Tag Archives: corn

MANHATTAN, Kan. — Count Kansas State University agricultural economist Jesse Tack among those who recognize unique challenges created by the world’s rising demand for food and changing climates across the globe.

Tack and Ariel Ortiz-Bobea of Cornell University recently published a study in the journal, Environmental Research Letters, looking at the impact of climate change on corn yields in eight Midwestern states.

The study shows pretty clearly that corn varieties improved by modern technology have an upside for overcoming emerging climate-change concerns.

The researchers paired 35 years of climatic data with United States producers’ adoption of genetically engineered (GE) corn to find out if incorporating a new technology can offset the effects of higher temperatures and other weather impacts.

These and other technologies “may be a fruitful strategy for counter-balancing climate change,” according to the researchers. Recently developed genetic engineering techniques, such as CRISPR, are likely to play a large role moving forward.

Tack said there is more work to be done to understand potential effects with other agricultural crops and in countries where GE crops are accepted.

“The hope is that this is not just a one-time, one-shot technological gain,” Tack said. “We think we can continue to press the envelope and continue to innovate and improve crop yields.”

GE corn is thought to produce higher yields, and in 1996 – when U.S corn producers were first adopting varieties with these improved traits – that certainly held true. Tack said the study showed yield trends increased by nearly 70 percent during the rapid adoption period, from approximate gains of 0.94 percent per year prior to 1996 to 1.6 percent afterward.

“It’s really convenient when you have (a crop) that is highly produced in the U.S. across a wide range of locations and been produced for a long time,” Tack said. “That gives us a big enough data set that we can make estimates that we can feel comfortable with. And if that coincidentally is a crop that is pretty important from a global standpoint, you kind of have a nice mixture of this being something that is worth studying and you have the data to do it.”

Tack noted the study looked at corn yields from 1981 through 2015 in eight states and 500 counties. Then, looking at climatic conditions for those same years, the researchers built trend lines that gave them a better idea of how weather conditions affected yields before and after adoption of GE corn.

“The reason it got interesting is because if you had a string of good-weather events coinciding with the adoption of the GE crop, and you didn’t control for those factors in your analysis, you might end up saying, GE is just gangbusters,” Tack said.

On the other hand, “you might have really bad weather that coincided with GE adoption,” which could skew the impacts in the other direction, he said.

“You have a big debate in the research literature about whether GE adoption is even associated with yield gains,” Tack said. “Previous work that I was part of with Jayson Lusk at Purdue University and Nathan Hendricks at K-State suggested that if you don’t control for weather, you get that answer really wrong.”

Tack noted the current study assumes average weather during the growing season and  acknowledged that technology alone is not the answer to increasing yields in changing climates. Producers tend to adjust their management strategies based on weather or other climatic factors.

“We are not saying anything about increased probabilities of very severe droughts nor extreme events,” he said. “We’re always talking about an average growing season in terms of temperature and precipitation over the last 20-25 years, and then we’ve got these climate change models that will tell us how the temperature and the precipitation will change for an average growing season.”

The full study is available online at http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/aae9b8.

The nation’s row-crop harvest and winter wheat planting progress slowed last week, USDA’s National Ag Statistics Service said in its weekly Crop Progress report on Tuesday. The report is normally released on Mondays but was delayed this week due to Veterans Day.

Listen to Clay Patton with the report here: https://post.futurimedia.com/krvnam/playlist/crop-progress-report-1113-5473.html

As of Sunday, Nov. 11, 88% of the nation’s soybeans were harvested, up just 5 percentage points from the previous week. That was 5 percentage points behind the five-year average of 93%.

States with a significant amount of the soybean crop still in the field included Missouri with 30% of its soybeans still unharvested, Kansas with 26% of its crop unharvested and Arkansas with 22% of its soybeans still in the field, noted DTN Analyst Todd Hultman.

Corn harvest ended the week at 84% complete, up 8 percentage points from the previous week. Harvest lagged last year by 3 percentage points and was 3 percentage points behind the five-year average of 87%. Seventeen percent of the crop was still unharvested in Iowa, and 23% of Nebraska’s corn was still in the field, Hultman noted.

Winter wheat progress also remained behind normal last week. Eighty-nine percent of the crop was planted as of Sunday, behind last year’s 94% and also behind the five-year average of 94%. Winter wheat emerged, at 77%, was behind both last year’s pace of 83% and the average pace of 83%.

“Winter wheat planting reached 90% in Kansas, but is only 65% in Arkansas and 72% in Missouri,” Hultman said.

NASS estimated 54% of the nation’s winter wheat was in good-to-excellent condition, up 3 percentage points from 51% the previous week.

Seventy-three percent of the sorghum crop was harvested as of Sunday, behind 81% last year and 11 percentage points behind the five-year average of 84%.

Ninety-six percent of cotton had bolls opening as of Sunday, behind the average of 98%. Fifty-four percent of cotton was harvested, behind last year’s 63% and also behind the average pace of 61%. NASS has stopped reporting the condition of the cotton crop this season.

To view weekly crop progress reports issued by National Ag Statistics Service offices in individual states, visit http://www.nass.usda.gov/…. Look for the U.S. map in the “Find Data and Reports by” section and choose the state you wish to view in the drop-down menu. Then look for that state’s “Crop Progress & Condition” report.

National Crop Progress Summary
This Last Last 5-Year
Week Week Year Avg.
Corn Harvested 84 76 81 87
Soybeans Harvested 88 83 93 93
Winter Wheat Planted 89 84 94 94
Winter Wheat Emerged 77 70 83 83
Cotton Bolls Opening 96 94 98 98
Cotton Harvested 54 49 63 61
Sorghum Harvested 73 64 81 84

**

National Crop Condition Summary
(VP=Very Poor; P=Poor; F=Fair; G=Good; E=Excellent)
This Week Last Week Last Year
VP P F G E VP P F G E VP P F G E
Winter Wheat 3 9 34 45 9 3 9 37 42 9 3 8 35 46 8

The nation’s soybean harvest picked up speed last week, while the percentage of corn harvested ended the week equal to the five-year average, USDA’s National Ag Statistics Service said in its weekly Crop Progress report on Monday.

As of Sunday, Oct. 28, 72% of the nation’s soybeans were harvested, up 19 percentage points from the previous week but still 9 percentage points behind the five-year average of 81%. That was an improvement from the previous week when harvest lagged the average pace by 16 points.

“Judging by the slower pace of harvest, several states appear to have troubled areas, including Iowa, Kansas, Arkansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Wisconsin and the Dakotas,” said DTN Analyst Todd Hultman. “Soybean crop quality remains a concern in late 2018.”

Corn harvest ended the week at 63% complete, up 14 percentage points from the previous week but equal to the five-year average of 63%. That compares to the previous week when harvest was 2 percentage points ahead of normal.

“Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Missouri and Ohio are above their five-year average paces,” Hultman said. “Iowa, Nebraska and the Dakotas are below their five-year paces with Iowa corn 49% harvested.”

NASS is no longer reporting condition ratings for corn and soybeans for the 2018 growing season.

Meanwhile, winter wheat planting was 78% complete as of Sunday, behind 83% last year at the same time and also behind the five-year average of 85%. Winter wheat emerged, at 63%, was equal to last year’s pace but behind the average pace of 67%.

“Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas remain below their usual planting paces at 76%, 78% and 67% planted, respectively,” Hultman said. “Nebraska, Colorado and South Dakota are all in the mid-90s, nearly finished.”

NASS reported winter wheat condition for the 2019 crop for the first time on Monday, estimating 53% of wheat nationwide in good-to-excellent condition. That’s 1 percentage point above last year’s rating at the same time of 52% good to excellent.

Fifty-three percent of the sorghum crop was harvested as of Sunday, behind 57% last year and 13 percentage points behind the five-year average of 66%.

Ninety-six percent of rice was harvested as of Sunday, behind last year’s 99% and also behind the five-year average of 98%.

Ninety-one percent of cotton had bolls opening as of Sunday, behind the average of 94%. Forty-four percent of cotton was harvested, near last year’s 45% and also near of the average pace of 43%.

Cotton condition improved slightly from 34% good to excellent the previous week to 35% last week.

To view weekly crop progress reports issued by National Ag Statistics Service offices in individual states, visit http://www.nass.usda.gov/…. Look for the U.S. map in the “Find Data and Reports by” section and choose the state you wish to view in the drop-down menu. Then look for that state’s “Crop Progress & Condition” report.

National Crop Progress Summary
This Last Last 5-Year
Week Week Year Avg.
Corn Harvested 63 49 52 63
Soybeans Harvested 72 53 81 81
Winter Wheat Planted 78 72 83 85
Winter Wheat Emerged 63 53 63 67
Cotton Bolls Opening 91 88 92 94
Cotton Harvested 44 39 45 43
Sorghum Mature 94 89 95 95
Sorghum Harvested 53 46 57 66
Rice Harvested 96 90 99 98

**

National Crop Condition Summary
(VP=Very Poor; P=Poor; F=Fair; G=Good; E=Excellent)
This Week Last Week Last Year
VP P F G E VP P F G E VP P F G E
Cotton 18 16 31 27 8 13 20 33 26 8 5 10 30 41 14
Winter Wheat 3 11 33 45 8 NA NA NA NA NA 4 8 36 43 9

