Page 1

43 DAYS REMAIN UNTIL THE NOV. 6 ELECTION

THE 2012 DROUGHT was hard on most Illinois crops this summer, but a Beason family’s pumpkin crop fared pretty well. ......................10

An IllInOIs agriculture coalition formed to help consumers better understand farming had a successful first year. ......................12

Monday, September 24, 2012

Three sections Volume 40, No. 39

IFB pushing for a lame duck farm bill vote BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

Lawmakers left Capitol Hill for the campaign trail last week without passing a new farm bill, leaving Farm Bureau pushing for post-election action to provide farmer certainty. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) confirmed no farm bill would be passed before the November elections, despite Sept. 30 expiration of 2008 farm legislation. Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) questioned whether they could garner the 218 votes necessary to pass either the Senate’s farm bill or a House Ag Committee

draft that’s been in limbo since July. As of last week, a reported 50 lawmakers had signed a petition demanding an immediate House floor vote. Illinois Farm Bureau President Philip Nelson stressed “we’re not giving up” on 2012 passage of a new farm bill — the IFB board urged post-election action in a letter to Illinois’ congressional delegates. James Callan, a Washington, D.C., policy consultant who visited last week with House and Senate Ag Committee leaders, noted continued bipartisan support for a 2012 farm bill. “They want to see a farm bill done this year,” the former

USDA Risk Management Agency official told FarmWeek at last week’s Soy and Grain Trade Summit in New Orleans. “Some think we don’t need a temporary extension (of the 2008 bill) if there could be a commitment from the House leadership for (post-election) time on the House ag bill. “That would be sufficient not to disrupt programs between the end of September and the end of the year. It’s a little uncertain right now. (Ag lawmakers) know farmers need certainty, particularly with the drought we’ve had.” Because various programs expire under different sched-

ules, Congress can pass a new farm bill by year’s end “without damaging agricultural interests,” Callan assured summit participants. At the same time “Farm Bill Now” — a broad coalition of farm, agribusiness, conservation, and energy interests — has stumped for fall passage, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has escalated efforts to derail proposed ag policies. The EWG charged the House Ag Committee “proposed to increase farm welfare at a time of record farm income and to cut programs for the poor and the environment

in order to lavish new subsidies on highly profitable farm businesses.” In fact, the House bill repeals direct, countercyclical, and average crop revenue election payments in favor of a new revenue safety net, cutting program costs by $14 billion. Callan conceded recent USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) predictions that U.S. farm income would exceed $122 billion in 2012, reflecting corn and soybean price gains. But he stressed “there are still a lot of risks on the farm,” and warned many droughtSee Vote, page 4

Smaller corn crop leads to quicker harvest BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

pork producer from Morrisonville who also is president of the Illinois Pork Producers Association (IPPA). Soybean harvest as of the first of last week was in the beginning stages with 3 percent of the crop in the bin statewide compared to the average of 2 percent. “Lines at the elevator are long, as they’re testing every load for aflatoxin,” Scates noted. “But with lower yields, it’s not slowing down combines a whole lot.” Dunkirk said corn yields in his Christian County area ranged from 80 to 170 bushels per acre.

“Corn yields on the heavier ground held up,” he said. “But on the lighter soil, yields fell off drastically.” The results are even more variable in Southern Illinois, which was the epicenter of the drought for much of the growing season. “It’s really variable, from zero to over 200 (bushels per acre),” Scates said of corn yields in his area. “For the most part, it’s definitely down quite a bit” from average. USDA earlier this month projected farmers nationwide will produce 10.7 billion bushels

of corn, which would be the smallest crop since 2006, and 2.63 billion bushels of beans, down 14 percent from last year. Dunkirk said pork producers and other livestock farmers are concerned about the short crop and its impact on feed availability and prices. “Nobody has a real good handle yet what the supply of corn will be (heading into 2013), and there are concerns about quality,” Dunkirk said. Livestock producers have responded by changing feed See Harvest, page 7

Periodicals: Time Valued

The combination of good weather, an early-maturing corn crop, and smaller-than-average yields helped many farmers get a jump on corn harvest. In fact, some farmers recently wrapped up corn harvest for the season. “Harvest in my area (of deep Southern Illinois) is close to three-quarters done,” Jeff Scates, president of the Illinois Corn Growers Association and a farmer from

Shawneetown, said Friday. “We’re just over halfway done, but I also know some farmers are completely done with corn.” Statewide, corn harvest as of the first of last week was 36 percent complete compared to the five-year average of 13 percent and just 9 percent a year ago. Nearly all of the corn crop (87 percent) was mature last week compared to the average of 52 percent. “We’re on the downhill slide. There’s maybe 15 to 20 percent of corn left in my area,” said Dereke Dunkirk, a grain and

Two combines made short work last week of this field of soybeans owned by Lo Farms and located near Savoy in Champaign County. The

FarmWeek on the web: FarmWeekNow.com

field yielded between 32 and 36 bushels an acre. (Photo by Cyndi Cook)

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


FarmWeek Page 2 Monday, September 24, 2012

Quick takes AG PART OF STATE’S BRAZIL TRADE MISSION — Agriculture is on the agenda of Gov. Pat Quinn’s Brazilian trade mission, which started Sunday. The group of business executives, state and local government officials, and educators will discuss economic and educational opportunities over six days with stops in Sao Paulo, Brasilia, and Recife. During the trip, Quinn will sign several memorandums of understanding to further establish ties in manufacturing, agriculture, biotechnology, and education. Last year, Illinois exported $2.55 billion in goods to Brazil, an increase of 24 percent over the previous year. Illinois is the fourth-largest exporter to Brazil in the U.S. Tr i p u p d a t e s w i l l b e p o s t e d o n l i n e a t {www.Illinois.g ov} and on Twitter at @GovernorQuinn. CAPITOL CAPITAL CONCERNS — Last week, the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) urged Congress to reform the capital gains tax because of its potential impact on young and beginning farmers. In a statement submitted for a joint U.S. House Ways and Means/Senate Finance Committee tax reform hearing, AFBF said the cumbersome tax makes it difficult for current farmers to pass the torch to a new generation. “Since approximately 40 percent of farmland is owned by individuals age 65 or older, capital gains taxes provide an additional barrier to entry for young farmers and ranchers at a time when it is already difficult for them to get into the industry,” AFBF stated. “Capital gains tax liabilities encourage farmers to hold onto their land rather than sell it, creating a barrier for new and expanding farms and ranches to use that land for agricultural purposes.” The top capital gains tax rate will jump by a third on Jan. 1, from 15 percent to 20 percent. Farm Bureau supports a permanent extension of the 15 percent rate. CELLULOSIC MOMENTUM? — If Purdue University researchers have their way, the term “biofuel plant” will take on a whole new meaning. The Purdue team received a $5.2 million U.S. Department of Energy grant to develop a plant that can make substances that could be used directly as a biofuel. The idea is to reroute carbon that plants currently use to make lignin — a barrier to cellulosic ethanol production — and turn it instead into a biofuel. “Scientists have been focused on getting the sugars out of cell walls and using microorganisms to ferment those sugars into fuel,” said Clint Chapple, the grant’s principal investigator and a distinguished professor of biochemistry. “We want to take advantage of a plant’s metabolic pathways to make biofuel directly.”

(ISSN0197-6680) Vol. 40 No. 39 September 24, 2012 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.

Address subscription and advertising questions to FarmWeek, P.O. Box 2901, Bloomington, IL 61702-2901. Periodicals postage paid at Bloomington, Illinois, and at an additional mailing office. POSTMASTER: Send change of address notices on Form 3579 to FarmWeek, P.O. Box 2901, Bloomington, IL 61702-2901. Farm Bureau members should send change of addresses to their local county Farm Bureau. © 2012 Illinois Agricultural Association

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 Linda Goltz (Lgoltz@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) 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

Drought

Residual nitrogen?

‘It’s out there; we’re finding it’

BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

Farmers should consider using a fall soil test to document the amount of nitrogen not used by this year’s crops and remaining in their fields. “If a crop didn’t take it (nitrogen) out, it’s out there; we’re finding it,” said Dan Schaefer, nutrient stewardship director of the Illinois Council for Best Management Practices (CBMP). Between pulling soil samples last week, Schaefer paused to discuss the importance of fall soil nutrient tests. He calculated 60 pounds of nitrogen per acre remained in a Central Illinois field he had just sampled. Schaefer estimated nitrogen levels range between 40 and 60 pounds per acre in “normal” fields this fall. “In some cases, it could be higher,” he warned. Results from a fall soil test, especially in cornfields that will be planted to corn next year, should be used as a nitrogen inventory — not for a fertilizer recommendation for the 2013 growing season, Schaefer said. Schaefer suggested farmers who apply fall nitrogen apply 50 percent of their “nitrogen needs.” That is even more

important this year given the amount of residual nitrogen left because of the drought. Fabian Fernandez, University of Illinois soil fertility specialist, also encouraged farmers apply less nitrogen this fall. “If you already have high nitrogen levels, let’s wait. You could lose the nitrogen in the

‘If you already have high nitrogen levels, let’s wait.’ — Fabian Fernandez University of Illinois soil fertility specialist

soil and what you apply,” Fernandez warned. Both Fernandez and Schaefer recommended farmers test soil for residual nitrogen levels next spring and adjust nitrogen rates accordingly. Late October soil tests are key for obtaining accurate potassium recommendations because the soil has been so dry this year, added Fernandez. “For potassium, be aware the (test) results

may be high if the soil is sampled in early fall,” he noted. Timing is not as critical for soil testing for phosphorous or pH levels, he said. In general, farmers do not need to make drought adjustments to phosphorous or pH test results. “If the pH test shows a need to apply lime, apply it,” Fernandez said. A new free tool, a smart phone application, can help farmers calculate their nitrogen budget. The U of I Extension and CBMP developed the Maximum Return to Nitrogen calculator, which just became available as an app for Apple phones. The app had been available for Android phones. The calculator, funded by CBMP, is available at {http://ex tension.agron.iastate.edu/soilfertility/nrate.aspx}. To access the app from Apple, go to {http://itunes. apple.com/us/app/mrtnnitrogen-application/id560 788301?}. To access the Android version, go to {http://web.extension.illinois.edu/csrec/index.ht ml}, then click on the “Register” block in the upper right corner.

State ag lime directory available online An online directory of ag limestone providers in Illinois is available from the Illinois Department of Agriculture and the Illinois Association of Aggregate Producers. A print-

ed version no longer is available. Updated each year, the directory indexes many Illinois sources of ag limestone and its effective neutralizing value.

Webinar to offer health resources for drought-stressed farmers The Indiana AgrAbility Project at Purdue University will host a free webinar starting at 3 p.m. Thursday to provide support and health resources for farmers coping with drought impacts. The registration deadline is Tuesday. The one-hour webinar will provide Extension educators, other agriculture professionals, and farm families with resources to address mental or behavioral issues related to the drought. Topics will include: • Mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety disorders, suicidal thoughts and actions, and substance abuse. • Proper identification of signs and symptoms. • Appropriate responses when interacting with farm families. • Referral sources for additional assistance. • Training opportunities

available through Mental Health First Aid. Roberta Schweitzer, a former assistant professor in the Purdue School of Nursing, will lead the discussion that will be followed by a question-andanswer period. She works with the Indiana AgrAbility/Breaking New Ground programs on rural stress and coping issues and enhancing mental health resources and well-being in farm families living with a chronic disability. To register, go to {www.tinyurl.com/droughtwebinar}. Instructions for accessing the webinar will be sent to registrants. The session will be recorded and archived at {www.agrability.org/Online-Training/archived}. For more information, contact Indiana AgrAbility at 800-825-4264 or agrability@agrability.org.

