R.F.D. NEWS & VIEWS: Unanticipated corps, dicamba complaints down and more

By Tim Alexander for Chronicle Media

Aron Carlson, a Winnebago farmer and president of the Illinois Corn Growers, illustrates how corn hybrids have put an end to the old “knee-high by the fourth of July” adage. (ICGA photo)

We lead this week’s farm and rural news roundup with– sadly– more bad news for corn and soybean growers. What implications will an increase of more than four million acres of crops above the USDA’s earlier Prospective Planting report hold for farmers? And where did all of the extra acreage come from? We have reports on this striking development along with other news for Illinois farmers and rural dwellers…please read on:

USDA: US has 4m acres of unanticipated crops

URBANA – A huge growth in principal crop acreage– 4.1 million acres– constituted one of the major revelations in the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Acreage and Grain Stocks report, issued June 29. According to the University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES), total principal crop acreage came in at 322.1 million acres, up more than four million acres from the USDA March Prospective Planting report.

Significant increases over March planting intentions occurred in hay (1.4 million acres), corn (1.1 million acres), and spring wheat (575,000 acres) acreage. This is despite overall corn and soybean planted acreage being reduced by 1.6 million acres from last year to 178.7 million acres in 2018. With growers desperate for higher prices, the question turns to what final yields will look like. The USDA projection for corn acreage intended for harvest is 81.8 million acres, 0.9 million less than the 2017 corn harvest, noted College of ACES agricultural economist Todd Hubbs.

“Yield is challenging to predict at this point in the growing season. The strong start to the year indicates potential yield is likely above the USDA’s June assessment of 174 bushels per acre,” Hubbs said following the Acreage and Grain Stocks report issuance. “Corn production in the U.S. during 2018 may be in the range between 14.1 and 14.4 billion bushels.”

Soybean acreage planted increased by 575,000 acres over March planting intentions. Soybean-harvested acreage is projected at 88.9 million acres, 660,000 acres less than the 2017 harvest. Yield potential for soybean, as with corn, is highly uncertain at this point, Hubbs said. (U of I College of ACES)

Analyst offer factors behind USDA acreage surprise

DTN contributing analyst Alan Brugler, following last week’s surprise announcement from the USDA that 4.1 million more acres of crops are planted than anticipated, asked if farmers broke three million acres of sod or cleared trees to make room for the extra crops. The answer, according to Brugler, is no.

“Most of that ground likely came from land that was a prevented planting insurance claim last year. The rest (about 872,000 acres) came from a one percent increase in the percent of double-crop soybeans. Double-crop beans are counted twice for acreage, and the four percent in 2017 was the lowest since 2005. We won’t get hard numbers on prevented planting until August. You can argue that there might have been more than last year in the northern plains, but much of the country was drier (according to the weekly Drought Monitor) and prevented planting claims drop in dry years.” (DTN/agfax)

Illinois Farm Fact:

In Illinois, 44 percent of the soybean crop is blooming. The five-year average is 11 percent. (USDA-NASS/Ill. Farm Bureau)

Report: IL corn farmers invested $4b in ‘18 crop

BLOOMINGTON – Despite planting an estimated 200,000 acres less corn than last year, Illinois farmers have invested close to $4 billion in crop inputs, supplies and services to grow their 2018 crop. According to University of Illinois economists, corn farmers in the state are spending $8 more per acre in 2018 than in 2017 to grow 11 million acres of corn. Despite continued depressed prices due to economic factors such as these, Illinois Corn Growers Association President Aron Carlson chose to celebrate the state’s corn farmers during the recent Independence Day holiday.

“Like most years, the 2018 Illinois corn crop is well ahead of the traditional knee-high by the Fourth of July target,” said Carlson, a Winnebago County farmer. “We are consistently among the top growing states in the nation, and we are proud to help fuel our state’s economic engine with homegrown corn. We’re proud of the corn we grow here in Illinois and we hope other will be, too. We welcome open and honest conversations with our fellow Illinoisans about our corn and how we grow it. We hope you’ll follow along with the corn crop as you travel through our state or visit is virtually on our online platforms.”

A series of videos from the Illinois Farm Families group provides a 360-degree view of Illinois corn from planting to harvest in a series of videos posted at www.watchusgrow.org/corn. (Illinois Corn)

IFCA: dicamba complaints down in ‘18

BLOOMINGTON – The number of dicamba-related complaints made to the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) seems to have slowed dramatically from that of 2017, according to a July 5 report on RFD Radio (no affiliation to RFD News & Views). Just 88 dicamba-related complaints of off-target applications had been received, down from last year’s 246 filed complaints, according to Jean Payne, director of the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association.

Payne cautions farmers, however, from using dicamba-based herbicides this late in the year and warns that the final number of complaints could rise as harvest gets nearer.

“If people started spraying last week or this week or next week, it could be August when we get reports from southern Illinois. We saw symptomology in central Illinois, and we had some really good days to spray,” she told RFD Radio’s DeLoss Jahnke, adding that it takes 14 to 21 days after spraying for symptoms to show on non dicamba-tolerant soybeans and other crops.

Additional complaints could surface later in the growing season due to soybean replanting that took place after flooding, while double-cropped beans were recently planted after the wheat harvest, Payne warned farmers considering late-season dicamba applications. “Every situation is a case-by-case difference, of course, but if you have any sensitive crops around a field that you’re thinking of applying, especially soybeans that are in the reproductive stage and are not dicamba-tolerant, I would caution you as much as I can,” she said. (Ill. Farm Bureau news)


–R.F.D. NEWS & VIEWS: Unanticipated corps, dicamba complaints down and more–