By Laurie Bedord

The Data-Intensive Farm Management (DIFM) Research project is looking for Midwest corn farmers to participate in its USDA-sponsored research project beginning in 2017. The four-year, $4 million project, which is based at the University of Illinois and University of Nebraska, uses precision agriculture technology to conduct large-scale, on-farm nitrogen fertilizer and seeding rate field trials.

Interested farmers should have access to precision equipment for fertilizing and planting, as well as a yield monitor. You must also be willing to make a field of 80 acres or larger available for the trial.

After every year, researchers will analyze the data from each field trial and provide farmers with information about the management implications suggested by the data.

If a farmer experiences any profit losses due to participation, he or she will be fully compensated by DIFM. Participating farmers will also receive a $500 yearly stipend.

Informational meetings will be held at the University of Illinois campus on February 20 and 27, 2017. To learn more about the DIFM project, visit


Ethanol may spur 2017 corn market

URBANA, Ill. (University of Illinois) – The U.S. ethanol industry ended 2016 on a high note.

Ethanol production for the week ending Dec. 30 set a new ethanol production record with an average of 1.043 million barrels per day.

The March futures price for corn moved higher last week to close at $3.58 in large part due to strength in the ethanol sector.

Ethanol production and exports returned strong numbers over the first quarter of the marketing year. Currently, the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report forecast for corn consumption for ethanol production is 5.3 billion bushels.

According to University of Illinois agricultural economist Todd Hubbs, when taking into account an increase in projected gasoline consumption in 2017 and robust ethanol export levels, the ability to surpass this projection is a strong possibility.

“Domestic ethanol consumption in 2017 will be influenced by domestic gasoline consumption, due to the ethanol blending requirement and the biofuels volume requirement associated with the Renewable Fuels Standard,” Hubbs said. “The EPA final rulemaking for the Renewable Fuels Standard for 2017 was released on Nov. 23 and is discussed in greater detail in the farmdoc daily article posted Nov. 30.

“In brief, the renewable fuels volume requirement is set at 19.28 billion gallons for 2017, which is up from the 18.11 billion gallons required in 2016.

“The conventional ethanol requirement is set at 15 billion gallons for 2017, 500 million gallons larger than 2016 and equal to the statutory requirement level.

“If the gasoline consumption forecast used by the EPA is correct, the E10 blend wall will be 14.36 billion gallons in 2017. The EPA believes an ethanol supply of 14.56 billion gallons is reasonably attainable in 2017.

“Within the 14.56 billion gallons, E15 and E85 blends are expected to be 107 and 204 million gallons respectively. The ability to attain the E15 and E85 blend levels remains to be seen, but the increase in ethanol requirements provides support for greater corn usage in 2017.”

Pricing ethanol

U.S. retail gasoline prices averaged $2.14 per gallon in 2016, which is 12 percent less than the price experienced in 2015 and is the lowest price since 2004.

The December Energy Information Agency Short Term Energy Outlook projected an increase in gasoline prices for 2017 to $2.30 per gallon. Despite the projection of higher gasoline prices, gasoline consumption is forecast at 143.60 billion gallons in 2017, which is up from the 142.72 billion gallons consumed in 2016.

Ethanol production is forecast to be 1 million barrels per day.

“If the EIA projection is correct, approximately 15.3 billion gallons of ethanol will be produced in 2017,” Hubbs said. “When considering the robust ethanol export trade currently in process, the U.S. ethanol industry is expected to produce a record level of ethanol in 2017.”

Exporting ethanol

Ethanol export numbers are available from U.S. Census trade data for 2016 through November.

U.S. exports of ethanol thus far are at 948 million gallons, which is up almost 27 percent from the similar period in 2015.

According to Hubbs, for 2016, the prospect of ethanol exports exceeding 1 billion gallons is not unreasonable.

Canada, China, and Brazil imported approximately 67 percent of the ethanol shipped from the U.S. through November.

“The increase in ethanol exports is driven largely by increased volumes sent to China and Brazil,” Hubbs said. “China imported 179 million gallons through November, which far exceeds the 73.8 million gallons imported during the entirety of 2015.

“Brazil imported 224 million gallons through November, which is almost double from 2015. As we progress into 2017, the increases are expected to persist in Brazil because high sugar prices are expected to decrease ethanol production as mills allocate cane for sugar production in 2017.

