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Showing posts from 2017

CME Group Provides Scholarships for Agriculture

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Agricultural companies are always on the hunt for good employees, but those with college educations can be hard to find. Todd Gleason reports from the Illinois State Fair that the world’s largest options and futures exchange is hoping to inspire a few more kids to further their education.

NAFTA Negotiations Start Wednesday

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Trade negotiators from Mexico and Canada will gather in Washington, D.C. this week to update NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement. Todd Gleason has more…

Google & 4-H Working Together on STEM

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Google & 4-H Working Together on STEM
Rob Biederman, Head of External Affairs Midwest - Google
Jennifer Sirangelo, President & CEO National 4-H CouncilGoogle made a big splash on the Illinois State Fairgrounds this past week when it and the National 4-H Council announced a computer science collaboration. Todd Gleason has more on the $1.5 million gift and how it will be used to create STEM programming for kids.

Google Makes $1.5 Million Gift to 4-H

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Google, through its philanthropic arm, has made a $1.5 million gift to 4-H across the nation. The company is providing both funding support and virtual reality equipment to 4-H youth computer science programs. It made the announcement at the Illinois State Fair Friday, August 11, 2017.

Todd Hubbs Review August Crop Reports

Excerpt from August USDA Crop Production report.Corn production is forecast at 14.2 billion bushels, down 7 percent from last year. Based on conditions as of August 1, yields are expected to average 169.5 bushels per acre, down 5.1 bushels from 2016. If realized, this will be the third highest yield and production on record for the United States. Area harvested for grain is forecast at 83.5 million acres, unchanged from the June forecast but down 4 percent from 2016.Soybean production is forecast at 4.38 billion bushels, up 2 percent from last year. Based on August 1 conditions, yields are expected to average 49.4 bushels per acre, down 2.7 bushels from last year. Area for harvest in the United States is forecast at a record high 88.7 million acres, unchanged from the June forecast but up 7 percent from 2016. Planted area for the Nation is estimated at a record high 89.5 million acres, also unchanged from June.All wheat production, at 1.74 billion bushels, is down 1 percent from the J…

How USDA Collects Yield Data

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How USDA NASS Gathers Crop Production Report Data

USDA NASS will release the first corn and soybean Crop Production Report of the season Thursday August 10th, 2017 at 11am central. Todd Gleason talks with USDA NASS State Statistician Mark Schleusener (shloy-seh-ner) about how the information is collected and calculated.



USDA Crop Production Reports | a primer with Scott Irwin

A year ago University of Illinois agricultural economist Scott Irwin and Darrel Good wrote an article about how USDA predicts corn yields for the farmdocDaily website. Todd reviews this article with Scott Irwin as a primer to the August Crop Production report.

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Opening Up the Black Box

We have written extensively about U.S. corn yield forecasts issued by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) of the USDA (Irwin and Good, 2006; Irwin and Good, 2011; Irwin, Sanders and Good, 2014; farmdoc daily, August 28, 2013; August 29, 2014; August 18, 2016). As indicated in these previous publications, …

Assessing the Pulse of the Next Farm Bill Debate with Carl Zulauf

read blog postThirteen agricultural economists put together short papers describing issues that will surface during the writing of the next farm bill. For each issue, the author describes the “policy setting” and details “farm bill issues” that likely will arise during negotiations. Each issue then has a “what to watch for” summary. These papers, along with an overview, are presented in an article posted to the farmdocDaily website.

How USDA NASS Gathers Crop Production Report Data

USDA NASS will release the first corn and soybean Crop Production Report of the season Thursday, August 10th, 2017. Todd Gleason talks with USDA NASS State Statistician Mark Schleusener about how the information is collected and calculated.

Extrapolating Yields from USDA's Crop Conditions

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It’s about this time of year that USDA’s Crop Condition reports can be used, in part, to develop corn and soybean yields.

The agricultural economists at the University of Illinois have been tweaking yields out of the USDA crop conditions reports for quite some time. They say the later in the season it gets the more accurate they become. Right about now is usually when the good to excellent ratings, along with all the rest, begin to zero in on what’s really happening across America says Darrel Good, "We do know that the initial ratings for both crops are generally a bit on the high side. That is crops always look good early in the season before weather has had its chance to take a toll on the crop. And then on average ratings decline as you go to the final report of the year. If you recognized that bias, and correct the weekly observations for that bias the in-season ratings can be very useful because there is a very high correlation between final ratings and yields."

