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Agriculture

US winter wheat forecast down amid drought, surplus

U.S. farmers are expected to harvest their smallest winter wheat crop in more than a decade amid an ongoing drought that has devastated fields across the nation’s breadbasket and a global surplus of the grain that has depressed prices, according to government report. The National Agricultural Statistics Service forecast the size of the nation’s 2018 wheat crop at 1.19 billion bushels. If realized, that would be down 6 percent from the previous year. The last time the nation’s farmers harvested such a small wheat crop was in 2002, when U.S. production fell to 1.137 billion bushels,

A Green Approach to Making Ammonia Could Help Feed the World

UCF research team with collaborators at Virginia Tech have developed a new “green” approach to making ammonia that may help make feeding the rising world population more sustainable. “This new approach can facilitate ammonia production using renewable energy, such as electricity generated from solar or wind,” said physics Assistant Professor Xiaofeng Feng.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich wants to crack down on phosphorus runoff that feeds Lake Erie algal blooms

Gov. John Kasich said he plans to issue an executive order if state lawmakers won't limit fertilizer use in certain parts of the state that contribute to problematic phosphorus and nitrate runoff in Lake Erie. The Ohio General Assembly in 2015 restricted manure and fertilizer application on snow-covered or wet ground in the western basin of Lake Erie with exceptions such as injecting it into the ground or applying it on a cover crop. Another law required large farm owners to obtain a certification in properly applying fertilizer.

Fordyce to Head FSA, Starling Heads to USDA from White House

Former Missouri Director of Agriculture Richard Fordyce has been tapped to lead USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA). USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue made the announcement Friday that Fordyce is his designee to be administrator of the agency which oversees more than 2,100 county and state offices. Most recently, Fordyce served as State Executive Director for FSA in Missouri.

A Major North American Climate Boundary Moves East

Thanks to global-scale wind patterns, to the west of the 100th meridian, rainfall drops sharply, and to the east of the line it picks up sharply. Powell described what he saw in 1890, writing, ““Passing from east to west across this belt a wonderful transformation is observed. On the east a luxuriant growth of grass is seen, and the gaudy flowers of the order Compositae make the prairie landscape beautiful.

Low milk prices are a big headache for Michigan’s family dairy farms

While everything appears to be fine at the farm outside Flint and the grocery aisle, there is deep trouble for Michigan’s 1,600 dairy farms. Some 97 percent of them are family-owned, according to the United Dairy Industry of Michigan. For nearly four years, dairy farmers have been receiving approximately half the price for their milk, and dealing with escalating expenses. Worldwide, there is a surplus of milk, which is good for everyone but the milk producers.

Do Cover Crops Pay? Net Returns to Corn/Soybean Farmers in Iowa

Cover crops can induce revenue and expense changes in a farmer’s production system in several ways. Revenue can be affected by savings in livestock feed costs due to cover crop grazing, changes in cash crop production values following cover crop plantings, and cost-share payments that can partially offset the cost of cover crops. Expense changes due to cover crops can be broken down into planting, termination, and other costs. Planting costs include seed purchases, differential planting method costs, and labor. Termination costs typically include herbicide purchases, spraying, and labor.

Current Situation for Iowa’s Major Ag Commodities

A double whammy of rising feed prices and falling hog prices point to tighter hog margins than were expected earlier this year. Projected 2018 profits in ISU’s farrow-to-finish model dipped from the $11 per head forecast in December to losses of $4 per head in April. Carcass weight prices in 2018 are now expected to average near $63 per cwt compared to about $66.50 last year. USDA’s annual Cattle inventory report confirmed that beef herd expansion continued in 2017, albeit at a slower pace than in 2016. Beef herd expansions often last for four to six years.

he Department of Justice (DOJ) is expected to approve the merger between Bayer and Monsanto. If that happens, the world’s newest and largest seed and chemical company will have more in common with Facebook and Cambridge Analytica than meets the eye. In r

The US livestock industry has experienced drastic structural changes over the last two decades. The industry has shifted towards greater specialization across production phases, increased reliance on off-farm inputs such as feed, and increased use of production contracts (McBride and Key 2013). One trend that is particularly relevant to Iowa policymakers, farmers, and rural Iowans is the increased prevalence, size, and regional intensity of large, enclosed hog feeding operations.

Merged Bayer-Monsanto will corner the market on farm data and software

he Department of Justice (DOJ) is expected to approve the merger between Bayer and Monsanto. If that happens, the world’s newest and largest seed and chemical company will have more in common with Facebook and Cambridge Analytica than meets the eye. In recent years, large agrochemical companies, including Bayer and Monsanto, have been heavily investing in digital agriculture.

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