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Showing posts from 2018

2019 Crop Budgets Suggest Dismal Corn and Soybean Returns

Even with cost-cutting and savings measures, University of Illinois Agricultural Economist Gary Schnitkey says, for the moment, it seems unlikely farmers will have positive returns on rented farmland in 2019. Todd Gleason has more…

Small Refinery Exemptions and Ethanol Demand Destruction

farmdocDaily articleThere is widespread interest in whether small refinery exemptions (SREs) under the RFS have “destroyed” demand for ethanol in the physical market. Todd Gleason discusses the point with University of Illinois agricultural economist Scott Irwin.

Trump Trade Policy Crashes Soybean Basis

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China, the number one destination for all U.S. soybeans, has stopped buying because of the President’s trade policies. Normally those bushels would be exported via the PNW (the Pacific Northwest) grain export terminals. That gate has closed says NDSU’s Frayne Olson and now all those bushels are expected to try and move through the other export gate at the Port of New Orleans.

Olson says “The challenge we have in the soybean market is that the basis levels are trying to choke off the inflow of grain. Local basis is all about what’s the inflow rate versus the outflow rate. The problem is our out-flow rate is very slow. So, the local basis level is going to continue to fall until it chokes off that inflow and where that magic number depends upon where you are.”

If you look at a fall 2018 map of soybean prices across the United State you can see how grain flow is backing up into the St. Louis export terminals. The PNW can handle about 25 train loads of soybeans a day. St. Louis can manag…

Soybean Exports since the Onset of Tariffs

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by Todd Hubbs, University of Illinois

The evolving developments with tariffs between the U.S. and China continue to influence the outlook for soybean prices. The relationship between U.S. and competitor export prices along with the changing nature of trade flows merit monitoring during the 2018–19 marketing year.



The implementation of tariffs on Chinese goods and the subsequent retaliation led to an adjustment of trade flows in world soybean markets over the last few months. As the tariffs, went into effect, a price gap opened between Brazilian and U.S. export prices. The gap continuously widened when comparing an index of soybean prices at the port of Paranagua and New Orleans prices since early June.


This chart illustrates how the price of U.S. soybeans for export at the port of New Orleans has dropped below the price of Brazil sourced soybeans from the port of Paranagua since June of 2018.

The gap reached its broadest level late last week at approximately $1.90 per bushel differenc…

Selling Soybeans Across the Scale

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This fall farmers will harvest a record sized soybean crop. USDA says about 4.7 billion bushels. They’ll need a home and farmers in North Dakota are really worried. About 2/3rds of their crop is shipped by rail to the Pacific Northwest for export to China. The Trump administration trade policies have mostly closed that market says North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp, “What I would tell you is not only have you disrupted the markets and we have taken a haircut, you may not be able to sell them which is something I’ve been talking about for a long time.” Heitkamp was speaking to farmers in Fargo at the Big Iron farm show this week.

The cash price of soybeans has tumbled across the whole of the Midwest and some elevators are telling farmers not to bring their beans to town. Those soybeans from the Dakota’s and Minnesota are going to try and find another way out of the country. That’s probably through St. Louis and down the Mississippi River. It’s a brutal cash price situation that back…

Market Mitigation Signup | an interview with Gary Schnitkey

Sign up for the trade and tariff compensation package from the United State Department of Agriculture is open. Todd Gleason has more on how and when farmers and landlords should fill out the paperwork.

Marketing Corn & Soybeans this Fall

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The dramatic fall in the price of corn and soybeans earlier in the year has put farmers in a unique marketing position. They must decide how much of the drop is due to the expected bumper crop size of the harvest and how much comes from the Trump Administration trade policies. University of Illinois Agricultural Economist Todd Hubbs says determining when those disputes might be settled is key to making good marketing decisions.

Great Corn Grind, but Ethanol Stocks are Building

Dan O’Brien from Kansas State University discusses the state of ethanol production and stocks. While grind has been tremendous, stocks are building, and plant profitability looks to be near breakeven.

2018 Cash Rents were up $5/acre in Illinois

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University of Illinois Agricultural Economist Gary Schnitkey discusses the surprise $5 an acre cash rent increase seen in the state wide 2018 survey numbers and how farm economics look going into the 2019 growing season.

by USDA NASS
see the 2018 USDA Land Values Survey

Agricultural Land Values Highlights

The United States farm real estate value, a measurement of the value of all land and buildings on farms, averaged $3,140 per acre for 2018, up $60 per acre (1.9 percent) from 2017 values.


