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Managing herbicide resistant weeds

palmer-amaranth

There may be snow on the ground, but Joe Armstrong, Dow AgroSciences field scientist says it isn’t too early to start thinking about weed management.  “Early season weed control is important regardless of the crop, but in a crop like soybeans, eliminating that early season weed competition is what sets you up for success for the rest of the year,” he says.

Armstrong tells Brownfield, weed management is critical in weeds like waterhemp, giant ragweed, marestail and Palmer Amaranth or Palmer Pigweed, which he says continues to creep further into the Midwest. “One of the best ways to manage herbicide resistant weeds is to get after them before they even germinate and emerge from the soil,” he says.  “That’s where that pre-emergence timing is so important.”

And, Armstrong adds, that’s where a product like Sonic herbicide is beneficial to growers.  “It has two herbicide modes of action,” he says.  “It’s going to give you a one-two punch when it comes to weed management – particularly for herbicide resistant weeds,” he says.  “That will help you control those weeds early in the season when they’re most susceptible.”

And give farmers another mode of action later in the season if needed.

For more information about weed management click HERE.

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Dairy cow prices decline with milk

Lower milk prices have prompted lower dairy cow prices over the last three months. The USDA National Ag Statistics Service says the average dairy cow price in the U.S. as of January 31st was $1,990 down $130 from the end of October.

California saw the biggest decline with the average dairy cow dropping $400 from October to $1,800 at the end of January. That is the lowest price among the 23 major dairy states.

Wisconsin milk cows averaged $2,160 down $60 from October.

There were some exceptions as the expanding dairy herd in Michigan saw prices increase $100 to $2,200 by the end of January, the highest of the 23 major dairy states. Neighboring Ohio, Indiana and Illinois each saw a $50 increase from October to $2,100.

For the year; the average U.S. dairy cow price was $1,830 compared to $1,380 for 2013.

Read the full NASS report here:

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Farm prices lower in January

The prices received by farmers in January were down 2 percent from December. Livestock prices decreased 3.2 percent with lower prices for milk, hogs and calves.  Crop prices were unchanged from December.

The average corn price in January was $3.81 per bushel up 3 cents from December. Soybeans averaged $10.30 per bushel, unchanged from the previous month.  The all wheat price was 3 cents higher at $6.14 and all hay was down $7 at $152 per ton.

The January hog price was down $6.90 from December to average $57.40 per hundredweight. Beef cattle were steady with the previous month at $164 per hundredweight.  The January all milk price is $17.60 down $2.80 from December and $5.90 below January of 2014.  The January milk-to-feed ratio is 2.09 compared to 2.38 in December and 2.46 in January of 2014.

The Index of Prices Paid by Farmers was 1.8 percent lower than December with farmers paying less for feeder cattle, concentrates, diesel and herbicides.

Compared to a year ago, January Prices Received were 1 percent lower while prices paid were 0.9 percent higher than January of 2014.

Read the full NASS report here:

 

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U.S. beef exports to Dominican Republic up 63 percent

The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) says U.S. beef exports to the Dominican Republic in 2014 were what the USMEF calls outstanding.  They were valued at $55.5 million.  Marketing strategies helped expand demand for U.S. beef in the Dominican Republic, according to Gerardo Rodriguez, director of trade development for the Dominican Republic and Central America for the USMEF.

“Even though it was a little bit bumpy and challenging at the beginning, it has been a great year in the Dominican Republic for beef,” said Rodriguez, in an interview provided by the USMEF.  “We have a growth of over 60 percent increase over last year.”

The proliferation of all-inclusive resorts in the Dominican Republic resulted in the adaptation of foodservice offerings following the 2008 global financial crisis, said Rodriguez.

“The type of products that they require was different before the economic crises, so we were able to offer different options, more price affordable, but at the same time consistent and [with] all the good attributes in the product from the U.S.,” he said.

U.S. pork exports to the Dominican Republic in 2014 were down 10 percent in volume, but up 8 percent in value, to $47.1 million.

AUDIO: Gerardo Rodriguez (provided by the USMEF) (1 min. MP3)

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Organic dairy continues to grow

Organic dairy products enjoyed another growing market year in 2014. The National Ag Statistics Service says organic dairy products made up 5.2 percent of total dairy product sales in 2014.

The weighted average advertised price for a half-gallon of organic milk was $3.38 last week down 33 cents from the previous week.   A half-gallon of conventional milk was $1.63 down 38 cents from the previous week.  That puts the organic-to-conventional spread at $1.75, a nickel more than the previous week.

