June 28, 2016

Release of Revised 2016 Illinois Crop Budgets

The 2016 Illinois Crop Budgets have been revised and the "June 2016" version is now available on farmdoc. A significant change between the previous version released in December 2015 and the June version is an increase in soybean price. Even given this price increase, projected returns contained in the June version still will result in very low incomes on Illinois grain farms.

June 27, 2016

Weekly Outlook: Modest Pork Expansion, But Brexit Casts Shadow

In the June Hogs and Pigs survey, pork producers told USDA they had increased the size of the breeding herd by one percent relative to year ago levels. The breeding herd began to increase in the fall of 2014 after producers had record profitability due to reduced production due to the PED virus. Basically, the industry has been in a slow expansion since that time. Declining feed prices were also a stimulus to expansion until this spring when feed prices began to rise once more.

June 24, 2016

Vigorous Weeds and Lethargic Regulations: A Wicked Problem for Farmers

There is a troubling discrepancy between the large number of harmful invasive plant species and the number of invasive plant species that are actually regulated. At the federal level, the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection service (APHIS) includes 112 plant species on the Federal Noxious Weed List. Scientific estimates, however, put the actual number of introduced invasive species at around 5,000.[3] It is estimated that annual costs attributed to invasive plant species in the U.S. approach $25 billion.

  • Authors: Lisa R. Schlessinger and A. Bryan Endres
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June 23, 2016

Increasing Crop Insurance Coverage Levels: An Assessment

Average crop insurance coverage level has increased from 67% in 2002 to 75% in 2015. This period follows enactment of the Agricultural Risk Protection Act of 2000, the last stand-alone federal crop insurance act. The increase spans years before and during the crop boom, which is usually dated as starting with the 2007 crop. A common observation is that revenue variability increased during the crop boom. This observation is examined, as is the potential role net crop insurance payments to farms by insurance coverage level may play in increasing coverage levels.

  • Authors: Carl Zulauf and Gary Schnitkey
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June 22, 2016

To Harvest Stover or Not: Part 2

Mandates for second-generation biofuels in the US create potential markets for farmers to collect and market their corn stover biomass. Removing stover from the field has the potential to reduce organic matter and nutrients available in the soil, while increasing the potential for soil erosion. Furthermore, there are concerns that the potential to sell stover might impact farmers' crop rotations and tillage practices, potentially leading farmers to switch from corn-soybean to continuous corn rotations. Since continuous corn production may lead to lower per acre yields and require more nitrogen application per acre than corn grown in rotation with soybeans, this change in production practices has the potential to increase nitrate run-off.

  • Authors: Nick Paulson and Madhu Khanna
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