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Articles from 2014 In November

Calving Schools Planned For Kansas Beef Producers in January

Calving Schools Planned For Kansas Beef Producers in January

With calving season just around the corner, K-State Research and Extension will host calving schools in five locations, with a focus on challenges producers can face during this critical period.

Veterinarian Dave Rethorst, with the Beef Cattle Institute will address such topics as signs of calving, differentiating between normal and abnormal calving and how to manage a difficult birth.

SIGNIFICANT INVESTMENT: "Producers have a significant investment in each cow and getting her to a full term pregnancy. Losing calves at or near birth is an economic loss but it is often a personal loss too and can leave producers asking themselves 'what if' type questions on how they might have saved a particular calf," said K-State Extension livestock specialist, Sandy Johnson.

"Producers have a significant investment in each cow and getting her to a full term pregnancy. Losing calves at or near birth is an economic loss but it is often a personal loss too and can leave producers asking themselves 'what if' type questions on how they might have saved a particular calf," said Sandy Johnson, extension livestock specialist based at K-State's Northwest Research-Extension Center in Colby. "Continued sharpening of our skills when it comes to saving calves is time well spent for anyone that calves cows."

In addition to the calving portion of the program, producers can ask questions on any topic to Rethorst or K-State Research and Extension beef specialists, Justin Waggoner and Sandy Johnson.

Dates, locations, and K-State contact information for each school:

• Jan. 6 – Inman - 5:30 p.m.– Community Building – Darren Busick, or 620-662-2371;

• Jan. 7 – Protection – 11:30 a.m. – Legion Hall – Aaron W. Sawyers, or 620-582-2411;

• Jan. 7 – Johnson – 5:30 p.m. – 4-H Building - Jeff Wilson – or 620-492-2240;

• Jan. 8 – Atwood – 11:30 a.m. – 4-H Building – Jo Argabright - or 785-626-3192;

• Jan. 8 – Wakeeney – 5:30 p.m. – 4-H Building – Scott (Bronc) Barrows, or 785-743-6361

There is a charge to attend at some locations, so check with the local contact for details. All locations request an RSVP by January 2 to the appropriate office so planners can ensure adequate meals and materials.

Agriculturalists Who Influence: Linnea Kooistra

Agriculturalists Who Influence: Linnea Kooistra

When Linnea Kooistra became the first woman named an Illinois Master Farmer in 2011, our editorial mantra was simple: recognize it and move on. Linnea didn't win because she's a woman; she won because she's an excellent farmer. Those are the praises which must be shouted from the rooftops.

The Woodstock, Ill., dairy farm she and her husband, Joel, operate is the picture of efficiency, production, outreach and partnership, with a lot of hard work thrown in on the side. They come from a long line of farmers, immigrated to the Midwest from the Netherlands, milking cows and raising families. Their herd size has flexed with time and technology, starting at 56 cows, growing to 500 at one point, and now back to the 250-head range. They also farm several hundred acres of crops, as well.

What I have come to learn is that while Linnea is an exceptional farmer and partner, she's also an exceptional human being. She will greet you with a warm hug and genuine concern about how you've been. She is warm and engaging and endearing. She'll talk of herself only when pressed. She'll rarely turn down the chance to tell their farm's story, and she was doing it long before it became fashionable.

When Rod Stoll nominated her for the Master Farmer award, he inquired about attaching stories in which she'd been quoted. I said sure - we often get nominations with a story or two included. I kid you not, Linnea's application included not less than 50 pages of news and magazine stories. Rod should get some kind of award just for compilation. And that was nearly four years ago; imagine the volume he could send today.

Linnea and Joel swing wide the barn doors for guests, too. From 1994 to 1999, they welcomed 3,000 Chicago guests to their farm for breakfast, as a part of the annual Harvard Milk Day. After breakfast, Linnea, Joel and legendary farm broadcaster Orion Samuelson led tours of their farm and answered questions.

