April 22, 2016

Illinois Planting Date Studies for Corn & Soybean

It looks like more rain is coming to the corn belt. That'll concern farmers hoping to plant this year's crop. However, they've got time says University of Illinois Extension Agronomist Emerson Nafziger.
 

There's not huge losses of yield as long as you can get corn planted by the second week of May - Emerson Nafziger, University of Illinois 


The fact is Nafziger would rather wait than put a crop in the ground under not so great soil conditions, "I think it is easy at this time of year to do more harm than good by planting it when you say, " well I don't think this soil is quite ready, but I think we'll have to get started and go." And our goal is to get it planted when it is fit, and as soon as we can when it is fit".

Corn planting date response over 35 Illinois site-years, 2007-2015. Yields are expressed as a percentage of the yield produced by the highest-yielding date at that site.

Nafziger's planting date studies across the state of Illinois over the last nine years put the optimum planting date for corn at April 17th. Planting dates from April 5 to April 25 maximize corn yield within a two bushel range. Corn planted April 30th loses two bushels off the top, and a delay to May 10th puts the expected loss at 8 bushels to the acre.
 

It's clear, by the University of Illinois planting date studies, that soybeans sown in April can do well. This is the case even in southern Illinois, although it's really hard to get a good early stand. Yields in the top two-thirds of the state respond the same way to earlier planting dates. The earliest dates, starting around the 10th of April, have the highest yields and things fall off as time passes, however, Nafziger is a bit cautious about planting so very early. He simply states to start when field conditions are good to go.

Our work is showing the best time to plant soybeans is the last week of April to the first two weeks of May. - Emerson Nafziger, University of Illinois 

The average maximum yield for soybeans over the 23 site years of the study, gathered from 2010-2015, is 67 bushels to the acre. There is a two-and-a-half bushel decline from April 10 to April 30th, four bushels by May 10th, seven bushels for a delay to May 20th, 11 bushels to the end of the month, 14 by the 10th of June, and 19 by the 20th.

Soybean planting date response over 23 trials in central and northern Illinois, 2010-2015. Yields are expressed as a percentage of the yield of the highest-yielding date within each trial.

Interestingly, comments Nafziger, the usual halfway point for soybean planting in Illinois is about May 20th. That is, he says, only because of the wet conditions that keep farmers out of the field. Given all of this, the U of I agronomist says he wouldn't wait after planting corn to start planting soybeans, "We've seen some sizable yield losses with soybeans by planting too early, but by too early I mean the first half of April".

There are two ways to get lower yields from planting soybeans too early. First, there are drought years like 2012. When planting late in 2012 you picked up moisture later in the season to get better yields. In-other-words, too much dry weather during flowering can really do a number of the crop. The other is if it gets really cool early after soybeans have emerged. It can actually keep them physiologically below their maximum yield says Nafziger.

Pragmatically speaking, Emerson Nafziger says as long as soil conditions are good, he'd begin planting soybeans as soon as corn planting is completed and, after some momentary consideration, says he'd move to a soybean field if soil conditions in the next corn field weren't up to par.


April 21, 2016

Is Fall-Applied Nitrogen Still Present

Corn growers are concerned about the amount of fall-applied nitrogen that might have been lost through the winter and how this might change nitrogen management this spring.



The first question that needs to be asked on nitrogen management is simple says University of Illinois Extension Agronomist Emerson Nafziger. You need to know how much nitrogen the crop will need, then how much is naturally available, and finally, how much should be applied.

“Our best estimate, and this is a bit of a floppy number, is the crop will take up about a pound of nitrogen for each bushel it produces. About two-thirds of that is going to be in the grain and removed by harvest of the crop. The other third will be in the residue. Some of this will get back into the soil, some won’t”, says Emerson Nafziger.

The amount of nitrogen needed then is about 1 pound for every bushel expected. If the expected yield is 200 bushels to the acre, then it will need 200 pounds of nitrogen.

Pay attention to this part.

Nafziger wrote in an article for the U of I’s pest management bulletin on April 18th that the more productive soils in Illinois contain about 3.5% organic matter. A rule of thumb calculation, read it online in The Bulletin, puts the N from this organic matter at 140 pounds. In some years this is apparently all available to the crop, and in others it isn’t.

