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  • It may be a little early to start talking about 2015 planted acreage, but there are plenty of opinions on just how much farmers will increase soybean planting.

  • Crude oil futures have sunk to four-year lows, giving farmers an ample window to consider pricing their fuel needs for 2015.

  • Beginning Oct. 22, all Class I railroads will be required to publicly file weekly data reports regarding service performance.

  • Private analytical firm Informa Economics boosts U.S. soybean production above 4 billion bushels while holding corn production steady at 14.4 bb

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  • A recent tour around the Parana state of Brazil reveals weather has farmers nervous about crop potential.

  • A largely warm, dry weather pattern has the combines running hard this week.

  • Do you have the next big ag technology idea? Are you looking for a way to get it started toward the marketplace? Here's the program for you.The Yield Lab is an ag tech accelerator that's accepting applications from agriculture technology firms, from start-ups to established companies, for its inaugural "class" that will comprise the front-runners in the sector developing new tools for the industry.The Yield Lab will, according to a company report, seek "to invest in companies with innovative products that increase agriculture yields in livestock and crops, help to reduce waste throughout the agricultural value chain, or promote sustainable agricultural practices."Putting together the resources of the Yield Lab, a St. Louis, Missouri-based think tank, and the four to six companies chosen to be part of the program will go a long way to moving the general ag technology sector forward, says Thad Simons, a former Monsanto executive and CEO of Novus International."The time is right to provide new AgTech companies with support to successfully grow. Participating companies can leverage the unique networks and resources our team can offer. We think this can be a powerful opportunity to take innovative companies to the next step," says Simons, who's one of a group of "former ag industry executives" leading the Yield Lab program.The 2015 class will be announced in January. Applications are due by October 31. Go to www.theyieldlab.com for more information about the program or to learn how to apply.

  • After a few showers move through the eastern Plains and northwestern Corn Belt late this week and into the weekend, and chances for light showers at a few points in the western Midwest and northern Delta late next week, weather conditions should remain free of setbacks for corn and soybean harvest in the Midwest for the next 15 days, forecasters say."Only sprinkles lingered in eastern fringes of the Midwest yesterday. Light showers briefly slow western Midwest harvest Thursday, but the weekend is dry. Showers expand into central areas next Tuesday and in the east by the 11- to 15-day, slowing later harvest," according to the Commodity Weather Group's Ag QUICKsheet on Wednesday. Those showers won't spawn big delays, though; Don Keeney, senior ag meteorologist with MDA Weather Services, says "no major setbacks" will result from the showers that will float around the northwestern and western Corn Belt, eastern Plains, and southern Delta."Showers are still expected to return to the northwestern Midwest, and east-central and southern Plains over the next two days. The rains in the northwestern Midwest will slow corn and soybean harvesting a bit, but drier weather there by Friday and Saturday should allow harvesting to improve again," he says. "Meanwhile, drier weather in the southern and eastern Midwest and Delta will favor corn and soybean harvesting. Rains should return to the western Midwest and northern Delta next week, though, which will once again slow fieldwork there. NO major setbacks are expected, though, especially in the eastern Midwest and southern Delta."A big reason conditions will remain generally setback-free the next few days despite the showers: Temperatures will hit the 70s in parts of the Midwest in both the short- and mid-term, adds Wayne Ellis, Freese-Notis Weather, Inc., meteorologist."Dry weather otherwise for the Midwest through the weekend. Highs tomorrow will be in the 50s north-central through the eastern Corn Belt and range up to the low 70s far west. About the same for Thursday then warmer Friday into the weekend with weekend highs in the 60s east and 70s west," he says. "Above-normal temps across the area with near-normal rainfall for roughly the northwest two fifths of the region and below normal elsewhere for October 27-31."Look for "near-normal" temperatures to return through the first seven to 10 days of November, Ellis adds.Farmers in the region aren't entirely out of the woods yet for harvest this fall, weather-wise; MDA's latest longer term outlook through the end of the calendar year shows warmer-than-normal temperatures are still likely in much of the Midwest, but moisture chances are higher now than earlier expectations."The latest 31- to 60-day temperature outlook has trended slightly warmer in the central Midwest," Keeney adds. "The precipitation forecast has trended slightly wetter in the Midwest and central Plains but has trended drier in the far northern and far southern Plains. The wetter pattern in the central and eastern Midwest will slow any remaining corn and soybean harvesting, although harvesting should progress well in the western Midwest."The warmer temperatures -- which Keeney says are as likely for the Plains states -- will limit any potential damage from freezing temperatures before that region's winter wheat crop can get a good stand established.Get your latest weather info here!

 

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