Farmway summmit to focus on weather and commodity markets |

Farmway summmit to focus on weather and commodity markets

Amy Hadachek
For The Fence Post

Weather and grain markets are the top topics of interest for farmers and ranchers. These subjects will be the prime focus of the 2017 Helping Our Owners Succeed Summit hosted by Farmway Co-op, Inc.; at the Down Under Ballroom in Beloit, Kan., Feb. 16, 2017, from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

"Agriculture today is increasingly global and Farmway's summit, through our selected speakers, offers previews of what's to come in agriculture through new technologies, advanced practices and operating efficiencies," said Mallory Wittstruck, vice president of communications and member services at Farmway Co-op; based in Beloit.

With weather daily driving farm and ranch decisions, all eyes continue watching winter's impact from weak La Nina-like conditions in the Equatorial Pacific Ocean. Nebraska Climatologist Al Dutcher, scheduled to be one of the summit's speakers, has been analyzing the La Nina influence on the northern jetstream as an intense area of low pressure has developed south of the eastern Aleutian Islands.

"It took two months for that area to evolve and strengthen sufficiently that pieces of energy could be ejected southeastward into the Pacific northwest and weaken the northern periphery of the atmospheric-blocking ridge over the southeastern U.S.," Dutcher said. "As this ridge weakened, low pressure systems entering into the western U.S. were able to dig far enough southeastward to allow for the deep penetration of cold air into continental U.S."

“Agriculture today is increasingly global and Farmway’s summit, through our selected speakers, offers previews of what’s to come in agriculture through new technologies, advanced practices and operating efficiencies.”

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Dutcher's talk will focus on the pattern's dynamics and the role — that weak La Nina conditions may play on this pattern as spring months approach. "With copious rain and snowfall recently inundating central and northern California, a few of the systems moving eastward into the central Plains are expected to bring significant weather events, with icing events topping the list during the late winter and early spring," Dutcher said.

The longevity of this pattern will determine the risk for production-limiting weather patterns across the U.S. "I will attempt to identify areas of the country most likely to experience spring planting issues, along with areas exhibiting excessive dryness, which increases drought risk as we progress through 2017," Dutcher said.

The other big attention grabber is sure to be the U.S. Department of Agriculture crop report that was released on Jan. 12, 2017.

"The most notable surprise from that report, was that winter wheat acres were at the lowest level since 1909. They were listed at 23.3 million acres of hard red winter wheat, which is what's grown in Kansas. So, we are going to focus on what those acres will do to wheat prices, and how the acres that didn't get planted to wheat will be allocated to other commodities; most notably for Kansas corn and soybeans," said Ed Prosser, chief trading and risk officer with The Gavilon Group, LLC., based in Omaha, Neb. Prosser will deliver the commodity market outlook.

"There are several aspects that will affect my presentation by mid-February; including politics, world events and commodity prices. I think those will set the stage for the farm economy for 2017, so we'll spend a lot of time talking about production costs," said Prosser, noting that the markets change constantly. "I will have some opinions on each," he added.

Farmway member-owners can register for this free event before Feb. 10 by contacting Mallory Wittstruck at (785) 738-0753 or The summit is free for members, or Wittstruck says people can stop by any Farmway Co-op location for a membership application, or apply on the website. ❖