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USFR Weekly Recap - December 25-26, 2010

December 27, 2010

THIS WEEK ON U.S. FARM REPORT

EPISODE #1950

DECEMBER 25-26, 2010

AL’S OPEN: HELLO AND WELCOME TO U.S. FARM REPORT, I'M AL PELL. IT MAY BE A HOLIDAY WEEKEND, BUT WE HAVE LOTS TO COVER OVER THE NEXT 60 MINUTES. AHEAD IN THIS HALF HOUR, OUR TEAM OF ANALYSTS WILL REACT TO ANOTHER WILD WEEK FOR THE COMMODITY MARKETS. ALSO AHEAD, JOHN TELLS US WHY THIS TRULY IS A SEASON TO CELEBRATE FOR AMERICAN AGRICULTURE. AND THEN IN THE SECOND HALF HOUR, WE PRESENT "CHRISTMAS IN THE COUNTRY" - OUR ANNUAL LOOK AT THE HOLIDAY TRADITIONS UNIQUE TO RURAL AMERICA. OUR STOPS WILL INCLUDE A REINDEER RANCH IN MICHIGAN AND A TREE FARM IN INDIANA THAT TURNS TO RESCUED DOGS TO LEND A HELPING HAND.

RECORD PRICES: BUT FIRST, LET'S GET STARTED WITH THE HEADLINES. COMMODITY MARKETS ARE PUTTING A STAMP ON 2010 AS A RECORD YEAR FOR PRICES. WHILE CORN, WHEAT, AND SOYBEANS HAVE ALL SEEN MAJOR JUMPS, IT'S COTTON AND BEEF THAT ARE BREAKING RECORDS. ON TUESDAY, THE MARCH CONTRACT FOR FEEDER CATTLE FUTURES HIT $1.23 A POUND BEFORE BACKING OFF TO $1.228. THAT'S THE HIGHEST LEVEL SINCE TRADING BEGAN IN 1971. A SHRINKING NATIONAL HERD IS DRIVING PRICES HIGHER. THE U.S. NOW HAS THE LOWEST CATTLE POPULATION SINCE 1958. BUT EVEN AS DEMAND AND PRICES CLIMB, FEEDLOTS CONTINUE TO BUY MORE FEEDERS. PURCHASES WERE UP 6% LAST MONTH.

COTTON PRICES: 2010 HAS ALSO BEEN VERY KIND TO THE NATION'S COTTON GROWERS. THIS WEEK, MARCH FUTURES CLIMBED TO NEARLY A $1.60 A POUND...ANOTHER RECORD HIGH. THE QUESTION - WILL THESE INCREDIBLE PRICES ALTER THE ACREAGE EQUATION IN 2011? THE HEAD OF THE NATIONAL COTTON COUNCIL SAYS MANY FACTORS ARE AT PLAY...

ULTIMATE FARM QUEST; RUPP:  LAST WEEK ON U.S. FARM REPORT WE FEATURED TWO FARMERS WHO TOOK PART IN A PROJECT TITLED "THE ULTIMATE FARM QUEST". WE RECEIVED LOTS OF VIEWER FEEDBACK - ALL REQUESTING MORE SPECIFIC DETAILS AS TO WHAT THE GROWERS LEARNED FROM THE PROCESS. THIS WEEK, WE'RE GOING TO DO JUST THAT - BEGINNING WITH DOUG AND NANCY RUPP OF STRYKER, OHIO. WES MILLS BRINGS US THE RUPP'S RESPONSE. WHEN IT COMES TO MARKETING, THEY TELL US CHIP FLORY SHOWED THEM HOW TO ANALYZE BASIS IMPROVEMENTS OVER TIME AND HOW TO BETTER UTILIZE HEDGE-TO-ARRIVE CONTRACTS. THEY SAY BOTH EXERCISES ADDED MAJOR DOLLARS TO THEIR BOTTOM LINE. FOR FARM MANAGEMENT, THE RUPP'S SAY BARRY WARD OF OHIO STATE BROUGHT THEM DECISION-MAKING MODELS THAT ALLOWED THEM TO DETERMINE EXACTLY WHAT TYPE OF FERTILIZER AND GRAIN SYSTEMS THEY WILL NEED OVER THE NEXT FEW YEARS. THE MODELS COVERED EVERYTHING FROM PAYBACK PERIOD TO PROFITABILITY. AND IN THE FIELDS, THE RUPP'S SAY WHAT THEY LEARNED MOST FROM AGRONOMIST MISSY BAUER WAS THE DEVELOPMENT OF SOIL TESTING ZONES AND HOW TO WRITE PRESCRIPTIONS FOR VARIABLE FERTILIZER AND SEED REPLACEMENT. THEY ALSO NOTE THE USE OF INFRARED IMAGING HELPED THEM DISCOVER MAJOR AREAS OF COMPACTION. BASED ON THAT INFORMATION, THEY'VE ORDERED A NEW PLANTER THEY BELIEVE WILL CUT 10,000 POUNDS OFF THE WEIGHT OF THE PLANTER AND THE TRACTOR. IF THEIR CALCULATIONS ARE CORRECT, THE PRODUCTIVITY GAIN WILL PAY FOR THE NEW EQUIPMENT IN JUST THREE YEARS...A 33% RETURN ON THEIR INVESTMENT. I'M WES MILLS REPORTING.

 

 

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