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January 2009 Archive for Crop Comments

RSS By: Crop Comments

Read the latest crop reports from the fields across America! Also, submit your own comments.

January Crop Comments

Jan 30, 2009
Use this link to send us your comments about the crops in your local area.  Be sure to send us your photos and videos! Comments will be edited for brevity and clarity.

What's happening in your fields? Has bad winter hit your area? What were your best yields? Have you planend your crop mix for next year? Send us your photos and video!

Here's a sampling of what some folks are saying:

  • 1/30 - Jefferson, Wisconsin: Info for the South African grower: The manure will raise your soil's organic matter. This will help greatly in holding moisture during dry periods and help greatly in preventing wind and water erosion because it binds the soil particles together. Over time you will see an enormous improvement in your fields and their production capabilities. The nutrients of manure are released as the manure breaks down so when you have heavy rains you won't lose much nitrogen from leaching. 
  • 1/30 - Clay County, Iowa: Dear Africa farmer: Be sure to check your potash levels after chix manure. It is usually short of K.

  • 1/30 - Dyer County, Tennessee: Corn acres will be down unless the market rallies back to a level to produce $4.50cash or better. Looks like cotton acres will take another big hit this year. Soybeans look like the most profitable at this time. 
  • 1/30 - Shelby County, Ohio near Botkins: This is what our barnyard looked like Wednesday 1-28-09 after the storm dumped a foot of snow on us.

    -- Shelby County, Ohio near Botkins

    (Have any photos of the crops on your farm? Send them to AgWeb and have them posted on Crop Comments! Be sure to include a caption.)


  • 1/29 - Lancaster County, Nebraska: I like the gentlemen's idea from Black Hawk County. It's too bad in Agriculture that we all can't work together better. I don't think the livestock producer or ethanol plants could survive if no corn was planted in 2009 and that would be very bad in the long run for us corn and soybean producers. To the gentleman from Africa do soil test if you have access to a lab, using chicken manure is a great fertilizer. 
  • 1/29 - Southeast North Dakota: Info for the grower in South Africa, We used turkey manure (45-50-40 analysis) for 7 years until the farm shut down. On corn we applied 5 T/ac and spring wheat 4 T/ac.  Great results, but remember it is a slow release. We were able to build our soil fertility with the use.

  • 1/28 - Mkushi, Zambia, Southern Africa: We are in the middle of our summer rains....and the rain is falling. We have soya and corn in at the moment. This is our first year of production using chicken manure...replacing all conventional ferts....results are there but I would appreciate comments and helpful tips on the continual use of chicken manure....we have 700 hectares (1680 acres) of production this season and have been applying 5 mt per ha(2mt per acre) but are looking to step this up to 8Mt per Ha (3.4MT per acre) before the winter wheat (May) crop and then let the soyas feed off the residuals. Comments will be much appreciated...We need to get some relationship going with America so that we can learn from you. 
  • 1/28 - East Central Illinois: I went to the FSA meeting today and did not learn much. The farm service employees did not know much yet about ACRE and said it will be May before they could signup anybody. The SURE program was skimmed over and not explained very well.  I going to have to go to more meetings and keep asking questions until I get better answers I guest?

  • 1/27 - Comanche County, Kansas: The wheat that was planted in early September is really suffering now. No moisture since October. It’s all going to need some moisture soon, as the wheat will start to come out of dormancy soon.
  • 1/27 - Blackhawk County, Iowa: If the farm community could pull it off, this should be our cropping plan. Everyone say that they will plant 100% corn, but make plans for 100% soybeans. Either get them forward sold, protected or sell them all the day the Planting Intentions Report comes out and they make a limit up day. Then, the market has time to eat 1.8 billion bushels of corn and pricey fertilizer can draw moisture and get hard in the bins. 2010 and 2011 both should be good corn years while all the beans are used up. I don't see anything ethically wrong with the plan, I just browsed thru a list of corrupt gov't officials and this plan looks tame compared to what some of them do. We have to take care of ourselves, nobody else will and USDA works against us. 

  • 1/27 - Frio County, South Texas: The NWS has declared the Northern half of Frio County as being in a severe drought and the Southern half of Frio County in a moderate drought. To me, 6 inches of rainfall in 17 months on our southern Frio County ranch is a severe drought. There was no "dryland" crops planted this year, The crops under circles were decent but the circles never stopped running and pulling water 450 feet out of the wells takes a lot of energy. We rode the crop prices roller coaster rides like everyone else, and the Port of Corpus Christi is a trip of 175 miles so the freight was .0075 cwt. to deliver the grain. Wish you better luck next year! 

  • 1/26 - Western Sedgwick County, Kansas: There is some wheat that was planted the middle of September that does not look too bad.  However, there is a lot of wheat that was planted the first part of October that does not look good and is subject to blowing.  This and the wheat that was planted the last of October has been sifting and some blowing with the 50 plus mph winds that we have had the past 2 weeks.  I would say that this is probably at least 75% of this areas wheat crop.  We are also getting short on moisture to help hold the ground from blowing.  If we do not get any moisture by March, it could be a long, dirty spring.
  • 1/26 - Livingston County, Missouri: You lose 20% of your direct payment only if you sign up for ACRE? Is this correct?  The Rush City, KS entry has me confused? Going to a seminar on this Tuesday...looks like a migraine headache coming. What ever happened to the Paperwork Reduction Act?
  • 1/26 - Cavailer County, North Dakota: I've been hearing that urea prices around northern North Dakota are around $350 per ton.   It's a little lower for us but so are our yields.  If the grain prices don't start going up they can keep their fertilizer and deal with the storage problems!
  • 1/26 - Marion County, Indiana: Thank you person from Marion County, Indiana for the information. I received a card today letting me know of two scheduled meetings from the FSA next week, I plan to attend.
  • 1/26 - Northhampton County, Pennsylvania: Looks like I’ll go with the normal 50/50 corn/beans, but will cut back on Fertilizer in most areas try to build Potash next year MAYBE when it comes down some. One thing I do not understand is how oil can come down and Gas and Diesel can go up. Oil drops so do corn and beans. I think this should have an investigation like Wall Street Housing lenders did!!!! And maybe some heads should roll. I don’t see the farmers getting BILLIONS in bailout money. Anyway the small guys like me 250 acres. 

  • 1/26 - Terry County, Texas: What concerns me down on the farm for 2009. Profit!!

  • 1/23 - Marion County, Indiana: ACRE can be enrolled during any year of the Farm Bill and each farm stands alone, i.e. you can sign one farm up this year for DCP and decide to go into ACRE on it 2010-2012. Landlords and renters both have to sign for it to go into ACRE as once the farm is enrolled in ACRE, it will remain in ACRE for the remainder of the Farm Bill. If the part of the farm is sold, both resulting farms will be in ACRE.
  • 1/23 - Adams County, Iowa: It looks like ACRE may work best in the states where the state yield is more of a variable which would be the western Corn Belt/Great Plains.  SURE appears to work more often in the eastern (less variable state corn yields) Corn Belt states. It’s just a quick look for now, waiting for final regulations.
  • 1/23 - Rush County, Kansas: After going to the meeting to hear an expert explain it, I can't imagine why I would want to put myself through that agony. I agree with the gentleman that decided to take the 20% loss in direct payments and put it toward some kind of insurance on his own. I guess they finally figured out how difficult they had to make something before we wouldn't participate!

  • 1/22 - Coles County, East Central Illinois: Could the government make the new farm program more screwed up? From what I have read it would be hard to screw it up more. Who writes this stuff anyway? The USDA knows that many farmers still have some landlords that sharecrop. From what I understood, all the land I farm has to sign up for the ACRE program if any do. So If I want to go that route, I have to explain and sign up all 6 sharecrop landlords and I don't know about my 5 cash rent landlords? Do I make the decision for rented ground; me or the landlord or his farm manager? What about if you pick up some ground next year and it was signed up for ACRE and you weren't? Seems like a lot of hoops to jump thru to get any payment. Looks like anyone that stuck their neck out to prepay inputs to try to control cost in the runaway price markets of fertilizer, seed, fuel & chemicals got it chopped off.  The markets are only offering breakeven or below prices for 2010. If I had not already applied my fertilizer I would not plant a kernel of corn.
  • 1/22 - Lancaster County, Nebraska: I too went to a meeting on ACRE and SURE programs, in Nebraska it may work a little better because of great variation in weather and rainfall from East to West. But at a first glance for our farm I might take the 20% saved on direct payments by not enrolling in ACRE and use that for crop insurance. This way if the state does well but I don't my farm is still covered. Or I might do what I usually do and take a risk by self insuring, but with inputs so variable and crop prices and economy so erratic insurance might just cause me a little less heartburn come those hot days in July and August.

