Rising diesel prices have made tackling fuel economy more important than ever. Given how much you spend on fuel each year, even a small change in fuel usage can mean boost your profit. For example, using using a low-viscosity oil can boost fuel economy, but that's the just one of several management tactics you can use to boost profits in spring and fall....More
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.
"The public policy debate over GMOs is riddled with misinformation and highly-sensationalized arguments," said National Center Free Enterprise Project Director Justin Danhof, Esq. "Today's meeting shows that fact-based scientific consensus can trump emotional appeals that are not tethered to science or reason."...More
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
Reports of more severe waterhemp infestation in Midwest soybean acres continue to roll in as we head into harvest, and that means more herbicide-tolerant weed seed going into the ground to cause larger future problems....More
The National Center for Public Policy Research is urging General Mills investors to vote down a shareholder proposal that would direct the company to remove completely safe and nutritious genetically modified organisms (GMOs) from its products....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
These 5 ag stories to read talk about the impact of recent low temperatures on soybean yield, and remind growers to scout corn fields for stalk and ear rots before harvest. There is also big picture information about the choices farmers will soon make regarding the 2014 Farm Bill. Read advice on using tillage to control resistant weeds, and for the hunters, check out the 2014 pheasant hunting forecast.
Based on two recent reports of county average cash rents in Illinois, experts at the University of Illinois see cash rent decreasing on professionally managed land, as well as on above-average rents. Below-average cash rents may remain stable or decrease....More
There have been several reports of the data on some FSA units not being accurate, due to changes in FSA farm units that occurred in the past five years. It is very important for farm operators and land owners to review this data, and to report any data that is not accurate the local FSA offices by September 26. This data will be used in the coming weeks for decisions on base acre reallocation and updating FSA payment yields on each FSA farm unit....More
Inflation, while benign in the general economy, has been running full steam ahead in input and operating costs in the agriculture industry ranging anywhere from 5% to 10% annually. Combine this with increases in real estate taxes and the fixed cost component of equipment and machinery, and one can quickly observe how profit margins have quickly disappeared with lower commodity prices....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
Widespread, locally heavy rain boosted topsoil moisture and aided immature summer crops from the northern Plains into the Midwestern and MidAtlantic states. Weekly rainfall totaled at least 4 inches in several areas, including central Montana, parts of the Dakotas, and some northern locations in Illinois and Indiana.
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
Land owners who do not farm their land are not typically involved in farm program decisions at FSA offices, as those decisions are usually made by farm operators. However, in the coming months, farm operators and land owners will have several one-time choices to make regarding their farm program participation for the 2014-2018 crop years, as part of the commodity title of the new farm bill....More
This week's 5 Ag stories to read includes advice on scouting for Southern rust in corn, as well as an outlook on farmland prices. Also read an opinion about GMO and organic working together to feed a growing population. There are also tips and methods for seeding cover crops, and for a little fun, enjoy a gallery featuring a throwback to seed bags.
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
The debate over GMOs has tended to sidetrack progress on the development of a common agenda to solving the global food security problem. And that's unacceptable, because 1) we don't have time to waste, and 2) it actually isn't difficult to figure out where that common ground lies....More
Much-needed rain fell across the southern and western Corn Belt, easing concerns about the effects of a drier-than-normal July on reproductive to filling summer crops. Weekly rainfall totaled 2-4 inches or more from the central Plains into the middle Mississippi Valley, but pockets of short-term dryness persisted in the northern and eastern Corn Belt.
This installment of 5 Ag stories to read offers best management practices for insecticide applications to help maintain water quality. There are also some crop insurance numbers, and an interactive map showing ag production for all states. Also hear what one family is doing for on-farm conservation. For a little fun, catch a fun "Frozen" parody from the infamous Farmer Derek.