National Headlines

June-Planted Beans

By Emily Unglesbee
DTN Staff Reporter

ROCKVILLE, Md. (DTN) — Many soybeans will be planted in June this year, after persistent rainfall has delayed planting across the Soybean Belt.

The good news is June-planted soybeans can thrive, given the right production practices. Here we’ve pulled together the latest research and recommendations from Extension scientists on how to adjust maturity group, seeding population, row spacing, seed treatments and which pests and diseases to brace for in late-planted bean fields.

MATURITY GROUP

Don’t rush to switch maturity groups just yet. Most university research shows that full-season varieties for most regions are still the best option in early June, in terms of yield potential. “This is because they produce a larger crop canopy before beginning to flower and have a longer timeframe to flower, set pods and fill seed,” explained Michigan State University Extension soybean educator Mike Staton, in a university article on late soybean planting.

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ASF Outbreak Shifts in China

By Lin Tan
DTN China Correspondent

BEIJING, China (DTN) — The impact of China’s African swine fever outbreak has grown, as the disease arrived in one of the country’s largest production areas while pork stockpiles are rapidly falling as well.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MOA) announced on Tuesday that an African swine fever (ASF) case was found in Bobai County in South China’s Guangxi Province. It was just one hog infected within a small farm, but the location created immediate concerns for the industry. Another outbreak was reported last Saturday on a farm of 104 hogs in Yunnan Province, another southern China province.

Industry observers are now speculating whether this latest report out of Bobai County will be used as a policy to curb pork shipping out from Guangxi Province.

Bobai County is one of the largest hog-producing counties in China. The county typically has stocks of 500,000 sows and produces 6.2 million head of hogs annually.

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WOTUS Sent Back to EPA

By Todd Neeley
DTN Staff Reporter

OMAHA (DTN) — The 2015 waters of the United States, or WOTUS, rule may have suffered a final defeat, as a Texas court Tuesday granted a motion for summary judgement to the American Farm Bureau Federation that sends the rule back to EPA.

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas ruled EPA violated the law in making changes in the final rule that were not proposed in the preliminary rule.

“The court finds that the final rule violated the notice-and-comment requirements of the APA (Administrative Procedure Act) and therefore grants summary judgment in favor of the plaintiffs on this ground,” the court said in its ruling.

“The court remands the final rule to the appropriate administrative agencies for proceedings consistent with this order.”

In drafting the 2015 rule, EPA relied heavily on a so-called draft connectivity report that included the agency’s analysis of numerous studies on the connected nature of the nation’s waters.

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Don’t Feed These Daisies

By Pamela Smith
DTN Progressive Farmer Crops Technology Editor

DECATUR, Ill. (DTN) — Those yellow flowers filling fields across the Midwest aren’t buttercups, baby. They are weeds and consumed in enough quantities, cressleaf groundsel, also called butterweed, can be toxic to livestock.

Ohio State University weed specialist Mark Loux said the winter annual weed is being found in fairly high numbers because the weather has held back herbicide treatments this spring.

Butterweed is common in no-till corn and soybean fields, and burndown herbicides are typically used to control it early in the spring when the plants are smaller and more susceptible. However, that didn’t happen in many areas this year due to wet weather. It’s also not an option in forage and wheat crops.

Native to the United States, butterweed can be found from Texas east to Florida, northward along the Atlantic Coast to Virginia, and west to Nebraska. The plant is poisonous to grazing animals such as cattle, horses, goats, sheep and to humans, Loux said.

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Considering Crop Options

By Chris Clayton
DTN Ag Policy Editor

OMAHA (DTN) — With spring rains that won’t cease, farmers will be increasingly pushed over the next few weeks to weigh their prevented-planting options.

The angst over planting is also higher for farmers who hedged a percentage of their 2019-20 corn ahead of planting season. Angie Setzer, vice president of grain at Citizens Elevator in Charlotte, Michigan, said farmers should be talking with their buyers about options.

“You have got to have communication with your buyer sooner or later,” Setzer said. “So a lot of guys will hesitate and see if it will get better. You always, as a farmer, have an optimistic thought, ‘I’ll just wait it out.’ That’s the worst thing to do because knowing early, and me having a conversation with a grower early, allows me to present a lot of different opportunities.”

Setzer added, “If it is keeping you up at night that you are overhedged versus what you have got planted and the reality is you aren’t going to do too much more, then it’s best to have that conversation and rip the Band-Aid off.”

