Illinois Grain and Feed Association

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Farm Policy News

November 27, 2017

Weekly Outlook: Acreage Prospects for 2018

Hubbs, T. “Weekly Outlook: Acreage Prospects for 2018.” farmdoc daily (7):217, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, November 27, 2017.

Permalink: http://farmdocdaily.illinois.edu/2017/11/acreage-prospects-2018.html


Corn and soybean prices have weathered the USDA’s November Crop Production report that contained larger forecasts of the size of the 2017 harvest, relative to market expectations, for both crops. Considerable speculation will occur over the next few months about the acreage decisions farmers will make in 2018. Current market conditions appear to support moderate soybean and corn acreage expansion in 2018.

Projecting the acreage allocations for 2018 U.S. crops will begin in earnest after the turn of the new calendar year. Prospects for 2018 crop acreage levels start with expectations about planted acreage for principal crops. Since planted acreage varies substantially from year to year, anticipating total planted acreage is quite difficult. In 2017, acreage planted in principal field crops declined to 318.2 million acres, the lowest level since 2011. The decrease in principal field crop acreage was particularly acute in the northern and southern plains. Texas and Kansas both decreased acreage by over 500,000 acres. North and South Dakota also decreased planted acreage by 143,000 and 279,000 acres respectively. Nebraska was the lone exception with an increase of 202,000 planted acres. While Illinois decreased planted acreage by 163,000 acres, most of the major Corn Belt states increase planted acreage in 2017. As we move into 2018, the prospect of large decreases in crop acreage in the Corn Belt appears low, while acreage changes in the plains may be in the form of crop adjustments instead of acreage losses.

In conjunction with the decrease in total principal crop planted acreage, prevented planting acreage was relatively low in 2017. The Farm Service Agency reports 2.4 million acres of prevented plantings in 2017, down from 3.7 million in 2016 and 6.7 million in 2016. Conservation Reserve Program acreage appears set to remain near 23.4 million acres. The current low price environment across most field crops point to steady or slightly lower total planted acreage in 2018 but holds the potential for more soybean and corn acres.

In 2017, the combination of corn and soybean acres increased to 179.9 million planted acres, expanding to 56.5 percent of principal crop acres. While corn and soybean acreage in total continued a three-year trend of increased planted acres, the change in soybean acreage stood out in 2017 with expansion to 90.2 million planted acres. Other than soybeans, the only major crops to see any planted acreage increases in 2017 were cotton, rye, peanuts, and canola. In the main corn producing states during 2017, only Kansas, Michigan, and North Dakota increased corn acreage over 2016 planting decisions. Increased planting of soybean acreage was common across all major producing states. North Dakota and Kansas lead the way in soybean acreage growth with 1.15 million and 700 thousand acres respectively. The increased soybean acreage, and in some instances corn acreage, came at the expense of other field crops with wheat acreage losing over 5.5 million acres from 2016 to 2017. The continuation of corn and soybean acreage expansion depends on demand prospects during the 2017-18 marketing year and the evolution of corn and soybean prices between now and planting.

Currently, demand prospects for corn remain mixed. Current demand is very strong for corn use in ethanol as production continues to exceed the pace of a year ago. The growth of livestock numbers and supportive prices in many livestock sectors provides support for increased feed demand. An indication of feed use for this marketing year will be available with the December 1 Grain Stocks report on January 12. Corn exports currently lag behind last year’s pace with export inspections through November 23 trailing last year’s total by 209 million bushels. When combined with the trade policy uncertainty associated with NAFTA, developments in the corn export market could inject volatility into corn prices in 2018. Additionally, the 7.2 million acres of corn to be planted in Brazil saw a large portion of the prospective acreage pushed back to the second crop which is more susceptible to the dry season. A reduction in Brazilian corn production may help corn exports in 2018.

For soybeans, the pace of the domestic crush is off to a strong start in the first two months of the marketing year. Soybean exports appear to be set for a strong marketing year but currently trail last year’s pace. Export inspections through November 23 lag last year’s pace by 120 million bushels. The current soybean crop being planted in South America will be a major factor in determining whether U.S. soybean exports hit record highs this marketing year.

