Grain News: June 28, 2018 – Wisconsin rated #1 in the country for corn

jim photoGood Morning,

Yesterday’s good corn demand news and positive US/China trade talks just wasn’t enough for the markets to gain any momentum. Weighing also on the grains is the excellent growing conditions this year and the ratings. Wisconsin in case you missed it is rated #1 in the country for our corn! Later this morning the export report will be out and tomorrows USDA report is an important one.

US Ag Sec Perdue stated that he has been working on the reimbursement plan that President Trump promised the farmers if the trade war goes past harvest.

Yesterday’s morning weather report is the first real time that most forecasters are calling for drier than normal 6-10 and 11-15 day periods for the corn belt, and that dryness would now fall right in the start of the key corn development month of July.  A true pattern change is a long way off but current outlooks are a far cry from the continually wet June forecasts that have been weighing down the grain trade and benefiting mostly ideal corn and soybean crops.  On the demand side, China will start collecting a 25% tariff on U.S. soybeans starting July 6th, in response to U.S. tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods; however, the massive decline in U.S. export prices in the last month (gulf soybean export prices alone have fallen of $2.75 per bushel) takes care of most of that difference already, with the U.S. easily the bargain-basement supplier before any trade war consequences take effect.

The weekly ethanol production number released yesterday were much better than expected and looks like an additional 70-100 MBU of corn will land on the USDA demand ledger. Strong corn demand of late from end users will also help to cut into corn ending stocks number.

The funny thing about possibly tariff war is that there is always ways around them. Hearing chatter that China has already begun cancelling bean import tariffs from five Asian countries that are not on the US tariff list. This will allow China to re-buy beans from these countries and get around any US tariffs once the five countries buy beans from the US. It would be almost impossible for Washington to stop this from happening.

Tomorrow’s USDA Planted Acreage and grain stocks report will be out at 11:00. The markets are looking for any bullish news to turn around these prices. You should have your open offers in place and be ready to act if prices prove profitably for your operation. Your Landmark Grain Marketing Specialist are here to guide you through.

Be safe,

Jim Fleming

Do I Need a Fungicide?

Jacob of LandmarkWhether or not to apply a fungicide on your crop is not a difficult decision. The cost of application along with your crop’s response are the two main factors to make the decision. Although it is valid to be concerned about these two factors, you will find that using a fungicide will be profitable the majority of the time in the situations that follow.

Plan to use a fungicide if:
1. Your field has high yield potential: soil fertility is good, nitrogen program is sufficient, and crop is healthy
2. Your corn hybrids with a medium or high response to fungicide score
3. Your fields have a continuous corn crop rotation
4. Your crops contain BMR varieties
5. Your fields have a previous history of diseases

If your fields fit two or more of the criteria above, a fungicide application should be a planned pass, much like planning a herbicide pass through the field. Using a fungicide should be a planned approach to your crop management strategy. If you see a disease in your field and become reactive to it, it’s too late to capture the full benefits of applying a fungicide
The timing of a fungicide application is extremely important. I like to see fungicides applied aerially, right as corn silks are emerging on the ears, but not brown yet. Anytime during silking is optimum for a fungicide application. For soybeans, R3: beginning pod set, is the optimum time for a fungicide application. It’s all about planning, and the timing of your application is part of that plan.

Get the most out of a corn fungicide application by adding MasterLock and MAX-IN Boron. It’s beneficial to use MasterLock because it optimizes droplet size to reduce drift potential and helps ensure more product penetrates the canopy. Adding MAX-IN Boron corrects common boron deficiencies in corn and improves plant growth and reproduction.

Contact your Landmark Services Cooperative Agronomist for further information.

Grain News: June 26, 2018 – Conditions Ideal, Markets Struggle

Melisa of landmarkFrom trade wars to weather being ideal to pending USDA report, the markets are struggling. The crop conditions continue to be ideal. The USDA report of planted acres and quarterly stocks comes out Friday at 11 am. Make sure you have offers working to catch any possible spike in the market.

The corn crop in WI continues to lead the nation at 87% good to excellent. Last year WI was at 69% good/excellent. Overall the corn crop is 77% good/excellent vs last year at 67%. Silking progress is slightly ahead of average at 5% vs 3%. Rain continues to fall over the corn belt and with warm weather coming there seems to be no huge issues.
Beans hold their 73% good to excellent rating from last week vs 66% last year. Blooming progress is 12% vs 5% on the 5-year average. Noting that IL is 23% bloomed vs 3% on average. WI is “behind” at 0% vs 1% on average. China continues to buy beans from Brazil. China will have removed 3% tariff off beans from several Southeastern Asia countries starting July 1st.

Wheat rating declined this week to 37% vs last week at 39%. Also, it is worth noting we are ahead on harvest this year at 41% done vs 33% average. Make sure to talk to one the grain marketing specialists if you have wheat or plan to plant wheat this fall. We have great options for you.

