TODAY ON AGDAY:
MARCH 30, 2011
As USDA gets set to release its highly anticipated prospective plantings report tomorrow, there's growing concern about the struggling winter wheat crop in the central and Southern plains. This is especially true in southwest Oklahoma, where insurance adjusters are already "zero-ing" out the crop. USDA said in its latest state summary that nearly half of the Oklahoma crop is called poor to very poor. That's a three point decline from last week. A third of it is in fair condition. The NASS office says some wheat producers are abandoning the crop and will re-plant another crop. Topsoil and sub-soil moistures however, are both rated 85-pecent short to very short. In Texas the NASS office says irrigation is very active in the high plains of Texas as the wheat crop continues to struggle. 62-percent is now called poor to very poor. That's a six point decline from last week. Meanwhile, the NASS office in Kansas says there's been slight improvement in that state's wheat crop. 31-percent is called good to excellent. That's a four point gain from last week. Still, there's concern that without widespread precipitation soon, the crop will begin to slip backwards.
Most private firms are forecasting U.S. farmers will plant about three-and-a half million additional acres of corn this year. Tomorrow, USDA will release its forecast for expected plantings of the major grains. AgDay analysts say those additional acres are needed in corn to re-plenish the stocks which are sitting at 15 year lows. See if those numbers change, when the Ag department also releases the quarterly grain stocks report. Farm Director Al Pell talked with Bill Biedermann of Allendale incorporated about what he expects to see in report. Biedermann says it's still a toss-up since farmers are making money with soybeans and cotton and may not want to switch to corn.
The report comes out Thursday morning at seven-30. You can access it on agweb-dot-com. Plus, watch for analysis from our partners at pro farmer.
Before soils warm too much, many producers are in the field adding pre-plant fertilizers.
According to our reporting partners at top producer magazine, farmers can expect more price increases this spring. According to economists with the University of Nebraska, if corn stays above six dollars per bushel, fertilizer prices could go up another 10 to 15 percent. Behind those higher prices is the world market and tight supplies. The U.S. produces much less of its dry urea supply than it used to. Imports now account for more than half of its supply. Agronomists say a warm fall, and the unlikelihood of nitrogen losses this spring may allow farmers to cut back slightly this year.
CHESAPEAKE BAY LAWNS
In the argument over who's putting more nutrient run-off into the Chesapeake Bay, there's new ammunition that farmers are not the only problem. And it targets homeowners. A new study released this week by an environmental group says there's one-point-three million acres of lawns, compared to one-point-five million acres of cropland in Maryland. Conducted by the environment Maryland research center, the group says those plush lawns are less regulated than the major crops. Farmers are required to submit nutrient management plans, but there's no such regulationsfor lawncare. The study criticizes the state for its lax oversight of fertilizer run-off on developed land, like neighborhoods.
If the crop comments page on AgWeb is any indication, producers are getting anxious to turn that soil, or plant some seed. Meteorologist Mike Hoffman has some of those comments from the weather-center, mike! Good morning Clinton. In North Carolina, a grower from Union County says he finished spreading poultry manure on no-till corn land last week. They got some nice rains over the weekend. He's hoping to roll his planter within the next two weeks. In Winona county, Minnesota, a grower says cool nights are keeping the area rivers from record-level flooding. He still has a few snow drifts that haven't melted yet. He's guessing he's four weeks from planting. In Nebraska, the "crop" of new calves is coming along. The state says more than half of the cows have completed calving. 82-percent of the cattle are rated good to excellent.
In agribusiness this morning Brazilian packing giant j-b-s believes it’s looking at a strong 2011. It may be right if its recent earnings report is any indication. JBS says revenues at its U.S. beef chicken and pork operations rose nearly 25 percent in the fourth quarter of last year. The company CEO believes that trend will continue as meat consumption expands worldwide. Revenues in the U.S. were up nearly a billion dollars over 2009 thanks to rising prices driven by consumer demand.
"Back in the day", it was big market news when grains moved up or down a nickle. But those days are long gone. Market volatility is the buzz phrase these days. Dramatic price swings are almost the rule, and not the exception. In this morning's analysis, farm director Al Pell talks about the continuing drama.
Food prices are going up, corn stocks are low, livestock margins are thin, and in many circles ethanol is taking the blame. But what if corn wasn't part of the discussion? Here's new evidence other crops may be capable of filling the tanks of our fuel thirsty vehicles. Thanks to help from Washington State University we found a farmer determined to fuel his own farm with a crop known as camelina. Thanks to Washington State, New Mexico State and the sustainable oils company for help on that story. Sustainable oils is contracting with farmers in the northern plains to grow camelina. It says contracts are still available for interested growers in Montana and the Dakotas for 2011. You can find a link to their website at agday.com. Food and your family is next…
LARGEST FAST FOOD CHAINS
In food and your family the poster child of fast food has lost its king of the hill status. New numbers say McDonalds is no longer the world's largest fast food chain. Sandwich shop subway has taken the lead position with 33-thousand 749 locations. Mcdonald's count currently stands at 32-thousand seven hundred thirty seven stores. Subway has made a big push into international markets now available in 95 countries around the world. McDonalds still wins that race however...finding its way into 117 countries. The next closest fast food establishment is KFC with just over 20-thousand locations.
If you're like many Americans, you'd probably like to shed a few pounds. While one way to accomplish that is by eating less and exercising more, you may not realize the impact what you drink is having on your weight. Researchers say, on average, children and adults consume 400 calories daily in beverages. Many of those calories come from soda, energy and sports drinks that offer no nutritive benefit. Health education expert Tammy Roberts of the University of Missouri extension says if adults were to replace those empty calories with three cups of fat-free milk, water and other calorie-free beverages, they would consume about 130 less calories per day. Not to mention, one cup of fat-free milk provides nearly a third of all the calcium most adults need in a day, protein and added vitamin d.