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    AGWEB FARMER BLOG from the US
    (Corn not a popular choice for next year and the common theme, high input costs and low commodity prices)

    12/11 - Southwest Minnesota: Here in this part of the state we averaged 162 bushels of corn and 48 for beans. We probably would have had record yields on both corn and beans, but a couple of hail storms took care of that. All in all a good year, but the question remains what to do for next season. We’ve got both an ethanol and biodiesel plant in the area and will see what prices look to be next spring.


    12/11 - Northwest North Dakota: I raise durum and canola primarily, and sometimes some spring wheat and barley. This coming year I will cut my canola acres in half due to high fertilizer costs, and will most likely reduce fertilizer rates on everything else. The cost of doing business is getting out of hand. Definitely will have to cut back on just about everything.

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    12/09 - Central North Dakota: Last year some guy from Fargo bought a bunch of land here and he rented it to the guys who were farming and ranching it. The other day he gave them the boot. He told them he bought it for hunting. that's the first time that happened around here. Investors have outbid farmers for land before but let somebody rent the land. The way we are being treated you would think we are selling our kids into slavery not raising over twice as much food than our country can consume.

    12/09 - East Central Illinois: In East Central Illinois we had pretty good yields for how dry it was. Corn was in the 140-170 range and beans were all in the mid 50s. Most of the summer I thought we wouldn't have much of a crop at all. We all need to thank the good Lord for the crop he gave us in here Illinois. We were very all surprised of what kind of crop we had in the fields. Looking at next year doesn't look very good, high input cost all across the board and low prices. More than ever we as farmers need to look at ways to keep costs low and that might mean us thinking out side the box. We will get through this. We did it in the 80's and in the 90's and this is just another bump in the road that we call farming. I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


    12/09 - Olmsted County, Minnesota: I'm glad my land cost is under $100 per acre but that's still too high for next year's corn acres given the current prices. I like the thought of doing the opposite of most growers. If others switch to soybeans, I feel $3.00 corn is possible. I'm not buying land or any machinery in 2006 unless I have the cash in hand. Good luck everyone.

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    12/08 - Fulton County, Illinois: Fall input costs 30% higher than last year with 2005 corn yields down 25%. Not Good! Without a major push by the feds and states to push ethanol really hard, there really is very little hope for anything but 1950 prices well into the 21st century. And since the feds are broke (interest on past debts, increased welfare programs and a costly war) they will be looking to the 1% of the budget that goes to ag subsidies to account for major savings. The 2007 farm bill should prove interesting.

    12/08 - Northeast Iowa: Looking ahead to 2006 acreage, the input costs say bean-- my heart says corn and my brain says rent the whole thing out for 2006. What I end up doing? I guess I will do what everyone tells the kids-- follow my heart and buy all the crop insurance I can get. Given yields the past several years I should be able to at least guarantee that I get my input and land costs back. M&E costs? Living expenses? Oh well!

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    12/07 - Northern Minnesota: Will be trying to grow much more grass seed, cut back on grains or oilseeds. This November was as wet as I have ever seen it--ever! That is saying a lot after the last 15 mud years!


    12/07 - Northeast Iowa Bremer County: Harvest went well, corn 200+ bushels per acre, and beans at 60+ bushels across 1200 acres. Applied NH3 at 425 per ton, (looking at $500+ for next spring, and prepaid 28% at $202 T.) and didn't really register until I paid my bills last night. I didn't realize just how much more my N costs are going to be for next year, and I would bet that there are a lot of other farmers right there. Yes, we knew that fertilizer prices shot up, but until you write the check, it doesn't mean as much! I would suggest that as spring gets closer, and farmers get serious about pushing the pencil on inputs, you will see big swing in acres from corn to beans.

    12/07 - Northeast Ohio: Snow is building up here. We had a dry year here so crops did well. Will plant about 50 acres more corn in 2006 for for cattle, horse, hog, and deer feed, seed more hay ground, and the same oats. Maybe some food grade beans on some let over ground, they get in the way of corn harvest. We plant 85 day corn ,then air dry it all winter to keep the test weight high for the feed mill we run. Deer and horse people can be real picky. They want there feed to be the same in every bag, every time. We don't spray the corn for weeds, but will cultivate 2 or 3 times to keep it clean. Good luck to all you folks out west.

    12/07 - Southeast Iowa: Is it just me or does any one else's hair stand up on the back of your neck when you read a magazine article about how bad it is with high input costs and low markets, and on the next page is an article from some seed company that has it figured out how we can grow an extra 10 bu per acre. However you take that statement, it is still the American way to improve and be the best. Even if you are a seed company. Without a doubt, our ability to produce is a bit ahead of our ability to consume, at least for a while. Call it greed or call it whatever you want, we have painted ourselves into this corner,and it could be pretty tough for some to get out of. Maybe the bankers reluctance to finance next years crop will have more effect than the drought of 2005.

    12/07 - Southeast Illinois: The market is telling me that we are going to have some serious problems in 2006. Obviously, there were many who had monster crops in 06….we didn’t fall into that category. There comes a time when you have to face reality…..and that is we can’t continue this trend of higher and higher inputs and lower prices year after year.

    Land is selling for $3,500.00 acre here in SE Illinois. That is outrageous if you really look at our average yields here. In most years, 120 bushel corn is pretty much considered a good crop given soil and rainfall averages. 120 Bu/acre corn just won’t recover input costs, and now rootworm is breathing down our necks as well as possible rust in 2006.