And the thing is, that's just one example. Linnea's leadership extends all across Illinois agriculture, the dairy industry and her community. She's presided over the local education foundation, she's an Alliance for Agriculture founding member, she's been part of Dairy Management, Inc.'s national spokesperson network, and she's a graduate of the Illinois Ag Leadership Program. I can assure you, this only scratches the surface of the work she's done in her lifetime.

Rod Stoll says it best: "Linnea has an infectious enthusiasm for learning; she's continuously seeking to process new information and data and understand the latest technologies and management strategies. It's inspiring and educational to be around her! And Linnea has a gentle compassion and genuine empathy for others. She's developed a diverse network of connections around the country – and in fact, the world. But she engages each relationship authentically and generously."

Rod also shared this: "Linnea brings out the best in those around her."

Well. There you go. What more can you ask for in another human being? And in a fellow farmer?

Back in 2011, Linnea closed her Master Farmer acceptance speech by saying she wanted to honor all the hard-working farm women who contribute to the food supply.

"Rural women make up 25% of the world’s population, and in some countries they produce up to 80% of the food," Linnea shared. "Margaret Mead said, 'Never underestimate the power of a committed woman.' I share this award with committed women who feed the world."

That is why Linnea is an agriculturalist who influences.   

Agriculturalists Who Influence: The Series

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Check out Dozens of other 30 Days Farm Bloggers Here

Married 2 Years; Still Learning

We’ve learned a lot – how to work through our differences, what makes each other tick and how to conquer our problems together. And yes, we're still learning.

We often look at each other with that “deer-in-the-headlights" look when one says something the other has no clue about. We grew up only two hours from each other. Yet, there are more differences than you'd think in the phrases and words we say and the things we know and do. It's more than a "he" and "she" thing.

Sheilah: Shortly after we were married, Mike had an evening meeting with the county farmland preservation board. I decided to make brownies and was in the process of cleaning up when he came home.

Mike: What are you making?

Sheilah: Brownies.

Mike: What's all that other stuff for on the table?

Sheilah: That’s what I used for the brownies.

Mike: How did that all fit in the [brownie] box?

Sheilah: There's no box, you goof. I made them from scratch.

Mike: You mean you don’t have to have a box mix to make brownies?

Then there was our conversation about pepperoni rolls – a staple when it comes to eating lunch in the fields. One day, I asked Sheilah to pick some. She came home with pepperoni hot pockets.

Sheilah: How are you going to heat these up?

Mike: Those aren’t pepperoni rolls.

Sheilah: Yes, they are. There’s pepperoni in them.

Mike: No. I wanted pepperoni rolls, not hot pockets. It's like a dinner roll with pepperoni and cheese in the middle.

Sheilah: I have no idea what you’re talking about.

Mike: You’ve never eaten a pepperoni roll?

Sheilah: Ummm, no. Those don’t exist back home.

Mike: I thought Sheilah was crazy when she told me she never even seen one. I told her they were in the bakery section. And the next time we went to Walmart in Punxsutawney, I looked around the bakery. She was right. Not a pepperoni roll in sight.

Sheilah: My dad called me one morning to see how much snow we'd gotten overnight. "Just a skiff," I told him. He told me they had the same amount.

Mike: How much snow do they have?

Sheilah: They only got a skiff, too.
Mike: A what?

Sheilah: A skiff.

Mike: Did you make that word up?

Sheilah: No. Why?

Mike: I don’t know what this skiff is that you speak about.

Sheilah: Not very much, a dusting.

Mike: Oh. Why didn’t you say that?

Sheilah: I did. I said they got a skiff.

Mike: We had a major problem when it came to folding the laundry – especially my socks. Sheilah likes to fold the tops of hers together so they don’t get lost. I like mine to just be folded in pairs so the elastic doesn’t stretch.

Sheilah: My solution? Whoever folds the laundry gets to put the socks away however they choose.

Mike: These are just a few of the differences we have encountered. I’m sure there'll be a lot more along the way.

Nowadays when I ask Sheilah about something I don’t know, she just smiles and says: “It’s an Indiana County thing. You wouldn’t understand.”

Mike Reskovac is president of Pennsylvania Corn Growers Association. The Reskovacs farm near Uniontown, Pa. Read all their "Two Hearts, One Harvest" columns in American Agriculturist.

This opinion is not necessarily that of or the Penton Farm Progress Group.

5 Agriculture stories to read, Nov. 28, 2014

Five agriculture stories to read this week include advice for renegotiating farmland leases (if you haven't done so already), as well as an FAQ on Title I programs in the 2014 Farm Bill. Read a perspective from Bayer CropScience CEO about the benefits of modern agriculture, and how that impacts our food safety. And while the Thanksgiving holiday has passed, it's not too late to be #thankful4ag, and to take a look at what U.S. farmers provide to make those amazing Thanksgiving meals.

Agriculturalists Who Influence: Gregg Sauder

Agriculturalists Who Influence: Gregg Sauder

Very early in my career, I made a stop at the Tremont, Illinois-based Precision Planting facility. I toured, I met, I wrote a story, probably about Gregg Sauder's latest brilliant corn planting idea.

And so it's been for him, since 1993 or so. That's when Gregg, who can only be described as a relentless farmer-entrepreneur, founded Precision Planting with his wife, Cindy. The goal back then was to get better corn stands, through improving planter meters. They sold Keeton seed firmers and developed MeterMax meter calibration stands. First it was planter meters, then downforce and their 20/20 SeedSense planter monitor to help farmers see what kind of a job their planter was doing with spacing, singulation and downforce. They sold eSet vacuum disks. They set up dealers around the countryside to work with local farmers.

Gregg has been unyielding in his pursuit of better corn stands. He's passionate about growing corn. Picket fence stands, soil pits, root digs, compaction, root health, planter accuracy, row bounce…sit in on any one of his summer or winter meetings at the farm or one of his Farm Progress Show demonstrations, and those are the phrases you'd hear him hammer home.

And excellence. In every last area. Attention to detail. I once did a story on Gregg and the Precision Planting team's participation at the Farm Progress Show, where their booth is one of the most popular on the grounds, with live planting demos, soil pits, scheduled seminars and more. That's due in part to Gregg's desire to always be better, and to let his competitive nature drive a better and more innovative booth than the one next door.

Gregg and Cindy built Precision Planting from the ground up and turned it into a family business. He created jobs for his community, and he kept God at the center of it. I've always heard that when our friend and Precision dealer, Greg Chatterton, was killed in a snowy morning car accident on the way to a Precision Planting winter meeting, Gregg Sauder stopped the meeting and led everyone in prayer for Greg and his family. That's good people.

Along the way, he built a business so innovative and valuable that agribusiness companies came calling. In 2012, he sold Precision Planting to Monsanto and started over. He launched 360 Yield Center this past summer. He's looking – as he always has – for ways to improve corn yields, looking down the road to feeding the 9 billion people estimated to populate the world by 2050. Gregg wants farmers to look beyond goals to potential, and wants to help them take control of limiting factors. He spends a lot of time thinking about water and fertility, and he throws out numbers like 500 bushels per acre. Really. He thinks yield boosts will come not from big data but from facts in each unique field, and he has a team of farmers, engineers and agronomists working together. They've developed a variety of products to combine insights from a farmer's own field tests and precipitation, with sample field analysis and historic weather patterns.

Here's the thing: farmers are interested and they're talking about it, because Gregg Sauder has already changed the way we plant corn in the Midwest. He's proven himself. He's trustworthy.

And he's a big thinker who is, at the very least, relentlessly looking for the next big idea.

It's what makes him an agriculturalist who influences.

Agriculturalists Who Influence: The Series

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Deadline Approaching for New STEM Education Award for Inspired Teaching

Deadline Approaching for New STEM Education Award for Inspired Teaching

Although the deadline is quickly approaching, there is still time to nominate Iowa educators for the new STEM Education Award for Inspired Teaching, sponsored by Kemin Industries and in conjunction with the Iowa Governor's Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Advisory Council.

DEADLINE DEC. 12: Nominations of teachers for the Iowa Governor's STEM Award for Inspired Teaching are due December 12, 2014 and can be completed online.

"The Council is fully committed to increasing interest and achievement in STEM education and actively engaging businesses to support this work," said Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, co-chair of the Governor's STEM Advisory Council. "This is a wonderful example of how business and industry partnerships can develop STEM opportunities for our students, as well as recognize the great instruction their educators are providing."

Iowa's teachers hold the key to future of STEM education
"Business and industry increasingly are stepping up to work with schools in ways that make a real difference," said Mary Andringa, co-chair of the Governor's STEM Advisory Council and Vermeer CEO. "I'm confident that the STEM Education Award for Inspired Teaching sponsored by Kemin will encourage more companies to look at how they can help prepare students to succeed in science, technology, engineering and math. That partnership is crucial in a fast-changing, global economy."

"Iowa's educators hold the key to the future of STEM through their work with our next generation of innovators," said Jeff Weld, Ph.D., executive director of the Governor's STEM Advisory Council. "It is vital that we do all we can to support them, including recognizing a job well done. Kemin has developed a generous award program enabling us to honor great teaching that impacts so many young minds."

Nominations due December 12, 2014 and can be completed online
The award will honor one K-12 educator from each of the six STEM regions across the state of Iowa for their work inspiring and encourage students to develop an interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The six teachers selected will receive an award of $1,500, with an additional $1,500 designated for classroom use.


"We're proud to support STEM educators for all they do to engage young minds and increase awareness of the numerous opportunities available in STEM fields," said Dr. Chris Nelson, Kemin president and CEO. "Science, technology, engineering and math are integral to our business, and we appreciate teachers' efforts to demonstrate to students the enormous impact they can have in these careers, not only on their lives but the lives of others."

Nominations are due December 12, 2014 and can be completed online. Anyone is eligible to submit an educator through the simple nomination form. Once nominated, educators will fill out an application to be assessed by a panel of judges who will select the six winners. Winners will be announced in March 2015. For more information or to nominate an educator, visit

Governor's STEM Advisory Council: Established in July 2011 via Governor's Executive Order, the Iowa Governor's STEM Advisory Council is a public-private partnership of educators, companies, and Iowa students and families addressing policies and programs designed to improve Iowa's educational system focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The Council works to engage and prepare students for a career-ready workforce path, regain our State's historic leadership position in education, and provide a vital competitive economic advantage now, and for the future, to ensure that every Iowa student has access to world-class STEM education opportunities. The 47-member Council is chaired by Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and Vermeer Corp. CEO Mary Andringa. For more information, visit

Management tips for corn, soybeans stored in on-farm bins

When storing corn and soybeans in on-farm bins this winter, be sure grain is stored at appropriate temperatures and moisture percentages. Also be sure the aeration fan is timed properly, say experts at Ohio State University.

Other tips to consider when storing corn and soybeans this winter include:

1.  Be sure grain is level in the bin head space to assure even flow through the entire grain mass.  Peaked grain in the middle of the bin is usually problematic.

2.  Do not over-fill bins.  Access to the head space area is nearly impossible when a bin is over-filled.

3.  Be safe in working in and around grain bins.  Work in teams, have safety plans, use lock-out to prevent augers from being started when one is working inside of a bin, and never enter a bin that is being loaded or unloaded.

4.  Monitor your grain through the winter on regular basis.

Read this from Ohio State.


