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USDA report sets stage for “short crop, long tail”

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile 

USDA this morning estimated the 2012 U.S. corn yield at 146 bushels per acre. Many would call this a surprise when you look at the average trade estimate was 154. The range was 147 to 162. Last month the corn yield was estimated at 166 bushels per acre. Minutes before the report was released December corn was trading at $7.28, up 9.5 cents. At 8:45 am December corn was trading at $7.44, up 25.5 cents.

 

The U.S. soybean yield was estimated at 40.5 bushels per acre. The average trade estimate was 42.3 bushels per acre. The range was 41.3-43.9. The estimate last month was 43.9 bushels per acre. At 8:45 November soybeans were $15.70 up 31.5 cents. Just prior to the report soybeans were $15.54.

Weeks prior to this report many traders had a target of $7.40 for December corn. Today in early trading December corn had reached $7.48.

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USDA report sets stage for "short crop, long tail"

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile 

USDA this morning estimated the 2012 U.S. corn yield at 146 bushels per acre. Many would call this a surprise when you look at the average trade estimate was 154. The range was 147 to 162. Last month the corn yield was estimated at 166 bushels per acre. Minutes before the report was released December corn was trading at $7.28, up 9.5 cents. At 8:45 am December corn was trading at $7.44, up 25.5 cents.

 

The U.S. soybean yield was estimated at 40.5 bushels per acre. The average trade estimate was 42.3 bushels per acre. The range was 41.3-43.9. The estimate last month was 43.9 bushels per acre. At 8:45 November soybeans were $15.70 up 31.5 cents. Just prior to the report soybeans were $15.54.

Weeks prior to this report many traders had a target of $7.40 for December corn. Today in early trading December corn had reached $7.48.

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USDA working with retailers to verify food safety

When buying produce, many consumers note food safety as one of the most important things they consider.  Consumers prefer produce backed by trustworthy verified and certified processes. As a result, more retail and foodservice sectors are requiring growers to undergo food safety audits.  In an effort to meet this demand, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Fresh Products Division, which provides voluntary, audit-based programs utilizing Good Agricultural Practices and Good Handling Practices (GAP/GHP), recently reached an agreement with Wal-Mart.

The division will now provide auditing services to verify farmers are meeting the requirements of the Produce GAP Harmonized Food Safety Standards along with Wal-Mart-specific food safety requirements. The integration of our auditing services into retail purchasing processes helps local farmers meet the quality assurances needed to sell their fruits and vegetables to nationwide chains, such as Wal-Mart.

“Having the right tools and partners to ensure the safety of our food is critical,” said Frank Yiannas, Vice President of Food Safety for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

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Soybeans reaching critical point for moisture

By Matt Reese

With hope gone for high corn yields in many parts of the state, attention has shifted to the needs of the soybean crop as it enters the time of the growing season when moisture is most needed. Soybeans have pushed through the tough conditions in many fields but will still need some rain to perform in 2012.

“With most of the state experiencing at least moderate drought conditions and high temperatures, soybeans are exhibiting

symptoms of water stress. A visual indication of soybean water stress includes flipped leaves,” said Laura Lindsey, the new Ohio State University Extension soybean specialist. “The flipped leaves expose a silver-green underside which reflects light. In more severe cases, the outer leaves of the trifoliate will close together to reduce the leaf area exposed to sunlight and reduce water loss. Water-stressed soybeans will grow slower and have smaller leaves compared to soybeans growing with adequate soil moisture.”

The yield potential for soybeans is influenced by the number of pods per plant, the number of soybeans per pod and the seed size.

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Corn yield hopes hang on pollination success

Recent rains in some parts of Ohio may not be enough to stem the damage from high temperatures and drought conditions during corn pollination, according to an Ohio State University Extension specialist.

Pollination is the stage in corn development most sensitive to such stress conditions, said Peter Thomison, an OSU Extension agronomist.

Severe drought stress before and during pollination could cause a delay in silk emergence. If the delay lasts long enough, little or no pollen is available for fertilization when the silks finally appear, he said.

