USFR Weekly Recap - September 15-16, 2012

September 15, 2012 09:43 AM

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EPISODE # 2040
SEPTEMBER 15-16, 2012



Hello and welcome to U.S. Farm Report, I’m John Phipps. Commodity markets trade on uncertainty. So it is that even as we get a clearer picture on 2012 crops during this harvest, more volatility spreads into the next season. Key growing areas remain in drought condition, with the worst areas shifting westward. Meanwhile, vendors and buyers are trying to find out how much of what we will grow in 2013. I can give them an answer: we don't know. More than ever, the acreage of major crops is in flux. Prices are competing with costs and agronomic conditions to make me think 2013 plantings will be decided at the last minute. This suggests the farmer survey industry could be in for its worst crop ever.


With a drought-impacted growing season like this, traders were watching closely as USDA released their latest estimates for this year’s crops. But generally speaking there were few noteworthy changes. Soybean production is forecast at 2.6 billion bushels, down 58 million - or about 2% from August. USDA pegs the average yield a little over 35 bushels per acre, down eight-tenths bushel from last month. Analysts say the only real surprise may have come from the grain ledgers.  USDA lowered its new-crop carryout on soybeans - down to 115-million bushels...that's the lowest level in nearly a decade.  And old crop corn was hiked by 160 million bushels from last month's guess. It now sits at just under 1.2 billion bushels. The AG Department lowered its forecast for this year’s cotton crop. USDA projects just over 17 million bales. That's down 3% from last month but up 10% over last year. Yield is down slightly from a year ago. Meanwhile, it's a big turnaround year for peanuts. USDA pegs production at just under 6 billion pounds, a 12% climb from August and a whopping 63% increase from last year. USDA says record high yields are expected in several states.


Crop watch this week takes us coast-to-coast.


Al is here to talk markets with Richard Brock and Mike Florez. 


It may not be the same in your part of the cornbelt, but there is a strange phenomenon occurring in central Illinois - as tiny as this crop is turning out to be, few of us want to keep it. Despite long lines at our elevators, I have yet to find a producer who is not eager to hand this meager harvest off to other hands. Partly this is due to serious and often substantiated risks of mold and other damage. Some of us who are just learning its aflatoxin - not alfatoxin are just happy when the truck comes back empty, regardless of what the ticket says. Too many combine operators saw the unprecedented variability and shocking degradation of the plants to have much faith in the grain collected in the tank. Storing corn with wild variations in moisture and quality is only asking for more trouble. Many of us also are following the old market adage, "short crops peak at harvest" and let's face it, harvest prices are not too shabby. But some of this impulse I write down to simply seeking closure - to use the pop-psychology term of the moment. We want the 2012 crop to be history. So i think it's safe to say for many of us that despite this being the smallest crop in living memory, we'll have some of the same experiences we had with huge crops - namely quality gossiping time in long elevator lines as we deliver as much as we can as fast as we can. So for those of you facing this job, I offer two hints: an e-reader like a kindle or IPad, and healthy snacks, like Twinkies.



Hello and welcome to U.S. Farm Report, I’m John Phipps. One of the most startling contrasts in our economy has been between agriculture and almost every other sector. But that may be about to change. I think this week's news from the Federal Reserve was overshadowed by harvest issues, election noise, and foreign flare-ups. But more than the actions taken, the words Chairman Bernanke chose were remarkably less vague than is usual for the Federal Reserve. The short version: we're going to worry about inflation once we get jobs back, not before. This is very good news, I think. If our whole economy could pick up steam, the possibilities that open up to AG are enormous.


The beef processing company that makes lean, finely textured beef - or L-F-T-B - is going after ABC news in court. Beef Products Incorporated has filed a defamation lawsuit against the network for its coverage of a meat product that critics dubbed "pink slime." Wildfires have impacted drought-stricken areas across the U.S. this year, and some continue to burn. Corn mazes have become a popular way to earn some extra income on the farm, with designs getting more and more elaborate.


The numbers are sobering - it's estimated some 50-million American’s were food insecure at some point in 2011. That’s why 3 organizations teamed up to create "Food for All", an effort to fight hunger on the front lines. Earlier this year Farmers Feeding the World and the Howard G. Buffet foundation provided 140 grants to FFA chapters nationwide. Over the next five weeks we'll learn first-hand how those chapters are making a difference in their communities.  Our first stop - Cedar Key, Florida.  Tyne Morgan takes us there. Next week we're off to Ridgeway, Ohio to get a first hand look at high schooler’s fighting both obesity and hunger. And in this rural community, the efforts are paying off. That story next week on U.S. Farm Report.


As many as 30-million or more American’s are lactose intolerant.  There are varying degrees of this condition, and experts say those who cut dairy out of their diet all-together may be missing out on vital nutrients - especially when it comes to kids. Clark Powell explains in this report provided by the American Dairy Association.


Al, what's new this week in tractor tales?" We've got a unique John Deere to show off...


Today's country church salute goes to Shiloh Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Clarksville, Texas. The church was formed in 1833 when that area was still a part of Mexico.  Three signers of the Texas declaration of independence of 1836 were members of the Shiloh church. Three generations of one of those families still attend. According to church clerk Mary Jo Mc-Gill, it is the oldest protestant church in the state of Texas. The present church building was built more than a century ago.


Time now for our weekly look inside the Farm Report mailbag...Mack Steffey, a Texas corn producer was incensed with my commentary about record income for grain producers.



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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