Extension Ag Update
January/February 2004
Articles Research Resources Internet Links Ag Facts Education

Internet Links

Understanding USDA Corn and Soybean Production Forecasts

Methods, Performance and Market Impacts over 1970-2005, AgMAS report 2006-01

A new report is available to improve understanding of USDA crop forecasting methods, performance and market impact.  On average, USDA corn production forecasts were more accurate than private market forecasts over 1970-2005, with the exception of August forecasts since the mid-1980s.  The forecasting comparisons for soybeans were somewhat sensitive to the measure of forecast accuracy considered.  USDA corn production forecasts had the largest impact on corn futures prices in August and recent price reactions have been somewhat larger than historical reactions.  Similar to corn, USDA soybean production forecasts had the largest impact on soybean futures prices in August with recent price reactions appearing somewhat larger than in the past.  Overall, the analysis suggests that over the long-run the USDA performs reasonably well in generating crop production forecasts for corn and soybeans.

Crop Budgeting Tools

New tools that allow a user to view historical costs for corn and soybean for four regions in Illinois have been added to the Farmdoc website. Returns are given for the years 2000 through forecast returns for 2006. Projected costs for corn-after-soybeans, corn-after-corn, soybeans, and wheat are also provided. These budgets can be modified online. Tools are available from the “Per Acre Revenue and Costs for Illinois box in the Management Section.

Crop Insurance

The crop insurance section at the Farmdoc web site has been redesigned and upgraded with one purpose: to help farmers make more informed choices about managing their crop risks. The new section has been redesigned with an eye towards ease of use. A new “what if” online tool has been added that allows users to quickly and easily determine the outcome of crop insurance decisions under various scenarios. There is also a tool to easily find and download several spreadsheets related to crop insurance decisions.

Illinois Laws Create "Triple Threat" to Farm Trespassers

Legislation passed in 2005 has created new or expanded threats to would-be trespassers on farm property. If a trespasser under the age of 16 uses a motor vehicle to trespass, parents of the trespasser, as well as the owner of the vehicle, will be jointly liable in civil court for the damages caused. There are also increased penalties for criminal trespass when the trespasser (no matter what his age) uses a motor vehicle to trespass on certain agricultural lands, and for criminal damage to certain agricultural property. Don Uchtmann's discussion of the three amendments explains the difference between civil wrongs and criminal conduct, and clarifies the definitions of motor vehicle, agricultural lands and agricultural property.

Corn Processing Co-Products Manual

The Nebraska Corn Board, working with University of Nebraska-Lincoln animal scientists, has compiled two manuals on the feeding of distillers grains and corn gluten to livestock. The first manual is a review of current co-products feeding research involving beef, hogs, poultry and dairy. pp. 32

Utilization of Corn Co-Products in the Beef Industry

The Nebraska Corn Board, working with University of Nebraska-Lincoln animal scientists, has compiled two manuals on the feeding of distillers grains and corn gluten to livestock. The second contains even more detailed information for beef producers. pp. 20

2005 Farm Incomes in Illinois

High input costs, lower corn yield and lower grain prices means 2005 was a tough year for many Illinois farmers. Data from 805 farms enrolled in the Illinois Farm Business Farm Management (FBFM) Association projects that the average net farm income was down by over 50 percent from 2004. Projected incomes vary substantially across crop reporting districts due to yield variability. This report provides all the details, including the significant role farm program payments play in supporting farm incomes.

New Crop Budgeting Tools Aid in Farm Management

Use the latest crop budgeting tools available on farmdoc to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your farming operation. These tools show historical (and projected) revenues and costs for corn or soybeans, allow you to compare projected returns from corn, soybeans, and wheat, evaluate cash rent bids and modify defaults to accurately reflect your individual farm situation.

Soyfoods: Adding Value to Soybeans

Soyfood bean production is proving to be a profitable market niche for soybean growers. This publication discusses traditional foods produced from soybeans, addresses bean variety selection, harvest and postharvest handling, and offers additional information resources.

Grain Processing: Adding Value to Farm Products

Value-added processing is a strategy used by some grain growers to keep their farming operations viable. This publication introduces ideas that have worked for some farmers, provides sources for equipment, and lists sources of further information.

The New Harvest: Biofuels and Wind Power for Rural Revitalization and National Energy Security

This report details the potential for cellulosic biofuels to replace gasoline and for wind power to generate a major share of U.S. electricity.