AgDay Daily Recap - April 27, 2011

April 27, 2011 10:43 AM
 

TODAY ON AGDAY:
APRIL 27, 2011

5 DOLLAR BEEF:
AS CATTLE PRICES HAVE MOVED SHARPLY TO THE UPSIDE IN RECENT WEEKS, IT BRINGS ABOUT TWO QUESTIONS. THE FIRST, HOW LONG CAN THESE HIGHER PRICES BE SUSTAINED? AND SECOND, WHEN PASSED ALONG TO THE RETAIL SECTOR, HOW WILL CONSUMERS RESPOND? AG ECONOMIST CHRIS HURT OF PURDUE UNIVERSITY SAYS HE EXPECTS CATTLE PRICES WILL REMAIN STRONG INTO THE SUMMER MONTHS, BUT PREDICTS THINGS MAY BEGIN TO SLIDE IN LATE SUMMER. HURT SAYS CONSUMERS ARE LIKELY TO FEEL THE PINCH AS HE ANTICIPATES OVER THE NEXT FEW MONTHS WE COULD SEE BEEF PRICES REACH 5 DOLLARS PER POUND AT THE GROCERY. FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE YEAR HURT EXPECTS RETAIL BEEF PRICES TO AVERAGE $4.87 PER POUND, UP 11% FROM LAST YEAR. OUR CLINTON GRIFFITHS VISTED WITH ANALYST GARY WILHELMI ABOUT HOW THESE PRICES MIGHT AFFECT CONSUMER CHOICES AS WE ENTER PEAK GRILLING SEASON.

MIZZOU BEEF RESEARCH:
EACH YEAR, FEEDLOT OPERATORS SPEND MILLIONS OF DOLLARS FEEDING CATTLE THAT DON'T GROW EFFICIENTLY, OR WORSE, GET SICK. THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AND TEXAS A&M WILL SHARE A 14 MILLION DOLLAR GRANT TO IMPROVE FEED EFFICIENCY. KENT FADDIS HAS DETAILS IN THIS REPORT PROVIDED BY MIZZOU. MISSOURI RANKS SECOND IN TOTAL BEEF COW PRODUCTION, TEXAS IS NUMBER ONE.

PLANTING DELAYS:
U.S. CORN PLANTING REMAINS BEHIND THE AVERAGE PACE AFTER ANOTHER WEEK OF WET AND COOL WEATHER. THAT'S NOT THE ONLY CROP WHERE PLANTERS ARE SITTING STILL. USDA'S CROP PROGRESS REPORT SHOWS SPRING WHEAT, COTTON, RICE AND SORGHUM ARE ALL BEHIND TO VARYING DEGREES. AS OF SUNDAY, 9% OF THE NATION'S CORN CROP IS PLANTED. THAT'S A SLIGHT GAIN FROM THE PREVIOUS WEEK. COMPARE THAT TO THE FIVE YEAR AVERAGE WHICH IS 23%. LAST YEAR AT THIS TIME, NEARLY HALF OF THE NATION'S CORN WAS PLANTED. WITH OLD CROP LEVELS ALREADY AT NEAR-HISTORIC LEVELS, IT MAY NOT TAKE MUCH FOR GRAIN PRICES TO EXPLODE. ALTHOUGH BEHIND THE AVERAGE PACE, AG ECONOMISTS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS SAY FARMERS CAN QUICKLY MAKE-UP DELAYS BECAUSE OF LARGER EQUIPMENT THAT'S NOW MORE COMMON.