  • 1/21 - Frio County, South Texas: The NWS has declared the Northern half of Frio County as being in a severe drought and the Southern half of Frio County in a moderate drought. To me, 6 inches of rainfall in 17 months on our southern Frio County ranch is a severe drought.

    There was no "dry land" crops planted this year. The crops under circles were decent but the circles never stopped running and pulling water 450 feet out of the wells takes a lot of energy.

    We rode the crop prices roller coaster rides like everyone else, and the Port of Corpus Christi is a trip of 175 miles so the freight was, 0075 cwt. to deliver the grain. Wish you better luck next year!

  • 1/21 - Fayette County, Iowa: Well now that everyone is done with the Minnesota farmer, let’s get back to business. I’m on the fence about the ACRE program. I went to a meeting about it where SURE and ACRE was talked about.

    ACRE pays when a loss occurs both on your farm, and the state that you reside in. It costs, you 20% of your direct pay, and 30% of your CCC loan capacity. The flip side is you have the potential to earn more money in a disaster situation.

    I’m leaning towards the current program, since “a bird in the hand is worth two in a bush” saying. Between normal payments, and crop insurance, I feel I can survive. 

    Do we really need the government to bail us out all the time? That’s my 2 cents worth. I’m interested in other’s comments.

  • 1/21 - Hardeman County, Texas: Drove through West central Texas last week down US277 from Vernon to San Angelo. Winter wheat looks very poor to not even emerged. We haven't had a rain event here since the first of October. If it doesn't rain soon there will be no winter wheat crop in Central Texas. We are 40% Wheat 50% Cotton 10% Alfalfa. We will stay this way for 2009 unless wheat gets zeroed out, and then might plant more Cotton. Not much else we can grow around here. Good luck and God Bless.

  • 1/21 - Northeast Arkansas: Everyone had a good to excellent soybean, corn and cotton crops. We don't raise rice but some farmers say their rice crop was off a little, especially after a hurricane in September.  Cotton farmers are now switching to more grain in ‘09 because of high inputs and low cotton prices.  I think the jury is still out on the crop mix here.  My guess is less cotton and corn, but more soybeans.

  • 1/20 - Shelby County, West Central Ohio: Our usual crop mix is 50% corn & 50% soybeans. With corn input costs where they are, my current plans are to go to 20% corn & 80% soybeans. This may change up until April 1 if input costs decline and/or corn futures come up. We do not like altering our rotation. In the last few weeks we have purchased seed, fertilizer, and chemicals with the complete understanding that the orders WILL change. So far these companies have been good to work with and have stated that if any of the input cost decline further, we will get a refund. They need to have some idea of what to do also.
  • 1/20 - South Central, Iowa: I am a young farmer as well. I am not sure what other "young farmers" have going for them but nothing was willed or given to us. We bought the family farm from my Dad. It was his reward for all of the hard work he put in as the steward of the land we have. We have a very small operation as compared to others and we didn't pay top dollar for the land to my Dad...But yet have a mortgage on it none the less. I feel we appreciate what we have much more by knowing we have to work hard to pay this off. As for operations...We have pre-paid our entire operations for this year, we got several quotes on everything and then wheeled and dealed to get the best price we could. In the end we had to cut out some expenses like putting Headline on all of our crops, we also had to cut back on our regular fertilizer mix. We had a hard capped budget and with everything up overall a whopping 40% we had to cut.  Now let’s just hope we have a good growing year!  :-)

  • 1/20 - Woodford County, Illinois: My seed has all been bought. I plan to stay with 70 % corn and 30 % soybeans. It is highly unlikely that I will change that. It is more important to do a good job on a smaller acreage than to farm a lot of acres.

  • 1/20 - Eastern Washington: Poor stand establishment in the fall and a heck of a winter so far. We had a time of 20 mph winds with no snow early in December then around the 17th, had lots of snow, 70 inches in Spokane and about 2 feet else where. It has melted off and now we are in the black and white T.V. period, just grey days.

    We do have a $1.90 premium on club wheat, since this is a white wheat area that is good if you have any to sell; approximate price 7 plus dollars.

  • 1/20 - Lancaster County, Nebraska: Farming is a great way to raise a family and make a living our family has been doing it for 4 generations in Nebraska, being efficient at whatever size you are is the most important i.e. NET FARM INCOME is the bottom line! Enough of the statement. Seed bought for 2009, same rotation as last year 50/50 corn /beans with a little winter wheat. Landlord called, wants to raise rent 28% just got property tax valuation. Fertilizer all on, some chemicals bought. I haven't finalized 2008 records yet but I am sure it will be the best year ever, 2009 will be back to a more normal profit year as it looks now. As always weather or should I say lack of moisture is the determining factor on how much our farm will profit.
  • 1/20 - Murray County, Minnesota: Well, we sure ruffled some feathers didn't we, mister Nobles County? It is obvious this young man suffers from a well known affliction called "small man syndrome". Not a big pleaser so we have to impress with arrogance. Job well done!

    Murray County borders Nobles County so there is a lot of talk about who the mystery man is. I am going to call him Peter from now on. Feel free to do the same. I think I know who he is as do many of my friends and the fact there is lots of hog barns with ample cheap fertilizer available, plus a good off farm job to supplement cash flow makes things a little easier. I would guess there is a Peter in every county so at least everyone can look forward to a  nearby farm sale in next few years.

    As for me I am going to plant 25% of my corn acres back to corn in order to break the soybean cyst cycle. Rotating different fields to this rotation gives me a substantial yield boost in soybeans the year after. The kick in bean yields makes up for any drag with the corn on corn production. My seed is all paid for and I don't plan on changing even if beans out rally the corn.

  • 1/20 - Bremer County, Iowa: I’m pleased to see that across many states farmers have all stuck together to scorn the Nobles County Minnesota young man. If more farmers would stick together, rather than walk over each other to see who’s bigger and better, we could control this country quite easily.

    We are the best of the best when it comes to agriculture, and America reaps the rewards by eating cheap. I’m sure the young man got lucky and made a lot of money this year.  Don’t feel bad guys, he’ll spend it all on inputs and rent. 

  • 1/20 - Nobles County, Minnesota: I am writing to say that after reading your comments you guys are right calling you cry babies was a little harsh and uncalled for so for that I am sorry. I guess I was a little unclear before I called myself a young farmer, but I am 30 years old and I have been farming for 11 years. 

    I wanted to farm since I was a little boy my dad farmed a quarter and worked two jobs in town and my mother stayed home so, we got by but I had no real start. My dad owned a 706 and an AB John Deere disk we had no planter, no combine, no nothing so I don't feel that I had a big start. When I was 12 years-old I started helping a neighbor square bale hay and he talked so highly of me that I baled hay almost 7 days a week though the summers and did other farm chores when I wasn't in school. When I was 16, I went on a bin building crew and saw that there were a lot of used grain bins cheep so I bought a set of bin jacks and some concrete forms and started buying and selling used bins with the money I had saved working (there was a lot of profit in this for a couple years) when this dried up I started pouring concrete for a living and still have a crew operating to this day. 

    I have since started two other businesses so I feel I have worked very hard for everything I have and from where I'm sitting farming still looks pretty good.  I pay the high price rent by not having a big investment in machinery and believe it or not there is strength in numbers. My input costs are about $100/ac., less than my neighbor who farms very little. This is sad but true and I know this may be the problem with agriculture today but that is were it is headed.  This is no different than Wal-Mart or any other big box stores, they deal in volume and sell for less and they slowly take over and the ma & pa stores close.  This sucks, I get it, but I could not stop it if I wanted to. As far as the financing goes believe me it was a struggle for the first five years or so but I am not farming the land for nothing and I have been turning a profit so I am on very good standings with my banker.  I spend a lot of time on marketing and I believe that is what will make a farm profitable.  I was not trying to brag about myself, all I was trying to say is the high price rent and turning a profit are possible and we have to find ways to work with them because they are not going away. Lastly, I would like to clarify that I have never went out and raised rent on anyone. I have only excepted the offers that have been presented to me. Sorry I disrespected everyone. Let’s try to be more positive, me included!

