Patience can wait

Agriculture.com Staff 09/01/2009 @ 9:00am

During a field day some years ago, I heard an agronomist say that your greatest yield potential is when the seed is still in the bag. The first week of September before a game is played is like that for football fans.

We forget last year's team and try to believe that this will be the year we will get invited to a good bowl game. But believing isn't always easy, especially when our team has not performed well for multiple seasons.

More than just reasons for optimism, many meat and milk producers are in desperate need of good news and corrective change to break a long stretch of red ink. Some producers have already dropped out. Many just practice the words of 18th-century British statesman Edmund Burke: “Never despair, but if you do, work on in despair.”

Economists make a logical case for strong long-term meat and milk demand. Population growth alone is a big factor. A return to strong world economic growth also will accelerate demand.

Wells Fargo Chief Ag Economist Michael Swanson is among those economists optimistic for livestock. “The world will demand more protein,” he told nearly 500 producers in mid-July at a conference sponsored by Wyffels Hybrids in Iowa. He cautioned, however, that the market still has a lot of adjusting to do to get meat and milk prices higher in relation to costs.

Robert Fraley, executive vice president and technology officer for Monsanto, told producers that to supply world needs, corn yields will double in 20 to 30 years. “Doubling corn yields by 2030 will meet demand for food, feed, and energy.”

Monsanto is committed, he said, to invest 10% of its sales in research and development. The goal, he added, is to create additional value through new technology with growers earning one half to two thirds of the value of the technology and Monsanto keeping the remainder.

During a field day some years ago, I heard an agronomist say that your greatest yield potential is when the seed is still in the bag. The first week of September before a game is played is like that for football fans.

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