Tag Archives: USDA

MANHATTAN — In a collaborative effort with crop producers, researchers at Kansas State University will introduce the latest technologies for precision planters to help enhance productivity and maximize yield.

With nearly $300,000 in funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Research Education and Economics — National Institute of Food and Agriculture program, a team led by Ajay Sharda, associate professor in the Carl and Melinda Helwig Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, will pursue “Enhancing Crop Productivity by Developing Operational Strategies for High-Speed Precision Seeding Technologies.”

The three-year project involves conducting on-farm studies in collaboration with producers to better understand planter control system dynamics during high-speed planting. This will be observed under varying seeding rates, row spacing, planting depths, tillage systems, and weather and soil types.

“We will establish recommendations for producers to smartly implement machine operating parameters to achieve uniform emergence. This in turn will improve stand establishment, early-season growth and yield optimization on a row-by-row basis,” said Sharda, a Carl and Mary Ice Keystone research scholar in the Carl R. Ice College of Engineering at K-State.

On-farm research with producers as partners will provide a metric to assess the advantages of adopting precision planter technologies — not only from the machinery but also from the agronomic perspective with the ultimate goal of improving overall productivity and profitability.

“This will develop strong extension and applied research programs for disseminating this material,” Sharda said. “It will showcase best management practices for optimizing current precision planter technologies to achieve uniform seed placement and gain yield advantages.”

The project will require Sharda and K-State co-collaborators Ignacio Ciampitti, agronomy, and Edwin Brokesh, biological and agricultural engineering, to adopt novel methodologies and robust high-frequency data acquisition systems for gathering detailed machinery and agronomic data.

“Collecting this multiyear, large scale on-farm research data,” Sharda said, “will not only allow our students to work with state-of-the-art technologies for their professional development, but will also enhance K-State’s research capacity to engage with numerous research partners to conduct collaborative large-scale on-farm research.”

Engagement and support will also be provided by Kansas extension agents Tony Whitehair, Dickinson County, and David Hallauer, Meadowlark Extension District.

The Department of Agriculture Wednesday posted the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s final scientific report. The report will inform USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services as they co-develop the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

The guidelines will provide recommendations on what to eat and drink to promote health and prevent chronic disease. Moving into the next stage of development of the guidelines, USDA and HHS will leverage the scientific advice in the committee’s report, as well as comments from the public and other federal agencies to develop the upcoming edition of the dietary guidelines.

The departments plan to publish the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines by the end of December 2020. USDA and HHS are accepting written public comments on the committee’s final report through August 13, 2020. The public will also have an opportunity to provide oral comments on the scientific report to the departments at a public meeting on August 11, 2020.

The latest crop progress report shows the toll the hot, dog days of summer are bringing for crops, pastures and moisture conditions. Corn and soybean conditions continue to deteriorate for most states, but a select few were able to see weekly condition increases. Winter wheat harvest continues to move closer to the finish line as far Northern states starts the very first days of their winter wheat harvest.

Corn silking is the first segment of the latest crop progress report. Corn silking is also one of the first development stages to fall behind the 5 year average pace. Nationwide 29% of the corn crop has reached silking. That is 3% behind the 5 year average of 32%. Kansas is 1% ahead of the 5 year average at 47%. Nebraska is 10% behind the five year average at 19%. For the big I states Illinois is the farthest behind in corn silking at 36%. That is 16% behind the 5 year average.

July 13 is the first week to report corn entering the dough stage. Nationwide the corn crop is on pace with the 5 year average 3%. Nebraska is ahead on the dough stage at 1%. Kansas has outpaced the 5 year average at 9%. Texas has the most corn in the dough stage at 60%.

Corn condition dropped for most states, but Kansas improved 1% to 53% good to excellent. Nationwide the corn crop is rated 69% good to excellent. Down 2% from a week ago. Iowa’s corn crop is rated one of the best in the nation at 83% good to excellent, down 2% from last week. Nebraska corn dropped 4% week to week at 70% good to excellent.

Across the country 11% of the soybean crop has set pods. That is up 9% from a week ago. Nebraska soybeans have set pods on 13% of the crop. That is 9% ahead of the 5 year average. Kansas soybeans have set pods on 6% of the crop. Doubling the Kansas 5 year average for soybeans setting pods at 3%. Arkansas has the most pods set on their soybean crop according to NASS at 30%. That is actually down 14% from the five year average.

Soybean condition in the US according to NASS is 68% good to excellent, down 3% from a week ago. The national rating is still 14% ahead of a year ago. Nebraska soybeans dropped 3% to 73% good to excellent. Iowa soybeans dropped 1% to 83% good to excellent. Kansas was one of the few states to actually see an improvement week to week in their soybean condition to 59% good to excellent, that is up 2%.

Sorghum is starting to color up across the country and saw a signifcant drop in Nebraska condition rating. Nebraska sorghum was rated 53% good to excellent, down 15% from the previous week. Nationally sorghum is rated at 46% good to excellent, down 2% from last week and 28% lower than a year ago.

Winter wheat harvest is chugging steadily for the finish line at 68% complete nationally. Compared to a year ago that is 14% ahead and 2% ahead of the 5 year average. Nebraska is just at the half way mark, up 10% from a year ago. Meanwhile Kansas is just 5% away from join Oklahoma and Texas at 100% complete. Northern states like Idaho and Washington are just getting started with wheat harvest at 2% each.

