For the Monthly Report Ending August 15, 2014

GENERAL WEATHER FOR THIS AREA: After experiencing one of the wettest springs in recent history, we have experienced a reversal in the weather pattern, as rainfall has been limited over the past 30 days. Our area has accumulated 0.61 to 2.21 inches of rainfall from about July 15th to August 15th, as noted in the chart at the end of this report. As one would suspect, soil moisture levels have decreased as a result of a lack of rainfall to replenish the soils. It was recently reported that statewide, adequate topsoil and subsoil moisture levels have decreased to 61% and 76%, respectively.

Rainfall is not the only weather related item to record below average readings as of late. For the most part, temperatures have also been seasonably cool over the last several weeks. Daily highs have hovered between the mid-70s to low 80s with an occasional high reaching the upper 80s. Daily lows have dipped to the mid-50s. Humidity levels have been low as well. Although the weather has been very comfortable and conducive for those conducting farming activities such as haying, both the corn and soybean crops in southwest Minnesota would benefit from an increase in heat during this time of year, especially since we are past corn pollination.

SOYBEANS: The soybean crop has received the bulk of our attention the last few weeks, primarily in the form of weed control and to a lesser extent spraying for aphids. Application of final post emergence herbicides concluded in mid to late July/early August. Unfortunately, we have found the need to re-treat some fields with additional herbicide (and thus additional cost), as waterhemp is becoming resistant and continues to be challenging to control in certain fields. We have spent extra time scouting fields this year to determine if follow-up treatments are needed.

The crop is progressing nicely after a slow start. Plant height, color, and overall health are very good at this time. Rows are becoming indistinguishable, especially on drilled or narrow rows as canopying of the plants has closed the rows. Those areas replanted are looking good as well. Soybean aphids became detectable in many fields as we turned the calendar to the month of August. Population growth has been slower than some other years and aphid pressure has been more sporadic this year. Some fields have already been sprayed and in some, only a portion of the fields have reached a level warranting treatment at this time. We will continue to monitor levels through late August as the populations have the ability to double every 3-5 days. The spotty and slow build up has required additional visits to farms as it is our goal to only treat fields if they reach the economic injury level. We would rather save the expense if treatment is not warranted.

The latest Crop Progress & Condition Report from USDA-National Agricultural Statistical Service (NASS) released on August 10th, revealed that 65% of the Minnesota soybean crop is rated good to excellent. It also indicated that 74% of the crop is setting pods. This compares to a five year average of 67%. There is reason to be optimistic about the soybean yield potential at this time.

Figure 1 - We have wrapped up soybean spraying for weed control and have started insecticide applications for control of soybean aphids.

Figure 2 - This picture shows a helicopter used to spray soybean aphids taking off after refilling with insecticide. The helicopter lands on top of the pad on the truck during the refill process. This eliminates the concern of landing on uneven terrain.

CORN: The corn crop has reached maximum height and completed the rapid vegetative stages of its life cycle and has now transitioned to the reproductive stages of development. Weed control has been finalized. Plant silking and pollination took place under nearly ideal conditions not only in Minnesota, but across the Corn Belt, as cool temperatures maximized the number of kernels that were pollinated. Corn kernel fill is currently between the milk (liquid) and dough stage. What are these stages and what will be happening physiologically with the corn over the course of the upcoming days and weeks? Iowa State provides a pretty good summary.

Milk stage - The kernel is now yellow on the outside with the inside containing milky white fluid. Starch is rapidly accumulating in the kernel. At this point it is possible to estimate yield. These estimates will be about 30 bushels plus/minus actual yield.

Dough stage - The interior of the kernel has now thickened to a dough or paste-like substance. The kernels have now accumulated about half of their mature dry weight. Stresses will not likely cause kernel abortion by this stage. Source: Iowa State University

With corn being a heat driven crop, the cooler than normal temperatures we have experienced this summer have resulted in the crop being behind normal in development compared to average. Recently, there were 1,581 heat units recorded in Lamberton. This is 49 growing degree days (GDD) units behind normal. Should we be worried about the crop reaching full maturity prior to a killing frost? If the crop continues to develop at its current pace, we should expect the crop to reach maturity on approximately October 12th. On the other hand, there is plenty of the growing season left that could move this date up. This is exactly what happened on different occasions over the last five years as you can see below. Even if the crop reaches full maturity, we do expect to incur average to above average drying expense this fall.

