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Livestock & poultry cash market comparisons, 11/21/16

Livestock and meat ($)

Nov. 21

Nov. 16

6 mos. ago

Year ago

Steers, Choice, carcass, 550-700 lb., cwt., Omaha





Steers, Choice, 1,050-1,200 lb., cwt. southern Plains





Feeder steers, 600-700 lb., cwt., Oklahoma City





Lean hogs, carcass, Iowa-Minn. 167-187 lb.(1)





Feeder pigs, 40 lb. national direct delivered(2)





SEW pigs, 10 lb., national direct delivered (per head)





Choice beef, cutout, cwt.





Pork loin, 185 lb. 51-52% lean, cutout, cwt.(3)





Hog corn ratio





Steer corn ratio





Poultry and eggs (cents)





Chickens, Grade A, fresh lb. Chicago





Hen turkeys, Grade A, frozen, lb., Chicago





Young tom turkeys, Grade A. frozen lb. Chicago





Eggs, Grade A, large, doz., Chicago





N/A: not available.         A: average.

(1) Replaces live hogs; live hogs are 0.755 of quote.
(2) Replaces Sioux Falls, 50-60 lb. (2/26/07)
(3) National FOB plant, replaces national daily carlot.
Livestock, meat, poultry and egg prices from USDA.

This week in Washington: Nov. 28-Dec. 2

With government funding set to expire on December 9, Republican leaders announced ahead of their Thanksgiving recess that Congress plans to pass another stop-gap bill, called a continuing resolution, that will fund federal agencies through March 31, rather than an omnibus appropriations bill that would set spending priorities for the first eight months of president-elect Donald Trump’s term.

Congress had previously planned to pass legislation to fund the government through September, which is the end of the 2017 fiscal year.  However, with Trump’s win in the presidential race, House and Senate Republicans decided not to move forward with the 12 individual spending bills that would have set detailed spending priorities for federal agencies in 2017.

Vice president-elect Mike Pence met with Members of Congress to discuss how to proceed with government funding, among addressing other issues. “The new incoming government would like to have a say-so in how spending is allocated,” House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wisc.) told reporters following the meeting. “We’ve got a lot of funding priorities that we would like to have changed relative to the Obama funding priorities.  It’s as simple as that,” Ryan said.

Retiring Senate Appropriations Committee ranking member Barbara Mikulski (D., Md.) said the decision was “deeply disappointing.  My preference would be to do our job and work on an omnibus funding bill.”

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R., Ky.) said that his committee will begin working immediately on legislation to fund the government at current levels through March 31.  “We must continue to keep our federal agencies and programs open for business, while looking towards future progress on these vital spending bills,” Rogers said.

Steve Kopperud, executive vice president of Policy Perspectives, said the next hurdle to get over, however, is convincing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) of the wisdom of funding the federal government at current levels through March next year. “McConnell, along with most of the House and Senate appropriations committee leaders, favor hammering together a FY2017 omnibus spending package. Some conservative House members are also still pushing for a series of ‘mini-bus’ sending measures,” Kopperud said.

“A CR extension will also allow Congress to adjourn a week earlier than planned, as well as move to procedurally block any new regulations the Obama White House may crank out during his last weeks in office. It’s expected the Senate will grudgingly agree with the House strategy,’ Kopperud said in his Washington Report on Nov. 21.

Punting the government funding bills until spring means that Congress will be working to craft a new budget deal with Republicans having a smaller majority in the Senate where Democrats could filibuster to block legislation. The new Congress will convene on January 3 and President-Elect Trump will take the oath of office on January 20.

Nutrient stewardship program well-received

The country's first 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program has been so well received in the Western Lake Erie Basin (WLEB) that it's become a model for other regions where farmers are increasingly challenged to balance rising input costs, increasing demand for higher yields, and the drive to be good stewards of America's lands and waters.

The 4Rs provide a framework to achieve cropping system goals by applying the right fertilizer source at the right rate, at the right time, in the right place. Currently, 34 nutrient service providers-with influence over 2.7 million acres of cropland-have become certified through the program.

