Tuesday, February 09, 2016
   
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Local Ag News

Cattle Producers Concern Over Cattle Futures Trading

(Rock Valley) -- Last week cattle producers from across the nation gathered in San Diego, California for the National Cattlemens Beef Association convention and annual meeting.  One of the issues that was discussed at great length was the recent action of volatility market prices in the cattle futures.  Kent Pruismann, a cattle producer from Rock Valley, and a former president of the Iowa Cattlemen Association attended the San Diego conference and he says officials of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange were invited to explain to cattle producers why the markets were acting like a yo-yo.

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Pruismann says once the CME officials shared data from the trading activity within the time period in question, many producers had a different opinion.

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The Sioux County cattle producer says the volatile trading happened during the last three months of 2015 and with the markets moving limit up and limit down, sometimes within the same day, it created a scenario making it difficult for cattle producers to utilize futures trading as an effective risk management tool.

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Iowa Farmers Set Production Records For Corn And Soybeans

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - It is a record year for Iowa and Nebraska crop farmers.
The final harvest report released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture says Iowa farmers brought in 2.5 billion bushels of corn, 4 percent higher than the 2009 record. Iowa has led the nation in corn production for 22 consecutive years. The average per-acre yield of 192 bushels also is a new record.
Soybean farmers did very well too producing a record crop and the nation's largest soybean bounty, beating out Illinois for the first time since 2012. At 554 million bushels, this year's Iowa soybean harvest exceeds the 2005 record by 5 percent. The per-acre yield also beat the 2005 record.
Nebraska also produced records with 1.69 billion bushels of corn and a 306 million bushel of soybeans.

   

Iowa State Survey Shows Land Values Declining

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa State University survey says state farmland values have dropped by nearly 4 percent this year, marking a second straight year of decline.
Farmland values dropped to a statewide average of $7,633 an acre, down from a recent 2013 peak of $8,716 per acre. Assistant economics professor Wendong Zhang says farmland value may not rebound soon because of declining farm income and stagnant commodity prices.
However, Zhang says this year's decline was less severe than anticipated and farmland values are still almost 14 percent higher than 2011 values.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, farm income in Iowa declined 39 percent last year to nearly $5.1 billion.

   

EPA Lowers Renewable Fuels Standard

(Des Moines) -- The Environmental Protection Agency announced the long-awaited renewable fuels standard on Monday, and ethanol industry officials are disappointed.  Monte Shaw serves as the executive director with the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association.  He says the EPA only solidified big oil company's monopoly on this nation's fuel source.

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Shaw says Congress had set the production levels for ethanol at 15 billion gallons for the years 2015 and 2016.  The Environmental Protection Agency has instead set the ethanol production levels slightly above 14 billion gallons for 2015 and 14.5 billion gallons for 2016.  Shaw says the actions of the E-P-A will hurt the farm economy and the midwest economy.

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The ethanol industry official believes the EPA's actions may result in the slowdown for future ethanol investments.

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AGP To Expand Biodiesel Production Facilities At Sergeant Bluff

(Sergeant Bluff) -- A soybean processing cooperative is wanting to expand its biodiesel operations.  Ag Processing Incorporated has announced it will move forward on a major expansion of the company's biodiesel production facility near Sergeant Bluff.  AGP currently operates a 30 million gallon biodiesel production facility at that location.  Keith Spackler, Chief Executive Officer, for AGP says "biodiesel is an important component of our integrated soybean processing platform".  Spackler says, "this expansion reflects our committment to the biodiesel industry and soybean farmers as we continue to invest in this important value-added market".  The expansion of biodiesel production capacity is complementary to plans announced earlier in the year to build soybean oil refining capacity at the site.  Cal Meyer, Chief Operating Officer with the cooperative says, "Biodiesel is a premium advanced biofuel and has led directly to higher soybean prices and jobs in rural communities. Our announced project at Sergeant Bluff will do the same for the Siouxland region and beyond".  Company officials noted that final construction decisions are contingent on completion of agreements with state and local officials.

   

Sioux County Farmland Sells At $17,300/acre

(Hospers) -- Despite low agricultural commodity prices, land still seems to be in high demand with buyers willing to spend near record levels.  At a Sioux County land auction held on Friday near Hospers, a tract of 154 acres sold at $17,300 an acre.  Jim Klein of Remsen was the auctioneer for the sale.  He says the land sold is of high quality with a history of being very productive.

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Klein says the land was sold to a local neighboring farmer that had land already adjacent to the land that sold.

