Blogging by the Bushel
With numerous challenges over the past several years for producers, we at Mercer Landmark understand the need for a comprehensive risk management solution. We seek to provide our customers with unparalleled service to ensure maximum results.

The government’s shutdown is over…and corn and soybean harvest never missed a beat.

The combines are still rolling, and the government is back up a running, at least temporarily. They’re both huge stories in agriculture this week. But what else is happening?

Corn yields continue to surprise many farmers around the Midwest as soybean harvest gets going in major growing states this week. But, the harvest progress is also creating some truck bottlenecks in some spots.

On top of it being the busiest time of the year for many farmers, the federal government shutdown axed all USDA reports, including many on which some markets greatly depend. The October USDA report has been cancelled citing not having been able to engage in the necessary data collection and analysis over the past few weeks. The next scheduled report in November 8th.

The shutdown  hit ranchers in South Dakota the hardest. That’s where a major blizzard hit last weekend, dropping feet of snow and killing thousands of cattle. Now, ranchers are struggling to document losses that they’d ordinarily report to their local FSA offices. Lawmakers are working to restore those services for the affected ranchers.

Weather like that freak snowstorm in the northern Plains is indicative of a unique set of circumstances unfolding this fall: With no clear indication whether we’ll see La Nina or El Nino, it’s a difficult year to get a clear view of how the winter weather will unfold, one expert said this week.

It’s not the weather moving forward, but conditions in the last few months that make this year a good year to avoid much – - if any – - fall tillage, one expert said this week. What are your fall tillage plans?

Though farmers are working hard to get this year’s crops in the bin, it’s never too early to start looking ahead to next year. But, like many things right now, that complicated. “Anticipating acreage for 2014 is complicated by unfinished business with respect to 2013 acreage estimates,” one economist said this week.

A recent report shows a lot of signs point to a slide in farm income levels in the next 2 years.

There is one bright spot in the crop balance sheet moving forward; diesel prices may be on their way down, according to one economist’s recent estimate. So, will you cash in and buy at the low, or stick to your usual buying habits?

Another way to possibly get more bang for your crop buck in the coming year is through the soil benefits you can glean from raising a cover crop.

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