Along for the Ride

Landmark Hosts Lunch for East Central Benefit Tractor Cruise

COTTAGE GROVE, WI, August 31, 2018 – Landmark Services Cooperative (LSC) was excited to host lunch for the East Central Benefit Tractor Cruise in Markesan, WI on August 25, 2018. Farmers have a long history of feeding their neighbors, and it’s fitting that this tractor cruise continues that tradition. LSC was proud to be part of this great cause and served over 100 riders.

The ride is held each year to raise money for local food pantries. The cruise also benefits public schools’ student basic needs funds, which provide necessities for children whose families cannot otherwise afford them. Funds come from the entry fee, along with collected pledges and business sponsorships.

“This is a great group of people to be around and help support their initiative to assist those in need. It is always a great time watching farmers and non-farmers get on a tractor and have a fun time. Giving back and volunteering is very rewarding and something I truly enjoy,” commented Amy Badtke, energy account manager of LSC.

The tenth annual ride around the Ripon countryside had an estimated 50 riders cruising country roads. Tractors traveled along routes throughout Green Lake and Fond Du Lac counties, stopping for lunch at Landmark in Markesan.

Tractor day for Landmark

5 Tips for Success this Corn Silage Season

Silage Season tips

  1. Anticipate Moisture Changes
    Begin harvest at a plant moisture of 70% and ¾ kernel milk line.  Starting a little early is better than starting a little late.  Harvests almost never “go perfect” so anticipate a day or two of down time and don’t let the down time get your corn silage “too dry”.  The goal should be to have the year’s worth of corn silage in the 64% to 67% average.
  1. Use Shaker Boxes
    Talk with your nutritionist and do some shaker boxes on total tmr length and individual forage lengths.  From this, determine how long you want to chop your corn silage.  This value can range from 18 mm up to 30 mm.
  1. Monitor Loads
    Monitor loads as they come in for kernel processing.  In a cup full of silage, there should be no whole kernels and many of the corn pieces should be 1/8 to ¼.
  1. Pack for High Densities
    On large bunkers and piles, make use of a second packing tractor.  Many dairy operations today can chop large feed volumes very fast and this increased volume requires extra weight on the pile to keep packing densities high.
  1. Reduce Shrink
    Preserve your yields and work by using extra plastic layers, oxygen limiting barriers, innoculants, lining bunker walls with plastic, making tires touch and lining edges with dirt to hold down plastic.  These steps can decrease shrink by 5 to 10%.

Content courtesy of Joe Gier, Landmark Dairy Nutritionist

Grain News: August 30, 2018 – Positive Headlines Regarding Grains

Josh of LandmarkMaybe you have spent the growing season looking at your crop and not reading the grain commentary because you are trying to focus on the positive.  This week might be the time you change gears and read the commentary and give your crop a week off.  Just when Wisconsin has been experiencing numerous weather events resulting in flooded fields, lodging in much of the beans and a general lack of sunshine there are starting to become some positive headlines regarding grains.  Any positive movement will help change the technical story and as the technical changes, the hope would be the fund buys.

First and foremost in the headlines is the announced US-Mexico deal and Trump saying we will leave Canada out of the deal.  Now Trudeau says NAFTA deal is possible by Friday.  This news has been positive equities in both the US and China.

Next, news of African swine fever in China has surfaced stating the virus has spread to four provinces and has been detected in areas 750 miles apart although, the China Ag ministry has reported that of the 20,000 samples recently taken all are negative.  This has seemingly has been a small headline but for reference, over half of the world’s pigs live in China at about 700 million pigs. This all taking place while feeder cattle markets traded lower on news of a 6-year-old beef cow testing positive for Mad Cow disease in Florida.

Finally, more info has been released regarding the aid program or Market Facilitation Program (MFP).  Farmer crop trade payments: 50% production x payment rates of $1.65 a bushel on beans and 1c per bushel on corn. Capped at $125,000 per person or legal entity.  The second payment period, if warranted, will be determined by the CCC.

