Soybean Export Potential in 2018-19

The extension of trade negotiations with China past January 1 and the possibility of a resolution to the current impasse rallied soybean prices after the G-20 summit.  While China is supposedly entering the soybean market in the U.S., changes in the soybean export forecast look to be minimal at this time.  The potential for strong South American soybean export competition during the marketing year is the limiting factor in expanded U.S. soybean exports despite the possible resolution of the trade issue.

The USDA’s World Production Report estimates the size of the 2019 crop for major South American producers (Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia, and Uruguay) at 7.02 billion bushels.  The current forecast is probably below the final crop estimate in 2019 by a healthy margin due to excellent conditions in Brazil.  The crop year in Brazil witnessed favorable planting and a continuation of excellent growing conditions as we move into December. The soybean harvest could begin as soon as January.  While the actual crop size will not be known for several months in South America, the current weather conditions point to a large Brazilian crop with some Brazilian observers placing this year’s crop production near 4.78 billion bushels, almost 350 million bushels above the current USDA forecast.  An increase in the USDA forecast of Brazilian production levels appears probable for 2019.  Argentine production projections sit at 2.04 billion bushels, up from last year’s drought-plagued production level of 1.39 billion bushels.  Overall, the prospects of a large South American soybean crop look good on top of the excellent U.S. crop in 2018.

Estimates for Brazilian soybean exports in 2018-19 sit at 2.82 billion bushels, up 30 million bushels from last marketing year.  Additional increases to Brazilian exports look likely in the near term.  From September to October, Brazilian soybean exports came in near 552 million bushels, up 225 million bushels over the same period last year.  Over 90 percent of this total went to China.  On top of the Chinese tariffs on U.S. soybeans, reports indicate an uptick in buying of Brazilian soybeans scheduled for shipment after March 2019 to non-China sources. Soybean prices in post-March months in Brazil fell below U.S. prices when taking account of freight and protein quality.  Plentiful Brazilian supplies and lower prices increase competitiveness for U.S. exports in 2019.  The forecast for Argentine exports in 2018-19 sits at 294 million bushels, up 216 million bushels from the last marketing year.  South American competition for the soybean export market looks to be quite robust this year under the current trade environment.

The 1.9 billion bushel forecast for U.S. soybean exports during the marketing year reflects the loss of the Chinese market.  Census data on U.S. soybean exports to China in the 2016-17 and 2017-18 marketing years indicated 1.327 billion bushels and 1.036 billion bushels respectively.  Current U.S. Census Bureau trade data for soybeans is only available through October but shows a mere 12.4 million bushels of exports to China, down 354 million bushels from the same period last year.  U.S. soybean exports typically exhibit a pattern of strong export levels in the first half of the marketing year and then dissipation through the second half of the marketing year as South American production becomes available to the world market.  A somewhat muted version of this pattern looks probable this marketing year.  While Chinese exports continue to show weakness, U.S. exports benefitted from the large share of Brazilian soybeans taken by China.  The E.U., Egypt, Argentina, and Pakistan registered a noticeable increase in U.S. imports through October.  Through October, Census Bureau exports sit at 325 million bushels, down 37 percent from last marketing year.

As of the November 29 export sales report, accumulated exports through 13 weeks of the marketing year are 484 million bushels.  Outstanding sales over the same period came in at 403 million bushels.  Current sales and exports place total commitments of soybean exports at 887 million bushels.  As a percent of the WASDE forecast level of 1.9 billion bushels, total commitments sit at 47 percent of the marketing year total.  Total commitments of soybean exports as a percent of the WASDE forecast level at this point in the marketing year ranged from 64 percent to 84 percent over the last five marketing years. The current pace places this year’s export level well below average.

Uncertainty remains regarding the number of soybeans China may buy from the U.S. in the near term.  A 90-day extension to the possible implementation of additional tariffs by the U.S. on Chinese goods leaves a narrow window for buying and shipping of soybeans to China.  Additionally, Chinese importers of U.S. soybeans would assume a substantial amount of risk under the present environment.  The continuation of current trade patterns for soybeans appears probable at this time with considerable competition from South America as we move into 2019.