Choosing The Right Soybean Varieties For 2015

Choosing The Right Soybean Varieties For 2015

There are many factors to consider when choosing which soybean varieties to plant in 2015. Where should you start when making your decision?

A major differentiator between soybean varieties is maturity levels. Many growers plant a range of different maturities to spread out harvest time. However, there is a bit of a misconception that early maturity soybeans for your area have a lower yield potential. According to Dan Bjorklund, Syngenta agronomic service representative based in Fort Dodge, Iowa, this is not necessarily true.

SEED DECISIONS: With average soybean yields increasing each year, selecting the right variety is becoming increasingly important for growers. Between emerging disease pressures, field trial performance and seed treatment packages, there are many factors to consider when choosing the right variety.

"The thinking in the past was the fullest season varieties for your area would have the highest yield potential. In reality, the variety genetically developed to best handle area-specific soil types and diseases will have the highest yield potential," says Bjorklund. "It's more about the agronomics of the variety and how consistent it will be than the maturity length."

Disease resistance is high priority when choosing varieties
Although it is important to plant a range of maturities in preparation for different possible field conditions due to weather, disease resistance is a higher priority when choosing seed. Researchers at the Iowa State University Extension agree that disease resistance should be a higher priority. In the wake of a season that saw high levels of disease pressure, choosing a soybean variety with resistance to these threats should be top of mind for growers in 2015.

According to Bjorklund, preparation for the following three diseases will best protect yield potential: sudden death syndrome (SDS), Phytophthora and early-season Pythium. The first step to defend against SDS and Phytophthora is to choose a soybean variety that has resistance to these diseases, such as NK Soybeans. Bjorklund notes that many NK Soybean varieties have built-in resistance to both of these diseases. SDS in particular is becoming a more of a problem in Iowa and NK Soybeans offer increased SDS resistance compared to competitive varieties. According to Bjorklund, growers who planted varieties with excellent resistance to SDS this past season saw better overall yields.


Compare results in yield trials to your field's need
This information raises another question: What is more important, planting seed with resistance to potential threats or making a decision based on field trials? According to Bjorklund, both of these factors need to be considered when choosing soybean varieties. "I think the genetic yield potential of the variety is determined by looking at a plot and seeing how a variety has adapted to a particular soil type," Bjorklund notes. "You need to look at the agronomic package of the variety; its resistance to diseases like SDS should be weighed because you don't know when those diseases are going to become a major factor."

However, when it comes to early-season Pythium and some other disease pressures, picking the right variety only goes so far. The best way to defend against Pythium, says Bjorklund, is to apply a fungicide seed treatment for additional protection. Choosing an effective seed treatment can provide protection that leads to healthy crops throughout the season. Although treating seed is not a universal practice for Iowa soybeans, it is consistently expanding each year. Bjorklund cautions against trying to cut costs by skipping seed treatments.

New seed treatments help boost soybean yields
"I know of growers who treated their seed with Clariva Complete Beans seed treatment and averaged 70 to 75 bushels per acre across fields, and experienced the best yields they've ever had," says Bjorklund. "There were other growers in the area who did not treat their soybeans and were disappointed. People are looking at ways to cut back on input costs, but it would be a big mistake to not treat your soybean seed."

Although there are up-front costs associated with seed treatments, he advises that the return on investment is generally greater when growers take the extra care to defend soybeans before a disease or pest, like soybean cyst nematode, becomes an issue.

Choosing soybean seed is often the first of many choices throughout the growing season, and with all of these factors it can be a complicated decision to make. Although there is something to be said for planting what has worked in the past, it's crucial to stay on top of developing regional threats and to reevaluate the best varieties for your fields each season.

Cooking Up Support For Members of Military In Iowa

Cooking Up Support For Members of Military In Iowa

Iowa service members will have a little more on their plates this holiday season, quite literally, with an unprecedented donation of coupons good for free pork from the Deb & Jeff Hansen Foundation and Iowa Select Farms. Every single service member in Iowa is receiving $28 worth of coupons good for various pork products, including ribs and bacon, through their unit readiness coordinators. In total, more than 10,800 active duty and reserve service members will be receiving coupons, totaling $302,400 in free pork.


"Providing support to military families in Iowa is the least we can do for those on active duty and those who dedicate their time to civilian duty and the Reserves," says Jeff Hansen, president and CEO of Iowa Select Farms. "Supplying the resources for a home-cooked meal that brings their families together is our way of saying 'thank you' to the men and women who sacrifice so much of their time away from their families in order to protect our freedom."

Service members will be receiving $302,400 in free pork
From ribs to bacon to fresh pork, the coupon packets are redeemable at any local grocery store and provide for many meals worth or product, no matter the brand or cut. From bacon-wrapped turkey to pork loin with cranberry, there are an endless array of holiday recipes that will be made possible with these donations.


"I'm humbled and proud to be a recipient of this gift," says SFC Larry Hingtgen, a member of Delta Company 1/133rd Infantry. "I know that I speak for most of the men and women in uniform all over the state in saying that this is hugely appreciated. From bacon breakfasts, to our holiday gatherings and tailgating, this is a practical and hugely helpful gift. The thoughtfulness of Iowans never ceases to amaze me."

The foundation is also working on distributing the coupon packets to ROTC programs across the state. The coupons offer a great opportunity for service members to sit down with their families to share a meal during the fall months and over the holidays. On top of these coupon donations, the foundation will also continue the popular Hams for Heroes Program, which delivers fresh pork packs and smoked hams to select military units and families.

About the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation: The Hansen's, who founded Iowa Select Farms and New Modern Concepts in Iowa Falls, established the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation in 2006 to work with philanthropic organizations to relieve hunger, support military families and strengthen efforts to find a cure for childhood cancer while improving the quality of life for cancer patients.

About Iowa Select Farms: Iowa Select Farms, based in Iowa Falls, is Iowa's largest pork producer with nearly 1,000 employees and 345 producers in Iowa. The owners of Iowa Select Farms established the Deb & Jeff Hansen Foundation in 2006. Supporting military members and their families is one of the core missions of the Foundation, which has a long history of donating pork to service members and their families across Iowa, providing them with the opportunity to bring their families together through food.

Corn+Soybean Digest

Grain marketing goals drive success

With enough bin space to handle all their corn and soybeans the Everetts left to right Ron Tyler Tim and Jon can get higher futures prices locked in early store the grain and then move it when the basis improves in the spring and summer
<p>With enough bin space to handle all their corn and soybeans, the Everetts (left to right, Ron, Tyler, Tim and Jon) can get higher futures prices locked in early, store the grain and then move it when the basis improves in the spring and summer. </p>

“I can sacrifice 25¢ per bushel, but I can’t sacrifice $2.” Jon Everett’s comment about corn and soybean sales emphasizes his attitude toward setting a marketing goal, then not letting it fizzle away for the sake of a few cents.

Everett is part of a corn and soybean operation in western Ohio outside Sidney. He farms with his father Ron, brother Tim and nephew Tyler.

They didn’t dodge opportunities to get about 70% of their 2014 crops marketed last winter and spring, when corn prices were still pushing $5 per bushel or better and soybean prices were near $11.80 per bushel. And they wasted no time in making sales on about 40% of their expected 2015 corn and soybean production.

“We try to get at least 40% of the next year’s crop marketed long before it’s planted,” Everett says. “We also try to restrain ourselves from selling anything in the fall if we can help it.”

Everett feared that prices in late summer and into at harvest would be far below $5 and $11.80. In his mind, projected high yields across the Midwest and recovery of thin grain stocks caused by drought and strong demand spelled lower prices for corn and soybeans.

He was right. Cash corn slipped toward $3, and cash soybeans struggled to stay above $9 to $9.50.