As we near harvest remember to sign up for our text hours and information program.  This will let you know when hours are posted or changed at the elevator you select.

Grain News: August 28, 2018 – Market Facilitation Program Released, Trade Deal Still Best Case

Judy of LandmarkYesterday the details of the Market Facilitation Program were released.  Sign up will begin September 4th administered by FSA.  Producers can apply after harvest is 100 percent complete and they can report their total 2018 production.  The payment will be based on each producer’s actual production.  The first payment will be based off of 50% of production X payment rates.  Payment rates—Soybeans:  $1.65 per bushel, Wheat:  $.14 per bushel and Corn:  $.01 per bushel.  They figured the payment rate by the severity of the trade disruption and period of adjustment to new trade patterns.  While it will offer some relief, the best case would be to get the trade deal done.

Corn market is mixed this morning.  The U.S. trade deal with Mexico removes a major barrier between the two countries.  The next step is to get Canada to come to the table.  Exports last week improved to 49 million bushels which is at the high end of estimates.  Crop ratings on corn were unchanged this week with G/E remaining at 68%.  Corn maturity is ahead of the 5-year average.  All the chatter in the market is focusing on higher corn yields this fall but you don’t hear much about the demand side.  If you look at the global picture, there is a strong demand for corn.  Global supplies are shrinking which should have a positive effect on price in the long term.

Soybeans are trading lower again this morning.  Crop progress has soybean condition at 66% good/excellent, up 1% from last week.  The timely August rains are adding to yield expectations.  Soybeans will remain weak until we can work out a trade resolution with China.  So far China has not cancelled any of the sales on the books from the U.S.  The future market still boils down to getting a trade deal with China worked out.  Even without China’s demand, export inspections last week were 33.1 million bushels which should be enough to reach USDA’s goal for the 2017 marketing year.

Wheat is unchanged.  Exports were on the high end of trade estimates.  Russia has dominated exports even with their lower production.  Wheat is struggling even with lower global supplies.  Demand remains strong so eventually prices should react to the global balance sheet.

As we move closer to harvest keep farm safety as the top priority of each day.  Keep in touch with your grain marketing specialist to help you come up with a plan for your unpriced bushels.

What’s in Store in Evansville, Wisconsin?

Trans conveyorWe’re committed to investing in your success by providing ample storage space and elevator capacity. With that in mind, we’re excited to announce that we’re installing storage space for this fall’s harvest at our Evansville, Wisconsin, location.

We are installing two bunker ground pile systems manufactured by LeMar Industries. One system will be 150′ x 550′ long. The other will be 150′ x 678′ long. That’s a combined capacity of over 2 million bushels! These cost-effective bunkers will have four-foot galvanized walls anchored to the ground and state-of-the-art aeration systems to maintain the best grain quality and ensure efficient operation.

An Extron grain monitoring system will be installed to monitor wind speed, grain temperature, humidity and other factors required to maintain the grain. This will allow for significant cost savings over piles that have aeration fans running 24/7.

To complement this new storage space, we’ve purchased an extremely fast conveyor system. Our new 25,000 bushel-per-hour LeMar transport conveyor is fed by two 15-foot drive-over receiving ramps.

The fail-safe hydraulic system, hydraulically adjusted directional grain diverter, height adjustability, hydraulic ramps and drive wheels allow for easy movement of the conveyor to the next position.

Double drive-over receiving ramps will mean no waiting for the truck in front of you to move ahead before you can start unloading. This system will be as fast, or even faster, than unloading into our existing grain receiving pits.

We’re proud to be an extension of your operation and provide you more effective, more efficient storage at harvest so you can get back to your fields.

This project will be completed in time for the 2018 fall harvest season.


Grain News: August 23, 2018 – China, U.S. Fire Off New Tariffs in Middle of Trade Talks

Katie of landmarkMarkets are softer again today as the pro-farmer tour continues to find yields above expectations. They’re putting the Illinois corn crop at 192.6 bpa, compared to 180.7 bpa last year. They’re also finding big yields in beans with pod counts in Illinois up 8% compared to last year.

