News / USA

US Officials Predict Drop in Crop Prices

In this Sept. 2012 photo, John Honeywell directs a mixture of seed wheat and rye into a grain drill to plant winter wheat for cattle grazing near Orlando, Oklahoma.
In this Sept. 2012 photo, John Honeywell directs a mixture of seed wheat and rye into a grain drill to plant winter wheat for cattle grazing near Orlando, Oklahoma.
TEXT SIZE - +
Prices of corn, soybeans and wheat are likely to decline this year, according to the latest forecast from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  

Although farmers are going into this season with the ground still extremely dry after last year’s record-breaking drought, the USDA still expects good yields this year.

Weather, like the winter storm which blew through the southern Great Plains this week bringing relief from the drought conditions which have lingered since summer, will be a critical factor.

Hard-hit harvest

Wet, heavy snow and ice blanketed Scott Neufeld’s farm near Fairview, Oklahoma.

“This couldn’t have come at a better time," he says.

Since September, Oklahoma has received half to two-thirds of its normal rainfall, and the winter wheat crop is in bad shape. Some of the fields Neufeld planted last fall hadn't even sprouted.

“There are some of our acres that didn’t emerge," Neufeld says. "And this moisture will sprout that seed and get it out of the ground.”

Neufeld expects his wheat harvest will probably still fall below normal.

Needed rainfall

Average rainfall the rest of the season would not get the region out of the drought.  Precipitation in Oklahoma has been below normal nearly every month for almost two years, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Scott Curl.

“It’s going to be hard," he says. "We’ve been in such a deficit for such a long time. It takes a while to dig into these kinds of situations, and it takes a while to dig out as well.”

To get back to normal, Curl says the state needs an additional 25 to 50 centimeters of precipitation on top of its usual amount.

More than a third of the country is in severe drought or worse as farmers prepare to plant next season’s crops. It follows three consecutive down years for corn harvests and a bad year for wheat in 2011.

The latest predictions call for drought to persist over the western part of farm country, but Texas A&M University economist Mark Welch says farmers don’t need a wet year to produce a good crop.

“With the technology that we have built into the farming practices," he says, "with the varieties that have been developed, seed technologies, it’s just incredible what some of these crops can do.”

Welch says it’s unusual to have two extremely dry years in a row and that there’s little connection between dry soil at the start of the season and crop yields at the end.

Optimistic outlook

Announcing the latest crop outlook Thursday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Chief Economist Joe Glauber was optimistic.

“We’re expecting a rebound in yields," Glauder said. "We should see record production, I think, for corn and soybeans. That means lower prices.”

But Glauber noted he made almost the same announcement last year. Then the drought hit.  With world supplies of corn and soybeans extremely tight, Welch says the weather forecast will drive the market.

“If it’s for a dome of high pressure, up go the prices," Glauber says. "If it’s for a cold front to push through and bring some rain, down will come the prices. And so, we’ll bounce around with that all season.”

That outlook suggests farmers and consumers alike should brace for another volatile year for crop prices.

You May Like

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid