Indiana harvest moving along

A streak of warm, dry weather helped grain naturally dry down and paved the way for farmers to get into the full swing of harvest.  Even though both corn and soybean harvest were able to gain momentum, they are still dragging quite a few days behind the five-year average. 

With optimal weather conditions, seventy-nine percent of the corn crop has matured, 21 points behind this time last year.  Corn harvested in the state of Indiana advanced to 21 percent, while that is 11 percent more than the previous week, it is over 50 percent behind last year.   The average moisture content thus far is 23 percent.  Just 35 percent of the crop is listed in good to excellent condition.

The favorable weather conditions also helped develop the soybean crop as 89 percent is now shedding leaves compared to 99 percent last year.  Twenty-eight percent of the soybean acreage has been harvested compared to 77 percent last year.  The average moisture content to this point is 13 percent and 43 percent of the crop is listed in good to excellent condition.

In other crops around the state, 25 percent of the winter wheat acreage has been planted with 5 percent of the crop emerged.  Pasture conditions have again improved with 22 percent now listed in good to excellent condition compared to 6 percent last year.

What’s the Farm Bill worth to the nation?

So, what’s the Farm Bill worth to our nation? That’s the question Iowa Soybean and Illinois Soybean Associations attempted to answer, in a study released this week in partnership with Informa Economics.

Carol Balvanz, policy director for Iowa Soybean, tells Brownfield as they looked at the rhetoric in Washington, DC and other places about what needed to be CUT from the next Farm Bill, Iowa and Illinois farmers sat down and decided that maybe lawmakers needed to hear more about the return on investment from the Farm Bill. More specifically, she says, what the value is in the ability of a nation to provide for all of its principle food needs.

“We decided to really capitalize on those things that agriculture does well, trying to get that put into the conversation,” And Balvanz says those things include,

“Trade – we export every other row of soybeans, for example; the value of research and economic research to help us feed our country and the world; energy; environment; conservation efforts.”

While it’s difficult to quantify everything that agriculture contributes, Balvanz says, ag production and the ability to provide it is ‘a public good in itself and, therefore, some public investment in agriculture has value, even to consumers.’  Bottom line, she says, there’s a great return on the public’s investment in agriculture in terms of jobs, income, but mostly in food security.

AUDIO: Carol Balvanz (6:00 mp3)

Laprino’s Colorado dairy plant getting ready

Leprino Foods is set to open its new dairy plant in Greeley, Colorado on November 1st. Food reports 90 people have been hired to operate the first phase of the plant; manufacturing nonfat dry milk for Leprino’s other operations. Phase two and three will involve ramping-up cheese and dairy ingredients production at the plant, phase two should be completed next year while the completion date for phase three is yet to be announced.

When it is fully operational, the plant will employ up to 500 people and handle more than 7 million pounds of milk per day making it one of the largest dairy plants in the country.

Dairy Farmers of America has had an agreement to supply the milk to Leprino since 1998. DFA says to meet demand for the new plant, 60,000 to 80,000 cows will be added to the northern Colorado area.

With headquarters in Denver, Leprino has plants in Colorado, California, Michigan, Nebraska, New Mexico and New York along with a joint venture with Glanbia Cheese in the UK. The company markets various cheeses and dairy products in 40 countries.

Combines rolling in Wisconsin

Summer-like conditions pushed crops to maturity in Wisconsin last week. Plenty of sunshine and temperatures 4 to 11 degrees above normal had the combines rolling in the Badger State soybean fields. A few more areas did get a killing frost on October 1st. As of Sunday 94 percent of the beans are dropping leaves, 28 percent are harvested with moistures in the 10 to 20 percent range across the state. Yields are in the 40 to 50 bushel range in northern Wisconsin while 50 to 65 bushels is the norm as you move through the central and southern parts of the state.

Corn silage chopping is 88 percent complete while corn-for-grain is 11 percent combined with moistures running from 20 to 35 percent. The corn crop is listed as 78 percent mature. Both the corn and soybean crops in Wisconsin are rated 75 percent good to excellent condition, a 1-point improvement from last week.

Soil moisture declined as 68 percent is listed as adequate while 30 percent is now in the short or very short category. It is so dry in Northwestern Wisconsin the Department of Natural Resources has cancelled all burning permits.

The potato harvest is wrapping up with average yields and very good quality reported.

Read the full NASS report here

Nebraska gets much needed rain

It may have caused some harvest delays, but Nebraska got some much needed rain last week.

Much of the state received good coverage, the first significant rainfall in five weeks, concentrated in the central third of the state with parts of the South Central region seeing four to six inches of precipitation.

Eastern areas along the Missouri River received little or no rainfall.

88% of corn has reached maturity, compared to 85% on average, and 19% is harvested, compared to 20% on average, with 74% in good to excellent condition.

For soybeans, 96% are at the leaf dropping stage, compared to 95% on average, and 63% have been harvested, compared to 49% on average, with 78% rated good to excellent.

92% of the winter wheat crop is planted, compared to 91% on average, and 73% has emerged, compared to 66% on average.

89% of the fourth cutting of alfalfa is complete, compared to 83% on average, 64% of pastures and rangelands are called good to excellent.

Get used to volatility in dairy markets

Volatility is the best word to describe dairy markets these days, just when it looked like cash cheese had set a bottom late last week, blocks went down on Monday, both blocks and barrels were lower on Tuesday. Class III futures saw some solid gains on Friday only to give them back on Monday. They were mixed on Tuesday. Steve Schalla with Stewart-Peterson says these swings are becoming more the “norm” for markets as more people are getting into the markets.

