward into Ohio. As much as 4 inches of precipitation was observed in southern Minnesota, eastern Illinois and western Indiana. Below average precipitation was reported in much of Missouri, Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. A large disparity in temperatures occurred from Minnesota and Iowa eastward to Ohio. Temperatures were 3-5 degrees cooler than normal in the west and 3-5 degrees warmer than normal in the east. Drought conditions improved in Iowa, but expanded in Ohio. It was reported by a farmer near Toledo that the lack of rain has slowed crop growth and he has relied on his pond for irrigation, but the pond’s water level was dropping rapidly. SOUTHERN PLAINS Much of the Southern Plains suffered as stifling heat baked the soils while precipitation was non-existent. Recent rains over the northern half of Oklahoma did warrant some improvement, but there was huge disparity in the south central and southeast part of the state. A single-category degradation was needed due to the 30-day precipitation departures. In Texas, temperatures were for the most part 4 degrees F above normal during the period. The most intense heat was in western Texas where anomalies were around 8 degrees F above normal. According to the USDA, 64 percent of topsoil moisture conditions are in the very short to short category. Deterioration occurred in the north, southwest and eastern parts of the state. HIGH PLAINS Precipitation in the High Plains this period ranged from greater than 300 percent in much of Montana to well below 10 percent along the North and South Dakota state border. Temperatures were muted across the region as anomalies were as much as 6 degrees below normal. Conditions continue to be drier than normal in the western South Dakota/eastern Wyoming area. Less than half of what is normally expected, in terms of precipitation, has fallen in that area during the last 30 days. 28-day stream flows are measuring in the 5-10 percent category and lower. All other indicators, including model based and satellite derived, are pointing to an extreme localized drought in the area. Ranchers and farmers in the area are experiencing no hay production at all and the cattle are already on winter pastures. There are not only water quantity issues, but also as the stock ponds and dams dry up, the water quality is suspect. Some ranchers have to haul water in every day. Wildfires are also a large concern. Based on all the indicators and impacts, all categories of drought were expanded in the area. WEST Precipitation was virtually non-existent in much of the Western region during the period. Light rain (0.5 inch) did fall in central Oregon and norther Washington. The southwest monsoon provided some relief to parts of Arizona, albeit only light amounts fell. Temperatures were cooler than normal in the Northwest, but slightly above normal for the desert southwest. The cooler than normal temperatures during July have helped suppress many new wildfires from emerging. This is the dry season for the West Coast, so changes to the drought monitor are very rare this time of year. ALASKA, HAWAII, PUERTO RICO In Alaska, percent of normal precipitation along the south and the entire panhandle is at 5 percent through the last 2 weeks. Meanwhile, temperatures are 8-10 degrees above normal during this 7-day USDM period. Wildfires are spreading across southern Alaska and streamflow’s are low in parts of the southwest and much of the southern panhandle. In the panhandle, fish and game authorities are starting to see some small fish die offs at the fisheries due to the high water temperatures while the low water levels are keeping the salmon in the ocean where the water is cooler. Due to these conditions, D0 was added to the entire panhandle. No changes were made in Hawaii and Puerto Rico this week. LOOKING AHEAD The next 3-7 days will bring above normal temperatures for much of the CONUS with the warmest anomalies forecasted for the Midwest and along the East Coast. Negative temperature anomalies will be confined to the Northwest. The High Plains, parts of New England, the Southeast, and Florida have the best chances of greater than normal precipitation. The CPC 6-10 day outlook calls for the greatest chances of above normal temperatures in California and the Great Basin, as well as the East Coast. The probability is high that below normal precipitation will occur in the Northwest, especially in Washington and Oregon, and the Midwest, while odds are in favor of above normal precipitation in the Southeast and East Coast. Source: Drought Monitor
Retail Fertilizer Trends: Good Time to Buy
Retail fertilizer prices tracked by DTN for the second week of July 2016 show prices are lower but not by significant amounts. However, DTN’s last five weekly surveys have all reported price reductions. In the latest retail survey, all eight of the major fertilizers dropped slightly in price compared to the previous month. DAP averaged $467/ton, MAP $496/ton, potash $358/ton and urea at $360/ton. 10-34-0 was at $538/ton, anhydrous $547/ton, UAN28 $266/ton and $306/ton. On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.39/lb.N, anhydrous $0.33/lb.N, UAN28 $0.48/lb.N and UAN32 $0.48/lb.N. In a July 11 blog post, David Widmar, agricultural economist at Purdue University, notes that except for fertilizer, variable crop production costs for corn have been slow to move. He previously examined if fixed costs were seeing adjustments. Widmar pointed out that the average total cost of corn production in 2015 was $677 per acre or about $13 per less than in 2014, using data from USDA. This represents a mere 2% decline in total costs. “Among variable costs, fertilizer was down $11 per acre in 2015,” Widmar wrote. “Overall, fertilizer was a significant driver in lower corn production costs in 2015 as it accounted for half of the total variable cost reduction.” Widmar points out that other variable costs, such as seed and ag chemicals, have changed very little