Monday, February 1, 2016

Agricultural News Monthly for February 1, 2016

This month's featured chart is from the USDA:

Agriculture Sector Endures Second Straight Annual Decline - Land Report - 2/1/16
"The Department of Agriculture is projecting that 2015 will mark another down year for American farmers and ranchers with agricultural sector production projected to fall 9.2 percent to $427 billion. Contributing factors include increased global competition and a slowdown in demand from China. Net cash and net farm income reached all-time highs in 2013, but according to the USDA, both are forecast to decline for the second consecutive year with net cash income expected to fall by 27.7 percent and net farm income dropping by 38.2 percent. The latter percentage would be the largest single-year decline since 1983. Livestock receipts are projected to decrease by 12.0 percent ($25.4 billion) in 2015. The value of U.S. livestock production is also forecast to decline 12.3 percent (to $191.3 billion) as a large drop in receipts more than offset inventory expansion."

As Crop Prices Sink, Farm Subsidies Soar -, 1/28/16
"The government faces three high-cost years for farm subsidies, beginning with $5.8 billion for this year, says the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), as low commodity prices drive up the cost of programs that stabilize crop revenue. In its latest budget baseline, CBO forecasts that crop subsidies will cost a total of $22 billion for fiscal 2016, 2017, and 2018. That’s a 9% increase from the estimate it made a year ago of $20.1 billion for the period. The major recipients would be corn, soybean, wheat, and peanut growers."

Global feed production is almost at 1 billion tonnes - Agriland, 1/25/16
"Global feed tonnage is estimated to be at 995.5m tonnes, a 1.5% increase on last year, according to the latest Alltech Global Feed Survey. This is also a 14% increase on 2011, when Alltech published its first Global Feed Survey. The analysis of five-year trends showed growth predominantly from the pig, poultry and aqua feed sectors and intensification of production in the African, Middle Eastern, Latin American and European regions, according to Alltech."

2015 Was the Hottest Year on Record - Scientific American, 1/20/16
"Data from U.S. space agency NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showed that in 2015, the average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit (0.90 Celsius) above the 20th century average, surpassing 2014's previous record by 0.29 F (0.16 C). This was the fourth time a global temperature record has been set this century, the agencies said in a summary of their annual report."

FAO urges broader adoption of its Save and Grow paradigm for sustainable agriculture - FAO, 1/18/16
"A new FAO book out today takes a close look at how the world's major cereals maize, rice and wheat - which together account for an estimated 42.5 percent of human calories and 37 percent of our protein - can be grown in ways that respect and even leverage natural ecosystems."

In Search of a New Politics For a New Environmental Era - Yale e360, 1/20/16
"An English garden is a great example, or a New England village and fields in the late-18th century, very early-19th century. A lot of environmentalism in the mid-20th century was about saving a world that was intrinsically beautiful, a world whose ecology was harmonious, where things fit together. The idea was often that if we would only do right by it, then we would fit harmoniously into it also. This is very much the aesthetic of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, for example."

Supply and Demand Fundamentals Weighing on Ag Economy. Production Outpacing Consumption. - Fed. Reserve Bank of K.C., 1/13/16
"production in the United States since 2012 has expanded faster than consumption. Domestic consumption of key commodity crops has flattened over the last two years, and inventories are expanding across the globe, but particularly in the U.S. On average, U.S. inventories of corn, soybeans and wheat have increased more than 100 percent since 2013, while use (or consumption) has increased just 7 percent over the same period."

Food prices fall at fastest pace in 7 years amid 'timid demand' - Agrimoney, 1/7/16
"Food prices dropped in December by 1.0% month on month to their lowest since April 2009, the UN food agency, the Food and Agriculture Organization, said. The drop took the decline for 2015 to 17.1% - the second biggest fall in values for a calendar year on records going back to 1990."

Wheat struggling to keep up with corn, soybean technology - Harvest Public Media, 1/4/16
"Wheat is one of the world’s staple foods and a big crop on the Great Plains, but it has been left in the dust. A corn farmer can grow 44 percent more bushels per acre than 30 years ago, but only 16 percent more wheat."

Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Reports IA Ethanol Plants Produced Record Four Billion Gallons During 2015 - Biofuels Journal, 1/4/16
"Iowa continues to be the number one ethanol producing state, and is estimated to account for roughly 27 percent of national ethanol production in 2015."

