Big USDA #s; Looking ahead to spring

  • 01

    It's been another hot, dry week in South America as USDA reports and office closures, as well as market volatility and crop input planning, dominate the ag news in the U.S. this week.

  • 02

    USDA released bearish crop numbers Thursday. But, traders say attention should quickly turn back to South American crop-stressing weather soon.

  • 03

    More news from USDA came this week in the form of the announcement that the agency will close more than 250 offices around the country in an effort to fall into line with mandated budget cuts. Still, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack says the cuts won't affect USDA's services for farmers and ranchers.

  • 04

    Meanwhile, there's been a little rain relief for hot, dry South America in the last few days, but many say it's likely not enough to improve the region's crops much, one analyst says. And, the drought's starting to have larger economic effects in places like Argentina.

  • 05

    And, the anxiety about drought aren't limited to the southern hemisphere, either. More farmers in the Midwest are starting to get a little anxious about a winter that's been exceedingly dry, with soil moisture levels way below normal. Are you worried about a drought in 2012?

  • 06

    Even if the snow does pick up this winter in the form of a severe blizzard, will your cattle herd be ready? This week, one expert offered 07a quick brush-up on a few things you can do to prepare yourself, your herd and your equipment for the inevitable winter blast.

  • 07

    Still, some are starting to look ahead to spring already, specifically what they'll plant and what it will cost to make the crop. There's been some talk of continuous corn, especially if the market rewards more of that crop this year. How does corn-on-corn work on your farm?

  • 08

    And, what about seed? Some say there's a shortage of the seed they need going into this spring. But, the majority responding to an poll say regardless, they've got their seed lined up for this year's crop. What's your seed situation?

  • 09

    Fertilizer's a tough one to figure this year, too. There's some evidence that prices for nitrogen and anhydrous ammonia could be falling, but if the last few years are any indication, it's tough to get a clear picture of where the trend will lead.

Big USDA production & stocks reports, dry S.A. weather & crop input talk dominates this week's ag news.

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