Tag Archives: corn

Farmers are in a tough spot when it comes to controlling weeds. Since conventional herbicides aren’t an option, many choose to use tillage — mechanically turning over the soil to upend weeds. However, tillage can take a toll on soil health and cause run-off. Increasingly, organic farmers are seeking better ways to control weeds while preserving soil health.

To help develop solutions for these farmers, researchers at UW–Madison, Iowa State University and the Rodale Institute are embarking on a new project to assess current technologies that could be used in no-till organic systems and determine which practices will help farmers protect soil health in their fields. The project is funded through a grant from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) that totals $2.2 million, including matching funds.

“We hope to define a set of best management practices for maximizing organic grain production yield while minimizing environmental impact and improving soil health,” says Brian Luck, assistant professor of biological systems engineering at UW–Madison and project lead. “We are aiming to find the best combination of cover crops, cover crop termination methods, planting dates and planter set-up to maximize yield potential in no-till organic systems.”

With partners in Wisconsin, Iowa and Pennsylvania, researchers will have the opportunity to conduct trials at various sites to test planter technologies, cover crop types, planting dates, weed management strategies and more in the first three years of the grant-funded project. They will then use their findings to select the most promising management systems and test them across all of the participating field sites during the project’s fourth year.

Researchers will also conduct on-farm demonstrations for farmers and work to understand farmer perceptions and attitudes toward adopting various practices. They aim to integrate all of this knowledge into guidelines for growers and to disseminate the information throughout organic grain growing regions.

“Testing the methods across locations will ensure that the best management practices for no-till organic production hold up across varying soil types and growing environments,” says Luck. “Farmers will be able to understand what does and doesn’t work when implementing no-till practices in their organic production systems.”

The four-year grant is part of the USDA-NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant Program and is a 1:1 matching grant. For every federal dollar received, the researchers match that amount through funds from their institutions as well as donations of time or supplies from cooperating farms and companies. The structure of the grant means collaboration with industry and producers is essential and indispensable.

“We’re excited to receive this funding from USDA-NRCS and to have invested collaborators who see the value of this work,” says Luck. “We think the work has great potential to change typical management practices associated with organic grain production.”

Other researchers involved in the project include soil scientist Matt Ruark and plant pathologist Erin Silva from UW–Madison; agronomist/horticulturalist Kathleen Delate from Iowa State University; and farm director Jeff Moyer and chief scientist Andrew Smith from the Rodale Institute.

Cover crops have potential for Nebraska farmers that are looking to reduce erosion and soil nitrate loss, improve soil health and provide grazing. However, the predominant corn-soybean erosion limits the selection and productivity of cover crops. Katja-Koehler-Cole, post-doctoral research associate in cropping systems, will present their findings from four years of cover crop research in no-till corn and soybean systems in Nebraska, with implications for both cover crop and main crop management.

Date: Oct. 5, 2018 Time: 3:30 pm–4:30 pm
Keim Hall Room: 150
Contact: Michelle Green-Ihde, 402-472-1503, mgreen-ihde2@unl.edu
Additional Public Info: go.unl.edu/agrohortseminars.

LINCOLN, Neb. – As combines pop up in fields across the Midwest, the Nebraska Corn Board and Nebraska Corn Growers Association encourage farmers, as well as local residents and visitors, to take a second for safety in rural areas this harvest season. To help promote farm safety, “National Farm Safety and Health Week” kicked off September 16 and will run through September 22. This week-long farm safety promotion has taken place every year since 1944 and occurs during the third week of each September.

The theme for this year’s farm safety promotion is “cultivating the seeds of safety.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the agricultural sector is one of the most dangerous industries in America. Over 2 million workers are employed full-time in production agriculture, which does not account for part-time help or family members who also live and work on farms. In 2016, there were 180 reported fatalities of agricultural workers, which equates to 21.4 deaths per 100,000 workers. While “National Farm Safety and Health Week” will help remind farmers, rural residents and visitors about the importance of farm safety for seven days, it’s also important for people to be cautious on or near farm operations throughout the year.

“All farmers are excited to gather their crops from their fields, but harvest can be a dangerous time, especially if we don’t practice safety,” said Dan Wesely, president of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association and farmer from Morse Bluff, Nebraska. “There are a lot of moving parts during harvest – combines, tractors, grain carts, trucks, augers and people. It’s important everyone understands their individual responsibilities, remains alert and has an emergency action plan in place, in case something goes wrong.”

Farmers typically have a narrow window to complete their harvest work. Therefore, it’s important farmers take care of themselves to ensure a safe and productive season.

“A well-rested farmer is a safe and productive farmer,” said Dave Bruntz, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board and farmer from Friend, Nebraska. “It may seem counterproductive, but farmers should take short breaks during the harvest season. They’re often operating large equipment and working long hours throughout the day. By getting enough sleep and eating healthy meals, farmers will be alert and engaged during the harvest process.”

Farmers are not the only people who should be cautious during the harvest season. Anyone who may be visiting or traveling through rural areas should be mindful of increased farm traffic on roads and highways. Harvest equipment should be visible with front and rear warning lights, as well as slow moving vehicle emblems to notify motorists of approaching machinery. In rural areas, parents of small children should also develop safety rules to prevent youth from playing on or near harvest equipment.

Additional tips for farmers, farm workers and rural residents to consider while on the farm this fall (adapted from the National Corn Growers Association):

Equipment Safety

  • Be careful when approaching harvest equipment. Approach from the front and gain eye contact with the operator before approaching.
  • Ensure the harvesting equipment is fully stopped and disengaged before climbing onto a vehicle.
  • Do not place yourself near any unguarded or otherwise running machinery.
  • Avoid pinch points between equipment – such as tractors with grain wagons. Visibility can be limited and serious injury can occur.

Entanglement Hazard

  • Entanglement hazards can happen very quickly.
  • Do not ever try to unplug any equipment without disengaging power and removing energy from the equipment.
  • Never pull or try to remove plugged plants from an operating machine.
  • Always keep shields in place to avoid snags and entanglement when working around equipment.

Fall Hazard

  • Be careful climbing on and off equipment.
  • Be alert and extremely careful when working in wet or slippery conditions.
  • Keep all walkways and platforms open and free of tools, dust, debris or other obstacles. Clean all walkways and platforms before use.
  • Wear clothing that is well fitting and not baggy or loose.  Also wear proper non-slip, closed toe shoes.
  • Use grab bars when mounting or dismounting machinery. Face machinery when dismounting and never jump from equipment.
  • Never dismount from a moving vehicle.

Fire Prevention

  • Carry a fire extinguisher with you in your vehicle (A-B-C, 5 or 10 pound).
  • Remove dust and buildup from equipment.  Check bearings regularly to prevent overheating and chance of fire.

Grain Wagon Safety

  • Be careful to monitor grain wagon weight to never exceed maximum weight limits. As weight increases, grain wagons can be more difficult to control.
  • Load grain wagons evenly to distribute weight to prevent weaving or instability across the grain wagon.
  • Inspect grain wagon tires and replace any worn or cracked tires.

Grain Bin Safety

  • If entering a bin, wear a harness attached to a secure rope.
  • Never work alone.
  • Never allow children to get too close or inside the bin.
  • Wear a dust filter or respirator when working in bins.
  • Stay out of bins when equipment is running.

“All farmers are excited to see the fruits of their labor,” said Bruntz. “By taking a little extra time to exercise safe practices, we’ll continue to do our part to produce safe and abundant sources of food, fuel and fiber for the world.”

China said Tuesday that it will hit back against President Donald Trump with retaliatory duties of five or 10 percent against another $60 billion worth of American products.

The response comes one day after Trump issued the largest number of tariffs yet in an escalating trade dispute. Politico says China is scheduled to implement their plan on Monday to coincide with the new U.S. duties. A total of $113 billion in U.S. exports are now subject to tariffs while duties will be in place on $253 billion in Chinese products.

Trump is prepared to go even higher, saying Tuesday that he’s ready to impose duties on another $267 billion in Chinese imports. The new tariff list includes meat products, including lamb and salted beef; frozen and canned produce like peas and spinach; refined ingredients like soybean, corn, and coconut oil, to processed oats; along with coffee, teas, and liquors.