The N Rate Calculator, which you may find online, tries to average out the low and high organic N years. N added as fertilizer for corn following soybeans in southern and central Illinois should be about 170 pounds, 20 pounds less in northern Illinois.

As for nitrogen loss, Nafziger has this to say in The Bulletin as it relates to his recent nitrogen treatment studies, “ these results show both the risk of N loss and the benefit from delaying some of the N or using inhibitors may be a little less than we’ve thought. Getting data from another year or two will help paint the picture more fully, but these results give some reason to be confident that the N management systems in common use all have good potential to provide the crop with N. Adding costs by changing N management, for example by making another trip over the field to apply late N, may not provide a positive return compared to applying all of the N in one or two earlier trips.”

Nafziger says the corn crop takes up most of its nitrogen in June.


April 12, 2016

Nafziger on 2016 Growing Season

Univeristy of Illinois Extension Agronomist talks with Todd Gleason about the amount of nitrogen available to the corn plant during the growing season, how that fertilizer faired over the warm wet winter months, when to plant corn, and if it is ok to plant soybeans earlier than normal.


April 11, 2016

TTIP & Ag Polices - with Damien Levie, EU Trade Negotiator

There are two trade negotiations under consideration in the United States at this time. We often hear about TPP, or the Trans Pacific Partnership. The other is called T-TIP. Todd Gleason has more on the European perspective of this contentious deal.


March 29, 2016

John Deere Sought Hagie

Amber Kohlhass, Communications Manager - Hagie Manufacturing

John Deere News Release

MOLINE, ILLINOIS (March 29, 2016) - Deere & Company (NYSE: DE) has entered a joint venture with Hagie Manufacturing, the U.S. market leader in high-clearance sprayers. In the agreement, Deere acquires majority ownership of Hagie Manufacturing, which will continue producing sprayers in its current Clarion, Iowa location. Equipment made by the joint venture will continue to carry the Hagie brand while sales and service for Hagie equipment will be integrated into Deere’s global distribution channel over the next 15 months.

“Hagie Manufacturing is known for innovation and its strong customer understanding in high-clearance spraying equipment,” said John May, president, Agricultural Solutions and Chief Information Officer at Deere. “High-clearance spraying equipment is a new market for Deere. The expertise at Hagie allows John Deere to immediately serve customers who need precision solutions that extend their window for applying nutrients.”

Alan Hagie, chief executive officer at Hagie Manufacturing, said, “We have great products at Hagie that help producers be more profitable but we need a business model that helps us reach more customers. This partnership with Deere allows our solutions to reach customers on a global scale and ensure they are supported with the world-class Deere dealer organization.”

May said the joint venture investment allows John Deere to provide a broader range of sprayer options and integrate Deere’s precision technology into the Hagie equipment to help customers reduce costs and improve yields.

Deere & Company (www.JohnDeere.com) is a world leader in providing advanced products and services and is committed to the success of customers whose work is linked to the land – those who cultivate, harvest, transform, enrich and build upon the land to meet the world’s dramatically increasing need for food, fuel, shelter and infrastructure.

Hagie Manufacturing (www.hagie.com) provides innovative crop protection solutions that are purposeful tools to drive economic benefits, while also performing responsible stewardship and best agricultural practices. Hagie was advised by NCP, Inc. as its exclusive financial advisor on the transaction.


March 29, 2016

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack Interview

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has a discussion with Todd Gleason about policy making news in Washington, D.C. including the TPP, the just announced Local Foods Toolkit, and GMO labeling laws.


March 29, 2016

Fewer Hogs and Higher Prices

The last Hogs and Pigs report is good news for pork producers. Todd Gleason reports it showed fewer hogs are being raised in the United States and that, in turn, should boost prices.



Pork producers say they’ll reduce the size of their breeding herds. Or at least that’s what the latest Hogs and Pigs report showed. Purdue Extension Agricultural Economist Chris Hurt says farrowing should begin slow this spring and summer. However, right now, the breeding herd is as big as it was at this same time last year. Still, it’s a pattern of change and reduction says Hurt.

Quote Summary - The herd had been in an expansion phase from the last half of 2014 through 2015. That expansion was largely because of record high profits due to baby pig losses from PED. That expansion phase seemingly has now ended.

