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Articles from 2019 In November

Wide variety of new products that could fill a need for you

Not everybody who attends farm shows can afford a new tractor or combine. However, there is something at all shows which will fit almost anyone’s budget and needs. Check out this gallery to find a wide range of products which could prove useful in your operation, or maybe just to make life a little more convenient and interesting.

The Levrack shop storage system is an eye-catcher. You can’t walk by it without thinking, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Instead of stuffing “stuff” in the back of your shop, where it will stay until your kids clean out your shop someday after you retire, store it in this Levrack system with moving doors, where it’s never more than a few feet from your reach. Many useful items stay buried and never used if they’re stored the way most people store stuff — because the one or two times the item would come in handy, you can’t remember where you put it! This way, within five minutes you know if it’s still around or not. The system is a bit pricey, but so is going and buying stuff you already have but just can’t find.

If you need to move dirt in 2020, Hurricane Ditcher offers a new ditching machine, and Crary Manufacturing offers a new model as well. It’s not every day that companies in this business add new products, so these two are definitely worth checking out. Ashland Industries introduces a new scraper to move all that dirt. Landoll and Apache offer new trailers that could haul it. You’ll find this equipment is well-built and competitively priced.

There are other items for your shop included in this lineup of products. Lincoln offers a new welder, and Badass Workbench introduces a new cabinet for those still in need of storage.

Check out the entire lineup of products. Use the contact information to find out more about the products that interest you the most.

Farm accidents can happen to you!


Mark Minnicus, Delphi, has been given moments in his 22 years that allow him to grasp just how fragile life can be. At 13, he was diagnosed with a grapefruit-sized brain tumor. The tumor was benign, but Mark still endured extensive brain surgery.

The story continues. At age 16, this farm boy rolled a Super H Farmall tractor, which resulted in a broken shoulder. And this summer he had yet another harrowing experience.

Still, this quiet, yet confident young man is full of life, brimming over with talents and accomplishments. He seems more determined than ever.

Key Points

• This determined young farmer has faced more than one physical setback.

• Farm accidents can strike anyone at any time.

• The only remedy is to be as careful as possible — check and recheck.


On July 12, Mark was unloading feed next to the John Deere 4020 he’s driven since he was young. Unexpectedly, it came out of gear. Lurching forward and catching his leg, the tractor began to pull Mark down, pinning him against the ground. The 4020 then ran over his hip while rotating him to his stomach.

But the nightmare wasn’t over. The tractor rolled up over his back, across the side of his face and up his out-stretched arm. It finally came to rest when it hit the silo unloader.

Mark was alone, but he managed to get to his cell phone and call his dad, Jerry.

A parent’s worst fear

Jerry recalls the moment when he received Mark’s call. “He told me he needed an ambulance, and I couldn’t get to the farm fast enough!” he says. “Though it was only a few miles, it seemed like the drive took forever.”

Because there were no ambulances available in their area at the time, Mark waited in agony for over an hour for medical help. When it finally arrived, the decision was made to lifeline him to Parkview Hospital in Ft. Wayne. Miraculously, he only suffered a broken pelvis, bruised lung and harsh reminders where the tire tread marks covered his back to his hand.

After a couple of days in intensive care and surgery, which included insertion of a screw in his hip, he began the long road to recovery. After weeks of being bedridden and confined to a wheelchair, he just recently began walking again. His muscles are building back up, and he’s stronger each day. And he’s ready!

He’s ready to get back to work, but he insists he’ll no longer take anything for granted. He believes he’ll have a tendency to check and recheck things, just for safety’s sake.

It could happen to anyone

One of the most surprised people to hear of Mark’s recent accident was Brian Mills, New Boston, Ill. He operates a large farm where Mark interned while attending the Muscatine Ag science center in Muscatine, Iowa. Mills insists Mark was one of the best students he’s ever worked with around machinery.

Shocked to hear of the accident, Mills visited Mark while he recuperated.

“If an accident could happen to Mark, then it could happen to anyone,” Mills says. “Personally, it makes me more aware that I’d better be careful.”


This article published in the October, 2010 edition of INDIANA PRAIRIE FARMER.

All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2010.


