In many of my speeches I emphasize that better is better before bigger is better; that is, get efficient before you embark on growth. What is a good financial measure of efficiency for farm businesses? One of my favorites is the operating expense to revenue ratio....More
The fall harvest season started a bit later than normal in 2014, but has been progressing at a fairly nice pace in recent weeks across the region. In the areas that did not receive a killing frost in September, most crops were allowed to reach full maturity, which will likely add some yield and the quality of the corn and soybeans. Areas affected by the early frost, have reported reduced soybean yields, as well as some quality issues with the corn....More
The 5 ag stories featured this week offer management tips for wet soybeans, as well as advice for fall herbicide treatments. Read about possible corn acreage in 2015, and check out one farmer's strategy for keeping his farm ahead during lower-price years. For the weather obsessed (like me), see what NOAA is predicting for weather conditions across the U.S. this winter.
Compared to putting all the nitrogen down in the fall, “we picked up at least 7-10 bushels per acre,” says Chuck Trainor, who grows corn and soybeans and raises cattle with his father, Charles, near Tower Hill. They also dropped their total nitrogen rate....More
The EPA is registering the herbicide Enlist Duo with first-time ever restrictions to manage the problem of resistant weeds. The pesticide is for use in controlling weeds in corn and soybeans genetically-engineered (GE) to tolerate 2,4-D and glyphosate....More
The Oct. 10 USDA Crop Report showed an increase for both U.S. corn and soybean yields, as compared to September report. This corresponds closely to actual corn and soybean yields being reported from many areas of the eastern and southern Corn Belt, which have been better than expected....More
One of the key financial ratios that agricultural lenders use to determine repayment ability is the term debt and lease coverage ratio. It measures the amount of debt obligations (debt service which includes principal and interest), compared to the debt servicing capacity (net income plus interest and depreciation)....More
A few simple precautions and a little bit of common sense can go a long way toward helping prevent farm-related accidents and injuries, especially at harvest time, two Purdue University agricultural educators say....More
Corn and soybean harvest is in full swing but some fields are a little wet, and wetter soils compact easier. However, there are three ways to minimize the extent of the compaction you may create when driving through the field....More
Brian Haugen is preparing his farm for lean times. Leveraging his management experience, discipline, standard operating procedures (SOPs), a diversified revenue base, shared human resources for productivity and collaboration with more than 35 landlords, his corn and soybean operation will do its best to weather the storm over the next few years....More
The "5 Ag stories to read" this week offers tips to manage late-maturing corn, from harvesting to drying to storing. There's also insight into the impact of nitrogen prices on planting decisions. Read about a milestone for biotech crops: harvesting 4 billion acres! Get tips for managing data on your farm to help you work smarter, and check out a new use for soy.
A late-week cold snap ended the growing season, roughly on schedule, across much of the Upper Midwest. Although the freeze was not unusually early, some crops were developmentally delayed due to late planting and a relatively cool summer. As a result, producers in freeze-affected areas monitored immature corn and soybeans for signs of injury.
As corn and soybean prices drop below breakeven levels, we asked farmers: What are your grain storage and marketing plans? From using on-farm storage and carry to selling to ethanol plants and little forward selling, read what farmers in Missouri, Ohio and Minnesota are planning for their corn and soybeans after harvest this fall.
Corn maturity and soybean leaf drop this fall are close to average rates. Corn harvest and soybean harvest, however, are significantly behind the average. Despite that, crop conditions continue to hold steady for both corn and soybeans....More
As corn and soybean harvest progresses across the Corn Belt, be cautious when driving on wet fields, as ruts can cause compaction. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln offers 10 tips to avoid soil compaction during corn and soybean harvest....More
Average rental rates for 2014 were as high as, or even higher than, 2013 land rental rates in most situations across the region. Farm operators and landlords are now beginning the process of negotiating land rental contracts for the 2015 crop year, and are trying to arrive at equitable rental rates....More
Five agriculture stories this week offer tips for manure management and sulfur application. Read about propane supplies this fall, and get insight and tips for financial success on the farm during lean times. Also, watch the farm documentary Farmland on Hulu.
What is your data worth? Indiana farmer and software engineer Aaron Ault notes that data exchanged in commercial agriculture can be compared to Google or Amazon—and as data sharing increases, the cost of services will decrease. "If they couldn't use our data, those services would be way out of line,” he says....More
Weather conditions this summer provided for excellent growing conditions for corn across much of the Corn Belt. However, a wetter, cooler September is slowing dry down in many areas. This will likely lead to more corn being dried after corn harvest, says Klein Ileleji, Purdue University....More
I could not be more excited to get the news that the Farmland movie is on Hulu and Hulu Plus! I saw a pre-screen of the film in February at Commodity Classic, and the film was released to a limited screening in theaters in April and May. If you didn't have the chance to see it then, watch it now. Like right now. Stop what you're doing, and watch this incredible film....More
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
A lot of corn and soybeans in southern Minnesota have turned color, and appear to be mature; however, much of this visual appearance was the result of damage following the early frost on Sept. 13 and 14, and not from the natural maturing process of the crop. A limited amount of soybean harvesting has begun in some areas, mainly on some earlier soybean varieties that were planted on a timely basis last spring....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
USDA released their September quarterly stocks report and the markets are lower across the board. No real surprises in my opinion! Some of you however might be surprised when you see the soybean market lower on sub-100 million ending stocks numbers....More
Corn stocks up are up significantly from 2013, and bushels in on-farm storage are up 68% from last year, according to the Sept. 30 Grain Stocks Report from USDA. Soybean stocks, on the other hand, are down about a third from last year, and on-farm stored beans are down nearly 50% from 2013....More