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IOWA

SOYBEANreview

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January 2019

FOCUS ON DEMAND: FARMERS INCREASE EFFORTS


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President Lindsay Greiner, Keota | At Large President Elect Tim Bardole, Rippey | At Large Treasurer Robb Ewoldt, Blue Grass | D6

January 2019 | Vol. 31, No. 4

Secretary Dave Walton, Wilton | D6 Executive Committee Randy Miller, Lacona | D8 Board of Directors Brent Swart, Spencer | D1 Chuck White, Spencer | D1 April Hemmes, Hampton | D2 Casey Schlichting, Clear Lake | D2 Rick Juchems, Plainfield | D3 Suzanne Shirbroun, Farmersburg | D3 LaVerne Arndt, Sac City | D4 Jeff Frank, Auburn | D4 Rolland Schnell, Newton | D5 Morey Hill, Madrid | D5 Bill Shipley, Nodaway | D7 Jeff Jorgenson, Sidney | D7 Warren Bachman, Osceola | D8 Pat Swanson, Ottumwa | D9 Tom Adam, Harper | D9 Brent Renner, Klemme | At Large Stephanie Essick, Dickens | At Large American Soybean Association Board of Directors Morey Hill, Madrid Wayne Fredericks, Osage Brian Kemp, Sibley John Heisdorffer, Keota Dean Coleman, Humboldt United Soybean Board of Directors Delbert Christensen, Audubon Larry Marek, Riverside Tom Oswald, Cleghorn April Hemmes, Hampton Staff Credits Editor | Ann Clinton Communications Director | Aaron Putze, APR Senior Creative Manager | Ashton Boles Photographer | Joseph L. Murphy Staff Writer | Matthew Wilde Staff Writer | Carol Brown Staff Writer | Lauren Houska Staff Writer | Katie Johnson Sales Director | David Larson

20 Uncovering Hidden Revenue

Strip-tilling soybeans may be the answer.

22 Seeing Beyond the Naked Eye Advancing digital imagery in soybean management.

28 Golden Opportunity

USSEC, farmers work to boost exports to Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

30 Pause on Trade War China resumes U.S. soy purchases during trade talks.

On the Cover: Lindsay Greiner, Iowa Soybean Iowa Soybean Review is published eight times a year by: Iowa Soybean Association 1255 SW Prairie Trail Parkway, Ankeny, Iowa 50023 (515) 251-8640 | iasoybeans.com E-mail: aclinton@iasoybeans.com

Association president from Keota, spreads feed while

For advertising information in the Iowa Soybean Review, please contact Larson Ent. LLC (515) 440-2810 or Dave@LarsonentLLC.com.

look at ways to increase domestic demand for soybeans

preparing for pigs to be delivered at one of his hog barns. The loose soy-based feed helps pigs become acclimated to the barn on arrival. Farmers continue to while waiting for a resolution in the China trade war.

Comments and statewide news articles should be sent to the above address. Advertising space reservations must be made by the first day of the month preceding publication. In consideration of the acceptance of the advertisement, the agency and the advertiser must, in respect of the contents of the advertisement, indemnify and save the publisher harmless against any expense arising from claims or actions against the publisher because of the publication of the content of the advertisement.

JANUARY 2019 | IASOYBEANS.COM | 3


Kirk Leeds Chief Executive Officer, Iowa Soybean Association kleeds@iasoybeans.com, Twitter@kirkleeds

Opening and Closing Doors

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s you read this column, I wonder how many of us have already abandoned our New Year’s resolutions. Year after year, we come up with a list of things we want to change or accomplish in the next 12 months. In our personal lives, these resolutions often deal with improvements in health or the relationships we have with family or friends. Professionally, we may want to improve specific skills, take on new leadership roles or enhance our overall effectiveness. As I reflected on this, I wondered where this practice of setting resolutions came from and why we do this on January 1? In my research, I was reminded the first calendar with January at the beginning of the year (the Julian calendar) was in 45 B.C. when Julius Caesar decreed that a new calendar be created. The word January comes from Janus in Roman mythology. He is a Roman god of doors, doorways, arches, openings and closings. January is the closing of one door (year) and the opening of another – the New Year. In 1582, the Gregorian calendar was implemented, establishing the

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new leap year rules. Since then, people around the world have gathered January 1 to celebrate the precise arrival of the New Year. The practice of creating New Year’s resolutions has religious origins. Babylonians made promises to their gods at the start of each year that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts. The Romans began each year by making promises to the god Janus. So, after closing the door on 2018 with all the challenges experienced throughout the planting and harvesting seasons and with the significant disruption of exports of U.S. soybeans to China due to trade disputes, what does 2019 hold for Iowa’s soybean farmers? First, we need to remember there are many things we have no control over. Weather, of course, being one of the biggest. Second, there are lots of things we have very little control over. Global politics and conflicts between countries and political leaders near the top of that list. But there are many things that we can impact. On this list would undoubtedly be our attitudes and outlook. As bad as things may be,

they could always be worse and even in the darkest days, we have much to be thankful for. But as it relates to production agriculture, farmers know improving the efficiency of their operation is indeed an area where they do have many opportunities to impact. In early February, the Iowa Soybean Association will host three regional farmer research conferences across the state. Our goal with these events is to help farmers deal with new and emerging production issues (soybean gall midge infestations, for example) or how to reap benefits from digital imagery. Turn to page 17 to learn more. I encourage you to “make a resolution” to join us at one of these events as we close the door on 2018 and open the door to 2019.


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Michael Dolch Director of Public Affairs, Iowa Soybean Association MDolch@iasoybeans.com

Thank U, Next

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op star Ariana Grande recently released a surprise music track that has been embraced by every fandom across social media. The song is a breakup anthem. Grande’s “thank u, next” is a healthy approach to ending a relationship by thanking exes for the learning experience. You are likely wondering where this month’s column is going. I promise there is a central message and key takeaway, both of which are relevant as we look back on 2018 and greet the new year. According to Grande, “One taught me love, one taught me patience and one taught me pain.” For many, “the one” is 2018. Last year was challenging. Soybean prices plummeted, basis widened, trade to China ceased, rain and snow fell. Through it all, we learned. We learned how to love what the soil provides despite relentless pressure. We learned to be patient as the soybean market tumbled, inched back and plunged again. We learned how to mitigate pain when a trade view turned to dispute and then war. As we pocket these lessons and

