Skeptical Response To USDA Crop Report

The Southeast Farm Press reports about the projected highest US soybean yield on record.

(emphasis mine) [my comment]

USDA numbers beginning to reflect harvest losses [but not for soybeans]
Nov 11, 2009 10:03 AM, By Elton Robinson, Farm Press Editorial Staff

...
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.

Skeptical Response To USDA Crop Report

The Delta Farm Press reports that private sources indicate USDA numbers are too high.

Markets: soybean harvest point of focus
Nov 11, 2009 10:33 AM, By Ray Nabors, Heartland Ag Network

Farmers are concentrating on soybean harvest, leaving corn in the field. Harvest is 75 percent complete, where 92 percent is the 10-year average. Production estimates increased 69 million bushels.

Weekly soybean export sales were above expectations. Soy oil sales were disappointing this past week. Exports are 23 percent ahead of USDA predictions. Soybean ending stock estimates bearishly increased. Private sources indicate USDA numbers are too high.

The Chronicle Times reports that Iowa Soybean Association responds to USDA crop report.

Iowa Soybean Association responds to USDA crop report
Thursday, November 12, 2009

ANKENY, Iowa - According to a recent United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) crop report, soybean production is expected to be a record high 3.32 billion bushels, up two percent from the October forecast 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. yield on record.
...
According to Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) President Delbert Christensen, "We're as uncertain about the size of this crop as we have been for several years. We hear wide variances in reports about yields, from very good to disappointing. With that kind of variance, it could end up higher or it could be lower.

"While we've made progress in the last 7 to 10 days, it may be awhile before we really know the size of this crop.

Kansas.com reports that Kansas's projected record harvest.

State's '09 soybean harvest is forecast to be even bigger
BY RICK PLUMLEE
The Wichita Eagle

[Kansas]

A soybean harvest already projected to be a state record was increased this week.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said this month that it expects Kansas to produce nearly 157 million bushels of soybeans this fall.

That's 11 million more than was pegged in the October forecast.

That surprised Kerry Mahlandt, who farms near Rose Hill.

"I don't see how that can be," he said Wednesday.

Slowed by an October that was the second coldest on record and 56 percent rainier than normal,
Mahlandt is only half done harvesting his soybeans.

"I'm thinking I'm not the only one in this boat," he said.
...
Meanwhile, Mahlandt was left trying to complete his fall work.

Even a recent stretch of sunshine didn't dry out his fields much. Plus, his combine broke down Sunday, which cost him $3,000.

Mahlandt said he
normally has completed harvesting and has his wheat planted by Nov 1.

In addition to his soybeans, he also has about half of his corn and grain sorghum to harvest.
He wanted to plant 400 acres of wheat, but he's going to have to settle for 200 acres.

"This is the first bean crop I've had since '92," he said, "and I can't get it all in. This is just one of those years.

"It's stressing me out. I've been praying for five weeks of drought."

The Wisconsin Agconnection reports that international buyers concerned about quality of US corn.

International Buyers Concerned About Quality of U.S. Corn
USAgNet - 10/27/2009

The fact that U.S. farmers are in the process of harvesting one of the largest corn crops in history, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, gives assurance to global end-users that U.S. farmers will meet all domestic and global demands, U.S. Grains Council President and CEO Ken Hobbie said this week.

At the same time, he said in ternational end-users of U.S. corn are concerned about the impact the delayed harvest could have on corn quality.

"Reports of wet conditions throughout the Corn Belt have many customers on edge," Hobbie said. "We are getting a lot of questions about the potential ramifications this wet October could have on the quality of product our customers receive."

Zero Chance of Record Harvest

Forbes reports that Arkansas set to lose many millions of dollars.

Arkansas ag: $650 million hit
Nov 11, 2009 10:45 AM, By David Bennett, Farm Press Editorial Staff

During the last week of October, with Arkansas set to lose many millions of dollars due to unprecedented, near season-long wet weather, Arkansas Farm Bureau analysts compiled a report on just how hard-hit the agricultural sector is.

"We did a down-and-dirty estimate before the last two days of rain," said Gene Martin, senior market analyst, on Nov. 4. "That quoted (Arkansas Farm Bureau president) Randy Veach that up to $650 million of losses" could be incurred.

"USDA had projected a 131 million bushel soybean production for Arkansas.
We looked at that and said, 'Man, it sounds like with the damage and losses in production and everything, we could lose at least 25 percent of this year's soybean crop.'

"Put a $9 (per bushel) figure to that. And November is trading above $10, now, so for good soybeans you're probably looking at $9.50 to $9.75 in many locations for cash markets. That's over $300 million (potentially lost) just to soybeans."
...
Of course, "that doesn't bring into account the grades. Cotton needs sunshine and ... there hasn't been much time for it to brighten up. Grades will be bad.

"So, we used a figure of 40 percent loss on cotton. At the point when we did that, only 15 percent of the cotton had been harvested. Typically, we would've been at 75 percent."

