USFR Weekly Recap - April 2-3,2011

April 4, 2011 07:53 AM
 

THIS WEEK ON U.S. FARM REPORT
EPISODE #1964
APRIL 2-3, 2011

JOHN’S OPEN: HELLO AND WELCOME TO U.S. FARM REPORT, I'M JOHN PHIPPS. THE GRAIN STOCKS REPORT CONFIRMED THE SUSPICION MANY OF US ENTERTAINED THAT DEMAND WAS NOT BACKING DOWN IN THE FACE OF HIGHER GRAIN PRICES. AL HAS THE DETAILS MOMENTARILY, BUT MARKET ACTION SINCE THURSDAY'S NEWS SHOULD GIVE YOU A HINT. MY GUESS IS EVERY REPORT THIS YEAR - FROM CROP PROGRESS TO EXPORTS - WILL TRIGGER SIMILAR FIREWORKS, AS MOST MAJOR COMMODITIES COPE WITH HISTORICALLY LOW STOCKS AND BOOMING DEMAND. WHILE THIS IS GOOD NEWS FOR PRODUCERS, MANY OF US ARE ALREADY REALIZING THAT THE LAST FEW DECADES HAVE NOT PREPARED US PSYCHOLOGICALLY FOR RELENTLESS EXCITEMENT. WE JUST DON'T DO DRAMA DOWN ON THE FARM. TIME NOW FOR THE HEADLINES.....HERE'S AL PELL

PLANTINGS REPORT: THANK YOU JOHN AND HELLO EVERYONE. THE AG DEPARTMENT SAYS AMERICAN FARMERS WILL PLANT THE SECOND LARGEST CORN CROP IN HISTORY. THE USDA RELEASED ITS ANNUAL PROSPECTIVE PLANTINGS REPORT EARLY THURSDAY MORNING -
LET'S GET RIGHT TO THE NUMBERS. THE DEPARTMENT IS FORECASTING JUST OVER 92 MILLION CORN ACRES WILL BE PLANTED THIS SPRING...UP FOUR MILLION ACRES FROM LAST YEAR. USDA SAYS THE LARGEST INCREASE WILL BE IN SOUTH DAKOTA. IN TEXAS, CORN ACREAGE IS PEGGED TO DIP WITH THOSE ACRES GOING TO COTTON. FOR SOYBEANS, USDA ESTIMATES PLANTINGS WILL BE DOWN ONE PERCENT TO 76.5 MILLION ACRES. ACREAGE IS ALSO EXPECTED TO HEAD HIGHER FOR WHEAT, REACHING AN ESTIMATED 58-MILLION ACRES. AND FOR COTTON, THE AG DEPARTMENT IS PREDICTING A 15% JUMP WITH ACREAGE HITTING 12.5 MILLION ACRES.

GRAIN STOX: ANOTHER KEY REPORT THAT CAME OUT WAS QUARTERLY GRAIN STOCKS REPORT. IT SHOWS CONTINUING STRONG DEMAND AND USAGE. USDA EXPECTS THE CURRENT TIGHT SUPPLY WILL CONTINUE WELL IN TO 2012. THE REPORT SHOWS CORN STOCKS IN ALL POSITIONS AT 6.5 BILLION BUSHELS. THAT'S DOWN 15% FROM LAST YEAR.

FERTILIZER SUPPLY: BEFORE SOILS WARM TOO MUCH, MANY PRODUCERS ARE IN THE FIELD ADDING PRE-PLANT FERTILIZERS. ACCORDING TO OUR REPORTING PARTNERS AT TOP PRODUCER MAGAZINE, FARMERS CAN EXPECT MORE PRICE INCREASES THIS SPRING. BEHIND THOSE HIGHER PRICES IS THE WORLD MARKET AND TIGHT SUPPLIES. THE U.S. PRODUCES MUCH LESS OF ITS DRY UREA SUPPLY THAN IT USED TO. IMPORTS NOW ACCCOUNT FOR MORE THAN HALF OF ITS SUPPLY. AGRONOMISTS SAY A WARM FALL, AND THE UNLIKELIHOOD OF NITROGEN LOSSES THIS SPRING MAY ALLOW FARMERS TO CUT BACK SLIGHTLY THIS YEAR. ACCORDING TO ECONOMISTS WITH THE UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA, IF CORN STAYS ABOVE SIX DOLLARS PER BUSHEL, FERTILIZER PRICES COULD GO UP ANOTHER 10-15%.

ROUND TABLE: BILL BIEDERMANN, GREG WAGNER, DUSTIN JOHNSON

JOHN’S WORLD: THE NEWS OF A SPIKE IN GRAIN BIN ENTRAPMENT DEATHS ON FARMS AND GRAIN FACILITIES VERIFIES WHAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN A PREVENTABLE TRAGEDY. THE 2009 CORN CROP WENT INTO THE BINS IN SORRY CONDITION, AND THUS THE STAGE WAS SET FOR GRAIN HANDLING HEADACHES WHEN OUT-OF-CONDITION GRAIN WAS STUBBORNLY REFUSING TO FLOW EASILY THROUGH OUR BINS AND CONVEYORS. 51 INCIDENTS WITH 38 FATALITIES MADE 2010 THE DEADLIEST YEAR ON RECORD FOR SUCH ACCIDENTS. IT IS GROWING INCREASINGLY OBVIOUS THAT AGRICULTURE'S CASUAL ACCEPTANCE OF INJURIES AND FATALITIES ON FARMS STANDS OUT AGAINST A BACKDROP OF EVER-SAFER WORKING ENVIRONMENTS FOR ALL OTHER INDUSTRIES. IN ADDITION, AGRICULTURE REMAINS THE ONLY INDUSTRY WHERE CHILDREN ROUTINELY DIE IN THE WORKPLACE. FIVE OF THE BIN FATALITIES LAST YEAR WERE CHILDREN UNDER 16. WHILE I DO NOT WISH TO ADD TO THE SORROW OF THE MANY LIVES TOUCHED BY THESE TRAGEDIES, IT IS HARD NOT TO CONCLUDE WE DON'T SEEM TO BE LEARNING FROM THEM AT ALL. ON-FARM ACCIDENTS ARE APPARENTLY VIEWED AS A SAD COST OF BUSINESS, I GUESS. THE FARM COMMUNITY IS CURRENTLY RAILING ABOUT EXCESSIVE REGULATION, AND MUCH OF THE COMPLAINING IS WARRANTED. BUT IT IS OBVIOUS WE ARE CLEARLY UNDER-REGULATED WHEN IT COMES TO SAFETY. WE HAVE DEMONSTRATED A CALLOUS DISREGARD FOR HUMAN LIFE, AND LIKE OTHER INDUSTRIES, I DOUBT WE WILL CHANGE UNTIL INSPECTIONS, FINES, AND LAWSUITS FORCE US TO. OUR FARM EXEMPTION FROM OSHA IS UNJUSTIFIABLE AND SHOULD BE MODIFIED.

2ND HALF:
JOHNS OPEN:
HELLO AND WELCOME TO U.S. FARM REPORT, I'M JOHN PHIPPS. MANY OF MY FRIENDS PLAY GOLF. I DO NOT. BUT IT OBVIOUSLY CAN BE AN ADDICTIVE PASTIME. ONE THING I HAVE LEARNED IS GOLFERS LOVE TO TALK ABOUT GOLF, AS WELL. AFTER ONE EXCRUCIATINGLY DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF A DOG-LEG PAR FOUR ADVENTURE, ONE OF MY BUDDIES PAUSED FOR BREATH. I TRIED TO PICK UP THE CONVERSATIONAL BURDEN BY STATING THAT I HAD READ THAT THE WORST CASES OF OVER-APPLICATION OF PESTICIDES WERE GOLF COURSES. HE LAUGHED. GOLFERS OFTEN HOLD TEES IN THEIR MOUTHS WHILE GETTING READY, HE SAID, BUT NEVER, NEVER AFTER IT HAS BEEN ON THE GROUND. OUR LOVE AFFAIR WITH IMMACULATE TURF COULD BE MORE ENVIRONMENTALLY COSTLY THAN IMMACULATE FIELDS. LET'S GET STARTED WITH THE HEADLINES AND AL PELL....

PLANTING REPORTS: THANK YOU JOHN AND HELLO EVERYONE. U.S. FARMERS ARE EXPECTING TO BOOST THE SIZE OF THIS YEARS CORN CROP. THIS WEEK THE AGRICULTURE DEPARTMENT RELEASED ITS ANNUAL FORECAST OF WHAT FARMERS INTEND TO PLANT THIS SPRING.
USDA EXPECTS FARMERS WILL PLANT JUST OVER 92-MILLION ACRES OF CORN THIS SPRING, A FIVE PERCENT INCREASE OVER LAST YEAR. THE AG DEPARTMENT SAYS THAT WOULD BE THE SECOND LARGEST CORN CROP SINCE WORLD WAR TWO. HIGH PRICES ARE ENCOURAGING FARMERS TO PLANT MORE CORN.

