A look at this year’s crop

Posted on September 4, 2012 in Swine Performance
By Todd Herrig

A couple weeks ago, I attended a local crop tour that covered parts of four counties (Buena Vista, Clay, O’Brien and Cherokee) here in northwest Iowa to try and get a better idea of what we are looking at for yields in this part of the state. Here’s how it worked:  The farmers in attendance went out in small groups to their fields and took their corn samples.  Then they followed a formula that was provided by the crop insurance agent who hosted the meeting.  Everyone turned in their results to be tallied.  Here’s what we saw:

  • Participants turned in 75 samples.
  • The yields varied between 75 and 234 bushels.  The fields that were planted corn-on-corn with not much rain did not look very good.
  • The overall average of the 75 samples was 176 bushels.

In our area – and many other parts of the Midwest – the rain was pretty spotty this year and you could easily see how that affected the yield outcomes throughout just these four counties. While we were all together, we talked about some other interesting topics too:

  • It looks like we’ll need to plant more than 100 million acres of corn next year.
  • We’ve been wondering about the drought’s effect on seed corn availability next year.  The seed companies say we will have enough seed corn, but you might have to wait a little longer to get it.  Some varieties may be more limited, but remember that the seed corn companies do have plots in South America to help fill in the gaps we may have here.
  • Jon Day joined us as a guest speaker at this meeting.  Jon is a managing partner with Market Wise Ag Services, a firm that helps farmers market their grain and livestock. He said that soybeans could be the wild card next year if the corn crop is going to increase to 100 million acres.  That means we’re going to have to continually evaluate the most cost-effective protein sources as we feed hogs.
  • A crop insurance agent who also spoke at the meeting said that, in a normal year, he has about 800 claims for his area.  So far this year, he’s reached 700 claims and we haven’t even started harvest yet. Most of the claims he has adjusted have been for corn that will be or is already being chopped for silage.

A year like this is a good reminder that our business depends on Mother Nature and all of her variables.  No doubt it’s a challenging year and it’s tough to see crops withered in the fields.  Contact your Vita Plus consultant to help you evaluate your options and develop the most cost-effective diets for your hogs as we look to the year ahead.  Put us to work! About the author:  Todd Herrig is a Vita Plus district sales and account manager.  He earned his sales and marketing degree from Iowa Central Community College.  He has been a Vita Plus employee for the past 11 years.  Herrig has been involved in agriculture most of his life and worked on a hog farm throughout high school and college.  He worked for a private feed dealership for five years before becoming a feed department manager for a large co-op in western Iowa.  Herrig is a member of the Clay County and Iowa Pork Producer Associations, along with being involved with the local 4-H and FFA.  He lives in Iowa with his wife, Tonya, and three children Bailey, Presley and Trey.  In his spare time, Herrig attends his kids’ school events and enjoys the outdoors.

Category: Corn and soybeans
Feed costs
Swine Performance