$16 billion worth of tariffs go into effect today as negotiators continue to talk. The US will charge an additional 25% tariff on Chinese imports including motorcycles, steam turbines, and railway cars. The Chinese will retaliate by placing a similar tariff on US goods including coal, medical instruments, waste products, cars and buses. China is now threatening to place a complaint about trade issues with the United States to the World Trade Organization.

The U.S. Dollar is also stronger today, putting pressure on commodities. Exports were nothing exciting today. Wheat sales far below expectations at 240,000 tonnes, and trade was expecting between 450-850k tonnes. Old crop corn sales came in at 173k tonnes, below the expected 200-500k tonnes from trade. Old crop soybean sales on the low end of expectations at 153k tonnes.

Locally, were experiencing flooding because of too much rain too quickly. However, weather remains mostly favorable for production nationally. It’s going to take some pretty convincing evidence of lower yields to firm up the markets now.

Have a great day!

Katie Demrow

Grain News: August 21, 2018 – Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour

Doug of LandmarkThe Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour began Monday and runs through Thursday. So far above average yields have been reported in Ohio and South Dakota.  Soybean yields are being reported as strong as well with high pod counts.  The market is set to react to each tweet that is sent out from the tour. Today will be the more important day of the tour as they get into the states.

Corn has been trading steady to lower on increased rainfall in the Midwest and pressure from a lower wheat market.  Wheat has been lower to start this week on beneficial rains in the plains states as well as rumors of a short-term increase in Russian exports.  Weekly corn export inspections were disappointing coming in at 43.2 million bushels. Favorable weather forecasts to dry out and push the maturity of the corn crop is also a factor.

Soybeans opened the week higher on hopes of renewed enthusiasm on trade talks with China.  The market trades very choppy based upon the latest news story in regards to the tariffs.  There was some optimism that China may buy more US soybeans as the third cargo ship that has the new tariffs applied unloaded on Monday. Weekly export inspections came in at 23.5 million bushels at the bottom of trade expectations.  August rainfall is perceived as beneficial to soybean yield.

The crop conditions report had corn conditions down 2% to 68% good to excellent vs. 62% last year.  Corn maturity continues ahead of schedule with 44% dented vs. 26% on average. Wisconsin was at 18% dented.   Soybeans came in down 1% at 65% good to excellent vs. 60% last year. 89% of the US soybean crop is setting pods.

The lack of definition in the export market in soybeans along with record new crop potential has really hit the basis values hard.  With new crop harvest just around the corner keep an eye on what is going on locally.

In other news US Agriculture Department representatives told the Wall Street Journal that the agency expects to announce official guidelines for the 12 billion Federal Aid Program by August 24th and will be ready to start to implement them by Sept 4th.  I guess we will see.

Thanks for the business and stay dry!

Grain News: August 16, 2018 – China’s Vice Commerce Minister to Visit U.S. on Trade Issues

Katie of landmarkBig news on Thursday morning is the announcement that China will send Vice Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen to the United States later this month. Beans are coming off a rally in the overnight in response to the news. Officials warn that these will be very low-level talks with low-level officials before any senior-level officials get involved. Corn markets are also up slightly coming into the Thursday morning session following the beans.

Decent export sales this morning on both corn and beans. It was announced this morning that there were exports of 338.9 thousand tons of corn along with 1,044.8 thousand tons of new crop corn. Trade estimated between 300 and 600 thousand tons and 300 to 1,000 thousand tons respectively. Soybean sales came in at 133.4 thousand tons and 571.6 thousand tons of new crop beans. Trade estimated 100-400 thousand tons and 300-700 thousand tons respectively.

Weather is looking good for most of the corn belt. The central and southern plains and the Ohio River Valley are expected to see rains. The Midwest has also seen storms moving through this week and there are more forecasted for the weekend. However, we’re still on track for below average precipitation over parts of the norther plains. Farmers also keeping a close eye on above average temperatures that are putting harvest on track to be one to two weeks early.

