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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Corn & Soybean Planting Date Recommendations

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Corn & Soybean Planting Date Recommendations
Emerson Nafziger, Extension Agronomist - University of Illinois

Coming up, we’ll hear some planting date recommendations from Emerson Nafziger. Todd Gleason reports the University of Illinois agronomist is surprised by the consistency between corn and soybeans.

The University of Illinois has conducted planting date…
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The University of Illinois has conducted planting date studies for decades. Emerson Nafziger smiles to himself when he says he’s been here for more than a couple of them. It’s the last 10 years he says that has really changed things.

Nafziger :28 …as it probably was twenty or thirty years ago.

The big surprise we are finding is that corn and soybean responses are so similar. What I think has happened with genetic improvement in both crops is that they have both become more stress tolerant and resilient. Consequently, late planting is not quite so damaging to yield potential as it probably was twenty or thirty years ago.

Here’s the other thing. Nafziger says the old rule is that soybeans suffer less than corn from late planting. This meant farmers planted corn first and, only when that was completed, would soybean be sown. This is not the situation today says Nafziger.

Nafziger :24 …much the same for corn and soybeans.

Quote Summary - The fact is the two lines of yield decline, as you get into late May planting for corn and soybeans - as a percentage of maximum yield for a site - those two lines lay right on top of each other. Basically, it says priority for planting dates is pretty much the same for corn and soybeans.

The point being, when soil conditions are right - especially late in the planting season - there isn’t a reason to prioritize based on crop, corn or soybeans, but rather to just plant the field that is in the best condition first. This lengthens out the viable planting dates at the end of the season. A similar thing has happened at the front of the season, too, says Nafziger.

Nafziger :33 …pretty soon after that as fields are ready to plant.

Quote Summary - I think that today, with what we’ve found with corn and soybeans, sometime in mid-to-late April is really the best time to plant either corn or soybeans. I would be inclined to start with corn before the middle of April, but if I had two planters, I’d have the second one planting soybeans pretty soon after that as fields are ready to plant.

If you’d like to read more about the University of Illinois planting date studies for corn and soybeans, please look for Emerson Nafziger’s article on The Bulletin website. Search Google for bulletin-comma-university of Illinois.

Are Native Plants Better than Non-Native

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Are Native Plants Better than Non-Native
Chris Enroth, Extension Horticulture - University of Illinois
read blog article

The time of year has come to think about what plants you’d like to put in your yard and garden. Todd Gleason talks with University of Illinois Extension’s Chris Enroth about how he decides what to plant, and… what to constrain.

Are Cooking Oils Interchangeable

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Are Cooking Oils Interchangeable
Jenna Smith, Extension Nutrition & Wellness, University of Illinois
read blog article

As you read a recipe, you see it calls for canola oil, but all you have is olive oil. Do you reach for the canola or put on your shoes and head to the store? Todd Gleason talks with University of Illinois Extension’s Jenna Smith about the interchangeability of cooking oils.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Corn Prices Moving Forward | an interview with Todd Hubbs

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Corn Prices Moving Forward | an interview with Todd Hubbs
Todd Hubbs, Agricultural Economist - University of Illinois

May corn futures’ prices tumbled to the lowest price level since December during the week ending March 24. Large crop estimates from around the world placed downward pressure on the corn market despite some positive domestic consumption numbers in exports and corn used for ethanol. Still, Todd Hubbs from the University of Illinois is hopeful there could be some support left in the corn market over time.

read full article on farmdocDaily

Sunday, March 26, 2017

The American Robin: Living up to its Superhero Image

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The American Robin: Living up to its Superhero Image
Chris Enroth, Extension Horticulture Educator - University of Illinois

by Chris Enroth, University of Illinois Extension

After an exceptionally mild winter, I noted my first robin sighting about three weeks ago. During that initial observation, scores of robins had arrived in my yard. Spring is a time of year when the migratory American robin can be found scouring the earth in search of protein. Sipping on my coffee, wave after wave of robins hopped through the yard, stopping to cock their head, as if listening for worms in the soil below. Scratching and digging through my leaf mulch, these red-breasted thrushes, found quite a feast.




Our American Robin suffers from an unfortunate Latin/scientific name coincidence- Turdus migratorius. Thumbing through various literature, ornithologists with an impeccably matter-of-fact tone describe the origin of Turdus as Latin for “thrush.”

Though my first sighting of a robin was in late February, most likely they’ve been here all winter. According to Douglas Stotz with the Chicago Field Museum, robins are migratory birds. In fact, fifteen years ago most American robins were flying south for the winter. With increasingly warmer winters, robins are now year-round Illinois residents. Cornell’s Journey North map reveals that robins were sighted in Southern Canada on January 24.



