TODAY ON AGDAY:
SEPTEMBER 27, 2011
Combines are rolling through-out the corn-growing region. Some states are just now starting, while others are well on their way. And at this point, there appears to be no significant delays.
22% of the Illinois corn crop is now harvested. That's three points behind average. This is what it looks like near the town of Auburn - which is just south of Springfield. We stopped by the Niemeyer Farms. Garry Niemeyer is the incoming president of the National Corn Growers Association. Like many growers in Illinois, Niemeyer says heavy rains came at the wrong time. Still, he's pleasantly surprised with the outcomes.
Overall, USDA says 15% of the crop is harvested. 16% is the average. And just as we saw most of the season, there are delays in the eastern corn belt. The western corn belt is on pace. Now to soybeans, 5% is harvested. The five year average is 11%. And we see delays in every state in the USDA report, except for Louisiana. About a quarter of the winter wheat crop is planted. It's usually over a third by now. Kansas sits at 20%, which is close to average. Oklahoma's at 11% and Texas at 14%. Both of those states are 20 points behind. Growers are hesitant to plant without moisture.
In Arkansas, rice harvest is 56% complete. Arkansas typically leads the nation in rice production. On an average year, they plant about 300,000 acres. We talked to growers in Cross county. Which is west of Memphis. They said rice yields this year will be average at best. In most cases, yields are down 25%. Mcgee says the soybean crop looks better than rice. He says his soy crop will be decent, but not a record.
I80 HARVEST TOUR:
Back to the corn belt... Coming up tomorrow we begin a closer look at the 2011 harvest in the heart of the nation's corn and soybean states. We call it the I-80 Harvest Tour. We'll be traveling across the five Midwestern states along interstate 80 to gauge this year’s corn and soybean crops. Tomorrow, we'll visit a grower in north central Illinois. Many growers in Illinois struggled with wet fields and a parched summer. Join us tomorrow and every Wednesday over the next eight weeks for the I-80 harvest tour.
DAIRY TODAY REPORT; RENEWABLE FUEL:
There's renewed debate over the renewable fuels standard and its impact on the corn supply. That, after two Congressmen announced they were writing a bill that would reduce the production mandate when corn supplies are tight. Representatives Bob Goodlatte of Virginia and Jim Costa of California are behind the legislation. Their bill would link the amount of corn ethanol in the RFS to the amount of corn stocks, based on USDA supply-demand reports. The U.S. ethanol mandate began five years ago and triggered a rapid expansion of the ethanol industry. Pro-ethanol group - renewable fuels association - says the Goodlatte-Costa bill would mean a loss of ethanol in the fuel supply and that would drive-up fuel costs. And just reminder, AgDay and our partners at dairy today, will be at World Dairy Expo next week in Madison, Wisconsin. Look for timely updates at www.dairytoday.com.
In Agribusiness cattle prices surged Monday following last week's cattle on feed report. It's the first indication of what's already being called a historical reduction in beef cow numbers. Placements for the September first report fell by 1% compared to year ago--analysts had expected them nearly 8% higher. While many expected the drought to force more calves in to feedlots, a historically low cow herd--that's now getting even smaller--is starting to show up. Feeder cattle futures went limit up for nearly all contracts from October through august of next year. Prices are up more than 15% over last year at this time. Live cattle contracts are about 20% higher...hovering near 119 per hundred. Analysts are now forecasting that to hit 136 in the next six months.
Only 2% of the country is actively involved in production agriculture. That means a lot of people have no idea what it takes to put food on the table. That's one reason the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance conducted a nationwide town hall meeting last week. It was called "Food Dialogues". The intention was to get consumers to learn more about modern production agriculture. The panel discussions were held in Washington D.C., New York, California and in Fair Oaks, Indiana. Fair Oaks farms milks 30,000 cows, three times a day, but it's also become a tourist destination...and that's intentional.
IN THE COUNTRY; FAIR OAKS:
So what is Fair Oaks Farms? It's a huge dairy operation in northwest Indiana, about 60 miles from Chicago. Located right-off interstate 65, there's easy access to travelers. While it is a working dairy farm, it's also a classroom and an entertainment location. Don Schoenfeld from AgDay affiliate WNDU-TV takes us to the farm.
A DAY IN AG:
Thanks. And coming up this Thursday you can do your part to educate the public. Our partners at AgWeb are planning to celebrate a day in agriculture. It's a snapshot of one day in Ag showing how the industry impacts billions of people. You can get more details on www.agweb.com. Food and your family is next.
SOY PROTEIN HEALTH:
In food and your family this morning we have a couple of research related stories. First, it looks like soy protein may have a big impact on cholesterol in women nearing menopause. The research published in the November issue of stroke, found soy protein reduced the amount of artery clogging cholesterol in women within five years of menopause by 16%. That's compared to placebo in a double blind study of 350 women ages 45 to 92.
For women who had reached menopause within the past five years, the soy protein reduced the progression of clogged arteries by nearly 70%. While reducing the bad, good cholesterol also increased.
And breast cancer can be a scary diagnosis. Another study, this one done by researchers at the city of hope in Los Angeles found eating blueberries may actually inhibit breast cancer tumor growth. Considered super food, blueberries are full of cancer fighting flavonoids and antioxidants. The research found eating whole blueberry powder may reduce the growth and tumor size of some aggressive forms of breast cancer by 60-75%. Scientists say results showed up from eating about two cups a day.
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