DuPont Pioneeer Agronomy Update 4/18/17

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DuPont Pioneeer Agronomy Update 4/18/17

Indiana planting got off to a slow start, with 4% of the corn planted as of Monday.  The pace, however, is picking up. Yet, for many growers, cleaning up weed covered fields must come first.

The warm and wet spring conditions have allowed both spring weeds and winter annuals to get well-established in many fields. David Cosgray, with DuPont Pioneer, says burndown has been the major activity this week in his area, “There is some very heavy winter annual coverage out there, and a lot of farmers wished they could have gotten to these fields earlier.” He told HAT there was a good deal of burndown spraying done last week trying to get fields ready for planting this week.

Cosgray said planters are rolling this week, but not everywhere, “Every day we see more and more planters rolling, but guys are having to hunt to find fields that are dry enough.” He said some fields may be dry on the surface, but are still too wet down a few inches to plant, “Fields with lighter soils and where fall nitrogen had been applied are the best candidates for planting this week.”

Cosgray urges producers not to plant into a wet seed bed. Rain is back in the forecast beginning on Thursday, which may bring field activity to a halt. Hoosier Ag Today meteorologist Ryan Martin says, “I think there is a fairly decent chance we escape Wednesday with very little moisture – a few hundredths of an inch to perhaps a tenth or so. Northern counties will be best situated to see scattered showers, but a large part of the state just sees clouds through Wednesday. Thursday, we likely will not be so lucky, and a cold front will sweep through the state, bringing about 75-80% coverage of rain. However, rain totals still are not stunning. We think we can see .25”-.75” rains, with most of the state closer to the lower end of the range.”

On Friday, Martin will release his planting forecast for next week. You can sign up to get an e-mail copy here.

Listen to the complete DuPont Pioneer Agronomy Report under the crops tab at this web site.

Indiana Farmers Looking for Corn Planting Windows

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If there is a window to plant corn, farmers will take it. And that they did over the Easter holiday weekend around Indiana. With our new planting forecast first released this past weekend, those windows look to be limited in the coming weeks. Mike Silver of Kokomo Grain gets regular updates of activity around the state, and he said it was apparent the weekend window of opportunity brought out the equipment.

“There was scattered rain activity over the long holiday weekend, but Friday, Saturday and Sunday in northwest central Indiana over around the Lafayette area there was quite a bit of field work being done. There was burndown of fields, some anhydrous being applied, tillage operations, and there was some corn planting.”

But certain parts of the state are still too wet to get to the fields.

“As you travel up the I65 corridor up toward the region up toward Chicago there was very limited activity up there. Soil is heavier up that way and they had a little more rain earlier in the week. You get across the northern tier of Indiana counties around Winamac, Plymouth, towards Warsaw, on some of the lighter soils there was limited field activity and very little planting activity.”

In the far northeast part of Indiana reports are very little field activity was seen. Silver said there was considerable activity in east-central Indiana, especially east of Indianapolis all the way to the Ohio line. That activity included corn planting. He tells HAT south of Indianapolis in Johnson County, Bartholomew County, Shelby County and areas further southwest, there was plenty of fieldwork including corn planting.

Planters rolled on Monday too, but some wet parts of Indiana will need numerous days of drying before seed can be put in. Keep an eye on planting weather at, and the new planting forecast will be released Saturday. Sign up at our website if you would like that emailed directly to you.

More from Mike Silver:Mike Silver on Indiana planting

Cutting Costs in Tight Times, Difficult but Doable

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Cutting Costs in Tight Times, Difficult but Doable

In a special series of reports this month, Hoosier Ag Today and  Farm Credit MidAmerica have been focusing on the fixed costs of a farming operation and how to better manage those expenses. We have focused on equipment costs and land costs. Some fixed expenses are more difficult to cut than others. Evan Hahn, Vice President of credit, Agribusiness, with FCMA, says labor  costs are areas where efficiency can often be improved, but employees may be affected, “One way is to improve production efficiency by using precision equipment which can reduce labor costs.”

A cost that  is often hard to control is family living costs. Hahn said they recommend writing a check each month to cover family living costs, “With lower profit levels in an operation, some families may have to look at lowering their living costs. One way they can do that every month is to write themselves a check out of the farming operation. That allows them to separate those costs from the farming operating costs.”

Hahn says, if you need help evaluating your fixed costs, talk with your  lender.