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step into 2019, there are reasons to be optimistic. To close out a roller-coaster year, a new Farm Bill was signed into law. Tim Bardole, Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) president-elect, attended the ceremony at the White House. The five-year Farm Bill sets policies and reauthorizes farm, conservation, nutrition, rural development and agricultural trade programs. With the ink dry, the legislation brings ‘peace of mind’ to farm country and ag groups who are planning for 2019. Aligning with ISA’s policy, the new bill emphasizes water quality, specifically drinking water and edge-of-field practices. In recent weeks, China purchased token quantities of soybeans to replenish depleted inventories. As this edition of the Iowa Soybean Review is headed to print, members of an official delegation from the U.S. have returned from China where they discussed ways to remedy the trade dispute between the two countries. Moreover, why not hang a hat on what we know – research? ISA’s On-Farm Network® is a

powerful research tool. The team is discovering, validating and increasing the use of the right combinations of inputs and practices to help improve efficiency, profitability and environmental stewardship. The gavel dropped to open the 116th Congress in Washington, D.C., earlier this month. With the Farm Bill reauthorized and implementation underway, ISA will continue to advocate for the biodiesel tax incentive, work to protect and expand trade, and support America’s transportation infrastructure. Closer to home, there is optimism radiating throughout the state capital that the new legislative session will yield additional support for permanent and reliable funding aimed at improving water quality and protecting our soil. In closing, thank you 2018, but next. Let us take a healthy approach to break up with 2018 and thank it for the challenges and learning experience. Let's use the lessons learned and cautious optimism to sew a bountiful New Year.


Full-Circle Return

HERE’S HOW THE SOY CHECKOFF WORKS. The national soy checkoff was created as part of the 1990 Farm Bill. The Act & Order that created the soy checkoff requires that all soybean farmers pay into the soy checkoff at the first point of purchase. These funds are then used for promotion, research and education at both the state and national level.

TO ELEVATORS, PROCES S N A SOR L BE S& L E S DEA S R E LER RM S A F 1/2 of 1% of the total selling price collected per the national soybean act & order

0.5%

Half goes to the state checkoff for investment in areas that are a priority for that state.

PROMOTION

RESEARCH

EDUCATION

ROI TO THE FA RMER by 73 volunteer soybean farmers, the United Soybean Board * Led (USB) invests and leverages soy checkoff dollars to MAXIMIZE PROFIT OPPORTUNITIES for all U.S. soybean farmers.

unitedsoybean.org

Half goes to the national checkoff for investment in USB’s* long-range strategic plan.


Path to Policy BY MATTHEW WILDE

Michael Dolch, ISA policy director, and Lindsay Greiner, ISA president, work with voting delegates to update the association's 2019 policy document. The 15-page document affirmed policies pertaining to conservation, trade, biofuels and other issues.

I

owa Soybean Association (ISA) members and staff have an updated policy playbook to reference while advocating for issues impacting farmer competitiveness. Delegates from the state’s nine crop districts approved new guiding principles during the association’s annual policy conference Dec. 13 in Ankeny. The 15-page document affirmed polices regarding conservation, trade, biofuels and a host of other issues. The 2019 Iowa legislative session convened Jan. 14. ISA Policy Director Michael Dolch says the document, which contains a variety of new, tweaked or existing policies, will guide lobbying efforts in Des Moines and Washington, D.C. “I think we arrived at a very workable document,” Dolch says. “It

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will give us direction when we’re at the state or U.S. capitol. It’s something we refer to when talking with legislators or other government officials about topics important to soybean farmers.” Dolch and the ISA Producer Services team traveled to every district in the weeks leading up to the policy meeting. More than 2,000 miles were logged soliciting input from members. The feedback was critical, he says, so the ISA’s Resolution Committee could update policies before the conference. “This policy is for soybean farmers, by soybean farmers,” Dolch adds. “It exemplifies the grassroots engagement of ISA.” One of the more notable policy changes pertained to soil and water conservation districts and watershed management.

Delegates approved new language concerning state soil and water conservation districts and watershed management plans. More details were included in the policy, such as state soil and water conservation districts should be the primary jurisdictional organization providing leadership and coordination for local watershed initiatives. The new policy also states farmers within watersheds should be consulted and engaged in the development, implementation and review of watershed management plans. And, state soil and water conservation districts and watershed management authorities should work to coordinate urban and rural stakeholders to support comprehensive watershed management planning and implementation. Improving water quality will continue to be an emphasis for ISA in the state legislative session, ISA members say. “The document is great to direct our policy efforts when speaking with legislators,” says Tom Adam, ISA District 9 director from Harper. “We made some refinements that were necessary, like watershed planning based on changes in state law and the environment.” It’s extremely important ag groups effectively communicate positions with policymakers and their staff, Dolch says. He served as Sen. Joni Ernst’s ag policy advisor before joining ISA. “The real work begins now,” Dolch says. “The policies are set. It’s time to implement them at the state and federal levels.” ISA’s policy document can be found at www.iasoybeans.com under the policy section.


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Farmer Meetings: Important Connection for ISA BY CAROL BROWN

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he Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) On-Farm Network® is committed to helping farmers improve their productivity and profitability through environmentally sound cropping systems. Most importantly, the On-Farm Network represents research for farmers by farmers. Regular conversations with farmers are key to accomplishing this work. In December, ISA Regional Agronomist Drew Clemmensen hosted a meeting to expand these conversations. Held at the Iowa State University (ISU) Armstrong Research Farm near Lewis, Clemmensen and ISU Extension Field Agronomist Aaron Saeugling met with 25 southwest Iowa farmers to discuss issues relevant to their operations, including the soybean

your

gall midge, a damaging pest found last summer in western Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota. Clemmensen says he hopes these meetings can become a regular occurrence as the On-Farm Network team was able to gain valuable insight into what farmers are looking for in future trials. The On-Farm Network conducts replicated field trials with farmers across the state. The studies help farmers understand how products and techniques will work with their operation and on their land. Regional agronomists collect data at each trial site — from soil, seed and water samples to fertilizer and tillage tests — analyze it and report the results back to the farmer. Farmers and researchers gain

knowledge from these projects. Results are compiled and uploaded to the ISA strip-trial database. “It was good have my neighbors at the meeting and discuss the soybean gall midge issue,” says Brent Bierbaum, who farms near Griswold in Cass County. “This problem is new to our area, and I’m willing to help the On-Farm Network in any way I can to get answers that will help me and my neighbors.” In 2018, the On-Farm Network conducted 239 replicated field trials. The research team focuses on four main areas: soil health, nutrient management, pest management and agronomic cropping systems, including precision ag tools. Watch for more meetings like these to be held at a location near you.

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JANUARY 2019 | IASOYBEANS.COM | 11


PREMIERING JANUARY 23 PRESENTED BY THE

Soybean farmers have a lot on their mind. Getting reliable and credible information is more important than ever. Introducing The State of Soy presented by the Iowa Soybean Association. It's a monthly videocast for farmers featuring timely and exclusive insights on issues that matter most.

