Month High Low Last Chg
Mar '18 368'4 366'4 367'4 -0'2
May '18 376'0 374'2 375'0 -0'4
Jul '18 383'6 381'6 382'6 -0'2
Sep '18 390'0 388'4 389'4 -0'2
Dec '18 397'6 396'0 397'0 -0'4
Mar '19 405'2 403'6 404'6 -0'4
Month High Low Last Chg
Mar '18 1028'2 1012'0 1021'4 -2'6
May '18 1039'0 1023'0 1032'4 -2'4
Jul '18 1048'4 1033'0 1042'2 -2'4
Aug '18 1049'2 1034'2 1043'2 -2'4
Sep '18 1035'2 1023'6 1030'6 -2'2
Nov '18 1023'6 1015'2 1022'0 -1'6
Jan '19 1028'0 1020'0 1026'2 -1'2
Month High Low Last Chg
Mar '18 482'2 473'0 478'4 0'4
May '18 497'2 488'0 493'4 0'4
Jul '18 514'4 505'2 510'4 0'0
Sep '18 531'4 523'0 527'6 -0'2
Month High Low Last Chg
Feb '18 130.325 128.725 130.100 0.825
Apr '18 127.875 126.875 127.650 0.400
Month High Low Last Chg
Mar '18 75.87 75.13 75.72 0.31
May '18 77.25 76.47 77.16 0.39
Jul '18 78.22 77.50 78.12 0.36
DTN Click here for info on Exchange delays.
Cheesemakers push for rapid fix to 199A tax law issue
A spokesperson for the Wisconsin Cheesemakers Association says the recent tax law changes affecting Section 199A deductions for cooperatives needs rapid repair.? Rebekah Sweeney tells Brownfield, “This change has created instability.? Folks are trying to figure out what their business plan is moving forward.” Sweeney says the new tax code allows farmers to deduct 20 percent of their gross sales to cooperatives, but only deduct 20 percent of their net income when selling to private companies, creating inequities across ag including the cheese industry.? Continue reading Cheesemakers push for rapid fix to 199A tax law issue at Brownfield Ag News.      
On Day 2 of our Annual Meeting event we will have a special keynote ...
On Day 2 of our Annual Meeting event we will have a special keynote speaker. Robert O'Neill, former SEAL Team Six leader, will be joining us. O'Neill is a highly decorated combat veteran and the author of the memoir "The Operator: Firing the Shots That Killed Osama Bin Laden and My Years as a SEAL Team Warrior." You won't want to miss out! Get registered for both days, February 26th & 27th, at the link below.>
Day 1 of our Annual Meeting will feature a Focus on Farm Safety with ...
Day 1 of our Annual Meeting will feature a Focus on Farm Safety with guest speaker Arick Baker. Baker, an Iowa farmer, survived being buried alive underneath 23,000 bushels of corn. He will be sharing with us his unique view on continuous ag safety. Be sure to get registered today for the event on February 26 & 27!>
AGRONOMY SERVICE -- MINDEN Aurora Cooperative is accepting ...
AGRONOMY SERVICE -- MINDEN Aurora Cooperative is accepting applications for a full-time agronomy service position with benefits at the Minden location. CDL preferred. Apply online at the link below, or contact Cory Mescher at 402-694-1102, or send application to 1185 33 Road, PO Box 7, Minden, NE 68959. Aurora Cooperative is an Equal Opportunity Employer.>
Our 2-Day Annual Meeting event is only 3 weeks away! Day 1 will ...
Our 2-Day Annual Meeting event is only 3 weeks away! Day 1 will feature a Focus on Farm Safety in the morning with our Owner Profitability Workshops that afternoon. Day 2 will be our Annual Business Meeting. Our keynote speaker after the business meeting is Robert O'Neill, former SEAL Team Six Leader. Click on the link below for more information and to get registered today!>
We had a great turnout this morning in Henderson for a meeting on in ...
We had a great turnout this morning in Henderson for a meeting on in furrow! #plan18>
Join us for breakfast as we evaluate current market trends and ...
Join us for breakfast as we evaluate current market trends and methods of maximizing profitability on your farm.>
Join us as we evaluate current market trends and methods for ...
Join us as we evaluate current market trends and methods for maximizing profitability on your farm. Breakfast starts at 7 a.m. with the meeting to follow.>
Join us as we evaluate current market trends and methods for ...
Join us as we evaluate current market trends and methods for maximizing profitability on your farm. A beer and wine tasting with hors d'oeuvres will be held prior to the meeting, which will begin at 7 p.m.>
Just us for lunch as we evaluate current market trends and methods ...
Just us for lunch as we evaluate current market trends and methods for maximizing profitability on your farm.>
Join us for lunch as we evaluate current market trends and methods ...
Join us for lunch as we evaluate current market trends and methods for maximizing profitability on your farm.>
We appreciate our Congressional leaders coming to visit about issues ...
