Page 1

A NEW BRIDGE over the M i s s i s s i p p i R ive r a t E a s t S t . Louis is to be completed under a new state construction plan. .....4

BEEKEEPER WOES are not easing with the recent round of cold weather as losses continue to mount. .........................................5

SHARED ISSUES and concerns will be discussed when U.S. far mers travel to Europe on a study tour this summer. .................8

Heavy rains, floods induce more fieldwork delays Monday, April 22, 2013

BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

This spring has not been conducive to planting or fieldwork, to say the least. And flash floods inundated fields in much of the state last week. Torrential rainfall, totaling 6 to 8 inches at some locations caused major flooding in fields and along streams and rivers. In fact, some farms weren’t even accessible last week as water covered some rural roads.

FarmWeekNow.com

Check out our photo gallery and the latest on flooding at FarmWeekNow.com.

Periodicals: Time Valued

“We don’t have anything planted,” said Ron Marshel, manager of the Bond/Fayette County Farm Bureaus. “We have creeks and rivers flooding and a lot of farmland that’s flooded out.” Farmers as of the first of last week had planted just 1 percent of the corn crop compared to 38 percent a year ago, 7 percent in 2011, and the five-year average of 12 percent. “We’re looking at 4 to 6 inches (of rain) the past week

Three sections Volume 41, No. 16

with more potentially on the way,” Tim Stock, manager of the Macon County Farm Bureau, told the RFD Radio Network. “We’re definitely saturated. “This time last year we had half the corn in the ground already,” he continued. “It’s definitely a different year.” Nationwide, just 2 percent of the corn crop was planted last week (much of that was in Texas, Tennessee, and North Carolina) compared to 16 percent last year and the average of 7 percent. The planting delays raised farmer concerns about getting corn in the ground in a timely manner in order to avoid yield reductions. “New-crop (corn) futures have been choppy the past two weeks as the start to planting has been delayed in the Corn Belt,” said Darrel Good, University of Illinois ag economist. “As usual, the planting delays raise questions about the likely magnitude of corn acres and the potential impact on average yields.” USDA last month projected U.S. farmers this spring will plant 97.28 million acres of corn. “We expect to see less corn,” said Peter Georgantones, account executive with Roy E. Elliott Futures. “There’s already talk of shift-

The flooded Green River cuts through a levee and swamps farm fields about five miles northwest of Atkinson in Henry County. This was one of five levee breaches in a three-mile stretch of a major drainage district in Northwestern Illinois, according to Rock Katschnig, Henry County Farm Bureau board member. For more on the flooding, see page 3. (Photo by Rock Katschnig)

ing back to spring wheat and beans (in the Dakotas and Minnesota). We’re just not getting the warmer temperatures to melt off the snowpack in the Upper Midwest.” In Illinois, farmers generally can plant corn into mid-May without a major yield penalty. “Agronomic research that has quantified the relationship between the planting date and

corn yields has clearly identified a yield penalty associated with late planting,” Good said. “In the Corn Belt, that penalty accelerates for planting dates after about the third week of May.” However, growing season conditions still will be the key to determining final yields, according to Emerson Nafziger, U of I crop sciences professor.

“What happens after planting remains a lot more important to the corn crop than the exact date we are able to plant,” he said. “We need to look back only one year to see that early planting does not guarantee high yields.” The forecast this week, as of Friday, included chances for more rain showers.

AFBF’s Moore: Crop insurance ‘top priority’ for farm bill

BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

Despite possible attacks from both the “far left and the far right,” American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Executive Public Policy Director Dale Moore vows crop insurance is “the top priority in our farm bill negotiations.” In a video conference with the Illinois Farm Bureau Board of Directors last week, Moore cited potential efforts in forthcoming congressional farm bill debate to impose new program payment limits, establish farmer program “means testing,” and slash crop insurance premium subsidies. The payment limit issue could heat up

especially in the Senate, where Democrat leaders may target so-called “big farmers,” he said. At the same time, Moore suggested “ultra-conservatives” in the House could join traditional program critics such as the Environmental Working Group to push crop insurance cuts or income limits for farm program recipients. “The far left and the far right could link up on some of these issues,” he warned IFB directors. “We had some bipartisan votes last year that said it may not be as simple as whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat.” Last year, a proposal to ratchet down premium subsidies for farmers with more than $750,000 in annual adjusted gross

FarmWeek on the web: FarmWeekNow.com

For observations on AFBF’s farm bill plan, see page 4

income failed to make the Senate farm bill. That level of reductions would have provided minimal savings, Moore said. President Obama’s new budget plan proposes a $11.7-billion reduction in federal crop insurance funding, with a 3 percent reduction in premium subsidies for policies in which the government underSee Priority, page 4

Illinois Farm Bureau®on the web: www.ilfb.org


Quick Takes

FarmWeek Page 2 Monday, April 22, 2013

BARGE-IN FOR WRDA — The U.S.’ tug and tow operators last week asked Congress to pull its weight in river infrastructure improvement. T he American Waterways Operators (AWO), which represents the barge industry, staged a “Barge-In” on Capitol Hill last week to underline the need for passage of the federal Water Resources Development Act (WRDA). Members held more than 130 meetings with lawmakers in an effort to generate bipartisan WRDA support. “Last year’s low water crisis on the Mississippi River brought home the impor tance of the nation’s water transportation system in moving the nation’s critical cargo,” AWO President Tom Allegretti said. “We must work to ensure that vital system can meet the country’s needs not only today, but in the future, and passage of WRDA will help accomplish that objective.” Allegretti also called on Congress to end “a patchwork of conflicting, confusing, and burdensome” federal and state requirements on the shipping industry.

GETTING PUMPED UP — Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) shared the benefits of biodiesel with convenience store and truck stop employees, petroleum marketers/distributors, and transport companies last week at the Midwest Petroleum and Convenience Tradeshow in Indianapolis. Attendees visited ISA’s “Get Pumped Up!” On Biodiesel display, completed surveys about their operations and fuel usage, and watched an animated video about biodiesel. The three-day event featured hundreds of exhibitors as well as presentations and seminars for industry representatives from Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio. FARMERS, EARTH DAY — Farmers are environmental stewards who care for land, water, and air — an important point to share with the public today on Earth Day. The first Earth Day was April 22, 1970. More than 1 billion people participate in Earth Day activities annually, making it the largest civic observance in the world, according to the Earth Day Network.

(ISSN0197-6680) Vol. 41 No. 16

April 22, 2013

Dedicated to improving the profitability of farming, and a higher quality of life for Illinois farmers. FarmWeek is produced by the Illinois Farm Bureau. FarmWeek is published each week, except the Mondays following Thanksgiving and Christmas, by the Illinois Agricultural Association, 1701 Towanda Avenue, P.O. Box 2901, Bloomington, IL 61701. Illinois Agricultural Association assumes no responsibility for statements by advertisers or for products or services advertised in FarmWeek. FarmWeek is published by the Illinois Agricultural Association for farm operator members. $3 from the individual membership fee of each of those members go toward the production of FarmWeek.

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STAFF Editor Dave McClelland (dmcclelland@ilfb.org) Legislative Affairs Editor Kay Shipman (kayship@ilfb.org) Agricultural Affairs Editor Martin Ross (mross@ilfb.org) Senior Commodities Editor Daniel Grant (dgrant@ilfb.org) Editorial Assistant Margie Fraley (mfraley@ilfb.org) Business Production Manager Bob Standard (bstandard@ilfb.org) Advertising Sales Manager Richard Verdery (rverdery@ilfb.org) Classified sales coordinator Nan Fannin (nfannin@ilfb.org) Director of News and Communications Michael L. Orso Advertising Sales Representatives Hurst and Associates, Inc. P.O. Box 6011, Vernon Hills, IL 60061 1-800-397-8908 (advertising inquiries only) Gary White - Northern Illinois Doug McDaniel - Southern Illinois Editorial phone number: 309-557-2239 Classified advertising: 309-557-3155 Display advertising: 1-800-676-2353

GOVERNMENT

Ag worker agreement ‘step in the right direction’

BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

sion points” regarding access for foreign-born workers, prospective worker wages, and federal jurisdiction over ag worker programs, Nelson said. “This is certainly a step in the right direction for the whole immigration issue,” Nelson said in an RFD Radio-FarmWeek interview. “We have a lot of specialty growers in this state that rely on that, some of the bigger dairy operations, larger pork operations. It’s become a big issue in Illinois agriculture.”

