class="home blog group-blog masthead-fixed list-view full-width grid wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-6.1 vc_responsive"
Rural Radio Network | Affiliates Rural Radio Network site

Rural Radio Network

AUDIO: Market Commentary with Daily Brokers

Summary In the Tuesday overnight trade there is a glint of optimism the likes we haven't seen in several weeks. The DOW Jones continues to it's rally from Monday up over 700 points at the time of this writing. This is taking money flow away from the US Dollar and Treasuries. In the grains wheat i...

Read More
story slider pointer

AUDIO: Market Commentary with Daily Brokers

Summary In the Tuesday overnight trade there is a glint of optimism the likes we haven't seen in several weeks. The DOW Jones continues to it's rally from Monday up over 700 points at the time of this writing. This is taking money flow away from the US Dollar and Treasuries. In the grains wheat i...

Read More

Rural Radio Network to host "Beef Producer Challenges and Opportunities Post COVID-19" webinar

The Rural Radio Network will be hosting and airing a webinar to help cattle producers understand the challenges and opportunities following the coronavirus pandemic. Beef industry experts will be part of a panel discussion, with the goal of assisting producers during these challenging times. The ...

Read More

Nebraska On-Farm Research Network publishes results of 2019 farmer-conducted research online

Farmers across Nebraska participated in more than 100 research studies in 2019 as part of Nebraska Extension’s On-Farm Research Network. Results from the 2019 studies, as well as from studies from previous years, are now available online. Producers, agronomists and anyone else interested in the...

Read More

DHHS/NDEE Issue Smoke Advisory  for Southeast and South Central Nebraska

  Issued: Evening of April 6 through morning of April 7 Affected Area: Southeast Nebraska Air Quality Index: Moderate Potential Air Quality Impacts from Prescribed Burning in the Kansas and Oklahoma Flint Hills Current prescribed burning in Kansas and Oklahoma for the management of pra...

Read More

The Monday Fontanelle Final Bell with Mike Zuzolo of Global Commodity Analytics

  Report week, OPEC week, some green on the screen in beans & wheat, lower corn.  Nearby cattle were limit down.  How messy is the chart?  Energy market will continue to be in the driver’s seat.  Corn export inspections saw some strong numbers.  How is COVID effecting grain moveme...

