Rolling futures

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC

The USDA reported the lowest ear counts in the last 7 years. Interestingly though in each of the last 6 years, final ear counts ultimately were lower than September estimates.

Ear weight estimates, on the other hand, were average compared to the last 6 years. In 4 of the last 6 years, final ear weights increased into the final January estimate as compared to September projections. They dropped in 2018 and were the same in 2014.

With this information, it seems reasonable that a national yield reduction is possible; however, widespread favorable weather over the last 4 weeks and upcoming good forecasts for the next 2 weeks may mean improved ear weights that offset some ear loss.

Many market participants still think harvested acre estimates could be trimmed by 1 to 2 million acres. However, it’s important to keep in mind that corn exports and ethanol grind have slowed.… Continue reading

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Crop progress continues, despite dry weather

Dry, warm conditions prevailed last week which aided crop progress, according to Cheryl Turner, State Statistician, USDA NASS, Ohio Field Office. There were 6.3 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending September 15.

Crops were progressing rapidly in warmer conditions. Producers started to harvest corn silage last week. Corn silking and soybeans blooming were complete. There was no improvement in corn and soybean conditions. Other hay second cutting was nearly complete. Alfalfa hay fourth cutting made a jump in progress last week but was still behind last year’s pace.

There was very little rain across the State last week and topsoil moisture levels continued to decrease. Crops were maturing well with warm temperatures but rain was needed to improve conditions and pasture regrowth. Dry conditions allowed more opportunities for fieldwork, including tillage, manure management, mowing and spraying.

The full report is available here.Continue reading

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Latta listening session addressed impacts of a challenging 2019

By Dusty Sonnenberg, Ohio Field Leader

The extensive prevented planting acres in Ohio and limited yield potential for many acres of late-planted crops have generated plenty of discussion about the impact to farmers, agribusiness, and rural communities.

United States Congressman Bob Latta represents the largest farm-income producing district in Ohio and recently participated in a listening session with farmers and agribusiness people in Williams County to learn about the details of the situation.

“Everyone in the chain is going to be impacted, such as the folks that sell the seed, fertilizer, herbicide, equipment parts. There is a whole line of people besides the farmers who will feel the impact,” Latta said. “It is really important that I hear from the farmers. This thing hasn’t really hit hard yet. I think people are going to start to feel it in about two more months. The farmers see it right now.

“I can’t tell you how many calls I have had with the undersecretary of agriculture to explain what’s happening here and keeping him updated, making sure his department was aware of just how bad it really is here in Northwest Ohio.… Continue reading

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The Dawes Arboretum: A haven for tree collection, evaluation, and research

By Mike Ryan, OCJ field reporter

What began as a successful, influential Ohio politician and businessman’s 140-acre rural retreat has grown over the past century to become a nearly 2,000 acre preserve highlighting a unique array of plant life at The Dawes Arboretum in Licking County.

Beman Dawes and his wife, Bertie, first purchased the original tract in 1917. By 1929, when Dawes Arboretum was established, the grounds had doubled in size and over 50,000 trees had been planted. In present times, the immense arboretum, home to an enormous index of different plant species, is one of only 20 fully accredited arboretums in North America.

The Dawes family obtained trees from across the globe that could thrive in central Ohio and planted them around the property. They established the arboretum to both educate and inspire.

When Beman and Bertie created the private foundation, they wanted “to encourage the planting of forest and ornamental trees…to give pleasure to the public and education to the youth.”… Continue reading

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Repairing the soil after a record-setting 2019

By Dusty Sonnenberg, Ohio Field Leader

It is no secret that 2019 will go down in the history books as one of the most challenging years for production agriculture in much of the country. Flooding and frequent rain events delayed and, in many cases, prevented planting on millions of acres across the Corn Belt.

“I’ve never seen anything like it, this is a year for the record books,” said Joe Nester, a certified crop advisor from Williams County who has worked in agriculture for over 42 years and as an independent consultant at Nester Ag for the past 28 years. “We went into the season already wet, and then had rain every other day. Even the crops that were planted are not going to yield near what farmers typically expect.”

He estimates that of the acres they work on through Nester Ag, at least 65% were not planted. Statewide in Ohio there were 1,485,919 prevented planting acres in 2019, with the bulk of those in the northwestern part of the state, according to the USDA’s Farm Service Agency.… Continue reading

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Neutral corn and soybean yields, but higher than hoped for by producers

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

USDA estimated the U.S. corn yield at 168.2 bushels and the U.S. soybean yield at 47.9 bushels. Both were lowered but less than expected. Shortly after the noon report release corn was down 3 cents, soybeans up 18 cents, while wheat was up 1 cent. Minutes before the report corn was down one cent, soybeans up 15 cents, and wheat up one cent. Enthusiasm over a potential thaw in U.S./China trade talks had soybeans higher at the 9:30 a.m. grains restart.

Trader estimates for today’s report had corn and soybean yields dropping slightly compared to August. The average trade estimate for the U.S. corn yield is 167.2 bushels compared to 169.5 bushels last month. Meanwhile, the trade estimate for the U.S. soybean yield is 47.2 bushels with the August yield at 48.5 bushels. Any changes in corn or soybean acres will also be scrutinized.

