Free & Confidential Tile Line Water Test at Farm Progress Show

Nine states in the Mississippi River basin have developed strategies to control the amount of nitrogen and phosphorous making its way to the Gulf of Mexico. These plant nutrients contribute to the Hypoxia Zone. During the Farm Progress Show the Illinois Corn Growers Association is offering free tile line water sample testing to help make farmers aware of the plan and the problem.

Let’s start with the problem. The fertilizers used on lawns, gardens, and farms doesn’t always stay put. It leaches into streams and rivers and is carried to the Gulf of Mexico where the plant nutrients cause great algae blooms. These deplete the water of oxygen and aquatic life.

The plan is to voluntarily reduce the plant nutrient load. The first step says Illinois Corn Growers Director of Communications Tricia Braid is to make farmers aware of just how much nitrogen is being lost from their fields. That’s why the Corn Growers are offering free water sample testing at the Farm Progress Show.

Quote Summary - Because farmers want to keep the nutrients applied for the crop where the crop needs it. If it is starting to move out of your tiles, that is lost money for the farmer and also a potential problem for the water quality. So we are working at awareness here and helping people get an understanding of what nitrogen movement means on their farms.

This awareness campaign is also related to the recent release of the Illinois Nutrient Reduction Loss strategy. It is a document put forth by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and the Illinois Department of Agriculture that sets some clean water goals for all the stake holders in Illinois to achieve.

Quote Summary - So, agriculture plays a big part in that. We are not the only people involved. We understand that, but we certainly do have a role to play. The example we have for the Decatur area, the site of the Farm Progress Show, is that on average tile drained ground in the Sangamon River Watershed loses about 26 pounds of nitrogen per acre per year. That adds up. If it is leaving the tile, it is not helping the crop, and it is going somewhere unintended. We really want folks to understand how nutrients are moving at different times of the year.

Those wanting to have their tile line water tested can bring an 8 ounce sample to the Illinois Corn Growers Association tent at the Farm Progress Show. Collect the sample within 48 hours of arriving. Keep it refrigerated until you leave for the show. If you’d like more results you can do a flow test. Just count off how many seconds it takes the tile line to fill a five gallon bucket.

Corn Prices Reflect Export Concerns

December corn futures have been on roller coaster ride up and down this year. First it appeared there would be way to much of the grain, and then - because of the rains - maybe too little, and now it feels like the too-little might become just enough.

The just enough to meet the need has put pressure on the market to move lower. This weakness, writes Darrel Good in this week’s online Farm Doc Daily article, is coming from the supply side. There is a general agreement USDA’s corn production forecast will not increase. It, in August, put this fall’s corn harvest at 13.686 billion bushels. Instead, market commentary seems to suggest the trade is expecting the yield forecast to decline by as much as three to four bushels to the acre. So the crop is getting smaller, but so’s the price. It’s about demand says Good.

Continuing weakness in corn prices reflects perceived demand weakness. Concerns about demand may stem from two sources. First is the concern that exports of U.S corn will fall short of the current USDA projection of 1.85 billion bushels. Second, is the concern about slow economic growth domestically and globally.

Clearly, domestic consumption of corn during the 2015–16 marketing year is not of immediate concern. The USDA projection of 5.25 billion bushels of corn used for ethanol production is consistent with the 5.2 billion expected for the marketing year just ending and a modest increase in domestic gasoline consumption next year. The projection of 5.3 billion bushels for feed and residual use next year equals the projection for the current year. Another large crop implies large residual use of corn and low corn prices along with steady to higher animal numbers should support actual feed consumption of corn.

On-the-other-hand USDA projects corn exports during the 2015–16 marketing year that begins on September 1 at 1.85 billion bushels, equal to the projection for the current year. However, total outstanding sales of U.S. corn for export during the 2015–16 marketing year are relatively small says Darrel Good.

It is recognized that the magnitude of early sales is not a good predictor of marketing year exports. Since 2005, sales as of mid-August as a percentage of marketing year exports have ranged from about eight percent (2005–06) to 42 percent (2012–13) and averaged 18 percent. Current sales represent 12 percent of the USDA projection for the upcoming marketing year. Still, the small export sales total is concerning in the context of potentially weak world demand, the relatively strong U.S. dollar, and expectations of large supplies of corn in other exporting countries.

Factually, with nearly 55 weeks remaining until the end of the 2015–16 marketing year, export sales need to average about 30 million bushels per week in order for exports to reach 1.85 billion bushels. Here’s how this all plays out on the farm. Producers will need to evaluate the corn storage decision says Darrel Good. Current low prices mean farmers will likely choose to store much of the crop that has not yet been priced. The current basis in the cash market and the carry in the futures market give some indication about the potential return to storing corn. In central Illinois, for example, the average cash bid for harvest delivery reflects a basis of about -$.30 relative to December 2015 contract and -$0.52 relative to July 2016 futures. Good says if the July basis improves to about -$.05 by June 2016 (as it did this year) the market is offering about $0.47 per bushel to store corn for about nine months.

That return would cover the out of pocket costs of farm storage, but may be closer to breakeven for commercial storage costs for some producers. The only way to capture the storage return, however, is to forward price the stored crop in the cash or futures market. The spot price of corn will have to increase by more than $0.47 by next spring in order for the return on corn stored unpriced to exceed the likely return to a storage hedge.

Will the Corn Production Forecast Get Smaller

To this point in the season USDA seems satisfied there will be plenty of corn around for the coming year and it won’t be a worth a whole lot. However, possibilities remain that the crop could shrink in size, and that the price might consequently rally.

