February 10, 2016

USDA World Supply And Demand Numbers Bearish

USDA released their February World Agricultural Supply and Demand numbers Tuesday morning to little fanfare as analysts expected only small changes across the board.  While that was largely true, carryout numbers of all three grains slightly exceeded analysts pre-report estimates:

  Feb USDA Report Pre Report Estimate Range of Estimates January USDA Estimate
Corn 1.837 bbu 1.815 bbu 17.52-1.947 bbu 1.802 bbu
Soybeans 450 mbu 449 mbu 425-491 mbu 440 mbu
Wheat 966 mbu 949 mbu 930-975 mbu 941 mbu


Global stocks of all three major grain categories increased as well.  Notably, USDA did not change their Brazilian soybean production estimate leaving it steady at 100 mmt for the 2015-2016 season.  Analysts were looking for a small decrease.  Argentinean soybean production was increased by 1.5 mmt to 58.5 mmt.


USDA May Face Lawsuits Over ARC-County Yields

After a bevy of issues this fall with the new ARC-County payments, USDA may face litigation for the way it tallied final county yields in some areas.  The issue arose this fall when FSA released the payment rates for the 2014 crop and some producers received less than what had been projected previously.

ARC-County and the Price Loss Coverage Program were both parts of the 2014 farm bill.  Farmers were given a choice of which program they wanted to enroll their individual crops in and that choice lasts for the life of the farm bill.  Many farmers used the projected payments as a source of cash flow in their own projections,with approximately 96% of soybean acres and 91% of corn acres enrolled in the ARC-County program. That program requires FSA to calculate a final county yield for each crop, the results of which are used to determine final payment rates.

The problem stems from the system FSA used to compile yield data.  ARC-County covers 21 commodities in more than 3,000 counties nationwide.  Because ARC is based on a five year rolling average, FSA needed five years of historical data plus one year of current data for each county, meaning there are approximately 100,000 possible crop and county combinations.  FSA has stated they have solid data for around 43,000 of those, primarily in prime production areas.  Marginal areas and outlying areas tend to have holes in their database, meaning FSA had to resort to secondary methods to calculate payments.

Some have argued those secondary methods were inconsistent with farm bill language.  FSA officials would not be quoted but said the agency has a solid system for coming up with yields considering the challenges it had.


Peterson Farms Seed Hosts Weed Resistance Symposium 2016

Once a weed population develops resistance to an herbicide, that tool is gone forever. As glyphosate resistance has become widespread in the last decade, weed scientists are urging growers to be aware of responsible stewardship this growing season.

PetersonFarmsSeedPeterson Farms Seed hosted a Weed Resistance Regional Symposium at the Fargo Holiday Inn, last Friday. As weed resistance spreads through the region, experts say farmers will need to implement new strategies and work with multiple modes of action to get ahead of yield-robbing resistance.

We visited on the sidelines of the symposium with Peterson Farms Seed agronomist Adam Spelhaug. He says one problem is that some growers have been “re-active” instead of “pro-active” when it comes to weed resistance issues.

Adam Spelhaug and Rusty Halvorson Peterson Farms Seed

Now that troublesome weeds like Palmer amaranth and waterhemp have developed resistance to glyphosate, growers’ options are shrinking, particularly in the South. Weed resistance expert Dr. Jason Norsworthy, PhD in Agronomy, University of Arkansas, was the symposium’s keynote speaker.

Dr Jason Norsworthy and Rusty Halvorson Peterson Farms Seed

Representatives from Monsanto, Bayer, DOW and Syngenta shared information with growers about the products they currently have in their pipelines, and how each product fits into an on-farm weed management strategy. We visited with Matt Moore, a Seed Technology Account Manager for Bayer.

Bayer Matt Moore and Rusty Halvorson

Ben Askegaard is a Precision Planting Specialist with Peterson Farms Seed in Kindred, North Dakota. He says the presentation by Dr. Norsworthy should serve as “a wakeup call” for producers.

Ben Askegaard and Rusty Halvorson

When we visited with Peterson Farms Seed owner Carl Peterson, he said producer outreach and education were the day’s main goals.

Carl Peterson and Rusty Halvorson

“Weeds do not discriminate between soybeans, corn, sunflowers, dry beans, or small grains. This is every farmer’s problem now.”

Friday’s Speakers included:

Dr. Jason Norsworthy, U.S. Weed Resistance Expert, Univ. of Arkansas, PhD in Agronomy

Dr. Tom Peters, Regional Weed Resistance Expert, NDSU, PhD in Agronomy

Greg LaPlante, Tri-State Weed Resistance Expert, Independent Crop Consultant

Jonathan Siebert, Enlist Field Sales Leader, Dow AgroSciences

Susan Curvey, Technical Development Manager for Dicamba, Monsanto

Matt Moore, Seed Technology Manager, Bayer CropScience

Bret Miller, Technical Development Lead, Syngenta