"As we look to expand the implementation and adoption of 4R practices throughout the United States, it is crucial to have a proven strategy that can serve as a model for future efforts in other geographies," said Lara Moody, senior director of stewardship & sustainability at The Fertilizer Institute. "The 4R Certification Program in the Western Lake Erie Basin provides the flexibility and rigor needed to earn the trust of nutrient service providers, farmers, and policymakers."

A key factor to success, as explained in a recent article in the Journal of Great Lakes Research, is the support of a broad collation of regional stakeholders who recognize the significance of improved nutrient management as part of a comprehensive solution to water quality issues, such as the harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie. The article, Building Partnerships to Scale Up Conservation: 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program in the Lake Erie Watershed, was authored by The Nature Conservancy, Ohio AgriBusiness Association, The Andersons, Inc., and The Fertilizer Institute and provides a roadmap for others interested in establishing similar 4R certification programs.

"The success of the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program in the Lake Erie Basin has opened dialogue and opportunities to start similar programs in other areas of the country," said Carrie Vollmer-Sanders, nutrient stewardship manager for The Nature Conservancy and co-chair of the 4Rs Nutrient Stewardship Certification Council. "With support from agriculture retailers, we have an opportunity to help farmers manage their croplands for higher productivity, with less cost, and with a lasting impact on the waters we all value and rely on,"

In 2012, a diverse group of stakeholders from the business, government, academia and NGO sectors came together to develop a set of standards that would form the foundation for 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program, which began in 2014. The voluntary program uses third-party auditors to certify nutrient service providers who provide nutrient management recommendations to thousands of farmers.

The certification program has impacted 35% of the farmland in the WLEB, accounting for more than 5,600 farmers. An additional 37 service providers have committed to participating in the program. Furthermore, the program had an unintended, but beneficial influence on statewide policy in Ohio when the general assembly included two of the well-supported certification criteria into legislation that was signed into law in April 2015.

The concept of 4R Nutrient Stewardship was developed by the International Plant Nutrition Institute, Fertilizer Canada, and The Fertilizer Institute. Learn more at nutrientstewardship.org.

Collaboration will help produce bioactive fatty acids

Agragen, LLC, a Cincinnati-based plant sciences company, announced the licensing of a family of patents from DuPont Pioneer that focuses on technology for manipulating the fatty acid profile in plants. Agragen is developing a high-yield camelina, commonly known as false flax, which will produce the same bioactive omega-3 fatty acids as found in fish oil.

"By sustainably producing these bioactive fatty acids, which are so important for human health and disease, we can reduce the strain on their traditional, marine-based sources," said Sam Huttenbauer, Jr., chief development officer of Agragen. "Licensing this technology from DuPont Pioneer will allow us to make a major step toward bringing this long-held corporate goal to fruition."

"DuPont Pioneer has a long history of collaborations that advance science," said Tony Kinney, research director, DuPont Pioneer. "It's gratifying to know our technology for modifying plant oils could further Agragen's on-going efforts to find a renewable source of omega-3 fatty acids."

Agragen also recently licensed technology from The University of Hong Kong that will enable its on-going efforts to improve camelina yield and enhance its drought tolerance.

"Combining these two technologies gives Agragen a global leadership position in producing heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids in camelina, in a highly economical manner," said Eric J. Murphy, chief science officer, Agragen. "When developing a sustainable product, we know adoption often depends on the product's potential for profit. By combining these technologies with the DuPont Pioneer technology, the yield per acre over traditional camelina will be enhanced, providing a logistical and agronomic advantage over others in this space."

Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.

Agragen, LLC (agragen.com) is a Cincinnati, Ohio-based plant sciences company focused on using Camelina sativa as a platform to produce fatty acids for use in human health and disease as well as a sustainable feedstock for bio-derived jet fuel.

Food safety survey finds consumers need to wash hands more

For nearly three decades the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has conducted annual Food Safety Surveys to gauge and track the public’s understanding of proper food safety handling techniques.