American robins are one of the first songbirds to nest in the spring. The male’s song is what we often hear on these crisp mornings warding off competing males while drawing in female mates. The female builds her nest and lays her beautiful blue eggs, while the male watches over and provides food during the incubation (fourteen days) and fledgling stage (about two weeks).

American robin chicks are born completely featherless, blind and totally dependent on their mother and father to regulate their body temperature, food, and protection. Only about one-quarter of baby robins survive the summer. Predators abound seeking eggs or newly hatched nestlings. Housecats have become a problematic non-native predator of songbirds. Nest predators slither, walk, and fly and range from snakes to raccoons to jays and many others.

With such a high mortality rate, it is remarkable how the American Robin has succeeded in establishing across the entire North American continent. Robins can rear two to three broods per season and adults live an average lifespan of two years.

At this point, my son joined me at the breakfast table, watching the late-winter spectacle unfold of birds digging up various invertebrates from our yard and carrying them around in their beaks (including the signature earthworm). Upon pointing out the birds picking their way through our yard were robins, his eye lit up. “Like Robin from the movie?” (Referencing his growing Batman knowledge) “Yes,” I explain, “they could be considered protectors in the bird world.”

Being so large in comparison to other songbirds, the American Robin can produce one of the loudest songs. Not only do robins use their songs to attract mates, but they also have songs to sound the alarm of an approaching predator.

Biologists have found that robin songs are so pronounced, that other species of birds, squirrels, and deer respond to their alarm call. In a way, robins act as a scout. Foraging on the open ground leaves these birds open to many predators, so they must be vigilant. Often when trouble arrives, robins are the first to sound the alarm. Signaling to other wildlife to be on the lookout, run/fly away, or a call to action to thwart a stalking housecat or sneaky snake.

While the song of the American Robin is music to our winter ears, these birds carry far more than a cheery tune. Their warnings protect and rally those being preyed upon by cunning predators. The American Robin, our backyard superhero.

Historical Planted Acre Changes for Corn and Soybeans | an interview with Gray Schnitkey

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Historical Planted Acre Changes for Corn and Soybeans | an interview with Gray Schnitkey
Gary Schnitkey, Agricultural Economist- University of Illinois

Friday, March 31, 2017, USDA will release the Prospective Plantings report. The survey of U.S. farmers will estimate how many acres of corn and soybeans will be sown this spring. University of Illinois Agricultural Economist Gary Schnitkey talks with Todd Gleason about the historical changes in planted acres.



by Gary Schnitkey
see farmdocDaily post

At its annual Agricultural Outlook Conference in February, USDA projected that planted acres of corn would decrease from 94.0 million acres in 2016 to 90.0 million in 2017, a decrease of 4 million planted acres. At the same time, soybean acres are projected to increase from 83.4 million acres in 2016 to 88.0 million in 2017, an increase of by 4.6 million acres. Herein, we evaluate historical changes in acres across counties, thereby providing perspective on where likely 2017 acreage changes may occur.

U.S. Planted Acres

In 2016, planted acres to corn in the United States was 94.0 million acres (see Figure 1). This acreage level was the third highest number of planted acres since 2000, only being exceeded by 2012 (97.3 million acres) and 2013 (95.4 million acres). The 2017 projection of 90 million acres would be a 4.0 million acre decrease from the 2016 level. Plantings of 90.0 million acres would be about the same level as occurred in 2014 (90.5 million acres) and would be below the average planting for the last ten years.



In 2016, planted acres to soybeans was 83.4 million acres, the highest amount ever planted in the United States. Before 2014, planted acres to soybeans never exceeded 80 million acres (see Figure 1). Planted acres exceeded 80 million acres in each year since 2014: 83.2 million acres in 2014, 82.6 million in 2015, and 83.4 million in 2016.

In the following maps, acreage changes from 2011 to 2016 will be shown. In 2011, U.S. corn acres were 91.9 million, 1.9 million acres higher than in 2016. Reversing the corn acre increases during this five year period would go part way to reaching the decreases projected for 2017. The soybean acreage increase from 2011 to 2016 of 8.4 million represents twice the change projected from 2016 to 2017.
Corn Acre Changes

Figure 2 shows a map color coded to give changes in acres from 2011 to 2016. Counties colored blue had increases in acres, counties coded in orange had decreases in acres. Those counties that are yellow had essentially the same acres in 2016 as they did in 2011.



Several areas had pronounced increases. In particular, the northern Great Plains had sizeable increases. Between 2011 and 2016, North Dakota increased acres by 1.2 million, South Dakota by .4 million, and Minnesota by .4 million. Another area of sizable increase was Texas, with the planting .9 million more acres in 2016 than in 2011. Counties along the Mississippi River, especially in Arkansas, increased acres as well.