  • 1/19 -Grant County, Minnesota: I didn't know that this is a "crybaby site" as suggested by the Nobles County, Minnesota. "young farmer?".  I for one feel it is about sharing information about crop intentions; inputs; outputs; suggestions; and so on.  As such I find it to be very informative and helpful and gain the knowledge that I am NOT the only one with similar concerns and/or problems.  I don't know how the "young farmer" can pay the HIGH rental rates AND purchase inputs and equipment--having only 4 years of farming under his belt, since I have a difficult time showing a profit on my owned land let alone rented acres in this economy.  Maybe the "young farmer works with his relatives or neighbors to make ends meet and spread equipment costs.  I hope he has all his eggs lined up for next year as it appears that it is going to be even MORE volatile then this past year. I heartily agree with the NE North Dakota farmer about the FSA signup questions as to credit sources, rental equipment and rental rate per acre on rented land, hired help and hired planting, harvesting, etc and then listing the persons, entities, etc and how much was paid to each.  I did sign up after MUCH trepidation, but only listed myself as I have NOT finalized my sources of financing;  who I was going to hire for combining for instance; rental rate per acre (if I rent the land again); and feel that I did the right thing since I signed it as what I have done up til NOW!
  • 1/19 - Preble County, Ohio: Way to go there mister Minnesota!!  As a young man trying to farm in Ohio with crazy cash rents, you are one of my biggest fears -- someone wanting to farm the whole state for free just to look big.  That’s ok though, you can file for bankruptcy like all the big boys around here and just keep on going.  Sorry, doubling your acres doesn’t impress me.... you are one of the problems with farming today!! 

  • 1/19 - Hamilton County, Nebraska: We had a fellow that acted just like the fellow from Nobles County, Minnesota.  He wanted to farm the whole country too, and thought he was making money.  His farm sale was a few weeks ago and his ground sale is coming up.  All I can say is, the bigger you are the harder YOU fall.  Good Luck!

  • 1/19 - Central Nebraska: Just a comment to the guy calling everybody a cry baby. I glad to here you are doing so good most farmers did have a good year last year but I am guessing you had pretty good start on things with good financial backing or a good supply of cash on hand maybe even giving to you by family. Don't call anybody cry babies until you have walked a mile in their shoes. You say you are young farmer, let me know how things look in twenty years. You still my be bigger than ever but after putting up with things for twenty years or more you get a little tired of every one making a living off of the farmer!!
  • 1/19 - Marshall County, Iowa: To the young man from Nobles County, I once was just like you, young, arrogant and full of myself. After a time it caught up with me, as it will with you The farmers that you seem to scorn have made it through the good times and the bad times. From what I read, you seem to have only farmed in the best of times, with easy credit and high prices. Let’s see how you are doing in 10 years. Good luck kid.
  • 1/19 - Washington County, Iowa: I am glad you feel fortunate enough to get land at the expense of the so-called loyal farmers. It's obvious you have not been around long enough to realize there is more to life than outbidding your neighbor. You have not earned the right to call hardworking farmers crybabies until you walk in their shoes. You have no clue of the hardships others may have had to deal with. Would you call someone a crybaby who lost a loved one in the operation then lost all the crops to a flood? Maybe you have had more help than others along the way, whatever the case you need to have a little more respect until you have paid your dues for 20 or thirty years!

  • 1/19 - Lafayette County, Wisconsin: Rent here varies between 100 to 165 per acre. In the rolling hillsides with productive Pecatonica River bottom land. The price of good alfalfa hay has slid all winter. A lot of hay way under 100 per ton .I guess you could say it is following the price of milk. Friday morning we had 39 below near Blanchardville, Wisconsin. Be safe out there, enjoy your kids activities this winter like basketball and hockey.  

  • 1/19 - Stearns County, Minnesota: Have to agree with NE ND man.  The appointment at your FSA office would normally be a 10-15 sign up time.  Well this will turn into a half hour interview, like going for an off farm job.

  • 1/16 - Nobles County, Minnesota: I just found this site and so far it looks like a bunch of cry babies complaining.  If you want it bad enough you will find a way to get it.  I am a young farmer and everyone was so loyal to their tenants that I never had a chance to farm but with the new rent levels that has gone away.  Instead of crying on a web site I found ways to make money with high price rent and I have nearly doubled my acres every year for four consecutive year.  Please keep your efforts on complaining so I can farm it all!!!  
  • 1/16 - Northeast North Dakota: We just stopped at the county FSA office to inquire about the 2009 sign-up.  They handed me a folder containing all sorts of questions about hired labor, custom hire, how much money I provide for the farm, and how much we borrow as operating goes on and on.  I'm about ready to tell the FSA to keep their lousy payment, and not sign up at all.  But, in the end I suppose we will follow thru and give them more information than has ever been required.  Why don't they just access our IRS tax returns, take what info they need and spare us the pain-in the-ass of going thru everything again?  It's all Federal offices anyway.  I am in favor of payment limits for the wealthiest, absentee operators, but the USDA has gone overboard with this deal.

  • 1/16 - Cass County, Illinois: I have been hearing of some cash rent bids of $535/ac around here.  It don’t understand it myself!

  • 1/16 - Fulton/Miami Counties, North Central Indiana: To reduce input cost we have contracted with a local large hog producer to take some of his manure. He samples on a regular basis and we have a good idea of what is available. Our longest haul is 3 miles. We have our own equipment from our old farrow-to-finish operation. We get the product for hauling. We have talked with a commercial hauler who gets $60/ac. to inject. They can really cover acres in short order and you get a tillage operation out of it. I figure we will have about $5-$6/1000 gal. doing it ourselves, by the time we get it on the land. We will need little to no P2O5, about 60 lbs of K and depending on when it goes on we get a 100 lbs of actual N applied. We are spreading on last year’s soybean going to corn this year. We will combine as many operations as we can to cut down on the number of trips. We will do more "no-till" also.  
  • 1/16 - Polk County, Minnesota: Looking forward to the warm-up (above 0)!! So far we have had about 40 inches of snow this winter (lots of snow blowing work) and are having 40 below nights with 60 below wind chills!!! Ready for SPRING!!!!
  • 1/16 - Central Nebraska: Yesterday I made a comment about farming on paper then crying to congress for bailout money I was being sarcastic toward Wall Streeters. On a personal note, I didn't get caught up in high dollar land or equipment, I’m out of debt,  I will turn a profit on sub $2 dollar corn it’s coming, it’s hard to cry alligator tears for the greedy ones. Greed will take you down, sooner or later, being smart makes you profitable.

  • 1/16 - Central Illinois: It's so cold in Illinois that the farmers turned out in droves for the University of Illinois Corn and Soybean Classic earlier this week, held in Springfield. Nearly 300 attendees found a way to farm vicariously while enjoying the hotel environment. When surveyed, 50% of the group (mostly made of up of growers) said they don't plan to grow more soybeans next year. That can mean a lot of things--I hear a lot of people are sticking with the same rotations because they don't know what to do. No decision is a decision. Growers were able to electronically answer questions and anonymous surveys revealed a scary secret. When asked how many abide by 20% refuge requirements when planting Bt corn, 85% claimed to follow the rule and 15% admitted they do not. That gives those who value the technology a chill that has nothing to do with the white stuff on the ground. Here's a shot looking beyond my office window.

    -- Central Illinois

    (Have any photos of the crops on your farm? Send them to AgWeb and have them posted on Crop Comments! Be sure to include a caption.)

  • 1/16 - Kossuth County, Iowa: Yields in our co. were no where close to the levels harvested in 2007. Is this the only area that experienced train wreck corn on corn yields? A lot of fall tillage was not finished, difficult to grow corn on corn when were looking at standing corn stalks. Like other farmers in the area we will be forced to grow more soybeans.

  • 1/15 - Southwest North Dakota: I refuse to fill out or give any information to anyone on my farming operation.  I've seen college institutions give crop yield data out before my tractor is out of the shed from winter!!   This all seems to affect the market just as the USDA report did on Monday.  They know most everything from the FSA office and federal crop insurance reports anyway.  The farming outlook for 2009 is as cold as the outside temps right now (-35).  In SW N.D. we don't have the option of a soybean or corn rotation.  We are wheat country, period!!  Hope everyone is staying warm and good luck in the coming year.

  • 1/15 - North Central Illinois: I would be glad to take $150-175 per acre rent.  You would be lucky if you could grab ground under $250 around here.  We lost some ground that we have been farming for decades due to a similar bid.  Count your blessings if you have great landlords that don't just look at the biggest dollar.  
  • 1/15 - East Central Kansas: Com'on Guys, I know it is tough. It is winter and everyone is a little discouraged, but to give up on "Hope" is the complete end.  Markets have crashed before & will again. AS always, they have to rise before they can crash too far again. I think there will be some opportunities again.  Fertilizer prices are softening some & there is still more than one place to buy it.  It is going to take close & tight management, but not planting a crop will not pay many taxes or land payments or other commitments already made!!! It will only save on your variable costs, the fixed costs are & will always be there.  If you get to feeling too bad, just go take a look in some third-world countries & if you don't come back feeling a little better, then you just as well throw in the towel.  Spring will come & we will all feel a little more recharged & go work our tails off again for at least a "HOPE" of something better this year. Remember, winter is always a tougher time & it is the darkest just before Light comes in the morning. Don't give up now.

  • 1/15 - Northwest Ohio: What the hell. 100 bushel corn may be $7.00 corn if everybody compiles half the bushels to handle. Or 200 bushel corn at $3.50. Double the bushels and still loose your butt. Screw the fertilizer companies! 

