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Friday, July 10, 2009

Cornbelt Update—UPDATED


Cornbelt 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.

Report day. USDA’s July Supply-Demand Report raised production to 12.290 bil. bu. in correlation with the increased acreage from the June 30 report. The 355 mil. bu. increase will be felt in higher ending stocks which are projected at 1.550 bil. bu. USDA raised feed use by 50 mil. bu. but lowered food and industrial use by 35 mil. Some 55¢ was clipped from both ends of the national average price range, which is now estimated at $3.35 to $4.15 per bu. Read more.

Overall corn demand will be down, in part from lower demand for gasoline that will cut ethanol demand. USDA reported higher profit margins for ethanol producers, but lower use will help add 170 mil. bu. to carryover stocks. Corn exports were raised 50 mil. bu. to 1.950 bil. bu.

Increased soybean production will provide 3.260 bil. bu. for the coming marketing year, and with increased exports and crush, the carryover is projected at 250 mil. bu. The season average price for beans was cut 70¢ to a range of $8.30 to $10.30. Soybean exports are estimated at 1.275 bil. bu., up slightly from June because of increased demand. For the old crop, carryover was left at 110 mil. bu.

ACRE assistance is being provided from a variety of sources for farmers and landowners who are still a bit foggy about the details of the program and uncertain if it will be beneficial this year. The deadline for signing up for 2009 benefits is August 14.
1) Kansas State—Internet-based seminar scheduled for August 4 at 7 p.m.
2) University of Illinois—Internet-based ACRE presentation
3) Ohio State—series of slides, papers, and examples from economist Carl Zulauf.
4) USDA—series of Internet files and fact sheets on details of the ACRE program.
5) Iowa State—ACRE fact sheet and decision aid that estimates payments.
6) Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) ACRE decision aid.
7) University of Minnesota--ACRE Fact sheet and worksheet decision aid.

Prepayment for inputs used to be a tool for adjusting expenses on your IRS Schedule F, but IL ag lawyer Jerry Quick says it is now becoming a requirement to get access to inputs and guarantee volume needed. Speaking to a farmer conference, Quick warned in the case of bankruptcy of the input supplier, a farmer who has submitted a prepayment would be an unsecured creditor. He said ensure that you have good documentation about the purpose of the prepayment, amount of the input being purchased, and any delivery arrangements, and if the product was found in a warehouse, access might be easier.

With current production costs, you may find yourself making an appointment with a lender well before you ever anticipated. If so, prepare yourself ahead of time. Economist Danny Klinefelter at Texas A & M suggests being prepared to answer these questions:
1) How much money will you need, not just now, but over time?
2) What will the money be used for, and lifestyle or old debt, are not good answers.
3) How will your overall financial position be affected by the proceeds of the loan?
4) What collateral will be used to secure the loan and what will its value be over time?
5) How will alternative outcomes affect your ability to repay the loan as expected?
6) What risk management measures will you implement to protect the loan?

El Nino trade winds have stopped and reversed in the western Pacific, slowing development of that weather maker. IA State climatologist Elwynn Taylor says it is uncertain if the pattern will increase, and he is calling it neutral through August. Taylor says that means there is a 60% chance of drier than usual weather through September and that would not be bad if the temperature remains below the trend line.

Elwynn Taylor says the Cornbelt is generally caught between two frontal systems that have cut off any flow of weather from the Gulf of Mexico, and that leads him to predict only a 20% chance of having to treat for Asian soybean rust. Taylor notes the Drought Monitor shows drought is beginning in MN & WI, but should not spread further.

Wet and cloudy weather give a mixed message to a corn plant says IL crop specialist Emerson Nafziger. Read more.
1) Higher kernel numbers result from normal to above-normal rainfall in July.
2) Less photosynthesis and sugars cut the processes of pollination and kernel set.
3) Wetness also can encourage leaf disease development.

Vandals did not use an old ear notcher for hogs to decorate your corn leaves, says Purdue corn specialist Bob Nielsen. But he says the curious notches on some corn leaves seem to be linked by genetics more than anything else. The notches occurred while leaves were growing about the V7 stage, and occurred because of rapid growth, not vandals or insects. The leaves apparently were stuck in the plant and damaged on rapid emergence.

Stressed corn—from lack of moisture—will drop yield after 4 days of stress:
1) 5-10% yield drop at the 12-14 leaf stage when the plant begins to flower.
2) 10-25% yield drop during the period of tassel emergence.
3) 40-50% yield drop during silk emergence when ear is trying to grow rapidly.

Japanese beetles have invaded many fields, defoliating bean leaves and destroying corn tassels and silks. Read more.
1) Spray when defoliation hits 30% before bloom and 20% between bloom and pod fill.
2) Spray when beetles reach 3+ per ear and begin to clip silks during pollination.

Corn rootworm larvae may have been loafing if the analysis by Purdue specialists is correct, since they have registered less root feeding and damage than was expected. They say larval populations are down, for one thing. But they also say the larvae are at peak growth currently, and could be eating more, which will show up later as lodged corn.

Corn rootworm adults are beginning to emerge, which means root feeding is coming to an end, but silk clipping and egg laying will just begin. IL entomologists say rescue treatments are warranted if there are 5+ adults per plant and pollination is incomplete.

The wide variation in corn maturity will keep the corn rootworm beetles well fed, believe the Purdue entomologists. The early beetles only had leaves to feed on and will cause no damage. But areas with large populations will see the later planted fields suffering the most damage from silk clipping, and should be regularly scouted.