Typica…

EPA Must Make Good Lost Biofuels Gallons

The courts have ruled in favor of biofuels made from corn and soybeans.

The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for Washington, D.C. under took a case to define the meaning of three words in the Renewable Fuel Standard written by the United States Congress. The three words, a phrase, are “inadequate domestic supply”. Congress through them says University of Illinois Agricultural Economist Scott Irwin granted the Environmental Protection Agency, the EPA, the right to grant a waiver allowing energy producers not to follow the law, “Which commonsense would say, yes, you need that kind of escape clause in the statute that would say if a biofuel is not being produced you cannot require someone to consume it.”

The Obama Administration’s EPA interpreted the clause to also mean inadequate domestic demand, and consequently limited the mandated use of biofuels in the United States. The court ruled on how the EPA limited biofuels in 2016, however, it may be, thinks Irwin, that EPA will need to make g…

Jul 24 |USDA Crop Progress Graphics

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CORN




SOYBEAN

A Weather Market & Corn Yields

Each day the weather changes and just as often, it seems, so has the direction of corn prices. Todd Hubbs from the University of Illinois was of the opinion a couple of weeks ago that corn market had a some upside potential. It did, but now, maybe it doesn’t. This has him thinking about the number of acres of corn in the United States, the impact of the weather on yield, and how the market might react August 10th when the United States Department of Agriculture releases the first corn crop production report of the season, "We talk about increased corn acreage and maybe a yield loss below trend. Is that seven bushels to the acre, five bushels, or two bushels. It is really hard at this point to say, but I am looking at, out of my little model, 168 bushel national yield. Still it is hard to say what USDA is going to put out on August 10th. Hubbs says he is looking forward to seeing what they say about yields. If the market is pricing in 164/165 bushels to the acre for yield corn and…

Soybeans More Profitable than Corn

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Soybeans have been more profitable than corn over the last three years, and an ILLINOIS agricultural economist expects that to continue to be the case this year and next.



Gary Schnitkey has updated crop budgets for highly productive central Illinois farmland. It shows, as was the case in 2013, 2014, 2015, & 2016, that planting soybeans will make farmers more money than planting corn this year and in 2018. The cash price of corn will need to exceed $4.00 a bushel if that is to change, at least with soybeans in the high $9.00 a bushel range. Schnitkey in his farmdocDaily article, you can find that online, says there are four points to be aware of as it relates to the 2017 and 18 crop budgets.
first, these can change as expected yields and price evolvesecond, repeating this, corn needs to be above four bucks if it is to really competethird, total returns from highly productive central Illinois soils won’t be as much this year as in 2014, 15, or 16.fourth and finally - c…

Barley, Beer, Budweiser

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Corn Belt Crop Tour 2017 | July 18-22

...hints!

* hit the square in the upper right corner of the map to take it full screen.
* you may see photos/video by clicking on the blue pins.
* click the photos/video to make them bigger/play.
* come back often as photos/video will be added over time.

If you'd like to contribute a photo and commentary please email tgleason@illinois.edu. Send the photo, nearest town, county, and state location. Also, include a couple of sentences about planting date and conditions.




2018 EPA RFS Still a Biofuel Push

by Scott Irwin & Darrel Good, Agricultural Economists
University of Illinois
read full blog postImplicationsWe analyzed the magnitude of the “push” in production and consumption of biofuels implied by the proposed rulemaking for the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) for 2018 released last week. We find that the proposed standard for 2018 implies a measurable push in the consumption of conventional ethanol since the mandate exceeds expected domestic consumption. The magnitude of that gap is estimated at 640 million gallons for 2018, compared to the estimate for a record large gap in 2017 of 738 million gallons. The gap ranged from 260 to 457 million gallons in 2014–2016. The advanced biofuels mandate is estimated at 684 million gallons in 2018, compared to the estimate of 900 million gallons in 2017 and the actual gap of 438 million gallons in 2016. Our analysis of the proposed rulemaking for 2018 implies:(1) The EPA under the new Administration is “staying the course” on the implied c…

USDA June 30 Acreage & Grain Stocks Reports

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download presentation (pdf)

USDA Acreage Report


USDA Grain Stocks



University of Illinois Updated Supply & Demand Tables









University of Illinois Hires Row Crops Entomologist

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URBANA, IL – Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois is growing, with two new research assistant professors joining the department this fall. The two faculty members, a row crop entomologist and a plant pathologist, will be working directly with growers to address crop production issues across the state. The new entomologist, Nick Seiter, visited the Urbana campus this week.