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The price per acre is not a record for Sioux County land sales, as a parcel of land sold for more than $20,000 an acre nearly two years ago, but as Klein says with lower grain prices, the expectation would be that land value would also decline.

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Sioux County is a leader in livestock and poultry production, and Klein believes one reason for the high demand for land is so farmers have somewhere to dispose manure.

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Klein says the tract of land did bring several bidders at the start of the sale.  He says this was the highest price paid for land that he has had a role in selling.

   

Corn Harvest Nearing Completion

(Le Mars) -- Ideal weather conditions have allowed farmers to harvest corn at a faster than normal pace, with some agricultural officials saying as much as two-thirds of the region's corn have already been harvested.  Iowa State University Extension Crop Specialist Joel DeJong says many farmers are reporting high yields, and are nearing completion.

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Yields have also been good, averaging near or above 200 bushels per acre.

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DeJong says the recent warm, dry and windy days have helped reduce corn moisture levels so many farmers have not needed to artificially dry their corn.

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The ISU crops specialist says some farmers have noticed stalk rot due to the excessive rains from July, August and September, and have managed the harvest accordingly.

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DeJong says soil temperatures are still too warm for farmers to apply any anhydrous ammonia fertilizer, and he is also concerned about the liiquid manure that is being applied on some harvested fields.

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Soybean Harvest Making Progress

(Le Mars) -- Farmers have been making progress with this year's harvest with many reports of soybean yields higher than from previous years.  Doug Schurr is the manager of the Farmers Cooperative Elevator based in Craig located in the northwest portion of Plymouth County.  He says the soybean yields in his area have been very good.

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Schurr says the quality of the soybean harvest has also been good.

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Diagonally across Plymouth County to Kingsley at the Farmers Elevator, Chris Pedersen says the soybean harvest in his area has also been good.

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Pedersen says farmers in the southeast corner of Plymouth County had a slower start to this year's harvest, but have since picked up the pace.

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As for the northwest area of Plymouth County, Schurr estimates the soybean harvest will soon be wrapping up for the year.

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Some farmers have had to deal with white mold found on their soybean plants in isolated areas of their fields.  Chris Pedersen says the yields certainly have reflected the plant disease.

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Both at Craig and at Kingsley, the corn harvest is just beginning, and the grain elevator managers say it is still too early to determine the yield potential.

 

   

U-S Court of Appeals Stops EPA Rules On WOTUS

(Des Moines) -- Farmers, ranchers, and even contractors are breathing a sigh of relief following a ruling last week by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals out of Cincinatti, Ohio, regarding the controversial rules established by the Environmental Protection Agency and the U-S Army Corps of Engineers on the Waters of the United States.  The court decided to place a temporary stay on the implementation of proposed rules by the EPA.  Chris Gruenhagen of the Iowa Farm Bureau government relations counsel says the decision by the court is a "key step" to stopping EPA's broad definition of navigational waters.  You may recall, the original rules would have allowed the EPA to have jurisdiction on grass waterways, small streams, and even erodible gullies.

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Gruenhagen says it may be several months before a final court ruling will be determined.

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Many farm organizations, including the Iowa Farm Bureau, are requesting Congress to pass legislation that would permanently prohibit the EPA from implementing the far-reaching rules regulating the nation's waterways. A study by the Iowa Farm Bureau showed that 97 percent of the state of Iowa would be adversely affected by the proposed EPA rules.  She says the proposed rules are confusing.

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Gruenhagen says ultimately, if the EPA rulings go into effect, it would be a tedious and costly measure for everyone in agriculture.

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Bird Flu Detected In Plymouth County

(Des Moines) -- The bird flu has now struck Plymouth County.  Iowa Department of Agriculture officials have confirmed the avian flu virus H5N3 has been detected in a chicken operation.  Dustin Vande Hoef is a spokesperson for the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.

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The pullet farm has experienced increased mortality, and Vande Hoef says the farm will be quarantined, and the birds will be euthenized.   An estimate on the number of birds at the site is still pending. Vande Hoef says officials believe the bird flu virus will greatly slow down, or go away all together, once the weather warms up.

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Most of the reported bird flu cases have been from larger commercial size operations, be they a turkey or a chicken layer operation.  But, Vande Hoef says the bird flu is also affecting smaller-sized backyard poultry operations.

 

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Sioux County is also reporting another case of the bird flu at a pullet operation.  With the two new cases, that brings the total number of 52 cases for the state of Iowa.  Agriculture officials have quarantined the premesis.  The Center of Disease Control says there is no risk to humans.  No human infections with the virus have ever been detected, and there is no food safety risk for consumers.

 

   

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