READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, June 8th…

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Milk Producers to Talk GMO’s on Capitol Hill

As Congress is back in session this week, dairy producers and dairy cooperative officials will be there to discuss GMO labeling. Politico reports the National Milk Producers Federation members want a bill that establishes a national labeling standard that trumps state laws and sets disclosure standards on foods that contain genetically engineered ingredients. The organization also want to exempt products from animals that consume genetically modified feeds from the labeling requirements, including cheese, meat, and eggs.   


Butterweed Is a Threat to Livestock

A yellow flower called Butterweed is popping up in hay and wheat fields across a good chunk of the country and it’s poisonous to livestock. A DTN report says the winter annual often pops up in no-till corn and soybean fields. It’s native to the United States and found from Texas east into Florida, up the east coast through Virginia, and back west all the way to Nebraska. The plant is poisonous to grazing animals like cattle, horses, sheep, goats, and to humans as well. Burndown herbicides are used in the spring when the plants are smaller, but that’s not an option in forage crops and in wheat. The plant is most poisonous during the bud-to-flower stage, and most likely to affect the first cuttings of alfalfa. It doesn’t typically regrow after the first alfalfa cutting of the season. Bales that wind up with a lot of butterweed in them should immediately be discarded.


Hong Kong Takes Action After Avian Influenza Outbreak

Hong Kong officials plan to cull thousands of poultry after recent fecal samples confirmed the presence of the H7-N9 avian influenza strain at the city’s only poultry market. The Shanghai Daily says 4,500 birds at the market will be culled, and the government plans to take samples from 30 other chicken farms. Live poultry trade had already been suspended over the weekend after secondary tests confirmed the findings. The source of the virus or it’s pathogenic status aren’t clear. No human infections have been reported so far.


European Union Vote on Glyphosate Use Fails

The future of glyphosate as a tool to kill weeds in the European market is in doubt after a proposal to extend its sales authorization didn’t get enough votes. Glyphosate’s EU license expires at the end of this month, and reauthorizing the weed killer is running into opposition from member states as conflicting scientific reports about its ability to cause cancer continue to circulate. The majority of member states backed the extension, but because the more populous countries like France, Germany and Italy abstained from voting, the extension didn’t meet the 65 percent population threshold requirement. The EU’s executive arm had proposed extending the sales license by 12 to 18 months. That would have allowed the European Chemicals Agency to come up with a finding on the health impact of glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup.


Higher Hog Prices Battling Higher Feed Costs

American hog farmers are caught between higher prices from growing exports and the higher cost of feed due to lower South American corn and soybean production and weather concerns for U.S. crops. In the first quarter of 2016, U.S. corn farmers got $3.60 per bushel and the cost of protein meal in Decatur, Illinois, was at $276 per ton. Today those prices are at $4 per corn bushel and nearby meal futures are at $400 per ton. Chris Hurt at Purdue University said hog prices are getting a fortunate boost thanks to increasing pork demand in China. A recent herd reduction due to poor margins created a retail shortage and prices are at record highs. China will soon likely take the place of Japan as the world’s top pork importer. USDA forecasts exports to grow by five percent this year to 5.2 billion pounds, and that number could go higher as China’s imports continue to grow. 


Red Meat Exports Lower in April

April exports of American pork and beef were below last year’s volumes. The U.S. Meat Export Federation said the first four months of this year saw beef and pork exports relatively steady with last year’s pace in volume. However, the value of beef and pork exports fell nine and 13 percent, respectively. Pork exports totaled over 188,000 metric tons in April, down six percent from a large volume in April of 2015. Export value fell nine percent to just over $466 million. Beef exports were just over 88,000 metric tons in April, down four percent from a year ago, and export value dropped 13 percent to $481 million. Exports to Canada increased seven percent in volume during April and jumped six percent in value. Central America is again a bright spot for pork exports. Strong performances in Guatemala and Honduras helped exports rise 17 percent in volume and 25 percent in value.  

SOURCE: NAFB News Service