“When such delays in silking are lengthy, varying degrees of barrenness will result,” Thomison said. “This year it’s likely that silk emergence will be delayed in many drought-stressed corn fields unless we get some significant rain very soon.”

Thomison, who is also a professor in Ohio State’s Department of Horticulture and Crop Science, said the drought may be the major headline of the 2012 corn crop.

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Alfalfa can handle the drought

Ohio growers may find that although alfalfa can weather the current extreme heat and drought conditions from a quality standpoint, there will be less alfalfa overall because of the lack of moisture the region continues to experience, an Ohio State University Extension educator said.

An established alfalfa plant has a deep taproot allowing it to extract moisture from the soil and continue growing even under drought conditions, said Rory Lewandowski, an agricultural and natural resources educator for OSU Extension.

And while the plants can go into a prolonged dormancy in drought conditions and still recover when it rains, the short-term forecast calls for continued hot, dry weather, he said. So growers whose plants have regrowth beginning to bloom at 4 to 6 inches need to know that there will be little additional tonnage gained by delaying harvest, Lewandowski said.

“The bottom line is that drought-induced moisture stress can cause plants to move through maturity stages quicker, and plants bloom sooner on fewer and shorter stems,” he said.

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Billy Pontius, Fairfield County, July 9

 

“We haven’t had rain since Friday June 29 and we only got four tenths out of that. It is crucial right now. I have checked some pollination and there are some pretty serious problems in pollination on some of this corn. Being 100 degrees and pollinating is not good. It has been pollinating for about two weeks. I would say maybe 20% never even pollinated. Even if it did pollinate, if it doesn’t get any rain it will abort the kernels.

“A lot of the corn is fired and is turning brown halfway up the stalk. Some plants may not even have an ear on them. A substantial amount of rain is the only thing that is gong to help this corn. Even then, I think we’d be lucky to hit 150-bushel corn. It is hard to guess, but I would say 100- to 150-bushel corn would catch most of my crop this year.

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Mark Thomas, Stark County, July 9

“We set a record high of 101 on Saturday. It was windy and there was no rain. We haven’t had any of the devastating stuff, but we are extremely dry. On July 5, we got less than a half a tenth and that is all we had in the last couple of weeks. Some of the crops are looking really stressed. We have some corn that has the gray pineapple look to it and there is no rain in the forecast. I am optimistic that, with these cool nights, we’ll get a good dew to help hold things over and back some of the stress off a little bit. We’re not to total devastation yet like some people are with hail and winds.

“Corn in the area has tasseled and is pollinating. Most of that corn is about 75% or 80%, but it needs moisture to pollinate. Our corn is maybe a week away from tasseling.

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Mark Dowden, Champaign County, July 9

 

“We got some rain out of the wind storm. We got an inch to two inches out of that. The worst wind went through south of us. A farmer down around St. Paris lost four 40,000-bushel bins and one 30,000-bushel bin. His dryer, augers and 28% tank blew over. A bunch of buildings lost roofs. The wind laid the corn over is some areas. It was bad in a few spots.

“The corn is all tasseled out and pollinating right now. At least it isn’t 100-degrees right now and we’re supposed to stay in the 80s this week. Some of it was pollinating in the 100-degree temperatures, though. Time will tell, but we’re going to have to have some more water. I don’t know how much we’ve been hurt. It is hard to tell.

“The corn was curled pretty good even just a couple of days after the last rain.

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Jim Herring, Wyandot County, July 9

“We had 80-plus mile an hour winds, a little bit of rain and a lot of tree damage on June 29. There were a lot of farm machine sheds and grain systems in the area that got damage. We didn’t have any structural damage. We lost power for 28 hours, but there were people without power for several days. It rained seven or eight tenths. The corn was probably too short to blow over.

“Corn is in spotty pollination. The crop is pretty darn short. That rain we got helped for a day and that is about it. I think we’re going downhill fast with yields. I think that anybody who is still talking about good corn yields in this area is either dreaming or not looking too closely. All of the early corn is well under way with pollination. The later planted corn is not there yet. I think that it will be there in the next week or so.

