Ag Notes

WILLAg Newsletter | February 4, 2018


There are three items of importance you should know about this week. First, lead and new crop corn, soybean, and wheat futures all finished January higher. Second, the tax law, if not changed, will impact grain marketing & farm income. Third, the annual All Day Ag Outlook is Tuesday, March 6 at the Beef House.

Honestly, all of those things are positive for farmers. However - isn’t there always a but 😉 - moving higher from such low levels may only serve to partially mitigate a not so great income year in 2017 and do very little about 2018. Oh, and Congress is working pretty hard to figure out a way to fix that “if you market your grain through a cooperative just don’t disclose 20% of the gross sales on your income taxes” loophole (listen to Commodity Week).

The good news is the All Day Ag Outlook is only a month away and the tickets are still just $30. Buy your ticket now.

Thank you for supporting WILLAg programming!
Todd Gleason

P.S. March corn futures posted a monthly reversal up for January! That’s a higher high, a lower low, and higher close than posted in December.


Commodity Week

- Matt Bennett, Bennett Consulting Channel Seeds
- Steve Freed, ADM Investor Services
- Elaine Kub, Mastering the Grain Markets
- Dan Zwicker, Zwicker Consulting

Steve Freed of ADMIS told us there were three reasons US soybean exports are slower than expected.

It appears the Brazilian soybean crop will be similar in size to last year’s record breaker. This means from March forward Brazil’s price for exported soybeans will be cheaper than that from the United States.

China has imposed a quality restriction on U.S. soybean shipments. It is possible to ship quality #1 beans from the PNW, because there are already cleaners in place for wheat shipments, but New Orleans has a difficult time sourcing anything better than #2 quality.

Some data from China suggests meat consumption is beginning to decline there. Chinese livestock producers may also be seeking out substitutes for soybean meal in animal rations.

access past Commodity Week programs in the archive

Above Trend Yields or Higher Prices Needed to Break-Even in 2018
read farmdocDaily article

Farmers figuring crop budgets for this year will face an uncomfortable reality. In order to break-even on cash rented land, generally speaking, it will require above trend yields, higher prices, or some combination of the two.

2018 is shaping up very much like the last two years says University of Illinois Agricultural Economist Gary Schnitkey. Each of them began with dire price and income outlooks. Higher than average trend yields financially salvaged what were expected to be very poor seasons on highly productive soils in central Illinois. FBFM (Farm Business Farm Management) records show farmers in this area of the state harvested 228-bushel corn and 69-bushel soybeans on average in 2016 and, while the numbers have not yet been fully summarized, project 2017 yields at 221 and 68.

Since 2012 corn and soybean yields in central Illinois have been at or above trend. The weather and management will need to produce another year of above-trend yields in order for cash grain farmers to break even again this year.

University of Illinois’ Gary Schnitkey calculates break even will require a $3.97 average cash corn price with a trend yield of 202 bushels to the acre. If the average yield is 229, then the average breakeven cash price would be $3.50. The figures for soybean are $9.85 at the 61-bushel trend and $8.84 with a 68-bushel yield.


Pre-register and find full details of the upcoming Strategic Farm Marketing winter meetings at Meetings run through mid-February. Be sure to check the full schedule online for a program near you.

All Day Ag Outlook

The annual WILLAg All Day Outlook is just a month away. Please plan to join us at the Beef House in Covington, Indiana Tuesday, March 6, 2018. Our line up is stellar this year. Check out the agenda below and buy your tickets today. The $30 price tag includes Beef House coffee and rolls in the morning and an always worth-the-wait lunch. Come meet our analysts and bring your questions!We’ll open our doors at 8am central / 9am eastern time.

buy tickets online today

Beef House
16501 Indiana 63
Covington, Indiana 47932

Agricultural Weather Outlook
* Eric Snodgrass, Meteorologist - Agrible, Inc.

Cash Grain Panel
* Aaron Curtis, MIDCO - Bloomington, Illinois
* Todd Hubbs, University of Illinois
* Brian Stark, The Andersons - Champaign, Illinois
* Chuck Shelby, Risk Management Commodities - Lafayette, Indiana

* Aaron Hager, Extension Weed Scientist - University of Illinois

Soybean Panel
* Ellen Dearden, AgReview - Morton, Illinois
* Bill Gentry, Risk Management Commodities - Lafayette, Indiana
* Pete Manhart, Bates Commodities - Normal, Illinois
* Bill Mayer, Strategic Farm Marketing - Champaign, Illinois

How Grain Marketing is Changing
Block Trades, Variable Rate Storage, & the Tax Law
* Curt Strubhar, Advance Trading | Alliance Director Grain & Feed Association of Illinois

Corn Panel
* Curt Kimmel, Bates Commodities - Normal, Illinois
* Wayne Nelson, L&M Commodities - New Market, Indiana
* Mike Zuzolo, Global Commodity Analytics & Consulting - Atchison, Kansas
* Dan Zwicker, Zwicker Consulting - Waco, Texas

OK Google & Hey, Alexa!

Last week we told you how to use your Alexa enabled device (Amazon Echo, Dot, etc) to listen to our ag programming. If you have a Google Home device it’s possible to do the same thing. Google is really simple. Just say, “Ok Google play the Closing Market Report podcast.” Be sure to say the word “podcast”. You can tell it “next” or “previous”, too. It’s still a bit finicky, but it works.

If you have an Alexa device from Amazon you can listen, too. It’ll take a bit more setup.

First, enable NPR One. Just say, “Alexa, enable NPR One,” or search for NPR One in the Alexa app’s skill store. Then, follow the prompts to launch into your customized listening experience. After you have enabled NPR One follow these steps.

- To listen to the Closing Market Report: “Alexa, ask NPR One to play the Closing Market Report.”

- To listen to the Commodity Week: “Alexa, ask NPR One to play Commodity Week.”

Renovating Downtown Milford, Illinois

The old lumberyard building in Milford, Illinois has been renovated. It now serves the county as an events venue and is part of one farmer’s hope for rural America. - photo courtesy Colleen Caldwell, owner Town and Country Events

A local farmer has taken it upon herself to renovate some of the buildings in downtown Milford, Illinois. Farm Broadcaster Todd Gleason has this interview with Colleen Caldwell of Town & Country Events. Gleason met her while emceeing a crop insurance meeting in late January.​


Soil & Water Management Webinar for Certified Crop Advisors
earn 4.5 hard to get Soil & Water Management CEU’s

Certified Crop Advisors in the state of Illinois looking for the hard to get Soil and Water Management credits should register today for a University of Ilinois Extension Webinar. The soil and water management webinar will be held February 20 at locations around the state. Crop Advisors can earn 4.5 CEU’s, or Continuing Education Units, by attending. The cost is $45 and includes lunch and snack. The program runs from 9 to 2 Tuesday, February 20th. Check with your local Illinois Extension office for complete details.

A Super Bowl Sunday Something to Consider
NPR February 2, 2018
heard on Morning Edition

This Sunday it’s estimated that Americans will consume more than 200 million avocados. After all, what’s a Super Bowl party without guacamole?

Avocados have rapidly become a staple in many U.S. diets, with Americans consuming on average 7 pounds a year. To satisfy that surging popularity, imports from Mexico have skyrocketed. That’s made a lot of farmers rich — but it’s also drawn the attention of organized crime gangs. One town in Mexico has been able to fight off the gangs and keep the peace, and wealth, at home.

see the full transcript of the story on the NPR website

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Todd E. Gleason,
University of Illinois Extension
(217) 333–9797 or