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Friday, April 16, 2010
Compared to the last two yearsthis growing season has different supply and demand
dynamics influencing prices, says IL marketing specialist Darrel Good. Read his latest
newsletter at: http://www.farmdoc.illinois.edu/marketing/weekly/html/041210.html
• For corn, Good says stocks are more abundant at 1.9 billion, and the most in four years.
He says acreage is projected at 88.8 million, 2.3 million more than last year, with
expectations that number may increase if favorable weather conditions continue.
• For beans, Good says the USDA's acreage projections continue to grow year after year.
However, the modest US soybean stocks will be overshadowed by the projected 4.842
bil. bu. crop being forecast in South America, 1.3 bil. larger than the 2009 crop.
• Darrel Good says keep in mind that yields will be determined by summer weather, not
spring weather, and consumption will be influenced by world economic conditions,
energy prices, crop production outside the US, and the Chinese import policies.
• The stocks to use ratios are rising for corn, both domestically and globally says Dan
O'Brien at KS St., whose recent newsletter reports world corn ending stocks at 17.8%,
and for coarse grains the ratio is 17.2%. He says that is nearly 40% higher than in 2007,
and the trend toward larger ending stocks is a primary indicator of the "larger supply,
lower price" situation that now exists in world coarse grain markets.
• Domestically, corn stocks are rising as well, says O'Brien. He says the USDA cut in
estimated corn use for feed pushed up stocks, and the stocks to use ratio is now 14.7%, up
from 13.8% in March and 13% in December. O'Brien says that is why the midpoint of
the price range is $3.60, compared to $4.06 last year and $4.20 in 2007/2008. Read more
of his newsletter: http://www.agmanager.info/marketing/outlook/newletters/default.asp
• How fast will the Cornbelt be planted? The Palmer Drought Index shows the Dakotas
and Nebraska to be very moist. However, if the drying progress continues in the eastern
Cornbelt, it is likely the corn crop will be planted in a timely manner in those states.
• Corn may germinate faster this year than last, based on the accumulation of growing
degree days, which are increasing faster this year than they did last year. OH
agronomists report GDD accumulation at nearly three times what it was last year. Corn
needs 90 to 150 GDD to emerge. If the average is 100 GDD for emergence, divide 100
by the number of GDDs per day, and that indicates how many days the corn will take.
• What did you pay for cash rent in 2009? If you were in Central Illinois, it may have
been among the highest, according to averages computed by USDA's statisticians. It
may have just been who was asked, but IL economist Gary Schnitkey says 41% of IL
counties saw increases and 37% had decreases. Anecdotal reports indicated some county
averages fell as much as 18% and some rose as much as 24% compared to 2008.
• What determines cash rent? Schnitkey says local factors influence rent levels, and
what may be occurring in one county may not occur in another. He also says rents vary
considerably between farms of similar productivity, within a single county. He says it is
difficult to determine an average, with some farms $100 above or below the average.
• Will you be signing up for the ACRE program in 2010? The deadline is June 1 and
there are some decision aids if you are interested. FAPRI offers an excel spreadsheetbased
tool at: http://www.fapri.missouri.edu/farmers_corner/tools/acre.asp . KS St. has a
similar tool at: http://www.agmanager.info/policy/commodity/2007/KSU_ACRE.xls .
• Weed control #1. Winter annuals have been enjoying the great weather and abundant
moisture and IL weed specialist Aaron Hager says their growth is robust. He says tillage
may help control them, but if the soil is wet and clods form, then weeds are damaged and
not killed. A damaged weed can be difficult to control with an herbicide application.
• Weed control #2. Hager says the best control of existing vegetation is herbicides, but if
you have glyphosate resistant horseweeds, it will take a tank mix with alternatives. He
says, "Products containing saflufenacil, 2,4-D, dicamba, glufosinate, or paraquat are other
herbicides that can be used to control horseweed prior to corn or soybean planting."
• Weed control #3. If weeds are large before any management operation is implemented,
Hager says spraying a burn-down herbicide a few days before the tillage operation may
work best. "If aggressive pre-plant tillage is planned to alleviate field ruts, it's probably
better to till before applying a soil-residual herbicide." And he recommends placing that
soil-residual herbicide into the top inch of the soil profile.
• Weed control #4. Contact herbicides may not be as slow to act as translocated herbicides
under cool conditions. Hager suggests when the forecast calls for several days or nights
of cool air temperatures, symptoms of activity on existing vegetation may develop sooner
with a contact herbicide than a translocated herbicide, such as glyphosate.
• Weed control #5. Aaron Hager says if weeds are large before any management
operation is implemented it might be advisable to spray a burndown herbicide a few days
before the tillage operation. If aggressive preplant tillage is planned to alleviate field ruts,
it's probably better to till before applying a soil-residual herbicide.
• Weed control #6. MO weed specialist Kevin Bradley says he's checked corn yields
against weed management programs and found the highest corn yields were in a two pass
program 67% of the time, featuring a pre-emergent application, and a one-pass post
emergent program that also contained a residual herbicide. The highest yields were in a
one-pass application with a residual herbicide in 29% of the trials, and the best yields
were in a one past pre-emergent program at planting time in 4% of the trials.
• What seeding rate should be used to end up with the corn population that you want?
Peter Thomison at OH St. says consider seeding rate = plant population at harvest/ (seed
germination X expected survival rate.) Read more: http://corn.osu.edu/#B
• Gentlemen, place your bets. What will the next USDA estimation be of the 2009 corn
crop in the Dakotas? NASS statisticians may have updated of corn stocks, yields, and
production in the May 11 Crop Production report. Snow has recently left some fields and
harvest is underway where feasible. Any changes from what had been estimated will be
used in the updated production numbers and the grain stocks will change as well.