AVAILABLE AT IASOYBEANS.COM

Funded by the soybean checkoff


unitedsoybean.org

MAINTAINING OUR REPUTATION TO DELIVER

Whether shipping by river, road or rail, the soy checkoff is committed to ensuring America’s infrastructure is a significant advantage for U.S. soybean farmers. We’re looking inside the bean, beyond the bushel and around the world to keep preference for U.S. soy strong. And it’s helping make a valuable impact for soybean farmers like you. See more ways the soy checkoff is maximizing profit opportunities for soybean farmers at unitedsoybean.org

Brought to you by the soy checkoff. ©2018 United Soybean Board. Our Soy Checkoff and the Our Soy Checkoff mark are trademarks of United Soybean Board. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.

JANUARY 2019 | IASOYBEANS.COM | 13


Iowa Soybean Association's ‘The State of Soy’ to premier January 23 Monthly videocast to give voice to timely soybean industry topics

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he State of Soy, a fast-paced and timely videocast featuring expert insights on state, national and global soybean issues, will debut this month. Produced by the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA), The State of Soy will feature roundtable discussions format hosted by ISA Communications Director Aaron Putze, APR. Each monthly episode will include timely perspectives from a variety of experts, including farmers, state and national soybean organization staff, industry personnel, traders and academia. “Soybean farmers value a variety

of opinions and insights on issues impacting their bottom line,” Putze says. “The State of Soy is dedicated to helping farmers make more informed decisions.” Panelists will answer questions from farmers, with each episode identifying key action items farmers can use to make their operations more productive and competitive. “Farmers want the best information to help make their operations more profitable,” says ISA President Lindsay Greiner of Keota. “The State of Soy is TV made for farmers who wish to remain

competitive during challenging economic times.” The new video series will be featured online at www.iasoybeans. com and shared on ISA’s social media channels including Facebook, Twitter and You Tube. “This new videocast offers a very honest and transparent discussion between farmers and other stakeholders where everyone’s input is important and heard,” says Putze. “The State of Soy will be must-see TV for farmers and everyone who cares about a strong and vibrant soybean industry.”

Lindsay Greiner (second from right), president of the Iowa Soybean Association, makes a point during the taping of the inaugural ‘The State of Soy’ videocast earlier this month. It will premiere Jan. 23 online at www.iasoybeans.com and shared on ISA’s social media channels.

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JANUARY 2019 | IASOYBEANS.COM | 15


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We're taking the annual research conference on the road! The Iowa Soybean Association research experts will provide valuable information on the latest project results and management practices you can apply to your farm. Pick your location! Topics will be focused on your geographical area, and ISA researchers will share data relevant to your region.

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REGISTER NOW at IASOYBEANS.COM/TOUR JANUARY 2019 | IASOYBEANS.COM | 17


STORM LAKE I COMBATTING SOYBEAN GALL MIDGE

Hear from Erin Hodgson, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach entomologist, who will share updates on the soybean gall midge. This pest was found in soybean fields in western Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota last summer. Learn how to spot it and what research is being done to combat this field-destroying pest.

AMES I DATA: COLLECTING AND SHARING SAFELY

Dan Frieberg, President of Premier Crop Systems, will discuss farm data and what you can do with it. How do you collect, save and share it? Learn strategies for keeping your data secure while sharing it with key people.

CEDAR RAPIDS I INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS FOR CLEAN WATER

Cedar Rapids Utilities Manager Steve Hershner will present how the city is using innovative solutions with farmers upstream for better water. The city is working with five sub-watersheds to get conservation farming practices on the ground to keep water clean and safe for its citizens and local food industries. Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Michael Naig will update you on the Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship over lunch.

REGISTER NOW at IASOYBEANS.COM/TOUR KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Al Kluis, “Position for Profit in 2019”

Al Kluis, commodity trader, chartist, author and producer of the Al Kluis Report, will keynote all tour stops. He’ll offer insights to assist farmers in identifying sale opportunities during a period of volatile markets. Funded in part by the soybean checkoff. 18 | JANUARY 2019 | IASOYBEANS.COM


FDA Authorizes Qualified Health Claim for Oils High in Oleic Acid

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he Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the use of two qualified health claims citing that oils high in oleic acid, such as high oleic soybean oil, may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. Food companies with existing products which meet FDA requirements can consider adding the health claim to labels of foods made with the ingredient (with inclusion of the proper disclaimers), and brands seeking to source heart-healthy ingredients for emerging products can test high oleic soybean oil in formulations. The authorized health claim applies to edible oils containing at least 70 percent of oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat that provides the stability required for oils to perform in a variety of food applications, per serving. High oleic soybean oil oleic acid levels exceed 70 percent and can go as high as 75 percent, and the oil is lower in saturated fat compared to some other high-stability oils commonly used in food production.

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High oleic soybean oil, approved for global use as of December 2017, offers food companies increased functionality, such as extended fry life, increased stability and a neutral flavor profile, making it ideal for frying, sautéing, baked goods and snack foods. It is a domestic crop, supporting U.S. farmers. “As farmers, we take joy in providing Americans with an ingredient that has the potential to improve nutrition and prevent chronic disease, so the news of the qualified health claims is a source of pride for all U.S. soybean farmers,” said Lewis Bainbridge, United Soybean Board chair. “High oleic soybean oil is a sustainably produced crop, and consumers and the food industry alike can be confident that they are serving a quality ingredient to their families and customers.” The newly authorized qualified health claims include2: “Supportive but not conclusive

scientific evidence suggests that daily consumption of about 1½ tablespoons (20 grams) of oils containing high levels of oleic acid, when replaced for fats and oils higher in saturated fat, may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. To achieve this possible benefit, oleic acidcontaining oils should not increase the total number of calories you eat in a day. One serving of [x] oil provides [x] grams of oleic acid (which is [x] grams of monounsaturated fatty acid).” “Supportive but not conclusive scientific evidence suggests that daily consumption of about 1½ tablespoons (20 grams) of oils containing high levels of oleic acid, may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. To achieve this possible benefit, oleic acid-containing oils should replace fats and oils higher in saturated fat and not increase the total number of calories you eat in a day. One serving of [x] oil provides [x] grams of oleic acid (which is [x] grams of monounsaturated fatty acid.”