in 2015. Both were within $1 per acre of 2014 levels. Data from Purdue corn budgets from 2014 to 2016 also document the fall in retail fertilizer costs. Fertilizer expense alone fell $21 per acre by 2016 and accounted for two thirds of the total variable expensive reductions over this period. The drop in fertilizer prices has been a critical component to adjustments to lower costs of production, he wrote. Looking ahead to the 2017 growing season, Widmar believes it is difficult to imagine that fertilizer prices will continue to provide such a large cost savings. “The combination of strong corn fertilizer demand in 2016 and stabilizing energy prices could set up the possibility of higher fertilizer prices in 2017,” he wrote. (You can read Widmar’s blog post here). DTN surveys show retail fertilizers remain significantly less expensive compared to a year earlier. All fertilizers are now double digits lower. UAN32 is 15% lower, both MAP and 10-34-0 are 16% lower while both DAP and UAN28 are 18% less expensive. Anhydrous is 21% lower, urea is 23% less expensive and potash is 27% less expensive compared to last year at this time. Source: AgFax
Sugarcane Aphids Headed North
Sorghum pests never gave Jerry Martin many headaches before last year. Now for the second year in a row, the central Kansas farmer is bracing for infestations of the sugarcane aphid. After a slow start in Texas this year, the pest has moved north and east earlier than ever. In Kentucky, aphids were spotted in mid-July, a month earlier than 2015. Now, three hours south of Martin’s farmland near Manhattan, Kansas, the pest has been found in sorghum fields in southern Kansas 10 days earlier than last year. The levels of infestation in those Kansas fields suggest the pest has been calling the Sunflower State home for nearly a month already, according to a report compiled by Kansas State University’s field crop Extension entomology team. “Aphid densities are well below threshold, but those with sorghum fields are encouraged to scout fields now,” the team wrote. Because they reproduce asexually, aphid populations can grow rapidly and infest fields in a matter of days. “Sugarcane aphids have caused yield losses of 30% to 100% for sorghum growers since 2013 in many states of the U.S.,” warned University of Kentucky entomologist Raul Villanueva, in a university pest alert. “Sugarcane aphids affected severely grain and sweet sorghum fields last year in Georgia, South Carolina, Missouri, Tennessee, and Kentucky.” Last year, Martin sprayed his fields in early August and still experienced yield losses when aphid-damaged plants toppled over before harvest. “We still had very good yields, but we would have had fantastic yields if so much of it hadn’t gone down,” he said. The aphids are piercing insects — they suck fluids from the plant and leave behind a sticky honeydew that encourages the growth of a sooty black fungus. The plant damage lowers yield potential and the honeydew can clog and damage combines and field equipment. Scouting can be tedious and thresholds for treatment vary by region. Villanueva recommends selecting 10 plants by random within a 50-foot stretch of the field. Examine a top and bottom leaf from each plant, looking for the tiny, light-colored aphids and counting those you find. After repeating this process four to five times, count the average aphid counts per leaf. “If this average is between 30 to 135 aphids per leaf up to boot stage of development, then make an insecticide application,” Villanueva concluded. Growers on the High Plains should follow this slightly more conservative threshold. For more details on how to weigh the cost and potential benefits of spraying, see this guide from Texas A&M. Growers have two options for effective treatments this year: Bayer’s Sivanto Prime insecticide and Dow’s Transform insecticide, which has received Section 18 emergency use approvals for sorghum fields in 14 states (Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia). You can find those labels here. The EPA also just issued a Section 18 emergency use approval for Bayer’s Sivanto Prime in sweet sorghum in North Carolina. You can see that label here. You can find the Kansas State University sugarcane aphid alert here, and Villanueva’s update from Kentucky here. Source: Emily Unglesbee, The Progressive Farmer
7 22 16 Aurora Cooperative Grain Market Commentary
Nebraska Ag Update - July 21, 2016
Nebraska Ag Updates
Revisiting USDA Corn and Soybean Grain Stocks Estimates
The June 1 estimates of corn and soybean stocks released by the USDA on June 30 provided some big surprises. The corn stocks estimate was about 200 million bushels larger than anticipated, while the soybean stocks estimate was about 40 million bushels larger than anticipated. The larger corn stocks estimate has especially contributed to the "heaviness" of corn prices in recent weeks. This certainly has not been the only example of the USDA grain stocks reports providing a major surprise to the market in recent years. In fact, the grain stocks estimates have generated enough controversy that the Office of the Chief Economist of the USDA commissioned a study to examine this, and other, issues related to USDA forecasts (Irwin, Sanders, and Good, 2014). Several farmdoc daily articles subsequently featured different parts of the study. (January 17, 2014; January 29, 2014; February 7, 2014; February 13, 2014; February 14, 2014). The study found that there had indeed been a sharp decline in analysts' ability to anticipate actual quarterly corn stock estimates beginning with the start of the 2006 marketing year. The availability of data for three more marketing years provides an opportunity to update our previous analysis and determine whether the "problem" with corn stocks estimates has continued or not. In addition, we also analyze in this article the typical degree of uncertainty in the crucial September 1 corn and soybean stock estimates. Read the entire article here.
