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Climate FieldView Can Now Be Connected To CLAAS Telematics

CLAAS is pleased to announce that Climate FieldView, the flagship product of the Climate Corporation (Bayer’s digital farming arm) can now be connected to CLAAS TELEMATICS through the CLAAS API (application programming interface) to enable easy data exchange for field-specific and site-specific documentation.

Reliable data flows are essential for precision farming. Successful fertilizer, crop protection and planting and sowing strategies depend upon access to accurate information about the previous years’ yields and site-specific yield differences. To ensure that this vital information is provided seamlessly and at the farmer’s discretion, the FieldView platform and the CLAAS TELEMATICS portal can now be connected through the CLAAS API – offering access to new data science capabilities and ensuring seamless transfer of harvest information and insights from CLAAS TELEMATICS to FieldView.

“Data management is at the core of profitability and efficiency on the farm,” says Blair Hardie, Product Manager, Efficient Agriculture Systems (EASY). “This new ability to synchronize data will help farmers improve their profitability, manage risk and save valuable time by gathering data and conducting analysis all in one easy-to-use portal.”

Overview of API in Action
The Automatic Documentation add-on option in CLAAS TELEMATICS facilitates driver-independent, field-specific and site-specific documentation. This makes it possible to obtain a complete overview of each field worked with data automatically being assigned to the field based on the boundary. In addition to machine data and consumption figures, yield data and measurements from NIR sensors can also be documented.

When a farmer or contractor connects their CLAAS TELEMATICS account to their FieldView account via the CLAAS API, the documented harvest data from the TELEMATICS system are retrieved and sent to the FieldView user’s inbox as jobs. From there, the customer can select the files they’d like to sync with their FieldView account and further process the complete field-related documentation in FieldView.

With this connectivity, yield values and yield maps from a CLAAS combine harvester or forage harvester can be used in FieldView to generate site-specific planting prescriptions or fertilizer maps for the coming season. This helps farmers increase their profitability, actively manage risk and save valuable time by gathering data and conducting analysis all in one place.

Each individual customer connects their two accounts. Agronomic information is exchanged only between the accounts of FieldView and CLAAS TELEMATICS customers who chose to enable the offering. Farmers or contractors can independently revoke the connection in the CLAAS TELEMATICS or FieldView portal at any time and disable the data exchange.

Farm Credit Conditions Show Additional Strength

Agricultural credit conditions in the Tenth District continued to strengthen in the first quarter of 2021. After a sharp rebound at the end of 2020, conditions in the broad agricultural economy continued to improve alongside additional increases in crop prices. Stronger profit potential for farm borrowers supported a second consecutive quarter of significant increases in farm income, loan repayment rates and farmland values.

Overall, farm borrowers in the District were in a better financial position than at the beginning of 2020, but the pace of improvement was notably slower for livestock producers and for producers in areas affected by severe drought. Cattle prices remained below pre-pandemic levels in the first quarter, and the scope and severity of drought was a major concern in western states. However, government programs continued to provide support amid these challenges and the prolonged buildup of financial pressure in recent years appears to have eased considerably.

Credit Conditions

Repayment rates for farm loans in the first quarter improved significantly throughout the region. The rate of loan repayment increased rapidly for the second consecutive quarter in nearly all states (Chart 1). Following multiple years of weakness, 40% of all respondents reported an increase in repayment rates, the highest since 2012.

Chart 1: Farm Loan Repayment Rates by State, is a line graph showing the diffusion index of farm loan repayment rates in each quarter for the Tenth District and each state from 2010 to 2021. The index is on a 100 scale, with 100 representing no change, values above 100 representing an increase from the same time a year ago and values below 100 representing a decrease from a year ago. It shows that the rate of loan repayment increased rapidly for the second consecutive quarter in nearly all 10th District states.

Loan demand, on average, was soft throughout the District, but varied across states. Bankers indicated demand decreased at a modest pace in Nebraska and Kansas and increased at a modest rate across all other states (Chart 2). Compared with the previous quarter, more respondents reported that loan demand had declined from a year ago in Nebraska and Kansas, but fewer lenders in Oklahoma and Missouri reported lower loan demand.

Chart 2: Farm Loan Demand by State, includes two individual charts. Left, Farm Loan Demand is a line graph showing the diffusion index of farm income in each quarter for the Tenth District and each state from 2019 to 2021. The index is on a 100 scale, with 100 representing no change, values above 100 representing an increase from the same time a year ago and values below 100 representing a decrease from a year ago. Right, Respondents Reporting Lower Loan Demand, is a clustered column chart showing the share of respondents in each state and the Tenth District reporting lower loan demand in Q1 2021, Q4 2020 and the average over the past five years. They show that bankers indicated demand decreased at a modest pace in Nebraska and Kansas and increased at a modest rate across all other 10th District states. More respondents reported loan demand had declined from a year ago in Nebraska and Kansas.

Farm income also strengthened, but at a slower pace in areas most concentrated in cattle production and exposed to intensifying drought. About two-thirds of all banks throughout the region reported that farm income was higher than a year ago, the largest share since 2011 (Chart 3). The share reporting an increase was 80% or more in Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska, but about 40% and 20%, respectively, in the Mountain States and Oklahoma.

Chart 3: Farm Income by State, is a line graph showing the diffusion index of farm income in each quarter for the Tenth District and each state from 2010 to 2021. The index is on a 100 scale, with 100 representing no change, values above 100 representing an increase from the same time a year ago and values below 100 representing a decrease from a year ago. About two-thirds of all banks throughout the Tenth District reported that farm income was higher than a year ago.

Alongside strength in farm income and credit conditions, borrower spending also rose at a rapid pace. Similar to farm income, the share of respondents reporting higher capital and household spending reached the highest level since 2012 (Chart 4). The first quarter survey marked the first time in eight years that both measures of spending increased in the same quarter, and the trend was expected to continue in the coming months.

Chart 4: Tenth District Farm Borrower Spending, includes two individual charts. Left, Capital Spending is a line graph showing the diffusion index of farm borrower capital spending in each quarter for the Tenth District and each state from 2010 to 2021. The index is on a 100 scale, with 100 representing no change, values above 100 representing an increase from the same time a year ago and values below 100 representing a decrease from a year ago. Right, Household Spending is a line graph showing the diffusion index of farm borrower household spending in each quarter for the Tenth District and each state from 2010 to 2021. The index is the same. They show that the share of respondents reporting higher capital and household spending reached the highest level since 2012.

Financial Condition of Farm Borrowers

Financial conditions for farm borrowers improved at a majority of banks across the region, but less so for livestock producers and producers affected by drought. Nearly 75% of banks reported modest or significant improvement in conditions for crop producers relative to a year ago, but only half indicated that conditions for livestock producers had improved (Chart 5). Improvement was notably slower in Oklahoma and the Mountain States, where corn and soybeans account for a smaller share of farm revenues and where drought has been more severe and widespread.

Chart 5: Respondents Reporting Improved Financial Conditions by Type of Borrower, First Quarter – is clustered column chart with a bar showing the percent of respondents that reported improvement in financial conditions for crop producers and livestock producers, respectively for the Tenth District and each state. The chart shows that nearly 75% of banks reported modest or significant improvement in conditions for crop producers relative to a year ago, but only half indicated that conditions for livestock producers had improved.

