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April 2013 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.

Even when it's getting late, you still have to wait!

Apr 19, 2013

Chip Flory

From The Editor

April 19, 2013

Hello Pro Farmer Members!

We needed rain, but we didn't need that much rain... at least not all at once. But, there is no denying the drought took a serious gut-punch this week and soil moisture levels have been recharged. We're not talking about a saturated moisture profile, but we've got water in the ground now to get the corn and soybean crops off to a good start.

If it warms up! Which it will... I'm just not sure when it will. But I'll almost guarantee we'll go from the "overtime winter" (it is spitting snow in northeast Iowa right now) to what will feel like summer. Soil temps in northeast Iowa are now back below 40 degrees, which is nearly 20 degrees cooler than last year at this time.

So even if it quits raining (which it's not supposed to), the cooler-than-normal temps in the forecast will slow down the dry-out... and the wet soils will slow down the warm-up. That's why -- if everything turns average right now -- most Iowa farmers won't be in the field until at least May 1.

The farm managers I've spoken with the past few days still aren't too concerned. But they are concerned about their decision-making process this spring. They've grown anxious to get started, but these professionals also know if they start too soon, the mistakes they make this spring will show up at harvest this fall.

I tweeted about that this week, saying, "A threat to 2013 corn yields is now the space between our ears. Bad decisions at planting show up at harvest. Got to plant it right." The tweet was retweeted several times, which tells me there are several that really understand that even when it's getting late, you still have to wait for conditions to "get fit" for planting.

Finally, our hearts and prayers go out to everybody impacted by the Boston Marathon bombing and the those in West, Texas. What a terrible week.

If you haven't checked out My Grain Trades on your homepage yet, please do that this weekend. This is an exceptionally valuable tool that will help simplify your marketing efforts in the year ahead. Click here to go to the introductory page. It's a free service for Pro Farmer Members that helps you keep track of your grain sales and figures your profit potential on the fly. Just check it out...

Pro Farmer's Marketing Education Series is also now available. It is what the title suggests... a series of workbooks designed to help you make better marketing decisions. Click on the link to learn more about this new project we're putting together.

That's it for now...

 

Follow me on Twitter at @ChipFlory

To join Pro Farmer, click here!

A late start... and a negative bean residual?

Apr 12, 2013

Chip Flory

From The Editor

April 12, 2013

Hello Pro Farmer Members!

Okay... we can say the 2013 growing season is off to a late start now. Corn planting isn't late (unless you are in some soggy Gulf State areas), but the start of the growing season is late. As we get through the next two weeks of "overtime winter," we'll be looking at May before most Midwest farmers turn a wheel to get the season started.

Obviously, we're into the time of the year that we'll be paying more attention to growing conditions in upcoming issues of Pro Farmer. But I just want to leave the growing conditions with this thought: The drought isn't broken yet. Conditions are much improved, but the drought isn't broken. Let me offer this as evidence. In April 2013, we've received about 2.6 inches of rain (so far). In April 2012, we had about 3.95 inches of rain - so we're still nearly an inch and a half short of the rainfall total we had at the start of the 2012 drought. Weirder things have happened...

And speaking of weirder things... USDA used some weird math to get to a steady soybean carryover in the April Supply & Demand Report this week. USDA increased estimated old-crop bean crush by 20 million bu. and increased estimated exports by 5 million bu. for a 25-million-bu. jump in REAL soybean use. To offset that, USDA cut estimated residual use by 25 million bushels. I've been watching the marketing and S&D Reports for 25 years and I'm still not exactly sure what residual "use" is. In the cotton balance sheet, it's called "unaccounted use," which seems to better explain what's going on.

Basically, when USDA's World Board lines up the NASS grain stocks data against documented use (crush and exports), there are some unavoidable conflicts. Those conflicts are resolved by adjusting residual "use." Of course, there have been times when USDA showed us a negative residual use estimate for soybeans... and negative use actually adds to total supply, supporting carryover.

Basically, what big changes in residual soybean use (and feed & residual use in corn and wheat) means is that NASS's grain stocks estimates don't "jive" with NASS's production estimates. Don't be surprised if we see a negative soybean residual at some point over the next couple of months, which would indicate NASS will eventually adjust the size of the 2012 bean crop.

If you haven't checked out My Grain Trades on your homepage yet, please do that this weekend. This is an exceptionally valuable tool that will help simplify your marketing efforts in the year ahead. Click here to go to the introductory page. It's a free service for Pro Farmer Members that helps you keep track of your grain sales and figures your profit potential on the fly. Just check it out...

Pro Farmer's Marketing Education Series is also now available. It is what the title suggests... a series of workbooks designed to help you make better marketing decisions. Click on the link to learn more about this new project we're putting together.

That's it for now...

 

Follow me on Twitter at @ChipFlory

To join Pro Farmer, click here!

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