Evening Report (VIP) -- August 17, 2012

August 17, 2012 10:18 AM

PARTICIPATE IN PRO FARMER'S VIRTUAL CROP TOUR... The Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour runs Aug. 20-23, and this year you can help us assess the state of the U.S. corn crop with samples of your own. Using our new Virtual Crop Tour portal, you can calculate and report your potential yields using the same methods we do on Tour. To participate, you need to collect the following sample data:

  • Your state and county.
  • The number of ears that will make grain in two 30-foot rows.
  • Use the fifth, eighth and eleventh ear from one sample row and measure the average length of grain in inches on those ears.
  • Calculate the average number of kernel rows around on the three ears.
  • Row width in the field.


Then head to the Virtual Crop Tour website to enter your data (remember to select your state and county). Hit "submit" to calculate your results and compare it to Tour data and others on the Virtual Crop Tour.



COF REPORT: CALF PLACEMENTS DROP SHARPLY, BUT ON FEED UP... USDA's monthly inventory of feedlots showed Placements and Marketings were both slightly lighter than anticipated last month. The result: On Feed was just a tick higher than expected.

COF Report




% of year-ago levels

On Feed












A breakdown of calf placements into feedlots last month showed: lightweights down 19.4%; 6-weights down 18.8%; 7-weights down 5.1%; and heavyweights up 1.1%. The sharp decline in lightweight placements signals calf supplies are very tight.

Although there may be some bear spreading, the data is generally neutral. Focus should remain mostly of the boxed beef and cash cattle markets.



E15 CLEARS U.S. APPEALS COURT... This morning, the U.S. Appeals Court for the District of Columbia Circuit sided with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its approval of a 15% ethanol blend (E15) in gasoline for model year 2001 and newer light-duty vehicles and all flex-fuel vehicles. The court was responding to a waiver petition from several groups who say using E15 would push up the price of food and gas and harm engines.

The court ruled, "... we hold that no petitioner has standing to bring these claims. We therefore dismiss all petitions for lack of jurisdiction."

The next battle is retailer acceptance of E15. But the court decision should clear the way for E15 delivery, which allows the industry to clear the blend wall to meet usage mandates.



FSA CERTIFIED ACREAGE DATA UPDATE... In Thursday's "Evening Report" we reported contacts we talked to indicated the FSA certified acreage data released earlier this week could have been a factor that kept NASS from reducing harvested acres more than they did in the August Crop Production Report. After talking with NASS officials, we no longer believe that to be the case. A NASS official tells us, "Any changes we made to acres in August were based on the results from the Ag Yield (farmer) Survey and the Objective Yield (field counts) Survey. We we generally use the certified acreage data to help with acres in the October Crop Production Report."



FARMER PERSPECTIVE SURVEY... Pro Farmer Washington Consultant Jim Wiesemeyer has recently been on the speaking circuit and has compiled some insights from his travels, including the following:

  • Most farmers say they will have the same amount of corn and soybeans acres in 2013 as in 2012, with a few saying a bit more wheat acres.
  • Most believe farmland values will continue higher in their individual locations, with a price rise of 5% to 10%.
  • Most farmers believe hogs, cattle and poultry producers need a farm program safety net --despite opposition to such a development by groups representing those producers.
  • Most farmers don't think corn and soybean yields will top USDA estimates, but the those who do cite newer seed varieties as the reason.
  • The Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO) in both the Senate and House farm bills is expected to see widespread participation in the program, especially by larger-acre producers if it is included in a final farm bill. This is because it has no payment limitation and a 70% subsidy for program participation. Plus, SCO is in addition to crop insurance, as opposed to it being offered as an alternative to it.



FIVE-YEAR INTEREST RATE OUTLOOK... Washington Consultant Jim Wiesemeyer believes Federal Reserve officials who have said interest rate policy will remain as-is through 2014 and he adds another year to that. But he says the wild card is the continued inability for Washington to come to grips with the "fiscal cliff" (economic) issues that will surface with gusto after the Nov. 6 elections. If bond traders believe Washington cannot provide leadership on a host of fiscal matters, then interest rates could rise higher and faster than most now realize.

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