How a Biotoxin Evolved

first_imgWhat do shrews and lizards have in common?  Not much, but two species developed the same toxin in their digestive enzymes, giving them both a poisonous bite.  Science Daily said a harmless digestive enzyme became overactive through three related changes.  “What had been a mild anticoagulant in the salivary glands of both species has become a much more extreme compound that causes paralysis and death in prey that is bitten.”  That similar “catalytic enhancement” occurred within two unrelated species suggests that the path to this toxicity is not extremely improbable.  It could be selected if it enhances the ability of the species to survive and reproduce.  This was also reported by PhysOrg.This case might provide a test of Michael Behe’s ideas about limits to evolutionary change.  It appears the changes to this enzyme are minor – something like opening up the active site a little wider and allowing the substrate easier access.  If so, it is no more the “evolution of new protein function” than changing the concentration or pH of an existing acid.  It does not involve adding new functional information.  This is “horizontal evolution” that enhances and distributes existing traits according to the environment.    Christians might take note of this story as a possible insight into the origin of natural evil.  This toxin appears to be a slight modification of an existing digestive enzyme.  It did not have to be created de novo.  Perhaps many things that cause pain and suffering, including thorns, are not far removed from original beneficial designs.(Visited 48 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Considering corn versus beans for 2016

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Pro Farmer estimates are showing a 164.3 corn national average, while the USDA was 168.8.  This wasn’t a big surprise to the trade. Many feel that the final number will be somewhere in-between. We will know in almost 30 days as harvest should be nearly to I-80.  This week harvest was as far north as Wichita, KS. Reports of dryland corn yields of 130-150 in fields that normally produce 100 are certainly going to get the attention of the markets.However, there was a significant 15 bushel yield difference between the USDA and Pro Farmer in Indiana and Ohio.  With 8.75 million acres estimated to be harvested in these two states, this could mean a 130 million bushel (or 1% of total crop) decrease.  If this happens, carryout could be under 1.6 billion overall, which could be good for prices.However, this assumes:No additional yield increases in the western statesNo changes to export demand (which has been called into question recently)No changes to feed demand despite significant amounts of feed wheat from the rainy weather this summer, a reduction in feed demand for corn is a strong possibility.I look for a narrow trading range for corn until the October 12 USDA report. Farmers continuing to not sell at these reduced priced levels has been very supportive to prices.Another concern recently is the possibility of the Fed increasing interest rates.  Everyone expects that it will eventually happen, but no one knows when.  If interest rates increase it would be a “double whammy” for farmers.  Increased interest rates increase production costs and the value of the dollar globally, making exports more difficult and hurtingprices levels. 2016 Corn vs Bean rotationLooking forward to 2016, the corn to bean price ratio is 2.25 : 1, which means corn is more advantageous than beans.  Last year at this time the ratio was 2.56 : 1, which favored beans.  Conventional wisdom says 2.4 : 1 is the “ideal” spread that neither encourages or discourages either crop.  What does this mean? This could hurt the chances of a spring rally to“buy corn acres” many producers usually hope for.  On the flip side, if corn is below $4, South America will plant fewer acres.  However, with the current large world carryout the market might be telling world producers it doesn’t need that much corn.We plan to adjust our 2016 planting rotation on my farm to plant more corn than beans.  This adjustment changes my2016 sales percentages from 40% corn sold to 28% and 20% beans sold to 55%.Grain Marketing Recap for the 2014 Soybean CropThe 2014/2015 marketing year is essentially over with harvest a month away.  I continue to tell farmers that looking at cash prices isn’t enough.  Savvy farmers examine every aspect of the marketing process to optimize their grain marketing strategy.Futures  – have the biggest movement potential for farmers.  In the last year beans have had a $3.77/bu range ($12.71-$8.94).  My farm average futures sales was $11.48, which puts me in the top 33% of the market move.  Hindsight tellsme I’m happy with this.  This price was established using a combination of futures, options and spreads, all of which helped reduce my risk and give me a good price.Carry – Many farmers over-look the potential in market carry.  Carry represents how farmers get paid to store grain until early summer guaranteed.  This year the high was hit in early Oct, paying farmers 33 cents to hold their grain until the following July 1st.  (Usually it hits the top of the market before Nov 1st.) I set my carry price at 32 cents or 1 cent off the top.Soybean carry works a little differently than corn carry. South America can produce as many beans as the US by July 1, which causes an inverse (where the nearby futures market is higher than futures further in the future). This inverse in the carry market indicates that the market doesn’t need producers storing the crop once another new harvest takes place. This inverse will then cost elevators and producers to hold the grain instead of paying a premium (like corn usually has).To avoid this, I had to set my soybean basis by July 1st or risk taking a loss in the carry market.  As noted by this chartbelow the cost to hold grain increased substantially after July 1.Basis – (The CBOT price minus the local price available), usually runs independent of the CBOT.  The range for basis was nearly 70 cents from top to bottom (-.80 to -.10) for the season picked up on my farm.  I set the basis for my farm in early May at the very top of the basis market for summer delivery.  Obviously, I’m extremely happy with that.Interestingly, basis did rally in August, but with the negative carry (explained above) it would have been a loss waiting for those basis levels.  Basis and Carry must always work together to guarantee profits.Evaluating PerformanceI can only truly evaluate the performance of my marketing plan after I’ve broken down each component individually.  When farmers tell me their cash sales, it usually isn’t the whole story.  Maybe they picked their futures price well, but missed substantial opportunity in the carry market and who knows where the basis was when they made their trade.How to Make an Additional 5% on Your SoybeansIf a farmer works basis and carry into their marketing strategy they can increase their profits by 5% or more.  While it is a little more difficult with soybeans than corn, the premium available is still worth the time.  Savvy farmers are learning how this kind of marketing is beneficial to their bottom line. This is not a reinvention of the wheel, but merely adopting a plan that already exists and is used by all the major grain companies.My Current Positions in SoybeansPOSITION – BEANS201420152016Beans Sold100%87%54%CBOT Price$11.47$10.97 est$10.00 estMarket Carry$0.32$.30 est$.30 estBasis on Farm($0.10)($.30) est($.30) estCash Price$11.69$10.97 est$10.00 est Jon grew up raising corn and soybeans on a farm near Beatrice, NE. Upon graduation from The University of Nebraska in Lincoln, he became a grain merchandiser and has been trading corn, soybeans and other grains for the last 18 years, building relationships with end-users in the process. After successfully marketing his father’s grain and getting his MBA, 10 years ago he started helping farmer clients market their grain based upon his principals of farmer education, reducing risk, understanding storage potential and using basis strategy to maximize individual farm operation profits. A big believer in farmer education of futures trading, Jon writes a weekly commentary to farmers interested in learning more and growing their farm operations.Trading of futures, options, swaps and other derivatives is risky and is not suitable for all persons. All of these investment products are leveraged, and you can lose more than your initial deposit. Each investment product is offered only to and from jurisdictions where solicitation and sale are lawful, and in accordance with applicable laws and regulations in such jurisdiction. The information provided here should not be relied upon as a substitute for independent research before making your investment decisions. Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC is merely providing this information for your general information and the information does not take into account any particular individual’s investment objectives, financial situation, or needs. All investors should obtain advice based on their unique situation before making any investment decision. The contents of this communication and any attachments are for informational purposes only and under no circumstances should they be construed as an offer to buy or sell, or a solicitation to buy or sell any future, option, swap or other derivative. The sources for the information and any opinions in this communication are believed to be reliable, but Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC does not warrant or guarantee the accuracy of such information or opinions. Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC and its principals and employees may take positions different from any positions described in this communication. Past results are not necessarily indicative of future results. He can be contacted at read more

