Bullish corn ahead?


There were few surprises in the latest USDA report. This year’s carryout dropped slightly, but world corn supply increased. Final yield results and harvested acres will be the highlight in the January report. Until then, corn will likely hold a very tight range.

Christmas came early for unpriced corn farmers when corn finally broke through and closed above $4 on the March futures. Largely this was due to rumors from China that they plan to resolve import issues for U.S. DDG. It’s not certain that China will take U.S. corn yet, but they certainly could. That would help increase corn usage. Also, Ukraine cancelled some winter contracts due to logistical issues (but will still likely sell corn again this spring). $4.25 March futures are a possibility at this point, especially if farmers continue not to sell through December. The market certainly feels bullish futures right now.

The market is buying acres for 2015 with the current bull run.… Continue reading

Read More »

Yield monitor maintenance after harvest

Yield monitors continue to increase in popularity and, in most cases, are standard options on today’s combines. Yield mapping data is increasingly important information for precision agriculture services offered across the agriculture industry. A good post-harvest combine maintenance plan should include provisions for looking over yield monitor components and possibly storing devices in conditioned locations to reduce warming and cooling cycles potentially generating condensation and corrosion or damage of electronics.

Quality yield data is important today so properly cleaning and maintaining yield monitor components such as the moisture and mass flow / volumetric sensors is important. The buildup of debris or worn parts will lead to inaccurate measurements by these sensors. The accuracy of yield map data is dependent upon one’s ability to maintenance and properly calibrate grain yield monitors. Poorly maintained and calibrated yield monitors can lead to inaccurate data and thereby improper farm management decisions. This point is especially important for farmer’s conducting on-farm research since yield maps are only as accurate as the data collected to create them.… Continue reading

Read More »

Divergent market forces at work

It is most interesting to review corn yields across the Midwest from the beginning of harvest until completion. Reports through much of the harvest painted a very rosy yield picture in general across the Midwest. Better than average yields far outweighed the below average yield reports. Some states indicate that yields trailed off in the last 30% of harvest. In particular, Iowa experienced widely varying yields. During the fall, commodity funds added to their long or bought corn positions. They are holding tight to their conceived notion that USDA will reduce 2014 corn acres with the final crop production report on Jan. 10, 2015.

The November corn crop production was estimated at 14.407 billion bushels with a yield at 173.4 bushels per acre. Ending stocks were estimated at 2.008 billion bushels. It was a surprise when the Nov. 10 USDA crop report lowered U.S. corn production. Many had expected production to increase with ending stocks falling somewhere from 2.3 and 2.5 billion bushels.… Continue reading

Read More »

SCI yield contest results

Seed Consultants would like to congratulate the winners of their 2014 Yield Contests.


2014 Project 300 Corn Yield Contest




Tim BishopSC 11AQ03™




Triple K FarmsSCS 1083AMXT™


Maria SteinOH


Matt MillessSCS 11HQ33™


2014 Project 100 Soybean Yield Contest




Nathan PhilipsSCS 9328RR™




David FisherSCS 9314RR™




Marlon CorwinSCS 9328RR™


New PalestineIN
2014 Double-Crop Soybean Contest




John WylerSCS 9328RR™


2014 Corn Test Weight Contest




James BergerSCS 11HXX19™




 … Continue reading

Read More »

Jed Bower, 2014 wrap up

I was pretty pleased this year but we had yields all over the board.

There are always hybrids that stand out and there are always some that need some more tweaking. My biggest frustration has been with my own herbicide program and I am going with all Liberty beans in 2015 for that reason. As I talk to the seed reps and other farmers, it seems that in our area there is a slow switch going in that direction.

The past few years have been extremely exciting in agriculture and we might be going through some tougher times, but there are still many opportunities and new things coming on the technology side. I am sticking with Roundup corn next year. Then in 2016, I will be looking at the Duo with Dicamba and Roundup.

