(AgProfessional) China plans to revamp the scheme it uses to allocate quotas for agricultural imports, as part of efforts to stamp out corruption and to rein in record state grain stockpiles, according to government and industry sources.

The low-tariff quotas, which are sanctioned under China's membership of the World Trade Organization, are allocated to state-owned and private firms in the world's top grain consumer.

With Chinese grain prices among the highest in the world, these import allocations have become a cash cow for well-connected companies. ...continue reading

Harvest progress was slowed this past week due to freezing temperatures and snow. Many analysts believe the acres left unharvested could remain in the field until spring. Although most farmers were able to complete their harvest, a significant amount of fall tillage and fertilization was not completed due to the ground freezing early. The inability to complete all of the post-harvest field work could negatively impact yields in 2015.

The USDA estimated the corn harvested at 94%, a 5% increase from last week and 2% above of the five-year average. Of the top five corn producing states, Illinois had the most corn harvested at 97%, followed by Iowa, Minnesota, and Nebraska, all at 96%. ...continue reading

A slight boost in grain prices helped improve the outlook for the rural economy and farmland prices. The Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI) and the farmland price index both reported month-to-month increases for the first time since May. Despite the improvement, bankers still believe that farmland prices and farm implements sales are declining. Farm income is still expected to be lower than last year and grain prices, though improved, continue to struggle under the weight of the expected record production. ...continue reading

The USDA has estimated that roughly 1.6 billion bushels of corn may be left unharvested after an early snowfall kept farmers out of their fields. If that estimate is accurate, over 10% of the USDA’s expected corn production for 2014/15 could remain in fields until next spring. Farmers in southern areas of the Corn Belt remain confident that they will be able to continue harvesting despite the snow. Farmers in the northern Corn Belt are not as confident, with many not expecting to pick up harvest again until the spring

The picture below is from one of our readers in North Central Iowa harvesting corn in the snow last week. He said that most farmers in his area were lucky enough to get all of their crops harvested, but many were not able to complete all of their fall tillage and fertilization.

POW 11-20-14 (640x360)

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


Soybeans continue to set new records marking the third consecutive week of exports exceeding 2,000,000 metric tons (MT), the first such occasion in U.S. history. China continues to be the largest recipient, receiving more than 78% of the soybeans exported. Corn exports declined to a 2014/15 marketing year low. Corn sales rebounded to their highest level in a month, soybean and wheat sales declined.

The USDA has estimated that roughly 1.6 billion bushels of corn may be left unharvested after an early snowfall kept farmers out of the fields. If that estimate is accurate, over 10% of the USDA’s expected corn production for 2014/15 could remain in fields until next spring. ...continue reading

(Reuters) The final quarter of the calendar year is typically the busiest for U.S. ethanol manufacturers as the large swell in local corn supplies help to lower the cost of their chief input and propel operating margins into profitable territory.

Since the U.S. Energy Information Administration began reporting ethanol production on a weekly basis in 2010, U.S. ethanol output has persistently been higher during the October to December period than during the previous quarter, even in 2012 when drought conditions across the Midwest caused a sharp drop in fresh corn supplies. ...continue reading

(CBS) At one point number 60, Jason Brown, was one of the best centers in the NFL.

At one point he had a five-year, $37 million contract with the St. Louis Rams.

And at one point he decided it was all meaningless - and just walked away from football.

"My agent told me, 'You're making the biggest mistake of your life,'" said Brown. "And I looked right back at him and I said, 'No I'm not. No I'm not.'" ...continue reading

(StarTribune) Railroad bottlenecks, congestion and high freight prices have frustrated Minnesota farmers this year as they try to sell their corn and soybeans.

Now some are turning to an alternative: barges instead of railcars. They are bypassing rail terminals and driving to river ports, giving the barge industry a modest but significant bump in business.

As of Nov. 1, year-to-date grain barge tonnages were 13 percent higher than the five-year average and the highest since 2010, according to a USDA report issued last week. That rising demand has also affected prices, and another federal report noted that barge rates for export grain in October averaged 33 to 60 percent higher than the five-year average during that month. ...continue reading

Farmers with harvesting left to do will be working in a winter wonderland as snow has blanketed the Midwest for the past week. The weather will impact grain transportation as grain elevators report growing railway delays.

Reports out of western Minnesota say delays are getting so bad some elevators are considering ordering semi-trucks to transport their corn and soybeans to the Mississippi River. “Normally some grain handlers will say that the river’s too far away and it just doesn’t pencil out, but with rail service being what it is, they’re willing to drive further to access the river,” said Mike Steenhoek, Executive Director of the Soy Transportation Coalition, in an article for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. ...continue reading

Farmland values in the upper Midwest declined from the previous quarter for the first time in five years. The Seventh Federal District released their third quarter assessment of farmland values and credit conditions this month. While reporting no change in year-to-year farmland values, the report estimated a 2% decrease in farmland values from the second quarter. The reduction was attributed to waning grain prices ending the streak of 19 consecutive quarters of growth.

Indiana and Michigan farmland values reported increases of 4% and 1% from last quarter, and 3% and 10% from last year. Unfortunately, those gains were not enough to offset quarterly decreases of 6% in Iowa, 4% in Wisconsin, and 2% in Illinois, and annual decreases of 4% in Iowa and 1% in Illinois. The majority of bankers across the district, surveyed for the report, were not confident about the outlook for farmland values in the fourth quarter. 56% of those surveyed predicted farmland values to continue to decrease in the fourth quarter, while 44% expected values to remain level or increase. ...continue reading