We appreciate our Congressional leaders coming to visit about issues important to the Aurora Cooperative and its farmer owners.>
5 Tips for a Strong Growing Season
Growing a high-quality corn silage crop starts at day one. Now is the best time for producers to build a plan for the upcoming growing season. “With feed costs close to 60 percent of a dairy operation’s budget, the choices a producer makes now will not only impact the upcoming growing season but also profitability down the road,” says Jon Erickson, Mycogen Seeds commercial agronomist. Producers who take the time to build a high-quality plan now can stay on track and protect their investment. Erickson offers the following tips for producers to get a strong start for 2018 and beyond. 1, Assess how the 2017 crop performed As producers begin feeding the 2017 corn silage crop, they should track how it is performing in the bulk tank. Producers can use results from silage testing and milk records to determine if last year’s seed selection was the right fit for the operation and review how in-season management may have played a role in its quality. Starting here in the planning process can help producers adjust the rest of their plan and find opportunities for improvement in the field in 2018. 2. Explore innovations This time of year, there are plenty of conferences, trade shows and meetings happening across the country during which experts share new research within the agriculture and dairy industry. These opportunities give producers a chance to take time away from the farm to gain information about the latest management options for the farm. 3. Build a planting plan Choosing the right corn silage hybrids is only one part of producing high-quality silage. Now is the time for producers to consult their agronomist and field team to determine where to place those hybrids and at what populations. For highly digestible corn silage hybrids, a plant population between 32,000 and 34,000 seeds per acre is generally a good fit. This allows each plant to establish a strong stand and receive enough nutrients. Plant singulation and even emergence are also important factors in maximizing yield — producers should ensure their planters are calibrated and maintained for success at planting. 4. Plan for extra silage supply It also is important for producers to consult their nutritionist to determine the acreage and yield needed to produce enough corn silage for the year, as well as their risk management strategy. Planning can protect the herd’s nutrition plan if unfavorable weather causes low yield or a low-quality corn silage. The extra supply also can help producers transition into new corn silage after fermentation — this helps reduce fluctuations in production and performance when switching to new forages. 5. Determine a crop management plan It is never too early to start mapping out crop management needs by analyzing soil samples and field fertility, by reflecting on what happened last year and by determining how to combat common in-season weeds, pests and diseases. Local seed advisers and agronomists can offer advice based on regional disease and insect pressures, can help producers determine in-season herbicide, nutrient and fungicide applications and can plan ahead by selecting the appropriate traits or seed treatments. Getting the corn silage crop off to a strong start can pay dividends for years to come. Source: Farm and Dairy
Drought Relief Expected to Help Grain and Cattle Outlook
Drought conditions have been widespread across the United States due to the La Niña weather pattern seen in the area for the past few years, but relief could be seen soon. CattleFax meteorologist Art Douglas said we should expect to get through the next three months and then see relief from the drought. “The two forecast systems we use are predicting the possible transition from La Niña conditions to a weaker El Niño by the summer,” Douglas said. “U.S. weather patterns over the next three months will be dictated by La Niña. However, warming at the equator could shift drought patterns across North America by late spring and summer.” The temperature forecast through May shows gradual warming across the southern U.S. after a colder February in north central states. While Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have given some moisture relief in the southern U.S., there are still other areas suffering from extreme drought conditions. Spring planting in the Corn Belt could have drier soils in the west and wetter soils from Iowa to Ohio. The lack of moisture in the southern Plains will be tough on winter wheat and pasture growth, according to Douglas. “If weaker El Niño conditions develop this summer, conditions at that time could be milder through the Midwest, but drier soils in the Plains and Southwest could create feedback mechanisms that increase heat in these areas. The Northwest and northern Rockies may have the only reliable grazing into late spring and summer,” Douglas said. The La Niña conditions will continue to cause drought conditions in Argentina and northern Brazil for the remainder of the summer growing season. Australian cattle growing areas have developed drought conditions also. These drought conditions in other areas of the world will lead to the need for more grain and beef production in the U.S. Grain outlook CattleFax market analyst Mike Murphy said farmers in the states where the most corn, soybeans and wheat are grown will likely not change their acreage planted by much for 2018. “Corn prices should move higher in the summer, but we still have to remember there are technical and weather risks that can affect everything,” said Murphy. “Yield potential will be based on the timeliness of moisture. We expect to see average yields of 172 bushels per acre this year.” Corn yields are expected to drive prices for the 2018-19 marketing year. Spot corn futures prices are expected to be between $3.25 and $3.95 per bushel. With an increase in cattle, hog and poultry supplies, Murphy said more grain will be used for feed. Ethanol will continue to use grain and grain by-products for production. Higher ethanol blends could help provide for an extra market for corn. Exports should continue to grow, especially with drought in South America. U.S. soybeans especially rely on exports. With China considering a 10 percent ethanol-blend mandate for gasoline by 2020, U.S. corn growers could benefit from more exports to China. “Global production will continue to pressure wheat prices, as the U.S. share of global wheat production is at a record low 9.6 percent,” Murphy said. Hay stocks are the tightest since 1976, which could cause a price increase of $10 to $15 per ton in 2018, with additional weather-related price risks. Cattle outlook Senior CattleFax analyst Kevin Good said all segments of the beef industry have seen profitability in the past year. Since 2006 a decrease of 1.27 million head of cows has been seen due to drought. The expansion and rebuilding of the cowherd is expected to slow in 2018. The U.S. beef cow inventory has grown 2.8 million head in four years. Exports of beef have helped keep prices at profitable levels. In 2018, beef exports are expected to increase by 6 percent. In 2017, 16.6 billion pounds of U.S. meat was exported. These exports increased the per head value by $335 in 2017. Record large beef production is expected in 2018 at 27.5 billion pounds. Annual production increases will be smaller into the 2020s. Domestic consumption of beef is expected to slightly increase in 2018, which has been supported by the improved economy. Global protein demand will play a larger role in U.S. beef cattle markets, as record-high meat production is expected into 2020. “We expect fed cattle to average $115 per hundredweight for 2018, 750-pound feeder steers should average $145 per hundredweight and 550-pound feeder steers should average $158 per hundredweight,” said Good. “Bred cow prices will be down a little in 2018, with an average of about $1,500 and utility cows should average $60 per hundredweight.” Source: High Plains Journal
Characteristic of Financially Resilient Farms
