October 30, 2014

40% Corn Harvested


For the week ending October 26, 2014, rain across the Panhandle as well as eastern areas slowed harvest progress at mid-week, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Temperatures, which averaged 10 degrees above normal, aided the dry-down of unharvested crops. Soybean harvest was nearing completion with much of the attention now focused on corn. There were 5.9 days suitable for fieldwork.

Topsoil moisture supplies rated 3 percent very short, 26 short, 68 adequate, and 3 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 7 percent very short, 24 short, 67 adequate, and 2 surplus.

Corn conditions rated 2 percent very poor, 5 poor, 18 fair, 51 good, and 24 excellent. Corn mature was 96 percent, equal to last year and average. Corn harvested was 40 percent, behind 52 last year and 59 average. 

Soybeans harvested was 87 percent, behind 92 last year, but near 89 average.

October 23, 2014

Once Upon a Farm - Omaha Children’s Museum opens ag exhibit


It's grow time!

The Omaha Children’s Museum is bringing farm life to the big city! Explore the world of agriculture and learn where your food comes from in the special exhibit, Once Upon a Farm.

Slide behind the seat of a kid-powered combine, wheel around a maze in the John Deere pedal track, learn what it takes to milk a dairy cow or hop aboard the Ag Express for an up-close look at a real life tractor. Little farmers can learn all about water and irrigation while playing under the kid-sized center pivot and see what it takes to plant and care for crops in the miniature planting station. Daily programming will focus on a new topic each week and will incorporate various farm animals on special weekends throughout the exhibit’s run.

This exhibit is the sixth community-engaged exhibit created by OCM with partners from across the community and the state of Nebraska, including the Nebraska Corn Board. I will run for 6 months from October until April, 2015.

There will be daily ag education programming Tuesday – Saturday 10:30 am & 2:30 pm; Sunday 2:30 pm where kids and families can learn about modern day farming and discover how the food we eat gets from the farm to the store.

Check here for a list of all of the sponsors and activities at Once Upon a Farm.

More importantly, go check it out in person!

Omaha Children's Museum
500 S. 20th Street
Omaha, Nebraska

October 17, 2014

Podcast: Trade teams from Malaysia and Egypt coming to Nebraska


In this podcast, Boone McAfee, director of market development and research for the Nebraska Corn Board, shares about the upcoming international trade teams from Malaysia and Egypt in cooperation with the U.S. Grains Council. They are visiting Nebraska to evaluate our 2014 corn crop and witness the harvest of what promises to be the largest U.S. corn crop in history. This is a great opportunity for us to tell the story of the quality, abundance and reliability of Nebraska corn.

Now, click here to listen to the podcast.

Podcasts are also available on iTunes! Click here to subscribe.

October 16, 2014

19% Nebraska Corn Crop Harvested

For the week ending October 12, 2014 limited rainfall allowed harvest to progress with soybeans nearing the half-way mark, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Temperatures were above normal in the west but below normal in the east. The growing season has ended with a killing frost in all but a few southern counties. The number of days suitable for fieldwork were 5.8. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 3 percent very short, 19 short, 74 adequate, and 4 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 7 percent very short, 22 short, 69 adequate, and 2 surplus.

Corn conditions rated 2 percent very poor, 5 poor, 18 fair, 52 good, and 23 excellent. Corn mature was 89 percent, equal to the average. Corn harvested was 19 percent, behind 34 average.

For more info, visit the Nebraska Corn Board's website, Facebook, or Flickr page.

WOTUS would harm Nebraska agriculture


ditchThe impact of EPA’s proposed “Waters of the U.S.” rule would be “significant” and “cause cost increases, confusion and uncertainty to agricultural producers” according to a new analysis conducted by the former director of Nebraska’s Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ), Mike Linder. Agriculture members of the Common Sense Nebraska coalition chartered the analysis to evaluate Nebraska specific impacts of the EPA’s proposed “Waters” rule on farmers and ranchers, said Steve Nelson, president of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation, Oct. 14.

The rule is based in an attempt by EPA to fix a wetlands permitting program which is cumbersome and lengthy. But, in the process, the proposed rule creates problems in other areas of the Clean Water Act (CWA). The analysis verifies concerns by agriculture groups that EPA’s rule would create broad reaching federal jurisdictional authority for the agency to regulate Nebraska waterways and water features.

“Nebraska is comprised of over 77,000 square miles of area with over 92 percent of that area used for agricultural purposes. There are an infinite number of scenarios that call for good judgment in determining whether or not a particular water body is or should be subject to federal CWA jurisdiction. This rule would impose a blanket jurisdictional determination over thousands of acres of private property. The effect would be to impose unnecessary property restrictions and uncertainty as to what that actually means to a farmer or rancher,” Linder wrote.