The price of corn can rally for two reasons. The trade might think the size of this year’s harvest is getting smaller, or there could more demand for the crop - no matter its size. Darrel Good has decided to take up both of those issues. Today we’ll hear what he thinks about the possibilities that corn crop might be smaller than predicted in August. The University of Illinois agricultural economist says a smaller supply projection could result from some combination of a lower estimate of harvested acreage or a smaller yield forecast.

The estimate of planted and harvested acreage should become more precise in October as the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) has a chance to review acreage data reported to the Farm Service Agency (FSA) by producers enrolled in federal farm programs. Last year, for example, the forecast of harvested acreage declined by 742,000 acres from August to October. For now, the FSA monthly reports of planted and prevented acreage will be monitored to form expectations about likely changes in NASS acreage estimates. The first of those reports was released today, with producers reporting 83.147 million acres planted to corn compared to the current NASS estimate of 88.897 million.

That’s a big difference, but the FSA acreage figure will grow as acreage reporting and processing is completed. It is important to remember the final FSA figure will be less than the final NASS estimate since not all producers are required to report acreage to the Farm Service Agency. So far FSA shows 2.3 million prevent plant corn acres have been certified. That compares to 1.54 million acres reported in August last year and the final 2014 report of 1.6 million. While big, Darrel Good doesn’t that that difference is significant.

The magnitude of prevented plantings reported so far this year does not point to a substantial decline in the NASS estimate of planted acreage of corn. It is possible, however, that the NASS forecast of corn acreage harvested for grain will decline. The current forecast of the difference between planted acreage and acreage harvested for grain of 7.8 million acres is only 300,000 acres larger than the 1996 to 2014 average.

The NASS August forecast of the 2015 U.S. average corn yield of 168.8 bushels was about four bushels above the average trade guess reflected in news service surveys. History suggests that the forecast will likely change in the coming month by enough to alter the expectations of year-ending stocks.

In the 40 years from 1975 through 2014 the yield forecast, says Darrel Good, changed by less than two bushels through the August to November forecast cycle in only five years. Since the August forecast was higher than expected this year, many have argued that subsequent forecasts will be lower. Looking specifically at the change in the yield forecast from August to September, the forecast has declined in 19 of the previous 40 years. The decline exceeded one bushel in 14 of those years and exceeded two bushels in nine years. None of this, unless weather conditions change, lead Darrel Good to believe USDA will find much different to report this September.

At this juncture, a case for a substantially lower USDA corn production forecast next month is difficult to make. That picture could change a bit based on actual weather conditions and crop condition ratings over the next three weeks.

The September USDA Crop Production Report is due Friday the 11th.

Will the Corn Production Forecast Get Smaller

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Will the Corn Production Forecast Get Smaller
Darrel Good, Ag Economist - University of Illinois

To this point in the season USDA seems satisfied there will be plenty of corn around for the coming year and it won’t be a worth a whole lot. Todd Gleason has more on the possibilities that the crop could shrink in size, and that the price might consequently rally.

The price of corn can rally for two reasons…
3:49 radio
4:08 radio self contained

The price of corn can rally for two reasons. The trade might think the size of this year’s harvest is getting smaller, or there could more demand for the crop - no matter its size. Darrel Good has decided to take up both of those issues. Today we’ll hear what he thinks about the possibilities that corn crop might be smaller than predicted in August. The University of Illinois agricultural economist says a smaller supply projection could result from some combination of a lower estimate of harvested acreage or a smaller yield forecast.

Good :42 …compared to the current NASS estimate of 88.897 million.

Quote Summary - The estimate of planted and harvested acreage should become more precise in October as the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) has a chance to review acreage data reported to the Farm Service Agency (FSA) by producers enrolled in federal farm programs. Last year, for example, the forecast of harvested acreage declined by 742,000 acres from August to October. For now, the FSA monthly reports of planted and prevented acreage will be monitored to form expectations about likely changes in NASS acreage estimates. The first of those reports was released today, with producers reporting 83.147 million acres planted to corn compared to the current NASS estimate of 88.897 million.

That’s a big difference, but the FSA acreage figure will grow as acreage reporting and processing is completed. It is important to remember the final FSA figure will be less than the final NASS estimate since not all producers are required to report acreage to the Farm Service Agency. So far FSA shows 2.3 million prevent plant corn acres have been certified. That compares to 1.54 million acres reported in August last year and the final 2014 report of 1.6 million. While big, Darrel Good doesn’t that that difference is significant.

Good :31 …is only 300,000 acres larger than the 1996 to 2014 average.

Quote Summary - The magnitude of prevented plantings reported so far this year does not point to a substantial decline in the NASS estimate of planted acreage of corn. It is possible, however, that the NASS forecast of corn acreage harvested for grain will decline. The current forecast of the difference between planted acreage and acreage harvested for grain of 7.8 million acres is only 300,000 acres larger than the 1996 to 2014 average.

The NASS August forecast of the 2015 U.S. average corn yield of 168.8 bushels was about four bushels above the average trade guess reflected in news service surveys. History suggests that the forecast will likely change in the coming month by enough to alter the expectations of year-ending stocks.

In the 40 years from 1975 through 2014 the yield forecast, says Darrel Good, changed by less than two bushels through the August to November forecast cycle in only five years. Since the August forecast was higher than expected this year, many have argued that subsequent forecasts will be lower. Looking specifically at the change in the yield forecast from August to September, the forecast has declined in 19 of the previous 40 years. The decline exceeded one bushel in 14 of those years and exceeded two bushels in nine years. None of this, unless weather conditions change, lead Darrel Good to believe USDA will find much different to report this September.

Good :17 …crop condition ratings over the next three weeks.

Quote Summary - At this juncture, a case for a substantially lower USDA corn production forecast next month is difficult to make. That picture could change a bit based on actual weather conditions and crop condition ratings over the next three weeks.

The September USDA Crop Production Report is due Friday the 11th.