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July 2012 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.

We need to be a reliable soybean supplier!

Jul 27, 2012

Chip Flory

From The Editor

July 27, 2012

Hello Pro Farmer Members!

What a week... and I even missed the first two days of it while I was in Colorado to celebrate my Aunt Judy and Uncle Richard's 50th wedding anniversary! But the three days I caught were plenty!

I made a really big deal earlier this week about USDA's "Greening Update." If you haven't seen what was on the site, please go read it now.

What really upset me about it is there just doesn't seem to be anybody "minding the store" on some critical issues... and too many of these issues involve animal agriculture. So USDA's cafeteria promoting "Meatless Monday" so you can help "improve the environment" and to "not waste resources" just about made me scream.

And when I got in the office on Wednesday, the grain markets were under some hefty pressure. That's despite what I felt was the roughest day of the year for the corn crop that day. It was 104 in Cedar Falls with a stiff wind blowing. We got some light rain that night, but it was falling on a far-smaller corn crop than had the rain come just two days earlier. The U.S. corn crop lost a lot of bushels early this week, but the promise of some cooler temps and maybe even some additional light, scattered rains but the corn and soybean markets on hold.

I don't think there's any question the grain markets have move work to do to factor in the lost bushels. And even if grain prices do reflect lost bushels, they haven't risen high enough to choke off enough demand to maintain an "acceptable" level of carryover at the end of the marketing year. What's acceptable? About a 5% stocks:use ratio for corn and a 4.5% ratio for beans.

Also... the last paragraph of the feature article on News page 4 this week almost didn't make it in. I had to cut a few things to make sure it made it... and it might be the most important piece in the entire newsletter. Here it is:

"Fix it with more 2013 bean acres? Not likely. Nov. 2013 bean futures are trading about two times the price of
Dec. 2013 corn futures. At that price relationship, corn acres are set to climb — and bean acres to fall — in 2013."

The bean:corn price ratio is about 2:1. I've had many producers tell me they aren't interest in increasing bean acres unless the price ratio is closer to 2.8:1 or even 3:1! The reason the ratio is so low right now is because of expectations of a big South American crop. But a big South American crop won't fix an exceptionally tight stocks situation here. And that's where the risk is for U.S. soybeans going forward. We've never given South American producers as much incentive to increase acres as we are right now -- and they will respond. That means Brazil and Argentina will be securing a bigger share of the Chinese marketing in the 2012-13 marketing year and South America stands a good chance of becoming the "reliable supplier" of soybeans (which means the "supplier of choice") for China. If it happens, it'll take years to rebuild the U.S. soybean export market.

That's why the "acreage battle" for 2013 acres in the U.S. should get started very soon. November 2013 soybean futures have to start gaining on December corn futures (in a big way, and fast) as growers are making acreage decisions this fall. If not, we'll put down a pile of nitrogen that will lock in a huge amount of corn acres for 2013, potentially making beans an "after thought" in the U.S. crop mix.

That's it for now...

Hey - tomorrow is my son Tom's 17th birthday! If you're on Twitter, drop a birthday greeting to @tflory19! Tom will be doing final preps this weekend on his market steer (Tank ~1,400 lbs) and his market heifer (Crazy Girl ~ 1,200 lbs) for the Bremer Co. Fair next week.

And you can follow me on Twitter: @ChipFlory


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Exciting Changes to Your Website!

Jul 13, 2012

Chip Flory

From The Editor

July 13, 2012

Hello Pro Farmer Members!

We've made some exciting changes to!

First, Pro Farmer Members will be able to see which stories I'm selecting for the Pro Farmer newsletter well ahead of getting your newsletter each week. We're going to "build" the newsletter throughout the week in the new Pro Farmer Newsletter block near the top of the homepage. You won't have to wait until Friday at 12:30 p.m. CT to find out what's in the newsletter. (If you'd like access to our daily service, please call 1-888-582-9212 and talk with a consultant on how we can best meet your information needs.)

That, however, doesn't mean the newsletter isn't "worth reading!" The newsletter will still be jammed full of perspective on the top stories of the week. And while you'll get full coverage on items like the U.S. Drought Monitor in the News box on, it might also be included in the Pro Farmer Newsletter box -- but the weekly Pro Farmer newsletter will included much-needed perspective. All the items in the Pro Farmer Newsletter box on are available to Classic, Preferred and VIP Pro Farmer Members.

Second, VIP Members can now get your Pro Farmer Today updates on your website. (Pro Farmer Today only subscribers will continue to receive daily updates by e-mail.) These updates include the Ag Daybook, First Thing Today, three Market Snapshots delivered while the markets are trading, Crop Analysis (corn, soybean, wheat and cotton market analysis), Livestock Analysis (live cattle, lean hog market analysis), Evening Report (daily Pro Farmer newsletter), and Midweek Cash Comments (basis analysis on corn, soybeans and wheat and cash market trends in cattle and hogs).

We hope you enjoy these changes to the site and the upgrade of how we deliver information from Pro Farmer.

That's it for now...


To join Pro Farmer, click here!

'In the 52 years that I have planted...'

Jul 06, 2012

Chip Flory

From The Editor

July 6, 2012

Hello Pro Farmer Members!

It's all about trying to figure out just how low the national average corn yield will fall this year. Oh... and figuring out just the corn market will respond to declining yield expectations. It's well documented how the 1988 drought rally fizzled out the day after Independence Day... and the 2012 drought rally also has that potential after today's trade failed to take out yesterday's highs.

Over the next week, we'll be trying to figure out just how well about 40% to 45% of the U.S. corn crop has pollinated. Pictures of this year's crop show unbelievable differences in crop conditions from the northwestern to the southeastern Corn Belt. But one thing is fairly uniform across the Corn Belt... HEAT! Pollinating corn plants don't like heat. How long silks remain receptive to pollen and how long pollen remains viable is shortened significantly in extreme heat, so it will be time to start peeling back some husks and counting kernels to see how well it has pollinated.

Saybrook, Illinois, Pro Farmer Member Byron Jones is a regular contributor to our Crop Tour newsletter and is the first Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour Master Scout. He filed a crop update with us this morning. Saybrook is in McLean Co., (C) Illinois:

"Six weeks with only 0.6 inch of rain. Right now, we're dealing with a half-inch (or more) of evaporation each day. Sunny, very hot days (15 to 20 degrees above-normal temperatures) will change crop ratings drastically.

"Corn that was planted before April 8 is pollinating with very high temperatures of 75 degrees at night and 95 to 102 in the daytime. It still remains to be seen how ears will retain pollinated kernels.

"For the first time in 52 crops that I have planted, corn plants were shedding green leaves for lack of plant moisture. There were not any fired or dry leaves on the plants until the last three days. Many fields on lighter soil have shrunk to half the height of two weeks ago. Tassels on some varieties are bending over and pointing down.

"The rating on July 6 is only 3 [1 = worst-ever yield potential; 5 = yield potential equal to five-year average; 10 = best-ever yield potential] and is descending rapidly.

"My Son George says Crop Tour scouts will have to dodge the combines... and sometimes a disc."

"Soybeans have stopped growing. They have flowered to the top node, 11 nodes on soybeans planted April 23 and 7 nodes on no-till soybeans planted May 19. Little spots that were replanted deeper on May 30 have fallen over during the day.

"The soybeans planted in April (3.9 maturity) are now turning two nodes over during the afternoon.

"We are short 12 inches of rain and losing a half-inch to evaporation per day. Thus, I can only rate the soybeans at a 3 and descending."

Thanks, Byron... wish conditions were better for you -- and for everybody, for that matter.

That's it for now...

... pray for rain and cooler temps!

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