  • 1/15 - Waupaca, Wisconsin: Our crops here for 2008 were the poorest ever. 12 bushel soybeans average and 23 bushel corn average.

    The government claims that crop insurance is a greatest thing since sliced bread, after paying the 120 dollar an acre premium, we finally received our indemnity check. In one day the whole check is gone to pay for fertilizer and seed, we made nothing growing 1,000 acres. All we did we worked for others that raised the price of our inputs that made farming unprofitable. The salesman for all the above have all been around and we told them we can't afford to work for nothing anymore.

    We are going to try and plant cheaper seed, and plant crops that don't require fertilizer or spray. Going to try and plant corn with no fertilizer as well. Like I told the salesman, last year I planted all the seed you recommended at $225 a bag and used 300 lbs an acre of fertilizer and came up 23 Bushel corn, he couldn't say anything and left.  
  • 1/15 - Graham County, Kansas: To start off with, our winter wheat is still out there. Not looking great, and not looking helpless.  We had a constant 60 mph wind all day Monday. Another week or 10 days without snow or rain, we will have dirt blowing. That's the hard fact.

    I have sat punching numbers into little boxes now to 2 months trying to figure out what happen last year with the cash flow. Now how to make this farming 2009 year work out with some income left over.

    All the suppliers are out in full force with there hands out for pre pay, pay early and get it while we have it. There prices have gone up 40% to 60% in just one year!

    Like many comments here, I'm beyond knowing how far to TRUST this farming game at this moment. I have seen the effort many years to hold back on planted acres and grow what's needed only and make the same money as trying to overfill the grain market for nothing or a major loss. At who's cost? That's the question.

    Now, if this was a closed country for trade it might work to a point, but the way it is now other country's would come in and flood us with there extra grain at the higher value we took the lost acres to gain.

    A farmers union at this time, I don't think so, but a movement to hold our ground on the markets might work.  Now what's the magic value for the grains for use all to be happy with?

  • 1/15 - Western Iowa: Still hearing about 250 or better cash rent. With local cash prices it looks like you would be lucky to break even if the land is free. Should make things interesting in a year or two!

  • 1/15 - Southern Minnesota: To those that want to take your landlord to the woodshed, who instigated the raise in rent? I lost some rented ground to neighbors that think it is worth double what I was paying, of course with the recent price decline they are having renters remorse. Put a pencil to it and figure if it is worth it, I didn't and I will be better off for it.  
  • 1/15 - Howard County, Central Nebraska: It’s easy to be positive in all this, if most of your ground and equipment are paid for, but add payments for land you purchased and equipment several years old, makes a positive outlook hard.  I think $2.50 corn is okay if you have it all paid for, but we are looking at a $3.80 breakeven, and that includes our low pay we give ourselves. I’m sure our fertilizer bill we be higher than expected again and don’t even talk about a profit, always thankful to just get by. It looks to me as if Family farms may be a past time, it’s the best life to raise children with morals and respect, but worst pay & benefits and stress is way too high.

  • 1/14 - Northwest Ohio: What the hell. 100 bushel corn may be $7.00 corn if everybody compiles half the bushels to handle. Or 200 bushel corn at $3.50. Double the bushels and still loose your butt. Screw the fertilizer companies! 

  • 1/14 - Murray County, Minnesota: After a bad day of markets, they creep back enough just to almost keep your nose above the water. It’s going to be a bad year if this all keeps up. High costs of all inputs and low return on crop prices and livestock is going to set us all up for a blood bath. Speaking of which, landlords.....We all have them, those of us who don’t, your lucky. Looking back on previous years guys couldn’t afford 60$ an acre, now with the same income per acre they are asking triple the rent. I think the woodshed sounds like the place to take the landlords this year ha ha.  
  • 1/14 - Central Nebraska: In 2009 all my land will remain idol.  I’ll do my farming on paper, CBOT, if it don't work out I’ll ask Congress for a cool trillion, if Wall Street can do it, Main Street can do it.
  • 1/14 - Stearns County, Minnesota: Time for a bailout.

  • 1/14 - Minnehaha, South Dakota: Would everyone please quit being so negative. The situation is not as bad as you guys are making it sound. Give me a call I would be interested in your 150-175 cash rent in Illinois. We pay that much in S.D. and we can still make it!  
  • 1/14 - Eastern Oklahoma: I talked to a friend in Saskatoon Sask. area last night. She was really concerned because the potash mines were laying off 200 workers for 2 months because they were overloaded with back stock of potash. Sounds like a shortage to me. If all these USDA surveys are going to screw up the markets this bad then I’m not filling out another one.  I can’t decide which one to cancel, the $250 corn seed or the $50 beans. Organic farming is looking better all the time.

  • 1/13 - St. Clair County, Southwestern Illinois: I was kind of laughing after having my butt kicked today.  It wasn't the "it was funny laugh," it was more like "how much more punishment can I take?"  The biggest challenge for me in 2009 could be finding someone to rent my land for one year.  I haven't put any fertilizer on any of my ground which was the smartest thing I have done in 2008.  Let's see, should I plant and lose money in 2009 or rent my land for $150-$175 an acre?  Uhhhhh!!!  I guess the decision is pretty easy.  Maybe I can lobby congress for some TARP money claiming I am a bank holding company.  Am I complaining?  You bet.  Will it get better?  Yes.  If Tuesday brings another big wave of selling, the ad for a renter will be in the newspaper ASAP.  Good luck everyone and keep the faith!! 

  • 1/13 - Southwest-Central Nebraska: Limit down corn, sharp drop in beans and wheat. Last year the market annalist said we would see strong prices in 2009. Lead to believe we should lock in fertilizer and not get in a hurry to presale crops. It proves that nobody knows what is going to happen next. Do not hear any talk about buying acres. Who really wants to go to the field with high inputs and the grains going down. Maybe we should all Idle 30% of our acres for a year.  
  • 1/13 - West Texas: I would like to just sit this crop year out. Looks like 1983 all over again. Bring on the old pick program.  I'll take all this crop back out of the loan and sell it again. This kind of a market crash like today really makes you want to get some high dollar fertilizer and sling it on. Oh and let's throw in some high dollar tillage while we're at it. I think just throwing in the towel would be the best option. Going to have a talk with the landlords this week. Taking them to the woodshed if you know what I mean.

  • 1/12 - Brown County, Northeast Kansas: I watched a cash rent auction for less than average land that brought way too much. The bid winners are out to farm everything. Problem is this sets the tone for all the rest of us. My advice to the young and eager, don't fall on your sword, because all things get corrected sometime. The shame of all these cash rent auctions is long time tenants doing a perfect and pretty job are gone for few dollars. With high inputs and 3.80 corn and 9.40 beans, it will be interesting. 
  • 1/12 - Northern Illinois: You talk about rent. I have a landlord that hasn't decided what he wants for rent for 2009 year yet. Was told to go ahead last fall. But now after all fertilizer is on and fall tillage done not sure what rent will be. Guess he will let me know next year after he sees what the high might be at the board of trade. 

  • 1/12 - Northwest Illinois: Does anyone realize that the crop insurance pays CBOT price, basis doesn't matter. Just because we had a chance to sell $4.00 plus corn for out of the field this fall, doesn't make $3.50 a bad price. In our area, soybeans would still have to be $3.00 higher per bushel to equal the return that corn will generate per acre. I am 100% corn!  
  • 1/12 - Fulton/Miami Counties, North Central Indiana: Our biggest challenge will be marketing. Always has always will be. Give us decent rain in July and August, and some windows to do field work in the spring and fall and we can grow it. We need to do a good job of marketing what we grow to be competitive and live to farm another year.

  • 1/9 - Nobles County, Southwest Minnesota: We lost 60% of our rented ground to high bidders last fall. Every rented piece of ground we had got an increase of at least 25% and we still lost some (some area rents got as high as $300 acre). With current input cost the profit just wasn’t there on the high priced rental ground and some of the local lenders are starting to take a second look at some of these high rental rates. I wonder how many of these high rental rates were based on grain contracts with processors that now won't honor them (i.e. Verasun).    

  • 1/8 - Sheridan County, Northwest Kansas: Things are looking pretty good here with decent subsoil moisture. Hope commodity prices continue to rally and the stockpiled high-priced fertilizer gets cut down to size. Soybeans aren’t much of an option here so most eyes are on corn for spring.  
  • 1/8 - Keokuk County, Iowa: There appears to be some difficult decisions to make this year.  Last year was pretty good for us, but input costs are the hurdle this year.  I'm not prepaying anything and applied very little fertilizer and nitrogen this fall.  I refuse to be held hostage by the fertilizer industry.  I hope farmers can hold their ground and not start the trend of prepaying fertilizer a year before we apply it. It's pretty easy to write a huge check for fertilizer and have nothing to show for it if the fertilizer industry has a severe fallout. My soil tests are high so I'll use starter on the planter and sidedress my nitrogen.  If you pencil it out assuming a 20% drop in fertilizer prices by spring, the cash flow looks pretty good with $4.00 corn.  I'll continue to stay heavy corn.  I can grow 200 bu corn pretty consistently, but 50 bu beans are as good as I can do and that doesn't pay any bills.  Good luck to everyone.