COTTON REPORT: ALSO ENCOURAGED BY HIGHER PRICES, FARMERS IN THE SOUTH WILL PLANT MORE COTTON THIS YEAR. THE AG DEPARTMENT EXPECTS FARMERS WILL INCREASE THEIR COTTON SEEDINGS BY 15% COVERING 12.5 MILLION ACRES. COTTON PRICES HAVE DOUBLED SINCE LAST YEAR TO NEARLY TWO DOLLARS A POUND.

CHESAPEAKE BAY LAWNS: IN THE ARGUMENT OVER WHO'S PUTTING MORE NUTRIENT RUN-OFF INTO THE CHESAPEAKE BAY, THERE'S NEW AMMUNITION THAT FARMERS ARE NOT THE ONLY CONTRIBUTORS. A NEW STUDY RELEASED THIS WEEK SAYS THERE'S 1.3 MILLION ACRES OF LAWNS, COMPARED TO 1.5 MILLION ACRES OF CROPLAND IN MARYLAND. THE ENVIRONMENT MARYLAND RESEARCH CENTER ARGUES PLUSH LAWNS ARE LESS REGULATED THAN MAJOR CROPS. FARMERS ARE REQUIRED TO SUBMIT NUTRIENT MANAGEMENT PLANS, BUT THERE'S NO SUCH REGULATIONS FOR LAWN-CARE. THE STUDY CRITICIZES THE STATE FOR ITS LAX OVERSIGHT OF FERTILIZER RUN-OFF ON DEVELOPED LAND.

CALIFORNIA DROUGHT OVER: A CALIFORNIA DROUGHT WHICH FORCED FARMERS TO IDLE THOUSANDS OF ACRES OF CROPLAND IS OFFICIALLY OVER. GOVERNOR JERRY BROWN THIS WEEK REPEALED A STATEWIDE DROUGHT DECLARATION THAT DATES ALL THE WAY BACK TO 2008.
AN ACTIVE WINTER-STORM SEASON IN THE SIERRA NEVADA MOUNTAIN RANGE BROUGHT MORE THAN 60 FEET OF SNOW - ONE OF THE HIGHEST TOTALS ON RECORD. THE SNOWPACK IS ESSENTIAL FOR CALIFORNIA'S WATER SUPPLY. WHEN THAT SNOW MELTS, IT FEEDS A MASSIVE SYSTEM OF RESERVOIRS AND AQUEDUCTS WHICH MOVES WATER FROM THE NORTH TO THE AG-RICH CENTRAL VALLEY.

MIZZOU TORNADO CHASE: STATES IN TORNADO ALLEY MAY EXPERIENCE A FAIRLY CALM TORNADO SEASON THIS YEAR. BUT STATES IN THE NORTHERN PLAINS COULD BE IN THE LINE OF FIRE. THAT'S THE OUTLOOK FROM A UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI METEOROLOGIST WHO LEADS HIS STUDENTS ON A STORM CHASE ABOUT THIS TIME EACH YEAR. KENT FADDIS HAS DETAILS IN THIS REPORT PROVIDED BY MIZZOU.

HEARTLAND: SPRING TIME IN TORNADO ALLEY CAN BE A WORRISOME TIME. THAT IS, UNLESS, YOU'RE BILLY MOORE OF OKLAHOMA. HE DOESN'T NEED TO WORRY ABOUT HIS HOUSE GETTING TOPPLED BY A POWERFUL STORM. GALEN CULVER FROM AFFILIATE KFOR-TV IN OKLAHOMA CITY TAKES US TO THIS UNDERGROUND LAIR.

BAXTER BLACK: TIME NOW TO CHECK IN WITH BAXTER BLACK. THIS WEEK, BAXTER PAYS TRIBUTE TO A COWBOY'S BEST FRIEND...WHEN WE COME BACK, A JOHN DEERE TRACTOR TALES PLUS OUR COUNTRY CHURCH SALUTE...PLEASE STAY WITH US.

