Sunday, April 20, 2014
   
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Local Ag News

USDA To Monitor Swine Virus

USDA To Monitor Swine Virus

 MILWAUKEE (AP) - The federal government is starting a new program to help monitor and possibly control the spread of a virus that has killed millions of pigs since showing up in the U.S. last year.
 
     The porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, believed to be from China, causes severe diarrhea in newborn piglets, who die from dehydration.
 
     The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Friday it is stepping up efforts by requiring farmers to report infections and labs where farmers send tissue and fecal samples to report positive tests.
 
     Farms that suffer an outbreak also will have to participate in a program to help control the spread of the disease
 
     Previously, the USDA and the nation's pork industry tracked the disease with voluntary reports from the labs.

   

Rootworms Build Resistance To Bt Corn

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Researchers say bugs are developing resistance to the widely popular genetically engineered corn plants that make their own insecticide, so farmers may have to make changes.
     Cases of rootworms eating roots of so-called Bt corn have been confirmed in Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, South Dakota and Minnesota.
     Iowa State University researchers say rootworms have developed resistance to two of the four genetic traits in corn plants that are engineered to kill rootworms.
     Iowa State professor Aaron Gassmann says the problem isn't widespread yet, but farmers and seed companies should consider changing their approaches to pest control.
     In areas where Bt corn has failed to control rootworms, farmers turned to insecticides. The USDA says 76 percent of all corn planted last year was Bt corn.

 

   

Agriculture Census To Be Released

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture is set to release its Census of Agriculture, a detailed report released every five years that lists the number of farms, how many acres are farmed, the number of farmers and their average age and many other statistics.

The last report released in 2007 revealed that the number of Iowa farms had increased 2 percent from 2002 to 2007 to more than 92,800. The average farm size was lower and total acres of land farmed fell 3 percent.
Iowa ranked first in the nation in 2007 in production of hogs, corn, soybeans and third in the nation for the value of agriculture products sold.
The report to be released Thursday morning is used in evaluating and implementing agriculture policies and programs.

   

Northey Expects Farm Income To Decline

(Le Mars) -- After seeing the past few years of farmers enjoying higher commodity prices, Iowa Agriculture Secretary, Bill Northey, says he is concerned about a possible decline in farm income this year.  Northey was in Le Mars Thursday morning.  He says this coming crop year may prove to be interesting as farm income is projected to be lower. The question is  how much lower?

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Northey expects the lower farm income will definately have an impact on ag businesses?

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Crop Values Declined In 2012

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The value of crops fell last year as corn and soybeans prices declined from record highs the year before. 
     The U.S. Department of Agriculture says in an annual report the value of 2013 field crops fell 9.8 percent to nearly $167 billion from $185 billion in 2012. 
     The 2012 drought reduced the corn and soybean harvest and drove prices to record highs which resulted in increased crop value.
     Friday's report says the average price of corn for 2012 was $6.89 per bushel and the value of the crop that year was $74.3 billion. Last year's average price was $4.50 and the overall value fell to $62.7 billion.
     Top crop producers last year were Illinois with crops valued at $16 billion, Iowa at $15.9 billion, and Nebraska at nearly $12 billion.

 

   

Farmland Rental Rates Expected To Decline

(Orange City) -- Farmland rental rates look to be holding steady or showing some signs of decline, that according to an Iowa State University Extension Farm Management Specialist.  Melissa O'Rourke says landowners and farmers are now negotiating terms for the upcoming crop year.  She says our neighbors to the east project a slight decline in farmland rental rates.

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O'Rourke says whether  farmland rental rates trends go up or down, or hold steady, depends largely on what the previous conditions and terms were for the lease agreement.  O'Rourke says she still hears of instances where a tennant and landlord had entered a long-term lease agreement and the rental rates are extremely low.

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The ISU Farm Management Specialist says there have been times in the recent past when farmland rental rates were given a "bump up".  But she says 2014 may be a year when profit margins are tighter.

 
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O'Rourke says most farmland rental agreements today are scheduled for a one-year term with review of the yield performance, future projections, and current and future commodity prices.

 

   

Low Corn Prices Give Cattle Producers Optimism

AMES, Iowa (AP) - A livestock specialist at Iowa State University says falling corn prices are generating some optimism that cattle farmers can again make money.
      Historically high corn prices during the last several years drove up the cost of feed and many producers cut herd numbers as drought intensified.
      Lee Schulz, a livestock specialist and assistant professor of economics, says producers have been in survival mode but are beginning to talk about expansion. There's interest in building new facilities and growing herds.
      Feedlots made money on cattle sold in October, breaking a long streak of monthly losses. 
      He says it will take several years to build the herd with increased calf crops and increasing cattle supplies because of the time it takes for calves to mature.

   

Harvest Better Than Expected

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - This year's corn crop is the largest the nation has ever seen, and exceeds earlier government projections.
In its first report since the government shutdown, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Friday it expects 13.99 billion bushels of corn. It had forecast 13.8 billion bushels. The previous record was 13.1 billion in 2009.
Heavy rains delayed spring planting and drought conditions returned to parts of the Midwest. Some analysts thought there would be a subpar harvest.
But adequate rain and cooler temperatures at pollination time produced exceptional results, especially in Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio.
Prices dropped below $4.20 a bushel Friday, the lowest since 2010.
That means some farmers see lower profits, but chicken, pork, and beef producers will have lower feed costs. Grocery prices won't be impacted.

   

Harvest Progressing

(Le Mars) -- Farmers are making progress with this year's harvest.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports 55 percent of Iowa's corn crop and 87 percent of the soybean crop have been harvested.
Monday's weekly report showed the corn crop was about 5 percentage points behind normal,
while The soybean harvest was about two days ahead of normal.  Joel DeJong, Iowa State
University extension crop specialist says the soybean harvest in Plymouth County is close to completion.

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DeJong says generally the corn harvest is doing well, but a few farmers have had to deal with lodging issues and dropped ears.

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The crop specialist says the recent rains are helping replenish the lost soil moisture levels from the last two years due to the drought conditions.


   

Surprise Harvest

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Farmers in many states are surprised at the abundance of corn coming from their fields, and record harvests are likely in many states including Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, and Ohio.

In southeastern Nebraska, farmer Ben Steffen says his first field brought in 168 bushels an acre, above the average of 140.

The best crops are in areas with adequate rain and where corn pollinated amid cooler temperatures.

The positive surprise is welcome after the dismal harvest for many farmers last year when drought spread across the country reducing corn and soybean crops.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates this year's harvest to bring in 13.8 billion bushels of corn, beating the 2009 record of 13.1 billion bushels. Some analysts believe farmers may exceed the estimates.

   

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