In The News Week – September 30, 2020




The editorial in this addition of In The News is not regarding recent news. It is news that I have not publically shared to date.  I intentionally left time for families to grieve and for Aeros staff to process our losses.

To those of you who are not aware, it is with great sadness that I inform you of the passing of two of our beloved friends and coworkers.  2020 has been a hard year with the loss of Sergio Zamora and Charles Torres.

To those of you who became aware through social media, I want to thank you for your direct financial donations to the families and for the condolences expressed to the Aeros staff.  I am truly grateful for your kindness.

To the Aeros staff, I commend you on your resolve.  You’ve mourned the loss of two wonderful friends while continuing to service our customers by fulfilling your roles and picking up extra projects to help fill our void.  Our customers continue to receive the same great service as always, thanks to the amount of overtime you have worked.  This is duly noted and greatly appreciated.  Help is on the way, as our recruitment efforts have been ongoing.

To Sergio and Charles, you are missed but never forgotten.  You will always be our role models for your calm demeanors and your dedication to Aeros customers.

– Anthony Barton



Feed and Grains:

Have the Highs for Grain Prices in 2020 been Printed?

Last week begged the question: How high is high enough for grain prices? Now the question may be: How low is low enough?

December corn prices were down 13.5¢ and November soybean prices were down 42.25¢ for the week ending Sept. 25. December wheat prices were down 31¢.  Even though prices are sliding from their recent highs, it’s important for farmers to maintain perspective, says Jerry Gulke, president of Gulke Group.

“The fact is $10 beans are good money in almost anybody’s book,” he says. “Even if prices go lower, sales at that level was probably a good decision.”  Between the price increase in soybeans and the second round of Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) funds being distributed to farmers, Gulke says farmers are in a much better financial position than 30 or 60 days ago.

Read full article here


Still the best looking horse

My, what a difference a week can make.  Last Friday, bulls were in full party mode as we extended the corn and wheat rallies to the highest levels traded since March and beans to the highest levels witnessed in two years, only to fall flat on their face this week.  While we still have a few hours of trade left, if we wrapped things up right now, for the week, December wheat would be down 28-cents, December corn down 12-cents, and November beans down 42 cents. I guess for those who prefer the glass half full outlook on life, you could at least take comfort in the fact that we did not completely erase the previous week’s gains in the case of wheat and beans.

By no means do I want to suggest that there is any type of one-to-one correlation, and especially not with any single commodity, but I do think it is worthwhile to take a peek at the commodity vs. U.S. Dollar picture once again. It was not long after the Dollar peaked back in March that we witnessed a reversal in the commodity sector, led initially by gold and the energy market, but this eventually bled over into most of the rest of those markets.  That said, the Dollar appeared to have found a bottom, at least for now, at the end of August, and commodities as a group have struggled to extend gains since that time.  With a number of economic indicators pointing toward a worsening of the U.S. economy, one might question as to why the Dollar would continue to advance from here. Still, the technical performance during the past week does seem to indicate that it will.  It could be that old line of thought that we are still the best looking horse in the glue factory rings true.  Regardless, if this turns out to be correct, psychologically, at least, it should create headwinds for the commodity markets.

Read full article here


Soybean prices hit 2-year high amid ASF recovery

An unexpected turn in Midwestern U.S. weather has canceled projections of record-breaking crop yields and has prices for corn and soybeans creeping upward — a trend that may continue for some time.

Soybean futures hit two-year highs after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) cut projected yields by 1 million tons in the September World Markets and Trade report. USDA anticipates the average on-farm price for soybeans harvested this season could reach US$9.25 per bushel, nearly a dollar higher than the U.S. agency expected when it released its August report. Projected corn prices have also increased 40 cents to US$3.50 per bushel, according to the USDA.\

September marked the first report since the August derecho swept across the Midwest, much of which has also experienced two months of dry weather, according to Mac Marshall, vice president of market intelligence for the United Soybean Board. Iowa in particular has experienced especially dry weather, reducing corn yields in that critical state, Paul Bertels, a principal economist at Farmgate Insights, said.

Read full article here



America’s Egg Farmers Make Historic Donation to Feed American Families in Need

Marking a historic moment, America’s egg farmers across the nation are donating more than 46 million eggs in 2020, the largest amount ever recorded, as food banks experience unparalleled demand due to COVID-19.


