Pesticide permits on their way

The EPA regulation that will require applicators to obtain a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit in order to apply pesticides on or near water went into effect Monday.   Earlier this summer the US House voted to eliminate the regulation.  The Senate leadership did not call for an up or down vote.  Because there was no Congressional action the measure went into effect Monday.

House Ag committee Chairman Frank Lucas said because of the Senate’s lack of action there are no winners.  He says farmers, ranchers and business owners will be burdened with additional costs and paperwork from this duplicative permit.

For the first 120 days that the permit is in effect, EPA says it will focus on providing compliance assistance and education of the permit requirements, rather than on enforcement actions.

Indiana harvest continues to press on

While rain kept many farmers in northern and southern Indiana out of the fields last week, harvest continued to advance across most of central Indiana.  According to the latest report released by USDA 57 percent of the corn crop has been harvested compared to 98 percent a year ago.  Statewide – approximately 51 percent of the corn harvest is complete in the north region, 55 percent in the central portion of the state and 74 percent complete in the south.  The moisture content of corn harvested is averaging 20 percent.

Soybean harvest continues to progress.  Eighty-one percent of soybean acreage has been harvested, well behind last year’s 98 percent.  By area, nearly 80 percent of the beans have been harvested in the north, 85 percent in central Indiana and 73 percent in the south.  Moisture content of the soybean crop harvested is around 12 percent. 

In other crops around the state, 85 percent of the winter wheat has been planted, compared to 93 percent last year and 58 percent of the crop has emerged, slightly ahead of a year ago.  The winter wheat crop is doing well as 63 percent of the crop is in good to excellent condition compared to 23 percent in 2010.  Twenty-seven percent of Indiana pastures are in good to excellent condition, the same as last week and substantial increase of last year at this time.

Dairy profitability slipped in October

Dairy profitability fell for the third month in a row, the monthly Index of Farm Prices puts the October all milk price at $19.90 while the cost of feed to produce 100 pounds of milk was $11.12 putting income-over-feed-cost at $8.78 per hundredweight. That is down 85 cents from September and 31 cents below the average income over feed cost for the past ten years.

The highest all milk price was $25.50 in Florida while the lowest was $18.00 in California.

The average milk cow price at the end of October was $1,480 per head unchanged from the end of July. Florida, Michigan and Vermont averaged $1,600 while Missouri averaged $1,270 per head. Wisconsin averaged $1,560 and California averaged $1,400.

Farm prices a little more profitable in October

The preliminary Index of Prices Received by Farmers in October increased 3.4 percent from September. National Ag Statistics Service says crop prices increased 1.5 percent while livestock prices were 0.7 percent higher for the month. Farmers received higher prices for oilseeds, cattle, calves, hogs, milk, turkeys and eggs. Prices were lower for broilers, feed grains, food grains, hay and commercial vegetables.

In the Crop Index, the October corn price averaged $5.92 per bushel, down 45 cents from September, the average soybean price was $11.90 down 30 cents and the all-wheat price averaged $6.94 per bushel, down 61 cents from September. All-hay was up $5.00 per ton to average $181.

In the Livestock Index, the average hog price in October was $68.80 per hundredweight up $1.70 from September. Beef cattle were $4.00 higher at $116 per hundredweight. The October all-milk price declined $1.20 to $19.90 per hundredweight. Broilers were down a penny to 43 cents per pound while turkeys were 4.1 cents higher at 77.2 cents per pound. Eggs increased 8.8 cents from September to average 85.7 cents per dozen.

The Index of Prices Paid by Farmers was unchanged from September. Higher prices for feeder cattle, complete feeds, concentrates and supplements were offset by lower prices for feed grains, gasoline, diesel and LP gas.

Compared to October of 2010, the prices received and the prices paid are each up 11 percent.

Legal wrangling over the Canadian Wheat Board

A legal battle in Canada over the future of the Canadian Wheat Board. Since 1942 the CWB has handled the marketing of all wheat and barley grown in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and parts of British Colombia. Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party plans to have a new, free-market system in place in Canada by next August which would allow farmers to sell their grain on their own rendering the CWB obsolete. Legislation was introduced last week to remove CWB as the monopolistic marketer and give them five years to implement a business plan to operate in an open market. The Conservatives hold the majority in the House of Commons and can pass the bill without any help.