  • 1/7 - Stearns County, Minnesota: Deep snow cover around here about 30 inches so far. Corn was very wet this past year, finished on Dec.1 and still in the 20%. Two seasons ago had a drought corn under 100 bu. this past year production cost outweigh corn price by a ton pretty tough for us young guys to get going when you get some pretty nasty lessons your first couple years.  Wander if a guy should even plant this next crop the way it looks right now getting tougher for young ones to get financing something better change or pretty soon there won't be any young guys left. 
  • 1/7 - Clay County, Iowa: I am still recovering from paying for end of the year crop inputs. After paying the fertilizer/chemical bill...., I then headed over to my local implement dealer for a free cup of coffee and to shoot the breeze...His eyes got big and he said, "Oh, Boy, a farmer coming in the last day of the year....that can only mean one thing...he needs to spend some money!!" I replied, "No, after what I just went thru, I am just here to get a zerk installed in my rump." Although I used a bit more colorful language… A guy has to have a sense of humor I guess. I know he doubled over with laughter. Happy New Year. 

  • 1/7 - Avondale, Colorado: We are small farmers in Avondale Colorado which is in the south east portion of the state. My wife and I finished planting the middle of September. We irrigated until the end of October at this point in the season our fields are looking good. Although we have not had much moisture and are very skeptical of grazing it. The 800 acres of irrigated should produce us with good yields. The 150 or so dryland acres will defiantly need tremendous help from the skies.  
  • 1/7 - Putnam County, Northwest Ohio: We are still staying with our 500 acres of corn along with our 500 acres of soybeans wish that we did not have any winter wheat out because that is a sure money loser. The way I look at it sometime between now and April 15 the corn market is going to have to step up to the table or we could have a serve shortage of corn going into 2010 2009 is going to be a different year.

  • 1/6 - Fayette County, Northeast Iowa: We're having some rather benign winter weather right now, highs in the 20's and a little ice last weekend, but not bad. We had tremendous snow cover around Christmas time that melted and left some thick ice in the fields, don't know if it will kill the alfalfa like last year or not. Still waiting for fertilizer prices to retreat some more and a robust duel for corn/bean acres, I believe we'll have both shortly. No storms on the horizon right now and good cattle gains, it can stay that way right up until April as far as I'm concerned.  
  • 1/6 - Dallam County, Texas: Wheat in our area does not look good at all. Took a drive threw Cimarron Co. Oklahoma up into the edge of Kansas seen lots of dry land wheat blowing out no cattle on the little irrigated wheat we saw. Seen some dry land fields that had been listed up to stop the dirt from blowing. As for our own wheat, irrigated has taken lots of water so far and dry again, just hope the dry land grows a little and maybe it won't blow out. We need lots of rain or snow to make this crop.
  • 1/6 - Renville County, Minnesota: We have applied all fertilizer for the 2009 corn crop.  The cost was very shocking to say the least. 

  • 1/6 - Oldham County, in Texas Panhandle: It is very dry. The wheat is at a good stand but is fast running out of moisture. Will run 1/4 of the cattle it should. 

  • 1/6 - Stearns County, Minnesota: When crop prices are too low to cover the cost to plant a crop, the government program should come back, so we could set aside 50% of acres planted. Who ever wishes to do so, with a payment, instead of the dumb crop insurance thing.  
  • 1/6 - Wheatland County, Montana: Winter wheat had a good start looked good but had some 20 below temps several times already maybe some winter kill possibilities urea around 450 per ton phosphates still too hi to contract yet.

  • 1/5 - Texas Panhandle, all along 87/I27: Wheat looks super overall. Quite a few more calves out than previous years, which is nice to see after poor grazing years.  Lots of ag bags of milo out in the fields.  Rotation of wheat/milo will be super for all those cotton fields.  Just need some moisture along the way! 

  • 1/5 - Stutsman County, East Central North Dakota: I pre-bought fertilizer before the end of the year. $330 a ton for urea, $805 a ton for the potash, $530 a ton for 10-34-0. I’m waiting on 11-52-0 price. Corn acres will be down some from last year because of the late wet harvest. Some acres still standing to the north of us. We will probably see a few more wheat acres to replace the corn. A lot of undecided people out there right now until spring gets closer. Lots and lots of snow here. Close to 40 inches on the level. 

  • 1/5 - Briscoe County, Texas: I was quoted $575/ton for 11-52-0.  I told them to call me when the first number in the price was a 2, not a 5.  Very dry here and need moisture badly.  Wheat does not look good.  
  • 1/5 - Walsh County, Northeast North Dakota: Fertilizer prices continue to come down, 11-52-0 went from $680 last week, to $490 today.  Fuel is now $1.54 for a tanker load.  The 2009 cash flow is starting to look good enough to show some profits.  New crop wheat futures are around the $7 range. The big question here is: Will we dry up soon enough to get seeding at a decent time next spring? Eastern North Dakota has had record snowfall for December, although the moisture content of the snow is fairly low, it is laying on soils that were completely saturated at freeze up.

  • 1/2 - Nobles County, Southwest Minnesota: I was just told a week ago N. is $650.00 a ton, P and K $1000.00 a ton, I told my agronomist I’m not paying that much for P and K, he thinks the N will come down more by spring. My neighbor paid $900.00 T. for anhydrous last fall, was told 1600.00 by spring, so he fell for the bargain!!?? If N doesn't come down I’ll go beans on beans and take the 4-5 bu. hit. I'm not putting in a crop that guarantees me a loss the day I plant it! My beans here in Nobles Co.( S. W. MN.) averaged 47 bu., fairly typical for this area, I've only had 59 bu. field avg. once since 1975.
  • 1/2 - Lancaster County, Pennsylvania: New Year’s presents to myself was to complete 2008 harvest. Had some 40 acres of soybeans that needed the last week in December 2008 to find the time and weather necessary to do the job. Thanks to God for keeping them safe in the field and giving me the patience to wait for HIS time to do the job. Family health issues with my wife this fall and 2 sons trying to complete college programs limited harvesting labor throughout this fall. One son did receive his degree on 12/20 and the other will have to wait till 5/2009, as his master committee was not able to meet in time to get his degree on the 20th as well. Much to be thankful for and much to look forward to. I am sure as I move into 2009, my wife's health issues will lead me (us) down a path I cannot completely understand at this time, but all of the family are now back home, willing and able to help; all have ag related employment off the farm in fields they have chosen, while still having sufficient time to participate in farming endeavors and give my wife and their mother the care she will need.

    Looks like we may even be able to increase our cropping some 40% for 2009 and still maintain the swine and broilers at current levels and will attempt to double the cattle through the feedlot in 2009. Left more money on the table in my marketing than I want to admit, but still a good year and still have the prospects for a solid 2009. God is good.  
  • 1/2 - Jasper County, Indiana: I’m going back to bean corn rotation, local nitrogen is too high for corn on corn especially with the high cost of seed today and lower grain prices, fear of collecting $$ for the corn from ethanol industry isn't making things fun either. Hope our local plant doesn't go the way lots out west have been going. I am assuming plant that Verasun started next door in White county before filing chapter 11 is dead for good now. That would have been nice for our area but may have saved a bunch of grief too. 

  • 1/2 - Perkins County, South Dakota/Adams County, North Dakota (NW S.D./SW N.D. Semi-Arid High Plains Area): My goal is to get back to the 50% chem-limited tillage fallow and 50% cereal grain . This 'old method' may not yield high income but I also do not have to get as much crop input financing to produce a crop that might not yield equal the input costs. This area of the Dakota's is not like IA or IL where it rains!

    I am going 50% fallow and limited fertilizer on the 50% planted acreage in 2009. I will not have as many acres to harvest but those planted acres are  in line with the world demand. My goal is to get back to the 50% fallow 50% cereal grain plan of the past.

    The Western Dakota's really could use a wheat crop in 2009!  
  • 1/2 - Palo Alto, Iowa: High priced fertilizer, WOW can you believe it, by the way I am a farmer too, but everyone is blaming the coops for this high priced fertilizer, but if the truth be known it was the farmer wanting to lock in fertilizer this summer when he was selling 6-7 dollar corn and 10-15 dollar beans and thought corn was going 10 dollars and beans to 20 dollars, unfortunately I sold out at way lower prices, needed money to pay bills, well my point is there is plenty of blame out there and its not all the coops fault, in fact it looks to me like most of the blame is the farmers who demanded the coop to get them a price locked in, like the old saying goes, be careful what you wish for, you may get it, and boy we certainly got it. 