I-Owe-Ah & The Crime Called Ethanol - Zero Hedge, 1/30/16
"But ethanol has never been blocked from entering the market. The problem is just the opposite. Ethanol producers want a “market” created for their product – enforced by government. They want to suppress the market’s verdict about ethanol, bypass the preferences expressed by Americans for gasoline rather than ethanol-adulterated “gas.”"

Ethanol Mandate, a Boon to Iowa Alone, Faces Rising Resistance - NYT's, 1/31/16
"And now a powerful coalition including oil companies, environmentalists, grocery manufacturers, livestock farmers and humanitarian advocates is pushing Congress to weaken or repeal the mandate. As soon as this week, the Senate could vote on a measure to roll back the Renewable Fuel Standard, just days after the Iowa caucuses close and the issue largely goes to rest for another four years."

Restoring prairie on the Great Plains - Harvest Public Media, 1/25/16
"Loss of grassland has been a challenge for many of the region’s native residents. Birds, insects and other wildlife that need a prairie ecosystem to survive have less room to roam. David Wedin, a professor at the University of Nebraska’s School of Natural Resources, says much of the area converted to cropland is marginal land, highly susceptible to erosion and the runoff of agricultural chemicals. ”Grasslands are our best resource to prevent soil erosion,” Wedin said. “And frankly, grasslands do a better job than forests. They certainly do a better job than croplands of preventing soil erosion, water erosion, runoff.”" (includes video)

Building binge by Iowa pig farmers may lead to even lower prices - CNBC, 1/19/16
"Last year, Iowa farmers built 280 hog barns capable of holding more than 1,250 head, over 60 percent more than 2014 but shy of the 347 constructed in 2012, according to data recently released by the state's Department of Natural Resources."

Cargo thieves target California nuts - The Packer, 1/28/16
"Cargo thefts have saddled California nut growers and processors with millions of dollars in losses and brought law enforcement attention to the Port of Los Angeles, where some of the stolen product was found. Since last fall, truckloads of pistachios, almonds and walnuts have been misdirected and stolen in Madera, Kern, Fresno and Tulare counties."

Fatty acids from genetically modified oilseed crops could replace fish oil - ScienceDaily, 1/20/16
""But for everyone in the world to achieve their minimum dietary intake, you would need around 1.3 million metric tonnes of EPA per year. Fish currently provide around 40 per cent of the required amount -- so there is a large deficit between supply and demand." There is a great need to identify alternative and sustainable sources of these beneficial fatty acids."

What nobody told me about small farming: I can’t make a living - Salon, 1/1/16
"But watching this man gaze out at my fields, I couldn’t help wondering if it was the customer who was the one being consoled."

Shiitake Mushrooms: A Commercial Forest Farming Enterprise - USDA, 1/21/16
"According to Ken Mudge of Cornell University, any farmer with a woodlot and the drive to diversify should consider forest-cultivated shiitake mushrooms. They are well suited to the increasing demand for locally produced, healthy foods. With a retail price of $12 to $20 per pound, the demand for shiitakes is considerable throughout the Northeast."

Local Dairy Farm To Purchase Oregon Tree Farm To Develop 8,000-Cow Facility - Agweb, 1/26/16
"Part of the 25,000-acre tree farm has already been sold to a dairy that will raise about 8,000 cows on the land. The rest of the property will go to AgriNorthwest to grow potatoes and other crops."

World's First Robot-Run Lettuce Farm to Produce 30,000 Heads Daily; Tipping Point for Workerless Agriculture - MISH'S Global Economic Trend Analysis, 1/28/16
"The future of farming has arrived. It's vertical, soilless, and run by robots. Tech Insider reports World's First Robot-run farm will harvest 30,000 heads of lettuce daily."

$100 million hydroponic cucumber farm to create 350 jobs in Victorian gold rush town - ABC Rural, 1/31/16
"Northern Grampians Shire Council today announced a Sydney-based company's plans to build a 45 hectare glass house just east of the township."

1 comment:

  1. is chicken's popularity a function of comparatively lower prices now vis a vis 50 or 60 years ago? i remember chicken dinners as a treat every once in a while on Sundays, whereas our weekdays dinners usually included some kind of beef..