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Monday, June 30, 2014

FC Morning Market Commentary for 6/30/2014


AM Comments 6/30/2014

Monday, June 30, 2014, 8:06 AM
Submitted by: Joel Pudenz

Corn is slightly lower this morning and soybeans are mixed as the market waits for the 11:00 A.M. stocks and acreage report. Acreage is expected to stay relatively unchanged for corn and increase by 600k acres for beans. Soybean stocks are expected to be tight, which is providing some front-end support to soybean prices. Look for trade to be quiet and mixed into the report. The Hogs & Pigs report Friday was a bit of a bearish input as all hogs, hogs kept for breeding, and hogs kept for marketing were all below market expectations. Widespread rainfall covered the Midwest this weekend with another system moving through today. Tomorrow and the week forward look to be drier.
Opening calls:
Soybeans mixed 1 lower to 1 higher
Corn 3 to 4 cents lower
Have a great day!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Safety Facts and Tips

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Safety Facts and Tips

Personal protective equipment (PPE) can reduce the number and severity of farm work-related injuries and illnesses. Personal protective equipment not only helps protect people but also improves productivity and profits. Farmers and ranchers can share in these benefits by using the appropriate protective equipment for themselves, family members and employees when the job and its potential hazards call for it.

  • Protect your head with a hard hat when performing construction work, trimming trees, repairing machinery, and doing other jobs with head injury risks.
  • Use a sun safety hat (one with a wide brim and neck protection) to assist in the prevention of skin cancer.
  • Protect your vision with appropriate safety eyewear (safety glasses, goggles, face-shields) when applying pesticides, fertilizers, working in the shop, or in heavy dust conditions.
  • Protect your hearing with acoustic earmuffs or plugs when operating noisy equipment such as grain dryers, feed grinders, older tractors, chain saws, etc.
  • Protect your lungs with the correct respiratory equipment (dust masks, cartridge respirators, gas masks, air pacts) when working in dusty or moldy conditions, spray painting, applying chemicals, working in bins, tanks, silos, and manure storage places.
  • Protect your hands from everyday abuse with job-matched gloves and barrier creams.
  • Protect your feet with safety shoes or boots with non-slip soles and heels.
  • Protect your skin with impervious garments when using toxic or irritating chemicals. In addition, use sunscreen to protect against the sun's harmful rays.


  • Is appropriate PPE available in work areas?
  • Is PPE kept clean and functional?
  • Are shoes or boots equipped with safety toes, insteps, or shanks?
  • Is sun screen available in tractors and other self-propelled equipment?

Information supplied by the National Safety Council’s Agricultural Division, the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety (NECAS) – or 888-844-6322.


FC Morning Grain Market Commentary for 6/20/2014


AM Comments 06/20/14
Friday, June 20, 2014, 8:06 AM
Submitted by: Dustin Weiner

The corn and soybean markets started higher last night but are now trying to ease off a bit, trading in the red after two days in a row of nice gains.  Some of the recovery in prices these lasts couple days can be credited to wet conditions in the NW corn belt – however the rains for next week look to move south of those areas.  Areas where corn should be pollinating next week (the Delta, gulf and southern belt states) should benefit greatly from this southern shift in precip.  At the bottom of these comments are the NWS weather outlooks for July – the thing to notice? A lack of extreme (crop threatening) heat…
You may have heard some of the talk yesterday about China – rumors are everywhere that China’s corn stocks could be much higher than the USDA showed (actually most are thinking that they are at a record high).  With what looks to be like another record corn harvest coming at them as well – many are starting to wonder what they’ll do with the surplus corn they could be sitting on.  Some are talking about China exporting corn (doubtful from what I hear).  Overall this story in general is not friendly to corn prices going forward. 
With today being a Friday in June, you never really know for sure how the day will end as traders attempt to remove risk from their positions before the weekend comes (lately that has caused late Friday rallies).  There are some who are expecting condition ratings to drop on Monday afternoon’s report due to the saturated soils in the NW which could bring some late buying / short covering before the close.  
Opening Calls
Corn 2 to 3 cents lower
Soybeans 8 to 12 cents lower


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

FC's Role with the ACWA

FC’s Role with the ACWA (Agriculture's Clean Water Alliance)

