September marks the beginning of harvest and has been a slow start for the Corn Belt, due to the slow progress of corn maturity. The lack of heat this summer across much of the Midwest has resulted in a slower growing process and higher moisture content in the corn. Farmers have delayed harvesting in hopes of drying the corn in the field rather than paying to have it dried.

Grain prices continued to decline through the month of September due in large part to the estimated record domestic production for corn and soybeans and global production for wheat. Fear of frost impacting yields has subdued as we move into October. ...continue reading

Soybean stocks were reported at their lowest level in modern history at 92 million bushels. Corn stocks were in-line with analyst expectations, though on-farm storage increased significantly from last year. Wheat stocks were also in-line with expectations and on-farm storage was also increased heavily from last year.

Quarterly Stocks (Billion Bushels)

Crop

September 1, 2014

Average Analyst Estimate

September 1, 2013

Corn

1.240 1.181

0.821

Soybean

0.092

0.130

0.141

Wheat

1.910

1.894

1.870

Source: DTN and USDA ...continue reading

(Forbes) Here’s a phrase you don’t hear so often: multimillionaire farmers.

If you’ve read my column, you know that I often try to shine some light on whatever “alternative” or esoteric investment has captured the attention of wealthy families and institutions. Well, hold on to your straw hats, because one of the most interesting investments to catch their fancy recently is farmland.

The best indexes of land values come from Iowa, which has nearly 31 million acres of farmland. In April an outfit called the Iowa Farm & Land Chapter #2 Realtors Land Institute (chew on that mouthful) said its survey of local farmland brokers put the average price of the highest-quality farmland there at $11,674 per acre. Even the midgrade dirt was fetching $8,300 per acre. While those prices were down 5 percent or so from a year earlier, they are still way, way up over the long run. In the late 1990s you could buy midgrade farmland for less than $1,700 per acre. ...continue reading

Corn and soybean harvests fell further behind, despite reports of more farmers getting into fields. The USDA reports that the U.S. corn and soybean harvests are 11% and 7% behind their respective five-year average. Farmers are more concerned about the delay in maturity, which is also behind. As colder fall temperatures are forecasted in the next six to ten days the threat of an early frost may be realized.

Corn conditions were estimated by the USDA at 74% in “Good” or “Excellent” condition, unchanged for the past four weeks, but a 19% increase from last year. 19% was considered “Fair,” unchanged from last week, while only 7% was considered “Poor” or “Very Poor.” Of the Corn Belt states, Illinois had the most corn rated “Excellent” at 34%, followed by Indiana and Iowa both at 24%. ...continue reading

(Reuters) With a record U.S. harvest just coming in, the river transportation system that is at the heart of the nation's farm economy is overstrained by rising demand for shipping capacity, a low barge inventory, and a dilapidated lock system.

The pressure is building on an inland waterways network that is just one flood, drought or mechanical breakdown from calamity after decades of neglect, industry sources say.

Looming bumper corn and soybean crops are bringing to light issues that have built for years and which have been exacerbated by new entrants to the marketplace for river logistics, such as producers of crude oil from the nation's shale boom. ...continue reading

The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released this year’s annual cash rent survey results this week and without surprise, the Corn Belt yielded by far the highest average cash rent of any area in the U.S. Of the ten counties with the highest cash rent for non-irrigated farmland in the U.S., nine were located in the Corn Belt; five in Illinois, three in Iowa, and one in Nebraska. As global food demand continues to rise, the value of these properties will undoubtedly continue to rise as well.

POW 9-26-14

Remember, we are always looking for agricultural pictures from anywhere in the world. Submit your picture to farmlandforecast@colvin-co.com

Corn and soybean sales topped respective six and 12-month highs, according to this week’s USDA report. Wheat sales also improved from last week, but the volume was nominal in comparison to corn and soybeans. Corn and soybean exports also progressed significantly from last week. Corn exports were reported at their highest level since July of this year, and soybean exports at their highest since April of this year.

Analysts speculated that the rise in sales is due to domestic corn and soybean prices being historically low. The mountain of grain expected to come off of U.S. farm fields this year has caused prices to reach four-year lows. The argued reason for the increase in exports is due to the abnormally low stocks-to-use ratios reported by the USDA throughout 2014. Above average exports in the first half of the 2013/14 marketing year caused a rapid depletion of domestic soybeans, forcing the USDA to curtail exports later in the season to protect domestic supply. ...continue reading

(AgWeb) A joint research project from Purdue University and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln may have just led to the next elite soybean cultivars for the Northern U.S.

The researchers’ discovery involves a soybean gene whose mutation affects plant stem growth. The gene, Dt2, causes semi-determinacy in soybean plants. This is significant because semi-determinate plants are midsized plants that can continue vegetative growth even after flowering. That means they can produce as many or more pods than current northern cultivars but resist lodging issues because they don’t grow as tall. ...continue reading

(Reuters) Norway's Yara and Chicago-based CF Industries are in talks about a merger of equals that would create a $27.5 billion global fertilizer producer to rival world No.1 Potash Corp in an oversupplied and fragmented market.

The deal would give Yara, the world's biggest nitrate fertilizer maker, major production units in the United States, where costs are lower due to cheap gas. CF Industries would gain a global footprint through Yara's presence in 150 countries with production assets and a well established distribution network.

The two firms' combined market capitalization of $27.5 billion would put it almost on par with Canada's Potash Corp of Saskatchewan, the world' largest fertilizer firm worth $28.9 billion. ...continue reading

(NewYorkTimes) The Agriculture Department has approved the commercial planting of corn and soybeans genetically engineered to survive being sprayed by the herbicide known as 2,4-D, according to documents it posted on a federal regulatory website on Wednesday.

Some corn and soybean growers have been pushing for approval, saying the new crops would give them a sorely needed new tool to fight rapidly spreading weeds that can no longer be killed by Roundup, known generically as glyphosate, the usual herbicide of choice.

But critics say that cultivation of the crops, which were developed by Dow AgroSciences, will mean a sharp increase in the spraying of 2,4-D, a chemical they say would be more damaging to the environment, nearby non-engineered crops and possibly human health, than Roundup. ...continue reading