Around the County Frequent information updates for agricultural audiences Sun, 15 May 2005 13:02:08 -0500 Soil and Water Management Seminar for Certified Crop Advisors Coming February 20 Tue, 12 Dec 2017 10:31:00 +0000 Soil and Water Management Seminar for Certified Crop Advisors is coming to the Logan County Extension office in Lincoln, IL. (February 20 - 9:00 am to 2:30 pm).

Registration is $45.00 per person, which includes materials and lunch.

4.5 hours of Certified Crop Advisor Credit in soil and water management available. For presentation at multiple locations, web conferencing and PowerPoints will be used.

Webinar Location

Logan County Extension Office
980 N. Postville Dr.
Lincoln, IL 62656
Phone: 217-732-8289

Topics and Speakers:

· Where does eroded soil come from and where does it go? Implications for soil and stream management. - Dr. Bruce L. Rhoads & Dr. Thanos Papanicolaou, UIUC & University of Tennessee

· How extreme weather controls nutrient exports from the agricultural Midwest to the Gulf, and what we can do about it. - Dr. Adam Ward and Laura Keefer, University of Indiana and UIUC

· Managing Microbes: AMF in Cropping Systems - Dr. Wendy Taheri, Terra Nimbus LLC

· Cover crops: Benefits and Selection - Dr. Eileen Kladivko, Purdue University

· Soil health tests and how they can be used in a crop management program. - Donna Brandt, University of Missouri

REGISTRATION: Space is limited and registration must be received by February 19.


Hog price prospects strengthen - From Chris Hurt Thu, 07 Dec 2017 11:15:00 +0000 "It is always enjoyable to exceed expectations, but what is the source of the better hog prices and will those factors continue in 2018? The answer to the last question appears to be yes," Hurt says.

Hurt attributes the better hog prices to consumer demand. "The U.S. economic growth in the third quarter reached 3.3 percent with the unemployment rate at 4.1 percent, the lowest since 2000. Strong income growth and more people working improves the consumption of meats including pork. The 2018 outlook is for continued income growth and even lower unemployment. In addition, higher stock and housing values tend to cause consumers to spend more freely as well," Hurt says.

International impact is another factor, Hurt says. "Pork is growing in popularity with our foreign customers, and the world economy in 2018 is expected to have its strongest year since the 2008-2009 recession."

A little additional information on how pork trade is helping to enhance hog prices is important.

So far this year, pork exports are up 8 percent and net trade (exports minus imports) is up 10 percent. U.S. pork production is up about 2.5 percent this year but the more positive trade balance means that U.S. consumers have only 1 percent more pork available. With domestic population expanding by near 1 percent, this means that pork availability per person this year is about the same as 2016.

"Mexico is the biggest reason for increased exports so far this year," Hurt says. "Mexican pork purchases surged above Japan in 2015 to become our number one export destination. Since then, Mexico has continued to put Japan in the rearview mirror. In 2017, Mexican pork purchases have exceeded Japan by 45 percent. South Korea, our fourth largest buyer, has increased the volume of pork purchases from the U.S. this year by 18 percent."

What about pork exports in 2018? USDA analysts are suggesting an additional 6 percent rise for 2018.

Finally, Hurt says increased packer capacity has begun to reduce packer margins and is likely contributing to higher farm-level hog prices this fall. Packer margins began to drop sharply beginning in August 2017 as new capacity began to come on-line. By October, the packer margin, as reported by USDA, fell to 48 cents per retail pound compared to 79 cents per retail pound one year earlier. These new plants are expected to continue to expand numbers in 2018 as they work toward full capacity.

"A year ago we were talking about higher pork supplies in 2017 and higher hog prices," Hurt says. "That prediction has turned to reality. Live hog prices in 2016 averaged about $46 per live hundredweight. That price will be near $51 for 2017.

"The lean futures market is currently optimistic for the same outcome in 2018 suggesting that live prices may average about $53 in 2018," Hurt adds. "My estimates are for pork supplies to rise around 2.5 percent in 2018 and, if hog prices do rise again, it will most likely be due to the demand factors outlined earlier."