Between October 6, 2015 and January 17, 2016, the FDA surveyed 4,169 Americans ages 18 and older to learn more about consumers’ attitudes, behaviors, and knowledge of food safety. Survey results help inform the FDA’s efforts to improve consumer food safety behaviors through targeted education outreach. 

The survey questions are designed to measure trends in consumer food safety practices, such as hand and cutting board washing; preparing and consuming potentially risky foods; and using food thermometers. In addition to informing the FDA’s food safety education efforts, the results are used by the Healthy People 2020 initiative to track consumer food safety knowledge and actions.

Most consumers do not wash their hands after using handheld phones or tablets in the kitchen. About half of consumers use devices such as smartphones or tablets while preparing food, but only about a third of those report washing their hands with soap after touching the device while preparing food.

This is a new finding and points to the need for additional research to better understand how technology is used in the kitchen.

After increasing between 2006 and 2010, hand washing rates have remained constant or decreased between 2010 and 2016, the survey found. The survey asked about hand washing at four specific times: before preparing food, after handling raw meat or poultry, after handling raw fish, and after cracking raw eggs. “In all years consumers are more likely to report washing hands with soap after touching raw meat or raw fish, than before preparing food, or after cracking raw eggs,” the report stated.

The percent who report washing with soap after touching raw meat or raw fish has remained constant since 2010 and at 85%. There was a slight decrease in the percent who report washing with soap all of the time before preparing food from 78% in 2010 to 75% in 2016. Similarly, there has been a decline in the percent who report washing with soap after cracking raw eggs from 48% in 2010 to 43% in 2016.

Food thermometer ownership rates have remained constant but usage has slightly increased. In 2016, 67% of respondents reported owning a food thermometer. Reported usage has increased for roasts, chicken parts, and hamburgers between 2006 and 2016. In 2016, 38% report that they always use a meat thermometer for roasts, compared to 19% for chicken parts, and 10% for hamburgers.

Grain & ingredient cash market comparisons, 11/21/16

Major feed ingredients

Nov. 21

Nov. 16

6 mos. ago

Year ago

Corn No. 2, Chicago, bu.





Processor bid*





Terminal bid*





Milo, Kansas City, cwt.





Soybeans, Chicago, bu., processor bid





Soybean meal, 48% Decatur bid





Cottonseed meal, Memphis, ton





Canola meal, Minneapolis, ton





Linseed meal, solvent, Minneapolis





Meat and bone meal, Chicago, ton





Fish meal, menhaden, Atlanta, ton





Corn gluten meal, 60%, Chicago, ton





Distillers dried grains, Chicago, ton





17% dehy. alfalfa pellets, Kansas City, ton





Millfeeds, midds, Minneapolis, ton





Molasses, cane, Houston, ton





Dried citrus pulp, Atlanta, ton





Whey, whole, Chicago, cwt.





Rolled oats, Minneapolis, ton





Barley, Los Angeles, cwt.





Feeding wheat, Kansas City, bu.





*Chicago corn and soybean prices for latest and previous week are the middle of the range of to-arrive bids; soybean meal prices are midrange of processor quotes. Chicago corn and soybean prices provided by USDA Market News. Six months, year ago comparisons are all spot cash. Based on prices reported by Feedstuffs' market reporters.

A: average

N/A: not available

Research making ethanol production more efficient, economical

New research at the Integrated Bioprocessing Research Laboratory (IBRL) on the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus could significantly change ethanol production by lowering operating costs and simplifying the dry grind process.

“There are currently more than 200 dry grind plants that are processing corn to produce ethanol,” says Vijay Singh, director of IBRL and a professor in agricultural and biological engineering. “The dry grind process requires two different enzymes to convert corn starch to glucose, which is further fermented to ethanol by yeast.”

Singh says that process has been simplified by combined use and optimization of three new technologies. “A new corn developed by transgenic technology, known as amylase corn, produces one of these enzymes in the grain itself, and a newly engineered ‘superior yeast’ provides the second enzyme, as well as fermenting the glucose.

