For the Monthly Report Ending September 15, 2014

GENERAL WEATHER FOR THIS AREA: Cool and damp pretty well describes the weather in Southwestern Minnesota over the past 30 days. In fact, there has been some measurable rainfall in 15 out of 30 days in some parts of our region. Our area has accumulated 2.64 to 8.41 inches of precipitation from August 15 to September 13th. Statewide, adequate topsoil and sub-soil moisture levels are 82% and 83%, respectively. This is up from the August levels of 61% and 76% (USDA-Minnesota Crop Progress and Condition, Sept 8th).

Ideally, we would like to see warmer temperatures between now and harvest. First, we need the crop to reach maturity to have full yield potential. Secondly, we need warm weather to aid in corn and soybean drying. General consensus is that both the soybeans and corn are approximately 10 days behind normal average development. Unfortunately, the area did experience some widespread but patchy frost through the region on the morning of September 13th. Soybeans that are impacted could see yield reductions from 0 to 25%, depending upon temperature/humidity on Saturday morning, stage of growth/plant maturity, variety, soil conditions, etc. Damage to the corn crop appears to be mostly cosmetic. We are continuing to assess damage on our clients' fields. Because the frost was spotty across fields, we feel that the greatest impact will be during harvest. Frost damaged crops will mature and dry down at different rates than non-impacted crops. This will lead to a balancing act as to when to harvest the crop. The current 8-14 day National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center indicates we will see average temperatures with above average chances of precipitation.

Figure 1 - This picture shows frost damaged leaves in a soybean field from the frost on the morning of September 13th.

SOYBEANS: Soybeans are currently at the R6 stage of development. At R6, the pod cavity on one of the four uppermost nodes on the main stem contains a green seed. At this point, the plant has realized its full yield potential. Some of the earlier maturing hybrids are beginning to show the characteristic yellowing that indicates harvest is not far away. The latest Minnesota Crop Progress and Condition Report (September 8, 2014) indicates that 26% of the state's soybeans are turning color. Our best guess is that soybean harvest will begin in earnest right around the first week of October.

Weed management in the soybeans has been a battle again this year. Almost all of our producers utilized a program of pre and post emergent application of herbicide. Control was very good until mid-August. Since then, most fields have experience flushes of waterhemp. The good news is there are new chemistries in the pipeline that will give us additional tools to fight this nuisance.

The latest Crop Progress & Condition Report from USDA-National Agricultural Statistical Service (NASS) released on September 8th, revealed that 69% of the Minnesota soybean crop is rated good to excellent. This is 4% higher than what was reported in August.

Figure 2: Frost damage in a soybean field. You can see the discoloration of beans in the low area of the field as compared with the green beans that were not impacted by frost on the higher parts of the farm.

CORN: As previously stated, the corn crop is behind normal in development compared to historical averages. Cool conditions have allowed the crop to develop in a mostly stress free environment this past month, which has lead to excellent grain fill. It has been a concern that this crop will reach physiological maturity prior to a killing frost. Recent statistics from the Southwest Research and Outreach Center in Lamberton indicate that we are 92 Growing Degree Units (GDD) behind average. The USDA has the Minnesota crop rated at 72% good to excellent, higher than historical average. In fact, the 10 top corn producing states all report good to excellent percentages above the historical average. Nationwide, this will be a big crop. Yields in our area however, will be varied. There is some incredible corn out there. However, there are areas that were impacted by excessive moisture this spring that led to the leaching of nutrients, which has caused less than ideal plant development.

With the abundance of rain this summer, this corn crop hasn't had to work very hard to find water. This has led to very shallow root development. Coupled with any stalk issues, the concern over late season plant health rises with late season storms. High winds can do incredible damage, flattening portions or all of a field. This makes it extremely difficult to combine and yield would be negatively impacted. Fortunately, we have avoided any significant storms to date.

Figure 3 - Corn at the dent stage. You can see some tip back on both of the ears.

