Tag Archives: soybeans

In a flurry of meeting with reporters Tuesday in London, President Donald Trump says he has no deadline for finalizing a complete trade deal with China.

China and the U.S. are still working to reach a phase one agreement, with an unofficial deadline of December 15, but an overall agreement may extend beyond the 2020 elections. Trump told reporters, “In some ways, I think it’s better to wait until after the election.”

Trump says China wants to reach an agreement, adding, “the China trade deal is dependent on one thing: Do I want to make it?” Trump claims he is doing “very well” in the talks with China. The President also pointed out the $28 billion in trade aid given to U.S. farmers, with “many billions” leftover, adding about the funds, “that got them whole.”

China wants Trump to remove tariffs in reaching a phase one agreement that also includes $40-$50 billion in purchases of U.S. agricultural products over two years.

AMES, Iowa — Honey bees are facing tough times. Colonies of these pollinators are being lost at an unprecedented rate, and some are blaming farming practices, in particular, the intensive corn and soybean production systems in the Midwest. New research by Iowa State University and University of Illinois scientists offers a more nuanced view of the role of agriculture in honey bee health than what has been previously known.

Scientists placed honey bee hives next to soybean fields in Iowa and tracked how the bee colonies fared over two growing seasons. The bees did well for much of the summer, they found. The colonies thrived and gained weight, building up their honey stores.

But in August, the trend reversed. By mid-October, most of the honey was gone, the team discovered, and the bees themselves were malnourished.

The researchers moved some of the affected hives to reconstructed prairie sites with a lot of late-flowering prairie plants. Those hives rebounded to healthier levels and were better prepared for winter.

“We saw a feast or famine kind of dynamic happening, where in the middle of the summer the hives in ag fields were doing great. In fact, the hives in the most highly agricultural areas out competed hives in areas with less row-crop production,” said Amy Toth, professor of ecology, evolution, and organismal biology at Iowa State. “But then they all just crashed and burned at the end of the season,”

Toth was part of a collaborative team that included ISU entomology professor Matthew O’Neal and University of Illinois entomology professor Adam Dolezal. Dolezal performed the work while a postdoctoral researcher at ISU, along with two graduate students, Ashley St. Clair (in ecology and evolutionary biology and entomology) and Ge Zhang (in entomology).

Their findings, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, offer new insights into the role of agriculture on honey bee survival, according to the report’s authors.

Overall, the results show that intensively farmed areas can provide a short-term feast, but such landscapes are unlikely to sustain the long-term nutritional health of colonies. However, reintegration of biodiversity into such landscapes may provide relief from late season nutritional stress.

“There’s been a lot of interest in how bees respond to agriculture,” Dolezal said. “There’s been work on pesticides, and predictions that intensively farmed landscapes have lost a lot of floral resources important for pollinators.”

On the other hand, there have been studies that found honey bees do well in agricultural areas, Dolezal said. “One hypothesis has been that bees near agricultural zones have more access to flowering crops and weeds like clover than those near forests, which can have fewer flowering plants,” he said.

Bees forage clover and strips of prairie

To learn more about what plants the bees relied on, Ge Zhang took samples of pollen carried by foraging bees on their way back into the hive. Over the entire year, over 60 percent of their pollen collection was from clover.

The researchers were surprised how much clover the bees were foraging on in landscapes devoted nearly exclusively to corn and soybeans.

“Most of the field edges are mowed, but can contain clover,” said O’Neal. “This little bit of land could be offering a significant source of food for bees.”

Soybean and clover bloom until late July in central Iowa, where the study was conducted. In early August, that food supply dwindles greatly, however. Between early August and mid-October, the researchers found that the weight of the study hives next to soybean fields dropped, on average, more than 50 percent. The bees were eating through their winter stores before the onset of cold weather.

“More than 80 percent of Iowa is dedicated to agriculture. While the two most important crops do not require bee pollination, corn can provide pollen and soybeans produce a lot of flowers, which can be a source of nectar for honey bees,” said O’Neal. “The weight gain of a hive is due to honey, which comes from nectar.”

The nectar is used to make honey — an essential food for overwintering bees — and the pollen provides other nutrients, like proteins and lipids. To survive the upcoming winter, honey bees must gather enough nectar and pollen from surrounding areas to tide them over.

“As winter approaches, the last generations of bee larvae normally experience unique physiological changes that better prepare them for the harsh season,” said Dolezal. “These bees have higher fat stores and their aging is slowed so they can get through the winter,” he said. “But we found that the winter bees near soybean fields did not have the same level of fat stores.”

In part of the experiment led by Ashley St. Clair, the team moved hives to prairie sites in August to see if the bees fared better. Indeed, bees near prairie developed higher fat stores.

