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Showing posts from May, 2015

Reducing Illinois Cash Rents Imperative

An ag economist on the University of Illinois campus is continuing his calls for farmers and landowners to lower cash rents.

Monitoring Soybean Consumption & Production Prospects

The trade has turned its primary attention to the soybean crop being planted across the United States, but that doesn’t mean it has fully discounted last year’s harvest as market maker.



This year the United States Department of Agriculture expects about one-point-eight billion bushels of soybeans will be used within U.S. borders. This is more than last year and it appear USDA is on target with its projection. The pace of domestic crush has steadily picked up as the fiscal year has passed. University of Illinois Ag Economist Darrel Good says the pace needs to pick up a bit more to make the target.
Quote Summary - To reach the USDA projection, the crush during the last four months of the marketing year needs to exceed that of a year earlier by 7.7 percent. The NOPA crush estimate for May is scheduled for release on June 15, and that’ll offer more insight into domestic usage. The other primary point of usage is the export market for soybeans.
Quote Summary - The USDA projects that U.S…

Negative Returns & Down Pressure on Cash Rents

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Original Article

Todd Gleason talks with University of Illinois ag economist Gary Schnitkey about cash rents. As it stands today farmers on highly productive land in central Illinois are likely to loose about $70 for every cash rented acre planted to corn.




by Gary Schnitkey
Univeristy of Illinois

Surveys conducted by the Chicago Fed and the Illinois Society of Professional Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers indicate that 2015 cash rents have decreased between $20 and $25 per acre from 2014 levels. If these reductions occur, the majority of farmers still will have negative returns from cash rent farmland given current corn and soybean price levels. At a $3.75 per bushel corn price and a $9.50 soybean price, cash rents need to decrease from 2014 averages by around $70 per acre before farmer return is zero. Even given mid-$4.00 prices for corn, farmers will not have positive returns given cash rents at 2014 averages.

Operator and Land Returns

Table 1 shows estimates of 2015 operator and …

Central & Northern IL Black Cutworm by Memorial Day

The black cutworm may do damage in central and northern Illinois corn fields over the Memorial Day weekend. Farmers should begin scouting soon because not all Bt corn hybrids offer adequate protection. University of Illinois entomologist are estimating, based on black cutworm moth flights, that farmers might find the overnight work of the moth’s larval stage offspring beginning in late May. The larvae can cut a corn plant off. Farmers should scout for early feeding damage this week and next says University of Illinois Extension Entomologist Mike Gray.Quote Summary - Growers should look for early signs of black cutworm activity. There will be small pin hole sized areas on leaves. These have been removed by very small caterpillars in the one to three instar stage. Once the caterpillars reach the fourth larval instar stage they can begin to cut plants. Based on some heat unit calculations U of I entomologists project cutting dates will begin in Ford County (May 24), Mercer County (May 25…

Marketing Advice from Darrel Good

Now that USDA has released its first official look at the balance sheet for new crop corn and soybeans, farmers are under the gun to make some marketing decisions. The easy ones are related to what’s left to sell from last year. This week USDA estimated the average cash price farmers will receive for the coming corn crop will be fifteen cents less than last year at $3.50 a bushel. It makes the decision to sell what’s left from last year’s crop pretty easy thinks University of Illinois Ag Economist Darrel Good. Quote Summary - I think you just give it up, meter it out, and let it go. Pretty much the same advice goes for old crop soybean sales. Quote Summary - There is no opportunity at this juncture, beyond a summer weather problem, for prices to recover.Sell old crop corn and soybeans at your discretion, but probably sooner rather than later. However, Darrel Good is much more cautious as it relates to new crop sales.Quote Summary - Prices are low enough, certainly below the crop insur…

USDA WASE May 2015 Numbers

University of Illinois Ag Economist John Newton discusses the May 2015 World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimate report numbers for new and old crop corn and soybeans.

First Day First Field

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USDA describes Pat Whalen as a new and beginning farmer. I think he's just having fun planting his first farm field ever.