U.S. egg farmers have long supported families in need through egg and egg product donations, but these donations are even more important this year. Feeding America, one of the nation’s largest networks of food banks, projects an additional 17.1 million people will experience food insecurity in the U.S., with an estimated $1.4 billion shortfall in food bank donations due to the pandemic. Egg farmers are responding by helping to meet the growing need at U.S. food banks.

Eggs are always in high demand at U.S. food banks because they are a popular source of high-quality protein and other important nutrients, like choline for brain health and development. However, the perishable nature of eggs can make donating them challenging. America’s egg farmers are bridging this gap by donating directly from their farms.

Read full article here


USDA Weekly Egg Price and Inventory Report September 23rd, 2020.

The American Egg Board circulates Nielsen data on retail egg sales each month.  The following points summarize volume and value data for the week ending July 11th 2020.

  • The U.S. flock in production was down 0.6 million from the previous week at 311.3 million, with molted hens resuming production and pullets reaching maturity.
  • Shell inventory was down 0.4 percent after a 0.7 percent decrease last week indicating stable demand relative to supply. There is some evidence of a return in the food service sector as the economy cautiously reopens but the incidence rate of COVID-19 is increasing in some regions.
  • USDA Midwest benchmark generic prices for Extra-large, Large and Medium were unchanged for the third consecutive week to averages of 81.5, 79.5 and 55.5 cents per dozen respectively. Prices will continue to fluctuate in a narrow range as molted hens resume production and pullets commence lay unless offset by proportional increase in demand past the Labor Day weekend.
  • The price of breaking stock in the Midwest was unchanged to an averages of 46.0 cents per dozen. Checks were up 2.7 percent to 37.5 cents per dozen.


According to the USDA Egg Market News Reports posted on September 21st 2020 the Midwest wholesale prices for Extra-large, Large and Mediums as delivered to DCs attained averages of 81.5, 79.5 and 55.5 cents per dozen. Prices should be compared with the USDA benchmark average 5-Region blended nest-run, (excluding provisions for packing and transport) cost of 58.0 cents per dozen in August 2020. The progression of prices during 2018-2020 is depicted in the USDA chart reflecting three years of data, updated weekly.

Read full article here



Rabobank: EU, UK having biggest impact on global trade

The biggest impact on global poultry trade so far in 2020 has been a sharp drop in imports to the European Union (EU) and United Kingdom (U.K.), according to the most recent Rabobank Poultry Quarterly report.

The report pointed out that EU and U.K. imports dropped 12% on a year-over-year basis for the first six months of 2020.

Other market matters in Europe

The European poultry industry is presently challenged to adequately balance supply and demand amid the current volatile markets, affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In the first wave of COVID-19, during March-May, foodservice demand in Europe dropped sharply due to restrictions on people movements, and the flow-on-effect on out-of-home eating. At the same time, demand at supermarkets increased sharply, in most markets by more than 20%. The sudden drop in demand and changing of

Read full article here


3 food safety technologies to improve poultry processing

Blockchain and other digital technologies could help keep the food supply chain strong, from farm to fork. Three innovations at the Virtual Poultry Tech Summit offer creative solutions to food safety and poultry processing challenges.

  • Enhanced immersive chilling in poultry processing
  • How digital auditing advances blockchain and traceability
  • Traceability at the speed of thought

Make plans to attend the 2020 Virtual Poultry Tech Summit, scheduled for October 20-22, 2020, and take a look at the future of the industry. This one-of-a-kind online event facilitates the transition of innovation technologies from researchers and entrepreneurs into commercial applications for the benefit of the poultry industry

Read full article here



Economists Forecast Hog Prices Following USDA Quarterly Report

Agricultural economists shared their forecast prices for the next several quarters following the Sept. 24 announcement of the September 2020 Quarterly Hogs and Pigs Report in a teleconference funded by the Pork Checkoff.

Using the Iowa-Minnesota carcass prices negotiated, Ron Plain, professor emeritus at the University of Missouri-Columbia, estimated $56 per cwt. for fourth quarter 2020, $57 for first quarter 2021, $62 for second quarter 2021, $60 for third quarter 2021 and $51 for fourth quarter 2021.

Len Steiner, president of Steiner Consulting in Merrimack, N.H., used the CME Lean Value Index to quote his prices. He said fourth quarter 2020 is going to be an “oddball,” but it will be good for producers. He forecasts 2021 will have better prices for producers and hopefully slow the number of people exiting the industry at this point in time, he said. He quoted third quarter 2020 at $55.27 per cwt. and fourth quarter 2020 at $66.67. For 2021, he quoted $68.67 per cwt. for first quarter, $75.67 for second quarter, $73.33 for third quarter and $61.67 for fourth quarter. His average for 2020 is $59.04 and $69.83 for 2021.

