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April' 2012

Corn Planting Progresses Rapidly

The corn crop in Southern Minnesota and Northern Iowa is being planted in very rapid fashion when soil conditions are fit for planting. During a 4-day period from April 24-27, nearly ideal planting weather resulted in a large amount of corn being planted in most portions of South Central Minnesota. Crop experts have estimated that as much as 15 percent of the corn raised in a given area can be planted in one day, when field and soil conditions are at optimal levels, such as they were during that 4-day period. As of April 27, it was estimated that 50-65 percent of the 2012 corn crop has been planted at many locations in Southern Minnesota. Some producers have finished their corn planting, and are now waiting a bit to begin planting soybeans, hoping for a bit warmer soil temperatures. Soybeans can be planted up until about May 20-25 in order to maintain optimum yield potential. In general, soybean yields are much less sensitive to planting dates than corn. [read more ... ]


Custom Farming Agreements

An alternative to leasing farmland is a “Custom Farming Agreement”. In a typical Custom Farming Agreement, the custom operator agrees to perform all the machine operations on the owner’s land in exchange for a set fee or rate. The landowner pays for all seed, fertilizer, chemicals, crop insurance, and other input costs; receives the all grain produced and all eligible farm program payments on the land; and is responsible to store and market the grain. [read more ... ]


2012 Earth Day

For the past four decades, an annual event called “EARTH DAY” has been held in late April across the United States, which has been a time for all U.S. citizens to reflect on our Country’s environmental resources, and what we can do individually and as communities to help enhance our environment for the next generation. In recent years, it has become fashionable to point the “finger of blame” at agriculture and farmers for many environmental issues. However, in reality farmers have been some of the best “environmental stewards” in the U.S. in the past couple of decades. This has been accomplished with a relatively small investment of Federal tax dollars. [ read more ... ]


Early Corn Planting

Like the start of a big race, or the beginning of a Championship game, farmers in Southern Minnesota and Iowa are likely to begin the initiation of full-scale field work on April 11, or shortly after. April 11 is the earliest corn planting date allowed by the USDA Risk management Agency (RMA), in order to maintain full crop insurance replant coverage on the 2012 crop. Corn planted prior to April 11 is not eligible for replant coverage, if the crop is damaged by frost, heavy rains, or hail damage; however, the crop is still insured with full crop insurance coverage, as long as the producer follows all other crop insurance requirements. The earliest planting date for soybeans in Southern Minnesota and Iowa is April 21. [ read more ... ]

Future Of The CRP Program

The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is likely to be a key focal point during the development of the next Farm Bill in the coming months. In an era when the Congress and the Administration are looking to reduce the Federal budget deficit, there will be pressure to reduce the current annual expenditure of just under $2.0 billion on the CRP program, including about $1.7 billion in annual rental payments. Most experts expect the size of the CRP program to be reduced from the current maximum level of 32 million acres to around a maximum of 25 million acres in the next Farm Bill. [ read more ...


Early Start To Spring

During March, several all-time record temperatures have been set in Minnesota and Iowa. At the University of Minnesota Research Center at Waseca, the 2012 high temperature hit 79 degrees four straight days from March 17-20, and set seven record March high temperatures by March 21. [ read more ... ]

March 30 USDA Reports

On March 30, 2011, USDA released its “Prospective Plantings Report” and its “Quarterly Grain Stocks Report”.  These were very highly anticipated USDA Reports, due to the uncertainty in grain prices in recent months, as well as with the tight USDA estimated grain stocks that existed on March 1. Typically, these late March USDA Reports are very critical to farm operators and grain traders because these reports tend to have a high impact on grain market prices in the Spring and early Summer. This is the time of the year when many farm operators try to sell remaining grain inventories from the previous growing season, as well as look for opportunities to forward price a portion of the anticipated crop for the current year. In a majority of years, corn and soybean prices usually reach their peak price in the Spring months, from April until June. [ read more... ]