This week I attended the Integrated Crop Management Conference in Ames, IA. This was the first time I attended the program. I thought the group at Iowa State did a great job. I would recommend this program to all of our dealers.
Here are some overviews from 3 workshops.
Ag Weather Outlook, Elwynn Taylor.
We are currently in a trend of increased demand for commodities. In a volatility measurement from the CBOT, this is the most volatile year since 1988. That volatility was caused by weather. The indexes he uses to predict the weather all point to a 70% chance of below trend yields. Couple the already high demand for grain with drought and the markets could go really nuts.
As an agronomist looking at the volatility of the CBOT, fertilizer, and weather we should look to help our customers minimize risk.
An update on ethanol, biodiesel, grain markets, and implications for crop rotations for the next year, Robert Wisner
While ethanol continues to drive corn demand upward the main thing to consider is carryout. In 2004-05 carryout was 10 weeks, 2005-06 it dropped to 9 weeks. 2006-07 is estimated at 5 weeks, this is what is driving the markets. Dr. Wisner’s numbers show that over the next three years the carryout should range in the 6-8 week range. This should help keep the markets strong.
If there is a widespread drought next year, carryout could drop to 3 weeks. This is a critical level, and the markets will react with extreme volatility. This tells me that it may be more important to protect the downside of pricing, and not forward contract too much. Being conservative in marketing, while everyone else goes nuts will be the winning strategy.
Soybean White Mold: What we have learned since 1992, Craig Grau
The occurrence of white mold can be reduced by reducing factors that increase yield, or you could plant wheat. Not exactly things that are practical for most farmers. After the meeting I approached Dr. Grau, and asked him if he knew of any soil fertility situations where white mold could be reduced.
He said that increasing or decreasing certain fertilizers would make an impact on white mold. He then said that Gypsum would make an impact and would be a very good product to reduce white mold. Calcium Products conducted a study on using SuperCal SO4 to reduce white mold. Our research indicated a 9.8-bushel advantage from using SO4. This testing was done in 5 replicated trials.
I found it interesting that the message of the meeting was to reduce white mold, you should use techniques that are used in low yield environments. If there was an inexpensive product to add to your fertilizer program that is proven to reduce white mold, why not discuss it? At $5 beans SO4 would return $2 for every dollar spent. At $10 dollar beans SO4 would return over $4 for every dollar. Sure beats settling for 30-bushel beans.
The Blogronomist is maintained by Craig Dick, head blogronomist and VP of Sales and Marketing. Here you will find a wide array of blog articles from Craig and expert guests on topics related to soil and crop health, farming, and so much more. If it’s not here, ask us!