Ag groups weren’t happy with Trump’s decision to take things further. “As we head into the 2018 harvest season for corn and soybeans out here in Iowa, this escalation of the trade conflict couldn’t have come at a worse time,” says Iowa Ag Secretary Mike Naig.

One of the most basic questions farmers must answer on an annual basis is what to plant. In some cases, this is simply a choice among cultivars in others it is a choice among different crop types. In Nebraska, the choice may vary considerably since many different crop types are grown. This discussion focuses on the factors that affect profitability, which are created by both biology and economics, and how that might be used to make the best crop rotation selection between corn and soybean cropping systems.

The profit equation in its simplest form can be defined as total revenue (TR) minus total costs (TC) equals profit. This profit equation captures the physical realities of production by using both revenue and cost measures. This fact makes this equation a powerful tool for making many business and production choices. This equation makes the relationship between costs and revenue simple to apply.

In the instance of the varying corn and soybean rotations, several biological factors have been generally realized and accepted. First, corn following soybean production can generally be expected to exceed continuous corn production yields. Irrigated fields are noted to have less of an increase in yields compared to those of dryland production. Secondly, soybean productivity is increased following one year of corn culture but even more so following two consecutive years of corn production. Thirdly, soybean production fixes nitrogen that may be available for the following season’s crop. This usually amounts to about 40 to 60 lbs. of N per acre depending on the conditions and productivity of the soybeans.

Obviously, the TR generated from the production of any crop or crop rotation must exceed the TC of producing that crop for profit to be realized. TR for this discussion is defined as the price/value of the product being produced multiplied by the quantity produced. The production of 100 bushels/acre of corn sold at a $4.00 market price provides a total revenue per acre of $400.00. The same calculation for soybeans could be made depending on its yield and value at the time it is sold. TC is more complex and can be further divided into two main components. These components are total fixed costs (TFC) and total variable costs (TVC). The TFC is a cost that is realized regardless of productivity and is fixed for the relevant time period. In a single season, a fixed cost could be a set price for renting land ($300/ac). TVC are those things that vary and are related to productivity, a common example would be nitrogen fertilizer.

Using the fact that corn is more productive following soybeans verses following itself and that some residual nitrogen is available, a higher TR would be expected and a lower TVC would show that corn grown following soybeans is more profitable than corn grown following corn. The problem with this simple analysis is that it doesn’t account for the fact that growing soybeans the previous year may have been more or less profitable than growing corn. Therefore, a good decision requires considering the value of the rotation over its duration, in this case, a minimum of two years. The same result could be said of soybeans following corn or soybeans following two years of corn, which has a three-year rotation period. The appropriate answer to the question requires an analysis over the full cycle of the rotation. This fact adds complexity and requires careful consideration for the most relevant driving factors, which are corn and soybean prices and differences in production costs and yields.

Interestingly the profitability of growing, continuous corn, versus alternating with soybean in some combination is specific to individual producers. Looking at past information from Iowa, given historical average yields, costs and prices, it can be seen that in some years soybean production was more profitable/less costly than corn production and vice versa. Therefore, market values and production costs vary enough among years so that neither crop dominates as always being most profitable. These facts point to the importance of individual farmers knowing the potential productivity of both crops on their respective farms, understanding trends in their local corn and soybean market and having a handle on the varying differences in costs. It is beneficial to balance these primary effects in making a cropping systems selection. Producer’s crop selection decision becomes more profit-centered as they are able to accurately quantify the three primary effects listed above. While not mentioned earlier, there may be other effects of different rotations. For instance, capital investment costs may be lowered by adding an additional crop. In the case of corn and soybeans which are harvested and planted at different times, it is theoretically possible to use equipment, labor and time more efficiently thus lowering costs

As mentioned above, crop rotations have many biological and economic implications. When the profit equation is applied, decision-makers can make profit-centered choices for their farm. Crop rotations are best analyzed as multi-year rotation plans. The three primary drivers to consider in the corn/soybean rotation are corn and soybean prices, expected fertilizer costs and expected yields. Each of these three factors potentially affect rotation choice and therefore become an individual farm decision. Obviously one cannot predict the future but it is smart to consider forecasted prices for markets and production costs. For this reason, it is vital to do the math to clearly see the outcome and make a fair comparison among cropping alternatives.

            We have started to see some movement out in the fields with harvest underway. In terms of corn, some silage has been chopped, high moisture corn is being harvested, and seed corn fields are quickly drying down and are starting to get picked. Soybean fields have lost a lot of their leaves and are drying down quickly. A few soybean fields have already been harvested and it won’t be long before several more will be picked in the area. As a reminder to everyone, this is a very busy and stressful time of year for our farmers. When driving to and from work, please be cautious and courteous of large equipment being moved from field to field. We are going to see several trucks, tractors, and combines moving in the area for harvest. Give yourself plenty of time to get to work in the morning and give them a wave as you pass by. Farmers give up a lot of family time during the fall to bring in a bountiful harvest. Show them your appreciation for their hard work instead of honking as you drive around them!

                Stalk Rots: The major topic of concern at this point of the growing season is the potential for stalk rot damage in corn fields. Corn has been drying down fast this year and while some of that is natural, some dry down may be contributed to late season disease issues. We have received quite a bit of rain in the area during the month of September. Standing water and saturated soils can contribute to the development of stalk rots. Stalk rots can weaken corn stalks which can cause issues with standability. Lodging, stalk breakage, and premature plant death is often a result of stalk rots, which can lead to yield loss and difficultly while harvesting. Another issue to consider is that if the corn crop has stalk rot issues and stalk quality or strength has been compromised, it is common for ears to drop during harvest. This can lead to issues with volunteer corn next year. Several fields in the area had problems with volunteer corn in 2018 thanks to the wind storms that occurred in October last year. I have already heard of some folks in the area who have noticed corn ears on the ground due to wind damage. Hopefully, the extent won’t be near as bad or widely distributed as last year.

                There are several different types of stalk rots that can occur at this point of the growing season. Often times we see stalk rots develop in fields that experienced some sort of damage throughout the year, including hail and wind damage or foliar disease pressure. Excessive rainfall or ponding may also contribute to stalk rot development and other characteristics like hybrid selection, or planting population may increase the risk for stalk rots and lodging in the field. If any of this pertains to your fields and you’re concerned that stalk rots could be an issue this fall, the question you may be asking is “how do I know if my field has any stalk rots?” There are two ways you can easily evaluate potential stalk rot damage. The first method is called a Push Test. Walk a little ways into your field and randomly select at least 100 plants, more is better for good measure. Place your hand on the plant, typically on any portion of the plant that’s above the ear leaf, and extend your arm out away from you. The rule of thumb is to push the plant out about 30 degrees from its natural upright position. If the plant doesn’t snap back to normal or it remains bent when you let go, there’s a good chance you have stalk rot in that field. Another method that some folks prefer over the Push Test is to conduct the Pinch Test. Some folks like this method better because some of the guess work is taken out in deciding if the plant bounced back to normal or not when conducting the Push Test. To use the Pinch Test method, select a plant and find one of the lowest internodes on the plant. The closer to the brace roots the better. Using your thumb and index finger, pinch the internode. If the stalk crushes easily between your fingers, you may have stalk rot. If more than 10% of the plants tested in the field are confirmed to have stalk rot, it’s a good idea to harvest that field sooner rather than later. If you are still uncertain if there is stalk rot or if the stalk has been compromised in any way, you can cut the stalk open lengthwise and look to see if the inside is discolored, if the pith is hollow or spongy, or if the vascular bundles (conductive tissues) are stringy and loose.

                There are several different types of stalk rots that can infect your fields. Common stalk rots found this time of year include Fusarium stalk rot, Gibberella stalk rot, Anthracnose stalk rot, and Charcoal rot. More information about each disease can be found on UNL’s CropWatch website (https://cropwatch.unl.edu/corn-stalk-rots-2018) or in this online publication: http://extensionpublications.unl.edu/assets/pdf/ec1898.pdf. If you conduct either the Push or Pinch test and determine that over 10% of the plants tested had compromised stalks, you may want to know “what are my options at this point of the growing season?” Unfortunately, the answer to this question is, not much. The best thing for you to do at this point is make a note of any stalk rot damage, write down pertinent information to that field (i.e. hybrid, planting population, hail/wind damage, disease pressure this year, etc.), prioritize that field when you start harvesting, and talk to your seed dealer about hybrid selection for next year to help reduce stalk rot pressure in the future. If you are still unsure if you have stalk rots in your field after conducting the Push or Pinch test, or you wish to get an accurate diagnosis, send whole plant samples to the Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic in Lincoln for accurate confirmation.