Hurt estimates feed costs to rise modestly in the 2018 calendar year with corn prices up about 15 cents per bushel and meal up about $15 per ton compared to the 2017 calendar year.

"My estimated total costs of production increases from around $49 in 2017 to a bit over $50 for 2018," Hurt says. "With moderate feed costs and a low general inflation rate, my estimated total production costs have been near $50 for the most recent four calendar years from 2015 through 2018. What a different world it was in the nine years from 2005 through 2013 when my estimated annual costs ranged from $35 per live hundredweight to $67."

For 2018, Hurt says the current outlook is for positive returns above all costs. The level of positive returns is expected to be in the range of $6 to $8 per head for both 2017 and 2018.

Source: Chris Hurt, 765-494-4273,

Corn supply a burden to prices - fromTodd Hubbs Sun, 03 Dec 2017 04:31:00 +0000 Source: Todd Hubbs, 217-300-4688,

URBANA, Ill. – The USDA's Crop Production report released on Nov. 9 described an unexpectedly large corn yield increase for the 2017 crop. Corn prices suffered a moderate decline following the report's release, considering the magnitude of the yield increase. According to University of Illinois agricultural economist Todd Hubbs, corn prices will struggle to find support due to the ample supply available during the 2017-18 marketing year.

"The United States corn production forecast increased to 14.6 billion bushels, up almost 300 million bushels over the October forecast," Hubbs says. "At 175.4 bushels per acre, the yield increase of 3.6 bushels came in well above pre-report estimates and set a new yield record."

An increase in yield close to this magnitude between the October and November production reports last occurred in 1996 (3.5 bushels) and 1992 (5.5 bushels).

"In each of those instances, the final yield estimate increased from the November forecast, which does not bode well for current supply scenarios," Hubbs says. "Yield increases were particularly strong through the heart of the Corn Belt. Iowa and Illinois corn yield projections were increased by three bushels per acre and Indiana projections up by eight bushels per acre. North Dakota also saw an eight-bushel-per-acre increase in projected yield. In total, the yield increases in the four states over the October projections increased corn production by 211 million bushels.

"Despite the increase in corn consumption by 150 million bushels to 14.4 billion bushels, the 2017 corn crop pushed projected ending stocks for the 2017-18 marketing year to 2.487 billion bushels, an ending-stocks level not seen since the 1987-88 marketing year. A closer consideration of corn consumption may help in clarifying the prospective uses for this crop and the price implications moving forward," Hubbs says.

The November World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report projects 2017-18 marketing-year corn exports at 1,925 million bushels, compared to 2,293 million bushels for last marketing year. The current export projection is increased 75 million bushels from the October projection on the expectation of increased Mexican demand and U.S. competitiveness in global markets.

"Thus far, no indication of strengthening export levels has materialized this marketing year," Hubbs says. Census Bureau estimates of corn exports for September were 139 million bushels, 45 percent lower than last year's export total during September. Weekly export inspections have lagged /compared to last year's pace as well. During the first nine weeks of the marketing year, export inspections totaled 218 million bushels, 182 million bushels less than the same time last year.

"To reach the USDA's current projection, export inspections need to increase from the 24 million bushels per week thus far this marketing year to 36 million bushels," Hubbs says.

In the November WASDE report, the 2017-18 marketing year corn use for ethanol was projected at 5,475 million bushels. The projection is 36 million bushels larger than last year. The U.S. Energy Information Administration weekly estimates indicate September production was up around 3 percent year-over-year. The USDA's Grain Crushing and Co-Products Production report also showed that 3 percent more corn was used for ethanol production in September relative to last year. Weekly EIA estimates of ethanol production in October indicated a 3.4 percent increase over last year.

"The pace of ethanol production currently is running slightly ahead of USDA projections," Hubbs says. "Ethanol production during the rest of the marketing year will be influenced by numerous factors. These include the pace of gasoline consumption and ethanol exports."

Weekly gasoline demand thus far in the marketing year averaged 1.6 percent higher than last year through Nov. 3. After a slow start in early September, gasoline demand picked up through October and into early November.

