USDA Chart

USDA Throws Corn a Curve Ball

Divide Between USDA, Trade Yield Estimates Mostly Due to Different Methodologies

In a ballgame eerily similar to last year, USDA threw a curve ball at the corn market Thursday. But unlike last August when the bulls were able to hit that bearish offering and close higher, this year they clearly swung and missed.

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Western Bean Cutworm Identification photo

I.D. worms in silks and ears

This year’s Western Bean Cutworm (WBC) flight in northern Indiana counties has been quite impressive. Though it is not over, by looking at the moth captures the past couple weeks we are past peak flight. Most eggs have been laid by this point, and there were many.

We are aware that many fields have been scouted, found over the 5% threshold, and subsequently treated with insecticide. In the next weeks, folks will be out to determine the extent of damaged ears, if any, are present in fields.

The distinguishing characteristics between mature western bean cutworm and corn earworm (CEW) larvae are found below. It is a little trickier to determine species when the larvae are small, i.e., early instars.

For small caterpillars, you must use skin texture: WBC being smooth and CEW being bumpy. This requires a 10X magnifying lens.

Not to add to the confusion, but there are a couple other caterpillars, fall armyworm and European corn borer, that also may be found in the ear. For now though, we will keep it to the two most likely suspects.

As we enter later summer, caterpillars will be larger, more obvious and easier to tell apart. We will check back in at that time with another report. Happy scouting!

Western bean cutworm identifiers.

Corn earworm identifiers.

Western Bean Cutworm Identification photo

Early to late instars of the western bean cutworm. Notice that the distinctive “black rectangles” are lacking on the young larvae.


Source: Perdue Crop & Pest Newsletter. By John Obermeyer and Christian Krupke, Purdue University Entomologists

Thompsons Soil Sampling photo

Understanding in-field variability: soil sampling

Written by Alex Richardson, Agricultural Consultant, Thompsons – Blenheim.


Wheat harvest is complete and yields have given us great insight about our fields once again.

Variability was evident, and the results remind us it’s time to soil sample.

Soil sampling after wheat harvest is a great option to allow for the right conditions, and the time to do the sampling properly. It gives us the ability to plan using these results–not only for the remaining growing year, but for next year as well.

Results gathered now can be reviewed and used to apply some fall fertilizer or make spring plans for fertility management. Knowing what nutrients are already in the field is the best way to start that process.

Thompsons offers 3 main soil sampling packages, with options to suit any grower and any field.

Intensive Zone Sampling
Using data from numerous sources, grower expertise, and your local Thompsons Agricultural consultant, management zones will be mapped and generated throughout the field.  Soil samples will be taken across these zones to best represent the field following the topography, yield, or problem areas depicted in the zones.

Site-specific Sampling
Choose from a 1 acre, 2.5 acre or 5 acre sample area.  Your field will be overlaid with a grid, followed by samples taken in each grid from an area that best represents the lay of the land within that grid space.

Precision-Lite Sampling
Generate larger zones across the field to sample. Zones range from 10 acres to 25 acres in size, again based on numerous sources and grower expertise.  Monitor and map the variability in your field!

Talk to your local Thompsons Agricultural Consultant today about any of these sampling packages and customized options. We can build a soil sampling plan to suit your individual farm and management situation.

We all know our fields are variable and need to continue managing the variability on our farms!

All soil sampling options include a complete mapbook of your field and soil analysis, with lab results attached.

Once the results have come from the lab, the value of soil sampling begins as fertility management progresses. With the help of your local Thompsons Agricultural Consultant, your field’s fertility can be reviewed and a plan put in place to build and maintain your soil health.

Canola and wheat field photo

Principal field crop areas, June 2017

Canadian producers reported seeding record areas of canola and soybeans in 2017, with the canola area exceeding wheat (all varieties combined) for the first time ever. Seeded acreage of corn for grain and oats also increased. Meanwhile, the areas seeded to all wheat, lentils and barley declined from 2016.

Due to unseasonal early snow last fall, harvesting in some parts of the country was delayed until this spring. Additionally, localized areas reported very wet spring conditions and some flooding occurred in Ontario and Quebec. These conditions may have affected some of the seeded areas reported. Read more

150 years of Canadian agriculture

The 2016 Census of Agriculture marks the 22nd census since Confederation in 1867. Just as Canada as a country has evolved over the past 150 years, so too has the agriculture sector. Agriculture has used innovation to push the bounds of production, transforming farming from the small scale to a highly mechanized and advanced industry.

While there are fewer agricultural operations in Canada than there were in 1871, the average farm size has risen consistently—from 98 acres in 1871 to 820 acres in 2016. Canada reported 14 times as much wheat acreage in 2016 than was reported on the first Census of Agriculture in 1871. There were also 10 times as many pigs and 5 times as many head of cattle as reported in 1871. Read more

Horizontal motion portrait of a man in gray sport jacket and safety helmet and goggles driving mud-covered yellow ATV 4x4 quad bike with dirt spinning of the wheels photo

Use safety practices to avoid ATV rollovers

All terrain vehicles (ATVs) can be not only useful on the farm, they can add an element of fun to work. Whether using ATVs recreationally or as the best way to get to remote back fields, the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association’s “Appealing to Adults” Canadian Ag Safety Week campaign urges farmers to protect themselves against rollovers.

Rollovers happen alarmingly fast. That’s why it’s important for everyone to take rollover prevention seriously, each and every time they plan a ride.

Always remember to wear an ATV helmet, gloves, long sleeves, pants, and boots, even when only travelling a short distance. Inappropriate gear, such as loose clothing, can get caught on controls and doesn’t provide protection. Read more

Late Application of Nitrogen

Late season nitrogen application

Corn N ChartLate season nitrogen application has been a hot topic amongst farmers and uptake in this practice has increased in recent years. The expense and environmental impact has made growers think differently about nitrogen application.

Weather extremes has also caused growers to change the way they apply nitrogen to mitigate loses from excessive rainfall when applying all their nitrogen ahead of planting. Read more

Preparing grain bins for harvest

Preparing grain bins for harvest should be done to maintain the quality of grain and to make sure the areas around bins are ready for the busy season ahead. It is also a good time to inspect any mechanical components and clean up around the bin. Simple maintenance and safety rules will make sure we don’t experience any difficulties in the season ahead.

A key reason why people become entrapped in grain is because grain stored in bins is spoiled. Making sure that the bins are ready to be loaded with newly harvested grain reduces the risk of spoilage. If the grain is in good condition, people don’t have to enter the bin, reducing the risk of entrapment. Read more