 More than a foot of rain fell on the Ted Guetterman farm in Johnson County during a three-day stretch from Oct. 5-7. At roughly the same time, nearly four inches of rain fell on the Roger Glenn family farm in Finney County, approximately 365 miles west.
The Guetterman family walked around in water standing atop their no-till fields and the Glenns were slip-sliding away on their no-till land. Combines chomping at the bit to harvest the bountiful corn, bean and milo crops sat dead still.
It would be two weeks before the machines would move and that depended on no additional moisture. Kansas grain farmers waited on pins and needles from the eastern border of Kansas to the Colorado border hoping for sunshine and dry weather.
Glenn, who’s farmed with his father-in-law for 32 years can’t remember a fall so wet. Fortunately, he’d harvested some of his corn crop and sowed his winter wheat crop. Only one bin full of milo came out of his fields before the deluge during the first week of October.
Rainfall on the family farm in Finney and Kearny counties sprawls 25 miles from one end to the other. Moisture ranged from 2.6-3.8 inches during this rain event.
“We try to keep a rain gauge on every quarter of land,” Glenn says. “This allows us to check actual rainfalls and remains the most accurate method of charting rainfall so we can determine what crop to plant on every field.”
An October rainfall of this magnitude results in excellent crops for the winter wheat and next year’s corn and milo planted in the spring of 2019. Water stands in some of the low spots throughout their land. Some grader ditches stood nearly full and while others were at least half full.
While checking his fields after the three-day rain, Glenn probed several of the family quarter sections and punched his six-foot probe within four inches of the end of the steel rod.
“Every once in a while, we’re blessed with a full profile of moisture in our fields during the spring, but not like this in the fall,” Glenn says. “We finished drilling our wheat two days before the rain came and the new crop has emerged and looks really good – thick, green and lush. This new crop will really pop once the sun comes out and we have some more fall-like days.”
The early October rains made sure Glenn could drill his winter wheat within an inch from the top of the soil and residue. He says this newly-planted crop has the potential to be one of their best stands in a long while.
While the milo crop itself is dry and ready to cut, the leaf canopy will shade the ground and push harvest several days into the future. Glenn can’t wait to begin milo harvest.
“Two years ago, we cut one of our best milo crops ever,” the southwestern Kansas farmer says. “This year our milo looks like the best we’ve ever grown. The heads are big and full and while we don’t like to predict what a crop will make, we’re hoping for better than 100 bushels to the acre and some may make 130 bushels.”
Once the fall harvest begins again, it will no doubt take more time. Fields are saturated with water and trucks and grain carts will be kept out of the fields to prevent compaction and tearing up the soil.
“Anytime we receive rain in October, we’re happy for it,” Glenn says. “It may be Thanksgiving before we finish, or even later if it keeps raining. We’ve been faced with harvest delays before and we’ll finish up when we’re finished.”

The nation’s soybean harvest fell further behind the normal pace last week, and corn harvest also slowed to just a couple points ahead of average, USDA’s National Ag Statistics Service said in its weekly Crop Progress report on Monday.

As of Sunday, Oct. 21, 53% of the soybean crop was harvested, 16 points behind the five-year average of 69%. That’s slightly further behind average than the previous week when harvest stood at 15 points behind the five-year average.

“Illinois and Indiana are the only major producers ahead of their five-year average pace,” said DTN Analyst Todd Hultman. “Iowa’s soybeans are only 37% harvested versus a five-year average of 71% for this time of year.”

Despite concerns about the quality of the crop in some parts of the country, NASS left its good-to-excellent condition rating for soybeans unchanged at 68% last week.

Corn harvest also slowed again last week. At 49% complete, harvest was only 2 percentage points ahead of the average pace of 47%. That was nearer to normal than the previous week when harvest was 4 percentage points ahead of the five-year average.

Corn condition also held steady nationwide last week at 68% good to excellent.

Winter wheat planting was 72% complete as of Sunday, near 73% last year at the same time but behind the five-year average of 77%. Winter wheat emerged, at 53%, was ahead of last year’s 50% but slightly behind the average pace of 55%.

“Not much progress was made in Texas, Oklahoma or Kansas where wheat plantings are 63%, 75% and 67%, respectively,” Hultman said.

Forty-six percent of the sorghum crop was harvested as of Sunday, up just 4 percentage points from the previous week, equal to last year and 10 percentage points behind the five-year average of 56%.

Ninety percent of rice was harvested as of Sunday, behind last year’s 97% and also behind the five-year average of 94%.

Eighty-eight percent of cotton had bolls opening as of Sunday, near the average of 89%. Thirty-nine percent of cotton was harvested, ahead of last year’s 36% and also ahead of the average pace of 33%.

Cotton condition fell again slightly from 35% good to excellent the previous week to 34% last week.

To view weekly crop progress reports issued by National Ag Statistics Service offices in individual states, visit http://www.nass.usda.gov. Look for the U.S. map in the “Find Data and Reports by” section and choose the state you wish to view in the drop-down menu. Then look for that state’s “Crop Progress & Condition” report.