INVESTING CHECKOFF DOLLARS

Dean Sponheim, Osage

UNCOVERING HIDDEN REVENUE Strip-tilling soybeans may be the answer BY MATTHEW WILDE

D

ean Sponheim and other Iowa farmers will plant soybeans into narrow strips of tilled soil surrounded by corn stalks this spring. Strip-tilling soybeans isn’t for everyone or every farm, soil and agronomy experts say, but research data and on-farm results show it can boost yields and revenue. For strip-till veterans, especially those with heavy, black soil, they're sold on the practice. It’s an opportunity to reap the benefits of tillage while protecting and improving the soil — all with the bottom line in mind. “I can plant earlier, get a little yield bump and prevent soil erosion like this year when we got 55 inches of rain,”

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says Sponheim, an Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) member from Osage. Scott Nelson, ISA On-Farm Network® director, says tough economic times — cash soybeans dipped to 10-year lows in November at about $8 per bushel — dictate that producers evaluate every agronomic decision. That includes tillage or the lack of it. Strip-till is a system in which residue-free strips of soil about 6 to 8 inches wide (about one-third of a row) and 4 to 8 inches deep are tilled ahead of planting using a knife apparatus such as a fertilizer injection shank. It’s widely used in corn production statewide, but less so for soybeans.

Whether a farmer is a diehard no-tiller, favors conventional tillage or something in between, Nelson says strip-till may be an option. “Investing money and time in tillage is an important decision in soybean production,” Nelson says. “I’m still a big proponent for no-tilling soybeans, but every input should be scrutinized for overall effect on per bushel production costs.” A dozen On-Farm Network replicated strip trials were conducted this year, mostly in the northwest part of the state, comparing strip-till to no-till and conventional tillage in soybean production. Results weren’t available at press time.


Planting soybeans into narrow, tilled strips could boost yields and revenue compared to no-till production. Studies are ongoing to compare the two practices.

Strip-till had a $10.40-per-acre advantage over no-till based on limited past trial results, according to the On-Farm Network's return-on-investment calculator. A soybean market price of $8 per bushel and ISU’s average custom strip-till rate of $19.20 per acre were used. According to Iowa State University (ISU) and ISA experts, the following are agronomic advantages of strip-till that could boost yields and revenue: • The seed zone warms and dries quicker in the spring compared to no-till. The odds of earlier planting increase, especially in central and northern Iowa. • Plants germinate quicker and emergence is more uniform compared to no-till. • Higher stand counts could occur. • Strip-tillage is cheaper than conventional tillage. For farmers doing their own work, ISU data shows striptill costs $15 per acre compared to $30 per acre for conventional tillage. • Nutrients, such as phosphorus and potassium, can be banded near the root zone during the strip-till pass. • If strip-tilling is done in the spring, it can wipe out some seedling weeds. “Strip-till provides a happy medium to no-till and conventional-till by preparing a seed bed without burying all the residue,” says Rich Stessman, ISA On-Farm Network operations manager. “Farmers can have the best of both worlds.”

ISA District 1 Director Chuck White is checking that out for himself. The Spencer farmer has strippedtilled corn for 15 years and no-tilled soybeans since 2004. He’s a staunch believer in both production practices. But white mold is curtailing soybean yields, White says. To combat the disease, he switched from narrow to 30-inch rows in 2018. However, research shows 30-inch rows typically yield a few bushels less per acre than rows half as wide. White enrolled 150 acres of soybeans last year in an On-Farm Network-replicated strip trial comparing strip-till to no-till to see if yield and revenue losses could be mitigated. The jury is still out, he says. The entire trial field fertilized with chicken manure averaged 61 bushels per acre, but data is still being crunched by ISA experts. An extremely wet year caused uneven stands, which will likely skew results, White says. He plans to participate in more soybean tillage trials this year. “I want to see if there is an advantage with strip-tilling by incorporating some of the chicken litter,” White says. “Plus, I know striptill acres in northern Iowa have an advantage because the soil warms up faster compared to no-till. “That practice was really working well, but I’m willing to try anything

to increase revenue and improve soil health,” he adds. “If I can do it with less tillage I’m happier. But if I can increase yields, I’m all for it.” ISU recently released 14 years of data studying five tillage systems, including strip-till. Mahdi Al-Kaisi, a professor of soil management and the environment, said there’s no significant yield difference between different tillage practices. In low moisture years, though, strip-till out yielded conventional till by 2-3 bushels per acre. Strip-till typically yielded 2-3 bushels more per acre compared to no-till. “There are a lot of advantages with strip-till,” Al-Kaisi says. There are also disadvantages, like the initial cost. Sponheim says a new 12-row, strip-till rig with fertilizer distribution costs $90,000 to $120,000, and it takes a high horsepower tractor to pull it. Strip-till isn’t recommended on steep slopes or where contour farming is done due to erosion concerns. Sponheim has strip-tilled soybeans for himself and other farmers for six years. He says there’s an economic return. “In most years, the yield boost is a couple of bushels per acre,” he added. “One guy claimed a 10-bushel difference.” Contact Ann Clinton at aclinton@iasoybeans.com.

“INVESTING MONEY AND TIME IN TILLAGE IS AN IMPORTANT DECISION IN SOYBEAN PRODUCTION.

— Scott Nelson, ISA On-Farm Network® director

JANUARY 2019 | IASOYBEANS.COM | 21

ISA RESEARCH UPDATE

INVESTING CHECKOFF DOLLARS


INVESTING CHECKOFF DOLLARS

SEEING BEYOND THE NAKED EYE Advancing digital imagery in soybean management BY PETER KYVERYGA

P

recision agriculture today goes above field level. Photos captured with specialized cameras high above the crops are used to get the most accurate data for optimum performance. This imagery consists of two parts: visual, what can be seen with our eyes; and digital, the invisible data behind the image. The Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) Analytics team is working with two farmers, several commercial imagery providers and university partners to test different imagery systems to best detect plant stress, predict yields and measure

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calibration quality. “Visually assessing aerial images alone is often quite limited compared to what the invisible data may reveal,” says Brad Wirt, ISA GIS specialist. “The digital aspect of the imagery is critical for analysis.” The Analytics team studies images captured by airplanes or drones that fly over two specific fields every seven to 14 days during the growing season. Calibration is important for accurate image comparison. Calibration tarps — with reflectance values from very dark (3 percent reflectance) to very bright (56 percent reflectance)

— are placed next to the fields and included in each image as a consistent baseline. The ISA Analytics team examines each image for spatial accuracy, spectral color band integrity and the ability to seam images together into one composite picture. Inaccuracies in these aspects can easily be detected by experts. However, for farmers and agronomists, spotting the inaccuracies can be challenging. For example, if the collected imagery is used to target weed spraying, an error of 15-30 feet in spatial accuracy could result in spraying the wrong areas.


ISA RESEARCH UPDATE

INVESTING CHECKOFF DOLLARS

Peter Kyveryga

Normalized Difference Vegetative Index (NDVI) imagery, captured over six growing days in a soybean field, shows that sometimes the images can be saturated, as shown for July 25 and Aug. 4. The Analytics team compares NDVI and other indices to achieve the best imagery results.

