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This Week in Agribusiness, May 26, 2018

Part 1

Note: The video automatically plays through all show parts once you start.

First off this week, Max Armstrong interviews Steve Troxler, North Carolina Ag Commissioner about a legal decision against the pork industry and continues with a conversation with Larry Wooten, president of North Carolina Farm Bureau to get his reaction. Joe Camp of Agrivisor talks with Max and Orion about a lot of positive signs in the markets and fields.

Part 2

Joe Camp of Agrivisor rejoins Max and Orion to look at world trade and much better signs from the Chinese trade talks. Chad Colby in the Colby Ag Tech segment turns on to LED flashlights and other lighting. Agricultural Meteorologist Greg Soulje looks at weather for the Western United States.

Part 3

Chad Colby rejoins the show to talk more technology, getting the lowdown on the new SIMPAS system from AMVAC with Cory Ritter. Orion Samuelson introduces a report from Patrick Haggerty in Washington, D.C. discussing international trade with seasoned ag trade negotiators.

Part 4

Max and Orion discuss the farm bill and learn why it needs to get done soon from Steve Troxler, North Carolina Ag Commissioner. Agricultural Meteorologist Greg Soulje looks at weather for the Eastern United States. In Max’s Tractor Shed, Max introduces a 1972 John Deere 4320 owned by Connor Erbsen Lanark, Illinois.

Part 5

In the farm broadcaster of the week segment Max and Orion chat with familiar face, Steve Bridge of WFMB radio in Springfield, Illinois. The Bayer Farm Challenge of the Week rounds out the segment.

Part 6

Orion Samuelson profiles Manchester FFA in North Manchester, Indiana, where they host an annual petting zoo.  Member Katie Mize talks about her SAE project where she learned how to put a good team together. Orion Samuelson has two requests for congress, which he’s pretty sure will be ignored … again. Greg Soulje offers his look at the weather for the week ahead.

Part 7

Max introduces his report from the “Got To Be NC” Festival in Raleigh, which Jim Knight started after working with the state ag commissioner to celebrate antique tractors. Its’ turned into a small and popular “state fair” type of event. We also get a look at photos farmers sent Max of the American flags on their farms.

Two requests for congress

Orion Samuelson says that if the congress want to accomplish a farm bill, they just need to follow these two suggestions.  

Samuelson Sez is a special feature of This Week in Agribusiness where Orion Samuelson shares his insights and perspectives into key issues of the day. You can reach out to Orion at [email protected]

Manchester FFA

Orion Samuelson profiles Manchester FFA in North Manchester, Indiana, where they host an annual petting zoo.  Member Katie Mize talks about her SAE project where she learned how to put a good team together.

The weekly FFA Chapter Tribute is an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the good work of your local chapter. Tell us about what you're doing, give us some history from your group and tell our viewers of the work you do in the community. FFA chapters across the country deserve recognition for the work they do, make sure we include yours.

To have your chapter considered for this weekly feature, send along information about your group by e-mail to Orion Samuelson at [email protected] or to Max Armstrong at [email protected]. They'll get your group on the list of those that will be covered in the future. It's a chance to share your story beyond the local community. Drop Orion or Max a "line" soon.

The National FFA Organization, formerly known as Future Farmers of America, is a national youth organization of about 650,000 student members as part of 7,757 local FFA chapters. The National FFA Organization remains committed to the individual student, providing a path to achievement in premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. For more, visit the National FFA Organization online, on Facebook at, on Twitter at

1972 John Deere 4320

In Max’s Tractor Shed, Max introduces a In Max’s Tractor Shed, Max introduces a 1972 John Deere 4320 owned by Connor Erbsen Lanark, Illinois. Connor’s not only about tractors though, this young man is about to graduate high school as a presidential scholar.

Max's Tractor Shed is a regular feature of This Week in Agribusiness. Max Armstrong shares information about legacy machines, their stories and how they may still be at work today. If you have a tractor you want featured in Max's Tractor Shed, send a high-resolution digital picture, your contact information, and information about the tractor - what makes it special - to [email protected].

Mineral supplement can have a big return on investment

Alan Newport Cow with calf
Correcting mineral deficiencies where they exist can make big improvements in animal performance and reproduction, which should translate to higher profits.

If you can help your clients understand mineral problems and correct them, you should unlock significant improvements in performance, reproduction and potential profit, says Dr. Jeffery Hall, head of the toxicology lab for the Utah Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.

Depending on severity of mineral problems and money spent to correct them, the return on investment can be five to one or slightly higher, Hall says.