“There is a high expression level of the first enzyme, α-amylase, in the new corn, so only a small amount [15% was tested in these studies] of this corn is required to be mixed with conventional dent corn,” Singh notes. “The superior yeast provides the second enzyme, glucoamylase, and also provides an alternate metabolic pathway to reduce by-product formation during fermentation. Combined use of this corn and superior yeast can reduce the total enzyme addition by more than 80%.”

Another approach to improve the dry grind process is to use high solids in the plant. However, according to Singh, high solid concentrations leads to high ethanol build-up in the tank. “High ethanol affects the yeast viability and inhibits its fermentation performance, so we have added a third technology to the process.  We remove the ethanol as it is being produced, using a vacuum flashing process that is patented technology from the University of Illinois. Only a couple of vacuum cycles of 1 to 1.5 hours can bring the ethanol concentration below the inhibitory levels without affecting yeast health and allow complete fermentation of corn solids up to 40%,” says Singh.

Deepak Kumar, a postdoctoral research associate in agricultural and biological engineering, says because the dry grind process uses a significant amount of water, using more solid material in the slurry - 40% as opposed to 30-35% - means less water going into the process. “When ethanol is produced, it is in a very dilute solution. You have a small amount of ethanol and a large amount of water,” says Kumar. “We cut down the water use by pushing high solids. When we reduce the amount of water, we also reduce the amount of energy required to remove the water.”

Singh believes this new research has the potential to improve the economics and process efficiencies and simplify the dry grind process. “By developing highly optimized technologies, we will benefit the entire dry grind industry,” he concludes.

Singh and Kumar received the 2016 Bioenergy Society of Singapore (BESS) Achievement Award for their work, in particular their paper “Dry-grind Processing using Amylase Corn and Superior Yeast to Reduce the Exogenous Enzyme Requirements in Bioethanol Production.” This award recognizes the importance of research on bio-energy and bio-based chemicals and was given to Singh and Kumar for their contributions to biofuels research. The paper has been published in Biotechnology for Biofuels, and the full text can be found online at http://bit.ly/2f4JFe3.

NGFA asks STB to refocus efforts on freight rale challenges

The National Grain and Feed Assn. (NGFA) recently urged the federal Surface Transportation Board (STB) to refocus its efforts on creating a workable procedure that grain and agricultural shippers can use to challenge freight rail rates they believe are unreasonable.

The Association on Nov. 14 submitted its statement in response to the STB's advance notice of proposed rulemaking requesting comments on establishing a new rate-challenge methodology that would be available to all commodities (including non-agricultural products), but only for a small subset of rate cases involving "very small disputes" - a phrase the agency did not define. The NGFA in particular objected to the STB's proposal to broaden its original proceeding that focused solely on creating an accessible and workable process for grain shippers to challenge unreasonable rail rates of all sizes, noting that no other group - agricultural or non-agricultural - had advocated such a change in direction. 

"The (STB) has elected to take its eye off the ball and divert its focus from resolving the primary problem identified by grain and other agricultural shippers - the uselessness of the (agency's) existing rate rules and procedures to agricultural shippers, regardless of the size of a rate dispute, and hence their lack of access to a workable rate-challenge methodology," the NGFA said. "We respectfully urge the (STB) to refocus its efforts in this proceeding...and return to the original task of creating an appropriate, workable and reasonably accessible rate-challenge methodology that grain and other agricultural shippers can utilize to challenge railroad rates they believe are unreasonable, regardless of the size of their potential case."

Fourteen other prominent national agricultural producer, commodity and agribusiness associations, as well as the National Assn. of State Departments of Agriculture, joined as signatories in supporting the NGFA's statement. Sixteen state and regional agribusiness associations affiliated with the NGFA also joined.

The NGFA and the other agricultural organizations pointed out several major reasons why rail grain movements were unique from non-agricultural commodities, such as coal and chemicals.

The NGFA's statement also cited a 2015 study conducted by the National Academy of Sciences' Transportation Research Board (TRB) that documented that rates for both small and large shipments of grain and oilseeds increased by more than 70 percent between 2002 and 2013, despite market factors that otherwise would have seemingly produced lower rates were it not for the market power exerted by rail carriers. The TRB study also found that while real rates for most commodities increased between 15 and 25 percent during that time span, grain rail rates increased by a whopping 40 percent. 