Calcium carbonate equivalents and fineness efficiency of different limestones have been figured for farmers. To download a directory, go online to {www.agr.state.il.us/news/} under the publications section or {www.iaapaggregates.org/aglime.htm}. A direct link also is available at {www.FarmWeekNow.com}.

Tuesday: • Jim Angel, state climatologist with Illinois State Water Survey • Philip Nelson, president of Illinois Farm Bureau • Teresa Grant-Quick, Livingston County Farm Bureau manager • D e n n i s H a a b, L i v i n g s t o n County Farm Bureau president Wednesday: • Jim Mackey, Illinois Department of Agriculture international marketing representative • Mark DePue, director of oral history at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Thursday: • Reid Blossom, executive vice president of the Illinois Beef Association • Phil Corzine, general manager of South American Soy • Martha Downey, site superintendent of the Bishop Hill State Historic Site Friday: • Harry Cooney, GROWMARK • Dale Durchholz, AgriVisor • Alan Jarand, RFD radio director


Page 3 Monday, September 24, 2012 FarmWeek

GOvErNmENT ELECTION 2012

Illinois voters may use absentee or early voting BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

Registered voters don’t have to wait until Nov. 6 to vote in the election. Voters who are not able to vote in person on election day may choose to vote by absentee ballot or participate in early voting. Early voting will start Oct. 15 and will continue through Nov. 3, according to the Illinois State Board of Elections. Interested voters should check with their local election authorities for polling places and early voting hours at each location. Voters who participate in early voting must show valid identification with a photo, such as a current dri-

ver’s license. Of course, a person who votes dur-

ing the early voting period legally is prohibited from voting again on election day. Votes cast during early voting will not be counted until after the polls close on election day. Using an absentee ballot is

Quinn unveils record exports to Mexico Illinois exports to Mexico totaled a record $3 billion for the first half of 2012, a 13.7 percent increase over last year, Gov. Pat Quinn announced last week. The state’s exports overall are at the highest level in a decade. Mexico has played a key role in Illinois’ export increases with 20 percent growth in 2010 and 34 percent growth in 2011. In 2011, Mexico accounted for nearly 9 percent of Illinois’ total export portfolio with $5.7 billion in exports. Exported goods to Mexico include machinery, agriculture products, electronics, and chemicals. Mexico ranks second only to Canada as an Illinois trading partner. Illinois ranks first in the Midwest in exports and was the sixth-largest U.S. exporting state in 2011.

Fall meetings set for farmland owners Eight educational meetings about improving farmland management and increasing economic return will occur around the state in October. US Farm Lease will sponsor the meetings. Pre-registration is required. Meeting topics will include: current lease trends, farmland values and investment returns, farmer profitability in today’s market, determining the Illinois soil productivity index for your farmland, and protecting the soil nutrient bank. Information also will be discussed about a web-based tool to help farmers find land available for rent and to help landowners achieve fair-market lease arrangements. Speakers will vary by meeting location. The group includes retired University of Illinois Extension educators Dale Baird, Jim Endress, and Ruth Hambleton and Kevin Brooks with US Farm Lease. Each meeting will start at 6 p.m. and end at 9 p.m. Dates and locations are: Oct. 4, Ogle County Farm Bureau, Oregon; Oct. 11, Joliet Junior College, Joliet; Oct. 15, Cook County Farm Bureau, Countryside; Oct. 18, Parkland College, Champaign; Oct. 22, Lake Land Community College, Mattoon; Oct. 23 Illinois Central Community College, East Peoria; Oct. 25, Lincoln Land Community College, Springfield; and Oct. 29, Kaskaskia College, Centralia. For information or to register, contact Kevin Brooks at 877232-4002 or by email at kwbrooks@bksolutionsonline.com.

another way to vote. Anyone may vote by absentee ballot, including those in the military and their spouses and children ages 18 or older and voters who are

going to be temporarily out of the country. To receive an absentee ballot, a voter must obtain an application either by mail or in person from the election authority for the jurisdiction in which the voter is registered.

Absentee voting begins 40 days before the election. For those applying by mail, Nov. 1 will be the last day to request an absentee ballot for the election. Absentee voting by mail must be completed using the certified envelope and other forms provided. Mailed ballots must be postmarked no later than midnight on the night before the election and must be received within 14 days of the election. Those planning to vote by absentee ballot may vote in person up to and including the day before the election. General information about registering to vote and the different methods of voting is available from local election authorities or from the State Board of Elections online at {www.elections.il.gov}.

Why should you

VOTE?

“If we don’t go to the ballot box and express our preferences there, many of our Farm Bureau policies have no one to carry them on through the rest of the process ... and put them into law.”

JOHN WHITE, Elburn Former Illinois Farm Bureau president

Don’t take chances when crossing train tracks Farmers and others hauling grain need to stay alert when driving over railroad crossings, especially rural ones with no warning devices. “Tractors, trucks, and other farm equipment are noisy and slow moving. As you approach a railroad crossing, don’t take a chance. Slow down and be prepared to stop,” Bob Meyer, a grade crossing manager with the Federal Railroad Administration, told FarmWeek. That’s good advice, especially in a state with the nation’s second-largest rail system. Illinois has more than 7,200 miles of track and 4,707 private and 7,981 public highwayrail crossings. Last year, 102 grade crossing train-vehicle collisions occurred in Illinois. Preliminary data showed 52 collisions happened in the first half of 2012. Meyer advised farmers as they approach a crossing to open cab windows, turn off

radios and fans, and remove headphones or earbuds to make it easier to hear an oncoming train. He recommended stopping at least 15 feet from the nearest rail in the crossing and allowing extra distance for front-end loaders and chemical tanks on tractors. Meyer reminded drivers that before they cross with equipment or trailers and wagons they need to make certain they have enough space to clear the tracks completely without stopping — and have at least 15 feet between the end of the equipment and the track. If a vehicle stalls or gets caught on the tracks, the driver and all passengers should leave immediately, he advised. An average freight train traveling 55 mph needs a mile or more to stop, Meyer said. If a train is coming, the driver and passengers of a stalled vehicle should walk toward the train but away

from the tracks at a 45-degree angle because collision debris will spread out in the direction the train is moving. Railroad emergency phone numbers and the Department of Transportation crossing identification number are posted near each crossing. For example, the numbers may be located on the posts of the crossing signs. When reporting a vehicle on the tracks to the railroad or police, give the location, the crossing number, and the name of the road or highway. Federal railroad officials particularly are concerned about problems with gooseneck trailers getting stuck on crossings, according to Meyer. Nearly all of 200 incidents involving horse trailers studied resulted in the deaths of humans and horses. Loaded gooseneck trailers may take more time to clear a crossing than some drivers estimate, he said. — Kay Shipman

U of I vet med to host open house

University of Illinois veterinary students will host the annual veterinary medicine open house from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 7. Plans include more than 40 exhibits, demonstrations, and hands-on activities, involving plenty of animals, for all ages. For the first time, children may bring their fuzzy friends to the Teddy Bear repair; however, live animal visitors are

not invited. The event is open to the public and registration is not required. The Clinical Skills Learning Center, a key component of the new Illinois integrated veterinary professional curriculum, will be on display. The new facility provides a lowpressure environment for students to master clinical techniques in surgery, imaging, emergency medicine, and other

areas using animal manikins, simulations, and state-of-theart teaching equipment. Aspiring veterinarians should attend. Discussions will cover the admissions process, career opportunities, and continuing innovations. For a list of exhibits, event information, and directions, visit {vetmed.illinois.edu/openhouse/} or call 217-3332761.


FarmWeek Page 4 Monday, September 24, 2012

government

Corn vs. cattle RFS2 battle deemed non-productive BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

The debate over a proposed Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2) ethanol waiver shouldn’t deteriorate into a “corn growers vs. cattle producers thing,” an Ohio State University (OSU) scientist argued last week. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues to mull a request by livestock groups and several governors to reduce or suspend 2013 ethanol use mandates. EPA is expected to reach a decision by Nov. 13. USDA’s September corn harvest estimate indicated the impact of biofuels production on grain supplies and prices may be less significant than some have projected, but Illinois Pork Producers Association representatives meeting with the IFB board last week reiterated support for the waiver. Meanwhile, the national Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) refuted a new report by the Energy Policy Research Foundation Inc. (EPRINC) arguing a waiver likely would

reduce corn prices, “provide economic benefits in the form of feed and food prices,” and reduce risks of a gasoline “price spike” as suppliers begin blending ethanol at higher levels.

‘My problem isn’t with DDGs.’ — Francis Fluharty Ohio State University

EPRINC’s paper is “rife with internal inconsistencies,” according to RFA. RFA argued the closure of ethanol plants under reduced RFS2 targets instead “may have a serious impact on gasoline prices” for the consumer. Further, RFA labeled “absurd and misleading” EPRINC’s assertion that replacement of corn with distillers dried grains (DDGs) under RFS2-driven ethanol production would prove far

costlier for livestock producers. DDGs have tracked at 85 percent of the corn price on average since 2010, “with the ratio often dropping below 80 percent,” RFA stated. OSU animal nutritionist Francis Fluharty agrees DDGs offer a valuable option in the face of reduced corn supplies. At the same time, he questions the extent to which producers — especially smaller feedlot operators — should rely on the co-product as the single answer to corn replacement. “My problem isn’t with DDGs: We’ve fed DDGs effectively for years,” Fluharty told FarmWeek at last week’s Soy and Grain Trade Summit in New Orleans. “My problem is the level we’re economically being forced to feed. “When we start feeding diets that contain 40-60 percent distillers grains, phosphorous and potential sulfur levels may be so high they can be detrimental to animal health. At 20 percent of the diet, it’s a great feed. If its oil content is still around 10 percent, it’s a very high energy ration.” With more ethanol plants

