@C - CORN - CBOT
Month High Low Last Chg
May '17 360'6 357'0 360'0 2'2
Jul '17 368'2 364'4 367'6 2'2
Sep '17 375'6 372'4 375'4 2'2
Dec '17 384'2 380'6 383'6 2'0
Mar '18 393'2 390'4 393'0 2'0
May '18 398'2 396'0 398'2 1'6
@S - SOYBEANS - CBOT
Month High Low Last Chg
May '17 976'0 969'4 974'4 2'4
Jul '17 986'4 980'0 985'2 3'0
Aug '17 987'4 982'0 987'2 3'0
Sep '17 979'6 974'4 979'6 2'6
Nov '17 976'0 970'0 975'0 2'6
Jan '18 981'2 976'2 981'2 3'6
Mar '18 982'2 979'0 982'2 2'4
@K - HARD RED WINTER WHEAT - KCBT
Month High Low Last Chg
May '17 426'6 423'6 426'4 2'4
Jul '17 439'4 437'0 439'4 2'4
Sep '17 454'2 451'4 454'2 2'2
Dec '17 475'0 474'2 474'6 0'6
@L - LIVE CATTLE - CME
Month High Low Last Chg
Apr '17 121.875 120.600 120.775 -0.300
Jun '17 112.225 111.250 111.600 0.150
@C - COTTON #2 - ICEFU
Month High Low Last Chg
May '17 77.08 76.76 76.95 0.07
Jul '17 78.48 78.18 78.38 0.10
Oct '17
DTN Click here for info on Exchange delays.
Local
Unique Wheat Variety Could Revolutionize Production
Stronger legs in fast-growing broilers, reduced phosphorus emissions to the environment, improved health for undernourished populations in developing countries and better use of scarce resources – these are some of the perspectives of a unique type of wheat; a wheat with a specific ability to increase the digestibility of phosphorus and other important minerals. Scientists from the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Aarhus University, have developed and patented the new type of wheat. Following years of research and development, the wheat then needed prove its worth in the tough environment of the digestive system – and it succeeded. Phosphorus is tied up It all started with a single wheat plant. The scientists were on the lookout for certain cereal genes that affect the availability of vital minerals in feed and foods. Minerals such as phosphorus are often tightly bound in phytate. The enzyme phytase helps to break down phytate, thus increasing mineral availability. Monogastrics such as pigs and poultry are unable to produce phytase. Cereals contain genes that code for phytase activity but the activity is not sufficient to break down all phytate compounds in the feed. Therefore, enzymes are added to the feed in conventional farming to help the animals utilize phosphorus. Adding enzymes to organic feed is not an option. If the animals do not utilize phosphorus optimally, it can affect their growth and health. In addition, the non-digested surplus is excreted and ends up in the environment. Scientists demonstrated phytase genes The scientists succeeded in finding the genes controlling phytase activity, which in itself was an important step. Next, they looked for a mutant wheat plant. This was the beginning of something big. We found the specific genes that are important to phytase activity in cereals. Then we found a mutant in which the phytase genes are expressed more powerfully than in ordinary cereals, resulting in increased phytase activity, explains Associate Professor Henrik Brinch-Pedersen, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics. The unique wheat type was optimized and patented in cooperation with the British company Plant Bioscience Ltd. The name of the new wheat is HIGHPHY. Propagation of the wheat took place in Andalusia as it is possible to harvest twice in the growth season there. This meant that we could get twice as much new plant material than if we had propagated the wheat in Denmark, says Henrik Brinch-Pedersen. Coping with the digestive system The next question was if this super wheat with its increased phytase activity would be able to cope with the digestive system. The wheat was tested in broilers at Nottingham Trent University in Great Britain and the test results have now been published in the scientific journal Animal: An International Journal of Animal Bioscience. The broiler experiments demonstrated that supplementing the feed with HIGHPHY wheat was a very efficient way of releasing the phosphorus in the feed and make it easily available to the animals. For feed in which regular wheat had been completely replaced by HIGHPHY wheat the experiments demonstrated improved digestion coefficients for calcium and phosphorus of 14.6 and 22.8 percent, respectively, compared to feed containing regular wheat and with a supplement of phytase enzyme. Exciting perspectives for the new wheat The next step will be to test HIGHPHY on pigs and humans, and Henrik Brinch-Pedersen already sees interesting perspectives of the new cereal. Improved phosphorus digestion in livestock will result in reduced phosphorus emissions to the environment. In addition, calcium phosphate is a very scarce resource, so if phosphorus becomes more readily available to the animals, we can reduce our use of this important resource, he explains. HIGHPHY may also be of use to organic farmers. Organic farmers cannot add enzymes to animal feed. This means that organic livestock miss out on most of the phosphorus in the cereals, which will instead end up in the environment. This problem is easily solved by using the patented wheat, which has been naturally produced via ordinary breeding efforts, says Henrik Brinch-Pedersen. The new cereal may also be of significant importance to people in developing countries, as phytase also affects the availability of other minerals such as iron, zinc and – in certain circumstances – calcium. Major parts of the populations in developing countries suffer from iron and zinc deficiencies. 700 million people worldwide suffer from iron deficiency because of the high phytate level of their diets. If wheat containing its own phytate-metabolizing enzyme became available, this could significantly improve the health of the population in many of these countries, says Henrik Brinch-Pedersen. For many years, our aim has been to develop a high phytase activity wheat, and we have now reached that milestone. Demonstrating that it is also efficient in animal feed is extremely satisfying, says a pleased Henrik Brinch-Pedersen. Source: AgFax
National
Considerations as planting season approaches
Dekalb/Asgrow technical agronomist Dan Koehler says he?s been fielding questions about the upcoming growing season all winter, and many have to do with?new Dicamba weed control chemistries. And he recommends?farmers?evaluate each field on an individual basis when making management decisions.     ? ? ? ? ?   Continue reading Considerations as planting season approaches at Brownfield Ag News.      
World
Grains Consolidate Trading Range
Grain markets are steady to higher on bargain hunting. The outside markets are mostly green as the US Dollar and crude oil are higher.
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Great article on how to control marestail with spring burndown ...
Great article on how to control marestail with spring burndown practices>
Aurora Cooperative and RANEK AG Announce New Partnership Aurora, ...
Aurora Cooperative and RANEK AG Announce New Partnership Aurora, Neb. ? Aurora Cooperative, a leading independent cooperative with 80 locations in seven states, and RANEK AG, a progressive local agronomy supplier with two locations in South Dakota, are excited to announce a new partnership between the two existing companies. Aurora Cooperative and RANEK AG have combined its resources to provide high quality, competitive products and services to its farmer-owners who rely on them every day. ?Aurora Cooperative is a company on the leading edge of innovation,? said Justin Ranek, Area Manager of RANEK AG, a division of Aurora Cooperative. ?What Aurora Cooperative brings to the table is commitment to not only understanding today?s problems but to provide profitable, forward-thinking solutions that will positively affect our growers? profitability.? ?We are truly pleased to be involved with RANEK AG in a new South Dakota agronomy division,? said Aurora Cooperative CEO Chris Vincent. ?This great opportunity allows us to partner with the Ranek family and the progressive South Dakota farmer. Raneks are great South Dakotans, and we are looking forward to working with them and their customers.?>
For growers seeking perfect emergence because you know it affects ...
For growers seeking perfect emergence because you know it affects yield, choose Aurora?s Gold Grow Plan so you can have the confidence that your seeds will emerge together and win together. To learn more about the plan click here: http://auroracoop.com/img/pdf/GROW%20program%20--%20Emergence.pdf>
Congratulations to this month's winner Gabe Bathen out of York! Gabe ...
Congratulations to this month's winner Gabe Bathen out of York! Gabe was nominated because of his loyalty, leadership, and passion here at work; but also his caring, supportive nature for his wife and kids at home.>
Happy #NationalAgDay to our farmer-owners! We are proud to work ...
Happy #NationalAgDay to our farmer-owners! We are proud to work alongside you and we admire your hard work and your passion for agriculture!>
Mark McHargue from Central City asked Senator Ben Sasse about trades ...
Mark McHargue from Central City asked Senator Ben Sasse about trades and exports during the town hall meeting today held at the corporate office in Aurora.>
Senator Sasse is currently speaking and taking questions at the town ...