"Recent increases in gasoline prices and seasonal factors may place a damper on gasoline usage in the coming weeks," Hubbs says. "Ethanol exports were down 16 percent in September from August levels and down 12 percent year over year. Lower Brazilian exports contributed tremendously to the drop-off and bring into question the ability of ethanol exports to repeat the impressive performance seen the 2016-17 marketing year."

USDA projects feed and residual use of corn during this marketing year to be 5,575 million bushels, up 75 million bushels from October and 112 million bushels over last marketing year. The change in feed and residual usage is a 2 percent increase over the previous marketing year.

"Although livestock inventory numbers strengthened in 2017, little direct information is available to assess the pace of feed and residual consumption," Hubbs says. "New information will arrive with the Grain Stocks report to be released during the second week of January.

"The current pace of corn consumption suggests the December WASDE report will not contain significant changes to use projections to lower the current 2.487 billion bushel ending stocks total for 2017-18," Hubbs says. "Barring a surprise for the 2017 corn production estimate or Dec.1 corn stocks estimate to be released in January, low prices look to continue into the spring when weather and acreage become significant elements in corn price movements."

Acreage Prospects for 2018 - from Todd Hubbs Fri, 01 Dec 2017 15:08:00 +0000 Corn and soybean prices have weathered the USDA's November Crop Production report that contained larger forecasts of the size of the 2017 harvest, relative to market expectations, for both crops. Considerable speculation will occur over the next few months about the acreage decisions farmers will make in 2018. Current market conditions appear to support moderate soybean and corn acreage expansion in 2018.

Projecting the acreage allocations for 2018 U.S. crops will begin in earnest after the turn of the new calendar year. Prospects for 2018 crop acreage levels start with expectations about planted acreage for principal crops. Since planted acreage varies substantially from year to year, anticipating total planted acreage is quite difficult. In 2017, acreage planted in principal field crops declined to 318.2 million acres, the lowest level since 2011. The decrease in principal field crop acreage was particularly acute in the northern and southern plains. Texas and Kansas both decreased acreage by over 500,000 acres. North and South Dakota also decreased planted acreage by 143,000 and 279,000 acres respectively. Nebraska was the lone exception with an increase of 202,000 planted acres. While Illinois decreased planted acreage by 163,000 acres, most of the major Corn Belt states increase planted acreage in 2017. As we move into 2018, the prospect of large decreases in crop acreage in the Corn Belt appears low, while acreage changes in the plains may be in the form of crop adjustments instead of acreage losses.

In conjunction with the decrease in total principal crop planted acreage, prevented planting acreage was relatively low in 2017. The Farm Service Agency reports 2.4 million acres of prevented plantings in 2017, down from 3.7 million in 2016 and 6.7 million in 2016. Conservation Reserve Program acreage appears set to remain near 23.4 million acres. The current low price environment across most field crops point to steady or slightly lower total planted acreage in 2018 but holds the potential for more soybean and corn acres.

In 2017, the combination of corn and soybean acres increased to 179.9 million planted acres, expanding to 56.5 percent of principal crop acres. While corn and soybean acreage in total continued a three-year trend of increased planted acres, the change in soybean acreage stood out in 2017 with expansion to 90.2 million planted acres. Other than soybeans, the only major crops to see any planted acreage increases in 2017 were cotton, rye, peanuts, and canola. In the main corn producing states during 2017, only Kansas, Michigan, and North Dakota increased corn acreage over 2016 planting decisions. Increased planting of soybean acreage was common across all major producing states. North Dakota and Kansas lead the way in soybean acreage growth with 1.15 million and 700 thousand acres respectively. The increased soybean acreage, and in some instances corn acreage, came at the expense of other field crops with wheat acreage losing over 5.5 million acres from 2016 to 2017. The continuation of corn and soybean acreage expansion depends on demand prospects during the 2017-18 marketing year and the evolution of corn and soybean prices between now and planting.

Currently, demand prospects for corn remain mixed. Current demand is very strong for corn use in ethanol as production continues to exceed the pace of a year ago. The growth of livestock numbers and supportive prices in many livestock sectors provides support for increased feed demand. An indication of feed use for this marketing year will be available with the December 1 Grain Stocks report on January 12. Corn exports currently lag behind last year's pace with export inspections through November 23 trailing last year's total by 209 million bushels. When combined with the trade policy uncertainty associated with NAFTA, developments in the corn export market could inject volatility into corn prices in 2018. Additionally, the 7.2 million acres of corn to be planted in Brazil saw a large portion of the prospective acreage pushed back to the second crop which is more susceptible to the dry season. A reduction in Brazilian corn production may help corn exports in 2018.

