October 31, 2014

by Todd E. Gleason

U.S. EPA has released a document critical of soybean seed treatments used in the United States. It suggests farmers have been spending money and getting very little benefit in return.


October 29, 2014

Harvest Sunrise

Sometimes you just have to stop & watch the sunrise. This beauty came up October 29th. The Andersons grain elevator in Champaign is in the foreground.


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.
 


October 24, 2014

Scout Weeds from the Combine Cab

Posted on Oct 21, 2014 by Aaron Hager

Fall-Applied Herbicides: Which Weed Species Should be the Target?

Herbicides applied in the fall often can provide improved control of many winter annual weed species compared with similar applications made in the spring.  Marestail is one example of a weed species that is often better controlled with herbicides applied in the fall compared with the spring.  An increasing frequency of marestail populations in Illinois are resistant to glyphosate, and within the past year we have confirmed that resistance to ALS-inhibiting herbicides also is present in Illinois populations.  Targeting emerged marestail with higher application rates of products such as 2,4-D in the fall almost always


October 20, 2014

How Many Corn Acres in 2015

If corn farmers want a break even price for their crop next year, they’ll need to plant fewer acres of it. Ag economist Darrel Good has forward figured the number of corn acres needed in 2015 to push cash prices back above four dollars a bushels. 


October 14, 2014

Sell Soybeans Across the Scale

Rainfall throughout the Midwest has hampered the soybean harvest and the price has responded by moving a bit higher. However, it is most likely a temporary hike.


October 14, 2014

Store Corn for Higher Prices Later

The price of corn isn’t great if you are a farmer trying to sell it at a profit. However, the good news may be that prices later in this year and next are likely to get better.


September 26, 2014

USDA Finalizes Farm Program Rules

Thursday, September 25, 2014, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced the regulations for the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs created by the 2014 Farm Bill. Along with the regulation, Secretary Vilsack also announced the public release of the web-based decision tools that have been developed under cooperative agreements with the Farm Service Agency. This article provides more information on these items.

Background

The Agriculture Act of 2014 (the 2014 Farm Bill) revised the commodity support programs beginning with the 2014 crop year. Direct payments, counter-cyclical payments and the Average Crop Revenue Election payments were eliminated by this farm bill. In place of those support programs, three new programs were created for covered commodities or program crops. These programs are: Agriculture Risk Coverage, County Option (ARC-CO), Agriculture Risk Coverage, Individual Farm Coverage (ARC-IC), and Price Loss Coverage (PLC). The 2014 Farm Bill also provided one-time opportunities for farm owners to update the payment yields for the FSA farm and a one-time opportunity to reallocate the base acres among program crops planted on the FSA farm. Finally, the farm bill included funds for the development of web-based decision aids or tools that farmers, landowners and others could use to help sort through the program decisions required.

Discussion

The University of Illinois as the lead institution for a national coalition has worked under a cooperative agreement to develop the web-based decision tools. In addition to the web-based tools, the coalition has also created an online resource site affiliated with farmdoc and will be conducting outreach, education and training on the programs and the web-based tools. The following is an overview of the resources currently available.

(1) The Farm Bill Toolbox on farmdoc: a one-stop resource for all aspects of the farm bill program decisions, it is available here (or by entering the following web address: http://farmbilltoolbox.farmdoc.illinois.edu) provides a seven-step decision process or matrix to guide producers through the program decisions and use of the web-based tool. The Toolbox also provides one-page fact sheets and links to additional resources such as previously published articles and new articles on farm bill program issues and topics. Finally, the farmdoc team will be conducting weekly webinars explaining the programs, the web-based tool and analysis, as well as program and harvest updates. These webinars will be every Friday morning at 8:00 a.m. (CST) beginning September 26th and continuing through the end of October. Webinars will be archived and available for review. Additional webinars are also available in the archives. For registration, more information and archives please visit the Farm Bill Toolbox.

(2) The Agriculture Policy Analysis System (APAS): available here (or by entering the following web address: http://fsa.usapas.com) this web-based application provides the ability to calculate updated payment yields for the FSA farm, calculate reallocated base acres for the FSA farm and analyze, compare and understand the program choices (ARC-CO, ARC-IC and PLC/SCO). Program analysis and information is available in two forms. First, the Sample Farms button allows for a quick program comparison and analysis based on a data-generated sample farm for your state and county, both expected program payments and per-acre, crop-by-crop payments. Producers can also select the Build Your Own Farm (BYOF) option that will allow them to input their farm-specific information and run estimates of program payments. Both options also provide a "safety net" analysis using specific revenue targets and providing the probability of reaching those revenue targets under different program scenarios.

(3) Farm Service Agency: the APAS web-based tool is also available on the FSA website, along with detailed fact sheets and other related program information (available here or by entering the following web address: www.fsa.usda.gov/arc-plc).

FSA has not announced a final deadline for making the farm program decisions (payment yields, base acre reallocation and program election), but it is anticipated that the deadline will be sometime in 2015, maybe as late as March. Producers and landowners are encouraged to wait until later in the year or early next year. More information about prices and yields will be known at that time, allowing for a more informed, better decision. With many farmers already in the fields, or about to begin harvesting, there is no immediate action needed. There is time to learn more about the programs, use the web-based tools and understand the analysis before any decision will have to be made. Updates on deadlines and program decisions will be available on the Farm Bill Toolbox and through farmdoc daily.


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