DTN Ag Headlines

By DTN Staff

This article was originally posted at 11:03 a.m. It was last updated at 11:58 a.m.

**

OMAHA (DTN) -- USDA pegged the national average corn yield at 178.4 bushels per acre (bpa), higher than last month's 174 bpa estimate and the average pre-report estimate. That bumped up estimated production to 14.59 billion bushels, 356 million bushels higher than last month's 14.23 bb estimate.

Soybean yield and production were estimated at 51.6 bpa and 4.59 billion bushels. Both figures exceeded the range of pre-report expectations.

The crop estimates were released today in USDA's World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates and Crop Production reports. These August reports are the first of the 2018 season to take into account field surveys conducted by USDA in July.

Friday's new U.S. ending stocks estimates were bearish for corn and soybeans and neutral for wheat, said DTN Analyst Todd Hultman. Friday's world ending stocks estimates from USDA were bearish for corn, soybeans and wheat, he said.

Today's reports also mark the first time in decades that DTN and other news outlets did not have pre-release access and are receiving the data at the same time as the general public, at 11 a.m. CDT. You can access the full reports here:

Crop Production: https://www.nass.usda.gov/…

World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE): http://www.usda.gov/…

For DTN's exclusive audio comments on today's reports, visit: http://listen.aghost.net/…

CORN

If USDA's 178.4 bpa corn yield is realized, it will set a new record, even though production is expected to be 1% lower than last year at 14.586 billion bushels.

USDA adjusted new-crop (2018-19) corn ending stocks to 1.68 billion bushels, up 132 mb from its July estimate of 1.55 bb. USDA boosted feed and residual use by 100 mb and exports by 125 mb, resulting in 225 mb of higher expected use.

USDA lowered the range of average farm gate prices at $3.10 per bushel to $4.10 per bushel.

Old-crop (2017-18) ending stocks came in at 2.03 billion bushels, the same as last month's estimate of 2.03 bb.

Globally, USDA pegged new-crop ending stocks at 155.49 million metric tons (mmt), up 3.53 mmt. Production increased by 6.75 mmt overall, with most of the gain coming from the U.S. USDA lowered Brazilian production by 1.5 mmt and EU output by 1.7 mmt.

World ending stocks for corn came in at 193.33 mmt. Brazilian farmers are expected to harvest 94.5 mmt, while Argentine farmers are set to haul in 41 mmt.

SOYBEANS

Soybean production is forecast to increase 4% from last year to 4.59 billion bushels.

USDA's new-crop ending stocks estimate, at 785 million bushels, exceeds pre-report expectations by more than 205 million bushels. USDA boosted its crush estimate by 15 mb and exports by 20 mb.

Old-crop ending stocks came in at 461 million bushels, a shade lower than last month's 465 mb. USDA also cut old-crop export estimates by 25 mb.

USDA estimated the average range of farm gate price at $7.65 to $10.15 per bushel, down from last month's range of $8.00 to $10.50.

World ending stocks for new-crop soybeans came in at 105.94 million metric tons, up 7.7 mmt, driven mostly by higher U.S. production. Stocks of old crop were pegged at 95.61 mmt. USDA left Brazil and Argentina production unchanged at 120.5 mmt and 57 mmt, respectively.

WHEAT

USDA expects the 2018-19 wheat crop to reach 1.88 billion bushels, down less than 1% from last month's forecast, but up 8% from last year. Winter wheat is expected to account for 1.149 billion bushels, down 6% from last year's 1.27 bb. The average winter wheat yield is estimated at 47.9 bpa, down 2.3 bpa from last year's average. Hard red winter wheat production, at 661 million bushels, is up 1% from last month while soft red winter is down 4% from the July forecast at 292 million bushels.

The spring wheat crop is estimated at 614 million bushels, up slightly from July's estimate and up 48% from last year. If realized, it will be the third-highest production on record. USDA expects farmers to harvest a national average yield of 47.6 bpa, a new record.

Domestically, new-crop ending stocks for wheat came in at 935 million bushels, 50 mb lower than last month. While USDA made a number of changes to supply and demand, the largest was a 50 mb increase in exports. USDA pegged old-crop ending stocks at 1.1 bb.

USDA increased the range of farm gate prices by a dime on both the high and low ends to $4.60 to $5.60 per bushel.

Global new-crop ending stocks for wheat came in at 258.96 mmt, while old-crop supplies were estimated at 273.07 mmt.

U.S. CROP PRODUCTION (Million Bushels) 2018-2019
Aug Avg High Low July 2017-18
Corn 14,586 14,417 14,740 14,210 14,230 14,604
Soybeans 4,586 4,428 4,576 4,354 4,310 4,392
All Wheat 1,877 1,850 1,900 1,700 1,881 1,741
All Winter 1,189 1,181 1,201 1,050 1,193 1,269
Spring 73 600 633 570 614 416
U.S. AVERAGE YIELD (Bushels Per Acre) 2018-2019
Aug Avg High Low July 2017-18
Corn 178.4 176.3 180.2 173.8 174.0 176.6
Soybeans 51.6 49.8 51.5 49.0 48.5 49.1
U.S. ENDING STOCKS (Million Bushels) 2018-2019
Aug Avg High Low July
Corn 1,684 1,630 1,812 1,457 1,552
Soybeans 784 641 742 550 580
Wheat 935 959 1,018 813 985
U.S. ENDING STOCKS (Million Bushels) 2017-2018
Aug Avg High Low July
Corn 2,027 2,016 2,137 1,900 2,027
Soybeans 430 461 507 437 465
Wheat 1,100 1,099 1,100 1,080 1,100
WORLD ENDING STOCKS (Million metric tons) 2018-2019
Aug Avg High Low July
Corn 155.49 152.20 158.20 146.00 151.96
Soybeans 105.94 99.30 101.70 94.00 98.27
Wheat 258.96 255.60 259.90 248.00 260.88
WORLD ENDING STOCKS (Million metric tons) 2017-18
Aug Avg High Low July
Corn 193.33 190.80 192.60 188.00 191.70
Soybeans 95.61 95.80 97.00 92.00 96.00
Wheat 273.07 273.00 275.00 271.00 273.50
WORLD PRODUCTION (Million Metric Tons) 2018-2019
2018-19
Wheat Aug July
European Union 137.50 145.00
FSU - 12 122.54 121.24

(AG)

By Mary Kennedy
DTN Cash Grains Analyst

OMAHA (DTN) -- The distillers dried grains (DDG) spot prices from the 40 locations DTN contacted were up $4 per ton, on average, at $138 per ton for the week-ended Aug. 9. According to merchandisers, prices continue to move higher partially due to a shortage of trucks to haul DDG, especially in states where some trucks have been pulled away for harvest.