“These two positions represent our connection with growers and stakeholders,” said Germ├ín Bollero, department head for crop sciences. “We have researchers working on plant pests, but Nick will be our front door with the growers, really taking the pulse of what’s happening out there. He will do the translational work. I’m very excited for him to come.”

In an interview on Tuesday, Seiter discussed his background and his plans for the new position.

ACES Marketing and Communications: Tell us a little about your background.

Seiter: I’m from southeast Indiana originally. I did a bachelor’s and a master’s in entomolog…

USDA's June 30 Grain Stocks Report for Corn

USDA’s release of the Quarterly Grain Stocks report on June 30 will provide an estimate of corn stocks in storage as of June 1, 2017. Since many of the consumption categories for corn can be derived from data provided during the marketing year, this estimate provides the ability to calculate the magnitude of feed and residual use of corn during the third quarter. The calculation offers the basis for evaluating the probable feed and residual use during the entire marketing year and imparts information on the potential size of ending stocks. While the information imparted by the June Acreage report released on the same day will likely eclipse the Quarterly Grain Stocks report, the estimated corn stocks have important implications for the current marketing year.The supply of corn available during the first half of the 2016–17 marketing year is the base for estimating June 1 stocks. Corn stocks at the beginning of the quarter were estimated at 8616 million bushels in the March Grain Stock…

Wood Chip Bioreactor Controls Tile Line Nitrate Load

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The Dudley Smith research farm in Illinois is tiled and wired. Todd Gleason has more on how the University of Illinois is doing nitrogen loss research near Pana. Farmers gathered this week for a peek at the nitrogen loss control methods installed in Christian County. It’s a farm that rolls just a bit, but is pretty typical for the area other than the pastures on a portion of it. They came to hear from Laura Christianson. She’s a University of Illinois Crop Scientist, “At the Dudley Smith farm we have a wood chip bioreactor installed. A wood chip bioreactor is a little mini water treatment plant to clean nitrate out of tile drainage. The thing that makes the Dudley Smith bioreactor different is that is has baffles inside it. So, rather than the water just running straight through the wood chips, like most bioreactors, this bioreactor has baffles in it to make the water move in more of an S shape to improve how much nitrate is taken out of the drainage water”. Early indications are the …

What Makes a Top Third Farm

There are just two items that make the difference between a top third farm and an average farm. This University of Illinois study was on a small set in McLean County. This was done to limit the influences of weather and a few other factors. Gary Schnitkey says he wanted to know why some farms made more than others. Turns out, the answer is pretty simple say the ag economist, “What we found were distinct cost differences between the two groups. This was a $45 per acre difference between the average group and the high return group. The $45 came primarily in two items; machinery depreciation and interest cost.”The more profitable farms tended to have lower machinery and non-land interest cost. The two are related. If you buy more machinery, you have more depreciation and likely more interest costs. Other differences included storage costs, with high profit farms storing less at elevators and their cost of hired labor was lower, too. Over all, these farms usually had lower costs, but thes…

Feeding Wheat Co-Products to Pigs

Research from the University of Illinois is helping to determine the quality of protein in wheat middlings and red dog. Both are co-products of the wheat milling process. Each can be fed to pigs and other livestock.There is information about the digestibility of crude protein in some wheat co-products produced in Canada and China, says University of Illinois Animal Scientist Hans Stein, but only very limited information about the nutritional value of wheat middlings and red dog produced in the United States.Stein and U of I researcher Gloria Casas fed wheat middlings from 8 different states and red dog from Iowa to growing pigs. Despite the variety in the wheat middlings sources the concentration of crude protein were generally consistent. However, they did find some variation in the digestibility of the amino acids.The red dog contained slightly less crude protein than wheat middlings. Stein says the results of this study provide guidance to producers who hope to incorporate wheat co…

