The rains have come to Wisconsin

What a difference a couple of weeks can make.  Two weeks ago, Wisconsin farmers were getting quite concerned about how dry it was getting in the Badger State.  And then it rained…and rained…and rained!  In the last week: Vernon County reporting 3 inches of rain, Portage County had over 4, Buffalo County with 5 and Chippewa County reports 5.5 inches fell.  Top soil moisture is now rated 78 percent adequate and 11 percent surplus.

As of August 31st: the Wisconsin corn crop is 70 percent at-or-beyond dough stage with 23 percent dented.  That is slightly behind the five-year-average of 75 percent dough and 36 percent dent by now.  The crop is rated 71 percent in good to excellent condition.

Soybeans are 72 percent good to excellent condition with 93 percent setting pods and 9 percent turning color.  Both numbers just slightly behind the five-year average.

Oats harvest is 73 percent completed, should be 95 percent by now.  Winter wheat harvest is 95 percent harvested.

Read the full NASS report here:

Indiana crops starting to mature

Scattered rainfall last week continued to cause flooding and crop damage in some areas, but overall helped to finish the state’s crops.  According to NASS’  latest crop and weather report, 77 percent of the Indiana’s corn crop is in good to excellent condition with 90 percent of the crop in the dough stage, 51 percent dented and 8 percent mature.

The soybean crop has also advancing with 70 percent of the crop still in good to excellent condition with 97 percent of the crop setting pods and 10 percent dropping leaves

In other crops around the state, tomato harvest continues and 13 percent of the tobacco crop is harvested.  Fifty-seven percent of ranges and pastures are in good to excellent condition, but the rainy weather has slowed hay cutting as fields remain damp.

Novak moving from pork to corn

The CEO of the National Pork Board, Chris Novak will leave his job on October 3rd to become CEO of the National Corn Growers Association.  Prior his job with the Pork Board, Novak was executive director of the Indiana Corn Marketing Council, the Indiana Corn Growers Association and the Indiana Soybean Alliance.  He replaces the retiring Rick Tolman at NCGA.

Novak says he is grateful to the farmers who support the checkoff, the Pork Board members and staff for the honor to serve them over the last six years and “looks forward to continuing to work with the livestock industry from my new position.”

The National Pork Board will immediately engage an executive search firm to assist in a national search for Novak’s replacement. Details of the search process will be announced later this month. To ensure a seamless transition, the board has named John Johnson, chief operating officer, as interim CEO. Johnson will oversee the many initiatives currently underway, including finalization of a new strategic plan and development of the 2015 budget.

Rain benefits Nebraska’s crops, pastures

Although they were a bit excessive in some areas of east central Nebraska, last week’s rains were generally beneficial to the state’s row crops and pastures.

The latest crop progress report puts the good to excellent rating on corn at 71 percent; soybeans at 72 percent; sorghum 60 percent; and dry beans at 81 percent.  Pasture and range conditions were rated 52 percent good to excellent and 33 percent fair.

The rains hindered the hay harvest in some areas, but the third and fourth cuttings of alfalfa hay are still running close to normal overall.

There were a few reports of winter wheat being seeded. The moisture will be positive for the early growth of winter wheat.

The time is now for Indiana agriculture

The Indiana State Department of Agriculture is working on a strategic plan for the state’s agriculture industry.

ISDA director Ted McKinney says he’ll be working with stakeholders on a timeline for Indiana agriculture and how it can meet the growing demand for agricultural goods and services.  “Take a look at what is happening naturally,” he says.  “We know that we are going from 7 to 9 billion on the planet.  Most people do not know that the peak demand for protein will be in about 2025.  So the here is now.”

McKinney tells Brownfield now is when the industry needs to ramp up production to meet those needs.  “We’re doing so many things right here in Indiana,” he says.  “So help me – if I have anything to do with it – Indiana is going to take a lead in this.  It is rightfully our place and I think we are proving it with all the many different aspects of agriculture.  It is our time.”

He says they’re in the early stages of planning and will unveil their timeline in the near future.

AUDIO: Ted McKinney, ISDA (1:30mp3)

Some corn, soybean development stages trail average

U.S. corn and soybean crops remain in great shape, but a couple of key development stages are still slower than average.