YouTube Video: Discussion and graphs associated with this article

Source: Todd Hubbs, Farmdocdaily 

Soybean Farmers Asked to Watch for Disease New to Southeast

Taproot decline is a new disease to Tennessee and other states in the Southeast.

A member of the genus (Xylaria) was first isolated from soybean in Ethiopia in the 1970s , however researchers at that time did not confirm if this fungus was the pathogenic species that is now affecting soybeans across the southeastern US. The first report of taproot decline as a pathogen of soybean was published just last year, with sightings of this disease first occurring in 2007.

Other states that have reported cases of TRD include Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Missouri with an increasingly northern range. A production field in Saulsbury (Hardeman County) was confirmed to have soybeans affected by TRD in August 2017, and two additional research fields in Gibson and Madison counties were confirmed in August 2018.

Foliar symptoms were initially spotted at growth stage R6 (i.e. full seed); these foliar symptoms can easily be confused with those due to other diseases like sudden death syndrome and stem canker, and closer observation is needed for disease identification. Once initial foliar symptoms are observed, additional steps need to be taken in order to accurately diagnose the disease.

If you suspect TRD, follow these steps for diagnosis and contact your local county agent and/or Heather Kelly for confirmation:

  • Check the ground surrounding the symptomatic plant(s) for reproductive structures called stromata (Image 3) that typically grow on last season’s debris: these are branching structures covered in white powdery spores. These could be present or absent on the ground at the base of diseased plants growing out of previous crop debris.
  • Check around symptomatic plant(s) for plants that died prematurely (Image 4), which can be caused by TRD.
  • Pull up the entire plant to view the root mass. Diseased plants will exhibit rotten roots, with the taproot usually breaking off below the soil line, root necrosis throughout the xylem, and the pith may be filled with white mycelium.
  • If you suspect TRD in a soybean field, please send samples to the Plant Pathology Lab at the West Tennessee Research and Education Center (WTREC) for confirmation. We will continue to track the presence of this emerging disease in Tennessee.

Contact Heather Kelly, Plant Pathologist (UT), by email (youngkelly@utk.edu) or phone (731-425-4713) for further information. Samples may be sent to Plant Pathology Lab C, WTREC, 605 Airways Blvd., Jackson, TN 38301.

For pictures of TRD, go to UT Crop Blog.

Source: University of Tennessee Extension

EPA and Army Propose New WOTUS Definition

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of the Army (Army) are proposing a clear, understandable, and implementable definition of “waters of the United States” that clarifies federal authority under the Clean Water Act. Unlike the Obama administration’s 2015 definition of “waters of the United States,” today’s proposal contains a straightforward definition that would result in significant cost savings, protect the nation’s navigable waters, help sustain economic growth, and reduce barriers to business development.

“Our proposal would replace the Obama EPA’s 2015 definition with one that respects the limits of the Clean Water Act and provides states and landowners the certainty they need to manage their natural resources and grow local economies,” said EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler.

“For the first time, we are clearly defining the difference between federally protected waterways and state protected waterways. Our simpler and clearer definition would help landowners understand whether a project on their property will require a federal permit or not, without spending thousands of dollars on engineering and legal professionals,” said Wheeler.

The agencies’ proposal is the second step in a two-step process to review and revise the definition of “waters of the United States” consistent with President Trump’s February 2017 Executive Order entitled “Restoring the Rule of Law, Federalism, and Economic Growth by Reviewing the ‘Waters of the United States’ Rule.”

The Executive Order states that it is in the national interest to ensure that the nation’s navigable waters are kept free from pollution, while at the same time promoting economic growth, minimizing regulatory uncertainty, and showing due regard for the roles of Congress and the states under the Constitution.

“EPA and the Army together propose this new definition that provides a clear and predictable approach to regulating ‘waters of the United States.’ We focused on developing an implementable definition that balances local and national interests under the Clean Water Act,” said R.D. James, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works. “I have heard from a wide range of stakeholders on Clean Water Act implementation challenges. This proposed definition provides a common-sense approach to managing our nation’s waters.”

The agencies’ proposed rule would provide clarity, predictability and consistency so that the regulated community can easily understand where the Clean Water Act applies-and where it does not. Under the agencies’ proposal, traditional navigable waters, tributaries to those waters, certain ditches, certain lakes and ponds, impoundments of jurisdictional waters, and wetlands adjacent to jurisdictional waters would be federally regulated.

