Martell Crop Projections provides a September-October rainfall map which helps understand why the 2009 harvest has been so miserable.
WCBD reports that remnants of Ida to drench the southeastern United States.
(emphasis mine) [my comment]
Remnants of Ida to drench the southeastern United States
By Josh Marthers Meteorologist
Published: November 10, 2009
The National Hurricane Center has issued its last public advisory on Ida, which has now lost all of its tropical characteristics, except for one, heavy rain. That one characteristic could cause big problems for portions of the Deep South. The moisture and remant low pressure system from Ida will move east across Alabama, Georgia, and the Carolinas over the next couple of days.
Rain totals could exceed 5 inches in many areas of the southeastern United States over the coming days with increasing beach erosion and coastal flooding concerns along the Carolina coastline.
The remnant low could form another storm off of the Carolina coast by Wednesday and Thursday bringing gale force winds and more rain.
Alabama Live reports that Tropical Storm Ida adding misery to 2009 harvest.
Tropical Storm Ida could add to farmers' woes
By Guy Busby
November 10, 2009, 9:02AM
Farmers and agriculture experts watched the skies Monday wondering how Tropical Storm Ida would affect crops already hit hard by heavy rains this fall.
What had started as a good season for cotton could be a complete loss for some farmers if heavy rains hit fields before harvest, said Richard Petcher, agent with the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service.
"It's been a 30 percent loss so far in southwest Alabama, and more rain could make it 40 to 50 percent," Petcher said Monday. "Some fields are already a 100 percent loss."
Financial damage from Ida could be in the millions of dollars for Alabama farmers, he said. Rains have delayed harvests by about three weeks affecting not only cotton but also leaving some peanut crops vulnerable to early frosts.
"The majority of the cotton crop is still in the fields," he said. "Peanuts are about 60 percent harvested. There's been concern about rain, but now it's almost panic."
Soybeans have also been hurt by rain, with crops rotting and sprouting in the fields, Petcher said.
While soybean prices are high, heavy rains have hurt crop yields for many Alabama farmers, according to a report from Auburn University.
Many beans are gray, moldy and withered in the field, and the beans have very low weight, Robert Goodman, an Alabama Cooperative Extension System specialist and Auburn University associate professor of agricultural economics, said in the statement.
USDA Commits Fraud
Today the USDA updated its production estimates for the US harvest, an act that must be considered fraud at this point. Delta Farm Press reports that the USDA is now forecasting the highest US soybean yield on record.
Mid-South crop production unclear
Nov 10, 2009 2:38 PM, By Elton Robinson, Farm Press Editorial Staff
A statistical picture of the impact of wet weather on Mid-South crops still has not come into focus, although USDA is acknowledging significant problems with a portion of the Mid-South cotton crop.
For soybeans, despite estimates of 50 percent loss in some parts of Arkansas, USDA projected a decline of only 1 bushel per acre for the state. USDA projected a 3-bushel per acre decline for Mississippi while projected soybean yield remained the same or rose in other Mid-South states.
U.S. soybean production is forecast at a record high 3.32 billion bushels, up 2 percent from October and up 12 percent from last year. Based on Nov. 1 conditions, yields are expected to average 43.3 bushels per acre, up 0.9 bushel from last month and up 3.6 bushels from 2008.
If realized, this will be the highest U.S. soybean yield on record. Compared with last month, yields are forecast higher or unchanged in all states except Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, Mississippi, and Texas. Increases of 3 bushels are expected in Delaware, Indiana, Kansas, and Maryland.
The largest decrease in yield from the October forecast is expected in Mississippi where excessive rain during October hindered yield expectations. If realized, the forecasted yield in Alabama, Kansas, Kentucky, Nebraska, Ohio, and Pennsylvania will be a record high and the forecasted yield in Georgia, Maryland, and North Carolina will tie the previous record high.
Below is a comparison between the USDA's September and November estimates. These numbers are so divorced from reality they can only represent an attempt to directly mislead the public. For example, October snowstorms in North Dakota covered acres and acres of soybeans in snow, and precipitation totals in areas of the state surpassed yearly averages during the month. Yet, the USDA has left its yield estimates for North Dakota unchanged from September.
Soybeans for Beans: Area Harvested, Yield, and Production by State
and United States, Forecasted September 1 and Forecasted November 1, 2009
(Bushels per acre)
|< p style="TEXT-ALIGN: right" align="right">10,836|
I have been writing about the divide between USDA estimate and reality for a while now.
To drive home how flawed the USDA's latest estimates are, Delta Farm Press reports that soybean harvest.
Soybean harvest on again
Nov 10, 2009 10:47 AM, By David Bennett, Farm Press Editorial Staff
It isn't a "straight-forward, black-and-white decision" on whether to harvest soybeans. Insurance often comes into play. Poor soybeans on heavy clay "will be difficult to cut. It'll rut the fields up and you can hardly sell them. If you do sell them, you may get $2.50 to $3 from a salvage buyer. Given that kind of price versus the cost to harvest and deliver, it's a lot to consider."
As November took over from October, rains finally eased across a waterlogged Mid-South and many of the region's producers were able to restart harvest. Still weeks behind and facing yet-to-crest rivers and a forecast predicting more rain the week of Nov. 9, harvest had picked up even more urgency.
