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2016 Weather and Crop Outcome

Planting Cotton

The National Agricultural Statistics Service October Crop Production report estimated Arkansas cotton production to be at 1,088 pounds lint per acre, unchanged from last month but down 4 pounds from 2015. This exceeds our 5-year average of 1,073 pounds lint per acre by 15 pounds. Our crop continues to be ahead of schedule. As about half of our crop has been harvested this season, the 5-year average for the same date was just shy of 30 percent harvested. Reports of fiber quality have been good. Lack of rainfall during much of the harvest season has resulted in excellent color grades. Just over 45 percent has received a color grade of 31 or better. About 80 percent of the bales classed have a leaf grade of 4 or less. Micronaire values this season have averaged 4.6 with less than 17 percent in the discount range of 5 or greater. In Arkansas, we generally expect to see our early crop outyield our later crop. This is not what most farmers are experiencing this season. The extended wet and cloudy August weather came just as our early crop was starting to open. Reports of 1.25 to 1.5 bales per acre were heard from our early cotton as the occurrence of boll rot and hard lock was great. Fortunately, yields improved as harvest progressed. Our good fields are yielding in excess of 3 bales per acre. The 4-bale yield potential we had in many fields the first part of August slipped away. Read More »

A growing investment

It’s business as usual for Monheim, Germany-based Bayer as it continues the process of acquiring St. Louis-based Monsanto Inc. “One of the key points is we are investing and operating as Bayer today, and that will continue because we don’t know what the future holds,” Lee Rivenbark, who heads Bayer’s North American Seed Operations, told attendees of the company’s recent cotton field day near Idalou, Texas. “We’re committed to this acquisition. We believe it’s good for the farmer.” Although Rivenbark admitted the company still has several hurdles to overcome in the coming months, he says the goal is to have the deal finalized by the end of 2017. As Bayer has done in the past, he says the new combined company will continue to invest 10 percent of sales into research and development. Rivenbank highlighted a few of the recent investments Bayer has made as evidence of the company’s commitment to the cotton industry. The Idalou research station plans to close in about a week, and the equipment and personnel will be moved to a new, state-of-the-art breeding and trait development facility built closer to Lubbock near Loop 289. It’s also near the Texas Tech University fabric lab. Bayer also has invested in a multi-million 76,200-square-foot fuzzy seed storage facility near Ransom Canyon about 20 miles southeast of Lubbock. In addition, the company in the coming weeks plans to open a state-of-the-art research and breeding facility near Albany, Ga., and has increased its greenhouse space in Memphis, Tenn. Read More »

Time And Money Affect Ag Insurance Uptake

Farmers use crop insurance to protect themselves against risk — primarily against crop failure and low market prices. In the United States, the federal crop insurance program has grown steadily since the mid-1990s and become the single largest individual program providing support to farmers under the 2014 Farm Act. Growth in crop insurance programs — both in the United States and in developing countries — appears to be driven in part by premium subsidies from governments. Unlike previous research on the topic, which emphasizes a farmer’s attitude toward risk as the primary driver of insurance uptake, this report analyzes the relationship between wealth, savings and insurance over time to identify alternative approaches to managing farm risk. What Did The Study Find? When farm households consider multiple growing seasons, insurance and savings are substitutes. Demand for insurance will fall as the interest rate on savings rises; similarly, farmers will save more and insure less as insurance premium rates increase. The exception is among farm households that are less wealthy; when wealth is low to start, additional savings complements insurance, allowing households to be able to afford to pay an insurance premium when they do not yet have enough savings to completely self-insure. Demand for crop insurance, when examined over multiple years, is primarily driven by the farmer’s financial wealth rather than the farmer’s attitude toward risk. Both uptake of insurance and choice of coverage levels are heavily determined by the producer’s income and savings. Crop insurance is in low demand at both Read More »

Bogue Chitto Gin

New Mississippi Facility Exceeds Wildest Dreams By Carroll Smith Editor Tucked away in Noxubee County, Miss., about 1½ miles down Deerbrook Road, Bogue Chitto Gin Inc. is an impressive testimony to area producers’ faith in cotton. The 25 stockholders settled on the name Bogue Chitto (“big water”) as a nod to the Choctaw Indian culture that is of historical significance ... Read More »

California Governor Signs Ag Overtime Bill

By Steve Adler California Farm Bureau Federation Now that Gov. Jerry Brown has signed the agricultural overtime bill, Assembly Bill 1066, employment specialists are working to interpret its provisions and help farmers and ranchers prepare for them. The new law will entitle agricultural employees to premium pay after eight hours of work in a day or 40 hours in a ... Read More »

Show and Tell

Cotton producers in West Texas got a sneak peak at up to a dozen potential new varietal releases during Deltapine's annual field day at Blaine Nichols Farm near Seminole. Nichols and his father, Mark, are two of about 200 producers nationwide that participate in Deltapine's NPE, or New Product Evaluators, program. For the past 10 years or so, the Nichols have planted advanced experimental lines in large 3- to 5-acre plots. They farm the plots as they would their commercial acreage, with each plot being harvested, graded and milled separately. Come December or January when the data on the experimental varieties has been disseminated, NPE producers participate in a conference call to vote on the varieties they think should be released. Between the experimental and commercial varieties, the Nichols have about 20 Deltapine large-scale plots on their farm this season. Mark says they continue to participate because of the benefits the NPE trials provide the industry. Blaine says he's anxious to see how the new XtendFlex system will work once the low-volatility formulation of dicamba is registered. The varieties have been engineered to contain genes that impart resistance to both glyphosate and dicamba herbicides sprayed over the top. Although the Nichols have several XtendFlex varieties on their farm, the plants were only sprayed over the top with Roundup. Blaine stays on top of weeds using the Roundup Ready system as well as several different residual herbicides. He also has adopted a zero-tolerance approach to weeds, but he says controlling Palmer amaranth and Russian thistle as well as a host of others is a constant challenge. Read More »

Cotton Market Outlook

After rallying to the upper 70 cents per pound range during the month of July, new crop cotton futures prices appear to be working their way back down. For much of 2016, new crop cotton futures prices seemed to be stuck in an upper 50 cents to low 60 cents per pound trading range. All of the fundamental supply and demand news pointed to larger acreage and larger production in 2016. With no significant signs of improved domestic or export demand, the potential for a large 2016 crop weighed heavily on the market.However, as the summer progressed, the development of hot, dry conditions in Texas and parts of Georgia along with dry conditions in India began to foster concerns of lower cotton supplies. This introduced a considerable amount of risk premium in the markets and helped support prices. Speculative interests took this momentum and continued to push prices higher by going from a net short position (selling more contracts then purchasing) in early 2016 to the highest net long position (purchasing more contracts then selling) in more than two years. However, this has brought prices to levels that are not fully supported by the underlying supply and demand fundamentals. Read More »