Southern Rust is No Longer Just ?Southern?
Southern corn rust is working its way north earlier than ever this year. Late-planted corn will be most at risk for yield losses from this fast-moving pathogen, plant pathologists told DTN. “Rust diseases produce so many spores and have such a quick turnaround in the disease cycle that they always have the potential to blow up,” explained University of Kentucky plant pathologist Carl Bradley. “It will be really important for people to scout if their corn is prior to R3 [milk stage] and especially if it is silking.” The disease has pushed the geographic limits of its name in the past few years. It overwinters in the tropics and depends on storms to move it northward into the southern states. Last year it reached Georgia in early June, was in Kansas by the end of the month, and by August it was racing through corn fields as far north as Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and Nebraska. This year, the disease set a record early arrival date of June 1 in Georgia. It has now surfaced in Kentucky, and Kansas plant pathologist Doug Jardine recently spotted it the corn fields of southeast Kansas. Southern corn rust thrives in tropical conditions — high relative humidity and high temperatures. “Weather conditions this season have certainly helped the rust problem to form,” said DTN Senior Ag Meteorologist Bryce Anderson. “In contrast to the past two seasons, 2016 has been very warm, and this has been great for the rust development. Add to it the frequency of rain that we saw during June and early July, and the opportunity is there for rust to thrive and move.” With a heat wave descending upon the Midwest and Deep South this week, the disease is likely to spread quickly, Jardine and Bradley said. Corn fields that were delayed due to a wet spring are most at risk, they said. Growers whose corn is silking or in the milk stages should scout carefully and consider fungicide treatment if they find the disease in their fields. Left untreated, corn can suffer serious yield losses even with a midsummer arrival of the disease, Jardine said. Last year, corn test plots planted in late April in southeast Kansas lost 10% of their yield on average to the disease, he said. Southern fields can lose 25 bushels per acre when susceptible hybrids aren’t treated, according to a Purdue disease guide. The disease’s symptoms, orange pustules, may be confused with common rust, Jardine said. Common rust prefers cooler temperatures. Southern corn rust pustules are smaller and lighter colored than common rust. The yellow-orange spores move readily — a light-colored shirt can quickly turn orange in an infected field, Jardine added. Southern rust also tends to appear on the top side of the corn leaves only, unless the disease presence is especially heavy. There aren’t published thresholds for southern corn rust because the disease moves so quickly, Bradley said. If you find the disease in a field at or before the milk stages and conditions are right for further disease development, spraying would be wise, he said. Even cornfields entering hard dough could benefit from treatment if the southern rust is bad enough, Jardine said. Most hybrids are pretty susceptible to the disease, although that isn’t always noted in seed descriptions, Jardine and Bradley noted. Bradley recommended calling your seed supplier to check on your hybrids’ resistance ratings. For a Midwestern perspective on finding and managing the disease, see this Purdue guide. Source: AgFax
DuPont-Dow Merger Approved by Shareholders
Shareholders for agriculture and chemicals companies DuPont and Dow Chemical have approved their merger. After it's complete, the century-old companies plan to break up into three parts. The companies held meetings where shareholders voted on the deal. According to ABC News, DuPont said 98 percent of shareholders who participated in its meeting voted in favor of the combination, while Dow Chemical said 97 percent of participating shareholders did the same. Both Dow and DuPont were pushed by activist investors to break up or find other ways to revitalize their businesses. They agreed to merge in December in an all-stock deal valued at about $62 billion. They expect the combination to be official by the end of 2016, but regulators will still have to approve it. Within two years, the company plans to split into three separate publicly traded companies. One company will focus on agriculture, one on material science, and one will make and sell specialty products. Source: USAgNet
Poll Shows Consumers Unfamiliar with Ethanol, Most Don't Care
U.S. farming and oil lobbies have spent over a decade battling over a government program that requires that renewable fuels are blended with gasoline, but a recent survey showed motorists largely don't know or care what goes into their gas tanks. In a June 28-July 5 Reuters/Ipsos poll of about 1,500 U.S. drivers, more than a half said they were unfamiliar with ethanol. About the same portion of respondents said they paid little or no attention to whether the gasoline they bought contained ethanol. The results show that multi million dollar campaigns waged by corn farmers and the biofuel lobby to boost the use ethanol in fuels and by the oil industry defending the status quo, barely registered with consumers and gas retailers. "I have no idea" what's in the gas," said Kerri Price, 53, who lives near Albuquerque and drives a Jeep Grand Cherokee. "I just drive up, look for the cheapest price and pump." Nearly all U.S. gasoline contains about 10 percent ethanol, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Many consumers are unaware of that or of fuels with higher 15 and 85 percent ethanol content that the biofuel lobby promotes. Both the survey results and interviews with motorists show cost and convenience trump everything, with 93 percent of those surveyed saying price influenced their decisions and 80 percent said location of a gas station was a priority. The online poll of over 2,500 American adults included 1,526 people who said they commute to work in their personal vehicles. Higher ethanol blends tend to be slightly cheaper than the standard 10-percent gasoline, but shale oil boom and the collapse