Are you applying a foliar fungicide on corn? Extensive research in the Cornbelt has occurred along with increasing applications by farmers, with no definitive data that says either do it or don’t do it. IL specialist Carl Bradley says, “The bottom line is that when disease pressure is high enough to reduce yields, most of the fungicide products available for corn will do a good job of protecting against diseases and yield losses.” Read a summary of the research.

Also weighing in on the fungicide issue are Iowa researchers who warn about potential problems with soybeans that follow corn, which has been treated with a foliar fungicide. They report that corn residue bearing the fungicide takes longer to break down, which can be detrimental to the planting of no-till soybeans the following year.

A cadre of specialists from Iowa State is casting doubt on the benefits of combining insecticide and fungicide, which is a service being offered by some crop protection suppliers. Their complaint is that one of the two may not be needed, leading to a waste of money, or in the case of insecticide, destruction of beneficial insects that eat aphids.

Crazytop develops were soils have been flooded after planting and before the 5-leaf stage, and is a disease caused by a bacteria. Iowa State plant pathologists suggest destroying the plants by hand and reducing the buildup of the bacteria in the field.

Dry regions of the Cornbelt may want to scout for two spotted spider mites in soybean fields. OH agronomists are warning that soybeans under moisture stress can be further damaged by mites, unless fields are scouted, and sprayed with rescue insecticides.

Soybean aphids are scattered sporadically around the Cornbelt with some heavy pockets and nearly unseen in other areas. However, IL entomologist Mike Gray says despite low densities in spots, populations can increase rapidly in the absence of natural enemies. So when scouting for aphids, tally the lady beetles and lacewings in your fields also.

Soybean diseases are showing up in scouting, says MO agronomist Laura Sweets.
1) Fusarium: lower leaves yellowing, stunting, main tap root tends to rot away.
2) Rhizoctonia: lower leaves yellowing, stunting, poor root development.
3) Phytophthora: plant off color, wilted, dark brown discoloration on main stem.
4) Bacterial blight: hail damage, small black lesions with light green halo.
5) SDS: leaves in upper to mid canopy have yellow irregular interveinal blotches.
6) Downy mildew: upper leaf bright yellow, lower leaf has downy mildew fungus.

Grain bin moisture should be regularly monitored for good insect control. It may take a week or more of aeration to move a moisture layer through and out of the grain mass, depending on the volume of air moved, the bin size, and the temperature of the air.

Your stored grain may be teeming with life, particularly Indian meal moth in the top 12 in. of the bin if you discover moist, sour smelling grain with thick webbing. If that describes your bin, remove that grain and treat the bin with an insecticide, including the use of pest strips from the ceiling. If you have other vermin, then either use the grain for feed or fumigate it. That may require a professional who applies poisonous gases.

Sprayer calibration should include careful selection of droplet size to achieve accurate, safe, and efficient application of crop protectants. KS ag engineer Bob Wolf says the droplet size created by a nozzle becomes very important when it comes to coverage or protecting nearby areas from the spray. He says nozzle makers are adding droplet size charts. Read more.

Internet innovation at Purdue will be assisting pesticide applicators more easily find problem areas for inadvertent spray drift. A new website can be checked by IN applicators for sensitive sites, such as beehives, certified organic fields, fruits, fish farms, grapes, floriculture or greenhouse production, organic livestock, nursery crops, pumpkins and melons, and tomatoes and vegetables. Sensitive fields or habitats can be located on the Web site by entering an address, town or ZIP code.

Initial pork profitability may come more from lower feed costs than from higher market prices says Purdue’s Chris Hurt. That is because corn and soybean meal prices are dropping faster than production numbers, which are keeping markets depressed. Although farrowing intentions are down 3% this summer and 2% this fall, they are being offset by increased litter size and higher marketing weights. Read his newsletter.

Chris Hurt doubts there will be much reduction in the pork supply, since sows that are culled are the least productive and with lower feed prices in coming months, higher weights will be put on at a lower cost per pound. He is expecting production to drop only 1% over the coming year, which will keep prices depressed for the balance of 2009.

With lower costs of corn, Hurt calculates production costs about $48 per live cwt for the summer and possibly down to $46 for the fall quarter. He’s projecting 2010 production costs to be in the same neighborhood. Hog prices are expected to average in the upper $40’s for the rest of the year, slowly moving into the $50’s by summer of 2010. Hurt says that means $5-7 losses per head this year, and black ink possibly in late winter.

Livestock producers, who lost livestock due to adverse weather, can apply for USDA benefits beginning July 13. Livestock lost as far back as calendar year 2008 will be eligible for benefits if applications are submitted by Sept. 13. Livestock lost during 2009 will also be eligible for indemnification benefits if the claim is filed by Jan. 30, 2010. Contact FSA offices for details and ask about the Livestock Indemnity Program.

Grandpa told you to listen to the corn grow, and this was a good year to not only hear, but also see it grow. KY corn researchers put a tape measure on a corn plant beginning June 3 and ending July 4. It grew between 1.4 and 5.0 in. per day, and grew an average of 10% of its height each day during the V6 stage. Leaves grew 2.5 to 4.0 in. per day, which the researchers calculated to be at a speed of 2.5 to 3.8 millimeters per hour.

Posted by Stu Ellis on 07/10 at 03:08 AM | Permalink


Farmgate is a great source of timely information. You are to be commended for having access to so many sources and for your dedication to putting it online, accurately and in a very timely fashion. Yours is the best source of daily information from the University. JEC

Posted by: John Croft at July 10, 2009 3:03PM

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