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Articles from 2014 In September

Oregon Department of Ag Screening Pesticide Stewardship Proposals

Oregon Department of Ag Screening Pesticide Stewardship Proposals

The Oregon Department of Agriculture is launching a new grant program and is looking f through innovative project proposals to prevent or reduce pesticides from entering the state's waters.

As part of the Oregon Pesticide Stewardship Partnership, $160,000 is available to those who submitted proposals by Sept. 30 that produce a broad range of benefits for Oregon's environment.

ODA is collaborating with other state agencies involved in the program, including the Department of

Environmental Quality, Department of Forestry, and the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board.

Oregon Department of Ag Screening Pesticide Stewardship Proposals

Eligible applicants for funding include ag industry associations, producer groups, commodity commissions, non-profit and for-profit organizations, community organizations, institutions of higher learning, soil and water conservation districts, watershed councils, tribal entities and federal, state and local government agencies.

Proposed projects must focus on preventing and/or reducing the risk posed by pesticides entering water systems in agricultural, urban/rural residential, or forest environments.

To be selected for funding, work must take place in or collaborate with an existing program     watershed-based project.

A list of current PSP watersheds may be found at (see photo).

ODA will announce its selection decisions next month after an interagency team evaluates the proposals.

Selections will strongly focus on the following projects:

•Prevention/reduction of the frequency and concentration of pesticides in water.

•Collaboration that leverages expertise and funds in ways that reduce the input into water.

•Demonstrations of application technology reducing off-target movement of pesticides or increases on-target application efficiency and cost savings.

•Implementation of proven integrated pest management principles.

•Outreach/education programs that emphasize the proper use of pesticides.

•Demonstration projects and workshops that link behavioral changes, or the implementation of best management practices, to reduce pesticide water contamination.

•Demonstrations of how to reduce pesticide runoff or drift into waterways.

Individual project grants can total as much as $50,000 and can run for two years.
Apply Now for Wisconsin FFA Foundation SAE Grants

Apply Now for Wisconsin FFA Foundation SAE Grants

The Wisconsin FFA Foundation is seeking applicants for their 2014 Supervised Agricultural Experience Grant Program. The application can be found at and must be postmarked by Nov. 17.

SAE Grants are available in four different categories: aquaculture, dairy, organic agriculture, and start-up. F

Funds for these grants are provided by Foremost Farms USA, Nasco, Organic Valley, Saputo Cheese USA, Sartori, ST Paper, We Energies, Wisconsin Aquaculture Association and the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.

Apply Now for Wisconsin FFA Foundation SAE Grants

To be eligible for the grants, students must be a current FFA member in grades 7 through 11 during the 2014-2015 school year. Questions can be directed to the Wisconsin FFA Foundation at or 608-831-5058.

For more information about providing SAE Grants to Wisconsin FFA members, visit or contact Sara Schoenborn at 608-831-5058 or

Wisconsin FFA Foundation

Commodity Grain Prices Continue To Dip

Commodity Grain Prices Continue To Dip

The preliminary September 2014 average price received for corn in Minnesota was $3.25 per bushel, according to the Minnesota Field office of the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service – Agricultural Prices report.

This was a decrease of $0.21 from the August price and a decrease of $2.44 from September 2013.

The preliminary September soybean price was $11.80 per bushel, down $0.80 from August and down $1.50 from the previous September.

The preliminary spring wheat price for September was $5.30 per bushel, down $0.55 from August and down $1.36 from September 2013.

Commodity Grain Prices Continue To Dip

The all hay price in Minnesota averaged $105.00 per ton in September, up $2.00 from August but down $58.00 from September 2013. Alfalfa hay prices averaged $125.00, up $9.00 from August but down $65.00 from last year while other hay prices averaged $74.00, down $16.00 from the previous month and down $46.00 from 2013.

The preliminary September average price for all milk, at $26.20 per cwt. was up $2.00 from the August price.

