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Friday, October 25, 2013

Harvest Safety Tips

Here are a few safety tips from Michigan State University Extension to consider on your farm as producers prepare and start harvesting this season. These tips are true even for experienced farmers. 
  • Read operators manual(s).
  • Install Slow-Moving Vehicle (SMV) signs.
    Harvesting in Iowa. Photo (c) Nick Halverson
  • Wear seat belts.
  • Put equipment in neutral or park, engage parking brake, and turn off engine before dismounting. Wait until all mechanisms have stopped moving before attempting to service or unclog a machine.
  • Locking hydraulic cylinders or supporting the head prior to working under it is always recommended.
  • Limit riders on equipment! Instructional seats are designed for training or diagnosing machine problems.
  • Keep all guards in place.
  • Take breaks. Get enough sleep.
  • Train all operators to safely operate the equipment.
  • Fatigue, stress, medication, alcohol and drugs cause you to not focus on tasks.
  • Have all safety equipment in proper condition and ready to use such as safety glasses, hearing protection and respiratory masks.
  • Have ROPS (rollover protective structures) fitted on tractors.
Stay safe! Together we can!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Have a Safety Plan for Harvest

As most farms get larger and producers are farming more acres, having a Safety Plan for your team is increasingly important. Plan for an injury- and incident-free harvest season. Develop a safety plan for the fall and include:
  • Team communications
  • Any training/operator refresher courses etc.
  • Maintenance schedules
  • Emergency procedures in place and reviewed by entire team
  • Expectations such as wearing personal protective equipment, checking in regularly and compliance with safety protocol procedures (such as shutting down equipment before unplugging, taking regular breaks, working with a buddy on specific tasks)

Most harvest injuries and fatalities involve machinery and equipment.
  • Be extra vigilant when re-familiarizing yourself with equipment such as swathers, mowers, combines and augers. Never become complacent with equipment.
  • Ensure implements are attached or hitched properly and in good working order
  • Review operation manuals and follow maintenance guidelines.
  • Ensure all guards and shields are in place and secure
  • Watch for changes in terrain such as holes, ruts or debris that may cause upsets or roll overs

Thursday, October 17, 2013

FC Morning Grain Market Commentary for 10/17/2013

AM Comments 10/17/13

Thursday, October 17, 2013, 8:02 am
Submitted by: Dustin Weiner

Good morning!
Congress dodged a government default late last night by pushing – deciding to fund the gov’t until Jan 15th and increase the debt ceiling until Feb 7th.  So… government employees are back to work today.  In grain news, corn beans and wheat are working a bit higher this morning – traders are anticipating large export announcements from the USDA (once the data becomes available which could even be this morning).  These rumors we have been hearing about China buying US grains/oilseeds could finally be proven or disproven. 
Opening Calls
Corn 1 to 2 cents higher
Soybeans 4 to 5 cents higher

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

FC Morning Grain Market Commentary for 10/16/2013

AM Comments 10/16/13

Wednesday, October 16, 2013, 7:59 am
Submitted by: Dustin Weiner

Good morning!
There is very little fundamental news in the marketplace to discuss today, the moves lately have all been technical (chart-driven) in nature.  Corn has bounced higher the last few days, maybe on rumors about China in buying U.S. corn, but…  when you look at a chart of Dec corn, it does look like we’ve put in a bullish reversal.  Ever since CZ made new lows for the move Monday but closed higher – it has been steadily working upward.  There is overhead resistance at $4.50 meaning CZ will likely have a hard time trading much higher than that.  We are 6 cents away from that now.
Opening Calls
Corn steady to 1 cent higher
Soybeans 4 to 6 cents higher