Granite City lock shutdown highlights costly flaws in system A temporary lock shutdown on the Upper Mississippi — this time at Granite City near St. Louis — again underlined the river’s impact on ag commerce and the need for infrastructure investment from the Midwest to the Gulf. Barges were moving slowly through Granite City’s Lock 27 late last week after crews made emergency repairs to a structure that protects the high-traffic lock and guides barge tows into the lock chamber. At the point it was reopened Thursday, 63 tows and 455 barges were awaiting passage. The damaged lock barrier was discovered Sept. 15 as a result of low water levels. While the lock itself was not damaged, cell deterioration is symptomatic of problems continuing to emerge at aging Midwest locks. During last week’s Soy and Grain Trade Summit in New Orleans, Louisiana Ag Commissioner Mike Strain condemned what he sees as a lack of federal commitment to overall waterways maintenance and improvements. Strain noted Congress’ failure to approve the Realize America’s Maritime Promise Act, a measure designed to ensure Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund revenues generated through port-harbor user taxes are used for actual harbor maintenance and operations. Harbor dredging’s seen as a key need in adapting the Port of New Orleans for regular traffic in huge Panamax vessels that can carry ag goods through an expanded Panama Canal, as well as for Gulf movement of containerized commodities. Due to sediment accumulation and inadequate trust fund appropriations, navigation channels are becoming narrower and more shallow. Despite a currently healthy trust

fund surplus, a broad-based Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund Fairness Coalition reports less than two-thirds of funds have been used. At the same time, House lawmakers rejected a proposal by barge interests to increase fuel taxes they pay into the Inland Waterways Trust Fund (IWTF). The currently waning IWTF provides matching revenues needed for funding of new locks and crucial rehabilitation on the Illinois and Upper Miss. “We have a (systemwide maintenance) backlog in the billions of dollars,” Strain told FarmWeek. “Most of our inland waterways — our navigations systems, the locks — are reaching the end of their functional lifespan of 40 to 50 years. The cost not to address this is astronomical.” Nearly 35 million bushels of grain backed up “at harvest” following a recent shutdown at Louisiana’s Port of Lake Providence, the commissioner noted. Restoring traffic flows required more than two weeks of dredging. That agricultural logjam represented a potential $350 million immediate impact over “$1.5 million worth of dredging costs,” Strain maintained. That’s not to mention the oil, coal, ore, and manufactured goods that move through the Gulf and on the rivers, he noted. “We need to be on top of the curve,” Strain stressed. “You talk about what’s happening in China — they’re making tremendous investments in agriculture. We must invest — we have the dollars to do that. We must fix our inland structures. We must dredge and maintain ports. “We should make that ‘superhighway’ work so we can move those vessels instantly and rapidly. It’s about the economy.” — Martin Ross

capturing corn oil as a further co-product, DDG energy value may be somewhat lower, Fluharty said. For beef producers, reduced energy content means reduced meat marbling — a key marketing point, he advised. However, DDGs can play a key role in supplying needed protein in lieu of corn at acceptable inclusion levels, he stressed. Fluharty sees “tremendous opportunities” to use DDGs in tandem with soy meal and hulls and other ingredients. Meanwhile, state ag officials in New Orleans suggested anxiety about corn availability could prove overrated. Iowa Ag Secretary Bill

Northey, whose governor opposes a waiver, said he sees little likely “market reaction” to RFS2 reductions, given flexibility for fuel blenders to use renewable credits in lieu of actual ethanol purchases and currently reduced ethanol production. Plus, Northey cited biotech progress in boosting corn yields. “In Iowa, we see what we believe is the worst production year we’ve had in 50 years,” he told FarmWeek. “But we’re still showing amazing yields. “This year is worse (weatherwise) than 1988. That year, we had 80-bushel corn. We’re at about 22 percent harvested right now, and we’re projecting 140-bushel corn.”

EPA finally sets target for 2013 biodiesel use In a move long sought by the soybean and biodiesel sectors, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved a 1.28-billion-gallon target for nationwide biodiesel use in 2013, under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2). EPA’s announcement “offers certainty throughout the biodiesel supply chain, will grow green collar jobs, and enhances our nation’s energy independence,” according to Renewable Energy Group’s (REG) President Daniel Oh, whose company operates plants in Danville and Seneca. It also provides reassurance for biodiesel interests concerned that a request for a 2013 waiver of RFS2 corn ethanol requirements could spill over into biodiesel or other “advanced biofuels.” In Oh’s view, EPA “reaffirmed that the RFS2 is working as intended for biodiesel and that it will continue to do so.” The REG chief argued the biodiesel industry is prepped to meet RFS2 goals by tapping “the waste, byproducts and recycled fats and oils from American agriculture and food production.” REG alone controls more than 210 million gallons of annual production capacity nationwide. “Things are running smoothly,” REG representative Alicia Clancy told FarmWeek. “The industry is already on track to meet our 1-billion-gallon RVO (RFS2 renewable volume obligation) for this year. “Having the announcement that our RVO for 2013 will grow was a very positive sign in terms of long-term sustainability and growth for the industry.” The industry now awaits congressional action on the $1per-gallon biodiesel blenders tax credit, which expired last January. Illinois Farm Bureau is hopeful Congress will retroactively extend the credit for 2012 at least through 2013. — Martin Ross

Vote

Continued from page 1 stricken farmers would not share in the ERS-projected prosperity. Ag interests also face possible budget “sequestration,” a provision in 2011 legislation that triggers $1.2 trillion in spending cuts over the next decade unless Congress identifies equivalent savings by January. Farm programs, research, and conservation would be targeted under sequestration, but nutrition and crop insurance spending reportedly would be precluded from a prescribed 7.6 percent cut in non-mandatory ag spending. Callan questioned whether sequestration would occur “in its full form,” and, even if it did, whether agriculture would be included in automatic cuts. If current farm bill proposals were approved by December, they would provide more in savings than the 7.6 percent sequestration cut. “Some of the most powerful members of Congress come from the major farm states,” Callan added. “Having said that, though, there are so many other competing interests.”


Page 5 Monday, September 24, 2012 FarmWeek

production

Seed suppliers bank on South American production BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

Seed suppliers in some areas have been pleasantly surprised with slightly better yields than anticipated so far this harvest. But the drought-parched seed crop obviously won’t come close to pre-season expectations. Suppliers, therefore, will bank on making up seed shortfalls this winter with increased production in South America, according to Dennis Garzonio, GROWMARK senior seed research and product manager. “The good news so far is that while yields are down, early indications are the (seed) crop is coming in a little better than anticipated,” said Garzonio, who noted a large portion of the seed crop is irrigated. “But

there are going to be (supply) issues. It will depend on the hybrid and company.” The seed situation was complicated by the fact that some suppliers have had

evaporated a good portion of seed crop potential. “It’s been two years with a common theme and, unfortunately, it’s not a good theme,” Garzonio said

‘The good news so far is that while yields are down, early indications are the (seed) crop is coming in a little better than anticipated.’ — Dennis Garzonio GROWMARK senior seed research and product manager

weather-related production issues for two straight years. Many growers in 2011 experienced spring flooding followed by a hot, dry stretch during pollination. This year, obviously, drought and extreme heat

of the weather-related production issues. “The bottom line is, it’s been tough from a seed production standpoint the last two years.” Many seed companies, as a result, will rely more heavily on South American pro-

Pulaski-Alexander FSA becomes part-time office Effective today (Sept. 24), the PulaskiAlexander County Farm Service Agency (FSA) office is open part time, announced Scherrie Giamanco, FSA state executive director. The office will be open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays but closed the rest of the week. Business hours will not change for other colocated agencies, such as the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Soil and Water Conservation Service, and Rural Development.

Farmers may continue to conduct all FSA business at the Alexander-Pulaski FSA office on those two days. Those wanting access to FSA on a full-time basis will have the opportunity to transfer their farms to an adjacent county FSA Service Center, Giamanco said. For more information about the revised office hours or transferring to another office, call Brandi Kujawa, the county executive director in the Union County FSA Service Center, at 618-833-5666.

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duction for corn and soybean seed. There could be some issues with soybean seed for 2013, as a large number of seed production acres were burned up in Southern Illinois, Garzonio noted. “This year I expect winter production (in South America) will be on par with last year,” he said. “And, last year it was the largest ever.” The expected jump in South American seed pro-

duction acres likely will be part of an overall strategy to diversify and protect seed production acres. “Next year people will try to diversify even more and bring on as many irrigated acres as possible,” Garzonio said. He recommended growers talk with suppliers as soon as possible this fall and winter and place orders early if they want to lock in supplies of specific varieties.


FarmWeek Page 6 Monday, September 24, 2012

CROPWATCHERS Bernie Walsh, Durand, Winnebago County: We added to the weather woes of 2012 last week when a sudden hail storm popped up Monday (Sept. 17). It hit all the land we farm, including the soybeans that were just ready to harvest. We had some promising yields shredded in about 15 minutes. The hail insurance estimates were between a 50 and 75 percent loss, and some of the fields we combined since the storm yielded only 10 to 20 bushels per acre. Some of the neighbors that didn’t get hit by the hail have been reporting decent yields in the 40 to 50-bpa range. Very little corn has been done because moisture levels are still in the high 20s. Pete Tekampe, Grayslake, Lake County: It was a dark, gloomy day in Lake County Friday. Rain was forecast for the weekend with cool temperatures. Fall has really arrived. Corn is turning, except in the low spots. Combines are cutting beans, but not finishing many fields because of the green beans in the low areas and the edges of the fields. Moistures are at 13.5 percent. A little silage is still being cut. Hopefully, more combines will make it to the field this week. Leroy Getz, Savanna, Carroll County: Rain of 0.4 of an inch on Monday (Sept. 17), came in a fast-moving downpour. Temperatures were cooler last week, but no frost yet. Combines are rolling with some reported yields of above 200 bushels per acre in the garden spot that got rain. The early corn we have done made about 150 bpa and was coming in at 15 percent moisture. Wheat and rye are being seeded, and one producer had rye flown over his standing corn. Farmers are getting their work done. Now if only Congress could get its work done and pass a farm bill. Ken Reinhardt, Seaton, Mercer County: It was a nice harvest week. Parts of the county had 0.7 of an inch of rain Monday (Sept. 17). There are beans ready to cut, so we soon will know some yields. I probably have done my best and worst farms for corn. The farms were side by side and produced 235 and 139 bushels per acre with rotation the only difference. Ron Moore, Roseville, Warren County: We received only a small amount of rain last week. Not enough to stop harvest or even wet the sidewalk. Even after 5 inches of rain since Isaac came through, the streams are dry again. We are still in a drought. Corn harvest is about 50 percent complete in this area. There are long lines at the elevators, which are closing at noon or 3 p.m. The lines and early closings are not because of great yields — it is because everyone is testing for aflatoxin and only taking as much corn as can be dried overnight. What was expected to be a quick harvest may now end at the normal time. No soybeans have been harvested yet, but some should be this week. Jacob Streitmatter, Princeville, Peoria County: Harvest is progressing rapidly across the area. Soybeans have ripened in the last week, and harvest started in my area. Yields are all over the board — many are disappointing.

Mark Kerber, Chatsworth, Livingston County: Cornfields are disappearing fast. Soybeans will be this week. We farmers now have new bragging rights. Instead of bragging on good yields, we now tell how bad the yields are. Stories are different, like taking four hours to harvest a truckload or watching the yield monitor stay on zero. There is much selling the crop out of the field this year, as many are not using their bins. Markets have come off their highs for awhile.