It also details what are not “waters of the United States,” such as features that only contain water during or in response to rainfall (e.g., ephemeral features); groundwater; many ditches, including most roadside or farm ditches; prior converted cropland; stormwater control features; and waste treatment systems.

The agencies believe this proposed definition appropriately identifies waters that should be subject to regulation under the Clean Water Act while respecting the role of states and tribes in managing their own land and water resources. States and many tribes have existing regulations that apply to waters within their borders, whether or not they are considered “waters of the United States.” The agencies’ proposal gives states and tribes more flexibility in determining how best to manage their land and water resources while protecting the nation’s navigable waters as intended by Congress when it enacted the Clean Water Act.

Robust, publicly accessible data is also a key component of common-sense, cost-effective environmental protection. In response to requests from some states, EPA and the Army are exploring ways the agencies can work with our federal, state, and tribal partners to develop a data or mapping system that could provide a clearer understanding of the presence or absence of jurisdictional waters.

The agencies invited written pre-proposal recommendations and received more than 6,000 recommendations that the agencies have considered in developing this proposal. The agencies listened to those directly affected by the regulations, and this proposal balances the input the agencies received from a wide range of stakeholders.

The agencies will take comment on the proposal for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. EPA and the Army will also hold an informational webcast on January 10, 2019, and will host a listening session on the proposed rule in Kansas City, KS, on January 23, 2019.

More information including a pre-publication version of the Federal Register notice, the supporting analyses and fact sheets are available at: https://www.epa.gov/wotus-rule.

Source: EPA

Spread Holiday Cheer, Not Foodborne Illnesses

If you’re cooking for friends and family this holiday season, it’s important to make sure you’re not spreading bacteria that can cause harmful foodborne illnesses.

A recent study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and North Carolina State University found that Americans are practicing some disturbing food handling behaviors when it comes to preparing food at home.

The study found that in the control group, 66 percent of participants did not use a thermometer to check the temperature of the ground turkey burgers. Even when participants did use a food thermometer, only 54 percent of turkey burgers reached the safe internal cooking temperature of 165°F.

Participants also spread potentially harmful bacteria from raw meat and poultry onto other surfaces or food items in the kitchen. The study found that participants contaminated 48 percent of the spice containers, 11 percent of refrigerator door handles, 11 percent of water faucet handles and five percent of chef salads during the meal preparation.

These statistics are concerning when you consider that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that millions of Americans are sickened with foodborne illnesses (also known as food poisoning) each year, resulting in roughly 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths. Children, older adults and those with compromised immune systems are especially at risk.

Make sure you’re protecting your family by not falling into bad food preparation habits. Always follow the four steps to food safety:

  • Clean your hands thoroughly for a full 20 seconds with soapy water. Always serve food on clean plates and avoid reusing plates that previously held raw meat and poultry.
  • Separate raw meat, poultry and egg products from ready-to-eat foods.
  • Cook, using a food thermometer to make sure food reaches a safe minimum internal temperature:
    • Beef, pork, lamb and veal (steaks, chops and roasts): 145°F with a three minute rest.
    • Ground beef, pork, lamb and veal: 160°F.
    • Poultry (whole or ground): 165°F.
  • Chill leftovers within two hours of cooking. Keep track of how long items have been sitting on the buffet table and discard anything that has been out longer than two hours.

If you are transporting food items to a holiday party, keep hot foods hot (140°F or above) and cold foods cold (40°F or below). Use separate, insulated containers for hot and cold foods, and make sure that cold foods are packed with cold sources, such as ice or frozen gel packs. The best way to ensure that food is being held at a safe temperature while you are traveling is to place an appliance thermometer in the cooler.

Whether you’re wondering how to cook your holiday ham, or debating whether it’s time to throw out those party leftovers, USDA has resources to help. The FoodKeeper app, available for both Android and iOS devices, is a quick and easy resource you can download and use at home to check storage times and preparation tips for more than 500 food items.

If you’d like to speak to an expert, call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) or chat live with a food safety specialist in English or Spanish at AskKaren.gov, available from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday. For more information, visit Foodsafety.gov and follow @USDAFoodSafety on Twitter.