National Crop Progress Summary
This Last Last 5-Year
Week Week Year Avg.
Corn Harvested 49 39 37 47
Soybeans Harvested 53 38 67 69
Winter Wheat Planted 72 65 73 77
Winter Wheat Emerged 53 44 50 55
Cotton Bolls Opening 88 85 86 89
Cotton Harvested 39 32 36 33
Sorghum Mature 89 81 88 89
Sorghum Harvested 46 42 46 56
Rice Harvested 90 88 97 94

**

National Crop Condition Summary
(VP=Very Poor; P=Poor; F=Fair; G=Good; E=Excellent)
This Week Last Week Last Year
VP P F G E VP P F G E VP P F G E
Corn 4 8 20 48 20 4 8 20 47 21 3 8 23 50 16
Soybeans 3 8 23 48 18 3 8 23 48 18 3 9 27 48 13
Sorghum 6 12 29 43 10 6 11 28 44 11 2 6 27 52 13
Cotton 13 20 33 26 8 11 20 34 29 6 5 9 30 42 14

Most people recall the heat of the 2012 drought.

Jessie Alt remembers the sound.

“In 2012, when soybeans were shattering due to dry conditions, the pod can really burst open and the seed can literally spread itself out and you can hear it happening — it’s like popcorn out in the field,” said Alt, who works as a research scientist and soybean breeder for Pioneer, now under Corteva Agriscience. “It’s a stomach-turning thing to hear because you realize what’s happening out there.”

Fast forward to 2018 and the same phenomenon of shattered soybeans is plaguing many growers across the Midwest and South. But this time, it’s excessive moisture and delayed harvest that’s to blame, Alt said.

The science behind shattered pods and dropped beans is a delicate dance between genetics and environment. Alt, as well as University of Minnesota Extension agronomist Seth Naeve, helped us tease out the reasons why this phenomenon is causing so much trouble for farmers this fall.

THE GENETICS BEHIND SHATTERING

In the long battle to free soybeans from their tendency to shatter, soybean breeders like Alt are working against the plant’s fierce drive to reproduce successfully.

“Breeders are pulling this trait out of eons of evolution,” said Naeve. “Wild soybean plants actually evolved to preferentially throw seed as far from the plant as they could — and that had to be bred out slowly over time.”

Slow is the operative word, Alt noted. Unlike diseases or insects, shattering is difficult to induce in the field, and no single gene or group of genes controls it. Untangling it from the soybean’s germplasm is not a straightforward task.

“I’ve been doing this for over 20 years now, and shattering is something we work on every year,” she explained. “Shattering is a lot more like breeding for yield — you need lots of locations, different environments and replications to study it, and we continue to make nice, slow, steady progress — slower perhaps than people would like at this time.”

Yet breeders have already come a long way, Alt and Naeve noted. “Even just 10 to 20 years ago, shattering was a hugely significant issue,” Naeve said. “Now all those lines that had serious susceptibility to shattering have just been removed from the system.”

THE ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS

Nowadays, the biggest factor behind shattering is Mother Nature.

The soybean pod is held together by a tough seam that scientists call the pod “suture.” The pod suture is used to withstanding the normal wetting and drying that a mature soybean goes through in the fall, when the bean’s moisture can vacillate between 8% and 13% within a day, as the air temperature and humidity rise and fall.

But the longer mature soybeans sit in the field, the more wetting and drying cycles they go through, and the weaker the pod and the pod suture become, Alt said. So anything that causes a bean to stand beyond its ideal harvest time will heighten the risk of shattering.

Some of those causes are man-made — for example, some farmers plant shorter-season soybeans than their region requires in order to stagger their grain harvests, but then can’t get them out as early as they had hoped.

But most are weather-driven. In Alt’s research territory in Iowa, rains have come fast and furious since August.

“From Aug. 1 to Oct. 8 in my area in Iowa, we have seen anywhere from 3 to 16 inches above the 30-year average rainfall,” she explained. “And the majority of that came from Aug. 20 and later — right as soybeans were maturing.”

The excessive rainfalls across wide swaths of the Midwest and South this year have led many soybeans to endure far more dramatic swings in moisture content, Naeve said. “Now the bean is going from 9% to 20%, and now we’ve increased the size of the seed [with swelling].”

A few repeats of that, and the soybean pod becomes too fragile to withstand its swollen seeds, Alt said. “That pod suture just weakens and breaks open,” she said.

Some soybean seeds, especially those that sat under warm and wet conditions for many weeks, have actually sprouted within the pod, adding to the pressure against the pod suture, Naeve said.

As happened in 2012, extreme heat and dryness can also lead to abnormal shattering, Alt added. But in those cases, the pod is more brittle and more likely to launch seeds when it pops open. This year, pods have stretched open more slowly, and many seeds may hang there for a period of time before dropping.

Naeve said he observed one field shattering from a severe case of SDS, which caused the plants to mature prematurely and stand in the field too long before harvest. Other diseases, like frogeye leaf spot or SCN, can also heighten the risk of shattering by compromising the plant’s health, he added.