I have stayed loyal to spreading all the maturities out and this year we had 103-day corn clear to 115-day corn.… Continue reading

Read More »

Tom Yuhasz, 2014 wrap up

We’ve discussed planting all corn next year. I don’t think we’ll do that, but I don’t think the corn crop is as big as they say it is in our area. There were a lot of bean acres out there this year and this area may end up corn deficient by next fall. We may plant some early corn to take advantage of that. We planted all beans this year and you can’t blame the varieties for not performing under the conditions we had this season.

We are planting some more food grade beans for tofu next year. This was our first year growing them. It is a big bushy bean and on some of our better soils we may go with 30-inch rows and space them out a little more. The food grade yields were as good or better than some of our Roundup varieties, which I was pleased with.… Continue reading

Read More »

Brad Mattix, 2014 wrap up

There were three or four different companies and several varieties that yielded really well for us. There were some others that yielded well but had low test-weights. I have been debating going with conventional corn, but I still think we are going to go with Genuity VT Double PRO next year.

Our beans ended up a little below average for us this year. Planting date is the biggest thing I noticed this year for the corn. We finished June 1 and most of the time the first planted stuff is the best and that was the case this season. Some of our later corn was not nearly as good as our first corn. We definitely saw that trend with the yields. The range between our best corn and worst corn was phenomenal this year. I have never seen anything like it in my life. Our corn still averaged north of 200 but I don’t know exactly where we will end up.… Continue reading

Read More »

Todd Hesterman, 2014 wrap-up

It was a very good year and there are a lot of varieties that show a lot of promise. In that aspect, I almost like an adverse year to better judge some of these hybrids. Some of them may fall flat on an adverse year. I don’t think we will be making any wholesale changes on hybrids but I am going to try a couple of new ones that have shown some promise that have been around for a couple of years. There were two or three varieties that I have increased by 20% to my seed order over this year.

I have backed off on some of the rootworm traits. We have done a pretty good job suppressing that, though I will still have some in my lineup. The refuge really complicates seeding programs. We did take a hard look at the economics too and whether the cost was worth the trait.… Continue reading

Read More »

Small changes in today’s USDA report

Today’s reports had minor changes in the supply and demand tables. Corn ending stocks were lowered 10 million bushels to 1.998 billion bushels. Exports and ethanol numbers were unchanged while corn fed to livestock increased 10 million bushels. Soybean ending stocks were lowered 40 million bushels with exports increasing the same amount. Crush was unchanged. Wheat ending stocks increased 10 million bushels to 654 million bushels, imports were increased the same amount.

Prior to the report corn was down 2 cents, soybeans were down 7 cents, wheat was down 6 cents. At 12:20 pm corn was down 5 cents, soybeans were down 19 cents, while wheat was down 10 cents.

No big surprises or wow factor materialized today. While soybeans did not have negative implications, I suspect that missing the wow factor or surprise was disappointing to bulls. Soybean ending stocks were 410 million bushels. A number below 400 would have added the surprise element.… Continue reading

Read More »

Do new drought tolerant hybrids have a niche in the Eastern Corn Belt?

Drought events are predicted to increase with rising global temperatures and altered rainfall patterns. It is important that agronomists investigate ways to maximize water use to help reduce grain yield losses from drought events. If Ohio corn yields had been reduced 10% in 2013 due to drought, then the economic loss for growers would have exceeded $250 million.

Ohio producers have begun using drought-tolerant corn hybrids that were developed for use in the Western Corn Belt to manage for drought events, but limited research has been conducted on these hybrids in the Eastern Corn Belt. Drought tolerance can be thought of as the ability of a plant to produce greater yields under water stress conditions when compared to other plants under the same conditions.

