Friday, January 30, 2015

Indiana Record High Soybean Yield

More Beans
On the soybean side, Indiana notched an average yield of 56 bushels per acre, besting the previous high mark of 51.5 bushels per acre in 2013.

Illinois soybean growers also reached the 56 bushels per acre level, 4.5 bushels better than the 2010 bumper crop.

Indiana had 5.49 million soybean acres, 300,000 more than in 2013, producing 307.44 million bushels. Hoosiers produced more than 267.28 million bushels in 2013.

The Prairie State tallied 547.68 million bushels of soybeans on 9.78 million acres, after producing 474 million on 300,000 less acres in 2013.

Iowa soybean production was estimated at 506 million bushels in 2014, the highest since 2006. Iowa soybean growers averaged 51.5 bushels per acre in 2014. The harvested acreage of 9.82 million was 570,000 above the previous year.

An estimated 2.37 billion bushels of corn was produced in Iowa, the third largest in history. Iowa has led the nation in corn production for 21 consecutive years and 36 of last 37 years.

Iowa's corn yield was estimated at 178 bushels per acre over 13.3 million acres, 250,000 acres above 2013.

Sure the weather was good for soybean production but I think there is more to it than that.

1.  Inoculation has raised yields several bushels per acre

2.  Record use of lime, gypsum, litter and potash

3.  We are learning to control resistant weeds

That's my thought on these yields.  Pick it apart.

I would like to hear your thoughts.

Ed Winkle

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Graphex SA

I've talked quite a bit about ABM's inoculants.  Here is another Ohio farmer who found the same things I have.

Mycorrhizae Is Key

The only way a sustainable farming system works is if the mycorrhizal network is restored, Rasawehr says. If a living crop isn’t in place for most of the year, the network may be dead from starvation. “It took us farmers decades to mess this all up and it’s messed up,” he says. “The dirt is so dead we now have to band fertilizers so we can put it right in front of the row.

Why do we have to do that? Because there’s no mycorrhizal network to move the nutrients into the rhizosphere to bring it up into the plant. The soil’s completely dead.” The solution, as stated in the ECO acronym, is to provide the soil a living crop as much as possible. On Rasawehr’s farm, this means getting cover crops seeded within 24 hours of harvest. As soon as he’s done combining, the drill is in the field ready to go. Rasawehr seeds covers with a drill because he likes the seed-to-soil contact it achieves over broadcast applications.

To help ensure cover crops get established on time, he’s switched to shorter corn and soybean maturities. With corn he went from 111- and 114-day maturities down to 105 and 109. In his area, soybeans are typically 3.4 to 3.8, but he’s down to planting 2.6 to 2.8 maturities. Rasawehr tells other growers not to be afraid to try shorter maturities, pointing out that he hasn’t seen a negative yield effect yet.

In fact, for fields that have been in a continuous ecological system, his soybean yields have increased by 10 to 15 bushels per acre, and corn is up to 10 to 20 bushels per acre, depending on the field. This past season, he tested Graph-Ex SA, a biological stimulant for soybeans, during planting to provide an additional boost to the soil microbes.

He says the results were outstanding — between 11 and 20 bushels in yield increases. The manufacturer boasted a 5-bushel yield bump, so Rasawehr thinks the synergy in the soil is what helped him reach those higher bushels. “I think a lot of farmers need to really take a serious look at biologicals,” he says. “There is some synergy with some of these biologicals that we can add at planting.”

Do you have your inoculant ordered?


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

"Talked To A Banker"

I have an acquaintance that is an Ag lender. Yesterday I ran into him at a function and we were chatting. I asked the question how do you lend in an environment where a loss is looking to be reality. He stated that their take on it is first and foremost limit losses, no unnecessary spending, and more collateral. He acknowledged that the majority will be farming for a loss unless something changes.

 I was old enough through the 80's to go to farm auctions with dad and grandpa. I pray that those days are not on our horizon again. From a young persons perspective a prolonged period of this and we will lose the majority of the young people that have been drawn into Ag. There are differing attitudes towards young producers out there. Some are willing to welcome them into the industry with open arms and some see them as over optimistic competition and would like to see them "taken out".

