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Harvest wraps, focus turns to next year
Fall harvest is mostly wrapped up, and now farmers' attention is turning to marketing that crop and making all the preparations for winter. These are just a couple of the big stories in agriculture this week.
Farmers in a few states still have some corn left in the field, but soybean harvest is in the books, USDA said this week. And, some say their local co-ops "look like ghost towns" while others say farmers are holding this fall's crop tighter than usual.
With this year's crop mostly wrapped up, a lot of farmers are already thinking ahead to next year. So, what are the biggest concerns for 2012? The majority of farmers responding to our poll (59%) say the weather is their biggest concern for next year's crop. What's yours?
But, while it's wrapping up, this fall's harvest wasn't the easiest in the world for a lot of farmers. Sixty-six percent say they had minor breakdowns this fall, while others say they had either major or "catastrophic" ones. Check out some other farmers' harvest breakdown stories and add your own!
One farmer said recently this fall's fieldwork has left him with a lot of work to do on his machinery before next spring rolls around. So, what do you spend the most time on in your shop over the winter? Join this discussion and see some ways to "winterize" your iron.
And, don't forget to take care of that grain when you put it in storage, too. The hot, dry weather of last summer is still making its presence felt even as the mercury slides, now in the form of grain quality concerns. Here are a few ideas to keep that grain in good shape.
Meanwhile this week, the markets were far from kind to those looking for a bullish boost. On top of that, news trickled out that the MF Global bankruptcy situation may be worse than originally thought, with as much as $1.2 billion in customer money allegedly lost now.
On the bright side, if you're a hog producer, you could be on the front end of an extended period of higher profits, one economist says. For the next year, profits could be near $17/head. This could mean the industry has "turned the corner" on higher feed prices.
There was one major failure this week, though, but it wasn't on the farm. The "supercommittee" of lawmakers assembled to find a way to cut the nation's deficit failed to reach a deal this week. And now, that failure will likely have far-reaching implications to the farm bill.
How will the grains trade up to and through Thanksgiving? "Traditionally the trade sees it as a 4-day holiday -- funds don’t want to buy long into it, since they have only one day Friday where they can exit trades," says market analyst Tim Hannagan. See more of what to expect from the rest of this week's trade.
So, what's on your Christmas gift list? If you're still having trouble deciding, or you have a farmer to shop for this year, check out some of the latest tools, gadgets and more! Do you have a big gift idea this year? Add it to the discussion!
Is a handheld GPS unit on your Christmas list? Even though most of today's new machinery comes equipped with in-cab monitors, handheld GPS units can be a big help with other jobs. Get a few ideas how you can put handheld GPS to work on your farm and add your experience.
But, forget gifts like these! What if you, all of a sudden, had $10,000,000? What would you do with it? Would you pay off the farm and keep on working, or escape to a tropical island? See other farmers' responses and add your own to this fun discussion.
Some major market highs and lows and a wrap on harvest (mostly) highlight this week's big stories in ag.