Read full article here


ASF challenges pig producers on 3 continents

So far this week, only Poland and Serbia among the European countries has reported new cases of African swine fever (ASF) in domestic pigs.

The latest Polish outbreaks — three in number — have involved a total of 392 pigs, reports the country’s chief veterinary office. Confirmed by positive tests this week, cases were identified at two premises in Lublin, and one in Subcarpathia (Podkarpackie). Both of these provinces are in the southeast of the country. Two of the affected herds were small, but one of the Lublin premises was larger, with 360 pigs.

These latest outbreaks bring the Polish total since March to 93. Including 15 larger herds of at least 300 animals, the number of pigs involved in the outbreaks so far this year has risen to almost 56,000.

In recent days, the veterinary authority in the Republic of Serbia has officially registered 15 ASF outbreaks in domestic pigs.

According to the report to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), these affected backyard herds of up to 147 animals in the east of the country. In outbreaks between June 29 and September 15, 208 pigs were lost to the disease through mortality or culling in Serbia.

Read full article here



Are beef exports the winner or victim of international politics?

While we concentrate on COVID-19 effects, cattle markets and weather, international politics could affect our export potential. That includes events in Japan, South Korea, the U.K., Canada and China.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the key partner with President Trump in getting the momentous U.S.-Japan trade agreement, has been forced to resign. Intestinal problems that he has fought for some years finally made him unable to continue as prime minister. His party had to pick between his second in command and another protégé for party leader. Because the party has a big majority, whoever they selected was bound to become prime minister.

The party picked the man who had served as Abe’s right-hand man, Yoshihide Suga. He was believed to hold many of the same views as Abe and once he was selected, he made it very plain that he would continue Abe’s policies of opening Japan’s economy and close alliance with the U.S. Abe’s eight-year tenure has done more to get Japan’s economy reinvigorated than any Japanese administration in decades.

Read full article here


Farm-to-plate study to investigate SARS-CoV-2 in beef production

From live cattle entering a packing plant to the consumer’s kitchen table, a research project led by Texas A&M AgriLife aims to develop an accurate way to predict potential contamination with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, throughout the food supply chain.

Dr. Sapna Chitlapilly Dass, a meat science research assistant professor in the Texas A&M College of Agricultural & Life Sciences department of animal science, will lead the two-year, $1 million grant project of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food & Agriculture.

The project is a collaboration among Texas A&M AgriLife Research, Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (TVMDL), Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, the USDA-Agricultural Research Service’s U.S. Meat Animal Research Center in Nebraska and the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Patrick J. Stover, vice chancellor of Texas A&M AgriLife, dean of the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences and director of AgriLife Research, said, “Upon completion of this research, each segment of the supply chain will know where the virus hot spots might lie and how best to mitigate them. By bringing together our agencies and the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, AgriLife can address these issues as comprehensively as possible.”

To date, most studies on deciphering the cause and transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in meat production have based their understanding on just one aspect of the meat processing chain, Dass said.

Read full article here



U.S. Dairy Trade Agreements ‘Behind the Curve’

The United States is falling behind its dairy competitors in both the European Union and New Zealand in enacting new, bilateral trade agreements, says Peter Vitaliano, chief economist for the National Milk Producers Federation.

Vitaliano spoke on a Dairy Signal podcast sponsored by the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin this week.

“We are behind the curve. Our competitors are going gangbusters with bilateral agreements,” he says. “The U.S. has been very slow. [Our competitors] are so far ahead of us that the best we can do is get back to a level playing field.”

U.S. exports had been trending well for a few months prior to commodity price increases this spring. For four months, exports exceeded 17% of U.S. milk production on a milk solids basis, and in one of those months, exceeded 18%.

Read full article here


Milk Production Rises in August

The U.S. Department of Agriculture showed in its latest “Milk Production” report that production in the 24 major milk-producing states during August totaled 17.8 billion lb., up 1.9% from August 2019, while production per cow averaged 2,009 lb., up 25 lb. from August 2019. The number of milk cows on farms in the 24 major states was 8.84 million head, 51,000 head more than August 2019 but unchanged from July 2020.

USDA also revised its July production data to 17.9 billion lb., a 2.0% increase from July 2019. The July revision represented an increase of 91 million lb., or 0.5%, from last month’s preliminary production estimate, the agency said.

