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Articles from 2017 In September


This Week in Agribusiness, September 30, 2017

Part 1

Note: The video automatically plays through all show parts once you start.

Orion Samuelson and Max Armstrong open this week's show with a look at harvest as Max visits Kansas and Illinois. Chad Colby also offers a harvest report. And Farm Broadcaster Ron Hayes, Radio Oklahoma Network, Oklahoma City, Okla., discusses key issues impacting farmers in that part of the country including the start of winter planting.

Part 2

Orion Samuelson and Max Armstrong talk markets with Steve Georgy, Allendale, Inc., including how weather is impacting the 2017 crop. In Samuelson Sez, Orion Samuelson offers his annual talk about a key safety issue – the use of the slow-moving vehicle emblem; and he shares the need for a working fire extinguisher on combines. And Agricultural Meteorologist Greg Soulje looks at weather for the Western United States.

Part 3

Jamie Johansen reports from the Ohio Farm Science Review with a look at how Ohio State University provides growers key research information. Patrick Haggerty reports on a Farm Foundation forum that looked at keeping U.S. agriculture competitive on a global basis, including ag research support. 

Part 4

Max Armstrong talks tires with Tony Orlando, president, Firestone Ag Tires, and he discusses the value of that on-machine rubber to farmers; and the support network the company offers. Ag Meteorologist Greg Soulje looks at weather for the Western United States. And in Max's Tractor Shed, Max Armstrong offers some tips for farmers to send in their information to be featured in this special segment. And the key is sending those good photos to max@agbizweek.com.

Part 5

Orion Samuelson and Max Armstrong continue their marketing conversation with Steve Georgy, Allendale, Inc.

Part 6

Orion Samuelson profiles Seeger FFA, West Lebanon, Ind., chartered in 1960 with 55 members. Member Hanah Wolf talks about how she contributes to her chapter; and the work done by the organization. Greg Soulje offers his look at the weather for the week ahead.

Part 7

Orion Samuelson and Max Armstrong wrap up this week's episode with the first installment of a look at Beef Environmental Stewards. Russell Nemetz offers the first report on Blue Lake Farm in Sharon, South Carolina. And Max Armstrong talks with Cole Walker, Thunder Creek, maker of fuel service trailers.

Slow-moving vehicles

Orion Samuelson offers his annual talk about a key safety issue – the use of the slow-moving vehicle emblem – or SMV. He notes that it must only be applied to a slow-moving vehicle.

Samuelson Sez is a special feature of This Week in Agribusiness where Orion Samuelson shares his insights and perspectives into key issues of the day. You can reach out to Orion at orion@agbizweek.com

Send us your story

Got a tractor that you think Max Armstrong should feature in Max's Tractor Shed? It's pretty easy, and Max offers some tips in this week's installment.

Max's Tractor Shed is a regular feature of This Week in Agribusiness. Max Armstrong shares information about legacy machines, their stories and how they may still be at work today. If you have a tractor you want featured in Max's Tractor Shed, send a high-resolution digital picture, your contact information, and information about the tractor - what makes it special - to max@agbizweek.com.

Seeger FFA

Orion Samuelson profiles Seeger FFA, West Lebanon, Ind., chartered in 1960 with 55 members. Member Hanah Wolf talks about how she contributes to her chapter; and the work done by the organization.

The weekly FFA Chapter Tribute is an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the good work of your local chapter. Tell us about what you're doing, give us some history from your group and tell our viewers of the work you do in the community. FFA chapters across the country deserve recognition for the work they do, make sure we include yours.

To have your chapter considered for this weekly feature, send along information about your group by e-mail to Orion Samuelson at orion@agbizweek.com or to Max Armstrong at max@agbizweek.com. They'll get your group on the list of those that will be covered in the future. It's a chance to share your story beyond the local community. Drop Orion or Max a "line" soon.

The National FFA Organization, formerly known as Future Farmers of America, is a national youth organization of about 650,000 student members as part of 7,757 local FFA chapters. The National FFA Organization remains committed to the individual student, providing a path to achievement in premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. For more, visit the National FFA Organization online www.ffa.org, on Facebook at facebook.com/nationalffa, on Twitter at twitter.com/nationalffa.

Pizzalicious in downtown Westport
GREAT FLAVOR: If you like Italian food, you will like Pizzalicious in downtown Westport, Ind. Don’t worry, it’s hard to miss!

Like pizza and Italian sandwiches? This place is for you

The neatest part about visiting farmers in their neighborhood is that when it comes time to eat, they typically know the best places. It’s good they’re along, because it’s just as typical that you might not walk into these places on your own.

