Friday’s Ag News Roundup

As farmers strategize on how they’re going to divide up their acres come spring planting time, 2018 looks to be a down year for corn planting around the area. That’s becoming the consensus prediction among people we talk with, including Texas Corn Producers Executive Director David Gibson:

How much of a drop in corn acres might we see? David says, in the Texas Panhandle, we could have a decline of about 10 to 15 percent.

David mentioned a number of reasons for corn acres to dip this year. On the market price side, not only are things not good for corn, they’re getting better and better for cotton. We’ve seen about a five-to-six cent rise in the futures markets for cotton this week alone, as enthusiasm over export activity has helped elevate cotton up to the 84-cent range.

Weather was another factor David mentioned in his corn acreage forecast. And, if we continue going without precipitation, that will certainly give farmers an incentive to look at crops that use less water. Over the past 95 days, Amarillo’s precipitation has been 2.98 inches below what National Weather Service statistics suggest would be normal. Of course, that deficit relates to the fact that the last day in which Amarillo received at least one-tenth of an inch of rain was Oct. 6.

Amarillo’s troubling precip figures are a small way of illustrating the region’s concern. The weekly installments of the Drought Monitor map for Texas more dramatically show the degree to which area moisture conditions are worsening. In the version of the map updated yesterday , you’ll see that spot of red on the map up in the northeast tip of the Panhandle – reflecting the first time in a quite a while that any portion of the region has been in D-3 or extreme drought status. The swath of territory in D-2 status is widening, and there is no county in the Texas High Plains that is not in, at best, D-1 status.

2017 was a better year for folks in the ag equipment business. Tractor sales across the nation experienced a five percent increase. The Association of Equipment Manufacturers also reports combine sales climbed four percent.

As always, we had a lot going on in our morning ag program: The KGNC Golden Spread Agribusiness Update. You can listen to the whole show here:


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