There were areas of notable decreases as well. Sizable decreases in corn acres occurred in Illinois. Between 2011 and 2016, planted acres in decreased by 1.0 million in Illinois. Indiana and Iowa had modest decreases as well.

Soybean Acre Changes

Figure 3 shows a map with planted acre changes for soybeans. Similar to corn, soybean acres increased in the upper Great Plans. Planted acres increased by 2.0 million acres in North Dakota, 1.1 million acres in South Dakota, and .5 million acres in Minnesota.



Other areas of significant increase were Illinois with a 1.1 million acres increase in planted soybeans. Planted acres also increased along the Mississippi River, parts of Kentucky and Tennessee, as well as areas in North and South Carolina.

Perspective on Changes for 2017

Areas with large acreage changes in the past likely will contribute in a significant way to acre changes from 2016 to 2017. These areas include the upper Great Plans, Texas, and the corn belt.

It seems conceivable that total corn and soybean acres could continue to increase in the upper Great Plains in 2017. Much of the acreage increases of corn and soybeans between 2011 and 2016 came from acres previously planted to wheat. In 2017, wheat acres could continue to decrease, leading to increases in corn and soybean acres. Whether corn acres will decrease while soybean acres increase in this region is an open question. One event that could lead to acre decreases is higher incidence of prevented planting. Prevented plantings were low in 2016, leaving open the possibility of increases in prevented planting acres in 2017.

Texas could see acreage shifts away from corn. Cotton prices look favorable, and an increase in cotton acres could contribute to fewer acres in corn.

Illinois and the corn belt in general could see shifts from corn to soybeans. Returns from crop budget suggest soybeans will be more profitable than corn (farmdoc daily, December 6, 2016), suggesting a shift is possible.

While budgets suggest the possibility, acre shifts have been slow in coming. Perhaps the most likely area where a shift will occur is where corn acres exceed soybean acres by a considerable margin. Corn acres divided by soybean acres exceed 1.0 in many counties in southern Minnesota, Iowa, northern and central Illinois, and western Indiana (see Figure 4). Bringing these areas back closer to a 50% corn - 5% soybean rotation, indicated by 1.0 corn divided soybean value, could increase profits suggesting that switches are possible.



Summary

Areas that experienced large acre changes in the past likely will be the ones where acres changes occur in 2017. This suggests focus on the upper Great Plains, Texas, and Illinois and the corn belt more generally. Continued corn and soybean acreage increases in the upper Great Plains seem reasonable to expect, except if prevented planting acres increase significantly. Texas could experience reduced corn acres. Budgets suggest switches to more soybeans from corn in the Midwest, although this is the case in previous years. Further indications of planting attentions will be received with the release of NASS’s Prospective Plantings report on March 31.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Building Extension 3.0


Kim Kidwell, Dean of the College of ACES - University of Illinois

Extension personnel facilitate the translation of many of the fantastic discoveries made at land-grant universities to people around the world. Oftentimes, this is the only way that this valuable information reaches people so they can make good decisions that improve the qualities of their lives. Kim Kidwell, Dean of the University of Illinois College of ACES, believes Extension embodies the essence of the land-grant mission because this is where transformation happens. She discusses, with Todd Gleason, how the future of Extension in the state of Illinois can provide the basis through which the discovery process can continue to help change people’s lives.

Read more from College of ACES Dean Kim Kidwell’s blog post here.

Building Extension 3.0

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Building Extension 3.0
Kim Kidwell, Dean of the College of ACES - University of Illinois

Extension personnel facilitate the translation of many of the fantastic discoveries made at land-grant universities to people around the world. Oftentimes, this is the only way that this valuable information reaches people so they can make good decisions that improve the qualities of their lives. Kim Kidwell, Dean of the University of Illinois College of ACES, believes Extension embodies the essence of the land-grant mission because this is where transformation happens. She discusses, with Todd Gleason, how the future of Extension in the state of Illinois can provide the basis through which the discovery process can continue to help change people’s lives.

Read more from College of ACES Dean Kim Kidwell’s blog post here.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Grain Stocks Soybean Report should be Uneventful

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Grain Stocks Soybean Report should be Uneventful
Todd Hubbs, Agricultural Economist - University of Illinois
read full farmdocDaily article

USDA, at the end of this month, will let us know how much of the nation’s soybean crop there is left in the bin. Todd Gleason reports it “should” be a fairly uneventful number.

Generally, Todd Hubbs says it is pretty…
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Generally, Todd Hubbs says it is pretty easy to figure out how many soybeans have been consumed. There is a regular reporting system for how many bushels are exported and one for how many are crushed. That second report, the crush, calculates how many soybeans are crushed in the United States into its two components. These are soybean meal and soybean oil. Hubbs, an agricultural economist at the University of Illinois, says the reports make it easy enough to calculate disappearance, consumption, usage, whatever you want to call, and consequently come up with a number that approximates how many bushels are left to use.

