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
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
There is no single recipe to determine the right cover crop mix for a particular field, much less an entire farm. You need to know each field, set goals and set a budget that makes sense. Are the primary concerns to retain and build nutrient levels for the coming crop, managing moisture, compaction or simply building soil health?...More
A big challenge in many areas of the Upper Midwest is continued cooler than normal temperatures, and lower-than-normal accumulation of growing degree units (GDUs). This raises concerns that some of the 2014 corn and soybean crop may not reach maturity prior to the first killing frost, especially in areas with very late planting dates this past spring....More
Five ag stories to read this week reminds growers to scout soybean fields for diseases, including sudden death syndrome and brown stem rot. Watch a video update on crop conditions in August across the Midwest, and read about yields and their impact on crop returns for 2014. Also watch a video with practical tips for using UAVs on your farm. And as harvest creeps up on us, check out one of our favorite photo galleries: A day in the life of corn harvest.
“Do we need to till or not?” Purdue University weed scientist Bryan Young often hears this question from Midwest soybean growers fighting herbicide-resistant marestail, waterhemp and Palmer amaranth....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.
Sudden death syndrome (SDS) and white mold could cause economic losses in soybean fields this year. SDS comes from toxins already in the field and can be influenced by weather, and white mold incidence may be increased due to weather conditions, says Carl Bradley, associate professor, University of Illinois. He also notes that plants infected with SDS can look like plants infected with brown stem rot....More
The Crop Progress report released on Monday by the USDA showed the corn crop falling behind average development in the dent stage. Corn condition improved slightly over last week. The soybean crop is nearly done setting pods, but overall condition dropped slightly in the last seven days....More
The August issue of Corn+Soybean Digest features many great stories, including cover crops, high-moisture harvesting, waterway reform, strip-till decisions, market tips and data decisions. Read these tips and ideas to help you with agronomic, marketing and data decisions on your farm.
White mold is caused by the fungus Sclerotinia sclerotiorum and is favored by cool, damp conditions. From the edge of the field, the soybeans have a gray-green appearance. Here are some things to keep in mind when white mold has infested your soybean fields....More
The USDA Crop Report issued on August 12 estimated the 2014 total U.S. corn production to be just over 14.0 billion bushels, which would be new corn production record. This would be a slight increase from the 2013 production level of 13.9 billion bushels, and compares to 10.8 billion bushels in 2012....More
Midwest farmers are deploying many techniques for planting cover crops: broadcasting with fertilizer spreaders, flying on the cover crop and modifying high-clearance sprayers. Others are pairing cover crop seeding with another field operation, such as vertical tillage, manure application or even combining....More
Soybean diseases are starting to show up in Iowa fields this growing season. In an On-Farm Network trial in north central Iowa, brown stem rot (BSR) was recently found. This disease is caused by the fungus Phialophora gregata, and infection can result in yield loss for Iowa farmers.
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
USDA released the August Crop Production and WASDE reports, predicting an increase in both corn and soybean production, and a decrease in prices. Ending stocks are increased for corn and are flat for soybeans....More
This installment of 5 Ag stories to read reminds growers to scout corn and soybean fields for stink bugs, and also talks about the impact cooler weather has on corn yield. Read about Russia's recent ban on food imports from Europe and the U.S., and how that's impacting markets. There's also a progress update on the implementation of new farm programs in the 2014 Farm Bill. Finally, enjoy a little trombone serenade by one farmer...to his cattle!
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced continued progress on implementing the Agricultural Act of 2014 (the 2014 Farm Bill), which President Obama signed into law nearly six months ago on Feb. 7, 2014. The 2014 Farm Bill reforms agricultural policy, reduces the deficit, and helps grow America’s economy.
As companies line up to offer you solutions based on their proprietary algorithms that you adopt the same position as President Reagan did in negotiating arms treaties with the Former Soviet Union – “trust, but verify”. If a company tells you that their proprietary algorithm says you need 50 lbs. of additional N, use your technology to verify....More
The soybean "technicians" are looking back at prices noticing that they are at the same levels as they were on July11th. Many are also noting that a "key bullish reversal" could be building. As I have mentioned over the past several reports, we are definitely in the midst of a major weather market, but we are also transitioning from a bullish old crop story to a potentially extremely bearish new crop story....More
The American Soybean Association is seeking applicants for its annual Conservation Legacy Awards program. This is your chance to promote your farm's conservation efforts. Application deadline is Sept. 1, 2014.
Farm operators and land owners will have several one-time choices to make in the coming months regarding their farm program participation for the 2014-2018 crop years. Since the commodity farm program choices are for five years, land owner approval and signatures will be required on all cash and share rented farm land. Some of the choices include: reallocation of crop base acres, farm program payment yields and risk programs....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
Several well respected sources think that we could see the current USDA bean yield estimate of 45.2bpa, be pushed higher by up 3-4%, meaning a 46.5bpa to 47bpa, may not be out of the question. A jump in yields that substantial could push ending stocks north of 500 million bushels and prices below $10.00....More
This installment of 5 Ag stories to read reminds growers to check soybeans for white mold, and to be sure they're in compliance when it comes to the new conservation measures in the 2014 Farm Bill. There are Q&As for those who need some tips on farmland leases, and ideas on reducing yield loss when it's time to harvest corn. Finally, read some funny lessons learned from farm mistakes.