University of Illinois Extension

Illini Farm Report

 

Instructions for using this document;

 

clicking on any slug line will download an mp3 file of the complete story

clicking on any actuality will download an mp3 file of only that actuality

 


Illini Farm Report

Todd E. Gleason

1301 W. Gregory Dr., Rm 75 MC710

Urbana, Illinois 61801

217-333-9697 or ifr@illinois.edu

 

July 25, 2014

 

Dear Broadcaster:

 

The Illini Farm Report is for use in your agricultural radio programming slots. You are welcome to run each story "as is," or to lift actualities from it. For your editing convenience, the scripts used for each story are included in this document. If you have any problems with the audio, story ideas, or suggestions for improvements, please call me at 217-3339697.

 

1          The Corn/Soybean Ratio & Price Expectations

 

2          Farm Size Information Gleaned from the Ag Census

 

3          How the Crop Acreage Report is Compiled & Updated

 

4          How the August Crop Production Data is Collected

 

5          Summer Clean Out Grain Bin Safety

 

The opinions expressed on the Illini Farm Report are not necessarily those of the program producer, the University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences or U of I Extension. Our programs feature a wide range of viewpoints in the interest of promoting awareness and discussion of issues that are important to the agricultural community.

 



CUT 1 The Corn/Soybean Ratio & Price Expectations

Darrel Good, Ag Economist – University of Illinois

 

The price of corn may be too low at the moment, though that could change as the growing season progresses. Todd Gleason reports the 2014 crop might be falling into the old-normal big-crop seasonal pricing patterns.

 

It used to be that bumper corn crop year price patterns…

2:56

 

It used to be that bumper corn crop year price patterns were pretty predictable. The trade would over do the downside during the growing season as it became anxious about where and how such a big crop would be used and stored. Usually the price bottom would come close harvest; just before, during or after. Then, a slow climb from the price depths would follow because new demand would develop in response to the cheap price. University of Illinois Ag Economist Darrel Good lays this all out in his July 21 FarmDocDaily website post. Here’s how Good sums it.

 

Good :35  If the corn crop reaches the lofty levels…

…and then increasing as the marketing year progresses.

 

Good mentioned the low price of corn when compared to other commodities; livestock, ethanol, and other feed ingredients – soybeans in this case. The trade calls these price ratios and they have changed in the last two months.

 

Good :56  The soybean/corn price ratio is of particular interest…

…to be much higher than projected by USDA.

 

Darrel Good, in a previous Farm Doc Daily post, suggested even a yield about five bushels higher than forecast by USDA in the July WASDE report (trend-line) would not point to average prices as low as currently reflected in the market.  Therefore he says the seasonal pattern of corn prices during the 2014-15 marketing year may follow a more typical large crop pattern—lowest near harvest and then increasing as the marketing year progresses.  The USDA’s first survey-based forecast of the size of the U.S. corn crop is to be released Tuesday August 12th.

 


 

 


CUT 2             Farm Size Information Gleaned from the Ag Census

Todd Kuethe, Ag Economist – University of Illinois

 

There are two really big points about farm land an ag economist from the University of Illinois has been able to glean from the last U.S. Census of Agriculture. Todd Gleason has more on the average size of farms and the number of acres in production.

 

Here’s a commonly heard phrase in farm country…

2:11

 

Here’s a commonly heard phrase in farm country; “Farmland, there not making any more of it”. This is true, but it does come in and out of production and contrary to popular belief – even in the state of Illinois – there is more farmland today than there was five years ago says University of Illinois Ag Economist Todd Kuethe (keith-ee).

 

Kuethe :25  Farmland loss is not such a big issue…

…most still operate under 180 or 200 acres.

 

So, there are a lot of small farms. However, they don’t sell a lot. The biggest area of growth by sales in the state of Illinois came in the largest farms or those with gross sales of more than $500,000.

 

Kuethe :13  So we’ve a pretty big rise in those numbers, but not really…

…the stories that you hear among the agricultural sector.

 

It is a nicety afforded by the construct of the Ag Census that broadly captures all types of farms from the very small to the very large. The definition of a farm is any parcel that could produce $1000 of gross sales in a fiscal year.

 

Kuethe :26  One of the nice things from the research perspective…

…captured by the USDA.

 

The broad take away is twofold. First, farmland isn’t disappearing across the United States. It has in fact remained very stable over the last decade. Secondly, while farming may not be the primary economic activity of those operating smaller acreages, there are many, many of them.