During the last 10 years, the economic environment that U.S. farms faced has been extremely variable. During 2009-12, incomes and net returns increased, and in 2013-14, they peaked. Production costs rose with the increasing income and began to decline in 2013, however, not as rapidly as revenue declined. Farm profitability declined due to the narrowing margins for grain production. The question for farmers is "What management strategies will consistently produce profits?" Factors for success First, let's look at what works for some real farms. Nicholas Paulson and Dale Lattz, ag economists at the University of Illinois, have used Illinois farm data to separate Illinois farms into profitability thirds, as well as time periods 2010-12 (higher prices) and 2014-16 (lower prices). They found a few management strategies that consistently produced higher returns. The third with the highest-profit farms produced more gross revenue per acre than either of the other two groups through a combination of slightly higher yields and price per bushel for corn and soybeans. Both yields and prices were 5% to 7% higher. None of the farms strove for the highest possible yield, but rather the most profitable yield. In 2010-12, the top third farm group had $112 more return to land and operator than the middle third group of farms. During that period, high-profit farms had nearly the same per-acre direct costs of production as the middle-third farms, but in 2014-16 their costs were $6 less. High-profit farms had lower per-acre machinery, depreciation and repair costs — $17 lower in 2010-12 and $10 lower in 2014-16. The top-third high-profit farms had lower per acre overhead costs, too — $8 less in 2010-12 and $18 less in 2012-16. The relative importance of revenue vs. costs for higher profits also varied during the two time periods. For farms in the higher-profit third, higher revenues contributed more during 2010-2012 and lower costs contributed more to higher returns in 2014-16, compared to the other farms. The take-home message from this data is twofold. Capturing higher revenue during times of rising commodity prices is more important than managing costs. However, farm operators must not lock in costs during these good times that can't be reduced when prices decline. During times of declining commodity prices, controlling costs is more important. Steps to resiliency During this period of tight profits and cash flow, here are some suggestions for management: • Control costs. Evaluate inputs to ensure there is a positive return to their use. For instance, soybean seeding rates might be reduced with little change in yield but at a much lower cost. Review nitrogen rates to ensure you are using the correct rates and not adding economically unbeneficial N. Look for good feed sources that are less costly but provide the same nutrients. Can you work with neighbors to jointly buy inputs such as seed to get bigger discounts? • Renegotiate cash rent rates. This can be hard to do since Nebraska property taxes have risen recently, but one way to manage this negotiation is to include flexible lease provisions in case of high yields or prices. • Reduce capital spending. Most farmers have already done this, but if the purchase reduces costs and cash flow, it may be a good move. Otherwise, repair machinery. • Reduce family living. Family living rose during the good times in ag, but now family budgets should be reviewed. The nice-to-have items will likely be dropped in favor of the must-haves, such as health insurance. Review cellphone plans, satellite TV, the Sirius/XM subscriptions and any automatic payments. Do not use credit cards for family living. Credit card use could lead to even more debt that can't be serviced. • Increase revenues. If you have unused or minimal-use assets, such as the extra semi, consider renting them to someone else. Make sure you capture all variable costs first and some or all fixed costs of the asset. Have a crop marketing plan that considers today's marketing environment and your cash flow needs. Execute the plan. • Increase non-farm income. Many spouses already work off-farm to get benefits and health insurance, but everyone in the farm operation may have to do so. Consider what your skills are and whether the non-farm income will reduce farm income. You may find that planting is delayed, which could be more costly than the additional non-farm income. Can a side business be added? Maybe you have a hobby that can produce income. These suggestions could take some very serious conversations and open communication within farm families, but the viability of the farm is at stake. Source: PrairieFarmer
Weed Management: Does Dew Affect Herbicide Performance?
The southern states are fortunate to have a cadre of highly qualified and knowledgeable weed science research and extension specialists who work very hard to ensure that southern crop producers have all the facts pertaining to applying herbicides for weed management. Dr. Eric Prostko, Professor and Extension Weed Specialist at the Univ. of Georgia, is one such individual. An article titled “Does dew affect herbicide performance? The facts on the matter” by Dr. Prostko appeared in the Jan. 17, 2018 online Southeast FarmPress. In this article, Dr. Prostko presents his views and supporting documentation on this subject. He first states that, in his 30 years of herbicide application experience, he has never had a weed control failure because of the presence of early-morning dew. He further states that his herbicide spraying activities have been dictated by wind, which means that those activities usually occur in the morning between sunrise and 9AM when there is less likelihood of a wind concern. He next defines what dew is according to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service (NWS). That definition can be found here. NWS’s definition of dewpoint can be found here. And finally, he cites research results from a Univ. of Minnesota study (“Time of Day of Application Effect on Glyphosate and Glufosinate Efficacy” by Martinson et al., 2005, online, Crop Management, doi:10.1094/CM-2005-0718-02-RS). The below table is taken from that publication. Of the seven factors measured in this study in conjunction with herbicide application, dew was found to have the least effect on glyphosate and glufosinate efficacy.   Results from other studies where other herbicides were evaluated showed that herbicide efficacy when applied before or at sunrise was reduced even in the absence of dew. So it is quite likely that efficacy of herbicides that are applied at the most likely time of dew presence are more affected by the time of day of their application vs. the presence of dew. Click here for the latest results from experiments conducted to determine how herbicide efficacy is affected by time-of-day of their application. Dr. Prostko offers the following points to consider if concerned about the presence of dew at time of herbicide application. “In some scenarios, excessive leaf moisture can lead to herbicide runoff. I could not argue with an applicator who decided to delay if at the time of application dew or water was running off a leaf like Niagara Falls.” “Growers have many things to worry about every year. In the grand scheme, dew should probably not be one of those.” “I would prefer that growers obsess more about things such as calibration, rate, timing, GPA, tractor speed, nozzles, and modes of action.” “If excessive dew makes you feel uncomfortable, delay the application. But your worry then will be more about the wind and potential off-target movement. As everyone knows, off-target movement is not a very popular subject these days.” Source: AgFax
Raising Rice
Blake Gerard, McClure, Ill., isn’t your typical farmer raising corn, beans or cattle. Along the Alexander County Mississippi River bottoms of southern Illinois, he’s growing rice.  Yup, rice. After four years of devastating floods, Gerard gave in to Mother Nature and embraced the rising waters. “Back in 2000, we didn’t have crop insurance like we do now,” he says. “Once I started raising rice, that water became an asset.” He researched the idea and found high-protein rice — 6 grams per serving — at Louisiana State University. “I was excited to find a rice with as much protein as a serving of broccoli,” he says. “I figured this rice would be a hit in the athlete world.” Cahokia Rice, named after the American Indians who previously worked the land, is processed in a mill before it’s sold. “I always thought locally grown would work,” Gerard says, who became active in the USA Rice Council and served as chairman for the farmers. Today, he devotes 10% of his acreage to rice. He plants it in the spring, around April 1 but as late as June 1, then floods the land and fertilizes it 30 days after emergence. He holds 3 to 4 inches of water on the rice until the grain matures around mid-August. The water is drained and the grain is harvested with a grain-head combine and tracks from September through November. Last September, Gerard purchased a rice mill that enables him to sell Cahokia Rice locally. It’s available through four outlets: Harvest Market, Champaign; a cooperative in Carbondale; Firefly, a farm-to-table restaurant in Effingham; and Epiphany, a restaurant in Bloomington. It’s also available at cahokiarice.com. What’s Gerard’s favorite way to eat rice? As a triathlete, Gerard mixes his preworkout rice for breakfast with a little cream, honey and strawberries. He also enjoys rice in a curry or jambalaya. Source: PrairieFarmer
