National Headlines

EPA Granted Chlorpyrifos Rehearing

By Todd Neeley
DTN Staff Reporter

OMAHA (DTN) — The EPA will get another hearing on a federal court’s 2018 order to ban all chlorpyrifos registrations, as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit granted the agency an en banc hearing in an order handed down on Wednesday in San Francisco.

In August 2018, the EPA asked for the hearing that will be before all non-recused judges in the Ninth Circuit on the week of March 25, 2019, in San Francisco.

On Aug. 9, 2018, a three-judge panel on the court ordered EPA to cancel all chlorpyrifos registrations in 60 days. The court ruled the agency was not justified in maintaining the insecticide’s registration “in the face of scientific evidence that its residue on food causes neurodevelopmental damage to children.”

Chlorpyrifos’ registration was set to end on Oct. 9, 2018.

En banc hearings are reserved for cases that are particularly complex.

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USDA Reports Preview

By Todd Hultman
DTN Lead Analyst

After five weeks of dark offices, USDA’s lights are back on and the department is ready to issue final corn and soybean crop estimates for 2018, new crop estimates for South America, Dec. 1 grain stocks totals and an estimate of winter wheat seedings. The excitement begins at 11 a.m. CST on Friday, Feb. 8, and promises to have something of interest for almost everyone.

CORN

The last time USDA released a World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report, many of us hadn’t even started Christmas shopping yet and some were relieved to have finally finished harvest after encountering wet fields. This time, many are expecting those adverse harvest conditions to result in slightly smaller crops than what USDA estimated in December. Dow Jones’ pre-report survey of analysts expects USDA to reduce the 2018 corn crop from 14.626 billion bushels (bb) to 14.509 bb, based on a yield of 177.6 bushels per acre on 81.7 million harvested acres.

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Brazil Early Returns: Lower Soy Yields

By Chris Clayton
DTN Ag Policy Editor

PARECIS, Mato Grosso, Brazil (DTN) — As Brazilian farmers count their soybeans with the harvest in full throttle, the early numbers are coming in lower than last year.

Ricardo Arioli Silva, a farmer, agronomist and occasional guide for hapless Americans trying to navigate Mato Grosso, said expectations for Brazil’s largest soybean state were high coming off last year’s production, but the early returns from short-season variety soybeans are disappointing to farmers.

“After last year’s yields, farmers are a little disappointed,” Silva said. He attributed the early decline to farmers planting a short-season 95-day variety, then having November weather that was more overcast than normal.

Farmers in other parts of Mato Grosso also faced a lack of rain in December that hit yields in other parts of the state as well.

Campo Novo do Parecis is an agricultural city of about 35,000 people in south-central Mato Grosso.

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Best Young Farmers/Ranchers-2

By Dan Miller
Progressive Farmer Senior Editor

Every whiskey has a good story. Hayes Kelman tells one about Red Eye Whiskey.

His award-winning Boot Hill Distillery’s Red Eye is fermented from the corn and wheat grown on Hayes’s Kelman Farms, in Sublette, Kansas. Red Eye — 51% corn, 49% wheat — is “a beautiful, hand-crafted, trail-aged, frontier-style Kansas whiskey,” he says.

Fitting, as Boot Hill Distillery sits atop Boot Hill Cemetery, in Dodge City, Kansas. Its stainless fermentation vats, copper stills and tasting room are housed in a 90-year-old brick building once home to the city’s municipal functions — including the jail. The dirt below it was once the final home for the town’s criminal element. Some felons died so suddenly by well-placed bullets that they died with their boots on, it is said. Thus, Boot Hill.

It is also said bodies were removed from Boot Hill during the cold winter of 1879, as the town discovered more valuable uses for its prominent vista.

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Waterhemp Scores Again

By Pamela Smith
DTN Progressive Farmer Crops Technology Editor

DECATUR, Ill. (DTN) — Waterhemp has just thumbed its nose at another group of herbicides.

Waterhemp resistant to Group 15 herbicides (very long chain fatty acid inhibitors) has officially been found in Illinois research plots. It is the first dicot (broadleaf) weed in the world to outmaneuver herbicides within the Group 15 chemical family. While scientists aren’t sure how widespread the issue is, University of Illinois weed scientist Aaron Hager said the discovery is yet another warning to change weed management behaviors now.

“Waterhemp has now shown the ability to resist seven different herbicide sites of action,” Hager said. “Farmers have been leaning heavily on the Group 15 herbicides across all crops as they battle resistant weeds. This is another example of how important it is to diversify weed control approaches to keep the effectiveness of this tool,” Hager said.

Syngenta has been collaborating with Illinois scientists on their findings and providing important background information, confirmed Dane Bowers, Syngenta’s technical lead for herbicides, and Gordon Vail, Syngenta’s technical product lead on S-metolachlor, one of the Group 15 herbicides.

