At a recent event, David Kohl offered advice to teenagers who want to farm or be in the agriculture business. Focusing on different types of education and classes, he encouraged students to take a variety of classes, focus on the good professors and to complete internships outside of their region and country....More
Those currently involved in doing cash flow planning may wonder what amount, if any, can be included in a cash flow projection for estimated farm program payments from the 2014 corn and soybean crop, and possibly for the 2015 crop year. There are many variables that factor in to the calculation of potential farm program payments; however, by knowing a few of the basics, a person can make a reasonable estimate of potential payments for 2014, as well as possibly for 2015....More
Following the Jan.12 USDA Crop Production and Grain Stocks reports, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the story in corn and soybean markets for the foreseeable future will be the ongoing pace of consumption....More
“Although this was my first year planting drought-tolerant corn, it is a thing of the future,” says Mark Meyer, Nehawka, Neb. “As stewards of the land, farmers need to think long term about how we use water. Drought tolerance and water optimization, hopefully, will allow us to produce the same amount or more grain with less water.”...More
On the supply side of the equation, most sources are talking about U.S. producers perhaps going back with more corn next year. The fall in soybean prices coupled with the new farm bill policy, corn has quickly become a more viable option....More
Some of the most successful grain marketers I meet are producers with no on-farm storage. I want producers to be proactive in their marketing decisions, always looking ahead for opportunities to price this year’s (or next year’s) crop. Producers with no storage must be proactive....More
How do your production costs look for the year ahead? Iowa State University just released its 2015 crop-production estimates, and I hope your figures look better than these guidelines. That won’t be easy, I’m afraid, but then actual costs can vary greatly....More
The EPA is registering a new insecticide, flupyradifurone, that is safer for bees. It is expected to be an alternative to more toxic products including certain pyrethroid, neonicotinoid, organophosphate and avermectin insecticides....More
The spread of multi-resistant waterhemp has led to increasing use of Group 14 herbicides, the protoporphyrinogen oxidase (PPO) inhibitors that include Cobra, Flexstar, Ultra Blazer and others. Repeated use is exerting intense pressure on this diverse group of chemicals, weed experts warn....More
As expected, the USDA Crop Production Report released on Jan. 12 indicates that both the total U.S. corn production and soybean production for 2014 were at record levels. The final 2014 national average yields per acre for both corn and soybeans were also at record levels. Following are some highlights of the recent USDA Crop Production Report, as well as the latest USDA Supply and Demand (WADSE) Report....More
Let’s examine five-steps for returning to positive margins in your agriculture business, in no particular order. Some of these steps can be used to build efficiency in profitable businesses as well....More
New-crop December corn prices topped $4.30 per bushel in mid-week following a few bull signs from the Jan. 12 USDA crop reports. But that doesn’t generate a strong enough cash price to temp many farmers to make early sales, say two university grain-marketing specialists....More
Energy costs may not be your largest expense on the farm, but it's one that you can jump in on and make a fairly large impact without changing productivity, says Mark Hanna, Extension ag engineer at Iowa State University. He offers ideas for conserving fuel, including reduced tillage passes, shifting up, front-wheel assist and hybrid choice and drying....More
Recent value adjustments in the land market still leave land values at historically high levels in the longer term view. Price softening is happening, but at different rates depending on the region, prices for major commodities in that region, and quality of the land. Profitability from record crop incomes supported by insurance coverage, has kept farm operations in the black and producers interested in adding land.
Short-dated new crop options (SDNC), available since mid-2012 from the CME Group, Chicago, Ill., provide a short-term alternative for trading new-crop corn and soybeans as well as hard red winter wheat and soft red winter wheat. CME reports that more than 2.5 million SDNC contracts have been used....More
The reality is setting in that some producers, particularly those in the grain sector, will experience negative margins in 2015, which is something not experienced in many years. How can a producer troubleshoot their business and work with their lender when margins are tight, or even negative?...More
In 2015, crop revenues are likely to be significantly reduced compared to revenue levels in recent years. 2015 crop input costs for seed, fertilizer, and chemicals are likely to be similar to 2014 levels, and land rental rates will likely remain fairly high, which adds more risk to 2015 crop production....More
The Jan. 12 Grain Stocks report from USDA estimated corn stocks up 7% and soybean stocks up 17% from the December 2013 report. Bushels stored on farm are also up over a year ago, for both corn and soybeans....More
Moral of the story, don't overthink this market and do not get overly convicted to your preconceived ideas or thoughts. This is simply about reducing your risk and turning a profit. The easier you can accomplish this goal the better your going to be....More
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has begun its celebration of the International Year of Soils to highlight the importance of healthy soils for food security, ecosystem functions and resilient farms and ranches....More
Everyone has had their fill of football bowl games, and now we are into the college and professional football playoffs, which usually provide some surprises and upsets. This is much like thinking ahead about what to expect in 2015. The following are a few of the thoughts and perspectives that you may want to consider in your planning or conversations with your business partners....More
One of the key components for farm operators to understand as they evaluate the new farm program options is the concept of Market Year Average (MYA) price. The MYA price for a given crop year is used to calculate any potential payments for all three farm program options: Price Loss Coverage (PLC), Ag Risk Coverage-County (ARC-CO), and Ag Risk Coverage-Individual (ARC-IC). The historical MYA prices are also used to determine the benchmark revenues for both the ARC-CO and ARC-IC program options....More
The five agriculture stories to read this week include farm revenue outlook for 2015, as well as long-term agricultural projections. Read about a farmer who is building soil organic carbon to grow better crops, and a company that's got a robot to do your nitrogen sidedressing. Finally, for some entertainment, take a fresh breath of farm air with the Peterson Farm Bros.
We've posted a lot of great stories and photos on the web this year! These are our most-viewed pieces and cover a variety of topics from helpful aerial images to GMOs, making a profit with lower corn and soybean prices to no-till yield secrets, and more! Check out our best from the web for 2014, and stick around for more great stories and photos in 2015.