CONSULTANT LEAVES CROP ESTIMATES UNCHANGED... Pro Farmer crop consultant Dr. Michael Cordonnier left his corn and soybean crop estimates unchanged this week and says he has a neutral bias toward the crops. He pegs the corn yield at 154 bu. per acre for a crop of 13.58 billion bu. and the soybean yield at 42 bu. per acre for a crop of 3.22 billion bushels.
Dr. Cordonnier says cooler-than-normal temps continue to slow the development of the U.S. corn and soybean crops, but longer-range forecasts call for a warming trend in the U.S., accompanied by drier conditions. He says warmer temps would help with crop development, but a wetter scenario would be more favorable.
"The worst thing for the soybeans in the western Corn Belt would be if it warmed up to above-normal temps and remained dry. That would increase the water demand for the crop and it could result in additional flower and pod abortion. The best thing for the soybeans would be if it turned warm and wet," he adds.
6- to 10-DAY OUTLOOK: DRY ACROSS WESTERN BELT... The National Weather Service forecast for August 19 through 23 calls for below-normal precip across the western Corn Belt, with normal precip expected across the eastern Corn Belt. Above-normal temps are expected across the northern Corn Belt and the far eastern Belt, while normal temps are expected across the central Belt. The forecast raises concerns about filling crops in the western Belt, as drought has remained intact across Nebraska this growing season and is spreading eastward. Click here to view related maps.
BRAZILIAN CORN PRICES BELOW COST OF PRODUCTION... Dr. Cordonnier also makes note of the fact that corn prices in Brazil have dropped below the cost of production, which has producers planning to reduce their acreage in 2013-14. Dr. Cordonnier says after a record 2012-13 crop, Brazilian farmers are expected to reduce their full-season corn acreage by 10% and their safrinha corn acreage by 10% to 15%, while soybean acreage is expected to rise by 3% to 5%, or more.
REPORT: EPA'S JACKSON REGRETS FAILURE TO REACH OUT TO RURAL AMERICA... Departing Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa P. Jackson cited her failure to reach out to rural, typically more conservative regions of the U.S. as her deepest regret while heading the department, in a recent interview with Reuters published Monday. "Had I known that these myths about everything from cow flatulence to spilled milk could be seen as 'The EPA is coming to get you,' I would have spent more time trying to inoculate against that," Jackson said.
MERCK TO STUDY INDUSTRY USE OF ZILMAX... In response to measures taken by Tyson Foods last week stating it would no longer accept cattle finished with Zilmax as of Sept. 6, Merck Animal Health said it is launching a five-step plan to reach out to cattle packers and suppliers over the next 30 days. It's plan includes:
- Merck Animal Health is committed to re-certifying every feeder/nutritionist/veterinarian that feeds Zilmax to cattle. The re-certification process will begin immediately. Special attention will be given to feed mixing and determining which cattle are good candidates for the use of beta-agonists. We will engage third party experts to provide periodic review of certifications.
- Within the next 30 days, Merck Animal Health is committed to reaching out to packers and suppliers to initiate a scientific audit, which will focus on the feeding of Zilmax, and will follow those cattle from the feedyard to the packing plant to determine potential causes of lameness and other mobility issues during feeding, transportation, offloading and staging at the processing facility. Merck Animal Health will do a thorough review of potential compounding factors-such as nutrition, transportation, receiving facilities, etc. It will perform this audit in conjunction with third-party experts.
- Based on its findings, Merck Animal Health says it is committed to reinforcing appropriate management practices for feeder customers to include overall nutrition and feeding objectives, animal handling, low-stress environments and transportation.
- Continuing work to advance animal well-being, Merck Animal Health will form an Advisory Board within the next 30 days, made up of representatives from small, medium and large feeders, packers, cow-calf operators, as well as animal health and nutrition experts, to review available data. If additional recommended management practices are needed, these will be identified, shared and promptly implemented.
- Merck Animal Health takes says it takes its responsibility very seriously and is committed to sharing all of these findings and to be transparent.