Industry

Harvest was a little challenging this year

Harvest was a little challenging this year because it started raining once harvest began. With the large crop we had this year, the elevator had trouble getting enough train cars in. That meant that the elevator had to shut down early some days. That made it a little challenging some days in this area. The wet weather and transportation issues did make it challenging, but overall it was still a very good harvest.

The transportation problems were a surprise because we don’t normally have long lines at the elevator. Most of the farmers had already filled their on-farm storage facilities and at times would have to shut down production until the elevators could take their soybeans. Our elevator is a regional elevator with a large amount of storage that runs very efficiently, so it has been quite a while since we experienced something like that.

There are still a few crops left, but most of the crops are out of the field now and everyone has good yields. We were a little disappointed by our soybean crop this year. The double crop soybeans were good for this area, but we were somewhat disappointed by the first crop soybeans when it comes to yield. Although overall they were still above average.

We have produced another quality crop for our international customers, as we usually do. It is a very plentiful crop this year, so we should be able to meet all of their needs and in a timely manner with a sustainable and high-quality product. Overall, the soybeans around the country look very good and it will be a product that our international customers want.

September 15, 2014

This week, I’m attending the U.S. Soy Global Trade Exchange in Milwaukee. This is a great opportunity for us to meet with our valuable international customers. Approximately 60 percent of our soybeans and soybean products are exported overseas and that continues to grow.

On the farm, we’re still watching the progression and the maturity of our corn and soybeans before we start harvesting. We’re approximately two week away from shelling our corn. The moisture is around 30 percent right now.

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Some of our soybeans are slightly turning. Fortunately, I don’t have any sudden death syndrome. I thought some of my soybeans were affected a few weeks ago, but they were just maturing early. There is quite a bit of SDS around the area that has caused significant damage, but luckily I haven’t had any in my fields. They’re also finding some white mold soybeans in the area, so that is a concern. The early maturing soybeans are beginning to turn in the low spots, but we’re still around three weeks away from harvesting our soybeans unless if we get an early frost.

Our biggest challenge is that we’ve been getting a lot of rain lately. Our fields are fairly soft right now. We’re never upset about getting rain in August and September, but we don’t want to get too much rain with harvest coming up. That’s the only challenge we’re experiencing right now, but we are continuing to monitor for diseases since that can have a major impact on your yields.

Our soybeans are looking really good. I think if everything continues without any interruptions, we should have a good crop. Despite some diseases in some areas around the country, I think it will be a very good crop for soybean farmers in the U.S. We’ll be able to provide our international customers with the high-quality soybeans they want and need.

August 25, 2014

We’ve been checking to see how the corn and soybeans are developing this week. We’ve been looking for diseases, and we’re concerned about the hot and dry weather we’ve been experiencing. Fortunately, we’ve had some rain this month. We’ve received more than eight inches of rain, which is unheard of around here. Even with all the heat, we’re doing pretty well. We would have some significant decreases in yield without the rain because it’s hard for the soybeans to develop blooms and pods when it’s dry.

We have had some diseases in our soybean fields with either sudden death syndrome or phytophthora root rot. They’re not big areas, but there are spots in the field that you can see. I’ve been hearing that other farmers in the area have been having issues with sudden death syndrome as well.

Monitoring the diseases is our main goal for the week. We want to make sure that we don’t need to spray. We’re also working on our machinery and are getting our combine ready for harvest.

It sounds like we’re going to have a pretty good crop this year throughout the United States. It looks like the soybeans with have a good quality, which I know is important to our international customers. Adverse weather can always keep us from getting in the field and getting the soybeans out, but I think we should be able to supply them with a high-quality and sufficient crop this year.

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August 4, 2014

We’ve been checking the soybean fields for weed control this week. We’ve also been looking for insect damage and checking to see if we’ll need to use any fungicides. That’s our main goal for the week. We are also inspecting our equipment, like the combine and harvester, so they can be ready for the fall harvest.

Our main challenge this week is dry weather. We’ve been fortunate all summer long that we’ve received a sufficient amount of rain, but it’s been approximately two to three weeks since we’ve had any precipitation, so it’s getting pretty dry. Luckily, the temperatures have remained pretty cool, so we haven’t had much evaporation. Fortunately, meteorologists are expecting some rain here later this week. That moisture would be a significant improvement for the crops, if we get it.

My soybeans are looking very good so far this year. They’re at the “bloom stage” where there are a lot of blooms on the beans.  They’re definitely in need of water, though, so the blooms can develop pods.

I’d like my international customers to know that if everything continues the way it’s going, we should have a very good soybean crop for them. The weed control has been very good this year, so the soybeans should be clean.  This should be a high-quality product.

July 21, 2014

We’ve been checking our soybeans to see if they need to be sprayed. We have some weeds in the field and are trying to identify what they are. We think we finished all of our spraying last week. We also just finished double cropping our soybeans in the wheat stubble and sprayed all of them as well. Now we’re working on our equipment and cleaning it up, including to getting the combines ready to harvest this the fall.

Ford 071414It’s been a little dry in our area lately. That’s really surprising, too, because it was so wet earlier this year. We’ve had less than an inch of rain in the last week or so. Our corn is in full pollination now and the soybeans are starting to bloom, so we need more water. It’s not a serious situation, however. Fortunately, we should get some rain and cooler temperatures this week, which will help the corn and soybeans.