Senator Sasse is currently speaking and taking questions at the town hall that is being hosted at Aurora Cooperative's corporate office.>
Senator Sasse will be hosting a town hall meeting tomorrow at 3 p.m. ...
Senator Sasse will be hosting a town hall meeting tomorrow at 3 p.m. at our corporate office in Aurora. The event is open to the public.>
They have lost many of their acres, their livestock and for some ...
They have lost many of their acres, their livestock and for some their homes. Our hearts go out to those affected by the recent fires. Our St. Paul location donated some fencing supplies to the cause today! Thank you Nebraska Strong Disaster Relief for allowing us to be a part of this tremendous service you are doing.>
>
"We do this to make sure the farmers are getting the best possible ...
"We do this to make sure the farmers are getting the best possible service we can give to them." --James Jensen, ag aviation department head. Great article about our aerial team out at Traudt Aerial!>
Homegrown, reliable fuel comes full circle ? from the field to the ...
Homegrown, reliable fuel comes full circle ? from the field to the tank. Anyone filling up their tanks with an ethanol-blended gasoline at an Aurora Cooperative fuel pump will now be using local ethanol from Pacific Aurora, LLC. Aurora Cooperative believes in putting its owners? equity to work for your farm, your cooperative, your future and now for your ethanol.>
U.S. Senator Deb Fischer was one of three senators who introduced a ...
U.S. Senator Deb Fischer was one of three senators who introduced a bill into Congress on March 2 that if passed would extend the Reid vapor pressure (RVP) waiver to ethanol blends above 10 percent.>
Aurora Cooperative employees Rod Perry and Brent Janda held an ...
Aurora Cooperative employees Rod Perry and Brent Janda held an information meeting about anhydrous ammonia safety with the Aurora Volunteer Fire Dept. With the busy spring season right around the corner, we wanted to help our dedicated first responders keep our farmers and communities safe.>
Don't miss out on this month's deals at the Aurora Service Center!
Don't miss out on this month's deals at the Aurora Service Center!>
Local
Unique Wheat Variety Could Revolutionize Production
Stronger legs in fast-growing broilers, reduced phosphorus emissions to the environment, improved health for undernourished populations in developing countries and better use of scarce resources – these are some of the perspectives of a unique type of wheat; a wheat with a specific ability to increase the digestibility of phosphorus and other important minerals. Scientists from the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Aarhus University, have developed and patented the new type of wheat. Following years of research and development, the wheat then needed prove its worth in the tough environment of the digestive system – and it succeeded. Phosphorus is tied up It all started with a single wheat plant. The scientists were on the lookout for certain cereal genes that affect the availability of vital minerals in feed and foods. Minerals such as phosphorus are often tightly bound in phytate. The enzyme phytase helps to break down phytate, thus increasing mineral availability. Monogastrics such as pigs and poultry are unable to produce phytase. Cereals contain genes that code for phytase activity but the activity is not sufficient to break down all phytate compounds in the feed. Therefore, enzymes are added to the feed in conventional farming to help the animals utilize phosphorus. Adding enzymes to organic feed is not an option. If the animals do not utilize phosphorus optimally, it can affect their growth and health. In addition, the non-digested surplus is excreted and ends up in the environment. Scientists demonstrated phytase genes The scientists succeeded in finding the genes controlling phytase activity, which in itself was an important step. Next, they looked for a mutant wheat plant. This was the beginning of something big. We found the specific genes that are important to phytase activity in cereals. Then we found a mutant in which the phytase genes are expressed more powerfully than in ordinary cereals, resulting in increased phytase activity, explains Associate Professor Henrik Brinch-Pedersen, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics. The unique wheat type was optimized and patented in cooperation with the British company Plant Bioscience Ltd. The name of the new wheat is HIGHPHY. Propagation of the wheat took place in Andalusia as it is possible to harvest twice in the growth season there. This meant that we could get twice as much new plant material than if we had propagated the wheat in Denmark, says Henrik Brinch-Pedersen. Coping with the digestive system The next question was if this super wheat with its increased phytase activity would be able to cope with the digestive system. The wheat was tested in broilers at Nottingham Trent University in Great Britain and the test results have now been published in the scientific journal Animal: An International Journal of Animal Bioscience. The broiler experiments demonstrated that supplementing the feed with HIGHPHY wheat was a very efficient way of releasing the phosphorus in the feed and make it easily available to the animals. For feed in which regular wheat had been completely replaced by HIGHPHY wheat the experiments demonstrated improved digestion coefficients for calcium and phosphorus of 14.6 and 22.8 percent, respectively, compared to feed containing regular wheat and with a supplement of phytase enzyme. Exciting perspectives for the new wheat The next step will be to test HIGHPHY on pigs and humans, and Henrik Brinch-Pedersen already sees interesting perspectives of the new cereal. Improved phosphorus digestion in livestock will result in reduced phosphorus emissions to the environment. In addition, calcium phosphate is a very scarce resource, so if phosphorus becomes more readily available to the animals, we can reduce our use of this important resource, he explains. HIGHPHY may also be of use to organic farmers. Organic farmers cannot add enzymes to animal feed. This means that organic livestock miss out on most of the phosphorus in the cereals, which will instead end up in the environment. This problem is easily solved by using the patented wheat, which has been naturally produced via ordinary breeding efforts, says Henrik Brinch-Pedersen. The new cereal may also be of significant importance to people in developing countries, as phytase also affects the availability of other minerals such as iron, zinc and – in certain circumstances – calcium. Major parts of the populations in developing countries suffer from iron and zinc deficiencies. 700 million people worldwide suffer from iron deficiency because of the high phytate level of their diets. If wheat containing its own phytate-metabolizing enzyme became available, this could significantly improve the health of the population in many of these countries, says Henrik Brinch-Pedersen. For many years, our aim has been to develop a high phytase activity wheat, and we have now reached that milestone. Demonstrating that it is also efficient in animal feed is extremely satisfying, says a pleased Henrik Brinch-Pedersen. Source: AgFax
Start Scouting for Wheat Diseases
The wheat-growing season is off to an early start due to a mild winter. Wheat fields are looking green from a distance , but closer examination reveals freeze damage in some fields caused by periods of subfreezing temperatures that occurred after growth had resumed. Currently, disease development has not progressed to noticeable levels; however, if the wet weather forecasted for this spring occurs, diseases are expected to develop to damaging levels. It is recommended that wheat fields be scouted regularly for early disease detection starting now. What to Look for When Scouting Early season diseases in Nebraska wheat fields are stripe rust, fungal leaf spots (tan spot and Septoria leaf blotch), and powdery mildew. View example images here. Stripe Rust Because stripe rust was widespread in the state on fall-planted wheat last fall, start scouting early in the growing season to detect any stripe rust that may have overwintered. Look for yellow rust pustules both in the lower and upper canopy. On young wheat, stripe rust usually does not form stripes. The most common early season fungal leaf spot diseases in Nebraska wheat are tan spot and Septoria leaf blotch. During the early stages of development, symptoms of these two diseases are not distinguishable. They consist of spots with brown necrotic centers surrounded by yellow halos. These spots start on the lower leaves and progress up the plant. They can enlarge into large dead areas on leaves. Tan spot and Septoria leaf blotch are most severe in fields with wheat residue on the soil surface. Powdery Mildew Favored by high humidity, powdery mildew starts on the lower leaves and stems where humidity remains high for prolonged periods. It is characterized by white, cottony patches of mycelium and conidia (asexual spores) on the plant surface. The white patches later turn dull gray-brown. Look in the lower canopy for powdery mildew. Powdery mildew can be plentiful in the lower canopy, but not visible on the top of the wheat crop. Management Base the decision to apply a fungicide early in the growing season on the following: Presence of stripe rust based on scouting. If stripe rust is detected early in the growing season, it is advisable to apply a fungicide to stop it or slow down its development. A wet spring is expected in Nebraska based on this year’s weather forecasts. This raises the risk for development of stripe rust if it is present in a field. Even if you have planted a variety known to be resistant to stripe rust, if the disease is present in the field, a preventive fungicide application will be worthwhile. Fungal leaf spot diseases and powdery mildew developing to severe levels. If wheat was drilled into wheat stubble and tan spot, Septoria leaf blotch, or powdery mildew are developing to severe levels, an early season fungicide application may be warranted. Under normal weather conditions, these diseases develop slowly enough that a flag leaf fungicide application alone is sufficient to control them effectively. Accurate identification of the disease present in a field. It is important to positively identify the disease present in a field before deciding whether to apply a fungicide. Virus diseases such as wheat streak mosaic cannot be controlled by applying a fungicide. Economics: Due to low wheat prices, apply a fungicide only if you have to. Multiple applications in one growing season may not be profitable or economically feasible. Rust Update from Southern States Stripe rust and leaf rust have been active in Texas. As of March 22, stripe rust activity was low in Texas due to warmer temperatures; however, leaf rust is developing to severe levels. As of March 15, stripe rust had not been observed in Oklahoma and leaf rust had been observed only at trace levels. There have been no reports of rust diseases in Kansas. These reports indicate that the amount of rust inoculum blowing into Nebraska this year from southern states may be smaller than in the previous three years. However, due to the forecast of wet weather for this spring, growers should be prepared to manage fungal diseases. It takes only a small amount of inoculum for a disease to develop and spread under favorable weather conditions. Apart from the rusts, inoculum of other diseases is already present in Nebraska wheat fields. Source: University of Nebraska CropWatch