This Week in Agribusiness – Nov. 30, 2019

Note: Start the video and all parts will play through as the full show

Part 1

Mike Pearson and Chad Colby open this week’s show talking about the unstable weather ahead from Greg Soulje, which is not good news. Patrick Haggerty talks with Collin Peterson, D-Minn., and chair of the House Ag Committee, about the uncertainty of the trade situation. Max Armstrong talks with Colin Woodall, CEO, National Cattlemens Beef Association, about some trade wins that have occurred this year. Mike and Chad get an update on the land market with Ray Brownfield, Land Pro LLC.

Part 2

Mike Pearson and Chad Colby continue their conversation with Ray Brownfield, Land Pro LLC, including a look at land rents. In Colby AgTech, Chad shares some interesting gift ideas for the holiday season.

Part 3

Mike Pearson and Chad Colby talk with Farm Broadcaster Don Wick, Red River Ag Network, Grand Forks, N.D., about what farmers are facing in that part of the country, including lost crops of potatoes and sugar beets. Max Armstrong shares the story of an 875-hp tractor that showed up at the Half Century of Progress event last summer. Max talks with Lee Randall owner of the Rite Earthquake tractor, including some history about the tractor.

Part 4

Mike Pearson and Chad Colby open this segment with a look at the controversy occurring in the renewable fuels community and Max Armstrong talks with Geoff Cooper, Renewable Fuels Assocation about the situation. In a Best of the Farm Progress Show, Max talks with Jim Hedges, vice president, seed marketing, Winfield United about the cooperative and the work they're doinig. Ag Meteorologist Greg Soulje offers a first-look at weather for the week ahead.

Part 5

Ag Meteorologist Greg Soulje looks at the long-range weather forecast for agriculture including some major challenges in December.

Part 6

In Max’s Tractor Shed, Max Armstrong shares the story of a International Harvester Hydro 86 owned by Harry Knobbe, West Point, Neb. Max shared that earlier this year Harry had an accident, but he is working to recover, including getting back behind the wheel of this legacy tractor. Max Armstrong profiles Chillicothe FFA in Chillicothe, Mo. Member Abby Hayen shares insight on a couple community activities. Max also shares that the chapter is supported by the Litton Foundation, and Member Clara Leamer, shares more information about the support of the Litton Ag Center. And Member Delaney May shares how the center helps members who show livestock, including for those who live in town.

Part 7

Mike Pearson and Chad Colby close this week’s show talking turkeys, specifically Max Armstrong's report on the 2019 White House turkeys that came from the Clinton, N.C. turkey farm owned by Wellie Jackson. Of course "Bread" and "Butter" are a little different; they've been media trained. And Chad and Mike recognized Steve Bridge who was honored with the Doane Award for his report from China last year; and you can see a montage of that coverage.

Active chapter supported by a foundation

Max Armstrong profiles Chillicothe FFA in Chillicothe, Mo. Member Abby Hayen shares insight on a couple community activities. Max also shares that the chapter is supported by the Litton Foundation, and Member Clara Leamer, shares more information about the support of the Litton Ag Center. And Member Delaney May shares how the center helps members who show livestock, including for those who live in town.

The weekly FFA Chapter Tribute is an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the good work of your local chapter. Tell us about what you're doing, give us some history from your group and tell our viewers of the work you do in the community. FFA chapters across the country deserve recognition for the work they do, make sure we include yours.

To have your chapter considered for this weekly feature, send along information about your group by e-mail to Max Armstrong at They'll get your group on the list of those that will be covered in the future. It's a chance to share your story beyond the local community. Drop Orion or Max a "line" soon.

The National FFA Organization, formerly known as Future Farmers of America, is a national youth organization of about 650,000 student members as part of 7,757 local FFA chapters. The National FFA Organization remains committed to the individual student, providing a path to achievement in premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. For more, visit the National FFA Organization online, on Facebook at, on Twitter at

Bayer criticizes Mexico over glyphosate move


Bayer AG criticized Mexico for stopping imports of the key ingredient in its Roundup herbicide, warning that the country’s farmers will face a “major disruption” in fighting weeds.