When Andy Ertel, Jenny Vogel, Bob Steiner and I wound up near Westport, Ind., at noon recently, they knew exactly where to go. They headed for Pizzalicious, a small restaurant tucked into an older building in downtown Westport. If you’ve never ventured to Westport, it’s in Decatur County.

And you don’t know what you’re missing if you haven’t checked out Pizzalicious. One among us opted for the personal pan pizza and really liked the flavor. The rest of us went for stromboli sandwiches. It was my first sausage stromboli sandwich with mushroom sauce, and it was awesome. Then again, I love mushrooms. It also comes with pizza sauce.

How good was it? It took three napkins to help me get through it. The juiciness and flavor oozed out of it, And at $6.79, which included a bag of chips, I counted it a bargain.

You can check out Pizzalicious, 215 E. Main St., Westport, from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and from 10:30 a.m. until midnight on Friday and Saturday. For updates, call 812-591-3362 or visit pizzalicious.com.

Best tenderloin
Elizabeth Harner says you can try the “Best Tenderloin in Indiana,” but you only get one shot at it a year. It’s served at the Harmony Christian Church in Elwood during its Community Tenderloin Supper. You get all-you-can-eat tenderloin, coleslaw, applesauce, baked beans and potato chips — all good tenderloin sidekicks — for $10, plus homemade desserts for a freewill offering.

The supper runs from 4 to 8 p.m. on Nov. 11. The church sits on County Road 1800 North, just off Indiana Highway 13, some 5 miles north of Elwood. If you need details, call 765-618-8478.

Do you have a “place no one would go without you” restaurant in your town? Tell us about it. If I come, I’ll send you a giftcard so you can come there on me. Send suggestions to P.O. Box 247, Franklin, IN 46131, or email tom.bechman@farmprogress.com.  

Lisa and Cosmo
Parcel inspection dog 'Cosmo.'

Trained canines are crucial ‘safety net’ for agriculture

Dogs are often called people’s ‘best friend’ and the shoe sure fits. Many dog lovers can attest to how canines make our lives better and hopefully the reverse is true. Canines can become heroes for many, including those in agriculture who produce, process, pack, and ship our nation’s food and fiber.

Eight years ago, Western Farm Press posted an article about a dog named Tassie, an ‘employee’ of the Sacramento Department of Agriculture. The trained canine intercepted a package of guava fruit and curry leaves sent from Texas to Sacramento with invasive pests inside - 100 Asian citrus psyllids (ACP).

Tassie’s timely find was truly heroic for California agriculture as the pesky half-inch-long ACP is the major vector of the bacteria Candidatus Liberibacter spp which causes the deadly citrus tree disease Huanglongbing.

Following Tassie’s heroic find, then California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Secretary A.G. Kawamura said, “They’re (dogs) a crucial piece of our safety net to block the arrival of invasive pests that continually threaten California’s farms, forests, and ecology.”   

Just recently, another canine recently came to agriculture’s rescue. In late September, an Alameda County (Calif.) parcel inspection dog named Cosmo intercepted a package of limes sent from Florida infected with exotic citrus (bacterial) canker. The disease can cause premature fruit and leaf drop in citrus trees, resulting in production losses and economic harm to citrus growers.

Dogs including Tassie and Cosmo, and even a nervous or barking dog when fear nears, can make a major difference in our lives. According to The Washington Post, 18 month-old puppies are taught special skills to help wounded veterans perform everyday skills at home like shutting doors.

The website www.dogguide.net lists 25 heroic dogs that helped protect their humanoids from harm, including Moti, a five-year-old German shepherd who literally took a bullet for his human family when an armed, masked intruder entered the household.

Many agriculturalists can tell stories about how their pets make a big difference in their lives, including this writer. When it comes down to saving agriculture from harm’s way we owe a lot to our canine friends, including our respect, admiration, and hugs - shown in part by a well-deserved box of doggie treats.

Tax cut hopes spur talk of “reflation” trade

If money talks it’s clear what the chattering classes on Wall Street are clucking about. President Trump’s proposal for big tax cuts spurred more talk about the “reflation” trade that would boost growth. Two beneficiaries of that idea appeared to be crude oil and soybeans, long-time favorites of big speculators.

Here’s what funds were up to, according to Friday’s Commitment of Traders report from the CFTC, which covers trading through Tuesday, Sept. 26, when data was collected.

