U.S. corn and soybean planting moved closer to normal last week. Activity got off to a slow start in many areas this year due to cool, wet weather and while conditions still haven't been ideal overall in parts of the region, a recent somewhat warmer, drier pattern has helped planting pick up steam.
The USDA says that as of Sunday, 72% of corn is planted, compared to the five-year average of 79%, and 39% of the crop has emerged, compared to 51% on average.
Half of the soybean crop is planted, compared to the normal rate of 55%, with 21% emerged, compared to 26% on average.
28% of winter wheat is in good to excellent shape, up 1% on the week, with 63% of the crop headed, compared to 65% on average.
49% of spring wheat is planted, compared to 83% typically in late May, with 29% emerged, compared to 50% on average.
54% of cotton is planted, compared to usual pace of 51%.
91% of rice is planted, compared to the five-year average of 89%, with 66% emerged, compared to 71% normally, and 70% of the crop in good to excellent condition, 1% below a year ago.
22% of U.S. pastures and rangelands are called good to excellent, unchanged from last week.
A $40 billion supplemental spending bill to address the war in Ukraine won final passage in the Senate, 86-11, on Thursday.
The measure includes $4.3 billion for the U.S. Agency for International Development for international food aid and humanitarian assistance. Another $20 million is earmarked for USDA's Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust, an account used to buy U.S. commodities for food aid.
The Alliance to End Hunger, a food security advocacy group, said the bill shows "our nation's continued leadership in making sure people do not starve."
Take note: A number of ag provisions proposed by the White House were dropped from the package after failing to gain traction in Congress, including measures to raise marketing loan rates and pay farmers $10 an acre to double-crop soybeans and wheat.
In the United States, growing consumption of wine has contributed to an increase in wine imports, from 127 million gallons in fiscal year 2000 to 456 million gallons in FY 2021, reaching nearly $7.5 billion in value. Most wine imports come from the European Union (EU), accounting for 75 percent of the total value and 50 percent of the volume. Specifically, the top two countries of origin, Italy and France, each supplied about $2.5 billion in wine imports in FY 2021, although the volume from Italy was more than twice that of France because of its lower average price.
In 2020, imports from the EU temporarily decreased in response to a 25-percent U.S. tariff placed in late 2019 on French, German, Spanish, and English wine that was lifted in early 2021. Until 2017, Australia was the third-largest supplier, providing as much as 21 percent of U.S. imports of wine, although that decreased to just 4 percent in 2021 following a prolonged drought and ongoing shifts in global markets.
During this time, New Zealand's share grew to 7 percent. South America, mainly Argentina and Chile, supplied as much as 15 percent of U.S. wine imports in 2012 but now provides less than 7 percent. U.S. wine imports are projected to increase to $7.7 billion in FY 2022. While the United States is a net importer of wine, it exported $1.5 billion in 2021 to destinations including Canada, the United Kingdom, and Japan.
National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) reports:
EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers are holding ten regional roundtables to gauge the implications of recently proposed changes to the definition of Waters of the U.S.
Megan Dwyer, Director of Conservation and Nutrient Stewardship at Illinois Corn Growers Association, is participating in one of the agency's roundtables today.
"Farmers and ag groups have embraced the need to tackle challenges around conservation and are more than ready to continue our efforts," she said. "I plan to ask EPA to work collaboratively with farmers to address actual, real on the ground needs as a practical and realistic alternative to making these features Waters of the United States and getting in the way of farmers' efforts."
Last November, EPA released a proposed rule to re-establish the pre-2015 definition of "Waters of the United States," often referred to as WOTUS. The proposed rule removes the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, eliminating the long-overdue certainty and clarity for farmers affected by the scope of WOTUS jurisdiction.
National Sorghum Producers report:
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan says the agency is putting a priority on re-evaluating pesticides for their environmental impact under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
Regan told senators Wednesday that the White House requested 10 full-time staff and $4.3 million in fiscal 2023 to carry out the ESA reviews.
Meanwhile, the ratcheting down on crop protection products is occurring at a time when policymakers are deeply concerned about global food shortages.
Researchers have developed a super wheat for salty soils
University of Gothenburg news release
Researchers at the University of Gothenburg have developed several new varieties of wheat that tolerate soils with higher salt concentrations. After having mutated a wheat variety from Bangladesh, they now have a wheat with seeds that weigh three times more and that germinate almost twice as often as the original variety.
The wheat, which grows in fields near the coast in Bangladesh, has a certain tolerance to salt in soils, which is important when more and more farmland around the world is being exposed to saltwater.
By mutating the wheat seeds from these coastal fields, researchers at the University of Gothenburg were able to develop approximately 2,000 lines of wheat. The 35 lines that germinated the best at different field and lab experiments were planted in an automated greenhouse in Australia, where different saline concentrations were applied to the plants that were then weighed. They were photographed each day until the wheat had formed its ears.
The findings were striking. Genes for salt tolerance identified
“We developed wheat lines where the average weight of the seeds was three times higher and that germinated more often than the original wheat from Bangladesh,” says Johanna Lethin, a doctoral student at the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences at the University of Gothenburg.
