AgDay Daily Recap - April 2, 2012

April 10, 2012 04:34 AM

APRIL 2, 2012


Good morning I’m Clinton Griffiths. If USDA is correct with its newest data - it was before World War II when American farmers planted so much corn. USDA released its annual prospective plantings report and it pegs the 2012 corn crop at just under 96 million acres. If realized, this will be the largest corn acreage in the U.S. since 1937. That year, farmers planted 97.2 million acres.

USDA pegs corn at just under 96 million acres versus 92 last year. For soy - just 74 million compared to just under 75 million last year. All wheat acres came in at 56 million after 54.5 million last year.

Brown says above normal temperatures and sunshine most of last week pushed more farmers to start planting. The forecast shows the same for this week. Brown says if it stays dry, many farmers in central Illinois could be done planting by April 10th. But, if there's a late frost many of those early acres could be damaged, cutting into already tight seed supplies...forcing farmers to switch to soybeans.

Illinois is the only state rushing to get corn in the ground. USDA says Iowa farmers could plant a record number of corn acres at 14.6 million. The largest year over year increase is expected in North Dakota. Farmers are projected to plant 3.5 million, up 52% from last year's flood-impacted growing season. South Dakota is projected up 5% and Minnesota farmers expect to plant 7% more corn.

As always, our reporting partners at Pro Farmer newsletter have been analyzing the reports. Editor Chip Flory says those add acres bode well for high national yields.

USDA also expects fewer cotton acres will be planted this year. The Ag Department puts the crop at 13.2 million acres, down 11% from last year. USDA says heavy precipitation has delayed fieldwork in many areas.

The other big story was grains stocks as of March first. Many market watchers were puzzled about possible wheat substitution for feed use. It appears we chewed up plenty of both, as all reported stocks were below expectations...sending markets soaring on Friday in spite of planted acre numbers. These are the inventory numbers: corn - 6 billion bushels, about 150 million below expectations. Soybeans – 1.3 billion, right in the middle of the range of guesses. Wheat was unsurprising as well 1.2 billion bushels.

In news from our reporting partners at Dairy Today - USDA announced that the government will be making a milk income loss contract payment - the first since April 2010. USDA says it will pay 39-cents per hundredweight for February milk production. The University of Wisconsin estimates USDA will be making MILC payments now through September, based on current futures prices. To be eligible for payment, producers must sign up on or before the 14th of the preceding month. Eligible annual milk production is 2,985,000 pounds. Once a producer signs up, payments will be made until the eligible annual milk production level is reached. The March payment is estimated at 59-cents, 89-cents in April and 59-cents in May. To see the other estimated payments over the next six months, go to

We talked with dairy today Editor Jim Dickrell about the MILC payments. He says in the current atmosphere in Washington regarding the farm bill, there's a good chance that this version of dairy farm support will go away.

While many major supermarket chains are shying away from lean, finely-textured, beef, an Iowa based chain is reversing course. Hy-Vee says quote, "Following our recent decision to stop purchasing ground beef containing lean finely textured beef, we heard from many customers who asked us to continue carrying this product." Hy-Vee operates 230 stores in the Midwest. It plans to offer both ground beef with and without LFTB.

If you think groceries and restaurants are the only one's impacted by the pink slime food scare...think again. Beef sales are slumping and cattle futures prices are down 3% this month.
Choice grade beef is now selling for about a dollar 80 a pound--just last month it was nearly 2 dollars a pound.

In agribusiness competition for U.S. growers is getting tougher as Brazil continues to improve its infrastructure. According to a rep with the U.S. grains council, that country is shipping more and more corn through its northern corridor. In just a decade that region has gone from no transporting activity to ports shipping more than 30% of Brazil's corn. Similar gains have been made in other regions. The U.S. grains council says these changes will have a big impact on market competitiveness
Chip Nellinger

When you think of fast-paced jobs, you might not necessarily think of a postal carrier. After all, they lug around a big sack of mail every day. But there's a postal worker in western Iowa who is fast on his feet. Al Joens from AgDay affiliate KTIV-TV tells us about the mailman who's always on the run. Chris occasionally competes in road roads and hopes to continue this healthy lifestyle into his 80's. Food and Your Family is next.

Whether its soup from a can or water from a bottle, BPA or bisphenol-a has made its way into many common products. Now the FDA says it will not ban the product from direct food contact.
Instead the FDA says it will continue supporting the industry's actions of pulling the chemical from baby bottles and looking for alternatives. Those in favor of a ban say it protects consumers from the damaging health effects of BPA-- which has been used in the making of plastics.

Here's some news that'll certainly please the "California Raisins". A group of heart doctors say eating a handful of raisins three times a day may significantly lower blood pressure, compared to eating other common snacks. That research was just presented at a gathering of the American college of cardiology. The researchers conducted a clinical trial to compare the blood pressure effect of eating raisins versus other snacks in men and women with pre-hypertension. The test group was small - just 46 people. Participants were randomly assigned to snack on raisins or prepackaged commercial snacks that did not contain raisins, other fruits or vegetables but had the same number of calories per serving. They ate the snacks three times a day for 12 weeks. They found that compared to other snacks, raisins significantly reduced blood pressure. The doctors say raisins are packed full of potassium.

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