How often do we see, particularly in family business transition, a situation in which the younger generation returns to a business that has been a profitable high performer for the previous generation, but it continuously fails to “finish the race” or underperforms compared to peers when the younger generation steps into the driver’s seat?...More
The 5 Ag stories to read this week talk about the possibility of skipping Bt-traited corn in 2015 to help save costs, and offer examples of low returns for 2015. There is also help for making decisions regarding the new risk programs in the 2014 farm bill. Read what farmers learned in 2014, and remember to practice safety this harvest season as National Farm Safety and Health Week comes to a close.
The September issue of Corn+Soybean Digest offers a lot for readers. From data management to tips for financial success in turbulent times, what farmers learned in 2014 to strip-till tips. Check out these feature stories for insight on Ukraine corn exports, as well as marketing advice for low prices, using tillage for weed control and cover crop seed mixes.
In the long run, the key to success in a commodity business is being a low-cost producer. That advice comes from Purdue Distinguished Ag Economics Professor Michael Boehlje. “When you wake up each day, tell yourself, ‘My job today is to lower my costs,’ he says. “The only trouble is that Ukraine woke up seven hours earlier and got a head start on it.”...More
The continued low CBOT corn and soybean prices increases the likelihood of significant 2014 crop insurance indemnity payments for many Minnesota farm operators that have 80% and 85% RP insurance policies in place. Crop insurance payments may not be as widespread in states such as Iowa and Illinois, which are likely to have much higher 2014 corn and soybean yield levels than will exist in much of Minnesota....More
As you think about retirement, keep in mind how inflation can impact your investment strategies. At a 4% historical long-term inflation rate, $50,000 becomes $25,000 in buying power by the year 2032 (72 / 4 = 18 years). As a goal, one should aspire to generate a return on your investments including dividends and appreciation that meets or exceeds the rate of inflation to maintain buying power....More
Sanctions and trade disruptions in the ongoing Ukraine-Russia dispute have yet to hamper Ukraine’s corn exports, which the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates at almost 800 million bushels for the 2013/14 marketing year....More
When corn was $5, $6 or even $7 per bushel, why didn’t I sell more? When soybeans hovered in the teens, why didn’t I pull the trigger? With 2014 harvest prices projected below $3.50 for corn and $10 for soybeans, many farmers are asking these questions....More
The saga of the young farmer and rancher continues as transition in the agriculture industry is in full bloom. While there is no surefire way to get started, there are some common threats, whether starting from scratch or entering a family business. Let’s examine some of the threats and pitfalls that frequently arise....More
Harvest is back and it’s time to make some marketing decisions. Should I sell now or store grain to sell later in the crop year? Maybe I should sell the carry in the market. Our alternatives are limited and, with prices at four-year lows, the choice will not be easy. Let’s look at the cards we’ve been dealt....More
The average producer on FINBIN databases typically spends 73-75¢ to generate $1 of income, leaving only roughly 25¢ for other financial obligations. It is disturbing that this ratio jumped above 80¢ in 2013 for the first time since 1995, illustrating severe margin compression, particularly among the average producers....More
Brian Watkins farms near Toledo, Ohio. For a long time, he’s been working on a computer model to predict costs on his 7,000-acre corn and soybean farm. He came up with Cropzilla. Using a $3.50 corn price, the numbers have absolutely influenced the decisions he’s made on his Ohio farm, he says....More
In over 30 years analyzing and examining farm record data, I have noticed that profitability decline will usually precede cash flow and repayment ability issues by about two to three years. Could it happen this time?...More
Currently, as of mid-August, geopolitical risk is the largest risk with a “code red.” The unrest in Ukraine and tension in the Middle East move markets daily. Unfortunately, agriculture is often the industry first affected by political and military unrest....More
It sounds like a broken record, but soybean futures continue their downward slope. Good weather and projections for a big crop that will swell supply numbers are more than bearish on prices, notes Dan O’Brien, Kansas State University Extension ag economist....More
While the recently passed Water Resources Reform and Development Act “moves the needle,” far more needs to be done, says Paul Rohde, Midwest area vice president for the Waterways Council, Inc. He warns that by the end of this decade, 78% of waterway locks will have surpassed the end of their design life....More
“I’ve learned to put more time in producing, trusting my grain elevator to do much of the marketing,” says Steven Albracht, a Hart, Texas, grower who has a corn, cotton and triticale rotation, all under irrigation. Albracht knew the corn pipeline would eventually refill and put pressure on prices. That’s why he made sure his 2014 corn was being marketed while he was on the combine cutting his 2013 crop....More
Farmers using cover crops as a soil conservation method can remove much more corn stover per acre for biofuels or other uses and at the same time potentially increase their income, Purdue University research shows....More
A young agricultural lender recently asked, “With tighter margins anticipated in the future, where should producers focus their energy to maintain viability of their operations?” While there is no one strategy to fit all, the following is some advice that can be applied regardless of the business cycle or business enterprise....More
Corn prices, as measured by the national average corn price received by farmers, are sinking below the $4/bu. mark for the first time since summer, 2010. By harvest, cash corn prices could be $3.50/bu. or less. Old-crop soybean prices have stubbornly held their ground much better than corn, but new crop prices of $10/bu. or less are a real possibility by harvest. Like corn, we need to go back to 2010 to find sub-$10 soybeans....More
We've posted several new videos covering relevant topics for farmers, including: land risk management, cost management strategies, cost of production, marketing strategy for low-priced corn and more. Check out these videos for insight and tips from industry experts including David Kohl, Matt Roberts, Mike Boehlje and Michael Langemeier.
Todd Keuthe, University of Illinois, talks about the market for farmland. "Most farmland owners see it as a long-term investment," Keuthe says. "People are willing to pay 34 times what they expect to earn."...More
“In a 2010 survey, we asked landlords to rate the importance of characteristics they consider when evaluating tenant performance,” says J. Gordon Arbuckle Jr., a sociologist at Iowa State University. “More than 90% of landlords ranked ‘ability to maintain soil productivity’ and ‘ability to avoid soil erosion’ as important or very important."...More