The German agriculture giant is reviewing Mexico’s announcement from Monday, which said that the government was denying the entry of 1,000 tons of glyphosate as a precaution and would keep doing so as long as “no conclusive” scientific proof exists that the chemical is safe for people and the environment.

Bayer insists its product is safe. It picked up Roundup last year in its $63 billion acquisition of Monsanto Co. Since then, the product has been a source of major trouble, with Bayer losing three U.S. trials against people who claimed that Roundup caused their cancer. Bayer is appealing those cases, but it faces more than 42,700 other U.S. plaintiffs making similar accusations.

Mexico became the latest in a string of countries to take action against glyphosate. Lawmakers in Austria voted in July to ban the substance as of this coming January while politicians elsewhere in Europe are mulling letting the chemical’s authorization expire at the end of 2022.

Vietnam and Thailand, meanwhile, have faced pressure from the chemicals industry as well as the U.S. government to back down from their plans to ban glyphosate.

“Bayer respects and shares the Mexican government’s interest in protecting farmers and consumers,” Bayer said in a statement. “Unfortunately, the decision to ban imports of glyphosate will not help improve food safety, security, or sustainability in the country.”

Mexico’s environment department said its resolution privileges environmental law over property or industry rights, and cited studies showing glyphosate’s harm to pollinators.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Tim Loh in Munich at

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Eric Pfanner at
Anne Pollak

© 2019 Bloomberg L.P.

Animal Health Notebook

I prefer selling calves as big yearlings

Medium-sized steers on pasture Alan Newport
Author like the higher price and pasture effects of keeping steers until they are big and heavy.

There are beef producers who likely need to sell calves but I recommend selling big yearlings.

There are also producers who like selling hay but I doubt you’ll find multi-generation success stories in the hay-selling business, which is true of most “mining” operations. You cannot remove a resource that is not easy or possible to replace for any length of time without being required to move.

Walt Davis in his book “How To Not Go Broke Ranching” lists what a big steer removes from the land. If he weighs 800 pounds these figures should be real close to what he consists of:

  • 672 pounds of water
  • 7.2 pounds of calcium
  • 4 pounds of phosphorus
  • 3.2 pounds of potassium
  • 1 pound of magnesium and trace minerals
  • 80 pounds of carbon
  • 48 pounds of hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen

Note that all but 15.5 pounds came from the air above our land. If we own and pay taxes on the land or rent it, I could argue that we get for free the air above it, the sunlight, and the water that falls from the sky. We buy high-magnesium lime, delivered and dumped, for $10 per ton and it contains a little zinc and a few other trace minerals.

Remember I don’t like selling 500-pound calves.

I like selling healthy yearlings that have been weaned and grazed for 120 or more days in a high-animal-density grazing program that includes at least one move every day onto fresh forage that has completely recovered for 10 or more weeks.

Think about it: The health concerns are few and the market is normally at climax between late July and mid-September. Charley Chambers up in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, told me the other day that he had contracted a couple of loads of steers to weigh 800 pounds back in late May for a mid-August delivery. He locked them in at $1.51 per pound or $1,200.00. In other words an 800-pound steer will clear a cow in 20 months or so.

Most importantly the yearlings only account for a couple of bucks of our land resource in the form of minerals and will likely have processed and delivered 5,700 pounds of forage dry matter into quality soil and plant food.

His mamma also processed and delivered close to 8,000 pounds of plant food while he was in the calf phase. Boom and bust grazing techniques result in the cattle processing, delivering and spreading the vast majority of plant and soil food.

I like selling big yearlings. (By the way so did Mississippi grazier Gordon Hazard, and he had a proven track record of profitability.)

Max Armstrong's Daily Updates

MIDDAY-Midwest Digest, November 29, 2019

Max Armstrong wraps up the week with news of the big storm headed to the Northern Plains, which will bring snow to a wide region. A Missouri tattoo artist, Justin Fleetwood, started covering racist tattoos at no charge, which is keeping him very busy. From This Week in Agribusiness, there will be a wide number of meetings starting in December, and Max will be attending many of those including the Farm Futures Business Summit. And Max warns of the items you can't take on a plane in your carry on luggage, including such things as tools, and homemade jam.