 Throughout most of the Sunflower State, fall crops wait for combines to begin harvest. Abundant rainfall during the last week of August and the first 10 days of September stopped any attempts to cut dry-land corn.
Water stands in low places in fields and ditches throughout much of western Kansas. Country roads sport ruts from the late summer rains.
While no Kansas farmer or rancher would ever turn down moisture of any kind, this delay means most of the fall corn, milo and soybeans may be all ready to harvest at the same time. This in turn could lead to a busy, hectic 2018 harvest with all farmers scrambling to harvest their grain before the weather turns to winter.
“By this time, we’d normally be in the fields harvesting dry-land corn,” says Ryan Reed, Gray County. “But I can’t bring myself to complain about the rain we’ve received. When it’s wet, it’s always better than the alternative.”
Reed farms with his brother in Gray, Haskell and Kiowa counties. The brothers represent the fourth generation to farm in southwest Kansas.
While they once farmed a third milo, wheat and summer fallow rotation, the last few years, they’ve flexed their dry-land and irrigated acres based on economics and moisture conditions. During the last 20 years, the family farm continues to transition from irrigated to dry-land farming.
Like so many southwestern Kansas farmers, the Reeds have been suffering from lack of moisture, and in some cases severe drought, since 2005. That said, they really appreciate this turn of weather fortunes. They’ll find a way to work around the moisture and prepare to go full-tilt boogey when fields dry out.
Still, with so much of the cropland saturated, wheat drilling season may also be delayed or shoehorned in during fall grain harvest. The Reeds normally shoot for the first week of October to begin wheat drilling. This year Ryan can only hope to find time to plant his wheat.
“Each fall we try to harvest all our crops and plant our wheat by Thanksgiving,” he says. “That’s always our goal, but this year it’ll be a mad dash to finish by the end of November.”
Expectations on the Reed farm remain high once the fall grain harvest kicks into high gear. Stands look outstanding. They’ve managed to control aggressive weed pressure brought on by the abundant rain. Now all they need is dry weather to combine the corn, milo and beans.
“We’re cleaning our bins like we intend to fill them up,” Ryan says. “Grain storage will be at a premium once the machines begin to roll.”
Fortunately, the Reeds maintain a massive storage facility on their farm. Unless it’s a bin buster beyond their expectations, they should have adequate room in their bins.
Like their neighbors and farmers across Kansas will tell you, the Reeds “never look a gift horse in the mouth.” This late summer’s rain trotted across much of the Sunflower State and crop producers will find a way to work around the wet spots while dreaming about newly planted wheat with plenty of subsoil moisture to propel it into 2019.
They’re mighty thankful.

In 2018 Nebraska farmers planted 9.7 million acres of corn, the most of any crop in the state. The primary uses for corn in the state are cattle feed and ethanol production. Nebraska currently has 25 ethanol plants producing around 2 billion gallons of ethanol annually. This capacity consumes approximately 40 percent of Nebraska’s annual corn production.

Ethanol became widely produced in the state after the introduction of the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) in 2005, which mandates that a percentage of renewable fuels, mainly ethanol, be blended into transportation fuels. This article explores the changes in corn basis since the implementation of the RFS for five locations across Nebraska.

Changes in basis are important to Nebraska corn farmers’ financial wellbeing. Changes in the average basis value directly impact the farmer’s bottom line. The more negative the average basis value is, the less revenue the farmer is receiving. Furthermore, more volatile basis values result in greater basis risk.