By Nov. 6, Mississippi soybeans were about 70 percent harvested. The last third will "take some time and be fairly slow going," says Trey Koger, Mississippi Extension soybean specialist. "Probably half that 30 percent is in really bad shape. So, there's 15 percent of our total crop that might be abandoned."
Is there an area of the state with more of that 15 percent?
"Those are spread out. At the same time, it's important to say that there are also good beans sporadically throughout the state. However, the vast majority of good beans are very late-planted Group 5s north of Highway 6 — basically the northern quarter of Mississippi. Don't forget, we had a particularly late-planted crop in the north."
Unfortunately, when it comes to soybeans in terrible shape, it isn't a "straight-forward, black-and-white decision" on whether to harvest. Insurance often comes into play. Poor soybeans on heavy clay "will be difficult to cut. It'll rut the fields up and you can hardly sell them. If you do sell them, you may get $2.50 to $3 from a salvage buyer. Given that kind of price versus the cost to harvest and deliver, it's a lot to consider."
In Arkansas, beans in the north part of the state are better than those in the south. "The south has some really bad situations — Ashley, Chicot, Desha and Drew counties are especially hard-hit," says Jeremy Ross, Arkansas Extension soybean specialist. "But beans are being docked all over. Before the dry weather came in, just about every load from fields around Weiner (located in north-central Arkansas) was being docked around 10 percent.
"Around the state, a lot of seed is damaged. I talked to one dryer who told me dockage was ranging anywhere from 1 percent to 100 percent. It's scattered."
Some of Tennessee's earliest beans had "pretty good yields and quality," says Angela Thompson, Tennessee Extension soybean specialist. Then, Group 3s and 4s were hit with rains for up to six weeks. After that, "yields have been good but quality has been a problem. I hope we're at least 90 percent done with corn. We may be 50 to 60 percent finished with beans. Beans planted later are showing better yields and quality. Hopefully, we're on the upswing."
But fields are still wet in much of Tennessee. Farmers are keeping an eye on the Mississippi River because "it appears it'll flood bean acreage. Farmers are trying to get as much harvested as possible before some of those fields are expected to go underwater."
Fields around the Dean Lee Station in Alexandria, La., have had "tremendous" rainfall over the past few weeks, says Ronnie Levy, LSU AgCenter soybean specialist. "Finally, there was a dry spell where we were able to get in a harvest. We've been harvesting some pretty good soybeans around the station. Damage has been at about 8 to 10 percent."
Pleasantly surprised, Levy has harvested "some late Group 4s with very little damage. But there are reports of fields with significant damage. It's hard to be too happy knowing there are folks right down the road with a terrible crop.
"Probably 70 to 80 percent of the state's soybeans have been harvested. Hopefully, we'll have that at 85 to 90 percent before the next wet weather event."
Around Alexandria, "if you start cutting at noon, moisture is at about 15 percent. A couple of hours later and it's at 13 percent. You just have to wait for the dew to dry."
Levy says one especially rainy area of Louisiana is the northeast. "A lot of beans there were Group 4s and during the season they were hit with drought stress on top of the rains."
Overall, Levy expects Louisiana will average around 36 to 38 bushels per acre. "That's a little deceptive because there are some farms and areas were hit hard. In the Concordia area, big acreage cut in the teens or single digits."
David Lanclos, who works Mississippi and Louisiana as Syngenta tech service representative for the south Delta, says farmers are holding a "really mixed bag. At this point, it's breaking out into maturity groups. Anyone with Group 4s has seen much higher damage."
Lanclos has heard positive things from elevators. "Of course, some folks are running 20 to 25 percent damage. Others are running higher than that and having to sell beans as salvage.
"The positive news is the later-planted beans have weathered the storms a lot better and the quality is still okay. Farmers are able to get rid of them, although I'm not saying there isn't any dockage. But it isn't near as bad as it was looking a couple of weeks ago.
"Talking to farmers, most tell me they're in a breakeven situation. Others are looking at a loss, unfortunately. It definitely won't be a record year, not a money-making year for most producers. I'm trying to be an optimist but it isn't entirely good out there. There are a lot of farmers in breakeven situations — and that's not where we want farmers to be. They need to be profitable.
"Mother Nature continues to throw screwball s at us but at least the crops are finally coming out. It's been a tough go."
Another positive: earlier reports of sprouting and pod-splitting have eased.
"That's calmed down quite a bit," says Thompson. "We saw that in September and early October in mature beans that had been through three weeks of rain. There was some sprouting but a lot of what we had was just moldy seed and disease that set in late."
Koger has a similar report. "The splitting/sprouting is gone. We're now dealing with 100 percent damage to some fields — brown, black, rotted seed."
And elevators are "being very picky. To a large extent, they've maxed out on the bad beans they can take. They can only take so many and can't handle many more. There's nowhere to put them."
Koger says Mid-South growers should know "we're pursuing every disaster payment assistance avenue in D.C. We don't know what we'll get at this point. But everyone in the tri-state region (Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi) has done well from a policy standpoint to make D.C. aware that this is a devastating situation. We need some help, quickly."
Conclusion: The USDA is vile organization that, like the Fed, needs to be dismantled. The USDA's insane estimates are hurting farmers already suffering from the most miserable harvest in decades.