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By Mary Kennedy
DTN Cash Grains Analyst

OMAHA (DTN) — The domestic distillers dried grains (DDG) weekly average spot price from the 40 locations DTN contacted was down $1, to $141 per ton for the week ended Oct. 16. Prices were mixed from various sellers, but overall, the DDG price this week came under some pressure from the weaker cash corn price.

Based on the average of prices collected by DTN, the value of DDG relative to corn for the week ended Oct. 16 was at 100.78%. The value of DDG relative to soybean meal was at 46.26%. The cost per unit of protein for DDG was $5.22, compared to the cost per unit of protein for soybean meal at $6.42.

Various closures on the Mississippi River are likely stalling transport of some export containers to the Gulf this week. In the Upper Mississippi River, Locks 16 and 17 have been closed to northbound and southbound traffic since Oct.

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2020 Dicamba Showdown

By Emily Unglesbee
DTN Staff Reporter

ROCKVILLE, Md. (DTN) — With much of the 2019 soybean crop still in the field, the state of Illinois pushed the 2020 soybean season into the limelight last week.

Late on Friday afternoon, October 11, the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) announced that it has submitted additional label restrictions for dicamba herbicides used with the Xtend cropping system in 2020. Under this Section 24(c) Special Local Need (SLN) label, Illinois growers will only have until June 20 to spray dicamba herbicides in Xtend crops, and cannot spray them when temperatures exceed 85 degrees.

The state’s move here forces the EPA to solidify its position on Section 24(c) labels that further restrict federal labels, which the agency announced it was re-evaluating earlier this year. It also forces the registrants of dicamba herbicides, Bayer and BASF, to decide how they will deal with state regulators who continue to insist that their chemicals cannot be applied safely using only the federal labels.

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Trump Expected to Back Deal

By Todd Neeley
DTN Staff Reporter

OMAHA (DTN) — Trump administration officials assured dozens of representatives from agriculture and biofuels groups on an Oct. 3 phone briefing the EPA would use a three-year rolling average of small-refinery exemption volumes from 2016 to 2018 to account for future waivers.

It was the reason biofuels groups endorsed the agreement.

The next day the administration announced details of the deal outlined in the phone call — EPA would take the average of about 4 billion gallons waived since 2016, or about 1.35 billion gallons per year, and plug that into future Renewable Fuel Standard volume proposals.

“There is outrage EPA did not implement the details of the agreement,” Iowa Corn Growers Association Chief Executive Officer Craig Floss said during a news conference on Wednesday.

“No more Iowa nice; now it’s Iowa pissed.”

The agency announced a supplemental proposal on Tuesday that calls for accounting for 770 million gallons annually in expected exemptions.

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Future Global Food Gap Remains

By Chris Clayton
DTN Ag Policy Editor

DES MOINES (DTN) — The gap remains persistent between global growth of agricultural production and the expected need for food, feed, fiber and bioenergy demands for 10 billion people in 2050.

The Global Agricultural Productivity Index, released annually at the World Food Prize Borlaug Dialogue, shows a spread between projected production and demand. Agricultural Total Factor Productivity, (TFP) is growing globally at a rate of 1.63% annually yet the growth needs to rise 1.73% annually to sustain the needs of a larger population at mid-century.

The Global Agricultural Productivity Index was created by a consortium of several major agricultural input companies that formed the Global Harvest Initiative. The group turned the report and related work over this year to the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

The challenge, as consistently measured in these GAP reports, remains with “alarmingly low” TFP growth in low-income countries.

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Hemp’s Growing Pains

By Chris Clayton
DTN Ag Policy Editor

YUMA, Colo. (DTN) — At 35, Bethleen McCall is a lot younger than your typical commodity farmer, but she’s a veteran when it comes to farming hemp in Colorado.

McCall is president of the Colorado Hemp Industries Association and she credits the state’s early action allowing regulated hemp production as far back as 2014 for allowing her to start farming where her family once farmed.

Last week, McCall was rushing to try to beat a late-week temperature crash and snow, but that didn’t work out so well. She and her employees got about 20% of their crop harvested before the hard freeze. They have now sent away samples to see if the glands in the plant that contain cannabinoids burst during the freeze. Depending on those results, the farm may have just a few days to harvest before the rest of the CBD oil dissipates.

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Harvest Freeze Challenges

By Emily Unglesbee
DTN Staff Reporter

ROCKVILLE, Md. (DTN) — The threat that has been building throughout the spring and summer is finally imminent.

A major winter freeze and snowstorm looms for the northern Midwest, where many corn and soybean fields have yet to reach maturity. See the DTN story here: https://www.dtnpf.com/….

