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A Quiet Report

December 10th, 2014

Chad Hart, ISU Extension Grain Marketing Economist, provides a summary of the latest USDA report.

Hart_Chad-thumbThere were very few changes in this month’s USDA report. As is typical in December, the supply side estimates were left unchanged from the November numbers. And the demand changes were minor, but in a positive direction. Corn use for sweeteners was increased 10 million bushels. That was enough to lower 2014/15 ending stocks to just below the 2 billion bushel mark. For soybeans, exports continue to lead the demand charge. Soybean exports were raised 40 million bushels, to a record 1.76 billion. That reduced soybean ending stocks to 410 million bushels. However, for both crops, the midpoints of the season-average price ranges remained at last month’s levels, $3.50 for corn and $10 for soybeans. It was a quiet report for the holiday season.

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Crop Outlook

Acreage Reduced, But Yields Offset

October 10th, 2014

Acreage Reduced, But Yields Offset (10/10/14)

Chad Hart, ISU Extension Grain Marketing Economist, provides a summary of the latest USDA report.

Hart_Chad-thumbOver the past couple of months, there had been significant discussion of crop acreage numbers and whether the NASS estimates would be adjusted downward. That adjustment occurred in the most recent reports. For corn, planted and harvested area were reduced by 700,000 acres. A similar downward adjustment took place for soybeans. But in both cases, the acreage losses were offset by higher yields so that total production continued to climb. The national average corn yield was raised 2.5 bushels to 174.2 bushels per acre. The corn yield estimates were raised in 22 states. And 22 states are projected to set state records as well. Illinois is projected at 200 bushels per acre. The jump in soybean yields isn’t quite as dramatic, but the end result is the same, larger production. The national average is projected at 47.1 bushels per acre, up 0.5 bushels. 13 states are expected to have record yields.

Putting it all together, USDA estimates a 14.475 billion bushel corn crop and a 3.927 billion bushel soybean crop. Both, by far, the largest crops the country has ever produced. In comparison, the demand projections were little changed. Corn feed and residual use was increased by 50 million bushels. That was the only shift in projected demand for the 2014 crops. Estimates for the 2014/15 market year average prices dropped 10 cents for corn to a midpoint of $3.40 per bushel. For soybeans, the price estimates held steady, with a midpoint of $10 per bushel.

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Crop Outlook

This Big Crop Got Bigger

September 11th, 2014

Chad Hart, ISU Extension Grain Marketing Economist, provides a summary of the latest USDA report.

Hart_Chad-thumbThis Big Crop Got Bigger (9/11/14)

The word “record” continues to fly around agriculture as USDA released its WASDE and Crop Production reports. In August, USDA projected record corn and soybean crops. In September, USDA increased the size of those records. In both cases, crop acreage was held steady, going against some suggestions that acreage might be reduced, based on certified plantings from the Farm Service Agency. The national average corn yield was raised to 171.7 bushels per acre. USDA also raised the corn yield estimates in 24 states.  Only one state (Pennsylvania) saw a reduction in expected corn yield. These yield estimates increase projected 2014 corn production to 14.395 billion bushels, roughly 470 million bushels more last year’s record crop. The national average soybean yields increased to 46.6 bushels per acre, 1.2 bushels above last month’s estimate. Twenty state soybean yields were also increased.  Soybean production is now pegged at 3.913 billion bushels, that’s over 550 million bushels more than the previous record.

On the demand side, USDA put forward increases in feed and residual, ethanol, food, seed, and export uses for corn. The shifts brought corn demand to a record 13.605 billion bushels.  But with supplies still outracing demand, corn ending stocks are projected to exceed 2 billion bushels. With the increased ending stocks, USDA lowered the midpoint of its season-average price range by 40 cents to $3.50 per bushel. Domestic crush and export demand increased for soybeans. But the general story is the same as it is for corn, higher ending stocks and lower crop prices. The midpoint of the season-average price range fell 35 cents to $10 per bushel.