The NGFA and other agricultural organizations also provided input on several specific aspects of the STB's proposed concepts for creating a new rate-challenge methodology. View an outline of NGFA's full comments online.

"We urge the STB to now move expeditiously to develop and propose rate-challenge methodology rules and procedures appropriate for grain and agricultural shippers," the NGFA and other agricultural groups concluded. 

Pardoned turkeys find new home at Virginia Tech

Pardoned turkeys find new home at Virginia Tech

On Nov. 23, President Barack Obama pardoned the National Thanksgiving Turkey in a ceremony in the Rose Garden. The President celebrated the 69th anniversary of the National Thanksgiving Turkey presentation, reflected upon the time-honored traditions of Thanksgiving and wished American families a safe and healthy holiday. The 2016 National Thanksgiving Turkey and its alternate – Tator and Tot - were hatched and raised in Iowa.

After the pardoning, the turkeys will be on display for visitors at their permanent home at Virginia Tech’s newly built “Gobblers Rest” exhibit where they will be cared for by students and veterinarians in the university’s Poultry Science Department.  

ater and Tot are the selected names for the two Iowa turkeys raised on the Chris and Nicole Domino farm in rural Early, Iowa.

In the past, the birds have moved to a farm or historical site, but this is the first time they will live at a university. Gobblers Rest is a newly built enclosure located inside the Livestock Judging Pavilion on Plantation Road.

“Considering how Virginia Tech is not only home to the HokieBird but it is also where the modern turkey industry has its roots, it is apt that the pardoned turkeys will call Blacksburg home,” said Rami Dalloul, a poultry immunologist in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences.

Dalloul will chaperone the birds as they go through a series of official ceremonies during the week and will bring them back to Blacksburg after the White House event. Dalloul is a world-renowned poultry immunologist who, a few years ago, sequenced the turkey genome, which opened the door to new levels of understanding of the birds as well as genetics.

You can follow along on social media using #TurkeyPardon2016 to go behind the scenes at the White House ceremony and follow the turkeys on their journey.

The public can visit the turkeys from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 25-26 at the Livestock Judging Pavilion, 445 Plantation Rd., Blacksburg, Va.

Court rules in favor of science-based regulatory review

A California federal court ruled in favor of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and an industry coalition including CropLife America, the American Seed Trade Assn., the Agricultural Retailers Assn., the National Cotton Council of America, the American Soybean Assn., the National Assn. of Wheat Growers and the National Corn Growers Assn. (Intervenors) in Anderson v. EPA, a lawsuit brought against EPA by a number of plaintiffs.

Plaintiffs had asked the court to order EPA to regulate seeds treated with pesticides as if the seeds were the pesticides themselves, the result of which would be to unnecessarily duplicate EPA’s science-based regulatory review of the active ingredients used in treatment products. The Court ruled in favor of EPA and the Intervenors and against Plaintiffs on each of the Plaintiffs’ claims.
The Court found that the 2013 Bee Guidance document on which Plaintiffs had relied was neither an “agency action” nor “final” under the Administrative Procedure Act, and that Plaintiffs claims were not reviewable by a Court. The Court also denied Plaintiffs’ request to seek additional documents and information from EPA to support their claims.

“CLA applauds the court for reinforcing the importance of decisions built on the foundation of established science-based reviews of crop protection products,” said Jay Vroom, president and CEO of CLA. “Our members depend on the consistency of the regulatory process to ensure they are able to get new and more advanced products to market, while ensuring these products have been thoroughly tested for environmental and human health safety,” Vroom added.
This decision protects the ability of growers to continue using seed treatment technology that is vital to American agriculture, permits EPA to retain its current regulatory approach for treated seeds, and allows EPA and the agricultural value chain to continue their important work on pollinator health issues. CLA is an active member of a number of coalitions addressing the issue of pollinator health through research and innovation. We believe that an engaged partnership between farmers and beekeepers is an integral piece to long term pollinator health.