April 22, 2014

CME Group to Automatically Reset Trading Limits May 1 & Nov 1

The CME Group Inc said today it will implement a new system for setting daily price limits for U.S. grain and oilseed futures starting next month. It will regularly change the limits to markets including corn, soybeans and wheat. These will reset twice a year with the change based on underlying price levels. CME will also remove price limits for all grain and oilseed options.

Both changes are set to take effect the first trading day of May which begins the evening of Wednesday April 30th. The semi annual adjustment of the limits will widen the trading range during periods of higher prices and narrow the limits when market prices are lower.

The reset dates will be the first trading day in May and the first day in November.

On May 1, the initial daily limit for corn will drop to 35 cents a bushel from 40 cents, rise to $1.00 from 70 cents for soybeans, and drop to 45 cents a bushel from 60 cents for CBOT soft red winter wheat.

 

April 08, 2014

...for your road trip list.

I love out of the way places to travel and explore. A blacktop (a rural road) is one of my favorite things in all the world. They look the same just about everywhere I've ever been, but always hold a surprise or two. If you play your cards right you'll find something of interest and a great place to eat. Coming straight south from East Peoria, Illinois is a great road.

This one is wider than usual, and even has a name on the map, Springfield Road. There are many treats to see. If you are a "Lord of the Rings" fan you'll love the hobbit hole along the west side of the road. It sits there with a perfectly round door, just like those in the shire.

Once you drop down the mountain of a hill - for central Illinois - pass all the white fences, and mount the other side of the little valley, keep your eyes open for a pair of pines on the east side of the road (see the red pin on the map along Springfield Road). Hunkered down in those pines is a rock and plaque.

I think only those that have knelt upon the earth, filled their lungs with its sweet fragrance, and reached into it searching for a kernel of corn, can truly appreciate the rock and the acreage.

It is the birthplace of yellow dent corn. This is the place where a poor stand prompted Robert Reid to intra-seed a second open pollinated variety hoping for a good nick. It worked, and over the next forty years Reid and his son James diligently developed the new yellow dent corn variety. Eventually, it became the primary parent line behind nearly all modern corn hybrids.

If you farm, this is a sacred place to visit. 

Given that, I doubt it is a sacred place for the rest of the people in the vehicle. They'll need another reason. I would suggest the Harvest Cafe in Delavan. Bring your wallet, but do plan to have a magnificent meal in one of the most luxurious little spaces in rural route Illinois.

Click on any of the photos to show a lager version.


March 22, 2014

Grain Tube to Save Lives

Those that work in and around flowing grain know just how dangerous it can be. That's why they train to be in the bins and how to extract someone that has been trapped in a bin. Todd Gleason has more from the Illinois AgriCenter in Bloomington.

Grain Entrapment


February 27, 2014

Team Converts Sugarcane to Cold-Tolerant Oil-Producing Crop

A team of researchers led by the University of Illinois reports that it can increase sugarcane’s geographic range, boost its photosynthetic rate by 30 percent, and turn it into an oil-producing crop for biodiesel production. These are only the first steps in a bigger initiative that will turn sugarcane and sorghum – two of the most productive crop plants known – into even more productive, oil-generating plants. “Biodiesel is attractive because, for example, with soybean, once you’ve pressed the oil out it’s fairly easy to convert it to diesel,” said Stephen P. Long, a University of Illinois plant biology researcher and leader of the initiative. “You could do it in your kitchen.”

But soybean isn’t productive enough to meet the nation’s need for


December 02, 2013

Hantz Farms Interview - AgMasters

This morning UK's Ron Hustedde introduced agriculturalist attending the 2013 University of Illinios AgMasters Program to Hanrtz Farms. It is a project working to take the blighted areas of Detroit (between downtown and the 8 Mile Road) and turn them into farms. Todd Gleason spoke with Mike Score from Hantz Farms in 2010. You may listen to that interview using the link conected to this entry. 


September 25, 2013

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

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.


September 20, 2013

Edamame: A Future of the U.S. Soybean

There are more than 77 million acres of soybeans in the United States. Very few of these beans will be consumed directly out of the pod by us. However, there is a push to grow more varieties suitable for vegetable crop production.

Edamame: A Future of the U.S. Soybean


Flood waters surround a grain elevator in Alton, Illinois.
August 16, 2013

The Great Flood of 1993

The summer of 1993 brought with it record rainfall. The flood those waters spawned on the Illinois, Missouri, and Mississippi Rivers was of historic proportions. Todd Gleason traveled with a group of volunteers from Champaign County to the water's edge where they worked to hold back nature. He produced this radio portrait of the scene on the Illinois River


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