March 01, 2017

Trump RFS Rumors Move Commodity Markets

University of Illinois Agricultural Economist Scott Irwin discusses rumors driving the commodity markets Tuesday, February 28, 2017 related to biofuels and the Trump administration with U of I Extension Farm Broadcaster Todd Gleason.


February 24, 2017

Estimated 2016 ARC-CO Payments

by Gary Schnitkey, Agricultural Economist - University of Illinois

Read Full Article

On February 23rd, the National Agricultural Statistical Service (NASS) released county yields for the 2016 crop year. With these yield estimates, fairly accurate estimates of 2016 Agricultural Risk Coverage at the county level (ARC-Co) can be obtained. We present maps showing estimated payments per base acre for corn, soybeans, and wheat. Also shown are maps giving 2016 county yields relative to benchmark yields. A table showing estimated payments per county in Illinois also is presented.



Procedures Payments for 2016 are still estimates and will vary from those presented here for the following reasons:

• Farm Service Agency (FSA) uses different yields than NASS when calculating ARC-CO payments. Where NASS data is available, the NASS yield generally will be higher than those used by FSA. As a result, estimated payments should be viewed as conservative.

• Market Year Average (MYA) prices are not known because the marketing year does not end until August for corn and soybeans and May for Wheat. MYA estimates used in these projections are $3.50 per bushel for corn, $9.60 per bushel for soybean, and $3.85 per bushel for wheat. Ending MYA prices are likely to vary from these estimates.

• Sequestration amounts may differ from those used here. The ARC-CO payments estimated here use the 6.8% sequestration reduction applied to the 2014 and 2015 payments. The sequestration amount may differ from the 6.8% estimate.






February 23, 2017

February Application of NH3 O.K.

The warm weather in the Midwest has farmers itching to go to the field to get some pre-season work done. University of Illinois Extension Agronomist Emerson Nafziger says it is ok to apply anhydrous ammonia to corn acres. Nafziger says as long as soil conditions are good, a late winter anhydrous ammonia application should work just like a fall application.


February 22, 2017

2017 Corn Prospects | an interview with Todd Hubbs

sources
FarmDocDaily Article
Congressional Budge Office (CBO) Projections
USDA Long-Term Projections, February 2017

by Todd Hubbs, Grain Markets Specialist - University of Illinois

The time of year to develop corn balance sheet projections for the upcoming crop year is upon us. As we approach the halfway point of the 2016–17 marketing year, decision making regarding planting and new crop marketing get determined. The expectations for corn in the 2017 crop year put forth in this analysis show lower production leading to decreased ending stocks in 2017–18. The magnitude of reduced ending stocks provides important implications for corn prices moving through 2017–18.

Current market consensus projects farmers to plant fewer corn acres in 2017 than the 94 million acres planted in 2016. As discussed previously, numerous factors point toward greater soybean acreage and lower corn acreage in 2017. These include lower winter wheat seedings, a lower cost of production for soybeans, and the current perceived price advantage for soybeans over corn. Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projections for baseline farm programs released last month set planted acreage at 91.5 million acres. Current USDA long-term baseline projections to 2026 have 2017 planted acreage for corn at 90.0 million acres. A reduction of 3.5 million acres from 2016, which places planted acreage at 91.5 million acres, is used in this analysis. Planted acreage at 91.5 million acres would lead to around 83.2 million acres harvested for grain in 2017.

Yield expectations typically use trend yield analysis to generate yield projections for the next crop year. National average corn yield came in above trend for the last three growing seasons and culminated in an estimated 174.6 bushels per acre in 2016. CBO projections place 2017 corn yield at 170 bushels per acre. USDA long-term baseline projections set 2017 yield at 170.8 bushels per acre. We find a linear trend of actual U.S. corn average yields from 1960 forward to be the best fit. The trend explains 89 percent of the annual variation in corn yields from 1960–2016. Weather conditions, as one would expect, impact yields. Bad weather reduces yield by more than good weather increases yield. Since this is the case, trend estimations can understate yield expectations in an average weather year. The trend estimate for 2017 is 166.8 bushels per acre. By adjusting the trend estimation for weather influences, we generate a national corn yield expectation of 169 bushels to use in this analysis. At this yield level, the 2017 crop projection is 14.1 billion bushels. By including the current projections for ending stocks by the USDA of 2.32 billion bushels with 50 million bushels of imported corn, the 2017 corn supply comes in at 16.4 billion bushels. The 2017 corn supply estimate is approximately 509 million bushels less than the current marketing year supply estimation.