Read More

Crops

AUDIO: Market Commentary with Daily Brokers

Summary In the Tuesday overnight trade there is a glint of optimism the likes we haven't seen in several weeks. The DOW Jones continues to it's rally from Monday up over 700 points at the time of this writing. This is taking money flow away from the US Dollar and Treasuries. In the grains wheat is giving it's gains from Monday back while there is a small gain in corn and soybeans. Energies are also on the move higher with differed WTI crude oil futures contracts back above $30/barrel. RBOB unleaded gas futures are also back above $0.70/gallon. For the equities traders seem optimistic that there is a small light at the end of the Covid-19 tunnel. The US continues to see a possible peak or plateau in one of it's hardest hit cities New York. Now there is economic data out today that could splash this rally including job openings and consumer credit. There are some rumors in the trade the US Government could be eyeing a fourth round of stimulus in the neighborhood of 1 trillion dollars to help replenish the funds currently being used to prop up the US economy. As for the grains wheat actually improved 2% over the winter with the national rating coming out at 62% good to excellent. South Dakota looked to have the best in the nation at 83% good to excellent. That took a little of the wind out of the domestic supply bull. This Thursday's WASDE report could shed light on the increased global demand for wheat. Stocks are also expected to rise in that report. India also looks to be on track for their fourth record wheat harvest at about 105 MMT compared to the 103.6 MMT last year. This according to the USDA ag attache in India. According to USDA's export inspections on Monday corn had a big day, topping it's previous week's exports at 1.271 MMT or or about 50.1 million bushels.  That was about 40 million bushels more than what the trade needed to meet USDA's trade estimates. Soybean meal is coming around in the overnight trade and that is helping to bring soybeans up as well. Thursday's WASDE could see USDA drop their estimate of Brazil's soybean crop. The USDA estimate was previously 126 MMT, but several analysts groups have cut their estimates to 123-124 MMT. Following a rally on Monday afternoon the pre-open bid ask looks to point just a few ticks higher for most livestock contracts. April and June live cattle contracts closed lower. All lean hog and feeder cattle contracts closed higher on Monday. There was plenty of technical oversold signals so the rally could be some profit taking. If it can gain momentum there could be a significant rally. Especially given the fact that equities have been able to move higher. The latest USDA retail meat price report shows beef up a little last week. The 14-cut retail average was $5.42/lb last week compared to $5.18 the previous week. On a yearly comparison beef prices on the average are up only 3 cents a pound. As for individual cuts boneless rib eye roasts saw the biggest jump from $5.97/lb to $8.14/lb last week. Ground round and chuck were both up about 20 cents a pound last week. Ground round averaged $3.82/lb and ground chuck averaged $3.98/lb across the nation last week. Pork's 4 cut retail average dropped about 15 cents a pound to 3.32/lb. 1lb sliced bacon jumped about a nickel a pound to $5.32/lb. Chicken's 2 cut retail average fell from $1.99/lb to $1.63/lb. Cash was very light last week with most of the trade on Wednesday around the Fed Cattle Exchange at $112-$113 live. $180 dressed. $7-$9 lower than the previous week's weighted average for both live and dressed. Monday the country was quiet. Bids and asking prices have yet to be established. Significant trade volume will likely be delayed until the second half of the week. New showlists appear to be mixed, higher in Texas, about steady in Nebraska/Colorado, and lower in Kansas. The big question this week is how short bought are the packers? They did little cash business last week. Monday slaughter numbers still look to be steady, but packers could be looking to throttle plants back as they try to navigate the uncertain demand times. Covid-19 is also impacting packers as several plants have had employees test positive or not show up for work due to Covid-19 concerns. Slaughter numbers Monday Cattle 120,000  hd today 122,000 hd wk ago  120,665 hd yr ago   Hogs 484,000 hd today  493,000 hd wk ago  475,656 hd yr ago   Midday Carcass Value Monday Beef Choice dn 0.70 229.74 Select dn 3.05 212.79 C/S Spread 16.95 Loads 103 Pork Carcass up 2.01 59.38 Bellies up 2.45 36.55 Loads 248   Grains Settlements Corn dn 2 - 3 1/4 Soybeans up 1 1/4 - 4 3/4 Chicago Wht up 5 3/4 - 6 3/4 Kansas City Wht up 3 1/4 - 4 Livestock Settlements Live Cattle dn 4.50 up 2.30 Feeder Cattle up 1.20 - 2.92 Lean Hogs up 0.90 - 4.15 Class III Milk dn 0.24 - 0.61 Pre-Opening Market Broker Commentary Mark Gold, Top Third Ag Marketing, discusses overnight grains and what the trade may see today. Gold likes to see wheat up in double digit territory in the overnight trade. Jerry Stowell, Country Futures,  looks at what may impact the livestock futures today. Equities are higher, but bids are lower for the open on livestock. Stowell thinks those will dry up by the actual open. Mike Zuzolo, Global Commodity Analytics, takes a look at the midday trade. Zuzolo looks at how traders may still be positioning ahead of Thursday's WASDE report. John Payne, Daniels Ag Marketing, looks at the grain settlements. Payne wants to be a bean bull, but feels the market is to battered at the moment. Wheat may have to rally on it's own. Jack Fenske, York Commodities, looks at the closing market numbers. Fenske see's corn and hogs as similar in the sell off nature. For that reason he is cautious to get into either market.

Nebraska On-Farm Research Network publishes results of 2019 farmer-conducted research online