“The State of Nebraska has developed a surface water discharge permitting system that is now built on forty years of implementation. EPA’s rule was intended to fix one problem. However, the solution they’ve offered will cause many more,” wrote Linder.

Of additional concern to Nebraska are the rule’s possible impacts on the regulation of groundwater.

Continue reading and listen to an audio report from Linder here.

Comment letter from Linder can be found here.

October 10, 2014

Using Distillers Grains on the Ranch


photo - calves with distillers grains on groundIn recent months distillers grain price has declined while beef cattle prices have reached historic highs. In many situations distillers grains may be a good option to increase weight of calves and yearlings or for use as a winter protein supplement for cows. Distillers grains are well suited to forage-based beef production operations because they are a good source of energy, protein and phosphorus. All three can be limiting in forages.

Recently, manufactured cubes (or cake) comprised solely of distillers grains have become available. The quality of these cubes is excellent resulting in few fines and good consumption. However, to capture the full economic benefit of low-priced distillers grains producers should consider purchasing distillers directly from the ethanol plant and feeding it as a commodity.

Recent work at UNL has addressed the question of which is more economical — feeding distillers grains in a bunk or on the ground. Research with weaned calves indicated about 16% of wet distillers grains and 40% of dry distillers grains are lost when fed on the ground.

Calculating the cost of the lost distillers grains is straight forward. Simply calculate the amount lost using the percentages above and multiply by the unit cost of distillers grains. Calculating other costs is relatively simple as well. We calculated the cost of purchasing bunks (including delivery, tax, depreciation, and set up) at $0.16 per day. At today's prices the lost distillers grains would be much less than the cost of the bunk.

However, feeding on the ground may not always be the most profitable. In our studies the calves fed in a bunk gained between 0.20 and 0.26 lbs more per day. Because the value of the additional weight gained by calves fed in a bunk is worth more than the additional cost to achieve that weight gain, feeding in a bunk was the most profitable even though it cost more.

There are situations were feeding on the ground may be the most profitable, such as when the least cost of gain to achieve a programed rate of gain is the goal. However, if the goal is to market the weight gain at the end of the feeding period, feeding in a bunk would be the most profitable with today's price relationships.

A webinar titled "Feeding Distillers Grains on the Ground to Cows and Calves" further explains the research.

Find sources and more information here.

October 9, 2014

Harvested Biotech Crops Top 4 Billion Acres


4BAcresWhen the sixteen farmers representing agriculture around the globe gather in Des Moines next week for the Global Farmer Roundtable, they can celebrate a milestone. Since 1996 until now, over 4 billion acres of biotech crops will have been harvested.

That’s billion with a B.

Four billion acres is 1.5 times the size of Europe. It’s nearly as big as South America.

Ross Korves, economic and trade policy analyst with Truth About Trade and Technology: “The calculation starts with 1996 commercial production of biotech crops. Each February we benchmark back to the ISAAA (International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications) December 31 number of acres planted for the year. Much of the world does not have a harvested number like the U.S., but we’re making an educated guess to paint a simple picture. The counters (for planted acres and harvested acres) run 365 days per year. They come alive in the spring and fall and peak out at 25-30 million acres per week in the northern hemisphere and 15-20 million in the southern hemisphere.”

What’s the bottom line lesson here?

Bill Horan, chairman of Truth About Trade and Technology: “The B word for billion acres of biotech crops without any reported issues in the food chain means just one thing. There are a lot of voices out there critical of biotechnology, spinning their precautionary tales. Four billion acres of biotech crops have filled a lot of stomachs, and biotech is one of the answers for meeting agriculture’s goal to feed 9 billion people by the year 2050. I think it’s time we lay all of these scary food myths to rest, like the passing of the boogeyman, once Halloween is over. Once we’re able to do that, we could focus on the work ahead of us.”

October 7, 2014

FARMLAND film available for digital download


Earlier this year, Farmland was shown in over 170 theaters across the country

Academy Award®-winning filmmaker James Moll’s feature length documentary, Farmland, is now available to stream on the free, ad-supported Hulu and Hulu Plus subscription service. Farmland will be available exclusively on the platform for four weeks – providing viewers with the opportunity to stream Farmland from their connected TVs, Blu-ray players, gaming consoles, laptops, tablets and mobile devices.

