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7 ag stories you might have missed

Collage with corn harvest, capitol building and angus beef cattle
Record corn crop, cutting-edge equipment announcements and a big win for U.S. dairy.

Missed some agricultural news this week? Here are seven stories to catch you up.

Farm Futures survey finds record 2021 corn crop

An email survey conducted in December of 613 farmers found that nationwide corn yield for the 2021 growing season is estimated at 177.2 bushels per acre. If realized, that would top USDA’s current projection of 177.0 bpa for 2021 yields as the largest national corn yield in U.S. history. – Farm Futures

Financial performance boosts farmer sentiment

The Ag Economy Barometer rose for only the second time since May, sparked by stronger farm financials. The Farm Financial Performance Index rose 7 points to 113 in December, 21% higher than readings obtained just before the pandemic’s onset. Still, farmers expressed concern about rising production costs and the availability of inputs. – Purdue University and CME Group

John Deere’s autonomous tractor

Deere announced the new autonomous 8R on Tuesday at CES, an annual technology trade show. The first autonomous system is focused on tillage only but brings a lot of tech and safety systems for producers. The tractor uses both artificial intelligence and machine learning to work in the environment, staying within a predetermined geofence during operation. – Farm Futures

U.S. wins USMCA dairy dispute with Canada

A dispute resolution panel convened under USMCA found that Canada’s use of tariff rate quotas to unfairly restrict U.S. dairy products is inconsistent with its USMCA obligations. As a result of the judgement, U.S. dairy producers and workers will have increased ability to sell their products in the Canadian market. – Farm Futures

Plant-based fast food menus

Two restaurant chains announced this week that they are expanding plant-based menu options nationwide. Kentucky Fried Chicken said its Beyond Meat plant-based chicken will be available nationwide starting Monday. Chipotle announced that its plant-based chorizo is now available. Both companies say the plant-based options are available for a limited time. – The Washington Post

Bobcat introduces electric loader

The new Bobcat T7X is the first fully electric compact track loader. The first machines will be available through Sunbelt Rentals through a new agreement between both companies. The machine features a 67-Kilowatt lithium ion system that can operate four continuous hours. – Farm Futures

Biden addresses meat supply chain challenges

Biden was joined by USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, Attorney General Merrick Garland and five farmers on Jan. 3 to discuss competition issues in the meat industry. The Department of Justice and USDA announced a new portal for reporting potential violations of competition laws. – Farm Futures

And your bonus…

1,000-pound butter sculpture unveiled

The 31st butter sculpture, themed “Harvesting More, Together,” is on display at the Pennsylvania Farm Show. The 2022 sculpture uses more than 1,000 pounds of butter. It requires 21,200 pounds of milk to produce that amount of butter, the equivalent of one day’s work of 353 cows. Following the farm show, the butter will be converted to renewable energy at a nearby farm’s methane digester. – American Dairy Association North East, PennLive

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