@C - CORN - CBOT
Month High Low Last Chg
Mar '18 354'0 351'2 352'4 1'0
May '18 362'2 359'2 360'6 1'2
Jul '18 370'2 367'4 369'0 1'2
Sep '18 377'6 375'0 376'4 1'2
Dec '18 387'0 384'4 385'6 0'6
Mar '19 396'2 393'6 394'6 0'4
@S - SOYBEANS - CBOT
Month High Low Last Chg
Mar '18 982'6 972'0 977'2 4'2
May '18 994'0 983'2 988'4 4'2
Jul '18 1003'4 992'6 998'2 4'2
Aug '18 1005'4 997'0 1000'2 3'4
Sep '18 1002'6 995'6 997'2 2'6
Nov '18 1001'4 992'2 996'0 1'6
Jan '19 1008'2 999'2 1002'6 1'4
@K - HARD RED WINTER WHEAT - KCBT
Month High Low Last Chg
Mar '18 431'6 425'6 427'4 -2'0
May '18 445'4 439'4 441'2 -1'6
Jul '18 462'2 456'2 458'0 -1'2
Sep '18 478'2 472'4 474'2 -1'2
@L - LIVE CATTLE - CME
Month High Low Last Chg
Feb '18 122.675 120.875 121.900 -0.050
Apr '18 123.850 122.125 122.725 -0.750
@C - COTTON #2 - ICEFU
Month High Low Last Chg
Mar '18 83.76 82.36 83.42 0.79
May '18 84.10 82.75 83.79 0.80
Jul '18 84.45 83.15 84.23 0.87
DTN Click here for info on Exchange delays.
Local
Arkansas Legislative Panel Backs Dicamba Ban
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas lawmakers recommended regulators move forward Tuesday with efforts to ban an herbicide that farmers in several states say has drifted onto their crops and caused damage, advancing the prohibition despite a lawsuit by a maker of the weed killer. A legislative subcommittee supported the state Plant Board's proposal to ban the use of dicamba from April 16 through Oct. 31. The proposed ban is scheduled to go before the Legislative Council, the Legislature's main governing body when lawmakers aren't in session, for a final vote on Friday. The Plant Board earlier this month stood by the proposed ban after lawmakers urged the panel to consider revising the proposal. Dicamba has been around for decades, but problems arose over the past couple of years as farmers began to use it to kill invasive weeds in soybean and cotton fields where specially engineered seeds had been planted to resist the herbicide. Because it can easily evaporate after being applied, the chemical sometimes settles on neighboring fields planted with seeds that are not resistant to dicamba. Lawmakers endorsed the ban after hearing from farmers who have been sharply divided over the restriction. The Plant Board last year approved a temporary ban on the herbicide's sale and use, and has received nearly 1,000 complaints about dicamba. Farmers have also complained about dicamba causing damage to their crops in other states, including Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota and Tennessee. "We are only asking for a pause in this until we get our hands around this and figure out what we can do," David Wildy, a farmer from east Arkansas, told the panel. "We can't allow this to happen again." Opponents of the ban said it would put Arkansas at a competitive disadvantage with other states that haven't gone as far in restricting the weed killer. "Give the farmers in this state an opportunity to compete with the rest of the U.S.," said Joe Mencer, a soybean farmer from southeast Arkansas. Sen. Bill Sample, the Legislative Council's co-chairman, said he backed the ban even though he had initially asked the board to reconsider its proposal. "I was satisfied that the science was proven," the Republican lawmaker said. Monsanto, which makes dicamba, has filed a lawsuit in Pulaski County Circuit Court challenging the ban and claiming the Plant Board exceeded its authority in prohibiting the weed killer. A hearing is scheduled next month in the Missouri-based company's lawsuit, which seeks to block the state from enforcing the ban. "This vote would put Arkansas farmers at a serious disadvantage and we ask the executive committee to set this right for growers. We will continue to pursue our legal challenge. We will continue to stand with Arkansas growers who need new tools for weed control," Scott Partridge, Monsanto's vice president of global strategy, said in a statement.   Source: AgWeb
National
Wide-range of weather across the Nation
?? Across the Corn Belt, mild air is arriving, starting across the upper Midwest. The warmer-than-normal weather has begun to erode a widespread, generally shallow snow cover. Early Friday, snow depths stood at 3 inches in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota; Rockford, Illinois; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Dayton, Ohio. On the Plains, rain and snow showers have begun to develop across parts of Montana. Mild, dry weather covers the remainder of the nation?s mid-section. Friday?s high temperatures will top 70? across portions of the central and southern High Plains, maintaining significant stress on poorly established winter wheat, which has also been subjected to intensifying drought and periods of extreme cold. Continue reading Wide-range of weather across the Nation at Brownfield Ag News.      
World
Tax Reform Update at Top Producer Seminar
The new tax law and what it means for farmers is Paul Neiffer's topic of choice for the 2018 Top Producer Seminar. 
Facebook
Your January 15, 2018 Government Affairs update covering Taxes, ...
Your January 15, 2018 Government Affairs update covering Taxes, NAFTA, and the Farm Bill. http://auroracooperative.blog/2018/01/15/government-affairs-update-january-15-2018/>
"Nebraska needs to be at the table," Fischer said Tuesday in ...
"Nebraska needs to be at the table," Fischer said Tuesday in announcing her appointment. "I am really, really pleased that I am going to be joining the committee. This is great news.">
>
At Aurora Cooperative, we are providing our farmer-owners with the ...
At Aurora Cooperative, we are providing our farmer-owners with the Ten Things Farmers and Ranchers Should Know About New Tax Law. http://auroracooperative.blog/2017/12/27/government-affairs-update-december-27-2017/>
We wish you and your family a Merry Christmas!
We wish you and your family a Merry Christmas!>
>
Our Safety Team held an awesome Safety Management Conference today ...
Our Safety Team held an awesome Safety Management Conference today for all of our location managers! Session topics include DOT, Insurance, and a hands-on session of vehicle inspection. #safetyfirst>
If you haven't already, be sure to get signed up for our Winter ...
If you haven't already, be sure to get signed up for our Winter Planter Clinic which will be on Wednesday with registration beginning at 8 a.m. at the Bosselman Conference Center at Fonner Park in Grand Island! RSVP here: aceplanter.eventbrite.com>
Be sure to come see us at our booth today or tomorrow at the Nebraska ...
Be sure to come see us at our booth today or tomorrow at the Nebraska Power Farming Show at booth #1011!! Make sure to get signed up for our 3-in-1 giveaway!>
>
By this time yesterday morning, nearby January soybean futures traded ...
By this time yesterday morning, nearby January soybean futures traded over 40,000 contracts. This morning, just over 16,000 have traded. The rainfall chances in Argentina and Southern Brazil has been reduced. Trade will be watching weather in South America very closely in the coming weeks as pollination for some corn production, mostly in Brazil will start towards the end of December. US traders are looking forward to the balance of the week wondering if we?ll see any new export demand. On the open at 8:30 a.m., corn a penny higher, soybeans up 6, KC wheat down 1 ?.>
Come visit us at the Nebraska Power Farming Show at Lancaster Event ...
Come visit us at the Nebraska Power Farming Show at Lancaster Event Center in Lincoln at booth #1011!>
CBOT markets are slightly higher as we start the first trading day of ...
CBOT markets are slightly higher as we start the first trading day of December. If corn futures close higher today, it would be the 3rd consecutive day of gains, which sadly would be the longest run of higher days since late September. Traders continue to watch South American weather with some heavy rains across Brazil, but Southern areas are not projected to see much, so dryness concerns continue. The USDA reported this morning that 130,000 tons of old crop corn was sold to ?Unknown? this morning. On the open at 8:30 a.m., corn +1/2, soybeans +3, KC wheat +1/2, and crude +90 cents at $58.29/barrel.>
Our York location held an awesome customer appreciation event last ...
Our York location held an awesome customer appreciation event last night! Special thank you to all the farmer-owners who attended...we wouldn't be here without you. #yourfarm #yourcooperative #yourfuture>
Join us for this special clinic to learn more on corn stand ...