Use Caution When Considering Farm Equipment Leases
Many factors in the current agricultural economy are leading producers to consider a lease arrangement of new capital purchases instead of an outright purchase. When considering this option, it’s important to consider both the pros and cons as well as possible effects on your tax return. Pros A Positive Change to Your Balance Sheet Reducing debt will improve the debt-to-asset ratio for a farm that has equity in asset (see box). The current ratio and working capital of the operation will also improve by removing that current debt from the balance sheet. Some lending institutions will include the upcoming lease payment as a current debt so this pro may depend on the individual. No Asset Depreciation Most farm equipment depreciates rapidly. The last few years have certainly been an exception to that generalization, but we are seeing the trend of prices for used equipment dropping again. One argument often made for a lease is that you don’t see the depreciation because you don’t own the asset. On the other hand, by not owning it you never build equity in the asset. The importance of this depends on the individual operation’s goals. A young or beginning farmer may look at leasing equipment as a means to free up their leverage ratio to allow for equity to be used to buy land someday. A small farmer may not have enough acres to spread out the ownership cost of a combine and leasing could allow him to use a good machine without such a large outlay (although the minimum hour requirements of many leases removes this advantage). An operation that trades equipment every year or two won’t build equity in the asset anyway. Cons Taxes Most financial institutions that furnish equipment with lease agreements put taxes at the top of their list of why you should lease equipment; however, as a tax preparer, I list it as the top con. Tax law certainly allows that rental or leases of farm assets is an “ordinary and necessary business expense.” They also clearly define what they DON’T consider a lease, but rather a Conditional Sales Contract in IRS Publication 535. In the leases I see there are many factors that trip IRS’s rules, but the most common is certainly a lease that has a stated or imputed interest value or does not have a true fair-market value buyout schedule in the end. In simpler terms, a true lease will not have an equal payment as the buyout, there won’t be a stated interest rate, and you won’t gain any equity in the asset. Deferred Tax Gain Whenever a producer moves from owning an asset to leasing one, we have to deal with the sale of the old asset. Even if the dealer allows a “trade-in” of the value of the owned tractor on the lease of a new one (which pokes further holes in IRS’s view of a true lease), it is not a qualified like-kind exchange because you don’t own the new tractor. This means that you will need to recognize the gain on the sale of the old tractor when you dispose of it. If we had a tractor with a fair market value (FMV) of $100,000 and $0 basis assuming we’ve used all the depreciation (likely with the enhanced depreciation that we’ve enjoyed the past few years), you have a $100,000 gain and could easily recognize a $20,000 or higher tax bill as a result. No Equity Builds Regardless of the IRS definition of a true lease, there are management concerns with never building equity. A few types of operations may benefit from having a lease, but there is a long-term downside to never building equity in the major pieces of equipment. Operations that can get ahead of the debt load and build equity in equipment will have that net worth and eventually improved cash flow for not having the make those debt payments. Conclusion When a producer asks me whether to lease or purchase an asset, I often step back and evaluate the question based on two purchase options, throwing out the tax benefit of a “lease” until I find a lease agreement that meets IRS guidelines. See an example here. While understanding the tax implications of any decision is important, I encourage producers to look at this decision based on which option makes the most management sense (lower payments, better interest rate, etc) for their operation. Source: University of Nebraska CropWatch
Corn Prices Moving Forward
May corn futures prices tumbled to the lowest price level since December during the week ending March 24. Large crop estimates from around the world placed downward pressure on the corn market despite some positive domestic consumption numbers in exports and corn used for ethanol. According to a University of Illinois agricultural economist, large global corn stocks appear to be the key factor currently in the corn market. “Numerous recently released USDA reports show a mixed picture for old- and new-crop corn prices in 2017,” says Todd Hubbs. “If the United States sees a reduction in corn production this year, it may provide limited support for corn prices due to the growth in foreign production.” The USDA World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report released on March 9 contained larger forecasts for the current harvest of the corn crops in both Brazil and Argentina. The same report raised corn exports and year-ending stocks in South America. The Brazilian corn crop is projected at 3.6 billion bushels. Although some market observers expect upward revisions of this number, Hubbs says it is quite large currently and would require an ideal crop for much improvement. “The Argentinian corn crop is in a similar situation, with a projected production level of 1.48 billion bushels,” Hubbs says. “Current weather in South America indicates a good possibility for these large production numbers. At present, the world stocks-to-use ratio sits at 21.2 percent, which is up slightly from February and shows some upward potential moving forward.” Domestic use reports for corn provide some support for corn prices. Census Bureau corn export estimates from September 2016 through January 2017 exceeded the cumulative USDA inspection estimates by 42 million bushels. Weekly export inspections through March 23 placed corn exports at 1.254 billion bushels. If the 42 million bushel spread is maintained through March 23, corn exports sit at 1.296 million bushels. “The current pace of corn exports looks to exceed the USDA marketing year estimate of 2.225 billion bushels,” Hubbs says. “Current U.S. Gulf FOB prices are under competitor prices in Brazil and Argentina with an expectation that the competitive advantage in the export market will be maintained until Brazilian exports from the second crop come into the market this summer.” According to Hubbs, in addition to the backing from export numbers, ethanol production reports have also been supportive for corn prices. Weekly estimates from the U.S. Energy Information Administration indicate that ethanol production in March 2017 is running about 5 percent above production in March 2016. Ethanol production continues at over 1 million barrels a week and places corn used for ethanol well on pace to reach the USDA projection of 5.4 billion bushels. “A large amount of distillers grain production combined with lower DDGS exports create a scenario in which the use of corn for ethanol production may be hindering corn used in feed,” Hubbs says. Livestock reports present a neutral picture for feed use. The USDA’s monthly Cattle on Feed report released on March 24 indicated that feedlots with capacity of 1,000 head or more placed 4 percent more cattle into feedlots during February 2017 than during February 2016. The total number of cattle on feed as of March 1 was approximately the same as on the same date last year. Broiler chick placements are running around 1 to 2 percent higher than last year during March. The March 20 Milk Production report showed 56,000 more head of milk cows for February of 2017 than the previous year. On March 30, the USDA will release the Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report. This report will reveal the size of the pig crop during the previous quarter (December 2016 to February 2017). Hubbs says the estimates will provide insight into potential feed demand from the hog sector during the last half of the 2016-17 marketing year for corn. “The ability to meet the 5.6 billion bushels projected by the USDA for feed and residual during the 2016-17 marketing year may be hampered by the availability of distillers grains and other corn feed substitutes,” Hubbs says. The most important reports for old- and new-crop corn price prospects are still to come. On March 31, the USDA will release the quarterly Grain Stocks report which will reveal the magnitude of stocks of corn as of March 1. The estimate of March 1 corn stocks will be fundamental for projecting feed and residual use of corn for the current marketing year. Also on March 31, the USDA will release the annual Prospective Plantings report. Hubbs says expectations on corn planting intentions tend to indicate fewer acres than last year’s planted acreage of 94 million acres. “If corn planting intentions are near the low end of expectations, which currently sit in a range between 89 and 92.5 million acres, the report could provide support for old- and new-crop prices,” Hubbs says. “A large March 1 corn stocks number will send a signal of lower feed use and the weight of the large foreign corn production could create downward pressure on prices despite some positive indications of corn consumption. The size of a price adjustment, if any, is contingent on the ability of demand to outpace the large corn supplies in South America.” Source: Todd Hubbs, University of Illinois Extension
Great article on how to control marestail with spring burndown ...