• To limit soil compaction, MN soils specialist Jodi DeJong-Hughes advises keeping axle
loads under 10 tons and properly maintain tire air pressure. That will help the soil and
reduce slippage. She also says to use the lightest tractor possible to get the job done.
• Hold up on your plans to spray fungicide on hail-damaged corn. IL plant pathologist
Carl Bradley reports it only costs extra and does not protect your yield. He says the trend
began in 2007 when corn prices were high and chemical companies marketed the concept
as a yield enhancer. He simulated damage for two years with a string weed trimmer,
tested fungicides against control plots, and found no significant yield improvement. He
said during 2007, 10 to 14 mil. of the 76 mil. acre crop was sprayed with fungicide.
• Bean pod mottle virus reduces soybean quality and seems to be more prevalent the more
southern a field is in the Cornbelt. Researchers at Iowa St. have been predicting BPMV
in Iowa, based on infection of seed, overwintering of bean leaf beetles and alternative
weed hosts that were infected with the virus. They also report that earlier planted fields
had a higher risk of BPMV incidence, especially if many beetles survived the winter.
• If you are concerned about high populations of bean leaf beetles in your bean fields,
your treatment decisions should be based on the cost of the treatment versus the market
value of your beans. Former IA St. entomologist Marlin Rice provides a decision aid to
• So far the new wheat rust has been a no show says KY wheat specialist Don Hershman.
UG99 was supposed to decimate wheat around the world because current genetics are not
resistant to it. Many other types of wheat rust have been found, but so far not UG99.
Hershman says when it arrives, it will not come on a hurricane, but come from human
activity, such as in commerce, from researchers, tourists, hobbyists, or terrorists.
• What is the viability of your wheat? IL agronomist Jim Morrison says a stand of 25 to
30 plants per square foot is optimum and 15 to 20 is the minimum to keep, however
tillers will bolster a low plant count and 60 of those per square foot are needed to
compensate. He says take your counts at several locations in a given field.
• When assessing your wheat stand, Morrison says check the crown to ensure it is firm
and white and new roots are developing from it. He says if that is the case the plant is in
good condition. He also suggests digging some plugs of soil and wheat, keeping them a
week in a sunny cool area and checking the crowns for any new growth.
• With cleaner air, because of EPA regulations, there is less sulfur in the air, and Purdue
agronomists are warning about sulfur deficiencies being more common in crops. Check
your wheat: http://www.agry.purdue.edu/ext/soilfertility/updates/Sulfur-wheat.pdf
• Those "dollar menus" at your local fast food restaurant have been contributing to the
demand for slaughter cows, and livestock economist Tim Petry at ND St. says cow prices
are $10/cwt higher than last year and above the 2008 record year. He says an early start
to the grilling season and higher prices for pork and chicken have helped hamburger.
• Cow slaughter is paralleling the high levels of 2009 and is 20% above the 2004-2008
average. Petry says it should soon slow down because of seasonal trends. His bottom
line is that cull cow prices should remain strong until the seasonal decline in September.
• The fast food demand for hamburger defines about 60% of the value says UT St.
economist Dillon Feuz, and the other 40% comes from the consumer who has had to
lower the quality of meat they purchase to be able to afford steak on a lesser budget. He
says the demand for high quality has declined, but the demand for lower priced beef cuts
may have actually increased. Read more: http://cattlemarketanalysis.org/index.html
• Add $25 per head to the selling price if you put a tag on a calf that tells when and
where he was born. That satisfies consumers, say IL livestock researchers, who are
willing to pay premium prices for age and source verification, although few producers are
doing it. The tags are attractive to the high end US market, as well as export buyers.
• Dairymen and other livestock operations are being urged by MN animal scientist
Marcia Endres to join the National Dairy FARM program, Farmers Assuring Responsible
Management. She says it is a proactive approach to demonstrate to consumers that
producers are dedicated to providing the best possible care to their livestock. There are
self assessments, second party evaluations, and third party verification of practices.
Endres says more information is available at www.nationaldairyfarm.com .
• The planned April 8 closure of the Morrell packing plant at Sioux City, IA reduces the
US slaughter capacity by 14,000 head per day, 3% of national capacity. MO economist
Glenn Grimes believes the closure may narrow the east-west price spread, which was
$7.27/cwt more in the western Cornbelt than in the eastern Cornbelt.
• Illinois is the latest state to rework its Extension system. After radical changes in states
like Iowa and Minnesota, Illinois will be eliminating 15 regional offices over time and
regional educators will shift to county offices. However, 76 county offices will be cut to
only 30, with each office serving multiple counties. Staff members will be reduced also,
which results from a reduction in state financial support for Extension and 4-H.
• Cornbelt Update observes its 12th anniversary with this issue, 624 consecutive weekly
issues designed to inform Cornbelt farmers about marketing, farm management, new
research, and current agronomic issues that are important in maintaining profitability in
grain and livestock. It is also the last issue that will appear on the farm gate blog.
• Cornbelt Update will be available every week to paid subscribers, beginning with the
April 23 issue. Request subscription details by e-mailing StuAgNews@aol.com . If you
are among the 90% of those regularly receiving Cornbelt Update by e-mail, don't hesitate
to obtain your own subscription. Don't rely on someone else purchasing a $52 annual
subscription and then forwarding their copy to you and others every week.