Illinois Grain and Feed Association

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Illinois Corn and Soybean Harvest Considerations

URBANA, Ill. – The USDA’s September predictions for Illinois corn and soybean yield are 189 and 58 bushels per acre, respectively. According to University of Illinois agronomist Emerson Nafziger, these are good yields after the challenges of the 2017 season. As we head into harvest, Nafziger provides considerations for farmers looking to minimize last-minute yield losses.

Soybeans
“While we don’t expect as many yields in the 80-90 bushel range as we had in 2016, pod numbers in many fields are higher than expected after the dry weather in August and September,” Nafziger says. One reason is the cooler temperatures in recent weeks; with water use lower under cooler temperatures, plants avoided the premature leaf drop that sometimes signals an early end to seed filling. Rain might help boost yields a bit, but only in fields planted late or with late-maturing varieties where plants are still green.

With high temperatures predicted for the rest of the week, seeds and pods of maturing soybeans will dry within hours, rather than days. “We need to be alert and ready to harvest as soon as plants can be cut and seed moisture drops to 13 percent,” Nafziger says. “If moisture drops to 10 percent or less during harvest, it might be worth stopping until pods and seeds take on some moisture in the evening or overnight.”

Breeding and the use of improved combine headers have reduced pod shatter at harvest, but soybean seeds with less than 10 percent moisture can crack, lowering grain and seed quality.

“Harvest is getting underway at about the same time for both corn and soybean this year, but there might need to be frequent switching between the two crops as harvest progresses in order to maximize quality and minimize losses,” Nafziger says.

Corn
Nafziger notes that the corn crop in many fields is looking better than expected. As of Sept. 17, five percent of the state’s corn crop had been harvested, mostly in the southern half of the state. So far, reported yields have been highly variable, reflecting differences in planting (or replanting) time, soil water-holding capacity, and precipitation during critical times throughout the season.

When lack of water lowers photosynthetic rates, sugars are pulled out of the stalk into the ear to fill the grain, leaving stalks more susceptible to stalk-rotting fungi and lodging. Nafziger recommends that farmers should check fields for stalk strength, especially where leaves dried earlier than expected. However, good growing conditions in July likely increased the deposition of stalk-strengthening lignin, making stalks less likely to break. “As long as winds stay relatively calm, lodging is not expected to be much of a threat, especially in those parts of the state that received more rainfall in July and August,” he says.

Most of central and northern Illinois are approximately 150 growing degree days (GDD) behind normal since May 1. According to Nafziger, below-normal temperatures in recent weeks have slowed grain-filling rates and delayed maturity of the corn crop. But the cooler temperatures probably have been positive for yields by extending the water supply into mid-September. “With GDD accumulation rates above normal now, a lot of fields will reach physiological maturity quickly, and grain will start to dry down. High temperatures mean rapid grain moisture loss.  We’ve seen corn grain lose moisture as much as one percentage point of moisture per day under high temperatures, especially if it’s breezy,” he says.

Dry conditions over the past month have limited the spread of ear rots. “Most kernels have the bright yellow color of healthy grain, and if the grain can be harvested without an extended period of wet weather, we expect grain quality to be good. Harvesting at high moisture, drying at high temperatures, or storing grain without proper care can all compromise quality, however,” Nafziger says. “While we like to finish harvest early, the threat of loss in yield or quality from delaying harvest to October is low. But waiting too long isn’t good, either; delaying harvest until grain moisture drops below 16 or 17 percent can increase loss due to shelling of kernels onto the ground as ears go into the combine.”

Nafziger notes that test weight is an issue that comes up every year during corn harvest. He says test weights lower than the standard of 56 pounds per bushel have many people thinking that something went wrong during grain fill. Likewise, above-normal test weights are often taken as a sign that kernels filled extraordinarily well, and that yield was maximized. “Neither of these is very accurate – high yields often have test weights less than 56 pounds, and grain from lower-yielding fields can have high test weights,” he says.

Test weight is bulk density – it measures the weight of grain in 1.24 cubic feet, which is the volume of a bushel. Kernel density is the weight of a kernel divided by its volume, not including air the way bulk density does. Kernel density is a more useful measure of kernel soundness and quality than is test weight – it’s often used by the food corn processing industry – but it is harder to measure than test weight.

“A typical kernel density might be 90 pounds per ‘bushel’ (1.24 cubic feet) of actual kernel volume,” Nafziger explains. “So, a 56-pound bushel of corn grain is about 62 percent kernel weight and 38 percent air. Kernels with higher density tend to produce higher test weights, but only if they fit together without a lot of air space. For example, popcorn has small, high-density kernels that fit together well, and its test weight is typically 65 pounds per bushel.”

Hybrid genetics, growing conditions, and grain moisture at the time it is weighed can all affect test weight. If kernels appear to be well-filled without a shrunken base, which can signal that grain fill ended prematurely, it’s likely that yield was not compromised even if test weight is less than 56 pounds per bushel.

“For reasons that go back to an earlier time, though, corn test weight needs to be at least 54 pounds per bushel in order to be sold as U.S. No. 2 corn, which is the most common market class. Corn with a test weight of 52 or 53 might not be docked in price if it can be blended with higher test weight grain to reach the minimum. That’s much easier to do in a year when test weights are generally good. We expect 2017 to be such a year,” Nafziger says.

For more on the 2017 harvest, read Nafziger’s recent post on The Bulletin.

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FarmDoc Daily September 5, 2017

Weekly Outlook: Storing Corn and Soybeans in 2017

September 05, 2017

Todd Hubbs

The current price structure of corn and soybean futures markets indicate positive carry in both markets and raises the question of whether producers should make decisions about grain sales. The decision by producers to store corn or soybeans should be determined by the returns to storage.

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FarmDoc Daily August 22, 2017

Negative Cash Rent Farmland Returns Since 2014 Reduced Farmer Net Incomes

August 22, 2017

Gary Schnitkey

In recent years, many farmers have had positive incomes. However, cash rented farmland may not have been contributing to those positive net incomes. At average cash rent levels, cash rented farmland has reduced farmer net incomes in 2014 and 2015. Often, positive returns from owned and share rented farmland offset negative returns from cash rented farmland. Herein, returns to owned, share rented, and cash rented farmland are quantified after background information is presented.

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FarmDoc Weekly Outlook 8/7/2017

 

Corn and Soybean Exports Update

August 7, 2017

Todd Hubbs

 

While market observers focus on the changing outlook for corn and soybean yields brought on by the shift in weather patterns over the last few weeks, export markets continue to reveal consumption information relevant to price formation during the current and subsequent marketing years.  Exports will play a significant role in determining prices in both corn and soybean markets moving forward.

 

 

Read the Weekly Outlook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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NGFA, NAEGA outline trade priorities for Trump administration

 

 

 

WASHINGTON, Aug. 1, 2017 – The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) and the North American Export Grain Association (NAEGA) submitted a joint statement to the Trump administration this week regarding the performance of free trade agreements.

In response to a solicitation for comments from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) regarding the administration’s assessment of free trade agreements and the nation’s trade relations with other members of the World Trade Organization, the NGFA and NAEGA identified opportunities to update and modernize U.S. free trade agreements and highlighted the urgency in initiating trade negotiations with key Asia-Pacific markets.

Withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement “has created a void that foreign export competitors are aggressively exploiting to the detriment of U.S. agricultural exports and our nation’s economy,” stated the NGFA and NAEGA.

The two groups said key areas that would preserve and enhance U.S. agricultural competitiveness and facilitate trade include not only expanded market access and tariff concessions, but also:

  • improved regulatory consistency and cooperation;
  • removal of non-tariff barriers that lack scientific merit;
  • enabling innovation of information technologies;
  • recognizing comparable regulatory systems for assessing the safety of plant breeding technologies;
  • developing a consistent approach for managing low-level presence (LLP) of biotechnology-enhanced products that have undergone a safety assessment and are approved for use in a third country, but not yet approved for import by a U.S. free trade agreement-member country; and
  • ensuring safe and orderly passage for rail and truck freight transportation.

The organizations also noted their concern about the trading relationship between the United States and the European Union (EU), given the “many unscientifically based and unjustified barriers” erected by the EU to block U.S. grain and other agricultural products from entering its market. “NGFA and NAEGA urge the administration to work with the European Union to remove the barriers and promote a better trading relationship,” the comments stated.

The NGFA and NAEGA concluded by noting they are eager “to work actively, constructively and expeditiously with President Trump and the administration’s trade team” to develop strategies that will “preserve, improve and build upon existing and new trade relationships to benefit U.S. and world consumers.”

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The NGFA, established in 1896, consists of more than 1,050 grain, feed, processing, exporting and other grain-related companies that operate more than 7,000 facilities and handle more than 70 percent of all U.S. grains and oilseeds. Its membership includes grain elevators; feed and feed ingredient manufacturers; biofuels companies; grain and oilseed processors and millers; exporters; livestock and poultry integrators; and associated firms that provide goods and services to the nation’s grain, feed and processing industry. The NGFA also consists of 29 affiliated State and Regional Grain and Feed Associations, and has strategic alliances with Pet Food Institute and North American Export Grain Association.

