For the Monthly Report Ending May 15, 2015

GENERAL WEATHER FOR THIS AREA: The weather in Southwestern Minnesota (SWMN) since the middle of April was ideal for planting both the corn and soybean crop at a near record pace. The trend of below average precipitation continued and was a large factor in allowing planting to go very quickly over the last thirty days. For the week ending May 10th, 95% of the Minnesota corn crop had been planted and 39% had emerged. This was the second highest amount in 30 years and the 5-year average is 50%. Also, 70% of the soybean crop in Minnesota had been planted, which is the most planted by this date in 30 years and well above the five year average of 17%.

Air temperatures have been very erratic during the past month. Daytime high temperatures since April 15th have ranged from 43 to 83 degrees and nighttime lows have ranged from 23 to 58 degrees, according to the Southwest Research and Outreach Center (SWROC) in Lamberton, MN. Soil temperatures at the 2-inch level over the last 30 days have ranged from around 40 degrees in late April to the middle 50s to low 60s by the first week of May. The optimal temperature for seed germination is 50 degrees.

Fortunately, we have received some very timely and much needed moisture since our last report. Rainfall totals over the last month have ranged from 1.78 to 2.85 inches. Most of this rain arrived between the dates of May 7-10 after the majority of the corn and soybean planting had concluded. Available soil water, which is defined as water that is held to soil particles and is available for use by the crop, has increased as noted in Figure 1, but is still below the long term average at this time. The most recent U.S. Drought Monitor still has most of SWMN rated to be in a "moderate drought", although conditions are improving. Fortunately, we are receiving some additional rain as this report is being written, which will provide some further relief from the dry conditions this spring. These rainfall totals will be reported in the next Crop & Weather Report.
Figure 1 - Available Soil Water (inches) at the SWROC-Lamberton as of May 1st compared to the historical average since 1966.

SOYBEANS: The transition from corn to soybean planting was virtually seamless this year as dry conditions allowed producers the option to move from one crop to the next. Soil conditions for planting were ideal. Some planting began on approximately April 22nd and progressed at a rapid pace by the 25th. With soybean planting not being quite as sensitive to planting date, in respect to yield potential, a few producers held off until April 27th to initiate planting in the hopes of avoiding plant emergence challenges with any possible below average low temperatures. USDA has indicated that 31% of the soybeans in the U.S. were planted as of May 10th. Here at Fairland, we are almost 100% done with soybean planting, with just a couple of fields waiting to be planted because of tiling or low-lying areas with cool, damp soils.

One slight concern during planting was that some of the soybeans were being planted in soils with variable, but very low top soil moisture levels. This could result in variable emergence due the fact that the seed needs to take in, or imbibe, soil moisture in order to germinate. Fortunately, this worry was put to rest with the arrival of rainfall. The rain was also effective in moving and activating the pre-emergent herbicides within the soil profile, as most fields were sprayed with pre-emergent herbicides immediately following planting. The ideal soil temperature for soybean emergence is 77 degrees, but we have not reached this level. Lower levels of soil temperature will result in a delay in emergence, but should not have a significant impact on final yield.
Figure 2 - Seed being delivered to the farm by the seed dealer. A forklift or loader with pallet forks is used to unload the bags and bulk units.

CORN: Corn planting was completed in nearly ideal soil conditions this year. A little initial planting began on April 16th - 17th, and was in full force by the third week of April. A lack of moisture this spring resulted in ideal seedbed preparation as cultivators leveled and smoothed fields ahead of the planters. In most years, it is necessary to till the field and allow it to "air out" for a day ahead of planting. This was not the case this year as producers had the option to plant as close behind the field cultivator as they wanted in a near "garden like" environment. The majority of the corn planting was completed by April 26th in SWMN, which is in the ideal window of planting and will result in the crop starting the growing season at 100% yield potential. USDA has indicated that 75% of the U.S. corn was planted as of May 10th. Fairland's clients were 100% completed by May 1st.

The majority of the fields were sprayed with pre-emergent herbicides immediately after planting. Approximately a half inch of rainfall is required to activate the herbicide, which we received in early May. We will continue to scout fields in the upcoming weeks to verify even emergence and adequate weed control. Initially the seedlings grow slow in the early days of the growing season, but in a short time will appear to grow in "leaps and bounds" as we approach the summer.

