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.
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 VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing 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.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid