Selling straddles

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC

The biggest news of last week was when Agriculture Secretary Perdue announced that China agreed to buy 10 million metric tons (about 400 million bushels) of beans Friday afternoon from the Oval office after the markets closed. Earlier in the week President Trump said China would also buy more corn too. While both statements seem positive, the market has already heard rumors and predictions before, only to be let down by smaller numbers due to a variety of reasons. It will take follow through and actual purchases to get the market excited.

March corn closed again for the 13th straight Friday within the tight trading range of $3.74 to $3.85.


Market action

With corn trading within a very tight range the last 3 months, including straddle trades in my grain marketing plan was a good decision for my farm operation. Since late November, I placed three straddle trades that all expired on Friday that helped me generate 13.5 cents of profit on 30% of my corn production.… Continue reading

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Tough stretch for ethanol profitability

By Scott Irwin, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, University of Illinois

The U.S. ethanol industry faced considerable headwinds in 2018, including the lowest prices over the last decade, policy setbacks in the implementation of the RFS, and political resistance to granting a year-round RVP waiver for E15. The impact of these headwinds on ethanol production profits is certainly of interest to those in the ethanol industry, as well as policymakers and legislators interested in the financial health of the U.S. renewable fuels industry.

A model of a representative Iowa ethanol plant was used to track the profitability of ethanol production. The model is meant to be representative of an “average” ethanol plant constructed in the last decade. There is certainly substantial variation in capacity and production efficiency across the industry and this should be kept in mind when viewing profit estimates from the model.

Ethanol prices started 2018 at historically low levels of $1.25 per gallon, rose to a peak of $1.43 in April, and then fell most of the rest of the year, reaching a low of $1.06 in late November.… Continue reading

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Award winners recognized at Ohio Pork Congress

Ohio is fortunate to be home to many outstanding leaders who work selflessly to make a difference in the pork industry. At yesterday’s Ohio Pork Congress Luncheon some of those individuals were recognized for their service with the presentation of the Swine Manager of the Year, Ohio Pork Council Service, Pork Promoter of the Year, Friends of Ohio Pork and Ohio Pork Industry Excellence awards.

Swine Manager of the Year Award: Nathan Isler, Prospect

Nathan oversees the sows and three full time employees in the sow barn for Isler Genetics.

“Commercially raising hogs for market is the way we are going and our future as I see it today,” Nathan said. “The vast majority of our hogs go to market, but we also sell breeding stock, show pigs, and pigs for medical research. We sell commercial semen as well. We also have three contract barns. Through the progression of things we are 70% pure York sows.… Continue reading

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Initial Brazil soybean harvest not record-breaking, still solid

Soybean harvest in Parana, Brazil, the country’s second-largest soybean-producing state, has reached 25%, well ahead of the 2018 pace.

Brazilian government forecasting agency DERAL says, although the state suffered through a mini-drought in December, early yield results show no material losses. Only 6% of the state’s soy fields are reportedly in bad condition. The number his still higher than last year’s zero ‘bad’ fields.

DERAL says 24% of fields are considered average, compared to 14% in the last cycle. The remaining fields are considered in good condition. As it stands currently, Brazil’s crop will be short of the record-high estimates of 122 million metric tons. Weather issues in Brazil are not widespread or significant enough to put a major dent in production.

Elsewhere in South America, harvest expectations in Argentina are nearing 53- to 55-million metric tons, coming off 38 MMT in 2018.… Continue reading

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National Farm Machinery Show Seminar Schedule and Featured Vendors

The National Farm Machinery Show will take place Feb. 13- 16, 2019 at the Kentucky Exposition Center, 937 Phillips Lane, Louisville, KY 40209. The hours of the show are 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. daily (EST). Admission for the show is free. Parking is $10 for cars and $20 for buses.

At this year’s show, daily educational seminars will be held during the show and are outlined in detail below the featured vendors.

Check out these Featured Vendors while you are at the show:

Seminar Schedule

Wednesday, February 13

10 a.m. “The Future of Precision Ag Technology” – South Wing B 103
As the integration of precision agriculture into everyday farm operations continues to grow, new technologies and applications are emerging. Join this session to learn about the newest features in FARMserver™ and what future advancements you can expect that will help increase your efficiency and profitability. – Presented by Beck’s Hybrids

11:30 a.m.Continue reading

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What road salt means for plant health

Salty cars and salty roads are a hallmark of this time of year. With so much NaCl (salt) being spread, the question arises of what effect it has on nearby plants.

Pamela Bennett is an Ohio State horticulture educator and state master gardener volunteer program director. She is often asked what will happen to plants come spring as the result of salt. She said salt buildup in soil and salt spray on plants themselves are chief concerns.

“There are two different ways plants can be damaged. Number one is the salt spray. That salt spray if it’s on the foliage long enough if it’s on the bud, it could cause the buds to dry out and it could cause bud and stem damage,” she said. “It’s more common to see this on evergreen trees such as white pines or on boxwoods which are evergreen shrubs, and those plants that are susceptible to salt injury.… Continue reading

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Shutdown-delayed USDA market reports will be released Feb. 8

Even though the government is back up and running, the month-long government shutdown continues to have lasting effects, especially when it comes to commodity markets.