Regional changes in the average value of farm real estate ranged from an 8.3 percent increase in the Southern Plains region to 1.4 percent decrease in the Northern Plains region. The highest farm real estate values were in the Corn Belt region at $6,430 per acre. The Mountain region had the lowest farm real estate value at $1,140 per acre.


The United States cropland value averaged $4,130 per acre, an increase of $40 per acre from the previous year. In the Southern Plains region, the average cropland …

AirScout Precision Agriculture Startup

A startup on the south end of the University of Illinois campus is using thermal imaging to help precision agriculture become prescription agriculture. Todd Gleason has more on how AirScout is helping farmers take advantage of their precision-guided equipment.

The Trump Administration, Ethanol, & the RFS

During a U.S. Senate hearing, Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler answered questions about ethanol, biofuels, the RFS, and small refinery waivers. He appears to be holding the same line Scott Pruitt took during his time at the helm of the agency with some notable differences.

Breeding Barley to Make Budweiser

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You might think of Anheuser Busch as a beverage company producing great American beers like Budweiser. However, as Todd Gleason reports from Idaho Falls, Idaho, it is a highly integrated agricultural company.

Trade Tariff Farmer Compensation Package

The Trump Administration’s has a $12 billion dollar plan to compensate farmers for damages done so far by the trade dispute with China and other nations. Here’s what’s known, so far, about how the plan will work.The largest part of that money will be paid out to soybean producers, though direct payments will also be made for other commodities including corn, wheat, sorghum, cotton, dairy, and pork. USDA Chief Economist Rob Johansson told reporters on the line the initial damage calculation has already been made, “We’ve calculated what the damage is to producers facing these illegal tariff actions. We are working out the specific details and will be working it out as a rule making action in a couple of weeks and that will have our estimated rates. As the Secretary mentioned, this will be playing out over time and we do look to allowing for the Administration to successfully negotiate a deal here with our trading partners. And so, the program will be flexible to allow that.” Again, Joha…

A R C vs P L C | #farmbill18

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The farmdocDaily team has written an article projecting future farm safety-net payments. Unless the conference committee members change ARC-Co (ark-county) dramatically, most corn farmers will choose P-L-C this time around.



excepts from the farmdocDaily article
by Gary Schnitkey, Jonathan Coppess, Nick Paulson, & Carl Zulauf

The House and Senate have respectively passed their versions of a 2018 Farm Bill. Now a conference committee will attempt to work out the differences. Both include the Agricultural Risk Coverage at the County Level (ARC-CO) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) farm safety net programs first made available in the 2014 bill. The House version eliminates a third program— ARC at the individual farm level (ARC-IC) — while the Senate leaves it in.

ARC-CO pays when county revenue (county yield x marketing year average price) is below a revenue guarantee. The revenue guarantee equals .86 times a benchmark yield times a benchmark price. Benchmark yields and benchmark prices ar…

Jul 23 | USDA Weekly Crop Progress Reports

Around the nation, USDA reports 81% of the corn crop is silking. The rolling 5yr-avg is 62%. 18% of the crop has entered the dough stage, the 5yr-avg is 8%. The corn crop is in slightly better condition than last week as is the soybean crop. It now stands at 70% good or excellent with 44% of the crop setting pods. The 5yr-avg is about half that amount. Winter wheat harvest is 80% complete.

A Commodity Markets Interview with Todd Hubbs

The commodity markets seemed to have found a bottom for the moment. Todd Gleason has more on what may be next with University of Illinois Agricultural Economist Todd Hubbs.

July WASDE to Reflect Tariffs

This Thursday’s USDA’s monthly supply and demand estimates will include the impact of the Trump Administration’s tariffs. Gary Crawford talks with the chair of the World Agricultural Outlook Board Seth Meyer about the July WASDE. The report is scheduled for release at 11 a.m. central time Thursday, July 12, 2018.