Calibration imagery quality Vegetation indices are commonly used to measure crop growth and biomass through light wavelengths and plant reflectance. A ratio of a percentage of red (RED) and near-infrared (NIR) reflectance is used to produce a Normalized Difference Vegetative Index or NDVI. Uncalibrated NDVI values show variations within a given field. However, these differences are only relative for the specific date. Comparisons between uncalibrated images over time and between fields can be misleading. In contrast, NDVI of calibrated imagery

can be compiled into a time series to differentiate yield zones and allows researchers to assess the magnitude of stress over time. Even for calibrated imagery, NDVI values often saturate, or reach a maximum level, later in the growing season. Important differences in soybean biomass or yield cannot be differentiated. The Analytics team also uses the Triangular Vegetation Index (TVI), which has values that saturate less than NDVI at the end of the season. Contact Peter Kyveryga at PKyveryga@iasoybeans.com.

Anthony Martin, Iowa Soybean Association

JANUARY 2019 | IASOYBEANS.COM | 23


INVESTING CHECKOFF DOLLARS

Dan De Vries, Prairie City

IMPROVING PROFITABILITY Research trials are crucial science for farmers BY CAROL BROWN

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he Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) On-Farm Network® represents research for farmers by farmers. The team conducts research on 250 to 300 farms annually. They ensure their tests on cropping systems and new technologies continue to be relevant to farmers. “Farmers are the greatest innovators, and we are always receptive to ideas from them on new practices and approaches,” says Scott Nelson, On-Farm Network director. “Farmers can improve profitability by either reducing input costs or by significantly increasing yields. The On-Farm Network is active in both

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areas to help farmers sift through products and technologies to find the best management practices for better soybean and corn yields.” The team is especially interested in using reduced tillage (e.g. striptill) and cover crops for better soil health. On average, Iowa loses about 6 tons of topsoil per year to erosion. This equates to each generation of a farm family handing down 1 inch less topsoil to the next. Although reduced tillage and cover crops require different management decisions, farmers must find ways to make these systems profitable and sustainable for future generations, Nelson says.

Cover crop combo

Dan De Vries has been conducting trials with the OnFarm Network on his farm near Prairie City in central Iowa. He is seeing improvement on his farm by using cover crops. “I can say that my soil tilth and organic matter are improving,” says De Vries. “Using cover crops in combination with no-till, I have fewer conservation challenges.” De Vries also uses cover crops for grazing which he sees as a significant benefit on top of his soil improvement.


“The On-Farm Network team makes the connection of what farmers are doing on their farms with what the industry thinks is important for research,” De Vries says. “We, as farmers, can provide proof from real fields as to which products are working to produce the highest yielding crops.”

Another research project showing potential is remote sensing. It could dramatically improve farmer understanding of management zones for variable rate technology as well as yield prediction. The ISA Analytics team made some breakthrough discoveries in identifying novel approaches to characterizing New studies in 2018 light interception throughout the Two new seed treatment studies season. conducted this year with cooperating The team is also looking at soybean farmers show significant promise. protein content. Soybeans grown Early results from the Nemastrike seed in Iowa are known to have lower treatment testing resulted in a consistent protein compared 2- to 6-bushel response in soybeans. In to soybeans corn, Nemastrike wasn’t as consistent, produced in but showed a significant response at some Brazil. They are locations. studying this Another seed treatment trial phenomenon to involved novel inoculants for soybeans. develop practices Co-inoculation is a phenomenon in that could increase soybeans where inoculation with a freeprotein levels. Scott Nelson living, nitrogen-fixing bacterium called Using nonazospirillum increases nodule formation. checkoff dollars, More soybean nodules could mean more the On-Farm Network is working nitrogen available to the plant and an in the variable rate nitrogen arena. increase in yield. Results from early testing Researchers say variable rate nitrogen indicate a 2-bushel advantage to in-furrow in corn represents a significant co-inoculation with azospirillum. opportunity to increase total farm “While this response seems small, yields and possibly reduce input costs. inoculation with azospirillum is relatively Through tests this year, some locations inexpensive with a high potential for were very responsive to variable rate return on investment,” Nelson says. nitrogen with profit advantages ranging

from $20-$30 per acre. However, variable rate nitrogen may not fit every farm. The team also made a significant effort to demonstrate and research optimum nitrogen rates at a localized and regional level. The team established a series of trials involving manure timing and application techniques, including the logistics of side-dressing manure. Results showed no loss in corn yield with side-dressed manure and a significant yield response at some locations. The OnFarm Network team has trials planned for 2019, including studies on variable rate nitrogen, new seed treatments, manure management, soybean variable rate seeding as well as a variety of new products such as a new form of potassium fertilizer. The team is always interested in ideas from ISA farmer members, Nelson says. To conduct a trial or discuss a new approach to test, email: research@iasoybeans.com. Contact Carol Brown at cbrown@ iasoybeans.com.

THE ON-FARM NETWORK FOCUSES RESEARCH ON SOIL HEALTH, NUTRIENT MANAGEMENT, CROPPING SYSTEMS AND PEST MANAGEMENT.

JANUARY 2019 | IASOYBEANS.COM | 25

ISA RESEARCH UPDATE

INVESTING CHECKOFF DOLLARS


INVESTING CHECKOFF DOLLARS

Corey McKinney, Iowa Soybean Association

TARGETING FARMER OUTREACH New grants expand watershed plan implementation BY CAROL BROWN

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he Environmental Programs and Services (EPS) team at the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) follows a strategy to help Iowa soybean farmers improve natural resource management while improving their competitiveness. Working closely with farmers and engaging with government agencies, organizations and companies, the EPS team works to achieve the goals of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy (INRS) through watershed and farm conservation planning and water monitoring. In 2018, EPS worked on more than 35 projects across Iowa. These

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initiatives assisted farmers directly and addressed their concerns including nutrient loss and reduction, water quality and soil health, conservation drainage, habitat preservation and farm sustainability.

Exploring watershed diffusion hubs

In partnership with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS), ISA will develop and deploy a strategy to transform current watershed plans and projects into “hubs of diffusion.” Through a grant from the Walton Family Foundation, the project team — consisting of representatives from

EPS and IDALS — will evaluate the current implementation progress of specific watershed plans and identify diffusion hub opportunities. The diffusion hubs will be focused around advanced watershed implementation projects that can expand innovation and investment into surrounding watersheds. These core watersheds will have already achieved some success in watershed project plans and conservation practice adoption. Roger Wolf, EPS director, will lead the development of a moderate watershed planning methodology to guide the identified diffusion hubs.