Crop Adviser Tips on Being Profitable
It’s no secret that crop farmers need to be as efficient as possible in today’s market. Whether they’re selling cash crops or making their own feed, they need the highest yield for their dollar. And they have a lot of other issues to be concerned about — like nutrient placement, the weather and the environment. Reporter Chris Kick talked with a Certified Crop Adviser from Ohio and Pennsylvania, to hear about the biggest challenges facing crop farmers, and what a crop adviser can do to help. Jonah Johnson Chairman of the Ohio Certified Crop Adviser Board and field agronomist with DuPont Pioneer (Xenia, Ohio): Profitability According to Johnson, the top concern on most crop farmers’ minds is making a profit. The low commodity prices ($3 corn, $9 beans) have made this more difficult. The profit margin has been tight for several years in a row, and it keeps getting more intense. Crop farmers have to “pencil everything out” and watch their investments, if they want to be profitable, he said. The technology is constantly changing, which includes the seed varieties and the farm equipment. Making the right choices “Seed is probably one of the biggest decisions to make and it is so complex,” Johnson said. The days of when a corn hybrid was around for 10 years and everyone planted that hybrid are gone, he said. “There’s always something better and greater coming.”  Farmers can work directly with seed and fertility companies, but sometimes it makes more sense to work with a crop adviser. “It really all boils down to the credibility and the knowledge,” Johnson said. “They’re (advisers) usually unbiased” and have to sign a code of ethics stating they’ll be ethical with the farmer. Perhaps the biggest reason to work with a crop adviser, he said, is because they are required to have continuous education. Crop advisers need 40 credit hours every two years, which helps keep them up to date on the latest trends and issues. Soil fertility The soil is always the farmers greatest resource and the healthier the soil, the greater the potential for a good crop. But as farmers know, soils differ significantly from one field to another, and from one county to another. Johnson serves about 40 counties and keeps an eye on the different conditions that affect different counties, including environmental issues. He said environmental stewardship is at the top of farmers’ minds, and that good seed and nutrient placement is good for yield and the environment. Dean Collamer, Hanover, Pa. Dean Collamer Field agronomist with GROWMARK FS (Hanover, Pennsylvania): Making money Much like Johnson, Collamer said the biggest issue facing farmers is profitability. “The typical refrain at this point in time is keep your input costs under control,” he said. “It looks like we have continued low crop prices in the forecast.” His company serves Pennsylvania and surrounding states, and he works in an area that includes a lot of dairy farmers. One of the biggest things farmers want to do — and that crop advisers can help them do — is prioritize their crop needs and maximize their yield potential. Nutrient management Collamer has also been helping farmers and agribusinesses follow the 4Rs of Nutrient Stewardship — a program that educates farmers on how to apply nutrients at the “right rate, right source, time and place.” Using nutrients wisely is obviously important for crop uptake and production, but it’s also essential for a healthy environment and clean water. The western portion of Pennsylvania typically flows to the Ohio River, while eastern Pennsylvania flows to the Chesapeake Bay. Both of these watersheds have nutrient issues that are making national and international news, and farmers can do their part by controlling what happens on their individual farms. The right decision Even though times are tight, Collamer said it still makes sense for a farmer to weigh all of his or her options and make the most of their decisions. Sometimes, that process is best done with the help of a crop adviser, because it’s the adviser’s job to be educated and up to date with the best solutions. “It appears that even at this time, when we’ve got low commodity prices, the growers who are going to be in business 10-20 years from now are continuing to go forward and advance and expand their use of precision farming and precision ag,” Collamer said. Source: Farm and Dairy
Study Shows U.S. Lags Behind in Developing Ag Exports
The latest analysis of foreign export promotion program investment shows that several competing countries and the European Union outspent the United States in publicly-funded agricultural export promotion by a margin of four to one in 2016, according to a release from the Coalition to Promote U.S. Agricultural Exports and the Agribusiness Coalition for Foreign Market Development. The other countries spent close to $1 billion, an increase of 70 percent in real competitive public spending since 2011, while U.S. public funding for the two largest agricultural export promotion programs is about $235 million per year and its real value has declined by 12 percent since 20111. “An Analysis of EU and Other Selected Foreign Export Promotion Programs,” was commissioned by Wine Institute and other agricultural associations and conducted by Informa Economics, IEG, with Market Access Program funding. With a focus on EU export development investment, Informa Economics also reviewed agricultural export promotion investment by major competitors from Australia, Chile, China, New Zealand and others. “The total public investment alone from just the EU and four European countries are expected to exceed $550 million in 2019, which is more than twice what the U.S. government authorizes for agricultural export development under the farm bill,” said Mark Powers, president of the Northwest Horticultural Council and chairman of the Coalition to Promote U.S. Agricultural Exports. The study showed the EU is investing about $300 million per year on wine export promotion alone. Canada and Italy doubled their total annual spending, and Brazil and China tripled their total annual export promotion budgets according to the study. “Other governments are investing more in global food and agricultural markets while inflation, sequestration and administrative costs are chipping away at U.S. funding,” said Tom Sleight, CEO of U.S. Grains Council, which is a member of the Agribusiness Coalition for Foreign Market Development. “That also cuts into the ability of American family farmers, livestock and dairy producers, fishermen and small agri-food businesses to compete in growing export markets.” The executive summary of the Informa Economics competitive study, and more in-depth information about MAP and FMD programs and their outcomes, are posted online at www.AgExportsCount.org. Source: AgWired
RxMaker Helps Growers Monitor Field Health and Practice Precision Agriculture