in oil and gas prices in the past two years have limited that price advantage. The E15 fuel with up to 15 percent of ethanol costs about 5 cents per gallon, about 2 percent, less than the standard gasoline, according to estimates from the Renewable Fuels Association. Surging shale production has also effectively made the United States energy self-sufficient, helping accomplish one of the goals of the 2005 legislation that introduced biofuel blending targets. Reducing greenhouse emissions was another reason the United States and more than 60 other countries have adopted renewable fuel targets, but the environment does not seem to play a primary role in consumers' decisions, the survey showed. DIFFERENT SHADE OF GREEN "People say they want to be green but the green they care about at the pump is in their wallet," said John Eichberger, Executive Director of the Fuels Institute. On the other hand, Big Oil and auto manufacturers also seem to have struggled getting through with their message that higher ethanol blends could impair vehicle durability and performance. According to the poll, about four out of 10 Americans who drive to work said they did not know if ethanol was good for a vehicle's general performance, while the rest appeared to be split about it. The same portion did not know if ethanol affected their mileage. The reason the debate does not seem to resonate among consumers is that particularly the ethanol industry has focused its efforts on lobbying lawmakers in Washington, said Laura Sheehan, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University's School of Continuing Studies. "It would take a full-out consumer education campaign. We're talking an exorbitantly expensive one," said Sheehan, who is also a public relations specialist in the energy sector. "You'd have to make the campaign very personal. Ethanol is just not personal to the average consumer ..." Big oil, biofuels companies, environmentalist and farm groups spent at least $15 million in 2015 alone on lobbying around biofuels and related issues, according to a Reuters analysis of congressional lobbyist records. That figure does not include spending on advertising. Biofuel industry representatives say there is inherent difficulty in reaching consumers if a product is not widely available. While the 10 percent blend is now standard, fuel with up to 15 or 85 percent ethanol content is only available at a few hundred out the nation's 150,000 gas stations. "The more the fuel is available, the more the industry will do to educate consumers and advance availability," said Robert White, the Renewable Fuels Association's Vice President of Industry Relations. For Sheetz, one of the largest U.S. fuel retailers to offer the 15 percent and 85 percent ethanol blends, the strategy is just to keep increasing the supply. The company is about to finish rolling out pumps for such fuels at its 60 stores in North Carolina. "Did people know they wanted an iPad before it was out there?" said Michael Lorenz, Sheetz's executive vice president of petroleum supply. "Sometimes consumers don't know what they want until you can show it to them." Source: AgriMarketing
Potato Leafhoppers Causing Problems in Michigan Alfalfa Fields
Weather always has a significant impact when projecting what may happen with a particular crop from year to year. Potato leafhopper infestations are being reported in alfalfa fields in many areas of Michigan. Potato leafhoppers annually arrive in Michigan with storms originating from the Gulf Coast states. In alfalfa, the hot, dry weather often leads to increased populations of potato leafhoppers. Growers may not always notice the increased populations until damage has already occurred. Adult potato leafhoppers are a small (0.125 inch long) green to greenish-yellow, wedge-shaped insect. These insects are able to reproduce at very rapid rates and can overwhelm a field. Potato leafhoppers feeds on the plants and the insect’s toxins (digestive enzymes) are injected into the plant during feeding, causing a condition known as hopper burn. Growers mistakenly assume these symptoms are caused either by a nutrient deficiency or by the lack of rainfall. The effects of potato leafhoppers are a reduction of yield, forage quality, plant vigor and winter hardiness. In other words, nothing good for an alfalfa stand. Many companies offer new alfalfa varieties with leafhopper resistance. However, the need to scout fields is still a necessity. Stands that are not cut every 30 days, such as a new seeding that needs additional time to be established, are at a high risk of damage. Potato leafhopper-resistant varieties will have glandular hairs that exude droplets of a sticky compound. The resistance may fail to hold back the insects in years where the population is very high and it may still be necessary to control the pests with an insecticide. For Michigan State University Extension recommendations on potato leafhopper control in alfalfa, read “Alfalfa Insect Pests.” For potato leafhopper control, producers have several options: Cultural control: Cutting alfalfa will kill the adults and nymphs in the forage, leading to a disruption in the potato leafhopper lifecycle. Genetic resistance: Use new potato leafhopper-resistant varieties that have up to 85 percent resistance genetically bred into the alfalfa. Chemical control: Once the alfalfa is over threshold, this is the most viable method of control if the field is not scheduled to be cut in the next seven days. Many options are available. Generally, the cost of an insecticide application, including application cost, will be about $12 per acre. Source: Michigan State University Extension
Monsanto Rejects Bayer's Revised Bid