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Dicamba Review

By Emily Unglesbee
DTN Staff Reporter

ROCKVILLE, Md. (DTN) — In a late, delayed spring like this one, growers may have to rely on postemergence herbicide applications more than usual to control weeds.

If dicamba-tolerant soybeans or cotton are in your acreage mix, in-season dicamba applications can help — but take care. The new dicamba herbicides (XtendiMax, FeXapan, Engenia and Tavium) are restricted-use pesticides that come with a host of label restrictions, and a growing amount of research on how they move off-target.

Here are five important things to keep in mind when spraying these chemicals in 2019.

1. CHECK FOR INVERSIONS

All four dicamba labels ban spraying when a temperature inversion is underway. Inversions occur when a cool, stable air mass is trapped near the ground and can suspend particles within it — such as herbicides — until the air eventually warms and disperses.

Thanks to four years of research by University of Missouri scientists, we have a much better understanding of when inversions occur and how they affect pesticide applications.

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Lawsuits Target Glyphosate in Canada

By Todd Neeley
DTN Staff Reporter

OMAHA (DTN) — Bayer’s legal battle on glyphosate has headed north of the border as class-action lawsuits alleging the use of Roundup causes cancer, have been launched in Canada.

The latest was filed on May 24 in Quebec, where dairy farmer Liliane Paquette is seeking $10 million in damages. The lawsuit said she was diagnosed with stage-four chronic lymphocytic leukemia, a type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, in 2005. Paquette is the first plaintiff in the new lawsuit that alleges exposure to glyphosate, although she didn’t spray the product.

In November 2018, Saskatchewan farmer Garry Gadd filed a class-action suit alleging the use of Roundup led to his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2014. CBC/ Radio Canada reported fewer than 12 plaintiffs have joined the class action that includes people who have sprayed the product.

Bayer, which purchased Monsanto, recently lost three similar lawsuits in the United States.

Most recently a California jury awarded $2.055 billion in damages to a couple that has battled cancer after decades of using the product.

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Trade Aid Not a Solution

By Chris Clayton
DTN Ag Policy Editor

OMAHA (DTN) — Leaders of farm groups on Thursday showed they have President Donald Trump’s back as he offered them another $16 billion in federal aid in lieu of anticipated higher exports to China.

In response to the new Market Facilitation Program rolled out Thursday, farm groups offered praise to the Trump administration for helping offset export losses, but reiterated that a second consecutive year of trade aid is insufficient to make up for potentially years of lost trade revenue.

Farm groups praised the $16 billion in aid, though it is unclear exactly how much farmers will be paid individually. Payments will be based on all planted commodities in a county, yet USDA will only pay crop farmers based on a single county payment rate multiplied by a farm’s total planted acres in 2019. The new MFP payments will be limited to the total amount of eligible acreage a farmer planted in 2018.

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Disaster Relief Advances

By Chris Clayton
DTN Ag Policy Editor

OMAHA (DTN) — Congress provided $3 billion in disaster aid for farmers under a disaster package overwhelmingly approved Thursday by the U.S. Senate.

The U.S. Senate passed the $19.1 billion disaster package Thursday 85-8 that would provide more funding, with places affected by Midwest flooding, Southeastern hurricanes, California fires and Puerto Rico’s hurricane targeted as the main areas for aid.

On Friday, Texas Republican Chip Roy blocked the legislation in the House, objecting to speeding the measure through a nearly empty chamber and complaining that it didn’t contain any of President Donald Trump’s $4.5 billion request for dealing with a migrant refugee crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border, the Associated Press reported.

Democrats said the House might try again to pass the bill next week. If that effort fails, a bipartisan vote would come after Congress returns next month from its Memorial Day recess, AP reported.

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Spring Forage Update

By Russ Quinn
DTN Staff Reporter

OMAHA (DTN) — Kimberly Meier has sold about twice as much alfalfa seed this spring as she normally does.

Her region of northern Illinois saw high rates of alfalfa winterkill this spring after a winter of colder-than-normal temperatures. The Ridott, Illinois, farmer and seed dealer said, because of that, she sold about 120 bags of alfalfa this spring, while a normal season would be closer to 60 bags.

“We had bad winterkill in this area this year,” Meier told DTN. “And it’s whole fields — I have never seen it this widespread.”

