National Headlines

Dairy Program Signup Begins

By Jerry Hagstrom
DTN Political Correspondent
and
Chris Clayton
DTN Ag Policy Editor

WASHINGTON, D.C. (DTN) — The National Milk Producers Federation expects a high rate of participation in the new Dairy Margin Coverage program (DMC) as farmer signup begins Monday.

National Milk President and CEO Jim Mulhern is urging the farmers to sign up amidst industry challenges.

“We are very pleased with the dairy title” in the 2018 farm bill, Mulhern said.

“The DMC provides a stronger safety net for America’s dairy producers, one sorely needed as low prices, trade disturbances and chaotic weather patterns combine to create hardships. We have advocated for months that margin calculations must consider the higher feed costs dairy producers pay to properly nourish their livestock. USDA’s decision to include premium and supreme quality alfalfa feed is appropriate and is another win for dairy farmers that will provide additional, crucial aid.”

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue formally announced in a news release Friday that farmers can begin signing up for the DMC at their county Farm Service Agency offices on Monday, June 17.

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Grain Inspections Mixed

OMAHA (DTN) — Corn and soybean inspections were neutral to bearish while wheat inspections were neutral in the latest USDA export inspections report, according to DTN Lead Analyst Todd Hultman.

Corn inspections totaled 25.7 million bushels for the week ended Thursday, June 13, below the 40.7 mb needed each week to reach USDA’s export estimate of 2.200 bb. Inspections for 2018-19 now total 1.608 billion bushels, down 4% from the previous year. The overall pace of corn inspections is neutral to bearish in 2018-19, Hultman said.

Soybean inspections totaled 24.8 mb for the week ended Thursday, June 13, below the 30.5 mb needed weekly to reach USDA’s export estimate of 1.700 bb. Inspections for 2018-19 now total 1.31 bb, down 26% from the previous year. The overall pace of soybean inspections is neutral to bearish in 2018-19, Hultman said.

Wheat inspections totaled 13.8 mb for the week ended Thursday, June 13, below the 17.4 mb needed weekly to reach USDA’s export estimate of 900 mb.

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Cover Crop Seed Crunch

By Matt Wilde
DTN Progressive Farmer Crops Technology Editor

WEST UNION, Iowa (DTN) — Cover crop seed will be in short supply this year. Farmers and landowners need to get orders in early, according to dealers and veteran cover croppers.

Demand for cereal rye, chickpeas, tillage radishes and other cover crop seed was already strong as more farmers adopt the conservation practice. The latest Census of Agriculture indicates nearly 15.4 million acres of cover crops were sown in 2017, an increase of 50% from the last census in 2012.

Persistent wet conditions throughout the Midwest could prevent a record amount of corn and soybean acres from being planted this year, up to 15 million acres by some estimates. Cover crop experts urge landowners and farmers to seed unplanted acres with some type of plants to keep weeds at bay and maintain soil health.

Potential seed shortages were discussed during a cover crop and interseeding field day June 13 at FloLo Farms, owned by Loran and Brenda Steinlage of Grundy Center, Iowa.

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Crop Tech Corner

By Loren Lindler
DTN News Intern

OMAHA (DTN) — This twice-monthly column condenses the latest news in the field of crop technology, research and products.

UNEVEN EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON FOOD PRODUCTION

Researchers from the University of Minnesota, with help from researchers at the Universities of Oxford and Copenhagen, have seen firsthand some of the effects of climate change on global food production. They released a study showing climate change is already affecting production in the world’s top 10 crops and energy sources, although the effects are geographically uneven.

In the study led by University of Minnesota scientist Deepak Ray, researchers determined barley, cassava, maize, oil palm, rapeseed, rice, sorghum, soybean, sugarcane and wheat are in for a wild ride for years to come as the climate continues to change. With the uneven effects of these changes, some regions are coming out on top while others are faring much worse.

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Cash Corn Market Rallies

By Katie Dehlinger
DTN Farm Business Editor

MOUNT JULIET, Tenn. (DTN) — The DTN National Corn Index settled at $4.20 on Thursday, the highest level in five years.

The index, which DTN assembles from more than 3,000 cash corn bids from across the country, has increased 89 cents from the low it hit in mid-May. While the market has seen declines of that size in recent years, it outpaces the rallies from harvest lows seen last year and in 2016-17.

“The main thing about this rally is that there is still serious reason to possibly expect higher prices because the situation is for real,” DTN Lead Analyst Todd Hultman said.

