A close-up look at precision agriculture

In FERN's latest story, Michael Behar takes a close look at precision agriculture — cutting-edge tools like drones,  satellite imagery and artificial intelligence that help farmers keep careful watch over their crops. In addition to improving yields, Behar shows how the technology also allows farmers to reduce water and chemical use. The story was produced in collaboration with EatingWell magazine.(No paywall)

Profitability of many midwestern corn, soy farms ‘will almost surely fall’

Farmland values are falling for the fifth year in the Midwest, and one factor in the decline is “muted expectations for farm income” this year, said the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank on Thursday. “The profitability of many corn and soybean farms will almost surely fall from their 2018 levels — possibly by a lot for some.”

Trade war limits outlet for smaller-than-usual U.S. corn and soy crops

U.S. farmers will harvest their smallest corn and soybean crops since 2013, but the trade war will constrain exports of America’s two major crops for the second year in a row, forecast the USDA on Monday. Soybeans would sell at the lowest average price at the farm gate in 13 years.

Crop insurance costs could rise steeply with climate change

Climate change is expected to lower U.S. corn, soybean, and wheat production and drive up the cost of the federally subsidized crop insurance program. The increase could be as small as 4 percent or as large as 37 percent, depending on how much temperatures rise and whether mitigation efforts are effective, said a USDA report on Monday.

Short crop will slash record-large soy stockpile by one-fourth

The loss of nearly 6 million acres of corn and soybeans to a cold and rainy planting season this year will be felt into autumn 2020 and beyond, said the government on Thursday, as fat U.S. stockpiles will be drawn down to compensate for short crops.

Indemnities could soar to $3.6 billion for prevented planting

The wettest spring in a quarter-century may lead to the largest crop insurance payout since 2000 to farmers unable to plant corn and soybeans, said a university economist. He spoke ahead of a USDA report today that will project the impact of a cold and rainy spring on this fall’s harvest.

How farmers will adapt to the prospect of a new, soggier normal

American farmers, having endured the wettest 12 months in well over a hundred years and facing predictions that this could be the soggy new normal for the nation’s midsection, are looking at a variety of ways to speed up their processes next year, according to Bloomberg.

Far more corn, less soy than expected after rainy spring

Despite the wettest spring in a quarter century, U.S. farmers sowed nearly 6 percent more corn and 5 percent fewer soybeans than expected during a cold and muddy planting season, said the USDA, based on a survey of 68,100 growers during the first two weeks of June. The annual Acreage report usually provides a definitive picture of crops, but excessive rain slowed field work so much that the USDA said it will re-survey the Midwest this month and would revise its acreage data, if need be, in its August crop report.

U.S. corn crop could be smallest since 2012 drought

Based on surveys conducted ahead of USDA reports due for release today, analysts say corn plantings will total 86.7 to 87 million acres after a rainy and cold spring. That would be well below the 92.8 million acres that farmers had planned to seed.

One-third of U.S. corn crop yet to be planted

Normally, the corn-planting season is over by the first week of June, but this year, 31 million acres — one-third of the intended corn land nationwide — have yet to be sown due to a persistently rainy spring. Soybean planting is also far behind schedule.