In this second installment of our best stories from 2014, farmers showcase drainage systems that also irrigate, along with high-yield corn production tips. Read how tillage increases compaction, and plan for a micronutrient strategy. There are conservation ideas to help farmers be competitive, as well as thoughts on soil lime. All of these stories offered farmers an approach to help them Think Different about their farm operations.
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
Farmers, from an agronomic perspective, are doing great keeping phosphorus loss as low as 1% to 2%. The challenge, according to University of Arkansas phosphorus expert Andrew Sharpley, “isn’t so much the magnitude of the losses, or even the tile system itself; it’s the extent to which tile drainage has been implemented by farmers.”...More
Chad Hart, Iowa State University Extension economist, expects to see corn prices in the $4 range, and soybeans in the single digits for 2015. Good demand but larger supplies will hold prices down over the next couple of years, he says....More
As we look back on 2014, we remember some of our best stories, tips and ideas from farmers. Included in this first Best Of installment are ideas about data management and using and sharing that data to farm smarter, better. There are conservation ideas and soil health tips. Read about biotic fertilizers, and tips for telling your farm story. All of these stories offer farmers the chance to Think Different about their operations.
Rabobank published a global outlook for ag commodities, including corn and soybeans, in 2015, focusing on demand, supply and prices. Lower prices levels should encourage consumption growth, say market researchers. According to the report, key variables to watch include: U.S. dollar strength, uncertain Chinese demand growth, slowing biofuel demand and oil price weakness....More
An analysis of some of the more common custom rates in the 2014 Iowa Custom Rate Survey showed that the listed “average” custom rates for some farming practices may be a bit low, given the higher ownership costs of larger farm machinery, higher fuel expenses that have existed in 2014, and the difficult field conditions that existed in some areas....More
Soil tilth saves you money. After six years of continuous no-till, a field can produce more yield per unit of nitrogen than a conventionally tilled field. Think of it as better fuel mileage, smarter nitrogen use and better nutrient recycling....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.
Jon Everett didn’t dodge opportunities to get about 70% of his 2014 crops marketed last winter and spring, when corn prices were still pushing $5 per bushel or better and soybean prices were near $11.80 per bushel. And he and his farming partners wasted no time in making sales on about 40% of their expected 2015 corn and soybean production....More
When storing corn and soybeans in on-farm bins this winter, be sure grain is stored at appropriate temperatures and moisture percentages. Also be sure the aeration fan is timed properly. Read these and more grain storage tips from Ohio State University.
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
December 2014 corn futures closed Friday at about $3.72 per bushel and have been above $3.60 more than a month. That’s after they had tanked to $3.20 earlier this fall. Some contend the rally has been caused by harvest delays. But Darrel Good, University of Illinois ag economist, believes the rally is likely due to anticipation of fewer harvested acres....More
On his central Iowa corn, soybean and seed farm, Tim Couser tests agronomic practices with on-farm strip trials and new concepts. Beyond the weather, he leaves nothing to chance. “That’s what makes farming so much fun,” says Tim Couser, a Nevada, Iowa, farmer. “It’s half science and half art. Being a low cost producer takes a lot of work; the next yield breakthrough will definitely be harder to achieve.”...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
In most instances, record USDA crops get even bigger as the crop is being harvested; however the Nov. 10 USDA Crop Report lowered the expected 2014 expected U.S. corn production by 68 million from the October estimate. The Nov. 1 USDA estimate lowered corn yield estimates by 5 bushels per acre in Minnesota and by 2 bushels per acre in Iowa, as compared to the October estimate....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.
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