Tim Green, Wyoming, Stark County: A lot of corn was picked last week. Some aflatoxin showed up. I had a field test a little higher than I wanted, but things worked out. Talk to your insurance agent and adjuster, and do it in the right order. No beans were harvested last week. If the weather cooperates, there will be a lot this week. Ron Haase, Gilman, Iroquois County: Soybean harvest has begun in the area. Corn harvest has increased, but there are still many fields needing to dry down to an acceptable moisture level. Thirty percent of the corn in the area is harvested. There are other areas where the corn was drier and more has been harvested. We have not started harvesting corn yet as we wait for our corn to dry down. The local closing bids for Thursday: nearby corn, $7.52; fall 2013 corn, $6.07; nearby soybeans, $16.09; fall 2013 soybeans, $13.07. Brian Schaumburg, Chenoa, McLean County: Harvest rolls along and yields are correlating with summer rainfall and soil types. Moistures are dropping very slowly into the mid-20s and upper teens. Our Heartland Bank plot ran from 12 to 80 bushels per acre. Hopefully, we will finish by today (Monday) and be able to start cutting soybeans. Good thing, as my year’s supply of antacid is nearly depleted. Corn, $7.47; fall 2013, $6.15; soybeans, $15.99; fall 2013, $13.04; wheat, $8.13. Steve Ayers, Champaign, Champaign County: Harvest–o–meter has our little corner of the world at 32 percent corn harvested and 4 percent soybeans harvested. We finished corn with yields from 104 to 109 bushels per acre. Two loads were discounted for aflatoxin. Even the Group III beans are now yellow and dropping leaves. USDA’s September report had yield predictions by crop reporting district. Our eastern district estimate was 101 bpa compared to 2011 yield of 154.2. Beans were pegged at 40 bpa compared to 47.9 a year ago. Tom Ritter, Blue Mound, Macon County: Corn harvest is more than 90 percent complete in this area. Yields again were all over the board, but harvest went a lot faster with not as many loads to haul. Soybean harvest is just around the corner. A few beans have been cut. The majority of the beans will be this week. In many of the beans, the pods are dry but a lot of leaves are hanging on. Beans are green and yellow with a lot of yellow stems. It could be a difficult time cutting the beans if the green doesn’t leave fairly quickly. Also, there are reports of a few fields with certain varieties that are having trouble with beans popping out of the pod before harvest. A fair amount of fieldwork has been done. A little bit of fertilizer has been applied and some lime spread. Lime continues to be somewhat of a scarce commodity, as some of the quarries are concentrating more on grinding rock instead of lime. Todd Easton, Charleston, Coles County: Big progress was made in the Coles County cornfields last week. Many producers are getting close to wrapping up this not-so-fun corn harvest. Yields are the worst I hope to ever see as reports range from 5 to just more than 150 bushels per acre. The county average could be about 75 if we are lucky. Many farm bins will be empty this winter, as most farmers opted to send their aflatoxin problems on to the elevators. Even so, the elevators are not near full. Early-planted soybeans are beginning to ripen enough to harvest in select fields, but many plants with dry beans in the pods are holding on to green branches, stems, and leaves. Some say that is a side effect of drought stress. Yields on the early beans are consistently in the lower 30s, and the optimists hope their later-planted beans made better use of the late rains and at least yield closer to 40.

Wilfred Dittmer, Quincy, Adams County: Hello again from this side of the state where the cornfields are disappearing fast because there is hardly any grain on any stalks. It is the poorest crop I’ve seen since 1983. You’re lucky to get a load off an entire field, or 10 to 15 bushels per acre. Some maybe more and some zero. I’ve heard of a few beans coming out with disappointing yields there also. A year for all to remember and anxious to get it behind us. Jimmy Ayers, New City, Sangamon County: We received 0.2 of an inch of rain last week, but it didn’t slow things up much. Some beans have been combined, but many seem as though they want to hold on with yellow and green leaves. Corn probably is 90-95 percent complete with yields from 0 to 300. Many are seeing half a crop. Field averages from 60 to 140s probably are the norm. We were in some last week that was 180 to 190, which is a welcome relief. Aflatoxin is showing up at some elevators. There was a lot of chiseling done last week. Some are waiting on their beans so they are getting some of that fieldwork out of the way. Doug Uphoff, Shelbyville, Shelby County: We chisel plowed all last week. There is a lot of volunteer corn out here. Fertilizer is being put on but not as much as normal because of reduced yields. Beans? On top of the price of beans nose-diving last week, they are going staying green. Long story short: The stress of summer put more sugar into the stems and leaves, making them stay green. Frost could help but probably won’t. It’s hard to cut beans with that much green in them, plus it makes them hard to separate in the combine. An article by Emerson Nafziger at the University of Illinois explains it best. {http://bulletin.ipm.illinois.edu/article.php ?id=1719} David Schaal, St. Peter, Fayette County: Corn yields in the area are bad. Some are in the single digits with some of the better corn maybe into the 30s. Aflatoxin has been a problem, along with mold and smut. As one producer put it, if a coon were to cross his field of corn, he better pack a lunch. Soybeans are beginning to lose their leaves, but cutting is still five to six days off. We’re hoping the beans here turn out better than the corn has. Jeff Guilander, Jerseyville, Jersey County: It looks as though most of the April-planted corn is harvested. It would have been nice if it had dried down better, but the stalks were eroding fast. The later corn still has a lot of color, so it could be weeks before we completely wrap up corn harvest. We tried some beans last week but the moisture was 12 to 18 percent, and the forecast doesn’t look good for drying. Looks like things will have to slow down for awhile. Dan Meinhart, Montrose, Jasper County: Light rains moved through the area Thursday and Friday morning. Cornfields are falling either to combines or disks. Combines are being used mainly to chop the stocks. Some fertilizer application is taking place. More beans are turning. After the leaves fall off, the beans look very short. Temperatures this week are expected to be in the 70s with a slight chance of showers mid-week. Dave Hankammer, Millstadt, St. Clair County: Last week was a busy week with corn harvest. We received up to 0.7 of an inch of rain in the early part of the week, which delayed harvest for a little bit. Most of the early corn is out of the field now. Some are waiting on the later-planted corn to be harvested. Seems like the rain is keeping the plant greener than farmers would like. Soybean harvest probably is about another 10 days to two weeks out.


Page 7 Monday, September 24, 2012 FarmWeek

CROPWATCHERS Rick Corners, Centralia, Jefferson County: The cornfields are just about gone. Good! We are tired of looking at those ugly things. Looks like bean harvest is going to be our next challenge. Ripe beans on very green stems. Bellyache for the ole binder. Kevin Raber, Browns, Wabash County: Harvest is progressing quickly. Unharvested cornfields are becoming hard to find. Several acres of soybeans have been cut. Some of the early maturities are starting to pop out. I think the yields have been decent for the summer they endured.

Dean Shields, Murphysboro, Jackson County: No rain last week, so it made for good harvesting. Quite a bit of corn was picked, and we are in the downhill run with corn. There is a lot of aflatoxin in the corn. It’s pretty hard to market that corn because some elevators would take it and some wouldn’t. A few started cutting soybeans. The rains we received late in the season caused the beans to experience a regrowth, and we have had some problems with harvest because of dry beans with green stems. I will know more about bean yields this week.

Ken Taake, Ullin, Pulaski County: After light showers over the weekend (Sept. 15-16), we started harvesting soybeans. Soybean yields have been like the corn — highly variable. They’ve ranged from the mid-20s to the mid-30s. While not good, at least they are better than the corn was doing. We will find out more as we get into full-season beans.

Reports received Friday morning. Expanded crop and weather information available at FarmWeekNow.com

Economist: Feedlot numbers will tighten BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

Sooty mold surfaces BY KEVIN BLACK

A black or dark gray mold is now commonly found covering corn leaves, husks, and stalks. For obvious reasons, this often is referred to as “sooty mold.” The sooty molds tend to be prolific spore producers, so har vest equipment often ends up covered with this b l a ck o r g r ay d u s t. C l o ud s of spores often follow the combine through the field. Sooty mold is common again this year because of pre- Cornstalks, leaves, and husks appear discolored m a t u r e d e a t h from the sooty mold. of much of the corn. When corn dies early, nutrients remain in the leaf, husk, and stalk tissue. The sooty molds feed on these leftover nutrients. Corn that matures normally tends to support lower amounts of these opportunistic molds. Sooty molds do not pose a threat to corn in storage and these molds do not produce mycotoxins. Since sooty molds are scavengers, they pose little threat to wheat or other crops that follow the corn crop. The one potential threat posed by sooty molds is that the dusty spores may cause respiratory issues. Combine air filters should be cleaned regularly and workers should use dust masks. Kevin Black is GROWMARK’s insect and plant disease technical manager. His email address is kblack@growmark.com.

Harvest Continued from page 1 rations. But, ultimately, a feed ration featuring corn and soybean meal still leads to the best performance in pork production, according to the IPPA president. FarmWeekNow.com Scates noted most end users of corn, including ethanol producers, Go to FarmWeekNow.com to lisimporters, and livestock producers, ten to Dereke Dunkirk’s comments already scaled back on corn usage. on the feed outlook. The reduced demand combined with some surprisingly good yields at some locations should be enough to get by until next year, he said. “It (the current corn crop) still could be the eighth-largest on record,” Scates said. “I think we’ll get through to next year and we will build stocks (in 2013).” USDA this month raised its 2012/13 corn supply estimate by 108 million bushels.

The inventory of cattle and calves in the U.S. is tightening, and that trend likely will continue for the foreseeable future. USDA in its monthly cattle on feed report released Friday reported the number of cattle and calves in U.S. feedlots as of Sept. 1 totaled 10.64 million head, down 1 percent from a year ago. Meanwhile, placements in feedlots in August totaled just 2 million head, down 11 percent from last year. Marketings of fed cattle totaled 1.96 million head, down 5 percent from a year ago. “This will be viewed as a somewhat bullish repor t,” Derrell Peel, livestock economist at Oklahoma State Univ e r s i t y, t o l d Fa r m We e k . “Placements and marketings we r e o n t h e l owe r e n d o f expectations.” In fact, placements in feedl o t s s o f a r t h i s y e a r h a ve declined 4 percent compared a

3 percent gain the first eight months of 2011. Placements by weight indicate the number of lighter weight animals is dwindling, the economist noted. Placements in the lightweight categories so far this year have declined anywhere from 6 percent to 10 percent compared to last year when placements in the lightest weight category were up 19 percent. “Overall, the (inventory) numbers are getting tighter,” Peel said. “It’s changed the placement pattern in feedlots. “Last year, we were living on the lighter-weight placements,” he continued. “We’re pretty much at the end of that rope.” The situation is expected to boost cattle prices late this year and into next spring. But a possible rise in cattle prices is dependent on consumers’ appetite for beef at higher prices. “Clearly, demand is the limiting factor,” Peel said. “Higher (cattle and beef) prices will

restrain consumption. It has to because we will produce less beef.” Peel predicted cattle prices this fall could rise and possibly peak in the spring. “Fed cattle prices will go up, and I look for a spring peak, which could be an alltime record,” he said. “How high depends on demand.”

Sheep shearing contest a long-standing tradition The price of wool fluctuates each year but the skills required to shear sheep have remained a constant. Professional sheep shearers from surrounding states every year put those skills to the test at the Illinois Shearing Contest. This year, 12 contestants from six states participated in the event at the Illinois State Fair, according to Jane Zeien, director and state executive of the Illinois Lamb and Wool Producers. Most of the contestants shear several thousand sheep a year, and many also shear at national and inter national events. One of the first shearing contests was held at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. The event was carried out over two days and was attended by an estimated 25,000 people. Many of the methods used by the shearers and the contest scoring are still used in the modern contest, according to Zeien. In the 1904 contest,

there were two categories. In one, the shearers used mechanical blades, and in the other, contestants used hand blades.

