Will pricing 2011 corn now reduce downside revenue risk?

The bottom line is that 2011 is likely to be a profitable year for farmers. Determining just how profitable involves a complicated equation that includes number of bushels per acre, price per bushel, level of Revenue Protection (RP) and hedging. An issue of University of Illinois Farm Economics Facts and Opinions looked at some of the possible scenarios to help farmers juggle the numbers and the risk.

“Most people are buying Revenue Protection insurance products,” said U of I agricultural economist and farm management specialist Gary Schnitkey. “We wanted to know if you had to hedge grain now, what its impacts would be at several levels of RP and at no insurance just to get a feel for how much risk is mitigated by different amounts hedged.”

Schnitkey compared the RP at 85% coverage level, 75% coverage level and 65% coverage level and no insurance for a central Illinois farm with a 184-bushel average yield.… Continue reading

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Despite the rain, corn is still king

By Brian Essinger, Monsanto Territory Manager, Northern Ohio

As I sit in my office overlooking the yard and the wheat field across the road, I hear that all too familiar sound of raindrops hitting my window. The calendar says May 17 and once again we are in wait mode. Now I am a positive guy and I learned a long time ago do not curse the weather. In fact, if you ask my kids they will tell you daddy says, “Never buck the rain.” But it takes every fiber in my being not to get down, anxious, and downright frustrated.

With that being said, I believe my job is to give you the facts, help you build a successful production plan, and above all be your optimistic point of view. So hear are some tips to think about, focus on, and overall stay positive.

Don’t give up on corn. It is still king.… Continue reading

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Fuel prices impacting farms

This year’s unexpected rise in fuel prices is certain to impact farmers in Ohio and across the nation, but the extent of the impact will vary across agricultural sectors and will depend on other variables, such as the weather and the fate of already record-high grain prices.

Barry Ward, production business management leader with Ohio State University Extension, said that the effect of fuel and energy costs on grain farmers — while significant — will be softened this year by the high profit potential expected for row crops in Ohio and the Midwest.

“Projected corn budgets for this year show the highest net profit outlook I have ever done in six years, and safely you could say this is the highest net profit potential in recent history,” said Ward, who is also an assistant professor in Ohio State’s Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics (AEDE). “Because of that, the high fuel prices we are seeing now are not going to significantly impact the bottom line of grain farmers this year.… Continue reading

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Flying on fungicides now will not prevent vomitoxin

By Pierce Paul and Dennis Mills, Ohio State University Extension


2 – The head scab fungus infects when the wheat crop is flowering i.e., when anthers are seen sticking out of the heads, causing scab to develop and producing vomitoxin.

3 – Therefore, fungicides need to be applied to protect the flowering head to reduce infection, scab development, and vomitoxin production.

4 – Between flag leaf emergence and boot, the head is in the leaf sheath of the flag leaf where it is protected from the head scab fungus, so scab will not cause a problem while the head is hidden, even during these constant rains.

5 – Between flag leaf emergence and boot, the head is in the leaf sheath of the flag leaf where the fungicide will not reach it.… Continue reading

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Watch wheat closely for disease

By Ryan McAllister, CCA, Team Sales Agronomist, Beck’s Hybrids

Do you remember playing Capture the Flag when you were a kid? Well, diseases in your wheat field still like to play that game. They never grew up. Your job is to protect the flag — flag leaf that is. Most wheat fields in our eastern marketing area are in the boot stage and quickly on their way to heading. Once heading occurs, it generally takes 3 to 5 days before flowering begins. There are two considerations that you have when deciding to spray a fungicide on your wheat.

1.    Protect the flag leaf from leaf disease.

2.    Reduce the risk of head scab infection, which can lead to vomitoxin.

Fungicides with good control of head scab must be applied during flowering to be effective! With most of the wheat in our eastern marketing area as close to flowering as it is, it is wise to hold any fungicide application off until then to determine the risk for head scab rather than spraying now for leaf disease and possibly having to spray again shortly to control scab.… Continue reading

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Crop Insurance Flood Claim Reminders

Heavy rainfall and flood conditions across the Midwest have caused crop damage and slowed planting this spring. Brian Frieden, Director of the Springfield Regional Office of the Risk Management Agency, reminds producers faced with questions on prevented planting, replant or crop losses this spring, to contact their agent for more information.