Source: USDA

Iowa State Study Shows Farmland Values Down 1% from Prior Year

After a reprieve in 2017, commodity prices, interest rates, and trade disruptions drove Iowa farmland values down for the fourth time in five years. The average statewide value of an acre of farmland is now estimated to be $7,264. This represents a decrease of 0.8 percent, or $62 per acre, from the 2017 estimate.

Land values were determined by the 2018 Iowa State University Land Value Survey, which was conducted in November by the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Results from the survey are consistent with results by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, the Realtors Land Institute, and the US Department of Agriculture. Dr. Wendong Zhang, Assistant Professor of Economics at Iowa State University, led the annual survey.

The $7,264 per acre estimate, and 0.8 percent decrease in value, represents a statewide average of low-, medium-, and high-quality farmland. The survey also reports values for each land quality type, crop reporting district (district hereafter), and all 99 counties individually.

Farmland values hit an historic peak of $8,716 per acre in 2013; however, they immediately declined by 8.9 percent, 3.9 percent, and 5.9 percent, respectively, the following three years. Farmland owners received a small reprieve in 2017 when the statewide average increased 2.0 percent.

While modest when compared to 2014, 2015, and 2016, 2018 marks the fourth time in five years that statewide average farmland values have declined. In nominal value, the statewide average for an acre of farmland has fallen 17 percent since 2013.

Dr. Zhang said that commodity prices were one of the biggest factors driving down farmland values this year. “Lower commodity prices, in part due to the recent trade disruptions, were cited as the most significant negative factor driving down land values,” Dr. Zhang said.

He also noted that despite the downturns, farmers don’t need to worry about a sudden collapse of the US agricultural sector similar to the 1980s farm crisis. “Limited land supply and strong demand by farmers still seems to hold up the land market,” he said. “For five consecutive years, survey respondents have reported fewer sales than the year before, and the ag economy is still robust with 82 percent of the land in Iowa fully paid for.”

Land Values by County

Seventy of Iowa’s 99 counties reported lower land values, the remaining 29 reported higher values. For the sixth year in a row, Scott and Decatur counties reported the highest and lowest farmland values, respectively. Decatur County reported a value per acre of $3,488, a gain of $8, or about 0.2 percent, from last year’s report. Scott County reported a value of $10,537, an increase of $40 per acre, or about 0.4 percent.

Hamilton County reported the largest dollar decrease in value, $285 per acre, and Humboldt and Wright Counties reported the largest percentage decrease, 3.3 percent. Floyd and Mitchell Counties reported the largest percent increase in values, 3.1 percent.

Land Values by District

Five of nine crop reporting districts showed an increase in land values. The South Central district reported the largest percentage increase, 3.8 percent. The Central and Southeast districts reported decreases of 2.4 percent and 3.6 percent, respectively. The Northeast and Southwest districts reported no notable change in value. The Northwest and South Central districts reported the highest and lowest averages at $9,311 and $4,329 per acre, respectively.

Land Value by Quality

Statewide, high-, medium-, and low-quality farmland values decreased 0.8 percent, 0.7 percent, and 1.7 percent, respectively. Despite decreases across all other types of land in all districts, low-quality land in the Northeast, South Central, and West Central districts increased in value. Low-, medium-, and high-quality farmland statewide are $4,609, $6,805, and $8,863 per acre, respectively.

Dr. Zhang said that certain factors drive the variations in land value changes across counties and districts in Iowa. “Put simply, land value equals farm income divided by interest rates. Local market competitiveness, local land availability, and local income shocks tend to drive variations in land market changes across districts, counties, and land quality classes,” he said.

Factors Influencing Land Values

The most common positive factors influencing land prices noted by survey respondents were limited land supply, strong yields, and low interest rates. The most commonly cited negative influences were lower commodity prices, higher long-term interest rates, and recent tariffs on US soybeans, pork, and other agricultural products.

The ISU land value survey was initiated in 1941, the first in the nation, and is sponsored annually by Iowa State University. The survey is typically conducted every November and the results are released mid-December. Only the state average and the district averages are based directly on the ISU survey data. The county estimates are derived using a procedure that combines the ISU survey results with data from the US Census of Agriculture.