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Crop Outlook

Record Crops, But Somewhat Smaller Than Expected

August 12th, 2014

Chad Hart, ISU Extension Grain Marketing Economist, provides a summary of the latest USDA report.

Hart_Chad-thumbRecord Crops, But Somewhat Smaller Than Expected (8/12/14)

The USDA’s WASDE and Crop Production reports were released today. These reports were heavily anticipated by the markets as they represent the first set of estimates based on objective data from the field. The pre-trade expectations were for both crops to reach record production levels. And on that count, the reports agreed. But the production levels projected by USDA are slightly smaller than expected. For corn, the adjustments actually start with the 2013 crop. As we finish up the 2013 marketing year, corn demand has continued to build. In these latest numbers, USDA increased ethanol demand by 45 million bushels and export demand by 20 million bushels. Those changes cut ending stocks to 1.18 billion bushels, which was outside the range of pre-trade expectations. For the 2014 corn crop, there were a number of shifts on both the supply and demand front. The national yield was estimated at 167.4 bushels per acre. That’s up 2.1 bushels from USDA’s original estimate and up 8.6 bushels from last year. Given that yield, production is pegged at just over 14 billion bushels, topping last year’s record. However, the trade was looking for production in 14.2 billion bushel range, so the corn crop is a little lighter than anticipated. Feed, ethanol, and export demand were all increased, raising total demand to 13.435 billion bushels. Carryout stands at 1.8 billion bushels. The midpoint of the 2014/15 season-average price range was lowered to $3.90 per bushels, down 10 cents from last month.

For soybeans, the shifts for the 2013 crop basically offset each other, leaving ending stocks at 140 million bushels and a season-average price of $13 per bushel. For the 2014 crop, the yield was increased by 0.2 bushels per acre to a national average of 45.4 bushels per acre. That puts production at 3.816 billion bushels. Demand for the 2014 crop was left unchanged, so the production increase was absorbed into ending stocks. Carryout was raised to 430 million bushels for the 2014/15 crop and the midpoint of the 2014/15 season-average price range was lowered 15 cents to $10.35 per bushel.

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Crop Outlook

A Very Quiet Report

June 11th, 2014

Chad Hart, ISU Extension Grain Marketing Economist, provides a summary of the latest USDA report.

A Very Quiet Report (6/11/14)

97hartsmUSDA released its June update for crop supplies and demand and the updates were few and far between. For corn, there were no changes to the supply and demand estimates for the 2014 crop. Yield is projected at 165.3 bushels per acre.  Production is projected at a record 13.935 billion bushels, 10 million bushels above last year’s record crop. Total use is set at 13.385 billion bushels, down 250 million bushels from last year. 2014/15 ending stocks are set at 1.726 billion bushels, up 580 million bushels from the previous year. And the midpoint of the season-average price range remains at $4.20 per bushel.

For soybeans, there was one adjustment, but it was for the 2013 crop. 2013 domestic crush was increased 5 million bushels. Otherwise, as with corn, the projections remain the same. Yield is projected at 45.2 bushels per acre. Production is projected at a record 3.635 billion bushels. Total use is set at 3.45 billion bushels. 2014/15 ending stocks are set 325 million bushels, up 200 million from the previous year. And the midpoint of the season-average price range is $10.75 per bushel.

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Crop Outlook, Crops

The 1st Official Look at 2014

May 9th, 2014

Chad Hart, ISU Extension Grain Marketing Economist, provides a summary of the latest USDA report.