  • 1/2 - Rock County, Wisconsin:The fertilizer sales man called and $1030.00 for anhydrous a ton, 595.00 a ton for urea and 537.00 a ton for 28%. All cash prices. I told to keep it. We may try a year without; it won't hurt. I have plenty of cow manure to put on. I think I am going to seed more alfalfa down and feed more hay and put in less corn maybe 70 acres for silage and grain I need. With 10 - 11 dollar milk you can afford it. 

  • 1/2 - Benton County, Indiana: It just took my whole check from my bean crop to pay for my maintenance fertilizer, chemicals and seed for 2009 crop.  Next year we go back to traditional corn and no plowdown to see what happens.  We are 50/50 rotation in Benton County Indiana.  Don't feel like we need to produce so much and spend so much to get a good price.  Everybody will get hungry then.  Even the BIG CEO's.  
  • 1/2 - St. Joe County, Indiana: We are going middle of the road. I've locked in 80-90% of my seed. I've heard prices of $350-388 for urea and phosphorus getting down quite a bit. 10-34-0 is still very high so we may just use 28% as our starter. I won’t lock in fertilizer until I can lock in grain sales for 2009 at our ethanol plant. Cash flows for next year do not look so good. Celebrate the day and the year in arrears. We can worry about this stuff next month! Happy New Years.

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December Crop Comments

Jan 02, 2009
Use this link to send us your comments about the crops in your local area.  Be sure to send us your photos and videos! Comments will be edited for brevity and clarity.

What's happening in your fields? Has bad winter hit your area? What were your best yields? Have you planend your crop mix for next year? Send us your photos and video!

Here's a sampling of what some folks are saying:

  • 12/31 - Stearns County, Minnesota: My local co-op told me $400 ton urea.  I told him shove it where the sun don't shine.  I'll plant corn where I have enough manure and soybeans on the rest.  My P and K levels are high anyway.  
  • 12/31 - Buena Vista County, Northwest Iowa (Iowa Bob): Bean yields were mostly in the 50's up to the 60 area this year in the fields that didn't drown any out, which is good for this area. Corn was also decent where it didn't drown out, poorer fields at 160 and better ones up close to 200 whole field yields. Been seeing and hearing about Fertilizer prices dropping like a rock BUT not at our suppliers around here they filled up with the high priced stuff. They messed up by doing so just like I did by not selling much Corn or Soybeans at the higher prices, I'll buy there high priced Fertilizer if they buy my Grain at the high for the year. That would be fair. So far not going to plant any corn on corn going back to 50-50 rotation unless fertilizer drops 50 % here. 

  • 12/31 - Livingston County, Illinois: We plant anywhere in ILL.

    -- Livingston County, Illinois

    (Have any photos of the crops on your farm? Send them to AgWeb and have them posted on Crop Comments! Be sure to include a caption.)


  • 12/30 - LaSalle County, Illinois: With a late harvest and high input costs. It will take a much higher corn price to convince us to plant corn. We have been planting corn on corn for many years, therefore our bean yields should be very strong. Just going to order seed for both and decide when we see a clearer picture.  
  • 12/30 - Southeast Missouri:Last year 7,200 cotton, 800 rice, this year 3,800 cotton, 4,200 beans. All acres irrigated. I love cotton but 10 dollar beans [or higher, some contracted] against loan rate cotton is dragging us away from cotton even on land that produces some of the best yields in the delta. 

  • 12/29 - Miami County, Kansas (town of Bucyruss): My corn this year stood tall and all good, and it dried out nicely as well, thank you for all your input, it’s paid off for sure.  
  • 12/29 - Audrain County, Missouri:Three of us went to a crop refresher meeting on the 21st in Audrain County, Mo. This was a non roundup ready soybean session to show us our options for 2009. There are lots of disgruntled farmers in our area with the price increases in soybean seed!! 

  • 12/29 - Martin County, Indiana: Well we finally finished corn harvest on Dec. 23rd in the freezing rain. What a year. We would have been done two weeks ago if the combine wouldn't have caught fire. Then the insurance company drug their feet in settling up with us. So we got our new combine last Saturday and shelled Sunday through yesterday with the Gleaner A85. It’s a hog!! 22,000 bushels of 20% corn in basically two days because Tuesday we had only 5 acres to shell because we had to make the gap in the wood line bigger to get the combine through it. A85 is a lot bigger than the 1680 and 2188 that burnt. Well hope everyone has a great Christmas!! 

  • 12/29 - Franklin County, Missouri: The insurance adjuster stopped by to settle the claim on the beans.  Meramec River took most of them. The state grading yielded over 40% damage. Fortunately I had 60% guarantee. I think they would have made 35 bushel after a rough spring getting them in.  The corn was high enough that the water didn't get on many of the ears and it didn't get knocked down when the river left. The state grading showed only 3% damage. It went into the bin at 15% and probably made 175 bu. good for around here. Have a good holiday.  
  • 12/29 - Umatilla County, Oregon, Northeast of Pendleton: Snowpack about 16 inches. Temperatures have ranged from -7 to mid 20’s most of the past ten days. Ground is NOT frozen under the snow, so if we get a reasonably slow warming trend, we should save most of the moisture in the snow. On the other hand, if it warms up rapidly with warm winds and rain, we will undoubtedly experience more erosion than in any year since 1996.

    Our wheat stand varies widely among farms. Those that gambled on deep seeding early in the planting period have wheat almost 4-6 inches tall, and well rooted.  Those farmers who waited for rain, or dusted in their what have smaller than normal wheat under the snow, not well rooted, but it should survive the snow well, unless we get freezing rain on top of the snow. Ice over snow cover is not a good environment for small wheat, if those conditions last too long. This smaller wheat will also be subject to severe damage if we get cold north winds after the snow melts.

    Generally, with the CRC price guarantee so high for the 2009 wheat crop, few farmers are greatly concerned about crop conditions at this time. On the other hand, most are concerned whether the new Administration will take a hard shot at government payments, including crop insurance subsidies, for example, in order to re-prioritize federal spending for 2009. If this should reduce crop insurance proceeds materially, every farmer here will be “very upset”, to say the least.

  • 12/24 - Lee County, Iowa: Snow in Iowa.

    -- Lee County, Iowa

    (Have any photos of the crops on your farm? Send them to AgWeb and have them posted on Crop Comments! Be sure to include a caption.)


  • 12/23 - Wood County, Northwest Ohio: We received about a 1/2 inch of ice Friday, Dec 19. The ice is still on the trees and have had some power outages along with high winds Sunday. Was -2 this morning. This picture was taken from my house overlooking the Portage River. Crops in this area were generally fair 120-180 corn and 35 would be the tops for beans. Always next year.

    Wood County, Ohio

    (Have any photos of the crops on your farm? Send them to AgWeb and have them posted on Crop Comments! Be sure to include a caption.)

  • 12/23 - Elgin, Nebraska: Here are a couple of photos on our farm near Elgin, NE.

    Rick Schuchardt, Elgin, Neb.

    (Have any photos of the crops on your farm? Send them to AgWeb and have them posted on Crop Comments! Be sure to include a caption.)


  • 12/22 - Show Us Your Winter Photos!: Do you have any good winter photos, such as these from Pam Smith, Farm Journal Seeds & Production Editor? She took these last winter near her central Illinois home. Email your photos or video to

    (Have any photos of the crops on your farm? Send them to AgWeb and have them posted on Crop Comments! Be sure to include a caption.)

  • 12/22 - Lamb County, Texas: I lost 2/3 of my dryland cotton crop this spring due to high winds and drought.  Replanted to milo with resulting yields of about 2500#/acre.  Remaining cotton did well with dryland yields of about 550 to 760#/acre and prices averaging about $0.57/#. Irrigated cotton yields were average to below slightly about 1700#/acre with below average prices of about $0.47/# due to low micronare from crop immaturity and barky grades due to stalk condition at harvest. My peanut crop did well, 4575#/acre (Spanish variety), my irrigated wheat looks poor and my dryland wheat has not germinated. I have not purchased any seed or fertilizer for 2009. Hope to be hit with inspiration soon!!  Merry Christmas from Littlefield, Texas!!

  • 12/22 - Miami/Fulton Counties, North Central Indiana: We have our seed purchased for 2009. We plan on the time tested 50/50 corn/soybean rotation. We are specialty corn growers. No purchase of fertilizer yet other than we are applying hog manure from a couple of "quads" down the road. Our longest haul is a little over a mile.We plan on a mix of pre-plant anhydrous and side dress 28%. We will use about 100 lbs of 10-34-0 w/micros at planting, put down pre-emerge herbs. w/10 gals of 28%, and put some 0-0-60 on in the spring. We are liming right now based on grid sampling.

