Corn Belt May Turn Dry Next
Corn-Belt farmers will likely experience cold rains
again this week before a warmer, drier weather pattern develops that may
allow planting progress to improve in the region, says Drew Lerner,
World Weather, Inc., meteorologist. However, this dry period may be
short-lived for farmers in the western and northern Corn Belt, he adds.
“The current, wet-weather bias will probably last for about another
six or seven days,” predicts Lerner. “Then there will be a brief
period of drier and warmer weather before the wet-weather bias returns
to the northern Plains and Upper Midwest. So, farmers in these areas
will likely have very little time to plant before it turns wet again --
it could all come down to the timing of the rains.”
The silver lining from this year’s chilly, soggy spring is that a
debilitating drought is much less likely to occur this summer, says
Lerner. “It’s hard for a serious drought to develop when you start
out with such a wet weather pattern,” he points out. “All that
moisture in the soil eventually evaporates into the atmosphere and turns
Still, a wet spring is no guarantee that the Corn Belt will completely
avoid summer dryness. “The 1983 crop year is just one example of a wet
spring that turned into a summer drought,” says Lerner. “However,
this year’s current, cool-weather bias provides less support for
persistent hot weather in the heart of the Midwest. I’m totally
awestruck by the amount of cold air that continues to be in the North
American atmosphere this late into spring.”
A weakening La Niña weather pattern is another sign that the
Corn Belt is less likely to experience an extensive yield-reducing
drought this summer, he adds. “If La Niña goes away, it will likely
reduce, but not eliminate, the potential for summer dryness,” says
Lerner. “Any dryness that does develop this year is more likely to
affect the western Corn Belt than the eastern Corn Belt.”
On the other hand, this spring’s cold, wet weather may have delayed
Corn-Belt planting enough that even normal summer dryness may be a
threat to achieving average or better yields, says Lerner. Late-planted
crops are more vulnerable to yield loss from drought, because their
reproduction phase occurs during a normally drier time period, he
“So, we’re not nearly out of the woods yet -- it might still get
interesting,” adds Lerner. “Yes, we may have a little trouble with
yields this year, but we don’t have a weather pattern that is
supportive of persistent, hot, dry weather.”
To learn more about World Weather Inc., click here: www.worldweather.cc/. To see the
latest precipitation and temperature predictions from the National
Weather Service, click here: www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/.
By John Pocock
Little Cushion Left In Corn
Time is running out on corn. Although some industry
people are showing signs of anxiety, no one seems to be panicking yet.
There are two dangers:
In its March 31st Planting Intentions Report, based on a farmer survey,
the USDA estimated that 86 million acres of corn would be planted this
spring. Traders and industry experts ran the numbers on projected corn
demand and agree that farmers needed to plant at least 89 million acres
of corn. Corn prices moved up in an attempt to bid more acres into corn.
But the weather has not been cooperating.
- not enough corn acres will get planted, and
- corn will be planted too late to produce trend-line yields.
An analysis conducted during the week of April 28 showed that with
projected usage, 89 million acres of corn producing at a trend-line
yield of about 155 bu./acre would give a barely adequate corn supply.
Price would likely remain in the $6 range. If 90 million acres are
planted and harvested at this trend-line yield, corn stocks would build
enough to bring corn prices down into the $5 range. For both models,
below trend-line yields resulted in higher corn prices. If corn acres
planted fall below 89 million acres, even with a trend-line yield, corn
prices would move up to a level that would ration the available supply.
No attempt was made to analyze the effect of unfavorable weather during
the growing season.
The conclusions here in early May are 89-90 million acres of corn need
to be planted, and soon, to optimize the crop’s yield potential. Then,
we will need good weather conditions throughout the growing season to
produce trend-line yields. With the 2007/08 carryover supply tightening,
there is no cushion to fall back on.
To continue reading this article on corn planting delays and their
potential impact on prices, click here: www.agmanager.info/marketing.
By Mike Woolverton, Kansas State
IMPACT® herbicide gives
you a new, and better way to look at broadleaf weeds and grasses in your
corn –– it’s Carcass Vision –– a proven performance
result from IMPACT. Seeing is Believing. See what IMPACT herbicide can
do for weed and grass control in your corn at www.impactherbicide.com.