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

FC Morning Grain Market Commentary for 10/15/2013

AM Comments 10/15/13

Tuesday, October 15, 2013, 8:09 am
Submitted by: Dustin Weiner

Good morning!
Yesterday the majority of the market was faced with a limited, thin trade with banks and other businesses closed for Columbus Day (not to mention the gov’t is still closed, today is day 15 of the shutdown).  We did not receive our normal harvest progress info yesterday afternoon but we read a Reuter’s poll this morning that shows U.S. soybean harvest at 45% complete (this same poll showed 22% completion a week ago).  They estimated corn harvest to be 31% done (it was 20% last week, according to this poll).
There were some strong rains that fell across the Western Corn Belt yesterday, putting a stop to harvest in those areas.  This same system is creeping into the Eastern Corn Belt today but it looks to be more spotty.  Cold temps are coming right behind this storm with the potential for scattered frost in the Dakotas and Minnesota tonight.  The big risk for frost comes after the second cold front hits later this week – producing widespread frost threats for the weekend.  The good news for harvest progress (potentially bearish news for prices) is that the next major rain system doesn’t look to show up until Oct 27th – 28th with only light showers showing up in between now and then.
Quickly on South American weather… they have received some much needed rains over the past 4 or 5 days in Argentina.  This should help increase their planting pace (farmers down there were waiting for rain as their soils were too dry).  Even with that though, additional moisture will be needed (and currently isn’t forecasted).  Brazil has had much better luck as they have had timely rains and near ideal planting conditions.
Opening Calls
Corn steady to up 1c
Soybeans 3 to 5 cents lower

Monday, October 14, 2013

FC Morning Grain Market Commentary for 10/14/2013

Morning Comments 10/14/2013

Monday, October 14, 2013, 9:23 am
Submitted by: Kyle Lehman

A touch higher markets to start the week led by soybeans. Soybeans are finding strength from wet weather forecasts for the western corn belt which should slow harvest progress in those areas. Rumors continue to fill the air that China was a large buyer of US soybeans last week which won’t be confirmed until the government opens back up. The Chinese government has released estimates for their 2013 crop pegging corn production at record large crop up 4.6% from last year while soybeans are down 4.25%.
Outside markets are bearish with fear the government won’t deal with the lingering debt ceiling issue in the next 3 days. This has the dollar, crude, and equities all trading lower.

Friday, October 11, 2013

FC Morning Grain Market Commentary for 10/11/2013

AM Comments 10/11/13

Friday, October 11, 2013, 7:59 am
Submitted by: Dustin Weiner

Good morning!
Lower markets, a lot of news out there reacting to an EPA proposal to lower the RFS mandate for 2014 to blend 15.21 billion gallons of renewable fuels (compared to 16.55 billion gallons in 2013) amid complaints from refiners that statutory mandates would exceed their ability to blend it into fuels without putting engines at risk. 
These numbers imply that the mandate for regular corn ethanol would drop to 13.0b gallons in 2014 from 13.8b gallons in 2013.  Not sure how bearish this really is to pure corn ethanol as this is just a mandate, not a cap.  If there is market for it corn ethanol, and there is a margin in it, we will keep producing it and blending it.  There are a lot of moving parts to this proposal and it still needs to be voted on before anything can happen and… the govt isn’t open.
FYI there are normal market hours on Monday (Columbus Day) even though the banks are closed.
Opening Calls
Corn 3 to 5 cents lower
Soybeans 4 to 6 cents lower

Thursday, October 10, 2013

FC Morning Grain Market Commentary for 10/10/2013

AM Comments 10/10/13

Thursday, October 10, 2013, 7:59 am
Submitted by: Dustin Weiner

Good morning!
We are now on day ten of the government shutdown and believe it or not it feels like these next rounds of meetings could get us closer to an end.  The equity markets are rallying today on that thought - the Dow futures were up 120 points last I checked.
Overnight both corn and beans opened up mixed but have since turned higher, led by soybeans.  With farmers for the most part being reluctant sellers, Nov beans have firmed against the deferred months (a bigger inverse).  The weather forecast looks a little more ‘active’ than normal for parts of the belt with rains events penciled in for this weekend, mid next week and maybe a third event coming late next week.  This could keep the front end of the market a little firmer as harvest will likely be delayed in spots.  Cooler temps are also expected starting mid next week.
Opening Calls
Corn steady to 2c higher