Martin says it "was kind of curious" that the Winchester Gin, which normally is running wide-open the first of September, "hadn't even opened the doors yet. There just hadn't been any cotton picked (to justify the gin opening). So, the community is losing because a major enterprise isn't up and running."

Meanwhile, some 80 percent of the state's rice has been harvested, but there have been some quality problems and yield loss. "Some of the remaining (20 percent) will probably be down and difficult to (harvest).

"There's also a bit of corn in the field. We had a similar situation with grain sorghum earlier and there was tremendous dockage."

Combine all those factors and it "adds up to major, major dollars lost in the farm economy. This will put individual farmers in desperate straits as far as breaking even or paying some debt down. The losses they'll experience and the amount of money they had invested in those crops" won't allow them to.

...
Some areas remain flooded and "it's difficult for farmers to get in. I think we'll see farmers with problems in preparing land (for the next crop). There are huge ruts in some areas. The farmers can't wait for the ground to solidify and they're rutting and cutting it up. There will be (extra) costs incurred in getting the fields ready for the next crop."

Much of the Mid-South is in similar straits. "There are similar problems in the upper Mississippi Delta and northern Louisiana
— although their crops were a little earlier and harvest was further along than Arkansas.' There are concerns in the Missouri Bootheel with cotton and other crops."

An Arkansas Farm Bureau staff member recently took a trip to South Dakota. "He saw much the same there, in Iowa and northwest Missourieverything at a standstill and major parts of crops are yet to be harvested.

"I visited with a staff member from the Georgia Farm Bureau yesterday. They went from having a major drought to flooding in Atlanta and concerns about getting peanut and cotton harvests. There are quality issues."


Arkansas is "not alone in the boat. We may be a little worse off than other areas simply because we're further behind in cotton harvest and there are rice issues that other states may not have.

"This is a major problem for our farmers. Our city cousins and everyone else need to be aware of it. ... The farming economy has taken a hit and ... it will ripple through communities and across the state."

American Agriculturist reports about Kansas harvest.

In far southwestern Kansas, combines are moving furiously through fields at lightning speed. Cory Kinsley, vice president of risk management for Conestoga Energy in Liberal, Kansas, says harvest likely will be done by about the middle of next week. Even better, yields, quality and moisture have all been great.

Others in our area, though, have been less fortunate and are still waiting for fields to dry down.
After weeks of constant rain, fog and drizzle, the soil may still be too wet to support heavy machinery. Some fields are still flooded and won't be drying out any time soon. It likely won't be until much later this winter that those fields get harvested — if ever. Some portions of fields may ultimately be abandoned if they're still too wet in the weeks ahead.

Field losses in wet fields are also mounting from lodging. As corn and milo stalks soften and break over in the wind due to the excessive moisture, more bushels inevitably end up on the ground instead of in the combine. That means more field losses long term if harvest drags out any longer.

The Southeast Farm Press reports that harvest delays create potential crisis.

Harvest delays create potential crisis
Nov 6, 2009 10:00 AM, By Paul L. Hollis, Farm Press Editorial Staff

Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture Ron Sparks is calling it a "potential crisis" — the rainy weather conditions throughout most of September and October that have frustrated grower s who were eyeing pretty good cotton, peanut, soybean and corn crops.

The same holds true for producers in Georgia and north Florida, where harvest has been delayed by almost continuous rainfall, during what is usually the driest months of the year.

"Prior to September, many producers were expecting to harvest a bumper crop and were very optimistic for the upcoming harvest season," says Sparks. "Uncommon and unfavorable precipitation during September and October have degraded various crops and caused poor harvesting conditions, which caused the harvest to be behind schedule by around four to six weeks."

The major crops affected by the recent rainfall are cotton, soybeans, corn and peanuts, says the Commissioner. "Reports indicate that our state is in dire need of dry weather within the next two weeks, which may eliminate a potential state disaster [Area just got hit by rains from Topical Storm Ida]," he said in early November. "Producers are already suffering from heavy September and October rainfall and dry conditions will not eliminate damage that has already taken place to crops across the state. Many producers are experiencing a sharp decrease in crop yield, lower grading, and crop damage from recent rainfall."
...
"The bottom line is that Alabama producers are uncertain as to what the commodity markets will bring forth and where agriculture in our state is going," says Sparks. "The recent weather conditions over the past two months will definitely have a negative impact on Alabama's crop harvest."

...
Donald Mann, Extension director for Alabama's Jackson County, said farmers in his area were in dire need of dry weather in late October. The crops were heavily damaged with high moisture, and combines and cotton pickers were getting stuck and ruining the cropland. Some soybean yields were good, while others suffered damages, he said.
...
William Birdsong, agronomist at the Wiregrass Research and Extension Center in southwest Alabama, reported that wet and rainy conditions continued to delay harvest for row crops. Cotton yields and lint quality continued to suffer as a result of the wet conditions, he said. Less than 5 percent had been harvested in his area, and this could go down as the worst crop in years if the rain does not subside.

North Escambia reports that Ida causes millions in damage to crops.