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Ohio’s Crop Progress – July 9th, 2012

OHIO CROP WEATHER HIGHLIGHTS

The average temperature for the State was 82.4 degrees, 10.0 degrees above normal for the week ending Sunday, July 8, 2012. Precipitation averaged 0.63 inches, 0.15 inches below normal. There were 174 modified growing degree days, 21 days above normal.

Reporters rated 6.1 days suitable for fieldwork during the seven-day period ending Friday, July 6, 2012. Topsoil moisture was rated 49 percent very short, 39 percent short, 12 percent adequate, and 0 percent surplus.

FIELD ACTIVITIES AND CROP PROGRESS WEEK ENDING SUNDAY JULY 8th, 2012

Conditions throughout the state are hot and dry. The heat and dry weather during the last number of weeks has continued to put significant stress on both crops and livestock. Field activities for the week were baling hay and harvesting wheat and oats.

As of Sunday July 8th, 41 percent of corn was silked (tasseled), which was 40 percent ahead of last year and 29 percent ahead of the five-year average.

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Ohio's Crop Progress – July 9th, 2012

OHIO CROP WEATHER HIGHLIGHTS

The average temperature for the State was 82.4 degrees, 10.0 degrees above normal for the week ending Sunday, July 8, 2012. Precipitation averaged 0.63 inches, 0.15 inches below normal. There were 174 modified growing degree days, 21 days above normal.

Reporters rated 6.1 days suitable for fieldwork during the seven-day period ending Friday, July 6, 2012. Topsoil moisture was rated 49 percent very short, 39 percent short, 12 percent adequate, and 0 percent surplus.

FIELD ACTIVITIES AND CROP PROGRESS WEEK ENDING SUNDAY JULY 8th, 2012

Conditions throughout the state are hot and dry. The heat and dry weather during the last number of weeks has continued to put significant stress on both crops and livestock. Field activities for the week were baling hay and harvesting wheat and oats.

As of Sunday July 8th, 41 percent of corn was silked (tasseled), which was 40 percent ahead of last year and 29 percent ahead of the five-year average.

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Assessing corn after a tough early growing season

By Jeff Rectenwald, Technical Agronomist for Monsanto

Recent strong storms in Ohio brought high winds and some much needed rainfall in several parts of the state. The rainfall was critical in many parts of Ohio where the corn and soybeans were showing strong signs of drought and heat stress. Since April 1, many parts of Ohio have received 5 to 10 inches of rainfall, which is 3 to 4 inches below the 5-year average. Growing Degree Days (GDD’s) for the same period have accumulated 1,200 to 1,300 units, which is 175 t0 200 GDD’s ahead of normal. We use the GDD’s to track the overall progress of corn development. I like to consult the numbers weekly to track the progress of rainfall and temperature in the state. You can also track these at the Ohio page on the National Agricultural Statistics Service website.

 

Why is my corn short?

Corn planted earlier in the season tends to be shorter than later planted corn because the daylength is shorter April 1 compared to May 1.

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SCI to offer EverGol Energy fungicide

Seed Consultants, Inc. will offer EverGol Energy fungicide seed treatment on Supreme EXbrand soybean varieties for the 2013 growing season.

EverGol Energy fungicide seed treatment from Bayer CropScience will allow Seed Consultants’ customers access to a state-of-the-art seed treatment fungicide. This new seed treatment can provide long-lasting protection against Rhizoctonia as well as other fungal diseases.

“EverGolEnergy fungicide seed treatment will offer our customers increased seed treatment choices as well as improved protection against disease, ultimately providing enhanced crop growth and early season vigor,” said Matt Hutcheson, Product Manager for Seed Consultants.

This improved early season growth will allow for more efficient use of water and nutrients by soybean plants. EverGol Energy fungicide seed treatment provides protection against a broad spectrum of early season diseases through multiple modes of action, while incorporating a new mode of action. The protection offered by this next generation technology contributes to uniform stand establishment and seedling development under disease pressure.