Using DNA analyses and studies of other research, the team was also able to identify what genes control salt tolerance in the wheat plant.
“This is a milestone in our research. Now we have a couple of genes we know are involved in salt tolerance. The next step is to test if these genes are also in our best wheat varieties that we have mutated into existence.”
2,000 hectares lost per day
The Earth’s population is growing and in 2050, there will be 10 billion people on the planet who all need to be fed. At the same time, climate changes are causing the Earth’s arable land to dry up and other areas to be flooded by rising seas. All this increases interest in a crop that can tolerate salt in soil.
“It is incredibly important to try to develop a salt-tolerant variety with good yields. Currently, we are losing approximately 2,000 hectares a day to rising seas and improper irrigation methods that increase soil salinisation.”
Some experiments remain to do, but the potential in this discovery is global. Today, about 8 per cent of the world’s arable land is no longer usable for crops because of salt contamination and more than half of the world’s countries are affected. In Egypt, Kenya and Argentina, wheat cannot be grown on large areas and even low-lying areas of Europe, like the Netherlands, have these problems. Even in those parts of Asia where rice is currently the dominant crop, salt-tolerant wheat will become an important part of the future food supply since wheat farming requires much less water than rice.
“The next stage is to plant the salt-tolerant varieties in fields in Bangladesh. I would estimate that it will take about five years before we can have commercial production of salt-tolerant wheat, depending on how the field tests go.”
Climate change on course to hit U.S. Corn Belt especially hard, study finds - Significant agricultural adaptation will be necessary and inevitable in the Central and Eastern United States
Emory University news release
Climate change will make the U.S. Corn Belt unsuitable for cultivating corn by 2100 without major technological advances in agricultural practices, an Emory University study finds.
Environmental Research Letters published the research, which adds to the evidence that significant agricultural adaptation will be necessary and inevitable in the Central and Eastern United States. It is critical that this adaptation includes diversification beyond the major commodity crops that now make up the bulk of U.S. agriculture, says Emily Burchfield, author of the study and assistant professor in Emory’s Department of Environmental Sciences.
“Climate change is happening, and it will continue to shift U.S. cultivation geographies strongly north,” Burchfield says. “It’s not enough to simply depend on technological innovations to save the day. Now is the time to envision big shifts in what and how we grow our food to create more sustainable and resilient forms of agriculture.”
Burchfield’s research combines spatial-temporal social and environmental data to understand the future of food security in the United States, including the consequences of a changing climate.
More than two-thirds of the land in the U.S. mainland is currently devoted to growing food, fuel or fiber. And about 80 percent of these agricultural lands are cultivated with just five commodity crops: Corn, soy, wheat, hay and alfalfa.
Previous research based on biophysical data has established that climate change will adversely affect the yields of these crops. For the current paper, Burchfield wanted to investigate the potential impacts of climate change on cultivation geographies.
She focused on the six major U.S. crops that cover 80 percent of cultivated land in the United States: Alfalfa, corn, cotton, hay, soy and wheat. She drew from historical land-use data classifying where these crops are grown and publicly available data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Geographical Survey, the WorldClim Project, the Harmonized World Soil Database and other public sources.
Using these data, she built models to predict where each crop has been grown during the 20 years spanning 2008 to 2019. She first ran models using only climate and soil data. These models accurately predicted — by between 85 and 95 percent — of where these major crops are currently cultivated.
Burchfield ran a second set of models that incorporated indicators of human interventions — such as input use and crop insurance — that alter biophysical conditions to support cultivation. These models performed even better and highlighted the ways in which agricultural interventions expand and amplify the cultivation geographies supported only by climate and soil.
Burchfield then used these historical models to project biophysically driven shifts in cultivation to 2100 under low-, moderate- and high-emission scenarios. The results suggest that even under moderate-emission scenarios, the cultivation geographies of corn, soy, alfalfa and wheat will all shift strongly north, with the Corn Belt of the upper Midwest becoming unsuitable to the cultivation of corn by 2100. More severe emissions scenarios exacerbate these changes.
“These projections may be pessimistic because they don’t account for all of the ways that technology may help farmers adapt and rise to the challenge,” Burchfield concedes. She notes that heavy investment is already going into studying the genetic modification of corn and soy plants to help them adapt to climate change.
“But relying on technology alone is a really risky way to approach the problem,” Burchfield adds. “If we continue to push against biophysical realities, we will eventually reach ecological collapse.”
She stresses the need for U.S. agricultural systems to diversify beyond the major commodity crops, most of which are processed into animal feed.
“One of the basic laws of ecology is that more diverse ecosystems are more resilient,” Burchfield says. “A landscape covered with a single plant is a fragile, brittle landscape. And there is also growing evidence that more diverse agricultural landscapes are more productive.”
U.S. agricultural systems incentivize “monoculture farming” of a handful of commodity crops, largely through crop insurance and government subsidies. These systems take an enormous toll on the environment, Burchfield says, while also supporting a meat-heavy U.S. diet that is not conducive to human health.
