Ag Notes

WILL - Ag Notes - September 27, 2013

Bearish September Hogs and Pigs Report

Todd E. Gleason


(Duration: 31:33)

The Pork Checkoff hosted a news media conference call following the USDA's Quarterly Hogs and Pigs Report on Friday, Sept. 27.  This quarterly teleconference featured three distinguished agricultural economists and their reactions to the report.  The report surprised the trade, and is expected to result in a limit lower trade Monday at the CME Group in Chicago, Illinois.

You may listen to the teleconference using the link on this page.

The panel included...

* Dr. Lee Shulz, Extension Livestock Economist, Iowa State University
* Len Steiner, President, Steiner Consulting Group, Manchester, N.H.
* Dan Vaught, Economist, Doane Advisory Service, St. Louis, Mo.

The National Pork Board has responsibility for Checkoff-funded research, promotion and consumer information projects and for communicating with pork producers and the public. Through a legislative national Pork Checkoff, pork producers invest $0.40 for each $100 value of hogs sold. Importers of pork products contribute a like amount, based on a formula. The Pork Checkoff funds national and state programs in advertising, consumer information, retail and foodservice marketing, export market promotion, production improvement, technology, swine health, pork safety and environmental management. For information on Checkoff-funded programs, pork producers can call the Pork Checkoff Service Center at (800) 456-7675 or check the Internet at

Categories: Agriculture

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WILL - Ag Notes - September 25, 2013

Corn-to-Soybean Yield Trends:  History and the Future

Todd E. Gleason

The National Agricultural Statistical Service or NASS projects the 2013 yields for the state of Illinois are 165 bushels per acre for corn and 47 bushels per acre for soybeans, giving a corn-to-soybean yield ratio of 3.51 (3.51 = 165 bushel corn yield / 47 bushel soybean yield).  This 3.51 ratio in 2013 is much higher than ratios between 2010 and 2012, but below the ratio’s average from 2000 to 2009 says University of Illinois Extension Farm Management Specialist Gary Schnitkey. 

The corn-to-soybean yield ratio has trended up over time in the state of Illinois. It averaged 3.12 during the 1970s, 3.16 during the 1980s, and 3.18 during the 1990s.

The highest corn to bean yield ratio for the state of Illinois came in 2003 when it took the yield from 4.43 acres of soybeans to equal the yield, in bushels, from one acre of corn. The last three years, however, have shown the ratio in decline from the 2000-2009 average.  Farmers, over that time says Schnitkey, have followed the lead of the math, and planted a few more acres of soybeans from one year to the next.

Let’s go through the math, again. It is a simple ratio; bushels of corn per acre divide by bushels of soybeans per acre. The higher the answer goes the more profitable, most likely, it is to plant corn rather than soybeans. It has gone from the 3.12 in the early 1970’s to 3.51 (projected) for this year.

A ratio between 3.4 and 3.45 seems reasonable for the state of Illinois in the future thinks Schnitkey.  The highest ratios, by the way, have come when statewide average corn yields are above 170 bushels to the acre. It was 180 in 2004, 175 bushels in 2007, 179 in 2008, and 174 in 2009.  Since 2009, Illinois has not had a state yield over 170 bushels per acre.

Categories: Agriculture

WILL - Ag Notes - September 21, 2013

Late-Season Dry Weather and Soybean Prospects

Emerson Nafziger

Excerpt from Emerson Nafziger
IPM Bulletin Post
September 12, 2013

Why would a few hours of decreased photosynthetic activity in a day, which would usually lower corn yields, have less effect in soybean? Soybean plants tend to have a little more leaf area than they normally need for maximum photosynthesis, and because they can’t move sugars away from the leaves fast enough, they typically form starch during the day to tie up the extra sugar. While much of that starch is converted back to sugar and goes to good use, small reductions in photosynthesis over the course of a day may not decrease the available supply of sugars enough to hurt yields. This is especially true if pod numbers are less than normal, which means less demand for sugars.

The amount of seedfilling that the soybean crop is able to do when it’s dry during the second half of the season is directly related to two things: 1) how many seeds are present to fill; and 2) how long the crop is able to maintain enough active canopy to fill seeds.

Categories: Agriculture

WILL - Ag Notes - September 15, 2013

Delving Deep into the Crop Production Report

Todd E. Gleason


(Duration: 16:00)

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.

Categories: Agriculture

WILL - Ag Notes - September 10, 2013

Figuring Cash Rents by Equation

Todd E. Gleason


(Duration: 5:03)

State of Illinois with cash rents by county.

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.

Categories: Agriculture

WILL - Ag Notes - September 09, 2013

Looking Ahead to the September 1 Corn Stocks Estimate

Todd E. Gleason

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

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.

Categories: Agriculture

WILL - Ag Notes - September 03, 2013

Another Year of Rationing for Corn or Soybeans?

Todd E. Gleason

Late summer corn field.

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."

Categories: Agriculture

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