Monsanto Co., the world's largest seed company, said Bayer AG's latest $55 billion takeover offer is "financially inadequate" and doesn't ensure a deal would be completed. Monsanto also said in a statement Tuesday that it's still open to further "constructive conversations" with the German company and other parties about a deal. Monsanto's shares fell 1.4 percent to $104.96 at 8:35 a.m. before the start of regular trading in New York. Bayer said Thursday it upped its bid to $125 a share from $122 previously. The revised proposal came a day after Bloomberg News reported that St. Louis-based Monsanto might entertain a deal with another German chemicals giant, BASF SE. Buying Monsanto would give Bayer a company that's both the world's largest seed supplier and a pioneer of crop biotechnology. The kind of genetically modified seeds that Monsanto started to commercialize two decades ago now account for the majority of corn and soybeans grown in the U.S. Monsanto also sells seeds in foreign markets including Latin America and India. The offer from Bayer marks a reversal of roles for the U.S. company. Monsanto has long sought to become a one-stop shop for farmers by boosting its crop chemicals portfolio to complement its seeds business. To that end, it had pursued the purchase of Syngenta AG on at least three separate occasions over the years. While that push failed, the American seeds giant is now in talks to buy BASF SE's agrochemicals unit, even as Bayer sought to acquire Monsanto. Industry Reshaped The crop and seed industry is being reshaped by a series of large transactions that may end up leaving just a few global players who can offer a comprehensive range of products and services to farmers. China National Chemical Corp. agreed in February to acquire Syngenta. Meanwhile, DuPont Co. and Dow Chemical Co. plan to merge and then carve out a new crop-science unit. Despite its preeminence in seeds, Monsanto has become vulnerable to a takeover as a number of problems piled up this year. The company has clashed with some of the world's largest commodity-trading companies and become locked in disputes with the governments of Argentina and India. Last month, Monsanto said year-end earnings would settle at the lower end of guidance. Farmers have seen their incomes fall in the last few years amid declining commodity prices, and that's spurred them to increasingly demand products tailored to their needs, according to Jason Miner, an analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence. Monsanto has become over-reliant on seeds at the expense of crop chemicals such as pesticides, something that spurred the company in its ultimately unsuccessful pursuit of Syngenta, Miner said. Crop Chemicals A deal with BASF means Monsanto could sell farmers a greater offering of crop chemicals along with seeds, helping it compete with industry leaders in the midst of deals that would create seed and chemical behemoths. Monsanto was founded in 1901, its first product was the artificial sweetener saccharin. Until the late 1970s, the company produced highly toxic polychlorinated biphenyls, known as PCBs. It was also among companies that manufactured the mixture of herbicides known as Agent Orange and used as a defoliant by the U.S. in the Vietnam War. Source: AgriMarketing
Heat Stress Noted Among Many Texas Dryland Crops
Heat is stressing crops, pastures and gardens throughout Texas. The majority of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service districts reported daytime temperatures exceeding the high 90s, with several reporting temperatures beyond 105 degrees. Increased daytime and nighttime heat is taking a toll on croplands and forages as moisture levels in non-irrigated fields continue to decline. Lee Tarpley, Texas A&M AgriLife Research plant physiologist, Beaumont, said higher than normal temperatures around the state could impact yields and quality for producers. Tarpley said there were reports from rice fields west of Houston regarding stress from high nighttime temperatures. High nighttime temperatures can affect rice flowering, which could hurt fertility and ultimately grain production. A healthy range of nighttime temperatures for rice is below 73 degrees, Tarpley said. Anything above 77 degrees can noticeably damage plants. Temperatures and heat stress can affect plants in several ways at different growth stages, he said. During vegetative growth, heat stress can cause oxidative stress, which hurts plant photosynthesis, Tarpley said. Damages can impact yields. Heat stress during flowering and seed setting, as with the rice fields near Houston, can impact fertilization and effectively reduce seed set and fruit or grain numbers, depending on the crop, he said. After the plant’s grain or fruit has started to develop, heat stress can hurt harvest quality. Tarpley said high temperatures also impact plant transpiration, the process of water moving through a plant with most eventually being lost from aerial parts, especially leaves stems and flowers, as the plant exchanges gas with the atmosphere during photosynthesis. Transpiration has a cooling effect on plants, so can help reduce heat stress effects. “At a point though, if the plant gets too stressed it will tend to shut down transpiration to leaves and flowers,” he said. “Dryland crops could be suffering without water. They try to take up more water, which indirectly takes even more energy.” Tarpley said various crops are facing stress at different points in their growth cycle based on regional planting schedules and whether producers were delayed due to spring rains. Delays that shift plant development deeper into summer usually have a detrimental effect on yields, said Dr. Ted Wilson, Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center director, Beaumont, because later maturing rice experiences higher temperatures, which increase plant stress. A multi-year analysis of yields from over 10,000 rice fields showed yields decreased by 315 pounds per acre each week harvest was delayed past the week maximum yield occurs. “If they’re delayed six weeks, you’re looking at almost 2,000 pounds per acre and that is significant,” he said. The heat has different effects on various vegetative plants, but high temperatures cause stress for most crops at some point, Wilson said. Heat stress has been shown to reduce fruit sets in tomatoes, and a study on cotton by the University of California at Berkeley showed stressed plants began aborting young squares in which the plant has invested the least amount of energy so it might save bolls with heavy energy investment. AgriLife Extension district summaries can be found here. Source: Texas AgriLife Extension
Changes in Where Corn Is Grown in the Last Ten Years