2017–18 marketing year expectations for consumption exceed projected production, which leads to a lower level of ending stocks by the end of the marketing year. The size of the decline is important for determining price as we move through the next marketing year. Exports, ethanol production, feed and residual, and other domestic uses determine the consumption of corn. U.S. corn exports vary considerably from year to year. In the last decade, corn exports ranged from a low of 730 million bushels in the 2012–13 marketing year to 2.44 billion bushels in 2007–08. Corn exports will be influenced by trade policy, world corn production, economic growth, and exchange rates. Current 2016–17 marketing year corn export projections sit at 2.225 billion bushels, which were helped by lower corn production in South America in 2016. Current corn production projections for Brazil (3.41 billion bushels) and Argentina (1.44 billion bushels) are up 29 percent and 26 percent respectively in 2017. World production projections come in 8 percent higher for 2017. While U.S. corn exports will continue to be strong, 2017–18 projections reduce corn exports in this analysis to 1.95 billion bushels on larger foreign corn production.

Corn used for ethanol production will be impacted by EPA rulemaking related to implementing RFS mandates, gasoline consumption, and ethanol exports. An expectation of increased fuel ethanol requirements and slight increases in gasoline consumption with a positive ethanol trade balance provide support to the continued increase in corn used for ethanol. Corn used for ethanol expectations increase to 5.4 billion bushels in the 2017–18 marketing year. Other domestic uses for corn do not vary significantly from year to year. With a slight increase, other domestic use expectations provide 1.45 billion bushels of corn use.

The pace of corn consumption for feed likely will continue to show strength in the 2017–18 marketing year. Livestock production growth in many sectors provides support for corn feed use during this marketing year. Despite strong livestock production, several factors may limit corn feed use moving forward. The increase in ethanol production increases distiller’s grain availability. Increased availability of feed grains across the board may suppress some corn feed use. Residual use of corn could be reduced if the 2017 crop is smaller than the 2016 level. Feed and residual use might be near 5.5 billion bushels.

Current expectations for corn consumption in the 2017–18 marketing year are 14.3 billion bushels. Ending stocks would be 2.131 billion bushels, which is 189 million bushels lower than the current 2016–17 marketing year projections. Based on the analysis of corn production and consumption expectations, season average market price comes in at the $3.65 - $3.75 range for the 2017–18 marketing year.


February 22, 2017

Casting a Data Science Company | an interview with Robb Fraley

Monsanto used to be a chemical company that made herbicides. It then transitioned to a genetic-traits company that produced seeds. Now, as it is set to merge with Bayer, the Chief Technology Officer for Monsanto looks to be casting the St. Louis based agricultural giant into the data-science world of Apple and Samsung. Todd Gleason has this interview with Robb Fraley from the 2017 Illinois Soybean Summit in Peoria.


February 15, 2017

2017 Projected Incomes on Illinois Grain Farms



Net incomes for Illinois grain farms are projected to be lower this year than last. If this University of Illinois estimate holds, writes agricultural economist Gary Schnitkey on the farmdocdaily website, the weakening financial position of farms in the state will worsen. The last half decade has really changed the financial picture for farmers says Schnitkey, “So we had high incomes from 2010 to 2012 and every year since 2012 we’ve been on a downward trend through 2015. This is when we hit a $500 per farm average net income on Illinois grain farms enrolled in FBFM. This is very low and the lowest through the entire period we’ve examined. Obviously this is not enough to maintain the financial position of farms.”

Schnitkey evaluated FBFM net income records going back to 1996. FBFM stands for Farm Business Farm Management and is a record keeping service for farmers. The service has not yet summarized net incomes for 2016. However it is projecting a substantial rebound.



