Ashburn VA

Saturday
Clear
92°F / 67°F
Wind: 7 E
Average Humidity: 51
The Next Three Days

Sunday
Clear
90°F / 67°F
Wind: 7 E
Humidity: 60

Monday
Partly Cloudy
93°F / 69°F
Wind: 6 WNW
Humidity: 59

Tuesday
Partly Cloudy
92°F / 69°F
Wind: 7 ESE
Humidity: 51
Close
@C - CORN - CBOT
Month High Low Last Chg
Sep '16 325'2 315'6 316'2 -7'2
Dec '16 334'0 324'4 325'0 -7'0
Mar '17 343'4 334'2 334'4 -7'4
May '17 350'4 341'4 341'6 -7'2
Jul '17 358'0 348'6 349'0 -6'6
Sep '17 364'0 356'0 356'2 -6'6
@S - SOYBEANS - CBOT
Month High Low Last Chg
Sep '16 1002'2 982'4 990'6 -7'4
Nov '16 980'2 960'4 967'2 -8'2
Jan '17 982'0 963'0 969'6 -7'6
Mar '17 981'6 963'4 970'4 -6'0
May '17 981'2 965'0 972'0 -4'4
Jul '17 982'0 966'4 973'6 -3'0
Aug '17 976'0 963'4 969'2 -1'2
@K - HARD RED WINTER WHEAT - KCBT
Month High Low Last Chg
Sep '16 406'6 388'4 389'6 -15'6
Dec '16 433'4 415'4 416'6 -15'4
Mar '17 449'4 431'6 432'6 -15'6
May '17 459'2 442'4 443'2 -15'4
@L - LIVE CATTLE - CME
Month High Low Last Chg
Aug '16 112.750 110.025 110.350 -2.125
Oct '16 109.425 106.200 106.350 -2.175
@C - COTTON #2 - ICEFU
Month High Low Last Chg
Oct '16 68.45 67.87 67.71 -0.04
Dec '16 68.77 67.55 68.03 -0.01
Mar '17 68.96 67.93 68.36 0.05
DTN Click here for info on Exchange delays.
National
Michigan Breakfast on the Farms draw 77K
Breakfast on the Farm events have brought in more than 77,000 visitors to Michigan farms. The educational farm tours, coordinated by Michigan State University Extension, were started in 2009 to open farms up to consumers and provide an opportunity to learn about modern production practices. Sixth-generation dairy farmer Brad Hart of Hartland Dairy will be the 35th host farm this weekend in southeast Michigan.? He tells Brownfield after volunteering with several past events, he continues to be amazed with the responses of visitors.? He says they?ve been overwhelmed by the amount of people who want to be involved and have started turning away volunteers. Hart says the family farm was settled in Lenawee County in 1836 and today milks 1,000 cows. He says the event gives consumers the chance to see how their food is produced and how farmers care for their animals. AUDIO: Interview with Brad Hart http://cdn.brownfieldagnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/160823_BOTF-Hart.mp3 The post Michigan Breakfast on the Farms draw 77K appeared first on Brownfield Ag News.      
World
Gulke: Could Bumper Harvest Reap $2 Corn?
Could a bumper harvest yield $2 corn with no disaster on the horizon to offset a record supply of grain? 
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Fall Sale!
Fall Sale!>
Check out our PRE-HARVEST SAVINGS at your Aurora Service Centers. ...
Check out our PRE-HARVEST SAVINGS at your Aurora Service Centers. Aurora Cooperative - Putting Your Equity to Work! http://ow.ly/d/57FD>
Interesting article on commodity prices and how some think they are ...
Interesting article on commodity prices and how some think they are valued vs. the current expected yield. https://www.morningagclips.com/what-yield-is-the-market-trading/>
Looking at your fields from a new perspective! At Aurora we are ...
Looking at your fields from a new perspective! At Aurora we are striving to find new/innovative ways to help you exceed your field production goals. Our Real Farm Research Trials are one way we can bring that message to you.. If you haven?t attended one of our events yet please stop in at our website or visit us on Facebook to see what events are remaining near you.>
See what farmers are saying, from across the country, about their ...
See what farmers are saying, from across the country, about their corn and soy crop conditions.>
It was our honor to have Nebraska FFA State Officers visit today!
It was our honor to have Nebraska FFA State Officers visit today!>
Aurora cooperative agronomic alert: Southern Rust has been confirmed ...
Aurora cooperative agronomic alert: Southern Rust has been confirmed in York, Hall and Adams counties in Nebraska. Aurora agronomist Gabe Bathem and Calvin Rupe were out diagnosing customers fields and turned in leaf samples to the university plant diagnostic center where they came back positive for southern rust. This disease has progressed aggressively over the past 14 days and stay on the lookout for this damaging disease. If you need a representative to take a look at your fields give your local Aurora cooperative sales agronomist a call. http://ow.ly/B8sv302Yun6>
Southern Rust, Grey leaf and other damaging diseases are rapidly ...
Southern Rust, Grey leaf and other damaging diseases are rapidly spreading throughout the state and can greatly reduce your crops productivity. Let your local Aurora cooperative agronomist know if we need to take a look at your field, to ensure we keep your crop running at optimal efficiency. http://ow.ly/UVKl302OuOh>
Sizzling End of Summer Sales promotions. Stop by the Aurora service ...
Sizzling End of Summer Sales promotions. Stop by the Aurora service center or visit us online at Auroracoop.com to check out our summer sales promotion.>
Field Report: Great day to be with customers learning about how we ...
Field Report: Great day to be with customers learning about how we keep our crops running/producing at maximum capacity. Check out what we are doing at Real Farm Research.>
Southern Rust confirmed in South Central Nebraska! ...
Southern Rust confirmed in South Central Nebraska! http://ow.ly/hJGD302EWGP>
?Is your Plant Engine Running at Maximum Efficiency?? At Aurora ...
?Is your Plant Engine Running at Maximum Efficiency?? At Aurora Cooperative, our Real Farm Research Team is gaining new insights every day on how to make every plant / field run efficiently to maximize your return on investment. To learn more come check us out at one of our RFR sites tours. Ashton/Dannebrog 7/27/2016 Doniphan, NE 7/28/2016 Minden, NE 8/2/2016 Fairbury, NE 8/3/2016 Traer, IA 8/25/2016 York, NE 8/9/2016 Byron, NE 8/10/2016 Aurora, NE 8/11/2016 Wray, CO 8/16/2016 Grant, NE 8/17/2016 Grand Island 8/18/2016>
Starting to think about your fall needs? We are! Come talk to us on ...
Starting to think about your fall needs? We are! Come talk to us on how you can take advantage of a special promotion to help you keep everything running smoothly this fall.>
Aurora Cooperative at the Perkins Co Fair parade!
Aurora Cooperative at the Perkins Co Fair parade!>
The Aurora Cooperative is in the middle of our whirlwind county fair ...
The Aurora Cooperative is in the middle of our whirlwind county fair tour! We have made it to Thayer, Adams, Clay, Fillmore, Jefferson, Webster, Hall, Jewell Co Kansas, Clay, Nuckolls and Franklin Counties!! It has been great to meet so many hard working kids in 4H and FFA!>
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Fall Sale!
