AgDay Daily Recap - March 31, 2011

March 31, 2011 02:42 AM

MARCH 31, 2011


A recent exclusive survey conducted by farm journal and AgWeb says 24-percent of you will leave your final acreage decisions until it's time to get that planter rolling. That said, we'll have a pretty good guess at what farmers will plant this spring when USDA releases its prospective plantings report. That report gets released at seven-30 central time Thursday morning. Farmers and marketers alike pay close attention this report, especially this year. Many private firms are estimating at least three-and-a-half million more acres of corn, fewer bean acres and a lot more cotton. The AgWeb survey indicates just over 91-million planted acres of corn this year. Pro farmer editor Chip Flory gives us a preview of this report that can be a market mover.

The planting intentions report is also getting attention from cattle ranchers. With the incentive of higher commodity prices, there's concern that more grazing lands will get tilled-under this spring to use for row-crops. According to our reporting partners at beef today that challenge could linger for the next few years. Hay, forage production and grazing acreage are under serious pressure as corn, soybean and cotton acres expand. Right now most cattle producers and stocker operators have grazing procured for this summer, but the bigger impact will more than likely be felt next year. Derrell Peel at Oklahoma state university tells beef today that there's a lot of speculation right now as to what will be the long term impact. But for cattle growers and cow-calf producers it may limit expansion in a market where supplies are already extremely tight.

In other news from beef today, the administrator of the environmental protection agency received a letter this week from 100 members of congress expressing concerns about EPA's potential revision to air standards, involving dust. The group says it's concerned about the regulations' impact on farmers and ranchers. This is not the first time, EPA administrator Lisa Jackson has heard this argument. But the national cattlemen's beef association says "it appears these countless pleas have fallen on deaf ears."

Fuel costs are big part of input expenses in theAg industry. Wednesday President Obama outlined a plan to reduce oil imports and increase domestic production. In his speech the president says he wants to cut foreign oil imports by a third by the year 2025. To do it, he's planning to boost domestic production...offering new incentives for companies to speed up production. He also wants more investment in bio-fuels and alternative energy technology. That's a move many farmers are already making. In this report provided by USDA, Bob Ellison tells us about the growing number of farmers who are producing their own energy.

Are you tilling soil or is your equipment still sitting there? Here's Mike Hoffman with crop comments from our friends at AgWeb, Mike. Clinton, we heard from Daniels, Montana. He says there are still plenty of six foot snow banks in that part of the state. He says it'll take 2-3 weeks of above normal temperatures to even think about field work. And from Cheyenne County, Nebraska, a grower says some wheat is average or better quality. No-till is spotty, it did not emerge evenly last fall. It was just too dry when they planted. Thanks for sharing your crop comments with AgWeb.

Several Ag groups are asking to stick their hands into a lawsuit aimed at imposing restrictions or outright bans on pesticide use. It suit was actually filed against the e-p-a. A group called the center for biological diversity says the EPA violated the endangered species act. They argue the violation occurred when the EPA allowed the use of nearly 400 pesticides without consulting the U.S. fish and wildlife service and national marine fisheries service. They say the pesticides impact 214 species listed on the endangered list. Farm groups say this is simply a way to restrict or ban the use of hundreds of pesticides that have already been deemed safe...many for decades.

Also from the EPA, the sixth court of appeals has given the agency a six month extension on the enforcement of permits based on the clean water act. That rule would require a permit for users who's pesticides could drift into waters of the U.S. The EPA asked for an extension because it couldn't meet the court ordered permitting deadline of April 9th. The new deadline is October 31st. Also, the U.S. house of representatives is expected to vote today on legislation that would eliminate the need for these pesticide permits...which are part of the national pollutant discharge elimination system.

Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana is taking-on one of the most pressing issues around the globe -- making sure there's enough food getting to the people who need it. The university is announcing the establishment of its "center for global food security" AgDay's Lindsay Hill reports. Thanks Lindsay. Lindsay's our newest member of the AgDay family and we're glad she's here. Still to come...shrinking catfish production and a discussion over the food additives that provide a rainbow of colors. Food and your family is next.

In food and your family are synthetic food colorings causing hyperactivity in our children? That's the question the U.S. food and drug administration will be reviewing this week. The hearings were requested by the center for science in the public interest. It says food dyes are used to enhance the appearance of foods with very little nutritional value. They also cite studies linking synthetic food dye to hyperactivity. US scientists contend there's no clear link between the two. Adding food dyes have had extensive research over the years. Cspi wants the FDA to urge food companies to switch to other non-synthetic food dyes.

A tough economy is being blamed for hard times in the catfish business. According to the USDA catfish processing is down 32 percent from last year. Increases in feed and fuel prices aren't helping matters. Feed costs are nearly double what they were in the early 2000's. Plus most of it has to be shipped in to catfish producing areas...which has gotten more expensive with rising fuel prices. Add outside competition from other parts of the world and acreage continues to shrink. In Louisiana, catfish acreage fell nearly 50 percent last year.






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