The preliminary September average prices in the U.S. were corn, $3.38 per bushel; soybeans, $11.20 per bushel; springer wheat, $5.79 per bushel; all hay, $176 per ton and alfalfa, $197 per ton.

Missionary work offers unusual opportunities

Sometimes I feel like a missionary.

Well, not a religious one; I probably would not pass the piety test to qualify for that role. I do feel compelled from time to time, however, to preach to folks who simply don’t understand, or have been led down the wrong path, so to speak, about healthy food choices. Okay, I’m not a diet expert either as close scrutiny of my personal food choices will prove, but I can dispel a few erroneous assumptions people make about certain foods.

The latest soapbox I climbed on was at the Denton Market last Saturday. My son and I shop there fairly regularly. l like to pick up fresh produce from local farms; Nick likes to collect baked goods—he’s particularly fond of cake pops, dinner rolls and chocolate cookies. One of his regular stops is a booth that sells gluten-free breads, cakes and cookies. He’s not gluten intolerant or particularly interested in a gluten-free diet. This particular booth simply offers a few items he finds tasty. I find nothing wrong with that.

The young woman at the booth who also does the baking tried to interest me in some gluten-free goodies. “No thanks,” I said. “I kinda like my gluten.” She seemed a bit taken aback, as if I had sprouted an extra head.

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I explained that I don’t suffer from celiac disease and thus had no reason to maintain a gluten-free diet. And that’s where it got interesting. She claimed that a lot of people who do not have celiac disease also suffer from gluten intolerance. I will not argue that fact with her either, since I am neither nutritionist nor doctor, but neither is she. Most of this information comes anecdotally from other non-experts. People have reactions to many different things. Poison ivy makes me break out and itch; I know some who seem immune to it. If something irritates you, stay away from it, but if you’re not certain what causes the problem, see a doctor.

Then she said she is concerned that genetically engineered wheat has caused an upsurge in gluten intolerance and more celiac disease. That’s when the soap box hit the dirt and I stepped up on it to explain that wheat—currently—is not genetically modified and even if it were no studies exist to link GE foods to any kind of illness. I mentioned 20 years of studies with no link to any illness. She seemed less skeptical than surprised. I offered my limited credentials, an editor who has observed and written about genetically engineered crops for all of those 20 years, plus a few more.

To her credit, she was polite, and apparently interested in at least thinking about another point of view. I suggested that much of the gluten-free data is simply a marketing ploy to help sell products into a niche market. She admitted that to be the reason she offers things such as gluten-free pumpkin bread—the sample she offered did taste good. She has found a marketing opportunity and, I think, does well on market days. Good for her.  But I’m pretty certain that most of her customers would do just as well with baked goods made from wheat.

We had a pleasant conversation. I also mentioned that the whole organic-only movement was also a marketing ploy. She was less receptive to that notion, so I retrieved my soap box, dusted it off and headed back to the truck. End of sermon. Amen.



Iowa Oat Production Down 11% In 2014

Iowa Oat Production Down 11% In 2014

Iowa oat production is estimated at 3.52 million bushels this year, down 11% from last year according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service, which just published its Small Grains 2014 Summary. This is Iowa's second lowest oat production on record.

Oats planted at 145,000 acres is down 34% from last year. Harvested area for grain is 55,000 acres, down 8% from 2013. Oat yield, at 64.0 bushels per acre, is down 2 bushels from last year.

FEWER OATS GROWN: Planted acreage of oats in Iowa is down 34% this year compared to last year. Average oat yield at 64 bu. per acre is down 2 bushels per acre from last year.

Winter wheat production, at 735,000 bushels in Iowa in 2014, is down 33% from last year. Planted acreage at 26,000 is down 13% from 2013. Winter wheat harvested area is 15,000 acres, down 29% from last year. Winter wheat yield, at 49.0 bushels per acre, is down 3 bushels from 2013.

