Wednesday’s Ag News Roundup

No one’s sounding alarm bells just yet, but we do have the season’s first reported sightings of sugar cane aphids in the Texas High Plains. Texas A&M AgriLife reports small populations were found in sorghum fields down in Lamb and Castro counties. However, while the aphid counts in these fields were below the treatment threshold, AgriLife officials say the discoveries provide cause for extra vigilance in scouting fields.

As we talked about in yesterday’s report, local dryland crops are in trouble. Big time. But you would want to assume that things are relatively okay for irrigated crops. Well, AgriLife agronomist Jourdan Bell tells me that’s true for the most part, but not everywhere in the Panhandle:

And, Jourdan says farmers who are faced with well issues are, in some cases, looking to divert water:

Remember in school, when it was time to take a test, and the teacher would say: No fair peeking. Apparently, USDA is thinking something along those lines when it comes to the big monthly reports it puts out like the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report and Cattle on Feed. For a long time, USDA has allowed select ag news media outlets to see such reports in advance so that reporters could get their stories written in time to be published or broadcast simultaneously with the official release. But, in today’s high speed communications world, USDA has decided that extending this courtesy to a few ag media companies lets those companies’ subscribers get an unfair head start in making market moves compared to the rest of the public. So, USDA says, beginning Aug. 1 no more advance looks for ag media. Everyone will now get the reports at the same time.

Speaking of USDA reports, there’s a big one coming out tomorrow. And, we can apparently expect it to provide a new twist:

With the ongoing multi-front trade disputes weighing down prices for their products, dairy producers could use a bullish boost. And, in his weekly report for our ag hour, local producer Mike Schouten said some encouragement could be taken from USDA’s last production numbers. USDA did report a 1.7 percent increase in total cheese production in May, compared to April output. But, Mike reminds us, there are many varieties of cheese, and the good news is production of cheddar and American type cheese went down:

Mike was also inspired by the production numbers for butter:

Dairymen are indeed in need of something to feel positive about. Class III milk prices on the CME for the July and August contracts are both trading more than two dollars lower than they were before tariff battles began taking a toll.

And, in the worsening trade wars, it looks like we can now expect retaliation on retaliation. The Trump Administration is preparing for a new round of tariff hikes on Chinese products, with about $200 billion worth of Chinese goods involved. And the reason for another round of hikes – according to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer – is because China responded to our government’s most recent tariffs hikes on them with retaliatory tariff increases of their own on our goods. Of course, if we now strike back on those retaliatory tariffs, the Chinese say they’re going to respond the same way yet again. And so it goes, with U.S. agriculture suffering the fallout.

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