AgDay Daily Recap - October 26, 2011

October 26, 2011 02:29 AM

OCTOBER 26, 2011

Good morning. We're already getting estimates about the size of the national cattle herd come January first 2012. So far, all estimates point to fewer cattle on U.S. soil due in large part to severe drought in the southern plains. Purdue economist Chris Hurt says, going back to 2007 beef cow numbers have fallen by 12% while heifers and replacements are down 5.  With exports nearly 20% higher than a year ago--that's setting up the industry for strong prices. Hurt says in 2007 finished steer prices clocked in at 92-dollars per hundred-- in 2012 he expects record prices above 120. Oklahoma State economists say the effects of drought in the southern plains however, is starting to ease at the sale barn. The economists says its likely calf prices will remain high through at least 2015.

At 65% harvested, the nation's corn farmers are making big gains in the fields. Illinois farmers are making big progress as well. While not as far along as last year, this year is well ahead of the average pace. The question remains - how good of a crop is it? We stopped in Kendall County, Illinois for our I-80 Harvest Tour. Spirit Farms is building a two million bushel storage facility at their headquarters in Sheridan, Illinois. We have just a couple more stops on our I-80 tour including northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio.

New analysis of the rural economy continues to show growth. Creighton University released the results of its monthly "health check" of main-street America. It's based on surveys from bank CEO's in a ten state region, in the nation's mid-section. The bankers are in communities with an average population of 1,300 people. Creighton economist Ernie Goss says the rural economy is growing, but at an anemic pace. However, he says companies linked to ag continue to experience healthy growth. The farm equipment sales index dipped from September, but is still considered strong. As far as cash rents in 2012, the bankers showed an average increase of about eight percent. However, 20% of bankers expect cash rents to surge 16%.

Scott Stewart

Their neighbors thought it might be a crazy business decision, but the Nick family of San Luis Obispo County, California thought it was worth the risk. Seven years ago, they converted their beef herd to grass-fed grazing. . . And they haven't looked back. In this report from California Country TV, Tracey Sellers says the Nick's found their niche and their customer base. Thanks Tracy. Food and Your Family when we come back.

In Food and Your Family, the Howard G. Buffett Foundation announced yesterday that it will give more than two million dollars to help small farmers in the country of Honduras. The pledge will go through the World Food Programme as part of its "purchase for progress" - or P for P seen here in Kenya. P-for-P helps farmers with fewer than five hectares of land. That's about twelve acres. The program provides training to farmers and helps teach them how to finance and market their goods. According to the buffet foundation, eight thousand Honduran farmers will benefit from the money. Buffett was a keynote speaker at the World Food Prize held two weeks ago in Des Moines, Iowa.

You don't see "sports" on AgDay very often. But in honor of the World Series, we thought you might be interested in the agricultural connection to America’s favorite past-time. The Texas Farm Bureau put together a pretty clever list. To be fair, we tried to compare some of the data between the two states. For instance, baseball mitts are made from leather. Leather hide comes from cattle. And Texas leads the nation in cattle production with more than 13-million head. In all fairness, Missouri also produces a lot of beef. It's ranked sixth in the nation with five million head. And, there's a good chance you'll eat a hotdog at the game. Buns are made from wheat. Texas produces 90 million bushels of wheat each year - - assuming there's no drought. Last year, Missouri produced about 36 million bushels of winter wheat. Peanuts are popular at the ball-park. Texas farmers produce 600 million pounds of peanuts annually. Missouri - uh...not so much. And even though St. Louis has a rich tradition in beer - think of Anheuser-Busch, Texas actually out-produces Missouri by about five million barrels, according to the "beer institute"

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