USDA personnel have been in fields the last two weeks doing surveys for ear weights and pod counts.… Continue reading

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Nation’s first Exploring ag program starts in Seneca County

By Zach Parrott, OCJ field reporter

The Ohio State University Extension Office in Seneca County recently established the nation’s first Agricultural Exploring Post.

Exploring is a youth organization, serving 110,00 youth with the goal of teaching important life and career skills to young people from all backgrounds through immersive career experiences. Matt Kibler runs the Exploring program in 13 Ohio counties for the Black Swamp Area Council.

“The agricultural program is unique, because we are going to be taking students around Seneca County and neighboring counties to give them a hands-on experience in farm management,” Kibler said. “This also includes: soil and water conservation, aerial spraying or application, and the financial aspect of running a farm.”

Businesses including Kalmbach Feeds, POET, Sunrise Cooperative, The Mennel Milling Company, Ag Credit, Sunrise Cooperative, Andersons, ST Genetics, and USDA Farm Service Agency are all involved in teaching these young students how to budget and manage a farm.… Continue reading

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Understanding worker classification

By Brian E. Ravencraft, CPA, CGMA, Partner at Holbrook & Manter, CPAs

For decades, worker classification has been a controversial topic between the IRS and taxpayers. According to the IRS, millions of workers are misclassified as independent contractors each year. The distinction is important because it determines if an employer must withhold income taxes and pay employer payroll taxes such as social security, Medicare, and unemployment. As the tax laws continue to change, we expect for the problem to continue to grow as businesses look for ways to reduce their tax bills. With an understanding of the worker classification rules, your business can develop policies and procedures to ensure that workers are properly treated as employees or independent contractors.

To determine how to classify a worker, the IRS provides three tests:

  1. Behavioral Control: A worker is considered to be an employee when the business has the right to direct and control the work performed by the worker.
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Markets watching the frost and Sept. 12

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

Declining grain prices continued that trend into the first week of September. December 2019 CBOT corn made a new contract low of $3.53, over a dollar below the contract high of $4.73 from June 17. Kansas City wheat reached a 14-year low that same week. Chicago December CBOT wheat tumbled to $4.50 ½, well below its summer high reached in June of $5.65 ¾ and its contract high at $6.34 ½ established in August 2018. The contract low for December wheat was reached May 13 at $4.42 ¼. While U.S. corn and soybean production for this year falls below levels seen in 2017 and 2018, plentiful and ever-increasing world stocks of grains continues to keep prices on the defensive. U.S. grain exports face stiff and growing competition from other world suppliers. Early September, South American and Black Sea corn sale values were 15 to 45 cents per bushel below those from the U.S.… Continue reading

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Marketing in unusual times

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC

While many farmers still doubt last month’s USDA numbers, the rest of the trade is going along with it. Export pace and ethanol grind are weakening, frost threats are declining, and 10-day forecasts are looking very good for the crops. At this point, a production surprise will be needed for a significant price rebound. Maybe a low ear weight will be identified in this week’s USDA report to give the market a boost?

Reports from elevator managers throughout the Midwest say most farmers didn’t sell very much during the recent rally, because they expected prices to go even higher. So, I’m not alone in wishing I would have sold more, but hindsight is always 20/20. Following provides details on three trades I made in the last 4 months. I’ve included my thoughts and rationale when I placed the trade to show context, as well as final outcomes.… Continue reading

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Lavy Cab Cam Corn Harvest 2019

Bart Johnson joins Blake Lavy in Miami County for the first Ohio /ag Net Corn Harvest Cab Cam of the year. Thanks to Homan Inc. for sponsoring these cab cams. Blake actually started harvesting corn the last week of August. Tune in and see what the yield is on this early planted corn.… Continue reading

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Between the Rows: Harvest around the corner for some, but still a ways off for others

Andrew Armstrong, Clark County

The weather has been pretty nice. Our earliest planted corn field that was planted on the one good day we had in April is getting pretty close. We are trying to decide when we are going to run it. We have some beans that are starting to change. I can already see where there are some yellow and green patches and we may have to blend in some wetter beans or decide if we are going to wait for the whole field to get ready or go in and go around those green patches.

The later corn has surprisingly been able to close that gap after being planted a month later than our earliest corn. It is not going to be that far behind. Once we can start going we will keep going. We are not afraid to run it through the dryer. We are shooting to get started around that 25% moisture level.… Continue reading

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The worst planting season has lasting ripple effects

By Dusty Sonnenberg, Ohio Field Leader

In what would normally be a productive and exciting time of year on the Hesterman farm in Henry County, mid- to late-summer of 2019 was largely spent watching the weeds die in otherwise barren fields.

“Every morning I set out on my front porch and have a cup of coffee and watch the ragweed dry up in the fields from the chemical applications we made. It’s not the farming practices I am used to,” said Todd Hesterman, a fourth generation farmer in Henry County. “This year we have been served a big slice of humble pie. I see fields that were never planted, and then one corn field in the distance that is way behind. I don’t feel good about either one.”