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Planting Hurdles

By Emily Unglesbee
DTN Staff Reporter

ROCKVILLE, Md. (DTN) — Keith Peters’ spring planting prep list is longer than usual this year.

His central Ohio farm absorbed a record annual rainfall of 55 inches in 2018, with much of it coming throughout the fall. As a result, Peters missed the window for his fall herbicide applications, strip tillage and P and K applications.

Even the work that did get done was compromised, he noted. “Of the 240 acres of wheat sown, I’ll probably only save 80,” Peters said. “We had too much rain, and it was sowed too late.” He’s also facing field compaction and messy seedbeds, and experts are predicting lower soybean seed quality and germination this spring.

The current weather isn’t helping, either, Peters said. “There is no let-up in the moisture,” he said. “We are getting hammered and flooded right now.”

“I wonder how widespread this is?” he added.

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Three Refiners Named in Suit

By Todd NeeleyDTN Staff Reporter

OMAHA (DTN) — Ethanol and agriculture groups sued the EPA on Tuesday in response to the agency’s recent approval of small-refinery waivers from the Renewable Fuel Standard granted in recent years, according to a lawsuit filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Denver.
The Renewable Fuels Association, National Corn Growers Association, American Coalition for Ethanol and National Farmers Union, with support of Farmers Union Enterprises, sued EPA on three recent waivers granted, arguing the agency did not publish in the Federal Register what were final actions by the agency.
In the petition, the groups said they are challenging agency actions made “under unusually clandestine proceedings” to exempt refineries in Wynnewood, Oklahoma; Cheyenne, Wyoming; and Woods Cross, Utah.
“Because EPA never published the exemption letters or determinations, in the Federal Register or otherwise, and the coalition thus does not have actual notice of EPA’s determinations within the meaning of the statute, the 60-day period for filing a petition for review did not begin to run and the time period set forth for unpublished determinations is not applicable to the Coalition,” the petition said.… Continue reading

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DTN Retail Fertilizer Trends

By Russ QuinnDTN Staff Reporter

OMAHA (DTN) — Retail fertilizer prices continue to be mostly higher, according to prices tracked by DTN for the third week of May 2018. Like off and on in recent weeks, there are some possible signs that fertilizer prices may be weakening.
Five of the eight major fertilizer were once again higher in price compared to last month, although none were up a considerable amount. MAP had an average price of $504/ton, potash $354/ton, 10-34-0 $439/ton and UAN28 $241/ton.
Three fertilizers were slightly lower in price compared to the previous month. DAP had an average price of $483/ton, urea $364/ton and UAN32 $276/ton.
On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.40/lb.N, anhydrous $0.31/lb.N, UAN28 $0.43/lb.N and UAN32 $0.43/lb.N.
With a majority of spring planted crop already in the ground — 92% of the corn nationally, and 77% of soybeans, as of May 27, according to the most recent USDA weekly Crop Progress report — a logical assumption might be fertilizer prices would drop in prices because of less demand.… Continue reading

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Ag’s HR Coach

By Lori CullerDTN HR Columnist

Productive farms must work together as a team. Each employee plays a role on the team, whether it’s to operate heavy equipment or manage finances from behind a desk. The team should be built on a solid foundation of communication, trust and accountability. The question is: How can a group of employees create and sustain this type of bond?
When there doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to run the business, troubleshoot challenges, and keep staff abreast on policies, rest assured that there are tools available to help.
Technology changes with the seasons, making it a challenge to stay current. While it takes time and energy to utilize the newest resources, it ultimately improves efficiency and communication among the staff. Imagine having a snapshot of productivity at the end of each day. Everyone would be on the same page, ready to hit the ground running the next morning.… Continue reading

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Bayer-Monsanto Merger Orders

By Chris ClaytonDTN Ag Policy Editor

OMAHA (DTN) — The U.S. Department of Justice announced Tuesday that Bayer and Monsanto will have to divest of $9 billion in assets, largely to BASF, for the Trump Administration to approve of the Bayer-Monsanto merger, valued at $62.5 billion.
The announcement largely meshes with a move several months ago by Bayer to sell portions of its crop science division to competitor BASF for about $7 billion in order to address potential regulatory concerns around the merger. Justice officials said Tuesday they demanded more divestment to “resolve horizontal, vertical and innovation concerns with the merger, preserving competition and protecting American farmers and consumers,” said Makan Delrahim, assistant U.S. attorney general for the Department of Justice Antitrust Division.
Delrahim said the $9 billion of assets that Bayer must shed amount to the largest divestiture ever in a U.S. antitrust enforcement action.
Delrahim said the initial merger was “unlawful” but he commended the chief executive officers of Bayer, Monsanto and BASF for coming together to agree to a settlement on the enforcement action and a conditional approval of the merger.… Continue reading

