Editor's Notebook: Time for a Bit of Coffee Shop Talk

March 10, 2012 09:54 AM

My back-to-back travels this winter meant I had the chance to talk with hundreds of farmers and some of the best experts and analysts in agriculture. Some of that information is included in articles in this magazine, and everything I’ve learned will help guide our efforts in the weeks and months ahead.

There are several nuggets that make interesting coffee shop talk:

  • It’s a struggle for farmers to get their hands on enough seed and insecticide for the corn crop ahead. The shortages are being created by strong corn acres, short seed supply and breaches in Bt technology.
  • Those shortages and the rallying soybean prices have several producers getting ready to switch from corn.
  • We head into spring worried about what the mild winter means for insect pressure and whether the dry winter is the beginning of a drought.
  • A farmer friend just leased 10,000 new acres in one pop from an investment firm. He has a whole new set of equipment and a new set of employees poised for the spring as he folds that big chunk of ground into his operation.
  • Another farmer friend just signed a used equipment loan at 0.9%, using machinery company financing. That clearly shows that companies are motivated to move used inventory. Maybe the new-versus-used machinery equation deserves another look.
  • There are 16 computers and 1.2 miles of wire in the John Deere R Series tractors. Seriously.

If you have other great tidbits to pass along, send me an e-mail or chime in on our AgWeb discussion boards, agriculture’s virtual coffee shop.

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