When Farmers Should Spray for Japanese Beetles

Japanese beetles are showing up in corn and soybean fields. These can do enough damage to cause yield losses, but it is fairly unlikely. The University of Illinois has published thresholds for when farmers should spray crops to protect them from the Japanese beetle. Nick Seiter says there needs to be a lot of beetles and a whole lot damage done before a producer should spend money on a rescue treatment, “Most of the reports that I am getting, as you would expect and as is typical, are below the treatment thresholds. These are 25 percent defoliation after bloom and 35 percent before bloom for soybean and the threshold for silk clipping in corn is consistent clipping to half-an-inch or less regularly throughout the field. I had a question yesterday about what to do when you have both Japanese beetles and corn rootworm clipping silks in the field. The answer is the same, the clipping has to be down to half-an-inch or less consistently through the field while pollination is still ongoing.…

China Tells Farmers To Grow More Soybeans

U.S. House Passes Farm Bill Legislation

The U.S. House of Representatives passed farm bill legislation late Thursday, June 21, 2018. Before its passage, I asked @ACESIllinois Jonathan Coppess how the vote might go, what the bill contains, and how it compares to the Senate’s version of the legislation.

Nothing to do about Seedling Diseases in Soybean

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Soybean seed treatments aren’t working at the moment and there’s nothing a farmer can do.



If you drive around much you’ll have noted some drown out areas in soybean fields, probably across the whole of the corn belt. Those are pretty easy to spot, but there are some areas that look like they’ve not been underwater - at least not for very long, if at all. They’re wilted back and showing signs of seedling diseases says University of Illinois Extension Plant Pathologist Nathan Kleczewski, "You must remember these soybeans have been in the ground for 30 or 40 days and seed treatments are going to only give us two to three weeks of protection.

Under perfect conditions your are going to see about three weeks of protection says the researcher, and we’re well past that point now. Kleczewski says while it is unusual at this point in the season, the Plant Clinic at the University of Illinois has been getting in samples of treated soybeans that are clearly suffering from seedling diseases, …

Episode 01 | Nutrient Loss Reduction Podcast

Replacing Petrochemicals with Biochemicals made from Corn

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Farmers gathered at the CUTC in St. Louis this week (June 4, 5, 6) to learn about future uses for the nation’s number one commodity crop.The Corn Utilization and Technology Conference is organized by NCGA or the National Corn Growers Association. It happens every two years and is dedicated to exploring future uses of corn. Vijay Singh is a regular. He works for the agricultural college at the University of Illinois and specializes in engineering ethanol processing plants. Singh sees them expanding to include biochemical production in the near future, “That’s the big thing right now and for that, we need large amounts of sugar. The U.S. is at a major advantage in terms of producing sugars from corn and that comes from the corn processing industry.”The corn processing industry has long focused on creating food products, high fructose corn syrup, ethanol and some other co-products. However, now that sugar, rather than crude oil, has become the preferred feedstock for producing high-value…

Corn Growth Stage and Post-Emergence Herbicides

by Aaron Hager, Extension Weed Scientist
University of Illinois The labels of most post-emergence corn herbicides allow applications at various crop growth stages, but almost all product labels indicate a maximum growth stage beyond which broadcast applications should not be made, and a few even state a minimum growth stage before which applications should not be made. INSERT ifr180601–140 or use embed codeHerbicide application restrictions based on corn height and growth stage with University of Illinois Extension Weed Scientist Aaron Hager @UIWeedSci. pic.twitter.com/YnZkWpYLDM— Todd E. Gleason (@commodityweek) May 31, 2018These growth stages are usually indicated as a particular plant height or leaf stage; sometimes both of these are listed. For product labels that indicate a specific corn height and growth state, be sure to follow the more restrictive of the two. Application restrictions exist for several reasons, but of particular importance is the increased likelihood of crop in…

Western Corn Rootworm Research Trials

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When farmers want to know how well an insecticide works they turn to their Land Grant University for unbiased information. Todd Gleason has more from the western corn rootworm trials on the Urbana-Champaign campus. This little four-row planter is outfitted with some pretty high tech stuff. All of which must be calibrated before it goes to the field where it will be used to plant a western corn rootworm trial. A trial that will assess how well twelve different current in-furrow liquid and granular insecticides work. Well, at least some of them are current products, others are experimentals says University of Illinois Extension Entomologist Nick Seiter, “We like to evaluate all the different options that are out there. There is always potential that we could lose control tactics that we are using currently.” So, researchers at Illinois want to make sure to evaluate everything available just in case something becomes ineffective. This we there are good answers on what to try next. It is …

How to Play Trump's China Deal for Soybeans

The President has been tweeting about agriculture. He says the potential deal with China will result in “massive” export increases for farm commodities. Most have taken this to mean, at a minimum, that the flow of soybeans will be increased. University of Illinois agricultural economist Todd Hubbs has been pondering the implications and the deal. Todd Hubbs specializes is row crop commodity marketing at the University of Illinois. You may read his thoughts on marketing soybeans in today’s (this week’s) post to the farmdocDaily website.