REMARKS: The grain markets continue to extend their downward slide. We have recently put in new crop contract lows on both soybeans and corn. There is really no bullish information at this time to reverse this trend. Early yield reports from the southern growing regions are showing very strong yields proving what has been expected. The USDA Monthly Supply and Demand Report on September 11th provided additional bearish sentiment to market prices. USDA pegged national corn production at a record 171.7 bushels per acre, which equates to a record 14.4 billion bushels. This is up nearly 13 bushels per acre from last year. National soybean production is estimated to be a record 3.91 billion bushels, which equates to a national record soybean yield of 46.6 bushels. This is 3.3 bushels per acre higher than last year. Where will the bottom of the price be? We probably will not determine this until harvest is complete.

As was provided in the July 15th Crop and Weather Report, commodity programs under the 2014 Farm Bill have changed. Direct payments have disappeared and will be replaced by either one of two new commodity programs. Crop producers and land owners will need to select either Price Loss Coverage (PLC) or Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC). This is a one-time decision and will remain in effect at least through 2018. In addition, producers and landowners will have the opportunity to update their current payment yields to 90 percent of their 2008-2012 average yields. Base acres may be adjusted as well, to better reflect their mix of crops in 2009-20012.

Under PLC, the payment to the producer is triggered when the national marketing year average price falls below a reference (target) price that has been specified in the Farm Bill. The payment, when triggered, will equal the maximum of either the reference price minus the average marketing year price or the reference price minus the loan rate. Reference prices for corn and soybeans are $3.70 and $8.40 per bushel, respectively. Loan rate is $1.95 and $5.00 per bushel, for corn and soybeans respectively. Payment will be made on 85 percent of base production (base acres x program yield).

Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) is similar to the ACRE option under the farm program and is triggered under shallow revenue losses at the county or individual level. The program pays on base acres if actual revenue in a given year falls below a benchmark guaranteed level of revenue. This requires producers to choose whether to enroll in countywide coverage on a commodity-by-commodity basis or individual coverage that applies to all of the commodities on the farm. The county-level revenue benchmark is based on the previous five year Olympic average of United States marketing year average prices multiplied by the previous five year Olympic average county yield as reported by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). A minimum plug price and yield are used. The plug price is equal to the PLC reference price, and the plug yield is equal to 70% of the county T-yield.

Starting in 2015, there is another aspect of the farm program called the Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO) that can attach to existing PLC coverage. This program mimics the type of individual coverage that is in place (i.e. Yield Protection, Revenue Protection) and provides supplemental coverage up to a maximum of 86% coverage level.

The USDA/FSA has provided planted acreage from 2008-2012, base, and yield information to producers and landowners. The information needs to be reviewed and confirmed/corrected by the end of September. Fairland Management is reviewing this information for our clients. It appears that USDA/FSA has quite a few errors in the database. After this information is confirmed/corrected, the next step will be an opportunity to update yields for future FSA payments. We will be providing yield information for 2008-2012. The opportunity to update yields usually only occurs about once every decade. After yields are updated, then we can analyze the data and determine if PLC or ARC is better for each farm/client. After the choice is made, then signup for the 2014 and 2015 crop years will begin in late fall and continue into mid- January of 2015. Program sign up will require landowner signature (it sounds like existing Power of Attorney will be accepted) and any potential 2014 payments will not be made until October of 2015. We will continue to process information and provide you more with any updates in the coming months.

As always, if you have questions or need clarification, feel free to call us.

Figure 4 - Picture of a track hoe engaged in drainage improvements.








September 8, 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 (September 12, 2014)


New Vision,


Poet Biorefining,
Bingham Lake


Current Crop        










New Crop        












Rainfall (inches)



 AUGUST 14 TO SEPT 12, 2014



Cottonwood Jeffers                 3.86                  22.02                  16.26
Cottonwood Windom                 5.25                  23.01                  16.37
Jackson Heron Lake


                 18.14                  19.54
Jackson Jackson


                 21.90                  18.00
Martin Trimont                 8.41                  25.94                  18.44
Murray Fulda                 3.78                  23.65


Murray Slayton                 7.71                  23.58                  19.79
Nobles Round Lake



Nobles Rushmore                 3.38



Redwood Redwood Falls                 3.02                  20.93                  15.45
Rock Magnolia                 7.71                  27.72                  21.21

Charles P. Dewanz
Farm Management Advisor
Real Estate Salesperson

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