TODAY ON AGDAY:
OCTOBER 31, 2011
COTTON CROP PROGRESS:
Good morning, a new crop progress report comes out later today. Last week U.S. cotton harvest was well underway with more than a third already cut. That's just ahead of the five year average. Leading the way are states like Louisiana where cotton is all but harvested and Mississippi where about three quarters of fields were picked. Both of those states are ahead of average in a year when weather is giving southern growers fits. Rain last week had pickers dodging drops. Cotton prices remain above the century mark with December contracts hovering near 104.
In Oklahoma just two percent of the crop was harvested as of last week. Cooler weather in the lows to mid-30s has signaled the end of the growing season. Once temperatures get below 40-- fiber development comes to a standstill. The crop finished well, heat units were above normal in October.
As far as quality goes, 95% of the state's crop is rated poor to very poor. Historic drought and irrigation challenges caused many fields simply to dry up. As Oklahoma State's Lyndall Stout reports, that has Oklahoma taking a hard look at its long term water plans. Thanks Lyndall. Wheat farmers in the southern plains are smiling after a shot of moisture last week. Parts of New Mexico, and the Texas panhandle got three to five inches of snow. In Oklahoma many of the driest parts of the state clocked between a half to an inch of rain. The timely rain comes as many fields were beginning to look stressed.
LUBBOCK DUST STORM:
Remember this--the haboob dust storm that rolled across the Texas pan handle--seen here swallowing Lubbock. Now the USDA is weighing in. It says the storm reminds growers what skies looked like in the dust bowl of the 1930's. USDA says federal and state conservation programs are working to keep soil erosion to a minimum. The department believes conservation through CRP and the NRCS is more important than ever.
Registration is open for cotton growers who are interested in attending the industry's premier cotton gathering. The 2012 Beltwide Cotton Conferences will be held right after the holidays. The 2012 Beltwide Cotton Conferences are scheduled for January 3rd-6th. The events are being held at the Marriott World Center in Orlando, Florida. The website is www.beltwide.cotton.org. We talked with the conference coordinator from the National Cotton Council.
In agribusiness machinery giant CNH the makers of Case and New Holland Equipment just released third quarter earnings. CNH Global says third quarter profits are more than triple last year. It's citing improved margins and surging sales of farm and construction machinery. CNH is the world's second largest manufacturer of tractors and combines. A subsidiary of Fiat, CNH says farm machinery sales are up 30% overall, with a big bump in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. The company expects revenue growth between 15-20% over 2010.
IN THE COUNTRY; LABELLE CHEESE:
Longtime Wisconsin dairy producers John and Kim Koepke have created a new business venture utilizing the milk they have been producing on their farm for years. And this signature cheese is making its mark in a state known for its cheddar and mozzarella. In this report from the Wisconsin milk marketing board, we hear about la-belle cheese. Thanks for that, currently the family only uses about one percent of their milk to make cheese. They say that's a fun one percent and want to keep it that way. By the way, John Koepke and his "partners" - Alan, Jim, and David Koepke were just awarded the Dairymen of the Year award at the World Dairy Expo. Food and Your Family is next.
HALLOWEEN FOOD ALLERGIES:
In food and your family many kids will be strapping on their costumes and heading for trick or treats tonight. But for parents of kids with allergies, Halloween can be downright spooky. Kids with nut allergies have to watch closely what ends up in the bag. One peanut butter cup or candy bar with nuts could have devastating effects. The national institute of health estimates, 5% of kids younger than five and 4% of those 5 to 17 deal with food allergies. Parents of kids with food allergies say they have noticed more people making an effort to avoid nuts in recent years.
RAISING RESTAURANT PRICES:
Industry watchers say they expect restaurants to start raising prices soon.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics--in September, U.S. consumers paid about 2.5% more at eateries compared to a year ago. Food prices at super markets were up more than 6%. With inflation for eating at home accelerating faster than dining out--many believe restaurants will start narrowing the gap by raising prices.
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