READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, February 16th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Farm Futures Survey Shows Farmers Planting More Corn in 2021

A new survey from Farm Futures shows that U.S. corn producers will increase their acreage by 4.1 percent compared to last year. The projected total is 94.7 million acres of corn this year. If farmers reach that number, that will put 2021 corn acreage at its third-highest amount over the past 75 years, trailing only 2012 at 97.3 million acres and 2013’s 95.4 million. A conservative trendline yield estimate of 177.4 bushels per acre would put corn production at 15.3 billion bushels. That would top the record of 15.1 million bushels harvested in 2016, which was the highest U.S. corn output ever recorded. While the January 2021 survey shows farmers favoring more corn planting this spring, planting intentions for both corn and soybeans are higher than 2020 levels. Plus, a good number of farmers plan to stick with their normal crop rotation. The Farm Futures survey shows farmers will increase soybean acres by 1.4 million, to 84.5 million. Uncertainty remains as farmers look ahead, ranging from dry South American weather forecasts to Chinese demand and pandemic-induced volatility. The survey says farmers are betting on a post-COVID recovery that boosts ethanol output and rising global export demand.

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Farm Bureau Disappointed in Blueberry Ruling

The U.S. International Trade Commission says that fresh, chilled, or frozen blueberries are not being imported into the U.S. at a fast enough rate to cause injury to domestic producers. “As a result of today’s vote, the investigation will end, and the Commission won’t recommend a remedy to the President,” the USITC says in a release. The decision is a win for blueberry exporters that target the U.S., such as Mexico, Peru, Chile, Argentina, and Canada. The American Farm Bureau says the ITC failed to recognize the damage that certain imports are doing to American farmers. “Seasonal fruit and vegetable farmers face unfair competition from foreign growers, and today’s decision demonstrates that much work still needs to be done to address international trade imbalances,” says AFB President Zippy Duvall. “Importing blueberries during the U.S. harvest season leads to lower prices for domestic growers, who are price-takers and not price-makers. They need time to adjust their operations to increased import levels.” The Farm Bureau says it will continue to work with the USDA, U.S. Trade Representative, and the Department of Commerce to find meaningful assistance for America’s domestic blueberry industry and make sure U.S. farmers get a fair price for the food they grow.

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U.S. Cotton Farmers Will Plant Fewer Cotton Acres in 2021

U.S. cotton producers will plant 11.5 million acres this year, down over five percent from last year. Those figures come from the National Cotton Council’s 40th Annual Early Season Planting Intentions Survey. Upland cotton planting intentions are for 11.3 million acres, down 4.9 percent from 2020, while extra-long staple intentions of 161,000 acres represent a 21 percent decline. The detailed survey results were announced during the 2021 National Cotton Council’s Annual Meeting Virtual Live-Stream Event. “Planted acreage is just one of the factors that will determine supplies of cotton and cottonseed,” says Dr. Jody Campiche (Kam-PEE-chee), the NCC Vice President of Economics and Policy Analysis. “Ultimately, weather, insect pressures, and agronomic conditions will play a significant role in determining the crop size.” She also says that with abandonment assumed at 13.8 percent for the U.S., Cotton Belt harvested area totals 11.2 million acres. Using an average U.S. yield per harvested acre of 848 pounds generates a crop of 19.8 million bales. “History shows that U.S. farmers respond to relative prices when making planting decisions,” Campiche says. “Relative to the average futures prices during the first quarter of 2020, prices of all commodities were trading higher. For the 2021 crop year, corn, soybeans, wheat, and sorghum will provide more competition for cotton acres.”  

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Brazil Harvest Delays Mean More Opportunity for U.S Exports

Brazil, the world’s number one soybean producer, is experiencing delays in its early soybean harvest. Yahoo Finance says that’s causing some of the biggest buyers like China to rely on rival exporters like the U.S. for a longer period than usual in early 2021. Continuing demand for American soybeans is speeding up the historic lowering of U.S. oilseeds. In turn, that may drive up soybean prices at a time of rising food inflation as countries keep tighter control of their supplies because of COVID-19. Brazil typically will harvest its soybeans in the first three months of the year, which slows demand for U.S. soybeans. However, that process was delayed by a drought last year that slowed planting progress and excessive rainfall at harvest. Brazil’s soybean shipments in January were 38 times lower than the year before at 49,500 tons, an amount that wouldn’t fill a single shipping vessel. At the same time, the U.S. inspected approximately 8.9 million tons for shipment in the same month, the highest number on record for January. Brazil’s supplies will likely normalize by March, but that could mean trouble at Brazilian ports. March and April soybeans may wind up competing with sugar exports for a finite amount of loading capacity.

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Economist Says Livestock Producers Need Insurance

American livestock producers need the equivalent of crop insurance. The Hagstrom Report says American Farm Bureau Chief Economist John Newton made that statement in front of the recent Crop Insurance and Reinsurance Bureau Meeting. Newton says that in the 2023 Farm Bill, we will need “careful consideration as to how we are reaching the livestock sector with crop insurance-like policies.” Newton says there are ways the farm bill can written to help get crop insurance money more widely utilized. With the increasing frequency of bad weather, Newton says the farm bill can also be used to develop policies to address situations like the derecho windstorm in Iowa as well as hurricanes and after-harvest disasters. He also told attendees that dairy revenue policies have become a top ten crop insurance product because the crop insurance industry is very efficient in delivering those policies. Adequate labor, immigration reform, the Renewable Fuel Standard, possible changes to the Clean Water Rule that’s also known as Waters of the United States, regulatory reform, and the application of swampbuster rules are all Farm Bureau priorities.

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The Pace of U.S. Soybean Crush Stays High in January

U.S. soybean processing plants likely had their third-largest monthly crush on record in January. Reuters says it’s also the largest-ever crush for the first month of the year. Industry analysts gave those predictions ahead of the National Oilseed Processors Association report due this week. NOPA members handle about 95 percent of all soybeans processed in the U.S. An average of nine analysts estimates combined to show processors crushed about 183.087 million bushels of soybeans last month. If that’s realized, it wouldn’t be much different than the 183.15 million bushels crushed in December and 3.5 percent higher than January of last year, when NOPA members processed 176.94 million bushels. Daily crushing rates over the past four months have been at historic highs, averaging roughly six million bushels a day. U.S. soybean supplies are forecast to shrink dramatically ahead of the next harvest. The USDA is projecting the tightest season-ending stocks in seven years and the tightest stocks-to-use ratio in history.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

By Brian Allmer - The BARN

Brian Allmer & the BARN are members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), the Colorado FFA Foundation, the Colorado 4H Foundation, the Colorado Farm Show Marketing Committee, 1867 Club Board Member, Denver Ag & Livestock Club Member, the Weld County Fair Board, the Briggsdale FFA Advisory Council, Briggsdale 4H Club Beef Leader & Founder / Coordinator of the Briggsdale Classic Open Jackpot Show.