Renewable Farming

One of America’s most comprehensive corn/soybean outlook services went unmanned June 26, 2019

William C. Fordham, founder of C&S Grain Market Consulting, unexpectedly departed for Heaven last evening. That leaves behind his wife Marilyn, his grateful clients and hundreds of farmer friends. He also leaves unstaffed one of the most detailed computer databases of market-moving historic corn and soybean data we’ve ever seen. For 21 years, he provided clients exquisitely detailed analyses, using years of previous trends to weigh the probable trends, highs and lows of corn and soybean futures prices.


Bill Fordham, speaking at a farmer seminar

June 27, 2019   By Jerry Carlson — One fact Bill could not predict is that his beloved Marilyn would find him asleep in his reclining chair last night — never to wake up. 

The cause of death yesterday is not known yet. But age 77 with a life of faith and service, the Lord called him home in a most gentle way.

Years ago, Bill told me he once experienced a painful heart attack. Rather than calling an ambulance, he went to bed for 24 hours, then went back to farming the next day, symptom-free.

This website has published many examples of Bill’s analyses over the years. He started his outlook service in 1998 after a career in farming six miles north of Princeton, home of AgriEnergy Resources. Bill and his close friend Dave Larson, founder of AgriEnergy Resources, worked and traveled together to build the biological knowledge base for AgriEnergy Resources. AgriEnergy is now one of the most advanced and experienced suppliers in organic and biologically-based cropping. We’re one of AgriEnergy’s distributors.

In 1981, Bill and Dave spent two weeks and traveled thousands of road miles across the U.S., studying every possible source for pushing corn yields higher. They emphasized improving soil health every year. Renewable Farming has pursued that same course.

Bill and Dave learned that farmers with lowest costs per bushel of corn plus high yields per acre kept adding needed nutrients including nitrogen throughout the growing season, based on scouting their crops, adjusting to weather and repeating tissue analyses three or four times. This is one of the major management efforts we’re advocating now. AgriEnergy’s microbial lab director developed a biostimulant called SP-1, which we use today. It includes live bacteria and fungi, along with biostimulants. AgriEnergy recommends that you include it in every foliar application. Dave Larson died unexpectedly in 1996.

I first knew Bill Fordham as a Charter Member of Professional Farmers of America in 1973. We’ve been deep friends for 46 years.

One of Bill’s new reports is very useful for studying growth energy and crop development this season. It ties in with Amie Bandy’s descriptions of Growing Degree Units, which we published a few days ago.

Here’s the link to Bill’s chart in PDF form. It puts current GDU accumulation in perspective against corn development in previous seasons. If you study these charts and watch for USDA’s survey-based estimate of corn plantings tomorrow, you’ll have a firmer base for price expectations through harvest. Our expectation: We expect higher 2019 corn futures before the typical downslope into harvest.

Update Friday, June 28:  U.S. market analysts were perplexed when USDA’s June acreage report estimated corn acres at 91.7 million acres, 3% higher than 2018 and far higher than trader’s expectations of 86.6 million. They retreated with uncertainty, dropping December corn futures 19 cents to end at $4.31 per bushel today.

USDA’s estimate of soybean acres at 80.04 million is 4.03 million below traders’ average expectations. Since the farmer survey was taken the first two weeks in June, USDA’s tally may reflect more farmer hopes rather than reality of how much they could complete.

USDA will re-survey 14 states, but that report on planted corn acreage won’t be available until the August 12 crop report.



I wish Bill Fordham could be here to help as our pricing guide through this turbulent season.

Jerry Carlson