Based on the average of prices collected by DTN, the value of DDG relative to corn for the week-ended Aug. 9 was at 104.64%. The value of DDG relative to soybean meal was at 41.31%. The cost per unit of protein for DDG was $5.11, compared to the cost per unit of protein for soybean meal at $7.03.

In its weekly DDGS price update, the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) noted, "DDGS container rates to Asia were generally up this week, with 40-foot containers to the Philippines seeing an increase of $6 per metric ton (mt) from last week. Containers to Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, China and Japan were up as well. Activity in Asian markets remains brisk, with merchandisers reporting sales to Indonesia and Vietnam amid a period of strengthening prices. FOB vessel U.S. Gulf for August shipment is $220/mt. In analyzing historical data, DDGS at the Gulf continue their steady increase that started in early 2017."

A merchandiser told DTN that there is talk of container freight increases to the Gulf and California in September, which has some buyers shying away from booking in September. But there is nothing official yet as far as an increase.

The U.S. Census Bureau said on Aug. 3 that U.S. exports of distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) totaled 1,034,917 metric tons in June, up 16% from a year ago. Mexico took the top spot with 18% of exports in June, followed closely by Turkey. South Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand took the next four spots, as U.S. DDGS remain popular in Asia. The first six months of U.S. DDGS exports were up 3% in 2018 from a year ago.

ALL PRICES SUBJECT TO CONFIRMATION CURRENT PREVIOUS CHANGE
COMPANY STATE 8/9/2018 8/2/2018
Bartlett and Company, Kansas City, MO (816-753-6300)
Missouri Dry $160 $155 $5
Modified $80 $75 $5
Show Me Ethanol LLC, Carrollton, MO (660-542-6493)
Missouri Dry $160 $155 $5
Wet $80 $80 $0
CHS, Minneapolis, MN (800-769-1066)
Illinois Dry $156 $156 $0
Indiana Dry $148 $148 $0
Iowa Dry $138 $135 $3
Michigan Dry $144 $144 $0
Minnesota Dry $125 $120 $5
North Dakota Dry $125 $120 $5
New York Dry $142 $142 $0
South Dakota Dry $125 $120 $5
MGP Ingredients, Atchison, KS (800-255-0302 Ext. 5253)
Kansas Dry $140 $135 $5
POET Nutrition, Sioux Falls, SD (888-327-8799)
Indiana Dry $147 $145 $2
Iowa Dry $127 $125 $2
Michigan Dry $142 $140 $2
Minnesota Dry $127 $125 $2
Missouri Dry $152 $150 $2
Ohio Dry $147 $145 $2
South Dakota Dry $117 $115 $2
United BioEnergy, Wichita, KS (316-616-3521)
Kansas Dry $121 $121 $0
Wet $40 $35 $5
Illinois Dry $158 $158 $0
Nebraska Dry $121 $121 $0
Wet $40 $35 $5
U.S. Commodities, Minneapolis, MN (888-293-1640)
Illinois Dry $150 $145 $5
Indiana Dry $145 $140 $5
Iowa Dry $130 $125 $5
Michigan Dry $145 $140 $5
Minnesota Dry $125 $125 $0
Nebraska Dry $150 $125 $25
New York Dry $165 $150 $15
North Dakota Dry $135 $120 $15
Ohio Dry $150 $145 $5
South Dakota Dry $125 $120 $5
Wisconsin Dry $145 $140 $5
Valero Energy Corp, San Antonio Texas (210-345-3362) (210-345-3362)
Indiana Dry $145 $140 $5
Iowa Dry $128 $117 $11
Minnesota Dry $120 $115 $5
Nebraska Dry $130 $120 $10
Ohio Dry $150 $145 $5
South Dakota Dry $120 $115 $5
California $210 $205 $5
Western Milling, Goshen, California (559-302-1074)
California Dry $213 $213 $0
*Prices listed per ton.
Weekly Average $138 $134 $4
The weekly average prices above reflect only those companies DTN
collects spot prices from. States include: Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska,
Kansas, Illinois, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Michigan,
Wisconsin and Indiana. Prices for Pennsylvania, New York and
California are not included in the averages.

**

VALUE OF DDG VS. CORN & SOYBEAN MEAL
Settlement Price: Quote Date Bushel Short Ton
Corn 8/9/2018 $3.6925 $131.88
Soybean Meal 8/9/2018 $334.00
DDG Weekly Average Spot Price $138.00
DDG Value Relative to: 8/9 8/2
Corn 104.64% 102.30%
Soybean Meal 41.31% 40.26%
Cost Per Unit of Protein:
DDG $5.11 $4.96
Soybean Meal $7.03 $7.01
Notes:
Corn and soybean prices take from DTN Market Quotes. DDG price
represents the average spot price from Midwest companies
collected on Thursday afternoons. Soybean meal cost per unit
of protein is cost per ton divided by 47.5. DDG cost per unit
of protein is cost per ton divided by 27.

Mary Kennedy can be reached at mary.kennedy@dtn.com

Follow her on Twitter @MaryCKenn

(AG)

By Emily Unglesbee
DTN Staff Reporter

ARLINGTON, Va. (DTN) -- Is Bt broken for ear-feeding pests? And, if so, can we rescue it?

Those are the questions that compelled EPA to convene a Scientific Advisory Panel in Arlington, Virginia, this July for advice on how save the Bt technology of today, and tomorrow.

"EPA has concluded that the current [integrated refuge management] approach may be inadequate to mitigate resistance risks in lepidopteran pests of Bt," Jeannette Martinez, a senior scientist at EPA, told the panel.

Companies react too slowly to Bt resistance in the field, and current refuge requirements weren't built to adequately deal with the extent of Bt acreage, the biology of many lepidopteran pests and the behavior of growers using the traits, EPA concluded. The agency asked the panel to give expert guidance on these issues, which will shape EPA decisions on future Bt crop registrations and resistance management strategies.

The goal is not only to extend the lifespan of current Bt proteins but to protect the lone remaining Bt trait with no documented insect resistance in the U.S., Vip3A, noted Pat Porter, an entomologist at Texas A&M.

"We know the other toxins are failing, and we want to keep Vip3a effective for at least eight years or so until we get something else," he told DTN. "For Southern entomologists like me, we know that what is decided in this [Scientific Advisory Panel] will to a large degree determine how long Vip3a lasts."