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Ag-Blockchain Nexus Growing

By Chris ClaytonDTN Ag Policy Editor

OMAHA (DTN) — Investigators at the Food and Drug Administration spent the past two months trying to track the source of romaine lettuce linked to 172 confirmed illnesses, 75 hospitalizations and at least one death. The FDA found at least one Arizona farm involved but agency investigators can’t confirm if all of the illnesses came from one grower, harvester, processor or distributor. They are still looking.
Several consumer groups wrote the FDA last week pressing the agency to propose rules for “comprehensive and rapid traceability of produce, including leafy greens.” The groups noted FDA has struggled in the past to find the source of outbreaks.
“This failure to fully solve this outbreak comes on the heels of another unsolved E. coli outbreak linked to leafy greens last fall,” the groups wrote.
Among the solutions, the consumer groups wrote to FDA, is blockchain technology. While FDA is taking months to find the source of a food outbreak, retailers and others have traced products from the store back to the farm in as little as 2.2 seconds.… Continue reading

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In-Season Nitrogen Tests

By Daniel DavidsonDTN Contributing Agronomist

EDITOR’s NOTE: Becoming better nitrogen (N) managers in corn production starts with planning. In this article, originally written in 2017, agronomist Dan Davidson walks us through how to account for all nitrogen forms as we think about in-season applications.
**
There are many good ways to manage N in-season. Unfortunately, we often spend more time trying to figure out when to apply it than determining how much to apply based on yield goals and soil reserves.
Soil sampling often assesses nitrate and doesn’t account for other residual forms such as ammonium and mineralizable N. This ignores a potentially large N credit.
Ammonium N is available to the plant, but because it so easily converts to nitrate, we often assume that this form is negligible in terms of the season’s nutrition. However, there is potentially a huge pool of mineralizable N (Nmin) from organic matter that isn’t accounted for.… Continue reading

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Hopes for El Nino by Autumn

By Bryce AndersonDTN Senior Ag Meteorologist

OMAHA (DTN) — The harsh drought over the southwestern U.S. is expected to last through most of the summer.
That’s the forecast from a drought and forecast update webinar held May 23. National Drought Mitigation Center climatologist Brian Fuchs offered a grim outlook for the region. More than two-thirds of the southwestern U.S. is already in some stage of drought; close to 40% of the region is in “extreme” or “exceptional” drought. Rangeland has almost no green areas. Livestock ponds are dried up. Death loss has been dramatic for both domestic livestock and wild animals, with very little grass for grazing and many dry stock ponds.
The drought set in quickly. At the start of the “Water Year” back on Oct. 1, only 5% of the Southwest was in some stage of drought. But drought development was enhanced by the Pacific Ocean moving to a La Nina cool-water phase during the fall and winter of 2017-18.… Continue reading

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Brazil Sees Soy Basis Weaken

By Lin TanDTN China Correspondent

SAO PAULO, Brazil (DTN) — China and U.S. trade relations have greatly shaped Brazil’s soybean export market in the past two months. Basis is currently weakening for Brazilian sellers since the U.S. and China agreed last week to dial back the trade rhetoric.
July soybean basis (Paranagua paper market) traded May 25 at 74 U.S. cents per bushel, or just over half the basis compared to the same day last month.
“The U.S.-China commercial tension ends up placing Brazil in the spotlight. What we saw this year was a skyrocketing of premiums when the U.S. threatened to tax goods imported from China … (at) 25%. We saw Brazilian FOB (freight on board) premiums getting 100 cents per bushel stronger in a matter of a few days just because of the expectation of the new world trade environment between the two largest economies,” said Thiago Piccinin, CEO of Lotus Grains and Oilseeds, a trading house in Sao Paulo.… Continue reading

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Todd’s Take

By Todd HultmanDTN Analyst

Back in early May 2017, “The Other Wheat Sneaks Higher,” was this column’s attempt to describe bullish changes happening in spring wheat prices. At the time, no one knew that drought would take prices from the low-$5s in early May to $7.78 a bushel by early July. In fact, moderate drought conditions had not even appeared yet on the U.S. Drought Monitor. (https://www.dtnpf.com/…)
One of the early bullish clues talked about was how commercials responded to lower prices in early April by going net-long. By May 26, which is slightly more than one year ago, DTN’s cash index of spring wheat prices amped up the bullish argument when it closed at a new three-month high. The drought was still not considered serious, but the market was clearly showing bullish concerns.
By the time extreme drought conditions began to show up in Montana and the Dakotas it was June 20, and prices were already at $6.15 a bushel.… Continue reading

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