AG LENDING:
IN AGRIBUSINESS IT APPEARS AS THOUGH AG LENDING INSTITUTIONS HAVE FARED WELL DURING THE TOUGH FINANCIAL CLIMATE OF RECENT YEARS. THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS REPORTS THAT AG LENDING INCREASED BY 13 BILLION DOLLARS FROM 2007 THROUGH 2010. WHILE THE FINANCIAL HEALTH OF AGRICULTURAL BANKS APPEARS STRONG, EXPERTS SAY THEY COULD FACE SIGNIFICANT CHALLENGES AS NEW REGULATIONS WILL ADD COMPLIANCE COSTS THAT COULD BE PARTICULARLY BURDOMSOME FOR SMALLER BANKS. CONTINUED MARKET VOLATILITY IS ALSO A CONCERN.

ANALYSIS:
BRIAN DOHERTY

IN THE COUNTRY; HOMEGROWN:
SOMETIMES RESTAURANT OWNERS GET TO KNOW THE FARMERS WHO GROW THE CROPS AND RAISE THE CATTLE THAT FILL-UP THEIR MENUS. WELL, A CALIFORNIA CAFÉ OWNER AND HIS WIFE HAVE DECIDED TO TAKE IT ONE STEP FARTHER, THEY'RE DOING IT THEMSELVES. TRACEY SELLERS FROM CALIFORNIA COUNTRY TV HAS OUR STORY. FOOD AND YOUR FAMILY IS NEXT.

LEAFY GREENS:
STEPS ARE NOW UNDERWAY ON A NATIONAL SCALE TO ENSURE LEAFY GREENS GROWN COMMERCIALLY ARE SAFE TO EAT. DETAILS IN FOOD AND YOUR FAMILY. USDA UNVEILED ITS PROPOSED NATIONAL LEAFY GREENS MARKETING AGREEMENT ON TUESDAY. BACK IN 2009, A GROUP OF AG ORGANIZATIONS REPRESENTING LEAFY CROP PRODUCERS ASKED USDA TO BEGIN THE PROCESS TO ESTABLISH A NATIONAL MARKETING AGREEMENT FOR LEAFY GREENS. THE AGREEMENT WOULD SET AND IMPLEMENT BEST PRACTICES AND A CORRESPONDING VERIFICATION PROGRAM THAT COULD REDUCE THE POTENTIAL FOR MICROBIAL CONTAMINATION IN THESE CROPS. SOME STATES, LIKE CALIFORNIA, ALREADY HAVE THE MARKETING AGREEMENT IN PLACE. IT WAS THE RESULT OF AN E-COLI OUTBREAK IN SPINACH FIVE YEARS AGO. THE VOLUNTARY AGREEMENT WOULD SET STANDARDS FOR GOOD AGRICULTURAL PRACTICES FOR SPINACH, LETTUCE AND OTHER LEAFY GREENS ON A NATIONAL SCALE. THE PROPOSAL WILL BE OPEN FOR PUBLIC COMMEN STARTING THIS FRIDAY.

FOODBORNE ILLNESS:
USDA'S FOOD SAFETY AND INSPECTION SERVICE HAS ISSUED A SET OF GUIDELINES DESIGNED TO HELP SMALL MEAT AND POULTRY MANUFACTURERS MEET FOOD SAFETY REGULATIONS TO ENSURE A SAFE PRODUCT. AMONG OTHER THINGS THE GUIDE OFFERS ADVICE ON HOW TO REDUCE HARMFUL BACTERIA IN READY-TO-EAT FOODS. THE GUIDE DOESN'T PRESENT NEW REQUIREMENTS, BUT SHOULD HELP SMALL MANUFACTURERS MEET CURRENT REGULATIONS. OFFICIALS SAY IT SPELLS OUT BEST PRACTICES WHEN IT COMES TO PRODUCING FOOD ITEMS THAT CONSUMERS GENERALLY DO NOT COOK BEFORE EATING.

CONTACT PAGE:
WE'D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU! CONTACT US AT 800-792-4329. OR DROP AN EMAIL TO INBOX@AGDAY.COM . YOU CAN ALSO CHECK US OUT ON FACEBOOK. CLINTON'S ALWAYS PUTTING SOMETHING UP ON THAT PAGE.
 

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