Over the last ten years, U.S. corn acres grew by 7.2 million acres. However, changes in acres across the United States were not even. High growth areas included North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and Minnesota. Growth occurred near and around the western corn-belt while acres in the eastern corn-belt remained relatively stable. Data and approach Harvested acres for corn on a county-basis were obtained from the National Agricultural Statistical Service (NASS), an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. These data were summarized into two yearly periods: 2004-05 - County harvested acres were average for 2004 and 2005, and 2014-15 - County harvested acres were averaged for 2014 and 2015. Two years were averaged to mitigate differences that may occur in only one year. Differences were taken between the two periods. These periods are ten years apart, causing the following discussion to reflect differences across ten years. Acreage changes Harvested corn acres in the United States averaged 74.7 million acres in 2004-05, increasing by 7.2 million acres to 81.9 million acres in 2014-15. Between the two ten year periods, harvested acres increased by 10%. As can be seen in Figure 1, acre changes were not the same. Acreages increased the most in North Dakota and South Dakota. Between 2004-05 and 2014-15, North Dakota had a 1.4 million acre increase and South Dakota had a 1.1 million acre increase. The next four states in terms of increases were Nebraska (1.0 million acre increase), Iowa (.7 million acre increase), Kansas (.7 million acre increase), and Minnesota (.6 million acre increase). Some states decreased acres. Illinois had the largest decrease of 150,000 acres between 2004-05 to 2014-15. While having the largest acre decrease, Illinois' decrease only represented a 1% decrease in percentage terms. Other states that lost acres were California, Virginia, Indiana, South Carolina, Colorado, New Mexico, and Maryland. Summary Overall, areas in and around the western corn-belt grew in corn acres while areas in the eastern corn-belt remained relatively the same. Most noticeable was growth in the Dakotas. North Dakota increase by 1.4 million acres from 2004-05 to 2014-15, a more than doubling of corn acres. In 2014-15, corn acres harvested were 2.5 million acres, ranking 13 in all states in terms of acres harvested. South Dakota acres increased by 1.1 million acres from 2004-05 toy 2014-15, an increase of 28% of corn acres. In 2014-15, corn harvested in South Dakota was 5.2 million acres, ranking 8th of all states in terms of acres harvested. Source: Gary Schnitkey, Farmdocdaily
National
Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Substance Misuse Prevention Resources for Low Income Pregnant Women and Mothers In Order to Battle the Opioid Epidemic
Columbia, Missouri, July 22, 2016 ? Today, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack urged all State Health Officers to use the resources and opportunities provided through their Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) agencies in their substance misuse prevention efforts.
Dicamba crop injury investigated in SE Missouri
The Missouri Department of Agriculture is investigating more than 100 complaints of herbicide damage from mostly dicamba, and in a few cases 2-4-D, in four southeast Missouri counties. The department?s Judy Grundler testified Thursday before the Missouri House Appropriations Committee on Agriculture, saying there are reports of damage to soybeans and other crops? ?We also see damage in peaches. We are hearing damage in peanuts, purple hull peas, watermelons, tomatoes ? and, also, some alfalfa has been reported.? The University of Missouri Extension will hold a forum on dicamba injury at the Delta Fisher Research Center in Portageville next Friday, July 29th. Last week, the Extension released a survey showing only 43-percent of Missouri pesticide applicators read the label each time they mix and spray. At the hearing, Southeast Missouri State Representative Don Rone of Portageville said will introduce legislation in January to increase penalties on those who illegally spray pesticides. ? ? ? ? The post Dicamba crop injury investigated in SE Missouri appeared first on Brownfield Ag News.      
Continued concern with herbicide resistance weeds
Waterhemp in an Iowa soybean field (photo courtesy Iowa State University) Herbicide-resistant weeds continue to be a growing concern across the Midwest. Iowa State University Extension crops specialist Joel DeJong says part of the problem is a lack of new weed-killing chemistries. He says the last new family of herbicides was introduced in the 1980?s. ?It?s kind of scary because we?ve had lots of new products on the market, but they?re all from the same families that already existed,? DeJong says. ?Because of that, we kind of keep going back to the well and keep using the same ones?and if one works, we use it really hard.? DeJong says glyphosate is a good example. ?Glyphosate?Roundup?worked extremely well. And it still works extremely well on most weeds,? he says. ?However, there is one or two families of weeds in the state of Iowa that really have found a way to move around how glyphosate works?and so they?re becoming more resistant to it. Waterhemp is probably our biggest problem and that?s the one that most farmers have concerns about.? DeJong says even if crop protection companies were to develop a new line of herbicides, it could be several years before they hit the marketplace. ?If one got discovered today, to pass through all the hoops and everything else to make sure it?s safe to the environment and to people and to animals, it would take at least a decade before that would become available to the market. So right now we?ve got to figure out how we?re using the tools we?ve got?how do we use them better and how do we reduce the risk of maybe developing more resistance in our weeds.? DeJong was one of the presenters at Thursday?s ISU ?Weeds Week? seminar in Cherokee, Iowa. The last Weeds Week meeting takes place Friday in Boone. Dennis Morrice, KLEM-Le Mars, Iowa, contributed to this story. The post Continued concern with herbicide resistance weeds appeared first on Brownfield Ag News.      