For soybeans, the pace of the domestic crush is off to a strong start in the first two months of the marketing year. Soybean exports appear to be set for a strong marketing year but currently trail last year's pace. Export inspections through November 23 lag last year's pace by 120 million bushels. The current soybean crop being planted in South America will be a major factor in determining whether U.S. soybean exports hit record highs this marketing year.

The market will continue to form expectations about acreage devoted to corn and soybean acres. Preliminary surveys of farmer's planting intentions for 2018 have varied on the direction and magnitude of soybean and wheat acreage. Thus far, all surveys have indicated an expansion of corn acreage. Current market prices imply, at a minimum, a repeat of the soybean acreage planted in 2017. The prospect of corn and soybean acres seeing moderate expansions is possible in 2018. Data availability on acreage prospects in 2018 begins with the USDA's January 12 Winter Wheat Seedings report and will be followed by the March 30 Prospective Plantings report.]]>
Illinois Farm Economics Summit is coming to Springfield December 20, 2017 Wed, 22 Nov 2017 13:36:00 +0000
Just wanted to let you know that the 2017 Illinois Farm Economics Summit is coming to Springfield Wednesday, December 20, 2017 at the Crowne Plaza.

This year's timely topic is "Profitability of Illinois Agriculture: Managing Financial Stress". I hope you can join me at this GREAT annual event featuring experts and fellow producers. Get more information and register here:

Agenda Includes:

7:45 -8:15 Registration and Coffee
8:15 -8:20 Introduction and Overview
8:20 -8:50 Agricultural Commodity Price Outlook for 2018
8:50 -9:20 What Is Up With Soybean Yields?
9:20 -9:50 Farm Policy Review and Outlook for the 2018 Farm Bill
9:50 -10:10 Break
10:10 -10:40 Financial Position of Illinois Farms: Where We are At and Where to From Here
10:40 -11:10 Habits of Financially Resilient Farms
11:10 -11:40 Crop Economics:Crop Choice and Rental Decisions
11:40 -12:10 Question & Answer / Wrap-Up
12:10 -1:10 Lunch (Included)]]>
Soybean export prospects for 2017-18 Mon, 20 Nov 2017 16:37:00 +0000 Wanted to take a moment to share Todd Hubbs soybean export prospect report.

URBANA, Ill. – United States soybean exports will play a significant role in determining soybean prices this marketing year. According to University of Illinois agricultural economist Todd Hubbs, the recent level of soybean exports from the United States trails last year's pace.

"The prospect of ending stocks for soybeans, once again diminishing throughout the marketing year, hinges on increased soybean exports," Hubbs says. "The development of a lowered ending-stock scenario during 2017-18 may require a shortfall in South American production or U.S. exports capturing a greater market share of the world soybean trade."

The current projection for U.S. soybean exports during the 2017-18 marketing year is 2,250 million bushels. This forecast is 76 million bushels larger than last marketing year's total exports.

"Although we're only 12 weeks into the marketing year, exploring the current pace of exports is of value because soybean exports from the U.S. typically slow as the South American soybean crop enters the world market during spring," Hubbs says.

Census Bureau export estimates are only available for September, coming in at 170.5 million bushels, up 32 million bushels over the previous period last marketing year. Census Bureau exports exceeded weekly export inspections by 9 million bushels over the same time.

"Soybean exports through Nov. 16 equaled 713 million bushels if the margin at the end of September stayed consistent," Hubbs says. Soybean export inspections currently trail last year's pace by approximately 12 percent. "At this point in the marketing year, export inspections need to average 37.7 million bushels per week to meet the USDA projection. As of Nov. 9, 573 million bushels of soybean had been sold for export but not shipped. The current unshipped export sales trail the 716 million bushels sold at the same time last year. The pace and sales of soybeans currently lag last year's pace. A brief look at the supply and demand situation can provide clarity on the prospects of meeting or exceeding the USDA projection," Hubbs says.