Green line across green market background maciek905/Thinkstock

Market Update for Sept. 29, 2017

Today's Grain Stocks report delivered good news for corn and soybeans, but more bad news for wheat. The report is known to surprise the market and that continued today.

There were three export sales this week, one corn and two soybean.

It will be a normal week at USDA next week, with the market likely to focus on the WASDE report due out Oct. 10.

Today's seasonal weather is expected to continue through the weekend with warmer weather and rain in the forecast for next week.

 

Harvesting Combine with Grain Cart beside it. Design Pics/ThinkstockPhotos

Grain markets: Week in Review for Sept. 29, 2017

Missed some market news this week? Here's a look back at grain market news.

Monday, Sept. 25

Futures retreated overnight, giving back some of the gains from Friday’s rally.  Several weeks of hot, dry weather matured crops, which could increase harvest activity and hedge pressure this week.

Several weeks of hot, dry weather are putting the finishing touches on a growing season filled with weather extremes. Despite the adversity, farmers posting Feedback From The Field last week said crops improved though their yield estimates are still much below USDA’s Sept. 12 projections. 

Crops are reaching maturity, but harvest weather is expected to be variable. Crude oil prices have rallied, pushing propane costs higher as farmers start harvest.

Weekly grain export inspections for the week ending Sept. 21 showed improvements from a week ago in corn, soybeans and wheat. That didn’t necessarily make it a bullish report, however.

There’s plenty of incentive to keep a close eye on the Grain Stocks report that comes out Friday. The data in the report represent ending stocks for the 2016 crop marketing year for corn and soybeans – in other words, the amount of grain left over for 2017/18.

For the week ending Sept. 24, USDA indicates the corn crop is still a bit behind. Crop maturity came in at 51%, versus 70% in 2016 and 64% for the five-year average. And harvest progress came in at just 11%, lower than the trade estimate of 14%, 2016’s pace of 14% and the five-year average of 17%. soybean’s harvest progress is more in line with seasonal averages. This year’s crop is 10% harvested, compared with 9% in 2016 and 12% for the five-year average. 

Today's Grain Stocks report delivered good news for corn and soybeans, but more bad news for wheat. The report is known to surprise the market and that continued today. It will be a normal week at USDA next week, with the market likely to focus on the WASDE report due out Oct. 10.

Tuesday, Sept. 26

Crop development is still two steps forward and one step back as September winds down. Corn and soybean ratings both improved slightly, but the pace of harvest lags behind normal levels and seeding of winter wheat is also slow over most of the Plains.

 

Wednesday, Sept. 27

Grain futures are drifting lower this morning, with a little follow-through selling developing after attempts to firm failed overnight. Rains in the key center-west growing region of Brazil are a bearish factor.

 

Thursday, Sept. 28

Futures are in retreat this morning, after Thursday’s rally proved to be mostly driven by short covering by big speculators ahead of Friday’s grain stocks reports from USDA.

Markets seemed unfazed by strong export sales for soybeans and better-than-expected for wheat, with grain prices trending downward during Thursday morning trading. Shortly after USDA’s weekly Export Sales report landed, December corn prices were down 1.5 cents, November soybean prices were down 5 cents, and wheat prices were down between 1 and 2.5 cents.

 

Friday, Sept. 29

Traders don’t expect this morning’s reports from USDA to offer much in the way of surprises, but the history of the releases shows some big price moves after the data comes out. That kept markets quiet overnight

Grain futures are mixed to mostly a little weaker this morning, reined in by position squaring ahead of today’s USDA reports due for release at 11 a.m. CDT. While we expect the government only to make minor cuts to corn and soybean inventories, a history of big price moves has traders wary of sticking their necks out too far. 

Three export sales have been reported this week, with sales to China and unknown destinations. Two sales were for soybeans and one for corn.

Corn and soybeans moved higher Friday after USDA lowered Sept. 1 stocks estimates. The agency said the 2016 soybean crop was smaller with summer corn feeding likely better too. The agency’s stocks estimate for wheat was higher than trade guesses, implying lower summer feeding.

Corn prices found some support in favorable data from the latest USDA stocks report released today. The ending stocks number for the 2016 corn crop was smaller than expected, at 2.295 billion bushels. Soybean prices rose Friday after USDA cut the size of the 2016 crop by 11 million bushels to 4.296 billion bushels. November price gains went into double digits but cooled slightly to end the day up 8.75 cents, closing at $9.6825.

