(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

Harvest progress for corn and soybeans has been slowed by wet weather across the U.S. throughout September. Progress was made from last week, but reports continues to lag behind the five-year average. Farmers are blaming the delay on wet weather late in the season and the unusually cold summer which led to underdeveloped crops. Condition reports remain at 20-year highs despite maturity levels for both corn and soybeans being behind their five-year average.

Corn conditions were estimated by the USDA at 74% in “Good” or “Excellent” condition, unchanged for the past three 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 32%, followed by Iowa with 24%, and Indiana with 23%. There was localized hail in southeastern Minnesota over the weekend, but it was not expected to have caused much widespread damage to crops in the area. ...continue reading

The rural economy continues to languish on the back of depleting grain prices. The farmland price index decreased from last month and has been below growth neutral for 10 straight months. Farm equipment was also significantly affected, reporting the lowest reading in the history of the survey.

The Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI), an index which ranges from 0 to 100 with 50.0 representing growth neutral, decreased to 48.2 from 48.3 in July, the lowest level in more than two years. The expected decline in farm income, due to lower grain prices, is weighing heavily on agriculture dependent areas. ...continue reading

(GallatinRiverCapital) It’s been two years of relative calm across the European Union (EU) following years of political turmoil, debt crises, and protests that pushed the EU to the brink of collapse. Many economic reforms have been enacted since the peak of the European debt crisis in 2012, including relaxing deficit-reduction requirements and increasing monetary stimulus measures. Although these reforms brought about stabilization to European financial markets there is still a long way to go to reduce unemployment, accelerate economic growth, and ignite inflation throughout the EU. ...continue reading

Combines and grain carts can only mean one thing, harvest has begun. Farmers across the U.S. have taken to their fields to reap the benefits of their labor. While corn prices may be low, farmers will be able to preoccupy themselves with their production data, which according to the USDA is expected to be record breaking.

Colvin & Co. wants to wish all farmers a safe and plentiful harvest.

POW 9-19-14

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


Soybean sales exploded after ending the marketing year on three straight weeks of reductions. Corn sales also increased, while wheat sales decreased. Soybean exports also increased substantially reaching levels not seen since mid-May. Corn and wheat exports also increased, it was the first time since July that all three commodities saw export increases in the same week.

Weekly U.S. net corn sales for the week ending September 11th in the 2014/2015 marketing year were 659,700 MT, a 17% increase from last week and 225% increase from the prior 10-week average. Increases were reported from Peru, Japan, Mexico, Guatemala, and South Korea. Decreases were reported from unknown destinations. Exports were 722,400 MT. The primary destinations were Mexico, Japan, South Korea, Colombia, Egypt, Peru, Guatemala, and Venezuela. ...continue reading

(Reuters) U.S. Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack met with Warren Buffett last week to urge the billionaire investor to make sure his BNSF railroad is ready for an expected record corn and soy harvest this year.

Vilsack said on Tuesday that Buffett, who heads the sprawling conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway, recognized the challenge and indicated his company was taking steps.

"I said, 'Warren, you've got to make sure that your railroad understands what's going on here,'" Vilsack said he told Buffett during a 45-minute conversation. "There is pressure now, but as soon as this crop is harvested, there will be more pressure." ...continue reading

Farm equipment makers insist the sales slump they face this year because of lower crop prices and farm incomes will be short-lived. Yet there are signs the downturn may last longer than tractor and harvester makers, including Deere & Co, are letting on and the pain could persist long after corn, soybean and wheat prices rebound.

Farmers and analysts say the elimination of government incentives to buy new equipment, a related overhang of used tractors, and a reduced commitment to biofuels, all darken the outlook for the sector beyond 2019 - the year the U.S. Department of Agriculture says farm incomes will begin to rise again. ...continue reading

(WSJ) In a fight that highlights global sensitivity over genetically modified crops, Cargill Inc. sued Syngenta AG, claiming that the Swiss seed maker's push to sell bioengineered corn seeds that weren't approved in China cost the U.S. grain company $90 million when Beijing rejected corn shipments.

The suit, filed on Friday in Louisiana state court, escalates tensions that have shaken U.S. agribusiness since China last year sharply curtailed imports of U.S. corn. Beijing's move all but closed off a major market for the grain, contributing to a sharp decline this year in prices for the U.S.'s biggest crop by value and costing shippers hundreds of millions of dollars, according to U.S. grain groups.

China's government began rejecting U.S. corn shipments in November after its tests found that some shipments of U.S. corn contained Agrisure Viptera, a genetic modification developed by Syngenta that enables the plants to produce proteins that ward off pests. China hasn't approved the product, although Syngenta says it applied for approval in 2010. ...continue reading

Farmers in Illinois and Indiana were only able to scratch the surface on a corn harvest that is expected to yield record breaking production. Rain and cold temperatures have forced farmers to wait for the ground to dry, much like the planting season this spring. Corn and soybean conditions remained unchanged for the second straight week despite a frost threat to the upper Midwest. Many operators have expressed concern over the mild summer temperatures which have caused maturity estimates for both corn and soybeans to fall behind their respective five-year average.

Corn conditions were estimated by the USDA at 74% in “Good” or “Excellent” condition, unchanged for the past two weeks, but a 21% 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 31%, followed by Iowa with 25%, and Indiana with 23%. ...continue reading