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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Grain Profitability 2014 and Beyond: How Bad Does it Look?

By Greg Halich, University of Kentucky Department of Agricultural Economics
Economic & Policy Update

The grain markets have dropped dramatically in the last 12 months, and the resulting effect on profitability may not be fully understood by farmers, landowners, and lenders. Figure 1 shows the December 2014 Futures contract from 2011 to 2014. Note that before early fall of 2013, this contract was trading mostly between $5-6/bu. This was the expected price for corn that most farmers were banking on during this time period. The current price for this contract is around $3.30/bu, or about $2/bu lower than the average contract price in 2011-2013. The price drop for soybeans (not shown) has been similar, coming down about $3/bu from its average in 2011-2013.The cash price for fall delivery has fallen under important psychological barriers in a number of locations: $3/bu for corn and $10/bu for soybeans.

Schwenke on Corn Prices, Food Prices and Opportunities

Russel Schwenke, KyCorn President
As the corn supply continues to grow, prices continue to drop. According to an AgriVisor analyst, the price of corn has dropped so much that an ounce of gold can now buy more than 370 bushels of corn, the most since 1975. So it goes with the laws of supply and demand. While many of us in grain production obviously see below breakeven prices as a detriment to our farm enterprises, this may provide us an opportunity to build our customer base. First, however, we must set the record straight about food vs. fuel.

Just two years ago, the corn industry was taking a real lashing from Mother Nature, corn buyers, and food retailers. The U.S. was suffering from one of the worst droughts in history. Corn prices rose dramatically, which is only beneficial if you have a crop to sell, and all fingers pointed toward ethanol as the culprit. Food processors and everyone else down the marketing chain pumped up their prices to follow suit and lobbied tirelessly, even still, to overturn the Renewable Fuels Standard.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Kentucky Corn Crop Update

According to the September 28 USDA-NASS report, 47% of the Kentucky corn crop has been harvested, compared to 12% nationally. Corn condition in Kentucky has also improved, with 66% reporting good to excellent. Average crop condition for the top 18 corn producing states is 74% good to excellent. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

USDA Releases Details on New Risk Management Programs

Corn growers this week thanked U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack for rolling out regulations related to the new revenue-based Agriculture Risk Coverage program and other risk management options designed to help growers facing sharp declines in commodity prices or significant production losses.

Vilsack announced the online tools which will help farmers select whether ARC or PLC coverage provides the best risk management option for their operations under future scenarios. USDA helped create online tools that allow farmers to enter information about their operation and see projections about what each program will mean for them under possible future scenarios. The new tools are now available at

Monday, September 22, 2014

Precision Technology Workshop & Conference in November

KyCorn/KySGGA Precision Ag Technology Data Management Seminars
November 19-20, 2014
Daviess County Extension Office, Owensboro, KY

Day one will focus on developing skills for typical data management (yield data, soil sampling data, prescription map development) throughout the growing season for those who are beginning to work with these data sets.

Day two will be geared more towards experienced users who are looking to get more knowledge out of their data including profitability analysis, crop performance within different zones (soil, terrain, etc.) within their fields.

Interested individuals may choose to attend the day best suited to their needs or both. To register, or for more information, contact Adam Andrews at or 502-742-2036.

Ohio Valley Precision Agriculture Conference
November 21, 2014
Vanderburgh County 4-H Center, Evansville, IN

The University of Kentucky and Purdue University have coordinated a Precision Agriculture Conference for farmers and agri-business professionals on November 21 at the Vanderburgh County 4-H Center in Evansville, Indiana.

Topics include an overview of precision agriculture technologies, a data management hands-on software demonstration, strip verification, agriculture apps, site-specific input management, high-speed planters and multi-variety planting, utilizing data generated from specific management, telematics, and a drone demonstration. A panel discussion featuring Dr. Joe Luck, Dr. John Fulton, Jason Webster, Brian Arnall, and Davie Stephens is also on the agenda.

For more information or to pre-register, call the Daviess County Extension office at 270-685-8480.

View the agenda.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Enter the Kentucky Extension Corn Yield Contest - Deadline November 14

Any Kentucky corn farmer is welcome to enter the Kentucky Corn Yield Contest, administered by University of Kentucky Extension and sponsored by KyCorn.

Submissions must be received be postmarked by November 14, 2014.

Winners will be recognized at the Kentucky Commodity Conference in Bowling Green, on January 16, 2015.

Harvest Forms Available for National Corn Yield Contest

With harvest underway, the National Corn Growers Association announced that online harvest forms for the 2014 National Corn Yield Contest are now available. Entrants are asked to report within seven days of their final yield check or by Nov. 21, whichever comes first.