Better financial conditions also led to far less credit stress across the District. Instances of restructuring to meet liquidity needs and carryover debt declined substantially from recent years (Chart 6). The reprieve from mounting strain on borrowers generally was consistent across all states, but the shift was slightly less pronounced in Oklahoma and the Mountain States.

Chart 6: Loan Restructuring and Carryover Debt, First Quarter – includes two individual charts. Left, New Loans Involving Restructuring to Meet Liquidity Needs is a clustered column chart with a bar showing the average share of loans involving restructuring to meet liquidity needs as reported by respondents for the Tenth District and each state in Q1 2021, Q1 2020 and the average in Q1 2016-2019. Right, Farm Borrowers with an Increase in Carryover Debt is a clustered column chart with a bar showing the average share of borrowers with carryover debt as reported by respondents for the Tenth District and each state in Q1 2021, Q1 2020 and the average in Q1 2016-2019. The charts show instances of restructuring to meet liquidity needs and carryover debt declined substantially from recent years.

Similarly, lenders also denied a much smaller share of farm loans than previous years. In fact, less than 2% of loan requests were denied because of cash flow shortages at responding banks (Chart 7). The low level of denials on farm loan applications was consistent across all states in the region and was a stark contrast to the prior five years.

Chart 7: Loan Requests Denied Due to Cash Flow Shortages, First Quarter– is a clustered column chart with a bar showing the average share of loan requests denied as reported by respondents for the Tenth District and each state in Q1 2021, Q1 2020 and the average in Q1 2016-2019. The chart shows that lenders declined a much smaller share of farm loans than previous years.

Farmland Values and Interest Rates

Providing additional support for farm finances, interest rates on farm loans fell further to historically low levels. After reaching near-term highs in the first quarter of 2019, interest rates on all types of farm loans have fallen 1.5 percentage points since then (Chart 8). For farm borrowers, reduced interest rates have lessened borrowing costs and likely have provided some support for asset values. However, for agricultural banks, low interest rates have put downward pressure on earnings.

Chart 8: Tenth District Fixed Interest Rates by Loan Type– is a line graph showing the average fixed interest rate for operating, intermediate and real estate loans in each quarter from 1989 to 2021. The chart shows that after reaching near-term highs in the first quarter of 2019, interest rates on all types of farm loans have fallen 1.5 percentage points since then.

With support from a stronger farm economy and historically low interest rates, farm real estate values increased throughout the District. All types of farmland rose 8% in value in the first quarter (Chart 9). For cropland, this was the largest annual increase for the first quarter since 2013, while ranchland values rose at the fastest pace since 2015.

Chart 9: Tenth District Farm Real Estate Values– is a line graph showing the percent change in farm real estate values from the previous year for non-irrigated cropland, irrigated cropland and ranchland in each quarter from 2010 to 2021. The chart shows that all types of farmland rose 8% in value in the first quarter.

Farm real estate markets were especially strong in states less impacted by drought. Values for nonirrigated cropland rose at least 8% in Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska (Table). In contrast, cropland values remained unchanged in the Mountain States, where more than 70% of the land area was in severe to exceptional drought in the first quarter.[1]

 

Table: Tenth District Farmland Value by State, First Quarter 2021– is a table showing the percent change in farm real estate values from the previous year for non-irrigated cropland, irrigated cropland and ranchland during Q1 2021 for the Tenth District and each state. Values for nonirrigated cropland rose at least 8% in Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska. Cropland values remained unchanged in the Mountain States.

Banker Comments from the Tenth District

“Government payments and PPP made all of the difference in averting a deterioration of credit due to a combination of drought and disruptions from the pandemic.” – Southeast Colorado

“The increase in liquidity and improvement in financial conditions can primarily be attributed to steady prices along with the cash injection of PPP.” – Southern Colorado

“The drought monitor is showing expansion and our mild winter has raised some concerns as to how good our grass will be in pastures. The same holds true for dryland hay production as hay supplies are decreasing.” – Northern Wyoming

“The increase in input costs for both farmers and ranchers is going to be significant for 2021. Commodity futures prices are up for grains, but very little for cattle. The increase in the commodity prices may not offset the increase in input prices, but it appears that 2021 may be more volatile for farmers and ranchers than 2020.” – Northwest Oklahoma

“COVID payments have helped farmers in this area. Very few benefited from recent crop price increases, as most had sold or contracted grain previously.” – Northern Oklahoma

“It’s a confusing time. Drought impacted a large area, however CFAP and various government program payments made a huge impact by year-end and the increased commodity prices have lifted spirits. Many producers have started selling commodities at very profitable levels, and most cash flows show a marked improvement.” – Southwest Kansas

“Stronger commodity prices, coupled with PPP loans and government stimulus payments have improved the economic condition for producers, particularly if they were able to store grain until 2021.” – Northeast Kansas

“There is a lot of cash floating around in the system. Loan demand appears to be reduced at nearly all banks and commodity prices saw some improvement, but expenses are increasing at a fast pace.” – Central Missouri

“My farm customers have taken advantage of the PPP loan program and it provided additional liquidity and funds for operating and debt reduction.” – Western Missouri

“Row crop farmers are flush with cash from profits and government payments on top of that, but ranchers are the entities that are still struggling.” – Central Nebraska

“Higher commodity prices plus the addition of CFAP payments, PPP loans and EIDL loans has made a significant improvement in financial conditions.” – Southeast Nebraska

Endnotes

  1. 1More information on drought data, maps and classifications can be found at External Linkdroughtmonitor.unl.edu.

Is genetically modified corn the answer to fall armyworm?

The Golden Harvest Virtual Field Days provide farmers with in-season agronomic management recommendations to finish the 2020 corn and soybean growing season strong. (PRNewsfoto/Golden Harvest)

By Megan Hughes

A close up of a caterpillar on a stalk of corn. It's clear the grub has done a lot of damage
Fall armyworm has been detected across the country from North Queensland to Western Australia and even Tasmania.

It’s a tiny caterpillar that’s difficult to detect, but for more than a year it’s been having a massive impact on crops in Australia, especially corn.

Fall armyworm (FAW) has infiltrated six states and territories and is so hard to control farmers are whispering about a method that’s been off the table for almost two decades — genetically modified (GM) corn.

Maize Association of Australia chairman Stephen Wilson said questions were being raised about whether GM corn could manage the armyworm incursion.

“It’s a major discussion point for the industry as a whole because for the last three decades we, as an industry, as the Maize Association, have been working uniformly to say we do not need GM in Australia.”

Lessons from the US

Since arriving in Australia in February 2020, fall armyworm has been detected in Queensland, the Northern Territory, Western Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and, most recently, in Tasmania.

Fall armyworm is native to the United States, where it has devastated multiple agricultural crops, but growers there have different tools to fight it.

Fall armyworm on corn plants
Fall armyworm outbreaks are contained by insecticide use and GM crops in the United States.(Supplied: Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisherie

North Carolina State University professor and extension specialist Dr Dominic Reisig said in their industry, corn was genetically modified to produce insecticidal proteins that naturally occured in a bacteria found in soil. It is known as BT corn.

Dr Reisig said while it was not specifically designed to treat FAW it had had an impact.

“It was first commercially planted in 1996 but that particular crop that was planted did not control fall armyworm,” he said.

“But because it’s a sporadic outbreak pest throughout the US it wasn’t like a huge, earth-shattering moment when we were able to control fall armyworm.”

Are GMO crops the silver bullet?

According to Dr Reisig, treating FAW across ag industries was a multi-pronged approach with insecticides and a GM crop.