For Farm-Bill Override Votes
Farm bill negotiators and major farm organizations
have begun an intense effort to muster the 290 House votes needed to
override a promised veto of the 2008 Food, Conservation and Energy Act
Shortly after House and Senate Agriculture, Ways and Means and Finance
Committee leaders outlined the major features of the compromise
legislation at a news conference last Thursday afternoon, they and farm
groups began lobbying members of Congress to support it.
Any lingering doubts President Bush would veto the long-awaited 2008
Farm Bill were swept away when Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer issued a
statement saying the president intended to do just that.
To continue reading this article about the 2008 Farm Bill, click here:
To read Schafer’s statement in opposition to the bill, click here: www.usda.gov/wps.
To read comments from the National Corn Growers Association in support
of the bill, click here: www.ncga.com/news.
To read comments from the American Farm Bureau in support of the bill,
click here: www.fb.org.
By Forrest Laws, Farm Press
Plan B For Nitrogen:
The cold, wet April has many Minnesota farmers
justifiably worried. They don’t want to do anything that might reduce
yield. So, getting corn planted as soon as the soil is fit is a major
concern. I suspect that there are farmers who must yet apply nitrogen
(N) and plant. These same individuals are probably wondering what to do
first. There are a couple of options that might be used to get around
the time jam. Both involve a switch from preplant to sidedress N. That
switch is really not all that bad.
Several research projects have focused on the time of N application over
the years. Perhaps, the most comprehensive project was conducted at the
Lamberton, MN, Experiment Station from the mid-1990’s through 2006.
Looking at all the numbers collected where preplant was compared to
sidedress N, both had an equal effect on yield. In other words, there is
no yield penalty for sidedress N.
Studies conducted in other states have also shown that there is no yield
penalty if sidedress N is applied early. The sidedress N probably works
best for rotations where corn follows a crop other than corn. Sidedress
N in combination with a banded fertilizer would be a good plan. For corn
following corn, it would be a good idea to combine sidedress N with N in
a weed and feed program. If use of a pre-emergence herbicide is planned,
that herbicide can be applied with fluid N.
To continue reading this article on sidedressing N in corn, click here:
By George Rehm, University of
Planted Corn Stands For Cold Injury
Some early planted Indiana corn may have experienced
injury from cold soils and might need to be replanted, says Bob Nielsen,
Purdue University Extension corn specialist.
“During germination, corn seedlings risk injury from soil temperatures
in the low 40s or high 30s,” says Nielsen. “So, growers may want to
look at early planted fields to check seedling germination, emergence
and chilling injury.”
Farmers should try to assess stand establishment within the first few
weeks after planting, and then make evaluations on replants, notes
Nielsen. However, “if you still have corn and soybean acres to plant,
it’s more important to get those done before you start to replant
corn,” he adds.
Iowa farmers have yet to report any cold injury to corn, says Roger
Elmore, Iowa State University (ISU) Extension corn specialist. Still,
“given the conditions for April-planted corn, and highly fluctuating
soil temperatures, you would expect some cold injury and emergence
problems to occur,” adds Elmore. “Even a 5-10° soil temperature
change can cause a lot of seedling injury issues, and there are several
cold-injury problems that could occur. For example, with cold injury,
you may see corkscrewing and leaves unfurling under the soil surface.”
Replanting may make sense for farmers who have already completed
corn and soybean planting, confirms Elmore. However, stand counts should
still be made now to assess the need for replanting later, he adds.
“If fields look questionable, actually do stand counts,” he advises.
“Don’t just drive by the field to assess poorly emerging stands.”
To read more information from ISU on early season cold stress to corn,
click here: www.agronext.iastate.edu/corn/production.
For help with corn replanting decisions in Iowa, click on this PDF Web
link to ISU’s Corn Planting Guide: www.extension.iastate.edu/Publications.
To read more information from Purdue about cold temperature injury to
early planted and early emerging corn, click here: www.agry.purdue.edu/ext/corn/news.
To estimate the potential returns from replanting corn in Indiana and
Ohio, click on this PDF link to Purdue’s Agronomy Guide worksheet: www.agry.purdue.edu/ext/pubs.
By John Pocock
2007 Corn Yields In
Overall, 2007 was a good-yielding year for corn in
northern and central Illinois. Farms with corn yields averaging over 200
bu./acre were common in 2007. Yields were more variable in southern
While 2007 was a good production year on average, there were areas of
the Corn Belt that experienced below-trend yields. Each year areas of
low yields tend to exist. If a state is to have a record-setting high
yield, few areas in a state can experience low yields. Similarly, few
areas in the Corn Belt can be below average if the national average
yields are to set a record high yield.
