My science brain is just plain confused. And I can’t wrap my head around the recent farmer survey that shows 31% of 4,778 farmers surveyed believe there isn’t sufficient evidence that climate change is occurring....More
The year 2014 has truly been a time of transition for the agricultural industry and rural areas. While challenging, there will be more opportunities to succeed in agriculture in the next decade than the last 30 years, but there will also be more opportunities to fail. A game plan including resiliency and agility will be the themes for 2015 and beyond for those moving to a higher level of management in the industry of agriculture....More
Five agriculture stories to read this week offer 2015 crop budgets and insight into falling gas prices. Read about lower land values, and see what's on Xpert Ed Usset's corn and soybean marketing wish list this Christmas. For some fun, check out amazing RC tractors at work.
The reality has set in that grain prices, cash flow and profit margins will be modest at best. Whether this part of the cycle correction will be one, two, or even five years or more in duration, farmers and their lenders will have to manage through these economic white waters....More
If your working capital burn rate is less than one year, it would be considered high risk. Above 3.5 years is indicative of a strong second line of defense and of course, between one and 3.5 years would be considered acceptable, but not stellar. To say the least, this winter and next year will be a balancing act as farmers juggle quickly converting liquid assets to cash to keep their businesses in operation....More
The combination of lower projected corn prices and soybean prices in 2015, together with nearly steady input costs for seed, fertilizer, and chemicals, will limit estimated potential returns over direct expenses and land costs, at average crop yields. Another major variable in breakeven levels in crop production are loan payments on capital investments such as farm machinery, facilities and land purchases....More
The process of enrolling in either the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) program or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program, which began in October and runs through spring, requires farmers to update their base acres and yields, then make a one-time decision for the program they will use for the next five years....More
Throughout the country many lenders and producers dealing with the grain industry may face situations when repayment is not possible this winter and into 2015. With high cash rents and leases, along with input cost creep, there is a strong possibility that 2014 and 2015 may not cash flow and may show negative repayment capacity for many grain producers. Now what?...More
Five agriculture stories to read this week include advice for renegotiating farmland leases (if you haven't done so already), as well as an FAQ on Title I programs in the 2014 Farm Bill. Read a perspective from Bayer CropScience CEO about the benefits of modern agriculture, and how that impacts our food safety. And while the Thanksgiving holiday has passed, it's not too late to be #thankful4ag, and to take a look at what U.S. farmers provide to make those amazing Thanksgiving meals.
Lessons from the past find that the stress point in business financials is repayment capacity given debt service commitments. Repayment capacity and the management factors that influence it should be front and center in many farmers’ game plans....More
Sign-up for the new farm program, which part of the new farm bill, is now underway at local USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices. The new farm program will be in place for the 2014 to 2018 crop years for all eligible crops under the Commodity Title of the 2014 Farm Bill, including corn, soybeans, wheat and other crops....More
The November issue of Corn+Soybean Digest offered fresh ideas in merging art and science to farm for the big picture. There are also corn residue breakdown myths, including a photo gallery. Read challenges in rail transport, and weed control. Get an outlook about corn production in China, and see what's ahead in soil health tests. Finally, read about the weather future for the Corn Belt. And don't forget regular pieces from Editor Kurt Lawton, as well as new ideas from Xperts Ed Usset and Dan Frieberg.
Included in the five agriculture stories to read this week is a reminder to pay attention to pesticide labels, particularly if planting cover crops. There's new research regarding demand for genetically modified seed, and a recap of the choices to make regarding upcoming farm bill options. Hear from Xpert Ed Usset about market price triggers, and check out a great Buzzfeed list about the top 10 things farmers are tired of hearing.
This month in particular, let's all be #thankful4ag. In doing so, go to thankful4ag.com, a cool website set up by Bayer CropScience. There, you can create a virtual holiday meal, learn some neat agriculture facts, and, the best part, help donate meals to those in need....More
Low corn and soybean prices and an expected increase in interest rates may put an end to farmland value increases, says Michael Langemeier, associate director of the Center for Commercial Agriculture, Purdue University. He says, however, that any decline will be slight and spread over more than a year....More
The grain industry is taking a body blow punch as prices have moderated over the year. If the lower prices continue into 2015 and beyond, there will be a “punch in the mouth” which will disrupt many producers’ strategic planning in the middle and later parts of the decade. A certain set of producers will still be profitable in the economic moderation. Let’s examine some of their characteristics....More
Five agriculture stories to read this week offer advice for watching your bottom line during this time of lower commodity prices. There are tips for winterizing your sprayer, as well as tips for successful weed control. Also read about the impact of low gas prices on the ethanol market. Finally, for some fun, enjoy the latest Peterson Farm Bros. parody, I'm so Farmer. Those fellas are so clever.
Nearly 6,800 ag professionals, from farmers to scientists, were surveyed about their beliefs regarding climate change, as well as whether it's caused by human activity or nature itself, or a combination of both. Survey results showed that most scientists believed climate change was happening, while about two-thirds of farmers believed it was....More
Yield improvements will be the key to Chinese efforts to continue boosting corn production, according to Dr. Fred Gale, USDA Economic Research senior economist, but yield improvements will not be adequate to meet growing corn demand....More
Forecasting higher-than-normal rainfall several months in advance is still folly. But from a climatological standpoint, odds are that wet springs and summers are more likely in the years ahead than they have been in the not-so-distant past....More
Economic trends from the past five years have had an outsized positive influence on row-crop productivity, says Wells Fargo Ag Economist and Senior VP Michael Swanson. As they fade, “recognize that your economic future is in the hands of the new trends replacing them,” Swanson says.
Lower corn and soybean prices are causing some concern among farm operators, as they negotiate land rental rates for the 2015 crop year. Some 2015 land rental rates may be set at levels that do not offer much opportunity for profit potential from crop production in 2015, or could even result in a significant net loss to the farm operator....More
The great commodity super cycle has burned out. It lasted for a decade, two and one-half times longer than any previous super cycle boom time over the past century. The easy money has been made in the grain industry; however, top-flight managers can still earn a profit when they focus on production and operations, marketing, risk management, and, of course, carefully monitoring finances....More