Fall Sale!>
5 Steps For Identifying Nutrient Deficiencies This Summer
As the summer growing season unfolds, the quest for ways to protect emerging crops is top of mind for many farmers. Dr. Robert Mullen, PotashCorp’s Director of Agronomy, has outlined five steps to help farmers to maximize yields by identifying nutrient deficiencies. These guidelines can help farmers accurately diagnose potential problems, take a corrective course of action and get them back to growing both yields and bottom line. Step 1: Make a visual assessment. Scouting the field to visually identify exact problem areas is the first step. Nutrient deficient crops can often be identified by chlorosis, (yellowing within the leaf). Stunted growth or leaves that are smaller than usual are also cues farmers should look for. As a general rule of thumb, issues within the lower half of the plant (the older growth) usually signify deficiencies in nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium or magnesium. Issues with the upper half of the plant (the newer growth), can signify an inadequate supply of sulfur or micronutrient metals. For example, a manganese deficiency in soybean plants will be visible in the upper part of the canopy in the new growth of the plant, but the leaf veins will retain their green color. Sulfur will cause chlorosis in the new growth. Step 2: Conduct a diagnostic soil test. Testing soil for nutrient deficiencies, also known as field diagnostics, is different than collecting soil information to maintain a fertility program. During the diagnostic soil testing process, farmers should collect samples from both the unaffected and affected soil areas. Ten to fifteen cores should be collected from both areas to get a full representation of each area. Step 3: Conduct a plant tissue analysis. The plant tissue analysis process is similar to diagnostic soil testing, as farmers should collect 10-15 samples from both the unaffected and affected areas. Two key times to collect samples are early in the season and midseason. When collecting early in the season, farmers should collect the entire plant. If collecting midseason, farmers should collect the uppermost leaves in the canopy of broadleaves and collect leaves right next to where the ears develop in corn. Step 4: Analyze historical information. If farmers have been able to document micronutrient issues in specific areas in the past, they could forego the first three steps and be prepared to apply fertilizer to deal with that issue. During this step farmers should be aware that there is a chance some of their crops won’t show any symptoms, but the fields may produce yields that are lower than predicted. This is an indication of hidden hunger, which can be fixed by paying close attention to the soil test results. Step 5: Prescribe a corrective course of action. After conducting steps one through four, farmers may arrive at a simple corrective course of action that will take care of the issues they’re experiencing. However, if farmers still aren’t sure where the problem lies, Dr. Mullen suggests taking an educated guess and applying test strips within the fields to see what takes care of the problem. Some issues can be taken care of during the current growing season, such as micronutrient deficiencies that can be treated with a foliar application fertilizer. If dealing with macronutrient issues, such as phosphorus or potassium, farmers should consider waiting to make applications after harvest to satisfy the crops’ demand for the next growing season. After conducting this process there is a chance not every problem will be solved, but these five-steps will help get yields back on the right track. Source: Matt Hopkins, CropLife
Vilsack Comments on Latest Quarterly Export Forecasts
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack issued the following statement on the first forecast for U.S. agricultural exports for fiscal year 2017 and a revised forecast for fiscal year 2016. Both forecasts indicate U.S. agricultural exports have begun to rally and will continue the record-setting pace that began in 2009. "These numbers once again demonstrate the resiliency and reliability of U.S. farmers and ranchers in the face of continued challenges. The projected $133 billion in total exports for FY 2017 is up $6 billion from last forecast and would be the sixth-highest total on record. The United States' agricultural trade surplus is also projected to rise to $19.5 billion, up 40 percent from $13.9 billion in FY 2016. The United States has continued to post an agricultural trade surplus since recordkeeping began in the 1960s. "The projected growth in exports in 2017 is led by increases in overseas sales of U.S. oilseeds and products, horticultural goods, cotton, livestock, dairy and poultry. And with a rise in global economic growth, global beef demand is expected to strengthen. While USDA continues working to eliminate the remaining restrictions on U.S. beef exports that were instituted by some trading partners as a result of the December 2003 BSE detection, U.S. beef exports have recovered. U.S. beef exports are expected to reach $5.3 billion in 2017, well above the $1.5 billion exported in FY 2004. This progress is due to USDA's work under the Obama Administration to eliminate BSE-related restrictions in countries around the world, including 16 countries since January 2015. BEEF FACT SHEET "China is projected to return as the United States' top export market in 2017, surpassing Canada as the number one destination for U.S. agricultural goods. "USDA also revised the forecast for FY 2016 exports to $127 billion, up $2.5 billion from the previous forecast. This would bring total agricultural exports since 2009 to more than $1 trillion, smashing all previous eight-year totals. "Exports are responsible for 20 percent of U.S. farm income, also driving rural economic activity and supporting more than one million American jobs on and off the farm. The United States has the opportunity to expand those benefits even further through passage of new trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Such agreements are key to a stable and prosperous farm economy, helping boost global demand for U.S. farm and food products, increasing U.S. market share versus our competitors, and ensuring that our farmers and ranchers have stable and predictable markets for the quality goods they produce." Source: USDA
CoBank: Co-ops and Other Ag Retailers Face Tighter Margins, Cyclical Challenges
Accounts receivable at farm supply co-ops and other ag retailers are growing and so are their challenges, according to a new report from CoBank. After an extended run of impressive financial performances, retailers are adjusting to a tougher economic environment accompanying the down-phase of the current ag commodity cycle. Current headwinds are directly related to a sharp decline in commodity prices that has reduced farm income and tightened farm cash flows. A downturn in fertilizer prices and a spate of mergers and acquisitions in the seed and fertilizer industry have aligned to create adversity for ag retailers going forward. "The drop in farm income over the past three years is the steepest decrease since the Depression," says Tanner Ehmke, CoBank senior economist covering, the grains, oilseeds and ethanol, and farm supply sectors. "Producer incomes have fallen more than 50 percent from 2013 to today and their debt-to-income ratio is on the rise. Not surprisingly, total accounts receivable for ag retailers posted an 11 percent gain for 2015, and that's expected to grow in the year ahead due to ongoing farmer cash flow challenges." Farmers stretching existing credit lines, cutting costs and reducing pre-pay practices have retailers unsure about demand opportunities. Being more price sensitive creates additional competitive pressures on ag retailers as farmers explore new supplier sources in search of ways to lower expenses. Fertilizer sales usually account for about half of ag retailers' total revenue, so falling prices have made it difficult for them to maintain positive margins. Forecasts call for the slide to continue through 2017 as commodity values remain under significant pressure from abundant supplies in the United States and throughout the world. Retailers are searching for every edge to maintain fertilizer sales and margins, forging new relationships and alliances with wholesalers where possible, while offering value-added services as a way to retain existing customers or entice new ones. "The biggest challenge for ag retailers going forward will be to manage inventory to sync with demand," notes Ehmke. Lastly, seed and crop protection companies are experiencing a new wave of consolidation, creating ambiguity and insecurity about product offerings, prices and competition in the industry. Ag retailers are keenly concerned that with reduced competition, there could be fewer seed and chemical brands to choose from, as well as reduced innovation in the industry that could result in fewer product offerings in the future. The consolidation wave could also leave ag retailers with less bargaining power, potentially reducing their ability to negotiate prices or rebates on volume sales. Furthermore, many ag retailers face rising operating expenses-including payrolls and benefits-and higher depreciation costs following years of infrastructure investment and new facilities. While these upgrades were necessary, they now contribute to a drag on profits. "On a positive note, it appears the drop in net farm income is slowing," notes Ehmke. This is based off USDA's projections for 2016 that call for a 2% reduction in net farm income year-over-year, compared to 2015 when net farm income dropped 38% year-over-year and 2014 when it dropped 27 percent. "For ag retailers, the questions are, 'What are you going to do to get through this rough patch? How will you adapt your cost structure and industry relationships while serving your customers as that valued partner?'" he asks. "When we do get through this cycle, those businesses that have been able to adapt stand to benefit from a significant payout on the other side," Ehmke concludes. A brief video synopsis of the report, "Ag Retailers - Cyclical Challenges Ahead" is available on CoBank's YouTube page. The full report is available to media upon request. Source: AgriMarketing
