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03-10-2011 12:24 PM
ISU Prof Chad Hart had an interesting presentation on fringe acre decisions.
Iowa will have virtually no swing acres. Iowa is locked into a corn-bean rotation.
Illinois has maybe a few acres that can swing.
The big swing area is the Dakotas, where there is a real fight between wheat, corn and soybeans.
The south has some very attractive cotton prices pulling on acres.
Hart's conclusion was that soybeans might have a hard time winning the acre war. Of course, it's too early to tell for sure.
03-10-2011 03:07 PM
Jim: One Iowa farmer I talked with at Commodity Classic said he was switching to all corn this year. I don't know if that fits the definition of being locked in to the C-SB rotation. It's still just one or the other.
The other thing I noted in talking with some farmers from outside the hardcore Corn Belt was how much more diversified some of these guys are. A Minnesotan told me he grows sweet corn, peas, navy beans and sugarbeets, along with corn and soybeans. A Wisconsin farmer I spoke with grows green beans and alfalfa, along with corn and beans. I don't know how much those kinds of farms can change the mix. - John
03-10-2011 04:38 PM
I think most Iowa farmers are pretty committed to their C-SB rotation. Some of have tried over the past half dozen years some experiments with C-C and most of us have gone back to a rotation. I don't mean that a few might not switch, I'm just talking about the majority.
I, for one, have my on-farm storage sized to a C-SB rotation. If I switch to Corn acres, I'll hve to reconsider my storage plans and will also probably have to change some marketing plans to sell some off the combine.
I have one field I rent that I might consider taking to C-C. It has it's own bin so storage is not an issue.
My experience is that it's cheaper to plant soybeans, it spreads the planting and harvesting year out (I'm on my own), there are agronomic advantages and it spreads or hedges some risk. On the other hand, it is certain that most years C-C pays better, maybe even after the yield drag.
03-10-2011 04:40 PM
Interesting point, John. I wonder what kind of ground he has? A lot of Illinois farmers are C-C. If his land lis like theirs, I can see it. My ground is hilly and much is HEL, so I haven't had any luck in the C-C experiements I've tried. Nevertheless, I'll be watching to see what is planted around me.
03-10-2011 06:17 PM
Jim, I was at a seed meeting a week ago with 100% of the dealers there farmers too. The very first question asked was how many planned on more corn acres then the past year(not how many corn on corn acres). No one raised their hand. I am talking from Eburg east to Charles City down to Hampton and across back west. A fairly large district but not the whole state of Iowa. It was just interesting that none of us were increasing due to the price enviroment we are in. Everyone seemed happy with their rotation and unless you picked up new customers; both corn and bean sales were similar to the past year. What does this mean for March 31st..nothing....MikeM
03-14-2011 09:06 AM
I live in West-central Nebraska, and locally, we have a lot of possible swing acres. Granted, in the big scheme of things, they don't amount to a lot, but I personally will grow corn & alfalfa this year, and have options of winter or spring wheat, oats, and barley besides the normal Soybeans in my crop acres. In addition to that, if crop prices stay strong, I have a LOT of area that could be converted from grass/pasture to cropland if the prices made it worth farming smaller, irregular fields, that would be mostly dryland.
From what I have seen locally, the corn/soybean rotation seems to be staying pretty much the same as usual, but more acres are coming out of hay crops such as alfalfa & brome, along with less oats and sorghum. I was tempted to tear up som hay ground because of strong corn prices (we always grow a little extra hay than we need to sell) but I saw so many other people tearing up acre after acre of hay ground, and with strong cattle prices, at least for now, hay ground may turn out to be cost competetive with whatever else I'd be planting, in terms of profit per acre.