Farmers today use technologies such as GPS-equipped harvesters with crop-yield monitors, geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing and variable-rate systems to help them practice precision agriculture. Yet many still lack digital high-resolution soil maps to optimize the use of their advanced technologies. Rx Maker, a Durham spinoff from Ag TechInventures (AgTI) that will present at the upcoming Crop, Animal, and Food Tech Showcase, 2018 at the Cotton Room in Durham, April 24-24, plans to change that. The company is developing technology from scientific soil research and precision agriculture at North Carolina State University and Iowa State University. AgTI specializes in commercializing promising university agricultural technologies. Karen LeVert, CEO of AgTI, said that while Rx Maker has been in development for a couple of years, it is just getting started in earnest this year. She said presenting at the Showcase offers more than a shot at funding. “You get to see the landscape, the new technologies being developed and socialize with potential partners and acquirers. The Biotech Center does a good job with this conference.” Julianne (Julie) Bielski, chief technology officer, who has 20 years of experience in software development and design and formerly worked for IBM, said Rx Maker intends to use publicly available satellite imagery and other information from sources such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture. “Over the years, the images have improved in quality and resolution,” Bielski said. “For most of our needs we’ll be able to use those images directly to develop models based on supervised machine learning. We’ll actually be training the system to recognize the variability in soil types.” In the past, she noted, growers used hand-drawn maps covering broad swaths of land. “They didn’t provide much information for an individual farmer’s acreage.” What is unique to Rx Maker, Bielski said, is that “we are layering together several sources of information from the same geographic reference source. By that I mean elevation, topography of the field, the electrical conductivity and moisture, vegetation indices, all combined at high resolution so that it’s useful at the field level. We’re teaching the machine to recognize key indicators of variability.” That will provide information to growers to help them make decisions and help predict financial returns. “The equipment farmers have available today has a lot of synergy with what we’re doing,” Bielski said. Modern sprayers, spreaders and other agricultural variable-rate equipment can adjust the volume, rate, and how much of what to apply to a field. “But they’re not doing much good if all you have is coarse-grained information,” Bielski added. HELPS GROWERS MAKE DECISIONS “By combining all those dimensions and bringing machine learning to bear you gain the ability to see patterns humans wouldn’t readily see otherwise.” So, she adds, “You can do a much better job of helping them optimize use of their variable rate equipment and predict what types of yields to expect.” It can help growers decide if they are “growing the right things in the right place and applying the right stuff. It’s a tool providing better information.” Fields would be monitored over time because, Bielski points out, “Things do change. You have different weather patterns in different years. Farmers change what they grow or their management practices.” LeVert said Rx Maker is seeking funding of about $1 million. It is already socializing the company with cooperatives and potential partners. With a second-quarter financing close, the company should be in position to begin generating revenue by year-end 2018. “We need the ability to check and train the models,” Bielski said. The company has testing underway at a pilot site in Illinois. The Rx Maker team is encouraged by the feedback received thus far and is excited about what’s on the horizon. This story is copyright, 2018, North Carolina Biotech Center. Source: TechWire
Piecing Together Puzzle of Corn Ear Deformities
Roger Elmore, Nebraska Extension cropping systems agronomist, has seen a lot in his 35-plus year career in agronomy and corn production. That includes some downright ugly corn plants and cornfields — from corkscrewed seedlings to inconsistent stands to purple plants. However, in 2016, Nebraska Extension educator Jenny Rees alerted Elmore to a situation he had seen only once before as an isolated incident. This time, however, it was widespread among irrigated cornfields in south-central Nebraska: ear deformities — including barbell-shaped ears, short husks and, in some cases, multiple ears per node. That summer, Elmore and Justin McMechan, Extension crop protection and cropping systems specialist, began researching these incidents and what might possibly be causing them. In 2017, during last year's growing season, those issues resurfaced in some fields in the region. "There were still issues Justin and I worked on last year in 2017, but the incidence wasn't nearly as great as it was in 2016," Elmore says. "We're still pretty certain there's an environmental variable going on, but we don't know what it is. We're continuing to work on that." Possible culprits At the moment, it's almost certain the deformities are caused by the loss of the primary ear, but it isn't known why that's happening. The best explanation to date, Elmore says, is it's a classic case of genetics by environment by management, and all three played a role. "It's really all three," Elmore says. "If you take these hybrids that had problems in 2016 and put them in a less-intensive management system, they yielded very well last year. But if you push them to the limit in terms of management and the right environmental variables come along, then you have trouble." The reason for fewer incidences in 2017 may be because seed companies worked closely with growers on cutting back on populations on potentially vulnerable hybrids. Oftentimes, these hybrids are higher-yielding racehorse hybrids. However, environmental issues have also been a consistent threat in 2016 and 2017 — specifically, lower temperatures in the early and late vegetative stages of corn, Elmore says. High winds and green snap were also a problem in 2016, and to a lesser extent, in 2017. "When you have environmental issues — hail, frost, wind — it will usually affect an individual plant or two plants side by side, and the plants beside them are not affected at all. That's in part why we think there's an environmental variable here, because it's what we're seeing in the field, plus the issues are pretty widespread across the state," Elmore says. "If it were one field, we could say it's a planting issue or herbicide issue. But when it's widespread across the state, you know there’s a strong environmental aspect to the problem." McMechan says symptoms they’ve seen so far indicate that environmental factors at specific development stages are a likely cause. It may have something to do with the release of ethylene by plants as a response to environmental stress. A study in Taiwan in the 1990s indicated ethylene may be related to a process leading to kernel abortion in corn. In this study, the sensitivity of kernels to abortion by ethylene was found to be highest within six to nine days of pollination. This is likely due to ethylene enhancing the breakdown of cytokinins, which are important to maintain cell division and kernel growth under stress. McMechan and Elmore hope to find out how transient ethylene can be in a plant. To produce different symptoms, ethylene would need to be present only for a short period of time. “It could be that the ethylene is inhibiting development of kernels at the V15 to V17 stages," McMechan says, adding this may be the time when plants are exposed to stress. “Ear diameters of barbells would match a diameter that would fit into these stages of development. If something like ethylene was inhibiting or arresting development, we would expect it to have occurred at those development stages.” Smoking gun In 2017, he planted different hybrids at the Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center near Mead, testing four different planting dates in a plot. In these scenarios, only the corn planted the latest date, on May 30, experienced considerable issues. McMechan says they also found a "smoking gun" plant in a field in southeast Nebraska. This smoking gun had two separate ears, one a BB2 and the other a BB3. One was the traditional barbell shape and the other with no kernels on the tip. "That tells us the timing is playing a role for the BB2 or BB3 ear type," McMechan says. "Variation in ear types between adjacent plants might be due differences in planting depth, with one seed being planted slightly deeper than another altering their development by maybe just a few hours. Such small differences could result in different ear types when an environmental condition hits these plants at the same time." This year Osler Ortez, a doctoral student in agronomy, is joining them from Kansas State University to help better understand what trigger mechanisms may be causing these issues based on data collected over the last two growing seasons, as well as observations from the upcoming growing season in a greenhouse environment. "It's really a black box. You've got environmental stressors, and you don't know how long they have to occur to cause an issue, or if there's a preceding condition that needs to occur. Two years of data help a lot. Now we need someone to pick up the pieces and say what are we seeing that’s consistent from year to year," McMechan says. "We're sitting on a folder that's 3 inches thick." Source: PrairieFarmer
Nebraska Ag Update - February 16, 2018
Nebraska Ag Updates
On Day 2 of our Annual Meeting event we will have a special keynote ...