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Drought intensifies nematode damage

The drought is intensifying nematode damage in farm fields, said a Purdue Extension nematologist. The needle nematode, soybean cyst nematode and lance nematode all are causing more problems for grain farmers in a year when crops already are stressed by extreme heat and lack of rain. Jamal Faghihi explained that nematodes, microscopic roundworms, can be found in fields every year, but the damage is worse during a drought season.

“The severity of symptoms shows because of the stress in plants,” he said. Faghihi stressed that nematodes and their damage will be found in patches in the fields. “They’re not going to be uniformly distributed all over the field,” he said.

Farmers should know if they are having nematode problems at this point in the summer.

“They’ve always been there if you looked hard enough,” Faghihi said. “Now, you can’t miss it.”

The needle nematode exclusively feeds on corn and grasses and is found in sandy soils.

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March 22nd corn just misses storm damage {July 3rd update}

On April 10, 2012 we reported on some of the first corn to come up in Ohio. It was planted on March 22, 2012 in Fayette County. We are going to follow that field along through to harvest. See the field’s complete progress from March 22nd up until now.

We checked in on the March 22 corn field this week after the storms that rolled through over the weekend. As you can see the field fared good considering just 8 miles away in Bloomingburg there was considerable hail damage to the crops there.

 


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NCGA sets new membership record

The National Corn Growers Association reached a new record high number of members, 37,447, at the end of June. The previous record of 37,231 was set in March 2012.

“The support for our work that this record demonstrates is inspiring,” said NCGA President Garry Niemeyer. “Increased membership makes it obvious that farmers value the activities and programs run by NCGA leadership and staff.  Now, we need to turn that membership into grassroots action that gets us to where we want to be as an industry.”

NCGA membership offers many benefits, including leadership opportunities, academic scholarships and discounts.  Members play an active role in organizational leadership by shaping the direction of activities and influencing public policy that affects all farmers.  Additionally, membership provides valuable discounts with companies such as Office Depot, Dell, Cabela’s, Ford and Enterprise, and special access to official NASCAR information, including discounted tickets and merchandise.

In addition to representing individual members, NCGA is part of a federation in cooperation with many state-level grower associations and checkoff boards. 

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Corn supply and demand uncertain

July 2012 corn futures are currently trading about $1 below the peak reached in August 2011 but $1.40 above the low reached a month ago. December 2012 futures are trading $1.50 above the low of June 15, 2012, and within 15 cents of the high reached on August 31, 2011, said a University of Illinois agricultural economist.

“Much of the recent strength in corn prices has been associated with very hot, dry conditions in the central and eastern Corn Belt and indications that yield prospects have been reduced substantially in those areas,” said Darrel Good.

As much of the crop in the Corn Belt has or soon will enter the reproductive stage, the market will continue to try to determine production prospects. Moreover, the market is assessing the likely strength of demand to determine what price is needed to balance potential supply with likely consumption, he noted.

“On the demand side, corn exports continue to lag behind the pace needed to reach the USDA projection of 1.65 billion bushels for the current marketing year.

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Marketing strategies for a dry 2012

Drought conditions could hit farmers in the pocketbook in more ways than one, Purdue Extension agricultural economist Chris Hurt said.

Not only could water-starved corn and soybean crops produce smaller yields and cut into farmers’ revenues, but they also could force some growers who signed future delivery contracts with grain buyers to buy back some bushels they are unable to supply, Hurt said.

“We’ve been hearing of producers calling their grain managers and talking with them about the possibilities of dealing with these yield reductions,” Hurt said. “Right now it’s hard to say what will happen because nobody knows where grain prices are going to go.”

With some parts of the Eastern Corn Belt now nearing a month without significant rainfall and the critical pollination phase of corn either already started or about to begin, large crop losses appear likely for some farmers. Those losses would be especially painful for farmers who sold a large percentage of their anticipated corn crop this spring in forward cash contracts.

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