U.S. farmers are likely to claim a record number of prevented planting corn acres as the soggiest spring in decades kept them from the fields. Much of what did get planted was planted late, which will likely also reduce yields.

“Ending stocks at the end of the year could be significantly lower than even USDA estimated on Tuesday (June 11).

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Pests of the Week

By Emily Unglesbee
DTN Staff Reporter

ROCKVILLE, Md. (DTN) — Turns out there are a few creatures out there that are enjoying the wet mess of the 2019 planting season.

Some early season caterpillars and slugs are out and feasting on small, late-planted corn and soybean fields.

These fields are especially vulnerable to damage from insects this year, cautioned University of Illinois Extension entomologist Nick Seiter.

“In general, the later the planting, the younger the plant is when they feed on it,” Seiter explained. “And younger plants are less able to overcome that stress.”

To add to the problem, many growers missed spring herbicide applications, which allowed some fields to get “pretty hairy” and host a lot of insects, Seiter noted. “A lot of weeds in a field allows caterpillar pests to complete their early development and then, once the weeds are burned down, they need to find something to eat.”

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Illinois Dicamba Rule Change

By Emily Unglesbee
DTN Staff Reporter

ROCKVILLE, Md. (DTN) — The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) has agreed to move its cutoff date for over-the-top dicamba applications from June 30 to July 15 — but only for June-planted soybean fields.

“Anyone who planted before June 1 will remain subject to the original planting date plus 45 days after dicamba application, while anyone who planted after the June 1 deadline will be required to adhere to the extended July 15 cutoff date,” the agency said in a news release.

The decision is in response to the unusually late planting season that Illinois and much of the Midwest has experienced, said IDOA Director John Sullivan.

“We are in an extraordinary planting situation right now with extreme wet weather conditions,” Sullivan told DTN. “So over the course of the last 30 days, we have heard from a number of individuals — farmers, seed companies, ag retailers and others — that are very concerned that because of late planting, farmers would not have the ability to use effective weed-control products on dicamba-tolerant beans and — from a retailer standpoint — that there is product that they had planned on selling that wasn’t going to be sold.”

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US Propane Stocks Rise

HOUSTON (DTN) — The Energy Information Administration on Wednesday reported U.S. inventories of propane/propylene increased about 2.9 million barrels (bbl) in the week ended June 7 to 71.1 million bbl, with stocks up more than 3 million bbl in Midwest PADD 2 while stocks in Gulf Coast PADD 3 declined.

At 71.1 million bbl on June 7, domestic propane/propylene inventories were up 20.3 million bbl or 39.9% from the same time in 2018 and about 15% above the five-year average for the same time of year, EIA data shows.

Gulf Coast PADD 3 propane/propylene inventories dropped about 700,000 bbl during the week profiled to 47.1 million bbl while Midwest PADD 2 stocks jumped 3.1 million bbl to 18 million bbl, EIA data shows.

Versus the same time in 2018, Gulf Coast PADD 3 propane/propylene supplies are up 18.7 million bbl or 65.8% and Midwest PADD 2 stocks up 1.5 million bbl or 9.1%.

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Petroleum Interests Sue EPA on E15 Rule

By Todd Neeley
DTN Staff Reporter

OMAHA (DTN) — The American Fuels and Petrochemical Association has filed a legal challenge against the new E15 rule finalized on May 31, filing a petition for review with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Monday.

In the weeks leading up to the final rule that allows year-round E15 sales across the country, petroleum interests indicated they would file a legal challenge.

In a news release on Monday, the Renewable Fuels Association said it will file a motion to intervene in the case on the EPA’s behalf.

“It was entirely predictable that Big Oil would challenge President (Donald) Trump’s effort to provide increased competition, consumer choice at the pump, and lower gasoline prices for a higher-octane fuel,” RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper said in a statement.

“But EPA’s legal analysis is sound and is overwhelmingly supported by the public record and a plain reading of the statute.

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2019 World Food Prize Laureate

By Jerry Hagstrom
DTN Political Correspondent

WASHINGTON (DTN) — World Food Prize Foundation President Kenneth Quinn announced Monday, in a ceremony at the State Department, that Simon Groot, a Dutch vegetable breeder who developed seeds that have benefited farmers and consumers in Southeast Asia, has been chosen as the 2019 World Food Prize laureate.

Groot will accept the $250,000 prize on Oct. 17 at the Capitol in Des Moines, Iowa, where the World Food Prize is headquartered during the weeklong Borlaug Dialogue — named for Norman Borlaug, the developer of the wheat that led to the Green Revolution and the founder of the prize.