My talk with the banker reassured me that equity is what is necessary to carry through a down turn to the red. Unfortunately not many young producers are healed enough to bleed much red with so little equity. Be care full what you wish for as some of you may need those young producers at your retirement sale."

Yes I have two lined up if it comes to that.  I am sure there are many more who would be interested.  He makes some good points on Market Talk, it is an interesting thread.

Our banker sent me flowers.  They sent the farm loan officer to work on this year's loan to the house.  They said don't worry about a thing, you are one of our best customers and even if you weren't we would tell you to take care of yourself and get better.  Don't worry about your financials.

They are very conservative rural, farm loan bankers.  They are the best source of cash I've had in my life.  Their financial sheets show they are better prepared for problems than most any bank in Ohio.

I have had good bankers all of my life but these folks are the cream of the crop.  They may not be rated an A+ bank but they are in my 11 years of experience with them.

"The Merchants National Bank is headquartered in Hillsboro and is the 34th largest bank in the state of Ohio. It is also the 1,088th largest bank in the nation. It was established in 1879 and as of September of 2014, it had grown to 125 employees at 13 locations. The Merchants National Bank has a B+ health rating."

Do you like your bank?

Ed Winkle

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Beans After Beans

There are going to be a lot of "beans after beans this year."  "If you want to ruin an agronomist’s day, ask him for the best management practices for planting soybeans back into soybeans. “They’re basically asking, what’s the best strategy for doing something we shouldn't be doing?” University of Wisconsin agronomist Shawn Conley told DTN, with undisguised frustration. “My number-one recommendation is don’t do it!”

He has a good point.  On the other hand, one of my best rotations is corn after corn followed by beans after beans and wheat planted after the beans in a five year rotation.  If you manage your farm, if you manage your rotation, fertility and weed control, I disagree with Shawn.

For better or worse, 2015 does promise to be the humble bean’s year to shine.  Last week, Informa Economics estimated that U.S. soybean acres will rise 5% to 88 million in 2015, as corn acres contract 2% to 88.6 million. “The specific numbers will be debated in the months ahead, but the general direction of less corn and more soybeans is generally accepted, as most measures of profitability currently favor soybeans,” many believe. The soybean’s place as the preferred commodity is far from permanent or stable, however.

 “Anyone considering planting soybeans in 2015 should be aware new-crop prices have plenty of bearish risk, especially if South America comes through with another record crop,” he pointed out. If growers plant the predicted 88 million acres of soybeans and the weather cooperates, the U.S. could produce a 4-billion-bushel crop,

The result would be another 240 million bushels in ending supplies that are already estimated at 410 million bushels in 2014-15. “Another year of good weather has the potential to bring November 2015 soybeans down to $7,”   Can you do better than $7 and can you make a profit at that price?

If you plan to plant beans after beans this year, we can help each other.  I have lots of blog posts on how I raise soybeans after 45 years experience.  Still, I know enough to be dangerous some days.  I do know that my eyes, my brain, a soil and tissue test helps me figure out how to plan the crop.  30 years of scouting for a fee doesn't hurt either.

What are you doing different in soybeans this year, especially if you are planting beans after beans. The picture shows what can happen if you don't plan.  This is more like 30 years continuous soybeans at least.


Monday, January 26, 2015

Is A Dollar A Head Enough Profit

Wayne in NW Arkansas made a good post and reminded me of my childhood where we always raised hogs until the blizzard of 78 when dad finally gave up on hogs.

"I went to the bottoms this evening to check on my wheat and for some reason got to thinking about things in the past and are the turmoil right now in cattle. Years ago when I was growing up my uncle always kept at least of thousand head of hogs on feed all the time and he thought he had to be full no matter what the markets were doing.

I don't remember the year but things were awefully thin on hogs at the time and I remember grandpa telling my uncle it just wasn't worth all the risk. There were lots of guys heading sitting empty and I remember a friend of my uncles was buying every feeder pig he could come across. He had hogs every where I mean his lots were full and he would put hogs out with anybody and everybody that would custom feed them for him. My uncle And him were talking one day and my uncle was saying just how bad things were and how little they were making and the guy told him if I make a $1 a head I will be happy.