Once the front passes, growers with freeze-damaged immature crops will face a host of harvest challenges. Experts recommend that growers in this situation prioritize freeze-damaged fields for harvest, adjust combine settings carefully and plan for high-moisture, low-quality grain.

DTN digs into each of those factors here, with help from Michigan State University Extension Soybean Educator Mike Staton and Iowa State University Extension Croppings Systems Specialist Mark Licht.

HARVEST PRIORITIES

Growers with very late-planted soybean fields may need to take the time to assess if their field is still worth harvesting for grain after a freeze, Staton said.

“The conventional wisdom from agronomists is that if soybeans are in the R6 growth stage at the time of the freeze, they are salvageable,” he said.

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Chlorpyrifos Use to End in California

By Todd Neeley
DTN Staff Reporter

OMAHA (DTN) — The use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos will end in California at the end of next year as a result of an agreement struck on Wednesday between the state and manufacturers.

Under the agreement with Corteva and other companies, all sales of chlorpyrifos products in California will end on Feb. 6, 2020. Growers will no longer be allowed to possess or use chlorpyrifos products in California after Dec. 31, 2020.

The state said it is applying the settlement terms and deadlines to seven other companies not part of the agreement but are subject to the cancellation order.

In May, the state announced it was moving to cancel all registrations of the pesticide, after the California Environmental Protection Agency announced the decision following a state scientific review panel’s findings that the pesticide causes “serious health effects in children and other sensitive populations at lower levels of exposure than previously understood.”

Chlorpyrifos is the main ingredient in what was Dow AgroScience’s — now Corteva Agriscience’s — Lorsban insecticide, which also targets pests such as soybean aphids, spider mites and corn rootworm.

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Broadband Business Blues

By Katie Dehlinger
DTN Farm Business Editor

MOUNT JULIET, Tenn. (DTN) — Sixty percent of farmers say they don’t have enough internet connectivity to run their businesses, and that has influenced critical business decisions and overall profitability, according to a recent study funding by the United Soybean Board.

Whether it’s a reliable enough signal in the office to file tax paperwork, the ability to upload yield maps from the tractor to the cloud or turn off the irrigation pivot when it starts to rain, 59% of farmers that participated in the study said they want to incorporate more data into their operations, but many lack the connectivity to do it.

One Illinois farmer quoted in the study said his broadband signal is more reliable than dial-up internet, while cellphone service is touch-and-go. “We’re quite a distance from any major metropolitan area, so we don’t have strong signals. That means I’m reluctant to buy technology that requires good service or connectivity everywhere.

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Trump Signs Japan Deal

By Chris Clayton
DTN Ag Policy Editor

OMAHA (DTN) — A large contingent of agricultural lobbyists joined President Donald Trump at the White House on Monday to sign a partial trade deal with Japan.

The agreement will lower or eliminate tariffs into Japan’s markets for about $7 billion in agricultural products.

Several farm leaders joined the president at a White House press conference on Monday. The farm leaders stood stoically behind the president as he largely took questions about Syria, Ukraine and impeachment.

The trade deal puts U.S. agricultural exports to Japan largely on par with countries that joined the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CP-TPP) in 2017.

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall attended the signing and the press conference. Duvall said the agreement means lower tariffs on U.S. farm and ranch exports with the prospect of even lower tariffs to come.

“We hope the momentum from this win carries through to the negotiations with China this week and sets the stage for similar bilateral agreements with other countries involved with the CP-TPP,” Duvall said.

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Cattle Group Challenges USDA on Tagging

By Todd Neeley
DTN Staff Reporter

OMAHA (DTN) — USDA’s plans to mandate the use of radio frequency identification of animals in interstate commerce has drawn the ire of a number of ranchers who are part of a lawsuit attempting to stop the move.

The ranchers, led by the Ranchers Cattlemen Action Legal Fund United Stockgrowers of America, or R-CALF USA, allege in a new lawsuit filed on Oct. 4, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming, that a 2019 USDA plan on radio frequency identification, or RFID, “unlawfully mandates” the technology in ear tags and other technology for livestock.

The lawsuit said the new plan “quickly phases out the use of other types of animal identification, including those methods specifically approved by final rule issued in 2013” by Jan. 1, 2023. The 2013 rule governs the traceability of livestock moving interstate. It allows branding, non-RFID ear tags, tattoos, group/lot identification numbers and back tags.

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Culling Time

By Victoria G. Myers
Progressive Farmer Senior Editor

As fall calving season wraps, many producers avoid the cost of carrying less-productive cows over the winter months by culling the herd. It’s a sensible thing to do, but it’s also traditionally the time of year when the cull market is at its lowest. What are the options this year?

