New Month Same Old Story    

Hello to all our customers and friends,

The days are getting longer and spring is just around the corner, I think. Even though I’ve experienced terrible snow storms in March it usually melts quickly and February is the shortest month of the year. That’s about the extent of my optimism for the immediate future. The grain markets have been pretty lack luster although soy beans have rallied about 0.30 /bu in the last two weeks. Milo continues to run past corn and at this time is $.60 / bu higher (than corn). If you haven’t noticed this one little fact, both grains are in demand by China. The milo price difference is especially noticeable at the export grain companies. While we didn’t have any significant reports of sugar cane aphids last year in the sorghum crops, 2016 scared many producers to corn and soybeans. The acres of milo planted in Kansas last year was down due to the past history of those pests, so bushels harvested were also reduced. Will China stay in the market in 2018 for milo is anyone’s guess? They are always buying soybeans and the only downward pressure is that South America is possibly raising a big crop to compete with the US. Corn and wheat are not doing anything and probably won’t in the foreseeable future. Cattle have been holding their own with some fluctuations but staying profitable for the most part. Calving season is starting and historically there are disastrous snow storms in late February and March, making it difficult to keep newborn calves alive. While our area could use the moisture we need it in moderation. 

Last month I touched on the cover crop and confined cow feeding extension meeting I attended. This was a joint effort by K-State and Nebraska. Nebraska covered the confined cow feeding concept and K-State overviewed cover crops. Nebraska is concerned about cow herd inventory because everyone wants to be a corn farmer and much of pasture land has been tore up and planted to corn and soybeans. However you can keep cows in pens on baled corn stalks with supplemental nutrition during growing season and out on stalk fields during winter with supplements. K-State presented cover crops and the potential for toxicity from many of the plants grown for that reason. If you think about the native pastures, none of them are monocultures. Big blue, little blue, Indian grass, side oats with some forbs interspersed throughout, accounting possibly for ten different species in a square yard. Some cover crop plants in a monoculture with no variation for the cattle diet can be toxic by themselves. Mother Nature likes diversity and evidently so do cows.

Until next month,

Myron Wolken, Vice President - Loans