Basis is the difference between the cash price and the futures price. Basis is essentially the fee that grain buyers charge farmers for handling their grain. Many factors influence basis values, including the local supply and demand, transportation costs, quality of the grain, and the cost of doing business. The basis values used for this analysis were calculated using the United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (USDA AMS) Cash Grain Bids report for Nebraska ( WH_GR111). Reports were collected Thursday of each week. Locations shown in this discussion must have had cash prices consistently reported since 1993, and are no closer than 50 miles from one another. The locations that have met these criteria are Beatrice, Greenwood, Grand Island, Lexington and Superior as shown in Figure 1. To obtain the basis, the cash price for each location was subtracted from the closing price of the nearby futures contract for that day. If there were missing observations, these values were interpolated using a simple average of the previous and subsequent basis values around the gap.

Map showing basis reporting locations and ethanol plants
Figure 1. Nebraska Ethanol Facilities and Reported Basis Locations


Two periods of basis values were selected for comparison: (1) February 25, 1993 to August 4, 2005 and (2) August 11, 2005 to December 28, 2017. These two periods are divided by the RFS mandate, which was implemented August 8, 2005. Many changes to the corn market occurred during the span of these data. This analysis does not separate factors such as the increase in acreage, genetic advancements, or additional uses for corn that have influenced its demand or supply since 1993. Thus, the analysis will focus on the long-term adjustments in basis values rather than pinpointing the specific causes of these changes.

The summary statistics and coefficient of variation are reported for each location and period in Table 1. The summary statistics show that in all five locations, the average basis value was $0.05 to $0.09 per bushel lower from August 11, 2005 to December 28, 2017 than it was from February 25, 1993 to August 4, 2005.

Table 1: Summary Statistics: Basis for Selected Nebraska Cities
FEBRUARY 25, 1993 TO AUGUST 4, 2005 AUGUST 11, 2005 TO DECEMBER 28, 2017
Obs. Avg. Std. Dev. Min. Max Coef. Var. % Obs. Avg. Std. Dev. Min. Max Coef. Var. %
BEATRICE 650 -0.21 0.207 -0.94 1.34 98 645 -0.3 0.236 -0.68 1.5 80
GRAND ISLAND 650 -0.18 0.163 -0.5 1.09 90 645 -0.26 0.234 -0.73 1.5 91
GREENWOOD 650 -0.24 0.175 -0.6 1.29 73 645 -0.33 0.241 -0.75 1.45 74
LEXINGTON 650 -0.15 0.184 -0.53 1.59 119 645 -0.21 0.269 -0.71 1.76 130
SUPERIOR 650 -0.16 0.175 -0.58 1.2 113 645 -0.21 0.229 -0.58 1.6 107

This lower average basis value indicates that farmers have experienced a larger discount from the futures market price after the implementation of the RFS. This may seem counter-intuitive to farmers, as an increased demand brought about by the expansion of ethanol production would strengthen the corn basis or make it less negative. However, a recent study of North Dakota corn basis values by Fausti et al. (2017) would suggest that the increased corn production during the latter period of this study would outweigh the demand created by increased ethanol production.

The second portion of this analysis measures the differences in basis volatility between the two periods. There are two specific measures of volatility that can be discussed from the summary statistics. The first measure of volatility is the standard deviation (Std. Dev). Normally, the higher the standard deviation, the greater the basis volatility. All five locations experienced standard deviations from $0.03 to $0.08 per bushel larger in the second period. This means that the normal range of basis values for each location would be the average basis ± the standard deviation. For example, the normal basis range for Beatrice before RFS would have been $0.00 to -$0.44 per bushel. After the RFS, the normal basis range for Beatrice is -$0.06 to -$0.54 per bushel.

The second measure of volatility is the coefficient of variation (Coef. Var.). It is a measure of relative volatility and is expressed as a percentage. To calculate coefficient of variation, divide the standard deviation by the mean. The higher the coefficient of variation, the greater the price volatility. The coefficient of variation does not have a consistent result across all five locations. The coefficient of variation was smaller for Beatrice and Superior but was almost equal in Grand Island and Greenwood, and was much larger in Lexington.

Research by McNew and Griffith (2005) found that the farther one is from an ethanol facility, the lower the impact that facility will have on the price. This may hold true for the reported locations in this analysis. The two reported locations where the coefficient of variation improved, Beatrice and Superior, had the fewest number of ethanol facilities in a 50-mile radius. Grand Island and Greenwood experienced a slight increase in volatility. Grand Island has nine facilities with a 280 million bushel crush capacity in a 50-mile radius, and Greenwood has three facilities with a 114 million bushel crush capacity. Lexington has three plants in a 50-mile radius, one of which is located in Lexington itself.