“There is concern that China could raise ethanol tariffs and reduce ethanol imports in 2017 due to a possible trade dispute with the new administration.”

Consuming ethanol

Hubbs said the implications for corn consumption during the 2016-17 marketing year can be seen in the USDA Grain Crushing and Co-Product Production report released on Jan. 3.

Grain crushing for fuel alcohol is available through November. For the first three months of the marketing year, 1.34 billion bushels of corn has been processed for ethanol.

his is up 3.2 percent from 2015 processing numbers.

“If corn used for ethanol production maintains this pace, 5.37 billion bushels will be processed in the marketing year,” Hubbs said. “Using EIA weekly ethanol production numbers, December ethanol production averaged more than 1 million barrels per day. These production levels place corn use for ethanol production in a range of 455 to 460 million bushels for the month if corn use maintains the pace of the three previous months.

:With a conservative estimate of corn crush in December, total corn consumption for ethanol production through the first third of the marketing year would be above the current WASDE projection.

“Lower corn prices, strong ethanol exports, and greater blending requirements combine to make 2017 appear to be a strong year for corn consumption in ethanol production. If the U.S. ethanol industry produced over 1 million barrels per day for the entire year, the ability to blend at requirement levels under an expanded gasoline consumption scenario and meet potential export market demand bodes well for corn use in the sector for 2017.”


National Ag Day: March 17th 2017


The Agriculture Council of America (ACA) is an organization uniquely composed of leaders in the agriculture, food and fiber communities dedicated to increasing the public awareness of agriculture’s vital role in our society. The Agriculture Council of America and the National Ag Day program was started in 1973.

Core Values

ACA believes that every American should:

  • Understand how food and fiber products are produced.

  • Appreciate the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant and affordable products.

  • Value the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy.

  • Acknowledge and consider career opportunities in the agriculture, food and fiber industry.

The primary focus of ACA is to conduct the National Agriculture Day Program which occurs in March of every year.

Key Initiatives

ACA will:

  • Support and encourage programs and activities in observance of National Agriculture Day by organizations, companies and individuals.
  • Provide planning information and materials in support of National Agriculture Day programs and activities.
  • Inform trade and general media about National Agriculture Day and provide information to increase awareness.
  • Involve the agricultural public relations community in support of National Agriculture Day.
Strategic Priorities

ACA is a not-for-profit (501-c-6) organization and maintains the ACA Education Foundation which is an educational foundation (501-c-3) organization. These organizations are supported through a management contract with the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA).


To accomplish its purpose, the ACA receives funding from companies, associations, foundations and individuals. Contributions to the ACA are not tax deductible under the policies of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. Contributions to the ACA Education Foundation may be tax-deductible. Contributors are encouraged to consult a tax advisor.


AgFiniti Opens to Third party integration through API

by Kaleb Lindquist on December, 22 2016 in AgFiniti®

Recently Ag Leader announced an Application Program Interface (API) for our AgFiniti® Cloud Based Platform. This has been quoted as “a big step forward toward broader software connectivity” by one online publication. This is indeed an exciting step for Ag Leader!

For you as a grower…what the heck does this mean? It means you can use the display you want and your trusted advisors can use the software they’re accustomed to.

When I hear the term “API” I hear things like: connectivity, efficiency and seamlessness. This means that, as a grower, I can send as-applied data to my agronomist or any other trusted advisor and they can access it, regardless of what software they use. It’s a two-way street, so if they generate a prescription file for my Ag Leader display, I can wirelessly access that file through AgFiniti.

Not being tied to a single software package opens the doors for connectivity in our industry. Something our growers have been asking for, for a long time now. An API is the first big step to making this happen.

As word of the AgFiniti API spreads, Ag Leader will connect to more and more 3rd party companies. Making it even easier for you, as a grower, to do your job.

Interested developers should submit a request through this webpage.

Kaleb Lindquist
Kaleb started at Ag Leader as a Technical Support Representative in January of 2011, from there he transitioned to the position of Training Specialist and later, moved to his current role of Software Sales Specialist. Kaleb grew up on a farm near Albert City, IA where his family grows corn and soybeans in addition to raising hogs and cattle. He graduated from Iowa State University in the spring of 2012 with a degree in Agronomy emphasizing in crop production. In his free time he can be found back home helping on the farm, hunting, fishing, riding motorcycles, and spending time with family and friends.

Read More by Kaleb Lindquist