SOYBEAN PRODUCERS: INCREASE NEW-CROP CASH SALES... November soybean futures have rallied more than $1 from last week's low to challenge the long-term downtrend on the daily chart. The two previous tests of this trendline in June and July saw buying interest dry up and resulted in bull traps. Therefore, soybean hedgers and cash-only marketers are advised to sell 30% of expected 2013-crop production via cash forward contract for harvest delivery to get to 50% forward priced on new-crop. If futures extend the corrective rally, we'll advise additional cash sales and/or reownership via long call options.
CROP TOUR KICKS OFF NEXT WEEK... We'll get a first-hand look at crops across much of the Corn Belt next week as we scout roughly 1,100 corn and 1,100 soybean fields on the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour. Pro Farmer Editor Chip Flory will lead the western leg of Tour, while Managing Editor Brian Grete will guide scouts across the eastern leg. Both legs of Tour will meet Thursday evening, Aug. 22, in Rochester, Minnesota, for the Tour finale.
You can follow our findings and coverage of Tour throughout the week in the "Crop Tour" section of our homepage. And you can even sample your fields the same as we do on Tour and enter your results via our Virtual Crop Tour page. And don't forget to follow along on Twitter via #pftour13. You can also follow Tour leaders @ChipFlory, @BGrete, @JasonFranckNC and @MNWeedWizard for tweets from the field and @JuliJohnston and @MeghanPedersen for Tour results.
JOIN PRO FARMER'S VIRTUAL CROP TOUR... Staying home next week? You can still participate and contribute to Pro Farmer's Midwest Crop Tour via our Virtual Crop Tour. Here's how to participate:
- Get past the end rows and go 35 paces.
- Record the number of ears that will make grain in two 30-foot rows.
- Use the fifth, eighth and 11th ear from one sample row and measure the length of grain in inches on those ears.
- Count the number of kernel rows around each of the three ears.
- Enter the row width in the field.
After you collect that data head to the Virtual Crop Tour site to enter your data (remember to select your state and county). Hit "submit" to calculate your Virtual Crop Tour results and compare it to Tour data and others on the Virtual Crop Tour.
MERCK TEMPORARILY SUSPENDS ZILMAX SALES; FDA WORKING WITH MERCK & USDA ON MATTER... Drugmaker Merck & Co. has decided to temporarily suspend sales of the feed additive Zilmax (zilpaterol hydrochloride) in the U.S. and Canada. The company says, "This will allow sufficient time for the establishment of valid study protocols, identification of feeders and packers to participate in the audit, and creation of a third-party team to oversee this process and validate its results."
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says it is working with (but not in a joint study or scientific investigation) Merck and USDA to monitor the situation and gather information as to whether the feed additive is safe, according to Reuters newswire. FDA reportedly told Reuters it has received "a very small number" of reports of "lameness or lying down" in cattle whose feed contained zilpaterol.
These actions came in response to news earlier this month that Tyson Foods will stop buying cattle that are finished with Zilmax as of Sept. 6 due to mobility concerns with the animals. National Beef Packing Co., Cargill and JBS have said they will continue to buy cattle finished with Zilmax and other beta-agonists. Learn more.
INTERPRETING FSA CERTIFIED ACRES... USDA’s initial Farm Service Agency (FSA) certified acreage data is extremely valuable information, but it’s also extremely preliminary. Yesterday's "data dump" is the first of five releases of preliminary certified acreage data before the final comes in January. This year, the August data was highly anticipated due to the much-higher-than-normal Prevented Plant (PP) acres in Iowa, Minnesota and North Dakota. The initial report indicated 3.411 million PP corn acres, 1.619 million PP soybean acres, 1.744 million PP wheat acres and a grand total of PP on all crops of 7.711 million acres.
It’s important to understand these numbers can only get bigger as county FSA offices update the file and continue to enter data. In the past, much of the certification regarding PP acres was complete in August. In 2011, when PP corn acres reached 3.013 million, the August preliminary data had corn PP acres at 2.961 million — 98.3% of the total. That suggests much of the PP certification on corn acres may already be complete. However, the combination of planted, failed and PP corn acres in the August 2011 preliminary data dump was 91.267 million acres, which accounted for 99.3% of acres intended to be planted to corn in the March 2011 Prospective Plantings Report.
This year, the combination of planted, failed and PP corn acres in the August preliminary data is 92.182 million — just 94.8% of the 97.282 million acres intended to be planted to corn in the March Prospective Plantings Report.
In August of 2011, the preliminary corn data was just 669,000 acres short of March intentions. This year, the preliminary data is a scary 5.1 million acres short of March corn planting intentions. We’re not exactly sure what this is telling us, but we do know the PP and planted corn acreage tallies are likely to increase in upcoming updates.