U.S. soybean production is currently projected at 4,425 million bushels for the 2017 crop. This production level is 129 million bushels larger than the 2016 crop and is set to push ending stocks for the current marketing year above 400 million bushels despite the current export projection level. South American production is forecast to be 4.8 percent lower than 2016-17 production levels. This lower projection is despite a 3 percent increase in projected harvested acres in the region, mainly driven by an increased prospective planting of soybean acreage in Brazil. The lower production levels occur due to a lower projected yield in the region. Brazil's soybean yield in 2016-17 came in at a record 50.1 bushels per acre, up from the drought-induced 43.1 bushels per acre yield in 2015-16. Current yield projections for Brazil in the 2017 crop sit at 45.9 bushels per acre.

"Although it appears reasonable to assume Brazil will not reach its record yield level again in 2017, the increased production level in the U.S. and expanded acreage in South America provide the prospect of plentiful supplies over the next year," Hubbs says.

According to Hubbs, export demand over the last decade has been driven by the dramatic expansion of soybean imports from China. Currently, USDA projections for Chinese soybean imports for 2017-18 are 3,564 million bushels. The current level is a 3.7 percent increase from last year's Chinese soybean import estimate. By using data from the USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service, the U.S. share of Chinese soybean imports since the 2010-2011 marketing year averaged approximately 38 percent of total Chinese imports.

"If we assume this market share for the 2017-18 marketing year, total U.S. exports to China would equal 1,343 million bushels, a mere 11.5 million bushels greater than the 1,331 million bushels exported to China in the 2016-17 marketing year," Hubbs says. "If China expands imports to 3,764 million bushels as some reports have indicated, a similar calculation of U.S. share comes to 1,385 million bushels.

Current projections for other major importers (the European Union, Japan, Mexico, and Southeast Asia) are expected to increase 52 million bushels to 1,112 million bushels for the 2017-18 marketing year. "The prospect of meeting the current U.S. soybean export forecast may rely on acquiring a larger market share of the world's soybean import expansion when considering the prospects for crops in South America," Hubbs says.

Hubbs adds that U.S. soybean exports need to continue to build on the strength seen in the 2016-17 marketing year. "The ability to exceed the current USDA export projections in 2017-18 is a possibility, but it is heavily dependent on South American production and the continued growth in demand from importers. If major importer demand grows at the projected rate, the soybean export and ending-stock projections outlined in the November World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report supply and demand figures appear to be reasonable approximations for the 2017-18 marketing year."

Information Source: Todd Hubbs, 217-300-4688,

Author: Debra Levey Larson, 217-244-2880,]]>
Determining the Average Cash Rent Based on Productivity Index Thu, 09 Nov 2017 11:40:00 +0000 Looking for a better way to determine average cash rents? Gary Schnitkey with the U of I has some good information posted on FarmDoc Daily.


Individuals often desire to arrive at an average cash rent given a farm's inherent productivity. Herein, a method is presented for determining a 2017 benchmark rent based on that parcel's productivity index. Given the variability in rents, a parcel's actual cash rent can vary from the benchmark rent. Landowners should expect farmers to attempt to re-negotiate lower cash rents if the 2017 cash rent is near or above the 2017 benchmark rent.

Productivity Indexes

Productivity indexes (PIs) published in Bulletin 811, entitled Optimal Crop Productivity Ratings for Illinois Soils, often are used to quantify yield potential of Illinois soils. This publication gives PIs for different soil types. Higher PIs typically are associated with higher corn and soybean yields.

Figure 1 shows a map made available by the National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) of PIs across Illinois, with dark green colors reflecting higher PIs, and yellow and red colors being associated with lower PIs. As expected, the highest PIs are located in east-central, west-central, and northern Illinois. The counties with the highest PIs are Piatt (east central with 138 PI), Macon (east central with 137 PI), Champaign (east central with 136 PI), Logan (east central with 135 PI) and DeKalb (northern with 135 PI). The counties with the lowest average PIs are located in southern Illinois: Williamson (85 PI), Calhoun (89 PI), Johnson (91 PI), and Perry (92 PI), and Monroe (94 PI).