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Take a Good Hard Look at Selling Soybeans

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The price of soybeans rallied out of the October USDA Crop Production report. This is because it showed fewer acres of the crop would be harvested this season. University of Illinois analyst Todd Hubbs thinks the upside potential is limited, “I don’t know if this thing is sustainable. It doesn’t feel that way to me. Moving through the rest of the harvest year and towards the start of 2019, I think we are going to have to see some kind of production issues in the South American crop or if China breaks and doesn’t hold out completely on taking U.S. soybeans before we see a sustained upward movement. I think the upside potential is limited.”

Limited because, even if this year’s crop is hurt some by the poor harvest conditions so far it will remain a record breaker. Right now USDA has it at 4.7 billion bushels. There are plenty of soybeans in the world. That makes it a buyers market and price is going to depend a whole lot upon how many U.S soybeans can be exported says Hubbs, “Basically…

A Good Year for Pumpkins

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This year’s pumpkin crop is the best in the last two decades. That means there will be plenty of jack-o-lanterns for Halloween and lots of pie filling for Thanksgiving.When the pumpkin crop in Illinois is big that means the whole nation can celebrate fall says Mohammad Babadoost from the Univeristy of Illinois, “We are number one in both of them, jack-o-lantern and processing pumpkins. Far, far ahead of any other state.” More than 90% of the pumpkin pie filling sold in the United States comes from two processing plants located near Peoria, Illinois. This year the pumpkins feeding into those plants are yielding a record breaking 27 tons per acre. The average is about 23. This is pretty amazing given that a plant disease nearly wiped out the whole industry in the state a couple of decades ago. Babadoost is naturally proud of his University of Illinois work to salvage the industry from the disease and he continues to work with farmers today to provide them crop production and protection …

Reviewing Prices and Market Facilitation Payments

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read farmdocDaily article



As the trade conflict with China continues, prices for many agricultural commodities remain relatively low. Illinois corn and soybean prices dipped to new lows in September, coinciding with the latest rounds of tariffs.



The difference between selling an entire crop at spring forward bid prices compared to the September average cash prices makes a substantial difference in income on an average central Illinois grain farm.



University of Illinois Agricultural Economist Gary Schnitkey reviews how this plays out on a 1700 acre corn and soybean farm in Illinois this year, and what the prospects look like for next year.

Trump Admin Still Has Some Biofuels Work to Do

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Last Tuesday President Donald Trump made a campaign trip to Council Bluffs, Iowa. There he told a very excited crowd his administration would be backing corn farmers and ethanol. The President leaned into the mic and gave corn farmers a little insider news they’ve been clamoring to hear since U.S. EPA pronounced gasoline blended with 15 percent ethanol would be ok to use in all cars made since 2001, “We are a little bit early. I shouldn’t say it now, but we are going with E15 year-round.” Mr. Trump is a little early. Today E15 can be used about 9 months out of the year in much of the nation. During those other three months, the summer months, it has been prohibited. U.S. EPA will need to write some rules about how to make the year-round use happen. Those will need to be approved, and clearly the oil industry will mount court challenges. If all goes well more corn will be used to make ethanol for E15, but it won’t make a difference in the balance sheets for corn says University of Illi…

Expected E15 Announcement No Big Deal

President Trump at his Council Bluffs, Iowa rally Tuesday is expected to announce a waiver to allow year-round use of gasoline blended with 15% ethanol (E15). Todd Gleason reports it may make little difference in how much corn is used to make ethanol.

2019 Illinois Crop Budgets are Dismal

The numbers look bad for Illinois grain farmers next year. That’s the only conclusion Gary Schnitkey can draw when he puts the costs up against the incomes for corn and soybeans in 2019. Schnitkey, an ag economist at the Univesity of Illinois, says fuel and fertilizer costs are expected to go up. Prices aren’t and that’s the dismal part says Schnitkey, “Probably the one thing that has changed relative to recent years is that corn is expected to be more profitable than soybeans. Again, that is largely due to our use of $3.60 for a 2019 corn price and $8.50 for soybeans. This switches the profitability around. That’s driven by trade concerns, particularly with China and what that has done to commodity prices.”Here’s an example of the bottom line for next year’s budget. A northern Illinois farmer might expect to have $174 to split between the farmer and the landowner for corn and $143 for soybeans. This return is considerably below the cost of cash rent and roughly, says Schnitkey, near …

Turner Hall Transformation | the smart classroom

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Six years after more than 100 alumni, faculty, students, and friends of Illinois gathered to kick-off a 5 million dollar fundraising campaign, the University of Illinois Turner Hall transformation has been completed. 1964 ag sciences grad William Kirk and his wife, Lillian, made a $500,000 donation to seed the project.

Phase I of the Turner Hall Project transformed the crop science and soil science laboratories into 21st-century learning environments. Undergraduate courses are taught in these two labs. Donors also funded a two-story renovation of the west lobby. In total, Phase I renovated 7136 square feet. These renovated spaces allow for active learning, utilizing new technologies. The Dow AgroSciences Crop Sciences Laboratory and the Monsanto Soil Science Laboratory welcomed students for the first time in fall 2015.



Phase II construction began in 2017 and will conclude in 2018. This 38,377 square foot, three-floor renovation will fully transform classrooms on the first and second f…

New Lab Dedicated to Commodity Crop Bioprocessing

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The market for commodity crops processed into new products is expected to more than double in the next six years to some 490 billion dollars. The IBRL building on the Univesity of Illinois campus in Urbana-Champaign is investing in the future of these agricultural innovations.

The last week of September a new building was dedicated on the University of Illinois campus in Urbana-Champaign. The Integrated Bioprocessing Research Laboratory is designed to bridge the gap between discovery and commercialization. IBRL’s director, Vijay Singh, says every year some 250 invention disclosures are filed at the University of Illinois. Most are never commercialized because there isn’t a proof of concept facility to scale up new ways to process ethanol or other agricultural biofuels.



The labs in IBRL, Singh says, will do just that, “This facility is also a link joining academia with business development. With plug and play utilities and flexible equipment offerings, IBRL is agile enough to serve a v…