Make sure to look at your marketing plan again. Offers should be in for any unsold old crop and going forward into the next two crop years. If you have to buy protein or corn, talk to one of us to discuss options to help you control costs.

Hybrid Response to Fungicide

Understanding the ROI on a fungicide application is much easier if you know your hybrid’s response to fungicide.

Landmark Sponsors Local Kids’ Summer Lunch Program

‘Cause Kids Need to Eat

COTTAGE GROVE, WI, June 19, 2018 – Landmark Services Cooperative (LSC) is excited to announce the sponsorship of the Milton Free Summer Lunch program for children.

United Methodist Church (UMC) in Milton and One Apple Lunch Bunch are launching an amazing community effort to provide free lunches for students in grades 4K-6 this summer. The program will run from June 11-August 31, Monday through Friday from 11:30am-12:30pm at Lamar Park in Milton.

“We are so pleased to have served 350 lunches in our first week. This would not be possible without the great support we have received from Landmark Services Cooperative, many local Milton businesses, Milton Fund and United Methodist Foundation. It takes a village to raise a child. We are just one small part,” expressed Barb Braun, UMC outreach coordinator.

As an agricultural cooperative, finding a way to help children in local communities combat hunger is a natural fit. LSC is proud to partner with The Drive to Feed Kids initiative as part of the Landmark Gives Back program.

“It is incredible what this group is doing for the Milton community. We recognize there are many people who aren’t getting the nutrition they need on a daily basis, and we are excited to partner with UMC and One Apple Lunch Bunch to help serve food to those in need,” said Shannon Horstmeyer, executive assistant of LSC.

Landmark donating to local charities

Free lunch served by one apple lunch program

Landmark Keeps It Fresh

Landmark Provides $3,000 to Local Kids’ Summer Lunch Program to Purchase Produce

COTTAGE GROVE, WI, June 21, 2018 – Landmark Services Cooperative (LSC) is honored to once again support the Norski Nibbles summer lunch program. The $3,000 donation is dedicated to the purchase of fresh, healthy produce from the DeForest Area Farmers’ Market (DAFM). The market produce is integrated into the kids’ daily lunches and distributed at multiple locations throughout DeForest and, new to 2018, Morrisonville.

This is the second year LSC has donated to the lunch program. The introduction of fresh produce was a huge hit with the kids last year. “It is exciting to see these kids learn about the tastes of fresh fruits and vegetables. I know many of them do not get the chance at home,” stated Dave La Haye, Norski Nibbles co-coordinator. “I am so grateful that LSC makes a donation to Norski Nibbles so that they can provide this experience for the kids.”

“The donation from LSC to Norski Nibbles not only increases access to nutritious, local foods for those who need it,” commented Joleen Stinson, DeForest Parks and Natural Resources supervisor, “it also supports a variety of the local farmers who vend at the DAFM.”

The idea behind DeForest’s volunteer-led Norski Nibbles program began in 2013 as a collaborative effort between local businesses and churches to combat hunger over the summer months when school is not in session. The program began as a way to feed children 18 and younger who participate in the free and reduced lunch program during the school year.

As an agricultural cooperative, finding a way to help children in the local communities combat hunger is a natural fit. LSC is proud to support the Norski Nibbles initiative as part of the Landmark Gives Back program.  “We realize there are numerous people in the communities we serve that aren’t getting the essential daily meals. To find passionate people like those involved in the Norski Nibbles program who are willing to help us make sure that food gets to those kids is crucial,” expressed Shannon Horstmeyer, executive assistant of LSC.

Shannon Bob Diane and Anne of Landmark

Grain News: June 21, 2018 – Happy Summer Solstice

Josh of LandmarkHappy summer solstice, the longest day of the year in terms of sunlight although the day started off cloudy as lighter rain fell across MN and WI.  The 6-10 day outlook continues to call for above average temperature and precipitation for the I states.  Weekly exports reported corn sales sharply lower than expected and the 2nd lowest of the marketing year.  Soybeans sales at the bottom end of expectations, while wheat sales at the upper end of expectations.  Wheat harvest is progressing and quality issues are showing up in the East.  This has caused Chicago wheat close the price gap between Minneapolis wheat.  Reports out that China could see a 20% decline in their wheat crop vs last year which in the current state of events will allow for more exports from Canada and the Black Sea.

With Trump saying they are moving rapidly on a trade deal, tariffs still have PNW soybeans $1.00 away from being competitive into China while US beans are $1.00 cheaper than Brazilian beans to the rest of the world.  If tariffs go away soybean crush margins in China go from a break even to over $40 ton positive margin.  In any case November soybeans futures are $1.50 lower since May 29th.  Brazil is reporting there are 6.8mmt of beans in storage waiting to move but delayed by high freight costs to the ports, so far 60 ships have been delayed.  Shipping costs have increased 40% since the government set the freight minimum to end their trucking strike.  News wires speak of Trump using tariffs as a defense against Chinese aggressions while China is pointing out this is potentially damaging to US farmers.