He said in corn the pest could infest a crop in different stages of its development.

“Once it gets into the whirl it’s very difficult to control,” he said.

“But the good thing is when it attacks in those (earlier) stages it’s not that damaging to yield — so the corn looks really bad but it usually pops out of it and it’s not a problem.

“Once it’s inside that ear you can’t control it and then it’s a really damaging pest in terms of yield and it’s really difficult to control with insecticides so BT (corn) is the way to go.”

He said insecticides were able to control the pest in other crops like soya beans or vegetables because the plants were structured differently.

Weighing up the losses

Australia only grows three GM crops — cotton, safflower and canola.

A sea of yellow flowers under a blue sky as the canola crop is in full bloom.
Canola is one of thee genetically modified crops in Australia.(Supplied: Riverine Plains Inc)

Corn has remained GM-free and, as a consequence, the industry has been able to access different markets including Japan and Korea.

“End users such as snack food and cornflake breakfast cereal manufacturers have told us the whole time they do not want GM in their raw materials,” Mr Wilson said.

“It would impact on both the export market and also on all the domestic markets — everything from dairy cows utlising the maize as grain or silage right through to beef cattle and right through to human consumption.

A person opens a corn's covering to check if it's ripe.
Australia has been able to access multiple international markets as the corn grown here is GM free.(Pexels: Frank Meriñ

He said any trial would be complicated.

“You have all the regulatory issues of actually bringing germplasm into the country, you have the quarantine issues of having the facilities that could handle the GM product, then you’ve got the issues of field testing,” he said.

“It’s a very expensive process and it makes the non-GM corn being in the minority a very expensive product that people have to pay a premium for.”

In a statement, a spokesperson from the Federal Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment said genetically modified maize seeds may only be imported into Australia under an import permit issued by the department, but that no applications had been made.

Soil conditions worsen across Saskatchewan as spring seeding continues

Every four years the stars of the canola / rapeseed industry come together from around the world to discuss new research, challenges and opportunities. The International Rapeseed Congress is known as the most comprehensive forum for discussing advancement in the rapeseed industry. This year, more than 850 participants from 30 countries converged at TCU Place in Saskatoon for the 14th International Rapeseed Congress (IRC 2015). The event was co-hosted by Ag-West Bio and the Canola Council of Canada.
Very little precipitation in the province in the last week have worsened topsoil moisture conditions, reported Saskatchewan Agriculture.
Very little precipitation in the province in the last week have worsened topsoil moisture conditions, reported Saskatchewan Agriculture. File / Global News
As spring seeding continues across Saskatchewan, dry conditions across the province continue to be a growing concern.“In a few words, we’re praying for moisture,” said Bell Plaine-area grain farmer Nick Cornea Thursday.

“Some fields are in pretty good shape for subsoil moisture, and in other fields we’re desperately in need of some rain out here.”

Southern regions of the province are either facing extreme or severe drought conditions as of April 30, according to the latest report from the Canadian Drought Monitor.

Eastern Saskatchewan, some regions east of Saskatoon and regions from North Battleford to Lloydminister are also classified as having severe drought conditions.

Very little precipitation in the province in the last week has worsened topsoil moisture conditions, Saskatchewan Agriculture said in its crop report released Thursday.

Cropland topsoil moisture is rated at 45 per cent short, 23 per cent very short and 31 per cent adequate.

Hay and pasture land topsoil moisture are rated at 45 per cent short, 32 per cent very short and 22 per cent adequate.

Drought conditions in Saskatchewan as of April 30, 2021. Canadian Drought Monitor

The dry conditions are affecting seeding that has been completed, with crops slow to emerge due to little soil moisture and cool temperatures.

There was precipitation reported in the southwest corner of the province, however. The Admiral area recorded the most rain and snow precipitation at 25 mm followed by the Shaunavon and Rockglen areas, both reporting 20 mm of precipitation.

Sask Ag said this will hopefully improve germination conditions for the region.

Overall, 38 per cent of the 2021 crop is seeded, well ahead of the five-year average of 22 per cent for this time of year.

The southwest region is furthest along, with 56 per cent of the crop in the ground. The southeast is at 44 per seeded, west-central at 35 per cent, the northwest at 34 per cent, east-central at 24 per cent and the northeast region at 22 per cent.

The Ministry of Agriculture says, though, that some farmers are delaying seeding smaller, more expensive crops until more moisture arrives.

“There are reports of producers across the province, in the south, central and north, who have decided to take some time off from seeding now that they’ve finished their other crops ,” said crops extension specialist Matt Struthers.

July corn cut support, correcting downward

Market showing signs of a change of direction.  Outside days, reversals, & breaking trend lines could contribute evidence of the turn.  Increasing volume would confirm the change whereas decreasing volume would indicate the move is temporary.

Raven Industries Launches The OMNi Brand For Its Autonomous Ag Equipment Line

Raven Industries, Inc. (the Company; NASDAQ:RAVN) a leader in agriculture technology, announced today the launch of its new product brand and autonomous growth platform, OMNi. This new product brand highlights Raven’s advancements in autonomous solutions for agriculture with a strategic offering of two integrated products: OMNiDRIVE and OMNiPOWER.

The OMNi name (meaning “all”) will take center stage within Raven. “Empowering ‘all’ is exactly what OMNiPOWER and OMNiDRIVE bring to the agriculture industry. OMNi enables holistic, hands-free precision; it gives the farmer total control of their time and maximizes operational productivity and efficiency,” said Nick Langerock, Director of Strategic Marketing for Raven. “As we bring OMNi to market, we want farmers to understand that some of their pain points are now more manageable through autonomous solutions. OMNi solutions allow the farmer to trust the routine tasks to automation and focus on the important farm functions.”

Effective today, OMNiDRIVE replaces the AutoCart name from the previous acquisition of Smart Ag. The former DOT name is now OMNiPOWER. All of Raven’s intelligent autonomous solutions for the agriculture industry will be branded with the OMNi prefix and are part of one connected ecosystem. This ecosystem leverages Raven’s innovative and ever-growing technology portfolio that makes smart products smarter. OMNi solutions provide multiple paths to autonomy and equip the ag professional to get more, do more, and give more from their operation.

“We understand the importance of quickly scaling and adopting new power platforms, farming applications, and implements into purpose-built autonomous agricultural machines,” said Dominic Walkes, Director of Strategic Initiatives at Raven. “OMNiDRIVE is a significant growth platform and we are actively working with OEM partners to release compatibility on additional tractors and implements. We are excited about the opportunities rolling out under the OMNi prefix as it ties our entire portfolio together and helps to provide the entire solution from top to bottom for the farmer.”

OMNiDRIVE is Raven’s aftermarket technology kit that transforms existing tractors into driverless machines. It is the first farming application that allows the farmer to monitor and operate a driverless tractor from the cab of the harvester so the harvester can offload on-the-go, then return the tractor and grain cart to a predetermined unloading area – all without a second driver.

The technology connects, manages, and safely operate autonomous agricultural machinery and is compatible with:

• Case IH Magnum CVT (2014-2020 models): M250 / 280 / 310 / 340 / 380 (available in October 2021)

• New Holland CVT (2014-2020 models): T8.320 / 350 / 380 / 410 / 435 (available in October 2021)

• John Deere 8Rs Powershift and IVT (2010-current models)

Over three dozen pre-orders have already been placed for OMNiDRIVE. Official ordering begins today, May 12, 2021. Visit www.ravenprecision.com/omnidrive-offer to learn more about OMNiDRIVE introductory pricing.