This ‘ending’ is a bit uneven geographically. For the 16 states USDA surveys for the March report, the breeding herd is up nine percent in Oklahoma and 10 percent in Texas. Some of the primary Midwestern states reported a decrease in their breeding herds over the past year; Iowa down five percent, Missouri down four percent, and Minnesota down two percent. In Indiana, where corn yields were reduced by summer flooding, the breeding herd was down seven percent. Those are all the current breeding herd numbers. It’s the forward looking projections that provide hope for higher pork prices.

Pork supplies in the first quarter of 2017 will come from the three percent smaller summer farrowings. However, with more pigs per litter and heavier weights, pork production is expected to be only about one percent smaller.

Chris Hurt’s price forecast for market hogs then is in a range of $49 to $54 for all of 2016, about $1 higher than last year. He expects prices to rise to the $55 to $58 range for averages in the second and third quarters, normally the grill-out seasonal highs, and then to finish the year in the mid-to-higher $40s.


March 23, 2016

Why Urban Agriculture

Extension systems across the United States are targeting the development of local food systems around large and small communities. Todd Gleason has more on the reasons why with University of Illinois Extension Local Food Systems & Small Farms Educator Zach Grant.


March 22, 2016

Any Information in Mid-Year Soybean Stocks Estimate

Next week (Thursday March 31) USDA will release the quarterly Grain Stocks report. Typically it is overshadowed by the Prospective Plantings report released on the same date. However, as Todd Gleason reports, it occasionally provides a surprise to the trade.



For soybeans, the stocks estimate is often very near the level expected by the market says University of Illinois Agricultural Economist Darrel Good. This is because we generally know how many soybeans are used at any point during year based off the magnitude of the domestic crush and the exports, both of which are tallied either by the government, the industry, or the two combined. The stocks estimate, says Good, really does indicated the magnitude of seed, feed, and residual use of soybeans in the previous quarter. Unlike corn, for which feed and residual use is a large portion of disappearance, seed, feed, and residual use of soybeans is a relatively small portion of disappearance during the winter months. However, he cautions, occasionally the March 1 stocks estimate provides a surprise.

Based on the average trade guess reported by news services, the March 1 stocks estimate has deviated from market expectations by more than 30 million bushels nine times and by more than 60 million bushels four times in the past 25 years.

The expected level of soybean stocks on March 1 this year can be calculated. The USDA’s Oilseed Crushings, Production, Consumption and Stocks report provides information for December of 2015 and January of 2016. The estimate for February will be released April 1. The National Oilseed Processors Association (NOPA) estimate of the magnitude of the February soybean crush by its members can be used to estimate the total February crush. For the nine months that USDA has provided soybean crush estimates (May 2015-January 2016), the USDA crush estimates have exceeded the NOPA crush estimates by 6.4 percent. Applying that ratio to the NOPA February crush estimate, suggests to Darrel Good that 483.1 million bushels of soybeans were crushed in the second quarter of the current marketing year. It’s possible to calculate the number of soybeans exported in the last quarter, too.

Based on a combination of USDA and Census Bureau export estimates, second quarter exports totaled just over 677 million bushels.

This leaves the seed, feed, and residual usage factor. That’s tougher to figure, but a much smaller number. If this year follows the average consumption pattern Good says it would be about 12 million bushels in the second quarter. So, 483 crushed plus 677 exported plus 12 fed equals roughly 1.173 billion bushels consumed in the second quarter. Subtract that from the first quarter stocks, plus the imports and you get 1.55 billion bushels of soybeans on hand March 1st in the United States. The Grain Stocks report March 31 shouldn’t vary much from this number, but it could says Darrel Good.

If the March 1 stocks estimate is surprisingly large or small, the accuracy of USDA’s 2015 production estimate may be called into question. The USDA has revised the previous year’s production estimate by varying amounts in 20 of the past 25 years based on the stocks estimate at the end of the marketing year (September 1). However, it would be pre-mature to question the accuracy of the production estimate based on the March 1 stocks estimate due to the large variation in the quarterly pattern of seed, feed, and residual use of soybeans.

The eight largest revisions in the production estimates following the USDA’s September 1 stocks estimate ranged from 1.1 to 3.5 percent. Only three of those eight large revisions followed a surprise in the March 1 stocks estimate that exceeded 30 million bushels. Conversely, of the nine years in which the magnitude of the surprise in March 1 stocks estimate exceeded 30 million bushels, only three were followed by revisions in the production estimate that exceeded one percent.


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