Good morning I’m Clinton Griffiths. Soybean futures closed down Friday as analysts predict a larger crop size. Informa raised its soybean yield estimates to 38.6 bushels an acre. That's eight-tenths of a bushel higher than what USDA said last month. That puts production at 2.9 billion bushels. As far as the corn crop, informa expects 10.7 billion bushels with a yield of 122-point-four bushels an acre. That's a slight increase from USDA's October forecast.
As USDA prepares to release its next supply and demand report, harvest is still underway, but some crops are near complete. According to the latest USDA crop progress report, only 9% of the country's corn crop is still in the field. Soybean harvest is 87% complete. Cotton pickers and strippers have quite a bit of the crop left to harvest-- 50% is complete.
A Purdue economist says it’s time to get that seed order in. Alan Miller says after this year's record drought seed supplies could be tougher to find. That's going to make prices higher. He expects corn seed to go up roughly 6%, soybeans almost 10% and more than 10% for wheat seed. But Miller is also predicting higher returns for growers in 2013.
We bounce around from the southeast to the west coast for this morning's cropwatch. Here's Mike Hoffman.
WISCONSIN COOP MERGER:
As the dairy industry continues to undergo drastic changes with a shrinking number of farmers, it could lead to a major merger in the Midwest. That's according to our reporting partners at Dairy Today.
WIND POWER COSTS:
Congress will have a lot on its plate following this week's election. That includes a decision on renewing windpower tax credits.
In other renewable fuel news, Browfield reported on Friday that Valero Energy is shutting down ethanol plants in Linden, Indiana and in east central Nebraska. Its plans are to keep the plants shut until margins for ethanol production are positive again. Three of its other plants are already running at reduced capacity.
And global energy giant BP says its canceling plans to build a commercial scale cellulosic ethanol plant. The project was supposed to be constructed in Highland County Florida. Just four years ago the company had plans to turn thousands of acres of energy crops into 36 million gallons cellulosic ethanol. BP says it’s in the best interest of shareholders to put money into more attractive projects.
BP's announcement is slowing down research into cellulosic ethanol. In Louisiana, LSU scientists think a grass native to the state's prairielands could be a good alternative biofuel source and it grows well on marginal land. LSU AGcenter correspondent Tobie Blanchard has the story.
In agribusiness today, CF industries says it planning to build a new ammonia and urea/uan plant in Louisiana and add to location in Port Neal Iowa. CF Industries says it will cost nearly 4 billion dollars. It says the large-scale nitrogen capacity expansion, is a first for North America. The new sites are expected to be online in 2015 and 2016.
With a short supply in this country and a slow planting season in South America, there's some upside potential for soybeans. Farm director Al Pell has details in analysis.
LAND GRANT SCHOOLS:
It's been 150 years since president Abraham Lincoln signed the Morrill Act, which created the nation's land-grant school system. Those universities continue to produce some of best minds who lead the industry of agriculture. Visitors to the Smithsonian folk life festival in Washington D.C. got to see examples of the teaching, research and service taking place at these AG-schools. One of them on display was Mississippi State. Iowa was the first state to accept the provisions of the Morrill act, creating the Iowa Agricultural College and model farm. It's now known as Iowa State University. Today, 105 land-grant universities serve the nation.
GROUND BEEF SALES:
A new report says in spite of this year's lean finely textured beef controversy, ground beef sales were virtually unaffected.
And how often you eat alone? A new study says that's the new normal for American adults.