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
In visiting with producers between sessions at a recent conference, the big question was, “What if a large crop occurs next year in both hemispheres?” If that does occur, many producers who have high fixed cost structures will either continue to burn through working capital and cash, or they may be required to refinance operating losses, if their lenders approve....More
This installment of 5 Agriculture stories to read reminds growers to adhere to herbicide rotation, and offers new research about using clover as a nitrogen source for corn. There is also help for making farm bill decisions regarding yield updates, and information on GMO safety and labeling, and the consumer's willingness to pay for it. Finally, read about a farmer who lost his cell phone in a grain bin, and had it turn up in Japan....More
Are GMOs harmful? Are consumers willing to pay more at the grocery store to have GMO foods labeled? These are just two of the questions Holly Spangler, Farm Progress publications, addresses in her recent series about GMOs....More
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
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
The new 2014 Farm Bill substantially streamlines the number of conservation programs and moderately reduces overall conservation funding by 6.5% from the existing 10-year baseline budget over 2014-2023. Many of the cuts are slated for 2018-2023.
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
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
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
In this installment of 5 Agriculture stories to read, there are outlooks for soybean aphids and farm incomes. The USDA is offering funding for farmers who establish new bee habitats. Help bust GMO myths by sharing a gallery showing what is not, and what is, a GMO. And have a little fun learning what a farmer says with a YouTube video....More
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
Rain intensified across the Upper Midwest, erasing vestiges of drought but halting fieldwork and triggering lowland flooding. Weekly totals of at least 4-8 inches were common across southern Minnesota, northern Iowa and parts of neighboring states, sending rivers out of their banks and in some cases to record-high levels.
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
GMO Answers is busting GMO myths and misinformation, helping consumers learn what is, and what isn't, a GMO, and providing answers to your GMO questions. These images help dispell some of the myths and misinformation, and you can learn more about GMOS at GMOAnswers.com.
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
In its fourth-annual research project focused on consumers and food, Charleston|Orwig uncovered ample opportunities for companies across the food system to engage with consumers. Results showed that consumers want to know how genetically modified organisms (GMOs) affect health—theirs and their family’s—and are less concerned with political or moral issues surrounding GMOs.
Prior to the arrival of heavy rain across the southern Plains, multiple rounds of heavy showers and locally severe thunderstorms crossed the central Plains, Midsouth, and Midwest. Weekly rainfall totaled 4 inches or more in numerous locations across the central and southern Plains, Tennessee Valley, and southwestern Corn Belt.
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
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
The number of farms in the United States in 2013 was estimated at 2.10 million, down 7 thousand farms from 2012. Total land in farms, at 914 million acres, decreased 360 thousand acres from 2012. The average farm size in 2013 was 435 acres, up 2 acres from the previous year.
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
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
Bears continue to feel the pain and side-effects of Injuries sustained by the sudden and unexpected jerking of the markets higher. I continue to monitor both the NOV14 and NOV15 soybean contracts in hopes of making another round of sales and further reducing downside risk and exposure....More