Bipartisan lawmakers last week unveiled a comprehensive immigration “framework” that sets the stage for long-awaited, reportedly muchneeded ag labor reforms. Representatives of the Ag Workforce Coalition (AWC) — a group of diverse ag groups that includes the American Farm Bureau Federation — hailed a measure introduced by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Marco Rubio (RFla.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), and Michael Bennett (D-Colo.). The bill includes ag proviThis week, farmer members of Illinois Farm Busions developed by AWC and reau’s immigration “strike team” will address representatives of the influential the need for ag labor reforms on Capitol Hill. United Farm Workers (UFW) union. “Today, we speak with one voice,” NationThe Senate proposal would create a new ag al Council of Farmer Cooperatives CEO Chuck guest worker program with two options: an “atConner said. will” option for workers to accept a job with an The ag proposal would set a cap of 112,000 authorized ag employer under a three-year visa, or three-year visas per year nationwide, essentially a “contract basis” option for those who accept a allowing legal status for 337,000 foreign workers specific work contract under a three-year visa and over a three-year period. Workers could renew the receive housing or a housing allowance. visa after first returning home. The new visa program would replace the curThe plan would allow undocumented farm rent federal H-2A seasonal ag worker program, workers who have worked 100 days in agriculture which was impractical for dairy operations that in 2011-12 in the U.S. to apply for a temporary seek employees year-round. “blue card,” as long as they pay penalties associatUnion buy-in is key to winning broad political ed with their illegal entry and work exclusively in support for immigrant labor reforms. Nelson said agriculture. After five years, they could qualify for he was pleased UFW “had finally come to the table.” a long-term “green card” that allows them to UFW President Arturo Rodriguez said the work in any sector. national AFL-CIO has “fully endorsed and supThe Senate proposal offers a jumping-off ported” the comprehensive immigration framepoint for Illinois Farm Bureau’s immigration work, and his organization canvassed other “strike team,” a group of specialty, livestock, and groups representing farm workers before joining dairy producers touring Capitol Hill this week in with AWC. support of labor reforms. “We are all very committed and endorse this Those sectors have a “huge dependency” on agreement,” Rodriguez told FarmWeek. “We will immigrant labor, IFB President Philip Nelson all do anything to ensure the passage of the said. The Senate agreement opens “huge discusagreement as quickly as possible.”

Illinois universities gather to back reforms Leaders of Illinois’ academic community gathered Friday at Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History to urge the state’s congressional delegation to support “commonsense” immigration reform. The group — including representatives of the University of Illinois, the Illinois Institute of Technology, DePaul University, City Colleges of Chicago, and the Chicago Archdiocese Office of Immigration Affairs, as well as Illinois business leaders — hailed introduction of Senate immigration legislation (see accompanying story). University presidents and students signed a statement to Illinois congressmen urging passage of reform measures. The Illinois Business Immigration Council (IBIC) hosted the event to “promote the integration of immigrants as workers, consumers, entrepreneurs, and citizens.” “It is incredibly frustrating to have to look a motivated, talented young person in the eye and tell her that, as perfect as she is for my company, I cannot hire her simply because she was

brought here as a child,” argued John Rowe, chairman of the Illinois Institute of Technology Board of Trustees and IBIC co-chairman. “It defies American values of hard work and fairness, and it is economically stupid.” IBIC organized the event as part of the Partnership for a

New American Economy’s National University Presidents’ Day of Action. Coalition supporters include major Illinois corporations such as Caterpillar and others ranging from the Field Museum to the Illinois Chamber of Commerce and the Illinois Hospital Association.

IMMIGRATION AND THE ECONOMY

90 percent The estimated share of University of Illinois patents that have at least one immigrant inventor. According to the Partnership for a New American Economy, more than three of every four patents produced nationwide by the top-10 patent-producing universities in 2011 had an immigrant inventor.

$869.2 million The reported contribution Illinois’ 31,093 foreign students made to the state’s economy in terms of tuition, fees, and living expenses for the 2009-2010 academic year.

1.4 million According to the partnership group, the number of jobs student and worker immigration reforms could create. That could generate $329 billion in economic activity over the next 20 years, the partnership suggests.

40 percent The reported percentage of Fortunate 500 companies were founded by an immigrant or the child of an immigrant.


FLOOD

Page 3 Monday, April 22, 2013 FarmWeek

Quinn declares 38 counties disaster areas Tours damage across state BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

Gov. Pat Quinn declared 38 counties state disaster areas and surveyed flood damage from Northern to Southern Illinois Friday. Around the state, flash flooding and rising rivers and streams forced evacuations, damaged or destroyed property, and closed roads and bridges. The state declaration expands local access to state emergency resources and allows the state to pursue federal support. “Illinois has seen an incredible level of devastation and reports indicate that conditions will get worse in the coming days,” Quinn said in a statement.

Counties declared disaster areas were: Adams, Brown, Bureau, Calhoun, Carroll, Cass, Champaign, Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Fulton, Greene, Grundy, Hancock, Henderson, Henry, Jersey, Jo Daviess, Kane, Kendall, Lake, LaSalle, Marshall, Mason, McHenry, Mercer, Morgan, Peoria, Pike, Putnam, Rock Island, Schuyler, Scott, Tazewell, Whiteside, Will, Winnebago, and Woodford. State officials have activated the State Incident Response Center in Springfield and are keeping it in operation as long as necessary, officials said. State agency liaisons are coordinating state emergency efforts with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency. For the latest flood information, go online to {Ready.Illinois.gov} and {GettingAroundIllinois.com/gai.htm}.

Floodwaters to crest this week

Top photo: Flood waters surge from the Mississippi River across Two Rivers Marina at Pike Station in Pike County. The U.S. 54 Champ Clark Bridge in the background, which leads to Louisiana, Mo., was scheduled to be closed Friday. (Photo by Betsy Roderick) Bottom photo: A bridge on a country road north of Windsor in Shelby County was under water late last week. (Photo by Matt Bennett, Shelby County Farm Bureau)

The Mississippi River, which earlier this year was so low because of the drought that it snarled barge traffic, this week could reach up to 10 feet above flood stage. Major flooding also is taking place along the Illinois River, all a result of torrential rains that totaled 6 to 8 inches at some locations around the state. Sandbagging efforts along both rivers were in full force late last week and over the weekend. Seven locks on the Mississippi River, from Muscatine, Iowa, to Saverton, Mo., were expected to close Friday. The Mississippi was expected to crest on Sunday 4 feet below the 1993 record and 2 feet below the 2008 level. “The Illinois River is a different story,” said Blake Roderick, manager of the Pike County Farm Bureau. “It could be a record. There’s water everywhere.” Roderick said his area received about 5 inches of rain last week. “It (the local rainfall) isn’t the worst part of it,” he noted. “It’s what’s coming from the north (down rivers and streams).” The National Weather Service predicted the Illinois River at Valley City will surpass the record flood level set in 1943. It is expected to crest later this week. “The major impact (of the torrential rains) we’ll be dealing with for several days is flooding along all rivers (in Central Illinois),” said Matt Barnes, meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Lincoln. “The Spoon River in Knox and Fulton counties and the Illinois River are the two rivers most severely impacted by the water,” said Barnes, who noted the Wabash River in Crawford, Edgar, and Lawrence counties also is above major flood stage.