Join us for this special clinic to learn more on corn stand establishment and ear count, planter set-up from hitch pin to closing wheels, and planter technology. The clinic will feature Missy and Bill Bauer along with Randy Dowdy. We look forward to seeing you there!>
Local
Arkansas Legislative Panel Backs Dicamba Ban
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas lawmakers recommended regulators move forward Tuesday with efforts to ban an herbicide that farmers in several states say has drifted onto their crops and caused damage, advancing the prohibition despite a lawsuit by a maker of the weed killer. A legislative subcommittee supported the state Plant Board's proposal to ban the use of dicamba from April 16 through Oct. 31. The proposed ban is scheduled to go before the Legislative Council, the Legislature's main governing body when lawmakers aren't in session, for a final vote on Friday. The Plant Board earlier this month stood by the proposed ban after lawmakers urged the panel to consider revising the proposal. Dicamba has been around for decades, but problems arose over the past couple of years as farmers began to use it to kill invasive weeds in soybean and cotton fields where specially engineered seeds had been planted to resist the herbicide. Because it can easily evaporate after being applied, the chemical sometimes settles on neighboring fields planted with seeds that are not resistant to dicamba. Lawmakers endorsed the ban after hearing from farmers who have been sharply divided over the restriction. The Plant Board last year approved a temporary ban on the herbicide's sale and use, and has received nearly 1,000 complaints about dicamba. Farmers have also complained about dicamba causing damage to their crops in other states, including Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota and Tennessee. "We are only asking for a pause in this until we get our hands around this and figure out what we can do," David Wildy, a farmer from east Arkansas, told the panel. "We can't allow this to happen again." Opponents of the ban said it would put Arkansas at a competitive disadvantage with other states that haven't gone as far in restricting the weed killer. "Give the farmers in this state an opportunity to compete with the rest of the U.S.," said Joe Mencer, a soybean farmer from southeast Arkansas. Sen. Bill Sample, the Legislative Council's co-chairman, said he backed the ban even though he had initially asked the board to reconsider its proposal. "I was satisfied that the science was proven," the Republican lawmaker said. Monsanto, which makes dicamba, has filed a lawsuit in Pulaski County Circuit Court challenging the ban and claiming the Plant Board exceeded its authority in prohibiting the weed killer. A hearing is scheduled next month in the Missouri-based company's lawsuit, which seeks to block the state from enforcing the ban. "This vote would put Arkansas farmers at a serious disadvantage and we ask the executive committee to set this right for growers. We will continue to pursue our legal challenge. We will continue to stand with Arkansas growers who need new tools for weed control," Scott Partridge, Monsanto's vice president of global strategy, said in a statement.   Source: AgWeb
The Market's Fine Print
Long before there was GPS, industrial lasers and 3-D topographical mapping, there was Burl Hooker, the land-leveling genius of my youth who Dad would call whenever he decided drought conditions had stolen another corn crop by late July for the last time. Burl would arrive at the project site armed with nothing more than a short pencil, the back of a used envelope and a well-chewed cigar. He then proceeded to meander across the troublesome 80 in question, assessing and collating "cuts" and "fills" with all the nonchalance of an eagle stalking a slow rabbit. An hour or so later, Burl would verbally deliver his pinpoint estimates of cost and completion time. And since his word and quality of dirt work were equally impeccable, Dad could spend the balance of the off-season confidently dreaming of expanded production and new irrigation tubes that virtually set themselves. But here's my question: Where's Burl Hooker when we need him? The rough landscape of early 2018 that requires help can't exactly be identified in terms of section, township and range. In fact, the disturbing swells and troughs I currently have in mind unevenly cover the market terrain of live cattle and lean hog futures. While no one knowledgeable about the nature of commodity trading and seasonal realities could ever imagine these markets watered by gravity, the odd price structures now before us might even baffle the most creative pivot engineer to be found. Despite the fact that both live cattle and lean hogs futures left the 2017 awards banquet with a similar armful of trophies (i.e., record production; solid feedlot/finishing floor profits; significant herd expansion; excellent domestic and foreign product demand), these commodities have stepped into the new year like they have no more in common than Steve Bannon and Rachel Maddow. The market structure disparity shaped by spot cash business is especially head-scratching. On one hand, the live cattle board seems strangely comfortable in embracing substantial discounts to the cash market. Nearby contracts seem unafraid to lead feedlot cash lower over the next 30-60 days. While such early year pessimism (apparently dismissive of the tonnage-robbing potential of a harsh winter) may seem like manna from heaven to first-quarter hedgers who had dialed in a much weaker basis, the ongoing futures/cash divorce must be confusing to longer-term risk managers in need of safe assumptions regarding convergence. On the other hand, lean hog futures have acted absolutely eager to build large premiums to the spot country trade of barrows and gilts. Never mind the supply challenges implied by the Dec. 1 H&P report; never mind the stubborn persistence of live weights 3-5 pounds heavier than the previous year. For whatever reason, traders of hog paper just keep reaching for the North Star, pretty much indifferent to checking for cash progress in the rearview mirror. Before suggesting several possible explanations for this low road/high road divergence between cattle and hog futures, let me concede that some features in both market structures are running close to par. For example, the current discount of summer live contracts to spot February and April is not at all unusual as the board anticipates the seasonal peaking of fed slaughter in the late second and early third quarters. Indeed, the summer discount could conceivably be even deeper if the Feb-April spread was not so strangely flat. At the same time, the current premium of summer lean futures strikes me as reasonable and consistent with the traditional playbook. To be sure, you could argue that traders slamming summer contracts into the mid-$80s this early in the year (especially given so much expansion evidence) are guilty of what Alan Greenspan used to call "irrational exuberance." Still, generally speaking, the logical connection between the relatively small winter pig crop and stronger butcher sales in the June-August quarter is almost impossible to refute. But beyond these elements of normalcy within the early year structure of livestock futures, I'm perplexed by how differently cattle and hog contracts react to either positive or negative cash (regardless of shared 2018 realities such as herd expansion and the likelihood of record per-capita total meat supplies). More specifically, why do live cattle futures react more readily to bad cash news than good? Why do lean hog futures react more readily to good cash news than bad? I have two theories. First, lean hog traders may be finding it easier to imagine significant growth in product demand through 2018 than their live cattle counterparts. On the most basic level of price, pork always stands to have a distinct advantage over beef thanks to simple biology. This inherent leg-up could be particularly underscored within the context of record meat production and the challenges of total consumption. Others sensing superior prospects for pork demand could also be thinking about exports. Although both pork and beef enjoyed blistering growth in 2017, the case can be made that the pork industry has done a better job in adjusting to foreign specs than the beef biz. For example, approximately 50% (up sharply from just a few years ago) of all U.S. hogs receive a ractopamine-free diet, an essential qualification for the Chinese market. Conversely, beef producers and processors have been painfully slow in implementing the necessary protocols required to grow the same market. Second, the pork industry is doing a much better job in coordinating kill capacity with expanding herd size. Hog chain speed was significantly augmented last year with the addition of three new plants. Furthermore, Prestage's new facility is expected to put additional blood on the floor by this spring. By contrast, the cattle industry has barely ended a prolonged pattern of plant closings. As slaughter numbers fall into a stagnant number of plants, packer leverage over feedlot offerings will probably increase. It's been argued that there remains excess kill capacity in the cattle world if larger Saturday slaughters are scheduled. While you can chart some increase in weekend kills over the last year, I'm not convinced it can accommodate the brewing problem of inadequate chain speed. Saturday kills tend to be quite expensive compared with weekday counterparts, especially in terms of labor scheduling and cost. Maybe it's too early in 2018 to get this carried away. Perhaps by the end of the first quarter the cash/futures dance will seem more conventionally coordinated. Yet, two weeks in, the market terrain is anything but level. I think I'll keep looking for Burl's number.  Source: DTN / Progressive Farmer
Stored soil water can help corn yield during drought
Most of Iowa was wet and cool during planting last year (end April to mid-May), warm and dry during vegetative growth (June to July), and cool and wet during reproductive development (August to September). In some locations, the June-July drought was severe with precipitation deficits exceeding eight inches. Despite this drought, yields were high and above the long-term trend for a third straight year.  In-season rainfall is not the only source of water for crops in Iowa. Stored soil water and shallow groundwater were significant contributors to total water uptake. For this reason, crops survived the June-July drought. Field measurements revealed that the depth to water table was approximately five to six feet below the soil surface in mid-July (corn silking time) and crop roots had reached that depth. Deep roots and shallow water tables compensated for much of the precipitation deficit. In fact, below normal June precipitation is favorable in Iowa for two reasons: i) rapid and unconstrained root growth (up to 1.3 inches per day); ii) given generally high soil water content in the early spring, additional precipitation will stimulate nitrogen loss. In terms of grain yield equivalent, model analyses suggest that root access to shallow groundwater accounted for 1% to 46% of total grain yield. The contribution was lower in sites with sufficient rain and higher in sites with drought. In addition to water, the same analyses indicated that the subsoil had more than enough nutrients for sustaining high crop yields. Cool temperatures in August and September reduced transpiration rates, slowed development, and extended the grain-filling period. Additionally, the growing season was extended by a later than normal first killing frost in the fall. This resulted in higher than normal seed weight in corn. Together, these factors contributed to surprisingly high corn yields in 2017. Quantifying temperature, precipitation, and water table dynamics across the state has been an important component of moving the science of digital agriculture forward to enable better predictions of yield and will greatly assist management decisions and predictability of crop yields and nitrogen losses.   Source: Corn & Soybean Digest
Nebraska Ag Update - January 19, 2018
Nebraska Ag Updates
Can I Increase Soil Organic Matter by 1% This Year?
