AgDay Daily Recap - October 5, 2011

October 5, 2011 02:36 AM

OCTOBER 05, 2011

The pro-ethanol sector is pushing back at a new report that says it's unlikely that the U.S. will meet cellulosic ethanol mandates, unless there are significant changes to technology or U.S. policy. At the request of congress, the national research council prepared a 423-page report which analyzes the renewable fuels standard. The renewable fuels standard was part of the 2007 energy law. It calls for the use of 36 billion gallons of ethanol to be blended into the nation's fuel supply by 2022. Right now, it's about 13 billion gallons. A portion of the ethanol must come from feed-stocks, other than corn. The report admits there are too many uncertainties such as future crude oil prices, feed-stock costs, technology advances and government policy. The committee said "It is simply not possible to come-up with clear quantitative answers to many of the questions." The renewable fuels association says "Commercialization of next-generation biofuels will continue to be a challenge, as long as the industry and investment community received mixed signals from policy-makers about whether there will be enduring support of biofuels."

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is pushing congress to quickly approve the un-finished free trade agreements with Colombia, Korea and Panama. On Monday, the White House submitted the FTA’s to congress for vote. And for many sectors in agriculture, it's a long time in coming...about four years. Vilsack says these agreements will level the playing field and secure markets for America’s farmers, ranchers and growers. Many of the major Ag groups - both on the grain and livestock sides - are also calling on congress to act quickly. The American Farm Bureau Federation says without these agreements, Korea, Colombia and Panama have opened their doors to U.S. competitors. The National Farmers Union has a different take. It says like "NAFTA", these FTA’s would worsen the U.S. trade deficit.

NFU says - quoting now - "America adheres to higher labor and environmental standards than other nations, so U.S. companies incur costs that companies in other nation's do not." USDA says passage of the agreements would mean an additional two-and-a-half billion dollars annually in U.S. exports.

This morning, we continue our eight week-long tour across the Midwest. We are gauging this year’s corn and soybean crops from Ohio to Nebraska. We call it the I-80 harvest tour. We selected - at random - growers from eight locations who live within the Interstate 80 corridor. We're headed to Warren County, Iowa - just south of Des Moines - where new disease pressure and the lack of summer rains created challenges. Our thanks to Joe for allowing us to tag-along during the busy harvest season. And be sure to check in next Wednesday, as we continue our I-80 harvest tour across the corn belt.

In agribusiness Rabobank says by next year, beef production could fall by as much as 7%. Severe drought in the southern plains is pushing more cows to slaughter. The shrinking national herd has analysts bullish about the next two years. Chicago's October live cattle contracts closed above 123 earlier this week...the highest settlement for a contract closest to expiration since cattle future began trading back in 1964. Analysts at CBOT say prices in 2012 could reach unprecedented levels above 130 per hundred.

The U.S. grains council expects a bumper corn crop from China. In its latest estimates the council forecasts 6.6 billion bushels--that up about 3.5 million bushels over last year. On a total crop covering 76 million acres that pencils out to average yields of about 86 bushels per acre. The U.S. grains council says a strong Chinese harvest will help moderate global corn prices--which they say is good for producers and consumers around the globe.

Richard Brock

Cactus and the cold climate of North Dakota - not necessarily a match you might expect. But inside a climate controlled museum, it works just fine. Thousands of the prickly plants are growing in a conservatory that's covered by snow six months out of the year. Our buddy Cliff Naylor from KFYR-TV shows us how this incredible collection ended-up in this unlikely location. Thanks cliff. Up next does eating with men cause women to eat less...we'll have the results of a new study. Plus, October is national sausage month. Food and your family is next.

In food and your family a new study says it’s confirmed what men and women have known for centuries. Women eat less when in the company of men. The research was published in the journal of applied social psychology. It analyzed the eating habits of 127 college students and whether they sat alone or with company. The study found when women sat with other women they consumed an average of 830 calories. When they ate with men they only ate about 720 calories. On the other side of the gender actually ate less with other men, while eating more when dining with women.

October is a big month for fall festivals and Oktoberfest’s everywhere.
But hold the schnitzel--it’s also national sausage month. According to a new poll from the national hot dog and sausage council, more than 80% of Americans eat sausage. Most of that meat is consumed at breakfast. Types of sausage vary widely and preferences are divided by regions. About 40% of northeasterners prefer Italian sausage, while a third of southerners choose breakfast sausage, in the Midwest a third chose brats while chorizo was most popular out west.

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