April 15, 2014

Podcast: Every gallon of gas contains at least 25% ethanol

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In this podcast, Debbie Borg, farmer director on the Nebraska Corn Board shares about the Brazil fact-finding mission to learn about their ethanol industry. A significant fact that Debbie learned was that every gallon of gas contains at least 25% ethanol. And they've been doing this for over 40 years. You can read her blogs on the mission here.

Now, Click here to listen to the podcast.

This podcast is part of Nebraska Corn Board's series called Kernels of Truth, featuring Nebraska Corn Board members, Nebraska corn farmers and cooperators of the checkoff programs.

Kernels of Truth podcasts are also available on iTunes! Click here to subscribe.

April 8, 2014

Podcast: U.S. grain exports

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In this podcast, Alan Tiemann, past chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board and secretary/treasurer of the U.S. Grains Council Board of Directors, shares about the International Marketing Conference held recently to update U.S. industry on markets and updates around the world. China was a big topic this year.

Click here to listen to the podcast.

This podcast is part of Nebraska Corn Board's series called Kernels of Truth, featuring Nebraska Corn Board members, Nebraska corn farmers and cooperators of the checkoff programs.

Kernels of Truth podcasts are also available on iTunes! Click here to subscribe.

April 3, 2014

Nebraska Corn Producers Return from Mission Excited About Brazilian Biofuels

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CornwindbreakA group of Nebraska, Iowa, and Ohio corn farmers have returned from a multi-state trade mission to Brazil excited about the potential relationships and similarities of ethanol fuel.

The objective of this joint mission was to gain a better understanding of Brazil’s role in the worldwide market of energy and agriculture and determine how Nebraska and the United States can be partners with Brazil on worldwide ethanol markets. Participants on the mission included farmer-directors on the Nebraska Corn Board, Debbie Borg from Allen and Dennis Gengenbach from Smithfield, as well as Kim Clark, director of biofuels development on staff with the Nebraska Corn Board. Read Debbie, Dennis and Kim’s blogs from the Brazil mission here.

Brazil is the number one sugarcane producer and exporter in the world. They are also the number two producer of ethanol, following the United States, and the number one ethanol exporter worldwide. It is also mandatory that at least 25% ethanol be blended in each gallon of gasoline.

“The trip was definitely eye opening and educational. All of the commonalities and similarities of Brazilian agriculture in comparison to the United States are amazing,” said Debbie Borg. “The biggest issue they are dealing with is drought. It is very severe and their sugarcane, corn, soybean, and coffee crops are suffering.”

Brazil’s closed-loop ethanol system of producing electricity from bagasse, the byproduct of sugar and ethanol production, is well known. Although the U.S. does not produce electricity from ethanol production, the U.S. produces distillers grains for livestock feed.

“Our ethanol story and the production of distillers grains are important for the ethanol industry in the United States. We need to be better about reaching out to consumers and educating them,” said Dennis Gengenbach.

During the trade mission, the team also:

  • Met with UNICA – the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association representing sugar, ethanol, and bioelectricity producers - discuss sugarcane producers and expectations in Brazil
  • Visited the Brazilian Bioethanol Science and Technology Laboratory to discuss sugarcane varieties and GMO’s in sugarcane
  • Met with Delphi Powertrain South America Tech Center to learn about flex fuel vehicles, how they differ from flex fuel vehicles in the United States and what information could be communicated to automobile manufacturers in the United States
  • Visited the Zilor Group to understand how the biggest global trader of sugar and ethanol operates and how their operation differs from operations of similar size
  • Met with the Confederation of Agriculture and Livestock of Brazil to understand their livestock industry, how it differs from the United States, potential partnerships to expand exports to foreign countries, and where the livestock production needs to expand in Brazil and the United States.
  • Met with the Ministry of Agriculture to understand agriculture as a whole in the country of Brazil—and how ethanol impacts consumers and government decisions.

Corn farmers: please complete Corn Root Worm Survey

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:::Calling all Nebraska corn farmers:::

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Department of Entomology is conducting a brief survey on Nebraska corn producers’ use of management strategies to control western corn rootworm. This survey is important, because the information collected will be used to inform University of Nebraska Extension Faculty of current resistance management strategies used with corn rootworm and to improve educational programming on this topic.