Fighting Corn Rootworm with Natural Predators Just Might Work
A handful of scientists believe better corn rootworm control is closer than we think — specifically, just under our feet. Your average cornfield hosts an impressive array of life. Microbes, bacteria, fungi, nematodes and insect predators like spiders, mites and beetles can lurk in every square foot of soil. There’s growing evidence they could be deployed against corn rootworm larvae. “We need to fight fire with fire,” said Jonathan Lundgren, an independent agroecologist and entomologist, who has been studying the natural predators of corn rootworm for more than a decade. “Corn rootworm is a very plastic and dynamic critter and we need to use something equally plastic and dynamic to fight it. Why not use what Mother Nature made a long time ago?” While Lundgren has been studying how to encourage insect predator communities, Cornell University entomologist Elson Shields has spent the better part of his career successfully deploying local nematodes against the devastating alfalfa snout beetle in New York. He’s now found that a combination of two nematode species may decimate rootworm populations. Out west, University of Nebraska entomologist Julie Peterson, is helping her graduate student, Camila Oliveira Hofman, hunt down fungal diseases of insects (called entomopathogenic fungi) that infect and destroy rootworm larvae. Success from these scientists would be a boon to corn growers. Western corn rootworm has evolved resistance to nearly every chemical and biotech tool deployed against it in the past few decades. Biological control options could supplement both Bt and the next generation of RNAi rootworm traits, and perhaps supplant some of them. THE NEMATODE WHISPERER Shield’s beetle-eating nematodes are the ideal farm investment. Alfalfa farmers in New York inoculated their soil with them once, using an evening field surface spray that cost $26 an acre. Now more than a decade later, those nematodes are still completely suppressing alfalfa snout beetle populations in alfalfa fields. Their taste for rootworm larvae was discovered when Shields turned his attention to how well the nematodes survived if farmers rotated out of alfalfa to another crop, such as corn. To his surprise, the nematodes not only survived the corn rotation, but their numbers increased. “Their increases appear to coincide with when we see rootworm move in,” Shields said. Two years ago, he inoculated a continuous corn field and a corn-soybean rotation field with the nematodes and set up some untreated and Bt-corn fields nearby. The 2015 season proved too light a rootworm year to collect data. But in 2016, rootworms gnawed away at corn roots in the untreated control, causing up to 1.9 nodes of damage, Shields said. Fields with his nematodes performed exactly as well as the Bt fields, which were planted to Yieldgard, Herculex, and Smartstax hybrids. “The key is that the nematodes were applied two years ago,” Shields marveled. “We’ve worked really hard at keeping those persistent characteristics in these populations.” Much more than one year of data is needed to confirm the nematodes’ efficacy against rootworm, but the results are so promising others are jumping on board. Monsanto has funded a project with USDA scientists in Columbia, Missouri, to find strains of nematodes in the Midwest that target the rootworm. Some of these soil nematodes are attracted to rootworm-damaged corn roots, so the goal of the funded proposal is to help control Bt-resistant rootworm populations by targeting damaged Bt-corn roots with them. “We need two things,” said USDA-ARS entomologist Bruce Hibbard, an advisor on the Missouri project. “We need strains that overwinter here in the Midwest, and we need to figure out how to maintain them for as long as possible. That might require some alternate sources of food, such as cover crops.” COVER CROPS: FODDER FOR ROOTWORM PREDATORS? Lundgren has long promoted winter cover crops to suppress rootworm populations, though not specifically for nematodes. His research is focused on larger, more visible field warriors — spiders, ants, centipedes, beetles and other insects. Lundgren’s work revealed that rootworm blood has a repellent quality that keeps many biting insects at bay. However, sucking insects like spiders and ants appear to feast on the rootworm quite happily. Cover crops can lure these predators to your field, Lundgren says. His work in South Dakota showed that cornfields planted after a winter cover crop of slender wheatgrass had higher insect predator populations and less rootworm damage than fields that lay bare over the winter. Researchers found populations of ants, beetles and other insects, many of them with bits of rootworm DNA in their tiny tummies. “Overall, we’ve identified dozens of predator species as being important consumers of corn rootworm,” Lundgren said. HUNTING FOR FUNGAL WEAPONS Like Shields, Peterson and Hofman have been looking to the soil for rootworm solutions. For two years, Hofman dug up hundreds of soil cores from five irrigated cornfields in southwest Nebraska. She used a common fishbait insect called the waxworm to lure the fungi. When they infected her bait, she collected the fungi, grew them out in petri dishes and identified them. Now, armed with a library of local Nebraska fungal insect diseases, Hofman will see which ones attack rootworm larvae. The project is funded by the Nebraska Corn Board. Peterson and Hofman also will test any promising fungal candidates against non-target insects to protect beneficial insect populations. The biological organisms these researchers are working on may be rootworm solutions in and of themselves, but they are most likely to be supplements to the system in place, Peterson said. “The great thing about biological options is they can be completely compatible with Bt traits,” she said. “We can get less broad-spectrum insecticide use, which will help conserve these natural enemies.” Lundgren has even more ambitious hopes for biological rootworm control. He wants growers to stop seeing corn rootworm as a target for insecticides and other controls, but rather a warning sign. “Corn rootworm isn’t the problem, it’s a symptom telling you something in the field is out of whack,” he said. He believes corn monocultures planted year after year into tilled fields have banished the valuable inhabitants of fields and soils, and with them, the rootworm’s natural enemies. “We are creating our own rootworm problems by reducing biodiversity in our cornfields,” he said. “When you have a diverse insect community, then rootworms aren’t an issue anymore.” Source: AgFax
Grasshoppers in South Dakota Sunflower
While at Dakotafest we received reports of large grasshopper populations in sunflower in South Central South Dakota. Grasshoppers are not usually a significant pest of sunflower and cause limited defoliation. However, it is still important to monitor and manage their populations when necessary. After examining several photographs, the differential grasshopper was identified as the most abundant species. Injury & Damage to Sunflower Grasshoppers are capable of feeding on both the leaves and the developing seeds of sunflower. Sunflowers can tolerate as much as 25% defoliation injury. Defolation caused by grasshoppers will appear as large chunks missing from the leaves. However, this late in the season, the adult grasshoppers are capable of completely removing leaves. In addition to defoliation, grasshoppers can also damage sunflower by feeding on the developing seeds. Thresholds for Managing Grasshoppers in Sunflower For defoliation injury, the threshold is based on the number of grasshoppers present in the area. When populations exceed 8 adults per square yard, management is necessary to prevent yield loss. Management decisions should be made after scouting both the border rows as well as the interior of the field. Grasshopper populations can vary dramatically between these two areas. If sunflower seeds are being consumed, grasshopper populations should be treated to avoid yield loss. For a list of insecticides that are labeled for grasshopper management in sunflower please refer to the current edition of the South Dakota Pest Management Guide: Alfalfa and Oilseeds. Source: Adam Varenhorst, South Dakota State University Extension
NDA, Agriculture: Front and Center at the Nebraska State Fair
LINCOLN ? Agriculture and the Nebraska State Fair go hand in hand. That?s why the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) is an active partner with the Nebraska State Fair. NDA staff will be available throughout this year?s 10-day State Fair answering questions and assisting at the ?Raising Nebraska? exhibit, protecting animal health with livestock inspections, coordinating the Elite Showman Competition, inspecting weights and measuring devices, and more.