More Red Meat Available Per Person this Year

The supply of meat in the United States is on the upswing this year. It had fallen off by about twenty pounds per person between 2007 and 2014, but now it’s making a come back says Purdue Extension Agricultural Economist Chris Hurt. Quote Summary - USDA estimates are that per capita meat availability could surge by nearly nine pounds this year. Chicken and turkey lead the way with over five pounds of increase and pork adds an impressive increase of near four pounds per person. This means that the meat industry in one year has restored about 45 percent of the lost meat availability from 2007 to 2014. This calculation does not include any reduced availability due to the Avian Influenza outbreak. It is likely to reduce total poultry (chicken and turkey) meat production in 2015.

RFS Matters for Biodiesel

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The United States Environmental Protection Agency now says it will not update the Renewable Fuel Standard mandates until November. This year’s RFS, no matter when it is released, is really important to the biodiesel industry.


More often than not when the federal government’s Renewable Fuel Standard is discussed people are thinking about corn based ethanol or other feedstocks that can produce ethanol. However, when U.S. EPA finally releases the RFS mandates it may be the biodiesel industry that pays the most attention says University of Illinois Ag Economist Scott Irwin.
Irwin :36 …to find out what happens.
Quote Summary - The industry for which the RFS is really a life or death matter is biodiesel. Because if the EPA would choose to go back to the RFS statutory level mandates, at least for a few years in the short run, it would launch - likely - the biggest boom in biodiesel’s history. But, if they choose to stay on the path of the proposals from 2013 it would cut the knees out from …

Poultry Research & the University of Illinois Campus

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Illinois is not known as a key chicken production state. Regardless of this fact, the state’s Land Grant university is a primary player in the poultry industry. Todd Gleason has this review of ILLINOIS’ applied research prowess and its relationship to the state’s agricultural feed production history. Farmers in the Prairie State raise corn and soybeans and they do it really well. These crops are used to feed animals and birds; chickens. Lots of chickens, but most of them are reared in other states. Much of the feed comes from Illinois and so does the research that supports the nation’s poultry industry says Ken Koelkebeck (coal-keg-beck) from the University of Illinois.Quote Summary - One of the first things we did was to develop a specific line that allowed the color sexing of baby chicks. This was very important because it made it easy to do research. We had two breeds, back in the 1950’s, when crossed together that produced chicks that came out color sexed males or females. All the…

Cost of Diesel & the Farm

The price of diesel has dropped and this should be helpful to U.S. farmers.



U.S. farmers struggling to find ways to cut cost will find the price of diesel fuel somewhat comforting. It is one of their larger input costs for the production of a row crops like corn or soybeans. This year that fuel cost will be sharply lower says University of Illinois Ag Economist Gary Schnitkey.
Quote Summary - Since 2011 on through 2014 diesel fuel prices have average about $3.50 per gallon. Today’s cost is about a 36% decline. It is a significant decline in the cost of diesel fuel from the last four years. Here’s how that costs translates directly to the farm. Last year fuel cost Illinois farmers, on average, $24 per acre of corn production. A 36% drop puts that estimated cost this year at $15 per acre. It’s a nine dollar savings, but certainly not enough to really ease the coming income woes of the American corn farmer comments Schnitkey.
Quote Summary - The total cost to raise an acre of corn is ab…

Beef Industry Continues Lower Production Trend

The beef industry stands alone in 2015 in its continued reduction in supplies available to consumers. 2014, by contrast, was a special year for the animal production industry. It set record high farm level prices for cattle, hogs, broilers, turkeys, milk and eggs. 2015 should see much lower annualized prices after the surprisingly fast expansion of the poultry, pork and dairy industries. Beef stands alone in the continuation toward lower production. This does not necessarily mean the price of beef will remain record high. Live cattle futures are suggesting a return to a more normal seasonal price pattern this year. This would mean that while beef cattle have so far traded higher than last year, that pattern would end now says Purdue University Extension Ag Economist Chris Hurt. Hurt :26 …a couple of dollars lower than 2014.Quote Summary - The futures tone stays weak through summer with prices falling to the middle $140s by the end of summer and then rallying to the low $150s toward th…