See the special insert on the livestock industry in Illinois in this week’s issue. Mechanical blades are used in the modern contest. This year’s contestants were divided into groups of three in preliminary heats. The objective was to remove the wool from three sheep as quickly as possible. Each shearer had to catch a sheep, shear it, send it down a chute, and then gather the wool. T his was re peated three times. The fastest time at this year’s contest for shearing a pen of three sheep was three minutes, 58 seconds by Alex Moser of Larchwood, Iowa, Zeien reported. Scoring was done by four judges and was not based on time alone. One judge scored

on the condition of the wool after it was taken off the sheep. Two judges inspected the animals after they were sheared. Placing was determined by a combination of the scores for the sheep appearance, wool condition, and the time to shear all three sheep. Dennis Crouch, who announced the contest, provided the audience with information regarding the benefits of shearing sheep and the quality of wool as a material for fabrics and other uses. Shearing does not hurt the animal. It is like getting a haircut, Zeien said. If there is a slight nick to a sheep’s skin, it is similar to a man cutting himself shaving. Also, wool is a renewable resource and will grow back on the animal. Sponsors for this year’s shearing contest were Illinois Lamb and Wool Producers, Illinois Sheep and Wool Marketing Board, American Sheep Industry, Groenewold Furl & Wool Co. and Tjaden Stock Farms.


FarmWeek Page 8 Monday, September 24, 2012

the planet

Developing world making GMO rules now BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

While the developing world once was largely at the mercy of outside anti-GMO interests, Margaret Zeigler sees emerging economies setting the stage for sustainable use of biotechnology. Zeigler, executive director

of the Global Harvest Initiative (GHI), argues biotech “can really be a driver for more productivity” in the developing world. Traditional plant breeding, global positioning system (GPS) technology, practices such as variable-rate planting and harvesting, and biotechnology “have played a significant role in increasing agricultural productivity while reduc-

ing the environmental footprint,” GHI stated in its 2011 global ag productivity report. Since 1996, annual pesticide use on biotech crops has dropped by nearly 9 percent. Zeigler related GHI’s plans to highlight growing global development of “rule-based, science-based regulatory sys-

tems” aimed at spurring GMO crop production. “We want to make the case for leadership on the part of developing country governments,” she told FarmWeek. “The best case is Brazil. “Embrapa (Brazil’s national ag research body) is working with a number of developing country governments to help them establish their own research centers and regulatory

capabilities, so they can use and select the technologies that work best for their country.” GHI was created in 2009 as a partnership including DuPont, Elanco, IBM, Deere and Co., and Monsanto. Genetic crop research is a key component of the Water Efficient Maize for Africa project (WEMA), a public/private partnership led by the Kenya-based African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates and Decatur-based Howard G. Buffett foundations. Monsanto and other project participants aim to develop new drought-tolerant maize varieties for African farmers. AATF sees biotech advances as key to addressing drought and insect pressures, stabilizing yields, and encouraging small farm best management practices — goals it deems “fundamental to realizing food security and improved livelihoods.” According to GHI, annual drought-related global yield losses now cost some $13 billion. Three-quarters of the world’s most severe droughts

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over the last 10 years have occurred in Africa. “Some of our members are working in parts of Africa to adapt technologies that have been successful for local and regional environments,” Zeigler noted. “Pioneer-Dupont’s working with ‘biofortified’ sorghum in

the sawhill zone in West Africa. Sorghum is probably is the most-consumed crop at the household level in that area. “There’s some work being done in partnership with governments there and development agencies to make that sorghum more nutritious and easier to cook and consume.”

Dow chief: Modern ag has tools to ‘target’ needs Dow AgroSciences President Antonio Galindez sees a daunting task ahead for the world’s growers, scientists, economists, educators, and communicators: determining “how to feed 7 billion people today, and 9 billion people very soon.” Feeding 2 billion more people by 2050 will require “an increase in the food supply as we’ve never had before,” as well as new land and water resource strategies and policies, Galindez advised last week in a keynote address at the Soy and Grain Trade Summit in New Orleans. At the same time, “never in history have we had so many tools in our hands,” he argued. The United Nations projects 20 percent of the growth in needed food production must come Antonio Galindez from new land development, 10 percent from heightened crop “intensity” on available arable acres, and 70 percent, in Galindez’s words, “from today’s and tomorrow’s technologies.” “For perhaps the first time in history, we can target, and, in the next 30-40 years, really manage the problem that is ahead of us,” he suggested. Galindez offered his formula for sustainably “advancing agriculture” over the next several decades: • “We need to use all the tools in the toolbox,” from precision agriculture and more efficient farm equipment to infrastructure improvements and irrigation systems that “manage water in a completely different way.” Galindez noted crop breeding has been “helped tremendously by biotechnology,” not only through plant modification but also in terms of genetic markers and “trait positioning” technologies that point to new improvements. “Biotechnology is much more than GMOs,” he stressed. • Increased public and private investments and partnerships. Amid a continued decline in public research and development expenditures, “we need to corroborate in a different way” to jointly speed productivity, Galindez said. A crop protection product on average takes 10 years and $250 million to develop and commercialize, while a biotech trait may require 13 years and $200 million to reach the market, he related. “Do we discover a solution today, launch it by 2022, break even by 2037, and get our return in the 2030s decade?” Galindez posed. • Improved ag education — according to Galindez, “the glue that holds together all the tools of the toolbox.” Amid a declining pool of science, math, and engineering students, an estimated 50 percent of current ag sector employees are expected to retire over the next five years. “We need to make sure that when they go, they don’t take the technology without transferring the knowledge to the next generation,” Galindez emphasized. • A “clear, science-based regulatory framework” that will allow for an open global exchange of safe and sustainable technologies and products. “Unfortunately, from every point of view, the markets aren’t synchronized or aligned,” Galindez said. To protect and thus encourage investment in technology, policymakers worldwide must develop an intellectual property regimen “with rules we can trust,” he said. • Accurate, effective communication and ag advocacy. With proliferation of Internet data and opinions, “it is very difficult for the public to know what’s right or wrong,” Galindez said. At the same time, consumers often are unaware of the progress made to date in ag productivity. “Many places in the world have a diversity of food that was unthinkable 50 years ago,” Galindez said. “That’s an incredible accomplishment.” — Martin Ross


Page 9 Monday, September 24, 2012 FarmWeek

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FarmWeek Page 10 Monday, September 24, 2012

specialty growers

Pumpkin growers harvest bountiful crop BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

A lack of moisture this summer wasn’t nearly the problem for pumpkins in Central Illinois that it was for corn and soybeans. Gail and David Sasse, who grow pumpkins near Beason in Logan County, last week reported a bountiful harvest of pumpkins and other fall favorites. The Sasses, who also grow corn and soybeans, have produced ornamental and edible pumpkins the past seven years. They own and operate Gail’s Pumpkin Patch on their home farm. “We have a fabulous crop of pumpkins, gourds, and squash,” Gail said. “The pumpkins withstood the dry weather. And, (the crop) actually had fewer diseases.” The couple decided to branch out into pumpkin production as a means of diversification. They grow five acres of pumpkins, squash, and gourds and converted part of a machine shed into a country

Dave and Gail Sasse, Beason, check the growth of a pumpkin on their farm in Logan County. The couple was pleased with excellent yields and growth, along with low disease pressure this season in their pumpkin fields. The Sasse family grows 5 acres of ornamental and edible pumpkins and operates a country store. The business, Gail’s Pumpkin Patch, is open to the public from Sept. 1 through Oct. 31. (Photo by Cyndi Cook)

store to sell the fall favorites. And business has blossomed. Gail’s Pumpkin Patch,

which is open from Sept. 1 to Oct. 31 each season, averages between 450 and 500 visitors

on a busy day. The Sasses’ daughter, Abrigail Temple, bakes various goodies for the country store. Their son, Nathan, and his wife, Beth, produce and furnish various honey products, and Gail’s mother-in-law, Lorraine, helps in the country store. The Sasses host field trips for school children and

Scouts. They also host various educational and entertaining activities on the farm for children and adults. “We try to educate people,” Gail said. “We feel it’s very important for people to appreciate what farmers do to produce food for them.” Gail’s Pumpkin Patch features an array of ornamental pumpkins and gourds. But the Sasses also grow Dickinson field pumpkins, the edible variety used in pumpkin pies and other treats, which they sell directly to customers. The Sasses host various pumpkin-cutting demonstrations and provide recipes so customers can learn how to make their own pies. This year, the Sasses also planted porcelain doll pumpkins, a variety that yields a pink pumpkin. The pink pumpkins will be sold at an event Sept. 30 at Gail’s Pumpkin Patch. Proceeds from the sale of the pink pumpkins will be donated for breast cancer research/awareness. The Sept. 30 event, “Paint the Patch Pink,” will be held from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and also will feature a pink 1970 Dodge Challenger and live entertainment. For more information visit the website {www.gailspumpkinpatch.com}.

Popcorn crop burned by drought; yields decline Popcorn lovers may soon want to stock up on the tasty snack. The hot, dry conditions this growing season sapped much of the production potential in popcorn fields around the Midwest. The result is a tightening of popcorn supplies and higher prices. “(Suppliers) are scrambling to find (yellow and white) popcorn,” said Charles Klein, vice president of Black Jewell popcorn company in St. Francisville (Lawrence County). “Production is way down.” Some popcorn fields are yielding about 50 percent of expectations while others are a total loss. As a result, the retail price for a 50-pound bag of popcorn increased from about $20 to $30. “There will be quite a shortage of popcorn,” Klein said. “I’m sure there will be quite higher prices.” Black Jewell sources white and yellow popcorn to be packaged in a variety of prod-

ucts and gift sets. However, the small Southern Illinois company specializes in the production of black and crimson-colored popcorn. “Our harvest is as near normal as it could be, maybe 10 percent off (expectations),” Klein said. “We had one variety that the heat bothered worse than the others.” The Klein family has grown popcorn for about 30 years and made a business decision years ago that ensure an adequate harvest of black and crimson popcorn. “Several years ago, we made it a point to select growers who have irrigation systems,” Klein said. “This year it really paid off.” Klein said yields of field corn in his area have ranged from 5 to 160 bushels per acre. “It’s going to be a trying winter for some farmers and some will do OK,” he added. “But I think we’ll all be glad to see 2012 behind us.” — Daniel Grant


Page 11 Monday, September 24, 2012 FarmWeek

productioN

Assistance available for rejected milk loads BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

Dairy producers required to dump milk due to aflatoxin contamination may not have to take a total loss. Assistance is available to those who qualify through USDA’s Dairy Indemnity Payment Program (DIPP). “The Dairy Indemnity Payment Program is (assistance to farmers) for contaminated milk that is unsafe for human consumption,” said Rick Graden, executive officer of the Illinois

Farm Service Agency (FSA) office. The dairy program is not used often in Illinois. But there may be more claims filed this year due to an increase in aflatoxin levels in corn because of the drought. “With the aflatoxin issues, I think we may see an increase (in DIPP claims),” Graden said. “If you dump milk because of contaminated feed, you need to get into the county (FSA) office and request an application.” To be eligible to receive

DIPP payments, a producer must have produced whole milk that was removed from

FarmWeekNow.com Check out Mike Hutjens’ video on aflatoxin handling tips at FarmWeekNow.com.

the commercial market at the direction of a public agency; not have been responsible for the contaminated milk; and not have been indemnified for the same loss from

another source. Graden urged dairy producers who are required to dump milk to fill out an application for DIPP as soon as possible. “DIPP funding levels are limited,” he said. Graden is concerned aflatoxin-contaminated feed issues could increase this fall and spike again in the spring. “I’m really concerned we could have corn that tests clean and it gets put in the bin (where aflatoxin can grow),” he said. “Then all of sudden we

could have cows’ (milk) test positive next spring (when that grain is fed). We could see more milk dumped at that time.” Graden recommended dairy producers keep a close eye on their feed sources. Dairy producers with questions or who want to apply for DIPP payments should visit their local FSA office. They also can see tips on how to deal with aflatoxin by viewing a video produced by the University of Illinois online at {http//Go.Illinois.edu/dairy}.

