September 18th, 2014 by Chris Parks
w/ Max Dirks
Iowa farmers are preparing to roll out their combines for harvest season but they may be hitting the fields in a few weeks with mixed emotions. A new report from the U-S Department of Agriculture projects a four-point-three bushel-per-acre increase in the corn yield nationwide. The U-S-D-A’s chief economist Joe Glauber says that much corn means only one thing. “No question, looking at lower prices as a result,” Glauber says.
Corn prices have been falling all summer and the latest projection shows another 21-percent decrease in prices in the next marketing year for corn. Soybean prices are also expected to drop 23-percent. Iowa is the nation’s top producer of both corn and soybeans so those statistics will hit especially hard here. “The question is, where does all this look once you’ve netted out the cost of production,” Glauber says. “I think the real factor there looming has been the high cash rents. We know cash rents have gone up over the last few years. In some areas, they’ve begun to come down a little bit and we’d expect with lower returns, certainly, that those will come down.”
However, what was paid for cash rent this year is what will go into the production formulas. A U-S-D-A report out last week found the average price to rent Iowa farmland has gone up slightly this year, averaging 260-dollars per acre for corn and soybean ground. That’s about five-dollars an acre higher than last year. Glauber says it may be a challenge to find places to put all of the bumper crop.
“Pressure on storage capacity is going to put pressure on transportation,” he says. “There are already problems in the transportation service, particularly in the Northern Plains, where we’ve seen bases widening, long delays.”
Glauber says the good news is — there is a market for all that corn about to be harvested as ethanol production and exports remain very strong. Iowa is the nation’s top ethanol producer.
A crop specialist with Iowa State University Extension says some late-season diseases are cropping up in northwest Iowa fields. Joel DeJong says some hybrids aren’t tolerating “Northern Corn Leaf Blight” very well. “We’ve kind of seen an explosion of that disease in some fields,” DeJong says. “And all of a sudden we’ve got a lot of brown leaves and we’re starting to see some, maybe, premature death in some of those fields which is going to hurt yields somewhat.” Some corn stalks are rotting in the field, too, because of soggy conditions.
“I think our environment for this whole season leads us to have more stalk rot,” DeJong says, “so we’re going to be a little concerned about standability at harvest time.” Combines only harvest corn from upright stalks, so if the corn stalk falls over, farmers lose those ears of corn. This year’s Iowa corn crop hasn’t reached maturity yet and the harvest in northern Iowa won’t begin until the end of this month.
“We’re hoping for more sunshine now and also some more sunshine and maybe warmer than normal days as we get into October so we can dry that crop and don’t have to spend so much money,” DeJong says. Propane prices have been steady for several weeks, but farmers have been urged to buy propane in advance to run the dryers on their corn bins. DeJong has inspected soybean fields, too, and his analysis indicates there are enough pods on the plants, but the question is how big the beans are inside those pods.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Iowa officials cleared the way for two hog facilities in Adair County to expand their operations even though local leaders twice rejected the projects. The Iowa Environmental Protection Commission on Tuesday backed a state Department of Natural Resources ruling on the facilities, The Des Moines Register reported.
That means Circle G and Geidel Pork, operated by the same family, can double the number of pigs to nearly 5,000 at each site even though Adair County supervisors twice voted no. Local leaders asked the commission to deny the expansions because of concerns about air and water pollution, farming practices, and the impact of the operations on nearby properties.
State leaders said they can’t require more distance between hog facilities and neighbors than the one mile currently required by law.
Sisters Ann Hatfield Merritt and Jane Anchustegui, who operate a 1,500-acre outdoor retreat called Hatfield Lakes near Creston, said they would consider shutting down their resort. Merritt said the family has invested at least $2.5 million, provided jobs for about a dozen people and is considering an expansion.
“We’re done. We will not invest another dime,” Merritt said. “Why would anyone want to visit a recreational lakefront when they’re forced to smell hog odors?”
Dean Anderson, who has chronic pulmonary disease and uses oxygen full-time, sent the commission a video saying the expansions would make him “a prisoner in his own home.” He said the hog facilities deny him and his neighbors their “God-given right to fresh, clean air.”
Lavon Eblen speaks with Bob Nelson whom is a volunteer for the Greenridge Steam and Gas Engine Antique Show this weekend.
Jim Field speaks with Sue Pitts about the Extreme Entrepeneurship Tour with Iowa Western Community College.
w/ Kate Olson
Republican Senator Chuck Grassley has issued a carefully-worded written statement that takes aim at a vote Democrat Bruce Braley took in the U.S. House last week. Last week, Republicans in the U.S. House voted to block the E-P-A from imposing rules that farmers fear would give the agency authority to regulate water in ditches, farm ponds and tile lines. Grassley called that House bill “a thoughtful approach to the problem” and an “easy” yes vote for “anybody who has talked to Iowans in the last couple of months.” Braley, who is running for the U.S. Senate this year, voted no.
Grassley didn’t mention Braley by name, but Grassley said in the statement that it’s “too bad the entire Iowa delegation didn’t get the message” to vote yes. In a written statement, Braley’s staff noted Braley had supported an amendment to the bill instead. It would have barred the E-P-A from adopting rules that would change the Clean Water Act exemptions currently on the books for farmers.
A spokesman for Braley said that approach would have protected farmers, but ensured polluters “like Big Oil” are held accountable for Clean Water Act violations. Bruce Neiman, a livestock farmer from Manchester who is president of the Delaware County Farm Bureau, says based on an email he got from Braley’s congressional office, he had expected Braley to vote yes. “It was just the opposite of the way he voted,” Neiman says. “and so after the second time reading it, I said: ‘Well, I guess an actual political flip-flop right in front of me.’” Neiman lives in Braley’s congressional district, but has not supported Braley in the past.
Neiman is backing Joni Ernst, the Republican running for the U.S. Senate this year and he believes Ernst would join those who are trying to reign the E-P-A. “Anymore, there’s a very limited ag population let alone rural population so if we don’t find people that we can count on then we’re in a very difficult position because there’s been a lot of EPA — I’m going to call it static,” Neiman says. “I mean, when they’re concerned about dust coming out of a field, they’ve gotten everybody’s attention in production agriculture.”
Ernst told a group of farmers in Independence, Iowa, last Friday that the E-P-A was “overreaching” and she accused Braley of voting no on the bill because Braley has the backing of an “extreme environmentalist” from California. The E-P-A is one of the federal agencies Ernst has said she’d like to see eliminated and Braley’s spokesman calls that a “radical Tea Party” idea that would get rid of rules that “keep Iowa drinking water clean.”
The Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors headed to the country to visit Zellmer Farms and A-Z Feeders on Highland Road.
Alan and Brenda Zellmer began their farming career in the mid 1970′s. Alan and his two sons, are the 5th and 6th generation of Zellmer farmers. Zellmer Farms focuses on crop farming and Wagyu and Angus cattle production. The business is family owned and operated. Jim Skartvedt (son-in-law) explained the difference between Wagyu and Angus cattle.