THIS WEEK ON U.S. FARM REPORT
EPISODE # 2039
SEPTEMBER 8-9, 2012
Hello and welcome to U.S. Farm Report, I’m John Phipps. As many of you have noted, I haven't been a bundle of laughs this summer as, like many of you, I watched a crop off to a great start wither in the drought. So I thought I would mention a curious phenomenon that has perked up life in the Phipps household. We harvested the field around our house even though it was August and a little high in moisture. Not only were the frail stalks lodging but scarce ears were falling to the ground. Waking up each morning now to look out on an empty field instead of a looming disaster has been positively uplifting. It dawns on me that we won't be harvesting this crop - we will be putting it out of our misery.
Thanks John. A leading industry forecasters has further reduced the projected size of this year’s corn and soybean crops. Allendale’s annual yield survey shows widely varied numbers for corn and soybeans and point to further reductions in crop size. Another major firm, fc stone, also came out with its estimates, which pegged corn yields a three bushels lower than its original estimates and soybean yields a half a bushel higher. Meanwhile, USDA just released its latest crop progress report which shows a sizeable jump in corn harvest. It now sits at 10% nationwide. The five year average is 3%. Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri and Texas are all 25-to-35% points ahead of average. This year's drought could cause a shift in cotton acres next year. Economists in Texas say the drought-induced high grain prices are the reason. Dr. John Robinson from Texas Agri-life extension says he could easily see Texas cotton acres down to five million next year. The state typically plants six-to-seven million acres. And it's not just corn. Robinson says some Texas producers are attracted to higher sorghum prices as well. A new tool to help cattle producers reduce heat-related losses could soon be in the palm of your hand.
Al takes over to talk markets with Gregg Hunt and Bob Utterback.
We are about to enter the prime prediction season for agriculture. Using the old adage, "predict early and often" would-be soothsayers will stake out claims to "I told ya so" on everything from production and demand trends to government policy. Let me predict one prediction you will very likely not hear: that U.S. farmers will grow another short crop. There is a remarkable tendency in our brains to assume things will get back to normal, whatever we think that condition is. It is so strong that few producers will entertain for a second the idea of back-to-back crop failures - and I think a 10-billion bushel corn crop qualifies for that title. But the odds of a bad crop next year aren't appreciably different than they were this time last year. And 2010 wasn't our finest hour either. Still, the human condition is driven by a need for balance, so obviously we feel we are due for a success. Therein lies the seeds for an enormously profitable bet by market speculators or other observers. Our inability to imagine a sub-par 2013 means contrarian positions will be cheap and have huge payoffs - even if the odds are very long. Do I think next year's crop could disappoint - again? Probably not, but it's certainly possible. Remember, we won't know trend line changes until long after the fact. My bottom line is not to suggest unbridled pessimism, but to be cognizant of the fact that each year is a new game. And a string of losses is no more unthinkable than a run of victories.
JOHNS 2ND OPEN:
Hello and welcome to U.S. Farm Report, I’m John Phipps. Farmers are of course intensely focused on this year's harvest, and on getting it over. As a result we may be overlooking some other developments that could have just as much impact. For example, the stock market is showing signs of life. Despite constant doom saying, the Euro has not collapsed yet. China is fumbling its way through both a change of command and what looks like a soft economic landing. Even the wretched Syrians may be getting close to exhausting their capacity for civil war. When we finally do lift our heads up from harvest, farmers may be pleasantly surprised at all the things that aren't going totally wrong.
While Hurricane Isaac brought some drought relief soaking fields in parts of the Midwest, it hurt crops in states like Louisiana. Although damage isn't as much as originally feared, LSU Agcenter says damage assessments are still mounting from last week's storm. Nearly ten years after Japan tightened its imports of U.S. beef; it appears the country is getting closer to relaxing some restrictions. At one time, Japan was the largest importer of U.S. beef. But the country banned imports in 2003 when BSE was first discovered in the U.S. cattle herd. There's new research into the 27 billion dollar organic foods industry. According to research published in the annals of internal medicine, a Stanford University study found organic foods are not more nutritious than conventional foods. The results are based on a review of 240 separate studies. It did find, however, that organically grown foods were 30% less likely to have traces of pesticides, because of how they're grown.
Agricultural innovation is helping to give a Texas farmer a new lease on life. Craig Hillhouse was stricken with cancer. The disease ravaged his body, but it did not hamper his spirit. Nathan Smith has his story in this report provided by the Texas Farm Bureau. We just saw how young people are helping to improve the life of a Texas farmer. Next week, you'll meet a group of kids who are trying to fight hunger, starting at home.
In his line of work, Baxter Black comes across all kinds of people - many love him, some are not quite as fond. From his perspective, it's all part of navigating "life's highway". He joins us now from his Arizona ranch.
Al, what do you have for us this week? John we've got a bit of a hybrid this week...a machine we found while visiting the big sky state.
Today's country church salute goes to 'Our Lady of Grace' Catholic Church of La-Coste, Texas. It just turned 100 last year. It's located southwest of San Antonio. Church member Ellen Loessberg says the church was built with labor from Lacoste and surrounding townspeople who's families still worship there today. In 1924 the church was enlarged. Some of the rock used in the construction came from the Medina Lake Dam built in 1912. Several hundred families worship here under the leadership of father Paul Cleary. Thanks for sharing your story about "Our Lady of Grace" in Lacoste, Texas.
Plenty of feedback from viewers in the Farm Report mailbag. Several emails agreed with my stance on ending the ethanol mandate, and one offered a compromise position.
As always, we want to hear from you, send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or leave us a voice mail at 800-792-4329.