    We’ve had 5 year continuous corn, and all of it will be going 1/3 sunflowers and 2/3 soybeans Our fertility is high, so there will be 0 fertilizer applied in 06 on beans. We haven’t planted wheat since 2000…..but this year 1/3 of our farm went to wheat (and prices look crappy for 06 as well). We’ll double crop sunflowers behind all wheat, which is the only reason we are planting it. After looking at the fertilizer and seed bills for planting wheat….that is enough to make you sick as well. When you start looking at the checks going for seed, fertilizer, diesel fuel and machinery dealers for parts and repairs, it is obvious that they aren’t suffering any through this cycle…But I think the chickens are coming home to roost soon for them as well……we’ve bought a lot of machinery over the past 5 years…And with the high cost of new, our used green equipment is worth at least what we paid for it 3 years ago…in some cases more…But we won’t be buying anything in the near term until commodity prices start going up to justify it.

    Our cattle are one bright spot…And we have been expanding herd over the past three years. This year we will take some row crops (corn and beans) out and plant hay and sudan grass for cows…..something I wouldn’t have considered until now…But corn is a loser unless you can raise 200 Bu/acre with these input prices. Best wishes to everyone for 06…..I just can’t understand how those who rent ground can afford to farm it at these prices…..they must know something I don’t.




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    12/06 - Southwest Kansas: I am trying to figure out what the market is telling me for '06. NH3 at $465 per ton, natural gas for pumping water is going to cost $150 to $180 per acre AND commodity prices were higher in 1977. The banker has figured corn will break-even at 200 bushel per acre if you get $3.02 per bushel for it. He is probably going to require additional collateral and securitize the loans much closer. Beans are not much better. All illegal substances pay better, but the American farmer could over produce them in 6 months as well and your right back where you started. ( That's a joke folks. ) No one here has a good answer to the projected 2006 financial squeeze.

    12/06 - Martin County Minnesota: In 2005 we were blessed with a very large crop of corn and soybeans. Many fields of corn averaged 200 bushels plus and some bean fields hit 70 bushels per acre. Some NH3 went on this fall. We are in the Blue Earth watershed where there is a CSP enhancement payment for spring applied Nitrogen. Many producers are waiting till spring to put on their Nitrogen. It looks like NH3 could be $600.00 per ton next spring. Bottom line, we will need a 30 to 35 cent rally ( $2.70 futures) in December 2006 corn to get the acres planted!

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    12/05 - Lee County Illinois: I have to agree with the comments from Central Minn. on the 2nd and Benson County, ND. on the 5th. Things do not look good for farming in 2006. We'll all try and grow record crops again and see how much we loose. As a side note, landlord is talking about raising cash rent another $30 an acre. I guess if that happens someone else will have to take the loss.

    12/05 - North Dakota, Benson County: Starting to look like the best option for 2006 is keep the machine door closed. Probably lose less money.

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    12/04 - Northeast North Dakota: In 2004 an August frost killed all the soybeans, dry beans and sunflowers, but the peas, wheat and barley were the highest yields in memory. In 2005, excessive late June rains hurt a lot of our crops, but the dry beans, cereals, sunflowers, and canola turned out OK. The lesson to be learned is this: A diverse rotation is the most important part of our farm business. The 2006 plan......45% into wheat and barley, 33% in legumes(peas, soybeans, dry beans), about 20% in oil crops (sunflower, canola) plus some flax (?). We're too far north for corn.

    12/04 - North Central North Dakota: Barley contracts out at the same price as last year, but our production cost for 06 crop are skyrocketing. No barley on our farm on less they bump up the price. Never grown soybeans before but have booked seed for a couple quarters. Lots of first time bean growers in our area next year because of the high cost of N. Prepay for NH3 525/ton crazy. Paid 425/ton this fall. Should plant the whole farm to peas and beans.

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    12/02 - Central Minnesota: The market is telling us not to plant a crop in 2006 at this time, but as it goes we usually stick our heads in the sand and feel the price may get better. We are planning to plant some grain acres to provide grass for the birds.


    12/02 - North Central Indiana Fulton/Miami Counties: Some of the best soybean yields ever. Corn was better last year but not by much. We'll keep our corn/bean rotation. Most of the K2O is on. Can't get a price on N. Unless we pick up more acres we're done with tillage until spring. We thought about waiting to see if diesel got cheaper, but the weather was too good to pass up so we hit it pretty hard. We will do some serious no-till for corn next spring. We've been no-tilling soybeans for several years now. We'll start working on next years budgets and see how things shake out.


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    12/01 - SW Minnesota: Best yields ever. 215 corn and 65 beans. Have all fertilizer bought for next year. N was the same price for me as last year. P& K were higher but can back down on those two. Rotation last year was 65% corn, 35% beans. Currently going 45% corn and 55% beans for '06. Only because already have 75 acres that has been corn for three seasons. If corn prices improve, won't be afraid to plant more. Rented a combine with a neighbor to keep cost of machine around $9.25 /acre. Worked out very well. We will be sharing more equipment and labor next year and beyond. Moisture is set for next year. Had 7" the first part of October and roughly an inch Sunday night 6-8" of snow on the ground now. Patiently waiting to price remainder of '05 crop and looking ahead to '06 and '07 with ethanol plant going up 2 miles away and soybean processor 10 miles away.


    12/01 - Central Iowa: Many guys in the area going stronger corn next year even with higher input prices. Ethanol market in the area looks to be strong with 5 ethanol (3 of them new) plants within a 60 mile radius. Current basis at ethanol is $0.15 better than local co-op. Good soils will likely see more corn as it is hard to raise really good soybeans consistently in our area due to severe problems with cyst nematodes. Some guys already have 2006 $2.60 Dec hedge to arrives sold to the ethanol market and are looking at roughly a negative $0.25 ethanol basis (vs normal negative $0.40 co-op basis) giving them a $2.35 straight out of the field price.

 
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