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July 2011 Archive for From the Editor

RSS By: Brian Grete, Pro Farmer

Pro Farmer Editor Brian Grete takes time to talk with Pro Farmer Members about some of the key issues in each week's Pro Farmer newsletter.

From the Editory for July 29

Jul 29, 2011

From The Editor

July 29, 2011

Hello Pro Farmer Members!

I know each and every one of you reads each and every word of the newsletter every week, but please be sure to read this week's News Page 4 feature by Washington consultant Jim Wiesemeyer. It explains that while what's happening in Washington isn't fun for anybody to watch, it's a necessary part of a Democracy. And in reality, the debt-ceiling debate turned into something much bigger. The debt ceiling will be raised and it will be raised in time so the U.S. doesn't accumulate any late fees on the bills we owe!

The real debate is about the size and role of the government. If we reduce spending, we reduce the size of the government. That's where the Republican side stands.

Increase spending, increase the size of the government. That isn't exactly where Democrats stand on this issue, but it's pretty close! Democrats want to move closer to a balanced budget by "increasing revenues." That, in turn, would allow continued growth in spending, therefore increasing the size of the government.

And, by the way, do lawmakers really believe we're so stupid as to not see through the "increasing revenues" language. It's tax increases! Period. I don't care if it's closing loopholes or ending exemptions... if it increases the tax burden on individuals or companies, it's a tax increase. Period.

With that said, Republicans and Democrats deserve equal blame for what's happening in Washington right now. The art of politics is the ability to negotiate and neither side is showing any negotiation skills at the moment. Both sides are so convinced they're absolutely 100% correct on their stand that they won't give an inch to get an inch.

It seems crazy... former President Reagan is probably tossing and turning in his grave over what's happening. He was a great negotiator. He'd being going right down the list of tax loopholes, find some he'd be willing to give up and he'd negotiate to get something in return. That's compromise!

Do you think for a moment that Reid or Boehner have thought even once through this process: "Geesh... what if the other guy is more right than I am!?!" I'll dang near guarantee they haven't.

And notice I used a president in my example of a great negotiator. Where's Obama in this process? Once a day he strides out in front of the teleprompter, talks about how it's not his fault and how it's the Republican's fault and he scares most of the country into thinking the Republicans are ruining this process. Wrong. He should be leading this process. He's the one that should be facilitating negotiation between the House (Rep.) and Senate (Dem.), not picking sides. This has to be a three-way process and he just isn't doing his job. So if Obama is looking for where the process is breaking down, he just needs to catch a bit of a reflection off one of those teleprompters.

That's it for this week...

Have a great weekend!!


From the Editor July 22

Jul 22, 2011

From The Editor

Hello Pro Farmer Members!

Drought on... drought off.

Risk on... risk off.

Trying to keep up with the biggest factors impacting the grain markets this week wasn't easy. It was interesting to watch corn futures struggle to move higher last week even when the forecast was hot and dry ... and it was already hot across the Midwest.

"Hot" also doesn't seem to describe conditions very well. July 18 featured a heat index in Waterloo, Iowa, of 116 degrees. But that was nothing compared to the 131 heat index recorded in Knoxville, Iowa, that day! Yes... 131!!! That's crazy -- and unhealthy for the corn crop that's trying to pollinate.

Speaking of heat stress on the corn crop... a pollinating corn crop can handle 1 day like we had last week without much, if any, damage; 2 days of that kind of heat and the stress starts to build and yield potential is nicked... but just slightly; 3 days stinks and takes a bite out of yields; 4 consecutive days like we saw last week knocks back yields.

But the question is... what was the yield potential before the heat hit? Here in northeast Iowa, this week's heat might have trimmed yields from 215 to 212... it's that good up here. But in some spots of central Illinois, yields might have slipped from 200 to 175 because of the heat.

Obviously, we won't know the impact of this week's heat until kernels start to fill. I'll stop and check a couple of early fields over the weekend and report back early next week. I suspect everything will look great here. As kernels start to fill in your area, check a few fields and let me know how well the crop pollinated.

Heat-stress during pollination can show up in "shotgun pollination" or with kernels at the butt of the cob failing to pollinate. Don't look for tip-back (yet) -- pollination problems won't be reflected by tipped-back ears. Tip back shows up later if the crop is heat- or moisture-stressed during kernel fill.

So... which factor was most important for the corn market this week? Was it the weather... or was it the flow of money around the world moving to (and away) from risk? Right now... weather trumps all other factors.

But I don't want to underestimate the impact of the dollar. There are a lot of dollars that trade in the corn market that follow dollar trade. In fact, there might be more money that watch the dollar trade than watch the weather forecast. The factor has the biggest amount of dollars tied to it should be the most important factor in the market, right?

That's why you've got to watch more than "just" the weather forecast... even when the weather trumps all other factors.

That's it for this week...

... And don't forget... you are all invited to join us on the Crop Tour this summer!

Dear past and future Crop Tour Participants,

It's almost time to once again hit the road on the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour! With USDA already making adjustments to acreage and yield based on a slower-than-normal planting season, the 2011 Crop Tour will undoubtedly be a closely watched industry event again this year. By coming along on the Tour, you'll be involved in the first widespread industry survey of this year's corn and soybean crop potential. As always, Tour participants will learn more about the crop faster than anyone else in the industry.

The format of the Tour will be very similar to last year’s:

  • We’ll gather at starting points Aug. 21, 2011, at 8:00 p.m. for orientation.
    • Match up riders with drivers at this meeting.
    • Make everyone is comfortable with the sampling procedure.
  • Scouts will travel by car in teams of three to four scouts.
  • Evening meals will be provided by Tour sponsors Pioneer Hi-Bred, SFP, Rural Community Insurance Services and Chevrolet Trucks.
  • Local producers will be invited to evening meetings to share their crop insights.
  • Route reports will follow dinner at each location.


This format allows for plenty of time to network with other scouts and with producers who share critical insight into local crop conditions.

Eastern scouts will again gather in Columbus, Ohio, where Pro Farmer Sr. Market Analyst Brian Grete and Crop Tour consultant Mark Bernard will prepare everyone for the week.

Western scouts will meet in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where Pro Farmer Editor Chip Flory and Crop Tour consultant Terry Johnston will guide you through the western Corn Belt.

Be sure to make plans for this Tour! Thursday night’s final meeting in Austin, Minnesota, promises to be exceptional!

Producer participation on this year’s Tour is critical to its success. Growers provide keen insight to crop potential and we hope to have several Pro Farmer Members along this year to do just that. If you’ve been on the Tour before, you know the value of the information gathered. If you’ve never been on the Tour before, make 2011 your first… it’s worth the time and effort. Even if you can’t attend the entire Tour, please join the scouting effort for a day or two.

(The 2011 Pro Farmer registration form is on the back of this letter.)

Eastern Tour overnight stops:      Western Tour overnight stops:
Aug. 21 – Columbus, Ohio            Aug. 21 – Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Aug. 22 – Fishers, Indiana            Aug. 22 – Grand Island, Nebraska
Aug. 23 – Bloomington, Illinois     Aug. 23 – Nebraska City, Nebraska
Aug. 24 – Iowa City, Iowa            Aug. 24 – Spencer, Iowa
Aug. 25 – Austin, Minnesota         Aug. 25 – Austin, Minnesota

Call 1-800-772-0023 and talk to Shelley now to reserve your spot on the Tour!


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