Nebraska Ag Update - August 25, 2016
Nebraska Ag Updates
CASE IH Introduces New Spray Technology
Case IH introduced new AIM Command FLEX advanced spray technology to help producers with more accurate applications. AIM Command FLEX uses pulse width modulation to enhance sprayer productivity by controlling product flow and pressure more precisely than conventional rate controllers. Other AIM Command FLEX features include: The ability to preset spray rates up to 30 per cent higher than the target rate on up to eight nozzles. 36 separate boom sections give producers more precise control across the boom and throughout the field. Speed ranges of 8:1 versus 2:1 can help producers maintain consistent application rates over a variety of speeds. It can also control drift on demand by allowing the operator to preset two spray pressures and toggle between them while spraying. “For example, one of the settings could deliver the target pressure for the desired droplet size, and the second setting could produce lower pressure for selective drift control in sensitive areas,” Case said in a release. “Or operators could select a higher pressure for the second setting to achieve greater canopy penetration when needed.” Source: Farms.com
The 7 Cover Crop Option You Should Know
There are several options when it comes to choosing cover crops. You need to know the conditions of your farm and what goals you want to achieve. Here are some details on a few popular cover crops to help you make the right choice for your farm. 1. Cereal Rye Cereal rye is the most popular cover crop in Iowa and the one Michael Castellano, professor of soil science, Iowa State University, recommends for beginners. Cereal rye has potential to grow in almost every climate, but it grows best in cool, temperate zones. This cover crop provides farmers with flexibility to plant cover crops later in the season, while still producing significant results. Benefits of cereal rye include: Reduced erosion: Cereal rye provides protection on bare fields to minimizing soil loss during the off-season. Organic matter: Cereal rye can produce up to 10,000 pounds of biomass per acre. Weed and pest suppressor: It is very effective against small-seeded annual weeds, due to its high biomass. 2. Oats Oats are an ideal choice for farmers in search of a low-cost, reliable cover crop. They grow the best in well-drained soil and under cool and moist conditions. Some benefits of oats are: Nutrient increase: When planted early, oats take up excess nitrogen and phosphorous in the soil. Weed suppressor: Due to quick germination, oats smother weeds before they are able to spread. Organic matter: When managed correctly, oats can produce 2,000-4,000 pounds of biomass. 3. Turnips Turnips are a great cover-crop option for farmers who graze cattle on their fields after harvest. The relatively inexpensive crop can survive the winter, allowing cattle to eat the turnips throughout the cold months. Benefits of turnips include: Nutrient increase: Turnips grow very fast, which helps them scavenge high amounts of nitrogen. Weed suppressor: The decomposing residue suppresses weeds until the spring. 4. Tillage Radish As its name would suggest, tillage radishes thrive in no-till farming systems. The large taproot will take up soil nutrients to prevent leaching and will release the nutrients slowly back into the soil as the plant decomposes.. Be prepared: Tillage radishes need a smooth seedbed, a well-drained field and sufficient moisture for optimal growth. Tillage radish benefits include: Reduced erosion: Radishes are usually killed in the winter, which leaves a layer of decomposing material, providing erosion control. Nutrient increase: With the ability to grow more than three feet deep in just 60 days, tillage radish is great for scavenging residual nitrogen. Weed suppressor: Because it grows rapidly, tillage radishes eliminate nearly all weed growth by smothering weeds before they surface. Soil compaction: Due to the strong, deep roots, can reduce the effects of soil compaction by penetrating different layers of the soil. 5. White Clover When planted as a cover crop, clover performs best when used as mulch. With its tough stems and shallow roots, clover eliminates weeds much like mulch. Clover benefits include: Reduced erosion: White clover’s tough stems and dense, shallow root mass not only suppresses weeds but stops erosion as well. Nutrient increase: White clover can produce high amounts of nitrogen while providing it to growing crops. Value-added forage: Clover is digestible, allowing cattle to graze after harvest. 6. Ryegrass For farmers not wanting to devote many resources to cover crops but still wanting to build quality soil, versatile ryegrass could be the answer. With the right amount of fertility and moisture, ryegrass has the ability to grow just about anywhere. Ryegrass benefits include: Reduced erosion: Ryegrass has an extensive root system and can even withstand some flooding. Nutrient increase: It collects leftover nitrogen, reducing nitrate leaching over winter. Weed suppressor: Ryegrass establishes roots quickly, killing early-season weeds. Quick transition: When farmers switch to a no-till operation, it can take years for soil properties to adapt. Ryegrass has the ability to cut the transition time significantly. 7. Winter Wheat Winter wheat is commonly grown as a cash crop; recently, doubled as a cover crop. Lower seed costs and ease of management come springtime has helped it gain popularity. Ideally, a wheat cover crop is grown in no-till or reduced-tillage systems. Benefits of wheat include: Reduced erosion: Winter wheat serves as a winter cover crop that has enough biomass to protect the soil. Nutrient increase: Winter wheat gathers high amounts of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. Weed suppressor: Due to its rapid growth, winter wheat helps suffocate germinating weeds. Source: United Soybean Board
Recent Rains Likely to Boost Texas Hay Production Outlook
Good quality cuttings of hay could be in the future for hay producers across the state following widespread rains. Dr. Larry Redmon, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service program leader, College Station, said spring and summer presented subprime conditions for hay production on both ends of the weather spectrum. Redmon said spring rains made it difficult for hay producers to access meadows and delayed or prevented first cuttings. The delays resulted in good quantities of hay but diminished nutrient values and quality. The spring deluge was followed by 70-75 days of summer heat, including multiple 100 degree days in much of the state, that decreased moisture levels rapidly, Redmon said. The lack of moisture slowed growth and in some cases led to dormancy in hay meadows. But then the rains came. “I’m looking at fields that looked burnt up a week ago, and now they’re green and growing,” Redmon said. “It looks like producers might get a good second or third harvest.” According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agriculture Statistics Service May 1 hay stock report, Texas had its highest surplus of fall/winter hay since 2008, 2.5 million tons, or 9 percent above 2015. Redmon said producers who fertilized hay meadows based on forecasts that delivered rain would likely benefit most and see good new growth over the next few weeks. He said the next cutting would likely produce good yields and quality as long as fields are accessible when grasses peak. Rangeland and pasture conditions around the state also improved following the rains and should provide adequate grazing in many areas until forages go dormant, according to AgriLife Extension agent reports. AgriLife Extension district summaries can be found here. Source: Texas AgriLife Extension
Midwest Crop Tour: Nebraska Estimates Corn Yield 4% Down