Left photo: A cattle pasture near Roseville in Warren County resembled a river after more than a half-foot of rain drenched the area. All fieldwork activity was delayed at least another week due to the heavy rains, which were followed by cold temperatures late last week. (Photo by Dan Byers) Right photo: A rain gauge near Bradford in Bureau County measures more than 5.5 inches of rain Thursday morning. The gauge was full by evening, said Rob Sharkey, Bureau County Farm Bureau member. (Photo by Rob Sharkey)

Torrential rainfall of 6 to 8 inches at some locations caused widespread flooding around the state. Below is the latest information at FarmWeek presstime Friday. For the latest news, go online to {FarmWeekNow.com}. The Mississippi River was expected to reach up to 10 feet above flood stage this week. Sandbagging efforts took place

from earlier this year when river levels were so low barge traffic was snarled. The Illinois River flooded and sandbagging occurred in different locations late last week and was expected to continue over the weekend. The National Weather Service forecast a record flood level at Morris in Grundy County late last week

BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

River roundup

late last week and were expected to continue over the weekend. Seven locks on the river, from Muscatine, Iowa, to Saverton, Mo., were expected to close Friday. The Mississippi was expected to crest Sunday only 4 feet below the record levels of 1993 and 2 feet below the 2008 level. It marks a dramatic turnaround

— topping the 2008 record level — and at Valley City later this week — besting the 1943 record. The Rock River was flooding in several locations and counties. Widespread flooding occurred on rivers within the Rock River Valley. The Sangamon River was expected to reach flood stage

late last week and over the weekend in different locations. Flood warnings were issued along the river in several counties. The Spoon River breached a levee in London Mills in Fulton County late last week, and the town was evacuated. — Dan Grant and Kay Shipman


GOVERNMENT

FarmWeek Page 4 Monday, April 22, 2013

Quinn proposes $12.6 billion in transportation projects

Multimodal focus across Illinois BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

Illinois needs “21st century transportation” infrastructure that would cost $12.62 billion over six years, Gov. Pat Quinn said last week at a news conference. “We’ve got to make sure we invest in these important assets,” Quinn said, flanked by Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider. The governor offered a lengthy list of construction projects that would improve 2,142

miles of highway and replace or update 517 bridges across the state. For the full 26-page list, go to {FarmWeekNow.com}. For fiscal year 2014, Quinn has proposed funding projects of $128 million for public transportation, $224 million for rail, and $68 million for airports. The $12.62-billion proposal anticipates $7.2 billion in federal funds and $1.9 billion in state money. Local and other sources would be expected to fund the remainder. Quinn’s proposal includes completion of the bridge connecting East St. Louis and St. Louis, Mo., and a new Mississippi River bridge in Moline.

Gov. Pat Quinn announces his six-year, $12.62-billion transportation project proposal during a Statehouse news conference. Looking on is Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider.

AFBF plan reflects budget limits, cross-commodity needs

Schnitkey: STAX stacks up as mixed bag BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

Last week, the Illinois Farm Bureau Board of Directors weighed the potential pros and cons of the American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) new farm bill plan and the budget realities of the farm bill debate.

FarmWeekNow.com

L i s t e n t o G a r y S c h n i t k e y ’s comments about the AFBF farm bill proposal at FarmWeekNow.com

With Senate Ag Committee farm bill markup possible as early as this week, AFBF is promoting a threepronged, dual-option program that incorporates farm income, target price-market loan, and crop insurance protections. The plan offers an estimated $23 billion in ag savings over a 10-year period and adapts a previously proposed Stacked Income Protection Plan (STAX) cotton program as an insurancestyle supplemental countylevel crop coverage option for all program commodities plus apples, potatoes, tomatoes, grapes, and sweet corn. The plan was developed to provide “equity for all

Priority

Continued from page 1 writes more than 50 percent of premium. The president’s plan “isn’t likely to gain a lot of traction on the ag side,” IFB President Philip Nelson told Moore. In an RFD Radio-FarmWeek interview, Nelson noted crop insurance already has sustained more than $6 billion in “overhead” cuts in recent years, while USDA has consolidated crop policies and is moving toward “enterprise unit” coverage “where there are significant cost savings.”

commodities” and a framework that helps ensure farmers “would not plant for the farm program,” while meeting Senate budget targets, AFBF policy director Dale Moore told board members. The 2012 Senate farm bill included Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC), a proposed revenue protection program similar to the Average Crop Revenue Election program. However, under revised budget numbers, AFBF determined Congress “simply did not have enough funding to make it a viable option.” Moore noted AFBF is the first ag group to have submitted proposals for 2013 farm bill consideration. IFB President Philip Nelson nonetheless stressed “we’re a long way from the finish line” in drafting a final proposal. “At the end of the day, I think bits and pieces or elements of this proposal will be embedded in the final product,” Nelson suggested in an RFD Radio-

FarmWeek interview. “But a lot of negotiations and discussions will take place before we get there.” Nelson and University of Illinois ag economist Gary Schnitkey, who offered the

for corn. Fluctuations in the spring base would impact frequency of STAX income payouts — according to Schnitkey, “the negative to the STAX program.” AFBF’s plan does not

‘STAX would trigger a lot of payments: It would trigger in roughly 50-60 percent of the (crop) years.’ — Gary Schnitkey University of Illinois

IFB board a preliminary analysis of the plan, agree the majority of Illinois corn growers likely would opt for STAX vs. target price protections “simply because of the size of the payments.” Because STAX offers varying levels of protection and carries a subsidized producer “premium,” potential payouts would vary. However, at 85 percent farm-level

Illinois Farm Bureau requested University of Illinois analysis of the American Farm Bureau Federation’s farm bill proposals.

While an estimated $16 billion in 2012 insurance payouts have spurred scrutiny of premium supports, Nelson cited the number of producers who have continued to feed premiums into the system “without ever having a claim.” AFBF Senior Economist Bob Young believes ag lawmakers will be able to preserve crop insurance support in the 2013 farm bill. However, as the budget net continues to tighten, crop insurance “is about the only

STAX “coverage,” Schnitkey sees net payments likely falling around $12 an acre for corn and $3 for soybeans. “Target prices for corn and soybeans are relatively

place where the money’s left,” Young told the board.

Tuesday: • Ag weather with Illinois State Water Survey representative • Cynthia Haskins, Illinois Farm Bureau manager of business development and compliance • A.J. Woodyard, technical crop production specialist, BASF • Troy Frerichs, director of investments at Country Financial Wednesday: • Amy Bliefnick, Illinois State

low,” he told FarmWeek. “I’d estimate that they’d make average payments of about $8 an acre for corn and $3.50 for soybeans. ARC would pay $12 for corn and $7 for soybeans. Crop insurance payments would be higher than the target price program and very close to the ARC program. “STAX would trigger a lot of payments: It would trigger in roughly 50-60 percent of the (crop) years. The target price program would trigger 10 to 15 percent of the years; the ARC program would trigger about 25 percent of the years.” At the same time, he stressed STAX guarantees would “reset” each season based on spring base prices — in 2013, $5.65 per bushel

include any harvest price option similar to crop insurance revenue policies — a move Moore deemed necessary to come in under Senate spending limits. That concerns Nelson, who noted “a harvest price option in Illinois is very attractive,” and Moore suggested the possibility of offering it as a producerpaid buy-up option. AFBF’s plan would continue marketing loans as a risk management tool. But loan rates would not be adjusted, and Schnitkey thus questioned their value to Illinois growers. “If they don’t change loan rates, hopefully we won’t see $1.95 corn,” he mused. “If we do, we have big problems.”

Fair manager • Liz Harfst, vice president of University of Illinois Collegiate Farm Bureau • Gary Schnitkey, professor of ag economics at the U of I • Andrew Hamilton, CHS director of marketing for lubricants Thursday: • Jill Johnson, director of communications for the Illinois Beef Association • Mariah Dale-Anderson, special services manager in the IFB Member Services and Public Relations Division

• Dave Alwan, owner, Echo Valley Meats • Craig Jorgensen, business development specialist AGCO Friday: • Harry Cooney, energy risk manager for GROWMARK • Shannon Ramsay, CEO of Trees Forever • Sean Barry, director of media relations for the Arbor Day Foundation To find a radio station near you that carries the RFD Radio Network, go to FarmWeekNow.com, click on “Radio,” then click on “Affiliates.”


APICULTURE

Page 5 Monday, April 22, 2013 FarmWeek

Weather woes contribute to ongoing honeybee losses

part of almond pollination. Mayes, who has more than 300 hives in four counties (McLean, Peoria, Tazewell, and Woodford) in recent months lost 55 percent of his bees, which actually is down from a

60 percent loss last year. “Beekeeping should be self-sustaining,” he said. “But I’ve already spent about $6,000 on new (replacement) bees this year.” Unfortunately, 50 percent

or more losses of bees per season has been common the past five years as researchers struggle to isolate the cause of colony collapse disorder (CCD), which often is cited as the cause of bee losses.