The condition of forages across the Midwest is about as diverse as the region itself. The cool, wet spring has afforded ample moisture to most areas, which should be good news when the weather finally warms up, but which has also slowed growth of many forages, potentially affecting overall yields.

LOTS OF WINTERKILL

Alfalfa winterkill seems to be an issue this spring throughout Wisconsin and stretching into surrounding states such as northern Illinois and eastern Minnesota.

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Group: Beef Checkoffs Unconstitutional

By Todd Neeley
DTN Staff Reporter

OMAHA (DTN) — A cattle interest group has asked a federal court to declare unconstitutional 15 state beef checkoff programs, in a motion filed this week.

Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America, or R-CALF USA, filed a motion this week in the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana, asking the court to declare unconstitutional checkoff programs in Montana, Hawaii, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont and Wisconsin.

According to court documents filed on Monday in Montana, R-CALF asked the court to enjoin the federal checkoff program from authorizing private state beef councils the use of a beef checkoff tax to fund “private speech without the payers’ affirmative consent.”

The Montana court already has held that the action likely violated the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, as the court previously granted a preliminary injunction against the Montana Beef Council for using the money without consent.

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Corn Health Check

By Emily Unglesbee
DTN Staff Reporter

ROCKVILLE, Md. (DTN) — With so much of the planting season left ahead of farmers this spring, it can be hard to focus on the few corn acres that are in — but they need your attention.

One grower told AgriGold agronomist Brandon Nystrom his cornfield looked great from the road — he could see uniform green rows streaking past his windshield at 55 mph. But when Nystrom walked deep into the field, another picture emerged. “I went out and looked and told him he had to replant every acre,” he recalled.

Poor planting conditions, disease and even insects are taking their toll on many of the cornfields that were seeded during narrow planting windows in late April and mid-May, agronomists told DTN. Scout fields carefully and calculate whether replanting will be necessary in the coming weeks.

The top problems to watch for are oxygen-starved corn plants, plants or roots restricted by crusting or compaction, fertilizer and herbicide injury, early season disease and insect injury and nutrient deficiencies.

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R-CALF Refiles Lawsuit

By Todd Neeley
DTN Staff Reporter

OMAHA (DTN) — The nation’s largest meatpackers face a second class-action lawsuit alleging conspiracy to drive down cattle prices. The suit was filed in federal court by a Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based live cattle futures trader.

The plaintiff, Michael Sevy, alleges in a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota that at least since January 2015, meatpackers have been conspiring to drive down prices.

A similar lawsuit filed by the Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund United Stockgrowers of America (R-CALF USA) in the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Illinois on behalf of four cattle-feeding ranchers in Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and Wyoming, was voluntarily dismissed by R-CALF USA and then refiled in the Minnesota court.

When contacted by DTN, R-CALF CEO Bill Bullard would not comment on why the lawsuit was moved. The attorney for R-CALF also did not respond to DTN’s request for comment.

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Ag Offers Answers to Climate Change

By Todd Neeley
DTN Staff Reporter

OMAHA (DTN) — Environmentalists and some other groups often accuse agriculture producers of being part of the problem when it comes to climate change. But farmers and ranchers testifying before the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee on Tuesday told senators they are trying to be part of the solution.

Weston, Nebraska, farmer Matt Rezac told the committee, although the industry isn’t perfect, farmers are doing what they can to sustainably produce crops.

“I get frustrated about the misconception of farmers blindly dumping chemicals all over their farms, because it’s just not the case,” he said. “Not only do we care deeply for the health of our farms, in this farm economy you can’t afford to be inefficient and waste inputs. I also know there is room for improvement. But farmers are often stubborn. Farmers tend to be followers, following what your dad did and often falling into the trap of, ‘Well, that’s how we’ve always done it.’”

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ASF’s Security Risks, Market Impact

By Chris Clayton
DTN Ag Policy Editor

OMAHA (DTN) — A USDA official updated members of Congress on Tuesday about work to keep African swine fever from infecting the U.S. pork industry.

Greg Ibach, undersecretary of marketing and regulatory programs for USDA, told lawmakers USDA has stepped up biosecurity and import control efforts for African swine fever. But Ibach also emphasized ASF is a difficult disease to control once it arrives.

African swine fever has hit hard in China, which has the world’s largest swine herd. The disease does not affect people and it is not a food-safety concern. However, the disease infects both domestic and wild hogs and can be transmitted by feed or other contaminated objects because ASF has a high environmental tolerance.