Start with a herd assessment. Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University emeritus Extension animal scientist, stresses this should be a well-informed. Cull cows represent about 20% of the gross income for any commercial cow operation these days.

“Ranchers need to make certain cow culling is done properly and profitably,” he says. “Selling cull cows when they will return the most income to the rancher requires knowledge about cull cow health and body condition. Proper cow culling will reduce the chance a cow carcass is condemned at the packing plant and becomes a money drain for the entire beef industry.”

MAKE A SMART ASSESSMENT

Decide whether or not to cull, based not just on the projected availability of cheap winter feed and space (although these are key consideration) but also on the individual animal’s pluses and minuses for the business as a whole.

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USDA Announces DMC 2020

By Chris Clayton
DTN Ag Policy Editor

OMAHA (DTN) — Dairy farmers may have just finished enrollment for the Dairy Margin Coverage program for 2019, but USDA has just opened enrollment for calendar year 2020.

“We know it’s tough out there for American farmers, including our dairy producers,” Bill Northey, undersecretary for farm production and conservation, said in a news release. “As Secretary (Sonny) Perdue said, farmers are pretty good at managing through tough times, and we know that more dairy farmers will be able to survive with this 2018 Farm Bill and its risk mitigation measures, like the Dairy Margin Coverage program.”

All dairy farmers who want 2020 coverage must visit their local USDA Service Center office to pay the annual administrative fee, which is $100 for the lowest level catastrophic coverage. Producers must visit their local office even if they locked in coverage for five years to take advantage of the 25% premium discount.

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Biofuels’ New Deal

By Chris Clayton
DTN Ag Policy Editor

OMAHA (DTN) — Looking to right the ship with Midwest farmers, the Trump administration on Friday released its long-awaited proposal to restore the Renewable Fuel Standard and reallocate billions of gallons of biofuels granted in waivers to the petroleum industry.

The Environmental Protection Agency will propose rules to ensure that more than 15 billion gallons of ethanol is blended in 2020 and require higher volumes of biodiesel to be blended as well. EPA noted, “This will include accounting for relief expected to be provided for small refineries.”

The proposals will go through a rule-making process that includes seeking public comments.

EPA drew scorn in August after the agency announced 31 small refiners had been granted exemptions from the RFS, accounting for 1.4 billion gallons of lost demand for ethanol and biodiesel. That led to negotiations at the White House involving EPA, USDA and key senators to reach a deal.

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Spring Forward, Fall Back

By Matthew Wilde
DTN Progressive Farmer Crops Technology Editor

Jason Webster, commercial agronomist for Precision Planting, used the analogy during a recent field day at the company’s Precision Technology Institute (PTI), its research farm in Pontiac, Illinois. He told farmers that knifing in anhydrous ammonia, a popular nitrogen (N) fertilizer, after harvest for next year’s corn crop may disappear like the once-popular video store chain.

“Ag retailers say you will never get rid of fall (anhydrous) ammonia,” Webster told farmers as they surveyed nitrogen research plots. “I told one major retailer, ‘Do you ever hear of Blockbuster, beta and VHS anymore?’”

Farm practices evolve with the times, Webster added. Farmers can’t afford not strive for continual improvement, and that includes fertilizer.

Agronomic, economic and environmental factors have farmers reevaluating fall-applied N in favor of spring preplant, at planting and with sidedress applications. Advances in fertilizer formulations and applicators also provide increased flexibility on when N can be applied.

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Refineries Petition Courts

By Todd Neeley
DTN Staff Reporter

OMAHA (DTN) — Two small refiners not receiving exemptions to the Renewable Fuel Standard in EPA’s latest round of waivers announced on Aug. 9, continue to fight the agency’s rejection in federal court. At the same time, agriculture and biofuel interests continue to wait for a potential biofuels deal from the Trump administration.

On Aug. 9, the EPA announced the approval of 31 new small-refinery exemptions to the RFS for 2018 and rejected six total requests. The agency still has two additional requests for 2018 pending.

At this point, two refiners have petitioned federal courts for a review of the EPA’s decision. That includes Big West Oil Company in Salt Lake City, Utah, which operates a 31,500-barrel-per-day refiner, and Sinclair Wyoming Refining Company in Sinclair, Wyoming, a 75,000 barrel per day (bpd) facility.

In all, President Donald Trump’s EPA has granted 85 exemptions, totaling more than 4 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons not blended in petroleum.