Sampling method key in aflatoxin ‘quick’ tests BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

Companies offering aflatoxin “quick tests” last week emphasized proper grain sampling procedures are critical to ensure elevators accurately gauge the presence and levels of fungal contamination in incoming grain. Accuracy’s crucial: Feeding corn with aflatoxin levels above 20 parts per billion endangers livestock. On the other hand, a false positive reading can lead to rejection of grain that actually is within acceptable thresholds. Envirologix field representative Lee Daughtry,

tests, you have variability between samples,” said Daughtry, who recently installed nearly a dozen test systems at Indiana and Illinois facilities. “It’s hard to get a representative sample with just one probe. It’s hard to get a representative sample when you grind 50 grams out of an 800-bushel truck. We like for folks to grind a large sample, pull a lot of probes, mix the sample really well.” Under Envirologix’ system, samples are ground and mixed with an extraction solution; test strips are submerged in the solution and then scanned for computer analysis. The finer the

‘Generally, when you have variability between tests, you have variability between samples.’ — Lee Daughtry Envirologix

whose Maine-based company markets “quick strip” mycotoxin and GMO trait tests, noted ongoing, industrywide improvements in testing speed and accuracy. He discussed his company’s technology with participants in last week’s Soy and Grain Summit in New Orleans. He told FarmWeek false positives result largely from inadequate test samples. Romer Labs North American sales director Steve Nenonen tutored grain handlers in sampling techniques between sessions at the New Orleans summit. Nenonen argued test errors account for perhaps 2 percent of faulty results, while most inaccurate findings can be traced to sampling. “Generally, when you have variability between

grind, the more likely aflatoxin particles will be exposed to the solution, Daughtry said. Nenonen recommends elevators split samples after grinding to improve the odds of identifying mycotoxin and increase the total number of “subsamples” from each load. Samples should be pulled on a “completely random” basis, he said. “You don’t want to pull that grain from the bottom of the pile, or from just the top, or from the front or back,” he said. “You want to be able to probe that truck from all over. “You want every kernel in that load to have an equal chance of being pulled. I’ve been to a grain elevator where sampling consisted of taking a coffee can and pulling corn off the top.”

GMO, pathogen tests quicker, more targeted Crop identity preservation and livestock health are increasingly crucial as farmers explore new and expanded markets. Those assurances are put to the test on a daily basis. Improved diagnostic tools are helping ensure producers make the grade, a representative of a major “quick test” company told FarmWeek. Maine-based Envirologix supplies aflatoxin, GMO, and pesticide test strips and technologies and collaborates in efforts to identify and develop favorable livestock genetics. As biotech/seed marketers continue to “stack” more genetic traits in crop varieties, Envirologix’s Lee Daughtry notes improved efficiency in “immunodiagnostics” -– antibody-based tests that allow grain buyers and exporters to identify unwanted GMO content in minutes or less. The “QuickComb” test strip pictured in the accompanying photo enables elevators and others to detect various Bt, Roundup Ready, LibertyLink, and even new AgriSure Viptera corn traits within minutes. The system generates reports for farmers or marketers concerned about costly rejection of shipments. “I think we’re getting better at (nonGMO preservation), and we’re getting better ways to test for it,” said Daughtry, whose company works with biotech crop developers. “A few years back, when folks were

growing non-GMO crops, they trusted what they got from their planting sources. Now, they’re testing their planting sources, they’re testing throughout the year, making sure they clean combines and loading trucks, hoppers, and bins.” Most foreign markets with GMO tolerances for ag imports have set a 2 percent threshold, though Daughtry noted there are a few countries that enforce a zero tolerance policy (in Turkey’s case, for cotton). Envirologix’ latest release is DNAble, a “rapid DNA” kit that provides results without major DNA equipment or lab resources. Using the technology, a 15- to 20- minute testing turnaround is possible (vs. a day’s delay under existing alternatives). Rapid DNA testing may help speed potential disease pathogen detection in livestock, poultry, or produce. Last week, Kroger recalled packaged spinach due to possible Listeria contamination, underlining the need for rapid detection and, where possible, pre-detection. “We have one rapid DNA test on the market now for CMM (a bacterial canker) in tomatoes,” Daughtry related. “We’re working on farmers being able to pre-test fields for E. coli or salmonella in spinach before it’s harvested, before it gets to the food chain.” — Martin Ross


FarmWeek Page 12 Monday, September 24, 2012

EDucATION

Inaugural IFF efforts, field moms rated a success Coalition expects future advances BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

An Illinois agriculture coalition formed to help consumers better understand farming and answer their questions about food production had a successful first year, according to Lori Laughlin, Illinois Farm Bureau

FarmWeekNow.com Visit the Illinois Farm Families website by going to FarmWeekNow.com.

director of issue management. The coalition, known as Illinois Farm Families (IFF), is comprised of commodity groups for beef, corn, pork, soybeans, and IFB. Laughlin pointed to the comments from IFF’s first field moms, a group of Chicagoarea mothers who toured farms and shared their experiences via the IFF website, their personal blogs, and other social media. “After all the visits they made, they’re still inquisitive

and want to learn more. They must have had a valuable experience,” Laughlin said. “The fact that they’re still curious tells us we’re focused on the right people,” she added. The field moms expressed interest in staying involved with IFF as alums, and the coalition would like to keep them engaged in some way, Laughlin said. It also continues to plan for future field moms. Another successful component of the program is the website {www.watchusgrow.org} that offers a variety of information, photos, and videos of farm tours, and a question-and-answer section. “Visitors to the website can expect IFF to be even more engaged this year with continued input from farmers and from field moms past and present,” Laughlin said. Looking ahead to the second year of outreach, Laughlin anticipated more opportunities for farmers who participated in consumer-mindset training. “IFF is looking for opportunities to tap their skills and

Illinois Farm Families participants and Chicago-area “field moms” and their families learn about horses during their fall field trip to Funks Grove Farm, near Shirley. (Photo by Cyndi Cook)

expertise,” she said. “We want to get them (the farmers) out in their communities and counties in front of consumer groups to have conversations about how their food is grown and raised.” As for IFF’s focus, the coalition plans to continue concentrating on Chicago and its suburbs where many consumers are far removed from farming, Laughlin explained. IFF is offering guidance and support to county organizations interested in connecting with local consumers.

“If county Farm Bureaus want to engage consumers and replicate things we have done

in and near Chicago, IFB is happy to help them,” Laughlin said.

IAITC connects ag literacy with achievement testing Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom (IAITC) helps teachers prepare students for achievement tests while they learn about agriculture. Last week, Kevin Daugherty, Illinois Farm Bureau education director, showed new county ag literacy coordinators and other educators the value of AITC ag-related materials. “We are science-based and research-driven,” Daugherty told the group during a daylong training session. IAITC materials do more

Deb Sauerhage, the new ag literacy coordinator for Washington County Farm Bureau, assembles a “beanie baby” seed germination experiment during training for new coordinators and educators in Bloomington last week. (Photo by Kay Shipman)

than teach students about agriculture and food. They also help public and parochial school students prepare to take achievement tests. Public schools use the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) to test students in third through eighth grades on reading and math concepts and fourth and seventh graders on science.

Many parochial schools in Illinois use TerraNova standardized tests in reading and language arts, math, science, and social studies/history. IAITC teacher resource books offer sample ISAT-like questions based on material in each of the 18 Ag Mags. Daugherty explained a teacher could use Ag Mags and the accompanying questions over 18 weeks to help students become familiar with ISAT question formats. Questions related to Ag Mag topics also have been developed using TerraNova question formats, he said. Many of the materials are posted online at {www.agintheclassroom.org} under the teacher resource tab. With a USDA grant, IAITC worked with Arizona AITC to develop new 10 “readers,” which are similar to Ag Mags and also are posted online, Daugherty added. The readers’ format allows teachers to print them in color or black and white and on different sizes of paper. “They (readers) are not replacing Ag Mags. They are an enhancement to Ag Mags and national in scope,” he said. IAITC also will have materials applicable to new learning standards, known as common core, when all those standards officially are adopted, Daugherty told the educators. Illinois, along with other states, adopted common core standards for English, language arts, and math; however, no standards for science have been adopted. “IAITC will be correlated to NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards) when they are officially adopted,” Daugherty said. — Kay Shipman


Page 13 Monday, September 24, 2012 FarmWeek

from the counties

C

OOK — A land and farm owners information meeting will be at 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 15, at the Farm Bureau office. Kevin Brooks, University of Illinois Extension, will discuss cash rents between landowner and leasee, estate planning, and agronomy decisions. There is a charge for non-members to attend. Call the Farm Bureau office at 708354-3276 by Tuesday, Oct. 9, for reservations or more information. • Farm Bureau will sponsor an electronics recycling and

shred day from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Oct. 13, at the Country Financial building, 4845 West 167th St., Oak Forest. Some items that can be recycled are computers, speakers, laptops, batteries, and printers. A $10 per computer monitor fee will be charged. Three banker boxes of documents may be shredded free of charge. Call the Farm Bureau office at 708-354-3276 for more information. • Members residing in Proviso Township may attend a free property tax appeals semi-

nar at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 22, at the Farm Bureau office. Staff from the board of review will address questions and concerns. Call the Farm Bureau office at 708-354-3276 for reservations or more information. EORIA — The Equine Committee will sponsor a horse rescue training course for Peoria County first responders from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 30, at the Heart of Illinois Arena, 9201 N. Galena Road, Peoria. • A commercial driver’s license training course will be at

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9 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 25, at the Farm Bureau auditorium. Joe Varda, Mid-Illini Educational Consultants, will be the instructor. Cost is $45 for Farm Bureau members. Call the Farm Bureau office at 686-7070 for reservations or more information. TEPHENSON — Deadline to order Terri Lynn nuts and candies is Oct. 19. Delivery will be around Nov. 1. Order forms are available online at {www.stephensoncfb.org} or at the Farm Bureau office. Call the Farm

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Bureau office at 815-232-3186 for more information. • The family portrait program will be Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 10-11, at the Farm Bureau office. Call the Farm Bureau office at 815-232-3186 to schedule a sitting. • A defensive driving course will be offered from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 13-14 at the Farm Bureau office. Cost is $15 for members and $25 for non-members. Lunch will be provided. Call the Farm Bureau office at 815-232-3186 for reservations or more information.