Hubbs :22 ….soybeans stocks number this year.

Quote Summary - I worked through some data and I’m saying about 1.6 billion bushels for the March 1 stocks for soybeans, barring some surprise in the seed, feed, and residual number. Still, that is such a small component of soybean use that I don’t think there will be a lot of surprising information in the March 1st soybeans stocks number this year.

Again, Hubbs, March 1 grain stocks figure for soybeans is 1.68 billion bushels. Here’s the math he used to get there.

Hubbs :42 …are going to have to consume about 1.23 billion bushels.

Quote Summary - Exports for the first quarter were 932 million bushels. For the second quarter, I have them pegged at about 721 million bushels. I have the second quarter crush at 491 million bushels. This brings the total crush for the first half of the marketing year to 976 million bushels. We’ve been crushing a really good rate, but we have a lot of soybeans. So, with USDA raising ending stocks to 435 million, if that number holds and we don’t drive those numbers down, and if the March 1 stocks number is 1.68 billion, it means the last half of the marketing year we are going to have to consume about 1.23 billion bushels.

Hubbs thinks that is a reasonable number. It depends, though, he says mostly on what happens in the export market through August.

Anticipating the March 1 Soybean Stocks Estimate | an interview with Todd Hubbs

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Anticipating the March 1 Soybean Stocks Estimate | an interview with Todd Hubbs
Todd Hubbs, Agricultural Economist - University of Illinois

by Todd Hubbs
read full farmdocDaily article

On March 31, the USDA will release the quarterly Grain Stocks report, with estimates of crop inventories as of March 1, and the annual Prospective Plantings report. For soybeans, the stocks estimate is typically overshadowed by the estimate of planting intentions. Usually, the quarterly stocks estimates for corn garners more interest because these reports reveal the pace of feed and residual use which is a large component of total corn consumption. The March 1 soybean stocks estimate this year may not provide much new information despite recent growth in marketing year ending stocks and concerns about the size of the South American crop… continue reading the full article by clicking here.

Friday, March 17, 2017

On the Value of Ethanol in the Gasoline Blend

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On the Value of Ethanol in the Gasoline Blend
Scott Irwin, Agricultural Economist - University of Illinois

Read farmdocDaily Article

There has been much debate and much written about the likely costs and benefits of including ethanol in the domestic gasoline supply. Costs and benefits fall into two major categories–environmental and economic (e.g., Stock, 2015). One economic consideration is the potential impact on domestic gasoline prices from augmenting the gasoline supply with biofuels. A second economic consideration, and one that has received the most attention, is the cost of ethanol relative to petroleum-based fuel. What has been missing from the analysis of the value of ethanol in the gasoline blend is an estimate of the net value of ethanol based on: i) an energy penalty relative to gasoline; and ii) an octane premium based on the lower price of ethanol relative to petroleum sources of octane.

This farmdocDaily article provides an analysis of that net value since January 2007.

Spring Lawn Care | How to Sow Grass Seed

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Spring Lawn Care | How to Sow Grass Seed
John Fulton, Extension County Director - University of Illinois

If you live in central Illinois you have a choice to make today. You can either decide to control the crabgrass in your lawn, or you can try to fix the dead or thin areas. Todd Gleason has more on the how-to..

Spring is about a month earlier than usual this year…
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Spring is about a month earlier than usual this year across a large part of the eastern United States. It definitely means now is the time to start doing some pre-season lawn care says University of Illinois Extension’s John Fulton. He’s in central Illinois where the time has come to control crabgrass or sow seed. He says you can’t do both, at least not in the same spot.

Fulton :16 …kill your germinating grass seeds.

Quote Summary - You want to either seed new grass or control crabgrass. You can’t do both in the same season. That’s number one because the same products that will kill germinating crabgrass seeds will kill your germinating grass seeds.

As for seeding grass, Fulton says, March 15 to April 1 is the recommended spring period in central Illinois. It’s a very narrow window, but with purpose. New grass seed needs time to germinate and develop a strong root system before hot weather arrives. The right type of seed to use varies. Sunny locations do well with Kentucky bluegrass, while shaded areas tend to do better, he says, with red or chewings fescue. Perennial ryegrass provides quicker germination and cover.

Fulton :37 …we get that really hot weather during the summer.

Quote Summary - Most common, anymore, are blends. These are either two-way or three-way blends including Kentucky bluegrass which thrives in your sunny areas, one of the fine fescues - either red or chewings - which thrive in dry but shaded areas under your tress and along borders, and then a lot of them will have a perennial rye grass in them for a quick green up. Most people don’t realize Kentucky bluegrass can take up to four weeks to even germinate. So, that’s why it is so critical to get it germinated and the root system established before we get that really hot weather during the summer.