The loss of bees in recent years has been blamed on everything from mites to viruses. A problem with finding the source of CCD is the fact that many bees simply disappear. “If there are no bees to look at, how do you diagnose a disease?” said Mayes, who believes the use of new classes of pesticides plays a role in the disappearance of bees. “We have a crisis.” Mayes and Schnadt are concerned about CCD’s effect on the future of the industry. Mayes said the current situation is unsustainable. “I’m 65 and getting kind of worn out doing this,” said Mayes, who sells about 40,000 pounds of honey to 35 Central Illinois stores each year. “What other business accepts a 50 percent loss?” The situation will affect consumers as well. “If we keep losing bees like we are, honey prices will go up due to a lack of supply,” Schnadt said. “And we’ll be getting more from foreign producers.” The loss of bees also could impact various other food crops, such as apples, oranges, and even carrots, all of which are pollinated by bees.

Department of Agriculture (IDOA), urged farmers and beekeepers to communicate to help avoid potential problems. State law requires beekeepers to register their hives with IDOA’s apiary inspection program. On a voluntary basis, beekeepers also may register their hives’ locations and their contact information on Driftwatch, a state website that identifies locations of beehives and pesticide-sensitive crops at {illinois.agriculture.purdue.edu}. Beekeepers are not charged a fee to register with IDOA or

Driftwatch. Recently, bee health problems have received widespread attention. Rogers said bee health problems may seem “mysterious” because a different set of factors may either have caused a hive to collapse or to be on the brink of collapse. The scientist advised beekeepers to use best management practices, to monitor their hives, and to talk with local farmers. “Adjust your practices to local conditions,” he advised beekeepers. For example, the beginning and end of bloom are key times

for pest management of blooming crops so plan to restrict bees’ crop access during those times and target the middle of the blooming period, Rogers advised beekeepers. He also recommended beekeepers restrict bee foraging when farmers are planting or applying pest control. “Communicate with farmers and growers. You should know when those activities would occur and move or temporarily confine the bees to reduce foraging,” he said. Bees may forage up to a 4-mile radius from their hive. Farmers and pesticide applicators may use Driftwatch to

find beehive locations, denoted by a “b” on a state map. Contact information for a beekeeper who owns a particular hive is available by clicking on the “b” icon. Chard recommended farmers and pesticide applicators contact beekeepers before applying pesticides so the beekeepers have an opportunity to “adjust their operations.” Rogers added: “Farmers need to appreciate that beekeepers have a tough challenge to keep bees healthy. Communicate openly and honestly with beekeepers,” he advised.

on a forward contract. He cited the case of a farmer who, based on conversations with a buyer’s representative, assumed failure to deliver grain under contract would be excused if his land flooded and all or part of his crop was destroyed. However, his contract specified terms could only be amended in writing, with both parties’ signatures. The opposite kind of weather can have the same impact. “Usually, a short crop due to drought does not excuse your performance of the contract,” Quick told FarmWeek. “Read and understand (contract) terms,

not just your obligations as to delivery, but also the pricing mechanism, which nowadays can be quite complicated. “You absolutely must read and understand the ‘fine print,’ usually contained on the reverse side of the document. If you cannot, contact a qualified, experienced attorney familiar with grain contracts,” Quick advised. He offered several guidelines for the producer mulling a new or revised contract: • If the contract includes a “buyer’s call” provision — directing grain delivery whenever the elevator can accept it during the contract delivery period,

with full payment upon delivery — make sure it includes an ending date. • If the contract contains provisions for National Grain and Feed Association arbitration, understand that in arbitration the producer ordinarily can’t look to the courts for any relief. Under those provisions, disputes are resolved by a thirdparty, non-lawyer panel. • Ensure Illinois law controls interpretation of the contract. In cases in which the buyer is based in an adjacent state, a contract likely would be subject to interpretation under Indiana or Missouri law unless the contract specifies protec-

tions under Illinois statutes. Clear “choice of law” can prove crucial — various states, for example, have differing provisions regarding the statute of limitations for growers seeking to file a contractual claim against a buyer. Changes in another state’s laws could affect contract renegotiation. Producers also should check for buyer provisions that specify where any potential contract lawsuit would be filed, especially if that venue poses a disadvantage for the seller. • Secure and file a signed copy of the contract. Review the copy carefully to ensure it includes all agreed-to terms.

BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

Beekeepers who have struggled to maintain hive numbers in recent years certainly could have done without the unseasonably cold start to spring. The chilly temperatures, lateseason snowfall, and subsequent lack of flowering plants so far this season stung bee population numbers around the state. “This past winter was real tough on bees,” said Corky Schnadt, president of the Northern Illinois Beekeepers Association and a Lake County Farm Bureau member. “The mortality rate was very high.” Bee losses at many apiaries in the state ranged from 50 to 80 percent, according to Schnadt. “Bees in the hive are struggling to grow right now,” said Steve Mayes, owner of Mackinaw Valley Apiaries. “They’re looking for nectar sources (which are in short supply).” Many beekeepers in Illinois were forced to source new bees. Most honeybees in the state are imported in “packages” from northern California, where they’re an integral

Steve Mayes, owner of Mackinaw Valley Apiaries, checks a beehive at one of his Central Illinois locations. Mayes this season lost about 55 percent of his bees and had to invest in replacement bees. Unseasonably cold weather this spring, along with colony collapse disorder, continues to wreak havoc on the industry. Read a perspective on other woes for bees on page 12. (File photo by Ken Kashian)

Communication between farmers, beekeepers key for bees BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

Healthy bees require careful management and cooperation between beekeepers and farmers, a bee expert with Bayer CropScience told FarmWeek. “It’s important to stress that beekeeping also is an agricultural undertaking,” said Richard “Dick” Rogers, an apiologist based in Research Triangle Park, N.C. “The reason we have high numbers of colonies is we manage them like livestock.” Steve Chard, chief apiary inspector with the Illinois

Grain contract ‘fine print’ definite required reading BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

While Illinois weather prospects seldom are certain, the letter of the law — and grain contracts — generally are. Contractual fine print may not make allowances for the ravages of nature, and the written contract, not an oral agreement, is the final word on producer protections and liability, Livingston County legal consultant and former Illinois Farm Bureau senior counsel Jerry Quick stressed. Quick urged growers to be cautious about selling too great a percentage of their anticipated annual production


ENVIRONMENT

FarmWeek Page 6 Monday, April 22, 2013

On-farm review enhances farmer’s environmental efforts BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

Ogle County farmer Brad Folkers already had planned to use more environmental practices to reduce odor on his Polo hog farm. He learned those plans were solid after an on-farm assessment by a professional engineer. The assessment is a new service offered through the Illinois Pork Producers Association (IPPA). Folkers became one of the first farmers to use the IPPA service and worked with Ted Funk, professional ag engineer and retired University of Illinois Extension specialist. Last week Folkers told FarmWeek he appreciated Funk tailoring recommendations specifically for his farm and situation. Funk’s report “backed us up on the actions we planned and acknowledged that we had been proactive and had done a number of things,” he said. Funk described his role as “another set of eyes.” After

visiting a farm and reviewing the nutrient management plans, Funk said he may suggest areas needing more attention or technology the farmer may want to consider using. The experienced engineer also will give feedback on whether a potential practice or technology will help, he added. Folkers already planned to plant more fast-growing trees as a barrier near his finishing building and to apply chopped straw across his slurry for a longer period to address odor issues. Funk agreed with those steps and helped prioritize Folkers’ other options. IPPA shares the cost of Funk’s confidential services with members. The cost varies depending on the farm’s situation and location, according to Tim Maiers, IPPA director of public relations. Funk estimated his assessment and initial discussion with a farmer take a

Ogle County farmer Brad Folkers recently used a new environmental review service at his Polo finishing operation. Folkers was reassured after Ted Funk, retired University of Illinois Extension specialist, reviewed the farm’s plans to reduce potential odor. The Illinois Pork Producers Association shares the cost of the service with members. (Photos by Kay Shipman)

couple of hours. Afterward, he may do further research, then he sends

the farmer a written summary of his recommendations. Interested farmers should

call IPPA at 217-529-3100 for more information or to schedule a review.