  • 12/19 - Lancaster County, Nebraska: I would say a 50/50 rotation between corn and beans next year in this area maybe some switch to beans will depend on prices for crops and inputs come spring, not much corn on corn planted in this area.  Fall NH3 went on as usual with maybe 75-80% of normal getting on before winter set in. Dirt work needed everywhere due to excessive rains and storm damage this summer but with late harvest and ground freezing early all work needed didn't get done. Basis on grain narrower than we've seen in quite a while but no selling going on. 

  • 12/19 - Bremer County, Iowa: Most finished before Thanksgiving, some of the big guys were cutting it close. Some NH3 was applied, but not nearly as much as previous years. Finalized seed orders the other day, and have my P&K and NH3 still locked in from Spring of 08. It was a risk back then, but so far I am still cheaper than the current prices.  Plan to fertilize corn on corn, and maybe skip corn on soy acres.  Cash rents are still way to high considering what prices did; it’s a real train wreck in the making. Happy holidays.

  • 12/19 - Lawrence County, Alabama: We installed GPS equipment on my tractors this year. I mapped all of my fields and took a lot of soil samples by zones with help of my old cotton (now corn and bean) consultant. Total acreage is 4600 and by just treating the zones used a total of 40 tons of DAP and 25 tons of Potash. I put out about 2000 tons of Lime and I am finished with the 4600 acres. Nitrogen can’t go on here in the winter. I hope this is the best way to go, seems to make since just putting the nutrients where they are needed. I will try to verify with the yield monitor next fall. DAP was 900.00/ ton now around 600.00. Nitrogen is falling, have not fixed a price on it yet. I have purchased my corn seed with the condition that I can change to soybeans or cotton with a credit of the same amount of money. I hope this economy gets better soon and prices offer us a chance to make some money.(Tremendous RISK). Merry Christmas from the land of used to be cotton.  

  • 12/18 - Northeast North Dakota: We checked fert. prices today. Urea quoted at $380/ton, or $.41/lb actual N  That's a long way from the $1100/ton NH3 ($.67/lb actual N)  we paid for in August and didn't get the opportunity to put on this fall. Phosphates that were at $1125, now about $680 in our local market.  I guess buying inputs at too high a price isn't really any different than putting grain in the bin and watching prices fall. I hope that's the only mistake I make for 2009. Crop mix for 2009 will be about the same, with 50% in wheat and barley, 25% in oil seeds (canola and sunflowers) and 25% legumes (peas and dry beans), maybe a little flax, but NO corn. Bought some fuel last week at $1.72.  Much of eastern North Dakota went into winter with a completely saturated soil moisture profile, receiving about 18 inches of rain from late August until freeze up. We are praying for an open winter, and an early, warm spring.  Merry Christmas... 

  • 12/18 - Tippecanoe County, Indiana: Very little fertilizer applied in this area thus far. Cash rent contracts are being cancelled. Why would a banker lend you money with these current input costs and local corn priced under $3.00? There is a lot of seed corn available at $250 a bag who can afford it!!

  • 12/18 - Shelby County, Illinois: Corn yields very good, stood good. Bean yields were average. We put nh3 on at prepay of 940-only 1 field of dry applied on the bank farm(they wanted it on now) We are waiting for the price to go down to spread the rest or just skip a year. Merry Christmas!!!!!!!  

  • 12/17 - Queen Anne's County, Maryland: We just finished our bean crop.... by mowing it. Our last field was averaging less than 2 bushels per acre so we stopped and called our crop insurance agent to make sure we didn't have to burn all that fuel to harvest nothing. Thankfully not. We're going to have crop insurance claims this year, INCLUDING on irrigated ground. We had a little over 3 inches of measurable rain between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Our bean AVERAGE was 23 bu/ac, our dryland corn AVERAGE was 90 bu/ac, with irrigated coming in at 110 bu/ac. 

  • 12/17 - Southern Shelby County, Illinois: Finally done the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Yields were OK I guess, some better then others, the stand was the main thing. Next to last field, 40 acres, took 7 days using a corn reel I borrowed from a neighbor. Even with the reel most was one way harvesting, just wouldn't feed in going west. All our beans are no-till and due to the late planting, first couple weeks of June, almost no growth, I assume from soil compaction due to the excessive rain. Beans seemed at a standstill for over a month, yields were surprising, considering the shortness of the plants, yields average to a little above. Corn yields were average to a little above as well. Moisture ran from 16 to 20 percent with the exception of the last field, planted in mid June, harvested at 28-29 percent, I was just thrilled that it made a black layer, yielded 100. Bigger operators got most fall work done, running more then one chisel, really helped them out. Not a lot of AA applied normally if the fall, AA running $1000, Potash $900 and DAP $1100. Definitely don't want another late year like this for a long time. 

  • 12/16 - Cass County, North Dakota: It took forever (finished Dec. 11) and it was wet (21-25% moisture) but it was also the best corn crop I’ve ever harvested with field averages from 165-210 bu/a across 2500 acres.  That’s pretty good for North Dakota.  I’m glad to be done and glad for a good year.  Merry Christmas! 

  • 12/16 - Ottertail County, West Central Minnesota: -40 below windchill today! To the farmer with the concerns on nitrogen stabilizer for liquid nitrogen or hog manure: Ask for a product call Agrotain plus, is a dry formulation that you mix with the manure. We have seen a 2-10 bushel response versus no treatment.

  • 12/15 - Watanwan County Minnesota: I have driven around Midwest; trucking since finishing field work; where are all the corn piles? 

  • 12/15 - Nelson County, Northeast North Dakota: Finished combining and drying corn on Friday, Dec. 12. 30% corn before Thanksgiving was 25% when we finished. Lots of wind and below freezing temperatures after Thanksgiving. Average to below average yields, high cost. Low test weights. I'd guess that 10% of corn is still in the fields in this area. Some guys without dryers are hoping for less than 46 lb. test weights and Federal Crop Insurance. Big blizzard and below zero temperatures for the next week might be the end of harvest here. We're lucky to be done. Merry Christmas. 

  • 12/15 - Calhoun County, Iowa: Crop is harvested. We have excess corn in piles at the elevators in this area of the state. Many producers decided to let the coops deal with the wet corn as this year’s crop never dried down much below 18-20% on the full season varieties. Many of those piles are already experiencing heat damage. Yields were all over the map depending upon when the corn was planted, when the ground was fertilized and with what product, and if it was corn-on-corn vs. corn-soybean rotation. The poorest yields seem to come from corn-on-corn fall fertilized with hog manure and no stabilizer for the nitrogen. Best yields were on corn-soybean rotations with spring applied hog manure or fall applied anhydrous with a stabilizer for the nitrogen. The earliest planted corn (April 24th) had population issues again this year. Corn planted the first week of May had the best yields.

    Fertilizer prices for this fall and next spring have delayed many applications from occurring. There is a wait and see attitude about what and how much to be put on. The university trials have given us something to consider when it comes to applying P & K this next year. As our Bray tests are high for both, we won’t be applying any P & K. With the availability of a N stabilizer for liquid N this spring, we will again apply liquid N along with a pre-emergence to save on time and trips. It worked for us the past 2 seasons with good yield results even though there wasn’t a stabilizer available for either liquid N or hog manure.

    We are no-till farmers and this year our soybeans broke the 60 bushel yield barrier. We drill in standing corn stalks, spray with Roundup around the 4th of July, spray for aphids around the 22nd of July and harvest. Before we started to go completely no-till, we weren’t able to break 50 bushels per acre. Along with better seed and some help from Mother Nature we have had excellent yields 3 years in a row. The soybean crop in this area was better than any one expected even on their replanted acres. A very late freeze helped those replanted acres fully mature.
    2009 will be a test for input costs. How we hold down those costs will determine the bottom line. Area producers who went out on a limb and contracted acres with inflated cash rents (over $300) will need a major turn around in the markets (if they haven’t locked in their 2009 sales before September 2008) to survive. Banks are already seeing some red ink in some 2009 cash flow statements. 

  • 12/15 - Henry County, Illinois: There is still corn out here and there. Coming out at 25%. It was drier earlier but has picked up moisture with snow and rain events every 2 or 3 days. Went to Carbondale last weekend and there was a lot of corn being picked south of Litchfield. They were wet early, late planted and then got tail end of the hurricane. I saw a lot of corn reels. This cannot be adding to national yield. 

  • 12/15 - San Saba County, Texas (just east of McCulloch): Central Texas has turned into the desert. Spotty wheat stands, running out of grass and few dry land pecans. 