Crop scouts on the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour came into the week wondering if USDA’s August estimates could be right. The second day of tour made that question even more pertinent as variable yields ruled the day in Nebraska. Conditions looked much better in Indiana than the previous year, but were still below USDA estimates. Yield projections for Nebraska came in at a surprising 158.60 bushels per acre, down 4% from last year; USDA’s August projection was 187 bpa. The tour measures the eastern half of the state and drew 258 samples total. The soybean crop was thought to have more potential. The tour found an average of 1,223.07 pods in a three-foot-by-three-foot square, which is almost exactly the estimate from 2015 and only a smidgen higher than the tour’s three-year average. While the western scouts might have been disappointed, scouts on eastern leg of the tour found a much bigger crop in Indiana than last year and much better yield forecasts than scouts sampled in Ohio. Totals released Tuesday evening showed the 163 fields sampled by scouts in Indiana calculated an average yield of 173.42 bpa, up 21.3% from last year. Ear counts were 3.2% greater than the 2015 tour, grain length on the ears was up 12.8% and kernel rows on those ears were up 6.2% as well. However, Pro Farmer analysts pointed out that Indiana had a very poor year overall in 2015. Indiana’s estimated 173.42 bpa from the random samples this week also tops the three-year tour average of 165.11 bpa. Still, the tour’s sample yield from Indiana remains below USDA’s estimated 187-bpa yield for the state. Crop sampling in Indiana began on Monday and carried into Tuesday for the 12 scout teams on the eastern leg. For soybeans, pod counts averaged 1,178.41 per field in Indiana, which is 7.2% higher than last year. INDIANA GETS A DRINK While pod counts were high, fields also were wet. Brian Grete, a Pro Farmer analyst and tour organizer, noted soil moisture was higher than on last year’s tour. “We had a lot of muddy fields we sampled over the last two days in Indiana,” he said. Scouts on the tour headed into Illinois for the second half of their day. They described overall better conditions for crops in both Indiana and Illinois than they saw in Ohio on Monday. Yet the ground-truthing from the scouts also found corn borer damage and diplodia (corn ear rot) in spots, as well as sudden death syndrome and stem rot affecting soybean fields. However, despite those problems, scouts noted overall they saw solid corn and soybean crops across Indiana. “We saw some pretty decent crops on our route,” said Dick Overby, a veteran scout from Kenyon, Minnesota. “We saw 184 bushel average and a 1,400 pod bean count, which was respectable.” Daniel Periera, a market analyst from Geosys International in Sao Paulo, Brazil, said sampled yields from his route were above the three-year average in Indiana. Samples were also pulled from Illinois. Illinois data will be released Wednesday evening. There was some 200 bushel-plus yield potential recorded. A field sampled in Cass County, Indiana, calculated out at nearly 223 bpa. Another scout team pulled a corn sample from Vermillion County, Illinois, that calculated out at 235 bpa. WESTERN WOES Roger Cerven, a Stanton, Iowa, farmer and one of the volunteers participating in the tour, put his Tuesday discoveries into perspective. “What did we see? All of the above,” said Cerven. “Those fields look great from the road, but farmers might be surprised if they get out into that field to take a look.” Chip Flory, western tour director and Pro Farmer editorial director, said the tour typically measures Nebraska 15 bpa light since the state is 60% irrigated. The tour sample was 44% irrigated acres. Add that to the estimated yield and it still only brings Nebraska’s total to 173.6 bpa. “I feel as though USDA went too far with that 187-bpa estimate,” Flory said. “I was severely disappointed with irrigated corn [in Nebraska] this year,” Flory added. Dryland yield averages were above irrigated in some areas. Flory said he sees a lot of potential in the soybean crop. However, he said the beans still widen out between nodes more than is preferred. “I love to see irrigated Nebraska beans just over knee high with nodes just under two inches apart and loaded with pods. “If you give soybeans water at the right time soybeans can still make [more yield],” Flory said. “A lot of the South Dakota soybean crop needs another drink if it’s going to finish,” he added. Most of the Nebraska farmers coming to listen to the daily tour announcements said they think their soybean crops are potentially better than a year ago. Jarod Creed, a scout and Gavilon grain analyst, said Nebraska stood out this year compared to last year in two main areas. “Green snap and no mud,” Creed said. “The only water we saw standing was in the irrigation wheel track.” Some fields had severe amounts of green snap. Scouts noted that waterhemp was thick in many fields and western bean cutworms were feeding and causing damage on ear tips and sometimes deep in the ear. Scouts also noticed ear set height was erratic in many fields, signaling there had been early emergence problems. On Wednesday the eastern leg of the tour continues through Illinois and into eastern Iowa, ending in the Iowa City area. The western leg moves into western Iowa and finishes in Spencer. The results from Illinois will be released on Wednesday evening and are highly anticipated because USDA estimated Illinois could have a 200-bpa corn crop growing in the field. Source: AgFax
Soybean Stem Borers Feeding
We are starting to see dead leaves caused by feeding of soybean stem borer larvae in south central Nebraska soybeans. No control measures are appropriate at this time, but monitor your fields and be aware that high populations of soybean stem borers may predispose the field to lodging and make harvest difficult. Fields with higher levels of injury by soybean stem borers should be harvested first to minimize lodging losses. Soybean stem borers are the immature stages of a long-horned beetle, Dectes texanus. The adults lay eggs in the upper leaf canopy, typically in the leaf petiole. Larvae feed by tunneling within the soybean plant. At this time of year larvae move from the leaf petiole into the main stem of the soybean plant, and at that time the leaf dies. These leaves are easily detached from the stem, and a circular tunnel can be seen where the leaf petiole was attached to the main stem. As larvae grow larger they continue to tunnel within the main stem, and by the end of the growing season they have tunneled to the base of the plant where they overwinter. In preparation for overwintering, they hollow out a cell at the base of the plant, which weakens the stem and makes it more susceptible to breakage. Source: University of Nebraska
Farmers? Claims on Syngenta Viptera Corn Limited by Court
A federal judge last week dismissed claims made by a group of farmers in a class action lawsuit against Syngenta that the company should have done something to inspect and keep harvested Viptera and Duracade GMO MIR162 corn from being shipped to China. The action was at least a partial victory for Syngenta. However, multiple lawsuits challenging the company on its handling of the GMO corn will continue, according to a legal expert who has been following the cases. The U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas ruled negligence claims involving inspections are pre-empted by the Grain Standards Act. The 1916 act requires all grain sold in foreign commerce to be inspected and graded. Donald L. Swanson, an attorney with Omaha-based Koley Jessen PC, LLO, who has followed and written about the case for Iowa State’s Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation, told DTN the court’s ruling removes one of numerous claims still to be adjudicated. “They’re moving this case along rapidly,” Swanson said. “The ruling limits the claims. It does not terminate the lawsuit. This kind of legal wrangling is very typical. It is limiting the scope and focus of the case.” At present, the lawyers and judge in the case are taking part in the pleadings and discovery phases simultaneously, he said. The plaintiffs in the case have made numerous allegations of facts claiming multiple legal standards have been breached, Swanson said. “Let’s just say hypothetically there are a dozen claims made,” he said. “The defendant is saying we want to limit the number of claims that go to trial. We’re going to try to knock out one at a time. In this case, they were successful. This is for Syngenta, a partial victory.” The latest ruling also dismisses the separate claims of a group of farmers called the “Phipps plaintiffs” represented by Phipps Anderson Deacon, LLP based in San Antonio, Texas, who had their claims consolidated in the Kansas federal court. A number of other agribusinesses including Gavilon Grain, Archer Daniels Midland Company, Bunge North America, Cargill, Inc. and Louis Dreyfus Company, also had filed motions to dismiss the claims made by the same plaintiffs. DTN’s attempts to reach attorneys for the Phipps farmers were unsuccessful. Syngenta faces an ongoing legal battle after developing MIR162 genetic traits marketed under the brand name Viptera and in Viptera/Duracade stacks. USDA deregulated the products in 2013 and Syngenta moved ahead to commercially sell the seeds even though MIR162 had not been approved in China. In November 2013, China began rejecting any U.S. corn exports that tested positive for MIR162. That went on until China eventually approved the trait in December 2014. The official lawsuits filed on behalf of corn producers include cases in Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin. Plaintiffs have claimed Syngenta misled the public and made misrepresentations to the public and USDA concerning the status and likelihood of Chinese approval and their effects on export markets. Plaintiffs also claimed Syngenta’s actions increased the risks of contamination and commingling of corn. In a statement to DTN, Syngenta hailed last week’s ruling as a victory. “The Aug. 17 ruling in the Viptera China lawsuits significantly narrows the case against Syngenta,” the company said. “For example, the ruling confirms that federal law bars ‘any claim against Syngenta based on a duty to make sure that Viptera corn is segregated from other corn.’ The court also agreed with Syngenta that ‘there is no basis for Syngenta’s liability based in false representations or omissions of fact in communications with plaintiffs,’ and, therefore, rejected plaintiffs’ claim for negligent misrepresentation. “Although the litigation will continue to proceed, this is an important step forward as we continue to defend the rights of American farmers to have access to safe, effective, U.S.-approved agricultural technologies like Agrisure Viptera.” The goal for Syngenta in the legal proceedings, Swanson said, is to essentially eliminate all of the legal claims in the case, while the plaintiffs are working to put at least one claim before a jury. Swanson said there remains a class of farmers in Minnesota pursuing a class action suit likely to play out in state court in Minnesota. According to court documents there are about 2,375 cases involving more than 20,000 plaintiffs pending in the Fourth Judicial District of Hennepin County, Minnesota. Although the case is “convoluted, complex and difficult,” Swanson said, chances are there will be a number of trials before it is resolved. “My sense is they’re working at this hard,” he said. “They have to work through pleadings and discovery then through some bellwether trials, actual jury trials- maybe a dozen of them – then there will be a resolution to the case.” Source: Todd Neeley, DTN
Managing Bollworms Through Cotton Season?s End
As predicted, we have had an extraordinary year for bollworms in Bt cotton, some growers stating that cotton looks like it did before Bt. We can assure you that Bt is still working, since the non-Bt plots in Rocky Mount and Plymouth are devoid of fruit, while the Bt plots still have fruit (albeit loaded with bollworms in some cases). Let’s also not forget that Bt cotton is phenomenal to manage tobacco budworm, but has never been 100% effective on bollworm. We know that there are bollworms in the system with some level of Bt resistance, but a number of other factors have probably played into this year’s deluge including: increases in corn acreage, lots of bollworms in the system, lots of bollworms coming out of Bt corn, oversprays for plant bugs and stink bugs that were well timed to manage these bugs but poorly timed to manage bollworms, late planted cotton, weather, etc. Right now if you have large bollworms, they are probably inside bolls and you won’t touch them with an insecticide. This generation of corn earworm is pretty much done, but we can expect another one soon and they can sometime be even more numerous than before. Generally this isn’t a big concern, but we have a lot of late-planted cotton that could still be susceptible. Some tips to manage them through the season are below: Scout, scout, scout. This point cannot be overstated. You need to make a special effort to scout for bollworm detailed here in the scouting guide. If you are only checking for stink bug injury on quarter-sized bolls, you could miss a potential problem. Watch light trap data in your area to see if a flight could be occurring. Also, as we move into the fall, make sure to properly identify bollworms, as well as fall armyworms that could be problematic in a few rare cases, as this influences product selection. Note what size the larvae are and where they are feeding. You won’t kill larvae underneath bloom tags or in bolls with insecticides, unless these worms come out of bolls to feed in other locations on the plant. Small larvae are much easier to kill than large, which is why a spray for larvae is recommended in the scouting guide when larvae are in their second stage of growth (just larger than 1/8 inch). Make sure you know how susceptible each field is. There are several things to consider. We generally recommend stopping bollworm control when cotton plants are 3 nodes above white flower. However, there are a few cases that are somewhat unique to this year that could influence the susceptibility of each field. It is very important to evaluate each field thoroughly to determine how long bolls should be protected from insect pests. Depending on fall weather, the last effective bloom date generally falls between August 15-20 and August 25-September 1 depending on geography and the year. The early end of this spectrum may be somewhat conservative whereas the later dates become more risky in terms of how often growers can effectively harvest later-set upper bolls. Naturally, sunny and warm weather during the fall with intermittent but timely rains may help develop more upper bolls that bloom towards the later end of this range, whereas cool and cloudy weather with an early frost may not allow for development of some upper bolls, resulting in a last effective bloom date towards the early end of this range. Bolls should be full-sized by mid/late September in order to be harvestable, again, dependent on heat unit accumulation and timeliness of rains needed to fill out these bolls during the early fall. This year, many fields are planted somewhat later than normal, and some fields may have experienced drought stress during squaring or early in the bloom period, or boll losses due to plant bugs on lower nodes. In either of these cases, the upper bolls may contribute a higher than normal proportion of the total harvestable boll population. Therefore, growers should decide how many upper bolls they want to protect from caterpillars based on 1) the percentage of total harvestable bolls that upper later-set bolls may contribute and 2) the most reasonable last effective bloom date for their region, based on experience, historical heat unit accumulation data, and the amount of risk they want to take in waiting for upper bolls to develop. Additionally, you need to look at the fruit load and identify how many susceptible bolls that you have. Bolls that are big and hard cannot be penetrated by a bollworm, even if cotton is non-Bt. One difference we have noted this year is that medium-small bollworm larvae are able to penetrate larger than normal bolls of WideStrike (most Phytogen varieties) cotton. This has not happened in previous years so pay special attention to these varieties. Again, proper identification of caterpillars is important as fall armyworms may penetrate some larger, tougher bolls. Continue to use the egg threshold and Prevathon spray overtop susceptible Phytogen cotton, while using the larval threshold once eggs have hatched (see scouting guide for larval threshold). Please note that this threshold will be used for 2016 only, since there are so few tobacco budworms this year. Since you will be evaluating the percent of susceptible bolls, if you have only a fraction of bolls that are susceptible, it’s probably safe to modify the larval threshold accordingly. For example, if you have only 1/5 of the bolls that are susceptible, you could probably multiple the threshold value by 5 (in this example, you’d need 15 live larvae on 100 plant parts in a single scouting trip to trigger a spray). Pyrethroids tend to be ok for bollworm overtop Bt cotton. Even when bollworm can grow and develop on Bt, they are still inhibited from growing. In these cases, pyrethroids work better than they do other crops like soybeans, which is detailed here. Larvae must either be contacted by the insecticide or feed in order to die. Bifenthrin is a pyrethroid, but is weaker than other types (on bollworms, not bugs) and should be avoided for direct bollworm control. Alternative pyrethroid examples that should work include Baythroid, Karate, and Mustang. Worm-specific products should works as well, but in product testing in the past, have not worked better than pyrethroids alone once larvae were present. Examples include Blackhawk, Consero, Intrepid Edge, Prevathon, and Steward. Blackhawk and Consero have always rated a little lower than these. Pre-mixed products such as Besiege (Prevathon + Karate active ingredients) should work as well. Source: Guy Collins and Dominic Reisig, North Carolina State University 
National
Michigan Breakfast on the Farms draw 77K
Breakfast on the Farm events have brought in more than 77,000 visitors to Michigan farms. The educational farm tours, coordinated by Michigan State University Extension, were started in 2009 to open farms up to consumers and provide an opportunity to learn about modern production practices. Sixth-generation dairy farmer Brad Hart of Hartland Dairy will be the 35th host farm this weekend in southeast Michigan.? He tells Brownfield after volunteering with several past events, he continues to be amazed with the responses of visitors.? He says they?ve been overwhelmed by the amount of people who want to be involved and have started turning away volunteers. Hart says the family farm was settled in Lenawee County in 1836 and today milks 1,000 cows. He says the event gives consumers the chance to see how their food is produced and how farmers care for their animals. AUDIO: Interview with Brad Hart http://cdn.brownfieldagnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/160823_BOTF-Hart.mp3 The post Michigan Breakfast on the Farms draw 77K appeared first on Brownfield Ag News.      