COMPANIES TOO SLOW TO REACT

Scientists have documented insect resistance in the U.S. to all but one Bt trait on the market. In the South this year, farmers are spraying Bt cotton with insecticides to control large populations of Bt-resistant bollworm streaming out of Bt cornfields where most growers refuse to plant refuges. Farther north and west, growers are advised to scout most Bt hybrids for western bean cutworm and treat if they find it -- while still paying the technology fee that comes with the traits.

Martinez pointed out that EPA hasn't heard about these Bt failures from the companies that manufacture, sell and steward the traits.

"EPA has become aware of resistance cases in four lepidopteran pests of Bt, but only one was reported through the regulatory process in place," said Martinez. "Three cases were published by academic research scientists."

The IRM policies put in place by EPA for Bt crops were designed to make companies monitor and report resistance to Bt in a timely fashion. Instead, a combination of factors has laid the task of rapidly detecting, documenting and reporting Bt resistance at the doorstep of academic scientists, Porter noted.

Companies currently wait for reports of unexpected damage in a field to investigate and test for resistant insects. But by the time resistant insects make up enough of a population to inflict visible damage, the fight is over -- resistant genes are prominent within the insect population, Martinez noted in her presentation to the advisory panel.

To add to the problem, it can be difficult and time-consuming to successfully rear, test and formally diagnose resistance in lepidopteran insects in the laboratory. Industry and academic scientists routinely disagree on how best to do it, which can lead to inconsistent results.

Only once laboratory results are in do companies step in and start to "mitigate" the field resistance -- that is, advise the grower to rotate crops, change Bt traits or use pyramided products

"At best, implementing mitigation would start one year after the unexpected injury report, but for corn earworm, this would already be four to five generations past [the initial resistance report]," noted Martinez. "Lepidopteran resistance is likely widespread by that time ... because we are dealing with pests with big dispersal capabilities."

Into this large gap of time -- from the moment the first resistant genes surface in a field to the time companies finally notice, test and react -- step academic scientists. They often observe and test for resistant insects in their research plots much sooner and, most importantly, make their results public, Porter said.

But researchers aren't always guaranteed access to Bt seed to run tests, and their results and conclusions about Bt resistance are sometimes ignored or downplayed by industry, Porter noted. Rarely do they inspire a change in resistance management from companies, where decisions are driven more by economic forces, he said.

"Some of us now realize that our real jobs might be in helping deal with the consequences of resistance -- as the [integrated refuge management] plans will be what they will be for better or worse," Porter said.

WHY CURRENT REFUGE STRATEGY ISN'T WORKING

Beyond slow reaction times, EPA presented the panel with a series of additional problems with the current Bt crop management that have spurred insect resistance in ear-feeding pests:

-- Most Bt traits were registered with the assumption that they were "high-dose" -- that is they killed 99.99% of insects exposed to them. As it turns out, with the exception of stalk borers, this is not true of most lepidopteran pests, which survive Bt exposure at higher rates than expected (low/moderate-dose). For these low-to-moderate-dose pests, the current Bt refuges are not adequate -- hence the rise in Bt resistance in cotton bollworm (corn earworm), fall armyworm and western bean cutworm.

-- Secondary pests of corn, namely western bean cutworm, have become more prominent in parts of the country, and current Bt refuge management strategies are not designed to manage resistance in them.

-- Many insects have "cross resistance" to multiple Bt traits, because of the similar mode of action among some Bt proteins.

-- The same or very similar Bt proteins are used in both corn and cotton, which gives insects repeated exposure to the same traits within a single growing season. This is particularly problematic in the South, where a pest like corn earworm is exposed to Bt in corn before moving to Bt cotton.

-- "Pyramid" Bt products, which contain multiple Bt proteins, do not function as they should. Insects are often resistant to all but one of the traits within the pyramid, functionally rendering it a single-toxin product, with a smaller refuge.

-- Refuge compliance is very low in the Southern U.S., despite adequate education.

-- The current solution to low refuge compliance -- refuge-in-a-bag (RIB) corn hybrids, also known as seed blends -- likely speeds Bt resistance in ear-feeding insects. Cross-pollination between refuge and Bt corn results in kernels that express a mosaic of Bt traits -- single, double or triple toxins. Since very few true non-Bt refuge ears exist, insects can feed selectively on Bt and non-Bt kernels and survive to pass on resistance genes.

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE

In addition to EPA's presentation, the panel heard from Bt registrants -- Syngenta, Monsanto and Corteva (formerly Dow AgroSciences and DuPont Pioneer) -- as well as industry groups.

Their comments boiled down to two requests to EPA. First, all of them asked the agency not to design new resistance management strategies based on secondary pests, like western bean cutworm, but rather focus on primary pests, like bollworm.

Second, led by Monsanto, a number of company and industry representatives asked the panel to consider allowing seed blend (RIB) corn hybrids with Vip3A to be marketed and sold in the Southern U.S., despite academic research showing this type of refuge can speed resistance in ear-feeding pests. Monsanto and Corteva presented data from company studies that they said show the practice is comparable to block refuges, given low grower compliance in the South.

The Scientific Advisory Panel will produce a report with their recommendations on these issues to EPA in September -- and then the agency will have to decide how to fix the current system of managing Bt resistance, Martinez said.

"The goal for this meeting is to receive science recommendations from the panel that will provide support to improve the current IRM program and extend the lifetime of Bt [plant incorporated protectants] or future technologies coming," she concluded.

Emily Unglesbee can be reached at Emily.unglesbee@dtn.com

Follow her on Twitter @Emily_Unglesbee

(PS/AG)

By Pam Smith
DTN Progressive Farmer Crops Technology Editor

LINCOLN, Neb. (DTN) -- Proof that dicamba remains a complex and emotional topic was evident at a recent public meeting with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Last week, EPA officials and a handful of other agency representatives traveled to farm country to gather views on whether the three low-volatility dicamba formulations available for use with Xtend crops should be re-registered.

The conversation, attended by DTN, represented a cross-section of voices. Vocal were farmers who insist the technology is needed to control resistant weed populations, industry and those that have experienced injury in sensitive crops, trees and nursery settings.

The deadline to make a decision regarding Engenia, XtendiMax and FeXapan herbicides looms for the agency. Dicamba is a 60-year-old herbicide with a known ability to volatilize and move beyond its spray target. Although the three products in question were reformulated to be lower in volatility, the EPA initially issued conditional labels, which expire in November and December, depending on the product.

