From the Desk of Keith Lockhart May 25, 2012

Farm debt jumped six percent last year – The Western Producer: “Despite the upward spiral in farm debt, lender representatives say it is a sign of a healthy and growing industry with producers willing to borrow to expand or improve their operations.”

No one likes to be in debt, or the CEO of the family farm that is suddenly a multi-million dollar company.  But such is the way of modern agriculture.

Canola rises Thursday on stronger soybeans – The Western Producer: “Canola rose Thursday, supported by rising soybeans.

Soybeans rose on developing worries about hot, dry weather in the southern Midwest.”

The traders are warming up for a happy Friday.  They must all be in therapy – denial therapy.


If you don’t subscribe, you should.  Click on the link above to get to the right page.  This week’s version covers early scouting (especially for weeds), watching for birds eating their cutworms, flea beetle chew marks, blackleg scouting, diamondback feeding and aster leafhoppers.  Who knew canola plants could be so pestilent! | Syngenta stands by $4.8bn chemical despite payout: “Syngenta has said it will stand by controversial weedkiller atrazine despite agreeing to pay $105m to water operators who have sought damages to pay for stripping the ‘harmful’ chemical from supplies.”

Persistent older chemistry that rapidly became the standard when it was very cost effective at lower rates and as a synergist in tank mixes.  Generics did a good job of driving the price down, but of course will be no where to be found when the hat gets passed to clean up the water systems that were affected.  Lawyers get a special coating in their graduation hoods to deny liability.  When they forget to put their hoods on, it gets messy.  {mea-culpa my daughter graduated from NYU with a law degree last Friday.}

Canola, cattle lead rise in gross farm revenues | Country Guide: “Market receipts from the sale of crops and livestock were up 18.3 per cent from the first quarter of 2011 to $13.6 billion. Crop receipts rose 25.2 per cent to $8.2 billion, making up more than 60 per cent of the total market receipts, while livestock receipts increased 9.1 per cent to $5.4 billion.”

So debt is up, but also revenue.  Farmers seem to have it figured out – grow more canola and catch up again on the livestock.

For the Period May 15 to 21, 2012 – Agriculture – Government of Saskatchewan: “Sixty-four per cent of the 2012 crop has been seeded, according to Saskatchewan Agriculture’s weekly Crop Report.  The five-year (2007-2011) average for this time of year is approximately 44 per cent seeded.

Seeding significantly advanced this past week due to warm weather and dry field conditions.  Sixty-eight per cent of the crop is seeded in the southeast, 75 per cent in the southwest, 50 per cent in the east-central area, 65 per cent in the west-central area, 66 per cent in the northeast and 67 per cent in the northwest. 

This week’s precipitation varied from trace amounts to well over an inch in southwestern regions.  Topsoil moisture on cropland is rated as nine per cent surplus, 88 per cent adequate and three per cent short.  Hay land and pasture topsoil moisture is eight per cent surplus, 87 per cent adequate and five per cent short.”

Usually, farmers like to be finished planting in May.  Looks like it will be close, and a bit waterlogged in the east, but we have most of next week yet.

Video: Stripe Rust | “Pierce Paul, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Plant Pathology at The Ohio State University, talks about Stripe Rust and the 2012 wheat crop.”

For you videophiles, stripe rust in your wheat.

Ontario Basil Growers Receive Emergency Use Registrations for Downy Mildew «: “J. Chaput, OMAFRA, Minor Use Coordinator, Guelph

The Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) recently announced the approval of emergency use registrations for CONFINE FUNGICIDE (potassium salts of phosphorous acid) and REVUS FUNGICIDE (mandipropamid) for control of an outbreak of basil downy mildew on greenhouse and field grown basil in Ontario, Quebec and Alberta. Both Confine and Revus fungicides are already labeled in Canada for control of diseases on several crops. Furthermore a complete minor use submission is underway with the Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada, Pest Management Centre (AAFC–PMC) minor use program and U.S. IR-4 program to seek eventual, full registration of Revus for control of basil downy mildew in Canada and the U.S.”

The supply of pizza topping was close to being compromised.  I hear it makes a great pesto as well.  

More seriously, issues on minor crops often go under the registration screen because of the weight of the regulatory system.  It’s nice to see it starting to catch up.

Go Jim!

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