The CWB filed suit in an effort to stop the legislation even though their legal counsel told them the challenge would be useless. Two of the board’s ten farmer-elected directors have resigned to reflect their objection to the suit while the eight remaining directors support the effort.

Now the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association has instructed their lawyers to seek an injunction against the CWB and the remaining eight directors for misusing farmer funds for political purposes including the legal action.

Meanwhile, arguments are scheduled for December 6th in another suit filed in Winnipeg by “Friends of the Canadian Wheat Board” claiming the government does not have the right to dissolve the CWT without farmer approval.

Harvest weather continues in Wisconsin

Temperatures just slightly below normal and very light precipitation allowed the combines to roll in Wisconsin last week. The weekly Crop Progress Report from the National Ag Statistics Service puts the corn-for-grain harvest at 55 percent complete, ten points ahead of the five year average. It could easily be more than that however farmers are in no rush to get it in choosing to let the crop dry down a little more in the field. Moistures are still in the upper teens and lower 20s. Yields are running anywhere from 130 to 200-plus.

The soybean harvest is 92 percent complete, also well-ahead of the five-year average with yields in the 30 to 50 bushel range.

A fair amount of fall tillage getting done, 41 percent as of Sunday compared to 29 percent normally on this date. Soil moisture is in pretty good shape across the Badger State with 78 percent classified as adequate and 15 percent surplus.

AgriGold – The Corn Specialist

For Phil McCutchan, Marketing Manager for AgriGold, the three days at the Farm Progress Show provides the opportunity to talk with customers about everything from the weather to what’s happening in the seed industry. McCutchan tells Brownfields’ Dave Russell that AgriGold places an emphasis on genetic diversity, making sure the grower is doing what’s necessary to spread the risk.

Audio: Phil McCutchan, Marketing Manager, Agri Gold (5:20 MP3)

Illinois market and community garden honored

All those involved with the Illinois Products Farmers’ Market and the State Fairgrounds Community garden are being honored Tuesday night. Acting Illinois Ag Director Jim Larkin says both projects have become “huge successes for the department and for the community.”

More than 160 plots were planted by more than 100 gardeners who contributed part of their produce to the Central Illinois Food Bank through the ‘Plant a row for the hungry’ program.

More than six-thousand pounds of food was donated throughout the summer – distributed to area food pantries and soup kitchens.

Nebraska wraps up distillers research initiative

A three-year distillers grains research initiative conducted by the University of Nebraska—and funded by the Nebraska Corn Board—has officially wrapped up.

According to Kelly Brunkhorst of the Corn Board, the initiative resulted in a number of important breakthroughs when it comes to feeding distillers grains—a co-product of the ethanol process—to cattle.

“We now have a much better understanding of higher inclusion rates of distillers grains, sometimes up above 60 to 70 percent—and with that came some concerns,” Brunkhorst says, “and the university did a great job of addressing those concerns—specifically sulfur—and was able to understand that we could possibly increase the sulfur rate compared to some earlier research that was conducted.”

Even though this initiative has ended, the Nebraska Corn Board continues to fund distillers grains research.  Brunkhorst says one area being explored is how the feed value of distillers is impacted by the extraction of corn oil—a practice being adopted by more and more ethanol producers.

“That creates an unknown as to what that feeding value really is for distillers grains in the future,” he says. “So we continue to work with the university on that issue—and we’ll hopefully have some results over the next year or two on having a better understanding of how ‘de-oiled’ or ‘lesser-oiled’ distillers grains will work in feedlot and range diets.”

Brunkhorst says the ability of the Nebraska Corn Board to fund additional research is limited by what is available via the state’s corn checkoff–which he points out is the lowest of all leading corn states in the U.S. 

Nebraska’s current corn checkoff rate of one-quarter of a cent per bushel was set in 1988.

AUDIO: Kelly Brunkhorst (3:29 MP3)

Trick or Treat?

Evan McKinney, son of Brownfield Promotions Coordinator Kari and  husband Chris, was dressed as a monkey for Halloween when he and his dad visited Brownfield’s Jefferson City, Missouri studios today.