While some farms in the county were able to get a portion of their crops planted, albeit late, Todd and a handful of his neighbors were in a pocket that was inundated by regular and overabundant rainfall and elected to go 100% prevented planting.… Continue reading

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High Lake Erie water levels creating unique challenges for farmers

By Dusty Sonnenberg, Ohio Field Leader

Reaching the “high water mark” in someone’s career is something most folks love to talk about, but for Mike Gonya from Sandusky County, this year’s record high Lake Erie water mark is not a good thing. This year it appears along with concern about the nutrients running off the fields into the lakes, the problem is the lake running into the fields.

The Lake Erie water levels resulted flooded fields and no crops on some of his farms. Mike farms with his father and his son, Marcus. The family raises field corn and soybeans, along with sweet corn in the fertile lakebed soils north of Fremont along the Sandusky and Erie county line. For over 75 years, the Gonya family has brought in the harvest. Mike’s dad remembers from his youth when he was told about a time they never got to plant the crops.… Continue reading

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Will September bring more bearish numbers?

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

Once again, producers and traders are waiting for a USDA report. The previous two reports for grains were bearish. Producers don’t want to see that repeated in the upcoming Sept. 12 reports. With harvest still weeks away for Ohio and the Corn Belt, it appears it will take several weeks of poor harvest yield reports to break out of the price slide seen during July and August.

End of August weather forecasts lacked concerns of frost or freeze into Sept. 15. You likely noticed many areas of Ohio had over a week in late August with cooler temperatures as daily highs did not reach the 80s. It certainly makes you think fall is just around the corner. Calendar or temperatures, it is almost here. Numerous Ohio producers are not expecting much corn to be harvested until the month of October. Some parts of Ohio during August experienced drought-like conditions, which seemed an impossibility recalling the wettest spring in 125 years.… Continue reading

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#gotyourback Campaign addresses farmers’ mental health

So many factors in farming are out of a farmer’s control, and that can be stressful. Wondering if the weather will cooperate, long hours working alone — it can all affect a farmer’s mental well-being. The mental health of Ohio’s farming community is a growing concern that needs to be addressed and Ohio’s #gotyourback Campaign is doing just that, offering resources to farmers through a collaborative effort.

The #gotyourback Campaign Kick-Off was held this week at Weber Farms in Franklin County and included comments from Dorothy Pelanda, Director, Ohio Department of Agriculture; Lori Criss, Director, Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, and Nathan Brown, farmer and Ohio Farm Bureau Board Member.

Supporting partners include: RecoveryOhio, The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation, Farm Credit Mid-America, Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association, Ohio Cattlemen’s Association, Ohio AgriBusiness Association, Ohio Poultry Association, Ohio Pork Council, Ohio Dairy Producers Association, Ohio Soybean Association and Ohio Sheep Improvement Association.… Continue reading

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Farm stress a topic at this year’s Farm Science Review

By Kolt Buchenroth, Ohio Ag Net

At the Farm Science Review, producers will have the opportunity to inspect the latest iron from all of the equipment manufacturers, watch in-field demonstrations, and learn about the best conservation practices and technology. Added to the already full topic list at this year’s event is farm and rural stress — specifically how to prevent and deal with it.

Jolene Brown is a professional farm speaker and writes a column for Successful Farming and Pink Tractor. She farms with her husband Keith, in West Branch, Iowa. The Farm Science Review will feature two sessions of her talk “Stop the fighting on the way to the funeral home.” Brown’s presentations will be held in the Celebration tent just outside the west gate on the grounds.

“Everyone knows brothers and sisters or aunts and uncles or other people who aren’t talking to each other. That’s because people didn’t do things when the times were good to have the tools and means in place when we get tested.… Continue reading

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Minor details can lead to major issues when offering employee benefits

By Matt Reese

At first it can seem like a very minor (yet complicated and costly) detail that may be better off ignored by employers. And, in many cases it can be inconsequential, until it is not.

The potential for problems with this detail start, very simply, when an employer hires an employee and offers benefits, such as health insurance. When employees receive benefits, the employer is legally required to provide a Summary Plan Description (SPD) through the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

On Oct. 1 of 2013 a notice went out through the Affordable Care Act to every employee in the U.S. informing them of the new options available. To be better informed, the notice instructed employees to consult their legally required SPD of workplace benefits. Guess what most employers did not have or had never even heard of before?

In short, if an employee requests an SPD or the business is audited and the employer does not have it, this minor detail gets very consequential very quickly.… Continue reading

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Kicking off the new marketing year

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC

College football just began and every team still has the chance to win their conference or, more importantly, find their way into one of the playoff spots. Some fans believe this is the year they will have a perfect record at the end of the season, while others are worried that their team will not even make it to a bowl game. For many, Saturday’s first game answered some questions about their team’s prospects for the season but undoubtedly some questions will linger and won’t really be known until the season has progressed.

Last weekend also marked the beginning of a new marketing year in the USDA balance sheets for the corn about to be harvested. Just like not knowing how your football teams will do this season, the corn market has a lot of time to still have a great season or maybe still disappoint the farmer.… Continue reading

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