He says new innovative funding opportunities for water quality improvement are becoming available in Iowa. The EPS team is leveraging current investments to help increase the pace and scale of water quality improvement. It is imperative that Iowa scales up faster and in cost-efficient and effective manners, Wolf says. To accomplish Roger this, the team Wolf will develop tools to track historical, current and future progress. They also will develop a strategy outlining ways to move into the next generation of watershed planning and implementation. The diffusion hub project will also expand the knowledge base for the financial aspects of farm conservation practices. The EPS team will conduct financial analyses with farmers who use conservation practices on their farming operations. The results will be shared with other farmers, ag retailers, lenders and insurers. Hopefully, as a result new products and services will be created to further incentivize conservation adoption. The outcome should impact how conservation practices fit financially into farming operations, ag retailer platforms, loans and insurance products. “With passage of additional water quality funding last year, IDALS is continuing to explore opportunities for outside funding that can further expand water quality practice implementation,” says Mike Naig, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture. “This grant will give us the opportunity to develop and evaluate new pathways to deploy future funding,” he says.

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant Another new project through a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) will build demand for conservation implementation through targeted communications, technical assistance and evaluation. A campaign led by ISA, the Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance (IAWA) and Trust In Food™ (a division of Farm Journal) will leverage geographic, technical and communication assets to increase and improve conservation-focused outreach to farmers and landowners. “All project partners — and many stakeholders in the Mississippi River Basin — want to increase conservation practice implementation” says Nate Birt, program manager for Trust In Food. “This project will integrate excellent data analytics and state-of-theart watershed planning practices for the most effective outreach and technical assistance programming.”

Birt says a multipart communications campaign will be used to recruit farmers for technical assistance and adoption of conservation practices to improve water quality. A goal of the grant project is to enhance technical assistance for faster adoption of conservation strategies that improve water quality. A watershed diffusion model like the Walton grant project will be used for distribution of information and technical resources. The goal of the campaign is to help align support and expand farmer awareness and adoption of conservation best management practices, by using data to precisely deliver messages to farmers seeking to take the next step in their resource management. The project will be conducted in five sub-watersheds within the North Raccoon River watershed, encompassing approximately 381,000 acres. Additional partners include the Greene County Soil and Water Conservation District, Headwaters North Raccoon River Project, Farm to River Partnership Project, Agriculture's Clean Water Alliance and the City of Des Moines. Contact Carol Brown at cbrown@iasoybeans.com.

The EPS team will be expanding their work in 2019, making connections between rural and urban watershed residents for improved water quality through two new grant projects. Education and outreach events like field days will be a key component to success. JANUARY 2019 | IASOYBEANS.COM | 27

ISA RESEARCH UPDATE

INVESTING CHECKOFF DOLLARS


INVESTING CHECKOFF DOLLARS

Golden Opportunity USSEC, FARMERS WORK TO BOOST EXPORTS TO EUROPE, THE MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA STORY AND PHOTOS BY MATTHEW WILDE

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“IT STARTS WITH BUILDING STRONGER RELATIONSHIPS WITH BUYERS.” — Lindsay Greiner, ISA president

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t’s a golden time across the Atlantic Ocean for U.S. soybean farmers. Not only is it the 50th anniversary of the soy industry’s market development efforts in Europe, but the U.S. has overtaken Brazil as the top soybean supplier in the continent, as well as the Middle East and North Africa. The U.S. is gaining soybean meal market share in the regions, too. The challenge, farmers and industry officials say, is to maintain and hopefully build on recent growth spurred by the U.S.-China trade war. The 2018 U.S. Soybean Regional Trade Exchange — Europe and MENA (Middle East/North Africa) in late November was geared to do just that. Nearly 300 soybean farmers and industry stakeholders attended the four-day event in Barcelona, Spain, hosted by the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC). Participants toured local ports, a Bunge crush facility and a feed mill. The conference featured presentations from top-level government and industry officials and networking roundtables for buyers and sellers. To mitigate soybean export losses to China, Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) President Lindsay Greiner and other farmers talked with soy importers and end users about the value and

quality of last year’s record U.S. crop pegged at 4.6 billion bushels. ISA provided $50,000 for the conference, which sparked other states to contribute so the event could be held, according to USSEC officials. “I think the potential for growth of soybean exports to Europe and MENA is good, especially as livestock production increases,” says Greiner, a Keota grain and pig farmer. “We’re working to remain the preferred supplier when the trade war with China eventually ends and the day comes when our beans aren’t a bargain anymore. “It starts with building stronger relationships with buyers,” Greiner adds. “Price is still a key factor.” Due to Chinese demand, Brazil soybeans are fetching big premiums — $89 per metric ton more, on average, than U.S. oilseeds in October, according to government data. A drought last year drastically reduced soybean production and meal output in Argentina, the world’s No. 1 meal exporter. As a result, U.S. soybean and soybean meal exports are up 210 percent and 17 percent, respectively, to Europe and MENA as of mid-December since the marketing year began Sept. 1, according to USSEC Regional Director Brent Babb.


INVESTING CHECKOFF DOLLARS

Soybean sales for the 2018-19 marketing year to all three regions, led by Europe, are pegged at 3.67 million metric tons or nearly 135 million bushels as of Nov. 8, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data. U.S. soybean meal exports total 650,000 metric tons (30.2-million-bushel equivalent) for the same period. Egypt, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and other countries have increased purchases of U.S. soy or are relatively new customers. Lewis Bainbridge, former United Soybean Board chairman, says building and maintaining market share ultimately comes down to what the industry has stressed for 50 years in Europe and 40 years in MENA — the U.S. is a reliable supplier of quality, affordable, sustainably produced soybeans and soy products. “It’s very important in light of the current trade environment that the soy family has redirected efforts to basic and immature markets, including Europe,” says Bainbridge, a grain and livestock farmer from Ethan, South Dakota. “We’ve established strong relationships here to hopefully

beans,” Bainbridge says. Bunge and Cargill crushing plants in Barcelona utilize 220,400 bushels of soybeans per day, USSEC officials say. The facilities produce 5,000 metric tons of soybean meal daily. BonArea, a vertically integrated cooperative consisting of crop, feed and livestock production and grocery stores in northeast Spain, buys all its soybean meal to feed livestock from the two plants. While touring BonArea’s Reus feed mill, farmers reminded plant officials about the advantages of U.S. soy in feed rations. Published studies show the high amino acid content of U.S. soybean meal contributes to high digestibility and energy value of feed. Josep Ribo Ribalta, manager of feed production for BonArea, says economics dictate where crushers purchase soybeans. He’ll adjust feed rations and supplement synthetic amino acids as needed, depending on soy origins. Ribalta likes soybean meal made from U.S. oilseeds. “We need your help with crops given our lack of production,” Ribalta reassured U.S. farmers. “This year,

The BonArea Reus feed mill in Spain currently uses soybean meal made from U.S. beans.