USDA Announces Additional Efforts to Make School Environments Healthier
WASHINGTON, July 21, 2016 ? Today, the Obama Administration is announcing four final rules that implement important provisions of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) building on the progress schools across the country have already made in the improved nutritional quality of meals served in schools.
Statement from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on the Signing of the Global Food Security Act
WASHINGTON, July 20, 2016 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today released the following statement on S.1252, the Global Food Security Act of 2016, signed by President Obama today:
USDA Invests More than $9 Million to Support Small Businesses in 12 States
WASHINGTON, July 15, 2016 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the investment of more than $9 million in loans and grants to support job growth and economic development in 12 states. The funding is being provided through USDA's Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDLG) program, through which USDA provides zero-interest loans and grants to utilities that lend funds to local businesses for projects to create and retain employment.
White House Rural Council Announces Assistance to Grow Small Business Exports
WASHINGTON, July 14, 2016 - The White House Rural Council (WHRC), today announced a workshop series to provide targeted assistance for rural small businesses working to grow demand through international sales. The announcement was made by WHRC Chair Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and Deputy Postmaster General Ronald A. Stroman.
USDA Funds 81 Distance Learning and Telemedicine Projects in 32 States
WASHINGTON, July 14, 2016 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will fund 81 Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) projects in 32 states.
Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Accepts ?Federal Agency of the Year Award? at League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) National Convention
WASHINGTON, July 13, 2016 ? Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today accepted the Federal Agency of the Year award from the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and delivered remarks at the organization?s 87th Annual National Convention. This award recognizes USDA?s commitment to civil rights and equal opportunity under the Obama Administration.
USDA Awards More than $26 Million for Affordable Farmworker Housing
WASHINGTON, July 13, 2016 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today $26 million to help provide safe and sanitary housing for farmworkers in nine affordable rental communities in four states. The funding will support 439 rental units in California, Florida, Kansas and Texas. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will make the announcement later today during an address to the League of United Latin American Citizens' (LULAC) 87th annual national convention.
Assessing soil health in season
Farmers have limited options for dealing with nutrient deficiencies this time of year, but assessing corn fields remains quite valuable. South Dakota State University extension agronomist Chris Graham says farmers need to monitor soil health throughout the growing season. ? http://cdn.brownfieldagnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/MFP-Assessing-soil-health-in-season-7-13-16.mp3? ? ? ? ? ? ? The post Assessing soil health in season appeared first on Brownfield Ag News.      
Examining the value of cover crops
A new study on cover crops sheds more light on the costs and benefits farmers should expect. Gary Schnitkey is part of a team from the University of Illinois that analyzed the value of drilling cereal rye into standing corn stalks with the next crop being soybeans. ?We came up with establishment costs of $20.60 per acre.? And that would cover the seed cost, as well as the cost of drilling (the seed) in.? The study found that a minimum-tillage system would reduce the establishment cost by about five dollars, with no-till farmers paying an additional five dollars per acre. While the costs associated to cover crops are fairly straightforward, Schnitkey says the benefits are harder to quantify. ?Over the long-run, individuals hope soil health will be built over time.? Organic matter and carbon in the soils will be built, and through that building process yields will be higher and more resilient as time passes.? He tells Brownfield longer-term research is needed to more accurately determine the cost-effectiveness of cover crops. ? http://cdn.brownfieldagnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Gary-Schnitkey-7-12-16.mp3? ? ? The post Examining the value of cover crops appeared first on Brownfield Ag News.      
Examining the value of cover crops
A new study on cover crops sheds more light on the costs and benefits farmers should expect. Gary Schnitkey is part of a team from the University of Illinois that analyzed the value of drilling cereal rye into standing corn stalks with the next crop being soybeans. ?We came up with establishment costs of $20.60 per acre.? And that would cover the seed cost, as well as the cost of drilling (the seed) in.? The study found that a minimum-tillage system would reduce the establishment cost by about five dollars, with no-till farmers paying an additional five dollars per acre. While the costs associated to cover crops are fairly straightforward, Schnitkey says the benefits are harder to quantify. ?Over the long-run, individuals hope soil health will be built over time.? Organic matter and carbon in the soils will be built, and through that building process yields will be higher and more resilient as time passes.? He tells Brownfield longer-term research is needed to more accurately determine the cost-effectiveness of cover crops. ? http://cdn.brownfieldagnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Gary-Schnitkey-7-12-16.mp3 The post Examining the value of cover crops appeared first on Brownfield Ag News.      