OMNiPOWER is a self-propelled power platform that easily interchanges with farm implements. This will allow the ag professional to perform multiple farm tasks in all the growing seasons. The farmer launches missions in autonomous mode or can also control directly from the tablet. In either instance, no driver is necessary. Currently, OMNiPOWER has interchangeable implements for spreading and spraying with additional applications coming soon.

More OMNiPOWER implements will launch quickly and consistently as Raven works with OEM partners to release new implements. Visit www.ravenprecision.com/driverless-ag/partner-with-us to learn more.

OMNiPOWER will be available for order on June 1, 2021, with delivery in the fall of 2021.

“The future of agriculture is here and now,” said Langerock. “The pivot-point is OMNi. You’ll see the new brand identity and campaign to reflect and communicate our advancements to the market.”

U.S. Tractor Sales Up 23% In April, Combine Sales Down 3%

According to the Association of Equipment Manufacturer’s monthly “Flash Report,” the sale of all tractors during April in the U.S. were up 23% compared to the same month last year.

For the four months in 2021, a total of 103,632 tractors were sold which compares to 74,458 sold thru April 2020 representing a 39% increase year to date.

For the month, two-wheel drive smaller tractors (under 40 HP) were up 21% from last year, while 40 & under 100 HP were up 29%. Sales of 2-wheel drive 100+ HP were up 29%, while 4-wheel drive tractors were up 15%.

For the four months, two-wheel drive smaller tractors (under 40 HP) are up 43% over last year, while 40 & under 100 HP are up 34%. Sales of 2-wheel drive 100+ HP are up 22%, while 4-wheel drive tractors are up 12%.

Combine sales were down 3% for the month. Sales of combines for the four months totaled 1,413 an increase of 9% over the same period in 2020.

Canadian Tractor Sales Up 72% In April, Combine Sales Up 23%

According to the Association of Equipment Manufacturer’s monthly “Flash Report,” the sale of all tractors in Canada during April were up 93% compared to the same month last year.

For the fourth month in 2021, a total of 9,422 tractors were sold which compares to 5,716 sold thru April 2020 representing an 65% increase for the year.

In April, two-wheel drive smaller tractors (under 40 HP) were up 78% from last year, while 40 & under 100 HP were up 46%. Sales of 2-wheel drive 100+ HP were up 75%, while 4-wheel drive tractors were up 94%.

Combine sales were up 23% for the month. Sales of combines for four months totaled 346, an increase of 20% over the same period in 2020.

Soybean Prices Up, Corn Down Following USDA’s WASDE Report

by Ben Potter, Farm Futures

With the first look at 2021/22 supply and demand estimates, the May 2021 World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report is full of valuable insights to unpack. New crop corn futures edged lower on reduced demand estimates in the new crop year, largely from a smaller export number.

Old crop soybean futures rose on smaller Argentine production this year and bullish soybean import projections from China. Prospects for a large U.S. wheat harvest this summer sent wheat futures lower following the report’s release.

Corn

USDA’s outlook for corn this month assumes farmers will return to trendline yields of 179.5 bushels per acre for a total production of 15.0 billion bushels. The agency also expects improved domestic use, lower exports and higher ending stocks.

USDA predicts U.S. corn exports will decline 325 million bushels during the 2021/22 marketing year. A hiccup in South American production should help U.S. prospects during the first half of the upcoming marketing year, but USDA also expects a 335-million-bushel increase in Russian and Ukrainian exports in 2021/22, which should limit domestic upside potential.

With that in consideration, ending stocks for 2021/22 should rise 250 million bushels year-over-year to 1.507 billion bushels, according to USDA. Analysts were expecting that number to be much lower, with an average trade guess of 1.344 billion bushels.

“The season-average corn price received by producers in 2021/22 is projected at $5.70 per bushel, up $1.35 from a year ago when much of the crop was marketed at lower prices,” the report also notes.

South American production saw some revisions from April. In Brazil, production potential fell 275 million bushels to 4.016 billion bushels. In Argentina, USDA held estimates steady from a month ago, with 1.850 billion bushels.

World ending stocks for 2021/22 were also higher than trade guesses, coming in at 11.508 million bushels. Analysts had offered up an average estimate of 11.144 prior to today’s report.

Soybeans

USDA’s 2021/22 soybean outlook calls for lower supplies and exports, an improving crush volume and higher ending stocks compared to the current marketing year. USDA estimates this year’s soybean production will reach 4.4 million bushels, based on more acres and trendline yields. Favorable crush margins should push the 2021/22 crush 35 million bushels higher year-over-year to reach 2.2 billion bushels.

Soybean exports this upcoming marketing year are expected to slide 205 million bushels below 2020/21 volume, to 2.1 billion bushels. That leaves ending stocks at 140 million bushels, which was slightly above the average trade guess of 138 million bushels. The U.S. share of total global exports is also expected to drop from 36% this year down to 33%. Prices could average $13.85 per bushel, which is an improvement of $2.60 compared to 2020/21.

South American production saw estimates hold steady for Brazil, with 4.997 billion bushels, while Argentina’s production slid 18 million bushels lower from a month ago, to 1.727 billion bushels.

Globally, USDA estimates 2021/22 soybean stocks at 3.347 billion bushels. That’s a bit above the average trade guess of 3.238 billion bushels.

To read the entire report click here.

Iowa Farm Bureau highlights importance of addressing stress and available resources

Iowa Farm Bureau highlights importance of addressing stress and available resources

Stress in life is normal, especially in the agricultural community where farmers are up against factors out of their control such as the weather, markets and local and federal policies impacting their bottom lines. While stress can move people toward positive change and action, when it crosses the line of impacting decision-making, relationships and physical health, it needs to be addressed. During May Mental Health Month, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) wants farmers to know help is available.

“As a grain and livestock farmer, I understand the mindset of wanting to push through, get the job done and suppress how we’re feeling to not concern others,” says Craig Hill, IFBF president. “But if we’re not taking care of ourselves, we will be unable to take care of the things we hold dear—like our families, farms, land and livestock.”

“When stress crosses over into critical levels, it can lead to anxiety, depression and hopelessness,” said Dr. Larry Tranel, an Iowa State University (ISU) Extension dairy specialist and pastoral psychologist, during an IFBF Spokesman Speaks podcast episode. “When we look at chronic farm stress, we realize it can dampen a person’s spirit, their appetite and their physical stamina. And dealing with stress and build resiliency is a learned skill.”

To assist farmers in strengthening these skills and caring for their mental health, IFBF has aggregated mental health resources from counseling services and crisis hotlines to podcasts and webinars on coping with stress and how to effectively talk about it with loved ones. These resources can be found at https://www.iowafarmbureau.com/Stress-Mental-Health-Resources. Additionally, ISU Extension has partnered with Farm Foundation to form the Iowa Farm Family Wellness Alliance to bring farmers pre-paid, ongoing wellness coaching and counseling through Personal Assistance Services which can be accessed via phone, text, live chat or video. More information can be found at https://farmfamilywellness.com/.

“It can be hard to slow down in the midst of all that needs to get done on the farm,” says Hill. “But I would encourage family members to check in with each other, make time to do something that brings you peace—even if it’s a quick tailgate lunch together—and seek additional assistance when it gets really tough. While our bodies take wear and tear from farming, our minds can, too, and in times of stress we need to keep those healthy as well.”

