THIS WEEK ON U.S. FARM REPORT
JULY 28-29, 2012
Hello and welcome to U.S. Farm Report, I’m Al Pell in for John Phipps. Just when we think the drought has bottomed out, we get new government data that further reminds us just how precious - and welcome - a good summer rain would be. My farm is smack dab in the heart of the Indiana drought. While we did get some rain this week, it's just a fraction of what those parched fields need. Still, as a producer, I know that's part of the business.
Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack designated 76 additional counties in six drought-impacted states as primary natural disaster areas this week. So far, nearly 14-hundred counties in 31 states have that declaration. As far as the crops - there was a three point decline in the condition rating of the soybean crop. 31% is good to excellent. And we saw another big drop in corn. Just a quarter of the crop is good to excellent. That's another five point decline. One of the most telling points of the USDA report is that a fourth state has now been added to the list with single digit quality in their cornfields. Illinois joins that dubious list along with Indiana, Kentucky and Missouri. USDA says none of the Illinois corn crop would be called "excellent" this week and just 7% is good. There's a new call to limit the amount of the nation's corn in the nation's fuel supply. Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland introduced a bill that would link the corn ethanol production mandate - under the renewable fuel standards - to the size of the corn crop. Cardin represents many poultry producers in his home state of Maryland. Poultry, as well as livestock, producers are feeling the effects of higher feed costs associated with the drought. And to help livestock producers, USDA is making additional changes to the conservation reserve program. Ag secretary Vilsack says his department is further expanding the use of CRP acres for emergency grazing and haying. He says any county that's listed by the U.S. drought monitor as being in 'abnormally dry" areas or worse. Would now qualify for emergency use. Before, it was limited to counties in the "severe drought" category. Haying and grazing will be allowed once the local primary nesting season has passed.
Cropwatch begins in Union County, Kentucky - that's in the northwest corner near Indiana. A farmer says his corn has had it. He hopes for 60 bushels to the acre. He says soybeans won't make 10 bushels unless they get rain soon. Keep the faith, he adds.