What farmers are reading this week, April 3-10

Successful Farming covered planting topics, machinery, and more this week.

This week, farmers read stories about planting preparation and a story about an Illinois farmer kicking off his planting season.

Meanwhile, South America's weather continues to be a developing story, and the website covered a story about John Deere's start with its first diesel tractor.

If you missed anything from the week before, follow the link below.

Read more: What farmers are reading this week, March 27-April 3

Fertilizer prices fall to lowest levels in a decade, economist says

U.S. producers are positioned to plant the second-largest corn crop in modern history, but you wouldn’t notice by glancing at fertilizer prices.

Here’s a look at the 2020 fertilizer prices and the trend of lower prices.

Read more here.

COVID-19 can’t stop Illinois corn planting

INDIANOLA, Iowa-- Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, conditions are right for planting corn in Illinois.

Doug Martin, a central Illinois farmer, spoke to Agriculture.com via Skype from his tractor cab Monday.

Read more here.

Goodbye to an independent farmer

My dad died on Tuesday morning. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, I am at my home in Iowa, 1,100 miles away. His health had been failing for a few weeks, and Mom was caring for him on their Maryland farm with the help of my sister and brother. Everyone was trying not to share germs, as cases of coronavirus soared.

Dad’s favorite auction was closed, church was online, and the Farm Bureau banquet he was looking forward to was canceled. He spent most of his days listening to audio books on CDs. His favorites were C.J. Box novels featuring game warden Joe Pickett. I shipped him the newest one, Long Range, as a small gesture. It skipped on the fourth disk, but Dad said he could still keep up with the plot. I felt pretty darned useless.

Read more here.

Record-breaking prices given today for premium iron

COVID-19 doesn’t seem to be suppressing used iron prices particularly if the sale items are late-model, have low hours, and are in great condition.

Take a 2016 Deere 9570RX with 1,126 hours that sold today for $310,000 during an online sale conducted by Steffes Auctioneers. My research finds that is the highest price ever paid for a comparable tractor (by both age and hours). Mind you, this was a five-year-old tracked tractor that brought over $300,000!

Read more here.

Dairy Farmers of America wins bid for Dean Foods

The milk cooperative Dairy Farmers of America has entered into an agreement to buy most of milk processor Dean Foods’ assets as part of the latter’s bankruptcy proceedings. The $433 million deal for 44 of Dean’s facilities was announced Tuesday despite earlier indications that the two parties may have been walking away from a deal. If the merger is approved, DFA will be both the largest milk supplier and the largest milk processor in the country.

“This is a merger that is going to be harmful to consumers and to dairy farmers,” said Peter Carstensen, an emeritus law professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a former antitrust attorney at the Department of Justice. “Consumers in some regions of the country … are very, very likely to face higher prices for milk. The resulting DFA dominance will be quite substantial.”

Read more here.

Brazil, Argentina clobbered by drought

Parts of South America, particularly the agricultural areas in Brazil and Argentina, are being clobbered by a drought that is threatening to shrink harvest yields.

To make matters worse, the lack of rainfall has been matched by excessive heat. According to the U.S. National Centers for Environmental Information, South America has experienced its second-warmest December-to-February period in 110 years of keeping such records.

Read more here.

The story behind Deere’s first diesel tractor

In 1935, John Deere’s management received a wake-up call when its chief competitor, IHC, introduced a diesel tractor, the model WD-40.

Deere dealers, fearful of losing sales to this more powerful tractor, were clamoring for a response. And Deere characteristically responded by carefully and methodically taking 14 years to design an engine true to its two-cylinder roots.

Read more here.

Planter performance checklist for maximum yields

The stakes have never been higher. Bottom lines have bottomed out and commodity prices have flatlined.

There is little you can do about the economy.

But there is much you can do with your planter to maximize yields.

Read more here.

Top Listen of the Week

Dealing with soggy soil

Listen here.

Top Watch of the Week

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Tip of the Day

Agronomy Tip: Use Cultural Practices to Manage Weeds

Soybeans in a straight row. Tillage and crop rotation may be useful tools in weed management.

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