Climate FieldView Can Now Be Connected To CLAAS Telematics

CLAAS is pleased to announce that Climate FieldView, the flagship product of the Climate Corporation (Bayer’s digital farming arm) can now be connected to CLAAS TELEMATICS through the CLAAS API (application programming interface) to enable easy data exchange for field-specific and site-specific documentation.

Reliable data flows are essential for precision farming. Successful fertilizer, crop protection and planting and sowing strategies depend upon access to accurate information about the previous years’ yields and site-specific yield differences. To ensure that this vital information is provided seamlessly and at the farmer’s discretion, the FieldView platform and the CLAAS TELEMATICS portal can now be connected through the CLAAS API – offering access to new data science capabilities and ensuring seamless transfer of harvest information and insights from CLAAS TELEMATICS to FieldView.

“Data management is at the core of profitability and efficiency on the farm,” says Blair Hardie, Product Manager, Efficient Agriculture Systems (EASY). “This new ability to synchronize data will help farmers improve their profitability, manage risk and save valuable time by gathering data and conducting analysis all in one easy-to-use portal.”

Overview of API in Action
The Automatic Documentation add-on option in CLAAS TELEMATICS facilitates driver-independent, field-specific and site-specific documentation. This makes it possible to obtain a complete overview of each field worked with data automatically being assigned to the field based on the boundary. In addition to machine data and consumption figures, yield data and measurements from NIR sensors can also be documented.

When a farmer or contractor connects their CLAAS TELEMATICS account to their FieldView account via the CLAAS API, the documented harvest data from the TELEMATICS system are retrieved and sent to the FieldView user’s inbox as jobs. From there, the customer can select the files they’d like to sync with their FieldView account and further process the complete field-related documentation in FieldView.

With this connectivity, yield values and yield maps from a CLAAS combine harvester or forage harvester can be used in FieldView to generate site-specific planting prescriptions or fertilizer maps for the coming season. This helps farmers increase their profitability, actively manage risk and save valuable time by gathering data and conducting analysis all in one place.

Each individual customer connects their two accounts. Agronomic information is exchanged only between the accounts of FieldView and CLAAS TELEMATICS customers who chose to enable the offering. Farmers or contractors can independently revoke the connection in the CLAAS TELEMATICS or FieldView portal at any time and disable the data exchange.

Farm Credit Conditions Show Additional Strength

Agricultural credit conditions in the Tenth District continued to strengthen in the first quarter of 2021. After a sharp rebound at the end of 2020, conditions in the broad agricultural economy continued to improve alongside additional increases in crop prices. Stronger profit potential for farm borrowers supported a second consecutive quarter of significant increases in farm income, loan repayment rates and farmland values.

Overall, farm borrowers in the District were in a better financial position than at the beginning of 2020, but the pace of improvement was notably slower for livestock producers and for producers in areas affected by severe drought. Cattle prices remained below pre-pandemic levels in the first quarter, and the scope and severity of drought was a major concern in western states. However, government programs continued to provide support amid these challenges and the prolonged buildup of financial pressure in recent years appears to have eased considerably.

Credit Conditions

Repayment rates for farm loans in the first quarter improved significantly throughout the region. The rate of loan repayment increased rapidly for the second consecutive quarter in nearly all states (Chart 1). Following multiple years of weakness, 40% of all respondents reported an increase in repayment rates, the highest since 2012.

Chart 1: Farm Loan Repayment Rates by State, is a line graph showing the diffusion index of farm loan repayment rates in each quarter for the Tenth District and each state from 2010 to 2021. The index is on a 100 scale, with 100 representing no change, values above 100 representing an increase from the same time a year ago and values below 100 representing a decrease from a year ago. It shows that the rate of loan repayment increased rapidly for the second consecutive quarter in nearly all 10th District states.

Loan demand, on average, was soft throughout the District, but varied across states. Bankers indicated demand decreased at a modest pace in Nebraska and Kansas and increased at a modest rate across all other states (Chart 2). Compared with the previous quarter, more respondents reported that loan demand had declined from a year ago in Nebraska and Kansas, but fewer lenders in Oklahoma and Missouri reported lower loan demand.

Chart 2: Farm Loan Demand by State, includes two individual charts. Left, Farm Loan Demand is a line graph showing the diffusion index of farm income in each quarter for the Tenth District and each state from 2019 to 2021. The index is on a 100 scale, with 100 representing no change, values above 100 representing an increase from the same time a year ago and values below 100 representing a decrease from a year ago. Right, Respondents Reporting Lower Loan Demand, is a clustered column chart showing the share of respondents in each state and the Tenth District reporting lower loan demand in Q1 2021, Q4 2020 and the average over the past five years. They show that bankers indicated demand decreased at a modest pace in Nebraska and Kansas and increased at a modest rate across all other 10th District states. More respondents reported loan demand had declined from a year ago in Nebraska and Kansas.

Farm income also strengthened, but at a slower pace in areas most concentrated in cattle production and exposed to intensifying drought. About two-thirds of all banks throughout the region reported that farm income was higher than a year ago, the largest share since 2011 (Chart 3). The share reporting an increase was 80% or more in Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska, but about 40% and 20%, respectively, in the Mountain States and Oklahoma.

Chart 3: Farm Income by State, is a line graph showing the diffusion index of farm income in each quarter for the Tenth District and each state from 2010 to 2021. The index is on a 100 scale, with 100 representing no change, values above 100 representing an increase from the same time a year ago and values below 100 representing a decrease from a year ago. About two-thirds of all banks throughout the Tenth District reported that farm income was higher than a year ago.

Alongside strength in farm income and credit conditions, borrower spending also rose at a rapid pace. Similar to farm income, the share of respondents reporting higher capital and household spending reached the highest level since 2012 (Chart 4). The first quarter survey marked the first time in eight years that both measures of spending increased in the same quarter, and the trend was expected to continue in the coming months.

Chart 4: Tenth District Farm Borrower Spending, includes two individual charts. Left, Capital Spending is a line graph showing the diffusion index of farm borrower capital spending in each quarter for the Tenth District and each state from 2010 to 2021. The index is on a 100 scale, with 100 representing no change, values above 100 representing an increase from the same time a year ago and values below 100 representing a decrease from a year ago. Right, Household Spending is a line graph showing the diffusion index of farm borrower household spending in each quarter for the Tenth District and each state from 2010 to 2021. The index is the same. They show that the share of respondents reporting higher capital and household spending reached the highest level since 2012.

Financial Condition of Farm Borrowers

Financial conditions for farm borrowers improved at a majority of banks across the region, but less so for livestock producers and producers affected by drought. Nearly 75% of banks reported modest or significant improvement in conditions for crop producers relative to a year ago, but only half indicated that conditions for livestock producers had improved (Chart 5). Improvement was notably slower in Oklahoma and the Mountain States, where corn and soybeans account for a smaller share of farm revenues and where drought has been more severe and widespread.

Chart 5: Respondents Reporting Improved Financial Conditions by Type of Borrower, First Quarter – is clustered column chart with a bar showing the percent of respondents that reported improvement in financial conditions for crop producers and livestock producers, respectively for the Tenth District and each state. The chart shows that nearly 75% of banks reported modest or significant improvement in conditions for crop producers relative to a year ago, but only half indicated that conditions for livestock producers had improved.