Over 60 reports were not released at their scheduled times due to the furloughed staff of the National Agricultural Statistics Service. USDA this week announced that many of those reports, including final harvest numbers for 2018, will be published on the next regularly-scheduled report day Feb. 8.

The February World Agriculture Supply and Demand (WASDE) report will also be released then. Some of the data, including the January WASDE report, will never be published, according to American Farm Bureau Federation Economist Veronica Nigh.

Some of January’s data will be rolled into the February report.

“USDA is generally considered to be the gold standard when it comes to reports and you got to remember how much we’re missing here. The obvious things we’re missing are weekly export sales reports, daily flash sale reports, your monthly WASDE report.… Continue reading

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Ohio results from the 100th American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Convention

By Joel Penhorwood and Matt Reese

A number of Ohioans competed and found success at the 100th American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Convention held in New Orleans in January.

Annie Specht, a professor of agricultural communication at the Ohio State University, and a member of the Tuscarawas County Farm Bureau, competed at the national level of the American Farm Bureau Federation Discussion Meet.

“I was able to make it out of the first round, so we had two different rooms of discussion, and out of the 36 competitors, they ended up taking the top 16. I was lucky enough to make that sweet 16 round. Sadly, I did not move on to the final four,” she said.

She said though she was disappointed to not make it to the finals, she was happy to enjoy great discussion with ag professionals from across the country.

“The competition is structured the way that we would structure a committee meeting, so you’ve got in most of the rooms, four to five individuals, a moderator who introduces the topic, introduces the participants, and you give a 30-second opening statement.… Continue reading

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Daily business records offer numerous benefits

By Leisa Boley Hellwarth, a dairy farmer and attorney near Celina

They say the older you are the faster time flies. Given that it is now 2019, I am not exactly feeling like a spring chicken. Where did 2018 go? And why are milk prices still so low?

Since we are starting a new year, it seems appropriate to discuss one practice that should be implemented by every farm or business, if they are not already doing it. Create a daily business record that includes basic information of what transpired that day. For instance, what vendors visited the farm? Were there any major purchases? What activities took place? What was the weather like? Did anything significant happen with the livestock or crops?

This record can be handwritten or on the computer; it makes no difference. Choose a method that is convenient and conducive to completing on a daily basis. The important aspect of this is that it becomes a daily business activity, every single day.… Continue reading

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2019 Fort Wayne Farm Show Featured vendors and schedule

The 30th Annual Fort Wayne Farm Show will take place Jan. 15- 17, 2019 at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum at 4000 Parnell Ave., Ft. Wayne, Indiana 46805. The hours of the show are Tuesday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Wednesday 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. and Thursday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

At this year’s show, Northeastern Indiana Soil and Water Conservation Districts and Purdue Cooperative Extension will present daily educational seminars, which are outlined in detail below the featured vendors.

Check out these Featured Vendors while you are at the show:

Seminar Schedule

Tues., Jan. 15, 2019

Appleseed Room A: Moderator – Crystal Van Pelt, Purdue Extension – Steuben County, IN


10 a.m. Grain Market Outlook

Jon Cavanaugh, Marketing Director, Central States Enterprises, Inc., David Kohli, Adjunct Professor, Ivy Tech, Ryan Martin, Chief Meteorologist, Hoosier Ag Today, Rob Winters, Farm Director, Newstalk 1190-WOWO


11:30 a.m. Luncheon Program

Please note that only 100 meals will be available for this event and they will be provided on a first come – first serve basis!… Continue reading

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Reasons to be bullish or bearish corn

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients

There are so many factors that could affect the corn futures market. It’s easy to rationalize why the market could be headed for a rally or a decline at any given time.  Following lists several reasons to be bullish or bearish corn right now.

Reasons To Be Bullish Corn:

  • Exports have been really strong
  • US projected carryout is the tightest it’s been since 2014
  • World projected carryout has been getting tighter the last couple of years
  • Rumors of Chinese interest in buying US corn
  • US feed demand is expected to remain steady or be higher for the next year based upon animal numbers
  • The ethanol mandate makes it likely demand for corn in this sector will remain steady
  • Basis values are significantly higher than during the harvest

Reasons To Be Bearish Corn:

  • Money managers are buying corn and prices haven’t increased
  • Ethanol plants complain they aren’t profitable and no additional needs beyond the mandate are needed
  • The South American crops looks good so far and exports will start soon
  • Ukraine continues to compete with the US on price, potentially hurting additional US export demand
  • Technical indicators suggest corn futures could drift lower

Market Action – How I Collected 29 Cents Of Premium On 10% Of My 2018 Corn Production

This week I heard an analyst who was against selling options even if the odds were 85% that the options would expire worthless. … Continue reading

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How will the shutdown affect USDA functions?

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today detailed which functions of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will remain available in the event of a lapse in government funding.

“There may be a lapse in funding for the federal government, but that will not relieve USDA of its responsibilities for safeguarding life and property through the critical services we provide,” said Secretary Perdue.  “Our employees work hard every day to benefit our customers and the farmers, ranchers, foresters, and producers who depend on our programs. During a shutdown, we will leverage our existing resources as best we can to continue to provide the top-notch service people expect.”

