September 15, 2013

Delving Deep into the Crop Production Report

USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service is responsible for keeping track of the number of bushels of corn and soybeans in the United States. Those numbers are estimated in the Crop Production and Grain Stocks reports. The agency works in concert with the World Agricultural Outlook Board (WAOB). The Board reports the supply and demand tables for commodities (WASDE).

The September WASDE (World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimate) figures dropped the 2012/2013 ending stocks for corn. USDA NASS Director of the Statistics Division Joe Prusacki says the change is in anticipation of what his agency will report out in the September Grain Stocks report. It will be released September 30, 2013. If the change reflected in the September WAOB WASDE is not reflected in the Grain Stocks report, then the October WASDE figures will be updated again.

You may listen to our conversation with Joe Prusacki. Prusacki was our guest on the September 13, 2013 edition of Commodity Week.

One other note from our CW conversation with Prusacki. He mentioned this year, by the maturity stats, seems analogous to 2008 and 2009. We pulled the October Crop Production reports to see what the changes looked like in those two years for corn…

Corn production is forecast at 12.0 billion bushels, down slightly from the September forecast and 8 percent below 2007. Based on conditions as of October 1, yields are expected to average 153.9 bushels per acre, up 1.6 bushels from September and 2.8 bushels above last year. If realized, this will be the second highest yield on record, behind 2004, and production will be the second largest, behind last year.

Corn production is forecast at 13.0 billion bushels, up slightly from last month and 8 percent higher than 2008. Based on conditions as of October 1, yields are expected to average 164.2 bushels per acre, up 2.3 bushels from September and 10.3 bushels above last year. If realized, this yield will be the highest on record and total production will be second only to the record set in 2007.

State of Illinois with cash rents by county.
September 10, 2013

Figuring Cash Rents by Equation

USDA NASS released average cash rents by county September 6th, 2013. These county cash rents were used by ILLINOIS Farm Management Specialist Gary Schnitkey to develop a relationship between average rents and expected corn yields. The equation relating 2013 expected corn yields to average cash rents is: average cash rent = -227 + 2.7 x 2013 trend corn yield

This equation can be used to find average rent for a given expected corn yield says Schnitkey. A farm, for instance, with an expected corn yield of 180 bushels per acre would indicate an average cash rent of $259 per acre ($259 = -227 + 2.7 x 180 bushel expected corn yield).

You may read how Schnitkey developed the equation, see how Illinois counties fit into the trend line, and what it might mean for 2014 cash rents on the FarmDocDaily website. You may also LISTEN to our interview with Schnitkey about the Cash Rent Study.

Chart shows the very slow pace of 2012/2013 marketing year exports of corn.
September 09, 2013

Looking Ahead to the September 1 Corn Stocks Estimate

Darrel Good says…
Ethanol 4.675 up 25
Exports  .730 up 15
Feed & Residual up ?
Grain Stocks dn 50 to 80?

Monday's Weekly Outlook from Darrel Good takes up this week's reports in conjunction with the end of the year Grain Stocks filing due September 30 from USDA. He writes in the Weekly Outlook, "Consumption of corn during the final quarter of the 2012-13 marketing year may have exceeded the USDA's projection in the August WASDE report. If so, stocks of old crop corn on September 1 may have been smaller than currently projected." You may read more from Darrel on the FarmDocDaily website.

Good cautions readers the estimate of corn inventories revealed in the USDA's September Grain Stocks report is not always close to the "calculated" value.

Late summer corn field.
September 03, 2013

Another Year of Rationing for Corn or Soybeans?

Tuesday University of Illinois Ag Economist Darrel Good laid out his current view of the row crop commodity landscape in his Weekly Outlook article.

Here is an excerpt, "...the 2013 corn crop is expected to be large enough that rationing of consumption during the year ahead will not be required. The average farm price will likely be higher than expected a month ago, but a sharp increase in prices from current levels to discourage consumption is probably not needed. Prices during the first half of the marketing year may be relatively flat. There is more concern about the size of the soybean crop and prices have risen sharply over the past month. Unlike corn prices, soybean prices are expected to unfold in more of a short-crop pattern like that of last year. Under such a pattern, prices would be expected to peak very early in the marketing year in order to discourage consumption and decline as the year progresses, particularly if the South American crop is large again in 2014."

September 01, 2013

The History of Labor Day

LISTEN - Labor Day Radio Story

From U.S. Department of Labor Website

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

More than 100 years after the first Labor Day observance, there is still some doubt as to who first proposed the holiday for workers.

Some records show that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, was first in suggesting a day to honor those "who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold." But Peter McGuire's place in Labor Day history has not gone unchallenged. Many believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist, not Peter McGuire, founded the holiday. Recent research seems to support the contention that Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J., proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. What is clear is that the Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic.

August 25, 2013

Soybean Demand Remains Robust

Demand for soybeans inside and outside of the United States is strong. As Todd Gleason reports consumption of the oilseed should keep its price relatively high.

Soybean Demand Remains Robust

Illinois Football Helmets
August 23, 2013

Salute to Agriculture Football Saturday

WILLAg and the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) invites you to attend the annual Salute to Agriculture Day event at the University of Illinois next Saturday September 7.

Join the College of ACES from 9 to 11 a.m. for a public tailgate at the ACES tent located just west of the State Farm Center (Assembly Hall) main entrance/circle drive. Then, watch the Fighting Illini football team take on the Cincinnati Bearcats at 11 a.m.

Register for tickets now! A breakfast of bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches and L.A. Gourmet signature cinnamon rolls will be featured in the tent. Adult breakfast tickets are $15, and student breakfast tickets are $10. A cash bar will be available. Individual game tickets also may be purchased for $20.

Several WILLAg folks (Gleason, Nelson, Coolley, Voeks, Kimmel) will be on hand for the event next Saturday along with Orion Samuelson, Dean of the College of ACES Bob Hauser, and President of the University of Illinois Bob Easter. Come join them for Salute to Agriculture at the Illini Football game.

Crop Tour logo over corn field photo.
August 19, 2013

Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour

We'll take time each day this week during the Closing Market Report to hear updates from the 21st Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour. We'll also post the audio into this page and on Twitter @CommodityWeek. If you are a Twitter user, maybe even Facebook now that it is possible to search hashtags (#) on that service, look for #PFTour13 for posts from crop scouts on the tour. 

Friday Chip Flory will join us for Commodity Week as our guest. He'll confirm the numbers from the tour, and the adjusted estimates to be made by Pro Farmer. Commodity Week airs on WILL AM580 each Saturday at 6:00 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.

Use the following links to listen to our crop tour interviews.

Western Leg Day 1

Eastern Leg Day 2

Western Leg Day 2

Eastern Leg Day 3

Western Leg Day 3

Eastern Leg Day 4

Western Leg Day 4

Corn       Soybean        State
171.64   1283.61        Ohio
167.36   1185.14        Indiana
170.48   1115.97        Illinois
171.94     927.30        Iowa
181.09     869.43        Minnesota
154.93   1138.94        Nebraska
161.75   1016.70        South Dakota

...see the Tour's home webpage at


* Below you'll find the live Crop Tour twitter feed. Just in case you wondered about all the social media fuss. 

Pro Farmer Twitter Feed

Flood waters surround a grain elevator in Alton, Illinois.
August 16, 2013

The Great Flood of 1993

The summer of 1993 brought with it record rainfall. The flood those waters spawned on the Illinois, Missouri, and Mississippi Rivers was of historic proportions. Todd Gleason traveled with a group of volunteers from Champaign County to the water's edge where they worked to hold back nature. He produced this radio portrait of the scene on the Illinois River

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