"We made the registration decision and set it up so it had two-year time-limited registration so that we could evaluate it and see what additional changes to the registration are needed," said Mike Goodis, U.S. EPA director of the registration division.

Goodis confirmed that the agency plans to make a decision in August on the registrations, which DTN has previously reported. "We have been pretty open that we really want to make some type of decision this month on whether to continue, and if so, how the product would still be used," he said.

"It is an extremely difficult decision. I can tell you that the senior management in the EPA all the way up to the administrator -- now acting administrator -- will be involved in the decision making," he added.

The Weed Science Society of America (WSSA) has facilitated similar crop tours in past years. University of Nebraska weed scientist Greg Kruger, WSSA's current liaison to EPA, organized the public forum. "The session was really meant for the EPA to listen to the concerns and comments from the industry as it relates to herbicides," Kruger said. Officials spent most of the week in Nebraska and also toured some Iowa farms. Several of the group had spent part of the previous week in Arkansas and Tennessee.

While the floor was open to all herbicide discussions, dicamba dominated the Nebraska conversation. Off-target movement of dicamba in 2017 caused EPA to tighten labeled application requirements for the three dicamba products approved for in-season use. The agency also made the three herbicides restricted use pesticides (RUP) and training became a mandatory requirement for every applicator.

Acreage of Xtend crops doubled in 2018, according to Monsanto. Soybeans are extremely sensitive to dicamba, and some farmers planted dicamba-tolerant soybeans as defensive measures, but did not spray the herbicides. A few individual states took additional measures to limit dicamba spray by calendar date.

However, pesticide misuse complaints are still being filed with state agencies. As of Aug. 6, Illinois, for example, had reported 389 cases of agricultural drift with 275 of the cases tied to over-the-top dicamba applications compared to 150 dicamba complaints during the same period in 2017, according to the Association of American Pest Control Officials (AAPCO). Nebraska has reported 128 drift cases to AAPCO -- 93 of them auxin related and 91 of them associated with over-the-top dicamba applications, compared to 79 dicamba cases as of this date in 2017. For a complete list filed with states, go to www.aapco.org.

This week, the Missouri Department of Agriculture reported 251 total complaints with 186 of them alleged dicamba complaints with injury recorded on 24,626 acres of soybeans, 526 acres of peaches, 75 acres of watermelons, 10 greenhouses with vegetables, 503-plus acres of residential trees, 15 acres of fruit trees (excluding peaches), 29 personal gardens, two commercial gardens, two acres of grapes, two acres of blackberries, two acres of strawberries, 24 acres of alfalfa, personal shrubs and flowers.

VOICES FROM THE CROWD

For Bruce Hoffman, who owns a greenhouse nursery with his wife in southwest Nebraska, two years of back-to-back dicamba injury have been costly, he reported.

"I am 66 years old. We thought we had our business sold," Hoffman said. "I've told the [insurance] adjusters: Do you think I want to be 70 before I have my next crop of trees to sell?"

Jeff Kennedy, a certified arborist from Gothenburg, Nebraska, wanted EPA to understand what losing a 30-year-old tree means in a state where it is "really, really difficult to get trees to grow."

Weed resistance issues associated with potential overuse of dicamba were discussed. So were early season applications of older, more volatile dicamba and 2,4-D and the belief by some that dicamba sprayed in corn causes more injury than applications made in soybean. There was concern about dicamba carryover in non-GMO seed production. There were complaints about farmers not being adequately insured when injury does occur.

Terry Sorensen, a farmer from Minden, Nebraska, talked about the extreme weed pressure growers face today in a tough economic climate. The danger and cost of letting Palmer amaranth and waterhemp get established was top of mind for him and other farmers in attendance. Sorensen described his positive experiences with the Xtend technology and emphasized the importance of following the label. In one case, where he was lined up next to a sensitive field, he said he had the patience to wait five days before spraying in the conditions.

BIG DECISION AHEAD

Goodis said the agency has heard similar thoughts while traveling around the countryside. He stressed the importance of hearing and listening to the voices from the field.

Balancing all of these concerns with the need for technology to try to control weeds is a big challenge, he said. He recognized the importance of other sensitive crops such as greenhouses and nurseries and the growing question between restricted-use and general-use products.

Another concern is the herbicide trait would still be in seed planted in 2019 even if EPA does not extend the registration for the three products. That leaves fears that more volatile compounds might be used instead.

"I can tell you this is a very complex issue. It's getting a lot of attention and is a very high-visibility issue," Goodis added.

"Right now we're in the information-gathering and evaluation process. We're getting information from states and other organizations such as USDA and WSSA to try to figure out what really is the best path forward," he said.

Pamela Smith can be reached at Pamela.smith@dtn.com

Follow her on Twitter @PamSmithDTN

(GH/AG)

By Todd Hultman
DTN Analyst

With U.S. corn in dough stage and soybeans setting pods, USDA will reveal the findings of its first farm surveys of 2018 and post new yield estimates for row crops. Traders will also be interested in changes in the world wheat crop estimates after dry weather concerns increased over the past month.

USDA will release its August Crop Production and World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) reports at 11 a.m. CDT Friday, Aug. 10.

NO MORE REPORT LOCKUPS

As DTN has reported over the past few weeks, USDA has changed the way it releases crop and livestock reports. Reporters, including those at DTN, no longer have access to report information to prepare our headlines and tables ahead of when USDA releases that information to the public. Instead, everyone will have access to the data seconds after noon EDT, when USDA posts to their website.

DTN is committed to providing the headlines, tables and analysis you have come to expect as quickly as possible, provided there are no delays at USDA. We have processes in place to capture the data from the USDA website and publish. We expect to send multiple updates, adding information and analysis each time. DTN will send this series of updates as quickly as possible. Instead of the one report you are used to getting, it will be a series of updates with each update including more and more information.

DTN also will have a reporter on site in Washington, D.C., to receive hard copies of the USDA report as a backup, in case the agency has website issues.

After the Aug. 10 USDA report day, the first with this change, DTN will be assessing our process and adjusting as necessary. Our goal, as always, is to provide the reports as quickly as possible!

CORN

Traditionally, the August WASDE report is not necessarily known for its predictive accuracy, as U.S. row crops are still developing. But the report is known for waking up traders from bad guesses after months of analyzing weekly crop ratings data. It seems there is just no good substitute for getting in the fields with a consistent survey procedure, and that is what USDA provides in August. Margins of error will still be high for corn and soybean crop estimates in this report, but August estimates often narrow the scope of where estimates go after Friday.

