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September' 2012

2012 Harvest Progress

Corn and soybean harvest is progressing at a very rapid rate in most portions of Southern Minnesota and Northern Iowa, as a result of almost perfect harvest conditions. As of September 21, harvest progress for both corn and soybeans was at 25-50 percent completed in much of South Central and Southwest Minnesota. This level of harvest progress is more typical of mid-late October than late September. Most of the crops have matured beyond any potential damage from a killing frost. [ read more ... ]


September 12 USDA Crop Report

The USDA Crop Report released on September 12 made a slight decrease in the expected U.S. corn and soybean production for 2012, as compared to the August USDA estimates, reflecting the severity of the 2012 drought in many areas of the U.S. USDA is now estimating the total 2012 corn production at 10.7 billion bushels, which slightly below the 10.8 billion bushel estimate in August. Total U.S. corn production was 12.3 billion bushels in 2011, 12.5 billion bushels in 2010, and 13.1 billion bushels in 2009. If the 2012 projections hold up, this would be the lowest total U.S. corn production since 2006. [ read more ... ]


2012 Corn Harvest Underway

The very warm growing season this year has pushed the 2012 corn crop very rapidly toward maturity. Corn harvest has begun in many areas of South Central and Southwest Minnesota. The corn moisture content is in the 20-25 percent range on early planted corn, which is more typical of early October conditions. Corn yields in 2012 are expected to be quite variable across Southern Minnesota, depending on timely rainfalls, soil types, planting date, and corn hybrids. So far, the early corn yields in many areas have been pleasantly surprising, considering the extremely dry conditions that existed throughout most of July and August across the region. [ read more ... ]


RFS Being Challenged By Drought

The 2012 drought has brought the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) into the forefront. The RFS regulations are managed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and those regulations are quite complicated. The RFS requires that minimum levels of renewable biofuels must be used to blend gasoline in the U.S. Corn-based ethanol is the primary fuel ingredient that is used to meet the RFS requirement. Currently ethanol makes up about 10 percent of the U.S. fuel supply, with just over 13 billion gallons of ethanol per year being produced in the U.S. [ read more ... ]


Crop Insurance Key To risk Management

Many farm operators across the upper Midwest are facing the most severe crop loss since 1988, with some producers facing the most significant drought since the 1930’s. There will undoubtedly be large financial losses in many areas of the regions to farm operators, associated businesses, and local communities, even in some portions of Southern Minnesota. However, the financial losses to corn and soybean producers in 2012 will be somewhat mitigated by Federal Crop Insurance coverage. [ read more ... ]


Livestock Industry Under Stress

The corn and soybean meal market prices have responded to the current U.S. drought with dramatic market increases. Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) December corn futures prices rose to over $8.00 per bushel by mid-August, an increase of nearly $3.00 per bushel since mid-June, or about a 60 percent increase in about two months. Similarly, CBOT soybean meal prices have increased by nearly $200.00 per ton in recent months, and are now over $500.00 per ton. Corn and soybean meal are important feed ingredients for all segments of the livestock industry. [ read more ... ]



Due to the severe drought affecting much of the major corn and soybean producing areas of the United States, the August 10 USDA Crop Report was very highly anticipated. A large percentage of the primary crop growing areas in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, and Kansas are in severe to extreme drought conditions, with major reductions in crop yields. Portions of Wisconsin, North and South Dakota, Ohio, and Southern Minnesota have also experienced some drought conditions. The USDA crop estimates were based on crop conditions as of August 1, and the USDA Crop Report verified the severity of the 2012 drought. [ read more ... ]