It appears net income for grain farms in the service will average somewhere between forty and fifty-thousand dollars. There are three primary reasons for this says Schnitkey, “What lead to it was higher than trend line yields. USDA estimates the statewide corn yield at 197 bushels per acre. Just three bushels off the record yield set in 2014 of 200 bushels. Soybean yields averaged 59 bushels. It is a record setting yield. Both of those record setting yields lead to higher incomes in 2016 along with very good ARC County payments.”

Those are two of the three factors leading to a better 2016. The high yields and sizable ARC County payments - that’s the farm safety net from Washington D.C. - aren’t likely to be repeated this season. The third factor very well could be repeated. It is lower input costs including cash rents and fertilizer. It won’t be enough thinks Schnitkey.

 

Quote Summary - For 2017 we used trend yields and commodity prices of $3.80 for corn and $9.90 for soybeans that resulted in lower incomes for the year. Probably something in the $20,000 range per farm.

Schnitkey cautions it is very early in the season, and that at this same time last year 2016 was projected to be a very, very bad year. It rebounded. It is also important to note that while higher than 2015 incomes, the projected 2016 incomes do not result in the building of financial reserves on most Illinois farms. Schnitkey believes most farms will continue to see the erosion of working capital, potentially leading to the need to refinance outstanding operating loan balances.


February 06, 2017

Consider Using ARP for Soybeans

farmdoc daily source article

It seems likely the price of soybeans at harvest this fall could be much lower than it is now. The options a farmer might consider because of this potential is choosing a different crop insurance plan.

Federal crop insurance comes in two basic revenue protection forms, R-P and A-R-P. R-P stands for Revenue Protection and A-R-P stands for Area Risk Protection. The difference between the two says University of Illinois Agricultural Economist Gary Schnitkey is simple enough to understand.

Gary Schnitkey - RP is what most people buy, Revenue Protection. It is a farm level product and makes payments based on what happens to farm yields. ARP is a county level product. So, it makes payments on what happens to county wide yields, county revenue, but it is the county yield that is entered into the equation rather the farm yield (as is the case) for RP.

It is the available coverage level under the ARP federal crop insurance option that put Schnitkey’s mind to work when he was considering how farmers should use the risk management program this season.

Gary Schnitkey - The reason why I think farmers should consider it is because they have a 90% coverage level in ARP versus only 85% on ARP. This year, you know, we are probably looking at some more downside risk on soybeans and a 90% guarantee would cover more of that price risk.

Moving up to a 90% coverage level increases the price below which crop insurance payments occur. Given a $10.20 projected February price and a 90% coverage level, harvest prices below $9.18 a bushel for soybeans in November ($10.20 x .90) would generate payments, given that the harvest yield equals the guarantee yield. The $9.18 price compares to an $8.67 break-even price at an 85% RP coverage level, and an $8.16 break-even at an 80% coverage level.

There are some caveats when switching from RP to ARP.

ARP does not have prevented planting or replant payments while RP does. The coverage on ARP begins when the crop is planted. Because ARP uses county yields in its calculations, a farm may not receive a payment if the farm has a poor yield and the county does not. The relative premiums on RP and ARP vary across counties. Not all counties will have a 90% ARP premium that is lower than the 85% RP policies.

Finally, here’s an important note about the crop insurance guarantee from Gary Schnitkey. The CME Group soybean contract for November 2017 delivery currently is trading around $10.20 per bushel. A $10.20 per bushel projected price would be $1.35 higher than last year’s projected price of $8.85 per bushel. In and of itself, a higher projected price will offer additional revenue protection on soybeans without the need to consider the merits of RP versus ARP.


February 04, 2017

New Fertility Products for the Hog Industry

Martin Gleason poses with sow and litter (circa 1944).

Farmers raising pigs around the planet are always looking for ways to improve the productivity of their breeding herds.

University of Illinois Extension Swine Specialist Rob Knox explains PCAI, post cervical artificial insemination.


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