Brad Folkers explains the odor-free, high-heat system he uses to compost dead animals on his Polo hog farm. Compost material is stored under the roof and in a concrete bin shown behind the composter. Folkers applies the compost to his fields based on his nutrient management plans.


TECHNOLOGY

Page 7 Monday, April 22, 2013 FarmWeek

New technology offers stronger, longer resistance

Chicago biotech conference under way BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

Kiran Mysore is looking outside the box to combat diseases that can eat into wheat and soybean profits and biofuel yields. Mysore, a researcher at the Oklahoma-based Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, is among a handful of scientists worldwide exploring “nonhost resistance,” an advanced method for incorporating genetic disease resistance into key crops. The principle is simple: What makes one plant sick may have no impact on another.

Mysore and company are investigating outside species that already possess the genetic “blueprint” for disease resistance, rather than incorporating genes from within the crop’s own family. That strategy should result in longer-lasting resistance, the Noble scientist suggested. The traditional method of breeding crop lines for “single-gene” resistance offers resistance to a specific disease strain, Mysore noted. However, over a period of time, the pathogen may evolve and a new, hardier strain emerges. “It is believed that non-host

IFB helping foster fuels for European air space

The Midwest championed biofuels use on U.S. highways. Now, Illinois Farm Bureau is joining efforts to prime renewable aviation fuels for takeoff. The Midwest Aviation Sustainable Biofuels Initiative (MASBI) is expected by June to report on the region’s potential to become a hub for the emerging renewable aviation fuel market. That’s increasingly important to airlines that operate in the global market. The European Union is pushing use of “sustainable aviation fuels” (SAF) that offer long-term environmental, social, and economic sustainability considerations, and U.S. airlines that do not adopt them could face EU environmental “liability” costs. IFB economist Mike Doherty is a member-adviser with MASBI, a collaborative effort to explore biomass-based SAF production that includes the advanced biofuels and Chicagoarea aviation interests, the Chicago Department of Aviation, ag groups, and university experts. “European biofuels standards are affecting U.S. industry,” Doherty noted. “We have a strong aviation industry, but we also need to land our planes in European airports. It’s sort of like international trade: In a way, you’re sending a service product into a foreign market.

Illinois Farm Bureau economist Mike Doherty is working with the Midwest Aviation Sustainable Biofuels Initiative to explore possible ag-based airline fuels.

“And those American airlines have a continued presence in European airports. You’re a foreign-based company doing business in Frankfurt or Paris. You have to deal with their regulations.” Retired U.S. Army Gen. Wesley Clark, co-chair of the biofuels group Growth Energy, argues policy support for biofuels — specifically, for the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2) — is key to getting renewable aviation fuels off the ground. The RFS2 is under attack on Capitol Hill, where some lawmakers challenge continued corn use for ethanol production and others question the industry’s ability to meet near-term RFS2 targets for cellulosic and advanced biofuels use. RFS2 fuel blending requirements help level the playing field between petroleum and renewables, Clark said. That, in turn, should fuel investment in greener airline fuels. “The technologies to produce the fuel are there,” Clark told FarmWeek. “The problem is that in a free market economy, when you don’t have demand or a market for your product, you’re not going to get the investments necessary to produce the product. “What we need to do is establish the market, open up the (ethanol) blend wall, and put the market space in place not only for automobile fuels like ethanol and cellulosic ethanol but also for these aviation fuels. Then let the market solve the problem.” — Martin Ross

resistance is more durable,” Mysore told FarmWeek. “It’s also more broad-spectrum. If you do breeding, by the time you release the variety, it’s going to take you 10 years. In this case, it would be much, much faster.” Mysore this week is attending the 2013 BIO International Conference in Chicago, an annual gathering focusing on biotech advances in ag, pharmaceutical, biomedical, and energy development. The Noble Foundation is looking at a variety of potential applications for non-host

resistance, from controlling rusts in wheat and Asian soybean rust to addressing switchgrass rust — a potential barrier to maximizing cellulosic ethanol production. Asian rust is a particularly tough nut to crack: Scientists have yet to identify a soy cultivar that is resistant to all strains of the pathogens. Chemical control of the disease requires fairly precise timing, while non-host traits would both provide seasonlong protection against the spectrum of strains and reduce input costs, Mysore noted.

In the case of Asian soybean rust, scientists are looking to Medicago truncatula, a close relative of alfalfa that is not affected by the disease. The new technology offers relative cost-effective improvements to emerging or minor crops such as switchgrass, which may not justify corporate research development costs, he added. “It doesn’t matter whether it’s switchgrass rust or wheat rust — the same mechanism can be used to confer resistance,” Mysore pointed out.

Illinoisan chosen as McCloy Foundation fellow

For the first time since 2007 an Illinois candidate — Steve Sheaffer of Polo — has been chosen as a McCloy Foundation Fellow through the American Farm Bureau Federation and the American Council on Germany (ACG). Chosen participants (four in the entire nation) travel and study agriculture for three weeks in Germany in September and October of this year. Sheaffer grew up on a farm near Dixon and is involved in a 2,600-acre corn and soybean farm with his father, Jim, and brother, Kyle. He is a 2003

graduate of the Illinois Farm Bureau ALOT program and served on the Lee County Farm Bureau Young Leader Committee from 2001 to 2009. He is vice president of lending for 1st Farm Credit Services of Oregon and Rock Falls. The McCloy Fellowship program was begun by the ACG in 1976 to give young American and German professionals an opportunity to broaden their professional experience and to establish working relationships with their transatlantic counterparts.


IFB IN ACTION

FarmWeek Page 8 Monday, April 22, 2013

New Young Leader committees form in four counties BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

More young farmers and agribusiness professionals see the value of leadership development and networking in the state. New county Illinois Farm Bureau Young Leader (YL) committees recently formed in Clay, Christian, Fayette, and Saline counties. And more additions to the program could follow. “I think it’s great these counties are moving forward,” Brent Pollard, IFB YL State Committee chairman from Winnebago County, told FarmWeek. “One of the huge benefits right now is the farm economy is still relatively strong,” he continued. “It encourages more young people to get involved in the farm industry.” Young Leaders is an IFB

member-created, memberdriven program designed to address the needs of men and women between the ages of 18 and 35 years old. “From my experience, the county programs have a real value locally,” said Caleb May, a Young Leader who recently moved to his home county of Christian and helped start a county committee there. May and his wife, Kimberly, previously were on YL committees in Edwards and Richland counties. May, who has been in Young Leaders since 2007, was a finalist in the YL State Discussion Meet each of the past three years. “We’re from Christian County originally (and recently moved back),” May said. “We definitely wanted to get involved (in starting another county YL committee).” May is the secretary of the Christian County YL Committee.

In Fayette County, Adam Braun recently moved back to Vandalia to farm. He attended a meeting hosted by the Fayette County Farm Bureau Board of Directors to gauge interest in starting a new YL committee. The meeting went so well assignments were handed out and Braun was selected chairman of the new committee. “I recently came back to farm full time,” Braun said. “I saw a need to get involved in the ag community.” Young Leaders in Illinois not only develop leadership skills and are afforded networking opportunities, they also support local communities through ag awareness,

education, and food donation efforts. The age limitations of the program, however, sometimes make it challenging to maintain active committees in each county, according to Pollard. “Demographics are different in every county,” he said. “That makes recruitment a little harder.” Ron Marshel, manager of the Fayette County Farm Bureau, said the number of young people eligible for Young Leaders more than doubled (from 40 to more

than 80) in his county in the last five years. “It was a pleasant surprise (to locate a large enough group of young people to for m a county committee),” Marshel said. “This gives them an excellent opportunity to experience Far m Bureau. “Many of our current (Fayette County Farm Bureau) board members were on the previous Young Leader Committee,” he continued. “It’s a good progression.” For information, visit the website {YoungLeaders.yolasite.com}.

