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Angus Journal

The Angus Journal Daily, formerly the Angus e-List, is a compilation of Angus industry news; information about hot topics in the beef industry; and updates about upcoming shows, sales and events. Click here to subscribe.

News Update

June 17, 2013

Crossbreeding or Straight-breeding: A Cattle Feeders Perspective

“I’m a friend to any producer who has a reasonable breeding plan and sticks to it, whether it is a crossbreeding plan or a straight-breeding plan,” said Tom Brink, president of JBS Five Rivers Cattle Feeding. He explained breeding programs from the cattle feeder’s perspective to participants of the 45th Beef Improvement Federation Research Symposium and Convention in Oklahoma City June 12-15.

Cattle bred without a plan for quality are a cattle feeder’s biggest problem. He said that 70%-80% of all packer profits come from value-added beef premiums. Commodity beef is essentially a breakeven exercise.

“It is working just to work,” Brink said.

Profits come from cattle that grade USDA Choice or better, Brink explained, adding that Five Rivers makes zero profits from cattle that grade Select. Unfortunately, he said, there are too many average or below-average cattle in the industry.

For more on Brink’s presentation, visit the “Newsroom” at

USDA Continues Push for Legislation to Revitalize the
Rural Economy

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack visited Texas Tech University June 14, where he met with agriculture leaders about the need for Congressional action on a Food, Farm and Jobs Bill, as well as a solution to fix America’s broken immigration system. Later in the day, he toured an area farm to view drought impacts and discuss the importance of a strong farm safety net.

“I’m inspired by the innovation and productivity of America’s farmers and ranchers, particularly folks who were hit hard by drought in recent years,” said Vilsack. “They’re getting the job done, and Washington owes them more certainty. That’s why we need passage of a Food, Farm and Jobs Bill, along with a solution to fix our broken immigration system.”

During the visit, the secretary discussed the Obama Administration’s comprehensive strategy to revitalize the rural economy in an effort to expand job creation and innovation. He also noted that a comprehensive Food, Farm and Jobs Bill would include important rural development programs, preserve a strong farm safety net, maintain nutrition programs, encourage the development of local and regional markets, and enhance the conservation efforts of U.S. farmers and ranchers.

The disaster assistance programs authorized under the 2008 Farm Bill provided more than $5.6 billion for U.S. producers impacted by natural disaster. The authorization for those programs expired last year. While some programs contained in the 2008 Farm Bill were extended in January, the disaster programs have not been reauthorized.

“We have a responsibility to continue to create new opportunity in our small towns and rural communities,” said Vilsack.

For more information, please view the full release here.

Weather Challenges Reflected in June WASDE Report

The June World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report released today by the Agriculture Department reflects the slow corn-planting season across much of the Corn Belt due to snow, rain and cool weather, according to analysis by the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF).

Ninety-five percent of this year’s corn crop was planted as of June 9 (only 92% in Iowa), but later-planted corn faces the risk of pollination during seasonally warmer temperatures and drier weather expected in late July, which could reduce the yield.

Although reduced by 135 million bushels (bu.) to slightly more than 14 billion bu., corn production, if realized, would still be record setting. The report also reduced projected corn use by 70 million bu.

AFBF economist Todd Davis said the WASDE report still predicts ending stocks to build significantly over the 2012-2013 marketing year levels.

“June’s WASDE projects corn stocks are greater than the pre-report estimates, which reflects negatively on the corn market,” said Davis. “The projected increase in stocks will cause marketing-year prices to drastically fall to $4.80 per bushel for the 2013-2014 marketing year compared to $6.95 per bushel in the 2012-2013 year.”

The report showed no change in planted or harvested acres for corn or soybeans as the World Agricultural Outlook Board, who publishes the WASDE, waits for the release of the acreage survey, on June 28.

“Trade projections are that about 2 million acres will not be planted to corn this year due to the late-season rains and unusually cold weather,” said Davis. “Instead, it is expected that soybean planted acres will increase as farmers plant the crop instead of late-planted corn.”

Davis said the weather will keep the market captivated during the next three months in an attempt to better understand what proportion of the corn crop was planted later than normal and is at risk of pollinating during adverse conditions.

For more information, please view the full release here.