Figure 3 - The soil covered roots (radical) are the first to emerge from the seed near the tip of the kernel. Slightly after, the cream colored coleoptile, often called "spike" begins to develop from the side of the seed.

REMARKS: The USDA monthly Supply & Demand Report was released on Tuesday, May 12th. The report forecasted that U.S. farmers will produce 13.6 billion bushels (166.8 bu. per ac.) of corn in 2015. If true, this would be 586 million bushels less than this past year. Soybean production is forecast at 3.85 billion bushels (46.0 bu. per ac.). This production estimate is based upon more acres planted than last year, but with a lower overall estimated national yield.

USDA anticipates ending stocks for corn declining to 1.746 billion bushels from the estimate for the previous year (2014-2015) of 1.851 billion bushels. The opposite is estimated for soybeans where USDA sees the national ending inventory growing by 500 million bushels in 2015-2016. The estimate was 350 million bushels for 2014-2015. This increase in carryover would be significant if realized, resulting in an ending stocks-to-use ratio of 13.2%, which is the largest ratio since the 18.6% estimate at the end of the 2006-2007 marketing year. We sold an additional 10% of the 2014 soybean crop on April 28th at an average price of $9.57 per bushel. We will hold off selling any additional grain until markets indicate it is appropriate.

The outbreak of avian flu, which has made national and international headlines, has now claimed more than 32 million birds in 16 states. The disease was first identified in Oregon, but has quickly moved across the Midwest impacting both chicken and turkey flocks. Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa have been impacted significantly enough to warrant state of emergency declarations. Nebraska is the most recent state USDA announced. A flock of 1.7 million chickens is the first to be infected in that state. Some experts are indicating that the virus is being spread directly by wild geese and ducks. Others are speculating that it is being transmitted through the feedmill facilities. There are two strains of the virus, H5N2 and H5N8, but the N2 has been blamed for the majority of the poultry deaths. The virus poses little risk to humans. The biggest impact of the outbreak has been to producers. Once the virus is identified the entire flock must be culled in an effort to prevent the disease from spreading. There have been turkey operations in Cottonwood County that have been forced to kill thousands of birds. The producer must also quarantine, scrub, and disinfect the facility prior to restocking the barn. There has been some impact on local food prices. It is estimated that the virus is to blame for a 17% increase in price on a carton of large eggs. Processed products such as cakes mixes and mayonnaise will likely see the largest increases in price for some time. Media reports have indicated that the supply of turkeys for Thanksgiving should not be significantly impacted, but prices could be a bit higher than in previous years.

The National Weather Service in April reported that there is approximately a 70% chance that an El Nino weather pattern will continue through the Northern Hemisphere through the summer of 2015, and a greater than 60% chance it will last through autumn. In the past 130 years, El Nino events that last into the Northern Hemisphere summer months tend to favor U.S. crop yields, especially in the Corn Belt.

In addition to monitoring planting, we have also been busy attending to tile repairs, researching upkeep and improvement projects, monitoring a significant wind project, working on projections, and implementing Mid-Contract Management (MCM) as required on certain Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) contracts, just to name a few.

Figure 4 - This tenant incorporated a 36-row planter in his operation this year. At 30-inch spacing it is 90-feet in length! In ideal conditions upwards of 46 acres per hour can be seeded with this planter! In addition to planting, starter fertilizer, liquid nitrogen, and pre-emerge herbicide are applied in a single pace saving time and money.








May 11, 2015




May 11, 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 (April 15, 2015)


New Vision,


Poet Biorefining,
Bingham Lake
























Rainfall (inches)



 APRIL 16-MAY 13, 2015

MARCH 15 to DATE-2015

MARCH 15 to DATE-2014

Cottonwood Jeffers                 2.22                   3.70                   5.58
Cottonwood Windom                 1.95                   3.65                   5.26
Jackson Heron Lake


                  4.06                   5.09
Jackson Jackson


                  3.84                   6.23
Martin Trimont                 2.06                   4.29                   6.61
Murray Fulda                 2.21                   4.62


Murray Slayton                 2.27                   3.94                   5.05
Nobles Round Lake



Nobles Rushmore                 1.91



Redwood Redwood Falls                 2.29                   3.43                   7.07
Rock Magnolia                 2.85                   4.51                   4.54

Steven H. Hiniker
Farm Management Advisor
Real Estate Salesperson

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