The following stories may not be the top agriculture stories in 2010, but they were popular with our readers. Those top stories, which often extend beyond one report, will be released next week, starting on Monday. While these may not be the exact top stories, I bet you'll recognize a lot of them next week.
Have some ideas about what the top stoy of 2010 is? Talk about it our discussion section.
AgWeb’s Most Viewed Stories Series:
The list below is for stories that ranked in order from 10-6 on our most viewed stories of 2010.
The start of the list also starts off one of the most questionable years in crop reporting. Bob Utterback, Farm Journal economist wonders aloud whether the crop in other parts of the country were enough to offset the problems in the northern corn belt. Sound familiar? Maybe the geography has changed slightly, but the 2011 final production report, set to be released on Wednesday, January 12, 2011, will be closely watched the trade and farmers alike to see if the final production numbers from a disappointing 2010 crop are lowered even further.
The rumblings of questions about USDA’s accuracy of predicting the 2010 corn crop size moved from mumblings to yelling when the bull market was put on life support following the September 30 Grain Stocks Report. Just two weeks past the crop production estimates were released, it seemed that 300 million bushels of corn magically appeared in the nation’s bins since the June 30 report. Was it a correction? Was there new crop included? Did they pull samples from Ethanol plants in June and not September, or vice versa? No, no and no, says USDA.
But not so fast on the new-crop not being counted, said Luke Chandler with Rabbobank. He, and just about everybody else in the industry believed that some new crop corn from the southern states. Chandler said there just isn’t enough checks and balances in the system to say there is no way new-crop corn didn’t make it into this survey.
Don’t forget that the run up in corn and soybean prices started in June of 2010. The acreage report released on the 30th showed planted acres nearly 1,5 million acres below trade expectations. Coupled with lower than expected grain stocks, the report got even more bullish. And that was Bob "The Bear" Utterback saying so.
This report was also the first major indidcator for Jerry Gulke that the markets could be setting up for the current conditions. China was just showing interest in U.S. corn, he was turning his attention to concerns about a low carryover, And it indicated a looming acreage battle for 2011 crop in his mind.
The conditions for La Niña were setting up nicely of the California and Mexican coasts last Spring. If La Niña set in by June 30, Elwynn Taylor said that brings a 70% chance of below trendline yields for the 2010 crop. Well, we got below trendline, but La Niña wasn’t confirmed by the Climate Prediction Center until August 3. That was early enough. "If we get the high temperature extremes, that's where the risk comes from. It doesn't affect our rain in Iowa, Illinois and Indiana as much as some other places. But it does let the temperature be more extreme."
Remember those hot July and August nights? If you grow corn in the Midwest, I bet you do.
La Niña apparently doesn’t scare Kip Cullers one little bit. Topping his own accomplishment, the Missouri soybean farmer achieved a new world record in soybean production with a 160.6 bu./acre yield.
Cullers says there’s no silver bullet to soybean production. "The biggest thing we do is that we’re always willing to try something new," he says. "Just because we made 160 bu./acre this year, we’ll still change it up dramatically next year. I’m sure 50% of everything we do next year will fail miserably."