May 21 | WILLAg Newsletter

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May 20, 2018
University of Illinois Extension | WILLAg.org
Projected Cutting Dates for Black Cutworm in CornChina, NAFTA, and Trade DealsCommodity WeekUSDA Weekly Crop ProgressMarket Outlook for Corn and SoybeansU.S. House Fails to Pass 2018 Farm Bill
Projected Cutting Dates for Black Cutworm in Corn



Farmers should be on the lookout for black cutworm in their corn fields.

The earliest projected cutting dates were late last week in Montgomery County. University of Illinois Extension Entomologist Nick Seiter says fields, especially at risk to having plants cut by the black cutworm, include those with later planted corn and those sown into grassy weeds or a late terminated cover crop. Seiter explains, “What you are going to want to do is to scout your field. Look for plants lying on the ground that appears to have been cut with scissors. This is different looking than damage from a bird digging up the plant looking for the seed. These corn plants will be cut off. When you start finding tha…

U.S. House Fails to Pass 2018 Farm Bill

Friday, May 18, 2018, the United States House of Representatives voted on and failed to pass legislation to create the 2018 version of the Farm Bill. Fourteen members of the Republican Party’s Freedom Caucus, 16 moderate Republicans, and the Democrats cast no votes. It sets up a complex path forward for the bill.</

Projected Cutting Dates for Black Cutworm in Corn

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Farmers should be on the lookout for black cutworm in their corn fields.

The earliest projected cutting dates were late last week in Montgomery County. University of Illinois Extension Entomologist Nick Seiter says fields especially at risk to having plants cut by the black cut worm include those with later planted corn and those sown into grassy weeds or a late terminated cover crop. Seiter explains, “What you are going to want to do is to scout your field. Look for plants lying on the ground that appear to have been cut with scissors. This is different looking than damage from a bird digging up the plant looking for the seed. These corn plants will be cut off. When you start finding that, scrape around in the residue looking for the larvae. The black cut worm larva is dark colored, with a greasy appearance. It is not slimy, but it looks like it has been coated with Crisco. If you find the worms and about three percent of the plants have been cut throughout the field it is the time …

Market Outlook for Corn and Soybeans

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Farmers, as we enter the last half of May, are nearing the end of the spring planting season and they are turning their attention again to the marketplace. Todd Gleason has more on how one agricultural economist sees prices playing out for the year.

We’ll start with the last numbers USDA publishes in the Supply and Demand tables for each commodity, the season’s average price. For corn, that number - at the midpoint - is $3.80. University of Illinois Agricultural Economist Todd Hubbs is a bit more optimistic. He has it at $4.05. His soybean price, however, is less than USDA’s. The agency has it at $10.00 a bushel. Hubbs puts it at $9.45. The difference in viewpoint says Hubbs lands squarely on soybean exports, “When we look forward to 18/19 the 2.29 billion bushel USDA projection seems a bit high especially when you consider the size of the Brazilian soybean crop and China’s aspiration to increase domestic soybean production while cutting back on imports for the first time in over a de…

May 10 | USDA WASDE ReAct with Todd Hubbs

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The monthly WASDE report for May 2018 introduced the first look at the new crop corn and soybean supply & demand tables. Todd Gleason has more with University of Illinois commodity markets specialist Todd Hubbs.







Soybean Crush Continues Strength

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by Todd Hubbs, Agricultural Economist - University of Illinois
read farmdocDaily article

Soybean crush levels picked up substantially over the last few months due to strong crush margins. Driven by production issues in Argentina, the increase in crush margin recently is attributed to rapid growth in soybean meal prices. For the 2017–08 marketing year, the USDA currently projects the domestic crush at 1.97 billion bushels, up 3.6 percent from last marketing year. Soybean meal use needs to build on recent progress to meet or exceed the current crush projection.