With Dow Jones' survey of analysts as our guide for assessing market expectations, the average guess is that USDA will estimate a 14.417-billion-bushel U.S. corn crop Friday, up from the current guess of 14.230 bb. The estimated yield of 176.3 bushels per acre is just slightly below last year's record of 176.6 bpa, and the range of guesses fell between 174 and 180 bpa. Knowing that December corn has responded to the August WASDE report with a double-digit price move in three of the past five years, it is fair to point out that Friday's magic number from USDA could pop up outside of the estimated range.

Dow Jones' survey also expects USDA to estimate new-crop U.S. ending corn stocks at 1.63 bb, a mild 78-million-bushel increase even though the corn crop estimate is expected to increase by 187 million bushels. The explanation for the difference likely has to do with the recent popularity of new-crop corn export sales, which are off to a strong start, currently up 61% from a year ago.

To understand the popularity of new-crop U.S. corn sales, we will want to see USDA's world estimates, as well. According to Dow Jones, analysts expect USDA to estimate world ending corn stocks in 2018-19 at 152.2 million metric tons (5.99 bb), near last month's estimate of 152.0 mmt. If true, that is down 21% from the previous year and should give corn prices a firmer base of support in 2018-19. There is also a chance we could see another reduction in Brazil's 2017-18 corn crop estimate of 83.5 mmt (3.29 bb), as harvest is underway.

SOYBEANS

November soybeans have traded roughly 60 cents higher since the last WASDE report, helped by dry weather concerns as we got deeper into summer. In Friday's report, USDA is expected to estimate a 4.428-bb U.S. soybean crop, based on a higher yield of 49.8 bpa. If true, that would be a new record-high U.S. soybean crop and the second-highest yield since 52.0 bpa was achieved in 2016. Soybean prices also have a history of volatile reactions to the August WASDE report. International FCStone estimated a yield of 51.5 bpa, so the U.S. yield record could still be challenged.

Dow Jones' participating analysts expect USDA to increase its estimate of U.S. ending soybean stocks for 2018-19 from 580 mb to 641 mb on Friday. Similar to corn, new-crop export sales of U.S. soybeans are up 62% from a year ago, but where China may be involved, there is always a risk those early sales will later be cancelled. If we stick to Dow Jones' estimates, however, U.S. ending soybean stocks could come in around 15% of annual use, which is the most since hitting 19% in 2006-07.

Any change to USDA's world estimate of ending soybean stocks is likely to result from the U.S. production estimate, and in that regard, Dow Jones expects an increase in the world estimate, from 98.3 mmt to 99.3 mmt (3.91 bb). The wildcard in this market, of course, comes from the trade war with China -- political policy decisions which could change unexpectedly at any time. As usual, we will move ahead with our best analysis, but the politics of a trade war with the world's largest buyer of soybeans adds more uncertainty than usual to anyone's market assessment.

WHEAT

The past several years, the August WASDE report has been all about corn and soybeans, while wheat comments could be summed up in one line: "There's a lot of it." For the first time since 2012, that will not be the case this year, as USDA is expected to reduce its estimate of world wheat production in August, supported by cuts in crop estimates for several major wheat-producing regions.

2018-19 world wheat production was estimated at 736.26 mmt (27.05 billion bushels) in July's WASDE report, a 3% reduction from the previous year. On July 26, the International Grains Council estimated a 5% reduction in world wheat production, so a similar or even smaller estimate seems likely for USDA Friday as dry weather concerns have continued in several wheat areas.

Dow Jones expects USDA to reduce its estimate of world ending wheat stocks from 260.9 mmt to 255.6 mmt (9.39 bb) in 2018-19, over half of which is housed in non-exporting China. The other point we have been making about wheat recently is that ending wheat supplies of major exporters are expected to reach their lowest level in six years in 2018-19, so that update will also be of interest in Friday's report.

Here in the U.S., USDA is expected to lower its estimate of ending stocks from 1.881 bb to 1.850 bb on Friday, a minor tweak. Winter wheat, other spring wheat and durum production are estimated at 1,181 mb, 600 mb and 74 mb, respectively.

As we get closer to this year's row-crop harvest, Friday's new estimates from USDA have the potential to spark unexpected moves in corn or soybean prices, but are also likely to confirm reasons for a higher price range in wheat in the year ahead.

Editor's Note: Join DTN Analyst Todd Hultman at 12 p.m. CDT on Friday, Aug. 10, as he evaluates USDA's latest production estimates for the U.S. 2018-2019 crops as well as old-crop and new-crop supply and demand tables. To register, visit https://dtn.webex.com/…

U.S. CROP PRODUCTION (Million Bushels) 2018-2019
Aug Avg High Low July 2017-18
Corn 14,417 14,740 14,210 14,230 14,604
Soybeans 4,428 4,576 4,354 4,310 4,392
All Wheat 1,850 1,900 1,700 1,881 1,741
All Winter 1,181 1,201 1,050 1,193 1,269
Spring 600 633 570 614 416
U.S. AVERAGE YIELD (Bushels Per Acre) 2018-2019
Aug Avg High Low July 2017-18
Corn 176.3 180.2 173.8 174.0 176.6
Soybeans 49.8 51.5 49.0 48.5 49.1
U.S. ENDING STOCKS (Million Bushels) 2018-2019
Aug Avg High Low July
Corn 1,630 1,812 1,457 1,552
Soybeans 641 742 550 580
Wheat 959 1,018 813 985
U.S. ENDING STOCKS (Million Bushels) 2017-2018
Aug Avg High Low July
Corn 2,016 2,137 1,900 2,027
Soybeans 461 507 437 465
Wheat 1,099 1,100 1,080 1,100
WORLD ENDING STOCKS (Million metric tons) 2018-2019
Aug Avg High Low July
Corn 152.20 158.20 146.00 151.96
Soybeans 99.30 101.70 94.00 98.27
Wheat 255.60 259.90 248.00 260.88
WORLD ENDING STOCKS (Million metric tons) 2017-18
Aug Avg High Low July
Corn 190.80 192.60 188.00 191.70
Soybeans 95.80 97.00 92.00 96.00
Wheat 273.00 275.00 271.00 273.50
WORLD PRODUCTION (Million Metric Tons) 2018-2019
2018-19
Wheat Aug July
European Union 145.00
FSU - 12 121.24

Todd Hultman can be reached at todd.hultman@dtn.com

Follow Todd Hultman on Twitter @ToddHultman1

(AG/)

By Todd Neeley
DTN Staff Reporter

OMAHA (DTN) -- EPA has been ordered to cancel chlorpyrifos registrations within 60 days, after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco ruled on Thursday the agency was not justified in maintaining the insecticide's registration "in the face of scientific evidence that its residue on food causes neurodevelopmental damage to children."