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Butter up; Class III futures down on the CME

Cash cheese and nonfat dry milk held steady on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on Monday but butter jumped 8.5 cents on 16 sales.

Butter inventories have been building, stocks jumped 43 million pounds in January however demand is strong especially with Passover and Easter on the horizon. There is a bit of regional disparity: Dairy Market News says bulk butter is available in the Western United States for a penny over market to 4.5 cents under market.  In the East bulk butter is bringing 2 to 6 cents over market and the Central U.S. is getting 6 cents over market.

Class III futures dropped, March fell 23 cents, April lost 22 cents, May was down a quarter and July declined 16 cents.

Global Dairy Trade auction on Tuesday, everyone is waiting to see how Fonterra’s announcement last week that it will increase offerings on the sale will affect the market.

 

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 11 requests for export assistance from Dairy Farmers of America, Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold), Tillamook County Creamery Association and United Dairymen of Arizona who have contracts to sell 2.477 million pounds of Cheddar, Gouda, and Monterey Jack cheese and 385,809 pounds of butter to customers in Asia, the Middle East, and the South Pacific. The product has been contracted for delivery in the period from March through August 2015. 

Year-to-date, CWT has assisted member cooperatives who have contracts to sell 9.709 million pounds of cheese and 18.839 million pounds of butter to eighteen countries on five continents.

 

 

 

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Grains, oilseeds start March lower

Futures Markets copy

Soybeans were lower on fund and commercial selling. The truck strike in Brazil is ongoing, but there are fewer blockades reported. Crop weather conditions around South America look good for development. There are some harvest delays, though. Soybean meal and oil were lower, following soybeans.

Corn was lower on fund and commercial selling. Corn’s also watching South American weather with rainfall over the weekend in key growing areas of Argentina. Demand is solid and producer selling is light, but there’s a lot of corn available. Ethanol futures were higher.

The wheat complex was lower on fund and commercial selling. Forecasts show gradually warmer temperatures and more precipitation in winter wheat growing areas. That’s very welcome considering how close the crop is to coming out of dormancy. Past that – the fundamentals remain bearish, with a large available supply and slow demand for U.S. wheat.

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Cattle showlists are about steady

Cattle country was very quiet on Monday afternoon following the distribution of the new showlists. Although the numbers are larger in Texas and Colorado while smaller in Nebraska and Kansas, the overall offering appears to be about steady with last week. A few asking prices have been voiced around 162.00 in the South and 250.00 plus  in the North, The slaughter totaled 109,000 head, 10,000 more than last week but 4,000 less than 2014.

Boxed beef cutout values are higher on choice and lower on select on moderate demand and light offerings. Choice beef is up 1.09 at 248.67, and select is .12 lower at 245.45.

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle contracts settled 27 to 195 points higher. Nearby contracts held triple digit gains through the close. The early week bullishness was credited to short covering, bull spreading strategies, and decent packer spending in the country last week. April cattle settled 1.75 higher at 153.45, and June was up 1.95 at 145.80.

Feeder cattle ended the day 127 to 220 higher. Feeders followed their live counterparts higher. It will be interesting to see if the bulls can start to rebuild a base of support over 200.00. March settled 2.20 higher at 204.10, and April was up 1.80 at 202.12.

The Joplin Regional Stockyards and Oklahoma City had very light runs on Monday due to inclement weather.

Feeder cattle receipts at the Burwell, Nebraska Livestock Market totaled 3014 head on Friday. Compared to two weeks ago, steers over 650 pounds were 7.00 to 10.00 lower. Heifers sold unevenly steady. Demand was light to moderate from an average crowd of buyers. Some of the downward trend might be attributed to cattle displaying more flesh than the previous sale and the up and down movement in Chicago Mercantile Exchange cattle contracts. Feeder steers medium and large 1 weighing 686 pounds averaged 228.53 per hundredweight. 716 pound replacement heifers brought 214.92.

Lean hogs settled mostly 20 to 40 points higher. Trade was rather lackluster to start the week. Some support came from the cattle pits. Some traders continue to express uncertainty that the cash hog trades ability to further build on the impressive progress of the last several weeks. April settled .20 points higher at 67.67, and May was up .40 at 80.30.