 


 

 


CUT 3  How the Crop Acreage Report is Compiled & Updated

Lance Honig, Chief of Crops Branch – USDA NASS

 

Each year the United States Department of Agriculture estimates the number of corn and soybean acres. And each year farmers distrust the figures. Todd Gleason has more on how the numbers are derived and then updated during the growing season.

 

The National Agricultural Statistic Service releases two…

2:42

 

The National Agricultural Statistic Service releases two official reports dedicated to corn and soybean crop acreage in the United States. There is a third, usual, update of the figures, too. The first report is a survey only report called Prospective Plantings. It is filed at the end of March. This is followed by the Acreage report at the end of June. There is also a potential update to the figures released in the October Crop Production report. The update, says Chief of the Crops Branch for USDA NASS Lance Honig, incorporates the acreage figures farmers file with the Farm Service Agency, or FSA.

 

Honig :28  Well, the FSA data, as you mentioned…

…earlier than that time.

 

The FSA numbers do not capture all the acres sown in the United States, however, they are a good guide post. The June Acreage report is a bit more encompassing. NASS directly contacts more than 70,000 farmers and asks them what they have planted, and what they still expect to plant. It combines these results with a second area based survey. NASS looks at 11,000 sites to see what has been sown. Honig says that’s like asking an additional 40,000 farmers what they planted. It makes the NASS figures the best available, he says, even if some point to other differing sources of information.

 

Honig :44  We based our information on actual planting reports from…

…but not necessarily June the first.

 

This year USDA NASS calculates farmers have sown 91.6 million acres of corn and 84.8 million acres of soybeans. The corn acreage is down about four percentage points from last year and the soybean acreage is up ten percent.

 


 

 


CUT 4 How the August Crop Production Data is Collected

Mark Schleusener, Illinois State Statistician – USDA NASS

Lance Honig, Chief of Crops Branch – USDA NASS

 

The United States Department of Agriculture has begun collecting data for the August Crop Production report. Todd Gleason has more on how the agency goes about acquiring the data from corn and soybean farmers throughout the nation.

 

USDA started its data collection for the August…

2:53

 

USDA started its data collection for the August Crop Production report at the end of July. The report is due Tuesday August 12. It will estimate the size of the U.S. corn, soybean and wheat crops. Lance Honig is Chief of the Crops Branch for USDA NASS. He says the agency will take two types of surveys to gather the needed information.

 

Honig :49  One is a farm based reporting survey, we call it our…

…for further yield analysis.

 

The August Crop Production report sets up a collection system for all four reports dealing with corn and soybeans. Mark Schleusener says the agency use the same farmers and the same fields each time a report is released. He is the Illinois USDA NASS state statistician. 

 

Schleusener :34  We’ve got a series of four crop production reports coming up…

…turn into a pretty good field.

 

Schleusener says the enumerators are already in the field and on the phone collecting data. He explains how many samples will be pulled in Illinois.

 

Schleusener :32  For the corn field samples we will do a total of about 280…

…900 or 1000 producers all around the state of Illinois.

 

USDA NASS will check each field and producer four times this season beginning right now for the August USDA Crop Production report. The other three reports are released in September, October, and November.

 


 

 


CUT 5 Summer Clean Out Grain Bin Safety

Bob Aherin, Agricultural Engineer – University of Illinois

 

Farmers and elevator operators are cleaning out their bins. The hope is to soon fill them with the new crop. Todd Gleason has some safety reminders for a dangerous job.

 

Flowing grain can kill a man in just a few seconds…

1:58

 

Flowing grain can kill a man in just a few seconds. University of Illinois Agricultural Engineer Bob Aherin, a safety specialist, says it is terribly dangerous to enter a grain bin when the augers are running and the grain is moving.

 

Aherin :30 One of the things we really need…

…to completely engulf the person.

 

The risk is traumatic and Aherin says those believing they can simply crawl or swim out of the tide are deadly wrong.

 

Aherin :37  When you go under grain there is a tremendous amount…

…protect you from going under the grain.

 

Aherin says he knows farmers and others will enter the grain bins to break up, quote, the bridges that have formed over the year. The augers should be off when that happens, and the bridge should be below head high. Meaning if there is good grain to stand on, and the bridge is above that, but below head high and the augers are off, then it is safer to break it up.