Grass seed blends help with environmental conditions, diseases, and insects. When one type struggles, the others can tolerate and help fill in areas in the lawn. The recommended seeding rates are four pounds per 1000 square feet in new seedings, and two pounds per 1000 in overseeding existing turf to thicken it up or help fill small bare areas.

Spring Lawn Maintenance and Seeding

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Spring Lawn Maintenance and Seeding
John Fulton, Extension County Director - University of Illinois

link to blog article

by John Fulton, University of Illinois Extension

Here we are in the first half of March, and the forsythia is in bloom. This marks the beginning of the crabgrass germination. It is an entire month early, when compared to average. Applications of crabgrass preventers are usually repeated in four to six weeks, but two repeated applications may be suggested this year due to the very early season.

Use of a crabgrass preventer is very effective, and the most common way to attack the problem. There are a few products out there, and they are often combined with fertilizer. They all basically kill small seeds as they germinate. They will also do the same with grass seed you have sown, so the two operations do not work together. If you sow seed, you live with the crabgrass for the year. Timing is critical for crabgrass control, and we may have already missed the first flush of germinating seed due to the very early season. Unless, the young seedlings get frozen.

As for seeding grass, March 15 to April 1 is the recommended spring period in our area. It’s a very narrow window, but with purpose. New grass seed needs time to germinate and develop a strong root system before hot weather arrives. The right type of seed to use varies. Sunny locations do well with Kentucky bluegrass, while shaded areas tend to do better with red or chewings fescue. Perennial ryegrass provides quicker germination and cover. Blending all three is a recommended practice, and you can even purchase blends already made up. The blends help with conditions, diseases, and insects. When one type struggles, the others can tolerate and help fill in areas in the lawn. The recommended seeding rates are four pounds per 1000 square feet in new seedings, and two pounds per 1000 in overseeding existing turf to thicken it up or help fill small bare areas.

Starting Transplants

Starting your own transplants can still be done for the warm loving plants such as tomatoes and peppers. We usually figure about six weeks from the transplant date for starting the seeds. The recommended outdoor transplanting time for these is going to be in May, after the frost-free date. You should use a sterile growing medium to start seeds in. There are several kinds of soilless germinating mixes, potting soils, peat cubes, and compressed peat pellets that are available. These media are generally free from insects, diseases, and weeds. Enough fertilizer is generally present in these to allow for three or four weeks of plant growth.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Even if Brazil has Big Corn Crop, US Still King

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Even if Brazil has Big Corn Crop, US Still King
Todd Hubbs, Agricultural Economist - University of Illinois

This month USDA predicted Brazilian farmers would raise a record sized corn crop. Even if they do, as Todd Gleason reports because the United States is far and away the biggest player on the world stage, one agricultural economist sees demand holding the price of corn steady.

Last fall U.S. farmers harvested a 15.1 billion…
1:39 radio
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Last fall U.S. farmers harvested a 15.1 billion bushel corn crop. By comparison, Brazilian producers will take in 3.6 billion bushels this year. At least that’s what USDA is predicting at the moment. Much of that crop has just been planted and there is a great deal weather between now and harvest time, three months from now, says Todd Hubbs, University of Illinois Agricultural Economist.

Hubbs :33 …lowered feed and residual use for old crop corn.

Quote Summary - Just like with any weather-related crop, the possibility is there for a bad crop year. I feel like that number could turn out. It really could. Even if it does, we are still the major corn producer in the world and lot of what is going to domestically does support corn prices moving forward. We’ve seen really strong corn use for ethanol. USDA raised that number another 10 million bushels. However, on the flip-side, they once again lowered feed and residual use for old crop corn.

The result of the changes to the U.S. corn balance sheet was a wash. Meaning there wasn’t a change in how much corn will be left over at the end of this marketing year. Still U of I’s Hubbs, despite two big corn crops, thinks there is hope.

Hubbs :05 …feels pretty strong in corn right now.

Quote Summary - I feel like the domestic market feels pretty strong in corn right now.

We’ll no more about how much underpinning strength there might be in the corn market March 31. USDA releases two reports that day. One will estimate how much corn has been used to feed livestock in the nation, and the other surveys how many acres of corn, and other crops, U.S. farmers expect to plant this year.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Brazil to Raise 3.6 Billion Bushels of Corn

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Brazil to Raise 3.6 Billion Bushels of Corn
Todd Hubbs, Agricultural Economist - University of Illinois

The United States Department of Agriculture has a put a pretty big number on the Brazilian corn crop. Todd Gleason reports it may be too big too soon.