Soybean buyers at the 2018 U.S. Soybean Regional Trade Exchange in Barcelona, Spain.

NATIONAL SOYBEAN PRODUCTION IS PROJECTED AT A RECORD 4.6 BILLION BUSHELS. maintain and improve market share.” At the Bunge crushing plant in Barcelona, which is located at the city’s port, foreign material in bulk soybean shipments was a hot topic of discussion. Bunge is the main soy crusher in Europe and Spain, with four plants, including one in Lisbon, Portugal. Spain imports 3 million metric tons of soybeans a year or more than 110.2 million bushels, USSEC data shows. So far this marketing year, all the country’s beans have come from the U.S.: 17.3 million bushels. “I assured customers we’ll be a reliable supplier and all the farmers I know do a grand job producing clean

U.S. market share will grow since the movement of soy changed with the trade conflict.” That may evolve, he continued. “In the end, it depends on the crusher and price.” USSEC anticipates the European Union will buy more than 10 million metric tons of U.S. soy this year, up from 7 million in 2017-18. “We have the price advantage right now,” Greiner says. “Even if China starts buying from us again, we need to do our best to keep what we’ve gained and continue the upward trend.” Contact Ann Clinton at aclinton@iasoybeans.com.

A ship partially filled with soybean meal at the Port of Tarragona in Spain.

ISA President Lindsay Greiner, left, and former United Soybean Board Chairman Lewis Bainbridge, right, talk to a Port of Tarragona official. JANUARY 2019 | IASOYBEANS.COM | 29


INVESTING CHECKOFF DOLLARS

Pause on trade war CHINA RESUMES U.S. SOY PURCHASES DURING TRADE TALKS BY MATTHEW WILDE

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ISA President Lindsay Greiner, and his son, Keaton, say raising pigs on contract adds needed income and lowers crop input costs when commodity prices are down.

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cease fire in the U.S.-China trade war came at an opportune time for U.S. soybean farmers sitting on a record crop and China with dwindling stocks. China purchased about 2.63 million metric tons of U.S. soybeans (more than 96.6 million bushels) in mid-December, weeks after the nations agreed to halt trade hostilities and work out their differences. Analysts and government officials expect China will buy more U.S. agricultural products as the countries negotiate a trade deal. China placed a 25 percent tariff on U.S. soybeans and other ag products last July in response to U.S. duties on its goods. It all but halted sales to the country and sent soy prices tumbling to 10-year lows. Trade developments are a step in the right direction, Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) leaders say. Ships full of U.S. soy heading to China will hopefully boost prices. “This is good news, it’s what we’ve been waiting for,” says ISA President Lindsay Greiner of Keota. “The U.S. placed a moratorium on new tariffs as negotiations proceed, and China responded favorably by buying boatloads of U.S. soybeans. Additional demand is sorely needed.”

The temporary trade truce Dec. 1 followed a dinner meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G-20 summit in Argentina. Trump agreed to hold off raising tariffs, scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1, on Chinese imports worth hundreds of billions of dollars — implemented to end China’s unfair trade practices, intellectual property theft and narrow the nearly $400 billion trade deficit. China said it would negotiate structural and policy changes pertaining to intellectual property protection, forced technology transfer and non-tariff trade barriers, which have hurt the soybean industry. In the days following the G-20 meeting: • Trump tweeted: “Farmers will be a very BIG and FAST beneficiary of our deal with China. They intend to start purchasing agricultural products immediately.” • Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin confirmed in a CNBC interview that China has offered to buy about $1.2 trillion worth of U.S. products. • National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow said he’s confident the nations will resolve their differences and


INVESTING CHECKOFF DOLLARS

China will drop its retaliatory duties on U.S. commodities. • U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue told Reuters that China will turn to the U.S. for soy since Brazil has limited supplies remaining.

Better prices ahead? January soybeans on the Chicago Board of Trade jumped 15 cents initially after China’s first two purchases from the U.S. Prices topped $9 per bushel for the first time since the end of July. “If the president is right and we start to see massive soy shipments to China, the market will react positively,” Greiner says. “The timing is very good.” Until recently, China mostly shunned U.S. soybeans after placing tariffs on the oilseed. Prices plummeted about $2 per bushel as a result. China purchased more than 1 billion bushels of U.S. soybeans last year and 1.4 billion in 2016-17, government records show, but only 35.9 million bushels during the current marketing year as of Nov. 1. A day before the top-level U.S.-China trade meeting, commodities analyst Bob Bresnahan predicted soybeans would hit $12 per bushel by 2020 after several years of down and sideways prices. The founding president and CEO of Trilateral, a Chicago-based risk management firm specializing in commodities, spoke at the 2018 U.S. Soybean Regional Trade Exchange for Europe, the Middle East

and North Africa. The U.S. Soybean Export Council hosted the two-day conference in Barcelona, Spain. A positive outcome from the TrumpXi meeting, and a possible resolution to the trade conflict, only bolsters the projection. “I think there’s a bottom to allow prices to rally into 2020,” Bresnahan says. “Sideways markets will work their way up into an uptrend … we could violently rally out of the (down) market.”

Plenty of soy to sell Greiner says the U.S. has enough soybeans to supply China and the rest of the world. “We have plenty to take care of everybody,” he adds. Despite recent purchases by China,

Soybean ending stocks for the 2018-19 marketing year are estimated at an all-time-high 955 million bushels. The clock is ticking to get a deal done with China, historically the nation’s largest market for soybeans. The agreement placed a 90-day moratorium on additional duties for both sides during the negotiation process. It’s the “first positive news” American Soybean Association Chairman John Heisdorffer of Keota has heard after months of low soybean prices and halted shipments. “If this suspension of tariffs leads to a longer-term agreement, it will be extremely positive for the soy industry,” he says. “We want to

CHINA PURCHASED MORE THAN 1.4 MILLION METRIC TONS OF U.S. SOYBEANS IN MID-DECEMBER. big supplies are keeping prices down. National soybean production last year is projected at a record 4.6 billion bushels, according to the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture Crop Production Report. Iowa is pegged at 577 million bushels.