Farmers across Nebraska participated in more than 100 research studies in 2019 as part of Nebraska Extension’s On-Farm Research Network. Results from the 2019 studies, as well as from studies from previous years, are now available online. Producers, agronomists and anyone else interested in the results may access results at https://cropwatch.unl.edu/farmresearch/resultshome. Results are presented in both a PDF booklet and in a searchable format. The 2019 projects include studies focused on cover crops, row spacing, planting population, and starter fertilizer, as well as evaluation of technologies such as drones and sensors for nitrogen management, and variable-rate seeding technology. “Our goal is to continue to provide valuable research data that farmers and agronomists can rely on as they make management decisions,” said Laura Thompson, Nebraska Extension educator. “On-farm research is a great way to generate local and relevant agronomic information. There were a lot of excellent on-farm research studies completed in 2019, and we look forward to working with more producers to conduct on-farm research in 2020.” The Nebraska On-Farm Research Network is open to farmers across the state and welcomes new participants. Nebraska Extension educators can provide technical expertise to set up robust research studies and analyze and evaluate research results. New research projects are posted online at https://cropwatch.unl.edu/farmresearch/extensionprotocols, or custom protocols can be developed to address questions that are relevant to a specific operation. To get involved with on-farm research, contact a member of the Nebraska On-Farm Research Network. The on-farm research network is a collaborative partnership that includes Nebraska Extension, the Nebraska Corn Board, the Nebraska Corn Growers Association, the Nebraska Soybean Checkoff, and the Nebraska Dry Bean Commission.

The Monday Fontanelle Final Bell with Mike Zuzolo of Global Commodity Analytics

  Report week, OPEC week, some green on the screen in beans & wheat, lower corn.  Nearby cattle were limit down.  How messy is the chart?  Energy market will continue to be in the driver’s seat.  Corn export inspections saw some strong numbers.  How is COVID effecting grain movement in South America & here in the U.S.?   Packer plants & COVID?  Missing link might be the supply chain now vs. 20 years ago.  When will we see cash cattle pick up?  