FCMA has other resources to provide advice and direction for your operation. Visit them at

Indiana Field Conditions Improving

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Warmer weather improved field conditions, according to Greg Matli, Indiana State Statistician for the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. The week started with some storms and hail. However, strong winds and decreased rainfall helped dry field surfaces to allow farmers to begin field preparation for planting spring crops. Average temperatures were 61.1 degrees, 10.7 degrees above normal for the state. The amounts of rainfall varied from 0.00 to 1.67 inches over the week. The U.S. Drought Monitor reported abnormally dry conditions in Southern Indiana, mainly north and south of Interstate 64. There were 3.2 days available for fieldwork for the week ending April 16.
Termination of cover crops has started and some anhydrous ammonia application has begun. A small amount of farmers reported corn, soybean and mint being planted. Melon transplants are being set. Pastures, hay and wheat fields are greening up.

Livestock were reported on average to be in good condition and some have been moved to pastures. Other activities for the week included continued work on equipment, indoor activities, delivery of seed, cleaning ditches, tillage, moving grain from bins and visiting FSA offices.

China Growing Less Corn as Acreage Drops

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Farmers in China will plant less corn this season, resulting in the nation’s smallest crop in six years. A poll finds that, during the spring planting season, growers in China plan to cut corn acreage for the second straight year to 35.2 million hectares, the equivalent of roughly 85 million acres, 4.1 percent less than a year ago. The lower acreage will result in corn output dropping to 207.5 million metric tons in the 2017-18 crop year that ends in September, 5.5 percent lower than the 219.6 million produced in the 2016-17 season. At the same time, China’s soybean output will edge higher to 13.5 million metric tons, 2.9 percent higher than the 13.1 million produced last year. Reuters says the shift towards rising soybean output and falling corn production reflects Beijing’s goal of reducing corn growing to cut its bloated stockpiles.

China currently has around 250 million metric tons of corn in storage, more than one years’ worth of consumption.

Source: NAFB News Service

U.S Corn Crop Planting Falls Slightly Behind as Conditions Remain Wet

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Corn planting progress appears to have fallen slightly behind the five-year average according to a report released today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. With six percent of total corn acres planted by April16, progress fell three percentage points short of the five-year average and six percentage points behind the same date in 2016.

Progress surpassed the five-year average in Texas by six percentage points, three points fewer than it did last week. Kansas saw the greatest lags in progress with acres planted totaling nine percentage points lower than the five-year average for the state.  The slower pace, in large part, resulted from wet conditions across many of the 18 states that account for 92 percent of the corn acres planted.

Ivy Tech to Establish Precision Agricultural Equipment Technology Center at Terre Haute Campus.

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U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly today announced that Ivy Tech Community College Wabash Valley will receive an Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce to help establish the Precision Agricultural Equipment Technology Center of Excellence, a workforce training facility, at the Terre Haute campus. The Center will expand Ivy Tech’s vocational training curriculum to include training related to planting crops, applying fertilizer, harvesting, and other farming operations. This facility will drive diversity in the local workforce and help stimulate economic growth. Donnelly wrote a letter in support of Ivy Tech Wabash Valley’s application to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Donnelly said, “With the Precision Agricultural Equipment Technology Center of Excellence at Ivy Tech Wabash Valley, Hoosier students will gain access to skills and training needed to find a good paying job in the agriculture industry. I was proud to support Ivy Tech Wabash Valley’s application and I’m pleased they are receiving this grant. I look forward to seeing many Hoosier students take advantage of this opportunity to build a career in agriculture.”

Jonathan Weinzapfel, Chancellor of Ivy Tech Wabash Valley/Southwest regions, said, “The EDA grant will allow Ivy Tech Community College Wabash Valley to renovate property already owned by Ivy Tech at the southern Vigo County Industrial Park, for use by the Precision Agriculture Equipment Technology Program Center of Excellence. Precision Ag will provide training in geospatial technology related to crop planting, fertilization, harvesting, and other farming operations. With these skills, the project will strengthen Indiana’s position as a global leader in workforce development, job creation, and workplace advancement for the agriculture industry.

“We are so grateful for Sen. Donnelly’s support of this project. Through his leadership and assistance, the economic impact of this project will not only create jobs, but also aid employers by providing skills to individuals who previously may have only received on-the-job training.”

According to a recent study from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, agricultural business in Indiana contributes to more than $44 billion to the state’s economy each year and supports nearly 190,000 Hoosier jobs. In preparation for offering this field of study, Ivy Tech Wabash Valley has sought guidance and support from a number of manufacturing and production leaders from the agriculture industry as well as local farmers and economic development professionals. The Center will provide students with the necessary trainings and skills to support agriculture career readiness.

Senator Donnelly on Farm Bill and Sonny Perdue

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Donnelly visits West Lafayette

During the Easter recess Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly made the trip to West Lafayette for a Donnelly Days visit to the Indiana Corn and Soybean Innovation Center. Following a staff and student led tour Thursday, Donnelly addressed a couple of pressing farm issues, including the lengthy and frustrating delay in confirming Sonny Perdue as USDA Secretary. Donnelly says Perdue will do good work once confirmed.

