Topsoil conditions this spring have been described as “almost ideal” for corn planting by farm operators and agronomists across southern and western Minnesota. Due to the very limited amount of stored soil moisture in many areas of the region, producers are likely to minimize their tillage trips prior to planting this spring, in order to maintain as much top soil moisture as possible for seed germination and seedling growth....More
In my road warrior travels interacting with producers and agribusiness leaders, there is much discussion concerning oil prices and other economic variables that seem to provide a surprise around every corner. A question from one producer was, “How is oil connected to up to 80% of farm and ranch expenses and potential revenue?”...More
The management zone creation tool, a step-by-step process, allows users to create zones from data including yield, soil type and crop health imagery. The zones can be modified, the rates chosen and test blocks can be added to further test plant populations or applications. All of this is done by the farmer, with a simple online tool at FARMServer.com. Then farmers just upload that prescription to their monitor in their equipment....More
In 2014, the Boettgers, who farm 3,000 acres near Harlan in southwestern Iowa, decided to harness technology to help solve their planter down-pressure challenge. They outfitted half their 16-row Kinze 3600 planter with an Ag Leader hydraulic down-force system, which automatically senses down force and adjusts it in one second....More
Corn futures prices tumbled by nearly 10¢ per bushel this past week, with old-crop May closing Friday at $3.77, September at near $3.92 and December new-crop at $4.02. That’s even with good exports and USDA’s projected ending corn stocks still below trade expectations, notes a Memphis, Tenn., market analyst....More
This might be a year to only do what pencils out. Here are tips and research on what may make sense for you to reduce this year. From fertilizer tips to seeding rates and product use, to overhead costs and weather planning, university experts offer their best research and ideas to help you save money this growing season....More
In the 5 ag stories to read this week, get tips for applying nitrogen to sandy soils. Learn about the honeybee die off, as well as China's impact on agriculture. Grab some tips for improving your corn and soybean yields this year, and test your ag knowledge with some fun trivia!
Fields across the Midwest will begin sporting a new look in 2015 as farmers begin using variable-rate, multi-cultivar planters, which are available commercially for the first time after being field tested in 2014 by Kinze Manufacturing and Precision Planting, in conjunction with four seed companies....More
Dan Kaiser at the University of Minnesota gets lots of questions about using an in-furrow starter fertilizer when corn prices are low. While it does present an added cost at the time, there are also benefits. Kaiser offers these tips when using in-furrow starter on your corn....More
A “kiss of death” to businesses is bringing the younger generation into the business on a manager’s salary, but with hired employee work or skill sets. This principle is accentuated in a volatile economic climate....More
If you hold grain into the summer months hoping for a weather driven rally in prices, may I suggest selling your grain earlier and selectively re-owing the sale with the purchase of call options....More
In the 5 ag stories to read this week, get some tips for prepping your planter this spring, and check out a Bt trait table to get all the Bt info you need. Read a proposed payment limit rule and dig deeper into nitrogen application data. Finally, enjoy 10 reminders that you grew up on a farm.
This spring, let your smart phone help you as you head to the field. Download these apps to calculate seeding rates and fertilizer applications, as well as input calculators. Track growing degree days and field operations, and get fertilizer rates. Most of the apps are free, and most are available for iPhone and Android-based phones.
We need to take the acreage report with some caution, says Sterling Liddell, vice president, food and agribusiness research, Rabo AgriFinance. In the USDA acreage report released March 31, corn acres weren't a bullish surprise, and soybeans were, he says, but the report is a baseline going forward....More
Handling employee issues in a farm business, particularly a family-run farm business, is tricky. Sometimes, a meeting is a better choice than an email. But treating all employees like employees, and not family, is a must....More
As has been the trend in recent years, average 2015 custom rates for farm work are likely to show a small increase, compared to 2015 custom rates. Most custom rates for tillage, planting, and harvest operations in 2015 are listed at 2-5% above the rates for similar operations in 2014, with an average increase of about 3.5%....More
The USDA's much-anticipated March Grain Stocks and Prospective Plantings reports were released today. Those estimates allow for some tweaking of the 2014-15 marketing year corn and soybean balance sheet projections and for developing projections for the 2015-16 marketing year balance sheets....More
Ask yourself these energy-savvy questions: Have you analyzed diesel fuel use per row-crop acre? How much of your energy use adds profit? How much propane do you use to dry 1,000 bushels? What percent of a bushel did you lose in moisture discount?...More
Despite low prices, farmers still need to make a profit when growing corn and soybeans. Increasing yield is key to that profit. From no-till tips to fertilizer choices, healthy soil to on-farm experiments, there are some of our best stories offering tips and insight to increasing corn and soybean yields this growing season.
Oklahoma farmer Brent Rendel exceeded his 100-bushel corn-yield average by 50% with just 75 pounds of nitrogen per acre. His Trimble GreenSeeker canopy sensors saved him $16,250 in sidedress nitrogen on corn by identifying no need for sidedress nitrogen for all his corn (at $25 per acre)....More
The Obama Administration and some members of Congress are currently proposing some major changes in the federal crop insurance program. At the same time, other members of Congress and agricultural leaders are stressing the need to maintain a strong crop insurance program as the centerpiece of a risk protection program for U.S. crop producers....More
There are just days left before farmers have to finalize their farm program choices in the 2014 Farm Bill. For those who still need some explanations, help, tips or further information, we've put together a collection of stories for reference. From farm program basics to cash flow planning and market prices, here is the information you need to help finalize your farm program decision.
In the 5 ag stories to read this week, learn about research to close the corn yield gap, as well as research to help farmers manage runoff and water use. Read 10 ag trends to watch for in 2015, and hear about more effective herbicide applications. Finally, enjoy a segment about the farmer wave.
With USDA projecting an average corn price of $3.50 to $3.60 and soybeans at $9, these times require risk management survivalist mode. Dan O’Brien, Kansas State University Extension grain marketing economist, says the foreign crop production, U.S. weather during planting, the U.S. dollar and other factors may impact prices at any time....More