This web-based survey is accessible through this website http://go.unl.edu/xvmf and will take approximately 10 minutes to complete.

The information collected in this survey is proprietary to UNL and will not be shared outside of UNL – Department of Entomology.

Upon completion, you may choose to enter in to a drawing for a pair of Nebraska Cornhusker football tickets offered by Nebraska Corn Growers Association. Please consider completing this survey to provide valuable information regarding corn rootworm strategies to the UNL Entomology team.

March 31, 2014

USDA Report Indicates Corn Stocks Up, Prospective Planted Acres Down

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Young corn plants are highlighted by the evening sun in Sarpy County. Photo by Craig Chandler / University CommunicationsAmerican farmers expect to plant 3.7 million fewer acres of corn in 2014, a four percent decrease from 2013, according the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Prospective Plantings report released today.   If realized, total corn plantings in the United States would total 91.7 million acres for the lowest planted acreage since 2010. Notably, it would still be the fifth-largest U.S. corn acreage planted since 1944.

In Nebraska, the report projected the state would plant 9.4 million acres, 94 percent of the previous year’s planted acres of 9.95 million acres.

"In 2013, U.S. farmers produced a record crop abundant enough to meet all needs and provide an ample carry over into 2014," National Corn Growers Association President Martin Barbre said.  "While it is still early in the season and many factors may change the reality on the ground as planting progresses, the public can rest assured that bountiful stockpiles and adequate plantings will ensure our corn security for the year to come."

The USDA's estimate for 2014 is for 91.7 million acres to be planted in field corn.  Assuming the five-year average 83.9 percent harvest rate holds and the projected trend yield of 159.4 bushels per acre is achieved, farmers will harvest 13.37 billion bushels. 

Some states are expected to increase corn planting including Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts and Utah. If projections hold, Idaho would plant a record acreage to corn this year. The actual number of planted acres will be released in USDA's June 30 report.

In the Grain Stocks report, also released this morning, USDA shows corn stocks in all positions stood at more than seven billion bushels on March 1, 2014, up 30 percent from the same time last year.  Both figures for on- and off-farm corn in storage stood higher than at this time last year, up 45 and 15 percent respectively. In total, USDA shows 3.45 billion bushels of corn used between December and February, compared with 2.63 over the same period in 2013.

March 26, 2014

Know Before You Grow

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Visit Know Before You Grow to Avoid Unwanted Surprises at Harvest

PrintAs planting season gets underway in southern parts of the country, the National Corn Growers Association reminds growers to visit the "Know Before Your Grow" website. The newly revamped site offer growers important new information to help inform planting decisions in light of the release of new seed varieties currently unapproved in some export markets.

"In a globalized agricultural economy, it is important that farmers understand the delicate balance that must be struck between ensuring access to the technologies while also safeguarding export markets remain open to U.S. corn," said NCGA Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team Chair Jim Zimmerman. "The balance is especially challenging in the case of China since the  country already has an asynchronous approval system for biotech traits. This is only compounded as China has currently fallen behind even their normal asynchronous approval timelines. While we must make vigorous efforts to maintain market access, farmers should remain aware of the importance role these products play in effectively facing problems caused by biological stressors. Both biotechnology and export markets play a key role in maintaining profitability. Making decisions based in solid information will be key to maintaining profitability moving forward."

NCGA stands solidly true to its policy in maintaining all new events must have approval in the United States and Japan prior to release. Additionally, the trait provider must be actively pursuing approval in all other markets for U.S. corn.

Click here or go to www.knowbeforeyougrow.com to learn more.

March 25, 2014

National Ag Day

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Consider this: just about everything we eat, wear and use comes from American agriculture. That’s why Americans will be learning more about agriculture today on National Ag Day.

For farmers, every day is ag day. But let’s celebrate today what farmers and those working in agriculture do for us.

Agriculture:365 sunrises and 7 billion mouths to feed. Celebrate!

2014 ag day

Tweet us, @NECornBoard, about how you’re celebrating Ag Day!