This fall, I participated in workshops where a farmer claimed his soil organic matter increased by 1% per year. Is this a realistic goal to shoot for? The source of soil organic matter is photosynthesis resulting in plant growth – either root or aboveground. Therefore, the organic matter content cannot increase more than the amount of plant growth that can be produced in a year. Let’s just do some basic math assuming all the plant matter gets converted into soil organic matter. First, we need to know what one acre of soil can produce. Let’s assume a highly productive corn crop – producing 200 bushels per acre. That is 200 bushels per acre x 56 lbs/bushel x 0.845 (to correct for 15.5% moisture in grain) = 9,464 lbs of dry grain per acre. Typically, the harvest index of corn (the proportion of stover to grain) is 1, so the amount of residue produced is also 9,464 lbs/A. The root mass produced by corn is on average 20% of the above ground, so if we add that it makes 11,357 lbs/A. Let’s assume you also grow a cover crop of rye and that it is terminated with 5,000 lbs of above-ground dry matter per acre and 1000 lbs of below-ground root mass. The total is 17,357 lbs of plant matter from roots and stover from corn and rye. Let’s convert all that to carbon for greater accuracy. The carbon content of stover is typically 40%, so that is 6,943 lbs of carbon produced per acre in roots and stover. Is that enough carbon to increase soil organic matter 1%? Let’s calculate how much carbon is in 1% of soil organic matter. We assume one acre slice of soil (to a depth of 6.7”) weighs 2,000,000 lbs. So one percent of 2,000,000 is 20,000 lbs. Soil organic matter contains roughly 58% carbon. So one percent organic matter in soil to 6.7 inch depth equals 11,600 lbs of carbon. That is a lot more than the amount of carbon that is produced by a highly productive corn crop plus rye cover crop! I hope you agree that this calculation shows that it is not possible to increase soil organic matter at a rate of 1% per year with current production constraints. And we didn’t include the conversion of plant residue in soil organic matter yet! That conversion has been shown to be only 10-20%. So if you add 6,943 lbs of carbon in plant roots and stover, that would end up in only 1388 lbs of soil organic carbon, or 2393 lbs of soil organic matter. That is 0.1% of 2,000,000 lbs of soil. Therefore, if you increase organic matter content by 0.1% per year you are doing a superb job with your management. To expect 1% increase is unrealistic. This discussion assumes there is no input of organic matter from other fields or farms. If manure or compost have been applied that would change the story. Fred Magdoff and Harold van Es include a calculation of the effect of dairy manure application on soil organic matter in the book “Building Soils for Better Crops (2nd Ed)”. They calculate that applying 20 T/A/yr of solid dairy manure would increase organic matter content 0.065% per year. So if we add relatively high applications of manure to the equation it might be possible to increase organic matter content 0.17% per year. Incorporating a combination of no-til, cover crops, residues and manure can improve soil organic matter over time. We have to be patient. Source: Penn State Extension
A Glimpse of the Future
At Agritechnica, the world’s largest machinery show held in Germany this past November, visitors got a glimpse of the future of autonomous and electric technology. Case IH and New Holland rocked the farm machinery world in 2016 with the autonomous Magnum and T7 NHDrive concepts. These days, all the major brands are likely working on developing an autonomous tractor, but Kubota is the first to sell one, though only in Japan. Called the AgriRobo, the tractor is based on a SL60A and brimming with sensors and cameras. The company says the autonomous “kit” works on all their products and plans to outfit 50 systems on a range of tractors, rice planters and combines this year. Capable of automatically detecting obstacles and relaying important information to a smartphone, the rear of the tractor is fitted with hookups and a PTO that can automatically attach an implement. Kubota is offering the system in Japan because it’s the first country to allow the use of autonomous vehicles in the field. Road use isn’t allowed, however, so the cab is still in place so owners to comfortably drive the tractor back to the farm. Austrian tractor maker Lindner showed a different take on an autonomous tractor with its Lintrac 110 and Trac Link Pilot software. The tractor can be fitted with optical and radar technology to allow it to follow a lead vehicle. The camera automatically follows the silhouette, and the radar ensures the CVT maintains the correct speed to follow at a preset distance. The autonomous diesel-powered, hydraulically driven DOT workhorse is designed to handle a variety of implements. Once the field is mapped, using satellite imagery or by driving it to identify obstacles, and loaded, DOT uses GPS to travel the prescribed farmer-approved route with sub-inch accuracy. A 4.5-liter, 163-hp Cummins motor provides independent power to each wheel. Switching to electric technology, Indian tractor maker Farmtrac displayed a working prototype at Agritechnica. The diesel engine in the 26-hp compact tractor has been swapped for a lithium-ion battery, which provides up to six hours of operation and takes 3½ hours for a 75% recharge. The company is considering the possibility of a battery changing system. Roughly 20% more expensive than the diesel-powered equivalent, the electric tractor is expected to go on sale in India and the U.S. in the next 18 months. By 2020, the company hopes to offer a range of electric and diesel/electric tractors from 50 hp to 110 hp. When it comes to electric solutions, John Deere continues to develop the SESAM concept and other products. Fendt is honing its e100 tractor. Cooperation between tractor and implement manufacturers is needed to advance electric technology as well as addressing the hurdle of expensive electric generators necessary for tractors. ZF believes an integrated electric generator is the way to go, but other tractor makers, such as Kubota, are looking to bolt-on, PTO-powered electric generators for sprayers, drill and planters. Source: Farm Journal AgTech
Judicious spending recommended for Delta cotton
Delta cotton farmers, once again, will be tasked with the difficult chore of growing more cotton but investing less money to do it. “Growers will be forced to maximize their return on investment and hopefully spend less to make more,” says Darrin Dodds, Mississippi State University Extension and Research agronomist, in remarks at the recent Beltwide Cotton Conferences in San Antonio. He says some Mississippi growers have suggested that they have difficulty making a profit with yields topping 1,200 pounds per acre. “We are in a new era with yield,” Dodds adds. The 2017 Mississippi cotton yield topped 1,000 pounds per acre, and growers will expect similar performance in 2018. “For the last six years in a row, we’ve made more than 1,000 pounds per acre, across a lot of different soil types; and in three of those years we’ve made more than 1,200 pounds per acre. Farmers’ perspectives have shifted. The notion of 800 to 900 pounds per acre as a target was abandoned six years ago.” The only blip in the last decade was a 2009 crop that suffered under harvest-time rain that hurt production. Price, too, has improved, Dodds says, from 52 cents when he came to Mississippi State to over 70 cents. “But production costs are up substantially. A round bale picker costs nearly $1 million. Land prices are high,” maybe not as high as $14,000 an acre in some Midwest areas, but a big investment nonetheless. Technology fees and crop protection costs have also risen. “And some technology traits are not as effective as they used to be, but we are still paying for them and still having to spray the crop.” Dodds says Delta cotton farmers will need to make adjustments to eke out a profit. “Some will have to make cuts,” he says. He adds that producers should not try to “win the yield game, but win the money game.” And that requires scrutiny of production practices, production costs and improving efficiency. Variety selection, he emphasizes, is the No. 1 practice to produce an efficient cotton crop. “To maximize efficiency, select the best variety for both field irrigated and dryland production,” he says. VARIETY SELECTION Selecting the right variety is not a matter of adding expense but of spending the time to evaluate variety trials, farm history and management capability. He says looking at yield results is a start. In variety tests, the difference between the highest irrigated yield and mid-level yield could mean as much as 164 pounds per acre. The difference between highest and lowest yield could mean nearly 300 pounds. In dryland production, a 138 pound difference exists between highest and mid-level yields, and 268 between highest and lowest. He says predicting exactly how one variety will perform is, at best, inexact. “But take the time to select the proper variety; once it’s chosen, it’s done.” Yield is important, Dodds says, but not the only factor a grower should consider. “Look at more than performance. One variety will not win all the trials. Stability is important from year to year across soil types, rainfall, planting date and management styles.” FERTILITY Fertility is No. 2 on Dodds’ list of factors to watch to improve efficiency. “Nitrogen affects plant growth,” he said. Potassium and lime also play critical roles. Knowing what’s available, a theme Extension has preached for decades, is a crucial factor in developing a fertility program. Mississippi is typically a 120-pound of nitrogen per acre state, Dodds says, but adjustments may be in order. Some growers will apply 105 and some will add 140 pounds. “With 80 to 100 pounds of nitrogen, we can often top out yields on light textured soils in Mississippi.” He says adding too much nitrogen creates problems. “If a grower is using excessive rates of plant growth regulators, he can likely cut back on nitrogen. It’s hard to justify the investment of high nitrogen rates,” he adds. He says insect management also may be more difficult with higher nitrogen rates. “Plant bugs like big, tall, rank cotton. If we can shorten the cotton plant, we can potentially reduce plant bug problems and lower cotton production costs.” He says some producers spray seven to 10 times a season for plant bugs. Reducing nitrogen rate lessens fertility costs, possibly saves money on insect sprays, plant growth regulator expense and makes defoliation easier. Potassium is also important and may tend to run out late in the season. “Big crops take a lot of potassium out of the soil. Cutting back on nitrogen frees up funds to add potash, Dodds says. “If we save $12 on nitrogen, we free up money for 80 pounds of potash.” PEST MANAGEMENT Pest management is Dodds’ No. 3 efficiency