THIS WEEK ON U.S. FARM REPORT
EPISODE # 2030
JULY 7-8, 2012
Hello and welcome to U.S. Farm Report. I’m John Phipps, just when you think old dogs and new tricks don't mix someone comes along with a better dog biscuit. Like most you Jan and I have been sweltering and dreading the electric bill. But thanks to an innovative program from our supplier called power smart pricing, we have some control over the cost, and are saving almost 40%. All we do is agree to have a special meter installed, and check hourly price that are emailed to us. Today will vary from 2 to 11 cents per kilowatt hour. By timing the use to avoid the 3 to 6:00 p.m. slot we can save enough annually to buy a major woodworking tool or some stupid greenhouse stuff. Guess which is more likely.
As the heat and dry weather continues to blast across much of the U.S., the nation's crops continue to suffer. In the latest crop conditions report U.S.D.A. said less than half of the nation's corn, soybean and cotton crops are now rated good or better. The most recent crop progress report shows the nation's corn crops saw an 8 point drop in condition ratings from last week. 40% is good which is down 5 points from the previous week. Nationally, soybeans dropped 8 points and are now 45% good to excellent. 47% of the cotton crop is good to excellent. As crops deteriorate, so do pasture and range land conditions. 43% of the nation’s pasture and range conditions are now poor or very poor, a 7 point decline from last week. Only a quarter is rated good or excellent. Oklahoma State University's Derrell Peel says because the drought is so widespread the impact will be more widespread as well. Peel says producers need to assume the worst and start making a plan based on current resources and forage availability. He says the producers in drought stricken areas are already seeing quite a bit of cattle movement including in early marketing of calves. Meanwhile the drought could force future grain delivery contracts to be renegotiated between produces and buyers. Purdue University Economist Chris Hurt says lower yields could force farmers to buy back the bushels they aren’t able to supply. Hurt says not only does it mean they could fail to meet the contracts already negotiated, but producers could also lose additional dollars if grain prices rise above their locked in rate. The House AG Committee passed its version of the Farm Bill earlier this week. Similar to the Senate version, it eliminates direct payments to farmers and reduces food stamps, otherwise known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The proposed cuts are 4 times what the Senate proposed. Overall the House version would save 35 billion over ten years.
Not a lot of happy talk this week. In Crittenden County, Kentucky a farmer says his pastures and hay fields are totally gone. He said they have sold nearly all the calves that were big enough and are now feeding all of the Cows. In Stearns County, Minnesota, a farmer commented on how quickly corn can use up soil moisture. His fields got three inches of rain a few weeks ago but it's gone. Corn went from knee high to tasseling in 12 days. And finally a heart breaking picture of bovine blight in corn. This mysterious plague can strike anywhere. Allen Washburn in southwest Missouri sent us this timely warning.