Deere crop insurance

Westfield Insurance Company will offer crop insurance through John Deere Risk Protection for the spring 2005 growing season. Select independent agents throughout the Corn Belt will be authorized to sell the insurance.

Ag co-op earnings

The National Cooperative Bank (NCB) announced that the top 39 agricultural cooperatives together earned $52.8 billion in revenues during 2003. CHS Cooperatives of St. Paul, MN, ranked number one, with Dairy Farmers of America and Land O'Lakes ranking second and third. The entire NCB Co-op 100 report and additional information about cooperatives are available at www.co-op100.coop.

Machinery swoon

The stock prices of machinery companies dropped in mid October on reports of a bumper corn crop. Soon after the USDA dropped the average projected corn price to an average of $1.95 a bushel, several stock analysts lowered their machinery company ratings. Many had been expecting higher grain prices to bolster the demand for farm equipment. But Wall Street's optimism quickly soured at the news of expected lower grain prices.

Now the consensus opinion is that a cyclical peak in farm equipment will be likely in 2005, with reduced expectations for a multiyear boom in farm equipment sales.

Healthy soy oil

The United Soybean Board announced the formation of Qualisoy, an agricultural partnership designed to bring healthier products to the marketplace. Qualisoy partners Monsanto, Pioneer and Iowa State University will discuss plans for the introduction of new soybean varieties that will produce oils with little or no trans fats, significantly reducing the trans fats found in foods.

Ethanol claim disproved

If you've come up against the claim that ethanol requires more energy to produce than it generates, disregard it. A new study proves that claim wrong. USDA economist Hosein Shapouri found that ethanol produces 67% more energy than is required to generate it. His study, “2001 Net Energy Balance of Corn-Ethanol,” was presented recently at the Corn Utilization and Technology Conference.
— Doane's Agricultural Report