Big in ag: A week of ups & downs
The past week's been one of a lot of ups and downs: Harvest progress on the way up, a drought scenario on its way down (possibly), a cattle market on its way up and grain markets moving in both directions. They're just a few of this week's stories that are big in ag.
This week saw the race toward fall harvest's finish line slow down considerably as rain fell over a larger portion of the nation's midsection. Despite the slowdown, farmers are still well ahead of the normal harvest pace.
The rain's got speculation rising about the future of the drought that's gripped much of the U.S. the last year. Some say a larger, more moisture-laden trend could be on its way, though farmers and experts agree the real end to the drought's a long way off.
Now that harvest is nearing its end, some farmers are starting to look ahead to their 2013 crop rotations and seed-buying decisions. There are a lot of variables that point to soybeans being the king crop next year, but it's not that easy a decision, one expert says. And, most farmers still say they'll stick to their normal rotation. What do you think?
One reason harvest has been so quick this year is the drought-shortened crop. And, with the number of crop insurance checks that drought will send out around the countryside, it could cause some tax pains by the year's end. But, there is a way around getting knocked out by the tax man this year.
Another sector that's been hit hard by drought this year is cattle. But, recent numbers show herd liquidation's been underway and that's got numbers at levels that will likely send market prices back into positive territory, one expert said this week.
Ethanol's ridden the drought's tide this year too, and now that sector's seeing a trimback in production as a result of higher prices and tighter supplies, bioenergy industry leaders said this week. Still, the U.S. produces upward of 60% of the world's ethanol.
The bulls in the wheat pits this week have gotten the largest share of the feed, with news out of the Black Sea region -- especially Ukraine -- that exports will be slowed and stopped soon because of supply worries there. That's got things looking bullish for producers and wheat owners in other parts of the world.
Meanwhile, there was a meeting in Chicago this week to discuss issues around the USDA and CME Group trading, and how the 2 fit together. Reports show there are questions about how the market's adjusted trading hours fit with the government's report schedule. What do you think?
Be careful out there! A report out this week shows your likelihood of hitting a deer in your car or truck. A lot of states in the Plains and Midwest made the top end of the list. Weigh in on this growing conversation in Farm Business Talk
Harvest progress, rainfall and market volatility have been big topics this week in the world of ag.