The U.S. Department of Agriculture released its quarterly Grain Stocks and annual Prospective Plantings report Friday morning.
For wheat, the USDA expects all U.S. wheat acres to be down 4 percent. Hard red winter is at 22.4 million acres and spring wheat plantings are expected at 12.8 million acres, down 3 percent from last year.
Spring wheat planting may also be a challenge in 2019 with snow and flooding in Montana and the Dakotas likely delaying spring planting.
As for corn and soybeans, corn acreage is expected to rise while soybean acreage decreases.
At least every five years, the American Lamb Board conducts an extensive economic return on investment analysis with a third-party university. According to the latest study, the American Lamb Checkoff Program has positively contributed to American lamb demand and industry profits.
Another measure of the checkoff program contribution to the industry is the cost-to-benefit ratio. The Texas A&M study reported the average return to industry stakeholders for every $1 invested into the American Lamb Checkoff Program is approximately $14.20.
A bill sponsored by State Representative Ross Fitzgerald of Fairfield that will double the maximum cap on how much Montana farmers can be charged for the wheat and barley checkoff has been signed into law by Governor Bullock.
The Montana Grain Growers Association’s Lola Raska said it will give farmers more flexibility in addressing ongoing priorities like trade.
“Up to 80 percent of our wheat, in particular, is exported out of the state,” said Raska. “So the market development funds that are used for that area specifically are to educate our consumers in foreign countries on what we provide and ask them what their consumers need. We want to match that up. So the research plays into that too so that the varieties that we’re growing here meet what our consumers need.”
House Bill 151 only increases the cap, which has only happened in 1983 and 2003, and not the actual assessment. Since 2009, the checkoff has been at its ceiling: 2 cents per bushel of wheat grown and 3 cents per hundredweight of barley.
The U.S. Meat Export Federation said U.S. beef exports in January slipped one percent year over year to 104,766 metric tons, but value still increased three percent to $642.3 million.
Export value per head of fed slaughter pulled back from the red-hot pace of 2018, averaging $284.86. January beef exports to leading market Japan increased 8 percent year-over-year to 25,925 mt, valued at $167 million.
Variety meat exports to Japan (mainly tongues) were especially strong, soaring by 36 percent in both volume and value.
-Reported by Russell Nemetz/MTN News