View All

Livestock

AUDIO: Market Commentary with Daily Brokers

Summary In the Tuesday overnight trade there is a glint of optimism the likes we haven't seen in several weeks. The DOW Jones continues to it's rally from Monday up over 700 points at the time of this writing. This is taking money flow away from the US Dollar and Treasuries. In the grains wheat is giving it's gains from Monday back while there is a small gain in corn and soybeans. Energies are also on the move higher with differed WTI crude oil futures contracts back above $30/barrel. RBOB unleaded gas futures are also back above $0.70/gallon. For the equities traders seem optimistic that there is a small light at the end of the Covid-19 tunnel. The US continues to see a possible peak or plateau in one of it's hardest hit cities New York. Now there is economic data out today that could splash this rally including job openings and consumer credit. There are some rumors in the trade the US Government could be eyeing a fourth round of stimulus in the neighborhood of 1 trillion dollars to help replenish the funds currently being used to prop up the US economy. As for the grains wheat actually improved 2% over the winter with the national rating coming out at 62% good to excellent. South Dakota looked to have the best in the nation at 83% good to excellent. That took a little of the wind out of the domestic supply bull. This Thursday's WASDE report could shed light on the increased global demand for wheat. Stocks are also expected to rise in that report. India also looks to be on track for their fourth record wheat harvest at about 105 MMT compared to the 103.6 MMT last year. This according to the USDA ag attache in India. According to USDA's export inspections on Monday corn had a big day, topping it's previous week's exports at 1.271 MMT or or about 50.1 million bushels.  That was about 40 million bushels more than what the trade needed to meet USDA's trade estimates. Soybean meal is coming around in the overnight trade and that is helping to bring soybeans up as well. Thursday's WASDE could see USDA drop their estimate of Brazil's soybean crop. The USDA estimate was previously 126 MMT, but several analysts groups have cut their estimates to 123-124 MMT. Following a rally on Monday afternoon the pre-open bid ask looks to point just a few ticks higher for most livestock contracts. April and June live cattle contracts closed lower. All lean hog and feeder cattle contracts closed higher on Monday. There was plenty of technical oversold signals so the rally could be some profit taking. If it can gain momentum there could be a significant rally. Especially given the fact that equities have been able to move higher. The latest USDA retail meat price report shows beef up a little last week. The 14-cut retail average was $5.42/lb last week compared to $5.18 the previous week. On a yearly comparison beef prices on the average are up only 3 cents a pound. As for individual cuts boneless rib eye roasts saw the biggest jump from $5.97/lb to $8.14/lb last week. Ground round and chuck were both up about 20 cents a pound last week. Ground round averaged $3.82/lb and ground chuck averaged $3.98/lb across the nation last week. Pork's 4 cut retail average dropped about 15 cents a pound to 3.32/lb. 1lb sliced bacon jumped about a nickel a pound to $5.32/lb. Chicken's 2 cut retail average fell from $1.99/lb to $1.63/lb. Cash was very light last week with most of the trade on Wednesday around the Fed Cattle Exchange at $112-$113 live. $180 dressed. $7-$9 lower than the previous week's weighted average for both live and dressed. Monday the country was quiet. Bids and asking prices have yet to be established. Significant trade volume will likely be delayed until the second half of the week. New showlists appear to be mixed, higher in Texas, about steady in Nebraska/Colorado, and lower in Kansas. The big question this week is how short bought are the packers? They did little cash business last week. Monday slaughter numbers still look to be steady, but packers could be looking to throttle plants back as they try to navigate the uncertain demand times. Covid-19 is also impacting packers as several plants have had employees test positive or not show up for work due to Covid-19 concerns. Slaughter numbers Monday Cattle 120,000  hd today 122,000 hd wk ago  120,665 hd yr ago   Hogs 484,000 hd today  493,000 hd wk ago  475,656 hd yr ago   Midday Carcass Value Monday Beef Choice dn 0.70 229.74 Select dn 3.05 212.79 C/S Spread 16.95 Loads 103 Pork Carcass up 2.01 59.38 Bellies up 2.45 36.55 Loads 248   Grains Settlements Corn dn 2 - 3 1/4 Soybeans up 1 1/4 - 4 3/4 Chicago Wht up 5 3/4 - 6 3/4 Kansas City Wht up 3 1/4 - 4 Livestock Settlements Live Cattle dn 4.50 up 2.30 Feeder Cattle up 1.20 - 2.92 Lean Hogs up 0.90 - 4.15 Class III Milk dn 0.24 - 0.61 Pre-Opening Market Broker Commentary Mark Gold, Top Third Ag Marketing, discusses overnight grains and what the trade may see today. Gold likes to see wheat up in double digit territory in the overnight trade. Jerry Stowell, Country Futures,  looks at what may impact the livestock futures today. Equities are higher, but bids are lower for the open on livestock. Stowell thinks those will dry up by the actual open. Mike Zuzolo, Global Commodity Analytics, takes a look at the midday trade. Zuzolo looks at how traders may still be positioning ahead of Thursday's WASDE report. John Payne, Daniels Ag Marketing, looks at the grain settlements. Payne wants to be a bean bull, but feels the market is to battered at the moment. Wheat may have to rally on it's own. Jack Fenske, York Commodities, looks at the closing market numbers. Fenske see's corn and hogs as similar in the sell off nature. For that reason he is cautious to get into either market.

Rural Radio Network to host "Beef Producer Challenges and Opportunities Post COVID-19" webinar

The Rural Radio Network will be hosting and airing a webinar to help cattle producers understand the challenges and opportunities following the coronavirus pandemic. Beef industry experts will be part of a panel discussion, with the goal of assisting producers during these challenging times. The panelists will share their insights and discuss the impact of COVID-19 on the beef industry, markets, beef demand, restaurants, and actions producers can take to mitigate risk. The webinar is organized by Callaway, Nebraska, rancher Jim Jenkins. “The inspiration was simply the desire to help my fellow beef producers better navigate the COVID-19 crisis by providing the most current information available on important topics,” said Jenkins.  “That includes the government stimulus program; beef market fundamentals, consumer demand, risk management and international trade.” The hour-and-a-half event is free to attend and is organized specifically for members of the beef industry. The session will begin at 6:00 pm CST on Wednesday, April 8, 2020. In addition to the online stream, the webinar will be aired live on KRVN (880 AM, 106.9 FM [Kearney] and 98.5 FM [Grand Island]) and on KTIC (840 AM 98.3 FM [West Point] and 98.7 FM [Norfolk]). Registrants will also receive all of the session recordings, allowing the greater beef community to participate and learn even if they’re not able to attend live. The panel will be hosted by Rural Radio Network Farm Director Susan Littlefield. Panelists: Derrell Peel is an Agricultural Economist at Oklahoma State University and a leading commentator on the beef industry. Peel’s expertise includes beef industry economics, risk management and international trade. Tom Henning is the Chairman and CEO of Cash Wa. Distributing based in Kearney, Nebraska. Henning is also a cattle rancher and is a board member of the Kansas City Federal Reserve. Mike Moroney is the head of the beef margin management team at Commodity Ingredient Hedging in Chicago. Moroney has a long career trading commodities, including working on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Get registered and share the summit with beef industry colleagues today.  https://www.beabetterguide.com/beef ###