“Last winter we all sat down and looked at our situation,” Everett says. “We evaluated our inputs. As in past years, we set a price goal that would produce a little profit. You have to have some kind of goal or you won’t get it done.”

Pricing plan

Compared to markets they had seen in 2012 and 2013, prices were pitiful. “Leading into 2014 it was hard to sell $5 corn,” Everett says. “The crop before was about $6.50. But we calculated that $5 was a fair price, because if the nation produced a good crop, the price was going to go down.”

Pricing was made for delivery well into 2015, when basis levels would likely improve from the weak levels seen during harvest. “Most of our sales are based off December futures in the $5 range,” Everett says. “Some are up to $5.40 and some are down to $4.50. Many of those marketed bushels will be delivered next summer, when we’re likely to see a positive basis that may be 50¢ stronger than at harvest.”

The Everetts also made soybean sales that averaged about $11.80 based on November bean futures. Again, those price levels were below those seen the past few years, which were well into the teens.

 “We’re also about 40% sold for 2015 beans at about $11.50,” Everett says. “About 40% of our 2015 corn is booked in the $4.75 range (at the time of this writing in mid-November). Some bushels were marketed at above $5 and some at near $4.50.”

The Everetts market some grain through their local Cargill elevator pricing programs and make other sales to various selling points. “We like a flex account approach, in which we get futures prices locked in with the freedom to sell and haul to a delivery point when others can’t or don’t want to,” Everett says. “That can be to one or more of several elevators or ethanol plants.”

They maintain enough on-farm storage to hold all of their production. “With the ability to hold corn or beans six months or more, we can benefit from a better basis,” Everett says.

He admits that the final steps in getting grain sold can be difficult. “A lot of guys didn’t do much selling when corn was at $5. Like us, they remembered those higher prices, $7 and even $8,” he says. “We should have never had $8 corn that was drought driven.

“We looked at our situation, listened to outside marketing advice and got a lot of corn and soybeans sold. Sometimes you need the outsider to push you forward,” Everett says.

He figures that with the mini-rally seen in corn and soybeans in late October, there will be opportunities to get the remainder of the 2014 crops sold. “We should be able to see $4.50 for much of our remaining corn and hope to approach $11 again on the rest of our beans,” he says, noting that good growing conditions helped his family produce about 200-bushel corn and near 60-bushel soybeans, above their trend yield average.

“But that’s not always the case. You have to leave a portion of your expected yield unsold. You want room in case something happens, such as a drought or other issues that can cause prices to go up,” Everett says.

“It gets back to setting goals. When you set goals, nearly always something happens that causes prices to go up. It’s amazing.”

Watch for rallies

Rally watching should be a priority in the coming years, says Gary Schnitkey, University of Illinois ag economics professor. With good yields for 2014 and strong corn and soybean supply numbers heading into 2015, weather or other production scares will likely be needed to create good marketing opportunities, he adds.

University of Illinois’ Farmdoc recently analyzed potential crop revenue for the central Corn Belt. Using a projected corn price of about $3.40 and strong yields of 220 bushels per acre, they pegged gross corn revenue at $748 per acre. The gross increases to about $800 with government payments of $50 per acre. With projected average input costs of $588, Schnitkey approximates a $210 return.

Soybeans should fare better. Based on a 65-bushel yield and a $10 price, gross revenue is about $700, including about $50 in government payments. With about $372 in projected soybean production costs, the net return is about $328.

Schnitkey says gross revenue projections for corn and soybeans are lower than for 2015, based on trend line yields but slightly higher corn and soybean prices. He says growers should look for rallies in corn and bean markets, determine if they will produce a profit for their own production systems and then make some sales to lock in the projected profit.Everett knows that creative marketing will be needed in 2015 and beyond. “The next couple of years concern me,” Everett says. “You have to have the opportunity to get a high price. We may not have it.

“I may not have the chance to price $5 corn again. But I know I can’t make $3 corn work.”