Oat harvest is looking to be fast and furious in 2020. The first oat harvest report from NASS shows nationwide 12% of the oat crop is in the bin.  Nebraska is 30% complete, up 6% from the 5 year average. Texas has the most oats harvested at 95% complete.

Pasture and range condition continues to deteriorate across much of the country. Kansas again one of the few states to improve week to week at 41% good to excellent. That is up 1% from last week. Nebraska pasture saw a dramatic drop of 15% from lat week to just 48% good to excellent. Colorado pasture and range has more in the very poor to poor rating at 44% than it does in the good to excellent range at 23%.

Finally soil moisture was able to recharge just a little last week with the wide spread rains. Nebraska topsoil moisture gained 3% to 53% adequate to surplus. Kansas topsoil moisture also gained 3% to 55% adequate to surplus. California is giving New Mexico a run for it’s money for the driest top soil at 40% short to very short. New Mexico is still the driest top soil though at 44% short to very short.

Finally subsoil moisture follows a similar pattern. Kansas subsoil improved 1% to 55% adequate to surplus. Nebraska subsoil deteriorated 1% to 60% adequate to surplus. Wyoming is starting to see a drastic shift in subsoil moisture this week to 71% short to very short.

You can see the full crop progress report here:


Clay Patton has a full recap of the report here:

The Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency announced the May 2020 income over feed cost margin triggered the third payment in 2020 of the Dairy Margin Coverage program.

In May, the income over feed cost margin was $5.37 per hundredweight. To date, FSA has issued more than $176 million in benefits to dairy producers who purchased DMC coverage for 2020. Authorized by the 2018 farm bill, DMC is a voluntary risk management program that offers protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all-milk price and the average feed price, the margin, falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer.

Over 13,000 operations enrolled in the program for the 2020 calendar year. Although DMC enrollment for 2020 coverage has closed, signup for 2021 coverage will begin October 13 and will run through December 11, 2020. For more information, visit the farmers.gov DMC webpage or contact your local USDA Service Center.

Markets turn around…a correction that wasn’t a Tuesday.  USDA report out tomorrow.  Will see a quick knee jerk reaction to the report & then the report market reaction will mellow out some.  Will June report have more weight than the September report?  Will the weather & warmth for first part of July be a market issue?  Another pressure point has been COVID-19 & its effects on the markets of soybeans.


The latest quarterly hog and pig report from USDA shows the US hog inventory is up 5%.

As of June 1, 2020 the United States inventory of all hogs and pigs was 79.6 million head. This was up 5 percent from June 1, 2019, and up 3 percent from March 1, 2020.

Breeding inventory of hogs in the US came in  at 6.33 million head. That is down 1 percent from last year, and down 1 percent from the previous quarter. The March-May 2020 pig crop, at 34.9 million head, was up 1 percent from 2019. Sows farrowing during this period totaled 3.17 million head, up 1 percent from 2019. The sows farrowed during this quarter represented 50 percent of the
breeding herd. The average pigs saved per litter was a record high of 11.01 for the March-May period, compared to
11.00 last year.

Market hog inventory was up 6 percent from last year at 73.3 million head. That was also up 3 percent from last quarter.

To view the full Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report, visit https://www.nass.usda.gov/…

2019 2020 2020 as percent of 2018
(1,000 head) (1,000 head) (percent)
All Hogs June 1 75,725 79,634 105%
Kept for Breeding 6,410 6,326 99%
Kept for Marketing 69,316 73,308 106%
Under 50 lbs. 22,210 22,160 100%
50-119 lbs. 19,693 20,370 103%
120-179 lbs. 14,396 16,090 112%
180 lbs. and over 13,017 14,687 113%
March-May 3,133 3,172 101%
Jun-Aug * 3,275 3,123 95%
Sep-Nov * 3,265 3,090 95%
Mar-May Pig Crop 34,454 34,933 101%
(number) (number) (percent)
Mar-May Pigs Per Litter 11.00 11.01 100%


Quarterly Hog and Pig report graph

Darrell Holaday, Country Futures, calls the report bearish and anticipates selling in the futures market on Friday.

Commodities have been on the lower side for 2020 so far, and farmers growing crops from corn to sunflowers and wheat need to be sure to get their 2020 ARC/PLC contracts into their local FSA office before Tuesday, June 30.

“The June deadline is critical. If they don’t get those contracts into us, they (farmers) become ineligible to receive a payment through the ARC/PLC programs. Should one trigger for an eligible crop when it comes time for issuing those payments,” said Bobbie Kriz-Wickham, public affairs-outreach coordinator at the Nebraska State USDA-Farm Service Agency office.

The Scotts Bluff County Farm Service Agency mailed out the 2020 Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program contracts to farm operators, but not many have made it back to the office. 

In the U.S., more than 1.4 million ARC and PLC contracts have already been received for the 2020 crop year, which is represents 89 percent of expected enrollment. FSA recently sent reminder postcards to producers who, according to agency records, have not yet submitted signed contracts for ARC or PLC for the 2020 crop year.

Although program elections for the 2020 crop year remain the same as elections made for 2019, all producers need to sign a 2020 ARC/PLC enrollment contract.

Producers need to return their 2020 ARC/PLC signed contracts by mail, postmarked on or before Tuesday, June 30, at the Scottsbluff office, which has a dropbox; or email valerie.rahrs@usda.gov.