FC’s sole purpose is to serve the farmers who own our cooperative. Part of that service is to help ensure the sustainability of agriculture as a way of providing food, fuel and fiber for the growing world. Success demands that we continue our proud tradition of leaving our land and water in better shape for future generations. FC is committed to assisting its farmer members in this mission.
FC is a founding member of Agriculture’s Clean Water Alliance (ACWA) - a nonprofit organization created in 1999 by 13 Ag retailers with the common goal of keeping products intended to help crops thrive - like fertilizer and chemicals - out of local and downstream waters.
Despite the fact that all ACWA members are direct competitors, we work together toward our dual mission to help farmers improve agronomic performance in the field while supporting environmental performance beyond the field’s edge. The organization’s extensive water monitoring network is unique in that it is almost completely funded by the private Ag-industry for the benefit of both public and private stakeholders.
More than $1 million has been spent monitoring water since the project began. Though monitoring remains ACWA’s cornerstone, the organization has branched out to nutrient-reducing efforts like funding tile-line bioreactors to filter out contaminants and encouraging farmers to embrace conservation practices to reduce runoff.
ACWA Chairman Harry Ahrenholtz says water quality is improving. “To be sure, ACWA has made significant contributions to the clean water effort through its ongoing work,” says Ahrenholtz.
 A few of ACWA’s successes:
-- ACWA funded the first successful real-time, in-stream nitrate analyzer in Iowa in the Raccoon River near Van Meter.
--- Since the ACWA began, the sediment load in the Raccoon River has dropped, suggesting conservation practices like no-till and grass waterways are working.

What is the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy?

ACWA members have put their full support behind the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy, which relies on voluntary efforts rather than top-down regulation, along with greater adoption and implementation of proven, farm-based efforts including those developed by the alliance.  
Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy is a science and technology-based framework to assess and reduce nutrients to Iowa waters and ultimately, to the Gulf of Mexico. It is designed to direct efforts to reduce nutrients in surface water from both point and nonpoint sources in a scientific, reasonable and cost effective manner.
Working together, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and the Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences developed this strategy. The focus is on a pragmatic approach for reducing nutrient loads discharged from the state’s largest wastewater treatment plants, in combination with targeted practices designed to reduce loads from nonpoint sources such as farm fields.
The Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy is the first-of-its-kind framework for reducing nutrient loads discharged from the state’s largest wastewater treatment facilities, in combination with targeted practices to reduce loads from non-point sources, including agriculture. The plan establishes a goal of at least a 45-percent reduction each in total riverine nitrogen and phosphorous loadings.  
The Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy prioritizes the top watersheds in Iowa and focuses resources to make improvements in coordination and cooperation with landowners. Iowa State University has developed a technical assessment of the best management practices available to reduce nutrients, their effectiveness and implementation costs.
ACWA members believe that on-farm water quality improvement practices already being implemented by farmers - including bioreactors, wetlands, buffer strips, cover crops, conservation tillage and nutrient management - will be even more fully adopted as part of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.
FC Member Mike Bravard is Making a Difference
FC, as a founding member of the ACWA, encourages members in their environmental stewardship; supporting a sustainable model.
Producers like FC member, Mike Bravard who farms near Jefferson, IA are working hard to take care of the land and water that sustain their way of life. “Farmers in general take the issues concerning the land and water around them very seriously,” said Bravard. “The issues are complex, and those of us on the farm and in the city are all in this together. The solutions will come from a combined effort among all those with a vested interest.”
When approached about installing a bioreactor on his land several years ago, Mike Bravard was more than willing. “The bioreactor installation resulted in a significant reduction in the nitrate levels in that watershed. Results from efforts like this, when combined, make a significant difference,” notes Bravard.
“I believe that farmers are doing their part and are willing to do more".
Concerted efforts will make a difference.  Farming today is about finding new and better ways of producing more with less of a footprint. It’s about taking care of the resources that make it possible to provide food and fuel for our growing world,” said Bravard.”
Bioreactors such as the one on FC member, Mike Bravard’s land, are examples of cost-effective and voluntary solutions for improving water quality while maintaining farm profitability. The monitoring of bioreactors like this one has documented a 40-60% reduction in nitrates from tile drainage before it hits the stream.
Fast Facts:
-- A three-year project in the Brushy Creek Watershed resulted in a 50 percent reduction in E. coli bacteria measured at Dedham

--- Data indicates nitrate levels in the Raccoon River have dropped, possibly as much as 30 percent, since 2001.
To learn more about FC’s efforts through the ACWA, please go to
For more information on efforts being made in Iowa, go to Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship’s website


Monday, June 16, 2014

FC Morning Market Ag Commentary

It is a bit of a mixed bag so far this morning – old crop beans are higher while new crop beans are lower.  The monthly NOPA soybean crush report will be released at 11am today and the trade is expecting to see big crush numbers on this report (which would explain while old crop beans are rallying vs new crop).  

