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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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