December 03, 2015

EPA’s RFS Decision will push Biodiesel Usage

The United States Environmental Protection Agency is beginning to comply with the letter of the law as it pertains to biofuels. Todd Gleason reports this could be a boon for biodiesel made from soybeans.

EPA this week announced it would force oil companies to find more ways to use renewable fuels. This is something the oil industry has resisted saying it was too difficult to use much more than the ten percent ethanol blend already found in gasoline. This is called the blend wall and is actually less than the total number of gallons of renewable fuels congress mandated be used in 2016 when it originally wrote the law.

Since not all cars can burn greater than 10 percent ethanol in gasoline, and the amount of gasoline used in the United States is less than the renewable fuels mandate required by law, there is a renewable fuels gap left…something like a billion and half gallons. EPA hasn’t moved to force oil companies, yet, to find a new ways to fill that whole gap, but it closed it up big time and that’ll leave companies scrambling says University of Illinois Agricultural Economist Scott Irwin.

Quote Summary - And so, the really interesting question is what will fill the gap. Will it be higher ethanol blends, E15 or E85 or biodiesel.

There’s an easy answer to this question says Irwin.

Quote Summary - At least for the next couple of years, biodiesel. Soybean oil prices since the low last August are up 25% and soybean prices are up just 3%. And meal has tanked over that same time period. One way or another it is beneficial to ag. Either I’m wrong and you get more ethanol in the form of E85 or you get more biodiesel with soybean oil and other animal fats.

The market is and has been for sometime forecasting the next winner in the biofuels industry and it appears at this point to be biodiesel made mostly from the soybean.


December 02, 2015

An Early Jump on Computing ARC-CO Payments

Farmers and their bankers can get a jump on just how much income to expect from the ARC County program next fall. Todd Gleason has more on how NASS county yields can be used to anticipate the payments.



Farm income is down dramatically. It means farmers will be going to bankers for production loans this winter. Those loans will be used to plant next season’s crops. The bankers will be looking for every clue they can to help them make solid lending decisions. One source of income they’ll want to calculate comes from the farm programs. However, the ARC County payments won’t be figured until the fall.

It is possible to estimate these payments by substituting NASS county yields for the FSA computed yields says University of Illinois Agricultural Economist Gary Schnitkey, "So, there are likely to be 2015 ARC County payments, but this will depend upon county yield levels. FSA calculates those yields, but not until the autumn of 2016. However, we can use NASS yields to come up with a pretty good estimate of the FSA county yields. NASS will release its yields in February of this year. This will give us a pretty good feel for the 2015 ARC County payments because we’ll have a pretty good ideas of what the FSA county yields will look like."
 

NASS county yields do vary from the FSA numbers, but not by much. NASS calculates yields by dividing production by harvested acres. These are both numbers the agency collects via a statistical estimate. FSA uses a different calculation. FSA adds to acres the RMA failed acres. Therefore, FSA yields will most always be less than NASS yields. NASS county yields, then, will provide a conservative estimate of the ARC County payment.


December 01, 2015

Scott Irwin US EPA Nov 30 RFS Reaction

Monday the United States Environmental Protection Agency put forward the rules mandating how much of each type of renewable energy can be used in the nation’s liquid fuel supply. Just a few minutes after the announcement Todd Gleason spoke with University of Illinois Agricultural Economist Scott Irwin about the new numbers.

Scott Irwin believes the U.S. EPA in this rule making is moving swiftly towards the congressional mandated volumes for ethanol and other renewable fuels.


November 16, 2015

Commodity Groups Support TPP

Six commodity groups and the administrator of the USDA FAS took the stage in Kansas City last week in support of the Trans Pacific Partnership. Use the the three stripes in the upper left hand corner of the video above to choose a statement to watch. 


November 03, 2015

Four Step Weed Control Plan for 2016

Farmers battling herbicide resistant weeds are running out of control options. University of Illinois Extension Weed Scientist Aaron Hager has this four step recommendation. You may read detailed information of his four step weed control plan online.


October 30, 2015

Farmland Prices and Farm Solvency Then & Now

There are some big differences between the farm crisis of the 1980’s and the current situation in middle America. Then, as now, commodity price had slumped after soaring for a few years. The price of farmland had skyrocketed, too, just like now. However, unlike today interest rates were high and farmers were deep in debt when the price of farmland finally bottomed 42 percent below its high. Gary Schnitkey wanted to know what would happen today in that kind of worst case scenario. So he ran the numbers.


October 30, 2015

Field & Furrow 80th Anniversary Celebration

Join the University of Illinois Field and Furrow Club in celebrating 80 years and progress on the Turner Hall Renovation! The weekend of events are free thanks to generous support from an alumnus.

Registration is required.


October 29, 2015

Crop Insurance and the Budget Deal

The U.S. House of Representatives Wednesday passed a budget deal. It must now move through the Senate before going to the President's desk. Crop Insurance, under the bill, will be subjected to dramatic cuts. However, news sources in Washington (Politco & AgriPulse) are reporting promises have been made to kill the "crop insurance cut" through the FY16 omnibus bill.


October 26, 2015

Online Courses Target Weed and Crop Management

by Angelique Peltier

Each year University of Illinois Extension’s regional Crop Management Conferences offer hours of research-based education to farmers, Certified Crop Advisors, and other agricultural professionals. Interactive online courses were developed from 2015 conference presentations by University of Illinois Department of Crop Science faculty:

  • New (and old) Tools for Delaying and Coping with Herbicide Resistance – Dr. Adam Davis, USDA Weed Ecologist

  • Confirming Herbicide Resistance – Dr. Aaron Hager, Extension Weed Scientist

  • Corn & Soybean Agronomy: Will What Worked in 2014 Work in 2015? – Dr. Emerson Nafziger, Extension Agronomist

These and 14 other courses covering soil and water management, integrated pest management, and crop management topics are open for public viewing free of charge on the University of Illinois Extension CCA webpage.

Descriptions of each course are listed below course titles on the main webpage (Figure).


To view a course, click on the course title, then click on the words “Begin Course” under the green box located on the right side of the page (Figure). Certified Crop Advisors interested in earning continuing education units (CEUs) must register, log in, pay a small fee, view each slide in its entirety and complete a short quiz (Figure).

If you have difficulty accessing this content, please contact Angie Peltier: apeltier@illinois.edu, (309) 734-1098.


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