World Ag News: There has been lots of press about grain finally shipping out of Ukraine, via the Black Sea. The first boat, the Razoni, left the Port city of Odessa, with about 26,000 metric tonnes of corn. As of Wednesday, August 10, that boat was sitting at anchor off Turkey’s southern coast looking for another port to unload its cargo of corn as the Lebanese buyer rejected the load.
By comparison Monroe County last year grew about 258,000 metric tonnes of corn (10,155,000 bushels) and Michigan grew about 8,763,000 metric tonnes. The real problem isn’t the old (2021) crop condition or destinations, but where will the new crop (2022) be stored, will it get harvested and how will the war affect plans for 2023 grain production?
Food situation: At present, estimates are that it will take two years of good crops worldwide to replenish global stocks. Although prices at the grocery stores are higher, there will be no real food shortages in the US. However, other countries, such as sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East or southeast Asia could face real crisis shortages. All eyes will be on the August USDA WASDE (World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimate) report and how the upcoming (Spring) planting season in Brazil and South America starts off about September 15.
Weather: Eric Snodgrass of Nutrien Ag Solutions is calling for a cooler and drier rest of June. The new 2023 Old Farmers’ Almanac™ is forecasting a colder and snowier winter. The MSU weather station near Deerfield says there have been 2078 GDD (growing degree day) (heat units) accumulated this growing season, as of August 10, with a forecast of 2205 GDD by August 17.
Corn: The second generation of the European corn borer just finished with minimal damage. One of the worst farmer fears late in the season is hail and strong winds. In the next couple of weeks pollination and kernel set will be finished and yield estimates can be made. An August 31 meeting in southeast Hillsdale County by the Michigan Corn Growers will give their assessment for yields in southeast Michigan and the state.
Land prices and rents: The Michigan office of the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) just released some land price and cash rent information for 2022. Farm real estate values were up 10.4% in 2022 from 2021, with cropland values up 12.8% averaging $5,300 statewide. Cropland average cash rent for Michigan was $144 per acre this year, up from $131 a year ago. No county numbers have been released yet. Now is a good time for farmers to negotiate leases for 2023 or beyond or for landowners to terminate oral leases for next year. Highly recommended is that all leases should be in writing and include an ending date as well as a starting date. I have generic sample leases available upon request.
Soybeans: The crop is “made” in August so rains last week and moderate weather now will help extend blooms and fill pods. Late season foliar sprays can be made once farmers note any caution to the crop rotation restrictions.
Wheat: The 2022 Michigan Wheat Performance Trials report was just released last week. Unfortunately, the nearest trial location is at MSU in Ingham County.
Commercial Vegetables: Sushila Chaudhari of MSU just released an update for the Michigan vegetable weed control guide. The MSU Vegetable Crop Report for August 10 includes the herbicide update, an article on dodder control, crop updates and an events calendar. Of interest to organic of limited resource farmers may be the September 14 Mechanical Weed Control Field Day at the Southwest Michigan Research and Extension Center located at 1791 Hillandale Road, Benton Harbor.
MCCC Student Ag Farm: Plans are firm for the Thursday, August 25 Farmer Field Day at the MCCC Student Ag Farm. Four pesticide re-certification credits, in the categories of: Private, Commercial core or commercial 1A (field crops), will be available. Held rain or shine, this event is free of charge to all area farmers, but registration is requested by calling the Monroe County Farm Bureau at 734-269-3275.
Correction: The corn research greenhouse at Marana, AZ, near Tucson, is a Bayer facility not BASF. The information was incorrect in last week's column.
Ned Birkey is MSU Extension Educator Emeritus and a regular contributor to The Monroe News.
This article originally appeared on The Monroe News: Ned Birkey: Ukraine war could affect 2023 grain production