On Day 2 of our Annual Meeting event we will have a special keynote speaker. Robert O'Neill, former SEAL Team Six leader, will be joining us. O'Neill is a highly decorated combat veteran and the author of the memoir "The Operator: Firing the Shots That Killed Osama Bin Laden and My Years as a SEAL Team Warrior." You won't want to miss out! Get registered for both days, February 26th & 27th, at the link below.>
Temperature Swings to Continue Through Winter
The dramatic temperature swings seen across the Midwest this winter will continue, says meteorologist Dan Hicks of Freese-Notis. “This winter has been characterized by wide swings in temperature from one side of normal to the other every few weeks and I think that, in general, this will continue across the Midwest as a we move through the month,” he says. Snowstorms are difficult to predict more than a week in advance, but in general, no record-breaking snowfall is expected in February. “My impression is kind of a light winter snowfall trend so far,” Hicks says. “I guess I would tend to think that for February anyway, normal to below-normal snowfall in the Midwest on average.” Looking forward to the rest of the month Hicks adds, “We’ll probably be averaging near to a little bit below normal in the central and eastern Midwest. Maybe near to a little bit above normal in the western Midwest.” However, averages don’t always show a complete picture. “When you average it all out, it doesn't really tell the story because the cold and the warm kind of balance each other out. The cold periods have been quite cold and some of the warm periods have been quite mild. I think we will see that up-and-down temperature pattern in February and going into March also,” Hicks says. LOOKING AHEAD TO SPRING Through winter, temperature swings don’t pose a big threat of severe weather. But, if the back-and-forth pattern continues through spring, the chance for severe weather increases. “As we get into March and start to see the atmosphere warming, we start to see more Gulf moisture move northward. If that temperature extreme pattern continues, we’ll probably start to see more severe weather in March in places like Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, eastern Texas, and eastern Oklahoma,” Hicks explains. If the dramatic temperature swings persist into April, Hicks says the Midwest could start to see more severe weather events. “As we get into the warmer time of year in the Midwest and the time of year when you start to see more thunderstorms, if we continue to have these wide swings, it would enhance the potential for some severe weather, but probably not really until you get into April.” PLANTING SEASON FORECAST With spring around the corner, so is planting season. “As we get closer to the planting season, I think in the northern Midwest there might be some concerns for coolness slowing down the start of the growing season, which may slow down the start of fieldwork,” says Hicks. “That would tend to be a greater concern in the northern half of the Midwest.” In areas of Illinois, Missouri, and southeast Iowa, current conditions of low soil moisture may become a bigger issue when it comes time to plant. “Soil moisture is quite low compared with normal in the top 4 or 5 feet of soil in those areas. We’ve got some significant drought conditions showing up,” warns Hicks. Farmers in eastern Indiana, Ohio, and southern Michigan may be facing the opposite problem: wetness at planting time. OUTSIDE THE MIDWEST “Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and eastern Colorado comprise an area that is quite dry. I think that will be a problem area when the growing season starts. I would say that the southern Plains wheat area is badly in need of moisture, and I think it will be potentially problematic as that crop comes out of dormancy over the next couple of months,” says Hicks. Later in the spring, the Dakotas and Montana may also have issues with drought. Source: Successful Farming  
5 Tips For Phosphorus Management
Phosphorus (P) is an important macronutrient for field corn. Adequate amounts of the nutrient are associated with improved corn root development, increased stalk strength, resistance to disease, kernel (seed) production and earlier crop maturity. In some scenarios, the right amount of P can boost corn yields by up to 40 bu. per acre. At the same time, P is under increased scrutiny for its impact on the environment, particularly with regard to water quality. That’s certainly been the case for farmers in the past decade or so in areas such as the western Lake Erie Watershed and Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Tom Bruulsema, International Plant Nutrition Institute vice president, and Ken Sechler, senior agronomist with Southern States Cooperative, work routinely with farmers to improve their management practices. They offer five practical tips and timely reminders to help you this season. 1. Soil test on a consistent basis. You can’t manage phosphorus if you don’t know the level of P in the field. “It sounds simple, but too many retailers and farmers don’t pull good soil samples and that throws off everything,” Sechler says. “Pulling a good sample at a depth of 4” to 6” is important.” Sechler encourages farmers to soil test their fields at least every other year. Over time the information can help you establish a good nutrient baseline. Bruulsema adds that phosphorus needs are best determined by evaluating soil tests against the phosphorus balance in the field. “If your soil test is too high, a deficit is appropriate,” Bruulsema says. “If it’s too low, you need to be putting on more than the crop removes.” Sechler tells farmers to also evaluate the laboratory they use to test soil samples. “We tend to work with private laboratories rather than state university labs, which aren’t always as well-funded,” he says. 2. Calculate the form and individual phosphorus balances. “Look at what you’re removing with the crop compared to the sources of P you’re applying,” Bruulsema recommends. “Consider both fertilizer and manure. Biosolids and compost need to be accounted for as well.” 3. Evaluate placement. Whenever possible, place phosphorus in the soil not on the soil. Along with that, Sechler says the closer farmers can get P placed to corn seedlings, the more effective the uptake. Ultimately, less P will be needed which can reduce nutrient costs. “In our geography, most corn planters now run a popup fertilizer system. We frequently run with 3- to 5-gal of pop-up fertilizers near the corn,” he says. “We still have some 2” x 2” placements that are popular as well.” For crops like perennials and forages, application timing is important to consider. “It’s better to apply P after the second cut of forage for instance,” Bruulsema says. ”It’s a lot less risky for runoff then than in early spring or late fall.” 4. Tissue tests are valuable tools in-season. Sechler says tissue tests give you a snapshot of how a crop is using nutrients at a given time, and you can often adjust your fertility program based on what you learn and potentially improve yield outcome. 5. Farmers benefit from working with a professional. Bruulsema says retailers who have a “certified level” of knowledge have the experience and expertise to provide sound technical advice that’s tied to the 4R’s of sustainability— the right fertilizer source, at the right rate, the right time, and in the right place. “They benefit everyone in the agricultural community,” he notes. Source: Farm Journal AgPro
Cheesemakers push for rapid fix to 199A tax law issue
A spokesperson for the Wisconsin Cheesemakers Association says the recent tax law changes affecting Section 199A deductions for cooperatives needs rapid repair.? Rebekah Sweeney tells Brownfield, “This change has created instability.? Folks are trying to figure out what their business plan is moving forward.” Sweeney says the new tax code allows farmers to deduct 20 percent of their gross sales to cooperatives, but only deduct 20 percent of their net income when selling to private companies, creating inequities across ag including the cheese industry.? Continue reading Cheesemakers push for rapid fix to 199A tax law issue at Brownfield Ag News.      
