Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Corn Silking Behind 5-year Average

Corn Silking, doughing news

While corn silking improved by 24 points for the week, now standing 55 percent complete, which is equal to last year's silking, but far behind the 5-year corn silking average by 21 points.

The corn belt performed very well because conditions have remained ideal for corn silking, as 34 percent of the crop is at that stage in Minnesota and Iowa. Illinois corn silking came in at 27 percent.

Acroos the nation, 7 percent of corn acreage is beyond the dough stage, again, the same as last year at this time, but 10 points slower than the average.

North Carolina has the most advanced doughing stage, now standing at 80 percent complete, while Minnesota and Iowa haven't reached that stage yet, and neither has corn in other Great Lakes regions or Great Plains regions.

Appromimately 70 percent of all corn in the U.S. is rated as good to excellent in condition, a little down from last week, but still 4 points better than a year ago at this time.

Corn silking, doughing news

Friday, July 17, 2009

Cash for Corn Cobs?

Cash for corn cobs a stupid idea

Using tax payer money for subsidizing farmers even more than the outrageous levels they're already being subsidized at is outrageous and criminal.

We don't need any more subsidies of corn, as the artificial market created through the nonsensical ethanol policy are detrimental and misguided, as wheat production suffers, and the poor around the world as well. That won't stop the outrage until food riots start again though, as prices surge above market levels in the socialist induced artificial market for corn and now corn cobs.

Cobs, the refuse left behind after harvest, are now plowed back into fields. But companies from California and South Dakota plan to start changing that by building two plants in Iowa, one to turn the material into ethanol and another to produce fertilizer.

Boyer already sells most of the corn from his farm to a traditional ethanol plant. Most ethanol in the U.S. is made from corn kernels.

But a $200 million plant being built by Sioux Falls, S.D.-based Poet Energy will make cellulosic ethanol, which comes from plant material such as cobs, wood chips and switchgrass. About two dozen cellulosic ethanol projects are being developed or built around the country, according to the Renewable Fuels Association.

The projects vary by region, with companies using whatever local crop is available. Louisiana and Florida companies, for instance, are using sugar cane, while one based in Oregon plans to convert poplar tress and wood chips into ethanol.

In Iowa, it's corn, and a switch from regular to cellulosic could mean more kernels are available for human food and livestock feed.

The push for new ways to produce cellulosic ethanol comes as many ethanol makers are struggling to turn a profit. They've had to drop prices to remain competitive as gas prices have fallen, but the cost of corn used to make ethanol has remained relatively high, said David Swenson, a researcher at Iowa State University.

Some of the largest producers have declared bankruptcy or been sold.

Poet spokesman Nathan Schock said the company hasn't yet figured out how much it will pay farmers, but it could be $30 to $60 per ton for corn stover, which includes cobs and some stalk. An average acre in Iowa yields about 1.5 tons of corn stover.

The company's payments to farmers could be supplemented by the federal government through the Biomass Crop Assistance Program.

Poet's plant in Emmetsburg, about 120 miles northwest of Des Moines, is expected to produce about 25 million gallons of ethanol per year when it opens in 2011. It could generate as much as $10 million per year in extra income for farmers.

Meanwhile, San Francisco-based SynGest, Inc., plans to build an $80 million facility in Menlo, about 40 miles west of Des Moines, that will be the first to make ammonia fertilizer from corn cobs.

The plant, expected to be completed by fall 2011, will process 130,000 tons of cobs per year into 50,000 tons of fertilizer, or enough for 100,000 acres of corn, SynGest CEO Jack Oswald said. Farmers would get about $50 per ton of cobs.

The company plans to market ammonia fertilizer to nearby farms as alternative to nitrogen fertilizer, which is made from oil. More than half the nation's supply of nitrogen fertilizer is imported, which drives up the price to farmers, Oswald said.

Poet expects $100 million in federal and state aid to build its plant, while SynGest has applied for $40 million in federal aid and additional state help.

Farmers said they'd like to trade their trash for cash, but most lack equipment to easily scoop up cobs. Prototypes for such machines are being built, but they could cost more than the cobs bring in. Boyer said a lot of questions remain.

Clark Bredahl, who raises corn, soybeans and cattle 320 acres near Greenfield, also said he'd need to figure out whether selling his cobs made economic sense.

This farmer is right. This is a bunch of ridiculous nonsense initiated by those attempting to fleece more taxpayers of their hard earned money in order to shore up a very stupid socialist corn and energy fiasco.

Cash for corn cobs a stupid idea

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Slow Start to Kansas Corn

Kansas Corn Crop

The Kansas corn crop has been doing pretty good so far this year even though there was an very late planting, but its late start has made the crop especially vulnerable to damage.

If everything goes right, Kansas farmers plant their corn by the first week in April. But rain kept farmers out of fields at the usual planting time, so a lot of of the state's corn was planted in late May and early June.

What that means is the crop will be pollinating during the hot, dry Kansas summer months. Another potential problem is an early freeze before the corn is ready for harvest could be devastating.

This week's crop condition report showed 68 percent of the corn in good to excellent condition, with 25 percent rated as fair. Only 7 percent of the crop got a poor to very poor rating.

Kansas farmers put 3.8 million acres into corn this season, compared to 3.85 million acres a year earlier.

Acroos the nation, the corn acreage of 87 million acres was up 1 percent from 2008. It was the second largest planted corn acreage since 1946, behind 2007, which set the record.

But some analysts remain nervous at the crop's late planting dates in major growing regions.

When the Agriculture Department came out with its acreage report last week the numbers of corn acres were higher than expected, said Mike Woolverton, grain marketing economist at Kansas State University. The market had anticipated a reduction in acreage from a year ago.

"The acres are there," he said. "But - and here's the kicker - and that is that the corn was planted late. Very late, some of it, and it may not develop to full maturity before frost. So we may end up with a short corn crop this year."

Kansas Corn Crop