What farmers are reading this week, March 6-13

This week features stories about refinancing, African swine fever, and more.

This week brought news about the African swine fever, the status of South American agriculture, and financing options.

Successful Farming magazine also covered used UTVs and zero-turn mowers.

If you missed anything last week, follow the link below.

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

An ASF outbreak will now be extraordinary emergency with USDA in charge

If African swine fever (ASF) hits the U.S., the USDA will declare it an extraordinary emergency and take control, says Greg Ibach, USDA undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs. Ibach made the announcement at National Pork Industry Forum in Kansas City today. Here are highlights of his announcement:

1. Taking a national approach instead of a state approach to ASF gives USDA the ability to regulate not only interstate movement but also intrastate movement. That will also release emergency funding that USDA has available immediately. 

Read more here.

Why farmers should talk to their banker about refinancing today

Last week, Brian Scott sent his banker a text to see if refinancing at a lower interest rate was an option for his family’s Indiana farm. Growing corn, soybeans, popcorn, and wheat is the fun part, but that’s not the only place money can be found, he says. After some phone calls and signing a few documents, Scott will be on track to save $100,000 in the next four years by refinancing one farmland loan and his home mortgage.

Because he refinanced the land loan with the same bank the farm has been using for years, the process didn’t require much effort, Scott says.

Read more here.

Argentina’s farmers to strike next week, no soybean exports expected

Due to a strike next week by farmers in protest of a government tax hike, Argentina will not be exporting soybeans.

After the good news that Argentina’s soybean output projection was raised by over 1 million metric tons last week due to good weather, Argentinian President Alberto Fernandez has demonstrated that the country’s farmers will have a long-lasting tax nightmare.

Read more here.

Looking for another crop? Try carbon

Looking for that elusive third crop to help you expand beyond the sea of soybeans and corn many Midwestern farmers now grow?

The answer may lie below your feet. Locus Agricultural Solutions (Locus AG) and Nori are partnering to pay farmers for sequestering atmospheric carbon in the soil. Under the CarbonNow program that’s currently being piloted, farmers are to be paid according to a metric called a Nori carbon removal ton (NRT). This metric represents 1 ton of a carbon dioxide-equivalent heat-trapping gas that farmers remove from the atmosphere into the soil through regenerative practices. Regenerative practices include ones like no-till, cover crops, and additions of compost, green manure, or animal manure.

Read more here.

Shopping for used UTVs?

The internet has produced an interesting phenomena at auction sales. Crowds at auctions swell during sales of UTVs or ATVs, often sold at the start of the auction, and then thin when the big equipment comes up for bidding. Take a recent Sullivan Auction event held at its sale location outside of Hamilton, Illinois. 

This daylong event started out with the sale of a long row of UTVs and ATVs. After the sale, trucks headed out down long rows of farm equipment.

Read more here.

Brazil’s soybean 2020 crop is getting larger

PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil -- Brazil’s National Supply Company (Conab) has increased its forecast for 2020 soybean production by 1 million metric tons compared to a month ago, as harvest nears halfway finished.

The output projection was raised to 124.2 million metric tons. The USDA, Tuesday, estimated Brazil's soybean output at  is 126 million metric tons.

Read more here.

Mother Nature rules. So why not follow her lead?

Seth Watkins used to be the type of farmer who prompted agricultural industry executives to salivate, akin to a German Shepherd eyeing a juicy steak. 

“I went to agronomy meetings,” says the Clarinda, Iowa, farmer. “I went to Farm Bureau meetings. I did everything the universities told me to do. I focused entirely on production,growing more and more.”

Read more here.

Tillage tips for top yields

Years of university, industry, and farmer field research pinpoint the essential role a planter plays in determining yield potential. Here are three key areas:

• Even seed spacing ensures each seed is given an equal chance to excel. 

Read more here.

If it’s not one thing, it’s another for farm markets

DES MOINES, Iowa -- It’s hard to remember a time when the farm markets saw as many black swan events hit in such a short time.

The current novel coronavirus epidemic causing a massive sell-off in Monday’s equity and crude oil markets, and to a much lesser extent the agricultural commodities, is just the latest black swan event keeping a lid on potential price rallies.

Read more here.

Diesel tune-up tips

The modern diesel has come to depend upon tune-ups as much as gas engines have. Due to the myriad diesel applications found on the farm, apply the following procedures that are relevant to each engine.

  • Voltage sensitivity: Modern electronic diesel engines are very prone to misbehavior if the alternator output is weak, there is a high impedance in the ground circuit(s), if a battery has become sulphated, or if the battery terminals have become corroded.

Read more here.

Zero-turn mower depreciation

“Watch out for that first step. It’s a doozy!” I’m not sure where that phrase was first applied, but it’s certainly applicable to outdoor power equipment depreciation. We all know the depreciation hit is worst in the first year. This is true of anything with wheels, including a zero-turn radius (ZTR) mower. 

Iron Solutions has a deep dataset of equipment transaction reports that form the basis for its IronGuides product. A dive into the Iron Solutions (ironsolutions.com) Spring 2019 Outdoor Power Equipment Guide for 2014 to 2018 models of ZTRs reveals over 300 models from 14 manufacturers. Overall, the average first-year depreciation is 31%. After this drop, depreciation continues at an annual rate less likely to induce vertigo – in the 6% to 4% range.

Read more here.

Tillage matters

Ben Pederson began strip-tilling in 2012 because he liked the idea of nutrient-efficiency gains by applying fertilizer in the strips. He became passionate about it when he realized the multifaceted benefits of healthier soil.

Yet, Pederson admits that the switch from the conventional tillage mind-set he and his father, Gary, practiced didn’t happen overnight.

Read more here.

Top Listen of the Week

Poultry in China, beef in Japan, and access to the biofuels segment in Europe are some of the recent successes in reaching agricultural foreign markets.  

Ken Isley is the administrator of the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. He spoke recently at the 2020 Land Expo in Des Moines, Iowa, and said there are more markets around the world they’re working on getting access to. One of the top priorities is the UK.

Read more and listen here.

Top Watch of the Week

Idaho shop tour with custom overhead crane

Machinery Editor Dave Mowitz heads to Genesee, Idaho, to visit Al Krick’s shop. This functional shop was built to maximize space as much as possible. The shop was constructed into the side of a hill and lean-tos on both sides for an office and storage area. If the wall of cabinets aren’t impressive enough, the custom overhead crane will be. 

Watch here.

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