Barrows and gilts in the Iowa/Minnesota direct trade closed .09 higher at 66.38 weighted average on a carcass basis, the West was up .16 at 66.22, and the East was not reported due to confidentiality. Missouri direct base carcass meat price closed steady from 55.00 to 64.00.Midwest hogs on a live basis were steady to 2.00 higher from 38.00 to 50.00.

The pork carcass cutout value was down .84 at 69.67 FOB plant in the afternoon report.

Last week’s hog slaughter continues to exceed the production implications of the December 1 hog and pig report. Though last week’s kill was somewhat smaller, it still surpassed 2014 by 5.6%, December numbers suggested an increase of only 3%. Further, the stubborn reality of heavier hogs meant that last week’s pork production was estimated to 6.5% larger than the prior year.

Monday’s hog kill was estimated at 432,000 head, 2,000 greater than last week, and 35,000 more than last year,

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Closing Grain and Livestock Futures: March 2, 2015

Futures Markets copy
Mar. corn closed at $3.78 and 3/4, down 5 and 3/4 cents
Mar. soybeans closed at $10.11 and 1/4, down 19 and 1/2 cents
Mar. soybean meal closed at $344.30, down $9.40
Mar. soybean oil closed at 32.65, down 15 points
Mar. wheat closed at $5.08, down 9 and 1/2 cents
Apr. live cattle closed at $153.45, up $1.75
Apr. lean hogs closed at $67.67, up 20 cents
Apr. crude oil closed at $49.59, down 17 cents
May cotton closed at 64.85, down 8 points
Mar. rice closed at $10.53 and 1/2, up 6 and 1/2 cents
Mar. Class III milk closed at $15.46, down 23 cents
Mar. gold closed at $1,207.70, down $4.90
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 18,288.63, up 155.93 points

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Most Central Valley farmers unlikely to get federal water–again

california_drought_farm_agricultureIt’s not a big surprise, but the federal government has announced it won’t be sending any of its reservoir water to the Central Valley of California for the second straight year.

That means farmers in California’s agricultural heartland will probably have to idle more land — and produce fewer crops — because there is simply not enough water for all of their fields. Some are able to get water from alternate sources, including wells or by buying it on the private market, but often at a much higher price than the federal supplies.

Citing below-average reservoir storage and an abysmal snowpack as California enters a fourth year of drought, managers of the federal Central Valley Project said they probably will not deliver any supplies this year to farmers in the system who don’t have senior water rights.

But, according to L.A. Times, the agency’s initial assessment of how much water they can send to growers is always conservative. There are still two months left in the rainy season and if conditions improve, so could the allocation.

Paul Wegner, president of the California Farm Bureau Federation, said the federal government’s announcement is another sign California needs to speed up construction of water storage projects and to reform laws requiring the government to prioritize water to preserve the environment and fish species.

Meanwhile, the State of California Department of Water Resources says it will increase deliveries to most of State Water Project (SWP) Customers by five percent or 204,000 acre feet.  Storms in December and February are credited with the additional water.  Still that would only mean 20 percent of the water request from the SWP this year would be delivered–which is better than the five percent the customers got last year.

Roughly 25 million Californians and nearly one million acres of irrigated farmland in the San Francisco Bay Area, Santa Clara Valley and San Joaquin Valley depend upon the SWP for at least some of their supplies.

Photo courtesy of FoodOnline.com

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MOSES Organic Farmers of the Year

Reynolds

Greg and Mary Reynolds of Delano, Minnesota were honored as the Organic Farmers of the Year at the MOSES Organic Farming Conference this past weekend. Riverbend Farm is about 30 miles west of Minneapolis, it has been certified organic since 1994.  They grow about 10 acres of organic vegetables plus a few acres of cover crops for seed.

The Reynolds sell tomatoes, potatoes, radishes, cucumbers and a variety of other produce to schools and restaurants in the Twin Cities area.

In addition to the produce, Greg has been developing locally-adapted seeds “which benefit from being grown in the place where they are going to be grown.” He selects seeds from the plants which were most productive, plants them and within a generation-or-two he has plants which are much better suited to the growing conditions on his farm.

Greg and Mary talk about their operation:

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Grow Biointensive

Jeavons

John Jeavons is known around the world for his biologically intensive approach to farming. Jeavons says the technique draws upon Chinese, Greek and Mayan traditions from thousands of years ago.  “It was successful then and it is successful now.”  He has spent the last 44 years learning how to do it, discovering the principles behind it and teaching it around the world.  “It is being used now in 151 countries in virtually all climates and soils where food is grown.”