Grain Bin Safety Week February 18th ? 24th
The director of the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety is asking farmers to reconsider entering grain bins. “The farmer needs to ask themselves if they really need to go in the bin.? Is there something they can do from outside the bin instead of having to go inside.” Dan Neenan says if a farmer decides to enter a bin, there are some essential safety steps to follow. “We need to lock-out and tag-out the power source to the auger.? Continue reading Grain Bin Safety Week February 18th – 24th at Brownfield Ag News.      
CME dairy markets mixed entering holiday weekend
The dairy markets were mixed to close the week at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Class Three milk for February was up $.03 at $13.49. ?March was up $.06 at $14.10.? April was down $.04 at $14.06. ?May was down $.07 to $14.34. ?Milk futures were mixed for the balance of the year. Grade AA Butter was down $.05 at $2.10. ?Thirty-two carloads were sold from $2.10 to $2.12. Barrels were up $.06 to $1.48. ? Continue reading CME dairy markets mixed entering holiday weekend at Brownfield Ag News.      
Direct cattle trade at sharply higher prices
  Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures were steady to higher, closing before widespread direct cash cattle business got underway. The week’s cash optimism was rewarded, with prices up sharply on the week. February was up $.82 at $130.10 and April was $.40 higher at $127.65. Feeder cattle were mixed on the mixed corn and position squaring ahead of the week’s widespread direct trade. March was down $.10 at $149.72 and April was up $.10 at $152.40. Continue reading Direct cattle trade at sharply higher prices at Brownfield Ag News.      
MDA seeks $20 million for Rural Finance Authority
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is requesting $20 million in state bonding to fund low interest farmer loans through the Rural Finance Authority (RFA). MDA commissioner Dave Frederickson says the RFA program was created by the legislature during the 1980?s farm crisis. “It certainly was a lifeline for those trying to meet the demands of paying off debt in the early 80’s by restructuring outstanding loans.? And that continues to be the case today.” During a conference call Thursday, Frederickson talked about an increase in Minnesota farmers seeking loans through the RFA. Continue reading MDA seeks $20 million for Rural Finance Authority at Brownfield Ag News.      
NPPC urges Senate leaders to schedule key ag confirmation votes
The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) is calling on Senate leaders to end the delay of four nominations important to agriculture. Dave Warner says NPPC sent a letter to Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer urging them to schedule confirmation votes for Greg Doud, Bill Northey, Stephen Vaden, and Andrew Wheeler. “These four nominees have been kind of languishing for quite awhile.? I think the least amount of time is four months.? Continue reading NPPC urges Senate leaders to schedule key ag confirmation votes at Brownfield Ag News.      
Closing Grain and Livestock Futures: February 16, 2018
Mar. corn closed at $3.67 and 1/2,?down 1/4?cent Mar. soybeans closed at $10.21 and 1/2,?down 2 and 3/4?cents Mar. soybean meal closed at $373.40, down 40 cents Mar. soybean oil closed at 31.54,?down 16?points Mar. wheat closed at $4.57 and 3/4,?down 4?cents Feb. live cattle closed at $130.10,?up?82 cents Apr. lean hogs closed at $68.15,?down?$1.57 Mar. Continue reading Closing Grain and Livestock Futures: February 16, 2018 at Brownfield Ag News.      
NPPC concerned about potential taxes on steel/aluminum imports
The National Pork Producers Council says it?s concerned about President Trump?s support of imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. Today Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross made public his report recommending them. Last summer, NPPC and more than a dozen other ag groups wrote to Secretary Ross urging the administration NOT to impose tariffs. NPPC says import tariffs could prompt retaliation and put duties on U.S. exports, including ag products. President Trump this week dismissed concerns about steel and aluminum import tariffs harming the U.S. Continue reading NPPC concerned about potential taxes on steel/aluminum imports at Brownfield Ag News.      
?18 Farm Bill an evolution of revolutionary 2014 legislation
A Farm Bureau policy specialist who calls the 2014 Farm Bill revolutionary views the next Farm Bill as evolutionary. Amber Hanson-Glaeser with Minnesota Farm Bureau tells Brownfield the current legislation received a major overhaul. “With the ARC and PLC (programs), the Margin Protection Program, and so many big changes to what we were used to.? And as we move into the next Farm Bill, it’s more about tweaking things.” She says the Title I (one) commodity programs aren?t working quite like intended and need to be fixed. Continue reading ’18 Farm Bill an evolution of revolutionary 2014 legislation at Brownfield Ag News.      
Soybeans down, corn mostly weak but still watching weather in Argentina
  Soybeans were modestly lower on profit taking and technical selling, posting a big week to week gain. Near term forecasts had scattered rain in dry parts of Argentina, but there are uncertainties about totals and coverage. Rain in parts of Brazil will delay harvest activity, but overall, it looks like that nation is still on pace to produce a very large crop. China?s Lunar New Year celebrations are underway, which should affect the export market. Continue reading Soybeans down, corn mostly weak but still watching weather in Argentina at Brownfield Ag News.      