Midwest Digest is a twice-daily audio feature produced by Max Armstrong, offering news and commentary from across the Midwest.

And don’t miss Farm Progress America, which runs every day online.

Cattle can add richness to our lives

artwork of cowboy riding market vectorbomb-ThinkstockPhotos
Watch each Friday for Doug Ferguson's Market Intel blog on Beef Producer.

Every week I try to share some ideas for generating profit. This week I want to talk about some of the ways the cattle business adds richness to our lives. Sometimes people get so upset about prices, like they are currently, that they tend to overlook some of the benefits we can’t put a price on. These will be different for everybody, and all I can really do is share some of my personal experiences.

Everybody who has come into my life has been a result of the cattle business, at least until my daughter was born. The day I met my wife, and all my closest friends were all a result of being in the cattle business. I have met many people from different countries as well. The past two years I had the privilege of meeting with some Australian ranchers that were touring the US. They have invited me to travel over there. I think I’ll take them up on it. What an experience that will be, and to be able to share that with my wife and daughter will be amazing. All has been a result of my passion for cattle.

A friend of mine once said, “We are in the business of raising kids. The cattle are just here to teach the lessons.” When he told me that I had no idea how spot on he was. I have so many things at my disposal to help teach my daughter things, and they are things people in town can’t even come close to.

I have a flexible schedule. I can start when I want in the morning, and quit when I want. When my kid has an activity I can just go, even if it's in the middle of the day. People with a real job can’t do that.

I have bought cattle from many parts of the country. I sometimes travel to those areas. The culture changes in different parts of the US. I have brought my wife and daughter along on some of those trips. So my little girl has gotten to see different parts of the country and experience the culture changes.

Speaking of travel, as a result of my passion for cattle I’ve gotten to travel to China and South Korea. I’ve been to Washington, D.C. to lobby on behalf of cattle producers. Who would have ever thought you could have those kinds of experiences because you like cows?

I have had people come up to me and tell me how my business has benefited them. I once bought some calves in a sale barn, and a young man come up to me and thanked me for buying his calves. To me they were just cheap cattle to put on my load. To him it really made a difference. He told me I didn’t understand. When I walked outside to make a phone call I saw him get in his car and a young woman was sitting in it feeding a baby. Because of my bids he probably only got an extra $40, but it meant a lot to him. I’ve even had a truck driver who was struggling tell me that the loads I gave him every month is what helped him barely cover his living expenses. Folks, our businesses help people in more ways that we realize.

There was a little girl near where I live who had a brain tumor. A woman in the community wanted to put on a benefit to help cover medical expenses. She had no idea where to start. I told my wife to message her and tell her that we’d donate hamburger out of a fat heifer I had on the place at the time. That woman pulled off a great event. These cattle we raise are here to make our lives better. The life of that heifer played a small part in making things easier for that family.

I consider it a great privilege to write this blog. The knowledge I am able to share here was given to me by other people. It is very humbling to think of how this knowledge and energy flows through me onto this platform, and how it might affect people I’ve never met. I sincerely hope that you who read this blog will be inspired, and as blessed as I have been.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving I hope this reminds you all how truly rich you are.

This week four-weights gained some friends. These new friends eroded the value of gain on them. The best value of gain was on cattle that weighed 500 to 800 pounds. And this value of gain is very attractive when we compare it to the cost of gain. Once again this week there was a significant roll-back from steers to heifers. I realize due to crazy weather this year that feed is tight in some places. It may be worth considering buying some feed to wean and background your calves.

Unweaned calves were $2-10 back this week, feeder bulls were $20 back. I don’t feel that any of the Southern markets had enough cattle this week to make a fair comparison.

Female sale season is now in full swing. I always expect to be surprised when watching these sales. People tend to be much more emotional when buying bred stock, and I think that is what causes the volatility of these sales. The female sales I saw this week didn’t disappoint, and they surprised me. The sales were rather flat, meaning the prices didn’t have huge swings up and down.

Most of the price fluctuation I saw was reflective of type, calving date, what they were bred to, and condition. The best sellers were the fancy black heifers that were AI bred, which is no surprise. Smaller-framed females took a discount, and females with a little bloom on them sold a little better. The discount for later calving females seemed to mirror the cost of carrying them out until they calve. This surprised me because they usually get hammered this time of year.