ISA President Lindsay Greiner, left, and Thomas Mielke of Oil World discuss soybean supply and demand and price trends during the 2018 U.S. Soybean Regional Trade Exchange in Barcelona, Spain, in late November. (Photo credit: Matthew Wilde)

begin repairing damage done to our trade relations with China, which has been essential to successful soybean exports for years.” A deal, though, is far from done. ISA CEO Kirk Leeds says recent China developments are encouraging for Iowa’s soybean farmers. But when politics are involved, finding enough middle ground can be a challenge. With the window to export soybeans to China rapidly closing — Brazil’s soybean crop is expected to be ready for harvest in the next 2-4 weeks — Leeds says a resolution is needed fast. “Hopefully, we can return to some trading normalcy with China,” he continues. “In the meantime, we’re actively working in other markets around the world to build and maintain U.S. soybean market share.” Contact Ann Clinton at aclinton@iasoybeans.com. JANUARY 2019 | IASOYBEANS.COM | 31


INVESTING CHECKOFF DOLLARS

Checkoff the box SOY FUNDS SUPPORT MARKET-BUILDING EFFORTS STORY AND PHOTOS BY MATTHEW WILDE

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“I feel optimistic we accomplished the goal with the caliber of networking meetings that took place.” — Jim Sutter, U.S. Soybean Export Council CEO 32 | JANUARY 2019 | IASOYBEANS.COM

t appears a $50,000 checkoff investment by Iowa farmers to boost soy exports to Europe, the Middle East and North Africa will pay off handsomely. The U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) hosted the 2018 U.S. Soybean Regional Trade Exchange for the three regions Nov. 27-30. Funding from the Iowa Soybean Association, various other state and national soy organizations and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service helped bring the “who’s who” of soybean buyers and U.S. exporters together in Barcelona, Spain. To mitigate U.S. soybean sales losses to China due to the currently halted trade war between the nations, USSEC held the conference to build and maintain market share in the more than 40 countries in Europe and MENA (Middle East/ North Africa). Mission accomplished, according to USSEC and industry officials. “I feel optimistic we accomplished the goal with the caliber of networking meetings that took place,” says Jim Sutter, USSEC CEO. “We’ve been active for a long time in all three regions — 50 years in Europe

and 40 years in MENA. “The U.S. has supplied about one-third of their soy needs in recent years. We certainly want to grow that share,” he adds. “I’m not sure 100 percent is achievable; the goal is as high as possible.” U.S. soybean and soybean meal exports are up 210 percent and 17 percent, respectively, to Europe and MENA as of midDecember since the marketing year started Sept. 1, according to USSEC. Nearly 3.7 million metric tons (almost 135 million bushels) of soybeans and 650,000 metric tons of soybean meal (30.2-million-bushel equivalent) were shipped to the regions as of Nov. 8, government records show. Brent Babb, USSEC regional director for Europe and MENA, says market conditions and buyer satisfaction with U.S. soy products indicate record sales ahead in his program areas. Babb predicts soybean sales to Europe this year will hit 10 million metric tons (367.4 million bushels), up nearly 4 million metric tons from last year and more than double the 5-year average. Meal sales could reach 1.6 million metric tons, a little less than double last year’s total and the five-year average.


INVESTING CHECKOFF DOLLARS

Total soy imports to Europe last year were 34 million metric tons. “I think the growth will continue this year,” Babb says. “Exporters and farmers are talking about sustainability and quality, and the messages resonate. When prices are close again, this will help push U.S. sales.” Alexander Döring, general secretary of the European Feed Manufacturer’s Federation, projects U.S. soybean imports to the continent could hit 13 million metric tons (nearly 478 million bushels) this year. He says imported soy is the lifeline of Europe’s feed industry,

which the U.S. is supplying nicely. “Our demands for soy are rising every year in terms of quality and nutritional profiles, which are key drivers for the animal industry in Europe,” Doring says. U.S. soy imports to MENA doubled last year to 4 million metric tons, of which 3.3 million where soybeans, according to USSEC. The crushing industry has expanded rapidly to keep up with demand. “I’m not sure we can double again this year, but we may get close,” Babb says. “That’s a high level, but doable.” Contact Ann Clinton at aclinton@iasoybeans.com.

U.S. soybean and soybean meal exports are up 210 percent and 17 percent, respectively, to Europe and Middle East/North Africa as of mid-December.

Soybean meal is offloaded into a semi at the Port of Tarragona in Spain in late November.

U.S. soybean farmers, including Iowa Soybean Association President Lindsay Greiner, front left, and industry officials visited the BonArea Reus feed mill near Barcelona, Spain, as part of the 2018 U.S. Soybean Regional Trade Exchange conference last November.

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The Last Word Editor’s Notes by Ann Clinton aclinton@iasoybeans.com

Hit Refresh; Move Forward

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t any given time, I have more tabs open on my internet search bar than a reasonable person could even imagine. What some people might find overwhelming, I find motivating. My mind works best when multitasking. As a mother of four children, details in my life are never singular, and my to-do list is continually evolving. But every once in a while, my computer starts to get slow and I am forced to close down some applications to enhance its efficiency. Honestly, it gives me anxiety to clear the slate and start over. I like to know where I’ve been on my way to where I’m going. However, I’ve learned this little technology hack of shutting down to improve response time is symbolic to life in general. Sometimes you have to hit reset and start fresh if you want to move forward with any sense of urgency. Queue 2019. I’m showing up this year ready to go. Gone are last year’s problems. Ahead are the possibilities of good stuff. Right? You with me?

In this issue of the Iowa Soybean Review (ISR), I hope you learned some things about moving forward in the wake of so much unknown happening in our industry. You are coming out of a rough year, but there are many things offering hope for a better tomorrow. Featured in this issue are stories highlighting efforts farmers are investing in to increase soybean demand and build markets. We took a deep-dive into new opportunities happening overseas and explored the importance of establishing relationships with buyers. As a result, Iowa soybean exports have the potential to increase to areas otherwise overshadowed by China. Also, we have included in this issue updates on our research initiatives at the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA). On-farm production research, data analytics and environmental efforts are delivering tangible tools farmers like you can use to become more profitable. In other news, ISR’s longtime senior writer, Matthew Wilde,

has left ISA to pursue agricultural reporting at a national publication. I have truly appreciated Matt’s writing talent and overall dedication to Iowa’s soybean farmers. He’s become my friend over the years of working together, and I will miss his daily banter and unique humor. He made me a better editor, and I like to think I’ve challenged his creative abilities, as well. As Matt and I collaborated on magazine content, we’d often say to each other, “words is hard.” It was our little joke that set the tone for the work ahead of us. A new writer will soon be hired and the beat will go on. But in the meantime, if you want to email me stupid jokes, it might help ease the transition for me. As we navigate the new year, I hope you’ve pushed the refresh button and are ready to hit the ground running. I look forward to your comments on this month’s issue of the magazine.

JANUARY 2019 | IASOYBEANS.COM | 35


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