The ISU Land Value Survey is based on reports by agricultural professionals knowledgeable of land market conditions such as appraisers, farm managers, agricultural lenders, and actual land sales. It is intended to provide information on general land value trends, geographical land price relationships, and factors influencing the Iowa land market. The 2018 survey is based on 792 usable responses from 605 agricultural professionals. Sixty-two percent of the 605 respondents answered the survey online.

CARD offers a web portal at https://www.card.iastate.edu/farmland/ that includes visualization tools, such as charts and interactive county maps, allowing users to examine land value trends over time at the county, district, and state level.

Source: Iowa State University

Shiny, Clean Trucks Spotted on Highway 17

Gold-Eagle Cooperative’s Truck Wash Kicks into Full Gear

A brand new stretch of Highway 17 between Eagle Grove and Goldfield is now open, and no one could be happier than the employees and patrons of the Gold-Eagle Cooperative Truck Wash.

“For more than a year now, we’ve been all dressed up and ready for the dance at our new Truck Wash,” says Brad Davis, Gold-Eagle Cooperative General Manager, “but our dance card has had a lot of blank spaces. Definitely an access issue! Since Highway 17 opened just after Thanksgiving, we’ve experienced a measurable uptick in volume.”

On the north edge of Eagle Grove, the Gold-Eagle Cooperative Truck Wash is conveniently located north of the railroad tracks and south of the new Gold-Eagle Shop on the west side of Highway 17. Business hours are from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Truck Wash touts an 8-minute service cycle and cleans tractor/trailers, grain hoppers, reefers, feed bottles, straight trucks, school buses, campers and more. They also certify and provide necessary documentation, as needed.

Davis is pleased with the state-of-the-art functionality the wash offers and says the Truck Wash team is ready to service the hundreds of trucks operating throughout north central Iowa. Services offered include:

  • Professional-grade technology and effective detergents for an affordable, sparkling wash
  • High-pressure water jets and rotating side and top brushes
  • Fully-automated service
  • Onsite attendant to answer questions
  • Access to the wash in any weather—even winter—thanks to in-floor heating
  • Dryers—available in winter

Truck Wash rates are reasonable—credit cards are accepted, and a special Gold-Eagle charge account can be set up for monthly payments. “Several civic organizations—school districts, ambulance services, etc.—are now taking advantage of special packages,” says Davis, “and we encourage more businesses to call 515-448-4682 for rate information.”

Count on Gold-Eagle’s Truck Wash to get the job done right and get you back on that new stretch of Highway 17 in the shortest amount of time possible.

U.S. Beef Gains New Market Access in Morocco

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced today that the government of Morocco has agreed to allow imports of U.S. beef and beef products into Morocco. 2018 is the first year that U.S. beef and poultry exporters have access to Morocco’s market under the terms of the U.S.-Morocco Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Morocco opened its market to U.S. poultry in August, 2018.

“President Trump continues to prioritize the opening of new markets for U.S. agricultural products. New access to the Moroccan market for beef and beef products is an important step in ensuring that American farmers and ranchers can continue to expand their exports of U.S. agricultural products,” said Ambassador Lighthizer. “I welcome Morocco’s agreement to allow imports of U.S. beef and look forward to growing our shipments to Morocco.”

“Finding new markets for American agricultural products has been a priority for the Trump Administration from day one, and the opening of the Moroccan market is good news for our producers,” said Secretary Perdue. “American beef is the best in the world, and once Moroccans get a taste of it, they’ll surely want more.”

In 2017, the United States was the world’s third largest beef exporter, with global sales of beef and beef products valued at $7.3 billion. As of November 2018, U.S. exports of agricultural products to Morocco exceeded $512 million. Initial estimates indicate that Morocco would be an $80 million market for U.S. beef and beef products. Morocco had prohibited imports of U.S. beef.

Under the leadership of USTR Chief Agricultural Negotiator, Amb. Gregg Doud and the direction of U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Ken Isley, U.S. and Moroccan officials met to negotiate a health certificate and the terms for the import of U.S. high quality and standard quality beef into Morocco. Representatives also discussed improvements to the administration of Morocco’s wheat tariff-rate quota and other agriculture and SPS issues, and will continue this work through the agriculture and SPS subcommittees under the FTA.