Proposed budget slashes funding for nutrition programs
The National Corn Growers Association is opposed to President Trump?s proposed budget cuts to the SNAP program of more than $200 billion dollars over 10 years and replacing part of SNAP benefits with monthly food boxes. Jon Doggett, executive vice president of NCGA, says the group will work with nutritionists and ag leaders to maintain support of the nutrition title programs in the Farm Bill. “We were concerned with what we saw coming out of the administration and a rather immediate reaction from nutrition groups and hunger groups saying this isn’t something that will work for SNAP recipients,” he says. Continue reading Proposed budget slashes funding for nutrition programs at Brownfield Ag News.      
?Agri-Ready? county leaders support CAFO proposal
Leaders of a Missouri county deemed ?Agri-Ready? by the Missouri Farmers Care Coalition says they will NOT get in the way of a proposed swine farrowing operation, ?I made it very clear that Cooper County was an Agri-Ready county and that Cooper County is driven by agriculture. And, on advice of counsel, we are not going to pursue a county health ordinance,? said western Cooper County Commissioner David Booker, who made his announcement at the county health board meeting Thursday night to a standing-room-only crowd of farmers, most of whom support the CAFO. Continue reading “Agri-Ready” county leaders support CAFO proposal at Brownfield Ag News.      
On immigration reform, don?t reinvent the wheel
It wasn?t a very good week for immigration reform efforts, particularly in the Senate.? Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R, KY), good to his word, dedicated nearly the entire week to an open debate on any and all immigration bills.? Four bills were brought to the floor, including a bipartisan effort and a GOP version by Sen. Charles Grassley (R, IA) mirroring President Trump’s priorities; four bills failed. The oddest part of this caravan of doomed legislation is that none of the proffered bills appeared to be built upon the successful comprehensive immigration reform bill ? S. Continue reading On immigration reform, don’t reinvent the wheel at Brownfield Ag News.      
Midday cash livestock markets
  Direct cash cattle markets have been at a standstill nearly the entire week. Packers came into the week short, but have been reluctant to raise bids and spend more money, while sellers are focused on tighter market ready numbers. Asking prices are $130 to $132 on the live basis and $205 dressed with bids of $124 live and $202 dressed. Boxed beef at midday was firm on light to moderate movement. Continue reading Midday cash livestock markets at Brownfield Ag News.      
More seasonal weather covers the Heartland
?? Across the Corn Belt, colder weather trails the recent warm spell. In fact, sub-zero temperatures were noted early Friday across the far upper Midwest. Currently, most of the region?s remaining snow cover is confined to the northern Corn Belt, while rain lingers early Friday across the Ohio Valley. On the Plains, a few sprinkles are developing across Oklahoma and Texas, where some locations have experienced more than 4 months without measurable precipitation. Cooler-than-normal weather covers much of the region, with Friday morning?s temperatures falling below 0? in much of Montana and the Dakotas. Continue reading More seasonal weather covers the Heartland at Brownfield Ag News.      
Rising futures prices encouraged packers to raise bids $4 per cwt. on
Rising futures prices encouraged packers to raise bids $4 per cwt. on market-ready cattle.
This week saw a wild ride as Mother Nature continues to influence mark
This week saw a wild ride as Mother Nature continues to influence markets, especially in South America, says Jerry Gulke, president of the Gulke Group.
Defining "Planter"
Know your goals when doing maintenance and repairs on planters.
Monster Meal
March soybean meal futures have risen 22% from their low on January 12 to the high set on Friday morning. Livestock feeders who were not hedged or under long term purchasing agreements are painfully aware of the increase, but most grain traders only see the side effects of this monster meal move. Soybean value is basically meal value plus oil value plus a margin to cover processing. With a 22% jump in the meal contribution, March soybeans have managed an 8.8% increase during that same period.
China?s ambassador to the U.S. warned the Trump administration against
China?s ambassador to the U.S. warned the Trump administration against adopting a confrontational approach to the world?s second-biggest economy.
A Pulaski County Circuit Judge today dismissed a lawsuit filed by Mons
A Pulaski County Circuit Judge today dismissed a lawsuit filed by Monsanto against the Arkansas State Plant Board concerning its decision to ban dicamba in the state between April 16 and Oct. 31.
Pete's Pick of the Week: 1979 Ford FW-60
This tractor sold at a farm auction in Nebraska.
Tyne Morgan of U.S. Farm Report is talking to Greg Peterson, better kn
Tyne Morgan of U.S. Farm Report is talking to Greg Peterson, better known as Machinery Pete, at the National Farm Machinery Show.
Meal Helps Soybean, Corn Markets Extend Gains
Weather concerns continue to propel futures higher.
Farmers and ranchers in the Southern Great Plains are in a drought wit
Farmers and ranchers in the Southern Great Plains are in a drought with conditions worsening since November.
February 16, 2018. Deere & Co. raised its full-year sales forecast, an
February 16, 2018. Deere & Co. raised its full-year sales forecast, and there?s reason to believe that good news will keep coming.
Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam will give attendees at the 2018 Animal Agricu
Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam will give attendees at the 2018 Animal Agriculture Alliance Stakeholders Summit a glimpse of how animal agriculture has evolved over the years.
Want To Unleash The Power Of The Modern Farm? Unwire It!
The 1920s may have been roaring for the glitzy urban crowd. But things back on the farm were still pretty quiet. That’s because rural electricity was about as rare as Google Fiber is today. However, it was the “wiring” of rural America and the technology that came with it that literally transformed it into an economic and agricultural powerhouse. Fast forward nearly 100 years and  many say we are at another crossroads. Once again one of history and technology. This time the “revolution” down on the farm will not come from the “wiring” but rather the “unwiring” of the country beyond the Interstate exit ramps. Over the past few months there has been a lot of talk about broadband infrastructure in the news. In January, President Trump made it a centerpiece of his address at Farm Bureau’s national convention. Even more recently there was a brief discussion in the headlines about the government nationalizing the next generation wireless network known as 5G.
2 Minute Drill (Grains 2.15.18)
What to look for going into a three day weekend.
Weather Forecast Important Post Holiday
Grain markets trade carefully ahead of the three-day weekend. Markets will close at their normal time today, but will not reopen until Monday evening in observance of President's Day. Keep an eye on weather map updates ahead of Monday night's reopen. A change in forecast could move markets.