The EPA denied a petition filed by environmental groups on March 30, 2017, to ban the pesticide outright. The agency said in a statement at the time that farmers need chlorpyrifos and an agency that relies on "sound science" when making decisions.

That move was a surprising reversal from the stance of the EPA under the previous administration, which had indicated as recently as fall 2016 that it was prepared to issue a full ban on the pesticide.

Chlorpyrifos is the main ingredient in Dow AgroSciences' Lorsban insecticide, which targets pests such as soybean aphids, spider mites and corn rootworm.

The legal pursuit began in 2007 when the Pesticide Action Network North America and the Natural Resources Defense Council petitioned EPA to cancel chlorpyrifos registrations.

"Despite these earlier expressions of concern, the EPA failed to take any decisive action in response to the 2007 petition," the Ninth Circuit said in its ruling, "notwithstanding that the EPA's own internal studies continued to document serious safety risks associated with chlorpyrifos use, particularly for children."

Judge Jed S. Rakoff said in his opinion the EPA has been delaying a decision, although its own science points to health risks in children who eat food that contains chlorpyrifos.

"Yet, over the past decade and more, the EPA has stalled on banning chlorpyrifos, first by largely ignoring a petition properly filed pursuant to law seeking such a ban, then by temporizing in response to repeated orders by the court to respond to the petition; and finally, in its latest tactic, by denying outright our jurisdiction to review the ultimate denial of the petition, even while offering no defense on the merits," Rakoff writes.

"If Congress's statutory mandates are to mean anything, the time has come to put a stop to this patent evasion."

DATA QUESTIONED

EPA Spokesperson Michael Abboud said the Ninth Circuit made a decision based on data that has not been accessible to the agency.

"EPA is reviewing the decision," he said. "The Columbia Center's data underlying the court's assumptions remains inaccessible and has hindered the agency's ongoing process to fully evaluate the pesticide using the best available, transparent science."

The Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health study has been widely used as support for a ban, despite divergent scientific views among EPA scientific review panels and President Barack Obama's administration's USDA questioning the study and its data.

A 2016 EPA scientific advisory panel indicated some members of that panel said they had difficulty assessing the study, because the raw data from the study was not made available.

In a January 2017 letter from USDA to EPA, USDA expressed concerns about the science EPA was using. As a result of that concern, EPA denied a petition from environmental groups to cancel chlorpyrifos registrations.

"USDA has both grave concerns about the EPA process that has led to the agency publishing three wildly different human health risk assessments for chlorpyrifos within two years, and severe doubts about the validity of the scientific conclusions underpinning EPA's latest chlorpyrifos risk assessment," the letter said.

Erik Olson, senior director of health and food at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in a statement to DTN the ruling was important for children's health.

"Some things are too sacred to play politics with, and our kids top the list," he said. "The court has made it clear that children's health must come before powerful polluters. This is a victory for parents everywhere who want to feed their kids fruits and veggies without fear it's harming their brains or poisoning communities."

Neither CropLife America nor the American Farm Bureau Federation responded to DTN's request for comment at press time.

On July 30, 2018, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation released a scientific assessment that concluded that chlorpyrifos should be listed as a toxic air contaminant in the state based on evidence of its neurological effects and exposure risks of concern.

BAN CONCERN

Agricultural groups had expressed concern over a ban, arguing that doing away with chlorpyrifos could complicate the battle against insects, especially when growers are being encouraged to rotate chemistries to guard against insect resistance. A number of industry groups, such as CropLife America, the National Corn Growers Association and the American Soybean Association, celebrated the March 30 EPA decision not to revoke the pesticide, which plays a significant role in corn and soybean pest control.

Corn accounts for chlorpyrifos' largest agriculture market as far as total pounds used, because overall, there are more corn acres than soybean acres, according to EPA. However, in recent years, use of chlorpyrifos has expanded in soybeans and has been on the decline in corn.

According to Dow AgroSciences' website, chlorpyrifos use in soybeans expanded from about 200,000 acres in 2004 to about 8 million acres in 2008. Dow estimated chlorpyrifos was applied to about 11% of soybean acres planted in 2008.

The road to the proposed chlorpyrifos ban began when the Pesticide Action Network North America and Natural Resources Defense Council filed a petition in 2007 to force EPA to take action on chlorpyrifos, based on concerns over drinking water. In June 2015, the Ninth Circuit issued a ruling pressuring EPA to make a decision by Oct. 31, 2015, on whether or not it would establish food tolerances for the insecticide. EPA stated it did not have the data needed to do so and instead would pursue a ban.

EPA asked the court for a six-month extension to take final action. In a final order issued Aug. 12, 2016, the court ruled against the request by EPA and ordered the agency to take action by March 31, 2017.

Most recently, the EPA revised its human health risk assessment for chlorpyrifos in November 2016 to state that residues on food crops and in water are at unsafe levels.

Todd Neeley can be reached at todd.neeley@dtn.com

Follow him on Twitter @toddneeleyDTN

(BAS/SK)

By John Harrington
DTN Livestock Analyst

Perhaps circling the drain even faster than the likes of black rhinos, whooping cranes and snow leopards, small-town newspapers represent a particularly sad and endangered form of business. Some remain securely on life-support thanks to legal notices required by small-county seats. Yet virtually none of this journalistic remnant truly sports a recognizable DNA.

For several generations before the cancerous growth of the internet, a sure measurement of town quality was the reliable collection and presentation of local news via a daily or weekly rag. Furthermore, fact-checking and extreme timeliness was almost beside the point. Truthfulness was important, but not quite as valued as the regular creation of the community's narrative and context.

Tapping the archives of my own newsstand, the wonderful example of the long-defunct "Polk Progress" always comes to mind. Written and published by a thoughtful man named Norris Alfred, this unique gazette was one of the last linotypes in central Nebraska to rattle out interesting copy every Friday.

Once nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in 1980, Alfred was a great writer, possessing more heart than nose for news. My favorite pages included columns on bird-watching, random events of hospitality (e.g., "Miss Claussen served cousins from Rising City lemonade and rhubarb pie on Sunday afternoon.") and last week's weather.

