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Crop Tour Results and Trade Update

*Remember to mark your calendars to attend our annual Ag Performance Plot Tour and Appreciation Meal at our home office in Buffalo Center, Iowa on Thursday, August 27th from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. Our office and sales staff members will be available that evening to answer any questions you may have regarding the many products and services we have to offer. That evening we will also have the privilege of introducing to you our two newest members of the Ag Performance team, Matt Brady-General Sales Manager and Charlie Tesch-District Sales Manager. We hope you will be able to join us and we look forward to seeing each of you here next week and remember a spouse or guests are always welcome!


Ag Performance is pleased to introduce Matt Brady as our new General Manager. Originally from the Chicago-land area, Matt has spent the last 10 years in the agriculture industry. He will oversee our sales staff including District Sales Managers and Farmer Dealers as well as the daily operations in our home office. We are confident that we have found the perfect person to help Ag Performance continue to grow and are excited to have him on our team.


We are also happy to welcome Charlie Tesch from Watertown, South Dakota as our newest District Sales Manager. Charlie will be working closely with our Ag Performance sales team and farmers across the state of South Dakota.

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Update for August 20th, 2020


President Trump announced that the videoconference that had been scheduled for last Saturday between top trade officials from both the U.S. and China was postponed. Frustration over China’s handling of the COVID 19 pandemic was his reason for delaying the meeting. Trump said, “I postponed talks with China. You know why? I don’t want to deal with them now.” The President told Fox and Friends on Monday, “They know I’m very angry at them”…. “Last week, because they know I’m very angry at them because this should have never happened, they made the largest order of corn, the largest order of soybeans in history.” He went on to say that, “They made the largest beef order that they’ve done in a long time; they are going the opposite way because they know how I feel, because look they can’t make it without us.” The president added that he feels China is now “more than” living up to the purchase commitments of U.S. farm products they made under Phase 1 of the trade agreement.


U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) publically urged President Trump to direct the EPA to reject retroactive “gap year” small refinery exemptions (SRE’s) under the RFS during his visit to Iowa this week. Several months ago the U.S. 10th Circuit Court ruled that in order for refineries to remain eligible for future SRE’s they must maintain a continuous string of exemptions dating back to 2011. Small refineries are requesting these retroactive waivers as a way to maintain eligibility for future compliance years. Ernst stated, “One thing that would be helpful, with the impact to the economy, the loss of so many crops,” is for the EPA to “just dispense” with the SRE requests for previous RFS compliance years. She then added that the biggest need for Iowa’s biofuel sector “is just help from the EPA to follow the intent of the law with the Renewable Fuels Standard.” President Trump responded to Ernst, “Alright. We’ll speak to them. I’ll speak to them myself.”


The yield debate has only increased following the devastating derecho that impacted several million acres across Iowa as well as some other important growing regions. NASS has stated that due to the storm they “will collect harvested acreage information for both crops in preparation for the September 11 Crop Production report”. Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig said earlier this week that the USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) reports 57 counties were in the path of the storm. Within those counties there are 14 million acres of insured crops including 8.2 million acres of corn and 5.6 million acres of soybeans “that may have been impacted.” Naig also stated that Iowa has lost “tens of millions of bushels of grain storage” just weeks before harvest begins across the state. The weekly crop condition report reduced the GD/EX categories for corn by -2% to 69%. Iowa received a -10% reduction in their GD/EX rating and in addition saw the Poor to Very Poor ratings jump up by +9%. It’s amazing the vast differences of opinions there are amongst “experts” regarding the fate of the damaged corn acres. There are those that expect that most of the corn will be harvested and little yield loss will occur while many others view the damaged corn as lost acres. However, I think most of us can agree there will be some yield loss, the actual amount will remain unknown until harvest. There are estimates out that regardless of the problems in Iowa the national yield will likely only see a -1 to -3 bushel reduction this would mean that there is still a chance the U.S. could harvest a record large 180 bushels per acre corn crop. The annual Pro Farmer crop tour is in progress this week and some of their findings are included below (soybean data is only recorded as pod counts not yield because it is too early to determine yields at this point of the season so it was not included).


Results from the eastern leg:

  • The tour began Monday in Ohio, this year scouts are estimating a yield of 167.69 bushels per acre vs the current USDA estimated yield for Ohio of 175 bushels per acre.

  • Findings in Indiana place their 2020 corn yield at 179.84 bushels per acre. The current USDA estimated yield for Indiana is 188 bushels per acre.

  • While in Illinois scouts determined a yield of 189.40 bushels per acre falling short of the USDA estimate of 207 bushels per acre.

  • On day 3 of the eastern tour the scouts arrived in Iowa and began their assessment of the state which continued on today.

Results from the western leg of the tour:

  • This portion of the tour began Monday in South Dakota. Scouts have estimated the 2020 corn yield in S.D. at 179.24 bushels per acre. Higher than the USDA estimate of 167 bushels per acre.

  • From there the tour moved in to Nebraska where the estimated corn yield came in at 175.15 bushels per acre. This estimate is considerably lower than the current USDA estimate of 191 bushels per acre.

  • On day 3 the scouts left Nebraska and moved into the western portion of Iowa

Last night on the Pro Farmer Crop Tour live broadcast the scouts in western Iowa reported varied levels of drought conditions which have greatly reduced yield potential across all of the western regions in the state except the southwestern region. The scouts that arrived in Iowa from the east reported seeing a lot of corn acres that were damaged by last week’s derecho which even made walking into the fields to take samples extremely difficult. Pro Farmer has said that they intend to include all of the samples from these acres that they believe can be harvested to some degree. Tonight we will see the results from the rest of Iowa along with the overall average for the state (USDA estimates an IA yield of 202) as well as yield estimates from Minnesota (USDA estimates a MN yield of 197). A final estimated national yield average is generally announce on Friday.


Now that NOAA has issued a watch for the development of a La Niña weather pattern later this fall, it’s important to be aware exactly what impacts this pattern could make across the globe.


There are 2 distinct patterns we hear about for weather. “Cold” La Niña (little girl in Spanish) and “warm” El Niño (little boy in Spanish) either pattern can occur in the Pacific Ocean every few years. La Niña is characterized by abnormally cold ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific, El Niño is characterized by unusually warm ocean temperatures in that same region. During a normal year winds along the equator push warm water at the surface in a westerly direction towards Indonesia. As the warm surface water moves to the west, cold water from deep under the surface rises up and then moves east to the coast of South America. During a La Niña year the winds are much stronger than usual which causes the water temperature near the equator to fall a few degrees below normal. What seems like a rather insignificant change in water temps can greatly affect weather around the world. La Niña events can last anywhere from one to three years, El Niño patterns tend to last no more than a year. Both of these patterns tend to peak in intensity during the winter season in the Northern Hemisphere.


Impacts to expect in the U.S. are determined by the strength of the La Niña. Typically warmer and drier than average conditions prevail across the soThe last La Niña observed was in 2017-18 but the historical La Niña event of 2010-2012 is one of the strongest on record.

The maps below show the expected impacts this weather pattern has a history of producing around the world.

The outlook through Monday shows a continuation of above normal temps with a small portion of northern and eastern sections of the Midwest receiving light precipitation while the rest remains dry.


As we look further out through the end of August the Corn Belt is expected to return back to average temps with above normal rainfall forecast for most of the Midwest.




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