Wheat markets are also up slightly, as they follow along with soybeans. Overseas markets are higher today on both the Australian and Paris Futures markets.

Have a great day!

Katie Demrow

Grain News: August 14, 2018 – Drop in Crop Rating

Melissa of landmarkHappy Tuesday!  Corn and beans saw a 1% drop in good/excellent.  The market was expecting the drop-in crop rating.  With the weather running warmer in most of the US the crop is ahead in maturity.

Corn continues to run well ahead of normal on maturity at 26% dented vs 13% on 5-year average.  Corn harvest has started in the south with Louisiana 27% completed.  WI corn is 78% good/excellent vs 73% on average.  Denting progress is ahead at 4% vs 2% average in WI.  US is 26% dented vs 15% last year and 13% on the 5-year average. Corn doughing progress is 45% vs 31% average in WI.  The US is 73% doughing vs 56% on 5-year average or last year at 58%.

Beans are higher with strength coming from Soybean meal.  Beans are seeing good rains though out the Midwest.  Blooming progress continues to run ahead of last year.  WI is 93% bloomed vs 89% last year.  US is 96% blooming vs 5-year average at 92%.  Pod setting progress in WI 80% vs 70% last year.  The US 84% setting pods vs 72% 5-year average.  WI soybean good/excellent condition at 76% vs 74.4% last year.  US good/excellent is in line with the 5-year average at 66%.

Spring wheat harvest is moving along fast due to dry conditions.  35% harvested vs 5-year average at 27%.  Winter wheat is done.

Make sure to putting offers and looking for to Spring 2019 and Fall 2019.  It never too early to start marketing into next year.  Make sure to talk to your Grain Marketing Specialist now.

Thank you!


Grain News: August 8, 2018 – Tomorrow’s USDA Supply and Demand Report

jim photoGood morning, 

Tomorrow’s USDA Supply and Demand report is due to be released at 11:00 AM. The average trade estimates are coming in at 176.2 for corn, 49.6 for beans. Anything other than these numbers are going to cause a volatile trading session. The report may be shaping up to be one of the more volatile situations seen in recent months given the widespread, differing views on the U.S. corn and soybean crops and the potential for significant reductions in global wheat production estimates. 

We will also see big changes in the way the report will be release tomorrow. Due to the scandal were algo firms were buying access a fraction of a second earlier the USDA has put a stop to that now. Starting with tomorrow’s report, everyone will receive the report at the same time. Prior to this, the major news wires were locked up and shown the report a couple of hours ahead of time to afford them time to prepare headlines and databases for release and have them in the queue ready to go as soon as the USDA flipped the switch and allowed communications to flow out of the lockup room. That will no longer happen. It will be interesting to see if the USDA website will crash amid all the high traffic created by the policy change. 

Mexico and the United States remain engaged in trade discussions that are said to be going very well. Canada is on the outside looking in, but is not a problem at this point, as the first NAFTA trade deal was negotiated with one country then the other.  Canada’s facing its own little trade issues with Saudi Arabia this week. The US and Europe are still negotiating as well, with little progress as of yet.  Traders aren’t too worried, as the president stated that he would hold off adding more tariffs while talks are occurring. Which brings up China, where little progress is expected ahead of the US mid-term elections. The Chinese economy is feeling the pain, but the leadership thus far lacks a sense of urgency as it controls the message at home. President Xi is willing to wait and see the outcome of the mid-term elections and decide at that point whether to return to negotiations. 

Next week will start Landmark’s appreciation dinners. These events are designed to pass along the latest news that effects our customers throughout the Landmark footprint and to show our true appreciation for you our customers. So please come on down with the family and see some old friends and neighbors and have some fun. RSVP with Julie at 262-473-2410, look forward to seeing you!  

Be safe, 

Jim Fleming