“This suggests that the rebound hives experienced when we put them in the prairie also trickled down to improved nutritional health for individual bees,” Toth said.

The researchers do not recommend that beekeepers move their hives to prairies. Remnant and restored prairies are rare and too small for many hives, the researchers said. Overstocking with honey bees could even negatively affect native bees. Instead, the team is testing an intervention, where strips of reconstructed prairie are installed inside or alongside agricultural fields. In addition to feeding the bees at a crucial time in their life cycle, prairie strips could also reduce erosion and prevent the flow of nutrients from farm fields into waterways, the team said.

Support for this research came from the United Soybean Board, U.S. Department of Agriculture Hatch Act funds, the State of Iowa and Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station.

This article was developed in cooperation with the University of Illinois News Bureau.

 As of Sunday, Nov. 24, 16% of the corn crop and 6% of soybeans were still in the field, according to USDA NASS’ latest Crop Progress report released Monday.

It’s because of that delay in bringing in the last of the crops that NASS announced last week it will continue to issue its weekly Crop Progress reports beyond the originally scheduled end date of Nov. 25. The agency said in a news release that it will evaluate the harvest progress for all crops each week to determine how long to continue the report.

Nationwide, the corn harvest slowed again last week, moving ahead 8 percentage points to reach 84% complete as of Sunday, 12 percentage points behind the five-year average of 96%.

“That is the slowest pace since 68% was harvested on Nov. 22, 2009,” said DTN Senior Analyst Dana Mantini. “North Dakota was only 30% harvested versus 23% last week, Michigan moved from 39% to 56%, Wisconsin rose from 44% to 57% and South Dakota went from 53% to 68% planted. Iowa is 86% and Illinois is 88% harvested.”

Soybean harvest also slowed last week, inching ahead only 3 percentage points to reach 94% as of Sunday. That was 3 percentage points behind the five-year average of 97%.

“The current soybean harvest progress is tied with both Nov. 22, 2009, and Nov. 24, 2018, as the slowest,” Mantini said. “Michigan and Wisconsin are the slowest, with soybean harvest at 80% and 82% done compared to averages of 94% and 97%, respectively. Illinois and Indiana are 95% and 94% done, while Iowa is 97% harvested.”

Winter wheat emerged was estimated at 87% as of Sunday, still 3 percentage points behind the five-year average of 90%. Winter wheat condition held steady at 52% good to excellent. That was slightly below last year’s good-to-excellent rating at the same time of 55%.

Sorghum harvested reached 97%, ahead of the five-year average of 92%. Cotton harvested was estimated at 78%, also ahead of the average pace of 74%.

To view the weekly crop progress report visit: https://usda.library.cornell.edu/concern/publications/8336h188j

Clay Patton has the audio report here:

National Crop Progress Summary
This Last Last 5-Year
Week Week Year Avg.
Corn Harvested 84 76 93 96
Soybeans Harvested 94 91 94 97
Winter Wheat Emerged 87 83 85 90
Cotton Harvested 78 68 68 74
Sorghum Harvested 97 93 88 92


National Crop Condition Summary
(VP = Very Poor; P = Poor; F = Fair; G = Good; E = Excellent)
This Week Last Week Last Year
Winter Wheat 4 10 34 41 11 4 10 34 41 11 3 10 32 45 10


National Soil Moisture Condition – 48 States
(VS = Very Short; SH = Short; AD = Adequate; SR = Surplus)
This Week Last Week Last Year
Topsoil Moisture 5 12 66 17 5 13 65 17 3 7 69 21
Subsoil Moisture 5 13 67 15 5 14 66 15 5 11 67 17

P.J. Conradt, Tredas, joins the marketing conversation to start the week. Overall grains were mixed with corn and soybeans lower, wheat higher. Conradt looks at the current supply demand fundamentals and how that helps to shape the current trade. Conradt also discusses how this may shape 2020 planting decisions and how it can work into current marketing plans.

Listen to the latest episode here:


 How did the corn and soybean markets do for the week?  Does the market care if a Trade deal is done with China?

a.       Yes Initially.

b.       Depends on the deal after the initial move.

Do you think a trade deal with China will get done in the next month?  Did your opinion on the market change after the crop? What will the market be watching going forward?

a.       South American Weather

b.       Demand

c.       Chinese Trade Talks

d.       US Production

8.       How does corn demand look?

a.       Ethanol

b.       Exports

How does soybean Demand look? Where do you think the market goes from here?

Corn harvested was 52% and soybeans harvested was 75% as of Sunday, Nov. 3, according to this week’s USDA NASS Crop Progress report. Overall harvest is steadily continuing, but is still well behind. Northern states exemplify this with North Dakota only at 10% complete 50% behind the five year average. Missouri and Minnesota are the last two states that have yet to break 60% complete of soybean harvest.

