Today's feature from the LDN Spring
2013 year in review
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[March 31, 2014]
What a difference a year makes!
The 2013 county-level yields for corn and soybeans were released in
late February, and they showed Logan County averaged 198.1 bushels
of corn per acre and soybean yields of 56.4. The corn yield in
particular rebounded sharply from the drought-affected 2012 level of
96.5. Soybeans showed a moderate increase from the 2012 level of
49.5. The 2012 soybean yields were salvaged because of Hurricane
Isaac coming late in the season, but it was too late for the corn,
since crop maturity and death were already upon us.
The new 10-year average yields for Logan County are 169.97 for corn
and 52.79 for soybeans. The 2013 production was 41,005,000 bushels
for corn and 7,162,000 for soybeans. Talk about an economic boost
for Logan County! This translates to over $180,000,000 for corn
income, assuming an average price of $4.40, and over $100,000,000
for soybeans at an estimated $14 per bushel.
We did experience
drought conditions in 2013, but they came later in the season than
the previous year. Soil moisture in the upper and subsoil levels was
also much better to begin the 2013 season. The extended wet period
delayed planting by four to six weeks. Many places received
sufficient rainfall overall through the second week of July; then a
couple of timely rains in late July and August helped fill soybean
pods. September was unseasonably warm and helped the corn crop
mature in a somewhat timely manner. The harvest began later than in
the past few years, but we could have been much later if September
had been a "normal" month for temperatures. Dry weather was more
normal than not from mid-July on. As a matter of fact, most of Logan
County has continued to be in a moderate drought through February.
The same situation was present last year but changed abruptly.
The winter has certainly been an interesting one. Much colder
temperatures, coupled with much-above-average snowfall, have created
challenges with water lines freezing, propane being in short supply
at times and costs of energy (natural gas, propane, gasoline and
diesel fuel) increasing as well. If you didn't have a propane
contract and ran low, I certainly don't have to discuss the
high-price phenomenon with you. Another consequence of the weather
has been that the frozen ground for much of the season hasn't
allowed water to penetrate — only run off. This led to rapidly
rising streams but did little to recharge soil moisture or help
wells recover from low groundwater levels.
Livestock prices have been more favorable this year. Combined
with lower feed prices, things were looking up for most sectors
of the livestock business. The beef industry has been in the
strongest position for a while and continues to be the most
favorable. Pork and dairy have been hurt the past several years.
It looked like the pork enterprises were set for some gains, but
new diseases, notably PEDv, have reared their ugly heads to
throw profitability of affected operations into doubt. These
troubles have already led to increases in pork futures prices,
which will probably affect what price you pay at the store for
various products. The lower number of pigs coming to market will
probably also be offset by higher market weights of those coming
[to top of second column]
A new farm bill is finally law. The main thrusts for producers
were elimination of direct payments, enhanced risk management
through crop insurance and related tools, stricter limits on
receipts by an entity, a new dairy program, and authorization for
the Christmas tree industry to create a marketing program. Of
course, the food stamp program, SNAP, is in there too. I think most
producers are just happy to know what they are dealing with, and the
final passage of the bill lets people plan accordingly.
The 2014 growing season is something everyone in the agriculture
industry is looking forward to. It is filled with uncertainty, as
always, but also with promise. After the winter of 2013-2014, most
people are looking forward to the promise part.
University of Illinois
Extension director for Logan, Menard and Sangamon counties]