WEEKLY NEWS HIGHLIGHTS

USDA Forecasts Big Corn, Soybean Crops — USDA has raised its estimate for corn and soybean production. The corn crop is forecast at 11.11 billion bushels. That compares to 10.97 billion bushels in the August report. If realized, it would be the second largest crop in US history. Soybean production is estimated at 3.09 billion bushels; up from 2.92 billion in the August estimate.

Acreage Race — There’ll be an ‘acreage race’ next spring. Marketing consultant Mike Krueger of The Money Farm says the race will actually start this fall, with winter wheat. Corn, soybeans, sunflowers, canola and other crops will try and buy acres next spring. The rapid growth of renewable fuels is also changing the market dynamics. "Obviously, the amount of corn going into ethanol is far greater than people imagined it would be a couple of years ago," said Krueger, "And people haven’t quite grasped what’s going to happen in biodiesel with more vegetable oil, whether that’s soybean oil or canola oil or even sun oil going to biodiesel, rather than the food channels." Krueger also told farmers at a post-harvest marketing strategies meeting Wednesday night that the funds are here to stay. Money will continue to flow into commodities, which reduces the influence of the fundamental factors.

Crops Getting Bigger in MN & Dakotas — Compared to last month, USDA is looking for bigger corn and soybean yields in Minnesota and the Dakotas. Minnesota soybean yields are forecast at 40 bushels per acre, up three bushels from the August estimate. North Dakota is estimated at 29 bushels, up from 27 last month. South Dakota soybean yields are forecast at 34 bushels, which compares to 29 bushels per acre in the August report. For Minnesota corn, USDA estimates a 164 bushel per acre yield; four bushels larger than last month. North Dakota is forecast to have an average yield of 105 bushels per acre, up three bushels from the most recent report. South Dakota is also expected to harvest a 105 bushel average for corn. That would be up five bushels from August.

Watch Corn Stalks — This summer’s heat stress may have weakened corn stalks. DynaGro crop specialist Stan Rund advises growers to determine the standability of their crop. "You can drive down the road and see a lot of crops dying prematurely," said Rund, "Walk into the field and push on 50 plants; push them to a 30 degree angle and you’ll know in a hurry if you have stalk rot issues or corn borer." Growers are also asked to shake a few plants to determine the ear retention levels.

Weather Turns Cool and Wet as Early Corn and Soybean Harvest Begins — Meteorologist Drew Lerner of World Weather Inc. is forecasting above average moisture for the Northern Plains and Western Cornbelt. "These areas will see a relatively high frequency of precipitation over the next 30 days, taking us out to mid-October." Lerner says it won’t rain all the time, but the quantity of rain will be above average.

Governors Cautiously Optimistic About Targeted Disaster Aid — Governors John Hoeven of North Dakota and Mike Rounds of South Dakota met with House and Senate leadership and Administration officials for "frank discussions" about the drought. These meetings coincided with USDA’s release of a crop report.. Hoeven said the big crop may be beneficial to those seeking disaster relief. If you look at some of these areas that are having a strong crop; I think that will have an impact, as far as reducing farm payments, and that helps those areas that have been hit by very severe weather; I think that helps in terms as funding a disaster package." Rounds says a successful disaster bill will target the assistance to those in greatest need. "What we’ve suggested with the Administration is that when you talk about the need for drought relief; let’s make sure we focus it, so you don’t have the criticism about money going to individuals that are already being paid from another program adequately."

USDA Extends Emergency Grazing — Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns has extended the window for emergency grazing on Conservation Reserve Program acreage. For Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota; the deadline has been extended until October 20th. Earlier this year, USDA said it would reduce CRP rental payments by only ten percent, instead of the standard 25 percent.

NASDA Supports a Better Safety Net — National Association of State Departments of Agriculture vice president Roger Johnson says his organization wants the farm safety net to include three components; price and income supports, crop insurance and permanent disaster assistance.