The market will continue to form expectations about acreage devoted to corn and soybean acres. Preliminary surveys of farmer’s planting intentions for 2018 have varied on the direction and magnitude of soybean and wheat acreage. Thus far, all surveys have indicated an expansion of corn acreage. Current market prices imply, at a minimum, a repeat of the soybean acreage planted in 2017. The prospect of corn and soybean acres seeing moderate expansions is possible in 2018. Data availability on acreage prospects in 2018 begins with the USDA’s January 12 Winter Wheat Seedings report and will be followed by the March 30 Prospective Plantings report.

Farm Policy News

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November 17, 2017

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Rural America: Perspective from USDA Report, and Federal Reserve Ag Credit Survey

November 16, 2017

On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released its annual Rural America at a Glance report, which summarizes the status of conditions and trends in rural areas. In addition, the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis recently provided details of its third quarter Agricultural Credit Conditions Survey, which follows on the heels of recent third quarter agricultural reports from four other federal reserve districts. Together, the USDA report and Minneapolis Fed update, provide some interesting perspective on the state of non-metro America.

 

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IFEEDER: Institute for Feed Education and Research

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Victoria Broehm

Director of Communications

(703) 558-3579; vbroehm@afia.org 

 

IFEEDER Focuses 2016-17 Research, Education Priorities on Improving Public, Policymaker Support of Feed Industry Issues

ARLINGTON, Va., Nov. 2, 2017 – The Institute for Feed Education and Research (IFEEDER) released its first-ever annual report to donors today, reinforcing its continued commitment to executing research and education projects and initiatives that support the animal food industry’s legislative and regulatory priorities, protect its license to operate, and preserve consumer choice.

“The past year for IFEEDER has been about one thing—focus,” said Rob Sheffer, the 2016-17 chairman of the IFEEDER Board of Trustees. “In 2016-17, we spent plenty of time refocusing what types of projects to fund in the future as well as how to better communicate with, or ‘pay particular attention to,’ you, our donors. … Even the logo has a ‘focus’ on research and education, while paying tribute to the importance of the historical green and black to signify the message of sustainability and growth.”

The annual report provides an overview of the institute’s financial revenue and expenses as well as a cumulative list of corporate and individual donors. It also highlighted some of IFEEDER’s recent accomplishments, including:

  • Developed a one-of-a-kind, generic hazard-analysis resource for facilities to use to create an animal food safety plan as required under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). This tool will help facilities save thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of employees’ time and significantly reduce the number of new protocols that animal food companies must make to comply with the FSMA requirements.
  • Carried out an independent, in-depth survey on the Food and Drug Administration’s process for approving new feed ingredients. The staggering results showed that on average, feed producers are investing $600,000 per product on product approval costs, and the industry is losing an average $1.75 million annually. The American Feed Industry Association staff will share this data with the FDA in an effort to significantly improve the ingredient review approval process.
  • Carried out a three-year research project with the National Pork Board and other groups to identify knowledge gaps and opportunities for the feed industry to better prepare for a future outbreak of the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv).
  • Developed a new tool that will provide the standard for all livestock and poultry organizations, universities and other organizations to use to assess the emissions generated by species over their total lifecycles. The methodology used to develop this tool concluded, based on scientific evidence, that the U.S. livestock and poultry sectors contribute less than 4.2 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Overhauled the IFEEDER website by incorporating a new logo and optimizing the site for search engines and mobile devices.

IFEEDER also provided a look-ahead to upcoming research and education projects and initiatives it will be carrying out during the 2017-18 fiscal cycle, which ends April 30, 2018.

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About IFEEDER

Founded in 2009 by the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA), the Institute for Feed Education and Research is a 501 (c)(3) public charity and is a critical link in the ever-evolving food supply chain. Serving as a champion for the animal food industry, IFEEDER supports critical education and research initiatives that ensure consumers have access to a safe, healthy and sustainable food supply. IFEEDER focuses its work in two primary areas: funding critical animal feed and pet food research to support AFIA’s legislative and regulatory positions, and developing appropriate messaging for policymakers, consumer influencers and stakeholders which highlights the industry’s positive contributions to the availability of safe, wholesome and affordable food, and preservation of our natural resources.