TRACTOR TALES: TIME NOW FOR TRACTOR TALES. DURING A RECENT TRIP TO FLORIDA OUR CREW MET UP WITH AN INDIANA COLLECTOR WHO HAD LOTS TO SAY ABOUT AN OLD JOHN DEERE "L". ACCORDING TO WWW.TRACTORDATA.COM , JOHN DEERE PRODUCED MORE THAN 13,000 "L" SERIES TRACTORS FROM 1937 THROUGH 1946.

CHURCH SALUTE:  TODAY'S COUNTRY CHURCH SALUTE GOES TO THE MCKENDREE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH IN LINCOLNTON, NORTH CAROLINA. THEY WILL MARK 175 YEARS OF MINISTRY THIS WEEKEND WITH A SPECIAL "FOUNDER'S DAY" CELEBRATION. THE CHURCH WAS THOUGHT TO BE FOUNDED BY THE FIRST PASTOR, SAMUEL LANDER, AND WAS NAMED FOR BISHOP WILLIAM MCKENDREE, A LEADER IN THE EARLY AMERICAN METHODIST CHURCH. THE FIRST LOG CHURCH WAS ERECTED IN 1836. IT WAS SAID THE DOORS WERE ALWAYS OPEN, AND THAT THE SHEEP GRAZING NEARBY OFTEN FOUND SHELTER INSIDE. THE LOG CHURCH SERVED OVER 50 YEARS. IN 1936, THE CHURCH BEGAN ITS SECOND CENTURY IN THE PRESENT STONE CHURCH. MUCH OF THE STONE WAS QUARRIED LOCALLY, AND THE TIMBER AND LABOR WAS DONATED BY THE CONGREGATION AND THE COMMUNITY. THE CURRENT MEMBERSHIP IS 233 WITH AVERAGE ATTENDANCE OF 106. THE PASTOR IS REVEREND JAMES REEVES. WILLIAM KEEVER SENT US THE INFORMATION AND PHOTO.

MAILBAG: TIME NOW FOR OUR WEEKLY LOOK INSIDE THE FARM REPORT MAILBAG...NANCY FROM OCQUEOC, WISCONSIN ASKS ABOUT WHAT IS HAPPENING ON OUR DAIRY FARMS. "HAVE YOU NOTICED MOST FARMERS ARE GETTING RID OF THEIR MILKING COWS? IS THIS SO OUR MILK WILL COME FROM OVERSEAS?" THANK YOU FOR WRITING, NANCY. THE RECENT DIFFICULTIES ON DAIRY FARMS DUE TO LOW MILK PRICES AND HIGH FEED COSTS HAVE HIT MANY PRODUCERS HARD, BUT THERE ARE SEVERAL THINGS GOING ON. AS PROFITS DROP, FARMERS WILL CULL THEIR HERDS - SELLING THE LOWEST PRODUCING COWS TO LOWER COSTS. AND THE WHOLE INDUSTRY HAS BEEN REDUCING HERD SIZE. BUT OTHER ISSUES COME INTO PLAY. DAIRY FARMERS I HAVE TALKED TO ARE OFTEN SELLING OUT BECAUSE NONE OF THEIR CHILDREN ARE INTERESTED IN CONTINUING THE OPERATION. SMALL HERDS REQUIRE A RELENTLESS LABOR COMMITMENT THAT DOMINATES FAMILY LIFE, AND IS UNAPPEALING TO MANY YOUNG PEOPLE. NOW ADD IN THE IMMIGRATION TURMOIL THAT HAS MADE ONE BIG SOURCE OF LABOR MORE QUESTIONABLE FOR PRODUCERS. TIGHTER IMMIGRATION RULES ARE IMPACTING AN ALREADY DIFFICULT LABOR MARKET FOR DAIRY FARMS. FINALLY, IT IS OBVIOUS OUR INCREDIBLY COMPLICATED MILK PRICING PROGRAM IS NOT COPING WELL WITH CURRENT MARKET CONDITIONS. THE USDA AND THE INDUSTRY ARE WORKING ON NEW SCHEMES, BUT IT TAKES TIME. REGARDLESS, THE DECLINE IN COW NUMBERS AND FARMS IS NOT CAUSED BY IMPORTS. IN FACT, WE EXPORT FOUR TIMES AS MUCH PRODUCT, AND IMPORTS ARE MOSTLY THOSE FANCY-SCHMANCY CHEESES IN THE DELI. AS ALWAYS, WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU, SEND COMMENTS TO MAILBAG@USFARMREPORT.COM OR LEAVE US A VOICE MAIL AT 800-792-4329.
 

 

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