Dr. Hall says based on thousands of samples from across the U.S. that come through his lab each year, the most common mineral deficiencies in beef cattle are:

  • Copper -- 60-70%
  • Selenium -- 10-70%
  • Vitamin E -- seasonal or drought-related
  • Vitamin A -- seasonal or drought-related
  • Zinc – 2 – 10% or drought related

Here are three examples of why the return can be significant.

  1. Correcting mild deficiencies can improve reproduction, decreasing open cows by 2-4%. Correcting severe deficiencies can decrease the number of open cows by 5-15%.
  2. Improvements in neonatal calf health from correcting these common mineral deficiencies can include more saleable calves, less sickness, less labor expense and less medicinal expense. Improvements in the health of young calves can include less summer pneumonia, fewer weaning health issues and improved vaccine efficacy.
  3. Weight gain improvements in a cow-calf operation can be 20-35 pounds per calf when correcting minor deficiencies, and 50 pounds or more when correcting major deficiencies.

These are particularly good numbers to remember when newly supplemented cattle, that have been deficient, are eating the producer out of house and home and trying to get caught up from their mineral deficiency. It may seem horribly expensive at the time, but consumption will drop to normal when their bodies are recharged.

Next week: Explaining to clients that timing and correct balance are critical for mineral supplementation.

7 ag stories you might have missed this week - May 25, 2018

Collage with corn harvest, capitol building and angus beef cattle

Need a quick catch-up on the news? Here are seven agricultural stories you might have missed this week. 

1. President Trump’s trade relations may soon hit U.S. farmers and manufacturers as U.S. trading partners prepare retaliatory tariffs that could generate $3.45 billion in revenue. – Farm Futures

2. An Iowa State University survey shows cash rental rates for farmland in Iowa increased by 1.4% in 2018, after four years of continuous decline from the historical peak at $270 per acre in 2013. – Wallaces Farmer

3. The Departments of State, Agriculture, Labor and Homeland Security are beginning a process to modernize the H2-A visa program. – USDA 

4. The cover crop movement is growing in the Peno Creek Watershed in Missouri. Landowners are looking for practical ways to protect and improve the land and streams. – Missouri Ruralist 

5. U.S. beekeepers reported 40% of their hives died unexpectedly during the year that ended March 31, 2018, according to a report released Wednesday by researchers from Auburn University and the University of Maryland. That’s up from 33% a year earlier. – Farm Futures

6. What should you do if you don’t get waterhemp controlled and the escapes get big? North Dakota State University and University of Minnesota Extension sugarbeet agronomist Tom Peters says hand pulling is an option as is mowing. – Dakota Farmer

7. Tech entrepreneur David Perry is setting out to fundamentally change how crops like corn and wheat are valued by the market. Perry, who grew up on Arkansas farm, is the CEO of Indigo, a science, machine-learning and agricultural hybrid start-up. – CNBC

And your bonus.

Matt Schwantes of Kewaunee, Wis., still uses the 1950 John Deere M his great-grandfather Erwin Sr. farmed with. Erwin Sr. used the tractor to plow, disk, harrow, rake and mow hay, plant corn, move wagons and haul manure. Matt says it’s his favorite tractor.  – Wisconsin Agriculturalist


MIDDAY Midwest Digest, May 25, 2018

Max gleans local knowledge each week to 10 days, from farmers to teachers to welders, and most served in the military. This Memorial Day, we'll especially remember the summer of 1968. 

Proper diet, hoof care critical components in preventing equine laminitis

(Photo by Mitch Emmons) Dr. Enrico Tegazzin, an Auburn University veterinary and podiatry intern on Dr. Debra Taylor’s team, trims hooves as part of the treatment program for equine laminitis.
Dr. Enrico Tegazzin, an Auburn University veterinary and podiatry intern on Dr. Debra Taylor’s team, trims hooves as part of the treatment program for equine laminitis.

Horses love sweet feed and lush, green grass, but equine veterinarians at Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine warn that overindulgence of either can be a primary cause of a serious hoof disease known as laminitis.

Laminitis is a disease that affects the feet of hoofed animals, mostly horses and cattle, and can be life threatening if untreated, explained equine podiatry veterinarian Dr. Debra Taylor, an associate professor in the Auburn department of clinical sciences.

“It is a catastrophic disease that causes loss of use, severe pain as well as loss of life to a lot of horses,” Taylor said. “It is also an age-old struggle for horse owners, farriers and veterinarians. Prevention is the key, through client education, animal diet and exercise.”