IFB to study challenges in European hog industry

U.S. hog farmers are not alone when it comes to dealing with high feed and input costs. European producers currently are facing the same issue and economic uncertainty. Producers there also are adjusting to a ban on sow gestation stalls that went into effect the first of this year. Hans Aarestrup, CEO of the Association of Danish Pig Producers, recently discussed the situation during a visit to the Illinois Farm Bureau headquarters in Bloomington. “Feed prices are the same all over the world,” Aarestrup told FarmWeek. “We thought we’d see higher piglet prices (to compensate for the higher production costs).” Hog prices in Europe in recent months have not spiked, though. Many producers opted to stay in business and swine inventories subsequently remained steady even after the sow housing ban took effect. The sow herd in Denmark so far this year declined by about 2 percent, well below some previous estimates. The financial crisis in Europe actually forced some producers to remain in business, according to Aarestrup. “Some (hog producers) planned to quit,” Aarestrup said. “They thought they were wealthy (when land prices peaked in Denmark five years ago). “But we got to 2013, land prices were halved (due in part to the global financial crisis and rising interest rates intended to defend Danish currency from speculative pressure) and some (hog farmers) didn’t have the option to stop,” he continued. “So they made the transition to group housing.” IFB in June will give livestock farmers a firsthand opportunity to study how various animal issues evolved in the European Union (EU) and how they impacted EU farmers via a 10-day “Animal Care Study Tour.” Farmer participants for the study tour were selected in an application process that sought to identify livestock leaders who demonstrated knowledge and understanding of animal care issues facing their industry and a willingness to “give back.” Tour participants will travel to the United Kingdom, France, Holland, Germany, and Denmark. The issues that will be covered include sow housing, layer housing, antibiotics, tail-docking, and castration. Farmer participants for the study tour and their home counties are Pat Bane (McLean), Kate Hagenbuch (LaSalle), Pamela Janssen (Woodford), Al Lyman (Henry), Deb Moore (Warren), Carrie Pollard (Winnebago), Stacy Schutz (Greene), Mitzi Sharer (Henderson), Brian Spannagel (Sangamon), and Abe Trone (Stephenson). Brad Temple, IFB District 4 director from LaSalle County, will represent the IFB board on the tour. Karen Lyman of Henry County will serve as an alternate. — Daniel Grant


FROM THE COUNTIES

Page 9 Monday, April 22, 2013 FarmWeek

FB leaders tour ‘adopted’ lawmaker’s district

Massac and PulaskiAlexander County Farm Bureau leaders drove nearly six hours from deep Southern Illinois to Chicago’s south side to meet state Rep. Marcus Evans (D-Chicago), their newly “adopted” legislator. They were joined by Cook County Farm Bureau members. Not only is Evans a relatively new state legislator, he also recently was appointed to the Illinois House Agriculture and Conservation Committee. Evans and his assistant, Micaela Smith, offered the farm visitors an educational tour that started in the legislator’s district office in Chicago’s Chatham neighborhood. He described the area’s political history and gave an overview of the current 33rd District. Then the group took a driving tour of the district that stretches into some of Cook County’s south suburbs and more rural areas. Over lunch in Calumet City, the Farm Bureau members and Evans discussed district issues, the state’s fiscal climate, and pending ag legislation. After lunch, the group traveled to the Zeldenrust Farm Market where Ruth Zeldenrust, an active Cook County Farm Bureau member, led the tour. The fourthgeneration operation grows and sells bedding plants, patio pots, hanging baskets, BY CHRISTINA NOURIE

Fundraiser

State Rep. Marcus Evans (D-Chicago), left, discusses his legislative district with Jeff Weber, Massac County Farm Bureau leader, and Ken Taake, Pulaski-Alexander Farm Bureau board member, during their visit to Chicago. The Southern Illinois Farm Bureau members recently met their newly “adopted” legislator who was elected in November. (Photo by Tammie Obermark, manager of Massac and Pulaski-Alexander Farm Bureaus)

and vegetable plants. From its start as a vegetable farm on Chicago’s Stony Island in the 1930s, the business now includes a 50,000square-foot greenhouse and a business that serves numerous farmers’ markets in the Chicago suburbs. The farm visitors said they appreciated their time with Evans and being able to discuss their legislative concerns. Evans said he valued the opportunity to learn more about issues he may encounter on the House Ag Committee. The representative said he is eager to travel to Massac, Pulaski, and Alexander coun-

Travel with other Farmers!

Best of Ireland Tour from

HRISTIAN — The Young Ag Leaders will meet at 6 p.m. Monday, May 6, at the Farm Bureau building. Call the Farm Bureau office at 824-2940 to register. • Farm Bureau will sponsor a defensive driving class for members 55 and older on Wednesday, May 22, and Thursday, May 23. Call the Farm Bureau office at 8242940 by May 20 to register. ERCER — Farm Bureau will host Ag in a Day teacher workshops Tuesday, June 11, at Monsanto in Monmouth, and Wednesday, June 12, at the Black Hawk East Campus in Galva. Teachers attending will receive continuing professional development units. Call the Farm Bureau office at 582-5116 for more information. Register at {mercercfb.org}. ONROE — Farm Bureau Foundation scholarships are available to college students furthering their education in an agriculture-related field of study. Call the Farm Bureau office at 939-6197 or email mcfarm@htc.net for an application or more informa-

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The Christian County Farm Bureau Foundation recently hosted its annual Trivia Night as a means of raising money for the foundation’s scholarship fund. This was the second year for the fundraiser, and the event raised about $500. — Mellisa Herwig, manager of Christian County Farm Bureau

12 Days

C

$1648*

Depart August 22, 2013 Start in Dublin with a city tour including St. Patrick’s Cathedral (the largest church in Ireland). Travel to Cork, stopping at the Rock of Cashel and Cobh along the way. Then visit Blarney Castle, Woollen Mill and Muckross House & Gardens en route to Killarney. Drive the “Ring of Kerry” offering spectacular scenery, tour Bunratty Castle & Folk Park, built in 1425. Visit the Cliffs of Moher, Galway, the Connemara region, Kylemore Abbey and the Bundoran area. Enjoy a guided tour of Belleek Pottery, visit Ulster American Folk Park, & explore “The Giant’s Causeway.” Finally take a sightseeing tour of Belfast that includes the impressive Parliament buildings plus you will visit the newly opened “Titanic Belfast.” Tour includes 16 meals. *Price per person, based on double occupancy. Airfare is extra.

For reservations & details call 7 days a week:

1-800-736-7300

ties this summer and hopes to bring his staff for a farm visit.

Christina Nourie is the Illinois Farm Bureau northeast legislative coordinator. Her email address is cnourie@ilfb.org.

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tion. Past recipients are eligible to apply. Application deadline is May 1. ERMILION — Farm Bureau will sponsor a Cubs-Cardinals bus trip to Wrigley Field in Chicago on Friday, July 12. Cost is $84 for members. Non-members may purchase tickets after May 1 for $96. Reservations can be made at the Farm Bureau office or by calling 442-8713. HITE — Farm Bureau will sponsor a photo contest called “Picture White County.” The winning photograph will be used on the cover of the 2014 plat book. Contest rules are available at{whitecfb.com/press/photocontest.html}. Deadline to submit photos is April 30.

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“From the Counties” items are submitted by county Farm Bureau managers. If you have an event or activity open to all members, contact your county Farm Bureau manager.


PROFITABILITY

FarmWeek Page 10 Monday, April 22, 2013

Fertilizer, spring weather hot topics this season

Lots of activity is taking place in the fertilizer markets as the supply side continues to respond to the increase in fertilizer values of recent years. However, an equally important hot-topic category in fertilizer is “spring” — that is, assuming spring has not been canceled this year. BY JOE DILLIER

Like any other sector of the agriculture industry, the global fertilizer markets have been buzzing with talk about weather this month. Wet and cold has been the story in the U.S. and across the entire Northern Hemisphere, especially in Europe and China. The bottom line is that the actual “going to the ground”

fertilizer demand has been throttled way back this spring due to the weather. Probably the biggest question for this spring is how much of a demand will Joe Dillier there be for UAN solution since fieldwork is experiencing continued delay. The industry has built additional UAN storage capacity in recent years at both the dealer level and at the distributor/wholesaler level. Most of that storage is full. However, if we plant 97 million acres of corn this spring and if delays cause anhydrous ammonia pre-plant usage to plummet, demand for UAN solution could outrun supply. As I sit here writing this, that possibility seems slim considering how low the

The bottom line is that the actual ‘going to the ground’ fertilizer demand has been throttled way back this spring due to the weather. demand for UAN solution currently is. However, a key feature of fertilizer markets is their volatility and potential to change faster than any other commodity market. As they say, “fertilizer folk can go from God to goat in a matter of minutes.” Last year when the U.S. planted 97 million acres of corn, we had more preplant usage of anhydrous ammonia than seems possible this spring. Long term, the big factor in fertilizer markets continues to be new supply capacity and how much more will be built. There have been a lot of projects announced but, of

course, making an announcement to build a new plant is a lot easier than lining up financing for what probably is a $1.5 billion to $2 billion project. The other factor is that new plants are coming online now in the Middle East and China, which may push prices down later this year. It will be interesting to see how many of the new projects are still on track by next December and how many have been placed on hold. Stay tuned.