factor. Thrips, plant bugs and worms are the targets. He says seed treatments worked well on for thrips for many years, but five or six years ago resistance began to show up. “Aeris is still working reasonably well.” He says over-treatment or applying acephate in furrow is a good option. He says variety characteristics may be a factor in plant bug management. “With hairy-leaf varieties, we see lower plant bug populations.” Planting date also affects pest management. Dodds says early planting, in years when that’s possible, may allow producers to miss a key plant bug movement. “They come out of corn and into cotton,” he explains. “If we plant early and allow corn to get a little further along, we can avoid corn senescence and some plant bug damage.” He says diamond insecticide may also be more effective if applied just before bloom. He reiterates that managing nitrogen levels will help manage insect pests. Weed pests have been managed effectively, he says with new technology, Xtend and Enlist cotton. “About 80 percent of our acreage went into these technologies in 2017; we expect a similar percentage in 2018.” Dodds says farmers used to spend from $20 to $30 an acre for weed control and now that number may approach or exceed $100 per acre. Any effective strategy to bring those costs down will benefit the bottom line. Target spot is a new threat. “We have seen target spot become more common over the past several years and no variety is immune.” He says infected plants may drop second position bolls. “I prefer that to first position.” He adds that no one is certain what the answer for managing target spot. “We can’t spray our way out of it. Fungicides have been inconsistent in terms of control and subsequent yield increases.” He says variety selection will not solve the problem. “But I recommend selecting the best variety for your farm.” Canopy management, keeping plants short and compact, and allowing air movement may be beneficial. SPEND WISELY Dodds’ No.4 key to efficiency is spending wisely. “Look at input costs and make decisions,” he says. “Replant decisions can make a difference in production costs. “If a grower has 15,000 plants per acre and plants are evenly spaced, keep it,” he advises. “Plants will compensate. But if the field has a lot of skips, replant.” He says some tests have shown decent yields with populations as low as 9,200 plants per acre. ‘I wouldn’t recommend that planting rate but we can make yield with lower plant populations.” Efficient irrigation management, he says, can be both an economical advantage and an environmental one. “We need to be aware of slowing down our aquifer depletion rate.” Foliar feeding and harvest aids may also offer opportunities to save money. “Look carefully at foliar feeding — cost versus how much it makes.” He says harvest aids, “are as cheap as they have ever been. We can do an effective job for less than $25 per acre.” Dodd says with high input costs and marginal crop prices, cotton farmers have to be willing to make adjustments. “Big crops mean big costs, so don’t spend frivolously. Spend money when you know it will pay.”  Source: Delta Farm Press
DTN Retail Fertilizer Trends
OMAHA (DTN) -- Average retail prices for most fertilizers continued to move higher as 2017 drew to a close, according to retailers surveyed by DTN. Seven of the eight major fertilizers were higher the fourth week of December compared to a month earlier. Anhydrous was 12% more expensive compared to last month and had an average price of $468 per ton. MAP was 6% higher, as well, with an average price of $488/ton. The remaining five fertilizers were higher compared to the prior month, though none were up by a significant amount. DAP had an average price of $448/ton, potash $344/ton, urea $348/ton, 10-34-0 $407/ton and UAN28 $216/ton. Just one fertilizer was lower from the previous month. UAN32 was 6% lower compared to last month. The nitrogen fertilizer had an average price of $254/ton. On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.38/lb.N, anhydrous $0.29/lb.N, UAN28 $0.39/lb.N and UAN32 $0.40/lb.N. A new year brings new acquisitions in the Midwest retail fertilizer industry. South Dakota Wheat Growers, based in Aberdeen, South Dakota, announced on Tuesday that it has purchased a 40,000 ton dry fertilizer facility located in Kimball, which had been previously owned by Gavilon Fertilizer, LLC. According to a company news release, the Kimball plant will become the largest-capacity dry fertilizer plant in the Wheat Growers cooperative. The company currently has six hub fertilizer plants located in Bath, Huron, Kennebec, McLaughlin, Oakes and Wolsey, which was the largest facility with 31,200 tons of dry fertilizer storage. Source: DTN / Progressive Farmer
U OF ILLINOIS STUDY SHOWS PRODUCERS WHERE, HOW TO GROW CELLULOSIC BIOFUEL CRO
According to a recent ruling by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, 288 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel must be blended into the U.S. gasoline supply in 2018. Although this figure is down slightly from last year, the industry is still growing at a modest pace. However, until now, producers have had to rely on incomplete information and unrealistic, small-scale studies in guiding their decisions about which feedstocks to grow, and where. A new multi-institution report provides practical agronomic data for five cellulosic feedstocks, which could improve adoption and increase production across the country. "Early yield estimates were based on data from small research plots, but they weren't realistic. Our main goal with this project was to determine whether these species could be viable crops when grown on the farm scale," says D.K. Lee, associate professor in the Department of Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois and leader of the prairie mixture portion of the study. The project, backed by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Sun Grant Initiative, began in 2008 and includes researchers from 26 institutions. Together, they evaluated the bioenergy potential of switchgrass, Miscanthus, sorghum, energycane, and prairie mixtures in long-term trials spanning a wide geographical area. Due to shortages in plant materials, Miscanthus and energycane were grown on smaller plots than the other crops, but researchers say the new results are still valuable for producers. "Although making real-world decisions and recommendations based on performance data from small plots is less desirable than from field-scale plots, we feel comfortable with the Miscanthus results since they were based on 33 data sets collected from five sites over seven years," says Tom Voigt, professor in the crop sciences department at U of I and leader of the Miscanthus portion of the study. Crops were grown for five to seven years in multiple locations and with varying levels of nitrogen fertilizer. Although most of the crops are known to tolerate poor soil quality, the researchers found that they all benefitted from at least some nitrogen. For example, Miscanthus did best with an application of 53.5 pounds per acre. "When we didn't fertilize with any nitrogen, yields dropped over time. But if we used too much, 107 pounds per acre, we were increasing nitrous oxide emissions and nitrate leaching," says Voigt. "There is some need for fertilization, but it should be tailored to specific locations." Prairie mixtures, which were grown on land enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), also benefitted from added nitrogen. Yield kept increasing with the addition of up to 100 pounds per acre, but Lee says producers would have to weigh the yield benefit against the cost of the fertilizer. "Even though it increased yield, it is economically not profitable to use more than 50 pounds of nitrogen per acre." And although most of the crops are somewhat drought-tolerant, precipitation made a difference. "Miscanthus production was directly related to precipitation," Voigt says. "In areas where precipitation was down, yields generally dropped. However, it did depend on timing. If there was a good amount of water in the winter, plants could get going pretty well in the spring. But if we had little rainfall after that, that hurt yields." Lee says prairie mixtures, which are normally made up of hardy grasses, suffered from the severe droughts in 2012 and 2013 in some locations. "In one year in our Oklahoma location, they didn't even try to harvest. Yield was too low." No one feedstock "won" across the board. "It depends so much on location, nitrogen application rate, and year variability," Voigt says. Instead of highlighting specific yields obtained in good years or locations, a group of statisticians within the research team used field-based yield and environmental data to create maps of yield potential for the five crops across the U.S. Dark green swaths on the maps represent areas of highest yield potential, between 8 and 10 tons per acre per year. According to the new results, the greatest yield potentials for lowland switchgrass varieties are in the lower Mississippi valley and the Gulf coast states, whereas Miscanthus and prairie mixture yields are likely to be greatest in the upper Midwest. Lee says the prairie mixtures, which are typically grown on CRP land to conserve soil, didn't live up to their potential in the study. "We know that there are higher-yielding switchgrass varieties today than were included in the CRP mixtures in the study. If we really want to use CRP for biomass production, we need to plant highly productive species. That will bump yield up a lot higher. "One of the biggest concerns now is that CRP enrollment is shrinking. When we started, we had 36 million acres nationwide. Now we're down to 26 million. Farmers feel they could make more money by using that land for row crops. We need to find some solution if we want to save the soil. Biomass could provide revenue for farmers, if they were allowed to harvest it," Lee says. Energycane could reach very high yields, but in a relatively limited portion of the country. However, the crop that shows the highest potential yields in the greatest number of locations is sorghum. The annual crop is highly adaptable to various conditions and might be easier for farmers to work with. "It fits well in the traditional annual row-crop system; better than perennial crops. It may not be environmentally as desirable as perennial crops, but people could borrow money in winter to buy seed and supplies, then plant, and sell in the fall to pay back their loans. It's the annual cycle that corn and beans are in," Voigt says. Lee adds, "In terms of management, sorghum is almost the same as corn. It germinates and grows so quickly, weed control is not a big issue. If you plant by early June, it will be 15-20 feet tall by September. It also has good drought tolerance." Downsides to the biomass champ? It's wet at harvest and can't be stored. It also requires nitrogen and can lodge, or collapse, prior to harvest in wet or windy conditions. "Still, it's a really spectacular plant," Voigt says. The researchers made all the raw data from the study available online for anyone to access. Lee says it can be useful for everyone: scientists, policymakers, and producers. "It should be helpful for number of different stakeholders," he says. The article, "Biomass production of herbaceous energy crops in the United States: Field trial results and yield potential maps from the multiyear regional feedstock partnership," is published in a special issue of GCB Bioenergy. The project was funded through the U.S. Department of Energy [award number DE-FC36-05GO85041] and the North Central Regional Sun Grant Center at South Dakota State University.  Source: AgriMarketing