John, Dan and Clayton Testify — Former Agriculture Secretaries John Block, Clayton Yuetter and Dan Glickman testified before a House Agriculture subcommittee Thursday. Glickman supports renewable energy, but expressed concern about its impact on food security. "I think that this is a big challenge that you all have is to deal with; this rapidly growing energy issue and how it competes with both animal agriculture and food for human consumption out there," said Glickman, "I think its manageable, but it’s a complex issue that ought to be at the top of your agenda." At the hearing, Minnesota Congressman Collin Peterson repeated his belief that ethanol demand will one day displace the need to export corn.

Farm Foundation Releases Farm Policy Survey — Renewable energy and the farm safety net top the agenda for those surveyed by the Farm Foundation. More than 15,000 farmers and ranchers in 27 states were polled. The majority said incentives for bioenergy production should get funding in the next farm bill. Disaster assistance programs were also named as a priority. The survey found broad support for payment limits, mandatory country-of-origin labeling and a mandatory animal ID system. The Farm Foundation is a self-described catalyst on the issues surrounding agriculture, food and rural communities.

Spring Grass Issues Resurface During Late Summer — After late season rains, South Dakota pastures greened up. South Dakota State University Extension Veterinarian Russ Daly warns the grass may have grown too fast. Rapid regrowth is blamed for an onset of cattle disease. An acute respiratory disease is being seen in cattle that have moved from poor ground to lush pastures. Grass tetany is also evident, especially in lactating cows.

Dairy Price Projections — In its monthly report, USDA predicts slightly higher milk prices. Class III milk is projected to be in the $11.60 to $11.80 per hundredweight range. The highs and lows are a dime better than last month’s estimate. For this time next year, USDA is projecting $12 to $13 dollar milk.

Local Ownership Important for Ethanol — A study released by the National Corn Growers Association shows local ethanol plant ownership generates significantly more economic activity for local communities than plants owned by absentee investors. Nearly half of all ethanol plants are owned and operated by farmer cooperatives or LLC’s and account for 38 percent of total ethanol production.

Johnson Touts Interesting Times in Agriculture — During a stop at Big Iron, USDA Deputy Undersecretary for Rural Development Allan Johnson said this is an interesting time for agriculture. "Moms and Dads are telling their kids to stay home, or come back home, because of the entrepreneurship and renewable energy and some of the other things happening now with broadband" said Johnson, "Young people can come home, they can compete and have comparable jobs to what their urban cousins have, and still live and enjoy the wonderful benefits and quality of life from living in small town America." Johnson is a native North Dakotan. Before joining USDA in 2003, Johnson had been president of the Farm Progress publishing company.

$150 or $20 Oil — Dave Kohl, professor emeritus at Virginia Tech, told an Ag Trends seminar at Mahnomen, Minnesota, that oil prices could go as high as $150, or drop below $20 a barrel. "You could have major terrorist events in the world and have a cold winter and they could shoot about $150, but I can tell you they could go below $20," said Kohl, "A major recession, which slows the Chinese economy and we could see oil drop below $20 a barrel." Kohl thinks land values are starting to level off, and he thinks interest rates are at the late part of the cycle. The housing market, core inflation and employment rates will be keys to watch.

Use of Radio Frequency Animal ID Tags is Catching On — Digital Angel reports the sale of the electronic tags in the United States and Canada will top 1.9 million by the end of September. After the first nine months of the year, sales are 12 percent higher than the 1.7 million sold in all of 2005. Company officials indicate the demand for livestock traceability fueled the sales increase.

Dupont & Bayer CropScience Have Agreement to Share Corn Technology — Dupont will be able to premix Bayer CropScience chemistry in with its Resolve herbicide. In addition, Dupont can create new pre-emergence products for glyphosate tolerant hybrids. Bayer will have access to the Pioneer TruChoice program and can co-promote its Liberty/Liberty Link program with Pioneer.

SD Man Elected to Hay Board — Gary Smith of Mission Hill, South Dakota was elected second vice president of the National Hay Association. Ohio’s E.J. Croll is the group’s new president.

SD Representative Earns Jaycee Award — South Dakota Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth has been named one of the Ten Outstanding Young Americans by the US Jaycees. The presentation will be made at the 68th annual black-tie awards ceremony in Indianapolis, September 30th.

 

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