The supply of market-ready cattle remains low (the inventory of cattle on feed for more than 120 days is down 11 percent from last year) but that situation should ease in the months ahead. The number of marketready cattle on feed for less than 120 days is down just 1 percent from a year ago. “Currently, we have poor demand and tight supplies,” Nelson said. “But by late summer, we should have poor demand and adequate supplies.” The analyst projected cash cattle prices by summer could sink to $113 per hundredweight. Cash cattle on Friday traded as high as $126. Overall, cattle and calves on feed in the U.S. as of April 1 totaled 10.91 million head, down 5 percent from a year ago. Meanwhile, marketings of fed cattle in March (1.77 million) declined 8 percent. The demand picture appears bearish for U.S. beef due to economic struggles in

the U.S. (tax increases that took effect on Jan. 1 and high unemployment) combined with higher beef prices. Retail beef prices since September increased 8 percent while the average wholesale and net farm values increased just 1 percent, according to the CME Group’s Daily Livestock Report.

Joe Dillier is GROWMARK’s director of plant food. His email address is jdillier@growmark.com.

Cattle report casts bearish shadow on market BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

Torrential rains pummeled already saturated soils across much of the state last week. Final rainfall totals from last week’s storm were not available as of presstime. This graphic does not include rain that fell Thursday (which totaled 2-plus inches at some locations) and Friday showers, which included some light snow.

M A R K E T FA C T S Feeder pig prices reported to USDA* Weight 10-12 lbs. 40 lbs.

Range Per Head $30.52-$48.00 NA

Weighted Ave. Price $37.93 NA

This Week Last Week 83,169 94,716 *Eastern Corn Belt prices picked up at seller’s farm Receipts

Eastern Corn Belt direct hogs (plant delivered) Carcass Live

(Prices $ per hundredweight) This week Prev. week Change $73.66 $76.07 -$2.41 $54.51 $56.29 -$1.78

USDA five-state area slaughter cattle price (Thursday’s price) Steers Heifers

This week $125.00 NA

Prev. week Change $127.64 - $2.64 $127.45 NA

CME feeder cattle index — 600-800 Lbs.

USDA’s April cattle on feed report released Friday didn’t help the market outlook. In fact, cash cattle prices possibly have peaked for the season at $128 per hundredweight, according to Rich Nelson, director of research at Allendale Inc. in McHenry. “It was a disappointing report,” Nelson told FarmWeek. “Placements (in feedlots during March) were up 6 percent from last year.” Placements in feedlots jumped due in large part to poor winter wheat conditions and tight feed availability in the Southern Plains, Nelson noted. Cattle placements in March increased 26 percent in Texas and 13 percent in Kansas. “These two states are key areas of concern about winter wheat and feed availability,” said Nelson, who believes cattle producers in those states moved cattle into feedlots rather than keep them on pasture.

This is a composite price of feeder cattle transactions in 27 states. (Prices $ per hundredweight) Prev. week Change This week $134.53 $138.18 -$3.65

USDA

Lamb prices Slaughter Prices - Negotiated, Live, wooled and shorn 132-169 lbs. for 102.85-140 $/cwt. (wtd. ave. 118.19); wooled and shorn 171-193 lbs. for 112-115 $/cwt. (wtd. ave. 113.22)

Export inspections (Million bushels) Week ending Soybeans Wheat Corn 4/11/2013 4.8 23.5 14.7 4/4/2013 16.2 28.5 10.5 Last year 18.9 26.2 43.4 Season total 1231.6 845 457.9 Previous season total 1061 872.1 1024 USDA projected total 1350 1025 800 Crop marketing year began June 1 for wheat and Sept. 1 for corn and soybeans.

CRP nesting season requirements — The Farm Service Agency (FSA) reminds landowners and farmers enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) that maintenance and management activities on CRP acres must not be conducted between now and Aug. 1, which is the primary nesting season. “CRP participants must not engage in any CRP maintenance or management activities during the primary nesting season,” said Scher-

Farm Service Agency

rie Giamanco, FSA state executive director. Participants with maintenance issues needing immediate attention must contact their county FSA office for permission before any spot spraying or spot mowing is done on CRPenrolled acres. Failure to do so may result in payment reductions or possible contract termination. For questions or more information, contact the local FSA county office or go online to {www.fsa.usda.gov}.


PROFITABILITY

Page 11 Monday, April 22, 2013 FarmWeek

Corn Strategy

CASH STRATEGIST

Spring plantings in question

The persistence of unusually cold, wet weather through April not only has taken early planting off the table but it has made delayed planting a likelihood this year. Although heavy rains and flooding have become localized problems, it’s the cold temperatures that have been the biggest impediment. The unseasonably late start to spring already has sparked a lot of discussion about the mix of acres to be planted and the total number of acres that will be planted. But it wasn’t until last week that soils started to become saturated, with the worst area either side of the middle/upper Mississippi River. South and east of Central Illinois, soil moisture levels are generally near normal. West of central Iowa and Missouri they are still mostly dry. The latter fact is desperately important in the northwestern part of the Corn Belt, where there is a shorter growing season. Much has been made about a lot of snow and the possibility of flooding again this year in the Red River Valley on the Minnesota/North Dakota border. In the springs of 2010 and

2011, soil moisture levels were well above normal in that area, 2011 in particular. In 2011, that area and the Missouri River Valley had to cope with exceptionally large snowmelt runoff. Wet soils were behind the exceptionally large prevent-plant acres in both 2010 and 2011, with the latter the worst because of the runoff. Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota accounted for 43 percent and 72 percent of the prevent-plant acres, respectively, in those two years. Last year those states accounted for only 25 percent. The year 2009 may be more relevant than 2010 or 2011 for comparison. But it was wet in the Dakotas that year as well, whereas this year soils are still relatively dry. In 2009 there were only 2.4 million acres lost to prevent-plant in the primary cornand soybean-producing states. Looking at the acreage from this year’s USDA planting intentions report and the acreage tied up in the Conservation Reserve Program, acreage planted to all crops in the primary corn and soybean states is down 3.5 million from 2012. And we had 1.2 million prevent-plant acres last year. So even if prevent-plant acres rise to 2009’s level or even 2010’s, there’s still reason to think acreage planted to all crops could be as big as last year. What’s really needed is warmer weather to allow planting to get under way.

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ü2012 crop: Target a move above $6.49 on July futures to boost sales to 90 percent. We wouldn’t discourage you from pricing inventory other than “gambling stocks” you want to carry into summer. ü2013 crop: Arguably, new-crop prices may be able to rebound easier than oldcrop prices the next three months. But it’s looking doubtful that December corn can easily move above $5.50. Use a rally to $5.49 to get newcrop sales up to 30 percent. vFundamentals: Even though weather has delayed early planting, it has pushed drought to the background in nearly every sector of the trade. And even though the early planting delay may cut into corn acreage, it’s still difficult to build a realistic supply/demand forecast that has bullish overtones. Meanwhile, Brazil is set to harvest another good crop, which will compete with us in the world trade. China’s imports may rise, but we wouldn’t expect to see any big business transacted with the Chinese until later in the summer.

Cents per bu.