Yet the one element of newspaper layout that will be forever emblazoned, in my memory, is the definitive masthead. Below the bold letters of the tabloid's centered name sits a large snail, one particularly sluggish given only the token hint of a slime trail. Apparently moving from left to right, the snail lethargically pulls himself toward the "Progress'" slogan: "SLOWER IS BETTER."

Needless to say, it's impossible to ever imagine this phrase in the unabridged vocabulary of Tim Cook, Jeff Bezos or Mark Zuckerberg. Indeed, many entrepreneurs, consumers, professionals, workers, scientists and politicians would find such a bizarre value-assessment as a damning indictment of our entire culture.

Please don't prattle on about the danger of snap judgments, the reward of protracted deliberations and the irresponsibility of decision-making on the run. Spare us the inconvenience of thinking before we act, of doubting that our first blush could be dead wrong, and of wondering if wait and see could be the wisest strategy.

The 21st century was built for speed. Let us stumble forth with alacrity.

As you can probably tell, I can't completely remove tongue from cheek when discussing the modern world's speedy success story. I do think the way Alfred's "Progress" (no doubt meant with at least a little irony) esteemed a more measured pace of life and contained more wisdom.

In fact, I've always questioned speed per se (especially if it comes at the expense of thoughtful deliberation) as a worthwhile tool in the critical process of price-discovery. My anxiety in this regard has significantly intensified in recent weeks, ever since USDA announced its decision to change the way it would release major report data, essentially abandoning the "lockup" procedure that has well served producers and speculators for decades.

For years, USDA has given news organizations embargoed copies of market-moving reports an hour and a half earlier than the reports are released to the public.

While members of the media cannot publish any of the data until the official public report is released, the 90-minute blackout has always allowed plenty of time for fact-checking, correcting math errors and the composition of meaningful context.

As sensible as that may sound, the historical system is no more. Crop reports and new supply and demand tables to be released on Friday will be tossed to the unprepared trading mob like so much red meat to hungry but confused lions.

So why did Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue and his unthinking minions suddenly become obsessed to fix what wasn't broken? In short, the USDA team was motivated by unproven and rather farfetched allegation that high-speed fiber optic lines -- that are slightly faster than the speed at which USDA uploads the information -- had created an unlevel playing field.

"There is evidence to suggest that there is significant trading activity worth millions of dollars that occurs in the one or two second period immediately following the official release of reports, which could not be based on the public reading of USDA data," USDA said in a statement. "The inference is that private agents are paying the news agencies for faster data transmission to get a jump on the market."

Before going further, let me stipulate that DTN is one of the news agencies previously allowed to examine and frame official data 90 minutes before the official release. Secondly, I think my coverage over the years clearly indicates that I am generally a defender of the government data collection ability and procedure. I've never had a predictable desire to beat a dead horse in that regard, a sport that has often been overplayed, in my opinion.

Yet this is one carcass that is beginning to smell. USDA has made a blunder here, a mistake that I fear will cause more problems in terms of market volatility and credibility than it ever hoped to solve.

At least two things bother me as USDA attempts to become a quick-change artist. First, there seems to be a serious lack of evidence to justify abandoning a time-tested procedure. Secretary Perdue loosely talks about "evidence" and "inferences." But while the implications are rather insulting, the department shows no interest in following regular procedures of investigation and public comment.

Second, I think the change reflects yet another example of being drunk on the importance and effectiveness of speed per se. I think all producers and traders can cite contrary market moments when advanced knowledge of USDA data proved to be illogically expensive.

Call me a yokel from the backwoods who likes to read old newspapers, but don't marketers have more of a fighting chance if they break both twittering thumbs, take about five deep breaths and embrace the broader context before issuing buy or sell orders?

John Harrington can be reached at harringtonsfotm@gmail.com

(BE/AG)

By Chris Clayton
DTN Ag Policy Editor

WASHINGTON (DTN) -- Ag leaders in the Trump administration may have thought the announcement a couple of weeks ago of a $12 billion aid package might quell some farmer voices of unrest, but farmers remain split over the damage done by tariffs that have reduced agricultural trade.

Pushing back on the White House tariff strategy, the group Farmers for Free Trade announced Wednesday its plans to buy advertising in radio, television and print that will run in Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

"Farmers are feeling the pain from President Trump's trade war," one radio ad begins. Indiana farmer Brent Bible then says, "Free trade is essential to the ag economy. This is not a war that I signed up for. It's not a war I want to be drafted for. Our farm and many others like ours will be the first casualties of a trade war." The announcer then finishes, "President Trump, stop the trade war."

Farmers for Free Trade is a bipartisan group started by former Sens. Richards Lugar, R-Ind., and Max Baucus, D-Mont. The group's board president, Sara Lilygren, said the ads will speak to farmers who are seeing tariffs force down the price of their crops and livestock.

"They are messages from farmers to farmers about how decisions in Washington D.C. are hurting their farms, their neighbors and the economy of rural America," Lilygren said. "We are taking the message that tariffs hurt ag directly to farmers at their breakfast tables, on their combines, and in the farm news outlets they check every single day."

Lilygren is a former executive vice president for Tyson Foods and now is a freelance communications consultant.

Bart Ruth, a soybean and corn farmer from Rising City, Nebraska, also had an op-ed published Tuesday in The Hill, a congressional news website. Ruth cited some of the tariffs and grain embargos of the past -- such as former President Jimmy Carter's grain embargo of the Soviet Union in 1980 -- to highlight that, "While there have been some positive changes under President Trump when it comes to American agriculture, we are headed toward economic disaster."

A sixth-generation farmer and lifelong Republican, Ruth challenges some of the president's repeated statements that "farmers haven't had it good for the last 15 years." In an interview with DTN, Ruth said such comments can't be ignored.

"That's just outright untrue," Ruth said. "When you look at 2007 to 2013, that was probably the most profitable run in American agricultural history. And that's a point nobody is capitalizing on."

Ruth said farmers should not be used as a negotiating chip in a trade war sparked by tariffs against allies. Further, if Trump wants to take on China, "the 800-pound gorilla," then angering several other trade partners isn't the way to force China to change its positions on currency manipulation or intellectual property, he said.

"Everybody we have started a trade war with has some of the same issues with China," Ruth said. "It occurs to me if you are taking on your nemesis, you want all your allies by your side instead of dropping tariffs on them before you try to take on China."

Ruth has worked on trade for commodity groups such as the American Soybean Association going back to the 1990s. He noted that roughly $1 billion has been spent just over the past five years on USDA programs such as the Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development Program.