USDA, in it’s monthly supply and demand…
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USDA, in it’s monthly supply and demand report for March, made special note of the corn crop in Brazil. This is because the agency dramatically increased the amount of corn the South American nation is expected to raise this year. It says, quote, “Brazil corn production is raised on increases to both projected area and yield. Reported first crop yields have been record high, while the rapid planting progress of second crop corn in the Center-West boosts expected area and yield prospects, allowing for greater crop development prior to the normal end of the rainy season” end quote. University of Illinois Agricultural Economist Todd Hubbs thinks the World Agriculture Outlook Board - the part of USDA that developed the numbers - may be getting ahead of itself.

Hubbs :38 …from a forgone conclusion in the corn crop.

Quote Summary - The USDA raised Brazilian corn production to 3.6 billion bushels. When you look into the world production numbers they raised acreage a little bit, but it was yield that generated a lot of this number. I understand there need to do that if they think this crop is coming on, but the safrina crop, that second crop of corn, there is a lot of weather risk involved in that corn crop. It is just in the ground. The idea that all those bushels are going to show up is far from a forgone conclusion in the corn crop.

It if does show up, Hubbs says that’s a lot of corn coming out of Brazil. However, he’s in a wait and see pattern. Hubbs, along with Illinois ag economists Scott Irwin and Darrel Good have been looking into the yearly variability of crops come out of South America. Their research is posted to the farmdocDaily website. He says it points to a great bit of downside and upside risk in Brazil’s second crop corn.

Nutrition and Kidney Stones

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Nutrition and Kidney Stones
Lisa Peterson, Nutrition and Wellness Educator - University of Illinois Extension

see blog post

It’s National Kidney month. Up next University of Illinois Extension’s Todd Gleason has some ways to avoid kidney stones.

About a half a million Americans will go…
2:57 radio
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About a half a million Americans will go to the emergency room this year doubled over in pain only to find out there’s not much to do except wait for the kidney stone to pass.

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease, kidney stones are hard, pebble-like, mineral deposits that form in one or both kidneys. Stones vary in size, shape, and composition. Some kidney stones are as small as a grain of sand, or as large as a pea. Kidney stones form when urine becomes highly concentrated allowing minerals to stick together forming the stones. Because of the variation in size and shape of stones, some kidney stones move through the urinary tract with little to no discomfort. Larger kidney stones can block urine flow in the kidneys, ureter, bladder, or urethra causing severe pain and may require surgery. Typically, kidney stones do not cause long-term damage. There are few things you can do to avoid kidney stones says University of Illinois Nutrition and Wellness Educator Lisa Peterson. Drinking more water is a good start.

Peterson :30 …slowly get a little more fluids in your body.

Quote Summary - The recommendation is about 3 to 4 liters of fluid which seems like alot. That’s 12 to 16 cups of fluids per day. It should mainly be water, but it does count juice and coffee. I tell people to go slowly into it. They say 12 to 16, so maybe aim for 8 and work your way up and slowly get a little more fluids in your body.

So, drink more water. You should also reduce your salt or sodium intake. The more sodium consumed the higher the risk of kidney stones. A high sodium diet increases the amount of calcium in urine.

Next, watch the oxalates.

Peterson :34 …watch how much them you are eating.

Quote Summary - Nuts, peanuts, rhubarb, spinach, beets, sweet potatoes, chocolate, okra, sweet chard, tea, soy products, and wheat bran are specifically high in oxalates. This does not mean completely cut out these healthy foods if you suffer from the common calcium oxalate kidney stones, but cutting down on consumption of foods high in oxalates or try combining them with food high in calcium. Watch how much them you are eating.

Research finds consuming high calcium foods such as milk, cheese, and yogurt with high oxalate foods helps the oxalates and calcium bind in the stomach and intestines before reaching the kidneys, making the formation of stones less likely.

You might just look to embrace the DASH Diet: Studies have found those who embrace the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet have a reduced risk for kidney stones. The DASH diet, endorsed by the American Heart Association, is rich in fruits, vegetables, and low in animal protein and fat.

2016 Corn and Soybean Yields in Perspective | an interview with Gary Schnitkey

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2016 Corn and Soybean Yields in Perspective | an interview with Gary Schnitkey

read the full article

The National Agricultural Statistical Service (NASS) recently released 2016 county yields for both corn and soybeans. In this article, maps are produced showing actual 2016 yields minus 2016 trend yields. Examination of these maps shows areas of above trend and below trend yields for 2016. Areas of above trend yields will have higher 2016 incomes relative to those areas with below trend yields.



Individual county trend yields are calculated using data from 1972 through 2016. A linear line is fit through these yields using ordinary least squares. The 2016 trend yields were based on these linearly fit relationships.