IFB seeks applicants for new issue advisory teams GRITs being replaced Illinois Farm Bureau is seeking applicants for three new issue advisory teams. Members of the Strength With Advisory Teams (SWAT) will surface emerging issues in agriculture, provide a vision for IFB and the agriculture industry, and help guide the issues. “This new program takes forwardlooking member involvement on issues to a new level,” said Adam Nielsen, IFB director of national legislation and policy development. The application deadline is Dec. 6. The teams will identify emerging

Auction Calendar Wed., Sept. 26. 10 a.m. First Lot Closes. Online Only Unreserved Auc. www.bigiron.com Sat., Sept. 29. 6 p.m. Pike Co. Land Auc. John C Shover Est., BARRY, IL. Sullivan Auctioneers, LLC. www.sullivanauctioneers.com Sat., Sept. 29. 11 a.m. Christian Co. Land Auc. Kirby Harris and Greg Buesking, KINCAID, IL. Cory Craig, Auctioneer. www.corycraig.com Tues., Oct. 2. 7 p.m. Crawford Co. Land Auc. John Wilbur & Elsie Coward Family Trust, ROBINSON, IL. Parrott Real Estate & Auction Co., LLC. www.sellafarm.com or www.parrottauctions.com Wed., Oct. 3. 6 p.m. Fulton Co. Land Auc. Robert D. Wilhelm Family Trust Farm, CUBA, IL. Sullivan Auctioneers, LLC. www.sullivanauctioneers.com Wed., Oct. 3. 10 a.m. Macoupin Co. Land Auc. Chuck and Linda Holzwarth, CARLINVILLE, IL. Sullivan Auctioneers, LLC. www.sullivanauctioneers.com Wed., Oct. 3. 7 p.m. Richland Co. Land Auc. John Wilbur & Elsie Coward Family Trust, CLAREMONT, IL. Parrott Real Estate & Auction Co., LLC. www.sellafarm.com or www.parrottauctions.com Sat., Oct. 6. 10 a.m. Wayne Co. Land Auction. Eagle IL Farm Corp., FAIRFIELD, IL. Sullivan Auctioneers, LLC. www.sullivanauctioneers.com Sat., Oct. 6. 10 a.m. Macoupin Co. Farmland. Charles J. Monetti, Charles & Helen Perrings Heirs and Fred Smith Jr. Est., CARLINVILLE, IL. Mike Crabtree, Auctioneer. Wed. Oct. 10. 9 a.m. Livingston Co. Farmland. Frank L. Sass and Thomas A. Sass, STREATOR, IL. John E. Lauf, Auctioneer. biddersandbuyers.com or illinoisauctioneers.org Thurs., Oct. 11. 7 p.m. Wayne Co. Farmland. William K. Goldman and Judy S. Goldman, WAYNE CITY, I L. Carson Auction, Realty and Appraisal Co. www.carsonauctionandrealty.com Thurs., Oct. 11. 6 p.m. Knox Co. Land Auc. David and Joni Blackburn, VINCENNES, IL. Parrott Real Estate & Auction Co., LLC. www.sellafarm.com or www.parrottauctions.com Thurs., Oct. 11. 7 p.m. Iroquois Co. Land Auc. Dan Tordai, MARTINTON, IL. Rosenboom Realty. www.rosenboomrealty.com Sat., Oct. 13. 10 a.m. Macoupin Co. Farm and Recreational Land. Jim

issues and provide input to the IFB Board of Directors on issues relating to farmers, production practices, rural life, and other agricultural-related areas. The teams will guide and direct IFB as the members become experts on specific issues, regulations, and legislation on which they are focused. A Conservation and Natural Resources team will work on issues related to environmental regulations, conservation programs, forestry, concentrated animal feeding operations, permitting, pesticide use, and related topics. A Farming Production and Marketing

Ruyle and Judy Demenbrun, CARLINVILLE, IL. Mike Crabtree, Auctioneer. Sat., Oct. 13. 9 a.m. Crawford Co. Land Auc. David and Joni Blackburn, FLAT ROCK, IL. Parrott Real Estate & Auction Co., LLC. www.sellafarm.com or www.parrottauctions.com Tues., Oct. 23. 10 a.m. Kankakee Co. Land Auc. HERSCHER, IL. Hertz Farm Mgmt. www.hfmgt.com Mon., Oct. 15. 6 p.m. Henderson Co. Land Auc. Shokokon Ac., LOMAX, IL. Sullivan Auctioneers, LLC. www.sullivanauctioneers.com Wed., Oct. 17. 7 p.m. Menard Co. Land Auc. Joan McElhattan and Janet Dickerson, PETERSBURG, IL. Sanert Auction Service. www.sanertauctions.com or auctionzip.com auction id #2473 Fri., Oct. 19. 10 a.m. LaSalle Co. Farmland. Leslie R. Nelson, Ronald Cedric Smith, Marian B. Thompson, Gay Cook Czopek, Peter G. Cook, Anne Ruiz, Michael Ruiz, Sara Cook Smith, Lucy Cook, Juli Cook Beyer, OTTAWA, IL. Jim Elliott and Dick McConville, Auctioneers. www.elliottauctions.net, www.mcconvillerealty.com, www.auctionzip.com (ID2927) Tues., Oct. 23. 10 a.m. Kankakee Co. Land Auc. HERSCHER, IL. Hertz Farm Mgmt., Inc. www.hfmgt.com Thurs., Oct. 25. 9 a.m. Stark Co. Farmland. Graves Family Trust, TOULON, IL. Jim Maloof Farm and Land. john@leezeragency.com or www.illinoisfarms4sale.com Sat., Oct. 27. 9 a.m. Semi-Annual Consignment Auction. PECATONICA, IL. Lenny Bryson and Cal Kaufman, Auctioneers. www.niteequip.com Mon., Oct. 29. 10 a.m. Adams Co. Land Auction. The Adwell Corp., QUINCY, IL. Sullivan Auctioneers, LLC. www.sullivanauctioneers.com Thurs., Nov. 1. McLean Co. Farmland. Hartzel Henline Trust Farm, COLFAX, IL. Soy Capital Ag Services. www.soycapitalag.com Sat., Nov. 3. 10 a.. Kankakee Co. Farmland Auc. Rose M. Van Duyne Est., ESSEX, IL. Richard A. Olson & Assoc. richardaolson.com Sat., Nov. 17. 10 a.m. Grundy Co. Farmland Auc. Est. of Wm. Swanson, MAZON, IL. Richard A. Olson & Assoc. richardaolson.com Sat., Nov. 24. 10 a.m. Grundy Co. Farmland Auc. Est. of Warren Blake, MAZON, IL. Richard A. Olson & Assoc. richardaolson.com

team will focus on issues related to crop production, marketing, risk management, trade, technology, farm policy, livestock, equine, local foods, specialty crops, and related sectors. A Local and State Government team will address rural development, local government, local economies, government finance, elections, education, energy, transportation, and related issues. Each team will consist of 12 Farm Bureau members, one IFB board member, and one county Farm Bureau manager, the latter of whom will serve the team in an advisory capacity. Team members will be appointed to

two-year terms. For the first year only, terms will be staggered. Eighteen members will be selected to serve 1-year terms and 18 will serve 2-year terms. The teams will meet four times each year for one-day meetings with the first meeting set for Jan. 31, 2013. Applicants who aren’t selected for a team may participate in an advisory capacity as indicated by selecting specific issues on the application form. For information, contact your county Farm Bureau, call IFB at 309-557-3984, or go online to {www.ilfb.org/swat}.

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FarmWeek Page 14 Monday, September 24, 2012

profitability USDA

Farm Service Agency FARMERS MUST REPORT NAP CROP LOSSES — Farmers must report to the Farm Service Agency (FSA) crop losses due to a weather-related disaster within 15 days of the disaster or when that loss first becomes apparent for crops covered by the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP). Prevented planting must be reported no later than 15 days after the final planting date. Crop losses are timely planted acres intended for harvest, but the crop failed because of a natural disaster. Farmers need to file accurate and timely loss reports to prevent the potential loss of FSA program benefits. Farmers who have NAP coverage will be required to report crop losses on an FSA form CCC-576 “Notice of Loss and Application for Payment Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program.” GOOD RECORDS CRITICAL FOR LIVESTOCK FARMERS — FSA is urging livestock farmers affected by natural disaster to keep thorough records of livestock and feed losses, including such additional expenses as feed bought to replace lost supplies. Keep records of all pertinent information related to the disaster impact. These include: • Documentation of the number and kind of livestock that have died, supplemented if possible by photos or video records of ownership and losses; • Dates of death supported by birth recordings or purchase receipts; • Costs to transport livestock to safer ground or new pastures; and • Feed purchases if supplies or pastures are destroyed. USDA’s authority to operate the five disaster assistance programs authorized by the 2008 farm bill expired Sept. 30, 2011. Production losses due to disasters occurring after Sept. 30, 2011, are not eligible for disaster program coverage. EMERGENCY CRP GRAZING EXTENDED — Emergency grazing of certain Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres may continue until Nov. 30, the date when all animals must be removed. Those CRP acres include: cool-season grasses and legumes, native grasses, grasses already established permanent wildlife habitat and habitat corridors, permanent vegetation to reduce salinity and salt-tolerant vegetative covers, and rare and declining habitat. The extension does not apply to emergency haying of CRP.

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

Range Per Head $13.25-$45.94 n/a

Weighted Ave. Price $35.97 n/a

This Week Last Week 104,790 124,620 *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 $70.19 $63.73 $51.94 $47.16

Change 6.46 4.78

USDA five-state area slaughter cattle price Steers Heifers

(Thursday’s price) (Thursday’s price) Prev. week Change This week 125.92 127.01 -1.09 125.92 127.06 -1.14

CME feeder cattle index — 600-800 Lbs. This is a composite price of feeder cattle transactions in 27 states. (Prices $ per hundredweight) Prev. week Change This week 142.37 143.13 -0.76

Lamb prices Slaughter Prices - Negotiated, Live, wooled and shorn 110-180 lbs. for 85-113.19 $/cwt. (wtd. ave. 98.60).

Export inspections (Million bushels) Week ending Soybeans Wheat Corn 09-13-12 10.0 29.4 27.9 09-06-12 13.0 20.6 10.2 Last year 11.1 34.0 24.4 Season total 22.6 308.2 37.2 Previous season total 24.6 350.3 47.7 USDA projected total 1055 1200 1250 Crop marketing year began June 1 for wheat and Sept. 1 for corn and soybeans.