  • 12/12 - Northeast Kansas:We finished corn the Saturday before Thanksgiving.  After FSA got all the bins measured our yields were "ho-hum" on corn and a bit below average on soybeans.  We had little rain in August which "dinged" the soybeans.  Our best soybean yields were our first planted (May 4-5) and last planted (Memorial Day)?  All in all not a bad year. We've turned numbers into our insurance agent and he says we'll get some of our premium back through CRC.   We'll try to learn from this and go on as we always do. We did get some fall work done over the Thanksgiving weekend. The weather since then has not permitted any tillage. We are playing the wait and see game for fertilizer next year.  We've not bought anything nor have we put any on except for some hog manure. Our seed is purchased. At this point we are sticking with our corn/soybean rotation.  We raise Waxy corn for that market and the premium is pretty good for next year.  We have a few '08 corn and soybean contracts to get filled before the end of the year.  Why didn't we sell it all plus our neighbor's and our neighbor's, neighbor?  We're putting numbers together for the accountant. Set back relax a little enjoy the holiday.  Merry Christmas. 

  • 12/12 - Nobles County, Manitoba: We had a wind come through in Nov. that had gust up to 50 mph on a Sun. We combined all that day and could not find sheltered spots to get our tarps rolled back and forth on out semis. We figure we lost between 10 and 30 bu. per acre as the stalks were broke over and then we got a rain snow mix on top of the broke over corn, which made it impossible to pick up the broke over stalks that were lying down on the ground! The test weight was between 53.8 and 57 pounds, with moisture averaging 17.5 to 18 %. This knocked our yields considerably. Beans in our area ran between 30 and 50 bu. with 40 to 45 bu. the top end of most farms. Bean plants got enough beans to keep them running but are trying to break some loose from farmers by narrowing the basis to 16 to 19 cents. I don't know where all the beans are that USDA says we have. Tucked away waiting for the price to recover so they can get 9 dollars? Rumors from people in the know are saying farmers as a whole only had 20% or less contracted on 2008 crop! Also, of interest is how VeraSun can make farmers deliver grain and take market price and not honor their contracted price. Most farmers are in a stupor over the increase in cash rent and fertilizer and seed and other input cost and a price that has dropped over 50%. I think everyone should be praying to the Lord for this financial debacle to end. Cash flows do not work at all!!! Hang in there the Lord will provide! 

  • 12/12 - Scottsbluff County, Nebraska: Still harvesting corn in Scottsbluff County, NE. Still in the low 20's for moisture. Merry Christmas. 

  • 12/12 - Martin County Indiana: We were hoping to wrap up harvest today but the combine had different plans it caught fire with about twenty acres left this afternoon. The season has been a long one 2 floods this year then a wind storm that blew all the late corn flat and now to top it all off the combine burns to the ground. 

  • 12/12 - Brown County, Northeast South Dakota: My brother and nephew finally finished harvest yesterday, December 10.  Most of the harvest is nearly finished is this area, however some corn still to pick. Had over 12 inches of rain after September 1.  Terrible wind storm on July 31 caused some cornfields to have over 80% loss.  We had corn yields anywhere from 40 to 140.  Beans made 30-39.  Hope next year is not quite as hectic. 

  • 12/12 - Northwest Iowa:I’m driving around western Iowa, if our corn crop is so large where are all the big corn piles that are usually on the ground? I think maybe the USDA missed the boat AGAIN. Yields were good on corn, not great, soybean's were less than average. Tell me if there are big grain piles in the rest of the Midwest. Merry Christmas. 

  • 12/11 - Fulton/Miami counties, North Central Indiana:We finished corn the Saturday before Thanksgiving.  After FSA got all the bins measured our yields were "ho-hum" on corn and a bit below average on soybeans.  We had little rain in August which "dinged" the soybeans.  Our best soybean yields were our first planted (May 4-5) and last planted (Memorial Day)?  All in all not a bad year. We've turned numbers into our insurance agent and he says we'll get some of our premium back through CRC.   We'll try to learn from this and go on as we always do. We did get some fall work done over the Thanksgiving weekend. The weather since then has not permitted any tillage. We are playing the wait and see game for fertilizer next year.  We've not bought anything nor have we put any on except for some hog manure. Our seed is purchased. At this point we are sticking with our corn/soybean rotation.  We raise Waxy corn for that market and the premium is pretty good for next year.  We have a few '08 corn and soybean contracts to get filled before the end of the year.  Why didn't we sell it all plus our neighbor's and our neighbor's, neighbor?  We're putting numbers together for the accountant. Set back relax a little enjoy the holiday.  Merry Christmas. 

  • 12/11 - McCulloch County, Texas: I finally finished my below average cotton harvest and finished planting 1800 acres of wheat yesterday. "0" of my wheat acres have any sign of emerging. 

  • 12/10 - Northeast North Dakota: I hand shelled some corn over the weekend.......still 32% moisture, 46 test weight, and still in the field......where it might stay for a long time yet.  Some are trying to finish their corn regardless of moist. levels.   The propane trucks are making as many trips as the grain trucks.  Many acres of corn left in the state, but some is coming off. Combines should be put away before the Christmas lights go up. 

  • 12/10 - Huron County, Midwestern Ontario: Corn harvest has virtually come to a halt because of heavy snowfall over the last three weeks.In many cases there is two or more feet of snow in corn fields To the south about 5-15 % left to be harvested and to the north 25-50%.In general yields have been above average with good quality and good to excellent standablity.  

  • 12/09 - Northwest Ohio: Beans were bad to terrible. Corn was fair, but we have had better. Our worst bean yields in 40 years. 

  • 12/05- Coles County, East-Central Illinois: Close to 50% of NH3 was put on in my area, but not in the best conditions. Prices for corn under $3.00, but need $3.70 or more just to cover input cost for 2009 crop. The looming farm crisis may beat out the housing crisis and the Wall Street crisis and the auto industry crisis in 2009 because people can't eat houses, stocks & cars. Watch your bins. With all the mold on the cobs this year, your corn may be peppered with moldy kernals in your bins and can go out of condition fast. Happy holidays!

  • 12/04 - South-Central Minnesota: Hard to find any corn left. Some were done a month ago and some just finished before the snow over Thanksgiving. Corn yields were good but not great, and varied quite a bit.  Beans were disappointing. Groung froze early with some not getting tillage done. This will limit corn on corn for next year. Some dry fertilizer was spread, but very little NH3  applied. Ground just froze too quickly. Coop people say fertilizer prices won't come down. Don't know if a guy should bevieve them or not. Right now looks like we should have rented our ground out for 09 and took the year off.

  • 12/03 - Decatur County, Indiana: The season has been wrapped up for a while and everyone has their winter wheat planted. Our county is getting affected similar to many counties across the nation with the REX Gas pipeline that is running across a vast part of America. It will be interesting the see the how quickly they are out and how much affect they have on fields. Only time will tell. 

  • 12/02 - Saline County, Northeastern Nebraska: Harvest is over here. Has been a different kind of year. Lots of moisture early, had a struggle to get the corn and beans planted. We were about two weeks behind normal. Had enough moisture most of the growing year, but with it had lots of hail. 100% on about  200 acres of beans. Corn not so bad, but still cut yields greatly. I'd say dryland corn yield from 120 to 180. Beans from 40 to 50 bpa. Now we need the grain price to recover. Can't get 3.00 for corn at our local cc-op. Glad I contracted  some grain, but not enough. Merry Christmas!

  • 12/02 - Cimarron County, Oklahoma: Still in a severe drought here. What wheat made it up is suffering now. We have been in a drought for at least 10 years and it is not getting better. Most of the milo was disastered out and what wasn’t was 5-6 bu/ acre. I watched the Weather Channel Sunday about the Dust Bowl. And if it were not for CRP grass, this county would look like it again due to the winds this last spring and prolonged drought. Some of the wheat is not up still. May have to irrigate to keep fields alive. That is not profitable at these prices. Nothing at these price levels are worth the risk vs. reward of planting. Do you want to take a chance of putting $500 a day worth of fuel into your tractor again? Not worth the risk at these prices. Really having a difficult time deciding what to do. I'm seriously considering a milo crop for low inputs.

  •  12/01 - Winona County, Southeast Minnesota: Beans stood well this year. Beans ran from 20 bu to 70 bu per acre. Averaged 49 bu on 750 acres.  I saw some top die down and a bit of white mold.  200 of these acres were hailed on twice. Corn stood well also this year. Started @ 28-30% and finished @ 17%. Yields ran from 120 bu to 200+ bu per acre. Averaged 174 bu on 750 acres. 220 of these acres were hailed on and also wind damaged. The quality of the ground was relative to the yield this year in a big way. All contracts are filled and the bins are full. We were short on rain last half of August-September-October…could have been a bin buster. Corn and beans all reacted maturity prior to the first freeze. I am one of the luck ones to have all my fall tillage done before the ground froze. A lot of the neighbors aren’t as lucky. 95% of the crops are now out of the fields. I have a lot to be thankful for in this crop season.  Happy holidays!

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