First-calf AI-bred heifers were a bit over-valued when compared to anything (open heifers, bred cows and pairs.) A solid-mouth bred cow has roughly the same value as a solid mouth pair. Pairs with big calves sold roughly $200 higher than pairs with smaller calves. The value of pairs was slightly above weigh-up value.

Black baldies had a premium compared to solid blacks. Here’s the funny thing about that. A black female mated to a Hereford sire sold at a steep discount. I firmly believe we should plan the mating to match what buyers want. Buyers want baldy cattle, but don’t want cattle bred to Hereford? If one of you knows how that works let me know.

As the age of the cows got older the price slid down as well, but it was a steady decline which seemed to mirror depreciation. I find this odd because usually the older cows can carry a steep discount.

Weekly Export Sales – Soybeans stuff the latest report


Soybeans continued to be the shining star in the latest USDA export sales report, covering the week ending November 21 and out a day late due to this week's Thanksgiving holiday. Corn and wheat also saw week-over-week gains this past week, too, although those tallies were less impressive.

Soybean export sales led the way with 61.1 million bushels, which trended 14% above last week's tally and 25% above the prior four-week average. China accounted for nearly half of the total, with 30.5 million bushels. Germany, Indonesia, Taiwan and Egypt each took at least 2.7 million bushels each, as well.

Soybean export shipments fared even better, scoring a marketing-year high with 82.5 million bushels – up 36% from a week ago and 48% above the prior four-week average. China's piece of the pie this past week was 68% of the total, with Germany, Indonesia, Egypt and Pakistan gobbling up the remainder.

China is still sitting on more than 137 million bushels in total outstanding sales so far this marketing year, which are in danger of getting rolled into next year or cancelled outright if U.S.-China trade relations aren't resolved in a timely manner. Compare that to the country's year-over-year outstanding sales of about 9 million bushels, for additional context.

Soymeal exports slumped 62% below the prior four-week average, in contrast, and tumbling to less than half the average trade guess after gathering just 92,300 metric tons, mostly bound for Central and South American destinations.

Wheat exports rise

USDA's latest round of export data also showed a big week-over-week increase for wheat export sales, which firmed by 40% to reach 22.5 million bushels, which also moderately bested trade expectations of 16.0 million bushels. The Philippines led the latest charge, picking up another 7.2 million bushels, followed by Taiwan, Japan, Bangladesh and Guatemala.

Wheat export shipments were more modest last week, with 16.4 million bushels. That slipped 8% below the prior week's tally but firmed 1% over the four-week average. The Philippines again led the way last week after accounting for 4.4 million bushels, with Japan, Bangladesh, Mexico and Italy rounding out the top five.

Corn export sales inched 2% higher from last week to reach 31.8 million bushels, placing totals 34% ahead of the four-week average and moderately higher than trade expectations of 25.6 million bushels. Colombia toppled Mexico's usual No. 1 spot after taking 10.3 million bushels. Costa Rica, Canada, Mexico and Honduras rounded out the top five.

Corn export shipments were less impressive, with 25.0 million bushels last week – down 6% week-over-week but 22% ahead of the four-week average. Mexico was the No. 1 destination with just over half of that total, followed by Colombia, Japan, Guatemala and Jamaica.

Click here for a full rundown of the latest USDA export sales highlights.

Max Armstrong's Daily Updates

MORNING-Midwest Digest, November 29, 2019

Max Armstrong shares news that a safari park in Ohio was hit by fire that killed some animals. In Brownsburg, Ind., police are looking into the murder of a popular orthopedic surgeon. From This Week in Agribusiness, the difficult harvest drags on as Max shares what he's seen on social media; and there's more wet weather ahead. Max shares the story of a radio station tower that was hit by high winds in Louisville, Ky. And could Black Friday kill you?

Midwest Digest is a twice-daily audio feature produced by Max Armstrong, offering news and commentary from across the Midwest.

And don’t miss Farm Progress America, which runs every day online.

Photo: Sarah Silbiger/stringer/Getty Images News