Renewable Fuel Standard Does Not Increase Food Prices

National Farmers Union (NFU) is hailing a recent study that found no direct correlation between federal biofuels mandate and increasing food prices. The study was released by ABF Economics, an agriculture and biofuels consulting firm.

“ABF Economics’ report is an example of yet another study that confirms what we have known for some time — biofuels are not the main driver of food prices,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “Expanding global demand, speculation in commodity markets, and particularly high oil prices are the primary drivers of increased food costs.”

According to the study, food price inflation has increased at a slower rate since 2007, the year the renewable fuel standard (RFU) was last revised. The study also notes that raw commodities represent a small percentage of the final price of food, with energy, food processing, and other outside costs steering food price increases.

“The commodities that our farmers produce receive a very small share of the retail food dollar,” Johnson noted. “Renewable fuels have in fact increased demand for corn, leading to rural economic development and more money in the pockets of farmers.”

According to USDA Economic Research Service, farmers and ranchers only receive 15.8¢ of every food dollar spent by consumers outside the home in the United States. Additionally, more than 80¢ of every food dollar is spent on marketing, processing, wholesaling, distribution and retailing.

“Food manufacturers who have long derided the value of renewable fuels should take heed of these findings and seriously reconsider their stance on the RFS,” Johnson noted.

Statement on the Detection of Genetically Engineered Wheat
in Oregon

USDA Office of Communications Director Matt Paul gave the following update on the detection of genetically engineered wheat in Oregon.

“On May 29, USDA announced that a small number of volunteer wheat plants in an Oregon field had tested positive for genetically engineered (GE) glyphosate-resistant wheat. Extensive testing confirmed the wheat as a variety — MON71800 — developed by Monsanto.

“The detection of this wheat variety does not pose a public health or food safety concern. Monsanto worked with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2004 to complete a voluntary food and feed safety consultation. Completion of the FDA consultation process means this variety is as safe as non-GE wheat currently on the market.

“USDA began an investigation into this matter on May 3, when an Oregon State University scientist notified USDA’s officials that plant samples they had tested positive for a protein that made them resistant to glyphosate.

“As of today, USDA has neither found nor been informed of anything that would indicate that this incident amounts to more than a single isolated incident in a single field on a single farm. All information collected so far shows no indication of the presence of GE wheat in commerce. Investigators are conducting a thorough review. They have interviewed the person that harvested the wheat from this field, as well as the seed supplier who sold the producer wheat seed; obtained samples of the wheat seed sold to the producer and other growers; and obtained samples of the producer’s wheat harvests, including a sample of the producer’s 2012 harvest. All of these samples of seed and grain tested negative for the presence of GE material.”

For more information, please view the full release here.

Nitrogen Application Means Green Crop and Cash

Producers who don’t plan, watch and act for nitrogen deficiencies in their corn will lose green in their crop and at the bank, says a University of Missouri (MU) Extension plant scientist.

Peter Scharf said drenching rains have depleted nitrogen fertilizer from the soil, especially anhydrous ammonia applied last fall. That was seven hard months ago. Fall weather was good for fieldwork, so Missouri corn producers applied nitrogen then in larger-than-usual quantities. Those who didn’t apply in the fall had to apply this spring, when it’s been too muddy to work most days, but the risk of losing nitrogen applied in spring is lower.
Snow and rain in February and March began replenishing moisture to drought-stricken soils.

The rain kept coming. Almost 60 million acres in the Midwest received more than 16 inches of rain between April 1 and June 9, prime planting time. Iowa and Missouri got particularly damp.

When it gets this wet, N-Serve added to fall-applied ammonia doesn’t provide enough protection from nitrogen loss, Scharf said. He suspects that well-drained soils have had the largest losses because the heaviest rains fell during April, when well-drained soils are more vulnerable to loss than poorly drained fields.

As a result, farmers who applied nitrogen before planting should plan how they will apply additional fertilizer and what equipment will be available, he said. Additionally, fertilizer retailers should make plans on how to help customers apply nitrogen to growing corn. Scharf says good options include tractor-driven injection equipment, tractor-drawn dry N buggies, sprayers equipped with drip nozzles, high-clearance self-propelled spinners and airplanes.

For more information, please view the full release here.


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