If money talks it’s clear what the chattering classes on Wall Street are clucking about. President Trump’s proposal for big tax cuts spurred more talk about the “reflation” trade that would boost growth. Two beneficiaries of that idea appeared to be crude oil and soybeans, long-time favorites of big speculators. Here’s what funds were up to, according to Friday’s Commitment of Traders report from the CFTC.

Market outlooks

Basis Outlook - Weak basis ahead of harvest is nothing new, but growers selling into the export pipeline saw cash prices plummet more than usual this week. Low water closed the La Grange Lock and Dam on the Illinois River, and barge rates were up almost 15 cents a bushel on the week.

Energy/Ethanol Outlook - The cost of harvesting, hauling and drying 2017 crops continues to move higher, driving by bullish factors and supply and demand in the petroleum complex.

Wheat Outlook - There’s no reason to believe the wheat market has potential for big gains into 2018. But it’s not time to throw in the towel yet on either old crop in storage or new crop planned for harvest next year.

Soybean Outlook - Growers hoping to make money on 2017 crop soybeans they’re starting to harvest can pin their hopes on three factors that should drive prices in both the short and long run. Any or all could move the market higher or lower into 2018.

Corn Outlook - Whether or not the corn market has mettle into harvest should be easy to tell. Charts provide clear direction for the market’s short-term trend. December corn made a spike low Aug. 31 at $3.4425, a level it held in the wake of USDA’s Sept. 12 crop report. If that level doesn’t hold, futures face another quick test at the $3.4125 expiration settlement for September futures last week. Weakness now isn’t unusual, of course.

Fertilizer Outlook – Have you locked in your fertilizer costs? The nitrogen train may have already left the station and now phosphates and potash are starting to rumble as September trading winds down.

Financial Outlook - The cheap money party isn’t quite over yet, but the Federal Reserve has sounded “last call,” a move that could have significant impacts on agriculture. 

7AgStoriesNEW051517-1540x800 NolanBerg11/flySnow/SteveOehlenschlager/ThinkstockPhotos

7 ag stories you might have missed this week - Sept. 29, 2017

Need a quick catch up on the news? Here are seven agricultural stories you might have missed this week. 

1. Syngenta is going to pay more than $1.4 billion to U.S. farmers to settle the lawsuits that were filed after Syngenta sold corn with the Viptera trait before it was approved for sale into the Chinese market. Syngenta also reached a settlement with a group of about 22,000 Minnesota farmers. – Farm Futures 

2. University of Arizona researchers have genetically modified corn so that the plant itself suppresses aflatoxin below detectable levels, even when it is infected with the Aspergillus fungus that normally produces aflatoxins. They reported the results of their study in the journal Science Advances earlier this year. – Dakota Farmer 

3. The Arkansas State Plant Board let its Pesticide Committee recommendation stand at its Sept. 21 meeting. The recommendation is for a proposed spraying cutoff date of April for the 2018 growing season. The Plant Board next meets in early November. – Delta Farm Press 

4. November soybean futures rose 15.75 cents by midday after USDA released its Grain Stocks estimates at 11 a.m. USDA put its soybean stocks at 301 million, less than the trade had expected, fueling the increase. – Farm Futures

5. USDA has closed its investigation into Aurora Organic Dairy, saying they couldn’t find violations of organic standards. The Cornucopia Institute, however, is criticizing USDA for lax enforcement of organic standards. – The Washington Post

6. The third round of NAFTA renegotiation talks began Sept. 23 in Ottawa. Canada’s chief negotiator downplayed expectations of any major breakthroughs. – Farm Futures

7. Deteriorating grazing conditions have driven up the cost of hay in Canada’s southern prairies and hampered efforts to rebuild the nation’s beef herd. There’s little relief for drought-ravaged Saskatchewan and southern Manitoba in sight. – Farm Futures 

Because it’s been a busy news week, we have three bonuses for you.

1. American Farm Bureau’s Fall Marketbasket Survey showed the cost of 16 items was $51.13, up 3% from a year ago. The farmer’s share of the items would be $8. The survey was conducted by 81 volunteer shoppers in 25 states in the month of September. – Farm Futures

2. Agco Corp. is investing $2 million in its Edgewood, Md., Massey Ferguson assembly and distribution plant to boost production of compact and utility tractors and equipment by 50% and speed delivery to dealers. – American Agriculturist

3. USDA expects 2017 milk production to reach a record 216 billion pounds, up 300 million pounds from the August forecast and 3.6 billion pounds higher than 2016’s record output. Milk production for 2017 is expected to be 1.7% higher than last year. – Wisconsin Agriculturist