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Ag Pushes FMD Vaccine Bank

By Jerry Hagstrom
DTN Political Correspondent

WASHINGTON (DTN) — The National Pork Producers Council, the National Milk Producers Federation and the National Corn Growers Association on Tuesday urged the Agriculture Department to move quickly to implement a bank for vaccines against foot-and-mouth disease.

In a call to reporters, the groups said that an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, which can affect cattle, swine and sheep, would be disastrous for meat and dairy producers and for the corn growers that sell feed to animal producers. There has been no outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the United States since 1929, but it is endemic in large parts of the world and there is a constant fear that it could spread, the groups said.

“The reason for the call is to encourage them to move forward as quickly as possible” so that USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) can purchase the volume of vaccines required to effectively contain and eradicate an outbreak, said Liz Wagstrom, the chief veterinarian at the National Pork Producers Council.

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Outcome-Based Pricing

By Emily Unglesbee
DTN Staff Reporter

MONHEIM, Germany (DTN) — At Bayer’s annual Future of Farming Dialogue underway in Germany, company executives are touting their new pricing model, outcome-based pricing, as the potential pricing paradigm of the future.

The model involves Bayer setting an expected yield outcome for a product or seed, based on a farm’s data and history stored on the company’s digital ag platform, FieldView, as well as the company’s own research on their products. If a farmer’s final yield falls below that expected value, the company will rebate a certain portion of the original price of the product. If the yield instead surpasses the initial set value, the farmer shares a pre-agreed portion of that additional income with the company.

Many farmers have posed questions and expressed concerns regarding aspects of the model on social media this week. So DTN sat down in Germany with Sam Eathington, chief science officer of The Climate Corporation, a subsidiary of Bayer, to address these questions.

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Soggy Sandhills

By Russ Quinn
DTN Staff Reporter

OMAHA (DTN) — Ranchers in the Nebraska Sandhills have struggled to put up hay because of too much moisture. As a result, many in the region are faced with either buying feed or culling their cow numbers to try to trim feed costs, according to those familiar with the situation.

This is the latest production-related issue Nebraska ranchers have faced following a wet 2018 and severe-weather-related challenges so far in 2019.

MEADOWS UNDER WATER

The Nebraska Sandhills is a unique region of mixed-grass prairie on grass-stabilized sand dunes in the north-central part of the state, making up about a quarter of the state. The Sandhills sit atop the Ogallala Aquifer, which provides a natural water source for both the grass and livestock.

The main source of hay for many ranchers comes from sub-irrigated meadows between the dunes where groundwater is close to the surface. The constant supply of water allows these meadows to yield abundant forages during the growing season.

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USDA Grain Reports Flash

By DTN Staff

This article was originally posted at 11:01 a.m. CST. It was last updated at 11:52 a.m.

**

OMAHA (DTN) — USDA on Monday reported quarterly stocks on September 1 for corn at 2.11 billion bushels and soybeans at 911 million bushels, both coming in lower than the average pre-report estimate by traders.

Monday’s Grain Stocks report was bullish for corn and soybeans, neutral for wheat, according to DTN Lead Analyst Todd Hultman.

You can also access the full reports here:

— Small Grains Summary and quarterly Grain Stocks: https://www.nass.usda.gov/…

For DTN’s exclusive audio comments on today’s reports, visit: http://listen.aghost.net/…

CORN

Old-crop corn came in on Sept. 1 at 2.11 billion bushels (bb), down 1% from last year’s 2.14 bb.

With the end of the 2018-19 marketing year, that 2.11 bb carries over as the beginning stocks for the 2019-20 marketing years.

The report also shows more usage than expected because the average trader stockpile for Sept.

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USDA Grain Reports Review

By Dana Mantini
DTN Senior Analyst

USDA’s Sept. 1 Grain Stocks and Small Grain Summary reports turned out to be a big surprise relative to expectations on both corn and soybeans. Corn ending stocks on Sept. 1 were a much lower than expected 2.11 billion bushels (bb) compared to the average trade guess of 2.428 bb and last year’s 2.140 bb. Soybean stocks at 911 million bushels (mb) were under the average trade estimate of 982 mb, but 108% higher than last year’s 438 mb. Wheat stocks were a greater than expected 2.38 bb compared to the average estimate of 2.318 bb.

As for the Monday markets, December corn futures finished 16 1/2 cents higher at $3.88, November soybean futures rose 23 cents to $9.06, Chicago December wheat was 8 1/2 higher at $4.95 3.4, Kansas City December was up 7 1/2 cents at $4.15 and Minneapolis December closed 3 1/4 lower at $5.43 3/4.

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