The principle is a concentration of plants on healthy soil using a fraction of the water, soil nutrients and energy compared to standard practices. Jeavons says “We now know how to grow all the food for one person for one year, a complete balanced diet on 4,000 square feet.  To grow the average U.S. diet takes 64,000 square feet.”  He admits; “It’s a different diet, but it’s yummy.”

He says nature fills-in where there are no plants, citing as an example the weeds that will cover the ground in between the rows of your garden. With biointensive, the plants are so close that the leaves touch or nearly touch when they mature so you get four-times the plants per unit of area.  Key to the technique is what is called “double-digging” the soil which delivers a bed that is 24 inches deep.  The soil is loosened but the strata is maintained to preserve the organic matter and soil microbes near the top.  The soil is sampled to specify what needs to be added plus compost is added.

Sixty percent of the crops grown are “compost crops” such as grains which produce calories and biomass. Thirty percent of the area is planted to special root crops such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, garlic and others.  These produce a large amount of calories per unit of area.  Ten percent of the area is planted to vegetables.

Jeavons talks about the technique:

Read more here:

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Teaching the tradition of draft animals

Robertson

Tillers International is a 33-year-old not-for-profit organization that helps educate people about rural heritage. Peter Robertson says while they are based in Michigan, they train people throughout the world.  Among the programs they train people how to use draft animals be it horses, oxen or other animals around the globe.

He says the “local foods” movement has encouraged more people to get back to the farm to raise food for themselves and others. As they get larger, they often choose to get into draft power as part of a sustainable agriculture system.

Tillers has a 430-acre farm at Scotts, Michigan where “anyone can come and take-a-turn behind a team of horses or oxen.” They have beginner classes where people learn the basics including caring for the animal, harnessing, driving and using different implements.  Advanced learning includes plowing, making hay, logging and others.  Robertson says the farm presents a setting “where people can learn and gain confidence in these skills.”

Classes run anywhere from a day to a week plus they have several “events” throughout the year where people can stop-in and give it a try.  Read more at the Tillers website:

Robertson talks about the organization:

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Organic research grants

Riddle

The Ceres Trust is a private family foundation that offers grants for organic agricultural research in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. The trust offers grants to land grant universities and graduate students in the 12-state area.

The university grants are $180,000 over a three-year period, the individual graduate grants are up to $10,000 for one year. Jim Riddle, former Chair of the National Organic Standards Board coordinates the research grants for Ceres, he says the projects are in areas of eco-system health, livestock health, pollinator protection, soil health and many others.  The grad student projects must be conducted under certified organic conditions and include an organic farmer.  “We’re interested in getting the information into the hands of farmers.”

The latest round of university grants were just announced while graduate student grant applications are being accepted through March 31st.  Applications are online at Ceres Trust.org

The Trust has also just published a report: “Organic Research and Outreach in the North Central Region – February, 2015”. The report is also available on the Ceres website

Riddle talks about the grant program:

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Other states look to Iowa on water quality issues

Tom Oswald answers a question from the delegate body at the American Soybean Association policy session in Phoenix. (Photo courtesy ISA)

Tom Oswald answers a question from the delegate body at the American Soybean Association policy session in Phoenix. (Photo courtesy ISA)

Water quality issues were a big topic of discussion last week at Commodity Classic in Phoenix.

Tom Oswald, president of the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA), says other states are turning to Iowa’s leadership in addressing water quality.

“A lot of people are looking to the things we’ve done, seeing how they can incorporate those,” Oswald says. “Also, the use of data and how data is important in making decisions as opposed to emotion—those are the types of conversations being had.”

Oswald says farmers have no other choice but to show positive results in reducing nutrient runoff. Otherwise, he says, environmental groups and other entities will demand mandatory actions.

“If we farmers don’t take a proactive approach, voluntarily work to do what we can to improve what comes off our farms, reduce our environmental footprint—we will be regulated. There’s just no question in my mind,” Oswald says. “There are a lot of people looking at us and if we don’t make a sincere and strong effort at improving the environmental footprint, they’re just waiting to regulate us.”

Which is why ISA is intensifying its efforts to improve water quality, Oswald says.

“(There’s) a lot of awareness on water quality through the Iowa soybean organization—from the perspective I see—and we’re pretty proud of that.”

Dennis Morrice of KLEM, Le Mars, Iowa contributed to this story.

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Syngenta expands Duracade storage

Syngenta_EDITSyngenta says it has expanded the network of grain handling facilities that can store its Agrisure Duracade grain domestically.

