For the Monthly Report Ending August 15, 2015

GENERAL WEATHER FOR THIS AREA: It has been another great month here in Southwestern Minnesota. The crops are looking excellent with very good yield potential. The weather has been comfortable and we've had just enough rain to keep the crops and the lawns green and lush. That isn't to say we haven't had some challenges, especially with the final weed control, early aphid spraying, and working through a sea of paperwork.

El Nino continues to provide us favorable weather. During the past month, daytime high temperatures have ranged from 78 to 93 degrees and night time lows from 50-68 degrees according to the Southwestern Minnesota Research and Outreach Center (SWROC) in Lamberton, MN. Interestingly, this is about the same range as last month. Growing Degree Days (GDD) are near the historical average.

Rainfall has been relatively frequent, with traces of rain 10 out of the past 30 days. Rain amounts have been light, with many areas receiving only a couple of inches of total rain during the past 30 days. That being said, there was a significant system that went through Rock County on August 6th and southern Murray/northern Nobles on August 9th that brought 1.5 - nearly 4 inches of rain to that area and 0.5 to 1.5 inches of moisture throughout most of the rest of the region. From mid-July to early August, subsurface moisture dipped below the historic average at the SWROC, which is the first time it has done this since the first part of May.

As previously indicated, parts of the eastern Corn Belt were significantly wet through the first half of the growing season. At this point, some of these same areas are becoming dry. Unfortunately, dry conditions following wet conditions usually accentuate the crop damage.

Figure 1 - Soybean aphid pressure was some of the worst we have observed in the past 15 years.

SOYBEANS: Soybean development continues to be ahead of normal. According to the Minnesota Ag Statistics Service (MASS), 90% of the soybeans in Minnesota are setting pods, compared to 71% at this time last year and the 5-year average of 69%. The soybean crop in Minnesota is rated 83% good to excellent, which is much higher than the national rating of 62%. In fact, Minnesota has the highest rated soybean crop in the nation. Yield potential is above average at this point and the recent rains in some of our region will help with pod set and pod fill.

We barely finished spraying for weed control about July 22-25th of July when we turned around and started spraying for soybean aphids. In fact, a few fields we sprayed the last application of herbicide and the insecticide at the same time. This is about the earliest we have treated for soybean aphid infestation in the past 10-15 years since we first started treating for them. Aphid pressure was probably as heavy as we have seen for several years. Fortunately, when we scouted for treating for aphids, there was not much question about whether or not to proceed, as some years we agonize over if we have reached threshold or not. Unfortunately, with treating for aphids 7-14 days ahead of normal, we'll be scouting again around the week of August 18th to confirm that no aphid populations are rebounding to threshold levels again. We are hopeful that we do not have to make any more trips across the fields this year with the sprayer.

Figure 2 - As you can see, the soybeans are in excellent condition. These soybeans are nearly too tall to spray with a ground rig.

CORN: Overall, 70% of the nation's corn crop is rated good to excellent. Corn conditions are rated 89% good to excellent in Minnesota, which is definitely the garden spot of the nation. Interestingly, the corn and soybean ratings in Minnesota are the highest ratings since 2010. About 52% of the corn in Minnesota is in the dough stage, up from 41% at this time last year and the 5-year average of 29%. We anticipate most of the corn will reach full maturity within about 40 days. At this point, the biggest threat to yield potential would be frost...hope we don't have a repeat of last year's frost in mid-September.

Figure 3 - The corn crop is very uniform and thus has a high yield potential.

REMARKS: The grain markets have been a rollercoaster ride this summer. As you may recall from early June to mid-July, corn prices increased about $0.75 per bushel and soybeans over $1 per bushel during that 6-week period, mostly based upon concerns about crop production with the wet weather in the eastern Corn Belt. It appears that the 2015 crop prices peaked this summer on July 13th at around $4.00 per bushel of 2015 corn and $9.60 per bushel of 2015 soybeans. Since then, prices have decreased and have now dropped back to about $3.25 and $8.40 per bushel, respectively, almost where they were before the rally in early June.

The USDA Monthly Supply and Demand Report was released on Wednesday, August 12th. Estimated U.S. soybean production for the 2015 crop increased from the July report when most in the industry anticipated a decrease. Many analysts were also anticipating a decrease in national estimated corn production as well and USDA increased these estimates, too. Prices fell dramatically after the report was released, with soybean and corn prices 60 and 20 cents lower, respectively.

As far as the numbers go, USDA did decrease planted soybean acres by 800,000 acres to 84.3 million acres. However, the real impact on price was the USDA actually increased the national yield to 46.9 bushels per acre, when most of the trade was anticipating 44.6 bushels per acre. This higher yield increased estimated U.S. soybean production to 3.916 billion bushels, nearly 200 million more than expected. This increased estimated ending stocks (national inventory) to 470 million bushels, almost 170 million more than projected. Basically, this report will put a ceiling on soybean prices for the balance of 2015. Unless there is an early frost or major national weather event, it will be a challenge to get back to $9 per bushel soybeans through harvest.

Corn production estimates were not as dramatic, but still negative to price. USDA increased its national yield estimate to 168.8 bushels per acre from 166.8 bushels per acre last month, when most of the market anticipated 164.4 bushels per acre. This increase resulted in an increase of U.S. production in 2015 to 13.686 billion bushels and ending stocks (national inventory) of 1.713 billion bushels. With plenty of corn available, this will likely hold prices in the $3.20-$3.50 per bushel range into harvest.

It has been another busy month here at Fairland. After scouting for the last weed control and aphid treatment, we have been processing a lot of herbicide/insecticide/custom bills. We have been doing some maintenance in the CRP where necessary and applying for cost-sharing when available. We were also able to finish signing the 2014 and 2015 contracts to complete the farm program enrollment process. Implementing the current farm bill has taken a great deal of time, but it appears that there will be some significant payments in the next couple of years. We will be conducting our yield estimates in the coming weeks and reporting those results to our custom/crop share clients in early September.

One other major project we have been working on for a few clients has been monitoring the construction of the Odell Wind Farm southeast of Windom. This 200 Megawatt (MW) project has been in development for a couple of years. Construction began in May and will proceed through the winter and is scheduled to be operational in the spring of 2016. This project will provide an increase in income to participating landowners as well as an increase in local and state tax base and economic development in the region.

Figure 4 - This is concrete being poured for a wind turbine foundation for the Odell Wind Farm southeast of Windom.








August 10, 2015




August 10, 2015




Corn Growing Degree Days are calculated by subtracting a 50 degree base temperature from the average of the maximum and minimum temperature for the day. The daily maximum is limited to 86 degrees and the minimum is 50 degrees.


Grain Markets (August 12, 2015)


New Vision,


Poet Biorefining,
Bingham Lake
























Rainfall (inches)



 July 15-August 12, 2015

MARCH 15 to DATE-2015

MARCH 15 to DATE-2014

Cottonwood Jeffers            2.69              15.22              18.42
Cottonwood Windom            2.61              15.96              17.69
Jackson Heron Lake


             14.76              15.41
Jackson Jackson


             13.88              18.37
Martin Trimont            3.00              16.58              18.69
Murray Fulda            4.09              15.57


Murray Slayton            3.02              16.50              17.58
Nobles Round Lake



Nobles Rushmore            4.49



Redwood Redwood Falls            4.49              15.62              18.49
Rock Magnolia            4.61              17.34              23.55

Klay D. Walinga
Vice President
Manager - Farm Services Department
Real Estate Broker
Accredited Farm Manager

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