Great article on how to control marestail with spring burndown practices>
Iowa State Ag Economist Optimistic Because of Continuing Strong Exports
Iowa State Extension Economist Chad Hart sees a brighter picture for agriculture in 2017 thanks to growth in international demand. At the Hills Bank Ag Outlook conference March 9, Hart said he expected to see near-record supplies again this year, both domestically and globally, but expected record demand to support prices. He said he is worried about trade rhetoric with Mexico, but hopes tough talk won't mess up trade flows. "Are we going to build a wall? Yep, we will. I want something built into it though: What I really want in it is a drive-through window," Hart said. "Because when you are looking at Mexico and the corn market, they are 25 percent of our exports." With corn exports up nearly 60 percent from year-ago levels to top export markets, he said countries that are buying may be stock piling in case the rules change. In 2016, world production was at record levels, Hart said. But China, the world's second largest corn producer, saw decreased corn production last fall. In a quest to be self-sufficient in corn production, China established a $9 price target for corn, boosting China's domestic corn production but creating a costly dilemma for China's livestock feeders. China's livestock feeders imported cheaper corn, and now the country has large stockpiles. "What used to be #2 yellow corn is suddenly becoming #4 mixed grain, and they are losing value," Hart said. China began a multistep process to phase out the price target, and the result has already been lower corn plantings, he said. "In the short term, that's a negative. But over the long run, I'm going to argue it's a positive for us," Hart said. Other consequences from China's new policy include higher soybean plantings in China and increased tariffs for feeds competing for storage space with corn, namely distiller's grains. With a hog industry six times larger than the one in the United States and soybean imports three times larger than China's own production, Hart said China should continue to support a "tremendous export market." Surging meat exports to developing countries will ultimately support grain prices as well, Hart said. "What we're seeing right now, and have been experiencing over the last six months especially, has been a strong surge in overall agricultural demand as we watch the developing world transition some of their food demand from plant protein to meat protein," Hart said. Ethanol and biodiesel should also continue to grow, he said. Hart said consumers are choosing higher ethanol blends at the gas pump because they are cheaper. As an example of the cost competitiveness of ethanol today, he pointed to exports to the United Arab Emirates, which is importing ethanol to address smog. Looking to policy, Hart said he is glad to see the Trump administration has picked people in agriculture who understand why ag trade is important, such as former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue, who comes from a cotton-producing state which relies heavily on exports, and Iowa Governor Terry Branstad. Dan Mitchell, a fiscal policy expert with the Cato Institute, cautioned that Trump's top trade appointments, Peter Navarro, Wilbur Ross and Robert Lighthizer, have all expressed protectionist rhetoric. Mitchell questioned the logic that we are somehow cheated if other countries don't buy as much from us we buy from them. He said this is the case when he shops for groceries, but that's because he values their food more than his paper money. "I think Trump is wrong on protectionism, the real question is, how far will he take it?" he said. On regulatory policy, Mitchell said he was very optimistic. Trump "seems to want to reduce the burden of regulation and red tape," Mitchell said. But he questioned how progress would be defined - by blocking additional regulations or undoing existing regulations, which involves the federal rulemaking process. Jim Tobin, a former Monsanto executive and current advisory board member, discussed ag mergers during the conference. Tobin said approval in Europe will mostly likely be the deciding factor as to whether mergers between ag companies Syngenta and ChemChina, Dow and DuPont and Bayer and Monsanto will proceed. A decision on the Syngenta merger approval in Europe could be coming later this month; with the Dow decision potentially one to two months out; and a Bayer decision not likely until the end of the year, Tobin said. He expected more integrated product offerings as a result of the mergers, and said all three proposed entities have full research and development pipelines. Source: AgriMarketing
Planalytics: Planting Progress Likely to Be Challenged
According to the calendar, this week officially marks the beginning of spring. Despite what the thermometer may say, planting season is at hand. Temperatures are beginning to warm up and equipment that has been idle for months is ready to hit the fields. Not so fast... Rain, Rain Go Away Early planting has been a bit uneven for parts of the South where those efforts are typically accelerating this time of year. Texas and Louisiana saw good progress through early March that slowed considerably when a late winter cold surge hit. Temperature anomalies up to 15°F colder than typical were experienced all the way to the Gulf Coast last week. However, temperatures are warming, spring is in the air again, and the race is ready to resume... or maybe not. After what has been a very dry trend the past 30 days for the Plains, Delta, and Southeast, a significant change is coming. Our 6-10 day precipitation outlook indicates that a very active period for storms is on the horizon. Pacific systems will batter the West Coast and rapidly move west to east across the country, picking up significant amounts of Gulf moisture. Few areas will escape the precipitation which is likely to continue right into early April, and possibly longer. Severe weather potential will be on the increase again with rainfall amounts expected to be quite heavy with the epicenter in the ArkLaTx region where 3 to 6 inches is possible over the next 7 days. Short term, this moisture will be helpful against increasing soil moisture deficits. However, at this time of year this weather pattern tends to support a higher potential for significant flooding, and current guidance is hinting at that possibility. For many, this very wet scenario can not come at a worse time. Consecutive days with dry planting windows will be more infrequent. Expect further planting delays with potential replant or prevent plant in the most impacted areas. Wet Weather Welcomed in Winter Wheat Country Farmers in the key winter wheat growing areas of Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas will welcome the wet weather coming their way. Fall planting was mostly uneventful and the crop put out a lot of biomass before the first freeze hit. Winter was generally mild but dry and the crop has come out of dormancy earlier in many areas. The past 30 days have brought no more that 20 percent of normal moisture to the region with no moisture at all in southwest Kansas and the Oklahoma and Texas Panhandles. For producers in this area, the very wet pattern will be just 'what the farmer ordered'. Source: AgriMarketing
Which Bt Traits Do You Need to Purchase?