To continue reading this article about Corn Belt corn yields in 2007 and
to see yield data from several key Corn-Belt states, click here: www.farmdoc.uiuc.edu/manage.
By: Gary Schnitkey, University of Illinois
Shape Up Your Financial Game
Now is the time to start getting your financial game
plan in shape if you are an agricultural producer.
First, regulators will require agri-lenders to provide more financial
documentation, information and data. This is a result of the sub-prime
housing crisis, and a proactive measure to prevent the agriculture
industry from following the same path.
Next, expect your lender to demand larger down payments and equity when
financing capital assets.
To continue reading this article about how to prepare your farm for a
more stringent agri-lending atmosphere, click here: cornandsoybeandigest.com/ag-issues/news/0506-financial-game-plan/.
By Dave Kohl, Corn & Soybean Digest
Gives 10 Strategies To Reduce Diesel Fuel Costs
Diesel prices are up roughly 50% from this time last
year and farmers need to look at different methods to maximize fuel
efficiency, says Alan Miller, Purdue University Extension farm business
“At Purdue, we’ve estimated it will cost farmers $10 more this year
to produce an acre of corn just due to fuel for machinery operation,”
he says. “To plant an acre of soybeans, it will cost farmers $4 more
per acre than last year and for wheat $6 more per acre.”
Miller recommends 10 strategies to maximize efficiency and reduce fuels
“It’s often the little things you do that add up more than changing
any one big thing,” adds Miller.
- Switch to a no-till or reduced tillage operation for corn where it
- Combine more operations into each pass over the field.
- Think like a marketer and keep in mind the annual cycle of fuel
prices due to seasonality.
- Shop around to get the best fuel price and try and buy in bulk
- Check out technologies such as auto-steer to reduce overlap and get
out of the fields more quickly.
- Organize to reduce costs and minimize the amount of time spent
getting to and from different fields.
- Operate at the optimal speed.
- Match the tractor’s horsepower with the equipment being pulled
- Inspect and maintain the right combination of tire slippage, tire
air pressure and axle weight to get optimum traction rates.
- Follow appropriate maintenance schedules for all field
Editor’s note, to read a related article from the Corn &
Soybean Digest on this topic, click here: cornandsoybeandigest.com/corn.
Source: Purdue University Extension
Ethanol Support Equals Good Public Policy
The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) provides the
following statement in response to calls from some U.S. Senators that
the EPA waive the Renewable Fuels Standard ethanol requirement.
Brian Jennings, Executive Vice President of ACE:
“The U.S. ethanol industry welcomes an examination of the facts
regarding higher food prices, as opposed to the vast amounts of
misinformation that have led these Senators to question their own
carefully planned energy legislation. While we may not be able to top
ethanol opponents’ well-funded public relations campaign, we are
absolutely certain that an examination of the facts will confirm
ethanol’s role in reducing gas prices and its minimal impact on food
“It is a fact that ethanol has little or no impact on the price of
food, and it is a fact that ethanol is bringing down the price of
gasoline. Abandoning ethanol would not only provide zero relief in the
grocery aisle, it would immediately drive up the price of gasoline for
American motorists who are already suffering from oil at $120/barrel.”
To continue reading this article about why abandoning ethanol would be
poor public policy, click here: cornandsoybeandigest.com/biofuels/news/0506-ethanol-food-gas-prices/.
To read a related article on why recent state biofuel waiver requests
are the wrong path towards fixing food and fuel increases, click here:
Source: American Coalition for Ethanol
Renewable Fuels Standard Benefits No One But Big
Discussions in Washington, DC related to waiving the
nation’s Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) are ill-advised and would have
serious unintended consequences that would result in higher fuel and
food prices, according to the Illinois Corn Growers Association (ICGA).
“This is bad policy and tantamount to waiving the white flag in the
battle to make our nation less dependent on unstable and unfriendly
governments. The primary influence on higher food prices right now is
$120/barrel oil. The oil industry made $123 billion in profits last
year. That’s enough to buy the world corn crop or 70% of the world
wheat crop. What do you think is driving food prices? Ethanol is the
only competitor in the marketplace, and the RFS is giving us the
foothold needed to expand this domestic industry,” said Art Bunting,
Expanded ethanol production is curtailing gas prices by 29-40¢/gal,
according to the Center for Agricultural Development at Iowa State
University, and it is doing so while having a marginal impact on the
cost of food.
