The difficulties of the 2019 season didnâ€™t just impact last yearâ€™s crop performance, it also set the stage for some additional challenges this year.
In this Managing for Profit, DEKALB Asgrow technical agronomist Harmon Wilts of Minnesota shares some ways growers can better control weeds this spring.
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The focus for stormy weather will shift to the northern Plains and the Northwest. At mid-week, late-season snow will overspread parts of Montanaâ€™s high plains and continue across the Cascades and northern Rockies. As the week progresses, precipitation in the Red River Valley of the North may aggravate snow-melt flooding. Farther south, rain along the Gulf Coast may provide some drought relief from Texas to Louisiana. Toward weekâ€™s end, chilly air will engulf most areas west of the Mississippi Valley, possibly resulting in freezes by Saturday morning as far south as the northern panhandle of Texas.
Wisconsinâ€™s Farm Technology Days will have a new general manager, but not right away.Â
General Manager Matt Glewen tells Brownfield, “They brought a new one on in plenty of time to really learn the ropes before I depart, which won’t be until after the show in 2022.â€� Glewen plans to retire after that show.
Glewen says his successor will be Arnie Jennerman, who has 25 years of private sector business experience and has also worked with the University of Wisconsin in a number of technology management positions.Â
The manager of Wisconsinâ€™s Farm Technology Days says heâ€™s watching how the coronavirus situation closely in case the show has to be called off. Matt Glewen says, “We’re probably going to have to make a decision by early May if the show is going to be postponed or not.”
Glewen tells Brownfield the show, so far, is still on for July 21st through the 23rd in Eau Claire county, but that could change if the COVID-19 pandemic doesnâ€™t let up soon enough.
Ag economists expect the wild ride in the hog markets to
continue for at least the next several weeks and even possibly months.
Ag economist Jim Mintert, director of Purdueâ€™s Center for Commercial Agriculture, says demand uncertainty is going to be the big driver behind the volatility.Â â€œThe real concern is going to be what happens to pork product prices and in turn hog prices as we see the impacts of COVID-19 spillover into increasing unemployment, lower consumer income levels, and also the potential impact with respect to pork exports,â€� he says.Â
Ethanol groups are not happy with the EPAâ€™s final regulations for fuel economy standards. Although a rollback of the Obama administrationâ€™s standards, Geoff Cooper with the Renewable Fuels Association says they saw a glimmer of hope for higher octane standards in the new rule. Cooper tells Brownfield Ag News, â€œThis would have been the perfect opportunity for them to do that but this final rule doesnâ€™t do that. It missed an opportunity and EPA took a pass on doing anything around octane.
Many market analysts think USDAâ€™s corn planting estimate of 97 million acres is too high.Â
Arlan Suderman with INTL FCStone agrees, but he says a lot
of it depends on weather over the next 30 days.
â€œIf it turns out dry in the month of April, and good corn
planting, and we do dry out the fields enough to get the fieldwork done, very
few people are going to wait around for Mayâ€”and we will come close to that 97
million acres of corn, in all likelihood,â€� he says.
At the Chicago
Mercantile Exchange, live cattle ended the day sharply higher on an oversold
bounce ahead of widespread direct business.
Feeder cattle were sharply higher on the same factors. April live cattle closed $2.62 higher at $101.92
and June live cattle closed $3 higher at $92.07. April feeder cattle closed $1.87 higher at
$121.92 and May feeder cattle closed $2 higher at $122.90.
Direct cash cattle trade activity is still very quiet. Packer inquiry has been limited. There were a handful of deals reported in Nebraska at $180 dressed. Early asking prices have surfaced in the South $120 plus live and $190 plus dressed in the North. Wednesdayâ€™s Fed Cattle Exchange has an offering of 4,696 head. Itâ€™s likely significant trade volume will be delayed until the latter half of the week.
At the Callaway Livestock Center in Missouri, compared to last weekâ€™s light test, a light test of 400 to 500-pounds steers sold with a lower undertone, 500 to 550-pounds steers were weak to $5 lower, with 6 weight steers and a pot load of 765 pounds steers steady.Â
Soybeans were modestly higher on short covering and technical buying. The USDA is projecting a 10% increase in planted area after the historically slow pace in 2019, but that will depend on the weather. Some key U.S. growing areas are already wet and are expected to see more precipitation ahead of widespread activity. Quarterly stocks were down 17% on the year, slightly larger than expected, and while they did reflect good demand, they also reflected last yearâ€™s smaller crop.
Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley wants the USDA and Department of Justice to investigate recent volatility in the cattle markets, to see if beef packers have â€œillegally manipulatedâ€� the markets during the COVID-19 pandemic.
â€œItâ€™s very shameful if the big four packing companies are using
this national crisis to gouge the farmer,â€� Grassley says. â€œIâ€™m going to write
to Attorney General Barr and Secretary of Agriculture Perdue, asking them to
address this issue immediately, if thereâ€™s anything they find wrong.â€�
Grassley says itâ€™s hard to understand why cattle prices are going down when beef is â€œflying off grocery shelvesâ€�.