Producers who are unable to plant an insured crop by the final planting date due to an insurable cause, such as excess moisture and flooding have a number of options. Producers may plant the insured crop during the 25 day late planting period with a reduction in the production guarantee of 1 percent a day for each day planting is delayed after the final planting date. Producers may leave the acreage idle and receive a full prevented planting payment or the insured may be able to plant the acreage to another crop after the late planting period and receive a reduced prevented planting payment.… Continue reading

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Planting updates from around Ohio

With drier weather at the end of last week, Ohio farmers took advantage of the sunshine and heat and worked for hours on end spraying fields and planting corn. Typically most farmers would like to be done planting or nearly done planting by now, but they’ve adapted to changing weather patterns.

The wheat crop in Ohio seems to have suffered a little damaged in waterlogged areas. Some farmers are spraying fungicide in case the weather, which is now cold and wet, becomes hot and wet as the wheat is flowering, making it susceptible to diseases such as head scab and vomitoxin. Here are some updates from around the state.

Northeast Ohio: John Wallbrown, Deerfield, Ohio (Portage County)

We’re have planted about 20% corn and 20% beans. We don’t know if that 20% will make it or not. The weekend was very wet; we’re fully saturated since it rained all weekend. The wheat looks much worse than average — we’re waiting to put a nitrogen fertilizer on it — it’s very soggy.… Continue reading

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Seed treatments important as we don’t have time to plant twice

By Anne Dorrance, Ohio State University Extension

Water molds are the plague of Ohio soils and we have plenty of them! Over the past eight years we have recovered 30 different species of Pythium that can infect and cause seedling blight and or root rot on soybeans and corn. In addition to Pythium, we have also recovered a Phytophthora that can infect both corn and soybeans. Don’t forget that in soybeans we also have a great diversity of Phytophthora sojae where now we have some isolates in the state that can infect plants with all of the Rps-genes, including Rps8. As a group, many of these Pythium and Phytophthora spp. survive in the soil as oospores.

They are very capable of surviving these long winters, and in many cases they do not germinate immediately in the spring. They require a period of time where the soils remain wet for at least two weeks.… Continue reading

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Take steps to reduce herbicide drift

Crop farmers need to take precautions to reduce off-target drift when applying herbicides this spring, said Purdue Extension weed scientist Bill Johnson.

“Drift reduces product efficacy on the intended target and can result in damage to sensitive plants” he said. “It also can deposit illegal residues on edible crops, especially organic or processed crops that are checked for contaminants.”

There are two types of herbicide drift — vapor and particle. With vapor drift, the application reaches its target but at some point moves off-target after application. With particle drift, the portion that moves off-target never reaches is target.

Particle drift can occur with any pesticide application, regardless of product formulation, and is directly associated with droplet size, sprayer boom height and wind speed.

“Injury symptoms from drift will depend on the product used, environmental conditions and sensitivity of the plants in the path of air flow,” Johnson said. “Low concentrations of glyphosate may or may not show injury symptoms, while low concentrations of 2,4-D or dicamba may show major symptoms on sensitive plants such as tomatoes, grapes, and roses.”… Continue reading

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The soggy weather pattern is changing

By Jim Noel, the National Weather Service in Ohio

The weather pattern is beginning to change. As we had discussed since last summer, we had expected a very wet late winter into spring with La Nina and the negative North Atlantic Oscillation and we got it. Now, we expect La Nina to end by June but the effects will likely linger into at least early summer.

The rest of May will see improving conditions from what we saw in April and very early May. The outlook for the rest of May is as follows:

May 13-14 – Temperatures will average about 6 degrees above normal with rainfall near normal. Best chance for rain will be late week into the weekend. Covered will be more scattered and rainfall variability will be much higher than we have seen due to the warmer late spring weather pattern.

May 15-21-Temperatures will average near normal and rainfall above normal.… Continue reading

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Corn supply remains tight even with record crop projections

The Agriculture Department projects a record U.S. corn crop this year, but despite the expected increase in production, American Farm Bureau Federation economists emphasize that stocks are still tight and corn farmers will need strong yields to meet demand and build stocks to more comfortable levels.