Soybean Strategy

ü2012 crop: Traders keep talking up old-crop prices, but they are fighting South American crops entering the pipeline and softer Chinese imports. Wrap up 2012 crop sales other than any “gambling” inventories you want to carry into summer. ü2013 crop: If you are comfortable with getting planting completed, boost your sales to 40 percent when November futures are above $12. vFundamentals: There’s increasingly less room for optimism in the soybean complex with South American supplies now freely moving into the world pipeline, and potential for even slower demand from the biggest buyer, China. Even though our soybean and soybean meal supplies could be tight this summer, imports could mitigate those issues. South American prices are now more important than U.S. prices. Spring weather is a dynamic, but early planting

delays only boost the odds of seeing soybean acreage increase this year.

Wheat Strategy

ü2012 crop: At best, it still appears wheat is tracing out a choppy, sideways pattern. If Chicago July wheat would close below $6.87, prices could decline farther. We don’t recommend selling weakness to wrap up sales yet, but check the Hotline daily. We could pull the trigger at any time. ü2013 crop: Wait for Chicago July to trade above $7.18 before making catch-up sales.

vFundamentals: The recent weather situation in the Southern Plains has been a double-edged sword. Beneficial rains have helped crop prospects, but the subsequent frost/freezes have hurt the crop in western Great Plains locations. Temps have to warm before one can assess the damage. The trade will be looking to the annual Kansas wheat tour at the beginning of May for insight. Recent weekly export sales, 1.675 million metric tons (a metric ton is 36.74 bushels), were supportive as they exceeded expectations.


PERSPECTIVES

FarmWeek Page 12 Monday, April 22, 2013

Mexico mission opportunity to reinforce relationships The agreement also includes assis68 million bushels of soybean equivaMuch attention in today’s markettance for educational workshops about lent. Soy sales cumulatively totaled place is focused on increasing soybean trading and financial instruments at the about $2.5 billion in 2011. demand in China. ChiChicago Mercantile Exchange. During the mission, our delegation na holds incredible ISA will do what it can, with funding met with top Mexican agriculture offipromise for U.S. soyassistance from the soybean checkoff, cials to reaffirm Illinois’ existing trade bean sales. to help the U.S. Soybean Export Counrelationship and to discuss opportuniBut in early April, I cil continue its technical assistance and ties for Mexico to purchase more Illihad the opportunity to soy promotion efforts in Mexico. nois agricultural products. accompany Gov. Pat As I met with various industry repreGovernor Quinn directed several Quinn and Illinois sentatives during the mission, I told economic agreements designed to help Department of AgriBILL them Illinois soybean farmers place a culture Director Robert pave the way for increased trade and WYKES high priority on cusFlider on an tomer satisfaction and international providing high-quality trade mission to reinforce relaproducts. I received inditionships for another significant, cations they not only and certainly substantial, market were satisfied with our for U.S. soybean farmers — soybean quality, but also Mexico. felt U.S. farmers had a Governor Quinn notes that competitive edge vs. othagriculture is big business in Illier global soybean supplinois. Mexico is one of Illinois’ ers. best customers. With sales of ISA’s promotion $8.2 billion, Illinois currently is the third largest agricultural Illinois Soybean Association President Bill Wykes, far right, looks on as efforts extend beyond exporter in the United States. Gov. Pat Quinn, center, signs a memorandum of understanding to en- outright soy sales. Since 2010, Mexico has pur- courage agricultural trade between Illinois and Mexico. Joining Quinn ISA invests soybean and Wykes is Illinois Agriculture Director Bob Flider, second from checkoff dollars in the chased $1.9 billion in ag prodright. (Photo courtesy of the governor’s staff) U.S. Meat Export Federaucts from Illinois, including tion’s (USMEF) Pork $780 million in 2012, making it Demand Development Program to innovation between Illinois and Mexithe state’s third largest agricultural increase exports of U.S. pork — from co. export market. As chairman of the Illinois Soybean soybean meal-eating hogs — to Mexico According to the most recent statisby increasing the rate of growth of per Association (ISA), I participated with tics from USDA, Mexico is the second capita consumption. Governor Quinn, Director Flider, and largest U.S. soybean customer, importThe U.S. sends more tons of pork to Mexican agriculture representatives in ing some 116 million bushels in calensigning a memorandum of understand- Mexico than any other country. dar year 2011. Mexico also is the secUSMEF’s campaign uses the media to ing to encourage development and ond largest soybean oil export market, reach consumers about pork’s great purchasing about 30 million bushels of improvement of soybean meal prodtaste and to educate and demonstrate ucts made for human and animal consoybean equivalent. Mexico is the top the versatility and wholesomeness of sumption. soybean meal export market at about

Beyond bumble, honey: other bees have challenges, too

This is the time of year that I always notice the busy activity of some ground-dwelling bees that live near our house. They never bother you as you walk by, even though they are quite numerous. Most people are aware of honeybees, and more are becoming aware of their economic importance in pollinating commercial crops. But most people have never heard about the native bees that just don’t have the rock-star status of the non-native honeybees. It so happens that there are more than 4,000 species of native bees in north America — and MARI bees are the most important pollinator in most LOEHRLEIN ecosystems in the world. Seventy-five per cent of the flowering plant species in the world are pollinated by bees. Even commercial crops that rely on honeybees for pollination also are visited by wild native bees and other pollinators. Without pollination, flowers cannot develop into seeds and fruits, which feed many birds and mammals large and small. As a matter of fact, fruits and seeds derived from insect pollination are a major part of the diet of about 25 percent of all birds and of mammals ranging from red-backed voles to grizzly bears. Most native bees live solitary lives rather than in colonies as honeybees do. Many live in the ground and go mostly unnoticed by people most of the time. Unfortunately, wild bees and other pollinators are experiencing declining populations and possible extinction. According to the Xerces Society, “Many of our native bee pollinators are at risk, and the status of many more is unknown.” Three bee species: the rusty-patched, the yellow-banded, and western bumblebee have dropped in number over the past decade. A fourth species, Franklins’ bumblebee, has been seen only once in the past several years. Habitat loss, alteration, and fragmentation, pesticide use, climate change, and introduced diseases all contribute to declines of bees.

To attract native bees and other pollinators to your yard, add some food plants that provide pollen and nectar. Grow a diversity of plant species to attract a diversity of pollinators. Try to have something in bloom over a long period of time to provide a continual supply of food.

Mari Loehrlein is a professor of horticulture and landscaping in Western Illinois University’s School of Agriculture, Macomb. Her email address is MM-Loehrlein@wiu.edu.

pork-based meals. Throughout the mission, I encouraged Mexican officials to visit Illinois and meet with our state’s farmers and soybean industry partners. I also discussed ways we can collaborate on such issues as biotechnology and biotech soybean event approvals. ISA will host an International Biotechnology Symposium Aug. 26. I invited them to come be part of the conversation. While Mexico may not hold the long-term growth potential of China, it is a key market for Illinois soybean farmers and one we must continue to nurture. Meeting with agricultural officials on the governor’s trade mission was a great way to reinforce our Illinois relationships.

Bill Wykes, a Yorkville farmer, is chairman of the Illinois Soybean Association.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Let senators know ‘yes’ on WRDA a must

Editor: An opportunity lies before us in the form of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA). Sens. Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk will soon have a chance to vote ‘yes’ for WRDA. A ‘yes’ vote is a vote to keep America moving as well as to get America working! The WRDA bill is needed to authorize improvements to our waterways infrastructure. This infrastructure (locks and dams) was built in the 1930s and is in a desperate state of disrepair. The construction effort was nothing short of incredible at the time, putting thousands of Americans to work while building a transportation artery that catapulted the United States to the forefront of world trade. Now we find ourselves in the position of a third-world nation. What once contributed to America’s greatness now serves as a monument to our inability to find consensus and take action. Our locks and dams have been patched and repaired to the point that not much more can be done. It’s like repairing an old car. Sooner or later, no amount of investment in repairs can return an operable, dependable vehicle. Upgrades to the locks and dams are what’s needed. What was built 80 years ago was intended to last 50 years. It’s time to retire these systems and put in place locks and dams that will first get America working and then keep America moving. Please join Illinois corn farmers in asking Senators Durbin and Kirk to vote yes for WRDA. PAUL TAYLOR, Illinois Corn Growers Association president Editor’s note: The Senate is expected to begin discussions on WRDA in a few weeks. Look for more information in FarmWeek and FarmWeekNow.com as the Senate vote approaches.

April 22 2013  

April 22 2013

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