Since growing conditions are very different in Ohio than in the Western Corn Belt, the management practices that maximize grain yield and minimize environmental effects need to be determined for these corn hybrids.… Continue reading

Read More »

Using basis for good marketing decisions



Grain elevators are complaining about lack of farmer movement since harvest (i.e. selling forward). Many elevators in the northern states didn’t fill up completely (which was unexpected). Increases in farm storage have been felt across the U.S. (USDA estimates 13 billion bushels of on farm storage currently). Many farmers are bullish. They believe that there will be a spring rally due to fewer corn acres next year. It’s doubtful this alone will support a rally because the export pace has been slowing. On the bright side, U.S. corn is competitive with the rest of the world, which may help reverse that trend. Can corn push through $4 on the CBOT?



In South America, 90% of growers have had good weather for soybean development and with an El Nino forming. Favorable weather there should continue. Interestingly, a large bank announced that they view soybeans as the worst agriculture commodity to invest in for 2015.… Continue reading

Read More »

Should we be using soybean maturity group as a tool for variety selection?

Over the last decade I have noticed a subtle shift across much of the northern soybean growing region towards planting later maturity group soybeans. This shift, either conscious or unconscious, may be attributed to earlier planting dates, relatively favorable fall harvest windows, and the drive for maximum yield as influenced by high commodity prices.

As with all trends sooner or later, we have a correction year: 2014 was that year for many farmers. As farmers, consultants, and the battered and bruised seed suppliers sort through the plethora of product offerings for 2015, a common question arises: “In 2015, how much weight should we really give to maturity group in these seed decisions?” For those of you with short attention spans like me, the short answer for soybean is not much. For the rest of you, please read on to understand my reasoning.

In 2011, the Wisconsin Soybean Research Program published an article in the journal Crop Management titled: “Optimal soybean maturity groups for seed yield and quality in Wisconsin” (Furseth et al, 2011).… Continue reading

Read More »

Exploring growth opportunities in the mature market of Japan

Japan is a mature market.

Traits of a mature market in Japan include:

• A high-income country with a stable and aging population, an excellent, high quality diet;

• A sophisticated food production and marketing system;

• And among the highest food safety standards in the world.

Mature markets like Japan create challenges in terms of expanding U.S. exports.

“A mature market is a challenge,” said Tommy Hamamoto, U.S. Grains Council director in Japan. “We work hard to serve our long-time, loyal customers, and Japan is still the top U.S. export market for corn. But we are also looking for new value-added products and new opportunities. We are discussing some of these new ideas with Japanese livestock producers, including expanded exports.”

While Japan has a well-deserved reputation for high quality and food safety, some other countries in the region are still struggling to raise standards. Two years ago, the Council collaborated with the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) office in Tokyo on a study, “Food 2040,” that projected great potential for Japan as a production platform for other East Asian markets.… Continue reading

Read More »

Railroad report card: Grain shippers rate Union Pacific best railroad amid widespread frustration

The Soy Transportation Coalition (STC) released its fifth annual Railroad Report Card this fall and Union Pacific reclaimed its position as the top performing railroad. The top ranked railroad in 2011 and 2012, Union Pacific finished second to CSX in 2013. Norfolk Southern Railway climbed to second place from its third place ranking in 2013. Survey respondents ranked Canadian Pacific in last place for the fourth year in a row.

The survey was completed anonymously by agricultural shippers of various sizes and scale of operations and has been comprised of the same 11 questions since the report card’s inception. Surveys were completed and submitted during September and October. The questions are categorized under: 1.) On Time Performance; 2.) Customer Service; and 3.) Costs. For most questions, participants were asked to rate each of the seven Class I railroads on a scale from 1-10 with 10 being the highest and one being the lowest. … Continue reading

Read More »

Barge fee to improve waterways passes the House

As part of H.R. 647, the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, the House of Representatives passed, by a vote of 404-17, a provision to increase the barge fuel fee to fund needed waterways infrastructure projects. American Soybean Association (ASA) President and Iowa farmer Ray Gaesser expressed ASA’s appreciation for the fee, which is supported by those in the waterways industry.