I’d like for my international customers to know that we’re off to a great start in this area. Right now, we have the potential to have a high-quality crop. We should be able to supply all of the soybeans that they will need in the future.

June 23, 2014

This week I attended the USB Executive Committee meeting and met with executive members of ASA.

In the field, we started harvesting wheat and hope to start double cropping the soybeans once we get all the wheat cut, but that depends on the weather since there’s rain in the forecast for this and next week. The soybeans have a good stand, and most of them are planted in the area. Some farmers have to replant their soybeans though since it rained right after they planted.

We finished spraying the soybeans with herbicides. Since we don’t have any pressures from insects or diseases, we haven’t had to spray any insecticides or fungicides. Right now, we’re just keeping an eye on the crop and will monitor it throughout the growing season. We’ll likely have to spray herbicides again probably in August because there will be a new flush of weeds that will germinate and emerge.

The challenge right now is the weather conditions. Up in Minnesota and Iowa, they’ve had some severe storms and flash flood warnings. Some farmers in that area have reported four to seven inches of rain. Fortunately we haven’t had that much rain; we’ve had excessive amounts at times but not to that extent. It’s been extremely hot this week in the mid-90s with the heat index over 100 degrees, so the heat and humidity have also been a challenge.

With severe weather, it’s good to know we have the comfort of a diverse soybean-growing region. With soybeans planted in at least 26 states from the Southeast to the North, as far west as Colorado to the Northeast and clear down to Texas, then all over the South and Midwest, we’ll have a reliable supply of soybeans this year for our international customers.

June 10, 2014

This week we’ve had some quick showers, although we’re still pretty dry and could use some more water. We finished planting all our soybeans about three days ago, which has gone smoothly. Without rain, we were able to plant all the soybeans at once. We checked them today, and you can start to see the rows of beans, so we shouldn’t have to replant any. We have had to replant some of our corn though because of water damage—we just had to patch in some spots.

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There are still farmers in my area planting corn, but most are planting soybeans. A few of us have finished planting, but those doing soybeans now are putting them in pretty quickly. Our goal this week is to get all the soybeans sprayed. Also, I’m predicting that we’ll start harvesting wheat within the next two to three weeks. So we’re getting the combine ready, then we’ll start double cropping the soybeans and wheat. We no-till the soybeans into the wheat stubble.

Overall, it’s been a good week for our soybeans—nothing out of the ordinary. Some farmers in my area have had problems with armyworms on their wheat, but there hasn’t been any damage to the soybeans because they aren’t large enough and haven’t fully emerged. It looks like if everything stays the same and progresses as it should, we’ll have a good start to our soybeans. Most of the weeds have been controlled, so we have the opportunity for a good soybean crop this year.

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Dwain is harvesting his wheat in two to three weeks, then will no-till soybeans into the wheat stubble.

May 16, 2014

With good weather in the 80s last week, we were able to finish planting all our corn and are now starting to see the rows. With cooler temperatures, more than two inches of rain since last Friday and more showers in the forecast, our goal is to start planting soybeans by the first part of next week, if the rain stops and the corn emerges alright. Last spring we had 12 inches of rain during the month of May, so we’ve got good soil moisture right now compared to last year. We just hope that if it quits raining, it doesn’t stop altogether because the moisture dissipates pretty quickly from the soil in my area when it gets to be 90 degrees and sunny.

Other than the cool weather and rain, one other challenge is weed control for farmers that didn’t spray last fall or earlier this spring. We sprayed everything last fall, so our fields are looking good. The cool, damp weather may also create an insect problem, or possibly cause some diseases that require fungicides to control.

Even with weather challenges year after year, we’ve proven that we can provide a consistent supply, and we strive to provide international customers with safe and sustainable quality soybeans. Our international marketing staff at USSEC is dedicated to providing expertise to customers around the world, offering technical experience and educational seminars to help them better utilize our U.S. soybeans and soybean products.

April 25, 2014

Some locations are planting corn right now and fertilizer is being applied. The soybean grounds are being sprayed, too, and will soon be ready for planting. I heard from one farmer in Southern Illinois who might plant beans this week, but that depends on the weather, which is our main challenge right now.

With rain and cold temperatures in the forecast, we’re not planting yet. Cold weather slows the growing time for germination and growth of the seed. Another challenge is that some of the fields that weren’t sprayed for weeds last fall are beginning to look fairly weedy, so farmers in my area are trying to get those fields sprayed. We’ve also applied nitrogen on our wheat and will soon be doing disease control application, but right now our main concentration is getting corn and soybeans planted.

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This year’s soybean seed supply looks good, and if planting moves forward as anticipated, we should have a quality soybean crop, dependent on weather in the future months. U.S. soybean farmers are very sustainable and extremely conscious in the way they grow their crop, using the least amount of chemicals and fertilizer applications necessary. We want to ensure our international customers are provided with the highest quality and safest soybeans available on the market.

I look forward to traveling to Brazil in June with USSEC Chairman Randy Mann to look at the country’s infrastructure. Back in 1991, I did my graduate thesis in Brazil studying soybean production and the infrastructure.

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About Dwain Ford’s Farm: Dwain and his wife, Melba, own Ford Farms and M&D Seed Company in Kinmundy, Illinois, where they produce and market soybeans, corn and wheat. Their family includes son, Shannon; his wife, Misty; son, Ryan; his wife, Carrie; and four grandchildren. This is Dwain’s sixth year as a USB Director.

Dwain Ford
Dwain Ford

U.S. Soybean farmer

Illinois