Better financial conditions also led to far less credit stress across the District. Instances of restructuring to meet liquidity needs and carryover debt declined substantially from recent years (Chart 6). The reprieve from mounting strain on borrowers generally was consistent across all states, but the shift was slightly less pronounced in Oklahoma and the Mountain States.

Chart 6: Loan Restructuring and Carryover Debt, First Quarter – includes two individual charts. Left, New Loans Involving Restructuring to Meet Liquidity Needs is a clustered column chart with a bar showing the average share of loans involving restructuring to meet liquidity needs as reported by respondents for the Tenth District and each state in Q1 2021, Q1 2020 and the average in Q1 2016-2019. Right, Farm Borrowers with an Increase in Carryover Debt is a clustered column chart with a bar showing the average share of borrowers with carryover debt as reported by respondents for the Tenth District and each state in Q1 2021, Q1 2020 and the average in Q1 2016-2019. The charts show instances of restructuring to meet liquidity needs and carryover debt declined substantially from recent years.

Similarly, lenders also denied a much smaller share of farm loans than previous years. In fact, less than 2% of loan requests were denied because of cash flow shortages at responding banks (Chart 7). The low level of denials on farm loan applications was consistent across all states in the region and was a stark contrast to the prior five years.

Chart 7: Loan Requests Denied Due to Cash Flow Shortages, First Quarter– is a clustered column chart with a bar showing the average share of loan requests denied as reported by respondents for the Tenth District and each state in Q1 2021, Q1 2020 and the average in Q1 2016-2019. The chart shows that lenders declined a much smaller share of farm loans than previous years.

Farmland Values and Interest Rates

Providing additional support for farm finances, interest rates on farm loans fell further to historically low levels. After reaching near-term highs in the first quarter of 2019, interest rates on all types of farm loans have fallen 1.5 percentage points since then (Chart 8). For farm borrowers, reduced interest rates have lessened borrowing costs and likely have provided some support for asset values. However, for agricultural banks, low interest rates have put downward pressure on earnings.

Chart 8: Tenth District Fixed Interest Rates by Loan Type– is a line graph showing the average fixed interest rate for operating, intermediate and real estate loans in each quarter from 1989 to 2021. The chart shows that after reaching near-term highs in the first quarter of 2019, interest rates on all types of farm loans have fallen 1.5 percentage points since then.

With support from a stronger farm economy and historically low interest rates, farm real estate values increased throughout the District. All types of farmland rose 8% in value in the first quarter (Chart 9). For cropland, this was the largest annual increase for the first quarter since 2013, while ranchland values rose at the fastest pace since 2015.

Chart 9: Tenth District Farm Real Estate Values– is a line graph showing the percent change in farm real estate values from the previous year for non-irrigated cropland, irrigated cropland and ranchland in each quarter from 2010 to 2021. The chart shows that all types of farmland rose 8% in value in the first quarter.

Farm real estate markets were especially strong in states less impacted by drought. Values for nonirrigated cropland rose at least 8% in Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska (Table). In contrast, cropland values remained unchanged in the Mountain States, where more than 70% of the land area was in severe to exceptional drought in the first quarter.[1]

 

Table: Tenth District Farmland Value by State, First Quarter 2021– is a table showing the percent change in farm real estate values from the previous year for non-irrigated cropland, irrigated cropland and ranchland during Q1 2021 for the Tenth District and each state. Values for nonirrigated cropland rose at least 8% in Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska. Cropland values remained unchanged in the Mountain States.

Banker Comments from the Tenth District

“Government payments and PPP made all of the difference in averting a deterioration of credit due to a combination of drought and disruptions from the pandemic.” – Southeast Colorado

“The increase in liquidity and improvement in financial conditions can primarily be attributed to steady prices along with the cash injection of PPP.” – Southern Colorado

“The drought monitor is showing expansion and our mild winter has raised some concerns as to how good our grass will be in pastures. The same holds true for dryland hay production as hay supplies are decreasing.” – Northern Wyoming

“The increase in input costs for both farmers and ranchers is going to be significant for 2021. Commodity futures prices are up for grains, but very little for cattle. The increase in the commodity prices may not offset the increase in input prices, but it appears that 2021 may be more volatile for farmers and ranchers than 2020.” – Northwest Oklahoma

“COVID payments have helped farmers in this area. Very few benefited from recent crop price increases, as most had sold or contracted grain previously.” – Northern Oklahoma

“It’s a confusing time. Drought impacted a large area, however CFAP and various government program payments made a huge impact by year-end and the increased commodity prices have lifted spirits. Many producers have started selling commodities at very profitable levels, and most cash flows show a marked improvement.” – Southwest Kansas

“Stronger commodity prices, coupled with PPP loans and government stimulus payments have improved the economic condition for producers, particularly if they were able to store grain until 2021.” – Northeast Kansas

“There is a lot of cash floating around in the system. Loan demand appears to be reduced at nearly all banks and commodity prices saw some improvement, but expenses are increasing at a fast pace.” – Central Missouri

“My farm customers have taken advantage of the PPP loan program and it provided additional liquidity and funds for operating and debt reduction.” – Western Missouri

“Row crop farmers are flush with cash from profits and government payments on top of that, but ranchers are the entities that are still struggling.” – Central Nebraska

“Higher commodity prices plus the addition of CFAP payments, PPP loans and EIDL loans has made a significant improvement in financial conditions.” – Southeast Nebraska

Endnotes

  1. 1More information on drought data, maps and classifications can be found at External Linkdroughtmonitor.unl.edu.

Is genetically modified corn the answer to fall armyworm?

The Golden Harvest Virtual Field Days provide farmers with in-season agronomic management recommendations to finish the 2020 corn and soybean growing season strong. (PRNewsfoto/Golden Harvest)

By Megan Hughes

A close up of a caterpillar on a stalk of corn. It's clear the grub has done a lot of damage
Fall armyworm has been detected across the country from North Queensland to Western Australia and even Tasmania.

It’s a tiny caterpillar that’s difficult to detect, but for more than a year it’s been having a massive impact on crops in Australia, especially corn.

Fall armyworm (FAW) has infiltrated six states and territories and is so hard to control farmers are whispering about a method that’s been off the table for almost two decades — genetically modified (GM) corn.

Maize Association of Australia chairman Stephen Wilson said questions were being raised about whether GM corn could manage the armyworm incursion.

“It’s a major discussion point for the industry as a whole because for the last three decades we, as an industry, as the Maize Association, have been working uniformly to say we do not need GM in Australia.”

Lessons from the US

Since arriving in Australia in February 2020, fall armyworm has been detected in Queensland, the Northern Territory, Western Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and, most recently, in Tasmania.

Fall armyworm is native to the United States, where it has devastated multiple agricultural crops, but growers there have different tools to fight it.

Fall armyworm on corn plants
Fall armyworm outbreaks are contained by insecticide use and GM crops in the United States.(Supplied: Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisherie

North Carolina State University professor and extension specialist Dr Dominic Reisig said in their industry, corn was genetically modified to produce insecticidal proteins that naturally occured in a bacteria found in soil. It is known as BT corn.

Dr Reisig said while it was not specifically designed to treat FAW it had had an impact.

“It was first commercially planted in 1996 but that particular crop that was planted did not control fall armyworm,” he said.

“But because it’s a sporadic outbreak pest throughout the US it wasn’t like a huge, earth-shattering moment when we were able to control fall armyworm.”

Are GMO crops the silver bullet?

According to Dr Reisig, treating FAW across ag industries was a multi-pronged approach with insecticides and a GM crop.