USDA released its May World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates, which pegs U.S. corn production at 13.5 billion bushels in 2011. If realized, this would be the largest U.S. crop ever, outdoing the record 13.1 billion bushel corn crop in 2009.

“It’s important to remember that this is a preliminary estimate from USDA. A lot can change from now until harvest,” explained Todd Davis, AFBF crops economist. “We still don’t know the impact late planting in Corn Belt states east of the Mississippi will have on this year’s corn crop. We’re going to need a warm summer with timely rains to realize this 13.5 billion bushel corn crop.”… Continue reading

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Ohio Soybean Association announces 2011 Soybean Yield and Quality Contest

The Ohio Soybean Association (OSA) is announcing the launch of the state’s second annual Soybean Yield and Quality Contest for the 2011 growing season. An overall state yield winner will be awarded along with category prizes for the top-placing entrants, including winners of the quality contest based on percentages of oil and protein. The fee is $100 per entry.

The six different yield categories available include:

conventional tillage


low-linolenic soybeans – conventional tillage

low-linolenic soybeans – no-till

non-GMO soybeans – conventional tillage

non-GMO soybeans – no-till

Developed to promote the importance of oil and protein, the quality contest is optional to enter. However, a farmer must enter the soybean yield contest to enter the soybean-quality contest. This contest is based on the overall greatest percentage of oil and percentage of protein content in the state. Entrants in the quality contest must submit a two-pound sample of soybeans for testing.

All entry forms and entry fees for the 2011 Soybean Yield and Quality Contest must be postmarked by August 31, 2011. … Continue reading

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ACRE deadline approaching

Steve Maurer, the Ohio Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director, would like to remind Ohio producers who have not contacted their local FSA Office about DCP or ACRE enrollment to do so before the sign-up deadline ends.  “It is important producers contact their local FSA office to set up appointments well before the June 1, 2010, deadline,” stated Maurer.
All signatures of producers receiving a share in DCP/ACRE payments are required by the June 1, 2010, deadline.  USDA may accept late-filed applications through September 30.
For more information about the DCP/ACRE programs please visit your local FSA office.
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Crop insurance: What are the preventative plant rules?

By Chris Bruynis, Assistant Professor & Extension Educator; Greg Schiefer, Scheifer Farm and Family Insurance; and Marlene McCreary, Farmers Mutual Insurance

With the weather forecasters calling for more wet weather, farmers are starting to think about the preventative planting provisions in their crop insurance policies. Although most crop insurance policies have some preventative plant provision, neither GRP nor GRIP policies have preventative plant coverage, so check with your agent. One good thing is that farmers have choices and do not have to rush into any decisions but need to be aware of their options before getting to busy in the field. The target date for corn to be planted is June 5 and farmers can either take preventative planting, switch to another crop, or still plant corn with a reduction in coverage.

Claiming preventative planting probably will not be the first choice in 2011 because many farmers have already locked in favorable contract prices for their corn and will need to plant some corn to fulfill those obligations.… Continue reading

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Growers make remarkable planting progress in key corn states

In the past week, corn growers nationwide hit their fields in earnest and planted more than a quarter of their 2011 crop, finally enjoying a break from cold, wet weather. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that, as of May 8, 40% of the 2011 corn crop has been planted, compared to 13% May 1.

“It’s great to see our farmers get the chance to get out and plant,” said NCGA First Vice President Garry Niemeyer, a grower in Auburn, Ill., who reports that he is virtually finished with his corn planting. “We have several key corn states where our growers were able to take advantage of good weather to start catching up. It’s amazing to see how much they were able to accomplish in one week, something that would have been unheard of not too many years ago.”

The prime example, Niemeyer said, was Iowa, where 61% of the corn crop was planted last week, followed by Nebraska, where 42% of the crop was put in the ground.

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Weekly Crop Progress Report-May 9th


The average temperature for the State was 52.2 degrees, 3.7 degrees below normal for the week ending Sunday, May 8, 2011. Precipitation averaged 1.80 inches, 0.92 inches above normal. There were 43 modified growing degree days, 23 days below normal.