Check Dicamba Soybeans After Spraying

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Farmers are turning to an old technology this year to control weeds in their fields. Here’s what they can expect from a new, old-product.Dicamba has been around for about half-a-century. It is a corn herbicide, but soybeans have been modified to tolerate it. This was done because so many weeds have modified themselves to resist being killed by glyphosate, commonly known as Round-Up. The primary problem, says University of Illinois Extension Weed Scientist Aaron Hager, is waterhemp, “it, has never been excellent on any of the pigweed species. It can be good. It can be very good, but it is not excellent. It is not as consistent.” This inconsistency makes the timing of dicamba applications extremely important. Without a doubt, says Hager, most post applied herbicides are going to do a better job of controlling a full suite of weeds in a field when the weeds are less than three to four inches in size, “Certainly, with something like dicamba and waterhemp, our recommendation to farmers is …

Crop Progress Reports & End of Season Yields

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read blog postLast week USDA released its first national corn condition rating of the season. The crop, as you’ll hear, wasn’t in great shape. While it doesn’t mean much at this time of year, there is a relationship between the first crop condition rating and the end of the season yield. The weekly Crop Progress report is mostly the work of Extension and FSA employees, at the least the data collection part. They report local crop conditions to state USDA offices, mostly on Monday morning, who in-turn tally those numbers and pass them along to Washington, D.C. for compilation and release on Monday afternoon. Work at the University of Illinois shows a strong relationship between the end-of-season crop condition ratings and crop yield, however, agricultural economist Scott Irwin says that doesn’t hold so well for the rest of the season, “but, of course, what you really want to know is how soon do they become really predictive of final yields. Our analysis says they become pretty useful a…

Another Rough Income Year for Grain Farmers

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It looks like 2017 will be another rough year for grain farmers in the United States. Even in Illinois, where the trend line yield for corn is 200 bushels to the acre and 61 for soybeans, the average income on a 1500 acre grain for this year is just $25,000. That’s not good says University of Illinois Agricultural Economist Gary Schnitkey, “That $25,000 isn’t enough to cover all the family living withdrawals and capital purchase expenses needed for a family farm of this size. Seventy to eighty-thousand dollars is needed to be sustainable in the long run. So, we are looking, again, at some financial deterioration if these projections hold”.
That $25,000 isn’t enough to cover all the family living withdrawals and capital purchase expenses needed for a family farm of this size. Seventy to eighty-thousand dollars is needed to be sustainable in the long run. It is a projection that wasn’t quite so low earlier in the year. Then, like today, Schnitkey was using an average cash sales price …

May 30 | USDA Weekly Crop Progress & Conditions Report

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Post-Emergence Herbicides in Corn

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read blog postIt is time for farmers to control weeds in their corn fields. However, the cool, wet start to the growing season makes it doubly important to read and follow herbicide labels.The post-emergence herbicide labels they’ll be following usually allow applications to be made at various growth stages says University of Illinois Extension Weed Scientist Aaron Hager. He says it is really important to read the label, making sure to get the height, or the stage, maybe both, of the crop correct.This is because most all of the products for corn have a growth stage listed on the label beyond which applications, at least broadcast applications, should not be made. It is usually either plant height - measured at the highest arch of the uppermost leaf at least 50% out of the whorl - or a leaf number. Hager says if both are listed, then it is important to use the more restrictive of the two, For example, because of some of the weather conditions we’ve had across a large part of the state …

The Last Post & Red Poppies

Adjusting Nitrogen for this Corn Crop

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read blog postDespite the wet weather many think may be causing nitrogen fertilizer to get away from corn plants, it is still far too early to make that decision. While it seems likely some nitrogen fertilizer has moved out of the upper soil as a result of rainfall this year University of Illinois Agronomist Emerson Nafziger says if soils dry out, the torrential rains stop, the sun shines, and the weather gets warmer things should be all good, “The crop is going to tell us this. If by the middle of June some of the crop has really greened up nicely and some has not, then we might need to think about those that haven’t and determine if enough nitrogen is missing to cause this to take place. My suspicion is we will not see very much of that at all. If we are warm and dry and with sunshine for a week, I think the crop is going to look good in almost every field.”My suspicion is we will not see very much of that at all. If we are warm and dry and with sunshine for a week, I think the crop…