He said in corn the pest could infest a crop in different stages of its development.

“Once it gets into the whirl it’s very difficult to control,” he said.

“But the good thing is when it attacks in those (earlier) stages it’s not that damaging to yield — so the corn looks really bad but it usually pops out of it and it’s not a problem.

“Once it’s inside that ear you can’t control it and then it’s a really damaging pest in terms of yield and it’s really difficult to control with insecticides so BT (corn) is the way to go.”

He said insecticides were able to control the pest in other crops like soya beans or vegetables because the plants were structured differently.

Weighing up the losses

Australia only grows three GM crops — cotton, safflower and canola.

A sea of yellow flowers under a blue sky as the canola crop is in full bloom.
Canola is one of thee genetically modified crops in Australia.(Supplied: Riverine Plains Inc)

Corn has remained GM-free and, as a consequence, the industry has been able to access different markets including Japan and Korea.

“End users such as snack food and cornflake breakfast cereal manufacturers have told us the whole time they do not want GM in their raw materials,” Mr Wilson said.

“It would impact on both the export market and also on all the domestic markets — everything from dairy cows utlising the maize as grain or silage right through to beef cattle and right through to human consumption.

A person opens a corn's covering to check if it's ripe.
Australia has been able to access multiple international markets as the corn grown here is GM free.(Pexels: Frank Meriñ

He said any trial would be complicated.

“You have all the regulatory issues of actually bringing germplasm into the country, you have the quarantine issues of having the facilities that could handle the GM product, then you’ve got the issues of field testing,” he said.

“It’s a very expensive process and it makes the non-GM corn being in the minority a very expensive product that people have to pay a premium for.”

In a statement, a spokesperson from the Federal Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment said genetically modified maize seeds may only be imported into Australia under an import permit issued by the department, but that no applications had been made.

Soil conditions worsen across Saskatchewan as spring seeding continues

Every four years the stars of the canola / rapeseed industry come together from around the world to discuss new research, challenges and opportunities. The International Rapeseed Congress is known as the most comprehensive forum for discussing advancement in the rapeseed industry. This year, more than 850 participants from 30 countries converged at TCU Place in Saskatoon for the 14th International Rapeseed Congress (IRC 2015). The event was co-hosted by Ag-West Bio and the Canola Council of Canada.
Very little precipitation in the province in the last week have worsened topsoil moisture conditions, reported Saskatchewan Agriculture.
Very little precipitation in the province in the last week have worsened topsoil moisture conditions, reported Saskatchewan Agriculture. File / Global News
As spring seeding continues across Saskatchewan, dry conditions across the province continue to be a growing concern.“In a few words, we’re praying for moisture,” said Bell Plaine-area grain farmer Nick Cornea Thursday.

“Some fields are in pretty good shape for subsoil moisture, and in other fields we’re desperately in need of some rain out here.”

Southern regions of the province are either facing extreme or severe drought conditions as of April 30, according to the latest report from the Canadian Drought Monitor.

Eastern Saskatchewan, some regions east of Saskatoon and regions from North Battleford to Lloydminister are also classified as having severe drought conditions.

Very little precipitation in the province in the last week has worsened topsoil moisture conditions, Saskatchewan Agriculture said in its crop report released Thursday.

Cropland topsoil moisture is rated at 45 per cent short, 23 per cent very short and 31 per cent adequate.

Hay and pasture land topsoil moisture are rated at 45 per cent short, 32 per cent very short and 22 per cent adequate.

Drought conditions in Saskatchewan as of April 30, 2021. Canadian Drought Monitor

The dry conditions are affecting seeding that has been completed, with crops slow to emerge due to little soil moisture and cool temperatures.

There was precipitation reported in the southwest corner of the province, however. The Admiral area recorded the most rain and snow precipitation at 25 mm followed by the Shaunavon and Rockglen areas, both reporting 20 mm of precipitation.

Sask Ag said this will hopefully improve germination conditions for the region.

Overall, 38 per cent of the 2021 crop is seeded, well ahead of the five-year average of 22 per cent for this time of year.

The southwest region is furthest along, with 56 per cent of the crop in the ground. The southeast is at 44 per seeded, west-central at 35 per cent, the northwest at 34 per cent, east-central at 24 per cent and the northeast region at 22 per cent.

The Ministry of Agriculture says, though, that some farmers are delaying seeding smaller, more expensive crops until more moisture arrives.

“There are reports of producers across the province, in the south, central and north, who have decided to take some time off from seeding now that they’ve finished their other crops ,” said crops extension specialist Matt Struthers.

July corn cut support, correcting downward

Market showing signs of a change of direction.  Outside days, reversals, & breaking trend lines could contribute evidence of the turn.  Increasing volume would confirm the change whereas decreasing volume would indicate the move is temporary.

Raven Industries Launches The OMNi Brand For Its Autonomous Ag Equipment Line

Raven Industries, Inc. (the Company; NASDAQ:RAVN) a leader in agriculture technology, announced today the launch of its new product brand and autonomous growth platform, OMNi. This new product brand highlights Raven’s advancements in autonomous solutions for agriculture with a strategic offering of two integrated products: OMNiDRIVE and OMNiPOWER.

The OMNi name (meaning “all”) will take center stage within Raven. “Empowering ‘all’ is exactly what OMNiPOWER and OMNiDRIVE bring to the agriculture industry. OMNi enables holistic, hands-free precision; it gives the farmer total control of their time and maximizes operational productivity and efficiency,” said Nick Langerock, Director of Strategic Marketing for Raven. “As we bring OMNi to market, we want farmers to understand that some of their pain points are now more manageable through autonomous solutions. OMNi solutions allow the farmer to trust the routine tasks to automation and focus on the important farm functions.”

Effective today, OMNiDRIVE replaces the AutoCart name from the previous acquisition of Smart Ag. The former DOT name is now OMNiPOWER. All of Raven’s intelligent autonomous solutions for the agriculture industry will be branded with the OMNi prefix and are part of one connected ecosystem. This ecosystem leverages Raven’s innovative and ever-growing technology portfolio that makes smart products smarter. OMNi solutions provide multiple paths to autonomy and equip the ag professional to get more, do more, and give more from their operation.

“We understand the importance of quickly scaling and adopting new power platforms, farming applications, and implements into purpose-built autonomous agricultural machines,” said Dominic Walkes, Director of Strategic Initiatives at Raven. “OMNiDRIVE is a significant growth platform and we are actively working with OEM partners to release compatibility on additional tractors and implements. We are excited about the opportunities rolling out under the OMNi prefix as it ties our entire portfolio together and helps to provide the entire solution from top to bottom for the farmer.”

OMNiDRIVE is Raven’s aftermarket technology kit that transforms existing tractors into driverless machines. It is the first farming application that allows the farmer to monitor and operate a driverless tractor from the cab of the harvester so the harvester can offload on-the-go, then return the tractor and grain cart to a predetermined unloading area – all without a second driver.

The technology connects, manages, and safely operate autonomous agricultural machinery and is compatible with:

• Case IH Magnum CVT (2014-2020 models): M250 / 280 / 310 / 340 / 380 (available in October 2021)

• New Holland CVT (2014-2020 models): T8.320 / 350 / 380 / 410 / 435 (available in October 2021)

• John Deere 8Rs Powershift and IVT (2010-current models)

Over three dozen pre-orders have already been placed for OMNiDRIVE. Official ordering begins today, May 12, 2021. Visit www.ravenprecision.com/omnidrive-offer to learn more about OMNiDRIVE introductory pricing.