“Once you have stressed plants, they may not function very well and have a good, protective pod on that plant,” he explained.

THE CONSEQUENCES

Once soybean seeds drop to the ground, it’s game over. That yield is lost.

Some soybeans may still hang from the pod, but they will be at high risk for dropping during harvest or during the wait for harvest, Naeve said. Chances are good that they, too, are lost to the farmer.

Those losses can add up quickly. Kansas State crop scientists estimated that four dropped seeds per square foot of soil surface translates to a loss of one bushel per acre. (See that article here: https://webapp.agron.ksu.edu/…)

Even if the exposed soybeans do make it into the combine, many will be rotted or sprouted, which can lead to discounts at the elevator — from already depressed soybean prices. Remember that even if the sprout falls off a soybean seed, the bean is already compromised.

“That seed has already converted oils and carbs into sugars,” Naeve said. “It will cause problems from an elevator standpoint, with quality issues, and from a storage standpoint, with molding in bins.”

Naeve strongly recommends scouting before harvest to see the extent of shattering in fields. If possible, he urges farmers to segregate the worst sections of the farm or field, and resist the temptation to blend those soybeans with better ones.

“Elevators will be really quick to dock soybeans for too high of moisture or damage,” he said. “They’ve got more beans than they can take. The worst thing that can happen is they contaminate their whole crop with their worst beans. Better to take a loss on a small portion than take a loss on the whole crop.”

Rain and snow last week pushed the nation’s soybean harvest further behind the average pace and also slowed the corn harvest, USDA’s National Ag Statistics Service said in its weekly Crop Progress report on Monday.

As of Sunday, Oct. 14, 38% of the soybean crop was harvested, up just 6 percentage points from the previous week and 15 points behind the five-year average of 53%. That’s further behind normal than the previous week when harvest lagged the average pace by just 4 percentage points.

 

Listen to the report here: https://post.futurimedia.com/krvnam/playlist/futures-one-crop-progress-report-10-15-5292.html

Though the national average good-to-excellent condition rating for soybeans dropped by only 2 percentage points from 68% the previous week to 66% last week, crop conditions in some key soybean-growing states worsened last week.

The percentage of soybeans rated as very poor to poor in Iowa rose 2 percentage points from 9% the previous week to 11% last week. In North Dakota, soybeans were rated 20% very poor to poor, up 4 percentage points from the previous week. Missouri soybeans’ very-poor-to-poor rating was also up 4 percentage points from 19% the previous week to 23% last week.

The wet conditions last week also slowed the corn harvest. Nationwide, 39% of corn was harvested as of Sunday, still 4 percentage points ahead of the five-year average of 35% but nearer to the average pace than the previous week when harvest was 8 percentage points ahead of normal.

Corn condition held steady nationwide last week at 68% good to excellent.

Winter wheat planting was 65% finished as of Sunday, ahead of 58% last year at the same time but slightly behind the five-year average of 67%. Winter wheat emerged, at 44%, was ahead of last year’s 35% and also ahead of the average pace of 41%.

Forty-two percent of the sorghum crop was harvested as of Sunday, behind the average pace of 48%.

Eighty-eight percent of rice was harvested as of Sunday, behind last year’s 90% but near the five-year average of 87%.

Eighty-five percent of cotton had bolls opening as of Sunday, ahead of the average of 83%. Thirty-two percent of cotton was harvested, slightly ahead of last year’s 30% and also ahead of the average pace of 25%. Nationwide, cotton condition dropped 7 percentage points from 42% good to excellent the previous week to 35% last week.

To view weekly crop progress reports issued by National Ag Statistics Service offices in individual states, visit http://www.nass.usda.gov. Look for the U.S. map in the “Find Data and Reports by” section and choose the state you wish to view in the drop-down menu. Then look for that state’s “Crop Progress & Condition” report.

National Crop Progress Summary
This Last Last 5-Year
Week Week Year Avg.
Corn Mature 96 93 89 91
Corn Harvested 39 34 27 35
Soybeans Dropping Leaves 95 91 93 92
Soybeans Harvested 38 32 47 53
Winter Wheat Planted 65 57 58 67
Winter Wheat Emerged 44 30 35 41
Cotton Bolls Opening 85 78 81 83
Cotton Harvested 32 25 30 25
Sorghum Mature 81 73 79 82
Sorghum Harvested 42 39 39 48
Rice Harvested 88 79 90 87

**

National Crop Condition Summary
(VP=Very Poor; P=Poor; F=Fair; G=Good; E=Excellent)
This Week Last Week Last Year
VP P F G E VP P F G E VP P F G E
Corn 4 8 20 47 21 4 8 20 47 21 3 8 24 50 15
Soybeans 3 8 23 48 18 3 7 22 49 19 3 9 27 48 13
Sorghum 6 11 28 44 11 5 11 29 44 11 2 6 27 52 13
Cotton 11 20 34 29 6 6 19 33 32 10 5 8 29 43 15

USDA on Thursday called for record soybean production and large ending stocks in its October round of World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) and Crop Production reports.