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

FC Morning Grain Market Commentary for 10/9/2013

AM Comments 10/09/13

Wednesday, October 9, 2013, 8:47 am
Submitted by: Dustin Weiner

Good morning!
It is pretty quiet out there today.  Fresh fundamental news is hard to come by and the government is still shut down.  A few gov’t reports will still leak out, such as the weekly ethanol data report (coming today).  Will there be enough money to release that same report next week if the gov’t is still shut down?  Who knows, it doesn’t sound promising.  It sounds like we won’t be getting our weekly corn/soy export sales report tomorrow morning and we already know we are getting the monthly S&D that was due out Friday. 
Overall, the market has this general ‘sideways to weaker’ tone thanks to standard harvest pressure.  Soybeans are ready across most of the Midwest and farmers who haven’t switched over from corn will probably be doing so soon.  This could keep nearby corn basis feeling firm, although the clock may be ticking on that with the record US corn production hanging over our heads.

Corn is steady to 1 cent higher
Soybeans are 5 to 8 cents lower

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

FC Morning Grain Market Commentary for 10/8/2013

Morning Comments 10/8/2013

Tuesday, October 8, 2013, 8:14 am
Submitted by: Kyle Lehman

Once again the markets were quiet overnight with corn trading in a 2 cent range while soybeans chopped around in a 7 cent range. News has been very limited the past week and a half with the government shutdown leaving traders in the dark. The USDA will not release the October S&D on Friday and the possibility of even seeing the report in October is dwindling by the day. Although we may not see the USDA report there is still data on the average trade guess for what the report was expected to look like. Average trade guess for corn was a yield of 156.5 bpa up slightly from 155.3 bpa in September. The average production estimate is 13.8 bln bushels, unchanged from September due to a reduction in harvested acres. Most trade is expecting a slight reduction in exports widening the carryout to 1.923 bln from 1.855 bln last month.
Soybeans are finding slight support from the higher Dalian (China exchange). Average trade guess for soybeans is 41.5 bpa up .3 bpa from last month. Production up slightly to 3.156 bln bushels from 3.149 bln last month widening the carryout to 167 mln from 150 mln last month. Either way you look at the soybean market the carryout is tight.
Remember these are trade guesses for a report that has been delayed and may never be released but it’s about the only direction the market has to trade off for now.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Morning Market Comments Oct 7, 2013

Good morning!

It is quiet again this morning as the government shutdown continues.  It is doubtful that we will see our weekly crop/planting progress report this afternoon, but there may be enough money in the till to afford to release the export inspections.  It sure feels like the big October S&D report that is due to release Friday morning will be delayed, not sure how long.  If the gov’t remains closed for too much longer, there is a chance they just decide to skip this report and wait for the November S&D to release.  These markets will likely get thinner and thinner as time goes on without new information to trade off of or give direction.  This could lead to increased volatility and potential overreaction to yield reports coming from the country.

Opening Calls: 
Corn is steady/mixed
Soybeans are steady to down 3 cents

Have a great day!
Dustin Weiner

Friday, October 4, 2013

FC Morning Grain Market Commentary for 10/4/2013

AM Comments 10/04/13

Friday, October 4, 2013, 8:26 am
Submitted by: Dustin Weiner

Good morning!
Showers and thunderstorms are sliding across much of Iowa this morning – some parts of the state are reporting as much as 2” of rain with more coming later on.  This same storm FYI is also expected to give the Black Hills 2’ of snow.  Harvest in the WCB is effectively shut down for a bit.  The extended forecasts do appear warmer and drier which should get it fired back up again, it looks like there no chances of rain until late next week. 
Overnight the trade was pretty quiet.  The corn market chopped around while the soybean market took a few profits from yesterday and traded lower.  Demand for soybeans remains strong both in domestic crush (margins remain good) and in exports. Later this morning Informa will be out with their estimate of the US ’13 crop sizes which could give the market some input.  The general feeling is that yields are coming in higher than the last USDA report showed – especially in corn. 
Opening Calls
Corn steady to 2c higher
Soybeans 4 to 7 cents lower

