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What farmers are reading this week, February 28- March 6

This week’s news focuses on new equipment and updates from Commodity Classic.

Lots of national and international news emerged as March began, including coverage over Brazil's soybean harvest, the impact on supply chains from coronavirus, and U.S. spring and summer weather outlooks.

Also, the 2020 Commodity Classic took place in San Antonio, Texas, to wrap up February, providing new updates for farmers.

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

Read more: What farmers are reading this week, February 21-28

Introducing a combine with no steering wheel

In May 2020, farmers will be able to order AGCO’s Fendt Ideal combine without a steering wheel. Instead, the machine will be equipped with the new Fendt IdealDrive introduced at the 2020 Commodity Classic. IdealDrive is a joystick steering system option that gives the combine operator a clear view of the whole header.

An unobstructed view gives farmers a clear line of sight to the center of the header where the crop enters the feeder house. This helps ensure crop is flowing smoothly into the machine for high productivity and grain quality. With nothing but foot pegs and pedals in front of them, operators can also more easily see and avoid obstacles in the field or road.

Read more here.

Corn kernels on a $100 bill.
iStock: larryhw

Red farm states end up in the black with tariff payments

A handful of farm states, mostly in the Midwest and the Plains, emerge as net winners when the impact of retaliatory Chinese tariffs are weighed against the Trump administration’s trade war payments to farmers, say three university economists. “It also is interesting to note that while most of the ‘winner’ states are red states that voted for President Trump in the 2016 election, the net welfare effect for key battleground purple states, such as Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, remains negative.”

In the winter issue of Agricultural Policy Review, the Iowa State University economists say eight states – Iowa, North Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, South Dakota, Arkansas, Minnesota, and Montana – received more in payments from the stopgap Market Facilitation Program (MFP) in 2019 than they lost due to tariffs. Agriculture was the only sector of the economy to receive trade-war aid, so states where agriculture dominates fared the best.

Read more here.

A peek at the new Case IH AFS Connect Steiger

The AFS Connect technology from Case IH is now available on the company’s largest line of tractors, the Steiger series. This high-tech, high-horsepower family of tractors was introduced at the 2020 Commodity Classic in San Antonio, Texas.

“This tractor sets a new standard for what connectivity and productivity can mean to a farming operation without sacrificing the power, durability, and efficiency that Steiger tractors are known for,” says marketing manager Mitch Kaiser. Here’s a look at the new machine on the inside and out.

Read more here.

FDA: Coronavirus disrupts supply chain for U.S. animal drugs

Six firms are seeing disruptions in the supply chain because of COVID-19 that could lead to shortages of animal drugs for the U.S. market, said the FDA in an update. Some 32 animal drug companies make finished drugs or buy active pharmaceutical ingredients in China for use in the U.S., said FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn late last week. “The FDA has contacted all 32 firms and no shortages have been reported at this time. However, six of those firms have indicated that they are seeing disruptions in the supply chain that soon could lead to shortages. The FDA is working with these firms to help identify interventions to mitigate potential shortages.” There were no details on how large a share of the animal drug market was held by the firms.

Hahn reiterated there are no reports of coronavirus illnesses transmitted by food or food packaging. “Every federal agency will be involved” in the government’s response to the coronavirus, said Perdue at the Commodity Classic last week, according to USDA’s radio news service. “Our scientists that deal with viruses in animals all the time are helping in research, looking for any kind of possibility, even vaccines, that may help.”

Read more here.

John Deere expands compatibility of AutoTrac Controller 300

The benefits of automated steering are widely known. Yet, not all farmers operate machines that come factory-equipped with this technology. In order to provide more farmers with the opportunity to take advantage of automated steering, John Deere is expanding its AutoTrac Controller 300 to a variety of nonguidance-ready machine platforms.

“This solution is compatible with many newer Deere vehicles not already equipped with AutoTrac, as well as older machines and other equipment brands,” says John Mishler, precision ag marketing manager for John Deere. “It integrates with a John Deere precision ag display and StarFire receiver for a complete guidance system and a consistent John Deere precision ag experience across the entire fleet.”

Read more here.

Shift corn seeding rate based on field potential

One of the oldest debates in corn production is this: How many corn seeds per acre should I plant?

Golden Harvest, in its 2020 Agronomy in Action Research Review, attempts to shed some light on the subject. As you might suspect, the answer is: It depends.

Read more here.

A map of South America

Dry weather slows Brazil's soybean harvest

PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil -- The dry weather has generated a significant soybean harvest delay in at least four Brazilian states.

According to Safras & Mercado, a market advisory firm located in Porto Alegre, the country has harvested 39.6% of a total of 91.4 million acres. In 2019, the harvest progress was at 45% of the surface by the first week of March.

Read more here.

Commodity Classic 2020 in review

A record 4,678 farmers registered for the 2020 Commodity Classic February 27-29 in San Antonio, Texas. In total, 9,350 people registered for the annual event.

Farmers who made the trip enjoyed the sunshine while learning about new products, seizing educational opportunities, and mingling with high-yield growers.

Read more here.

New herbicide premixes announced at Commodity Classic

There’s activity in the corn and soybean herbicide market at this year’s Commodity Classic in San Antonio, Texas. Here are some of the product announcements and other developments that have occurred so far.

Read more here.

A flooded corn field.

Expect to see more floods and droughts this spring and summer

Angie Pendergrass is a climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. She studies precipitation, evaporation, thermal energy emissions, and more. One focus of her studies is global warming and the effect of greenhouse gasses on precipitation.

Read more here.

Chance of trade war payments ‘less than 10%’

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said the odds of a multibillion-dollar round of trade war payments to farmers this year are “less than 10%,” although a senior lawmaker said the payments may be “absolutely vital” for survival in the Farm Belt. China will turn to the U.S. market for soybeans “late this spring, this summer,” Perdue predicted during a House Agriculture Committee hearing on Wednesday.

The Trump administration disbursed $23 billion in cash to farmers and ranchers to mitigate the impact of the trade war on U.S. agriculture in 2018 and 2019. Nearly half of farmers believe payments will be made this year, according to a Purdue University poll released this week.

Read more here.

Cash in on unused iron and ill-fitting farmland

When the balance sheet begins to look bleak, selling excess farm equipment or parting with outlying tracts of farmland are two good ways to right the ship. 

Make no mistake, bankers are looking closely at balance sheets during loan renewal season, says Brett Esau, financial officer at Farm Credit Services of America in Beatrice, Nebraska.

Read more here.

Bayer's top seed faces U.S. soybean challenge from Corteva

CHICAGO/WINNIPEG, Manitoba, March 4 (Reuters) - Bayer AG's takeover of Monsanto has been beset by problems, and now a decades-long dominance of the $4 billion U.S. soybean seed market is under threat from rival Corteva Inc.

Bayer told Reuters it expects plantings of its genetically modified Xtend soybean seeds to flatline this year for the first time, after three years of strong growth since its launch with an accompanying weed-killer. It projects plantings in 2020 will stay at about 50 million acres, which was 66% of the American crop last year.

Read more here.

Top Listen of the Week

Lead in the soil

Leaded paint and leaded gasoline aren’t used anymore, but the once lead is in the soil it stays there. Exposure to lead can have serious health effects in children who might ingest that soil, or fruits and vegetables grown in it.

Andrew Margenot is an assistant professor of soil science at the University of Illinois. He says all soils naturally have some lead, which is measured in parts per million (ppm) from zero up to about 2,000. Most are 15-25 ppm. The health risks depend on the lead concentration.

Read more and listen here.

Top Watch of the Week

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