To continue reading this article on the reasons for continuing the
nation’s current RFS policies, click here: www.ilcorn.org/news/html/5-5-08.html.
To read a related article from the National Corn Growers Association,
click here: www.ncga.com/news/notd/2008/May/050608.asp.
Source: Illinois Corn Growers
May 31: Last Chance To Play Free
The sign-up deadline for MarketMaxx, the free
grain-marketing game from Corn & Soybean Digest, is May 31. Don’t miss
your chance to compete against other virtual grain marketers and an
opportunity to win valuable prizes by signing up now at: www.marketmaxx.net.
As a MarketMaxx player, you'll have a simulated 100,000 bu. of corn and
50,000 bu. of soybeans to trade using Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT)
futures, options or cash-forward contracts. The eligible farmer with the
highest average selling price of his or her corn and soybeans when the
contest ends Oct. 31, 2008, will take home a grand prize.
Grand prize for the corn contest is a Gleaner R5 or A5 series combine
(up to 100 combine separator hours). (A complete list of MarketMaxx
rules, regulations and potential prizes can be viewed at www.marketmaxx.net.)
Corn & Soybean Digest Publisher
Penton Media, Inc., the publisher of Corn & Soybean
Digest (CSD), has launched a new agri-business online career
center -- Agribizjobs.com (www.agribizjobs.com).
The Agribizjobs.com Web site offers industry employers a growing,
qualified audience of ag professionals and industry job-seekers with
agribusiness-specific, categorized job listings. It's a joint effort by
CSD and its sister publications, BEEF, Farm Industry News,
Farm Press, Hay and Forage Grower and National Hog
Employers can view complete but anonymous resumes for free, and pay only
to connect with a job-seeker. Job-seekers can anonymously post resumes
and sign up to receive e-mail alerts when new positions are posted that
match their search criteria.
For more information on Penton Media, Inc. and its businesses, visit www.penton.com.
Source: Penton Media, Inc.
Not Just A
You sell yourself -- and your farm -- to the public
every day, whether you realize it or not. And, the perception you create
may affect how you farm in the future.
“Whether you like it or not, public perception is reality. Everybody
does some form of public relations, they just don't label it as such,”
says Bloomington, IL, farmer Jason Lay. “When you go to the coffee
shop, farm supply store or the bank and have a discussion, you leave an
impression. You need to be concerned about what kind of an impression
Your public image is more important than it used to be. “The days are
gone where farmers were self-sufficient. In today's world, our role has
changed. A lot more people have a vested interest in what we're doing --
people like landlords, vendors and employees,” says Lay, who farms
2,600 acres of family-owned and rented ground with his father Loren.
So Lay, like a growing number of farmers, has a public relations (PR)
plan in place. “When I came back to the farm four years ago, I wrote
down how I wanted to be perceived in the community, and how I would
accomplish that,” says Lay. “I review the plan once a year and it's
amazing how fast it's changed in four years.”
To continue reading this article on how to create your own farm PR plan,
click here: cornandsoybeandigest.com/ag-issues/0401-farm-public-relations/.
By John Russnogle, Corn & Soybean
A Note From
The Corn E-Digest Editor: Corn-Ethanol's Bad
With help from elected officials, environmentalists
and investors, the ethanol industry has created a more prosperous
environment for much of rural America and a cheaper, more
environmentally friendly alternative to petroleum products.
However, the public (or at least the non-farm media) now perceives corn
farmers as cashing in on current high prices. So, the tide has turned,
and environmental groups, elected officials and investors are quickly
abandoning their support for ethanol, and for you, America’s corn
This public perception against corn farmers may be the reason that the
latest version of the farm bill includes a 6¢/gal. cut in the
corn-ethanol blending-fuel tax credit, from 51¢ to 45¢.
If you have a comment about this sudden change in public perception over
ethanol and the corresponding cut in support of corn-based ethanol,
please write to me (John Pocock) at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Just let me
know your name, where you farm, what your comment is and whether or not
I have permission to use your comment in a future Corn E-Digest
As always, you’re welcome to write to me if you have a comment on any
topic related to corn production or if you have concerns or questions
about this issue.
I look forward to hearing from you. Keep on planting, and thanks for
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