Three New Invasive Pests Have Been Found In or Near the US

The USDA and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has identified 18 “Hungry Pests” as some of the most destructive invasive species that people can unknowingly spread in the things they move, pack, and bring home from vacations. These pests cost our nation an estimated $120 billion each year in damages to our environment, agriculture and native species. As you well know, pests attack plants, crops and trees and can wipe out entire species from citrus trees to ash trees. Because they have no natural enemies here, invasive species can spread unchecked by nature. This month USDA/APHIS is adding three new insects recently found in the US that they want to make folks aware of: the coconut rhinoceros beetle, old world bollworm, and spotted lanternfly.

  • The coconut rhinoceros beetle – which, like its name, looks like a miniature rhinoceros – is destroying many species of palm trees, including date, oil, and the iconic coconut palm of Hawaii. The beetle uses its horn to bore into the palm crowns to feed on sap, which exposes the palm to disease. Hawaii, Guam and American Samoa are considered at risk.
  • The old world bollworm is a serious threat to agriculture and could disrupt commercial production of many major commodities, including corn, cotton, small grains, soybeans, peppers, and tomatoes. Was found in Puerto Rico in 2014. If it were to spread into the continental US it could seriously harm US agricultural production.
  • The spotted lanternfly destroys a wide range of fruits and hardwood trees, and it could greatly impair the nation’s grape, orchard, and logging industries. Most states are considered at risk.

As for what you could do to help stop the spread of invasive species, APHIS suggests not to move firewood, but to buy it at the location where it plans to be burned, cleaning lawn furniture before moving them, keeping plants with a quarantined area within that zone and reporting any signs of pests. If you do come into contact with any invasive pests, APHIS wants you to report them at


Iowa Declares State of Emergency Over Bird Flu

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad declared a state of emergency Friday in the face of a bird flu outbreak that appears to be rapidly spreading throughout the state’s poultry industry. This is the third state to declare a state of emergency due to the disease, with Minnesota and Wisconsin doing so in April. The move gives state officials access to additional resources in order to contain the outbreak, allows for removal and disposal of infected birds on public and private lands, lifts weight restrictions on trucks hauling culled flocks and allows law enforcement to set up checkpoints. Nine additional Iowa farms tested positive for the virus last week, including the largest operation so far – a 5.5 million bird facility owned by Rembrandt Foods, one of the country’s largest egg producers. Including the Rembrandt outbreak, about 17% of the state’s egg laying hens have been impacted.


Final Corn Planting Dates

There have been some question about “final planting” dates for insurance purposes. Hope this helps. Make sure you talk to your local insurance provide for local RMA office to verify specifics.


How Quickly Things Change

Market reversals happen all the time, but there have been some pretty dramatic shifts in just the last month. The Wall Street Journal compiled the data charted below, which shows the change in money-flow during April compared to the first quarter. Thomas Flury of UBS Wealth Management called it a “spring cleaning…Everything that made money this winter is being pushed away.” A lot of analysts out there attribute the recent shift to an unwinding of crowded trades, meaning the bets were heavy in one direction as everyone jumped on the bandwagon of a popular “story.” We see this happen time and time again. It’s not that the underlying fundamentals change on these investments, it’s more that those ideas get traded to an extreme, the trade gets maxed out and big-money reverses course and runs the other direction.


Corn Outlook 2015

Our friend and very respected source Dan O’Brien, Extension Agricultural Economist at K-State, recently released a very detailed Market Situation and Outlook report that I encourage everyone to read in full-detail. Below is a sample of three unique possibilities. Click HERE to read full report. 

  • $3.85 Corn? – “2015 Less 1.4 Million Acre-13.6 bb corn_ears_harvestProduction” Scenario: 89.199 ma planted, 81.706 ma harvested, early season USDA baseline forecast yields of 166.8 bu/ac, 2015 U.S. corn production of 13.629 bb, total supplies of 15.481 bb, total use of 13.750 bb, ending stocks of 1.731 bb, 12.6% S/U, & $3.85 /bu U.S. corn MYA prices. 
  • $4.30 Corn? - “2015 “Normal Crop” 13.3 bb Production” Scenario (80% prob.): 88.199 ma planted, 81.706 ma harvested, KSU long term trend yield of 162.3 bu/ac, 2015 U.S. corn production of 13.261 bb, total supplies of 15.113 bb, total use of 13.700 bb, ending stocks of 1.413 bb, 10.31% S/U, & $4.30 /bu U.S. corn MYA prices.
  • $6,75 Corn? - “2015 “Short Crop” 12.7 bb Production” Scenario (20% prob.): Planted and harvested acres unchanged from the previous scenario, but with a KSU low yield forecast of 155.0 bu/ac, U.S. corn production of 12.664 bb, total supplies of 14.516 bb, total use of 13.550 bb, ending stocks of 966 mb, 7.13% S/U, & $6.75 /bu U.S. corn MYA prices. 
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