March 24, 2014

Nebraska’s Advantage

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imageIs the Nebraska Advantage of crop, livestock, and biofuel production operating at its full potential?

One concern is that Nebraska still exports high proportions of its crop output as commodities. Also, Nebraska is falling behind neighboring states, particularly in hog, dairy, and poultry numbers.

Despite advantages for livestock production in Nebraska, the industry has not grown in the past two decades at rates comparable to neighboring states.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has published a Livestock Industry White Paper to explore the issues and policies that have constrained livestock development in the state and the economic benefits that accompany livestock expansion.

The purpose of this report is to provide an ongoing factual understanding of the industry changes impacting Nebraska — identifying both threats to and opportunities for future economic viability.

Nebraska ranks:

  • 1st in commercial red meat production 
  • 1st in commercial cattle slaughter
  • 2nd in cattle and calves cash receipts
  • 3rd in meat animals cash receipts
  • 4th in all livestock and products cash receipts
  • 4th in beef cows and heifers calved
  • 6th in all hogs and pigs produced

Read the full report, here.

March 19, 2014

Family Farming in Brazil

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Debbie Borg, Nebraska Corn Board member from Allen, Nebraska, sends this post from the current mission to Brazil:

2014-03-15 07.46.31We had the opportunity to spend half a day with a 3rd generation  farmer at the Cascata Farm, a centurion farm founded in 1915.

It is a 1,100 hectares (or 1100 x 2.5 = 2750 aces).  They grow around 400 hectares (1,000 acres) of coffee (100% Arabica coffee which is the highest quality), 200 hectares (500 acres) of sugarcane with is leased to the area sugar mill and 100 hectares (250 acres) of corn.

Most of the corn is used for what is called, “renewing” in the coffee area.  One row of corn is planted between new coffee trees.  This serves as a windbreak for the new coffee seedlings.  This row of corn is hand harvested and then run through their combine.

We learned that coffee is a biannual plant and only harvested every other year.   We saw coffee trees that were from 1 to 15 years old.  A new coffee seedling doesn’t start producing until it is 2 1/2 years old.  We were told that there are 100 year old coffee trees in the area.

Here is a new and old coffee harvester.
2014-03-15 08.23.22   2014-03-15 08.30.45
The main topic amongst the farmers is the drought they are experiencing. The worst they have seen in over 50 years.  And because coffee is a biannual plant, not only is this year’s crop going to be short but next year’s crop is also being affected.

The interesting comment heard from the farm mom was, “In the United States, the farm family does the labor.”  The Cascata Farm place was home to 25 families that live and work on the farm but the farm owner family does not live on the farm - except to spend the weekend (Friday - Sunday) at the farm.  Plus they had about 50 additional workers that are bused in each day with more labor was hired during the coffee harvest.

In addition to crops, they had dairy cows and produced just 400 liters a day and a small feedlot to background cattle.
2014-03-15 10.49.39

March 18, 2014

March Corn Products Spotlight: Diapers

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Where would babies be without corn? This was the article title for one of my most recent discoveries. Each month I research a product that contains corn and publish an informative blog post. Most months I type in a specific product but for March I decided to switch it up, I simply did a Google search for “products that contain corn”. I must admit that the title “Where would babies be without corn?” was not what I was expecting to see at the top of the list. Naturally, I was intrigued by this title and decided to give the article a shot, here is a quick summary of what I learned.

Cornstarch is a mother’s miracle, by this I mean the creation of disposable diapers has saved mothers everywhere countless hours of cleaning cloth diapers. Cornstarch has and incredible ability to absorb liquids and therefore is used in diaper production. The absorbent layer found in modern-day diapers is typically made with acrylic acid. Acrylic acid is a component of ethylene which is a derivative of corn. Cornstarch is not only used in diapers but is usually a main ingredient of baby powder.

You do not have to search hard to find these special corn diapers; in fact you would have to search far and wide to find diapers that don’t contain corn products. The more I have researched corn products the more it has sunk in that we really are living in a world of corn. As for me, I enjoy the common things in life that are made possible by corn. Our country is truly blessed to have hard working farmers and ranchers that provide us with many of the common resources that we often take for granted!