More in Business

  • Jul 7, 2015
    blog

    State of the U.S. ag economy: Energy, row crops, consumer sentiment

    Overall, the United States economy at halftime will grade out strong for the coasts and in the southern part of the country. Weather will of course, continue to play a large role in our overall economic state. In any scenario, however, a sense of caution is prudent in the flyover states....More
  • Jul 7, 2015
    blog

    Will the USDA lower soybean yields in July supply and demand report?

    Soybean bears were happy to see overall soybean crop conditions left unchanged at 63% good/excellent. The bulls, however, are arguing there are still an estimated 14 million soybean acres at risk if you include all the unplanted acres (still over 3 million), those planted but not yet emerged, and those acres which are currently in poor/very poor condition....More
  • Jun 30, 2015
    blog

    Surviving an economic downturn in the agriculture industry

    While difficult, decisions of restraint during the super cycle of profits put producers at an advantage going into this economic downturn. Many of them forward priced with a guaranteed profit instead of waiting for possible higher profits. This looks like a smart strategy from today’s perspective....More
  • Jun 26, 2015
    blog

    What's ahead of the USDA report for corn and soybeans?

    The soybean story has become much sexier than it was in late May and or early June. Not only is U.S. weather more of a concern, but there is also more talk that the USDA may have overestimated last years production. The corn bulls report too much moisture in many locations is causing shallow root systems and loss of nitrogen. The corn bears continue to talk about the possibility of the USDA delivering a couple of bearish blows in the form of increased planted acreage and record setting quarterly stocks....More
  • Jun 23, 2015
    blog

    Agriculture super-cycles are not the norm

    A long term trend cannot be determined by two year periods prior or post; nevertheless, adjustments in profit levels appear to be settling in. Multi-year, high profits cause margin compression as fixed and variable costs increase. This is just another example of the old saying, “high profits cure high profits.”...More
  • Jun 16, 2015
    blog

    3 Factors pointing to less soybean acres

    As a producers, I believe the best-of-practice is to remain patient and keep all hedges in place. Yes, there could be some upside movement as thoughts about acres are readjusted, but I'm just not sure we can sustain much of a longer-term upside rally without some type of more negative headlines out of South America....More
  • Jun 16, 2015
    blog

    Global trade risk, part 2: What actions can farmers take

    It is imperative in today’s world of trade risk to build up extra liquidity or working capital reserves. How much is enough depends on debt servicing requirements, and marketing and risk management plans including crop insurance....More
  • Jun 16, 2015
    blog

    Avian flu outbreaks slow, but impacts continue

    Even though the number of avian flu cases has waned in recent weeks, the economic impacts of the worst bird flu outbreak in U.S. history are not likely to disappear any time soon. The first turkey producers in central Minnesota that broke with the virus in early March have started to re-populate their barns, slightly over 90 days after their flocks were depopulated....More
  • Jun 9, 2015
    blog

    Is the top end of corn yield already clipped?

    corn yields, wet conditions, weather...More
  • Jun 9, 2015
    blog

    Global trade risk, part 1

    The number one risk facing agriculture is international trade, because many facets of the agriculture industry are internationally interconnected. The slowdown of emerging economies is in full gear, and the results are being observed in the re-entrenchment of prices for commodities such as grains, oil, steel and copper. The slowdown is targeted toward the flyover states, i.e. the agricultural and rural regions in the U.S....More
  • Jun 1, 2015
    blog

    Signs of storm clouds in agriculture: Operating credit, asset sales

    Storm clouds are building as American agriculture, specifically the grain sector, is entering phase one of the post-commodity super cycle downturn. One of the first signs of a downturn is buildup of machinery and equipment inventory on dealership lots. Another: access to short-term operating credit will become an issue as some producers fail to meet existing loan covenants....More
  • May 26, 2015
    blog

    Will on-farm storage be the Achilles heel for corn?

    Corn traders this afternoon will be digesting the latest weekly USDA crop-condition estimates. Most inside the trade believe at least 90% of the corn crop is now planted with a very large percentage actually emerged, both running ahead of schedule. Perhaps even more impressive is the fact 77% or more of the U.S. corn crop could be considered in good-to-excellent condition....More
  • May 26, 2015
    blog

    Are ag outlooks from 2010 on track in 2015?

    If you look back five years, what would you have said then compared to where we are today? Let’s dial the time machine back to 2010 and examine some of the hits and misses in economic projections....More
  • May 22, 2015
    video
    Corn+Soybean Digest

    AFS Connect 2.0 data usage and management 2

    Joe Michaels, senior director, specialty business for Case IH, talks about the AFS Connect data system and how it can help farmers monitor field operations, as well as mine data for future uses and best practices. From messaging via monitor to monitoring fleets and equipment operation, the AFS Connect system helps you measure field activity so you can improve overall operations....More
  • May 22, 2015
    blog

    Will the corn upside opportunity come later in the game?

    Corn exports remain stronger than many inside the trade had anticipated despite the strength in the U.S. dollar. Just keep in mind we will still more than likely export about 5% less corn than we did last year....More
  • May 19, 2015
    blog

    10 perspectives on ag business from a college student

    I gave a recent conference attendee an assignment to complete during his nearly two hour drive home that evening. His assignment was to come up with 10 perspectives from my speech and give them to mom to turn in when she returned the next morning. And he did. From moderation in family living cost to knowing your bottom line, that young college student picked up my tips for success....More
  • May 12, 2015
    blog

    Potential changes to actively engaged rules 1

    In late March, USDA announced some proposed revisions to the actively engaged rules that are designed to further clarify some of the definitions and rules surrounding the requirement for management in a farm operation. This could potentially restrict certain individuals that currently qualify for farm program payments from potentially having future farm program payment eligibility beginning with the 2016 crop year....More
  • May 12, 2015
    blog

    Tips for working effectively with your ag lender, part 2

    Last week we talked about cash flow, sensitivity analyses and liquidity and how those matter when working with your ag lender. This week, lets go over the importance of a business plan, communications and productive assets....More
  • May 12, 2015
    blog

    Has the game changed for soybeans?

    Soybeans remain fundamentally bearish as U.S. planting is reported at 31% complete, and well ahead of the 5-year 20% average. As a producer I'm content on staying patient and waiting for a move back above $10.00. As a spec I like the sideline!...More
  • May 8, 2015
    blog

    Can macro markets and U.S. dollar give soybean prices a bounce?

    Soybean traders seem to be keeping a close eye on the macro markets, particularly the direction of the U.S. dollar and the direction of crude oil. Market insiders continue to believe a weaker dollar and gains in crude oil will continue to add strength in the soybean market....More
  • May 1, 2015
    blog

    How high can corn prices go without a weather story?

    There's never been a crop year yet that didn't start off without concerns surrounding weather. The problem is, as of right now this doesn't equate to facts the bulls can use to build a case against the bears. In the courtroom of trading, the "what ifs" surrounding weather are simply considered hearsay and not permissible as actual evidence....More

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