Soybean crush during the first half of the marketing year from September 2017 through February 2018 equaled 1010.6 million bushels, 3.5 percent greater than the total of the previous year. The USDA’s current projection indicates a 3.6 percent increase for the year and implies that the crush during the last half of the year will be 3.7 percent larger than the crush during the previous marketing year. The Census Bureau estimated th…

Soil-borne Plant Disease Trials @ Illinois

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Over the next few years, companies will release new and updated ways to use seed treatments to control soil-borne diseases in corn and soybeans. Researchers at the University of Illinois are looking to assess how well each of these might work. One of the first steps in the scientific process is to lay out the trials. In this case that means intentionally inoculating the area with a disease says University of Illinois Extension Plant Pathologist Nathan Kleczewski, “We are putting in some different soybean and corn trials today looking at different seed treatments for controlling seed-borne diseases. So, we have some pythium trials, some SDS trials, and some rhizoctonia trials. We’re getting those in the ground.”Kleczewski is testing how well both old and new seed-treatment products work. He’s wants to see how efficacious they are at controlling corn and soybean plant diseases, “We are also trying some existing products utilizing different mechanisms of application to see if they might …

Accident at Argentine Grain Terminal Sends Soybean Prices Higher

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The price of soybeans and bean meal jumped Friday as news continues to filter in from the April 24 grain terminal port accident in Argentina. The Chinese flagged Ocean Treasure, a bulk agricultural commodities carrier, struck and heavily damaged a pier at Puerto General San Martín north of Rosario on the Paraná River.



Ocean Treasure was preparing to load up to 24,000 tons of corn and a total of 27,000 tons of soymeal, according to shipping agency data.

The incident occurred at the north dock of Terminal 6. It is grain and liquid bulk facility on the Paraná River. Video of the incident shows the collapse of a fixed conveyor belt and loading equipment after impact. Guillermo Wade, the manager of Argentina’s Chamber of Port and Maritime Activity, told Reuters that one worker suffered minor injuries. He reported that T6’s north dock sustained serious damage, but the south dock remains operational.


Bunge Grain Terminal Puerto General San Martín
Terminal 6 S.A., a joint venture of AGD and B…

President Trump Talks Farmers in Michigan

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President Donald Trump made a speech Saturday in Washington, Michigan. Thirty-seven minutes into the speech he talked about farmers, trade with China & Japan, the guest worker immigration program, cattle, wheat, and NAFTA. You may watch the whole speech here. It is set to start at the 37-minute mark with the trade and farm issues.

A Corn Price Conversation with Todd Hubbs

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The lateness of the planting season coupled with smaller acreage has put a fundamental lift into the corn market. Todd Gleason talks with the University of Illinois commodity markets specialist about what it might mean for prices.

A Corn Price Conversation with Todd Hubbs

The lateness of the planting season coupled with smaller acreage has put a fundamental lift into the corn market. Todd Gleason talks with the University of Illinois commodity markets specialist about what it might mean for prices.

Yield Implications of Delayed Corn Planting

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read farmdocDaily articleThe late spring has many worried. Others are confident farmers can plant a corn crop in 5 working days. University of Illinois agricultural economists have gone through the USDA data to see if this is true and what impact a late planting season might have on corn yields. The grand prairie of Illinois is still lying dormant. Its soils are just beginning to reach that magical 50-degree mark. That’s when the corn planters begin to roll. It’s a late start to the season this year, and despite the increased size of the machinery University of Illinois Agricultural Economist Scott Irwin says it’ll still take about as much time to plant the corn crop this season as it did nearly 30 years ago, “If we are operating at our maximum capacity, it takes about fourteen days and when we say days we mean field days not calendar days, to get the job done”.The reason is simple. There are fewer farmers using bigger machines. So, it is pretty likely it will take a while to get the …

