Nebraska feedlots, with capacities of 1,000 or more head, contained 2.37 million cattle on feed on May 1, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This inventory was down 7 percent from last year.

Placements during April totaled 310,000 head, down 29 percent from 2019.

Fed cattle marketings for the month of April totaled 315,000 head, down 28 percent from last year.

Other disappearance during April totaled 15,000 head, unchanged from last year.

Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 11.2 million head on May 1, 2020. The inventory was 5 percent below May 1, 2019.

Placements in feedlots during April totaled 1.43 million head, 22 percent below 2019. Placements were the second lowest for April since the series began in 1996. Net placements were 1.36 million head.

During April, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 295,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 180,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 315,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 392,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 180,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 70,000 head.

Marketings of fed cattle during April totaled 1.46 million head, 24 percent below 2019. April marketings are the lowest since the series began in 1996.

Other disappearance totaled 70,000 head during April, 17 percent above 2019.

Nebraska layers down in April

All layers in Nebraska during April 2020 totaled 7.96 million, down from 8.62 million the previous year, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Nebraska egg production during April totaled 184 million eggs, down from 207 million in 2019.

April egg production per 100 layers was 2,311 eggs, compared to 2,405 eggs in 2019.

Webinar to detail USDA coronavirus food assistance program for producers

The Coronavirus Food Assistance Program will be the focus of a joint webinar produced by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the Nebraska USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Thursday at noon.

The program provides direct financial assistance to agricultural producers to offset market supply chain disruptions caused by COVID-19. It is being implemented by FSA, with county offices across Nebraska accepting applications through Aug. 28, 2020.

The webinar will present information on commodities covered under the program, payment rates and details on navigating the application process. It will be presented by Cathy Anderson, production and compliance programs chief with the Nebraska FSA. Additional analysis of the program’s impact on Nebraska will be provided by Brad Lubben, extension associate professor and policy specialist in the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

This is part of series of weekly webinars examining COVID-19’s impact on agriculture in Nebraska that is produced by the Agricultural Economics Extension Farm and Ranch Management team.

The webinar will be held live on Zoom for approximately one hour, including time for questions from participants. Registration is open to everyone at https://go.unl.edu/manage2020.

Additional information, a schedule of other upcoming webinars and recordings of all sessions will be available there as well.

U.S. renewable energy consumption surpasses coal for the first time in over 130 years

In 2019, U.S. annual energy consumption from renewable sources exceeded coal consumption for the first time since before 1885, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Monthly Energy Review. EIA said this outcome “mainly reflects the continued decline in the amount of coal used for electricity generation over the past decade as well as growth in renewable energy, mostly from wind and solar.” Compared with 2018, coal consumption in the United States decreased nearly 15%, and total renewable energy consumption grew by 1%.

Historically, wood was the main source of U.S. energy until the mid-1800s and was the only commercial-scale renewable source of energy in the United States until the first hydropower plants began producing electricity in the 1880s. Coal was used in the early 1800s as fuel for steam-powered boats and trains and making steel, and it was later used to generate electricity in the 1880s. EIA’s earliest energy estimates began in 1635.

In 2019, U.S. coal consumption decreased for the sixth consecutive year to 11.3 quadrillion Btu, the lowest level since 1964. Electricity generation from coal has declined significantly over the past decade and, in 2019, fell to its lowest level in 42 years. Natural gas consumption in the electric power sector has significantly increased in recent years and has displaced much of the electricity generation from retired coal plants.

Total renewable energy consumption in the United States grew for the fourth year in a row to a record-high 11.5 quadrillion Btu in 2019. Since 2015, the growth in U.S. renewable energy is almost entirely attributable to the use of wind and solar in the electric power sector. In 2019, electricity generation from wind surpassed hydro for the first time and is now the most-used source of renewable energy for electricity generation in the United States on an annual basis.

Although coal was once commonly used in the industrial, transportation, residential, and commercial sectors, today coal is mostly used in the United States to generate electricity. About 90% of U.S. coal consumption is in the electric power sector, and nearly all the rest is in the industrial sector.

Renewable energy is more broadly consumed by every sector in the United States. About 56% of commercially delivered U.S. renewable energy is used in the electric power sector, mostly from wind and hydroelectric power, but different types are also consumed in the industrial (22%), transportation (12%), residential (7%), and commercial (2%) sectors.

Biomass, which includes wood, biogenic waste, and biofuels, is consumed in every sector. Wood and the losses and co-products from production of biofuels are the main renewable sources used in the industrial sector, and biofuels such as fuel ethanol, biodiesel, and renewable diesel are used in the transportation sector. Wood, waste, solar, and geothermal are among the most common sources used directly in the residential and commercial sectors.

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