This time of year pumpkins are everywhere. They are in our lattes, on our front porches, and yes even in our pies. Where do all of these pumpkins come from? Well, it may surprise you to find out that Illinois, one of the largest corn and soybean producing states in the U.S., produces more than three-fourths of all pumpkins harvested in the U.S.

The picture below shows pumpkins being harvested in Illinois. Pumpkins are harvested for their seeds and flesh, which are used to make a bevy of different pumpkins products. Unlike commercial pumpkins, jack-o-lantern pumpkins, an actual variety of pumpkin, are normally handpicked.

We want to wish a happy and safe Halloween to all of our readers.

POW 10-31-14

Remember, we are always looking for agricultural pictures from anywhere in the world. Submit your picture to

Soybean exports declined for the first time in the 2014/15 marketing year, but still remain well above their 10-week average. Corn exports increased and wheat exports decreased. Soybean sales increased last week for the fourth consecutive week and the seventh of the last eight. Despite the continued rise in soybean sales, China slowed their purchasing from last week concerning some analysts that China’s demand for soybeans has peaked. Wheat sales increased from last week, but corn sales fell sharply after reaching their highest level since October 2013 last week.

Weekly net corn sales were 489,800 MT, a 77% decrease from last week and a 36% decrease from the prior 10-week average. Increases were reported from South Korea, Peru, Mexico, Japan, Colombia, Costa, Rica, Egypt, and Canada. Decreases were reported from unknown destinations, Jamaica, the French West Indies, the Dominican Republic, and Nicaragua. Exports were 829,500 MT, a 23% increase from last week, but a 6% decrease from the prior 10-week average. The primary destinations were Mexico, South Korea, Japan, Colombia, and Peru. ...continue reading

(Reuters) A short position in soybeans has been one of the top trades of the commodities arena so far in 2014, outperforming crude oil, cotton and corn, as prices fell roughly 25 percent since the start of the year and 30 percent since July 1.

But recent sharp cuts to market open interest as well as non-commercial short positions suggests speculators are starting to cover those shorts ahead of the end of the year and as the strongest period for U.S. soybean exports gets underway.

Since peaking at more than 820,000 contracts on October 13 – a two-year high - soybean market open interest has declined by more than 100,000 contracts, or around 12.6 percent as traders bought back previously sold contracts. Front-month soybean futures have rallied roughly 60 cents a bushel since their open on October 13. ...continue reading

(Businessweek) With most grain crops mired in bear markets, Oklahoma farmer Sherwin Ratzlaff figures his only chance to break even is to expand supplies of wheat that already are in surplus.

“Wheat offers a better bottom-line return than planting corn, milo or canola,” Ratzlaff, 71, said by telephone from his farm near Enid, Oklahoma. He boosted seedings of winter wheat that will be harvested in June by 18 percent from 2013 to 2,000 acres. “I’m optimistic that we can grow a good crop because we got rain after we finished planting.”

He’s not alone. U.S. growers, the largest exporters, will seed the most winter wheat since 2007, according to a Bloomberg survey of 12 analysts. While wheat wasn’t spared from price slumps, growing conditions have improved in the Great Plains after a drought led to a 2014 harvest that was smallest in eight years, and government crop-insurance programs are providing wheat with a better floor for revenue than other crops. ...continue reading

(DTN) Something was noticeably absent from Howard Minigh's speech on the need to harmonize global biotech trait approvals: any mention of MIR 162.

While the CropLife International CEO discussed the issues the grain industry faces with traits being approved in some countries that are importers of U.S. grains but not others, he skirted the one issue that hung in the minds of most of the audience. The MIR 162 corn insecticide trait, otherwise known as Viptera, is at the heart of one of the highest profile market access issues in agriculture.

China's refusal to approve the trait has helped push down corn and distillers grains prices and led to a flurry of lawsuits in the grain industry. ...continue reading

Weather was cooperative this past week as dry warm weather was experienced over much of the Corn Belt and farmers have made up ground on the harvest that has been delayed for most of the fall. Information from the field has been reported that the soybean harvest is finishing in areas of the Corn Belt. As more farmers put a close to the 2014 soybean harvest, expect for corn harvest to take more of the spotlight.

The USDA estimated the corn harvested at 46%, a 15% increase from last week, but 19% behind the five-year average. Analysts estimated corn harvest to be between 41% and 45% ahead of today’s report. Of the top five corn producing states, Iowa and Nebraska remain the furthest behind their five-year average at 29% and 22%, respectively. ...continue reading

(TheCropSite) Tilling prepares the soil for planting by removing residue from the previous crop, but for some time there has been speculation over the benefits of no-till farming - a key conservation agriculture strategy that avoids conventional plowing.

New meta-analysis by an international team suggests that no-till farming may not bring a hoped-for boost in crop yields in much of the world.

As the core principle of conservation agriculture, no-till has been promoted worldwide in an effort to sustainably meet global food demand. ...continue reading

Below is a picture sent to us by one of our readers of a farmer combining soybeans in Michigan. Soybean harvest in the U.S. has progressed slowly this year. As of Monday, 23% of the soybeans in Michigan had been harvested. Michigan harvest should be over half way complete by now, according to the USDA five-year average.

POW 10-24-14

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U.S. corn and soybean sales increased for the week ending October 17th in the 2014/2015 marketing year, marking the sixth increase in the last seven weeks for both crops. Corn and soybeans have both experienced multi-year highs during that time period. Wheat sales decreased from last week. Soybean exports increased for the seventh consecutive week, reaching their highest level since November 2013. Corn and wheat exports both decreased from last week.

Harvest progress for soybeans has progressed nicely compared to corn harvests sluggish advancement. Some analysts are suggesting that the delay in harvest may be helping with the lack of storage for grains. The accelerated pace of exports this fall has allowed elevators to move grain. This in turn has created more space to store the record breaking corn and soybean crop coming off the fields. ...continue reading

(DTN) Twelve is the new nine, or so Kevin Roepke argues.

The U.S. Grains Council's southeast Asia regional director explained that a recent study suggested the world population could climb to 12 billion people by 2100, an even higher estimate of the number of mouths the world's farmers will need to feed in the future. The United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization (FA) predicts global population will reach 9 billion people by the year 2050.

It's why he thinks four "I" words will be crucial to the future of agriculture: investment, information, infrastructure and integrity. ...continue reading