Farmers are expected to harvest 53.1 bushels per acre of soybeans, up from last month’s 52.8 bpa forecast. Overall production, at 4.69 billion bushels, is slightly lower than last month’s estimate. Both are within the range of pre-report expectations.

New-crop (2018-19) soybean ending stocks were pegged at 885 million bushels on higher beginning stocks. USDA left soybean use unchanged.

On corn, USDA estimated national average yields at 180.7 bpa with production at 14.8 billion bushels. While that’s down slightly from last month’s estimate of 181.3 bpa and 14.83 bb, respectively, it’d still be the highest yield on record and second highest level of production.

This month’s Crop Production forecast is noteworthy because it becomes statistically more accurate.

Thursday’s new U.S. ending stocks estimates were bullish for corn and neutral for soybeans and wheat, said DTN Analyst Todd Hultman. World ending stocks estimates from USDA were neutral for corn, bearish for soybeans and slightly bullish for wheat, he said.

You can access the full reports here:

— Crop Production: https://www.nass.usda.gov/…

— World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE): http://www.usda.gov/…

SOYBEANS

The U.S. soybean crop was projected at 4.69 billion bushels, down slightly from last month and lower than the pre-report average estimate. Still, soybean yield was bumped up to 53.1 bushels per acre, up 0.3 bpa from the September estimate of 52.8 bpa.

USDA lowered harvested soybean acres to 88.3 million acres, down 600,000 acres from the September projection.

Ending stocks were projected at 885 million bushels for soybeans, up 40 mb from last month’s forecast. USDA increased carryover from the 2017-18 crop by 43 mb, but dropped production by 3 mb to bump up the 2018-19 ending stocks.

Despite the export battles, USDA held pat on soybean exports for the 2018-19 crop at 2.06 billion bushels, the same as the September forecast.

The average farm-gate price for soybeans remained at a forecast of $8.60 a bushel with a wide range stretching from $7.35 to $9.85 a bushel.

Globally, USDA raised soybean carryover from the old crop by 1.91 million metric tons, which translated into boosting the ending stocks for the 2018-19 crop as well by 1.78 mmt. USDA did not change production estimates for major exporters such as Brazil (120.5 mmt) and Argentina (57 mmt).

CORN

USDA expects farmers to harvest 81.8 million acres of corn, down slightly from the agency’s previous estimate and 1% below 2017. When combined with its record national average yield projection of 180.7 bpa, production comes out at 14.78 billion bushels.

New-crop (2018-19) domestic ending stocks came in at 1.813 bb, which incorporates the 138 million extra bushels from September’s Grain Stocks report as higher beginning stocks as well as the slightly lower production estimate. USDA lowered feed and residual use by 25 mb while boosting exports by 75 million bushels.

It left the range of national average farm-gate prices unchanged at $3.00 to $4.00 per bushel.

Globally, USDA forecast 2018-19 stocks at 159.35 million metric tons, up 2.32 mmt from last month. However, it’s still less than the 198.21 mmt ending stocks forecast for 2017-18.

WHEAT

Ending stocks for the 2018-19 crop were forecast at 956 mb, up 21 mb from last month’s estimate of 935 million bushels.

USDA bumped up projected 2018-19 yield 0.2 bpa to 47.6 bpa. That increased production 7 million total bushels to 1.884 bb.

USDA also held wheat exports pat at 1.025 bb, but slightly lowered domestic demand 10 mb overall.

The average price was pegged at $5.10 a bushel, but USDA lowered the possible price range by 10 cents a bushel.

Globally, USDA lowered world wheat production by 2.08 mmt for 2018-19 and lowered global imports 1.34 mmt as well. With lower global production, USDA lowered the 2018-19 world wheat ending stocks by 1.11 mmt as well.

U.S. CROP PRODUCTION (Million Bushels) 2018-2019
Oct Avg High Low Sep 2017-18
Corn 14,778 14,851 14,969 14,700 14,827 14,604
Soybeans 4,690 4,733 4,890 4,623 4,693 4,392
U.S. AVERAGE YIELD (Bushels Per Acre) 2018-2019
Oct Avg High Low Sep 2017-18
Corn 180.7 181.8 183.0 180.6 181.3 176.6
Soybeans 53.1 53.4 55.0 52.0 52.8 49.1
U.S. HARVESTED ACRES (Million Acres) 2018-2019
Oct Avg High Low Sep 2017-18
Corn 81.8 81.7 81.9 81.4 81.8 82.7
Soybeans 88.3 88.7 88.9 88.2 88.9 89.5
U.S. ENDING STOCKS (Million Bushels) 2018-2019
Oct Avg High Low Sep
Corn 1,813 1,932 2,352 1,774 1,774
Soybeans 885 860 975 492 845
Wheat 956 960 1,020 895 935
WORLD ENDING STOCKS (Million metric tons) 2018-2019
Oct Avg High Low Sep
Corn 159.3 159.2 165.9 156.0 157.0
Soybeans 110.0 109.4 113.0 105.5 108.3
Wheat 260.2 261.1 263.7 259.0 261.3

 In spite of rain, the U.S. corn harvest has pushed forward, USDA’s National Ag Statistics Service said in its weekly Crop Progress report on Tuesday, which was delayed a day due to Columbus Day.