As of Sunday, 90% of corn is at the dough making stage, compared to the five year average of 89%, 53% has dented, compared to 59% on average, and 8% has reached maturity, compared to 16% on average. 74% of corn is in good to excellent shape, up 1% on the week.

95% of soybeans are at the pod setting stage, matching the five year average, and 5% of the crop is dropping leaves, compared to 7% on average. 72% of soybeans are rated good to excellent, 2% more than a week ago.

38% of spring wheat is harvested, compared to 65% on average, with 63% of the crop called good to excellent, down 3% from last week.

48% of U.S. pastures and rangelands are in good to excellent condition, unchanged.

FAPRI projects price weakness for 2015

The Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute projects that 2015 will see some moderation in livestock prices and continued low crop prices.

The institute’s director, Pat Westhoff, tells Brownfield Ag News that corn prices could hover near $4 a bushel through 2020, after dropping down to $3.89 in the coming year.

“It’s certainly in line with where markets appear to be now,” said Westhoff, from his office at the University of Missouri.  “Futures are actually a trifle lower than that right now for the 2014 crop; the market probably anticipates an even bigger crop than was projected by USDA this past month.”

During that same five years, soybean prices are projected to range from $10.30 to $10.69 a bushel.  Wheat prices are projected to drop to $5.97 a bushel by 2020.

Westhoff says the FAPRI projection will help farmers decide whether to take part in the government’s Price Loss Coverage program or the new Agricultural Risk Coverage program.

“If we’re talking about corn and soybean producers, it leaves some possibility that quite a few producers might be able to get significant payments for the 2014 crop; payments they would not receive until next fall,” said Westhoff.  “But those expected payments are very much contingent on where prices turn out to be.”

On the flip side, livestock producers are seeing higher prices resulting from strong demand and limited supplies. With lower feed costs, Westhoff expects producers to expand production, which will eventually lower prices.

If livestock prices moderate, Westhoff says it’s possible food price inflation could drop to less than 2 percent in 2015.

AUDIO: Pat Westhoff (8 min. MP3)

South Korea lifts ban on feed additive

The ban on the use of the animal feed additive zilpaterol in beef has been lifted in South Korea.  Last October, the food ministry said it intended to ease its zero-tolerance policy on zilpaterol-based drugs after a risk assessment found it could be permitted at certain levels.  According to Reuters, the lifting of the ban opens the door to imports containing the growth enhancer as well as domestic sales of the product.

Last year South Korea suspended some US beef imports for more than two months after traces of the additive were found in two shipments.  A South Korean food ministry official told Reuters that imports of beef muscle with 1 part per billion of zilpaterol, 5 ppb in beef liver, and 10 ppb in beef kidney had been approved in late August.

The United States, Australia, and New Zealand are all major exporters of beef to South Korea.

Iowa farmers hope warm temps continue

As they head into the home stretch, Iowa’s corn and soybean crops continue to look very good, although they could use a few more days of good, warm weather in September to help with the maturation process.

According to the latest crop progress report, 53 percent of Iowa’s corn crop is in the dent stage, four days behind normal.  The percentage of soybeans with leaves turning color reached eight percent, 10 points behind the normal pace.  Corn rated 76 percent good to excellent with soybeans at 73 percent.

Wet conditions have slowed hay harvest.  The third cutting of alfalfa was 53 percent complete, 23 points behind the five-year average.  But pasture condition improved to 62 percent good to excellent.

Crop conditions hold steady in Ohio

According to the Ohio field office of the National Ag Statistics Service (NASS) condition ratings for corn and soybeans in Ohio held steady in the past week.

As of Sunday, 74 percent of the Ohio corn crop and 80 percent of Ohio soybeans were rated in fair-to-good condition.

87 percent of the corn is at the dough stage, one point behind the 5-year average, 41 percent of the crop is dented, eight points behind the average pace, three percent of the corn crop is mature.

97 percent of the Ohio soybeans are setting pods, five percent of the crop is dropping leaves, four points behind the 5-year average.

Other crops, corn silage harvest is two percent complete and eight percent of the tobacco crop has been cut.

Topsoil moisture in the state 73 percent adequate to surplus.