My uncle said DO WHAT? He said yep for every hundred thousand head of hogs I run I just made another $100,000 and he said that's just fine with me. I haven't thought of that story in years but it just came to me tonight while I was riding around but I can't seem to remember his name. I started buying calves when I was around 11 years old and I always tried to make a $100 a head. I remember one year I was probably around 16 or so I had bought quite a few that year and only made $50 a head after everything and I was just pretty bummed about it.

I'll never forget talking to my uncle about it and he said you didn't lose and you made a little and your gonna be able to go again so you did pretty dang good as he said a profit is a profit no matter how small it may be. I guess my point is even though the margins might get tight there are thousands of guys across this country that would just love to be in the game and we are on the starting team. I do one thing for certain that there is nothing ever certain in feeding livestock.

My uncle eventually quit feeding hogs and just concentrated on cattle but he did buy in one last time. I don't remember the year but hogs got to nothing. My uncle bought some nice feeders pigs for IIRC $4 a head and he said there was no way he could lose. He said when he left the guys place he felt guilty for buying them so cheap but that's what the market was at. I remember he fed those hogs out and when he got done he lost $40 a head and still hadn't paid himself back for the corn he pulled out of the bin."

When you choose your pork or other meat at the supermarket, remember this story.  I would sure like the manure and I loved raising hogs but that has all changed in the last 20 years.

The pig project is still one of the best ways to teach a rural youth responsibility and the risk is less than the rewards.


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Think Happy Thoughts

Becky and the kids prepared a neat chemo bag for me while I was in the hospital.  In it is a Mason jar full of happy thoughts I want to share with you.

Remember when I got stuck in the apple tree?  Liam(he could have fallen 30 ft real easily)

Rides on the Mule and squirting Sable with squirt guns

Our little secret of monkeys jumping on the bed...

Sneaking into your bed when you stay at our house

"When it rains it pours but you can cook your smores indoors" when our campfire got rained out
from Grandma Lu, also known as Farm Grandma

How much fun we had watching Alexander's Horrible, Terrible, Really Bad Day

We laughed so hard we didn't make it to the bathroom in time!

Hop in the car and go to Bob Evans down on the farm!  Little farmer breakfast!

Finn learning to pick corn and eating all the yummy vegetables!

Gee, Rocky, you crashed into a tree!  Our Rocky and BullWinkle cartoon imitations

Oh for the love of Winkle's, Finn's new saying

Winkle Winkle little star, how in the world did you crash your car?

These are the thing that keep Grandpa Winkle positive.  The bag of goodies has done him a lot of good since December 15!

If I was a rich man I would take all 12 grand children on a Disney cruise right now!  I said that in the Cafe this morning and a farmer answered, Ed if you have 12 grand children you are already a rich man!

Have a great day and keep thinking happy thoughts,

Ed Winkle

Saturday, January 24, 2015

What States Produce That People Eat

I found this neat map of what people really eat if you strip away the livestock feed and ethanol, state by state.

Driving through the farmlands of Iowa looking for fresh food to eat is a lot like sailing through the ocean looking for fresh water to drink. In the ocean, you're surrounded by water that you can't drink; in Iowa, you're surrounded by food you can't eat.

Even though Iowa generates the second-highest amount of revenue of any state off its crops -- $17 billion in 2012 -- the overwhelming majority of that comes from field corn, which is destined mostly for animal feed and ethanol, not dinner plates.

I came upon this startling fact while trying to answer a seemingly simple question: What crop generates the most money in each state? The Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistical Service produces reams of data on such matters, so I figured the question would be easy to answer.

But it turned out to be trickier than I thought, because when I pulled the data, I realized that in most states, the biggest crop was one that was used mostly for animal feed. For well over half the states, field corn, soybeans or hay was the crop that generated the most cash in 2012, the latest year for which data are available. Though a small share of some of these crops does eventually get eaten by humans, in the form of things like soy lecithin and high-fructose corn syrup, most of it is fed to animals raised for meat or dairy.

To get more meaningful results, I decided to strip away those crops that are used largely for animal feed, and focus on crops that people actually eat. I plotted the results on a map, which revealed some surprising trends:

You quickly learn that most states we are familiar with has wheat as their number one human consumed crop.  That is true where I live and soft red winter wheat is turned into bakery products.  We really don't consume that much corn and soy unless we eat meat and dairy products.

Take a look at the lower map and see how much we grow for feed and fuel!