When it comes to buying corn seed, one way to save money is to ensure that you are not investing in GMO insect protection traits that you do not need for your particular farm or field. Traited corn has been genetically modified to express one to five of the nine Bt proteins commercially available. The mode of action for Bt traits depends on the proteins matching up with receptors in the gut of the insect; this means that each type of protein will only affect a specific range of insect species. Due to the complexity of available traits and the fact that certain proteins are only effective on certain pest species, it is important to understand the circumstances under which specific Bt traits are needed. A knowledge of crop rotation history, past performance of traits, and current or expected pest pressures for each field will also be important in making Bt trait decisions. For additional reference, the Handy Bt Trait Table has an excellent summary of corn traits, pest efficacy, and refuge requirements. What Corn Rootworm Traits Do You Need? In most of Nebraska, the western corn rootworm and northern corn rootworm are only pests in continuous corn. The female beetles lay their eggs in cornfields in late summer, the eggs spend the winter in the soil, and then larvae hatch out the following spring. If the larvae are not able to quickly find a suitable host (corn or a few species of grasses), they will die. For this reason, Bt traits targeting rootworms are not necessary when planting first-year (rotated) corn, as long as abundant, unmanaged volunteer corn populations were not present in the previous year. Some populations of the northern corn rootworm in eastern Nebraska can have extended diapause in the egg stage, meaning that in a corn-soybean-corn rotation, the eggs will stay in the soil from the late summer of year 1 all the way until the spring of year 3, thereby skipping the year when a non-host is grown (such as soybeans), and attacking the rotated corn grown in year 3. In rare cases, this can lead to northern corn rootworm economic injury in first-year corn. However, in the majority of fields, rootworm Bt traits are not needed when growing corn that is following a non-host (soybeans, sorghum, wheat, dry beans, and sugar beets would all be non-hosts). Four types of Bt proteins target corn rootworms: Cry3Bb1, mCry3A, eCry3.1Ab, and Cry34/35Ab1. It is important to note that in multiple counties across Nebraska, greater than expected injury has been observed or resistance confirmed when single trait Cry3Bb1 or mCry3A has been planted for more than three years (see CropWatch article, UNL Documents Shift in Corn Susceptibility to Rootworms in Nebraska). Cross-resistance between the Cry3Bb1, mCry3A, and eCry3.1Ab proteins exists. For this reason, in areas with a history of greater than expected damage to Cry3Bb1 traits (such as YieldGard Rootworm or VT Triple Pro), it is not recommended to plant continuous corn with traits that express only mCry3A and/or eCry3.1Ab proteins (such as some Agrisure products). The Cry34/35Ab1 protein, expressed either singly or in a pyramid (such as Herculex RW or SmartStax, respectively) is still performing well in most locations in Nebraska. What Western Bean Cutworm Traits Do You Need? Western bean cutworm (WBC) will lay their eggs in corn fields regardless of whether they have been rotated, although over-all populations tend to be highest in regions with more continuous corn. Pest pressure also tends to be highest in areas with sandy soils and when crop phenology matches up such that corn is in the late whorl to early tassel stage during peak moth flight. Historically, Nebraska has seen its highest WBC populations in the southwest and central parts of the state (Light Trap Data). Two types of Bt proteins provide some protection against western bean cutworm: Cry1F and VIP3A. The Cry1F protein is present in products such as Herculex 1, Herculex XTRA, AcreMax, and SmartStax. When first introduced to the market, Cry1F provided approximately 80% control of WBC. However, recent research has shown that its effectiveness has decreased in some areas, such as parts of southwest and central Nebraska, in the last 10 years. In regions where reduced effectiveness of Cry1F has been observed, it is recommended that fields with Cry1F products be scouted for WBC and insecticide treatment considered if thresholds are exceeded. Products that express the VIP3A protein, such as Agrisure Viptera and Leptra, provide effective control and should not need to be treated, although it is always advised to inspect Bt cornfields to ensure adequate efficacy. (See more in past CropWatch articles, Nebraska Perspective on Efficacy of Cry1F Bt Corn Against Western Bean Cutworm and Begin Scouting for Western Bean Cutworm Eggs in Corn). What European Corn Borer and Other Lepidoptera Traits Do You Need? Although European corn borer (ECB) populations have decreased since the widespread adoption of Bt crops, they can still pose a threat to untraited corn. Fields that are planted early are most at risk for damage from first generation ECB and late planted corn is most at risk for second generation ECB (second generation damage is more likely to lead to yield loss). If corn without one or more ECB traits is grown, timely and accurate scouting is the key to preventing yield loss. See this CropWatch article on how to plan for insect management in non-Bt corn. All of the commercially available aboveground Lepidoptera Bt traits (Cry1Ab, VIP3A, Cry1F, Cry1A.105, and Cry2Ab2) are effective against European corn borer. The Bt traits that are effective against additional Lepidoptera pest species found in Nebraska are listed here: Corn earworm: VIP3A, Cry1F, Cry1A.105, and Cry2Ab2 Fall armyworm: VIP3A, Cry1F, Cry1A.105, and Cry2Ab2 Stalk borer: VIP3A, Cry1F, Cry1A.105, and Cry2Ab2 Black cutworm: VIP3A and Cry1F True armyworm: VIP3A only For all pests, it is best to use Bt traits within an IPM framework (rotate crops, rotate traits, use trait pyramids, scout fields, follow thresholds, etc.) to prevent overuse of any one technology and slow the potential rate of resistance evolution. Regardless of hybrids planted, regular scouting of corn fields throughout the growing season is important to watch for the presence of pests not controlled by Bt, or if you choose to plant non-Bt traited hybrids. This will allow you time to respond to the presence of economically damaging levels of pests, should they occur. Finally, compliance to resistance management requirements (such as refuges) is part of a grower’s contractual agreement when buying Bt traited corn seed. Failure to comply with these requirements could result in a grower not being allowed to buy Bt corn hybrid seed in the future. Specific resistance management information will be a part of each corn seed bag label and must be followed to help delay the development of resistance by pests. Source: University of Nebraska CropWatch
Cutworm Scouting Urged in Western Nebraska Wheat and Alfalfa
Army cutworms are beginning to show up from central Kansas to Chappell, Nebraska. Now would be a great time to scout for them in wheat and alfalfa. Because cutworms overwinter as larvae in the soil (in Nebraska), predicting the surviving populations and risk of damaging numbers from one year to the next is nearly impossible. However, scouting fields for this insect now and in the coming days could be good prevention. Of all the cutworms in Nebraska, the army cutworm is the most damaging in western Nebraska. Economic damage from other cutworms, such as the pale western cutworm, dark-sided cutworm and variegated cutworm is rare. The army cutworm damages alfalfa, wheat, and sugarbeet, as well as various rangeland grasses. Army cutworm larvae are greenish-brown to greenish-grey caterpillars, approximately ½ to 2 inches in length. Feeding damage from army cutworm larvae can vary from grazing leaf tips and chewing on the sides of wheat seedlings to complete stand reduction. In infested fields, you may see higher than usual bird activity, especially in the early morning; birds will often feed on army cutworm larvae when they are in high numbers. Army Cutworm Populations In late September and October, army cutworms lay eggs (1,000-3,000 each) directly on bare soil, such as in newly planted winter wheat or heavily grazed patches of range. After rainfall, eggs will hatch over an extended period, leading to a variety of caterpillar sizes feeding and developing as long as temperatures are adequate. When the weather turns colder, the caterpillars burrow down into the soil to spend the winter. Come April, large larvae can sometimes be abundant in winter wheat fields. In 2011, moderate populations of the adult army cutworm moth (or "miller moth") could be found in sheltered areas during the day. These moths contributed to a large population of larvae in 2012 and high populations in turn contributed to patchy populations above threshold in spring 2013 and 2014. In 2015 and 2016, populations seemed to be quite low. Winterkill in wheat in 2014-2015 may have contributed to these lower populations. As we continue into late March and April and wheat breaks dormancy, this would be a good time to scout for cutworm activity. Scouting and Treatment Recommendations To scout for army cutworms, use a treatment threshold of four or more cutworm larvae per square foot of winter wheat or alfalfa. However, for stressed, thin stands of wheat or newly established alfalfa stands, use a threshold of two or more larvae per square foot. New or stressed alfalfa stands (for example, stands that suffered from some winterkill) require a lower threshold because they are more prone to damage from cutworms. Army cutworms only feed at night and seek out dark, sheltered areas during the day. Turn over clots of loose soil and residue for accurate cutworm counts. If army cutworm counts are above the threshold, consider an insecticide application. Always read pesticide instructions carefully before use. Source: University of Nebraska CropWatch
Aurora Cooperative and RANEK AG Announce New Partnership Aurora, ...