The Monday Fontanelle Final Bell with Mike Zuzolo of Global Commodity Analytics

  Report week, OPEC week, some green on the screen in beans & wheat, lower corn.  Nearby cattle were limit down.  How messy is the chart?  Energy market will continue to be in the driver’s seat.  Corn export inspections saw some strong numbers.  How is COVID effecting grain movement in South America & here in the U.S.?   Packer plants & COVID?  Missing link might be the supply chain now vs. 20 years ago.  When will we see cash cattle pick up?  

View All

Technology

Drought Center, CALMIT Help Launch Drought-Monitoring, Forecast Tools

Lincoln, Nebraska, April 2, 2020 — The movement of water across the globe causes small fluctuations in the planet’s gravity field. One wouldn’t notice the difference by clocking the speed of falling apples, but a set of NASA satellites was tasked with detecting these seemingly imperceptible gravitational changes from space, starting in 2002. What NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites recorded helped tell the story of water movement above and below the Earth’s surface.  Now, thanks to help from two centers in the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s School of Natural Resources, information from the GRACE satellites’ upgraded replacements is being used to produce and share first-of-their-kind maps of topsoil, root zone soil and groundwater moisture around the world, as well as 30-, 60- and 90-day forecasts of wet and dry conditions across the continental United States.  Brian Wardlow, director of the university’s Center for Advanced Land Management Information Technologies (CALMIT), said that the snapshots of conditions in deep aquifers that the GRACE satellites provided have no remote-sensing equivalent.  "This is the culmination of almost a decade-long partnership with NASA scientists to develop remote-sensing-based monitoring tools and now forecasts for both the national and global drought- monitoring community," Wardlow said.  With the GRACE-FO (Follow-On) satellites, the information about dry or wet conditions at the three depth levels that was only available for the Lower 48 states is now available to the world. Providing that information to drought monitors has been a key goal since the Nebraska centers began collaborating on GRACE projects with NASA.  "The idea of getting improved information on soil moisture conditions has always been a critical area of need (for drought monitoring),” said Wardlow, the principle investigator on the projects. “That's always been one of the holy grails of remote sensing or drought monitoring. That's always been a key information gap. What makes this more unique is it's the only remote-sensing drought indicator approach that also assesses groundwater. This is really a first of its kind." Now, the maps could inform drought-monitoring operations globally, said hydrologist and project lead Matt Rodell of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.  “The global products are important because there are so few drought-monitoring products out there,” Rodell said. “Droughts are well-known when they happen in places with a populated area. They’re usually well-documented. But then there are other droughts that happen, and no one really takes notice. So it’s interesting also to have a product like this where you can say, ‘Wow, it’s really dry there, and no one’s reporting it.’”  Many developing countries do not have much or any groundwater- or soil moisture-monitoring infrastructure. Providing a resource that experts in those countries can factor into their drought-monitoring efforts can help build resiliency worldwide, Wardlow said.  “Drought is really a key area moving forward with a lot of the projections of climate and climate change,” Wardlow said. “The emphasis is on getting more relevant, more accurate and more timely drought information, whether it be soil moisture, crop health, groundwater, streamflow — GRACE is central to this. These types of tools are absolutely critical to helping us address and offset some of the impacts anticipated, whether it be from population growth, climate change or just increased water consumption in general.”  Maps are hosted online on the National Drought Mitigation Center website, and the remote-sensing tools for operational drought monitoring that utilize NASA technology were developed in collaboration with CALMIT. NASA’s GRACE-FO satellites began orbiting Earth after NASA decommissioned the GRACE satellites in 2017.  The GRACE satellites provided information about soil moisture and groundwater levels across the Lower 48 states. Authors of the U.S. Drought Monitor have used it for years to create the weekly map that depicts the most current conditions of drought in the country and informs federal financial-aid decisions due to drought losses.  Agricultural producers have long monitored soil moisture and groundwater levels for the sake of their crops’ health. Surface and root zone soil moisture levels are telltale signs of plant health, and farmers in areas with groundwater may use it more for irrigation when conditions are dry. While there are groundwater monitoring stations across the country that U.S. Drought Monitor authors can consult, satellite observations have told a more detailed and efficient story of soil moisture and groundwater, said Brian Fuchs, National Drought Mitigation Center climatologist and U.S. Drought Monitor author.   “GRACE was one of the first satellite platforms that was looking at soil moisture and groundwater moisture itself,” Fuchs said. “There really wasn't anything out there doing that at the time. We had a lot of different soil moisture models, and we had groundwater data that was piecemeal. Each state was putting their own information out, and you would have to bounce to many different states if you wanted to get a regional picture of groundwater. From the Drought Monitor side, having that in our back pocket to start looking at another input, another piece of data that really wasn't out there at the time and was needed, was pretty important.”  Along with providing global outlooks, the GRACE-FO data is informing a set of forecasts that project dry and wet conditions 30, 60 and 90 days out for the continental United States. The GRACE-FO data provides the baseline information, which is combined with a weather model that provides rainfall information.  “It is going to (help) a broad scope of people,” Fuchs said. “You're going to see anyone from individual producers from the ag sector using it, as well as water supply managers, policymakers and different decision-makers at different levels of government who would have the opportunity to look at that. Even the folks at the Climate Prediction Center who do the long lead outlooks and the long-range forecasting — they could incorporate some of this data into their products.”  To produce the information that fuels these new products, the GRACE-FO satellites orbit in tandem about 137 miles apart. The raw data sent to Earth is a collection of measurements showing how far apart they are as they circle the globe. In areas with slightly stronger gravity, the lead satellite is initially pulled ever so slightly away from its trailer. Then the trailing satellite returns closer to its twin as it passes over the gravity anomaly. Microwave signals sent between the satellites measure the imperceptible distance differences that take place, and tell the story of how mass — most often water — is moving across the planet.  To view the forecasts and global outlooks, visit https://nasagrace.unl.edu.