“I hope it’s as quick as possible,” he said. “We passed him through the committee very quickly, and I’m hopeful we can get this done right away. Sonny is going to be a good, strong leader of the ag community, he’s going to be a great secretary, and I hope to get that vote finished as quickly as possible.”

Fresh off a farm bill listening tour stop in Knox County earlier in the week, the Indiana Democrat and member of the Senate Agriculture Committee said it’s clear what farmers’ top farm bill priority is.

“How important crop insurance is. Probably more than anything else I’ve heard, I’ve heard all of our ag community say we have to have a strong crop insurance section in there. And we will. There’s an understand also of the need to combine the nutrition (SNAP) programs with the ag programs because that will get us the critical mass we need to make sure that the bill gets through.”

In previous farm bill negotiations, some legislators have pushed to separate SNAP funding from the bill. Donnelly hopes that is not an issue again.

“I hope not,” he said. “I don’t think so. I think that maybe we learned from the last time and I’m sure that the SNAP program will be a thoughtful one, that we don’t want to waste a single dollar. We’re not able to, but we also want to make sure that children in need can also get a decent lunch and get a decent breakfast.”

It was the Senator’s first visit to the center that opened last year, and he was more than impressed.

“The amazing things that are going on help create better yield, help create better nutrition, help create a cleaner environment. That’s what Purdue does as well as anybody in the world.”

Bower Trading Market Strategy Report:  Wet Weather Could Send Market Higher

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Bower Trading Market Strategy Report:  Wet Weather Could Send Market Higher

Doug Werling

For much of the past few weeks, the market has been focusing on the amount of planted corn and soybean acres. But, with rain continuing to delay fieldwork, Doug Werling, with Bower Trading, says weather is becoming a market factor, “As we begin the week, if we continue to see a lot of moisture ahead of us in the forecast, you may see the market begin to acquire some long positions instead of just selling the short side.”

Werling says demand, while not making headlines, is strong and is providing a solid base for the market to build on, “That is why you are seeing soybeans hang around that $9.50 level instead of $8.00 and corn trading at $3.70.” He added that China has been a good buyer of the increased South American production this year and that, in the future, the Asian market, with its growing middle class, will continue to be a strong market for grain from the world market.

Several record-setting years of production here in the U.S. have built up a surplus that has kept the market lower, but Werling says it would not take much to turn the supply and demand situation around. He said, even with a lot of grain still in farmers’ bins, just one average production year in the U.S. would see a big drop in the surplus, “It would only take one year of lower production to chew up that surplus, and all of that grain in the bin would move into the market very aggressively as prices moved higher.”

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The War on Wieners

Apr 16, 2017 75

When science fails to back up your radical food views and the majority of consumers regard your dietary recommendations unpalatable, what do you do? You file a lawsuit, of course.  That is the latest move by a group of vegan physicians.   The Los Angeles, California, school district is being sued by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine because of processed meats on the district’s breakfast and lunch menus for children. The Physicians Committee is a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit group that advocates in favor of a vegetarian or a vegan diet.

These meatless morons are asking the court to ban the districts from offering processed meats because they say there is a recognized association between eating processed meats and developing cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. The suit claims that serving processed meats violates the California Educational Code, which says foods must be of the “highest quality and provide the greatest nutritional value.”  What makes this claim especially laughable is that processed meats are among the highest quality meat products on the market, with an excellent nutrition and food safety record.  Hot dogs, sausage, deli meats, and the holy grail of meat, bacon, are among some of the best loved meat products by the 90% of Americans who eat meat. The USDA and the FDA have stated these foods are safe and there is no credible link to diseases.

The North American Meat Institute calls the lawsuit a publicity stunt. “We stand by the nutrition benefits that meat, both fresh and processed, provide for growing children, such as being a good source of iron, zinc, and Vitamin B12,” said spokesperson Janet Riley. The methods and motives of the physicians group are rather transparent. They are not really interested in the health of children, but just in advancing their vegan agenda. They targeted a school system in a state that suffers from rampant food paranoia.  Just think how many tax dollars will be used to fight this in court rather than to educate children. More likely, what will happen is that spineless school administrators will cave, pull the meat from the menu, and the Physicians Committee will claim a precedent and do the same thing to other school systems.

It is time we as consumers and parents put a stop to this nonsense. We must advocate in our schools and in our communities for our right to make food choices and for science and nutrition facts to be the basis for decisions on school menus.  Parents should be able to decide what their children are eating at school and should be presented with the facts, not fiction, about nutrition. The radical, food police represent a small minority of consumers, but they are a powerful and dangerous force that is having a serious impact on our food choices.

By Gary Truitt