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Lowest production of corn since 2006

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The US Department of Agriculture announced Friday it reduced its estimate for corn and soybean production for this year. Corn production is estimated to be down 13 percent from 2011 at 10.8 billion bushels. This would be the lowest production since 2006. Average yield nationwide is estimated at 123.4 bushels per acre which would be 23.8 bushels below last year and the lowest since 1995. Soybean production is estimated to be 2.69 billion bushels down 12 percent from last year. Average yield is estimated to be 36.1 bushels per acre, down 5.4 bushels from last year and the lowest since 2003.The result of this is stockpiles of corn and soybeans are expected to be at low levels through next year and prices will continue to be good for our grain farmers. Let’s hope they have a better growing season next year. They need it to recover from this year.
The downside of this for consumers is a modest increase in food cost, estimated at 3% this year and 3.5% in 2013. While commodity prices are up substantially, food costs will not increase much due to the fact that only about 14% of the price of food is farm commodity price, the rest is processing, packaging, transportation and other non-farm costs.
There is also a downside to livestock producers as the cost of feeding grain to animals has increased substantially. Even here though, USDA predicts an upside as they say prices should increase into next year due to high levels of cattle moving to market now. There won’t be as many to go to market next year. They are also forecasting higher prices for dairy producers as they predict the number of dairy cows will fall.
Last week I had the opportunity to attend two UK Field Days, one on Horticulture up in Lexington and one on Tobacco, Corn and Soybeans at Princeton out in Western Kentucky. It was depressing to see how dry it still is to the west of us. They have had a little rain in some areas but not near what we have been fortunate to have here. I hope they get more rain soon.
I was impressed however to see all of the good things the UK Agriculture Specialists are working on. We are really fortunate to have the support we get from the College of Agriculture and the Kentucky Department of Agriculture as well.
One of the demonstrations at the Horticulture field day was on High Tunnel vegetable production by Dr. Krista Jacobsen. She explained how a producer can produce year round in a high tunnel by selecting the appropriate crops to grow for each season. I know some farmers have applied for cost share on High Tunnels with the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. If you have an interest in learning more about how to maximize use of these facilities, Dr. Jacobsen is willing to come to Marion County to work with producers. Call me and I will arrange to have her come here to do an educational program.
Marion County Cattlemen’s Association will meet Thursday, Aug. 16 at 7 p.m. Paul Redmon from Kentucky Beef Network will be the speaker. He will discuss the Master Stocker Program to be presented this fall.
We will be conducting a Master Gardener Class again this fall in conjunction with Washington County Extension. Classes will be held at the Washington County Extension office each Wednesday from 9 a.m. to noon beginning Sept.5 and concluding Nov. 28. In addition to the 14-week class schedule participants will complete 40 hours of volunteer work to become a Certified Kentucky Master Gardener. Many topics will be covered including Botany, Propagation, Entomology, Soils and Fertility, Plant Pathology, Woody Plants, Annuals and Perennials, Turf Care, Vegetable and Fruit Production. Cost of the program is $50 which includes course book and supplies. For information or to enroll, contact Dennis Morgeson, Horticulture Extension Agent, at the Washington County Extension Office at (859) 336-7741.
The Kentucky Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for ten scholarships for students who have shown livestock and are currently in college, junior college, vocational or technical school or for high school seniors intending to continue their education at such an institution. Each scholarship is for a total of $500. Call the Extension Office for details and an Application.
The Extension Office received over 200 applications for the County Agriculture Investment Program (CAIP.) Cost share applications have been scored and reviewed by the CAIB Council and successful applicants will be notified this week. The mandatory training will be held Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012 at the extension office. Successful applicants have a choice of attending either a noon or 6 p.m. training session. Kentucky Agriculture Development fund rules state that all successful applicants must attend training or forfeit their winning application.
Educational programs of Kentucky Cooperative Extension serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability, or national origin.