A Late Planting Season Lesson

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The late start to the growing season in the corn belt and the northern plains has farmers and traders worried. But, as a commodity marketing class at the University of Illinois found out there is much more to be learned from the data. This 400 level agricultural college class taught by Scott Irwin includes guest lectures by Illinois alum involved in price discovery. In this case, Mike Tannura from T-storm Weather in Chicago is teaching them about how the weather and the markets work together. Right now he tells them is a good example of a weather market. The cold, the snow storms, the damp air hasn’t allowed farmers from Ohio to North Dakota to really begin the planting season says Tannura, “In an ideal world, you would plant all your corn and all your soybeans in a very timely manner. It would all be wrapped up by sometime in the middle of May. Given where we are today, if it turns out to be wet in the first week or two of May, then everybody is going to fall behind”.The trick is to …

2018 Acreage Decisions: Steady as She Goes in Rough Waters

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read farmdocDaily article

The price of corn and soybeans has been swinging on trade threats and changing acreage mixes in the United States. However, those price movements have yet to change the relative profitability between corn and soybeans writes Gary Schnitkey on the farmdocDaily website this week.

Soybeans remain more profitable than corn in the University of Illinois agricultural economist’s crop budgets, but the difference between them has narrowed. Schnitkey says the risks of significant price declines have increased, particularly for soybeans and that hedging a large percentage of 2018 expected soybean production seems prudent.

Current prices are higher than earlier in the winter. The central Illinois fall delivery bids on April 6, 2018 were $3.80 for corn and $10.00 per bushel for soybeans. Budgets based on these fall delivery bids are shown in Table 1.



Panel A shows budget for high productivity farmland in central Illinois. The operator and land return for corn is $256 per…

No Good Way for Perdue to Protect Farmers

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President Trump has asked the Secretary of Agriculture to protect U.S. farmers from the trade dispute with China. However, there aren’t many options for Sonny Perdue.Last week Sonny Perdue was on the road for his second RV tour of farm country. His first tour was last summer. That’s when he told producers he would be their salesman to the world. Now he’s being asked to be their protector in the face of trade restrictions, some in place others proposed, as President Trump sets about rectifying what he sees as unfair trade with China. However, Perdue isn’t saying what he’ll do for farmers and there may be a good reason that’s the case says University of Illnois Ag Policy Specialist Jonathan Coppess, “There are not a lot options for the Secretary when it comes to the covered commodities.”Typically USDA lawyers will explain there is flexibility in the original CCC charter act and the general powers to improve prices. Yet, because Congress has stepped in and directed spending for commoditi…

Will Soybean Ending Stocks Get Larger

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by Todd Hubbs, Agricultural Economist - University of Illinois
read farmdocdaily article

Recent rumblings of potential tariffs by China on U.S. soybeans created a stir last week. While the market reacts to the uncertainty associated with trade policy, the upcoming WASDE report, on April 10, will update soybean use projections for this marketing year. The USDA may revise the forecast of ending stocks for soybeans during the current marketing year due to weaker than projected soybean export pace and stronger crush numbers.

The current USDA projection for soybean ending stocks during the 2017–18 marketing year sits at 555 million bushels, an increase of 130 million bushels since the November projection. The steady increase in ending stock projections is due to decreasing export projections. Current USDA soybean export projections for this marketing year are 2.065 billion bushels. On April 5, the Census Bureau released export estimates for February. The updated export estimates for soybea…

Jonathan Coppess Breaks Down Trump Trade Issues

The first week of April has been tumultuous for American agriculture. Todd Gleason talks with Jonathan Coppess about how the Trump Administration has been handling trade with China, the NAFTA negotiations, and biofuels.

How to Properly Use Dicamba on Soybeans

read farmdocdaily article

As the growing season approaches it is important for farmers to understand how to use dicamba on resistant soybean varieties. Todd Gleason has more with University of Illinois weed scientist Aaron Hager.



The following is an excerpt from the March 23 farmdocdaily article posted by University of Illinois Weed Scientist Aaron Hager.

Steps for Successful Weed Management in Dicamba-Resistant Soybean

Step 1
plant dicamba soybean seed into a weed-free seedbedachieve a weed-free seedbed through the use of preplant tillage, an effective burndown herbicide(s), or a combination of tillage and burndown herbicides Step 2:
select and apply within 7 days of planting a soil-residual herbicide that targets your most problematic weed species; if desired (and labeled), add dicamba and an appropriate bufferfor waterhemp or Palmer amaranth, select a product containing the active ingredients from one of the following categories of control:ExcellentGoodAcceptablesulfentrazonepyroxasu…