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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 Editor for Jan. 13

Jan 16, 2012

Chip Flory

From The Editor

Jan. 13, 2011

Hello Pro Farmer Members!

Friday the 13th... the first of three this year. So far... not a bad day, and the other two will come at a time that's just as critical for the corn market.

Friday, April 13: When we get to this Friday the 13th, we'll hopefully be sticking corn in the ground to get the 2012 corn crop off to a much needed "fast start." Before that, USDA will give us its first "best guess" of 2012 corn acres in the March 31 Prospective Planting Report. Trade expectations for corn plantings are probably getting a little "out of whack" -- at least in the current pricing environment. Some are looking for corn plantings to be "at least" 94 million acres this year... up 2.1 million acres from 2011. To get there, corn will have to capture some acres from soybeans and hold onto most of the corn-on-corn acres from last year. That's seeming increasingly unrealistic.

First, farmers in traditional corn-on-corn areas are getting more than a little tired of the yield drag. Weather conditions obviously are the biggest reason corn-on-corn in central Illinois has suffered the past two years. Too hot during pollination and kernel fill did more than take a bite out of yield. Last year was much worse than in 2010 with some Illinois PF Members telling us this last week that corn-on-corn yields were at least 35 bu. below corn-following-beans and as bad as 100 bu. below corn-following-beans. The biggest yield drag we heard... 140 bu. per acre. One of the best examples is an across-the-road yield comparison. The dirt was basically the same... the corn variety was the same... and both fields saw the same rain and temperatures. That was an 80-bu. yield drag for the corn-on-corn.

The question is, what's causing it? There is more and more talk about root feeding in supposedly rootworm-resistant corn varieties. Some are starting to talk about the need to band insecticide to help give the corn crop a better chance.

Now turn those lost bushels into lost revenue. Perhaps it's more important to compare corn-on-corn revenue (with the lost bushels) to potential soybean revenue. Right now, revenue from better-yielding corn-following-soybeans is much better than potential soybean revenue. But, knock 50 bu. off the corn-on-corn yield and net revenue potential from soybeans is much more competitive.

We'll continue to talk with farmers about 2012 planting decisions... but based on what we've heard so far on the seminar trial, it's going to be tough to push total corn plantings up to 94 million acres in the year ahead.

Friday, July 13: The importance of this Friday the 13th is obvious. Depending on planting date, this could be when a chunk of the crop is pollinating or it might even be just starting the kernel-fill period. Either way, weather on this Friday the 13th will undoubtedly be trend-setting for corn prices.

That's it for this week... We hope to see many of you in Independence, IA, on Jan. 17 or in Ankeny, IA, on Jan. 18 for our Profit Briefing Seminars sponsored by Pioneer and Agrotain. The following week, Profit Briefings travel to Sioux Falls, SD, on Jan. 24 and to Owatonna, MN, on Jan. 25. You can follow this link to get more information about the Profit Briefings, or give us a call at 1-800-772-0023.

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