Statement by Agriculture Secretary Vilsack on Latest Quarterly Export Forecasts for 2016 and 2017
WASHINGTON, Aug. 25, 2016 ? Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today issued the following statement on the first forecast for U.S. agricultural exports for fiscal year 2017 and a revised forecast for fiscal year 2016. Both forecasts indicate U.S. agricultural exports have begun to rally and will continue the record-setting pace that began in 2009.
U.S. Beef Exports Continue to Outperform Pre-BSE Levels
Following the discovery of a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in December 2003, U.S. beef and beef product exports fell. Since 2003, USDA has led a multi-agency, full-court press, dedicating significant resources to restore foreign market access for U.S. beef. As a result, U.S. beef shipments had regained pre-BSE volumes by 2011 and even reached record values by 2014. Another central element of the U.S. strategy to maintain and expand foreign market access is insistence on policies that are based on the guidelines of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).
USDA to Purchase Surplus Cheese for Food Banks and Families in Need, Continue to Assist Dairy Producers
WASHINGTON, Aug. 23, 2016 ? The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced plans to purchase approximately 11 million pounds of cheese from private inventories to assist food banks and pantries across the nation, while reducing a cheese surplus that is at its highest level in 30 years. The purchase, valued at $20 million, will be provided to families in need across the country through USDA nutrition assistance programs, while assisting the stalled marketplace for dairy producers whose revenues have dropped 35 percent over the past two years.
USDA Services Can Help Individuals and Small Businesses Affected by Flooding in Louisiana
WASHINGTON, Aug. 17, 2016 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reminds farmers and ranchers, families and small businesses affected by the severe storms and flooding in Louisiana that USDA has several programs that provide assistance before, during and after disasters. USDA staff in regional, state and parish offices are ready to help.
Secretary Vilsack Awards $17.8 Million to Cultivate the Next Generation of Farmers and Ranchers, Sets Stage for Continued New Farmer and Rancher Support
AMES, Iowa, Aug. 17, 2016 ? In a meeting with new and beginning farmers at Iowa State University today, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a new investment of $17.8 million for 37 projects to help educate, mentor, and enhance the sustainability of the next generation of farmers.
Soybean powered biodiesel
http://cdn.brownfieldagnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/160815_MoSoySpotlight_Tew-1.mp3Demand for soybean oil can be seen at the local level. Christine Tew, Communications Director, Missouri Soybean Merchandizing Council, says Missouri State Fair trams are running on soybean powered biodiesel. More on that in this week?s Spotlight on Soybeans. Brought to you by Missouri?s soybean farmers and their checkoff. Learn more at mosoy.org The post Soybean powered biodiesel appeared first on Brownfield Ag News.      
Statement from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on the Death of Firefighter Justin Beebe
WASHINGTON, August 15, 2016?Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today released the following statement on the death of U.S. Forest Service firefighter Justin Beebe:
SEMO to test covered cattle feedlot in Missouri
Southeast Missouri State University is using a grant from the Missouri Beef Initiative to build a covered feedlot. Dr. Julie Weathers, associate ag professor, tells Brownfield it?ll be a three-sided building that will house 100 head of cattle. Weathers says they?ll compare the cattle there to those in an outdoor feedlot, ?The other side, literally in the same paddock, so that the conditions would be extremely similar will have a fenced off area and so we can feed similar cattle in BOTH sides.? Weathers says WEATHER will be one of the biggest parts of this study, ?We have to take into consideration how much humidity we get. Wind flow, because not all parts of Missouri are going to pick up as much wind as other parts. Things like that. The amount of rain, the amount of snow, ice, all those fun things.? Other Missouri universities,?including Lincoln University?in Jefferson City,?will conduct similar experiments to see if covered feedlots could be a viable option for finishing cattle in Missouri, which is a leading cow-calf state. Most Missouri cattle are finished in Kansas. http://cdn.brownfieldagnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/160805-Dr-Julie-Weathers-SEMO-Beef-indoors.mp3 The post SEMO to test covered cattle feedlot in Missouri appeared first on Brownfield Ag News.      
The next animal rights target
The U.S. animal rights movement has successfully packaged and pitched to the general media its ?victories? in battles over sow gestation stalls and cages for egg-laying hens.? The media, not knowing any better, has echoed this message broadly.? I submit it has less to do with animal rightist waging an honest and honorable campaign to end outmoded practices, and more to do with the backroom intimidation of corporate growers and food retailers, and the public capitulation by these companies to animal rights demands whether they make sense for the birds and the farmers or not. However, if our new friends in the eat-no-meat movement are to be believed, then which on-farm practice is the next target?? While I have no inside track on the strategies of the Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS) and its cohorts, I?m guessing the next target will be the broiler industry specifically and poultry production of all varieties broadly, if only because we raise and kill more than?9 billion birds a year for food. The list of shortcomings in the chicken industry as catalogued by HSUS and others is long.? It starts with ending genetic selection for growth, replacing birds which reach slaughter weight in five to six weeks with varieties which hit that mark at something closer to the 16 weeks it took a broiler to reach market weight in 1920. Once the genetics of the bird are reversed, stocking densities in the ?warehouse-like sheds? in which they?re housed must be addressed, as in fewer birds in bigger houses, preferably with outside access.? This would also to a large extent solve the air quality issues animal rightists contend affect every bird barn in the country.? Then artificial ?24-hour? lighting must be done away with in favor of lighting that does not wreak havoc on the bird?s natural circadian rhythms or artificially stimulate its appetite. Let us not forget the world would be a much better place if all chicken feeds were made with organic, non-genetically engineered (GE) grains and oilseeds, and that simple ?management improvements? can take the place of veterinary use of technology, including animal drugs. Once the birds are mellowed by advanced age and atmosphere, the catching and crating systems must be addressed and improved, along with how the birds are transported and for how long, and the slaughter process must be totally reinvented. Will all of this improve chicken wellbeing?? Likely not.? Will bird health improve as disease outbreaks become rarer?? Likely not.? Will the cost of producing a broiler chicken go up?? Almost guaranteed, but shouldn?t the consumer pay more for a guiltless eating experience? ?It matters not that some folks may be priced out of the market for this form of animal protein as there?s always plant-based alternatives. The animal rights movement?s demands aren?t hidden, they?re well known and haven?t changed in over 30 years.? Smart poultry companies will evaluate those demands to determine which, if any, make sense when calculating bird wellbeing, then catalogue the steps already taken individually or as an industry to address these ?concerns.? ?The key is then to talk to the public in an honest way about how progressive the industry is which grows chickens, or turkeys, ducks and geese for that matter. ?The biggest mistake is to ?partner? with an animal rights group as a means of giving yourself consumer cred. Animal agriculture broadly underestimates the animal rights movement, particularly its firm belief in the rightness of its minority philosophy when it comes to animal welfare. ?The movement rightly identifies the retail end of the food chain as the industry?s Achilles heel when it comes to public pressure and corporate intimidation.? It?s what leaders in the movement now call the ?humane econo The post The next animal rights target appeared first on Brownfield Ag News.      
Animal health moving into vaccine research
Animal health companies are moving to provide vaccines rather than antibiotics for treating livestock. Bloomberg reports companies such as Subway and Perdue have public relations campaigns in favor of the non-use of antibiotics in the meat they sell. But animals still need to be treated for disease. And research centers, such as one built and operated by Elanco near Indianapolis are focused exclusively on developing vaccines as alternatives. Elanco plans to unveil several new vaccines this year and will invest two-thirds of the budget for its food-animal unit in alternatives to antibiotics. FDA rules on antibiotics, that used to be voluntary, become mandatory in January along with rule changes requiring veterinarians to oversee drugs currently bought over the counter. As the change approaches, the animal health industry is investing in resources to educate farmers and agribusiness leaders on the benefits of vaccines in place of antibiotics to treat livestock. The post Animal health moving into vaccine research appeared first on Brownfield Ag News.      