High oleic soybeans achieve final global regulatory milestone
High oleic soybeans have crossed their final regulatory hurdle, clearing the way for farmers to plant more acres of high oleic soybeans in 2018. Full global regulatory approval can help expand the market for high oleic soy and create opportunities to increase U.S. soybean value and competitiveness in the global marketplace. “Achieving high oleic global regulatory approval enables us to meet end-user needs with a product they want and increase the use of U.S. soybean oil,” said Lewis Bainbridge, United Soybean Board chair and farmer from Ethan, SD. “We encourage farmers to talk with their seed representatives about high oleic soybean variety options for 2018 planting to help keep pace with growing demand for this high-functioning oil.” The soy checkoff has invested in research to ensure that high oleic soybeans deliver the qualities required by oil end users. These varieties produce a more stable oil for food industry use in restaurants and packaged goods. The oil also expands uses for non-food applications, such as synthetic motor oil and automotive lubricants. For farmers, checkoff-supported research has helped ensure that high oleic soybeans perform the same as other soybean varieties and that variety development expanded to a wider range of maturity groups. “For high oleic soybeans to be successful, we can’t sacrifice performance in the field or limit the geographies where they are grown,” says Bainbridge. “Farmers who plant high oleic soybean varieties consistently report that their high oleic varieties yield as well or better than their other soybean varieties.” In order for end users to convert to high oleic soybean oil, they need a reliable, consistent supply. The checkoff has been working with industry partners to ramp up acreage of high oleic soybean varieties to meet growing demand. High oleic soybean varieties were initially grown in three states and are now grown in 13 states. Acreage of high oleic soybean varieties has grown from 50,000 acres in 2013 to more than 625,000 acres in 2017. Given this regulatory milestone, its proven performance and anticipated continued growth in market demand, high oleic soybeans are expected to become the fourth-largest grain and oilseed crop in the U.S., with a goal of planting 18 million acres of high oleic soybeans. Farmers interested in learning more about high oleic soybeans are encouraged to talk with their local seed representative and visit www.soyinnovation.com. Source: Wisconsin State Farmer
Financial Outlook - Will Wall Street?s bulls run for ag?
Farmers watching the stock market make a never-ending series of record highs can only wonder if any of that bullish enthusiasm will spill over to agriculture. So far, the confetti from Wall Street’s New Year’s party had both positive and negative impacts on farmers. Back in the throes of the last big boom that preceded the financial crisis of 2008-2009, the rising tide lifted all boats, helping stocks and commodities. Investors seemed eager to buy just about anything. This time around the mood is more cautious, at least in some respects. Until recently bulls haven’t shown much interest in commodities, despite talk that the stronger economic growth helping drive the stock market could increase demand for energy and industrial metals. That dynamic has changed. Money managers hold a record net long position in crude oil, helping push futures past $64 a barrel. Copper is trading at a four-year high, and even gold is back above $1,300 an ounce Overall, the CRB Index is at its highest since November 2015. Investors are having another “déjà vu” moment. The dollar started 2017 at its strongest level in 15 years. But as 2018 begins it’s lost 12.5% of its value. The weak dollar was also a hallmark of the last decade’s bull market. Investors sold dollars and bought hard assets, a trade that became a cycle to preserve purchasing power. This time around it looked like the dollar was ready to roll higher. The Federal Reserve began to raise interest rates, which normally brings buyers into a currency. But suddenly the Euro is on fire as growth on the continent picks up and the central bank there signals its own more aggressive path. That caused the dollar to lose almost 1% of its value Jan. 12, a huge move for a currency. Still, the greenback seems only mildly undervalued though swings of 6% could be seen over the next year. The best barometer of these currency moves lately has been seen in wheat, where the weak dollar helped U.S. prices rally for a month while the euro pressed Paris wheat to contract lows. Inflation remains tame in the U.S. despite just a 4% unemployment rate, while there are signs prices may be heating up faster overseas. Normally inflation drives investors away from a currency, but Euro buyers see it as a sign of better things to come from their economy. Interest rates are rising in the U.S., albeit slowly. The Federal Reserve has increased its benchmark short-term rate five times, with two or three more ¼-point hikes likely in 2018 according to betting on federal funds futures. And yields on two-year Treasures closed just under 2% before the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday weekend, the highest since the financial crisis. That has begun to flatten the yield curve, lowering the difference between short and long-term rates. And inverted curve, when short-term rates are above the long term yield, is one of the predictors of recessions. But based on the Fed’s timeline, the U.S. is still a long ways from completing that pattern. Indeed, money managers seem to have no fear. The stock market volatility, or “fear” index remains near record low levels, suggesting buyers of stocks don’t want to pay much for put option protection against a downturn. Stocks meanwhile are buoyed by expectations corporate tax cuts will boost earnings that are already very strong. While the market is undervalued by most fundamental measures, my projected high for the year is still 100 points away for the S&P at 2,860. Whether that could bring bulls back to ag remains to be seen.  Source: Farm Futures  
Making Sense of Forage Analysis Results
Results from forage analysis aren’t just for ration formulations. The numbers can also help producers adjust management processes to avoid future problems altogether. “The results of forage analysis can be really useful,” says notes Bob Charley, Ph.D., Forage Products Management, Lallemand Animal Nutrition. “For instance, it can show if the crop was harvested correctly or if silages are prone to spoilage.” Dr. Charley advises producers to review these parameters: Dry matter (DM): Lower DM levels, especially in alfalfa or other high protein silages, can compound issues like the presence of clostridia from the soil. Lower DM levels also require more acid production and a lower pH for stability. pH: Lower pH levels do not necessarily make better quality silage. Forage analysis should show pH stabilization, even if it’s at achieved at a higher level. Ash: Normal levels in the plant should be around six to eight percent, depending on the crop. Higher numbers can indicate slurry contamination. Acid detergent fiber (ADF), neutral detergent fiber (NDF) and lignin: These values should be within average ranges for the type of material harvested. If levels are higher than normal for the crop, it may be a sign the material was more mature than ideal. This can also lead to yeast and mold challenges. Crude protein (CP): The higher the protein level, the higher the buffering in the material and the more acid is required to bring the pH down. This can facilitate complications from clostridia. Acid Detergent Insoluble Crude Protein (ADICP): High levels of bound protein (ADICP, greater than 10 percent of the CP) show there has been heating in the silage. Soluble protein: High levels of soluble protein indicate there has been protein breakdown, also called proteolysis. This can occur due to prolonged wilting in the field or inefficient silage fermentation. Lactic acid: This is the main driver for pH drop and should be at a reasonably high level for the silage pH to rapidly stabilize. This number can vary with the crop ensiled and DM level. Lactic acid levels will be lower in silages treated with inoculants containing Lactobacillus buchneri. It also typically has higher concentrations of acetic acid and lower levels of lactic acid than untreated silage. Acetic acid helps inhibit the growth of spoilage yeasts that are responsible for silage heating. This process is one of the reasons Biotal® forage inoculants containing the specific strain Lactobacillus buchneri 40788 have been uniquely reviewed by the FDA for improved aerobic stability when applied at 400,000 CFU per gram of forage or 600,000 CFU per gram of high-moisture corn (HMC). “There is no single number that indicates ‘good’ silage,” Dr. Charley notes. “Silage is a very complex biological system with inherent variability. Still, forage analysis results can help producers understand what happened during the harvest and ensiling process — and how to improve feedstuff quantity and quality the next time.”  Source: Bovine Veterinarian
5 Manufacturing Trends to Watch in 2018