More details on requirements for exporting to Morocco will be available from the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service Export Library at: www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/international-affairs/exporting-products/export-library-requirements-by-country/Morocco.

Source: USDA

U.S. Agricultural Export Data for the First Ten Months of 2018

Last week, USDA released U.S. agricultural export data that spanned the first ten months of 2018.  Although the overall value of exports was higher for this time period compared to 2017, there were reductions in both the value and volume of soybean exports, particularly to China.  Business news articles also point to continued adjustments in global commodity markets due to the ongoing U.S., China trade war.  Meanwhile, recent news items continue to provide more clarity to U.S., China trade activity stemming from last week’s meeting in Buenos Aires.

USDA Trade Data: January ’18- October ’18

In an update Friday from USDA Radio NewsGary Crawford explained that the Department now has complete U.S. agricultural trade data through October, representing a total of 10 months of trade data for 2018.

From January 2018 through October 2018, U.S. agricultural exports totaled $116.2 billion.  USDA trade analyst Bryce Cooke pointed out that this was a four percent increase “from the first ten months of 2017.”

Despite the aggregate increase in U.S. agricultural exports, the value of U.S. soybean and wheat exports were down by ten percent and sixteen percent, respectively.

“U.S. Agricultural Exports, Year-to-Date and Current Months,” USDA- Economic Research Service. (December 7, 2018 – https://goo.gl/xgRFim).

Nonetheless, the value of U.S. corn exports was up thirty-four percent from the same period last year.

With respect to volumeUSDA data from last week indicated that, compared to the same time last year, corn export volumes were up by thirty percent.

And from the January 2018 through October 2018 window, the volume of wheat exports had decreased by twenty-three percent, the volume of sorghum exports had fallen by seventeen percent, and soybean volumes were off by six percent.

“U.S. Agricultural Exports, Year-to-Date and Current Months,” USDA- Economic Research Service. (December 7, 2018 – https://goo.gl/xgRFim).

More narrowly, MexicoJapan, South Korea, and Colombia continue to be among the top destinations for U.S. corn exports.  Egypt also purchased significantly more U.S. corn in October (275,000 metric tons) compared to last October (zero).

“Top Ten U.S. Export Markets for Corn,” USDA- Economic Research Service. (December 7, 2018 – https://goo.gl/xgRFim).

In a separate USDA radio update from Friday, USDA’s Bryce Cooke pointed out that the October 2018 monthly U.S. agricultural export number was the lowest since 2011.

The low total is attributed to a significant reduction in soybean exports.  Mr. Cooke pointed out that this October soybeans represented sixteen percent of total U.S. agricultural exports, but “for the five previous Octobers, that average was twenty-nine percent.”

The USDA table below demonstrates the sharp reduction in the soybean export volume to China for October 2018 (272,000 tons) versus October 2017 (over 7 million tons).

“Top Ten U.S. Export Markets for Soybeans,” USDA- Economic Research Service. (December 7, 2018 – https://goo.gl/xgRFim).

The USDA’s World Agricultural Outlook Board will be updating its monthly supply and demand forecast for soybeans on Tuesday.

“Reduced Exports to China in Fiscal Year 2019 May Drive U.S. Agricultural Trade Balance to Lowest Level Since 2007,” by Alex Melton and Bryce Cooke. USDA- Economic Research Service. Amber Waves (December 3, 2018).

“At the regional level, exports to East Asian countries are forecast to decline by $6.7 billion—the result of an expected decrease of $7.3 billion in agricultural exports to China from the 2018 total of $16.3 billion. Chinese demand for U.S. soybeans is expected to drop sharply because of China’s retaliatory tariffs, which also curb demand for other products, including sorghumpork and products, and dairy.”

Global Soybean Markets

Reuters writer Dominique Patton reported Friday that, “China imported 5.38 million tonnes of soybeans in November, down 38 percent from a year ago and the lowest monthly number in two years, customs data showed on Saturday, after buyers avoided U.S. soybeans amid a tariff war with the United States.”

