Farm Bill Draft Heading to Committee
Congress is back from recess, so there's finally some material to be shared. Let's get to it!
I trust the necessary paperwork and or extensions have been filed with Uncle Sam. Please keep making those timely payments, stats show there's fewer pulling the wagon than those along for the ride...and someday I hope to be in that wagon too! I've wondered about retirement - I wonder if I and when I can afford healthcare if not working, and what will exist when the SSA is expected to exhaust funds near 2035, but I digress. The reason there's not been an update of late is there's been nothing noteworthy and I aim to keep my updates relevant for all...Congress is back from recess, so there's some material to be shared, let's get to it!
Farm Bill - Late last week House Agriculture Chairman Conaway introduced 2018 bill proposal late last week. As it stands today, the proposed bill isn't significantly different from the 2014 Farm Bill. The bill is expected to go to committee for markup on Wednesday, which will be the start of negotiations and possible changes in language. As indicated here prior to Congress Easter break, the rub is and continues to be SNAP (nutrition). Yes, I'm a simple man so perhaps my ability to comprehend requiring able bodied individuals to work, or obtain job skill training, doesn't seem to be such an outrageous change or requirement to me. Hmm, teach someone to fish and feed them for a lifetime, or, give them fish and feed them for a day...I remember my grandfather saying in Ukrainian (my poor translation) '...living to eat rather than working (eating) to live.' Several links for your listening and reading pleasure, all or none is up to you...
and a link to the House Agriculture Farm Bill website:
Final planting dates - I wouldn't have guessed planting dates to be a concern as recently early March, we're in better shape than we were last year at this time; nonetheless, deadlines are upon us for some counties and fast approaching in others. Spring wheat dates naturally vary across the region by locations. The earliest of those were this past Sunday, 4/15, for some of the earlier and drier counties; another deadline will be the end of the month 4/30, as the season progress north and east from south central WA. The latest dates final plant dates for spring wheat are in early May. Dates have not changed from last year, so let that be your guide. Please let us know if you have concerns or questions regarding crops specific to your location and we will be glad assist.
Hail - Last week Wednesday we had a rather significant thunderstorm roll thru the Milton-Freewater valley, reaching into areas of WW county. Agree or not, payable hail losses on wheat or other small grains, is not measurable until the plant has jointed or reached the boot stage. One can have noticeable leaf and biomass damage, but if the growing point of the plant is still below ground and protected, industry research data says the crop will not suffer a measurable yield loss. To that end, crop hail coverage purchased last year has carryover language until early May. The specific date can vary by crop carrier. Best practice and recommendation is to certify your fall planted acres and get us a copy of your producer print so we can bind coverage for the coming crop year timely.
Last year I advised that crop hail rates for dry peas (green & yellow, lentils, garbs) had been re-rated by the industry and most all crop carriers incurred a significant premium increase. Additionally this year, the dry pea loss instructions have changed based upon recent field trials at several different universities. Previously, early crop hail claims were deferred until the plant had reached maturity and then the loss could be worked and completed by the adjusters. New for this year, adjusting procedures now allow the claim to be worked early and finalized rather than delaying until prior to harvest.
Leather trade tidbit - Did you know that China imports more hides than beef? $31 million in beef imports is no small matter, but pale in comparison to the $1 billion annually on animal hides. That's a boatload of shoes. Surprisingly, this item was not on the Chinese tariff list and probably won't be in the future...reports are that China is already proposing to lessen the tariffs of US autos...things that make you go hmmm...
Markets - I'm not sure where to start here, but I'm not convinced the US hrw crop will amount to a hill of beans - of which there will be plenty of as the early indications were of nearly 90 million acres of soybeans to be planted for 2018 as of March 1. Hindsight is 20/20 and the northern plains have had more winter since Groundhog's Day than the months prior - this weekend's snowfall accumulations were more easily measured in feet than inches, 2' - 3' from southern Montana across SD, NE, MN and WI! Plantings of corn and beans are already behind the norm, the continued cold and snow or cold and rain will continue to delay. Equipment size and technology allows for massive acreage plantings when things get rolling. If spring has not sprung by early May with field work fast and furious, bean acres will replace corn and dns acres too late to plant and the markets will react accordingly.
Argentina, the world's largest exporter of soybean meal, purchased US beans last week...story or non-story?
In the meantime, threat for rain across the Southern Plains hammers wheat prices...why? Because computers and traders like the catchy phrase, rain makes grain, and are smarter than me. The latest crop conditions surely suggest a different story - some of the worst HRW crop conditions in many years, more poor condition wheat acres than there are excellent wheat acres. Lack of rain from planting through dormancy, now battling temperature extremes - mid teens last week, will be in the mid to upper 80s this week. Wheat futures enjoy a week of gains followed by 3 weeks of hammer-time, yet our local Portland cash price is holding near $6...read Wheat Crops Struggling To Survive
Weather - Wildfires hit parts of KS last month, wildfires are currently ravaging parts of OK - more than 300,000 acres and a couple of fatalities. Any and all moisture would be welcomed for this region to help mitigate the danger they face. Short term forecast is for more of the same, warm and dry....Godspeed friends.
The current drought index...doesn't take much imagination to see the jetstream's path of the past few months.
A twist on the same drought map...as a reminder MN had corn yields above trend line the past couple of growing seasons.
A recent study from Columbia University suggests the boundary of air masses may be shifting in this country.
Who let the dogs out - one well known national carrier paid $132 million last year in dog related injury claims. Texas and California being the exceptions, CA the exception for most everything, the other top ten states were all east of the Mississippi river.
- Sangamon County, IL: 9 am Monday 4/16/2018 28 degrees and no corn planted. It looks like it could be another week before field work will happen. May corn planting very likely, hopefully done by June.
- Minnehah County, SD: No crops to talk about here! Haha Another foot plus snow on top of foot of mud! Frost is deep and won’t be coming out soon. I think May 10th at the earliest to star field work. Haven’t lost any calves yet from the cold,snow and mud but expect to eventually. Would think markets to be significantly higher this next week with cold delayed wet no planting but probably not, if planting was going strong and ahead of normal I’m sure they’d be going down, probably will anyway! Oh well usda will come out with another report to tell us what we’re doing wrong! Ok good luck!
- Buffalo County, NE: 6 Inches of snow and 50 mph winds the blizzard put a hurt on everything from Electric lines to all the livestock . Lost 4 calves from the snowdrifts by the shelter belts Lost power for 11 hours but just thankful were all alive Been a long time since we've seen one with that strong of winds especially in April. As for planting the planters in the shed along with all the seed. No one here has turned a wheel with planters and after this storm and another one later in the week Will easily be May so I guess we will join all the other states that can't go cause of winter.
- Oconto County, WI: Crops? What crops? We have about a foot of snow this morning. That's on top of what we've had, about 8 inches in the last two weeks, which had melted off. That makes it a mushy mess to plow off of. The weather folks are saying we will have another foot or so tonight. I think it will be a really late plant here this year. I wanna farm on LaSalle Street in Chicago, where the temp is always 75, the sun always shines, they get an inch of rain a week and the crops are always bountiful! Good thing there is a surplus!
- Dawson County, TX: High winds today and dusty. The drought hangs on. We have had 1.3 inches of rain in the last 150 days. Wild fires can start quickly. Hay in short supply. Maybe May will be better. Stay safe.
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Until next time, I hope spring work is safe for you and your crew, weather favorable for a bountiful harvest this fall.
"The hardest thing to understand in the world is the income tax." ~Albert Einstein
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