This analysis shows that basis values have changed between the two periods of this study. Structural changes in the market have decreased the average basis value at the reported locations $0.03 to $0.08 per bushel. Basis has also become more volatile, but the amount of variability depends on the relative distance of reported location to an ethanol facility. Overall, these results indicate that farmers who are close to an ethanol facility have greater basis risk.

Increases in basis volatility can influence the effectiveness of a farmer’s hedging strategy. Imagine a corn farmer who takes a short position in the futures market during the growing season for grain he or she plans to deliver at harvest. When farmers place a hedge in the futures market, they do so assuming a specific basis value for harvest. The hedge locks in the futures prices, but leaves the farmer vulnerable to changes in the basis value. This vulnerability is referred to as “basis risk.” The larger the volatility measure is, the more basis risk a farmer has. However, greater volatility does not always imply a more negative outcome for the farmer. The basis at harvest could be stronger (less negative) than the basis value they had assumed when they placed the hedge. This stronger basis would result in a higher net price received. Farmers need to adjust their hedging strategies to account for lower average basis values, and a wider range of basis possibilities in order to account for the structural changes that have taken place in the corn market.

OMAHA — U.S. corn and soybean conditions held mostly steady last week as both crops continued to mature ahead of their normal pace, according to the USDA National Ag Statistics Service’s weekly Crop Progress report released Tuesday. The report is normally released on Mondays but was delayed this week due to the Labor Day holiday.

Listen to the report here: https://post.futurimedia.com/krvnam/playlist/9-4-futures-one-crop-progress-report-5022.html

Nationwide, corn condition dropped just 1 percentage point from 68% good to excellent the previous week to 67% last week, close to what the crop’s good-to-excellent rating was at the same time in 2015, according to NASS. Soybean condition was unchanged at 66% good to excellent.

NASS estimated that 96% of corn was in the dough stage as of Sunday, Sept. 2, 5 percentage points ahead of the five-year average of 91%. Seventy-five percent of corn was dented, 15 percentage points ahead of the five-year average of 60%. Corn mature nationwide was estimated at 22%, 11 percentage points ahead of the average pace of 11%. North Carolina, Texas and Kentucky look closest to being harvest-ready, noted DTN Analyst Todd Hultman.

Meanwhile, 16% of soybeans nationwide were dropping leaves, 7 percentage points ahead of the average of 9%. Louisiana had the highest percentage of soybeans dropping leaves, Hultman noted.

Spring wheat harvest was 87% complete as of Sunday, equal to last year but ahead of the five-year average of 75%. Harvest was nearly finished in both South Dakota and Minnesota.

Sorghum was 96% headed as of Sunday, near the five-year average of 95%. Sorghum coloring was 69%, ahead of the five-year average of 62%. Sorghum mature was estimated at 30%, near 31% at the same time last year but behind the five-year average of 33%. Twenty-two percent of the sorghum crop was harvested as of Sunday, near the average pace of 23%.

Barley was 84% harvested as of Sunday, behind 91% last year but near the average of 83%. Oats were 94% harvested as of Sunday, ahead of 90% last year and also ahead of the five-year average of 91%.

Thirty-one percent of rice was harvested as of Sunday, ahead of last year’s 28% and also ahead of the five-year average of 26%. Cotton was 96% setting bolls, equal to both last year and the average pace. Twenty-nine percent of cotton had bolls opening, ahead of the average of 26%.

To view weekly crop progress reports issued by National Ag Statistics Service offices in individual states, visit http://www.nass.usda.gov/…. Look for the U.S. map in the “Find Data and Reports by” section and choose the state you wish to view in the drop-down menu. Then look for that state’s “Crop Progress & Condition” report.