Aurora Cooperative and RANEK AG Announce New Partnership Aurora, Neb. ? Aurora Cooperative, a leading independent cooperative with 80 locations in seven states, and RANEK AG, a progressive local agronomy supplier with two locations in South Dakota, are excited to announce a new partnership between the two existing companies. Aurora Cooperative and RANEK AG have combined its resources to provide high quality, competitive products and services to its farmer-owners who rely on them every day. ?Aurora Cooperative is a company on the leading edge of innovation,? said Justin Ranek, Area Manager of RANEK AG, a division of Aurora Cooperative. ?What Aurora Cooperative brings to the table is commitment to not only understanding today?s problems but to provide profitable, forward-thinking solutions that will positively affect our growers? profitability.? ?We are truly pleased to be involved with RANEK AG in a new South Dakota agronomy division,? said Aurora Cooperative CEO Chris Vincent. ?This great opportunity allows us to partner with the Ranek family and the progressive South Dakota farmer. Raneks are great South Dakotans, and we are looking forward to working with them and their customers.?>
Perdue Pressed on Proposed Ag, Rural Program Cuts
President Donald Trump's choice to become U.S. Department of Agriculture secretary was pressed Thursday at his Senate confirmation hearing about his support of the administration's planned 21 percent cut to the agency's fiscal 2018 discretionary spending. "As a member of the administration, I view this budget similar to what as governor [I experienced with cuts]," former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue told the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee. "I didn't like it … but we managed to it." Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., the committee's ranking member, told Perdue she was "deeply concerned about the budget put forward by the administration and signals in terms of lack of understanding about agriculture." Perdue said he had "no input" in the White House's 2018 budget blueprint as it relates to agriculture but expressed support for some programs targeted with cuts without getting into too many specifics. The former governor's testimony was briefly interrupted by someone screaming. A spokesperson for the committee said this individual left voluntarily after the outburst. No other details were available. Stabenow went through a series of USDA programs targeted for cuts to gauge Perdue's views, ranging from agriculture and research functions of the agency to support of organic farming and rural programs. "If I'm confirmed, I am going to … work for agriculture producers and consumers to let this administration and any of the people that are making those decisions in that budget area know what is important to America," he said. "I hope in the context of a balanced or a budget that meets the objectives that we can get agricultural share there. These are important programs; I recognize that." Perdue said he faced a declining state budget from 2003 to 2011 when he was governor so he was used to doing "more with less" and indicated part of the strategy involves doing things "with efficiency and effectiveness." He added, "I look forward to engaging this USDA federal workforce in and inspiring them that we can do more. Obviously it takes some money in many of these areas, and I promise you I will be a strong and tenacious advocate for that." Elsewhere, Perdue was asked if he would provide more support for struggling dairy farmers in the 2018 farm bill, which is under discussion by both houses. Some Senate committee members suggested that the dairy industry was overlooked for assistance in the previous farm bill. "I am absolutely committed to look for a way that can give immediate and temporary relief even prior to the '18 farm bill," said Perdue, who was raised on a dairy farm. "We've also got to be mindful obviously of budget periods as well. So it has to be within the parameters to meet the budget as well." Perdue indicated he also would consider short- and long-term support perhaps for the cotton program. Some have criticized the last farm bill for having inadequate agriculture risk protection for cotton farmers. USDA has been running with an acting deputy secretary in charge. The department is made up of nearly 30 agencies and offices and has about 100,000 employees at more than 4,500 locations across the country and overseas. Source: Jeff Daniels, CNBC Read more about the Perdue hearing here and here.
U.S. Commercial Drone Use to Expand Tenfold by 2021
The number of unmanned aircraft, or drones, in the United States will jump dramatically over the next five years, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration said on Tuesday. The increase comes after the Obama administration in 2016 implemented new rules that opened the skies to low-level small drones for education, research and routine commercial use. Policy makers are still debating whether to allow a sweeping expansion in drone use for activities like deliveries where aircraft would fly beyond the sight of an operator. The FAA said it estimates the fleet of small hobbyist drones will more than triple from an estimated 1.1 million vehicles in 2016 to more than 3.5 million by 2021. The agency also estimates the commercial drone fleet will grow from 42,000 at the end of 2016 to about 442,000 aircraft by 2021. The aviation safety agency said there could be as many as 1.6 million commercial drones in use by 2021. The FAA said Tuesday the key difference in its estimates of commercial drone growth is in "how quickly the regulatory environment will evolve, enabling more widespread routine uses of (drones) for commercial purposes." The FAA on Tuesday also predicted the number of pilots of drones is expected to increase from 20,000 in 2016 to a range of 10 to 20 times as many by 2021. Since August, the FAA has approved more than 300 waivers for drone use without some restrictions, including Union Pacific Railroad, BNSF Railway Co owned by Berkshire Hathaway, Intel Corp, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Time Warner's HBO and CNN units. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao told firefighters in a speech this month that "while drones have a lot of potential to assist responders, they can also pose a problem if not carefully monitored." Current drone regulations require a certified pilot to stand ready to intervene in any commercial drone flight and keep a line-of-sight view of the aircraft. Both Amazon.com Inc and Alphabet Inc's Google unit have been exploring the use drones to deliver goods ordered online. The White House said last year unmanned aircraft could lead to $82 billion in economic growth by 2025 and support up to 100,000 jobs. The August rules were aimed at allowing drone use for agriculture, research and development, educational and academic use, and powerline, pipeline and antenna inspections, along with aiding rescue operations, bridge inspections, aerial photography and wildlife nesting area evaluations. Source: PORK Network
Hay Producers Should Consider Quality Over Quantity
Producing quality hay takes planning but can be worth the effort, said Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service experts. Dr. Jason Banta, AgriLife Extension beef cattle specialist, Overton, said producing high quality hay can eliminate the need for protein and energy supplementation for beef cattle during the winter. Dr. Vanessa Corriher-Olson, forage specialist, Overton, said improving Bermuda grass quality can be as easy as correctly timing fertilizer applications and cuttings. Corriher-Olson said most producers in East Texas don’t maximize the potential of their hay fields because they focus on quantity. “They’re thinking about producing the most bales possible,” she said. “But by fertilizing and harvesting the pastures at the right time, a producer can optimize quality and quantity.” Many producers are concerned about protein content in hay, Banta said, but total digestible nutrients, or TDN, the livestock equivalent of calories or energy, is important to the nutritional needs of animals. For Bermuda grass and bahiagrass, low TDN content is often a bigger issue than low protein content. Corriher-Olson said the challenge for producers is to find the point where TDN levels haven’t declined too much and forage yield is acceptable. Catching Bermuda grass stands during the right window, three to five weeks between cuttings, dependent upon rainfall and sunny days, is the most important factor to produce hay with higher TDN concentrations, she said. Forage variety choice is also a consideration, she said, as is the time of the season during which the cuttings are done. Banta said many producers consider the first cutting low quality because it typically includes winter grasses and weeds. But the first cutting is typically the hay with the best nutritional value for cattle. “A lot of producers think the second and third cutting are the best because they look good, but they are usually the lowest in nutritional quality,” he said. “As temperatures rise throughout the season, plants produce more lignin and that reduces digestibility.” Fertilization is also a major component in producing quality hay, Corriher-Olson said. Nitrogen fertilizer should be applied as warm-season grasses start actively growing, she said. She recommends an application of 50-60 pounds of nitrogen per acre as grasses become active and between each cutting. Corriher-Olson also recommends applications of phosphorus and potassium based on soil tests and yield goals to improve production. “It takes 50 pounds of nitrogen, 14 pounds of phosphorous and 42 pounds of potassium to produce 1 ton of quality Coastal Bermuda grass,” she said. “But you should always base applications on soil samples.” Banta said producers should use ammonia nitrate fertilizer ideally, because applications are not dependent upon the forecast. Urea fertilizer requires that producers pay more attention to the forecast to make sure the application provides nitrogen to the soil effectively. The goal for providing nutritional hay for beef cattle is to produce bales with 12 percent protein and 62-63 percent TDN, Banta said. “Producing hay that meets the nutritional requirements of beef cows during winter can eliminate any need for supplements whether the cows are dry or nursing,” he said. Source: Texas AgriLife Extension
Planting Date for Corn and Soybeans in Illinois