During its theatrical debut this year, Farmland was shown in more than 170 theaters across the country including Regal Cinemas, Marcus Theatres, Carmike Cinemas, Landmark Theatres, and many key independent theaters. It will now be available digitally for the first time.

Many Americans have never stepped foot on a farm or ranch or even talked to the people who grow and raise the food we eat, yet are increasingly passionate about understanding where their food comes from. Farmland takes the viewer inside the world of farming for a first-hand glimpse into the lives of six young farmers and ranchers in their twenties. Through the personal stories of these farmers and ranchers, viewers learn about their high-risk/high-reward jobs and passion for a way of life that has been passed down from generation to generation, yet continues to evolve.

“This is a film for anyone who eats,” says Moll. “It’s not what you’d expect. The world of farming is complex and often controversial, but the farmers themselves are some of the most hard-working and fascinating people I’ve ever met.”

Produced by Moll’s Allentown Productions, Farmland received notable attention during its theatrical run securing reviews in several national mediums and recognition in film festivals across the country, including Atlanta, Cleveland and Newport Beach, Calif. The film also earned a 92 percent audience rating on RottenTomatoes.com.

Farmland was made with the generous support of the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance®.

Check out the official trailer for the feature length documentary at farmlandfilm.com and be sure to watch Farmland in its entirety on Hulu: http://www.hulu.com/farmland.

October 2, 2014

“Take a second for safety!” during harvest


Corn harvest between Dorchester and York. October, 11, 2010.  Photo by Craig Chandler / University CommunicationsTake a second for safety. As farmers are entering the fields to harvest and traveling roads, the Nebraska Corn Board (NCB) and Nebraska Corn Growers Association (NeCGA) is asking farmers and those driving near harvest equipment to take precaution during this busy harvest season.

Agriculture remains one of the more dangerous occupations in North America, but exercising caution, getting rest and being safety-minded can go a long way toward making it safer for everyone involved.

“With an expected large crop and a later harvest this year, farmers will be working hard to get the crops out of the fields,” said Tim Scheer, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board and farmer from St. Paul, Nebraska. “Working hard and fast in the field or on the farm could cause a chance for error where an injury or fatality could be prevented by taking appropriate precautions or simply taking time.”

This caution for safety isn’t for farmers alone, said Scheer. Motorists driving on rural roads during harvest should watch out for slower moving farm equipment. Rural intersections will have heavier-than-normal travel and dusty conditions that could limit visibility, as can sun glare in the morning and evening. Standing crops in the field may also block a clear view of oncoming traffic.

The “Take a Second for Safety” tagline echoes the efforts of the NCB and NeCGA at events this year. At Husker Harvest Days, Nebraska Corn hosted a giveaway of two grain engulfment rescue tubes to be given to local fire departments. Cedar Rapids, Nebraska and Newcastle, Nebraska volunteer fire departments were the fortunate recipients of these tubes.

“We hope to never have to use a grain rescue tube in the event of a grain engulfment,” said Emily Thornburg, NeCGA’s program director. “But in the case that one does happen, our goal is to have emergency personnel armored with the tools they need to save a life.”

The goal of Nebraska Corn’s efforts is to help fire departments across the state receive rescue tubes, as well as helping them obtain training in the event that someone working in or around grain becomes engulfed. The chances of survival for that person are greatly increased if there is a grain rescue tube available to fire departments nearby.

On the trainings, Nebraska Corn has worked with the Safety & Technical Rescue Association (SATRA). SATRA encourages seven grain entrapment prevention principles to keep in mind when working around grain.

  1. Prevent entrapments by developing a zero-entry mentality.
    1. Stay out of the bin, if at all possible.
  2. NEVER enter a bin with grain in it by yourself.
    1. The entry supervisor, entrant and attendant must work together and be able to communicate effectively with each other.
  3. NEVER enter a bin with grain in it without training.
    1. The employer should provide annual hands-on training.
  4. Complete the permit properly and identify all hazards.
    1. Have all potential hazards been identified and addresses?
  5. Shut down and lockout equipment.
    1. All equipment involved in the storage, drying, and material handling systems should be locked out and tagged during entry, service, and maintenance operations.
  6. Maintain control of the lifeline.
    1. Your lifeline is useless, unless it is secured properly.
  7. Identify and contact the emergency response group.
    1. Check of make sure emergency response group is properly trained and check with your local fire department for expected response time to your location for this type of incident.

“While we all recognize the excitement and enjoyment of harvest,” Scheer said. “Staying focused and resting regularly are two proactive steps in keeping things safe around the farm for everyone, including family members and employees helping to harvest the crop.”