AgDay Daily Recap - February 15, 2012

February 15, 2012 02:52 AM

FEBRUARY 15, 2012

Good morning. Live cattle futures traded to new records Tuesday following optimism in wholesale beef markets. While the U.S. beef industry enjoys strong prices, beef exports are equally as strong--setting records in 2011. And many expect those numbers to be even stronger in 2012. It's on that wave of optimism that legislators and industry leaders are now calling for a comprehensive BSE rule. A bi-partisan group of senators are asking the Office of Management and Budget and the USDA's AAPHIS to finish its BSE rules that were started back in 2004. BSE is often known as mad cow disease. The group of 31 senators says beef exports are being stifled because of un-scientific rules in other countries. But without scientific rules of our own it's hard to point fingers. Bacus says the U.S. cannot demand trading partners to follow international standards if the u-s is not following them as well.

The USDA just rolled out its long term projections for U.S. agriculture. In it, researchers are forecasting 94 million acres of corn in 2012. The report shows continuing high levels of domestic corn production through the year 2020. Although acreage drops back slightly averaging between 89 and 92 million acres. USDA also forecasts increases in ethanol production--with about 36 percent of the crop going to production of the biofuel.  Feed use and exports are also forecast to increase...although the U.S. share of global exports will shrink according to the report.

From the cold chisel plow of the 1800's to hands-free steering of today, the transformation of agriculture is an amazing story. But where does it go from here? Over the next 8 weeks, Tyne Morgan will take a glimpse into the future, highlighting possible trends to answer the continuous question... "What's next?" Tyne, let's kick off the "Future of Farming" series. As the world's population continues to grow, so do the cities in which people live. This created a land battle between farming and real estate builders.  That battle, however, seems to be moving in the other least for now. The major land uses report, which is dated back to 2007, doesn't reflect this new trend in agriculture since the shift is recent. Mike Walsten, however, predicts this will be a short term trend. For now, many in agriculture are enjoying purchasing land and putting it back into production, Clinton.

In Machinery Minute - small tractor sales were up in January, but large equipment sales were down. The Association of Equipment Manufacturers' monthly report shows the sales of all tractors in the U.S. for January 2012 were up 4% compared to the same month last year. Sales of tractors under 100 horses are up single digits. But four wheel drive sales are down 30% for the month.

Meanwhile large crowds are expected at the National Farm Machinery Show which gets underway today in Louisville, Kentucky. With strong net farm incomes, some farmers have been replacing older equipment. For those still in the market, the National Farm Machinery show provides a look at the newest equipment and technology that's available. Farm Director Al Pell and national reporter Tyne Morgan will be on the expo floor. Be sure to look for them.

Brian Doherty

With its warmer weather, spring generally kicks off crawfish season. So far, production has been slow this year. In this report provided by the LSU Agcenter, Tobie Blanchard says the catch could still improve. Thanks Tobie. Next - when you want dinner away from home, do you ever consider your grocery store? That's next in Food and Your Family.

Do you buy prepared meals at your grocery store? As it turns out, they're quite-the-competition for restaurants. Details in Food and Your Family. The food marketing research firm "Technomic" just released the results of a survey about consumers buying prepared meals at their local grocery store. The results showed 40% of consumers surveyed found that those meals are "restaurant quality" at better prices. Two-thirds say the quality and variety have improved over the past five years.

It's the day after Valentine’s Day and you may have indulged in one too many chocolate covered strawberries. If so, you aren't alone. The U.S. is actually the largest strawberry producer worldwide. Typically, strawberry prices follow when the crop is in season. This means you'll pay the most for the popular fruit in January and February, just in time each year for Valentine’s Day.

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