Cargill sells Texas cattle feedlots
Cargill continues to reshape its protein business by selling off two beef cattle feedlots in Texas. John Keating, president of Cargill?s Wichita-based beef business, says the sale to Friona Industries of Amarillo allows the company to redeploy capital away from cattle ownership to projects that provide greater value to its customers. In the past year, Cargill has announced approximately $500 million in acquisitions and capital investments to grow its North American protein business. Those investments include the conversion of a Nebraska ground beef plant into a specialized cooked meat plant, and an expansion of egg processing capabilities at a Michigan plant. While selling the cattle feed yards in Bovina and Dalhart, Texas, Cargill will retain its facilities in Yuma, Colorado and Leoti, Kansas. ? ? The post Cargill sells Texas cattle feedlots appeared first on Brownfield Ag News.      
Three Military Bases, Ranges Added to Sentinel Landscape Partnership
WASHINGTON, July 12, 2016?The U.S. Departments of Defense (DoD), Agriculture and the Interior today announced the addition of three military bases to the Sentinel Landscape Partnership, a conservation effort begun in 2013 to improve military readiness, protect at-risk and endangered species, enhance critical wildlife habitat and restore working agricultural and natural lands in the Southeast and Midwest.
World
Gulke: Weather Markets Turn 'Treacherous'
With prices dropping, Jerry Gulke says farmers may have to rely on big yields, rather than high prices, to help their bottom line this fall.
Health Department: 12 People Got Sick Eating Ground Beef
New Hampshire's Health Department says it's investigating an outbreak of E. coli bacteria associated with ground beef after 12 people got sick eating the meat since June.
Tospovirus Jumps from Seed to Plant
Learn what the first viral transmission means for soybeans
Seed Treatments Face Legal Fight
A number of common seed treatments might become relics of the past. 
Rather Have Hot or Cold Day on Tractor? Vote Now
Machinery Pete asks which you would prefer, a 100 degree on the tractor, or below zero? Vote your answer now, Hot or Cold?
Farm Couple Agree to Pay Fine to Settle Hog Manure Lawsuit
Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller says his office has reached an agreement with a northwest Iowa couple that requires them to pay a $15,000 fine for allowing hog manure to end up in a creek killing thousands of fish.
Vilsack: USDA to VP?
With USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack on Hillary Clinton's vice presidential shortlist, AgDay looks back to his early days on the job and his priorities at USDA. 
Cattle on Feed up 1%
USDA’s monthly Cattle on Feed report was pegged at 10.4 million head on July 1, 1% above last year’s total.
5 Ways to Preserve Working Capital
Capital is the lifeblood of business. Keep your operation alive by holding onto your money. Here are five tips to help.
How to Pay Your Children
Syngenta Revenue, Profit Drop in First Half of 2016
Despite falling earnings across most of its markets, including crop protection, during the first half of 2016 Syngenta remains optimistic about the takeover bid by ChemChina and the positive impact it can have on the company. ?The transaction with ChemChina will ensure continuing choice for growers at a time of industry consolidation,” said Erik Fyrwald, Chief Executive Officer. “We are having constructive discussions with all regulatory authorities which reinforce our confidence in closing the transaction by the end of the year. ChemChina?s long term commitment to the business will underpin our ongoing investment in innovation, so that growers will continue to benefit from our broad technology platforms for decades to come.? Syngenta posted sales of $7.094 billion for the first half of 2016, a 7% drop compared with the same period last year. The crop protection segment were similar. The company had sales of $5.244 billion for the first half of 2016, an 8% drop compared with the 2015 results. Syngenta saw sales drops in nearly all divisions of crop protection including: herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, and seedcare. ?After a resilient first quarter, market conditions were more difficult in the second quarter, notably for the high margin Europe, Africa and the Middle East business,” Frywald said. “Looking at the prospects for the second half, we expect a return to growth in Asia Pacific with the recent easing of drought conditions in several countries. In Latin America, growers in Brazil continue to face economic uncertainty and credit constraints, although their underlying profitability remains robust. Group sales for the year are expected to be slightly below last year at constant exchange rates; reported sales are likely to show a mid-single digit decline due to the continuing strength of the dollar. ?The transaction with ChemChina will ensure continuing choice for growers at a time of industry consolidation. We are having constructive discussions with all regulatory authorities which reinforce our confidence in closing the transaction by the end of the year. ChemChina?s long term commitment to the business will underpin our ongoing investment in innovation, so that growers will continue to benefit from our broad technology platforms for decades to come.? More on Syngenta’s earnings.  
Getting Started with Cow-calf Production - Part 2: Business Plan
The six key sections to include in your business plan.
MarketWatch: Farm Diesel Prices 36 Cents Below Year-Ago
Our MarketWatch table features monthly and quarterly price outlooks, along with weekly prices for a wide range of ag markets.
Which of These Market Movers Will Prevail?
According to Dan O’Bryan, risk management specialist with Top Third Ag Marketing, there’s never just one factor that moves grain markets.