China soybean imports over time and for Jan-Nov 2018. “China November soybean imports plunge 38 percent year-on-year on tariff war,” by Dominique Patton. Reuters News (December 7, 2018).

The article added, “There are also forecasts of record soybean production in Brazil, which is due to start its harvest this month.”
And Reuters writer Hugh Bronstein reported late last week that, “Argentine soybean exports to China could jump to a record 14 million tonnes this season if the trade war between China and the United States continues, the Rosario grains exchange said on Thursday, as output rebounds from last year’s drought.

China has all but stopped buying soybeans from the United States. This has driven down the price of U.S. beans. As a result, U.S. soy crushers are shipping to soymeal markets previously supplied by Argentina, which in turn is exporting more raw beans, mainly to China.

More narrowly on this issue, an update late last month from USDA’s Foreign Agricutual Service (FAS), “Argentina- Oilseeds and Products Update: Soybean Imports Continue to Rise Significantly,” stated that, “Following last season’s drought, lower domestic soybean supplies necessitated a dramatic increase in soybean imports for the crush industry. Through September, Argentina imported over 3.5 million tons of soybeans, a 135 percent increase from the same period the previous year.”

“Argentina- Oilseeds and Products Update: Soybean Imports Continue to Rise Significantly,” USDA- Foreign Agricultural Service (November 28, 2018).

The FAS update pointed out that, “Within this total, U.S. soybean exports to Argentina reached nearly 450,000 tons during this same period, with expectations of greater shipments to come in the next few months. According to USDA export sales data, U.S. soybean exports to Argentina should reach about 1.5 million tons within the next few months.”

“Argentina- Oilseeds and Products Update: Soybean Imports Continue to Rise Significantly,” USDA- Foreign Agricultural Service (November 28, 2018).

U.S., China Trade Agreement

Wall Street Journal writers Lingling Wei and Bob Davis reported Sunday that, “A week after President Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping struck a trade truce in Buenos Aires, details of the cease-fire are becoming clear—big Chinese purchases, tough negotiations and shifting deadlines to finish a deal.

“Interviews with officials in both countries, briefed on the Trump-Xi talks, give a fuller picture of the agreement the two men reached. The two sides agreed on a negotiating period of about 90 days, during which the U.S. won’t raise tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods to 25%, as it had planned to do on Jan. 1.”

Under the terms of the understanding, purchases and tariff reductions aren’t required until a deal is struck, but both sides believe that early purchases would serve as a kind of down payment and give a boost to negotiations. Beijing wants to convince the U.S. to roll back tariffs on Chinese goods,” the Journal article said.

Source: Farm Policy News

Winter Pesticide Storage

What, if anything, should be done with herbicides, insecticides and fungicides left over from the summer growing season? If pesticides freeze, will they still be good next year?

The first rule of thumb is to check the product label for storage recommendations and any warnings against freezing, said Clyde Ogg, pesticide safety education coordinator at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Most liquid pesticides may be safely stored between 40°F and 100°F.

If a liquid pesticide does freeze, it may be less effective. Apply a degraded pesticide next year, Ogg said, and you have just wasted your time.

Pesticides contain active and inactive ingredients. The active ingredient is what kills the pest. Inactive ingredients include solvents, carriers, or emulsifiers that make the pesticide more efficient.

Due to the inclusion of these hydrocarbon solvents or inert ingredients, the freezing point of many liquid pesticides is lower than 32°F, notes a University of Missouri Extension publication, Temperature Effects on Storage of Agricultural Pesticides. When a liquid pesticide freezes, the active ingredients can separate from the solvents or emulsifiers, causing the emulsifiers to become inactive, crystalize, and coagulate, breaking down the original product.

If frozen, some pesticides can be thawed naturally at room temperature, but never with a flame or heat. Make sure the container has not cracked. After thawing, roll and shake the container to re-suspend the contents.

If crystals are still present after thawing, the pesticide should not be used as it will be ineffective. Rather, properly dispose of it according to label directions.

Generally, wettable powders and granules aren’t affected by low temperatures. Moisture, though, can cause caking that may reduce effectiveness. Products formulated in water-soluble packets should not be frozen as they will become brittle and break open.