Read full article here



6 barriers standing in the way of cultured meat production

Cultured meat production promises to improve sustainability and animal welfare, however the new technology still needs to overcome several challenges before it can come to market.

“Is cultured meat going to deliver on its promise? Absolutely,” Benjamina Bollag, CEO and founder of cultured meat company HigherSteaks said on September 18 during the 2020 Future Food-Tech Summit.

“The variety of cultured meat products in progress is astonishing. However, there are still some challenges that we need to overcome before everyone can have cultured meat on their plate.”

  • Stem cell choices
  • Growth medium costs
  • Bioreactor design
  • Scaffolding decisions
  • Regulatory pathway
  • More capital is needed

Ultimately, consumer acceptance is needed before cultured meat can be considered successful. A recent study revealed that nearly three-quarters of Generation Z is still unsure about this meat alternative.

“To reach the mass market, we still need to educate the consumer further,” Bollag said.

Read full article here


ISU Researchers to Investiage Ag Supply Chain Resillency

A new grant will allow Iowa State University (ISU) researchers to study how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the U.S. food supply chain with the goal of finding short- and long-term solutions to increase resiliency against future disruption, a release from the university says.

The pandemic led to major disruptions in several agricultural industries, says Keri Jacobs, an associate professor of economics at ISU. “These disruptions were unique because we didn’t experience a shock to the supply of agricultural products—it was largely a shock to our processing capacity through reduced labor,” she says.

The lack of labor was especially problematic in agricultural industries, Jacobs says, as processing capacity, and the entire system was built based on known biological processes for products like eggs, milk, beef and pork. As the pandemic first spread, restaurants, bars, and schools closed, quickly changing consumers’ food consumption habits and needs, which created further disruptions in the supply chain. “Plants couldn’t make the switch quickly enough to meet the change in demand and had inventory prepared for a market that no longer existed,” Jacobs says in the release.

As consumers stayed home, the need for gasoline, and therefore ethanol, was driven down, which had consequences that fed back into food industries. “Carbon dioxide and distillers grains are by-products in ethanol production and are both important inputs in other supply chains,” Jacobs says in the release. She notes that distillers grains are used to feed livestock, and carbon dioxide is a preservative and key input in packaged liquid products. “When ethanol demand tanked, so did the production of those two by-products. So, in this case, the disruptions seeped into other food processing sectors,” she says.

Read full article here



Unlocking Farm Profitability with Data, Tech & Tracablity

Learn how to help your farm’s bottom line by putting machinery, data and technology to work monitoring and measuring the impact of your conservation agriculture and natural resource stewardship practices. Here’s why this type of business intelligence will be table stakes for the successful farm business of the future.

Jason Weller joined Land O’Lakes Inc. in 2017 where he serves as the vice president of Truterra, leading the team that is generating conservation solutions for the farmer cooperative’s members and owners. He previously served as chief of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, the nation’s largest working lands conservation organization. Prior to serving as chief, Jason served on the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, the U.S. House Budget Committee, and in the White House Office of Management and Budget. He and his family live in Minnesota, and he’s proud that his young daughters are sixth-generation Minnesotans.

Read full article here


Potential COVID-19 Vaccine Powered By Agriculture

A tree you’ve never heard of could be the key to a novel COVID-19 vaccine. Currently in development, this vaccine uses a compound called QS-21 from the Quillaja saponaria tree in Chile—one that also provides valuable agricultural compounds.

“By combining biotech with this native plant from Chile, we’ve been able to on one hand discover novel chemistry that allows us to participate in the [ag] production work today, and on the other hand have a sustainable method to produce a well-known adjuvant for modern vaccines,” says Gastón Salinas, CEO of Botanical Solutions Inc. (BSI).

The Quillaja Saponaria tree is native to Chile and grows up to 60’ tall. It’s considered an evergreen and is used for more than just agricultural and pharmaceutical purposes, including for soap. The tree itself isn’t endangered, but it’s in relatively short supply for all of its different uses and there are strict laws about deforestation. Therefore, Salinas had to find a solution that left mature trees alone but still provided valuable ingredients from this evergreen.

Read full article here


The information in this newsletter is intended to update our readers of current events.  Any third-party publications are presented for informational purposes only and the views presented in such publications are those of the respective authors.  The views therein are not necessarily representative of Aeros or any other CULTURA company’s views on any particular topic.