As of August 10th, the USDA rates the Minnesota corn crop at 70% in the good to excellent stage. Also, at a bit of surprise given below average temperatures during much of the growing season thus far, they indicate that 44% of the crop has reached the dough stage. This compares to a five year average of 24%. Overall, yield potential is sporadic, with some areas above average and some areas will be below average. We will be providing our clients more formal yield estimates for their farms in the September 1st Crop & Weather Report.

Figure 3 - This chart provides a snapshot of where we are at in GDD accumulation relative to the average as well as recent and record setting years. As you can see, we are below the historical average and about the same point that we were at this time last year. Source: SWROC Center Lamberton.

REMARKS: Within the last few days, there was a lead article on an internet new source talking about farmers in the Midwest expecting exceptionally big yields this fall due to ideal moisture levels and below average temperatures (resulting in less stress and a longer grain fill period) across much of the Corn Belt. It looks like the USDA agrees with this information as well. In its most recent USDA Monthly Supply & Demand Report released on August 12th, it was forecasted that the national average corn yield would be 167.4 bushels per acre. This would be a new national record yield if attained. Total production would be just over 14 billion bushels. The report also indicated that 11 states are likely to set new corn yield records this year. Ten of these states surveyed have the highest ear counts per acre ever counted. Unfortunately, Minnesota is not on this list.

Soybeans as well are projected to reach some high numbers. USDA estimates that 3.8 billion bushels will be produced with an average yield of 45.4 bushels per acre. If reached, this would be a new record national yield as well. Arkansas, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania could see record yields according to a recent report.

Estimated U.S. ending stocks for the 2014-2015 crops were also a part of this report. The soybean estimate was increased from July to August (415 to 430 million bushels). Corn ending stocks also increased slightly from 1.801 to 1.808 million bushels. Globally, both corn and soybeans saw ending stocks lowered somewhat.

What impact did this news have on grain markets? At this time, the market is convinced of a large national crop, so there continues to be downward pressure on grain prices. It will take production, economic, and/or political news in the future to push markets higher. We will continue to look for opportunities to market the last 10% of the 2013 corn crop and any soybean settlements in the next few weeks and make the necessary year-end sales to wrap up 2014.

It is hard to believe that the long days of summer are winding down. Parents are planning for kids return to school and football talk is back in the air. Where has the summer gone and what has been accomplished? At Fairland, we have been busy this summer monitoring crop development and weed control, scouting for soybean aphids, implementing Upkeep and Improvement projects, reviewing and recommending 2015 lease types, attending continuing education meetings, processing crop expenses, and many various client projects. As you can see, much has been done, but there is much more to do. We continue to appreciate the opportunity to assist you.

Figure 4 - Livestock producers have been busy baling hay during the last month or so. Round bales require the least amount of physical labor. It is rare to see many small square bales.








August 10, 2014








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 13, 2014)


New Vision,


Poet Biorefining,
Bingham Lake


Current Crop        










New Crop        












Rainfall (inches)



 JULY 16 TO AUGUST 13, 2014



Cottonwood Jeffers                 1.55                  18.42                  18.44
Cottonwood Windom                 2.21                  17.69                  15.04
Jackson Heron Lake


                 15.41                  18.31
Jackson Jackson


                 18.37                  16.76
Martin Trimont                 1.42                  18.69                  17.27
Murray Fulda                 1.10                  20.04


Murray Slayton                 1.24                  17.58                  17.65
Nobles Round Lake



Nobles Rushmore                 1.99



Redwood Redwood Falls                 0.61                  18.49                  18.31
Rock Magnolia                 1.35                  23.55                  18.45

Steven J. Hiniker
Farm Management Advisor
Real Estate Salesperson

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