The long-term direction of the equipment manufacturing industry is in the midst of being shaped by cutting-edge industry trends. These trends are expected to have a significant impact in 2018 and beyond, so it's critical for industry professionals to develop a strong understanding of what they are, how they will evolve, and how they can affect a company's operations both now and in the future. Let's take a look at five of the top manufacturing trends for 2018: The Internet of Things (IoT) One of the biggest challenges manufacturers face today is determining how best to implement IoT to achieve operational goals such as reducing costs, improving efficiency, increasing safety, supporting compliance or spurring product innovation. However, companies are beginning to recognize the value of thinking strategically and operationally, as well as better understanding the importance of data management. They are gathering operational data, analyzing it and leveraging valuable information gleaned from manufacturing processes to spark transformative organizational change. According to a recent article from Digitalistmag, about a third of manufacturing production processes and non-production processes, as well as equipment, currently incorporate smart devices or embedded intelligence. Furthermore, roughly a third of manufacturers today have an organizational strategy in place to apply IoT to their processes or embed the technology into their product offerings. While IoT may seem like a trend in its infancy, the truth is it’s already arrived in full force. More and more manufacturers are starting to take notice -- and benefit from -- the fact that IoT offers the necessary tools and technology to help them lower costs while simultaneously boosting output. Industry 4.0 The rise of Industry 4.0, or smart manufacturing, has provided manufacturers with the opportunity to utilize advanced manufacturing capabilities and information technology (IT) throughout the product lifecycle. Experts have called Industry 4.0 the next Industrial Revolution, and for good reason. It can improve production processes, increase efficiency and improve safety on the factory floor, because it provides manufacturers with better abilities to monitor and analyze assets, as well as offers them improved monitoring and simulation to help them gain better intelligence about their systems. When Industry 4.0 solutions are implemented, manufacturers can benefit in a number of ways: improved resource productivity and efficiency, agility in meeting customers' business needs, value opportunities through the development of new services, as well as increased speed to market. Industry 4.0 is definitely a trend on the rise, but manufacturers must be committed to identifying critical business needs when looking to adopt technology, building organizational capability and actively adapting processes and culture over time. It does no one any good to invest in technology without a framework in place to take advantage of the efficiencies Industry 4.0 provides. Additive Manufacturing An ever-increasing acceptance of additive manufacturing processes has led to their widespread adoption in the manufacturing industry in recent years. Companies have seen the value of employing additive processes for prototyping, tooling and even final production applications to help positively impact time and cost efficiencies. For example, heavy equipment manufacturers produce machinery with product lifespans measured in decades. As a result, they are forced to invest heavily in maintaining large inventories of spare parts, ready for when a customer places an order. Many manufacturers are looking into using 3D printing to making a replacement part without having the inventory in place, saving them the significant overhead costs of warehouse space. Furthermore, the production of molds, jigs and fixtures used in the mass production of heavy equipment presents an even greater opportunity to leverage additive manufacturing to increase operational efficiency. Lastly, using 3D printing for final production is becoming more and more common with time. From its humble beginnings as a plastic prototyping process, additive manufacturing has steadily grown and developed over the course of the last 30 years or so. As a trend, it’s here to stay. Now all the manufacturers need to do is figure out how to use the technology to best meet their individual business needs. Automation Groundbreaking advancements in technology are propelling manufacturing into a new age of automation. Robotics, machine learning and artificial intelligence are poised to disrupt the industry in the years to come, and the continued evolution of these technologies will literally shape manufacturing’s long-term future. The challenge for companies is to decide what to automate (and what not to automate) in order to best obtain value. What is evident, however, is there’s a tremendous opportunity for manufacturers to automate certain activities and jobs within their organizations. Technology makes it possible to not only automate tasks on the show floor, but also to automate jobs in other areas of a business, such as maintenance, management and administration. Furthermore, in many cases, machines are able to match or exceed the productivity output of their human counterparts. The key for manufacturers will be to approach automation strategically, and doing so requires an understanding of what factors are most important to them as they relate to making decisions about investing in AI, robotics and other technology. Augmented Reality The concept of augmented reality (AR) is nothing new, but the technology is still in its earliest stages and its potential impacts on the manufacturing industry have yet to be realized. Possible applications for AR include complex assembly, maintenance, expert support, quality assurance and automation. However, experts suggest the industry has only begun to scratch the surface for what it can do. AR is a trend on the rise, though. Many companies are currently exploring the use of wearable technologies, including head-mounted devices integrated with AR, which overlays virtual reality over real objects. These devices provide the wearer with a wealth of data to help him or her perform a task and stay safe on the job. While the technology may seem futuristic, that's really not the case. AR is currently being used in manufacturing facilities across the United States and around the world. And companies utilizing it are experiencing a number of benefits, including cost reduction, speed increases, fewer errors, and overall improved safety.  Source: AEM
DICAMBA DAMAGE: DOES THE LAW PROTECT YOU?
Controversy has spread across the country over the first season use of new formulations of dicamba. More than 2,700 dicamba-related injury cases are currently under investigation by various state departments of agriculture throughout the U.S. According to the University of Missouri, about 3.6 million acres of soybean were injured by off-site movement of dicamba at some point during 2017. Arkansas experienced an unprecedented 985 complaints in 2017 involving the new dicamba. In response, the Arkansas State Plant Board recently issued rules that prohibit its use in 2018 in Arkansas from April 16 through October 31, with some exceptions for pastures and households. Monsanto has filed a lawsuit attacking the Arkansas State Plant Board’s rule-making process (Pulaski County Arkansas Circuit Court No. 60CV-17-5964), as has a group of Arkansas farmers wanting a later cutoff date than that set by the Arkansas State Plant Board (Pulaski County Arkansas Circuit Court No. 60CV-17-6539). As the courts and state and federal regulatory agencies evaluate whether, how, and where dicamba can be used, farmers have to remain diligent. Those who grow crops that cannot endure dicamba as well as those who want to retain their organic certifications are especially at risk. Knowing how farmers in other states are coping with the issue can help you shape your state’s dicamba strategy. RESTRICTIONS APPLY Farmers have used dicamba for decades to kill a wide spectrum of plants. Because of its volatility, crops that can’t tolerate the herbicide can be damaged. Dicamba is considered volatile because it can convert from a liquid/solid state to a gaseous/vapor state, travel in the air, and cause off-target damage even beyond adjacent fields. Pinpointing the cause of this type of damage is challenging. With drift – the physical movement of the liquid droplets – the source can be easily traced. Drift damages can usually be settled by following the drift trail to the responsible party. Because of the manner and time over which the volatility and off-target movement occur, volatility damages are more difficult to trace. The lack of such a trail prevents regulatory agencies from determining fault for enforcement actions, and insurance companies can take the position that there is not enough proof that their insured party caused the off-target damages. The insurance companies also can take the position that volatility is a product liability issue and must be taken up with the manufacturer. The bottom line: If you have crop damage from off-target movement caused by volatility of a product, you may not have any way to recover damages other than the goodwill of a neighbor. Until this year, the use of dicamba in row-crop areas was restricted to early-season burndown, when lower temperatures reduce volatility, and before susceptible crops emerged. Monsanto has developed what it characterizes as a low-volatility formulation of dicamba for in-season, over-the-top applications to soybeans and cotton bred to be resistant to dicamba. In November 2016, the EPA issued a two-year registration for in-season use of the new formulation of dicamba, with 2017 being the first season for such use. The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) allows states to consider their local conditions and issue more restrictive requirements for using the pesticide than those issued by the EPA. Under FIFRA, states can even prohibit the use of the pesticide in that state. THE CURRENT STATE OF AFFAIRS During the summer of 2017, an unusually high number of complaints were filed in several states alleging crop damage from off-target movement of the new dicamba product. In response to an unprecedented number of complaints, the Arkansas State Plant Board banned use of the new dicamba product for 120 days, which went into effect July 11. Even with that midseason ban, 985 complaints alleging dicamba damage were filed in Arkansas for 2017 and 2,708 were reported nationwide. Because of the number and nature of the complaints, the Environmental Protection Agency in October 2017 added more restrictions for using the new dicamba products in-season during 2018. Those additional restrictions include lower wind speed limits, restricted use designation, and more record keeping. Critics argue that volatility is the problem, and these new requirements do not address volatility. Other states where soybeans and cotton are grown will likely be considering whether to take any additional actions for dicamba use for the 2018 growing season. Anyone who has an interest in crops that cannot endure dicamba should look into how their state will deal with dicamba for 2018. Those decisions should take into account several factors: Local conditions (all weather elements, topography, soil types) Extent, nature, and cause of 2017 dicamba complaints Any local, state, or regional field tests addressing dicamba volatility Crop mix and proximity of susceptible crops to dicamba-resistant varieties of cotton and soybeans State regulatory authority and rule-making procedures Needless to say, the controversy is not likely to subside anytime soon. In the meantime, what your state does, what regulations it imposes or doesn’t impose, can greatly affect your crops. Anyone who is at risk of damage from dicamba products should get involved in their state regulatory process.  Source: Successful Farming
Genetically Engineered Insects Next For Agriculture?