Don’t let drought chaos blind you BY CORY WINSTEAD

Marketing grain can be difficult, given so many variables that are out of your control. This year’s historic drought adds stress and frustration to the mix. Many marketers are secondguessing Cory Winstead their past sales, even if they were made at profitable levels. Many feel they have been burned by forward sales and want to try something different. Farmers might even be thinking “everything is different, and we need to change how we market or not forward market at all.” This could not be farther from the truth. Do not let this year scare you off from forward marketing or building a plan for the 2013 crop year. Dale Durchholz, AgriVisor senior market analyst, touched on something in a recent Cash Strategist col-

umn that made sense. We tend to forget that the pendulum swings both ways in the market. We have had an amazing run in this year’s corn and bean prices, but this could have easily gone the other way. If the country had not experienced a drought, we could have yields at trend or better, and we could have seen a 1.8-billion-bushel carry out in corn. This scenario moves prices to $5 or worse, instead of the $8 we are currently experiencing. If you were to compare prices of corn, for example, December 2012 was trading a year ago at similar levels as the December 2013 contract is today. The biggest driving factor in the market advance was the drought. The likelihood of another drought of this severity in 2013 is slim. However, there is a possibility the weather will remain drier than normal into next year. Let’s say we have great weather and a great yield in 2013. What happens to price then? These are both “what if ”

scenarios and again, out of our control. So, how do you make a decision on what action to take? Bring it back to the basic fundamentals. The basics to building a solid marketing plan begin with your estimated cost of production and your breakeven point. Once you have an idea of those numbers, you can start making small, incremental sales at profitable levels. I recommend looking at the University of Illinois non-land operating cost estimates for 2013 corn and soybeans as a starting place. They can be found at {www.farmdoc.illinois.edu}. Do not let the chaos of today blind you from making sound business decisions for tomorrow. Continue to look forward to next year’s crop, and be ready to take advantage of profitable prices. Cor y Winstead is AgriVisor’s account manager. His email address is cwinstead@agrivisor.com

USDA to change release time of key reports USDA last week announced it will change the release time of some of its key statistical reports. The world agricultural supply and demand estimates, acreage, crop production, grain stocks, prospective plantings, and small grains summary reports as of January 2013 will be released at 11 Joe Glauber a.m. Central time instead of the current release time of 7:30 a.m. The move was made in response to expanded trading hours in the U.S. “The shift to a noon (Eastern time) release allows for the greatest liquidity in the markets, provides the greatest access to the reports during working hours in the United States, and continues equal access to data among all parties,” said Joe Glauber, USDA chief economist. The release time of livestock reports will remain the same (2 p.m. Central time). USDA from June 8 to July 9 hosted a public comment period concerning the release time for key statistical reports in response to changes in market hours by major commodity exchanges,

including the CME Group in Chicago. Cargill Inc., one of the world’s largest commodity traders, asked USDA to abolish its lock-up prior to major reports. USDA in its lock-up allows select members of the media to have access to

reports prior to release times so news stories can be produced and distributed as soon as USDA releases its reports. As of last week, USDA indicated it plans to continue to host a lock-up prior to the release of its reports.


Page 15 Monday, September 24, 2012

PROFITABILITY Corn Strategy

CASH STRATEGIST

Soybean supplies tighten The tight soybean fundamental structure is a situation that has been well discussed the last four to five months. When weather devastated our crop, it made what was already going to be an uncomfortably tight situation even tighter. Both Brazil and Argentina should be on the verge of exhausting their exportable supplies. That forces the world to come to the U.S. to source the bulk of its needs, soybeans in particular. The talk that has dominated the trade the last three to four months has been the need for prices to move higher to ration what looks like a very tight situation, until the next South American crop becomes available. The stocks-to-use ratio for the next six months is by far the lowest since production escalated sharply in South America at the turn of the century. Unless demand is severely reduced, the March 1 soybean inventories could be an unheard of 400 million bushels. That would force sizable imports into the U.S. just to supply our processing industry, or imports of soybean meal and soybean oil to replace the lost output next

spring/summer. But at the moment there isn’t a lot of clarity about how strong demand will be until the next South American crop is available. Chinese imports over the next few months are extremely critical as they account for twothirds of the world’s annual soybean imports. It is becoming more apparent that China’s persistently large imports since spring have in part been to build stocks. A couple of weeks ago, we noted the Chinese government had quietly built a reserve of 7 million to 9 million metric tons (mmt.). At the same time Chinese analysts forecast a 25 percent drop in imports from last year over the last four months of the calendar year. If their pace drops to that level, it’s the equivalent of adding 4.5 mmt (165 million bushels) to available supplies. The final size of our crop will play a part as well. Early yield reports suggest the crop could be better than currently forecast. While a big jump isn’t probable, it is possible to add 1 bushel back to the national yield, maybe even a little more. That’s adding another 75 million bushels, or 2 mmt. to available supplies. But until there is clarity on the demand side of the equation, soybean prices should have limited downside risk and potential to still move to a new high.

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ü2012 crop: Harvest pressure has become a modest drag on the market, helping turn the trend down into the 40-week low due any time. Sales should have been boosted to 80 percent recently. We aren’t inclined to make sales now with prices approaching what should be a “harvest low.” Given quality issues and crop insurance regulations, carefully consider whether you want to store any corn on farm this year. ü2013 crop: Use rallies to $6.49 on December 2013 futures for catch-up sales. vFundamentals: Harvest is progressing at a steady clip with last week’s weekly progress report placing the national pace at 26 percent complete. Illinois was already 36 percent done, with Iowa at 22 percent. Better yield reports appear to be coming out of Iowa, but generally speaking they still remain quite varied. Weekly export sales were again a disappointment, but we are seeing better interest due to last week’s lower prices.

Soybean Strategy

ü2012 crop: Even with last week’s hard turn down, the overall picture still includes a chance of eventually seeing new highs. At worst, soybean prices should be able to move back near the current highs once the cyclic harvest lows are put behind. Even though there is still short-term downside risk, we don’t want to make sales at these levels. ü2013 crop: Use rallies above $13.80 on November 2013 futures for catch-up sales. vFundamentals: Soybean prices still have the best potential to move to a new high, but in the wake of last week’s break, the odds declined. Demand should be good until the next South American crop becomes available. The trade is focused on the large export sales, but early in a marketing year, shipments are more important. And with some uncertainty about China, that’s an important distinction. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to draw any conclusions from them for another month. Our

August crush number was a warning flag demand may be struggling.

Wheat Strategy

ü2012 crop: Since late July, wheat has been tracing out a choppy, sideways trend. Major resistance on Chicago December futures is at $9.50 and major support is at $8.75. It is unlikely wheat will test highs in the nearterm. Use rallies above $9 on Chicago December futures for making catch-up sales. ü2013 crop: Make catchup sales with Chicago July futures trading above $8.67. Check the Hotline; we could

add a sale at any time. vFundamentals: Upside momentum in the wheat market evaporated with the downturn in corn and soybean prices. Wheat prices are a $1 premium to corn in the U.S., and nearly that much in world markets, making it unlikely livestock producers will use wheat as willingly in feed rations, at least for now. This will help keep wheat supplies, both domestically and internationally, adequate to cover demand. Weather forecasts are calling for moisture in some of drier portions of Australia and our Central/Southern Plains.


FarmWeek Page 16 Monday, September 24, 2012

perspectives

A letter to California voters from an Iowa farmer Prop 37 impacts me, too Dear Californians, I can’t vote on Proposition 37 this election day, but I’m watching it closely, all the way from my farm in Iowa. This ballot initiative isn’t just bad for California — it’s bad for America. Here’s the problem: Prop 37 is an extremist measure that will raise food prices without making food safer or consumers more knowledgeable. Worst of all, it will stifle innovation all over the United States. The fundamental idea behind Prop 37 is that there’s something wrong TIM BURRACK with the kind of food I’ve guest columnist raised and you’ve eaten for more than 15 years. This is a strange claim because there’s nothing unusual about my corn and soybeans. They’re just like the vast majority of the corn and soybeans planted and harvested in California and elsewhere: genetically modified to resist weeds and pests. Because these crops carry a natural resistance to weeds that steal moisture and insects that munch on roots and leaves, they grow stronger and healthier. This means more food and better food for everyone — and less dependence on herbicides and pesticides. American food security and the health of our environment depend on biotechnology. It allows us to grow more food on less land, which is the very definition of sustainable agriculture. The backers of Prop 37 just ignore this, but they do say that consumers should know if their food contains biotech ingredients. The irony is that consumers who feel a need to avoid biotechnology already can do so: They can look for the organic label. So the brand-new labels mandated by Prop 37 are pointless, except in the eyes of special-interest groups that want to manipulate consumer preferences, in a bid to drive grocery-store shoppers away from conventional food and toward organic varieties. As a recent Stanford University study showed, organic food is not healthier than other kinds —

but it sure is more expensive. There’s another profit motive at work behind Prop 37: trial lawyers. They’re chomping at the bit to sue food producers for petty violations of arcane rules. Ten years ago, voters in Oregon faced a ballot referendum similar to Prop 37. They had the good sense to reject it, especially after learning that it would cost families hundreds of dollars in additional food costs each year. In our slow-growth economy, this is a price that few can afford to pay, especially low-income families and seniors who live on fixed incomes. Even Californians who don’t alter their eating habits will see their bills go up as food producers redesign packages and processors segregate food so that it satisfies the complicated requirements of a new bureaucracy. Consumers, of course, will pick up the tab for these changes. The damaging effects of Prop 37 will reach well beyond California’s borders. The measure’s success would give biotechnology an unnecessary black eye at a time when we must rely on biotechnology more than ever before. You’ve certainly heard about this year’s drought. It was awful: probably the worst I’ve seen in a lifetime of farming. Yet biotechnology is on the cusp of making great strides in drought resistance, allowing crops to grow even when they don’t receive much water. Farmers like me want and need access to those tools. Seriously, consumers like you should want me to have those tools as well! California is the most populous and a very important state. It has a well-deserved reputation for starting national trends. If its voters decide to pass Prop 37, they will

send a powerful signal that public opinion is turning against agricultural technology, despite their clear benefits. Researchers will shift to other fields. Food producers will worry about new regulations, approved not for reasons of nutrition or safety, but because the schemes of special interests have triumphed. Cut off from promising new technologies, farmers across the country will find themselves growing less than they should: That’s bad for California, bad for Iowa, and bad for America. Tim Burrack raises corn, soybeans, and pork on a northeast Iowa family farm. He volunteers as a board member of Truth About Trade and Technology whose website is {www.truthabouttrade.org}.

Food price inflation won’t be as bad as feared in 2013

Fears that food prices will be driven up by the Midwest drought’s impact on corn supplies have been featured in many recent news stories. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, the federal agency that tracks actual food prices in grocery stores, recently forecast all “food at home” MIKE would increase DOHERTY 3 to 4 percent in 2013 vs. 2.5 to 3.5 percent for 2012 and compared to a 4.8 percent actual increase in 2011. If food prices in the absence of a drought in year 2011 increased nearly 5 per-

cent, why would prices increase by only 3 to 4 percent following a drought of such magnitude as the one experienced this summer? The answer lies in several surprising facts regarding food prices. The first is that the price of corn, as a raw ingredient, is nearly inconsequential compared to the cost of modern food processing, packaging, wholesaling, transportation, storage, and final retailing. As an example, even in the case of breakfast “corn flakes,” the cost of the corn “at the farm gate” inside each box is only 3 to 4 cents. What about livestock feed and the impact on meat, egg, and milk prices? Surely corn

must make a major contribution to those price increases. Think again. USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) estimates that total feed costs make up barely half of the expenses for dairy operations, about one-fifth of the expenses for raising beef cattle, 40 percent for raising hogs, and only about onethird of the expense of raising poultry. Corn is only a portion of “total feed costs,” according to ERS. As a result of corn as a portion of livestock feed, ERS has projected beef and poultry prices would increase a mere 3.5 to 4.5 percent in 2012, 4 to 5 percent for beef in 2013, and only 3 to 4 per-

cent for ”all meats” in 2013. Meanwhile, poultry and egg prices were forecast to increase only 3 to 4 percent in 2013 and, for dairy products, only 3.5 to 4.5 percent in 2013. The price increases are indeed modest when compared to the nearly 7 percent increase in dairy product prices in 2011, which was driven mostly by energy costs. Overall, changes in the supply and demand of corn simply does not add up to dramatic changes in food prices.

Mike Doherty is Illinois Farm Bureau’s senior economist and policy analyst. His email address is mdoherty@ilfb.org.

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September 24 2012  

September 24 2012

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