"Unfortunately, there are going to be some farm families whose livelihoods are on the line and who won't survive this," Ruth said. He added that bankers running cash flows now would not have approved some loans last spring under current price conditions. "So even if we get this scenario resolved by the end of the year, the repercussions are going to last longer than that."

Some farmers standing by the president are trying to make their voices more heard as well. The Iowa Republican Party held a forum with farmers last Friday who defended the president's trade strategy, arguing little had been done under the Obama administration to tackle trade issues.

Doug Reimer, a hog farmer from eastern Iowa, said the U.S. is "playing hardball with some hardball people on trade." Short-term pain is expected, the Iowa farmers said in an article in the Cedar Rapids Gazette.

"We want to feed the world, the country. And a lot days all we have is faith," said Mike Bixler, who grows corn and soybeans in eastern Iowa. "President Trump, he did say what he was going to do and made some promises. He's not only taking on China, he's taking on everybody. That's all we have is faith, and I'm putting it behind President Trump right now."

To read the full Cedar Rapids Gazette article, visit https://goo.gl/….

These farmer conversations on the impacts of the trade war come as the Trump administration announced Tuesday a list of 279 products valued at $16 billion from China that will face 25% tariffs starting Aug. 23. The White House is working on adding 25% tariffs on another $200 billion in Chinese products. Chinese officials announced last week they were planning to slap tariffs on up to $60 billion more in products from the U.S.

Ruth's op-ed in the Hill: https://goo.gl/…

Chris Clayton can be reached at Chris.Clayton@dtn.com

Follow him on Twitter @ChrisClaytonDTN

(AG)

By Pam Smith
DTN Progressive Farmer Crops Technology Editor

CLAFLIN, Kan. (DTN) -- Farmers know all too well that there's no such thing as a made crop until it is in the bin or sold down the road.

However, this year's View From the Cab contributors are experiencing a decent growing season in their areas of Kansas and Ohio. "You don't have to go very far from here to find areas that are burning up, and I really feel for those farmers," said Kyle Krier. "We have been so blessed so far this year."

Last week's article titled "Rounding third and headed for home" might have been rushing the season a bit, though, Krier noted. "I'd say it is more like we're rounding second, headed for third and still hoping Mother Nature doesn't throw us out," he said.

This past week, DTN traveled to Kansas to find the term "dryland" to be anything but, and that's something of a miracle in early August in the central Plains. Below the lush soybean canopy, the soil, when pinched and rolled between thumb and finger, was still moist and clinging together nicely. With more rain in the forecast, the outlook was for the possibility of five hay cuttings, and soybeans were continuing to flower and set pods.

While the sand roads aren't nearly as dusty and grasshoppers are fewer in the fencerows, other pests were on the scouting list. The hope that no additional inputs would be necessary is top of mind and has to be weighed with the economics of preserving top-end yield.

Here is what's happening in their parts of the farming world:

GENNY HAUN - KENTON, OHIO

There was no shortage of movement about Layman Farms this week. Excavating equipment and crews were on the move, said Genny Haun.

Haun farms with her husband, Matt, and her parents, Jan and Cindy Layman, near Kenton, Ohio.

"We will be up to our necks in waterway construction clear up until we start harvest. We have a Sept. 15 seeding deadline on those," she noted.

"It's a double-edge sword -- we want periodic rains to help finish filling the crops, but just about any measurable rain will keep us out of waterway construction for several days," she added. The dirt has to flow right for proper construction.

"We can't do goobers," she said, using her father's term for working the land wet. However, tile can be installed even if the soil is a little sticky. "We've been picking up water in every tile we've put in at three- to four-feet depths," she reported.

Crop scouting isn't their favorite thing to do, so Haun said they've been grateful for few issues so far. "Frogeye can be found in some areas if you look for it. Japanese beetles have a presence. We've not seen any SDS issues in our fields.

"So far, nothing we've seen has been at threshold levels. We take into consideration the additional cost and labor of applying fungicide, and it is usually outweighed by the fact it keeps our crops from drying down," she said.

Yield checks on corn have them almost afraid to dream. "Let's put it this way -- we are set up to have the best corn crop we've ever had. Yields look to be consistent across the board. Usually, we end up with multiple drowned-out spots, making for highs and lows averaging out less than hoped, but we have very little of that this year.

"It's still too early to see much on soybeans -- they are podded well, but not filling yet. Mother Nature still holds the cards to how we finish the season."

KYLE KRIER - CLAFLIN, KANSAS

Wading out into a soybean field to grab a representative soybean sample is no easy task these days for Kyle Krier. The plants reach nearly to the waist of the 6-foot-2-inch Krier, and then there's the 7.5-inch row spacing.

"We've never had soybeans look like this," he said, looking at the well-branched plants with pods at each node with more than a few of those pods containing four beans.

"I took a little heat from local farmers last week for saying our best soybean fields could go 60 bushel per acre," Krier admitted. "But I'll be surprised if we don't have some do that. They are still blooming and setting pods." Even his father, Kirby, admits that it is likely the best soybean crop he's seen in his farming career.

According to the latest USDA NASS projections, 43% of the 2018 Kansas soybean crop is rated good to excellent. Loopers, stem borer, pod worms and Japanese beetle are on Krier's current list of soybean pest worries. "Webworms aren't terrible yet, but I'm keeping an eye on them," he said. Webworms have been known to move out of harvested alfalfa fields when their food source is disturbed and into soybean fields.

Haying has been a full-time job this summer. Running the baler late into the night has become standard operating procedure. "Our best hay by far gets put up at night. It dries out too quickly during the day."

This week he also made an emergency 300-mile round trip to supply a dairy with some alfalfa hay. Being willing to take those extra steps is important to developing a market and cultivating a network of steady hay customers.

Although Krier doesn't have any corn acreage this year, he said some favorable rainfall and temperatures are all corn needs to finish strong in the area. Choppers are starting to make silage, and corn harvest for grain should begin early September, he said.

Milo yields also look promising, but sugarcane aphid and headworm were being reported to the south of his farming area that spans out between Claflin, Ellinwood and Great Bend.

Krier farms in Barton County, the geographical center of the state of Kansas. The county is named for Clara Barton of American Red Cross fame. The rolling Kansas hills have mostly flattened here to row crops sprinkled with oil fields. Krier Oil was busy drilling another oil well this week.

Being a steady producer around these parts means wearing many hats, Krier noted. "As for crops, weather and what type of pressure we have with disease and insects will play a big part in how we finish," he said.

Pamela Smith can be reached at Pamela.smith@dtn.com

Follow her on Twitter @PamSmithDTN

(AG/BAS)

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