Kansas Corn STEM Brings Science Home with Continuous Learning Lessons

Kansas Corn STEM’s continuous learning resources provide at-home learning resources to be used by teachers and students while schools are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These free resources can be found in the kansascornstem.com lesson library, and can be used online or printed for use in packets for off-line learning. The Kansas Corn STEM continuous learning lessons help students learn about science and agriculture using tools like virtual breakout box activities, videos and at-home experiments that can be done with household items. Several resources are already available at kansascornstem.com, and more will be added through the end of the school year.   “Our team of Kansas teachers were excited to build new lessons for continuous learning, and we are adding more lessons as we go through this period of at-home learning. These lessons are tailored specifically for at-home use, and are a great resource for teachers, parents and students who are continuing their education efforts at home during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Kansas Corn Director of Education Sharon Thielen, PhD said.   Kansas Corn STEM is the award-winning education program of the Kansas Corn Commission. It encompasses educational programs that provide lessons for teachers from the elementary level to the high school level. The materials can be used to help K-12 educators teach science using the topics of corn, biotechnology, ethanol, soil and water.   “Our education team continues to innovate with these new offerings,” Kansas Corn CEO Greg Krissek said. “Teachers, parents and students are looking for engaging STEM lessons that can be used at home, and we have the resources they need.”   Kansas Corn STEM contracts with lead teachers, inquiry ambassadors, agriculture education science trainers, curriculum writers, designers and education experts to provide lessons designed to meet Next Generation Science Standards.   “Going forward, these new resources enhance our current on-line educational lessons and labs and will have continued value both in conventional classrooms as well as home-school settings,” Thielen said.   In the last year, Kansas Corn STEM’s curriculum, training and materials reached over 51,000 Kansas students and teachers. In the current school year, the program is predicted to double its reach in Kansas schools. As the STEM program has continued to grow, the vision to continue expanding the program has continued to develop.   Kansas Corn STEM lessons are available at kansascornstem.com. Lessons are also highlighted on the Kansas Corn STEM page on Facebook: @kansascornstem.  