United States wheat, oats, barley production in 2014
• All wheat production
totaled 2.04 billion bushels in 2014, down 5% from USDA's revised 2013 total. Area harvested for grain totaled 46.5 million acres, up 3% from the previous year. The United States yield average for 2014 is estimated at 43.8 bushels per acre, down 3.3 bushels from the previous year. The levels of production and changes from 2013 by type are winter wheat, 1.38 billion bushels, down 11%; other spring wheat, 601 million bushels, up 12%; and Durum wheat, 57.1 million bushels, down 2%.

• Oat production in the U.S. in 2014 is estimated at 70.5 million bushels, up 9% from the revised 2013 total but represents the fourth lowest production on record. Yield is estimated at 67.8 bushels per acre, up 3.7 bushels from the previous year. Harvested area, at 1.04 million acres, is 3% above last year. This is the third lowest acreage harvested for grain on record.

• Barley production is estimated at 180 million bushels, down 17% from the revised 2013 total. Average yield per acre, at 73.4 bushels, is up 2.1 bushels from the previous year and represents a record high for the United States. Producers seeded 2.98 million acres in 2014, down 16% from last year. Harvested area, at 2.46 million acres, is down 19% from 2013.

The complete report can be found under "Publications" on the USDA/NASS website.


Market surprise from grain stocks report?

USDA released their September quarterly stocks report and the markets are lower across the board.  No real surprises in my opinion! Some of you however might be surprised when you see the soybean market lower on sub-100 million ending stocks numbers.

Keep in mind, the quarterly stocks report by the USDA is basically a look through the rear-view mirror.  In other words who really cares about the ending stocks shrinking by 34 million bushels when its happening behind our vehicle. Especially when the fast and smart drivers can clearly see a tsunami of soybeans heading their direction through the front windshield? Remember, trading is more about market psyche than it is about the actual data and news. As always, perception is everything!     

Get my daily report.


US Grain Stocks (In billions of bushels)

Sep. #
Avg. Estimate
Range of Estimates
June 1,

Sep 1,

1.020 - 1.350
0.100 - 0.150
1.707 - 1.980



Financial Assistance Offered For Iowa Organic Growers

Financial Assistance Offered For Iowa Organic Growers

There can be significant costs associated with becoming a certified organic grower. "A new cost-share program we have in Iowa is designed to help farmers offset some of that expense," says Bill Northey, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture.

The deadline to apply is Nov. 3, if you want to participate in this cost-sharing program. Iowa has approximately 800 certified organic operations, and the state ag agency certifies about 400 of those farms. Becoming certified, Northey says, has definite advantages.

APPLY BY NOV 3: Iowa farmers working to become certified organic growers can apply for cost-share to help offset expense of switching to organic. State program has $500,000 available, coming from $11.5 million federal program. Assistance is for crops, livestock and wild crops.

In total Iowa has about $501,500 in assistance available through this new program designed to help farmers with organic certification expenses. Farmers are eligible for 75% reimbursement of eligible certification expense, limited to $750 per certification scope, which includes crops, wild crops, livestock and processing/handling.

Deadline to apply for the assistance is Nov. 3, 2014
"Organic producers can contact our department for more information and a copy of the application," he says.

Organic operations must be in good standing and possess a current USDA organic certificate to be eligible to receive reimbursements. Applicants are eligible for 75% reimbursement of eligible certification-related costs paid between October 1, 2013 and September 30, 2014. Additional funds will be allocated for the subsequent years covered by the Farm Bill.

Application forms can be downloaded from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship website. If you are unable to download the forms, a copy can be mailed to you by contacting Tammy Stotts at 515-281-7657 or For more information about Iowa's organic agriculture program go to

Iowa has approximately 800 certified organic farming operations
The Organic Certification Cost Share Program is a USDA program that's part of the 2014 Farm Bill. It is intended to assist organic producers and handlers by offsetting costs associated with organic certification. Through the National Organic Certification Cost-Share Program, $11.5 million is available to all 50 states, District of Columbia and five U.S. territories. Only five states have been awarded more funding than Iowa's $501,500 allocation.