Listen to the report here: https://post.futurimedia.com/krvnam/playlist/futures-one-crop-progress-report-10-9-5248.html

As of Sunday, Oct. 7, 34% of corn was harvested nationwide, 8 percentage points ahead of the average pace of 26%. That was further ahead of normal than the previous week when harvest was even with the of average.

The soybean harvest, on the other hand, is slowing down. As of Sunday, 32% of the crop was harvested, which is 4 percentage points below the five-year average of 36%. That compares to the previous week when harvest was slightly ahead of the average.

Meanwhile, both crops continued to reach maturity ahead of the normal pace. Ninety-three percent of corn was mature, 10 percent ahead of the average of 83%. Soybeans were 91% dropping leaves, 6 percentage points ahead of the average of 85%.

Nationwide, condition ratings for corn is now at 68% good to excellent, as opposed to the 69% good to excellent rating seen last week. Soybeans were unchanged from the previous week with a rating of 68% good to excellent.

Winter wheat planting was 57% finished last week, ahead of 46% at the same time last year and also slightly ahead of the five-year average of 54%. Winter wheat emerged, at 30%, was ahead of last year’s 23% and ahead of the average pace of 28%.

Thirty-nine percent of the sorghum crop was harvested as of Sunday, behind the average pace of 42%.

Seventy-nine percent of rice was harvested as of Sunday, behind last year’s 84% but equal to the five-year average. Seventy-eight percent of cotton had bolls opening, ahead of the average of 74%. Twenty-five percent of cotton was harvested, slightly ahead of last year’s 24% and also ahead of the average pace of 18%.

To view weekly crop progress reports issued by National Ag Statistics Service offices in individual states, visit http://www.nass.usda.gov. Look for the U.S. map in the “Find Data and Reports by” section and choose the state you wish to view in the drop-down menu. Then look for that state’s “Crop Progress & Condition” report.

National Crop Progress Summary
This Last Last 5-Year
Week Week Year Avg.
Corn Mature 93 86 80 83
Corn Harvested 34 26 21 26
Soybeans Dropping Leaves 91 83 88 85
Soybeans Harvested 32 23 34 36
Winter Wheat Planted 57 43 46 54
Winter Wheat Emerged 30 14 23 28
Cotton Bolls Opening 78 67 71 74
Cotton Harvested 25 19 24 18
Sorghum Mature 73 62 68 72
Sorghum Harvested 39 34 35 42
Rice Harvested 79 70 84 79

**

National Crop Condition Summary
(VP=Very Poor; P=Poor; F=Fair; G=Good; E=Excellent)
This Week Last Week Last Year
VP P F G E VP P F G E VP P F G E
Corn 4 8 20 47 21 4 8 19 47 22 3 8 25 49 15
Soybeans 3 7 22 49 19 3 7 22 49 19 3 9 27 49 12
Sorghum 5 11 29 44 11 6 11 29 44 10 2 6 28 52 12
Cotton 6 19 33 32 10 6 19 33 32 10 8 7 25 42 18

Doug Sieck learned about grazing standing corn 10 years ago, but it wasn’t until prices reached break-even levels in 2016 that he decided it was time for him to try feeding corn right from the field.

The rancher works a 3,000-acre operation in north-central South Dakota, where recent years have seen him convert about 600 acres of cropland back to grass for cattle. Sieck prefers cattle to crops, though he still raises corn, soybeans and hay across about 1,000 acres.

The rancher’s decision to let the herd graze standing corn goes back to a grassland workshop he attended at the University of Nebraska. Today, Sieck jokes it only took him a decade to put the strategies he learned into practice.

CORN YIELD CALCULATION.

When corn prices are low, grazing a standing crop is an economical way to feed cows. Sieck calculates he’s able to feed his 300-head cow herd for $1 per head per day. That’s based on grazing corn that yields between 100 and 120 bushels per acre.

“My cows do fine on 10 pounds of corn plus 10 pounds of corn fodder per day,” Sieck says. “In a field producing 100 to 120 bushels of grain per acre, corn stover amounts would range from 3 to 4.5 dry tons per acre.”