Some USDA activities will be shut down or significantly reduced and some USDA employees will be furloughed.  However, certain USDA activities would continue because they are related to law enforcement, the protection of life and property, or are financed through available funding (such as through mandatory appropriations, multi-year discretionary funding, or user fees). … Continue reading

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2019 Draft Horse Sale Dates

If you have sales you would like to see included on this list, e-mail ocjstaff@ocj.com.

Jan 3-4, 2019
Bluegrass Sales Stables Spring Draft Horse & Mule Sale, Trenton, KY


January 15-16, 2019

Keystone Draft Horse Sale, Harrisburg, Pa


February 4, 2019

Kalona Special Work Horse Sale, Kalona, Iowa


February 20-22, 2019

Mid-America Draft Horse Sale, Gordyville, Illinois


March 2, 2019

LaRue Horse Sale Annual Spring Driving Sale, LaRue, Ohio


March 4-9, 2019

Mid-Ohio Draft Horse and Carriage Sale, Mount Hope, Ohio


March 6-9, 2019

Boone Draft Horse & Mule Sale, Sedalia, MO


March 19-22. 2019

Topeka Spring Draft Horse, Carriage & Equipment Sale, Topeka, IN


March 22-23, 2019

Dixie Draft Horse Mule and Carriage Auction, Troutman, North Carolina


March 26-29, 2019

Waverly Midwest Horse Sale, Waverly, Iowa


April 3-5, 2019

Midwest Select Draft & Driving Horse Sale, Madison, Wis.


April 15- 16, 2019
Kalona Spring Draft Horse Sale, Kalona, Iowa


April 25–26, 2019

Buckeye Spring Draft Horse Sale, Dover, OH


April 25–27, 2019

National Clydesdale Sale, Shipshewana, IN


June 6-7, 2019

Mid-Ohio Draft Horse and Carriage Sale, Mount Hope, Ohio


June 21, 2019

Topeka Summer Draft Horse, Carriage & Equipment Sale,  Topeka, IN


June 21–22, 2019

Seymour Draft Horse Sale, Centreville, MI


September 11–14, 2019

Boone County Draft Horse & Mule Sale, Sedalia, MO


October 1–4, 2019
Waverly Midwest Fall Horse Sale, Waverly, IA


October 8-11, 2019

Mid-Ohio Draft Horse and Carriage Sale, Mount Hope, Ohio


October 14 & 15, 2019
Kalona Fall Draft Horse Sale, Kalona, Iowa


Nov 29 – 30
Dixie Draft Horse, Mule & Carriage Fall Auction, Troutman, NC… Continue reading

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JCARR sends water changes back to ODA

By Joel Penhorwood, Ohio Ag Net

The Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) met on Monday in the latest of the ongoing matters regarding Gov. John Kasich’s executive order to designate eight Ohio watersheds as “distressed.”

JCARR voted 8-1 to send the rule back to the Ohio Department of Agriculture due to the proposed amendments to the Ohio Administrative Code possibly being in conflict with the legislative intent of the statue under which they were proposed.

“What this essentially means is it will give us a chance to work with the new administration on these rules and there won’t be that pressure to get these things run through like it was being done under Gov. Kasich,” said Tony Seegers, director of state policy for Ohio Farm Bureau. “It went just as we had hoped it would. The committee, after our testimony and testimony of others, agreed with us and decided to tell the agency what’s called revise and refile the rule, so that rule has gone back to the Department of Agriculture.”… Continue reading

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Ohio winters offer challenges to pork producers

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

Just as the change of the season brings about slippery roads and windshields that need scraped before you venture out, the winter months can be the cause of many concerns on Ohio’ hog farms as well. From moisture, to rodents, to bio-security, there is plenty to keep in mind as pig farmers prep barns for livestock.

“Because of the wet and damp conditions that Mother Nature gives us this time of year, moisture is more difficult to control,” said Dr. Terri Specht, a veterinarian at Heimerl Farms in Johnstown. “We recommend using a couple days to get the barns warmed up before new pigs come in. Most barns are temperature regulated to keep the pigs comfortable all year round, but it takes a while to get a barn to that 65 degree level in the winter.”

As harvest progresses, albeit slowly across the state, those finished corn and soybean fields force some unwelcome guests to look for shelter in those warmed barns.… Continue reading

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Fire destroys Trillium Farms pullet barn

Friday afternoon, a two-alarm fire quickly overtook a pullet barn at Trillium Farms in Croton. According to a statement released by the farm:

We are deeply grateful that all of our team members are accounted for, and that no one was hurt in the fire. However, the barn did house a flock of hens, and we understand from firefighters that the barn likely is a total loss.

This is a terrible situation, and we are devastated the flock could not be saved.

Multiple fire departments, including volunteers, have responded, and we are thankful for their swift actions to try to protect adjacent barns and flocks from harm.

We appreciate everyone’s concern and patience during this difficult time.

No employees were harmed in the incident.

Scott Hennis took this video on the scene

Continue reading

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