“We need to switch from incentivizing intensive cultivation of five or six crops to supporting farmers’ ability to experiment and adopt the crops that work best in their particular landscape,” she says. “It’s important to begin thinking about how to transition out of our current damaging monoculture paradigm toward systems that are environmentally sustainable, economically viable for farmers and climate-smart.”
Burchfield plans to expand the modeling in the current paper by integrating interviews with agricultural policy experts, agricultural extension agents and famers. “I’d especially like to better understand what a diverse range of farmers in different parts of the country envision for their operations over the long term, and any obstacles that they feel are preventing them from getting there,” she says.
AG GROUPS CALL FOR WITHDRAWAL OF SOLICITOR GENERAL'S SUPREME COURT BRIEF ON GLYPHOSATE
Source: joint organization news release
Washington, D.C. - In a letter to President Biden, 54 agricultural groups expressed grave concern with a recent amicus brief submitted by the U.S. Solicitor General to the Supreme Court advising the court against taking up a case regarding pesticide labels.
The groups, including:
*American Farm Bureau Federation,
*American Soybean Association,
*National Corn Growers Association,
*National Association of Wheat Growers,
*National Cotton Council, and
*American Sugarbeet Growers Association,
They are listed in full here in the letter
, called on the president to swiftly withdraw the brief. They warned the new policy would set a dangerous precedent that threatens the science-based regulatory process. The groups are worried this new policy, along with having environmental impacts, could ultimately hinder the ability of U.S. farmers to help meet growing global food needs intensified by the invasion of Ukraine.
In the May 10 brief, the Solicitor General advised the court against taking up a case concerning whether state pesticide labels can conflict with federal labels.
Brad Doyle, soy farmer from Arkansas and president of the American Soybean Association, stated, "Federal law is clear that pesticide labels cannot be false or misleading. Allowing states to require health warnings contrary to decades of sound science is beyond disturbing and obviously not in line with federal law. I and other farmers are concerned this new policy will open the floodgate to a patchwork of state labels that will undermine grower access to safe, effective pesticides needed to farm productively and sustainably."
At question is whether the state of California can require a cancer warning label for the popular herbicide glyphosate when thousands of studies, decades of robust scientific consensus, and numerous global regulatory bodies-including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-agree the herbicide is not a carcinogen.
The new position expressed by the Solicitor General is a stunning reversal from previous, bipartisan administrative policy. The brief asserts federal law and regulations do not prevent states from imposing their own labeling requirements, even if those labels run counter to federal findings.
"Supplying wheat to the world is more important than ever given the unprecedented times with Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Together, Russia and Ukraine make up one-third of the world's wheat exports, and the disruptions we are seeing will certainly impact food supply," said National Association of Wheat Growers President and Washington wheat farmer, Nicole Berg. "Aside from the war, U.S. wheat growers are experiencing extreme weather conditions threatening the quality of their crops this year. 75% of the winter wheat production in the U.S. is in a severe drought. NAWG is concerned this new policy would undermine access to safe and effective crop protection tools that play a critical role in helping feed the world."
AFBF President Zippy Duval said, "Farmers utilize science-backed crop protection tools on their farms to produce safe, nutritious food. Allowing labels that conflict with existing conclusions and EPA studies will add to a greater misunderstanding of the crucial role pesticides play in enabling farmers to grow healthy, affordable food for America's families."
Nate Hultgren, sugarbeet farmer from Minnesota and president of the American Sugarbeet Growers Association said, "Farmers can't meet consumers' food security needs and help address climate change if the safe crop protection products we use and desperately need are undermined by the states. Allowing states to supersede federal pesticide labeling requirements will create massive uncertainty, confusion and add to significant supply chain disruptions."
"In the coming months, farmers will have to work even harder to address worldwide food shortages, and a patchwork of state regulations will jeopardize access to the critical farm supplies they need," said National Corn Growers Association President Chris Edgington. "We hope the Biden administration will reverse its position on this issue."
The groups call on President Biden to withdraw the brief. They also encourage the president to consult with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to better understand the implications of this decision for science-based regulation, as well as food security and environmental sustainability.
Editor's Note: Bayer is a valued member of the Texas Seed Trade Association.
There are two issues at the heart of this deliberation. One is the habit of California courts finding that a product the EPA deems safe, and not a cancer-causer, liable for unbelievable compensation settlements, and secondly, whether California can require Roundup labels to carry a cancer warning message inconsistent with federal labeling requirements.
Let's be clear; their is no scientific evidence glyphosate is a cancer-causer. This is litigation driven in a California court system that did/does not allow scientific evidence to be presented. The result of which has been consistent fabulously large compensation decisions rendered by California juries.
Science is the potential big loser here providing further "evidence" that leftists are no fans of real science - no matter what they may say. This situation also provides evidence that this administration does not care about food prices or food availability when the alternative presents a chance to damage a brand of popular crop protection products - not to mention yet another example of the federal government's selective enforcement of established law.
One wonders how much longer crop protection products providers and synthetic fertilizer manufacturers can/will continue to offer products for sale in California. Crop acres, hence potential markets, in California are shrinking and litigation risks are at an all-time high.