Ear Rots in Corn

Ear rots can be difficult to control since weather conditions are critical to the disease development. Rots can establish any time after pollination in wounds created by insects, birds, machinery, and even hail. Rainy weather or heavy, prolonged dews often lead to ear rots in these wounded cobs.

Why are rots a concern?

The direct concern for ear rot disease is yield loss due to poor quality grain. In years when conditions favour development, large portions of fields can be affected. Once fields are infected, other management practices should be followed which can increase cost of harvesting, drying, and storing the grain.

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Stalk rots in corn

The distribution and prevalence of stalk rot diseases vary from year to year. However, the diseases are present in most years even though it may be at low levels. The majority of stalk rot damage in Ontario is caused by three fungi, Anthracnose, Gibberella and Fusarium. However, Diplodia and Pythium have also been observed.

Although these fungi cause different symptoms, their ultimate effect on the corn plant is the same. They reduce grain fill, stalk integrity, and accelerate senescence. The severity of this damage increases when the crop is under stress.

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Informa: Bean Acres Exceed Corn Acres

By Katie MicikDTN Markets Editor

OMAHA (DTN) — Private analytical firm Informa Economics sees farmers planting more soybean acres than corn acres next year for the first time since 1983.

Based primarily on its survey of producers in December, Informa said farmers are likely to plant 88.8 million acres of soybeans next year and 88 ma of corn. The changes are slight adjustments to group’s prior estimates.

“Informa Economics made a slight reduction to their estimate for corn acres in 2015, from 88.3 million to 88.0 million acres,” DTN analyst Todd Hultman said. “Their estimate of soybean acres increased slightly, from 88.3 million to 88.8 million acres, based on their December survey.” Read more

Tractor planting image

Most significant risk for the agriculture sector in 2015? Demand!

By JP Gervais, Chief Agriculture Economist

Many agricultural economic drivers are currently quite favourable. Oil prices continue to head lower. The Canadian dollar is at the lowest level of the last five years and interest rates have been low for an extended period of time.

Profit margins are significantly higher than average in the livestock sector. Yes, profits are tighter for the grain and oilseed sector, but the market seems to be carving out a bottom.

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Fall good time to buy fertilizer


Farmers are better off buying fertilizer in fall or winter rather than waiting until spring 90 percent of the time, according to Alberta Agriculture.

The department has tracked urea, ammonia and phosphate prices for the past 10 years.

“There has only been one year, and that was in 2008, that spring prices were lower than fall-winter prices,” said Jennifer Stoby, an agricultural input market analyst with Alberta Agriculture.

She encouraged farmers to talk with their retailers this fall about their upcoming needs, especially for nitrogen fertilizers.

“With lower crop prices, guys have been hesitant to buy fertilizer and not really making any decisions,” said Stoby. “If they do wait until spring, there might be some problems actually even getting product.”

Growers who haven’t pre-bought product have faced supply shortages for the last few years, and it could be the same scenario next year.

“Retails aren’t bringing in nearly as much product just to have on hand the same as they have in the past,” said Stoby.

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Photo of corn harvesting

North American Harvest Report

Too much of a good thing?

A publication of BMO Capital Markets Economic Research • Douglas Porter, CFA, Chief Economist

Seldom is there a dull moment in the agriculture business. Only two short years ago, crop prices in North America were flirting with all-time highs after several years of lacklustre growing conditions were capped by the worst U.S. drought in 25 years. Today, prices are mining new lows under the weight of a second huge harvest. But, while lower crop prices are good news for food processors, livestock producers, and consumers, they are also taking a bite out of farmers’ bottom lines.

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Brazilian farmers planting soybeans at half the average pace

From  Soybean and Corn Advisor: Nov. 4, 2014

With the soil moisture improving across much of Brazil, most farmers are actively plating their 2014/15 soybean crop. The rainfall in Mato Grosso has been adequate in some areas and lighter than desired in other areas. The rainfall though has been lighter as you move east into states like Goias, Bahia, Sao Paulo, and Minas Gerais. In southern Brazil the soil moisture remains very favorable with too much rain in fact in parts of Rio Grande do Sul. The forecast looks favorable for more rainfall over the next two weeks in the more western areas of Brazil, but still dryer than desired for the more eastern areas.

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Reduce production costs without sacrificing yield

Falling commodity prices mean growers are concerned with their profit per acre. Input costs have remained high and have not adjusted to where farmers believe they should be. Until prices change, strategic adjustments will have to be made to stay profitable during lower commodity pricing years. Thompsons has identified 5 ways to help you reduce production costs without sacrificing yield.

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loonie piggy bank image

Canadian dollar sinks below 88 cents as Saudis cut oil to $77 a barrel

U.S. produced more oil than Saudi Arabia last month

By Pete Evans, CBC News – November 4, 2014

The Canadian dollar today sank to its lowest level in five years as Saudi Arabia moved to slash its price for the type of oil used in much of North America to its lowest level since September 2010.

Late Monday, Saudi Arabia said it would start selling its oil in the U.S. market for the cheapest price it has offered in more than four years.

The loonie was down 0.41 of a cent to 87.63 US at the close of trading.

Oil prices have fallen sharply this year, particularly in recent months — the U.S. contract was trading at $100 a barrel as recently as July.

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