NAEGA, established in 1912, consists of private and publicly owned companies and farmer-owned cooperatives that are involved in and provide services to the bulk grain and oilseed exporting industry.  NAEGA-member companies ship and support the vast majority of the highly competitive and fungible U.S. grain export supply.  NAEGA is dedicated to providing for efficient, predictable, reliable and expanded trade via responsible commercial and official practices.  Through a reliance on member action and support, NAEGA acts to accomplish its mission from its office in Washington D.C., and in markets throughout the world.

 

Davis to Host Agriculture Committee Leaders at Farm Progress Show

 

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) today announced that he will host House Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway (R-Texas), Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), and other committee members at this year’s Farm Progress Show in Decatur on August 30, 2017. The committee announced today that it will hold a listening session, “The Next Farm Bill, Conversations in the Field,” to gather input from local farmers and agriculture leaders.”The Farm Progress Show is the nation’s largest outdoor farm event and I’m excited to host Chairman Conaway, Ranking Member Peterson, and other members of the House Agriculture Committee at this year’s event in Decatur,” said Davis. “Agriculture policies set in Washington have a major impact on Illinois’ economy. This listening session will give the committee an opportunity to hear from local farmers and agriculture leaders as they gather input for the next farm bill. My goal has always been to give farmers in the 13th District a seat at the table when Washington debates policies that directly impact them and this will be a great opportunity. As chairman of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research, I look forward to playing an integral part of crafting the next farm bill.”

“As our committee travels across the country gathering input from farmers and ranchers, the Farm Progress Show – in the center of the country – seems like the natural next stop. Thanks to Rep. Davis and the folks at Farm Progress for hosting us. I’m looking forward to a productive conversation in Illinois and encourage area stakeholders to attend and share their ideas for improvements to our next farm bill,” said Conaway.

Further details will be announced in the coming days.

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Springfield District Office
2833 S Grand Ave East
Springfield, IL 62703
P: 217.791.6224
F: 217.791.6168
Champaign District Office
2004 Fox Drive
Champaign, IL 61820
P: 217.403.4690
F: 217.403.4691
Decatur District Office
243 S Water Street
Suite 100,
Decatur, IL 62523
P: 217.791.6224
F: 217.791.6168
Maryville District Office
915 Professional Park Drive
Maryville, IL 62624
P: 618.205.8660
F: 618.205.8662
Normal District Office
104 W. North Street
Normal, IL 61761
P: 309.252.8834
Taylorville District Office
108 W. Market St.
Taylorville, IL 62568
P: 217.824.5117
F: 217.824.5121

 

Washington, DC Office | 1740 Longworth HOB | Washington, DC 20515 | P: 202.225.2371 | F: 202.225.0791

FarmDoc Daily July 20, 2017

Interest Rates and the Cost of Short-Term Borrowing

July 20, 2017

Todd Kuethe and Todd Hubbs

In June, the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee (FOMC) raised the interest rate on overnight deposits (the discount rate) 25 basis points to 1.75%, mirroring similar rate increases in March 2017 and December 2016. The long-run expectations of FOMC members suggest that future rate hikes are expected. As interest rates move higher, farmers may see rising interest expenses on their operations. This article examines the relationship between the discount rate and the interest on farm operating loans.

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FarmDoc Daily Update

Daily Update

June 15, 2017

The Role of Weather in the Pattern of Corn Prices over Time

June 14, 2017

Scott Irwin, Darrel Good, and Todd Hubbs

In the farmdoc daily article of June 7, 2017, we examined the long-term pattern of corn prices during the era spanning from 1973 through November 2006 and the new era that began in December 2006. We concluded that: (1) there is a long-run average nominal price of corn for different eras that tends to emerge fairly early in each era; (2) corn prices revert to the average within each era; and (3) the deviations and reversions to the average price do not occur in a predictable cycle in terms of either magnitude of deviations or duration of the deviations. In other words, we argue that long-run crop prices have a stable average within a defined era and adjust to supply and demand shocks in a classic cobweb fashion. However, the price adjustments do not follow the repetitive cyclical pattern of the classical cobweb model, but rather are highly volatile and difficult to forecast due to the substantial variation in supply and demand shocks over time and the exact market reaction to those shocks.

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