In China, the disease has wiped out roughly 20% of the pork herd. U.S. Meat Export Federation officials said Tuesday they are seeing little impact in major Chinese cities, but the global food trade expects China will eventually have significantly lower pork supplies.

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Trade Aid Details Leaked

By Chris Clayton
DTN Ag Policy Editor

OMAHA (DTN) — USDA on Tuesday said its new round of trade aid “is being designed to avoid skewing planting decisions” after soybean prices fell following a Bloomberg report with details on the aid package.

Bloomberg reported USDA would announce a $15 billion aid package on Thursday that would pay farmers $2 a bushel for soybeans, 63 cents a bushel for wheat and 4 cents a bushel for corn. The report cited “two people familiar with the payment levels.”

According to the Bloomberg report, payments would be based on this year’s planted acreage. “The administration is considering basing payments on the acreage farmers plant this year and their historic yield of crops per acre, the people said.”

While corn continued its weather rally Tuesday, moving up 6 cents in the December contract to $4.10 a bushel, November soybeans fell 9 cents to $8.48 a bushel after the report came out.

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Trade Aid Questions Loom

By Chris Clayton
DTN Ag Policy Editor

OMAHA (DTN) — While at least some farmers are still trying to get into the fields, USDA is working to craft a $20 billion trade aid program for crops that largely have yet to emerge from the ground.

Farm groups have pushed for higher aid for their own commodities, and the National Farmers Union wrote Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue last week asking that USDA base payments on historical production. That would be different from the Market Facilitation Program payments created last year that were specifically tied to production levels.

With final planting dates for crop insurance quickly approaching, the formula used for trade aid could factor heavily in farmers’ planting decisions in the coming weeks.

“I don’t know that we have ever seen a government-type of announcement like this in the middle of a planting season,” said Jonathan Coppess, a University of Illinois agricultural policy professor and former Farm Service Agency administrator.

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Build Your Business IQ

By Elizabeth Williams
DTN Special Correspondent

INDIANOLA, Iowa (DTN) — Good times lift both good and bad farm managers, but when profit margins grow slim, farmers with higher levels of business intelligence are more likely to succeed and grow.

Agricultural economist Dave Kohl, a professor emeritus at Virginia Tech and adviser to ag lenders for more than 35 years, said it’s important for farmers and their lenders to know where they stand. Kohl has developed a 15-point financial and risk management checklist that helps measure farmers’ management skills by scoring them.

“It’s not rocket science, but it is very insightful to see how much the manager knows about his or her business,” Kohl said.

Producers today generally fall into three buckets. Forty percent will grow incrementally because they have working capital, equity, proactively approach problems and have a high business IQ, or intelligence quotient.

Another 40% will be able to hang on, but won’t thrive because they’re limited by their “low business IQ.”

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Cattle Trader Alleges Packer Conspiracy

By Todd Neeley
DTN Staff Reporter

OMAHA (DTN) — The nation’s largest meatpackers face a second class-action lawsuit alleging conspiracy to drive down cattle prices. The suit was filed in federal court by a Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based live cattle futures trader.

The plaintiff, Michael Sevy, alleges in a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota that at least since January 2015, meatpackers have been conspiring to drive down prices.

A similar lawsuit filed by the Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund United Stockgrowers of America (R-CALF USA) in the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Illinois on behalf of four cattle-feeding ranchers in Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and Wyoming, was voluntarily dismissed by R-CALF USA and then refiled in the Minnesota court.

When contacted by DTN, R-CALF CEO Bill Bullard would not comment on why the lawsuit was moved. The attorney for R-CALF also did not respond to DTN’s request for comment.

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EU Cancels US Ethanol Duty

By Todd Neeley
DTN Staff Reporter

OMAHA (DTN) — The European Union Commission has canceled an ethanol anti-dumping duty against imports from the United States in place since 2013, essentially reopening a market that collapsed.

The commission made the announcement on May 14, after launching a review of the duty on Feb. 20, 2018. The commission concluded that removing the duty would not increase the likelihood of dumping of U.S. ethanol on the EU market.

The 9.5% duty was put in place as a result of a complaint filed by the EU’s largest ethanol producer group, ePure.

“In light of the above assessment on the likelihood of recurrence of dumping should measures be allowed to lapse, the commission concluded it unlikely that U.S. bioethanol producers would export significant quantities of bioethanol to the Union at dumped prices, should the measures be allowed to lapse,” the EU commission said in its 14-page decision.

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