OMNiPOWER is a self-propelled power platform that easily interchanges with farm implements. This will allow the ag professional to perform multiple farm tasks in all the growing seasons. The farmer launches missions in autonomous mode or can also control directly from the tablet. In either instance, no driver is necessary. Currently, OMNiPOWER has interchangeable implements for spreading and spraying with additional applications coming soon.

More OMNiPOWER implements will launch quickly and consistently as Raven works with OEM partners to release new implements. Visit www.ravenprecision.com/driverless-ag/partner-with-us to learn more.

OMNiPOWER will be available for order on June 1, 2021, with delivery in the fall of 2021.

“The future of agriculture is here and now,” said Langerock. “The pivot-point is OMNi. You’ll see the new brand identity and campaign to reflect and communicate our advancements to the market.”

U.S. Tractor Sales Up 23% In April, Combine Sales Down 3%

According to the Association of Equipment Manufacturer’s monthly “Flash Report,” the sale of all tractors during April in the U.S. were up 23% compared to the same month last year.

For the four months in 2021, a total of 103,632 tractors were sold which compares to 74,458 sold thru April 2020 representing a 39% increase year to date.

For the month, two-wheel drive smaller tractors (under 40 HP) were up 21% from last year, while 40 & under 100 HP were up 29%. Sales of 2-wheel drive 100+ HP were up 29%, while 4-wheel drive tractors were up 15%.

For the four months, two-wheel drive smaller tractors (under 40 HP) are up 43% over last year, while 40 & under 100 HP are up 34%. Sales of 2-wheel drive 100+ HP are up 22%, while 4-wheel drive tractors are up 12%.

Combine sales were down 3% for the month. Sales of combines for the four months totaled 1,413 an increase of 9% over the same period in 2020.

Canadian Tractor Sales Up 72% In April, Combine Sales Up 23%

According to the Association of Equipment Manufacturer’s monthly “Flash Report,” the sale of all tractors in Canada during April were up 93% compared to the same month last year.

For the fourth month in 2021, a total of 9,422 tractors were sold which compares to 5,716 sold thru April 2020 representing an 65% increase for the year.

In April, two-wheel drive smaller tractors (under 40 HP) were up 78% from last year, while 40 & under 100 HP were up 46%. Sales of 2-wheel drive 100+ HP were up 75%, while 4-wheel drive tractors were up 94%.

Combine sales were up 23% for the month. Sales of combines for four months totaled 346, an increase of 20% over the same period in 2020.

Soybean Prices Up, Corn Down Following USDA’s WASDE Report

by Ben Potter, Farm Futures

With the first look at 2021/22 supply and demand estimates, the May 2021 World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report is full of valuable insights to unpack. New crop corn futures edged lower on reduced demand estimates in the new crop year, largely from a smaller export number.

Old crop soybean futures rose on smaller Argentine production this year and bullish soybean import projections from China. Prospects for a large U.S. wheat harvest this summer sent wheat futures lower following the report’s release.

Corn

USDA’s outlook for corn this month assumes farmers will return to trendline yields of 179.5 bushels per acre for a total production of 15.0 billion bushels. The agency also expects improved domestic use, lower exports and higher ending stocks.

USDA predicts U.S. corn exports will decline 325 million bushels during the 2021/22 marketing year. A hiccup in South American production should help U.S. prospects during the first half of the upcoming marketing year, but USDA also expects a 335-million-bushel increase in Russian and Ukrainian exports in 2021/22, which should limit domestic upside potential.

With that in consideration, ending stocks for 2021/22 should rise 250 million bushels year-over-year to 1.507 billion bushels, according to USDA. Analysts were expecting that number to be much lower, with an average trade guess of 1.344 billion bushels.

“The season-average corn price received by producers in 2021/22 is projected at $5.70 per bushel, up $1.35 from a year ago when much of the crop was marketed at lower prices,” the report also notes.

South American production saw some revisions from April. In Brazil, production potential fell 275 million bushels to 4.016 billion bushels. In Argentina, USDA held estimates steady from a month ago, with 1.850 billion bushels.

World ending stocks for 2021/22 were also higher than trade guesses, coming in at 11.508 million bushels. Analysts had offered up an average estimate of 11.144 prior to today’s report.

Soybeans

USDA’s 2021/22 soybean outlook calls for lower supplies and exports, an improving crush volume and higher ending stocks compared to the current marketing year. USDA estimates this year’s soybean production will reach 4.4 million bushels, based on more acres and trendline yields. Favorable crush margins should push the 2021/22 crush 35 million bushels higher year-over-year to reach 2.2 billion bushels.

Soybean exports this upcoming marketing year are expected to slide 205 million bushels below 2020/21 volume, to 2.1 billion bushels. That leaves ending stocks at 140 million bushels, which was slightly above the average trade guess of 138 million bushels. The U.S. share of total global exports is also expected to drop from 36% this year down to 33%. Prices could average $13.85 per bushel, which is an improvement of $2.60 compared to 2020/21.

South American production saw estimates hold steady for Brazil, with 4.997 billion bushels, while Argentina’s production slid 18 million bushels lower from a month ago, to 1.727 billion bushels.

Globally, USDA estimates 2021/22 soybean stocks at 3.347 billion bushels. That’s a bit above the average trade guess of 3.238 billion bushels.

To read the entire report click here.

Iowa Farm Bureau highlights importance of addressing stress and available resources

Iowa Farm Bureau highlights importance of addressing stress and available resources

Stress in life is normal, especially in the agricultural community where farmers are up against factors out of their control such as the weather, markets and local and federal policies impacting their bottom lines. While stress can move people toward positive change and action, when it crosses the line of impacting decision-making, relationships and physical health, it needs to be addressed. During May Mental Health Month, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) wants farmers to know help is available.

“As a grain and livestock farmer, I understand the mindset of wanting to push through, get the job done and suppress how we’re feeling to not concern others,” says Craig Hill, IFBF president. “But if we’re not taking care of ourselves, we will be unable to take care of the things we hold dear—like our families, farms, land and livestock.”

“When stress crosses over into critical levels, it can lead to anxiety, depression and hopelessness,” said Dr. Larry Tranel, an Iowa State University (ISU) Extension dairy specialist and pastoral psychologist, during an IFBF Spokesman Speaks podcast episode. “When we look at chronic farm stress, we realize it can dampen a person’s spirit, their appetite and their physical stamina. And dealing with stress and build resiliency is a learned skill.”

To assist farmers in strengthening these skills and caring for their mental health, IFBF has aggregated mental health resources from counseling services and crisis hotlines to podcasts and webinars on coping with stress and how to effectively talk about it with loved ones. These resources can be found at https://www.iowafarmbureau.com/Stress-Mental-Health-Resources. Additionally, ISU Extension has partnered with Farm Foundation to form the Iowa Farm Family Wellness Alliance to bring farmers pre-paid, ongoing wellness coaching and counseling through Personal Assistance Services which can be accessed via phone, text, live chat or video. More information can be found at https://farmfamilywellness.com/.

“It can be hard to slow down in the midst of all that needs to get done on the farm,” says Hill. “But I would encourage family members to check in with each other, make time to do something that brings you peace—even if it’s a quick tailgate lunch together—and seek additional assistance when it gets really tough. While our bodies take wear and tear from farming, our minds can, too, and in times of stress we need to keep those healthy as well.”

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