Thursday’s Ag News Roundup

With the Trump Administration moving ahead with plans to hit China with even more tariff hikes, and trade wars escalating with other countries like Mexico and Canada, members of Congress appear to be feeling the urge to intervene. Yesterday in the Senate, a resolution was passed calling for Congress to be given a role in making decisions on tariffs related to national security concerns. The resolution is non-binding, but the 88-11 vote that approved it would seem to reflect growing concern on the part of lawmakers.

Earlier this week we reported numbers showing a massive falloff in sales of U.S. pork to the China/Hong Kong region. And pork purchases there are almost certain to stay down, if not fall further, as China has now hit U.S. pork with two significant tariff increases this year. I asked Joe Schuele of the U.S. Meat Export Federation just how outpriced U.S. pork has become in the Chinese market:

With the burden of such a price disadvantage in China, much of our pork will now have to be sold elsewhere. And in some cases that won’t be easy:

Another U.S. ag commodity that has been hit with tariff hikes twice by China this year is sorghum. With pressure coming from their own farmers who want U.S. sorghum for livestock feed, China ultimately relented on that tariff hike and removed it. But, sorghum was struck again last week when China announced new retaliatory tariffs on a long list of U.S. ag products. No one in the sorghum business would consider China’s move to be good news, but John Duff of National Sorghum Producers tells me this most recent hike is easier to absorb:

And just how much of a price edge does our sorghum hold?

Duff tells me the price advantage for U.S. sorghum exists – in large measure – due to logistics: We produce a lot of sorghum and we have the infrastructure to move it where it needs to go.

USDA issues the monthly supply and demand and crop production reports today. Among the highlights analysts expect us to see: an increase in projected ending stocks for U.S. corn. That increase is expected, analysts say, because they’re looking for USDA to raise its yield estimate to 175.3 bushels per acre, which would be 1.3 bushels above last month’s estimate.

As we reported yesterday, small numbers of the sugar cane aphid have been found in sorghum fields in Castro and Lamb counties. We have now posted more information from AgriLife on our website on what farmers should know about fighting this pest – things like what are considered to be the treatment thresholds at different stages of the crop’s development. Go here:

Also, don’t forget today is the day for two more AgriLife meetings to help cotton farmers understand their new federal safety net program. Meetings are set for 9 a.m. at the Extension office in Canyon and at 1 p.m. at the Extension office in Hereford. More details here:

We’ve had some rain around the region last night and this morning, mostly on the light side, although totals like the approximately 2 ½ inches in Muleshoe and slightly more than 1 ½ in Friona do stand out.  The National Weather Service is now granting us fairly good possibility of rain today through Saturday, with our chances in the 30-40 percent range over that time.

That’s what I have for you this go-round. Have a good Thursday, y’all.

KGNC-AM devotes a full hour to ag news every morning from 5 a.m. to 6 a.m. with our Golden Spread Agribusiness Update. If you’d like to hear this morning’s show, go here:



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