The Latest: Caterpillar, Deere profits to feel virus impact

Agricultural and heavy equipment makers are in for a rough year as the virus pandemic delivers a sting to an industry trying to recover form a trade war. Jefferies analyst Stephen Volkmann slashed his earnings forecast for Caterpillar and Deere because of a series of abrupt production closures and the broader economic shutdown. Both companies have already yanked their financial forecasts for the year. Volkmann now expects a profit of $5.75 per share for Caterpillar, down from $9.50 per share. He also cut his forecast for Deere’s profit to $6 per share from $10 per share. A slump in spending from the mining and construction industries could be particularly painful for Caterpillar. Deere has been especially hurt as farmers spend less on new equipment because of lower crop prices. Shares of Deere and Caterpillar both managed gain 16% in 2019, despite the uncertainty from the trade war. Deere has already lost 21% and Caterpillar is down 27% in 2020. Both shares are up sharply amid a broad market rally Thursday. Volkmann said the industries should start to improve in the third and fourth quarters, before growing in 2021.

View All

Ag Policy

Senators Seek Flexibility in FSA Loans

Lawmakers are urging Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to make temporary flexibilities on Farm Service Agency loans permanent for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. In a bipartisan letter signed by farm-state Senators, they urge Perdue to “take action to ensure the continuity of our country’s food supply and support rural areas during the coronavirus." The senators seek "needed relief" to farmers by the Agriculture Department, ensuring that the temporary flexibilities on farm loans recently announced by the FSA are made permanent for the duration of the pandemic and subsequent economic recovery, and also by ensuring adequate and equitable access to credit. The Senators also urge USDA to consider making emergency measures such as deadline extensions, loan payment deferrals, payment forbearance, and a full suspension of all current and pending foreclosure actions effective for the duration of the pandemic. In all, 43 Senators signed the letter, led by Senators Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota, and John Hoeven, a Republican from North Dakota.

Price Declines & Nebraska Agriculture

Price movements and volatility over the past month for commodities have been striking. Figure 1, prepared by the Federal Reserve Bank in Kansas City, shows price changes and volatility indexes this year compared to last year for selected commodities and equity indexes. The COVID-19 pandemic, economic stoppage, consumer behavior, and underlying supply and demand conditions created a whirlwind of uncertainty and volatility in the markets. In order to get a sense of how the commodity price movements might impact Nebraska agricultural producers, estimates were calculated on how the changes in prices in March could impact revenues for Nebraska’s three largest agricultural sectors—beef cattle, corn, and soybeans. FIGURE 1: CHANGES IN PRICES & VOLATILITY, SELECTED COMMODITIES Source: From presentation by Nathan Kaufman, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, on webinar sponsored by FarmDoc Daily at the University of Illinois, March 27, 2020.   Beef Cattle: Estimates of the potential impact to Nebraska’s cattle sector were calculated borrowing approaches used by Kansas State agricultural economist Glynn Tonsor. Tonsor calculated the price changes over the past few weeks could impact the nation’s cattle sector between $7.98-$9.4 billion. Estimating impacts to the cattle sector is complicated by the different sectors in the industry (cow/calf operators, stockers, backgrounders, and feeders) and the timing of cattle sales throughout the year.   Informal inquiries of persons in the industry suggested 95 percent of the cows in Nebraska calve in the spring. Of the calves born, 75 percent are weaned and sold in the fall, a few are kept and sold as yearlings the following year, and the remainder backgrounded and sold in winter or early next spring. Assuming 20 percent of last year’s calf crop was held and backgrounded for sale in April and using the April feeder cattle futures contract declines between March 2 and March 25 of $6.60/cwt., results in a $49.50 per head or $17.8 million impact to these producers. Assuming a calf crop of 1.77 million head this year, with 75 percent of the calves sold in the fall, and using the declines in the October feeder cattle futures contract, equates to a potential $71.9 million impact to the sector.   The USDA reported 2.5 million head of cattle in the state’s feedlots as of March 1. Estimates of the impacts to the feeding sector are complicated by the fact some of the cattle in the feedlots had already been marketed, or hedged, prior to March, but some not. Additionally, the price changes in March changed the economics of cattle placed in feedlots during the month and over the remainder of the year. So, using the average decline in the April and August feeder cattle futures contracts between March 2 and March 25 of $7.56/cwt., or $105.84 per head, and assessing it against the 2.5 million head on feed on March 1 suggests an impact of $264.6 million. In total, then, the price declines in the cattle markets between March 2 and March 25 might have a $354 million impact on the state’s cattle sector.   Corn/Soybeans: According to data provided by the Nebraska Corn Board, 43 percent of the corn marketed during the year is sold in the months of March-September, and 36 percent is sold between October-December. For these estimates, the assumption was made soybeans are marketed similarly. To calculate the price declines, changes in the appropriate futures contracts between March 2 and 25 were used, and changes in the basis were also considered using Kansas State University crop basis maps. Using last year’s crop production numbers, and the assumptions noted above, corn and soybean producers selling 2019 production this year could see an impact of $387 million. Using assumptions of crop production levels this year, and the share of new crop production which will be sold yet this year, equates to impacts on this year’s production of $280 million. So, the total potential impact to corn and soybean producers could amount to $667 million.   Summary: Compared to pre-COVID prices, Nebraska’s cattle, corn, and soybean producers might see a potential impact of $1.02 billion, or 5 percent of Nebraska’s annual agricultural receipts. These estimates are simplistic and do not account expense reductions which might occur which could offset the revenue impact. For these reasons, the estimates are intended to provide a sense of the magnitude of the impacts to Nebraska’s largest industry during these uncertain times and volatile prices and not an accurate accounting. Fortunately, for some in agriculture, there is flexibility regarding the timing of sales so they might be able to seize better market opportunities over the next few months.