Corn is quiet this morning and is trading near steady – maybe up a penny.  Overall the weather still looks great for crop development (crop ratings will be out this afternoon that will likely reflect that).  If the weather continues to stay benign, Dec corn should go test its contract lows that were made back in January.  However, for now corn feels like it is taking a breather from all the selling, on Friday it rallied off the lows made mid-last week and today it is trying to hold onto those gains.

Opening Calls
Corn steady to 1c higher
Soybeans steady to 5c higher

Have a great day!
Dustin Weiner

Friday, June 13, 2014

FC Morning Market Commentary

In what will likely be written off as just a short-covering bounce – both corn and soybeans are trading higher this morning.  This feels awfully similar to last Friday when traders bailed out of their short positions (which pushed corn 10c higher that day) before the weekend only to sell the market off again Monday, taking the gains back.

The weather forecasts still look great although everybody is watching another severe storm system that is due to hit Nebraska this Saturday night (map below) that could once again bring large hail to that part of the country.  Those that miss the hail however could get a nice 1-2” rain out of the deal…

Opening Calls
Corn 2 to 3 cents higher
Soybeans 3 to 5 cents higher

Have a great day!
Dustin Weiner

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Falls from Tractors and Trailing Equipment Safety Facts and Tips

Runovers caused by falls from tractors and trailing equipment are one of the most common forms of unintentional injuries that happen on the farm or ranch. Many of these lead to serious injury and death. Falls from farm machinery are particularly common for the older farmer and children. Falls from machinery can be prevented by adopting these basic practices.

• Wear shoes and boots with slip-resistant soles and heels.

• Keep platforms, foot-plates and steps clear of mud, snow, manure or other debris.

• Before moving, check the tractor and trailing equipment to see that no one has climbed aboard without your knowledge.

• Remove tools or other items that may cause a tripping hazard from the operator platform.

• Don't use working farm equipment as a place to baby-sit children. Arrange for proper childcare.

• Never allow anyone to ride on the drawbar or towed machinery.

• Insist that no one ride on farm equipment except those required for its operation, instruction, or diagnostics.

• Reduce speed on rough, uneven or hilly ground.

• Watch for obstacles.

• Wait for the tractor to stop before getting off. Set brakes and step down using handholds or rails. No one should jump off a moving tractor. Whenever possible, equip tractors with a Rollover Protective Structure (ROPS) cab. They are more comfortable, give overhead protection, and prevent falls from tractors.


• Are shoes or boots in good condition with non-slip soles?

• Are platforms and steps free of debris?

• Are tools or other items removed from operator platform?

• Is the cab equipped with a Rollover Protective Structure (ROPS)?

Source: Information supplied by the National Safety Council’s Agricultural Division, the National Education Center for

Agricultural Safety (NECAS) – or 888-844-6322.

Agronomy Demonstration Site FC-Farnhamville

The FC Field Trial site in Farnhamville, Iowa is an outdoor agronomic proving ground where FC
Agronomists conduct crop production input demonstrations. This site is critical in demonstrating and evaluating specific, real-time crop production inputs to determine their potential return per acre on the farms of FC member/customers. “If you’re not providing proof of value, or demonstrating and evaluating inputs…you’re just selling”, said Todd Claussen / Director of Agronomy at Farmers Cooperative Company. 
In 2014, FC-Agronomy has planted over 170 acres of variable crop production inputs and management practices in eleven demonstration blocks. The breadth and scope of these blocks allows FC to evaluate area that goes well beyond “test-plot” status. Nearly all treatments and practices are replicated two to four times, thus increasing the validity of evaluations and potential data. The Agronomy Demo Site boasts layers of treatments across corn, soybeans and alfalfa, in multiple crop rotations and tillage systems. 
FC Agronomy utilizes the site as a training ground for Field Sales Agronomists and Associates. Crop clinics and  training sessions are conducted on the site at regular intervals during the growing season. Each clinic focuses on current crop conditions and pest threats for that particular time of the growing season. A great deal of hands-on agronomic information is utilized to increase the technical foundation of your local Field Sales Agronomist. For every pest or crop threat that is discussed, agronomic solution options are reviewed, discussed and debated within the FC Agronomy team. Experts from the agriculture industry and universities are often present to provide insight and information for specific products. 
Research is conducted using both large field and small field testing. Large field testing allows us to mimic practices on your farm. Within these testing sites, we can utilize our spreading and sprayer equipment to apply various inputs that could be used on your farm. The smaller replicated tests allows us to measure and analyze treatments that still need to be determined as valuable on a larger scale. Both testing methods are helpful to uncover best management practices for your farming operation. 