Glenn Harsh, Aug. 6

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest We got rain over the weekend. Right here at the home farm where we really needed it the most we got three-quarters of an inch. It wasn’t a big cell that went through but it dropped quite a bit of water and the plants welcomed it. That perked things up quite a bit. Our home farm got the least out of the rain we had earlier in the week. It was about a half-inch and some of our other farms got .8-inch. We weren’t hurting but you don’t turn rain away in late July and early August.Things are coming along. The beans fields are at R5 or R6 and we found some frogeye. It was hot and the beans were showing some frogeye in the upper leaves. It was not at economic threshold by any means and with it being this late it is not that big of a concern. Spraying at this stage would not be an economic benefit. We found some leaves that had the most with 10% but there were other leaves at 1%, but it was definitely notable that it was out there. That field does not have a history of frogeye and it has good air flow so it must have blown in from somewhere. We are also looking for white mold and sudden death but really not seeing either of those.The corn is at milk to dough stage and the rain will definitely help set kernels and help the test weight and put those last kernels on the end of the ear. There is a pretty high chance for rains this week too and those could still help finish things out for the corn. There is a little gray leaf spot in the lower leaves and that certainly isn’t economic because it is below the ear leaf.We will be seeding cover crops in the next couple of weeks to get set up for next year.last_img read more

J&K fears ‘spectacle attacks’

first_imgAn uneasy calm is fast setting in on the home town of slain Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, Tral, ahead of the death anniversary, with security agencies “fearing spectacle attacks”.The police on Tuesday called slain Wani’s father, Muzaffar Ahmad Wani, a school teacher, to the local police station. He was detained for a couple of hours, said the family. “A new police officer has joined here. He apparently wanted to meet me. It seems they wanted to assess the situation (ahead of Wani’s death anniversary),” Wani’s father told The Hindu. Locals alleged that security forces have stepped up patrolling in Tral town. Shopkeepers here have a lurking feeling “of a major unrest” in the coming days. “Separatists on Tuesday issued a fresh calendar to observe a week-long protest on Wani’s anniversary.last_img read more