Farmers in the top corn, wheat, soybean, and hog states are twice as likely as farmers in smaller-volume states to use precision agriculture practices, such as GPS guidance, said the USDA’s farm computer report on Thursday. Usage often topped 50 percent in the top row-crop states, while the U.S. average was just 27 percent.
Farmer adoption of genetically modified crop varieties is spreading beyond the well-known dominance of the major field crops of corn, soybeans, and cotton, said a USDA report. When lesser-known GM crops such as canola, potatoes, and apples are counted, about 55 percent of U.S. cropland is planted to GM varieties, said the Economic Research Service report.
Nearly half of the U.S. winter wheat crop is in drought but its condition improved slightly in the past week, said the USDA on Tuesday. The weekly Crop Progress report also showed growers in the upper Midwest were rushing through corn and soybean planting after a slow start due to cold and wet weather.
For the first time since 2015, Midwestern farmers face negative returns from corn and soybeans grown on rented land, three agricultural economists said Tuesday at the farmdoc daily blog. They estimated a loss of $99 an acre for corn and $13 a bushel on soybeans, based on rising production costs and a downturn in market prices.
The boom in production of renewable diesel fuel has pushed U.S. soybean oil prices so high the commodity is uncompetitive on the world market, said USDA analysts on Tuesday. Drought in Argentina, the world's leading soyoil exporter, also will be a major factor in the lowest volume of soyoil imports worldwide in five years.
Farmers are far more bullish about the chances of expansion of the renewable diesel industry than in ethanol, the dominant "green" fuel in rural America, said a Purdue University poll on Tuesday. The telephone survey for the monthly Ag Economy Barometer also found nine of 10 farmers expect higher soybean prices at the farm gate as more and more renewable diesel fuel reaches the market.
Drought in Argentina and lackluster sales in the United States, two of the world’s major suppliers, will reduce global corn exports to their lowest volume in three years, said USDA analysts on Wednesday. Shipments from another leading source, Ukraine, were in question because an extension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative past March 18 has not been resolved.
Farmers in the Midwest and the mid-South are paying the price for low water on the Mississippi River in the form of lower cash bids for their corn and soybeans — as much as $2 a bushel lower for soybeans, said USDA economists on Wednesday. At the same time, the cost of transporting fertilizer upriver has increased, and neither situation is likely to change before late winter.
With world corn production down 4 percent, the global stockpile of grain will shrink for the sixth year in a row, said the International Grains Council on Thursday. In a monthly report, the IGC said the 2022/23 global harvest would be 1 percent smaller than last season’s record output.
For decades, farmers in the Midwest and Plains have reaped ever-higher yields per acre, but “climate change threatens to slow or reverse this productivity as soon as 2030,” said the Environmental Defense Fund on Wednesday. The “climate burdens” would worsen through 2050, the nonprofit group said in a report.
U.S. cotton exports will shrink by 14 percent this trade year, the result of a drought-stunted crop, but America will remain the No. 1 supplier to the world market, said the USDA on Thursday.
The drought-hit corn and soybean crops are smaller than expected, said the government on Monday, slicing 451 million bushels from its estimate of the corn harvest and 152 million bushels from its soybean forecast. The revisions reduced this year's crops to also-rans instead of contenders for the record books.
Market prices for U.S. corn, soy, wheat and cotton will retreat sharply in the 2023-24 marketing year with normal weather and yields around the world, FAPRI said in an update to its agricultural baseline. However, it expects record wheat and cotton prices in 2022-23.
Last spring, the Biden administration encouraged U.S. farmers to grow more wheat in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and said it would make crop insurance more widely available for growers who wanted to team winter wheat with soybeans. Now there’s another inducement: Double-crop wheat and soybeans would be more profitable in 2023 than standalone corn or soybeans, say university economists.
A week before the 2020 presidential election, the EPA issued new instructions on the use of dicamba that it said would tame the notoriously volatile weedkiller. But complaints of damage to crops in nearby fields and to plants in parks, wildlife refuges, and residences continued to roll in, said the EPA on Thursday during a review of the herbicide.
Fifteen percent of the Midwest is affected by drought, twice as much of the region as a week ago, said the Drought Monitor on Thursday, as corn and soybean crops entered their reproductive stages. Illinois, Indiana, and Missouri had the largest increases, up 10 percentage points or more.
Electrified by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, commodity prices are sky high, with soybean futures topping $16.80 a bushel and the USDA forecasting the highest-ever farm-gate price for wheat. But high prices for corn, wheat and soybeans are far more likely to revert to their long-term averages than mark the dawn of a new era of permanently higher prices, said five university economists on Tuesday.
American farmers say they will plant more soybeans — a record 91 million acres — and less corn and spring wheat despite tight global wheat supplies that have been compounded by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Russia and Ukraine are two of the world’s largest wheat exporters, and Ukraine is a leading corn supplier.
Thanks to a rush in investment, the renewable diesel industry is in a building boom in the United States and abroad "that is very comparable, I believe, to the ethanol boom of the mid-2000s," said economist Scott Irwin of the University of Illinois on Thursday.