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  • Jul 15, 2014
    video
    Corn and Soybean Digest

    The farmer as a CEO 1

    David Kohl spoke with CSD Editor Kurt Lawton about the farmer as a CEO, noting that profitable businesses have good people. From allocating profits to working capital and cost of production, as well as lender relationships, Kohl says that being proactive and having the right people around you is going to be critical for success....More
  • Jul 11, 2014
    blog

    Is it time to lock in propane prices? 1

    I continue to field calls from farmers asking about locking in propane prices. I think this is​ a​ very smart play and something I have definitely been recommending for the past couple of weeks, at least on ​a ​significant portion of your fall and winter needs. Personally, I think securing 70% of your estimated needs makes a lot of sense at these levels. ​ I am NOT saying we don't have the propane to meet our needs here in the US, because we do....More
  • Jul 11, 2014
    video
    Corn and Soybean Digest

    Grain farmers: Know your cost of production 1

    David Kohl, professor emeritus, Virginia Tech University, spoke that the Wyffels Hybrids Corn Strategies Conference at Wild Rose Farm, Inc., near Galesburg, Ill. Kohl stressed the importance of grain and livestock farmers knowing their cost of production in order to be successful....More
  • Jul 11, 2014
    Video
    Corn and Soybean Digest

    Corn market uncertainty 1

    Matt Roberts, associate professor at Ohio State University, spoke at the Wyffels Hybrids Corn Strategies conference in mid-July at the Wild Rose Farm near Galesburg, Ill. Here he talks about the uncertainty of the corn market and prices, adding that there is more uncertainty due to the possibility of corn being added back to livestock rations because of lower corn prices....More
  • Jul 9, 2014
    blog

    Make smart risk management moves when marketing soybeans 1

    Soybeans continue to try and break downhill slalom records (breaking over a $1.30 in the past 8 trading sessions) on thoughts of a mammoth new-crop coming down the pipe and talk that many U.S. crushers are claiming to have enough coverage to make it through August, possibly holding out until U.S. southern new-crop bushels hit the supply pipeline....More
  • Jul 8, 2014
    blog

    Back to the Future, Part 1: Farm economy in 1980s vs. 2010s

    One question during a recent forum discussion with ag lenders put me and other professors in the Back to the Future time machine to discuss the similarities and differences in the farm economy now compared to the 1980s....More
  • Jul 1, 2014
    blog

    Economic halftime report

    Globally, the economic slowdown of emerging nations along with unrest in Ukraine, and now Iraq, bears watching. Remember, spikes in oil prices have been a major contributor to every recession since 1969. Overall, both the domestic and global economies are muddling along, uninspired by central bank stimulus both here in United States and abroad....More
  • Jun 30, 2014
    blog

    Are farm land values headed for a downturn?

    The moderation in commodity prices, along with the potential for increases in ag real estate interest rates, will likely continue to put downward pressure on land values. Some farm management analysts have suggested that a combination of these factors could result in average land values dropping by as much as one-third from the highest levels in the next few years....More
  • Jun 27, 2014
    blog

    Judgment, farm experience impact your bottom line 1

    Technology is a great tool, but don’t discount your judgment. When and whether to enter a wet field, identifying broken tile, how you control spray drift, which surfactant to use, when to use glyphosate and at what levels, which stage of cereal rye is easiest to kill it off (avoid the tillering stage)…you get the idea. These judgment calls, based on your experience, are second nature....More
  • Jun 24, 2014
    blog

    Complacency: The Silent Killer

    Complacency can be the silent business killer. Peer analysis and benchmarking can be the catalysts that motivate managers to focus on aspects of the business that are done well, and then step outside with the advisory teams and other leading businesses to break into new territory, taking the business to a new level....More
  • Jun 24, 2014
    blog

    Soybeans continue to support the grain market 1

    It seems the soybean market has to deliver a spectacular performance each and every day or in general, the entire ag sector seems a bit disappointed. This bullish demeanor, or tilt to the market, in my opinion, has caused some traders to take several ill-advised shots on goal the past few months....More
  • Jun 18, 2014
    blog

    Soybeans could have one last rally 1

    From a "spread" perspective, I continue to hear talk form many traders who suspect the old-crop/new-crop spread (now at it's lowest level since mid-Feb) will continue to deteriorate – at least through the June 30th report. From there it's believed we could see a late inning rally and perhaps one last hurrah!...More
  • Jun 17, 2014
    blog

    Crucial farm transition management conversations: In-laws joining farm operation 1

    How can a son-in-law or daughter-in-law bring up the conversation about joining the farm operation or possible ownership? Often the younger generation family members are intimidated particularly if they have provided labor for the business for quite a while. What will frequently occur is that time will slip by and months become years without these important questions being asked and answered, which often ends up being disastrous to all generations involved....More
  • Jun 16, 2014
    blog

    Dairy industry facts

    For decades in Minnesota, June has been known as Dairy Month. Here are some interesting facts and figures about the Dairy industry....More
  • Jun 13, 2014
    blog

    Market your old-crop corn bushels 1

    Dumping the old-crop bushels and holding off on any new-crop sales obviously makes the most sense. It creates cash-flow, frees up available storage and buys lots of additional time. Also with new-crop prices well below the spring revenue insurance guarantee of $4.62 per bushel, I see no real need to start making new-crop sales at this stage....More
  • Jun 10, 2014
    blog

    Working capital: The shock absorber 1

    While 33% working capital to revenue is appropriate for cash grain and market livestock businesses because of significant inventory, is this level of working capital too aggressive for dairies, since milk inventory is picked up every day or every other day?...More
  • Jun 6, 2014
    blog

    Are soybean cash markets telling a different story? 1

    Soybean bears are wondering if the cash markets might be telling a slightly different story than the balance sheet bulls are projecting. The bears are also thinking the USDA will revise last years soybean crop higher by some 15 to 25 million bushels. The question the bulls are asking is how much higher will domestic crush and export demand be raised?...More
  • Jun 3, 2014
    blog

    China to overtake the U.S. economy 1

    China is a rising economic power and with that status it will become a bigger partner in world economic trade. It will require China to step up to the plate in environmental and social issues and they will be criticized by neighboring countries that are sometimes threatened, particularly in that region of the world....More
  • May 28, 2014
    blog

    Soybeans: It's only when the tide goes out you discover who was swimming naked 1

    From what I am hearing most end-users are about 65-75% covered through July but have next to nothing done for August. Obviously everybody is hoping imports will help resolve the situation, but no one is clearly certain about how this game will end.    Soybean traders are digesting the fact the US planting pace is now AHEAD of our traditional average.  The USDA released data yesterday showing that 59% of the crop is now planted vs. 41% last year and 56% on average. In addition 25% of the crop is now "emerged" vs....More
  • May 27, 2014
    blog

    2014 Custom farming agreements 1

    Although the concept of a custom farming agreement is simple, close communication between the custom operator and the landowner is essential. A written contract for the custom farming agreement should definitely be prepared that specifies the amount of payment by the landowner to the custom operator, and all other pertinent details....More
  • May 27, 2014
    blog

    Economic indicators and confusing signals 1

    The U.S. economy is showing mixed signals. The lead economic index (LEI) which foretells the future of the economy has been increasing in recent months, most recently up 0.4%, which is bullish for the economy. Sixty percent of the factors that make up the LEI are exhibiting positive signs....More
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