Winter wheat was 89% planted, 71% emerged and was rated 57% in good-to-excellent condition.

To view weekly crop progress reports issued by National Ag Statistics Service offices in individual states, visit http://www.nass.usda.gov/….

Clay Patton has more on the report here:

National Crop Progress Summary
This Last Last 5-Year
Week Week Year Avg.
Corn Mature 96 93 100 100
Corn Harvested 52 41 74 75
Soybeans Harvested 75 62 81 87
Winter Wheat Planted 89 85 83 88
Winter Wheat Emerged 71 63 69 74
Cotton Harvested 53 46 48 51
Sorghum Harvested 78 65 62 72


National Crop Condition Summary
(VP = Very Poor; P = Poor; F = Fair; G = Good; E = Excellent)
This Week Last Week Last Year
Corn 3 10 29 47 11 3 9 30 47 11 4 8 20 48 20
Winter Wheat 4 9 30 45 12 4 9 31 44 12 3 9 37 42 9


National Soil Moisture Condition – 48 States
(VS = Very Short; SH = Short; AD = Adequate; SR = Surplus)
This Week Last Week Last Year
Topsoil Moisture 5 11 63 21 6 13 62 19 4 8 66 22
Subsoil Moisture 5 14 65 16 7 15 63 15 5 12 67 16

Several of the largest feed, poultry and pork producers, and soy crush industry representatives from Portugal, France, Spain, Germany, and Italy participated in a trade mission organized by the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) to visit the U.S. soy industry in September 2019.

Attending companies included Deuka, Nutreco, Feed Alliance (Sanders), Maisadour, Veronesi, Martini, Amadori, Cereal Docks, Bunge, Vall Companys, Pinsagro, Financor, Juan Fimenez, Hermanos Chico, Corporacion Agropecuaria de Guissona, and Cooperativa Ivars. USSEC consultants Gonzalo Mateos, Albert Roda, and Lola Herrera led the delegation. USSEC Regional Director – EU/Middle East North Africa (MENA) Brent Babb also joined the group in their visits to the New Orleans area.

The team’s objectives for the visit included learning more about U.S. soy export capabilities/Gulf infrastructure, meeting with animal agriculture companies (including PIC in Tennessee and Ross in Alabama), farm visits in Alabama and Illinois, visiting the University of Illinois, and a visit to CBOT/CME.

In New Orleans, the group visited the Bunge elevator in Destrehan and Russell Marine Group, to get a clear vision of U.S. infrastructure capabilities to export agriculture products as well as its sophisticated system of quality controls. Additionally, the delegates learned of the U.S. sustainability focus through the soybean supply chain – from production to transport and loading.

The group traveled to Alabama and Tennessee to visit two of the main poultry and swine companies and heard presentations related to genetics productions and markets in both areas. As the main swine and poultry producers in EU, the group was very interested.

Southern EU trade mission visiting PIC in Tennessee
The group attends the PIC presentation

The visit to the University of Illinois offered an overview of how the business and academic systems work together in the U.S. U of I professor Dr. Hans Stein explained to the group that the university is one of the most important in U.S. as an example of coordination between the educational system and agricultural business.

Southern EU trade mission visiting the University of Illinois
Southern EU trade mission visiting the Chicago Board Of Trade

The travellers much appreciated the farm visits and the opportunity to see two models of production, southern and northern. The team met with American Soybean Association (ASA) director Sam Butler in Alabama and with Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) chairman Doug Schroeder in Illinois. The grower leaders described how they work and more importantly, how they plan for their farms to be the most sustainable in the world. Additionally, David Headley, ISA trade team lead, supported the team in the Friday Market day and a visit to the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) market presentation by FCStone, Consiliagra, and Trilateral.  United Soybean Board (USB) and USSEC director Doug Winter also presented his Illinois farm and spoke about sustainability, crops, and yields.

The U.S. and China are on track to sign the phase one trade agreement next month. President Donald Trump this week stated the negotiations are running “ahead of schedule.” The South China Morning Post reports Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are set for a November 17 meeting in Chile to sign the interim trade deal.

Trump says the agreement would “take care of the farmers,” among other things, including banking provisions. A spokesperson from China’s Foreign Affairs Ministry confirmed the progress, saying, “the two sides made substantial progress” in recent talks. Top-level negotiators met over the phone last Friday and will again very soon.

The agreement includes an estimated $40-$50 billion of agricultural purchases by China over a two-year period, with $20 billion possible the first year. Market analysts say agricultural trade with China appears to be starting to normalize, ahead of the agreement.

In 2017, before the trade war began, the U.S. shipped $19.5 billion worth of agricultural products to China. However, the trade war cut those exports in half.