Arguably, the most critical growth stage for corn is the pollination period and the weather in July provided a second straight year of nearly ideal conditions. The U.S. corn crop was already rated amongst the healthiest crops of the past two decades and is now safely past the important pollination. It appears that central Iowa, central Illinois, and northern Indiana will be leading regional corn yields this harvest.

We are beginning to see signs of demand improving for U.S. corn though. Low prices have made U.S. corn more competitive in the global export market and should increase the U.S.’s market share. Issues with transportation and rail logistics may provide a bottle neck though in the ability to get grain to ports. ...continue reading

Fluctuating weather forecasts have kept the market on its toes as both corn and soybeans begin to enter crucial stages in their development where precipitation is very important. The six to ten day weather forecast has fluctuated from below average precipitation expectations to above average as farmers anxiously wait for rain. Despite earlier flooding, many areas are in need of some precipitation with many farmers reporting low sub-soil moisture levels.

Wheat sales increased significantly over the past week, reaching their highest mark since October 2013. Corn and soybean sales declined. Exports fell for corn, soybeans, and wheat, the first time that has happened since the beginning of June. ...continue reading

(AgWeb) The U.S. imported 72% of its urea needs in 2013—mostly from the Middle East—but as early as 2017, the heavy investment in new fertilizer plants in recent years could allow the U.S. to achieve self-sufficiency. It’s even possible the U.S. could emerge as a urea exporter by 2018, although that’s unclear, according to a new report from Rabobank.

Regardless, a boom has taken place in U.S. nitrogen capacity. Two factors are responsible: the shale gas revolution, which led to lower natural gas prices, and skyrocketing fertilizer prices on the back of high commodity prices, Rabobank says. Natural gas is the largest production cost, with prices dropping from $6.18/million Btu between 2001 and 2009 to an average of $3.81 between 2009 and 2014. "Fertilizer producers were able to realize their dream of converting low-cost inputs into high value plant nutrients," Rabobank says. ...continue reading

(Reuters) Genetically modified corn seeds are no longer protecting Brazilian farmers from voracious tropical bugs, increasing costs as producers turn to pesticides, a farm group said on Monday.

Producers want four major manufacturers of so-called BT corn seeds to reimburse them for the cost of spraying up to three coats of pesticides this year, said Ricardo Tomczyk, president of Aprosoja farm lobby in Mato Grosso state. ...continue reading

(WSJ) A tidal wave of grain looms over the U.S. agricultural sector, spelling bounty for some companies and challenges for others.

As some of the biggest U.S. agribusiness firms report earnings this week, analysts will weigh prospects for another massive U.S. corn crop and a likely record haul of soybeans, thanks to benevolent weather this summer, with plenty of rain and moderate temperatures setting up the best growing conditions in years.

"Weather has been about as good as we have seen historically," said Matthew Korn, analyst for Barclays, who researches fertilizer companies. ...continue reading

Weather forecasts into August call for below average precipitation in soybean growing areas, and have driven up soybean prices in the last few days. August rainfall is essential for strong soybean yields, and despite the rain that fell over much of the Midwest in June, farmers in some areas are expressing concerns of fields being dry. USDA officials and Chinese regulators came to a head over the continued delay of MIR-162 clearance in China. Chinese demands were explained as “Unreasonable” and “Undoable” by the USDA, after the Chinese demanded none of the trait being found in any corn or DDG shipments sampled. Currently the agreement allows for very small amounts of Syngenta MIR-162 trait to be present in shipments. ...continue reading

The White House Rural Council, alongside the US Department of Agriculture and other federal agencies, is hoping to harness institutional capital in the newly-established the US Rural Infrastructure Fund, a public-private investment fund aimed at financing infrastructure projects in rural America.

The new fund was announced at the first ever White House Rural Opportunity Investment Conference in Washington DC yesterday as part of an initiative to encourage private investment into the rural sector and also to create jobs; President Obama’s “Made in Rural America” export and investment initiative. ...continue reading

(Reuters) At roughly 10 cents a pop, $4.80 per bushel July 2015 corn calls look to be the latest hot ticket among long-term corn bulls, even as nearby corn futures prices descend to their lowest level in four years under the weight of a likely record-setting U.S. crop.

And with the U.S. corn crop rated in its best condition in years at this point in the growing season – and projected to complete its all-important pollination phase amid generally non-threatening weather conditions – corn futures tied to this year’s harvest looked set to continue struggling to post any meaningful rallies over the near to medium term. ...continue reading

Pictured below are five model B John Deere’s and one Farmall model H International Harvester that have been beautifully restored in Clarkfield, Minnesota. John Deere began producing the model B in 1934, and IH began producing the model H in 1939. These were the some of the most popular tractors of their time and helped turn the U.S. into the largest agricultural producer in the world.

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

Forecasts for the coming weeks suggest above average temperatures and below average rainfall. Following crop condition reports that are at their best levels since 1994, the weather could put significant pressure on soybean conditions as they enter their pollination stage. Grain prices have fallen significantly in the past few months due to potentially record breaking production from both corn and soybeans this year. ...continue reading