Relatively dry weather in recent weeks throughout much of Illinois and an early start to fieldwork might provide the unusual opportunity this year of letting us choose corn and soybean planting dates instead of having to wait until it’s dry enough. There are reports that some corn and possibly some soybeans were planted as early as February this year. The main motivation for such plantings is often the excitement that comes (or doesn’t) from having the crop survive “against all odds.” While that may be satisfying, it doesn’t offer much profit potential. If the crop survives it hardly ever produces yields as high as those from planting at the normal time, and planting very early affects insurability and can also increase the cost of replant seed. In the warm, dry March of 2012, we planted one date of our planting date study at Urbana on March 16. The crop emerged uniformly and grew well until frost on April 11-12 killed the tops of the plants to the ground. About 75% of the plants survived and grew back, though, and to our surprise this planting also yielded about 75% as much as the April plantings. Most corn planted in mid-March in 2012 (about 5% of the state’s corn was planted by April 1 that year) had to be replanted. Most people avoid taking insurance coverage risks by planting before earliest allowable planting dates under the federal crop insurance program. Those dates for corn are April 10, April 5, and April 1 for northern, central, and southern Illinois, and for soybean are April 24, April 20, and April 15 in northern, central, and southern Illinois. Having the earliest insurable dates for soybean about two weeks later than for corn reflects what until recently we considered to be the greater danger from planting soybeans very early compared to planting corn very early. In fact, with better seed handling and treating today, soybean seed produces acceptable stands with mid-April planting about as often as corn does. Contrary to what many believe, soybean is no more vulnerable to frost than corn after emergence. The only time we’ve seen soybean seedlings killed by frost is when it gets near freezing at the time the hypocotyl hook is exposed to the cold sky, before the cotyledons are pulled from the soil. This period of vulnerability typically lasts no more than a day or two; after the hypocotyl straightens and the cotyledons open, soybean plants are fairly cold-hardy. While corn plants have been considered safe from frost until the growing point is near the soil surface, we have seen corn plants killed by low temperatures (often below 30 degrees) even if they have only two or three leaves exposed. The primary cause of stand loss in both crops is having heavy rainfall soon after planting. Stand loss from wet soils before or during germination is greater for corn when soil temperatures are low. For soybean, having warm soil under wet conditions speeds up the germination process and mean that seedlings run out of oxygen before emergence. But chances of having heavy rainfall soon after planting are not higher with early planting, and stand problems due to wet soils are as common with May planting as with April planting. Between 2007 and 2016, we ran planting date studies for corn at a total of 22 Illinois site-years, and between 2010 and 2016, at a total of 26 site-years for soybean. There were four planting dates in each trial, ranging from early April through late May for corn and mid-April through early June for soybean. Data are expressed as percentage of the yield at the highest-yielding date within each site-year. As shown in Figure 1, planting date responses expressed as percent of maximum yield within each site-year are surprisingly similar for corn and soybean across recent trials. Both crops showed near-maximum yields when planted in mid-April to early May, and yields dropped to 95, 91, and 86% as planting was delayed to May 10, May 20, and May 30, respectively. What should we take from the fact that yields of both crops declined at about the same percentage rates as planting was delayed through May? The main message is that we need to give similar priority both crops in terms of getting them planted on time. For those with more than one planter, that may mean planting both crops simultaneously, as fields get ready to plant. Our long-held idea of planting corn first them starting to plant soybean requires rethinking and possible adjustment. At the same time, the penalty for late planting of corn is a little lower once we get to late May and into June compared to that for soybean, so in fields that stay wet longer, soybeans may still be a slightly better choice. We also see from the data in Figure 1 that neither crop is likely to yield more when planted in early April than when planted in mid- or late April. If fields for both crops are ready to plant in central Illinois on April 6, there are two reasons to plant corn first: 1) it’s insurable; and 2) corn seed is somewhat better able to emerge at high percentage when planted early than is soybean seed. On the other hand, we generally expect about 85% of soybean seeds and 95% of corn seed to establish plants, so corn can be a little more vulnerable to less-than-desired stands if conditions turn bad after planting. In neither crop, however, would dropping desired stands by 5 percentage points cost much yield. Finally, we should take care not to be overly influenced by what happened in 2016, a season when growers reported much higher yields from early- compared to late-planted soybeans. Statewide, over the past 20 years or so, the average date by which we get 50% of the crop planted is about May 1 for corn and May 22 for soybean. It would be good if we could move both of those dates up some, and even better if we could move the two dates closer together. Still, with years like 2012 when planting was very early but lack of rain lowered yields by a lot, there’s little relationship between average statewide planting date and average statewide yield. Most planting delays are due to wet soils, and so are more or less beyond our control. Mudding in either crop, especially in April, is usually a mistake, given the slow rate at which yields for both crops fall as planting is delayed into May, and given the prevent-plant provisions of crop insurance in effect. We should be diligent at starting to plant when all (not just soil) conditions are right, but there’s little reason to panic when planting isn’t as early as we’d like. Source: Emerson Nafziger, University of Illinois Extension
NDA Magazine Tells Story of Nebraska Agriculture
LINCOLN - The Nebraska Department of Agriculture?s (NDA) weeklong celebration of National Ag Week continues with the release of the fifth edition of the popular magazine, Nebraska Agriculture and You. The magazine, available in print and online, highlights agriculture as our state?s number one industry and strives to help consumers better understand the extensive role agriculture plays in their day-to-day lives.
National
Considerations as planting season approaches
Dekalb/Asgrow technical agronomist Dan Koehler says he?s been fielding questions about the upcoming growing season all winter, and many have to do with?new Dicamba weed control chemistries. And he recommends?farmers?evaluate each field on an individual basis when making management decisions.     ? ? ? ? ?   Continue reading Considerations as planting season approaches at Brownfield Ag News.      
Singapore to move toward TPP ratification
Singapore is going forward with ratification of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.? The move is mostly symbolic, since President Trump withdrew the U.S. from the trade agreement, but it signals to other TPP nations that Singapore is still open to it.? The online World Trade News says Singapore?s Prime Minister indicated during a visit to Viet Nam last week that his country is proceeding with ratification.? A Singapore trade official says that ratifying TPP is an effort by Singapore to explore trade agreement possibilities with other TPP members. Continue reading Singapore to move toward TPP ratification at Brownfield Ag News.      
Democrat lawmakers want more oversight of animal antibiotics
A report by the Government Accountability Office says more information is needed to deal with gaps in oversight on antibiotic use in food animals. A letter from the lawmakers who asked for the study, all Democrats, has been sent to the acting deputy Ag Secretary at USDA and the head of the Health and Human Services Department asking for information about questions the GAO report raised. They want to know what is done with data collected on antibiotic use on the farm and in large-scale operations; what the USDA is doing to ensure veterinarians and vet students get appropriate training; and, how the FDA will make sure antibiotics now labeled for prevention won?t be used for growth promotion, since the labels are similar. Continue reading Democrat lawmakers want more oversight of animal antibiotics at Brownfield Ag News.      
Cow activity monitor technology is advancing
A dairy industry supplier says technology is helping producers monitor more of their cow?s activities. Ken Berberich from Afimilk tells Brownfield activity monitors have been a part of managing dairy cattle for nearly 20 years, but now, the technology can keep track of nearly every movement and help herd managers catch problems earlier. ?“We can also record now off that same sensor if a cow stands up in it’s stall and lays down, and stands back up and lays down, and this is a sign to go check that cow probably for lameness because what it’s doing is it’s recording the cow is getting up and it’s not wanting to walk to go get water or go get feed.? Sensor technology is also telling producers what?s in the milk as it leaves the cow. Continue reading Cow activity monitor technology is advancing at Brownfield Ag News.      
Report shows more than 30% of Minnesota farmers lost money in 2016
A new report shows more than 30 percent of Minnesota farmers finished 2016 in the red. University of Minnesota Extension economist Dale Nordquist says the annual farm income analysis points to continued low crop and livestock prices as the primary factor. “Even with record yields, and obviously we had spectacular yields for the second year in a row, and again for the second year in a row that didn’t really translate into profitability for the crop producers in the state.” According to the study, the median crop farm earned about $46,000 dollars in 2016. Continue reading Report shows more than 30% of Minnesota farmers lost money in 2016 at Brownfield Ag News.      
Closing Grain and Livestock Futures: March 28, 2017
May corn closed at $3.57 and 3/4,?up 2 cents May soybeans closed at $9.72,?up?1/2?cent May soybean meal closed at $315.30,?unchanged May soybean oil closed at 32.47,?up?18?points May wheat closed at $4.24 and 1/2,?up 3 and 3/4?cents Apr. live cattle closed at $120.77,?down?30 cents Apr.?lean hogs closed at $65.10,?down?55 cents May?crude oil closed at $48.37,?up 64 cents May cotton closed at 76.88,?down?6?points May rice closed at $9.75 and 1/2,?down 5?cents Apr. Continue reading Closing Grain and Livestock Futures: March 28, 2017 at Brownfield Ag News.      
Milk futures higher, cash dairy mostly steady
Class III milk futures at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange followed through and built on Monday’s late gains. April was up $.16 at $15.16, May was $.30 higher at $15.59, June was up $.21 at $15.93, and July was $.18 higher at $16.50. Cash cheese blocks were unchanged at $1.445. The last unfilled bid was on one load at $1.445. Barrels held at $1.37. The last uncovered offer was for one load at $1.38. Continue reading Milk futures higher, cash dairy mostly steady at Brownfield Ag News.      
