AgDay Daily Recap - March 26, 2012

March 26, 2012 05:02 AM

MARCH 26, 2012

Good morning I’m Clinton Griffiths. Soybeans rallied on Friday to close above $13.65 on the Chicago Board of Trade. And the run may not stop there. New reports out of South America indicate crops are worse off than expected. Argentina and Brazil have been dealing with drought most of the growing season. With harvest past the half-way point crop size estimates continue to fall. Soybean output in Argentina, one of the world's largest exporters, is expected to fall to 44 million metric tons. That's two and a half million below USDA estimates from earlier this month.
With a shrinking harvest in South America expectations lean toward more purchases of U.S. grains which may help drive soybean prices above 14 dollars per bushel. But some analysts say hold on. Regardless of this year's harvest South America has one point six billion bushels in storage.

USDA released its latest cattle on feed report. It shows the number of cattle in feedlots continues to rise year over year. Cattle and calves on feed for slaughter totaled 11 point 7 million head. That's up 3% over last year. Placements in February were also up 3%. Last year, feedlots saw large placements of light cattle due to drought. That caused total inventories to reach a record 12.1 million head in December. This year, with improving wheat pastures and premium prices, there's incentive to hold feeders on pasture.

The United States will appeal a World Trade Organization ruling against a U.S. law on meat labeling. Last year, Canada and Mexico filed a formal complaint on the country of origin labeling law. They said it distorted trade unfairly towards the U.S. The WTO agreed. In response, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association expressed disappointment. It says the appeal process would do nothing but "escalate tension with our valuable trade partners and will prolong an issue that could be resolved quickly." as AgDay's Michelle Rook reports livestock producers on both sides of the border are trying to broker a deal that will make satisfy all interests. Even if the U.S. decides to negotiate with the Canadian and Mexican government officials say it may take another year to get the issue totally resolved.

Parts of the Ohio and Mississippi valleys got some showers in the past few days, helping with soil moisture. Here's Cindi Clawson with your AgDay Crop Watch. Good morning Clinton. We're headed to Phillips County, Arkansas. This grower says maybe half of the corn is planted in their area of the state. They got two-and-a-half inches of rain late last week, so it brought planting to a halt. And in Hanson County, South Dakota, this farmer says he's waiting for the official planting date of the federal crop insurance before his planter rolls. He says there's no sign of any planting going on between Mitchell and Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He adds that the area needs rain as top soil is drying out fast from warm windy conditions.

In machinery minute - it appears growing demand for robotic milking machines will not subside anytime soon. And some of the biggest growth will be in Asia and South America. That's according to research from Ibis-World. That company follows industry and market trends. Ibis-World says the milking machine industry has exhibited strong growth over the past five years as farmers look to increase efficiencies on the farm. Ibis-World analysts say revenues for firms that make robotics has increased more than 10% since 2008. The company says there's been unprecedented demand in newly emerging economics, like Brazil and China. Ibis anticipates exports will achieve double-digit growth. The top industry leaders are based in Europe, but have a strong U.S. manufacturing presence.

Chris Hurt

The cherry blossoms are in bloom in Washington, D.C. And if you've never seen it, it's truly a spectacular sign of spring. And this year is a special milestone. Of course if you go, expect big crowds of tourists. But you might also run into researchers. Bob Ellison has details in this report provided by USDA. The 2012 National Cherry Blossom Festival runs from March 20 through April 27. By the way, the National Arboretum released a new cherry tree variety this year. It's called the Helen Taft. Helen Taft was married to President William Howard Taft. As first lady, Mrs. Taft planted the first of two cherry trees at the tidal basin on March 27th, 1912...and that's your history lesson for the day! Still to come, a court ruling that could impact livestock producers all across the country. Food and Your Family is next.

In Food and Your Family, the nation's largest supermarket chain has now decided to move-away from using lean, finely-textured beef - or as you'll hear in some circles "pink slime". On Friday, Kroger became the latest food store to stop offering the beef product. It joins a list that includes Wal-Mart, Winn-Dixie, Food Lion and Super-Value. Finely textured beef is made from beef trimmings, which are the leftovers from a carcass once the steaks and roasts are taken. It's treated with a water and ammonia spray to kill bacteria. While the beef industry and ag department agree that the product is safe, USDA said it would allow school districts to opt-out of using the ground beef for the national school lunch program.

In other news - a federal court judge has ordered the Food and Drug Administration to implement a rule that would prohibit farmers from using antibiotics in their livestock and poultry. For decades, producers have used the drugs to protect their herds from disease. In the 1970's, FDA said over-use of antibiotics would eventually lead to drug-resistant bacteria in humans. In a ruling handed down Thursday, the court said the FDA must begin steps to withdraw routine use of the drugs in animals, siding with a lawsuit by consumer advocates. We'll be watching this story closely for you.

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