USFR Weekly Recap - August 25-26, 2012

August 25, 2012 09:43 AM

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EPISODE # 2037
AUGUST 25-26, 2012



Hello and welcome to U.S. Farm Report, I’m John Phipps. Our colleagues at pro Farmer drew global attention as they went into the fields to generate their outlook for corn and soybeans this week. Al has all the numbers. But in this unusual year, real-time numbers have been pouring in as well. While these are mostly from the hardest hit and therefore driest crop areas, we moved our record for early harvest up by 24 days by harvesting our first field of corn on August 22. The yields? I'll just say they were less than we hoped but more than we feared. A little bit more. Still even with grim results, seeing an empty field provides some strange sort of relief. At least it can't get any worse.


The 2012 Pro Farmer Midwest crop tour is now in the books. And the outcomes are being closely watched in the industry. First we'll start with corn estimates. Pro farmer estimates the overall national corn yield at just over 120 bushels an acre, with a total production of 10.4 billion bushels.

For soybeans, Pro Farmer puts the crop at 2.6 billion bushels with an average yield of 34.8 bushels to the acre. While the scouts saw drought damage to the crop, it was not as severe as the corn crop. In the eastern cornbelt, scouts say stand ability and stalk quality were the primary issues aside from the drought. The result - dismal yields in Indiana. As far as soybeans, the scouts said the factors remained the same - too much heat, too little rain and not enough pods. On the western leg, potential yields in Nebraska and Iowa varied widely. Tour director Chip Flory says yields are down, though to a lesser extreme than some other areas. Some scouts saw harvest underway in western Iowa, which is weeks ahead of normal. Our crop tour agronomist says crops still standing could still use some help.


Time now for the inside word on this year's Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour. Pro Farmer Editor Chip Flory leads our discussion...


As I mentioned in the show opening, we started harvest on our farm three weeks earlier than ever. A combination of extremely early planting, record heat, and early maturing hybrids made it possible. The fear of further stalk and ear deterioration added extra incentive. In fact, it looks like all our corn is following on rapidly, and we could proceed right on through the whole crop. Not having to handle nearly so many bushels is a real-time saver as well. Our estimate is we could wrap up the corn just as the first soybeans are ready. Let's assume good weather. Looking at the calendar, an unprecedented finish date is almost assured. Which leads me to another startling realization: if winter is the time we designate as after harvest and before planting, we'll have a record long one this year - perhaps nearly 7 months. This is the one fact that farmers seem to conveniently forget when bragging about how hard we work. It's true we beaver away night and day for a few weeks in spring and fall, but without livestock, crop farmer time in say, November or February can consist of filling idle hours. You don't see images of producers snoring in a recliner after lunch or spending several weeks in Florida. But for many of us juggling bursts of intense activity with long stretches of low-value time is reaching extremes. Without nearly as much grain to fuss with and truck this long winter, I am a little nervous what all of us could get up to. So are a few farm wives.


Hello and welcome to U.S. Farm Report, I’m John Phipps. The actual start of harvest has shifted farmer attention away from action in Washington on a possible Farm Bill. But there are some hints that a bill of so0me sort might make it to the house floor after recess. Before your start cheering, realize that passage of the bill is doubtful at this point. And even if some form does get approved, it may be so altered after floor amendments as to be wildly different from the senate version, in this brief window for action, time for negotiation will be scarce. There is a chance that producers could look up from a bitter harvest only to see an unrecognizable farm program landscape.


All this week, teams of farmers, reporters and market analysts toured Midwest corn and soybean fields to see how the drought-impacted fields look this year. As the lower Mississippi river approaches record low stages, the corps of engineers is working to keep the important waterway open for grain shipments headed south. Federal food safety agencies are investigating an outbreak of salmonella connected to cantaloupe. At least two people have died from the infection. And the CDC says this is the biggest year for West Nile virus. So far this year, 38 states have reported infections in nearly 1,120 people. 41 people have died. This is the largest number of cases in a single year since the disease was first detected 13 years ago. Half of the cases have been reported in Texas.


In past generations moonshiners set-up shop in the Ozark Mountains, cooking batches of corn-based mash, which eventually became whiskey. They tried to stay one-step ahead of the law. These days, you can still find a moonshiner. But it's all legal. National Reporter Tyne Morgan takes us to southern Missouri where the corn is cookin'. Next week we're off to the volunteer state where inmates grow their own food supply and learn new work skills. That story next week on "spirit of the heartland".


Leave it to the dogs to break the peace and quiet found on Baxter Black's ranch.  But what do canines talk about when they pay a visit???  As always, Baxter has an opinion.


Al I understand we have a propane-powered tractor this week...That's right...a 1958 Minneapolis Moline to be precise.


Today's country church salute goes to Salem Lutheran Church in Correctionville, Iowa. The church was founded in 1887 by German immigrants who came to Iowa because of the rich farm-land. Pastor CE Shroeder was commissioned to serve in that area. Over the years, Salem Lutheran merged with neighboring congregations and expanded their ministry & fellowship opportunities. In 1941, a new sanctuary was built . That was the same year church officials decided to discontinue German-language services because of World War II. Reverend Lorene Glant currently leads the congregation. Our thanks to Janet Byers and Mary Meissner for sharing the word.


Time now for our weekly look inside the Farm Report mailbag...Despite record prices, some viewers are still convinced government supply controls would be a good idea.


As always, we want to hear from you, send comments to or leave us a voice mail at 800-792-4329.













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