Midwest crop conditions, weather vary
The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service says crop conditions during March varied throughout the Midwest. Conditions in Illinois were a little warmer and drier than normal, with soil moisture levels declining throughout the state. The winter wheat condition rating dipped to 66% good to excellent, down 6% on the month and 1% on the year. Anecdotal reports have spring fieldwork underway in some areas. After February’s record warmth, Indiana saw a more seasonal weather pattern in March, including scattered snowfall and recurring freeze and thaw conditions, which may have damaged the early emerging winter wheat crop. Continue reading Midwest crop conditions, weather vary at Brownfield Ag News.      
Don?t screw with SNAP
The Ranking Member of the House Ag Subcommittee on Nutrition says the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) should be left untouched in the next farm bill. ?Don?t even think about separating the nutrition title from the next farm bill, that would be a huge mistake and if it?s done I guarantee you there will be no farm bill.? Congressman Jim McGovern of Massachusetts testified at the subcommittee hearing on the next Farm Bill (today/Tuesday), saying there is no reason to undermine SNAP through structural changes, block grants or cuts. Continue reading Don?t screw with SNAP at Brownfield Ag News.      
Low-path H7 avian flu confirmed on Georgia poultry operation
Low pathogenic H7 avian influenza has been confirmed at a commercial poultry breeding operation in Georgia. The virus was detected during a routine pre-sale screening for the facility and is presumed to be low pathogenic because the flock did not show any signs of illness.? While low-path avian flu is different from high-path, the flock has been depopulated as a precautionary measure.? Officials continue to test and monitor other flocks within the surveillance area.? Continue reading Low-path H7 avian flu confirmed on Georgia poultry operation at Brownfield Ag News.      
R-CALF USA Annual Meeting
Brownfield?s Meghan Grebner will be in Rapid City, South Dakota August 25 and 26, 2017 to cover the 2017 R-CALF USA Annual Meeting. Continue reading R-CALF USA Annual Meeting at Brownfield Ag News.      
Iowa AgriTech Accelerator prepares to select first class
The Iowa AgriTech Accelerator, which was launched in 2016, will host its first class this year. According to interim director Tej Dhawan, the Iowa AgriTech Accelerator is designed?to identify and?prosper?entrepreneurial activity that can advance technology in the ag?industry. ?Central Iowa?s agriculture industry has a history of innovation,? says?Dhawan. ?The Accelerator will advance innovation by connecting many of the leading agriculture businesses and farm groups in our region to startups working with cutting-edge technology.? Dhawan discussed the Accelerator in this interview with Brownfield. Continue reading Iowa AgriTech Accelerator prepares to select first class at Brownfield Ag News.      
Senate Ag Chairman announces Committee vote for USDA Secretary nominee
The Senate Ag Committee will vote on the?USDA Secretary Nominee on Wednesday. Chairman Pat Roberts says the Committee will hold a business meeting tomorrow to vote whether to favorably report the nomination of Governor Sonny Perdue to be the US Secretary of Agriculture to the full Senate. The full Senate vote on Perdue hasn?t been scheduled yet. Continue reading Senate Ag Chairman announces Committee vote for USDA Secretary nominee at Brownfield Ag News.      
Corn, soybean leaders testify on commodity programs
Leaders of national commodity organizations addressed federal risk management tools during testimony before a House Ag Subcommittee hearing on the next Farm Bill Tuesday. Texas farmer Wesley Spurlock, president of the National Corn Growers Association, says the Agriculture Risk Coverage-county program has worked as intended, but asked lawmakers to consider some administrative changes. “In some situations, the Farm Service Agency switches to crop insurance data when NASS is unable to publish a county yield, resulting in underpayments.” He says equitable payments depend on the most accurate, transparent, and consistent data sources. Continue reading Corn, soybean leaders testify on commodity programs at Brownfield Ag News.      
Summit Cage-Free Poultry Barn Open House
Brownfield Anchor/Reporter Meghan Grebner will cover the Summit Cage-Free?Poultry Barn Open House April 17, 2017 in Francesville, IN. Continue reading Summit Cage-Free Poultry Barn Open House at Brownfield Ag News.      
World
Grains Consolidate Trading Range
Grain markets are steady to higher on bargain hunting. The outside markets are mostly green as the US Dollar and crude oil are higher.
Notice for NAFTA Talks Planned for Week of April 3
The Trump administration hopes to notify Congress the week of April 3 of its intention to launch trade negotiations with Canada and Mexico, Democratic lawmakers said following a meeting with Trump trade officials.
Family Meeting Fundamentals
The succession-planning process is complex and lengthy. 
5 Ways to Enrich Your Team
Use these tips to attract and manage employees  
Market Outlook
Market news and updates
The Truth is Out There
Welcome to the Twilight Zone for farm equipment...
More Case Old Abe Eagle Statue Stories
Machinery Pete posted a blog last month on Case "Old Abe" Eagle statues and how collectors clamor to acquire them and the cool old stories surrounding them. More for you here, Pete showcases a Case "Old Abe" Eagle statue just sold for $14,000 on an Illinois auction and one a Racine, WI man found in his dad's garage. The Wisconsin man's late grandfather got it when he worked at Case decades ago
Fear Rampant Among Employees, Dairy Needs Immigration Reform
Imagine one of your employees came to you and asked, “If my wife and I are deported, are you going to take care of my children?”
USDA Acreage Surprises Ahead?
Cotton Equipment Showing Strong Prices as Acres Surge in Mississippi
Cotton acres are gaining momentum in Mississippi as price and yields point to a more favorable option for farmers this year. That's also helping strengthen cotton equipment prices, a trend Machinery Pete is watching closely. 
Students Send Notes, Jokes to Family Impacted by Wildfire
Economists are starting to put together some estimates behind the wildfires that scorched parts of the southern and central Plains three weeks ago. ​
Early Spring Fertilizer Price Action Hints at Lower Summertime Prices
As wheels begin to turn for spring fieldwork, this week's price action may lend clues to our summertime outlook.
Whey Demand Lifts Milk Prices
Despite higher cheese production good domestic and international demand for whey has added substantially to milk prices.
New Tank-Mixes Approved with Monsanto?s XtendiMax
Monsanto announced it has received approval for certain glyphosate tank-mixes with XtendiMax herbicide with VaporGrip Technology. The company recently listed the following products containing potassium salt formulations of glyphosate on www.xtendimaxapplicationrequirements.com as approved tank-mix products: Roundup PowerMAX?Herbicide Roundup PowerMAX? II Herbicide Roundup WeatherMAX?Herbicide Honcho? K6? Herbicide Abundit? Edge Herbicide “Monsanto is committed to offering growers the lowest dicamba volatility potential solutions we can offer them. Monsanto believes that tank mixes of dicamba with potassium salt formulations of glyphosate have lower volatility potential than tank mixes with IPA and DMA salts of glyphosate based on humidome testing via published ASTM methodology,” the company said. For this reason, Monsanto plans to include only glyphosate products containing potassium salt of glyphosate as approved tank mix products with XtendiMax with VaporGrip Technology to the website at this time. Approved glyphosate products will be limited to a maximum use rate of 32 fl oz per acre for each application when tank-mixed with XtendiMax with VaporGrip Technology for in-crop use with Roundup Ready 2 Xtend? soybeans and cotton with XtendFlex? technology.? This maximum use rate for glyphosate is consistent with expert recommendations for effective weed management within Roundup Ready PLUS? Crop Management Solutions.? In addition, the listed glyphosate options will require the use of SPECIFIC approved drift reducing adjuvants (DRAs) when tank-mixed with XtendiMax with VaporGrip Technology (see website for details). In addition to the newly listed glyphosate products, we added two additional approved drift reducing adjuvants, AG16098 and CapsuleTM, providing additional DRA options along with the previously approved product Intact?. Specific DRAs are required for certain products specified on the tank mix website.? Monsanto supports enabling flexibility for growers to tank mix the most appropriate combinations for the best weed management recommendations specific to each grower?s field. As a reminder, only after tank-mix products and/or nozzles are listed on the established tank-mix website are they considered approved and lawful to use or recommend as stated on product labels. All approved tank-mix products and nozzles for XtendiMax with VaporGrip Technology are listed on: www.xtendimaxapplicationrequirements.com.
Why I Farm Roadtrip: Carrie Mess