Farm Policy News October 12, 2017

NAFTA Renegotiation Continues- Pres. Trump, Sec. Perdue, Lawmakers Weigh In
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October 12, 2017

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NAFTA Renegotiation Continues- Pres. Trump, Sec. Perdue, Lawmakers Weigh In

October 11, 2017

William Mauldin reported on Wednesday at The Wall Street Journal Online that, “President Donald Trump, speaking alongside Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, opened the door to separate trade deals with Canada and Mexico to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement and repeated his warnings that the U.S. could withdraw from the pact.”

 

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Farm Policy News

October 6, 2017

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Senate Hearings- Trade, and Conservation Reserve Program Examined

October 05, 2017

On Thursday, the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing to consider three nominees for key trade positions, while the Senate Ag Committee questioned two nominees for Undersecretary posts at the USDA.  Today’s update highlights some key points from the hearings, including issues related to agricultural trade and the Conservation Reserve Program.

 

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FarmDoc Daily October 4

 

 

Data and Outlook for Making 2018 Cash Rental Decisions

October 03, 2017

Gary Schnitkey

Much of the cash rent data for making 2018 cash rental decisions is now available. Data include 1) 2017 county and state cash rents as reported by the National Agricultural Statistical Service (NASS) and 2) actual 2017 and projected 2018 cash rents on professionally managed farmland as reported by the Illinois Society of Professional Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers (ISPFMRA). These data are reported in this article. For 2018, cash rents likely will continue to decline as farmers are projected to have negative returns when cash rents are at average levels.

 

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Illinois Corn and Soybean Harvest Considerations

URBANA, Ill. – The USDA’s September predictions for Illinois corn and soybean yield are 189 and 58 bushels per acre, respectively. According to University of Illinois agronomist Emerson Nafziger, these are good yields after the challenges of the 2017 season. As we head into harvest, Nafziger provides considerations for farmers looking to minimize last-minute yield losses.

Soybeans
“While we don’t expect as many yields in the 80-90 bushel range as we had in 2016, pod numbers in many fields are higher than expected after the dry weather in August and September,” Nafziger says. One reason is the cooler temperatures in recent weeks; with water use lower under cooler temperatures, plants avoided the premature leaf drop that sometimes signals an early end to seed filling. Rain might help boost yields a bit, but only in fields planted late or with late-maturing varieties where plants are still green.

With high temperatures predicted for the rest of the week, seeds and pods of maturing soybeans will dry within hours, rather than days. “We need to be alert and ready to harvest as soon as plants can be cut and seed moisture drops to 13 percent,” Nafziger says. “If moisture drops to 10 percent or less during harvest, it might be worth stopping until pods and seeds take on some moisture in the evening or overnight.”

Breeding and the use of improved combine headers have reduced pod shatter at harvest, but soybean seeds with less than 10 percent moisture can crack, lowering grain and seed quality.

“Harvest is getting underway at about the same time for both corn and soybean this year, but there might need to be frequent switching between the two crops as harvest progresses in order to maximize quality and minimize losses,” Nafziger says.

Corn
Nafziger notes that the corn crop in many fields is looking better than expected. As of Sept. 17, five percent of the state’s corn crop had been harvested, mostly in the southern half of the state. So far, reported yields have been highly variable, reflecting differences in planting (or replanting) time, soil water-holding capacity, and precipitation during critical times throughout the season.

When lack of water lowers photosynthetic rates, sugars are pulled out of the stalk into the ear to fill the grain, leaving stalks more susceptible to stalk-rotting fungi and lodging. Nafziger recommends that farmers should check fields for stalk strength, especially where leaves dried earlier than expected. However, good growing conditions in July likely increased the deposition of stalk-strengthening lignin, making stalks less likely to break. “As long as winds stay relatively calm, lodging is not expected to be much of a threat, especially in those parts of the state that received more rainfall in July and August,” he says.