Farm Vehicle Safety

Harvest season means more farm vehicles will be sharing the roadways with other vehicles. That includes combines and other harvesting equipment moving from one field to another, as well as trucks and tractors transporting produce. To help ensure your safety:

  • Display the Slow Moving Vehicle (SMV) emblem on all off-road vehicles. Make sure emblems are in
    During harvest time, make sure your equipment is properly
    equipped for safe travel on the roads. 
    good condition and properly mounted.
  • Use proper vehicle lighting.
  • Use flashers anytime you use public roads. The American Society of Agricultural Engineers (ASAE) recommends two flashing amber lights, mounted at least 42 inches high, in both the front and rear.
  • Comply with your state laws. Most state laws require using headlights 30 minutes before sunset, until 30 minutes after sunrise.

    Also use headlights whenever insufficient light or unfavorable weather conditions exist. ASAE recommends two headlights on the front, at the same level, positioned as far apart as possible. They also recommend one rear-left and one rear-right red taillight mounted as far apart as possible, and two red reflectors visible from the rear.
  • Inspect hitches to verify they are sturdy and properly mounted before towing equipment or using wagons. Always use safety chains, if equipped.

We can all be a little safer this year by following these simple safety tips. Stay safe! Together we can!

Combine Pre-Harvest Preparations

As harvest is gearing up across the FC territory, it is important to make sure that proper safety steps are being taken when harvesting. In fact, your safety check should take place before farmers turn on their combine. Below are several important pre-harvest safety tips to consider.
Stay safe during harvest. Photo (c) Nick Halverson

  • Begin several weeks before harvest to allow necessary lead time to secure needed replacement parts and to efficiently prepare the combine for harvest.
  • Review your operator’s manual. A quick review will help experienced operators refresh their memories about correct operating procedures and appropriate safety precautions.
  • Thoroughly clean the combine to remove any field trash, rodent nests, and oil or grease buildup.
  • Carefully check for loose or missing nuts, screws, shields, and sheet metal.
  • Inspect all belts, chains, and other drive components. 

We look forward to seeing you drop of your harvest at one of our locations this season. Stay safe! Together we can!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

FC Morning Grain Market Commentary for 10/3/2013

AM Comments 10/03/13

Thursday, October 3, 2013, 8:32 am
Submitted by: Dustin Weiner

Good morning!
The markets are trading higher this morning, some of it thanks to these rains delaying harvest, and some of it just on the idea that the market is trying to generate some selling interest.  Export sales were NOT out this morning, thanks to the government shutdown. 
Weather.. the first snow of the season is expected for Western South Dakota and parts of Nebraska today and tomorrow with rain moving into the rest of the Western Corn Belt.
Corn 3 to 4 cents higher
Soybeans 8 to 12 cents higher

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

FC Morning Grain Market Commentary for 10/2/2013

AM Comments 10/02/13

Wednesday, October 2, 2013, 8:09 am
Submitted by: Dustin Weiner

Good morning!
The soybean market was higher last night.  At first glance it just looks like a bit of a recovery or bounce on the soybean chart, however there is a little bit of fundamental news that supports the move.  First of all, the weather in the U.S. is going to be more active the next couple of days, potentially delaying bean harvest a bit and secondly – it is still dry in parts of South America which is delaying planting. 
Overall these aren’t major issues but on a slow news day – it is worth mentioning.  The extended forecasts are showing some normal to above normal temps and normal to below normal precip which should let harvest progress easily through next week.
Opening Calls
Corn steady to down 2c
Soybeans 5 to 7 cents higher