Quinn introduced the event’s host, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a former Republican Kansas House member, as “the man who has returned the swagger to the State Department.”

In short remarks, Pompeo said it is hard to predict world events and therefore the world must rely on innovation to solve problems.

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USDA Tempers Aid Expectations

By Chris Clayton
DTN Ag Policy Editor

OMAHA (DTN) — Farmers who are not able to plant a crop this spring will not get a trade-aid payment and should not expect higher payment levels than normal under prevented-planting insurance, according to a USDA question-and-answer released late Monday on Market Facilitation Program payments and the new disaster aid.

USDA issued a statement from Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on trade aid and disaster relief, along with some Q&As where the department sought to spell out some clarity.

On MFP payments, Perdue stressed, “USDA does not have the legal authority to make MFP payments to producers for acreage that is not planted. To qualify for a 2019 MFP payment, you must have planted a 2019 MFP-eligible crop. Producers unable to plant their crop should work with their crop insurance agent to file a claim.”

Farmers who file a prevented-planting claim and plant a cover crop, however, could qualify for “minimum” MFP payment, USDA stated.

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Managing Cows with Lost Calves

By Russ Quinn
DTN Staff Reporter

OMAHA (DTN) — Anyone who has ever owned a cow-calf herd has faced the tough decision on what to do with cows that have lost calves.

Do you keep the cows and rebreed them? Or do you sell the cows, either immediately or put some weight on the cows and sell as a cull cow later?

Because of the extreme weather in some locations this spring, many cow-calf producers are now in this particular situation. For some, age is the biggest factor, while for others, feed prices and/or cattle prices might factor in the decision.

Depending on their philosophy, different producers consider other options on what to do with cows that lost calves.

SEVERAL OPTIONS

University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) Extension Beef Educator Aaron Berger, located in Kimball, Nebraska, recently co-wrote an article titled “What to do with Cows that have Lost Calves” — you can find the article at: https://beef.unl.edu/…

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New GE Wheat Plants Found

By Mary Kennedy
DTN Cash Grains Analyst

MINNEAPOLIS (DTN) — USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed the discovery of genetically engineered wheat plants growing in an unplanted agricultural field in Washington state.

U.S. Wheat Associates and the National Association of Wheat Growers issued a joint statement saying they were aware APHIS had confirmed the discovery of the plants. “APHIS says the GE wheat in question is resistant to the herbicide glyphosate,” stated USW and NAWG.

This is the first such discovery in three years, and the fourth U.S. case of such wheat since 2013, when first discovered in Oregon.

In their news release, USW and NAWG said that, “We believe APHIS is well prepared to identify additional information about this discovery and has confirmed to us that:

— there is no evidence suggesting that this wheat event, or any other GM wheat event has entered U.S. commercial supplies or entered the food supply;

— there are no GE wheat varieties for sale or in commercial production in the United States at this time, as APHIS has not deregulated any GE wheat varieties;

— there is no health risk associated with glyphosate resistance events in wheat based on U.S.

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Groups Push for Forage Options

By Russ Quinn
DTN Staff Reporter

OMAHA (DTN) — A multi-state coalition of agricultural organizations are seeking approval for emergency provisions allowing the planting and harvesting of forages on prevented planting acres without date restrictions, according to a news release from the Michigan Farm Bureau.

The written request, submitted Thursday to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue, is to fend off a “rapidly emerging forage crisis for livestock farmers across the Midwest,” the organizations stated.

The request was made by farm bureaus in Indiana, Wisconsin and Ohio. The Michigan Cattlemen’s Association, Dairy Farmers of America and Michigan Milk Producers Association are also joining the appeal.

Two weather-related extremes damaged much forage in the region this spring. Severe winterkill of alfalfa fields through the upper Midwest followed by the record-breaking rainfall this spring has prevented the planting of corn and soybeans, but also the timely harvest of alfalfa fields that did manage to survive.

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President Signs Aid Package

By Chris Clayton
DTN Ag Policy Editor

OMAHA (DTN) — Farmers in at least six states should be eligible for more financial aid under the $19.1 billion disaster aid bill signed into law Thursday by President Donald Trump.

With $3 billion specifically set aside for agricultural losses, the legislation will help Southeastern farmers hit by hurricanes last fall, as well as offset losses for farmers who had grain stored on farms this spring that was destroyed in Midwest flooding. The bill, however, also causes some confusion over language regarding “crops prevented from planting in 2019.”

In typical Trump fashion, he tweeted the details with a photo of him holding the signed legislation. “Just signed Disaster Aid Bill to help Americans who have been hit by recent catastrophic storms. So important to our GREAT American farmers and ranchers. Help for GA, FL, IA, NE, NC and CA. Puerto Rico should love President Trump.