The following maps report actual minus trend yields. By calculating trend yields, the inherent productivity of the farmland is taken into consideration, and actual yields are stated relative to that productivity.






Schnitkey reports those areas with above trend yields will have relatively higher incomes than those areas with below trend yields. In 2016, lower grain farm incomes will be more pronounced in the eastern corn belt and particularly in Indiana and Ohio.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Another Way to Evaluate $3.40 Corn

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Another Way to Evaluate $3.40 Corn
Gary Schnitkey, Agricultural Economist - University of Illinois

Farmers across the United States aren’t very happy with the price of corn in Chicago. However, as Todd Gleason reports, a University of Illinois study shows they might reconsider what that price really means given the very good yields most harvested last fall.

Price times yield equals income…
2:17 radio
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Price times yield equals income. It’s a pretty simple calculation, but one that’s pretty easy to dismiss when the price is really low. Gary Schnitkey wondered a bit about that as it relates to the nation’s corn and soybean farmers. So, the University of Illinois agricultural economist took some time to figure out just how close to the countywide trend-line yield every corn and soybean growing county in the nation came last fall. Most, he says, especially for soybeans, were above trend.

Schnitkey :55 …yields were in New York and Pennsylvania.

Quote Summary - Yeah, so we used data from 1972 up to the present to fit our linear trends. There are areas that had below trends, most notably Ohio and Indiana. Ohio, particularly, had below trend yields on corn. The counties along the Mississippi River starting in Indiana and southern Illinois and going a way down through Arkansas, the boot-heal of Missouri, Mississippi, and Louisiana had below trend yields. New York and Pennsylvania had below trend yields. Many of the counties that had below trend yields on corn were in the eastern United States. Soybeans, on the other hand, most everybody had above trend yields. We had an exceptionally good yielding year on soybean. Areas where we had below trend yields were in New York and Pennsylvania.

Here’s an example of what all that means. Schnitkey uses Sangamon County Illinois where the trend-line yield for 2016 was a 194 bushels to the acre and the actual countywide corn yield was 222.

Schnitkey :28 …above trend yields we have higher incomes.

Quote Summary - That has a sizable impact on revenue, right. We took that above trend and multiplied by a $3.40 price, which is what WASDE is projecting right now, and found that just above trend added about $95 (per acre) compared to a normal trend-line yield for Sangamon County (Illinois). That is a significant amount. In those areas of the world with above trend yields we have higher incomes.

You may check out Gary Schnitkey’s county-by-county trend-line yield maps and yield differentiations for corn and soybeans on the farmdocDaily website.

Supply Side Pressures Old & New Soybeans

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Supply Side Pressures Old & New Soybeans
Todd Hubbs, Agricultural Economist - University of Illinois

The price of soybeans has been under pressure and, as Todd Gleason reports, this makes perfect sense to an agricultural economist from the University of Illinois.

When the United States Department of Agriculture…
1:51 radio
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When the United States Department of Agriculture released this month’s accounting of world soybean stocks, it didn’t surprise University of Illinois Agricultural Economist Todd Hubbs. It showed exactly what he’s been thinking about the soybean market.

Hubbs :37 …strong for soybean prices over the next few months.

I’ve been saying this for a few months now. I think a lot of people have felt this and that the price (of soybeans) hasn’t been reflecting it. On the one hand it is great because we locked in a very nice (crop insurance) price in February, but on-the-other-hand these beans are coming. It is going to put a lot of downward pressure on price. In particular, the March 31st Prospective Plantings report. I don’t know how much more weight we can put on this. It seems ridiculous. If we see a huge expansion of acreage in that report to soybeans then the downside is pretty strong for soybean prices over the next few months.

Hubbs says he has been budgeting in about 4 million extra acres of soybean in the United States this year. His estimate then is about 87.5 million acres. Anything above 89 million acres in the March 31 report he would consider huge.

Hubbs :31 …you could see a real shock to prices.

Quote Summary - That’s a lot of soybeans on top of what USDA says we are going to carryout at the end of this marketing year. So, any kind of normal yield year for U.S. soybean for the 2017/18 marketing year, there is going to be a lot of beans out there. If you’ve got old crop beans hanging around, then know that this March 31st Prospective Plantings report is coming and if it turns out the way a lot of observers think, you could see a real shock to prices.