Reporters rated 0.3 days suitable for fieldwork during the seven-day period ending Friday, May 6, 2011. Topsoil moisture was rated 0 percent very short, 0 percent short, 9 percent adequate, and 91 percent surplus.


Temperatures were below normal throughout the state, but the state received above normal rainfall for the week. Field activities were very limited because of wet field conditions. Planting has stopped until fields dry up.

As of Sunday May 8, corn was 2 percent planted, which was 72 percent behind last year and 52 percent behind the five-year average. Corn emerged was 1 percent, compared to 35 percent last year and 17 percent for the five-year average.… Continue reading

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Between the Rows-May 9th

“I was wondering if we could use profanity in this or not. We would have been planting today if it hadn’t rained on Friday. It is encouraging to see that, while there is a chance of a shower every day, it is pretty low. We’re hoping to start spraying tomorrow, but there is no fieldwork going on around here, per se. If the weather holds like they say it might, we could be in the field planting by Thursday. They are talking about 70- or 80-degree temperatures. Maybe we are going to be jumping right into that summer weather we’ve been waiting for.

“It seems like the farther south you are, the wetter it is. North of us in Williams County, I was told that there was some planting going on. Until the tile lines get to where they almost aren’t running any more, you know you’re still saturated. They are still running, but it is less every day.… Continue reading

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Mockingbird Meadows sells a healthy lifestyle with no compromise

By Matt Reese

Dawn Combs wanted a quaint farmstead in the middle of 100 acres of herb gardens, grazing livestock and buzzing bees. Carson Combs wanted to rehab an old home in Italian Village in the heart of Columbus. Their marital compromise landed them just outside of Marysville on 3.5 acres with a population density somewhere in the middle of either extreme. The quality of the products on the resulting Mockingbird Meadows Honey and Herb Farm, though, is no compromise.

Their herb infused honeys are loved from coast-to-coast as the growing notoriety of the farm’s products has landed the couple in San Francisco to hand out samples and on the pages of the New York Times and the Washington Post.

“It all started with a lie. I told him, ‘I just want to try bees for a hobby,’” Dawn said.

It did not take long for those first few bees on the farmstead to develop into a small business.… Continue reading

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Ohio Department of Agriculture accepting specialty crop grant proposals

The Ohio Department of Agriculture is now accepting proposals for the 2011 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, which will provide funding for projects to enhance the competitiveness of crops such as fruits, vegetables , nuts, and nursery crops.

The USDA Agriculture Marketing Service will make approximately $600,000 of grant funding available to Ohio.  The deadline for online grant proposal submissions is May 27, 2011 by 4 p.m.  Grants will range from a minimum of $15,000 to a maximum of $100,000. In addition, all applicants must provide a minimum match of 25 percent of the requested grant amount.

Project proposals are sought that will advance the long-term economic viability of the state’s specialty crop industry while increasing the marketability of specialty crops. Higher rankings will be given to projects that demonstrate profit potential for growers and that could boost employment opportunities in the specialty crop industry.

Food and agricultural non-profit organizations, cooperatives, associations or commodity groups, universities and research institutions are eligible to submit specialty crop proposals.… Continue reading

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NCGA supports the Domestic Energy Promotion Act of 2011

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE), Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) today praised the legislation offered by a bipartisan group of senators, led by Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, to responsibly transition and transform current ethanol tax policy.  This legislation would reduce the current blender’s credit, also known as VEETC, for a two-year period before transitioning to a tax credit that would adjust based on the price of oil.  Importantly, this legislation would also improve upon current tax credits for the installation of blender pumps and ethanol fueling infrastructure.  Additionally, the bill would extend tax credits for small ethanol producers as well as for advanced and cellulosic ethanol.

The groups issued the following statement:

“The leadership of Senator Grassley and this distinguished bipartisan group of cosponsors has been and remains instrumental in allowing America’s ethanol industry to grow and evolve.   At a time of near-record gas prices and continued volatility in world oil markets, America’s growing production and reliance of domestic ethanol sources is creating jobs, keeping gasoline prices down, and reducing this nation’s appetite for imported oil. … Continue reading

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