What Farmers Are Reading This Week, February 7-14

Machinery and new equipment remain a hot topic this week.

This week, multiple companies released new information on equipment.

Along with the equipment updates, the USDA released a new report, crop insurance received a cut, and hemp stayed in the news.

If you missed anything from last week, follow the Successful Farming staff’s work in last week's recap.

Read more: What Farmers Are Reading This Week, January 31-February 6

John Deere makes 4 announcements ahead of the 2020 National Farm Machinery Show

This week, hundreds of farmers will attend the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, Kentucky. John Deere made a number of announcements regarding its tractor, seeder, and planter offerings in anticipation of the 2020 event.

Read more here.

Occasional tillage may have a place in long-term no-till

Long-term no-till farmers know the feeling well: The fear that a tillage pass to control weeds or smooth out ditches will destroy soil structure and other benefits that no-till brought to the farm. 

Recent research published by the University of Nebraska refutes that notion. In fact, studies by Charles Wortmann, soil and nutrient management specialist and Humberto Blanco, professor of soil science at UNL, shows occasional tillage (OT) – also called one-time or strategic tillage – may even be desired once every five or 10 years. 

Read more here.

New Holland introduces 5 new products

Along with many other manufacturers, New Holland has focused on introducing equipment for smaller, specialized operations and livestock farmers ahead of the 2020 National Farm Machinery Show and World Ag Expo. Here’s a peek at five of itsrecently announced products.

Read more here.

A flooded corn field early in the season.
iStock: oticki

Steep cuts to crop insurance in 2021 budget

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) today released a proposed fiscal year 2021 budget that includes steep cuts to the USDA and federal crop insurance.

Read more here.

What does Walmart’s entry in the beef business mean for the cattle industry?

In January, Walmart officially entered the beef business when it opened a case-ready beef plant in Georgia. Establishing its own Angus supply chain, the largest food retailer in the U.S. has created an end-to-end beef supply chain in its latest step toward vertical integration for food and its goal of improving the quality of its food offering, according to a new report from the Knowledge Exchange division at CoBank. 

If successful, Walmart could be one step closer to the producer (e.g. harvesting fed cattle or through a joint venture with a current packer).

Read more here.

Case IH shares tractor and baler news

Case IH announced tractor and baler news as thousands of farmers flock to Louisville, Kentucky, to see the latest in red machinery for themselves at the 2020 National Farm Machinery Show.

Read more here.

Corn kernels on a $100 bill.
iStock: larryhw

U.S. heads for highest farm income in seven years

Due to a steady recovery, U.S. farm income this year will be the highest since 2013, the peak of the commodity boom, said the government on Wednesday. The USDA forecast net farm income, a broad measure of profits, at $96.7 billion this year, with higher crop and livestock revenue offsetting the end of two years of mammoth Trump tariff payments.

The February estimate — the first of the year — is somewhat tentative because it is issued before crop production, season-average prices, or farm expenditures are known. But it points to the fourth year in a row of higher income, and a rise of 3% from 2019. Net farm income tumbled to $62.3 billion in 2016, half of the record of $123.7 billion set in 2013, and has been increasing since.

Read more here.

10 minutes with a farmer

DES MOINES, Iowa -- For most U.S. farmers, February is a month that offers opportunities to attend meetings, shows, and events to catch up with the latest and greatest in agriculture.

But if you really want to know what farmers are thinking and doing at this time of the year, try spending 10 minutes with them.

Read more here.

What it takes to add contract hog finishing to your farm

Building a contract finishing site to raise hogs can be a challenge. Iowa producers who build two-barn sites often have to go through the Master Matrix scoring system used to evaluate the siting of permitted confinement feeding operations. These have higher standards than other permitted facilities.

Before the producers can be approved for construction, they must earn points on the Master Matrix for choosing sites and using practices that reduce adverse impacts on the environment and the community. The public hearing required in the matrix system opens producers up to opposition and can be a stressful process.

Read more here.

Straight trucks are the cheapest grain transportation around

I was covering a Steffes auction in late December for our television show (see my “Steel Deals” television reports on YouTube by searching for Successful Farming) and was biding my time waiting for two Case IH 8230 combines to sell when the sale of a Chevy C-65 straight truck (like the one pictured) caught my eye.

Here was a 1977 truck in pristine shape showing just 30,718 miles. Its 500-bushel box (steel sides, wood floor) was like new, its engine ran like a top, and the hoist operated without a hitch. True, it was a single-axle truck, but it did come with a front tag axle.

Read more here.

USDA tightens U.S. Soybean Stockpiles

DES MOINES, Iowa — The U.S. soybean stockpile dwindles, according to the USDA Tuesday.

As a result, the CME Group’s farm markets trade mixed.

Read more here.

Industrial hemp in the field.
iStock: studio023

Amid growing interest in hemp, USDA stands firm on rules

A lot of farmers will give industrial hemp a try this year, the first time cultivation is allowed nationwide, USDA officials predicted on Thursday. But they said there was no way they could allow more THC in hemp despite complaints that the limit of 0.3% is so low that some growers will be penalized unfairly for a “hot” crop.

Bruce Summers, the official in charge of hemp regulations, said the USDA would consider flexibility in the future on the sampling and testing of hemp fields and the disposal of hemp that contains too much of the psychoactive substance THC. The 0.3% limit is set by law and would require congressional action to change, Summers said during a teleconference. Advocates including the largest U.S. farm group say that up to 1% THC should be legal.

Read more here.

Top Listen of the Week

Hope for Hemp

Listen here.

Top Watch of the Week

Soft-Grip Pliers and Easy-Read Tool Markings | Shop Hacks

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Tip of the Day

Agronomy Tip: Address Fertility Before Planting

A young farmer inspecting a corn field. Give yourself plenty of time to address fertility concerns before next spring.

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