The following are Treatments, Applications and Practices under Evaluation in 2014:
  • Foliar Corn Treatments
  • In-furrow corn applications
  • Nitrogen Product Application and Timing
  • Twin-Row/20" Corn Trials
  • Foliar Soybean Treatments
  • High Management Corn compared to Standard Practice
  • High Management Soybeans compared to Standard Practice
  • Full FC Corn Portfolio
  • Full FC Soybean Portfolio
  • Soybean Planting Date Trial
  • 100 years of Corn/History Demonstration

This site reflects an unbelievable effort from members of the FC Agronomy Sales Team and the FC Agronomy Operations Team. 
  1. Make you money
  2. Save you time
  3. Ease your pain

FC Morning Grain Market Commentary for 6/12/2014


AM Comments 06/12/14

Thursday, June 12, 2014, 8:06 AM
Submitted by: Dustin Weiner

Soybeans have rebounded overnight and into this morning after the nearby July futures contract failed to drop below technical support (at 14.42 on the board) and started to rally.  In yesterday’s report the USDA did make downward revision to both old crop and new crop soybean carryouts – which you’d like to think was friendly. However, the old crop carryout drop was expected and most in the trade feel that soybean acres will be higher than what the USDA is currently using (right now they are going off of the March planting intentions report, actual acres don’t come out until June 30th).
Corn has settled in around unchanged from yesterday in what was a quiet night (corn traded in a 3c range).  Overall the pressure of good weather is keeping a lid on this market - but corn looks oversold which could mean that any changes in reality or perception could easily cause a pop higher.
Opening Calls
Corn mixed, 1c lower to 1c higher
Soybeans 3 to 5c higher

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

FC Morning Grain Market Commentary for 6/10/2014


AM Comments 06/10/14

Tuesday, June 10, 2014, 7:06 AM
Submitted by: Dustin Weiner

The corn and soybean markets this morning are both trading near steady, with corn trading a touch higher while beans are a touch lower.  The next big piece of fundamental news will be out tomorrow – the USDA’s monthly S&D report. 
Generally speaking the market isn’t expecting major changes in this report.  In regards to old crop corn – ethanol/export demand feels like it has remained firm while feed demand likely won’t get changed until after the June Quarterly Stocks Report.  The old crop soybean carryout isn’t expected to move much either – although both crush and exports appear to be running above the projected pace that the USDA had projected, the somewhat unknown (and maybe exaggerated) import numbers could keep this report from being overly bullish.  In regards to new crop carryouts? It is probably too early for them to start raising production estimates, but if the weather stays like this – those will most likely be coming. 
Overall this report tomorrow could/should show slight reductions in old-crop carryouts for both corn and soybeans.  While this initially could be viewed as friendly to prices – the market will likely shift it’s focus back to weather and crop development shortly afterwards.  For today – we are seeing a bit of short covering in corn ahead of the report which is causing the front end of the market to hold its ground.  Other than that – it is quiet.
Opening Calls
Corn steady to 2c higher
Soybeans 1 to 3 cents lower

Monday, June 9, 2014

FC Morning Market Commentary

A reason for the 10 cent rally in corn last Friday was that a forecast map was showing a high pressure ridge that was supposed to set in around June 18-20th, well… that is no longer showing up on the weather maps and corn is giving a chunk of that weather premium back to the market today trading over a nickel lower.  It is hard to believe that the bulls are trying to talk up weather rallies when the crops look so great (good-to-excellent ratings will be out this afternoon, likely confirming that).  The only bullish weather story could be tied to winter wheat as that region has seen excess rain that is starting to hamper crop conditions.

The first story I read on the news wire this morning comes from China, as announced they stopped issuing permits for U.S. DDGs.  They are continuing to play hardball with GMO related corn imports.  China bought 1/3 of the US DDG production last year, so if they continue to deny imports this could turn into a bigger story…

Opening Calls
Corn 5 to 7 cents lower
Soybeans 3c lower to 3c higher

Have a great day!
Dustin Weiner