Want to crash an insect population? Slip in a self-limiting gene and topple the family tree in two to three generations. The promise of biotech mosquitoes to combat the pest that spreads Zika, dengue and yellow fever grabs the headlines, but just off center stage, the same technology utilizing genetically engineered (GE) insects is being tested on U.S. farmland. With the flick of a genetic switch, agriculture could turn the sex drive of an insect against itself. The arrival of GE insects in farming could usher in a new wave of pest management, based on species-specific tools targeting pest insects, and result in a significant reduction in broad-spectrum insecticide applications. GE insects may provide growers with a major new pest weapon if all goes according to plan. Anthony Shelton is walking farmland in west-central New York, across a field of cabbage that serves as U.S. agriculture’s ground zero of GE insect research. A Cornell University professor of entomology and renowned expert on insect pest management, Shelton is using biotechnology to place GE crosshairs on a remarkably adaptable crop pest: diamondback moth (DBM). In the pantheon of devastating pests, DBM holds a top-tier perch, casting a long shadow across global farmland as a major crop killer of broccoli, cabbage, canola, cauliflower, and more, racking up $5 billion per year in damage. A consummate survivalist, DBM features a remarkable ability to develop resistance to insecticides (sometimes within two years) by reproducing a generation within a few weeks in the field. DBM has developed resistance to every insecticide class used against it, according to Shelton: “It’s a leader in the resistance movement and is the first insect to have developed resistance to Bt.” Shelton is using technology developed by Oxitec to target DBM. Oxitec, at the vanguard of GE insect research and technology, has garnered a great deal of attention through its releases of GE male mosquitoes in Brazil and other countries. GE males mate with wild females and the resulting offspring die as a result of a self-limiting gene. Shelton is testing Oxitec’s self-limiting technology in DBM trials. When Shelton releases DBM males modified by Oxitec, they mate with wild females. Through biotech engineering, all female offspring die. With the continued release of male moths over a sustained period, the number of females in the population drops precipitously and the capacity of the population to sustain itself is diminished. Typical insecticide resistance isn’t an issue because the developed strain is susceptible to insecticides and as the insects die, the potential build-up of insecticide resistance genes is blocked. Could behavioral resistance develop? “In theory, wild insects could evolve a preference strictly for other wild insects,” Shelton says. “We have to look for that, but have seen no indication of it so far.” Radiation vs. Precision Surgery GE insect technology essentially utilizes biotech sterilization. Current insect sterilization methods, such as sterile insect technique (SIT), require radiation. SIT was developed in the 1950s, targeted toward the screw-worm, which annually inflicted heavy losses on the cattle industry. SIT was highly successful in controlling screw-worm, several fruit flies, pink bollworm and more pests. In 1990, Shelton was asked by the International Atomic Energy Agency to work on a SIT project to sterilize DBM with radiation in Indonesia and Malaysia. The radiation dose sterilized the moths, but they didn’t hold up well to the treatment and weren’t fit enough to fly well and mate. The project was dropped due to the limits of radiation. Yet, rather than the sledgehammer of radiation, current GE insect technology is akin to precision surgery. In 2015, Shelton and his colleagues completed GE DBM greenhouse trials proving the technology was effective—the pest DBM population crashed after several releases of GE DBM. Additionally, beyond triggering DBM population crashes, the trial also addressed insect resistance to Bt crops. “When we introduced the GE insects into the pest population, which we had bred to be resistant to Bt, the DBM population crashed and we also restored susceptibility to Bt,” he explains. “It’s like having your cake and eating it too.” In fall 2017, he completed open-field testing to assess the field behavior of GE DBM. Shelton is currently conducting supplemental lab experiments and preparing to publish his overall findings in a peer-reviewed journal. “Growers need tools and this one is species-specific. There are so many concerns about the broad-spectrum effect of some insecticides on pollinators,” he notes. “If something as benign as genetic engineering helps control insects, growers will want to adopt this technology.” Shelton also touts the potential for using biotechnology in diverse ways to help manage pests. Current discussion usually centers on the development of GE crops resistant to particular insects, but Shelton says rather than wading through the expensive and time-consuming process of creating and getting such crops registered, the focus also could be placed directly on engineering pests to control themselves: “In so many cases, maybe a more effective way of using biotech is to engineer the pest to take care of itself. We’ve got GE crops of all types, but let’s think about GE insects to supplement, or in some cases replace, those crops.” “We’re at the cusp of utilization of GE insects. In 25 years, when someone sees an airplane spraying insecticides over a field, they may wonder if that’s the best way to control pests,” he adds. Debut in a Decade? Oxitec strains of Mediterranean fruit fly and fall armyworm are also in preparation. Are all agricultural insect pests a candidate for GE control? “The top consideration is whether they reproduce sexually,” says Neil Morrison, research lead for agricultural pest control at Oxitec. “That leaves most pests still on the table. Our technology is highly suitable for a whole lot of important pests.” DBM has rapidly developed resistance to insecticides even when faced with sophisticated pest management programs. The mode of action within biotech DBM relies on mating, ensuring target-specific pest suppression, and avoidance of pollinators and other beneficial insects. Morrison says genetic engineering is a powerful alternative to insecticides and provides another much-needed IPM tool for growers. GE technology in use with DBM has an additional benefit to direct pest suppression, in that male progeny initially survive. “If our factory colony is insecticide susceptible, those susceptibility genes are pushed out into the pest population,” Morrison explains. “We’ve done laboratory tests indicating this could have a powerful resistance dilution effect. We potentially have a powerful tool for managing insect resistance to insecticides in biotech crops.” When could biotech pest control make a commercial debut on farmland? Timelines depend on the regulatory process, but Morrison expects some GE insect use within a decade. Navigating EPA requirements for GE insects is a trip into uncharted waters. “Others who come after us may have an easier time,” says Sarah Hoey, communications manager at Oxitec. “Given the nature of our solution, the success of Oxitec relies on partnerships with each country. Working closely with collaborators around the world, we’re able to develop the best strategy for each location.” Morrison believes GE technology is a powerful pest control agent and says the benefits extend beyond suppression: “This relies on mating and has the potential to reduce pest populations lower than other methods, but there is more: It protects other tools in the toolbox. Genetic engineering could be a solution for growers that find it difficult to control pests sustainably using conventional tools. In terms of IPM, this can fundamentally change the ways pests are managed.” “We’re very passionate about this opportunity. Growers face increasing pressure to control pests in a way that doesn’t harm the environment beyond their fields,” Morrison adds. “This technology is one of the most sustainable means of pest control, period, and it has a lot to offer growers and the environment.”   Source: AgWeb
National
Wide-range of weather across the Nation
?? Across the Corn Belt, mild air is arriving, starting across the upper Midwest. The warmer-than-normal weather has begun to erode a widespread, generally shallow snow cover. Early Friday, snow depths stood at 3 inches in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota; Rockford, Illinois; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Dayton, Ohio. On the Plains, rain and snow showers have begun to develop across parts of Montana. Mild, dry weather covers the remainder of the nation?s mid-section. Friday?s high temperatures will top 70? across portions of the central and southern High Plains, maintaining significant stress on poorly established winter wheat, which has also been subjected to intensifying drought and periods of extreme cold. Continue reading Wide-range of weather across the Nation at Brownfield Ag News.      
Successful dairy operation takes more than skill
A young dairy producer says it takes skill to begin milking cows, but it takes something less tangible to make it work.? Nate Bloss milks 300 cows with his dad and brother near Fulton, Missouri.? They began just two years ago with little cash, but spending time working through how they would succeed from the start. ?The most important thing, though, is I think we had the skill to milk cows and manage those animals,? Bloss told Brownfield Ag News at the Heart of America Dairy Expo in Springfield, Missouri. Continue reading Successful dairy operation takes more than skill at Brownfield Ag News.      
Winter storm potential for the Plains, upper Midwest
A gradual warming trend will continue through the weekend across the South, East, and Midwest. Meanwhile, a storm system emerging from the western U.S. will produce significant snow across portions of the Intermountain West and Rockies, as well as the northern and central Plains and the upper Midwest. During the weekend, showers and thunderstorms will erupt across the mid-South and environs. By early next week, heavy precipitation (rain and snow) will spread across the Northeast. Continue reading Winter storm potential for the Plains, upper Midwest at Brownfield Ag News.      
CME dairy markets closed mixed Friday
The Dairy markets were mixed on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Friday. January milk was up $.05 at $13.88. ?February was up $.02 at $13.56. ?March was up $.02 to $13.54. ?April was down $.02 closing at $13.71. ?The rest of the 2018 milk futures were all down except August, which was up two cents. Grade AA Butter was down $.0125 closing at $2.12. ?Seven carloads were sold ranging from $2.1125 to $2.1225. Continue reading CME dairy markets closed mixed Friday at Brownfield Ag News.      