The key, Schalla says, is being prepared for the volatility, seek advice and map out a plan for the future.

AUDIO: Schalla talks about the market 5:41 mp3

Strong close ahead of USDA numbers

Soybeans were sharply higher on fund and technical buying, along with spillover from corn. There was no real fresh news but there is talk of new export demand, especially from China. In any event, the trade’s getting ready for Wednesday’s USDA supply, demand and production update, and analysts see increases for production and ending stocks. Ahead of the report, the average estimate for the crop is 3.094 billion bushels with an average yield of 42.0 bushels per acre and ending stocks are seen at 181 million bushels. Soybean meal and oil were sharply higher on spillover from beans and pre-report position squaring.

Corn was sharply higher on fund and commercial buying, with several months limit up. Ahead of the open, Mexico bought 261,200 tons of 2011/12 U.S. corn and if Russia does limit exports as expected, it could mean more global feed demand for U.S. corn as a replacement for Russian feed wheat. According to Dow Jones Newswires, Moscow could limit exports to 24 million tons with the limit held in place by a floating export tariff. The trade sees a slight reduction in the production estimate against a big increase in ending stocks. The average guess for the crop is 12.492 billion bushels with an average yield of 148.9 bushels per acre while ending stocks are pegged at 795 million bushels. Ethanol futures were higher.

The wheat complex was higher, with most up sharply, on fund and speculative buying, along with spillover from corn. Chicago was the leader on reports Russia will limit grain exports, as soft red winter is a competitor with Russian wheat for the global feed market. Kansas City was watching rainfall totals across the Southern Plains with a drier pattern in the near term forecast. Minneapolis was up modestly, following the lead of the other pits. On average, analysts see USDA making a small month to month reduction in domestic ending stocks while raising the global supply. European wheat was higher thanks to short covering and pre-report position squaring. Ukraine’s Ag Ministry reports 86% of the expected grain area has been harvested with the running total at 43.7 million tons and Kazakhstan’s Ag Ministry states 90.2% of their crop is harvested with the total at 24.1 million tons. Yield and total production in both nations are up sharply thanks to better growing weather. Japan bought 129,163 tons of milling wheat (44,785 tons Canadian western red spring, 31,558 tons U.S. hard red winter, 29,040 tons Australian standard white, and 23,780 tons U.S. western white).

Cash cattle trade is slow to develop

It may be late in the week before we see significant trade in the cash cattle market. Margin stressed packers are trying to hold the line on spending while feedlot operators who are also losing money attempt to sell cattle at higher prices. Some industry experts are predicting slower chain speed as packers attempt to offset losses. Asking prices are around 123.00 to 124.00 live, and 193.00 to 195.00 on the dressed. Tuesday’s cattle kill was estimated at 131,000 head, even with last week, but 1,000 more than last year.

Boxed beef values were generally steady on light to moderate demand and offerings. Choice beef was up .09 at 184.99, and select was unchanged at 169.47.

Live cattle contracts settled 40 to 135 points higher on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on Tuesday. Traders reentered the market following Monday’s sharp selloff. The most significant gains developed in the October and December contracts. Support in the market came from ideas that that supplies are getting tighter. October settled 1.35 higher at 121.37, and December was up 1.27 at 121.60.

Feeder cattle ended the session unchanged to 45 points higher with only the spot October in the red. Higher corn values weighed on feeder futures while some support was seen in the feeder market from the live pit. October ended the session .52 lower at 138.47, and November was unchanged at 143.12.

[Read more...]

33% of corn, 51% of soybeans harvested

Roughly a third of the U.S. corn crop and a little more than half of soybeans have been harvested.

As of Sunday, 89% of corn has reached maturity, compared to 97% a year ago and 88% on average, while 33% is harvested, compared to 50% this time last year and 32% for the five year average. 53% of the crop is in good to excellent condition, up 1% on the week.

For soybeans, 90% are at the leaf dropping stage, compared to 94% a year ago and 92% on average, with 51% harvested, compared to 63% last year and 46% on average. 56% of soybeans are called good to excellent, up 2% from a week ago.

59% of winter wheat has been planted, compared to 69% last year and 67% on average, and 28% has emerged, compared to 37% a year ago and 38% on average.

30% of U.S. pastures and rangelands are rated good to excellent, down 1% from last week and 12% below this time last year.

Another dry week in Iowa

Dry and windy weather accelerated crop dry down and provided the opportunity to harvest nearly half of Iowa’s soybean crop last week. Unfortunately, reports of soybean shattering and field fires increased. The lack of moisture has also delayed development of fall seeded crops.

27% of Iowa’s corn crop has been harvested for grain or seed, three days behind 2010 but five days ahead of the five year average. The moisture content of the corn still in the field fell 4% from the previous week to an average of 20%, with corn currently being harvested running 18%. Reporters say that corn lodging remains a greater problem than normal. Ear droppage is also heavier than normal. 59% of the corn crop is rated good to excellent.

Soybean harvest is now 70% complete, slightly behind last year, but five days ahead of normal. Soybean shattering levels increased from the previous week to 16% moderate to heavy. 65% of the crop is rated in good to excellent condition.

Over half of the state is now seeing moderate to heavy grain movement from farm to elevator. At this point in the harvest season only 3% of the state reports being short of off farm storage capacity and 7% of the state reports a shortage of on farm storage capacity.

Hay supplies are considered short in 19% of Iowa as many producers are already feeding hay as pasture growth is nonexistent due to dry conditions.