At Commodity Classic, product lead Duane Martin, said they have a network of more than 16-hundred “accepting” grain facilities, built with the help of their partner Gavilon, “Including grain elevators, feedlots, feed mills, ethanol plants. It’s important to note that about 85-percent of our corn grown in the U.S. is used domestically. There are places that can manage this corn. There are many outlets that growers can sell this corn to.”

Martin says, they’ve expanded and enhanced that network for 2015, “We also offer growers a per-unit stewardship fee. This is $20 per unit to reward growers for the extra effort that they put in to properly steward Agrisure Duracade grain.”

Duracade corn was banned by China last year. Its ban on Syngenta’s Agrisure Viptera corn was lifted late last year.

AUDIO:  Syngenta news conference at 2015 Commodity Classic (31:00 mp3):

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China restricts Canadian beef imports

cattle alberta canadaChina has joined the list of countries that are temporarily restricting imports of Canadian beef products due to concern over a case of BSE found in Alberta in mid-February.

China, which represents two percent of Canada’s market for beef, joins Taiwan, Korea, Peru, Indonesia and Belarus in restricting Canadian beef imports. The six countries combined account for about five percent of Canada’s beef exports.

Canadian officials have also announced that the infected cow came from the same farm that had a similar BSE case in 2010. Investigators are looking at all aspects of how both animals were fed and raised, and the quality of the feed that was fed to the most recent cow to test positive for BSE.

In 2007, Canada imposed new rules on feed formulas that restrict certain ingredients from ruminant diets.

Officials say no part of the BSE-positive cow entered the food system, for either animals or pets.

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Midday cash livestock prices

Cattle country is quiet on Monday, with both buyers and sellers busy taking inventory, Bids and asking prices have yet to be established. Last week’s trade took place mostly late Friday afternoon with Southern live sales at 159.00, mostly 1.00 lower than the previous week. Northern dressed business was generally steady with the bulk of the trade at 254.00. While last week’s trade volume totals look minimal, significant trade is not expected to develop before Wednesday.

Boxed beef cutout values are mixed, with choice up .79 at 70.58, and select down .10 at 245.47.

The Joplin, Missouri feeder auction did not start until 11:00 today due to inclement weather. The run was drastically reduced.

Feeder cattle receipts at the Burwell, Nebraska Livestock Market totaled 3014 head on Friday. Compared to two weeks ago, steers over 650 pounds were 7.00 to 10.00 lower. Heifers sold unevenly steady. Demand was light to moderate from an average crowd of buyers. Some of the downward trend might be attributed to cattle displaying more flesh than the previous sale and the up and down movement in Chicago Mercantile Exchange cattle contracts. Feeder steers medium and large 1 weighing 686 pounds averaged 228.53 per hundredweight. 716 pound replacement heifers brought 214.92.

Barrows and gilts in the Iowa/Minnesota, Western, Eastern and National direct trade areas are not reported due to confidentiality. Missouri direct base carcass meat price is steady from 55.00 to 64.00. Midwest hogs on a live basis are steady to 2.00 higher from 38.00 to 50.00.

The pork carcass cutout value is up .07 at 70.58 FOB plant.

Late week’s hog slaughter continues to exceed the production implications of the December 1 hog and pig report. Though last week’s kill was somewhat smaller, it still surpassed 2014 by 5.6%, December numbers suggested an increase of only 3%. Further, the stubborn reality of heavier hogs meant that last week’s pork production was estimated to 6.5% larger than the prior year.

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Iowa’s Nutrient Reduction Strategy is closely watched

Sean McMahon

Sean McMahon

Iowa’s voluntary Nutrient Reduction Strategy is being closely watched by farmers, environmental groups, politicians, government officials and others from all over the country.

The Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance (IAWA) was formed last year to help implement the the Nutrient Reduction Strategy. Sean McMahon, executive director of IAWA, says they’re working to “increase the pace and scale of that implementation”.

At the recent Iowa Soybean Association Research Conference in Ames, we asked McMahon to give us an update on those efforts.

AUDIO: Sean McMahon

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Finding the right reproductive vaccine program

scruggs-dan-zoetisAt the Cattle Industry Convention in San Antonio we visited with Dr. Daniel Scruggs, managing veterinarian in beef technical services with Zoetis, about the importance of finding the right reproductive vaccine program for your herd.

AUDIO: Dr. Daniel Scruggs

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