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Racing the Rain

By Pamela Smith
DTN Progressive Farmer Crops Technology Editor

ASSUMPTION, Ill. (DTN) — Jeff Brown has taken to keeping changes of clothes in his tractor this spring. Home may only be 15 miles or so away as the crow flies, but most nights this spring he wasn’t sure when he’d see it next.

The Blue Mound, Illinois, farmer has been racing the rain. On Sunday, the long-range forecast started calling weather to move in Tuesday night or maybe Wednesday morning. Bri-Mac Farms still had 2,000 acres to go before he could sleep.

Brown is by reputation meticulous about planting — about everything, really. But he loves the preciseness of this ritual and the fresh start it brings each year. Spring is a clean slate and a promise. At least, it always has been.

A perennial winner in the National Corn Grower Yield Contest, Brown is among the first to embrace modern innovations — whether it is technology or genetics.

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Late-Planting Options

By Elizabeth Williams
DTN Special Correspondent

INDIANOLA, Iowa (DTN) — Pat Swanson has already started filling in the paperwork on prevented planting for her family’s farm and for several of her customers.

“We have some fields under water, and the dam upstream increased its outflow by 67% last Friday. For some fields, we have no choice,” the Ottumwa, Iowa, crop insurance agent said.

Swanson, like many across the Corn Belt, is facing the tough decision that comes with saturated fields. As of this weekend, one-third of the nation’s corn acres are still unplanted. Yet it’s not so late into June that farmers are giving up hope on planting corn even though the “final planting date” for crop insurance has passed.

Corn and soybean producers have several options still available.

PLANT CORN

If your ground dries up enough, you could still plant corn with reduced crop insurance coverage until the end of the late-planting period, despite agronomic issues like reduced yield and soil compaction.

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Hemp Pesticide Use

By Emily Unglesbee
DTN Staff Reporter

ARLINGTON, Va. (DTN) — Ever since the 2018 Farm Bill legalized commercial production of hemp, state and federal regulators have found themselves playing catch up with production practices. That dynamic was on display when state and EPA officials gathered for the State FIFRA Issues Research and Evaluation Group (SFIREG) in Arlington, Virginia, on June 3-4.

Officially, hemp production is legal in most states now. Practically, producers have very few answers on how they can safely grow the crop, particularly in the absence of many fungicides, herbicides and insecticides labeled for use in hemp.

“We’re in a situation where production is already happening,” said Liza Fleeson Trossbach, a Virginia pesticide regulator who spoke at the meeting. “The cart is way ahead of the horse with the Farm Bill and all these other issues coming up. We’ve got a lot of angry people in Virginia right now.”

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USDA Can’t Extend Planting Dates

By Chris Clayton
DTN Ag Policy Editor

OMAHA (DTN) — Responding to a request from the Agricultural Retailers Association, a USDA spokesperson said Wednesday it cannot change crop-insurance contracts to extend the planting season.

The Agricultural Retailers Association wants Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to extend the late-planting season for crop insurance to avoid the “risk of unintended consequences” from the disaster legislation that passed Congress.

A spokesperson for USDA responded to DTN that the department cannot make changes to the contracts between farmers and crop-insurance companies.

“Final planting dates and the late-planting period are part of a binding insurance contract between the producer and their insurance company. As such, they cannot be waived or altered during the insurance period,” a spokesperson stated in an email to DTN.

The ag retailers group fears its members will be left holding seed, treatments, fertilizer and other chemicals if farmers don’t plant a crop. The disaster package includes language on prevented-planting insurance that could boost prevent-planting insurance coverage to up to 90% of the loss for those who bought policies.

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Disaster Aid Package Approved

By Chris Clayton
DTN Ag Policy Editor

HAMBURG, Iowa (DTN) — Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds toured flooded areas of the southwest corner of her state on Monday, making a point that she was waiting to hear if and when Congress would give final approval for a disaster-aid package.

The House of Representatives voted 354-58 late Monday to approve the long-awaited $19.1 billion disaster aid package that will address not only Midwest flooding, but also aid recovery from hurricanes in the Southeastern states last year as well as the California wildfires. The bill now goes to President Donald Trump, who is expected to sign it.

The bill specifically includes just over $3 billion to pay for farmer losses from disasters that occurred in 2018 and 2019. The bill will help pay for farmers who lost stored grain this spring during flooding, and also includes a provision that raises prevented-planting coverage up to 90% of potential losses.

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