Iowa's 2014 Corn Crop Is 2% Harvested, Soybeans 3%

Iowa's 2014 Corn Crop Is 2% Harvested, Soybeans 3%

Iowa's corn and soybean harvest is getting underway for 2014. The state's farmers had 2% of the corn acreage harvested as of September 28 versus 5% a year ago at this time. The five-year average is 15% complete. Soybean harvest is also now getting started with 3% harvested versus 4% a year ago and a 17% average.

LATE MATURING CROPS: Iowa crops continue to advance toward maturity as farmers are beginning harvest in some areas of the state. At the end of September only 2% of the corn was harvested, compared to 5% a year ago at this time and a five-year average of 15%. Only 3% of the soybeans have been harvested so far.

These numbers come from the weekly Iowa Crops & Weather survey conducted by the Iowa office of USDA's National Ag Statistics Service in Des Moines. Some fields have already reached maturity which other fields are continuing to advance toward maturity. "Farmers are just starting to harvest both corn and soybeans as conditions allow," notes Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey. "As more farmers start harvest it is important everyone working on the farm and driving through rural Iowa keep safety in mind to help make sure we have a safe and successful harvest season."

Harvesting early corn and beans, chopping silage, harvesting hay
CROP REPORT: The complete weekly report is available on the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship's website or on USDA's site. The report summary follows here:

Above average temperatures pushed this fall's crops toward maturity during the week ending September 28, says Greg Thessen, director of the Iowa survey. There were 5.3 days suitable for fieldwork last week. Activities for the week included harvesting early corn and soybeans, chopping silage and harvesting hay.

Iowa corn is 2% harvested, while U.S. corn is 12% harvested
Looking at the national figures, the U.S. corn harvest advanced to 12% complete as of September 28, while soybean harvest increased to 10% harvested.


The Iowa survey shows topsoil moisture on Sunday rated 0% very short, 5% short, 83% adequate and 12% surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 1% very short, 8% short, 82% adequate and 9% surplus. Southwest Iowa was the wettest area of the state this past week, with over one-third of its topsoil in surplus condition.

Nearly 60% of Iowa's 2014 corn crop has now reached maturity
The statewide survey shows 96% of Iowa's corn crop was in or beyond the dent stage as of September 28. The state's corn reached 58% mature, surpassing last year, but still eight days behind normal. Corn harvest has begun across the state, with 76% of the acreage reported in good-to-excellent condition.

Leaves were turning color on 94% of the soybean crop, equal to the five-year average for this stage for the first time this season. Also on September 28, about 65% of the soybean acreage was dropping leaves, still three days behind normal. Soybean harvest is underway and 74% of the acreage is rated in good to excellent condition.

The third cutting of alfalfa hay was 91% complete, just over two weeks behind both 2013 and average. Pasture condition rated 67% good-to-excellent. Little stress on livestock was observed. High manure levels have been reported in some pits and lagoons.

Crop Conditions as of September 28, 2014

Item                  Very Poor         Poor     Fair       Good    Excellent

Pasture & Range ....... 1%         5%       27%      51%      16%

Corn ..........................  2%       4%       18%      52%      24%

Soybeans ..................  2 %      5%       19%      52%      22%

UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY research looks at the effectiveness of controlled drainage structures on Muhlenberg County farmer Danny Miller39s farm
<p>UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY research looks at the effectiveness of controlled drainage structures on Muhlenberg County farmer Danny Miller&#39;s farm.</p>

Kentucky farmer looks at controlled drainage to improve corn fields, yields

In the heart of Kentucky’s grain belt, adequate soil moisture has become a big issue for area producers who have dealt with droughts two of the past three growing seasons. Agronomists with the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment are working with area producers to find practical solutions.