National Crop Progress Summary
This Last Last 5-Year
Week Week Year Avg.
Corn Dough 96 92 91 91
Corn Dented 75 61 58 60
Corn Mature 22 10 11 11
Soybeans Dropping Leaves 16 7 10 9
Cotton Setting Bolls 96 91 96 96
Cotton Bolls Opening 29 21 24 26
Sorghum Headed 96 93 95 95
Sorghum Coloring 69 55 60 62
Sorghum Mature 30 27 31 33
Sorghum Harvested 22 20 23 23
Spring Wheat Harvested 87 77 87 75
Rice Harvested 31 20 28 26
Barley Harvested 84 80 91 83
Oats Harvested 94 89 90 91


National Crop Condition Summary
(VP=Very Poor; P=Poor; F=Fair; G=Good; E=Excellent)
This Week Last Week Last Year
Corn 4 8 21 46 21 4 8 20 47 21 4 9 26 48 13
Soybeans 3 8 23 49 17 3 8 23 49 17 3 8 28 50 11
Sorghum 5 12 31 43 9 5 12 30 44 9 2 6 29 53 10
Cotton 15 18 26 31 10 13 18 25 33 11 6 5 24 46 19
Rice 3 22 59 16 4 21 60 15 6 23 55 16
The Kansas Corn Corps Class 2 domestic trip gave participants the opportunity to experience production agriculture and affiliated industry in Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan. The purpose of the trip is to help these young farmers experience and learn about various agricultural industry businesses outside of Kansas and to expand their knowledge about how to effectively communicate with consumers while learning how to think outside the box.


Young farmers are encouraged to apply for Kansas Corn Corps Class 3 by the Sept. 30 deadline at kscorn.com. The Corn Corps young farmer program is set up into three sessions along with a domestic trip during the summer. Within these sections, the objective is to learn how you fit into your farm and progress as an individual, how your farm fits into the industry, and what opportunities and hurdles we face in the industry along with how we progress as the corn industry.
Corn Corps Class 2 toured and talked with many different agricultural companies and farms on their domestic trip. The first stop was in Chicago where they toured Lakeview Energy and talked with CEO and Director Jim Galvin. The next stop was at Fair Oaks Farms in Indiana where they learned about ways to advocate for agriculture while touring their dairy and swine operation.
“We have learned how to effectively say the right things to consumers and Fair Oak Farms is a great example of how to do that, they did a really good job,” said Hayden Guetterman, Bucyrus.
The second day involved a visit to Farm Journal and the Ag Day TV set in South Bend Indiana, Journeyman Distillery in Three Oaks Michigan, then to Victory Farms in Hudsonville, Michigan where they learned about production hurdles of other markets and the importance of media and why it is important to tell their story.
The final day started out at Carbon Green Bio-Energy ethanol plant where they learned about the plant’s approach on expanding retail sales of higher ethanol blends throughout Michigan. They visited  Brookside Farms which they learned about blueberry farming from a third-generation farmer and the marketer who markets produce for their cooperative member. The last stop of the trip was at Fenn Valley Winery and Vineyards in Fennville, Michigan where they learned about the history of the farm and why the western part of Michigan is an ideal grape growing region.
Throughout the tour, these young farmers were able to get a better understanding of how they fit into the larger production picture while gaining knowledge on how to effectively have a conversation with consumers which are two very important take away.
“Networking and learning has opened my eyes to see all of the opportunities in agriculture, and to actually be able to see it firsthand has helped to sink in that knowledge even further,” said Garrett Kennedy, Gypsum.
Applications for Kansas Corn Corps Class 3 are being accepted until September 30, 2018. Kansas Corn Corps is a program of Kansas Corn Commission and Kansas Corn Growers Association. Applicants can be between 21- 45 and can be either individuals or couples and need to be a KCGA member. Apply online at www.kscorn.com.
Kansas Corn Corps Class 2 members are: David and Alicia Allen, Smith Cattle Company, Sharon Springs; Ben Bellar, Bellar Farm Inc., Howard;  Hayden Guetterman, Guetterman Brothers Family Farms, Bucyrus; Garrett and Arissa Kennedy, Knopf Farms/ Tri-Valley Seed & Services, Gypsum; Sarah Ellison, Marquette; Kyler Millershaski, MK Farms, Lakin; Ryan Niehues, Niehues Farm, Goff,; Chris Ostmeyer, Ostmeyer Family Farms, Park City.