“The nine-cent increase in the per-gallon barge fuel fee is something that is supported not only by the nation’s soybean farmers, but also by the commercial barge and towing operators who pay it. We all support this as a way to dedicate funds to new waterways infrastructure construction and major rehabilitation of the inland waterways system through the Inland Waterways Trust Fund. We are pleased that the House passed this provision, and we call on the Senate to quickly do the same.”

In response to the House passage of a short-term extension of several key tax credits, the ASA expressed both its appreciation for a fix in the near term, and disappointment in the absence of a longer-term solution.… Continue reading

Read More »

What did we learn from 2014 growing season?

I asked several farmers and Seed Consultant Reps what new things they learned from 2014 growing season. I will be discussing some of those ideas in these articles for next three weeks. It is difficult to learn new things every year but each growing season either teaches us some new ideas or reinforces what we are already know and are using. Some of the things we learned this year are given below:

• Tiling pays big dividends in the long run. We had lot of rains during early spring and fields with drainage tile had a clear advantage in getting planted early. It also emphasizes the value of good drainage for growing corn.

• Early planting pays-off again. The fields which were planted earlier this year pollinated during the cooler weather and were harvested earlier. These fields generally yielded higher and had higher test weight as compared to the same hybrid planted later and harvested at higher moisture.… Continue reading

Read More »

Federal judge blocks Maui GMO ban

In November, a federal judge said Maui County could not implement a new law that would ban the use of genetically modified crops. Voters approved the ballot initiative in early November and it was expected to go into effect after election results were verified.

According to “Truth About Trade & Technology,” Judge Barry Kurren said he would consider lawsuits against the new initative, and both sides of the issue agreed to postpone the date the law goes into effect.

Monsanto and Dow Chemical Co. then sued Maui County in efforts to stop the initiative and were joined by local businesses in the suit, according to the Associated Press (AP).

Maui County is home to extensive soybean, corn and other crop breeding and seed multiplication activities important to U.S. soybean growers.

Many agricultural organizations, including the American Soybean Association, stand with the Maui County Farm Bureau, the Molokai Farm Bureau, local farm employees and their families and other citizens of Maui, Molokai and Lanai who oppose this initiative.… Continue reading

Read More »

Ohio No-Till Council conference highlights profitable farming in an era of environmental scrutiny

It was again a full house at Der Dutchman in Plain City for yesterday’s Ohio No-Till Conference. A wide range of topics were covered at the event revolving around conservation tillage and its innumerable benefits.

Crop consultant Joe Nester outlined some key steps for maximizing yields moving forward with ever increasing environmental scrutiny on agriculture with (instead of 4Rs) four Ps: Prove, Plan, Prepare, and Prioritize.

“Prove what your nutrient inventory is in the fields you are working with. Don’t guess. The time for guessing has passed both economically and environmentally. With the budgets you have in raising crops today, the cost of a soil test is just a small part of that. Your soil test needs to be representative so you can prove what is there,” Nester said. “Then plan. Plan your nutrient requirement based on what you have proven in the soil. If you’re not using variable rate technology, I think you’re missing the boat.… Continue reading

Read More »

U2U tool helps farmers with nitrogen application decisions

The Purdue University-led Useful to Usable climate initiative is offering a new online tool to help farmers and farm advisers better manage the application of nitrogen fertilizer for maximum crop yields and minimum environmental damage.

The free tool, called Corn Split N, combines historical weather data and fieldwork conditions with economic considerations to determine the feasibility and profitability of completing a post-planting nitrogen application for corn production. Now available for use in Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Missouri and Kansas, it will be expanded in 2015 to include seven North-Central states — Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio and Michigan.

Farmers traditionally have applied nitrogen fertilizer to the soil in a single pass, either in the fall or in the spring before planting. But Ben Gramig, Corn Split N project team member and Purdue associate professor of agricultural economics, said agronomic recommendations are to “split-apply” the nitrogen twice — once in the spring at planting and then a second time after the corn plants have emerged from the ground so that they can use the fertilizer most effectively.… Continue reading

Read More »