Trump's Propose Cut to SNAP & Food Insecurity

The White House has released a new budget proposal, and it’s not good news for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Plan, commonly known as food stamps or Link in Illinois. The plan calls for a $193 billion, or 25 percent, cut to the program that currently serves 42 million Americans. Craig Gundersen, professor in the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois, has been studying SNAP and its effects on food insecurity for years.“SNAP is a great program. It is the key component of the social safety net against food insecurity,” Gundersen says.Given the success of SNAP, Gundersen emphasizes that efforts to cut the size of the program will lead to dramatic increases in food insecurity.Food insecurity and SNAP were the topics of a recent podcast and Twitter chat with Gundersen. According to Gundersen, food insecurity is a major contributor to negative health outcomes in the United States. These range from depression and malnutrition to behavioral prob…

Secretary Perdue Shout Out to Land Grants & Extension

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Trump Administration Budget Sets Farm Bill Guide Posts

This week the Trump Administration released its FY18 budget. It includes harsh cuts to agricultural entitlement programs. Todd Gleason discusses the plan with University of Illinois Agricultural Policy Specialist Jonathan Coppess.

Crop Progress & June Acreage Could be Really Bearish

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There is a rule of thumb for marketing that says “Consider the crop year normal until that is no longer the case.” Yesterday’s USDA Weekly Crop Progress report - despite the rainy weather - tells us the nation’s farmers are on pace this season. They’ve planted 84% of the corn crop and 53% of the soybeans. For University of Illinois Agricultural Economist Todd Hubbs this suggests, at a minimum, farmers need to really think about making new crop soybean sales prior to the USDA’s June 30th Acreage Report.Hubbs writes about commodity prices each week for the University of Illinois. Those articles are posted to the farmdocDaily website each Monday.

UPDATED | HRW Condition in Kansas with @KSUWheat

The hard red winter wheat crop in Kansas has been under serious stress this spring. It’s been frozen, covered with snow, drown, and riddled with disease. Still, as Todd Gleason discovers, it may not be as bad off as conditions suggest.

May 10 | USDA WASDE

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Yellow Corn Needs Some Heat

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Farmer don’t worry too much about a few very young yellow corn plants in their fields. They do get concerned when every plant is yellow. The problem, in this case, isn’t the wet weather says University of Illinois Agronomist Emerson Nafziger.

The Condition of Kansas Wheat | an interview with Romulo Lollato

The Wheat Quality Tour has predicted a very good Kansas crop. However, as you’ll hear, the numbers produced are likely only good for the day they were released. Todd Gleason has more on how the hard red winter wheat crop may deteriorate.

Areas of Above & Below Trend Yields in the Corn-Belt

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read farmdocDaily post

Farmers in Illinois and other parts of the eastern corn belt have had above average yields over the last several years. Gary Schnitkey wondered if this was due to the weather or some other reason. He explored the topic and came to three conclusions.



First, yield expectations in the current year likely are more heavily influenced by more recent experience. In those areas where yields have been high, it may be tempting to building financial budgets and expectations on relatively high yields. Doing so could result in higher projections of incomes than are warranted. Farmers in Illinois and other recent high yielding areas should be cautious about building in high yield expectations.

Second, the comparison of above average yields in Illinois and near average yields in Iowa is instructive in understanding whether high yields are caused by technological change. The high yields in Illinois in recent years likely are not a result of technological changes. If technologic…

President Trump Signe Executive Order on Agriculture

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EXECUTIVE ORDER

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PROMOTING AGRICULTURE AND RURAL PROSPERITY IN AMERICA

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order to ensure the informed exercise of regulatory authority that affects agriculture and rural communities, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1.  Policy.  A reliable, safe, and affordable food, fiber, and forestry supply is critical to America's national security, stability, and prosperity.  It is in the national interest to promote American agriculture and protect the rural communities where food, fiber, forestry, and many of our renewable fuels are cultivated.  It is further in the national interest to ensure that regulatory burdens do not unnecessarily encumber agricultural production, harm rural communities, constrain economic growth, hamper job creation, or increase the cost of food for Americans and our customers around the world.

Sec. 2.  Establishment of the Interage…