Ida Causes Millions In Damage To Cotton, Other North Escambia Crops
November 11, 2009



Preliminary reports show that Tropical Storm Ida caused or heavily contributed to millions of dollars in losses on Escambia County's farms.

"Agricultural losses are significant for peanuts, soybeans, hay, and cotton," said Suzette Cooper, Farm Services Agency. The damage, she said, was not from Ida's winds, but from four to seven inches of rain in a 12 hour period. That rain only served to further the crop losses from heavy rains in October.

Of the county's 8,218 acres of cotton, there were 6,164 acres affected by Ida, with 20 percent of that acreage considered a loss. Escambia County's cotton crop is worth an estimated $6 million.

"With all of the rain, there is some terrible looking cotton," according to Libbie Johnson, Escambia County Extension University of Florida IFAS agent. "There is one field I know of on Highway 97 that was so pretty Saturday and Sunday. Some of it was harvested, and now the rest is basically ruined."

The Commercial Appeal reports that grim figures tell of region on the ropes.

Bluer blues: Grim figures tell of region on the ropes
Rich in culture, resources, Mississippi Delta getting poorer amid illusory gains, stumbling strategies. What options remain for a region on life support?
By Roland Klose, Special to The Commercial Appeal
Posted November 8, 2009 at 12:12 a.m.

Ray Mosby can't remember tougher times -- and he's not talking about the newspaper business.

For 16 years, his weekly Deer Creek Pilot has chronicled the ups and downs of Mississippi's Issaquena and Sharkey counties, about 175 miles south of Memphis.

Although his 130-year-old newspaper is small, with a circulation of only 1,500, its editor has won state and national recognition for his community-minded journalism.


Lately, though, the news has been discouraging.

The last manufacturing plant in Sharkey County, the Stonecraft tile factory that employed about 70 at one time, closed up shop earlier this year. And recent heavy rains have damaged or destroyed most of the area's cash crops: Soybeans were left to rot in waterlogged fields, and ready-to-harvest cotton is deteriorating as the rains keep coming.

In a community where agriculture is the main source of capital, that spells calamity.

"I've never seen a place that needed as desperately a dose of good news as this place,"
says Mosby, 58.

Yet Issaquena and Sharkey counties aren't the only places in the Delta that are in difficult straits these days.

From Cairo, Ill., to Pointe ŕ la Hache, La., government data make it clear that economic conditions across the Mississippi River Delta, a region already afflicted by grinding poverty and joblessness, are deteriorating. Double-digit unemployment is the norm as factories pare workers or close altogether. And the movement of Delta residents to urban centers -- including the Tennessee and Mississippi counties surrounding Memphis -- appears to be accelerating.
...

My reaction: The response to the USDA crop report has been skeptical. This is not surprising considering how badly the 2009 harvest has been going.

What amazes me mos t at this point is the incredible divide between USDA's numbers and reality. The USDA is predicting record yields and production while news reports and common sense tell us that this will be the worst crop in years.

When the truth comes to light, someone at the USDA needs to pay for what has been done. The USDA's fictitious estimates, especially for soybeans, are holding down prices and compounding the financial hardships of this miserable harvest for American farmers. The USDA's fraudulent numbers show that the agency is aligned with Wall Street and Washington rather than America's farmers. The USDA should be dismantled.

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4 Responses to Skeptical Response To USDA Crop Report

  1. dashxdr says:

    The USDA should be dismantled

    The US Empire should be dismantled, along with the US Federal government and every federal agency in existence. It's all rotten to the core. Nothing good, nothing worth preserving.

  2. Dizzy Sailor says:

    Corn and wheat account for about 40 percent of the world's food and 25 percent of calories consumed in developing countries, and millions of people get more than half of their daily calories from corn and wheat alone, according to the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization.

    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.

    That the government numbers lack credibility is nothing new. Check the local news papers of effected states ans see what they are saying about crop levels.

  3. Les says:

    We have a product proven in the fields of Soy Beans in NC by multiple farmers where drought stricken fields have produced larger crops than before the drought. It has been tested and marketed for years. There are scientific testimonials that will support this "Soy Soap"..It makes the plant feel threatened and therefore digs it's roots deeper and becomes more stable. Please look at the website BIOBASED.US for the videos and before and after pictures of the crops. I feel you will see the benefits of this. I am willing to provide samples to farmers and go with them to explain the product. The ultimate plan is to increase food production and end world hunger. Please feel free to contact me at BioEpicurean@aol.com for any questions and to set up samples. Thanks Les Snyder

  4. Les says:

    We have a product proven in the fields of Soy Beans in NC by multiple farmers where drought stricken fields have produced larger crops than before the drought. It has been tested and marketed for years. There are scientific testimonials that will support this "Soy Soap"..It makes the plant feel threatened and therefore digs it's roots deeper and becomes more stable. Please look at the website BIOBASED.US for the videos and before and after pictures of the crops. I feel you will see the benefits of this. I am willing to provide samples to farmers and go with them to explain the product. The ultimate plan is to increase food production and end world hunger. Please feel free to contact me at BioEpicurean@aol.com for any questions and to set up samples. Thanks Les Snyder

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