USDA will release the Prospective Plantings report at 11am Friday, March 31st. If you’d like to read more from Todd Hubbs you may do that on the University of Illinois farmdocDaily website.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Big South American Crops Pressure Price | an interview with Todd Hubbs

Big South American Crops Pressure Price | an interview with Todd Hubbs
Todd Hubbs, Agricultural Economist - University of Illinois

by Todd Hubbs
read the full article

Corn and soybean harvest future prices moved sharply lower after the release of the USDA March World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report on March 9. December corn futures closed on March 10 at $3.87 per bushel, while November soybean futures moved down to close at $10.00 per bushel. Both prices closed at the lowest levels since late January. When combining the production forecasts for South America with projected changes in domestic use, the competition in export markets looks to be particularly tough for the next few months.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Illini Summer Academies Offer College Experience for High Schoolers

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Illini Summer Academies Offer College Experience for High Schoolers
Alvarez Dixon, Extension 4-H Youth Development - University of Illinois go.illinois.edu/illini4H

Your high schooler can go to college this summer for a few days. Not only that, but they can go to the University of Illinois. Todd Gleason has more on the Illini Summer Academies.

Illinois 4-H is proud to offer this hi-fidelity college exploratory experience on the University of Illinois campus. Participants attend academy sessions led by university professors and enjoy a variety of engaging activities that provide a taste of just how cool college life can be. Imagine getting to work alongside university professors while you’re still in HIGH SCHOOL! Imagine getting to hang out on a college campus. Imagine spending five days with kids your age from all across Illinois. That’s what happens at Illini Summer Academies, so stop imagining it and just do it! This program offers teens the opportunity to explore the University of Illinois campus and many degree programs and careers.

All academies feature project-based learning where youth are either conducting experiements, making something, or discovering some aspect of the world few people ever get to see. Learm more about each Academies by clicking the boxes below. It wouldn’t be college without lots of time for socializing, meeting new friends, and exploring campus. There are 15 different subjects to explore.

  • Aerospace Engineering $440
  • Animal Science $345
  • Anthropology $245
  • Chemistry $240
  • Digital Manufacturing & Rapid Prototyping $350
  • Electrical & Computer Engineering $445
  • Honeybees & Beekeeping $295
  • Human Development & Family Studies $255
  • Molecular & Cellular Biology $345
  • Vet Medicine $335
  • Ag Communications NEW $250
  • Journalism: Activating Your Voice of Inclusion in the Media NEW $220
  • The Science of Family Experiences NEW $255
  • Theatre & Fashion for Stage NEW $285
  • Theatre & Hip Hop NEW $285

Dates Dates are 4 PM Sunday June 25 through 11 AM Thursday June 29.

Eligibility The conference is open to youth who have completed 8th grade by June 2017 and and will be at least 14 by Sept. 1, 2017.

Location You’ll stay in the newer living quarters on campus, Bousfield Hall, 1214 South First Street, Champaign

Registration

Sign Up for 4-H Summer Camp is Open

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Sign Up for 4-H Summer Camp is Open
Curt Sinclair, Director 4-H Memorial Camp - Monticello, Illinois
twitter | https://twitter.com/commodityweek/status/837704329322725377

Sign up is open to everyone for 4-H summer camp in Monticello. As you’ll hear it is a great place to send your kids aged 8–16.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Hog Prices Outperform Expectations

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Hog Prices Outperform Expectations
Chris Hurt, Agricultural Economist - Purdue University Extension

There’s some good news for a change in the pork industry. Todd Gleason has more on the better prices with Purdue Extension Economist Chris Hurt.

Hey, some good news for a change… 2:03 radio
2:14 radio self-contained

Chris Hurt :09 …prices higher than earlier expectations.

Quote Summary - Hey some good news for a change. Pork producers are pleased to see prices higher than earlier expectations.

This comes after a really tough year, says Purdue’s Chris Hurt, that bottomed out in November with prices dropping to about $32 for a hundredweight. That’s like paying 32 cents a pound for your pork chop and your bacon - at least at the wholesale price. Now things are way better says the ag economist.

Hurt :08 …deep losses into profitability.

Quote Summary - Recently live prices have reached the mid-$50 and have pulled the industry out of deep losses into profitability.

The leading reason for the better on farm price is actually lower pork prices at the grocery store. The “law of demand” says people will buy more when prices are lower, and retail pork prices… have been lower say Chris Hurt.

Hurt :30 …versus a year ago.

Quote Summary - Retail pork prices peaked in 2014 because of reduced supplies due to the PED virus and have generally been falling since 2015. In the final quarter of 2016, retail pork prices dropped 26 cents per pound from the same period one year earlier. The downward movement continued in January of this year with retail pork prices down 22 cents per pound from one year earlier.

An additional issue contributing to the extremely low prices for pork producers last fall was the small portion of the retail dollar getting back to producers. Another way of saying this is that the margins for the processors and retailers remained substantially higher than normal. As a result, the portion of the retail pork dollar that got back to the producer dropped to 17.5 percent. This was lower than the previous record low of 18.4 percent in the financially tragic final quarter of 1998. As for the rest of 2017, Hurt thinks there is room for even lower retail prices and a higher percentage of that price getting back to the hog producer.