December 14, 2014

Ethanol Production Profits Dim as Gasoline Prices Plummet

The magnitude of the decline in crude oil and gasoline prices has taken nearly everyone by surprise. NYMEX nearby crude oil futures this week touched $60 per barrel, almost $50 less than peak prices last summer. This is a major economic event with potentially far-reaching impacts for biofuels markets. We examined some of these impacts in two recent farmdoc daily articles (November 12, 2014; December 4, 2014). Our conclusion was that current high ethanol prices relative to gasoline prices, as illustrated in Figure 1, might slow the growth in domestic ethanol consumption, but would not likely result in consumption that is less than the 10 percent blend wall.


November 25, 2014

Corn Used for Ethanol Ramping Up

The price of ethanol has rallied over the last month, spurring greater production. If the pace were maintained for the marketing year total consumption could push 5.4 billion bushels says K-State Extension Ag Economist Dan O'Brien, with the caveat that this is not likely to happen. Still, as you'll hear, he concedes it is possible.


November 13, 2014

Transportation is the Opportunity & the Problem

Agricultural commodity prices in the United States have been moved more than usual over the past couple of years by transportation issues. University of Illinois Ag Economist Darrel Good says the railroad is pushing basis prices sharply lower and sharply higher. It may provide marketing opportunities.


October 29, 2014

Ag Census Mapping Tool Makes Data Visual

Every five years the United States Department of Agriculture takes a census. USDA NASS collects all kinds of data about farm production in the U.S.A. The agency has developed a tool to map this data. It is a way to visualize agricultural production, income, wealth distribution, management type, and the demographics of farmers. These three maps show the primary growing regions for corn, soybean, and wheat. The darkest green areas represent acres where the cropland is at least 45 percent sown to the crop listed. The corn belt is easy to see, and not that much of a surprise. However, the primary soybean growing regions of the nation are bit more diverse than you might expect and seem to follow the Mississippi Valley watershed from New Orleans to St. Louis, along the Ohio River Valley and the mighty Missouri River.
 


September 15, 2014

Setting Silage Chop for Best Digestion

Corn silage can make up to as much as thirty to forty percent of a dairy cow’s diet. So, it is really important to get it right. That starts in the field. Todd Gleason has more on some University of Illinois work on harvesting silage.


July 30, 2014

20 Percent of Farms Produce 80 Percent of the Value

The 2012 Census of Agriculture hold many unique facts. Researchers at the University of Illinois have been digging through the numbers to find some plumbs. Todd Gleason reports it seems an old adage is borne out by the figures.

There were about 75 thousand farms in Illinois when the 2012 Census of Agriculture was taken by the United Stated Department of Agriculture. The census, by two different measures – acreage operated & value of production – suggests the majority of Illinois farms are small by either categorization. However, there are two interesting facts that flow with these categorizations. The smaller the farm the more likely it is to produce livestock of less total value, and the larger the farm the more likely it is to produce crops – mostly grains and oilseeds - of much greater value.

The Census of Agriculture defines a farm as any place from which $1,000 or more of agricultural products were produced and sold, or normally would


July 15, 2014

Fish Farm Challenge

The National 4-H Foundation and Monsanto have put together an educational series for kids at summer camp. Learn how the Fish Farm Challenge is helping boys and girls understand world hunger, world population, science, and engineering.


July 07, 2014

Risky Business Study Works to Offset Financial Risk of Climate Change

A group of business people and political leaders have released a project called Risky Business. University of Illinois Extension's Todd Gleason has more on the study and how it might be used in the Midwest to assess and mitigate the financial risk associated with climate change with Cargill's Chairman of the Board Greg Page.

Click on the arrow below to listen to the interview. You may visit www.riskybusiness.org for more complete details of the study.


June 01, 2014

J.H. Hawes Grain Elevator & Museum Open Sundays 1-3pm

Some Sunday this summer you should make the drive to Atlanta, Illinois and tour the old grain elevator. It stopped taking in corn long ago and sat unused for years. Then the townsfolk decided, in the mid 1990’s, to refurbish the J. H. Hawes Grain elevator. Today it is a museum on the registry of historical places in the United States. You can learn more on the museum website.
 

The J. H. Hawes Grain Elevator and Musuem is open to visitors from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. every Sunday afternoon in June, July, and August. Here a few facts and figures about the machinery in the elevator.
 

  • the old gas engine that operates the elevator runs at 400 r-p-m and puts out 10 horsepower
  • the pulley system inside the building is driven by a single rope 280 feet long
  • the total capacity of the elevator is twenty-nine thousand bushels

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