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Friday, April 10, 2009

Extension Update


Extension Update is a weekly summary of news from Extension, government, and other attributable sources, focused on marketing, farm management, and other issues that are of interest to Midwestern farm owners and operators.

Farm Program sign-up dates have been reset by USDA. Farmers wanting to participate in the Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) program will be able to sign up as early as April 27, but no later than August 14. Participants forego 20% of direct and counter-cyclical payments and 30% of marketing loan benefits. Once a producer signs CCC-509 to enter the ACRE program, that is an irrevocable decision through crop year 2012.

Even though ACRE sign-up begins on April 27, Michigan State marketing specialist Jim Hilker says wait until the deadline to turn in your paperwork. He says fill out all of the necessary documents over the summer, but don’t sign it and turn it in until August 14. Read his rationale at his newsletter.
1) You will know the 2008-2009 average crop price within pennies.
2) The August Crop Report on Aug. 12 will give a good idea of the US crop situation.
3) You will know the likely 2009-2010 US prices and your state yield outlook.

USDA’s Supply-Demand Report bolstered interest in soybeans by reducing projections for the Argentine crop, raising US export forecasts, and lowering the old crop carryover 20 mil. bu. to 165 mil. Additionally, world ending-stocks were reduced from nearly 50 mmt to under 46 mmt. The average seasonal price was adjusted upward to $9.25-$10.05.

Corn usage projections were also moved upward by USDA on Thursday, with 50 mil. more bushels being fed, and a 40 mil. bu. cut in the carryover, which is now at 1.700 bil. An increase in world corn trade was also forecast which is expected to reduce the world corn ending-stocks. The average price range was raised 10 cents to $4.00 to $4.40. Find the full report.

The pork market has pluses and minuses says Purdue livestock economist Chris Hurt, who says hog prices should exceed costs in the second and third quarters of the year before turning downward next winter and spring. Hurt suggests that the pork industry continue to make cuts in the breeding herd to help the supply meet the demand. Read his newsletter.

The pluses in the pork market will help push market prices into the low $50 range.
1) Hog prices should soon increase into their typical seasonal patterns.
2) The breeding herd and farrowing numbers are smaller than had been expected.
3) Canadian export hogs will drop by 2.3 mil. due to high production costs in Canada.

The minuses in the pork market will push production costs toward $49 by summer.
1) Reduced plantings and grain stocks will result in high prices for corn and bean meal.
2) Pork exports will drop 14% or 700 mil. lbs. compared to 2008, with Chinese cutbacks.

Nitrogen application #1. Nitrogen prices have been fluctuating, and prices may be substantially different from one supplier to another. Based on the price per pound you pay for nitrogen and what you have forward contracted the corn to sell for, use the N rate calculator. The nitrogen rate calculator will accommodate producers in IA, IL, IN, MI, MN, OH, & WI.

Nitrogen application #2. IL Extension specialists caution against applying ammonia under the row shortly before planting as well as applying an N solution close to germinating seeds. If applied in strip till, seedlings can be burned if the soil dries out. They recommend use of GPS or assisted steering to apply N between the rows.

Nitrogen application #3. The most efficient application is when the corn plant is ready to use the nitrogen, which decreases loss. The Extension specialists say, “Claims that some forms of N are "more available" than others, or that the plants "prefer" some forms, are often shaky.” Read more.

If you want uniform corn emergence, OSU Extension provides tips on corn planters:
1. Keep the planting speed within the range specified in the planter's manual.
2. Match the seed grade with the planter plate.
3. Check planters with finger pickups for wear on the back plate and brush.
4. Check for wear on double-disc openers and seed tubes.
5. Make sure the sprocket settings on the planter transmission are correct.
6. Check for worn chains, stiff chain links, and improper tire pressure.
7. Make sure seed drop tubes are clean and clear of any obstructions.
8. Clean seed tube sensors if a planter monitor is being used.
9. Make sure coulters and disc openers are aligned.
10. Match the air pressure to the weight of the seed being planted.
11. Follow lubricant recommendations when using seed-applied insecticides

82% of IL Bt corn was planted in 2008 with a refuge, according to an Extension survey of producers. But entomologists say that means 18% was not, and they are concerned that thousands of corn acres without a refuge will hasten insect resistance, not only to Bt toxins, but also to the accompanying seed treatments for many secondary insects.

Spring weather has not been bad, but less than ideal for corn planting, says Extension’s Emerson Nafziger. However, he says March corn may have suffered from freezing, light snow, and may not have enough reserves to survive. That means potential replanting. Looking at optimum planting dates from 2005-2008, maximum yields resulted from April 9 corn planting in northern and southern IL, and April 19 in central IL.

What about delayed planting? Nafziger says, “Delays in planting until past the end of April, though they cost some yield, do not automatically mean large yield losses. Planting even two or three weeks after the optimum date might well produce higher yields than planting into cool, wet, compacted soils closer to, or before, the optimum date.” Read his weekly newsletter.

Rosettes at this time of year are not state fair ribbons but horseweeds (marestail) popping up in no-till fields, and IA Extension’s Bob Hartzler says the best time to control them and other winter annuals is as soon as you can get into the field. The more mature they are the more expensive they are to control, and may go to seed before a burndown.

Hartzler says adding a residual herbicide with a burndown treatment should give a clean seedbed, and may free you up from having to apply a herbicide at planting. He adds, “It is unrealistic under most situations to expect a pre-emergence herbicide applied several weeks prior to planting to provide full-season control. However, if properly selected for the weeds present in the field, the early application should allow the post-emergence application to be delayed long enough to require only a single post application.”

A timely application of an herbicide to wheat includes weather, according to IL weed specialist Aaron Hager, “Applications made to actively growing weeds and during periods of warm air temperatures generally provide more effective and complete weed control as compared with applications made during cold, cloudy conditions.”

Hager also warns against automatically applying an herbicide with liquid nitrogen. He says read the label, because, “Not all herbicides allow applications with liquid nitrogen as the carrier, and those that do might have specific recommendations with respect to including or excluding other spray additives or their application rates.” Hager provides an application rate chart.

A fungicide treatment comes already applied to RR2Yield varieties from Monsanto, but what about its use on other varieties. IL Extension’s Carl Bradley recommends it for poor quality soybean seed to improve the stand uniformity, but not improve germination. He also says it provides brief protection from pythium, phytophthora, rhizoctonia, and fusarium, particularly if the beans are planted in April or early May or in cool, wet soil.

Soybean producers will want to vote during May on whether or not the Secretary of Agriculture should conduct a referendum on the soybean check-off program. Cast ballots at FSA offices between May 4 and May 29. Ballots can also mailed or faxed or obtained via the Internet. A referendum will be held if 10% of the 589,182 US soybean producers vote yes during May balloting.

“Surprisingly as it may be,” MO livestock economists say their beef demand index for Dec-Feb was up 3.4% from a year earlier. “We do not have the data to accurately separate beef demand for steaks and roasts from hamburger. We believe the strong demand is for hamburger. Cull-cow slaughter was up as well as imported beef for January. Most of the weakness in beef demand is at the white-tablecloth restaurants.”

Mark your calendar for the National Small Farms Conference, Sept. 15-17 in Springfield, IL. Topics include USDA assistance to small farms, alternative enterprises, building community support, sustainable farming systems, business management, energy. Register here.

Posted by Stu Ellis on 04/10 at 01:55 AM | Permalink

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