USDA will be out with Grain Stocks and Acreage on June 29th.  Private numbers are looking for both more corn and bean acres using less prevent plant acres.

The Time Is Now to Scout for Corn Diseases

It pays to scout early and often to protect high yield potential before fields are devastated by disease because the only way to stop disease is to catch it early or prevent it altogether. The primary diseases for corn in our area are northern corn leaf blight, anthracnose, and gray leaf spot.  We also see common rust, but it has less of an impact on plant health than the other diseases. The primary diseases, how to identify them and some of their symptoms are highlighted below.



Anthracnose Leaf in corn leavesAnthracnose first appears as leaf blight and may occur anytime after its emergence.  In early corn, it will appear as water-soaked round spots and blight on lower leaves.  To determine if your corn has it, dig up the roots of your corn and split them open to analyze the crown.  Crowns of plants infected with the disease will have a corky appearance.

The key is to catch it in early corn development.  Anthracnose spreads from leaf to leaf when an infected leaf “high-fives” the leaf of a neighboring plant and spreads the disease, like humans with colds.  It can appear as top dieback after tassel and eventually lead to stalk rot.  Both symptoms can have extreme effects on field performance and harvestability.



Northern Corn Leaf Blight

Northern corn leaf blight exampleThe most telling symptom of northern corn leaf blight is the presence of oblong cigar-shaped lesions which may be tan or gray in color.  The size of the legions ranges from 1 to 7 inches, and they typically appear on the lower leaves first.  Northern corn leaf blight usually appears late in the growing season and requires temperatures from 64-81° F as well as cloudy and humid conditions to spread.





Gray Leaf Spot

grey leaf spot exampleGray leaf spot starts out as small pinpoint leaf lesions surrounded by yellow discoloration.  As lesions mature, they elongate into narrow, rectangle-shaped brown to gray spots on the leaf.  Moist, humid and warm conditions, along with poor airflow and low sunlight, are factors that propagate this disease.






All three diseases survive on crop residue over winter and are spread by wind and water.  Managing these diseases can be done by hybrid selection, scouting early and often using In-Season Imagery and the Field Monitoring Tool, fungicide applications, and other cultural practices.  You put a plan together with your seed, herbicide and other applications to cover your risk, so why not add fungicide to the plan?  Protect your investment and the hybrid you worked hard to place and manage throughout the season.

Contact your Landmark Services Cooperative agronomist for further information.

Grain News: June 19, 2018 – USDA Increased Good-Excellent Crop Ratings

Judy of landmarkThe markets are taking a drastic downward plunge on news that President Trump is asking US trade representatives to identify $200 billion worth of Chinese goods that could be subject to a 10% import tariff.  China responded with a promise to “fight back firmly”.  Prices broke as soon as the threat of new sanctions hit the market.

Corn prices were down sharply, putting in new contract lows for both old and new crop.  A strong crop progress report Monday afternoon is adding pressure to the market. The USDA increased good-excellent crop ratings 1% to 78%.  This is the best rated crop as of this date since 1991.  Demand news from last week’s export inspections did provide some support.  Demand is supported by lower South American production and Brazil having trouble moving a small harvest through a troubled logistic system.

Soybean prices tumbled lower on trade threats between China and the U.S.  July futures hit new contract lows.  A lot of emotion is running rampant in the markets.  Beans are 45 cents off the low.  We may see less Brazilian beans sold due to concerns about freight.

Wheat markets are down on improved conditions and harvest progress.  The USDA crop progress report has spring wheat condition up 8% to 78% good to excellent.  Demand for wheat continues to be sluggish.  A lot of negatives for a market to take on.

Where do we go from here?  Hopefully the U.S. and China can work out their differences and the markets can recover.  Keep in touch with your grain marketing specialist and look for opportunities to make some sales.

Grain News: June 14, 2018 – Stronger Dollar Adds Pressure

Katie of landmarkMarkets have taken a tumble today as a stronger dollar puts pressure on the grain markets. We’re seeing favorable weather forecasts as dry parts of Europe will see rains, and the Midwest will see hot weather ending by middle of next week with rains in the forecast. Commodities also lower today as the funds have started to sell of their long positions off as the markets see new lows.

Soybeans are seeing heavy pressure as trade waits to see if the White House will follow through with imposing tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods. If these tariffs go through, we will likely see immediate retaliation from China, and US soybeans will most definitely be a victim. Basis levels for both corn and soybeans have held steady as futures levels continue to drop lower.

As wheat harvest continues to move along, futures are continuing to drop. Open interest in Kansas City wheat was down 9,000 contracts while Chicago wheat was down 4,500 contracts.

Stock markets in Asiana and Europe have seen sell off to day after the down day on Wall Street yesterday. The Federal Reserve increased the short-term interest rate benchmark by .25%, and there will likely be another two increases this year.

As it gets tough to check the CBOT, it’s a good time to revisit your marketing plan. Take a look at where your targets are, and decide if you need to reassess your plan.