Carrie Knott, UK agronomist, is working with Muhlenberg County farmer Danny Miller and Darrell Simpson, UK Cooperative Extension Service agriculture and natural resources agent for Muhlenberg County, on a project that tests the feasibility of controlled drainage structures.

Drainage tiles are common throughout Western Kentucky, as wet winters and poorly draining soils keep the ground saturated well into the spring. The tiles help remove water from the fields so producers can plant corn at optimum times for better yields with fewer soil compaction issues.

“Controlled drainage structures could be a way for us to conserve our existing water and utilize it more efficiently to get better yields with lower production costs,” Knott said. “It’s like putting a stopper into the drainage tile. The water percolates up and stays in the soil profile so it would be available to the plants during drought conditions.”

For the project, they are using two small fields of about six and 10 acres. Both fields have drainage tiles and a Belknap silt loam soil. One of the fields has a controlled drainage structure, and the other is free flowing.

“Belknap soils have decent water-holding capacity, but at the same time, you want to capitalize on every drop of water that you have when it is dry,” Simpson said.

Miller installed the drainage tiles in these fields during the winter of 2006 as it became increasingly difficult for him to get corn planted in a timely manner. Since then, his yields have improved. He hopes the controlled drainage structures continue to increase them.

While the initial project is on relatively small fields, Simpson is hopeful that producers can install the structures to manage larger fields, to help offset some of the costs. A drainage control structure ranges from $600 to $850 depending upon the structure depth and type.

While the Muhlenberg County fields have yet to be harvested, similar research conducted in states to the north shows this may be promising.

“In Minnesota and Illinois, they’ve been doing this for a long time,” Knott said. “In corn, they usually see a 10 to 15 percent increase in yields. That could be as much as 20 bushels more per acre in high-yielding fields.”

Corn is growing in both fields now, but Miller will rotate to soybeans next year. UK researchers will test the structure’s effect on soybean yields at that time.

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NBB Calls EU Trade Duties on US Biodiesel &#039;Unfair&#039;

NBB Calls EU Trade Duties on US Biodiesel 'Unfair'

The National Biodiesel Board on Tuesday filed comments with the European Commission challenging "unfair" trade duties that they say have blocked U.S. biodiesel from being exported to Europe since 2009.

The duties are scheduled to expire this year, though the Commission is currently conducting an "expiry review" over whether to reinstate them at the request of European industry. The review is expected to last 12 to 15 months, NBB said.

In its comments, NBB asked the Commission to allow the expiration to continue, citing evidence that the market for biodiesel has changed since the duties were enacted.

National Biodiesel Board appeals to European Commission, challenging trade duties the group calls 'unfair'

NBB says continuing the duties would be "protectionist and unnecessary." According to NBB, European biodiesel producers are able to sell biodiesel in both Europe and the United States without duties or limitation, and can freely participate in U.S. policies such as the Renewable Fuel Standard and the U.S. biodiesel tax incentive.

Related: Ag Secretary Vilsack Heads to Europe To Talk Trade

"We have presented a strong case for ending these protectionist barriers that are unfairly hurting U.S. biodiesel producers even as European producers are taking advantage of the U.S. market," said Anne Steckel, NBB's vice president of federal affairs. "As we speak, European biodiesel producers are sending biodiesel to the U.S., with significant policy support, while at the same time the European market has been cut off from U.S. producers."

Steckel said bottom line is that the biodiesel trade has changed between 2009 and 2014. At the time, the U.S. industry was just getting off the ground, she said, and eliminating the duties will level the playing field for American producers.

In its comments, NBB also says that a policy that was the basis for EU's initial trade duties, the U.S. biodiesel tax incentive, is currently not in effect and hasn't been in effect for three of the past five years.

Because it is structured as a blender's incentive, NBB said, the tax incentive is available to European producers, when it is in effect, in the same way it is available to U.S. producers.

NBB also noted that there is a strong market for biodiesel in the U.S., so if the trade duties are eliminated, it is unlikely that there would be a flood of U.S. biodiesel exports to Europe.

Source: NBB