Before Sieck started feeding standing corn, he systematically calculated what it would take to support his cow herd. He harvested all but 30 acres of his corn crop, looked at overall yields and calculated paddock size needed to provide 10 pounds of corn (plus 10 pounds of stover) each day for each cow. With that figure in mind, Sieck used his combine to create a checkerboard pattern across the 30 acres.

“Across the length of the field, I combined six rows and left 28,” Sieck says. “Then, I went across the field, combining a path for fences every 80 or 90 yards. That created 60 paddocks with alleyways that separated the paddocks and left room for fencing. I rotated cattle through those paddocks, moving them every day, over a period of two months.”

The practice was so successful and kept winter feed costs so low, Sieck has continued to use the practice. Before he started grazing standing corn, the producer notes he fed his cows about 10 large bales of hay a day at a cost of $480 per day. Having those same 300 cows on a half-acre of 107-bushel corn and adding a couple of bales of alfalfa to maintain nutritional levels, he estimates he spends around $262 per day, equaling a savings of some $218 each day he’s feeding.

VISIBLE FENCING.

Bruce Anderson, agronomist and Extension forage specialist at the University of Nebraska, agrees grazing standing corn is an economical way to feed cattle and add value to the crop—especially when commodity prices are low. He recommends taking some precautions, however, to ensure cattle don’t break out of a paddock and gain access to too much corn at one time.

“Fencing needs to be visible to cows, especially when there’s very tempting material on the other side,” Anderson says. “One method some producers have found effective is the use of electric tape rather than electric wire, or electric tape with electric wire. The tape greatly increases overall visibility of the fence. You can also tie flags on the fence to make it more visible.”

Volume of volts delivered to either (polytape or high-tensile wire) depends on the charger used. Both can deliver the same voltage, and cost is comparable. The greatest benefit of the tape, Anderson says, is its visibility; although in areas with frequent high winds, it’s more susceptible to wind damage.

“In grazing standing corn, it’s key to restrict the amount of corn allotted to the cattle at one time,” he stresses. “You don’t want the cattle to trample a large amount of the corn, wasting it.”

GRAIN OVERLOAD.

Paddocks not only help preserve standing corn from waste, they help avoid rumen acidosis or grain overload. If cows are moved from a pasture setting to standing corn, it’s important to restrict the amount of corn consumed those first few grazing days to prevent acidosis.

Rumen acidosis occurs when ruminants have a sudden shift in diet from high-fiber roughage (grass or hay) to low-fiber, high-carb grain (corn, barley, wheat). More mature corn crops increase the risk, as kernels are more easily dislodged, and the whole cob is less likely to be eaten. More mature kernels also have more starch, another contributor to acidosis.

It’s important producers monitor cows grazing standing corn to spot problems early. Signs of acidosis may include wandering, panting, excessive salivation, diarrhea, falling, kicking at the belly, etc. To avoid acidosis, move cows frequently, every day to two days, to backgraze stalks or hay.

It may also be important to provide a protein supplement when grazing cornstalks. Anderson says while cows will get plenty of energy from grazing standing corn, they may or may not be getting adequate protein. The only way to know for sure is to check nutrient levels and supplement accordingly.

When cows are first moved from an all-you-can-eat forage system, they often need a few days to adjust to eating less volume of feed. They essentially find a new satiety point when feeding on grain. Producers shouldn’t be surprised if cattle in this scenario are somewhat restless the first few days. Anderson notes in some cases, there is a higher risk of cows breaking out of a paddock if they’ve never grazed corn stalks.

RUN THE NUMBERS.

Beef producers considering grazing standing corn should thoroughly calculate every economic aspect of the practice before trying it. Anderson adds that if the primary goal is to avoid a break-even year on corn production, lowering input costs may be an effective strategy, too.

“Use of bin-run corn or non-GMO corn as a seed source can greatly reduce corn production costs,” Anderson explains. “Yields are lower with this type seed, and if corn is intended for grazing, it could be a significant way to further minimize costs.”

As a cost comparison, for 2017, the University of Missouri Extension Service estimates non-GMO seed cost at $61.25 per acre, GMO seed at $96.25 per acre.

Anderson says Sieck’s long-term planning and detailed management for cows grazing standing corn is the right approach. Monitoring cows during their time in these paddocks helps determine how long it takes to clean up a paddock and whether paddocks should be larger or smaller. Those are the kinds of details that can help refine a program, making it even more cost effective.

While monitoring and moving cattle in standing corn involves daily labor during winter, there’s no need to harvest, transport or store the corn. And, there’s no manure to haul out of a feedlot. The nutrients cattle deposit on paddocks are considered another benefit in the practice of grazing standing corn.

Sieck, who’s used to moving cattle through paddocks all year, sees the system as a positive trade-off.

“There are years when cattle are just break-even, too,” he says. “But, if I have to be in a break-even situation, I’d rather do it with cattle than with crops.”