When storing pesticides, Ogg recommends:

  • Don’t store pesticides near heat, sparks, or open flames
  • Avoid contaminating other pesticides, water, feed, or fertilizer.
  • Keep containers tightly closed in a cool, locked, well-ventilated place away from children and pets.
  • Store in original containers only.
  • If storage information cannot be found on the label, contact the pesticide manufacturer.

Storing Away your Sprayer for the Winter
To keep your sprayer in good condition, follow these suggestions for sprayer storage from the Nebraska Extension publication, Cleaning Pesticide Application Equipment.

  • Wear personal protective equipment.
  • Before storing the liquid sprayer for winter, ensure it is completely empty and clean. As much as 15 gallons of product can remain in the tank after it’s been emptied, due to the volume in the lines and filters.
  • When storing, add one, and up to five, gallons of lightweight oil such as diesel fuel or kerosene before final flushing. This applies a protective coating on the inside of the tank, pump, and plumbing.
  • Store in a clean, dry building. If the sprayer must be stored outdoors, remove hoses and store these inside where they will be protected from ultraviolet light.
  • For sprayer trailers, put blocks under the frame or axle to prevent flat spots on tires during storage.

Source: University of Nebraska CropWatch

New Tips To Try To Prevent Weed Killer’s Spread

New restrictions a federal agency has put on using a controversial weed killer aren’t enough to prevent it from spreading onto nearby plants, according to an Ohio State University weed expert.

As a result, Mark Loux, a weed specialist with Ohio State University Extension, and colleagues from Purdue University and the University of Illinois have created a list of additional precautions that farmers should try to follow whenever they use dicamba. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

The additional recommendations from Loux and his colleagues include not applying dicamba if the temperature is warmer than 80 degrees or if the forecast indicates wind gusts over 10 miles per hour. The recommendations also say that farmers should apply dicamba early in the season around the time of crop planting, or soon after the emergence of the crop and weeds.

They also suggest that farmers talk to their neighbors before applying dicamba so that farmers know what plants are nearby that could potentially be affected by any spread of dicamba.

“We think our recommendations will help,” Loux said, “but not guarantee against dicamba moving from the area where it was applied and injuring or killing plants that were not supposed to be affected.”

Dicamba has been shown to easily spread well beyond the fields where it was sprayed, damaging or killing crops. Nationwide, there have been complaints and lawsuits, claiming damages.

On Oct. 31, the Environmental Protection Agency announced it would continue to allow farmers to keep using dicamba until at least December 2020. The agency required changes to the label that detail additional stipulations on when and how to use the weed killer to try to protect nearby fields.

“What (the EPA has) done is to try to make changes to prevent dicamba from moving around into other places,” Loux said.

But those changes aren’t enough, he said. Even with the added EPA restrictions, dicamba could still go airborne and spread to other plants that it was not intended to kill, Loux said.

“The weed science community is pretty unhappy, and doesn’t believe these EPA regulations are really going to help much,” he said.

New regulations include the prohibition of using dicamba on soybeans more than 45 days after planting, specifying certain times of the day dicamba can be applied, and clarifying who is authorized to apply it.

These regulations don’t have Loux or the weed science community convinced.

“There is some question as to whether 45 days actually does anything,” he said.

The farming community isn’t sold either.

“Support for using dicamba after plants have emerged is split amongst the farming community depending upon whether or not you like dicamba,” Loux said.

Those who like using dicamba are happy they get to continue. Many see it as an effective tool in controlling weeds that resist herbicides. Those who don’t like dicamba believe the EPA isn’t doing enough to prevent the dangers the herbicide poses to nearby crops.

An EPA press release states that dicamba is helpful to farmers, and that EPA is supporting farmers who rely on the chemical.

The new EPA regulations include the following:

  • Only certified applicators may apply dicamba over the top (those working under the supervision of a certified applicator may no longer make applications).
  • Over-the-top application of dicamba is prohibited on soybeans up to 45 days after planting.
  • Application is allowed only from one hour after sunrise to two hours before sunset.

To view the full list of recommendations on dicamba use from Loux and his colleagues, visit: go.osu.edu/dicambatips.

To learn more about the EPA’s decision to allow the continued use of dicamba, visit go.osu.edu/EPArelease.

Source: Ohio State University

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