Talk of Farm Bill rewrite is premature
Rep. Collin Peterson (D, MN) ruined my week.? The House Agriculture Committee?s ranking member and former committee chair told a Minnesota radio station this week that low commodity and dairy prices could force his committee to write a new Farm Bill next year rather than waiting for the current farm policy package to expire in 2018. ?Writing? a new Farm Bill has always been and will always be one of the most painful legislative experiences around.? To me, it?s the best example of why legislation and sausage making should never be observed. Peterson said the problem with the current Farm Bill now in effect is that it was written during a time of high prices and income safety net programs are not sufficient to deal with the current downturn in prices to farmers.? This was a warning that echoed down the halls of both the House and Senate when the last Farm Bill was hammered together going back to 2011.? Today, just look to the record USDA payments announced this week in the newly minted Margin Protection Program (MPP) for dairy.? Just over $11 million was sent to a fortunate subset of dairy farmers this week ? those who bought protection at the right dollar level ? to offset income losses from falling domestic/world milk prices and narrowing margins. ?It hasn?t gotten to be too much of issue so far, but I think this winter is going to be a big problem,? Peterson told the Minnesota News Network during an appearance at Minnesota?s FarmFest. ?If it gets bad enough, it might force us to move a year early on the Farm Bill, which wouldn?t be a bad idea.? Ironically, I saw Peterson?s comments just after reading a synopsis of recent polling showing farmers and ranchers are more optimistic about the coming year than they?ve been in recent years.? They?re apparently ignoring both presidential hopefuls and their zeal to throw trade broadly and the TransPacific Partnership (TPP) specifically under the election bus.? As I said a week ago, U.S. agriculture does not grow unless it can exploit a global marketplace. Sen. Pat Roberts (R, KS), chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee and a veteran of more Farm Bills than any sitting member of Congress, has said nothing public about writing a new Farm Bill before the current package expires. ?This may be because he?s too busy protecting the current Farm Bill from being pillaged by budget and appropriations committee members when they go on their annual cost-cutting raids. ?I?m sure the memories of the pain in getting the last Farm Bill enacted are also still too vivid. House Agriculture Committee Chair Mike Conaway (R, TX) is also silent on any schedule for Farm Bill rewrites.? Conaway is playing his cards close to the vest, but he?s busy identifying issues within his committee?s jurisdiction important to urban House members as a means to build support for a new Farm Bill when it comes.? This includes finding a solution to why Americans ?wastes? up to 40% of the food they buy and maintaining the increasingly toxic political marriage of farm programs and the federal food stamp program in the same legislative package to balance urban and rural interests. Peterson said talk of stripping the food stamp program?out of the Farm Bill is unrealistic.? ?What?ll happen if you split them, food stamps will go on and the Farm Bill will end because there?s nobody to vote for the Farm Bill,? Peterson said. ?People just don?t get it. They?re not going to get rid of food stamps.? It?s just not going to happen.? I?m hoping the same for a 2017 rewrite of the Farm Bill. The post Talk of Farm Bill rewrite is premature appeared first on Brownfield Ag News.      
Greater-than-normal ?tip back? in some areas
Photo courtesy @SeedLINKED Some areas of the Midwest are seeing greater-than-normal ?tip back? of corn ears this year. Tip back is when the kernels don?t fill all the way out to the end of the ear. It?s usually related to weather stress. But tip back is not necessarily a bad thing, says Todd Claussen, director of agronomy for Ames, Iowa-based Landus Cooperative. ?Historically, tip back is part of crop production,? Claussen says. ?One, it?s your first indicator of where your population is, if you?re in a good population standpoint or not. You want some tip back.? Claussen says, in some cases, tip back can mean reduced yield. But he says it depends on how well the rest of the ear has developed. ?Guys have some real difficult moments as they husk corn back and look at their potential ears?and they go, ?Look at all that tip back?,? Claussen says. ?Yes, but how many kernels long do you have? Are you tipped back eight kernels, but are still 36 or 38 (kernels)?long? That?s a big ear.? Claussen says corn ears in northern Iowa usually average around 32 or 33 kernels in length. AUDIO: Todd Claussen http://cdn.brownfieldagnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/claussen-todd-tip-back-only-160803.mp3 The post Greater-than-normal ‘tip back’ in some areas appeared first on Brownfield Ag News.      
USDA Announces Safety Net Assistance for Milk Producers Due to Tightening Dairy Margins
WASHINGTON, Aug. 4, 2016 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced approximately $11.2 million in financial assistance to American dairy producers enrolled in the 2016 Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy). The payment rate for May/June 2016 will be the largest since the program began in 2014. The narrowing margin between milk prices and the cost of feed triggered the payments, as provided for by the 2014 Farm Bill.
Cattle buyer inquiry was light
Cattle buyer inquiry remained light on Wednesday afternoon with DTN reporting just a few bids in Kansas at 119.00, and Nebraska at 192.00. Asking prices are not well defined, but some producers have priced ready cattle around 125.00 in the South, and 200.00 to 205.00 in the North. Buying interest is not expected to increase until sometime on Thursday or Friday. The kill totaled 111,000 head, 2,000 below last week, but 1,000 more than last year. Boxed beef cutout values were steady on choice and sharply higher on select on light to moderate demand and heavy offerings. Choice beef was up .25 at 209.08, select was 2.14 higher at 196.93. Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle contracts settled 60 to 90 points lower. The strong support seen in some feeder cattle contracts and the bounce higher in beef values was not enough to overcome the widespread outside market losses, and concern that long term buyer support may be hard to sustain across the live cattle complex. Feeder cattle regained most of the losses seen in the early trade and settled 72 points higher to 57 lower. The aggressive fellow through pressure in the grain market created some support to feeder cattle futures, although the lack of support seen in live cattle markets worked to erode a portion of the buying activity. Feeder cattle receipts at the Ozarks Regional Stockyards at West Plains, Missouri totaled 2,990 head on Tuesday. Compared to last week, feeder steers traded 3.00 to 6.00 higher. Heifer calves were steady to 5.00 higher with too few yearlings last week for an adequate comparison, however undertones were higher. Demand was very good on a moderate supply which included several multi-pot load drafts of yearlings. Feeder steers medium and large 1 averaging 731 pounds brought 143.84 per hundredweight. Feeder heifers weighing 892 pounds averaged 125.91. Sharp losses of up to 262 points in the August and October lean hog contracts were seen on Wednesday with a lack of market fundamentals as well as further technical pressure. The market remained lower through the session based on a lack of volume in the complex, and outside market pressure which limited overall buyer interest. Barrows and gilts in the Iowa/Minnesota direct trade closed .92 lower at 78.47 weighted average on a carcass basis, the west was down .75 at 78.51, and nationally the market was .11 lower at 77.76. Missouri direct base carcass meat price was steady to 1.00 higher from 69.00 to 75.00. Midwest hogs on a live basis closed steady to 1.00 higher from 47.00 to 60.00. The pork carcass cutout value was up .81 at 90.07 FOB plant. While this week?s hog slaughter will naturally be cut back thanks to the Fourth of July break, many expect that weekly kills through the balance of July will be quite ample, probably not falling below 2.1 million to 2.15 million head. The Wednesday hog kill was estimated by USDA at 434,000 head, 8,000 more than last week, and 17,000 greater than last year. The post Cattle buyer inquiry was light appeared first on Brownfield Ag News.      
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