TODAY ON AGDAY:
April 1, 2011
Good morning. If USDA forecasters are correct, U.S. farmers will plant the second largest corn crop on record this spring. But as we like to remind viewers - this is an "intentions" report. And plans can change quickly. Now to the numbers, USDA 2011 prospective plantings report shows corn plantings could hit 92-point-two million acres, up five percent over last year. Soybeans are pegged at 76-point-six million acres, down a percent from last year. The total U.S. wheat crop is projected at 58 million acres, an increase of eight percent from last year. U.S. cotton acreage is estimated at 12-and-a-half million acres, a jump of 15% from 2010.
CHIP FLORY REACTS
Another key report was the quarterly grain stocks. And it showed the tight supply will continue. We have team coverage for reaction to the reports. We begin with Pro Farmer editor Chip Flory who's been digging into the numbers, Chip.
COTTON WAY UP
Thanks Lindsay and Gary. We'll check in with you later in the show. As we mentioned earlier, cotton acres saw a big rebound from last year. USDA is expecting 12-point-six million acres of cotton will be seeded, up 15-percent from 2010. The Ag department survey shows that many Texas growers are switching 150-thousand acres away from corn, and to cotton.
While cotton increases, rice acres are down. The intentions report shows three million acres of rice will be planted this year, down 17-percent. USDA says acreage in all rice-producing states except California is expected to decrease. Growers in Arkansas, the largest rice-producing state, intend to plant one-point-four million acres, down 22 percent from last year's record high planted acreage. Long grain makes-up three quarters of the total rice acreage planted.
USDA WEATHER OUTLOOK
The USDA may have these reports locked down, the weather however continues to be the wildcard. Intentions may change as spring continues its push across the country. Ag department meteorologists say there's a possibility of major flooding in parts of the upper midwest this spring. That could delay planting...and change-- if only slightly-- the planting mix. Meteorologists continue to see strong effects from la nina in the pacific. Rippey says there's indication of a high pressure block in the mid atlantic this summer. The result would be a relatively cool, wet summer to the north and hot dry conditions down south. Right now, field conditions are mixed. Here's Mike Hoffman with crop watch.
Clinton, some producers in Central Illinois got their wheels turning this week. Farm Journal's Pam Smith sent us some photos. She says you can almost hear the collective roar of tractors starting in the region. The scent of freshly stirred soil is shaking everyone from a long winter's nap. This farmer is cultivating near Elwin, Illinois. Thanks for the photo, Pam. And on the opposite end of the weather picture, there's plenty of snow still sitting in Central Minnesota. Our friends at AgWeb shared this photo from Mcleod County. This photo was taken on Wednesday, so as you can see field work in this part of Minnesota is a long way off.
In agribusiness a Missouri poultry farm has been quarantined because of avian flu. A routine test turned up signs of the viral disease. The farm is in Southwest Missouri. The state's department of agriculture says its investigating the case of avian flu. Its still waiting on official results to confirm the disease. As a precaution the facility has been quarantined and testing is now taking place at poultry houses within a six mile radius. Officials say avian influenza affects birds and its rare for it to spread to humans.
Back now to the usda's planting intentions report. Markets responded strongly to the day's news moving nearly limit up across the board on Thursday. Agribusiness director Lindsay Hill returns with Gary Wilhelmi to discuss where we go from here.
ITC: CALIFORNIA CITRUS RESEARCH
How well do you know your citrus? It may seem like an orange, is an orange, is an orange. But did you know there are hundreds of varieties and new options are finding their way on to produce aisles all of the time. Our good friend Tracy Sellers of California country TV takes us to a research station that's helping producers find the fruits of the future. Recent trends show a consumer shift to smaller citrus like tangerines and manderine oranges. If that's not enough food for thought, food and your family is next.
In food and your family this morning new legislation in the senate is sweet on making sugar less expensive. Indiana Senator Richard Lugar introduced legislation that would repeal the U.S. sugar program. This is a program we told you about a couple of weeks ago. It uses price supports and import quotas to help protect u.s. sugar farmers from cheap world competition. U.S. companies that are heavy sugar users are complaining...saying they're paying more than twice world market prices. Lugar's free sugar act seeks to repeal price supports for growers of sugar beets and sugar cane.
And for all you baseball lovers, yesterday was the offical opening day of the new major league season. While peanuts are traditionally the nut of choice in stadiums, another nut is now making a run at the title. Pistachios join the ranks of peanuts, cracker jacks and hot dogs. The brand, "wonderful pistachios" is now offered in 12 stadiums across the country. They're hoping to sell more than 100-thousand bags this year. The company claims it will now have the lowest fat nut in the league.