97hartsmThe 1st Official Look at 2014 (5/9/14)

With the May World Ag. Supply and Demand Estimates report, USDA provides its 1st official set of projections for the 2014 crops. We can compare these numbers to USDA’s unofficial numbers from the Ag Outlook Forum they hold in February each year. On the supply side, the number to watch is the yield. And is typically the case with the 1st estimates, USDA maintains trendline yields for both corn and soybeans. Those are 165.3 bushels per acre for corn and 45.2 bushels per acre for soybeans. Given the acreage estimates from the March Prospective Plantings report, then 2014 shapes up to be a record year for corn and soybeans. On the demand side, all of the sectors (feed, ethanol, crush, and exports) are in play. And the current projections are generally higher than those from February. Ethanol and export demand for corn was raised for both old and new crop corn. The weak spot on the corn side is feed demand, as fewer animals translate to slightly smaller demand. Export demand for soybeans continues to soar to record levels, while domestic crush demand also grows (but more slowly than anticipated in February). In the February outlook, season-average price estimates were set at $3.90 per bushel for corn and $9.65 per bushel for soybeans. With the higher demand numbers with the May report, these estimates move to $4.20 for corn and $10.75 for soybeans. So with Iowa production costs in the $4.50 range for corn and $11 range for soybeans, the USDA projections still indicate negative returns for both crops, but the gap has shrunk significantly.

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Crop Outlook, Crops

Stocks and Small Grains

September 30th, 2013

Chad Hart, ISU Extension Grain Marketing Economist, provides a summary of the latest USDA report.

97hartsmStocks and Small Grains (9/30/13)

USDA found more bushels of corn and soybeans in bins at the end of the marketing year than traders expected. Corn stocks were estimated at 842 million bushels, down 17% from last year, but that was still 10% higher than the highest trade estimate. Disappearance of corn over the June to August period was 1.94 billion bushels. 4th quarter disappearance was 2.16 billion bushels in 2012. So corn demand continued to be sluggish this summer as users waited for the new crop to come in.

Soybean stocks were estimated at 141 million bushels, down 17% from last year. USDA revised the 2012 soybean crop estimates by increasing harvested acres by 60,000 acres, yields by 0.2 bushels per acre (for a national average of 39.8 bushels per acres), and production by 19 million bushels. These adjustments basically explain the increase in soybean stocks from last month’s estimate. Soybean disappearance in the 4th quarter fell off the table, as it was down 41% from last year’s levels.

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Crop Outlook

Questions about Late Harvest, Low Prices Addressed by Iowa State

September 19th, 2013

A news release from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach by Charles Hurburgh, Agricultural and Biosystems Engineeringtatry@iastate.edu and Willy Klein, ISU Extension and Outreachwklein@iastate.edu

Members of the extension crops team from Iowa State University responded to producer questions related to the late spring, dry summer and slow crop development by holding meetings in north central Iowa last week.

Extension field agronomists Mark Johnson and Paul Kassel discussed crop maturity, crop drying, potential effects of an early frost, and pre-harvest preparations at meetings held in Clarion, Wesley and Sheffield. Charles Hurburgh, extension grain quality and handling specialist, spoke of 2013 crop quality, including moisture and test weight variability, potential diseases, and the best practices for handling and storing the crop.Iowa State specialists Chad Hart, extension economist, and Kelvin Leibold, extension farm management specialist, reviewed the 2013-2014 crop market outlook at the meetings.For the benefit of those not attending the meetings, ISU Extension and Outreach has made video recordings of the presentations available on the Iowa Grain Quality Initiative website at http://www.extension.iastate.edu/grain/.

Get more crop news from ISU Extension and Outreach
The extension crops team makes the most current information related to crop, harvest, storage and handling issues available through the Iowa Grain Quality website and Integrated Crop Management (ICM) News, an online newsletter. ICM News articles are published at www.extension.iastate.edu/cropnews/; newsletter subscribers receive notification when new articles are published.Hart and Leibold are frequent Ag Decision Maker authors. Ag Decision Maker (AgDM) updates and news are available atwww.extension.iastate.edu/agdm. The AgDM newsletter and updates are published every month; subscribers receive notification of the publication of new materials.As the drought situation continues in Iowa, new material is added to the Dealing with Drought – 2013 webpage. The webpage offers information for dealing with crops, livestock, stress, home and yard and financial concerns during drought situations at www.extension.iastate.edu/topic/recovering-disasters.

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Crop Outlook, Crops, Meetings and Events , , ,

Harvesting Wet Corn to Provide Challenges

September 17th, 2013

Contributed by Steve Johnson, Extension Farm Management Field Specialist, sdjohns@iastate.edu.