Arkansas dicamba ban finalized
  Arkansas? dicamba ban has been finalized. The state?s legislative council approved the report from the Administrative Rules and Regulations subcommittee which bans the use of dicamba between April 16th and October 31st of this year. Monsanto?s Scott Partridge says the decision is disappointing ? and limits options for growers, ?They will be once again placed at a disadvantage compared to soybean and cotton growers in 33 other states across the United States who will have access to the most modern technology that has proven to be successful in controlling those difficult to manage weeds such as pigweed.? The Arkansas State Plant Board will file the rule with the secretary of state?s office and will become effective 10 days after the filing. Continue reading Arkansas dicamba ban finalized at Brownfield Ag News.      
Cattle futures close lower ahead of week?s direct cash trade
  Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures were lower on profit taking and the weak midday boxed beef. Direct cash cattle business did not develop during Friday’s session and contracts were unable to follow through on early gains. February was $.05 lower at $121.90 and April was down $.75 at $122.72. Feeder cattle were lower on profit taking, the modestly lower boxed beef at midday, and the firm trade in corn. Continue reading Cattle futures close lower ahead of week’s direct cash trade at Brownfield Ag News.      
Report: ADM makes takeover approach to Bunge
  The Wall Street Journal reports that ADM has made a takeover approach to?Bunge. That could set up a possible bidding war with mining conglomerate Glencore, which has also indicated an interest in purchasing Bunge. The Journal says details of the ADM approach are unclear and it?s possible neither company would succeed in buying Bunge, which had a market value of about nearly ten billion dollars as of Friday afternoon. Continue reading Report: ADM makes takeover approach to Bunge at Brownfield Ag News.      
Closing Grain and Livestock Futures: January 19, 2018
Mar. corn closed at $3.52 and 1/2,?up 1?cent Mar. soybeans closed at $9.77 and 1/4,?up?4 and 1/4?cents Mar. soybean meal closed at $331.60,?up?$3.20 Mar. soybean oil closed at 32.28,?up 5?points Mar. wheat closed at $4.22 and 3/4,?down 2?and?1/2?cents Feb. live cattle closed at $121.90,?down 5?cents Feb. lean hogs closed at $72.07,?down 97?cents Feb. Continue reading Closing Grain and Livestock Futures: January 19, 2018 at Brownfield Ag News.      
Late 90?s hog market crash pushed Minnesota farmer to organic swine
The crash of the hog market in the late 1990?s was the impetus for a west-central Minnesota farmer?s move to organic swine production. Jim VanDerPol and his family own Pastures a Plenty Farm in Chippewa County. He calls 1998 a very bad year. “I had a livestock trailer full of pigs, 60 to 120 pounds, that were going to go for $.08 cents per pound to the Hmong community in St. Continue reading Late 90’s hog market crash pushed Minnesota farmer to organic swine at Brownfield Ag News.      
Enogen vs. food grade: A coexistence issue in Nebraska
PART 1 Coexistence is a growing challenge with more farmers turning to value-added specialty crops and new crop protection products. ?In part one of our four-part series, we look at a situation in Nebraska where growers of food grade white corn have concerns with the increased acres of Enogen, Syngenta?s genetically modified, high-amylase corn for use in ethanol production. Nebraska is the number one producer of food grade white corn in the U.S. Continue reading Enogen vs. food grade: A coexistence issue in Nebraska at Brownfield Ag News.      
New 199A deduction in tax bill creates imbalance
New risks and uncertainty have been created by the Section 199A deduction for agriculture in the new federal tax bill. Tommy Irvine, a CPA with K-Coe Isom, says language that was added late in the formation of the tax reform bill favors cooperatives but puts private handlers at a great disadvantage, ?A grower to selling to a cooperative gets a 20% deduction on their gross income versus, same exact facts, except selling to a private handler gets a 20% deduction on their net income.? One way around that, Irvine says, is for growers to start selling to cooperatives or for private handlers to set up a cooperative, ?Each state does have its own cooperative rules, so you have to make sure you?re meeting those for the state. Continue reading New 199A deduction in tax bill creates imbalance at Brownfield Ag News.      
Super Bowl press row coverage
Brownfield Anchor/Reporter Mark Dorenkamp will be on the ground for Super Bowl press row coverage on Thursday, Feb. 1st ?in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Continue reading Super Bowl press row coverage at Brownfield Ag News.      
More farmers are turning to conservation practices
A crop consultant is confident that the down farm economy will incentivize more farmers to use conservation practices. Northwestern Illinois native Jack Hardwick says more farmers are turning to no-till and strip-till management practices to save money on the farm. “With looking at power costs- tillage, tractor hours, fuel consumption- there’s a big push to get some of those costs down,” he says. “By implementing strip-till and no-till we’re not giving up any yield but we’re saving on a lot of those power costs and it’s helping some farmers get back in black.” He tells Brownfield farmers preparing for the next growing season should implement low-cost practices that have a high return on investment. Continue reading More farmers are turning to conservation practices at Brownfield Ag News.      
American Farm Bureau increases member dues
A state Farm Bureau president who supports a one dollar dues increase for Federation members calls it an investment for the future. Kevin Paap leads the organization in Minnesota and spoke to Brownfield at the national convention in Nashville earlier this month. “In farming and everything, investing in your future is always an important decision.? Investing in your family, investing in your farm, investing in your community.? Today we invested in our Farm Bureau.” Delegates voted to raise annual national dues for members from $4 to $5 dollars as AFBF faces a $1.5 million-dollar deficit. Continue reading American Farm Bureau increases member dues at Brownfield Ag News.      
The ?art? of the short-term spending deal
Congressional intent to fund or not to fund operation of the federal government isn?t really the question this week, but rather why would your party force a government shutdown?? It?s all about which party can win the ?blame game? for a shutdown in the media and with the folks back home, while minimizing a shutdown?s negative impact on reelection prospects come November 6. Here?s what?s happened; here?s what I think will eventually play out: The House managed to pass this week its continuing resolution (CR) 230-197, picking up six Democrats as it watched the expected defection of 11 GOP budget hawks.? Continue reading The “art” of the short-term spending deal at Brownfield Ag News.      
World
Tax Reform Update at Top Producer Seminar
The new tax law and what it means for farmers is Paul Neiffer's topic of choice for the 2018 Top Producer Seminar. 
Gulke: Optimism in the Grains
In this week’s Weekend Market Report, Jerry Gulke, president of the Gulke Group, sits down with host Pam Fretwell to talk about the generally positive trading in most grains this week.
Economic Insights: Gold Versus Farmland
Balance has returned to the relative value of gold versus farmland. The ratio reflecting the ounces of gold required to buy an acre of Illinois or Iowa farmland has eased back to levels existing in the early 2000s, prior to the explosion in gold and then farmland prices. 
The Relevance Test
Usable information comes from filtering data via knowledge. It seems to me that a lot of folks are having trouble with the filters getting clogged! My original title for this piece was ?Should it Matter?? Will a 20,000 tonne export sale truly affect grain prices? Not much, unless it is part of a pattern of a number of such sales. Then you know prices are cheap enough to stimulate consumption. I had a lot of questions about NAFTA this week out on the speaking circuit. Should it matter?
U.S. Solar Has a $1.5 Billion, Long-Shot Plan to End a Trade War
U.S. Solar Has a $1.5 Billion, Long-Shot Plan to End a Trade War
Pete's Pick of the Week: 1992 John Deere 4560 With Video
This tractor sold yesterday.
Strong Grain Demand Has Been Flying Under Radar
While corn, soybeans and wheat have seen some slight rallies in the last few years, prices have stayed relatively low. Record- or near record-breaking crops year after year hasn’t been much help to the price picture. 
Beef consumption in Japan is expected to grow nearly 4% this year afte
Beef consumption in Japan is expected to grow nearly 4% this year after two straight years of decline.
California Dairy Farmers Seek Emergency Milk Price Increase
Western United Dairymen (WUD) and the California Dairy Campaign (CDC) have petitioned the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) for an emergency hearing to increase over-base milk prices by about 35¢/cwt for the next 12 months.
APFN-US--Pig Slaughter-Regulations
US government proposes new rules for hog slaughter
Is corn set to breakout?
Corn is trading higher in the early morning session, testing the upper bands of resistance.
Global Economic Expansion to Impact Commodity Prices?
Grain Markets monitor the latest in weather conditions with dryness concerns in both South America's soy regions as well as North America's wheat regions. Outside markets have their eye on Washington as the Senate aims to avoid a government shutdown.
Big Fan of LED Shop Lights
LED lights are worth the extra cost.
Cattle Testing Resistance
Cattle have had a strong week but has it over extended itself?