AgDay Daily Recap - September 20, 2011

September 20, 2011 03:58 AM

SEPTEMBER 20, 2011

Good morning, harvest of summer crops is progressing across the country after last week's first hints of autumn. It's been a roller coaster of a year and there's no sign of that slowing down just yet.

In Illinois, combines have found their way to the central part of the state. A hot and dry end to the summer pushed maturity but moisture is all over the board. Farm journal agronomist Ken Ferrie says the same field may have corn at 12% while a few rows over its 27% moisture. Wet corn has forced some elevators to close their scales. Ferrie says producers shouldn't get in a rush.

Ken says the hot dry finish took a bite out of yields. To the south he's seeing yields of 120 to 130 bushels an acre when farmers expected 160.
But it depends on the location. He's seen some fields with timely rain average 230 bushels an acre.

According to this week's USDA crop progress report, 11% of the Illinois corn crop is cut. The five year average is 15. Nationwide 10% of the crop is in the bin...just a point off the five year pace. Now to soybeans, which took a beating in the upper Midwest and plains last week due to frost. 53% is good to excellent, down three points from the previous week. State by state, we saw ten point declines in the soybean fields of the Dakotas and Minnesota. Of course, a lot of the decline is based on a slowly developing soy crop. USDA says a third of the crop is dropping leaves. That's 14 points behind the average pace. State by state, Iowa is 24 points behind in development. And Ohio is 37 points behind. Now to winter wheat planting. The USDA report shows 14% is seeded, six points behind average. Kansas is at 8%, which is close to average. Oklahoma planting is at 4% and Texas at 8%, which is about a dozen points behind.

In our dairy today report...the size of the U.S. dairy herd could shrink next year. That's the latest outlook from the USDA’s economic research service. The ERS says higher feed costs and lower forecasted milk and dairy product prices will push cow numbers lower.  The 2012 cow herd is forecast just under 9.2 million head. However, production per cow is expected to climb through the rest of this year and next. Milk per cow is forecast 1.5% higher at 21,600 pounds.

Organizers of the world dairy expo in Wisconsin are in count-down mode as they get ready to welcome visitors from around the globe. The world dairy expo begins October fourth in Madison, Wisconsin. Organizers are expecting over 65,000 producers and industry representatives from 90 countries to attend this year. More than 2,500 head of dairy cattle are registered. They represent 37 states and seven Canadian provinces. Show organizers say there will be a record number of companies displaying their products, including 120 companies new to this show. AgDay will have a crew there, bringing you some of the highlights of the expo. And of course, our reporting partners at dairy today, will have a big presence there. They'll provide daily news and insight of this year’s show. Be sure to check out

How would you like to reduce the amount of nitrogen you use on your fields, but not impact the yield? Researchers at the University of Arkansas are looking for ways to do just that. It involves a test called n-star. In this case, it could help rice producers. Ken Moore explains how the test works in this report provided by the Arkansas Farm Bureau.

Richard Brock

Some workers at a plastics company in north-central Indiana are stepping outside the plant to get their hands dirty in a nearby field. It was part of an effort called "squash out hunger." “Berry Plastics" in Goshen, Indiana owns seven acres of un-used land. A company employee suggested they plant some food plots for local food banks, which is desperately needed in that area. In 2009, that county led the nation in the unemployment rate - peaking at nearly 19%. The jobless rate has dropped, but the need is still there. Stephanie Stang from affiliate WNDU-TV takes to the field for this year’s harvest. Thanks Stephanie. Coming up more food for thought. A slowing economic recovery is affecting the restaurant business, and why eating meals as a family can help kids stay healthy. Food and your family is next.

As the U.S. economy stalled in the second quarter of the year, restaurant goers also put on the brakes. Details in food and your family. The marketing research company – NPD Group - says restaurant visits slipped this past spring by four-tenths of a percent. They compared restaurant traffic from April, May and June of this year to last year. NPD says fewer customers brought the industry recovery to a halt. Restaurant industry analyst Bonnie Riggs says the consumer demand in the prior three quarters was not strong enough to overcome another bump in unemployment, rising gas-and-commodity prices, and low consumer confidence.

Whether you eat out or at home, there are health benefits if you do it as a family. That's the message coming from the Dairy Council of California. The organization has launched the "Eat better, eat together family meal pledge".  Their initiative can be found on their Facebook page. It encourages families to share balanced family meals. The Dairy Council is using some recent data from the American Academy of Pediatrics to push their campaign. It found that children and adolescents who eat three or more meals with their families each week are 24% more likely to eat healthy foods. And, the same data shows they are 12% less likely to be overweight than their peers. To learn more about their campaign, go to If you take their pledge, you receive meal suggestions and recipes for health cooking.

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