Johnson_Steve_smWhile half of Iowa’s corn crop was planted by mid-May, much was pushed back several weeks. Some fields were replanted more than once and as a result pollinated into August.

The bottom line for many growers is that corn maturity has been delayed. The problem with harvest may be a wetter than normal crop created by a combination of late planting and then impacted by hot, dry conditions during grain fill.

Iowa farmers are now expected to harvest about 13.5 million acres of corn, that’s 200,000 acres less than last year’s drought ravaged crop. The latest USDA estimate is that Iowa would average 162 bushel per acre, below the 30-year state trend yield by 17 bushels. The variability of corn yields and moisture levels is going to be large across the state. Much depends on the corn planting date and the water holding capacity of the soils.

Some corn plants that died prematurely may already be harvested, but much of Iowa’s crop will be slow to dry down in the field. It will need to be harvested and dried down to near 14 or 15 percent moisture to avoid a discount or extend storage time for bushels to be marketed later. Delivery of wet corn sold will carry moisture discount at roughly 2 percent times the points of moisture above 15 percent times the cash contract price.

For corn harvested at 25 percent moisture and averaging 170 bushels per acre dry, that’s about $90 per acre with corn valued at $4.50 per bushel. This amount roughly equals the cost of commercial drying charges using a 1.4 percent shrink factor and 4.75 cents per point of moisture. Drying and storage of corn may be a problem as harvest gets underway.

Heavy drying needs
The key thing for a grower is to think ahead about corn moisture levels, drying and storage costs — be prepared. There’s an abundant supply of propane out there. The challenge this fall — if harvested grain needs a lot of drying — will be having the propane in the right place at the right time.

Perhaps the most important factor in dealing with corn at higher moisture levels at harvest is getting the combine set up right. Some things to remember are:

  • A properly adjusted combine can handle corn between 20 and 30 percent moisture, but expect grain damage to increase unless careful attention is paid to combine settings.
  • Be sure to select a ground speed adequate to keep separator and cleaning shoe at full speed. Adjust your hydrostatic transmission to maintain the engine near rated speed under varying crop conditions.
  • Operate the corn head as high as possible to reduce getting wet plant material in the combine, which can significantly reduce the machine’s ability to thresh and separate the grain.
  • Before changing concave clearance, make sure it is level side-to-side in a conventional combine or front-to-back in a rotary combine so that the adjustment is uniform.

While corn harvest may begin later than normal this fall, farmers will want to be prepared early.

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Crop Outlook, Crops ,

Some Crops Grow Without Rain (9/12/13)

September 12th, 2013

Chad Hart, ISU Extension Grain Marketing Economist, provides a summary of the latest USDA report.

97hartsmThe latest USDA updates showed a growing corn crop and a shrinking soybean crop. The projections for corn put the nationwide average yield at 155.3 bushels per acre, up 0.9 bushels from last month and over 30 bushels better than last year. That puts corn production at 13.84 billion bushels, a record by over 700 million bushels. Soybean projections are a nationwide yield of 41.2 bushels per acre and production in the 3.15 billion bushel range. That soybean yield is down 1.4 bushels from last month, but still 1.6 bushels better than last year.

On the demand side, the changes were concentrated. For corn, all of the shifts were on the old crop with feed, ethanol, and export demand being raised. New crop corn demand was left unchanged. For soybeans, the major demand shifts were for the new crop as domestic crush and export demand were both lowered as we enter the marketing year. In the end, corn’s supply gains outweighed the demand shifts, so 2013/14 projected ending stocks are up slightly compared to last month’s projections, to 1.855 billion bushels. With that slight increase, USDA lowered the midpoint of its season-average price range to $4.80 per bushel. For soybeans, the supply moves also outweighed the demand shifts, but the moves were in the opposite direction from corn. So 2013/14 ending stocks tightened back to 150 million bushels and the midpoint of the season-average price range jumped $1.15 to $12.50 per bushel.

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