Smith Requests Immediate Assistance for Cattle Producers

Washington, D.C. – In response to concerns about cattle prices, Congressman Adrian Smith, the rest of the Nebraska delegation, and over 100 other members of Congress wrote a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue urging implementation of assistance for producers as quickly as possible. Congressman Smith released the following statement: “During the COVID-19 outbreak, we have seen first-hand the importance of food production and how much we rely on our producers. Despite the crucial role our cattle producers play in feeding our nation, they are now having to weather low prices and market volatility, among other constraints. We owe a great deal of thanks to our producers for feeding America. It is now our turn to provide the assistance they need during this unprecedented time.”   Phase III of the federal government’s COVID-19 response, known as the CARES Act, which was recently signed into law by President Trump, provides $9.5 billion in emergency funding and replenishes the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) for agricultural producers impacted by COVID-19, including livestock producers. Full text of the letter: The Honorable Sonny Perdue Secretary U.S. Department of Agriculture 1400 Independence Avenue, SW Washington, DC 20250 Dear Secretary Perdue, We write to request swift assistance for cattle producers with the resources provided in the recently enacted Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Stabilization (CARES) Act to facilitate the stabilization of farm and ranch income to producers who are facing market volatility in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic fallout. Recognizing the market volatility and financial hardships producers are facing because of COVID-19, the CARES Act provides $14 billion toward replenishment of the Commodity Credit Corporation and an additional $9.5 billion for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to assist farmers and ranchers in response to COVID-19.  While we do not know what the full market impact will be for the various commodities produced in our states, we recognize that there is an immediate need for assistance for our cattle producers. We request that USDA consider data and estimates available from the Office of the Chief Economist and implement a program that would directly respond to the negative effect on producers caused by COVID-19.  This program should deliver targeted, temporary, equitable relief to cattle producers in a manner that limits market distortions and negative effects on price discovery. The COVID-19 outbreak has demonstrated the need for domestic food security.  All farmers and ranchers are vital to our country’s ability to keep food on the table in a future pandemic or related crisis, and many producers, including young producers, are often highly leveraged and cannot fall back on years of equity in a time of crisis.  As such, we urge you to quickly deliver relief to producers as we work to lessen the economic impact of this pandemic.

View All

Markets

View More