Clinical signs include hoof pain and increased digital pulses, progressing to an inability to walk. Severe cases with outwardly visible clinical signs are known by the colloquial term “founder,” and progression of the disease may lead to perforation of the coffin bone through the sole of the hoof or extreme pain that requires euthanasia, Auburn noted in an announcement.

As a part of the Ambulatory Service at the college’s J.T. Vaughan Large Animal Teaching Hospital, Taylor and her team operate a mobile equine podiatry unit that takes veterinary medical treatment and educational outreach to the horse and its owner daily. It is necessary to go to the horse, Taylor said, because when the horse has sore feet or cannot walk due to the severity of the condition, taking the horse by trailer to the clinic for treatment could cause more damage to the feet.

The most common type of laminitis is equine metabolic syndrome, which is associated with a genetic predisposition toward weight gain. This form of laminitis is exacerbated by over-consumption of sugars and starches from grains and grass in the horse’s diet, according to Taylor.

“It drives up the insulin level,” she said. “High levels of insulin, due to high non-structural carbohydrate intake, cause the pathophysiology of the foot falling apart. The structure of the dermal tissue that holds the bone up inside the hoof capsule is changed, and the hoof becomes elongated and deformed long before there is ever pain.

“Long before the foot hurts, there is trouble that the horse owner and the farrier might not recognize unless they pay close attention to changes in hoof shape,” Taylor said.

Signs that the horse owner and the farrier can look for that indicate symptoms of laminitis include:

* Sore hooves;

* White line disease;

* Lethargy;

* Long toes or flared hoof walls;

* Flat soles;

* Laying down more than usual or excessively, and

* Obesity.

“Don’t just look for an enlarged belly,” Taylor said. “Signs for weight gain in a horse are increased size along the top of the neck (crest formation), over the ribs, behind the shoulder and the rump area. The farrier should also be observant of changes in the horse’s hoof while shoeing. If a horse’s shoe size increases with each shoeing, laminitis very well might be the cause.”

Dr. Enrico Tegazzin, a veterinary and podiatry intern on Taylor’s team, has worked in Dubai and had his own equine ambulatory practice in Italy before coming to Auburn for an internship. It has become his passion to spread the word to horse owners and farriers about the importance of strategic hoof care.

“Hoof care is important in the treatment and prevention of laminitis,” Tegazzin said. “The shoe is connected to the hoof wall, but the wall connection to the bone is weak when the horse is suffering from laminitis. When this occurs, the hoof size expands.

“The farrier should be attentive to any changes in the horses hoof/shoe size, as these changes could be signs of serious conditions and indicate situations where the horse owner should be notified that dietary changes might be warranted or even that a veterinarian should be consulted,” he added.

Auburn’s equine podiatry team has been working with one horse, its owner and its primary veterinarian in Columbus, Ga., to treat a particularly severe case of laminitis since 2015, with great success.

“Treatment of laminitis is not something that can be accomplished with one or a few visits to the vet,” Taylor said. “Treatment can require six to nine months, depending on the severity of the case. The goal is for the horse to be pain free. Once a horse gets laminitis, most believe the horse will always have the condition, but that is not necessarily true. Some horses can make a complete recovery. Complete communication between the veterinarians, owner and farrier is necessary for the best outcome.”

Taylor said as many as 50% of horse owners may have a stabled animal with obesity and hoof distortion, which increases its risk of laminitis.

“It is a very common disease, but it is also very preventable and can be treatable if not detected too late,” Taylor said. “The key points are to learn to recognize signs that can prevent laminitis; weight control and hoof distortion cannot be ignored.”

MORNING Midwest Digest, May 25, 2018

Devices are distracting us, not only from driving. Nashville police say a man left his 1-year-old child in the back of his pickup, and the child died due to heat.

The Drought Monitor shows the southern Plains are being hard hit with drought. And the drought could spread to the Midwest as we get into June.

An adult black bear was spotted in Burnsville, Minn., as metro suburb. Wildlife experts say people can expect more of that.

There are 95 million plastic drinking straws distributed by McDonalds each day. The company is working to find a more environmentally friendly solution.

Farm Progress America, May 25, 2018

Max Armstrong shares an interesting story about research that uses tobacco plants to produce a product called squalene. The genetically enhanced crop produces a product widely used in pharmaceuticals and cosmetics, but it comes from sharks. Max tells the story.

Farm Progress America is a daily look at key issues in agriculture. It is produced and presented by Max Armstrong, veteran farm broadcaster and host of This Week in Agribusiness.

Photo: HakBak1979/iStock/Getty Images Plus