Most of central and northern Illinois are approximately 150 growing degree days (GDD) behind normal since May 1. According to Nafziger, below-normal temperatures in recent weeks have slowed grain-filling rates and delayed maturity of the corn crop. But the cooler temperatures probably have been positive for yields by extending the water supply into mid-September. “With GDD accumulation rates above normal now, a lot of fields will reach physiological maturity quickly, and grain will start to dry down. High temperatures mean rapid grain moisture loss.  We’ve seen corn grain lose moisture as much as one percentage point of moisture per day under high temperatures, especially if it’s breezy,” he says.

Dry conditions over the past month have limited the spread of ear rots. “Most kernels have the bright yellow color of healthy grain, and if the grain can be harvested without an extended period of wet weather, we expect grain quality to be good. Harvesting at high moisture, drying at high temperatures, or storing grain without proper care can all compromise quality, however,” Nafziger says. “While we like to finish harvest early, the threat of loss in yield or quality from delaying harvest to October is low. But waiting too long isn’t good, either; delaying harvest until grain moisture drops below 16 or 17 percent can increase loss due to shelling of kernels onto the ground as ears go into the combine.”

Nafziger notes that test weight is an issue that comes up every year during corn harvest. He says test weights lower than the standard of 56 pounds per bushel have many people thinking that something went wrong during grain fill. Likewise, above-normal test weights are often taken as a sign that kernels filled extraordinarily well, and that yield was maximized. “Neither of these is very accurate – high yields often have test weights less than 56 pounds, and grain from lower-yielding fields can have high test weights,” he says.

Test weight is bulk density – it measures the weight of grain in 1.24 cubic feet, which is the volume of a bushel. Kernel density is the weight of a kernel divided by its volume, not including air the way bulk density does. Kernel density is a more useful measure of kernel soundness and quality than is test weight – it’s often used by the food corn processing industry – but it is harder to measure than test weight.

“A typical kernel density might be 90 pounds per ‘bushel’ (1.24 cubic feet) of actual kernel volume,” Nafziger explains. “So, a 56-pound bushel of corn grain is about 62 percent kernel weight and 38 percent air. Kernels with higher density tend to produce higher test weights, but only if they fit together without a lot of air space. For example, popcorn has small, high-density kernels that fit together well, and its test weight is typically 65 pounds per bushel.”

Hybrid genetics, growing conditions, and grain moisture at the time it is weighed can all affect test weight. If kernels appear to be well-filled without a shrunken base, which can signal that grain fill ended prematurely, it’s likely that yield was not compromised even if test weight is less than 56 pounds per bushel.

“For reasons that go back to an earlier time, though, corn test weight needs to be at least 54 pounds per bushel in order to be sold as U.S. No. 2 corn, which is the most common market class. Corn with a test weight of 52 or 53 might not be docked in price if it can be blended with higher test weight grain to reach the minimum. That’s much easier to do in a year when test weights are generally good. We expect 2017 to be such a year,” Nafziger says.

For more on the 2017 harvest, read Nafziger’s recent post on The Bulletin.

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FarmDoc Daily September 5, 2017

Weekly Outlook: Storing Corn and Soybeans in 2017

September 05, 2017

Todd Hubbs

The current price structure of corn and soybean futures markets indicate positive carry in both markets and raises the question of whether producers should make decisions about grain sales. The decision by producers to store corn or soybeans should be determined by the returns to storage.

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FarmDoc Daily August 22, 2017

Negative Cash Rent Farmland Returns Since 2014 Reduced Farmer Net Incomes

August 22, 2017

Gary Schnitkey

In recent years, many farmers have had positive incomes. However, cash rented farmland may not have been contributing to those positive net incomes. At average cash rent levels, cash rented farmland has reduced farmer net incomes in 2014 and 2015. Often, positive returns from owned and share rented farmland offset negative returns from cash rented farmland. Herein, returns to owned, share rented, and cash rented farmland are quantified after background information is presented.

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FarmDoc Weekly Outlook 8/7/2017

 

Corn and Soybean Exports Update

August 7, 2017

Todd Hubbs

 

While market observers focus on the changing outlook for corn and soybean yields brought on by the shift in weather patterns over the last few weeks, export markets continue to reveal consumption information relevant to price formation during the current and subsequent marketing years.  Exports will play a significant role in determining prices in both corn and soybean markets moving forward.

 

 

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