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Articles of Interest- Thursday, May 30, 2019

Articles of Interest- Thursday, May 30, 2019

Australian Farmers Face More Hot, Dry Weather

Reuters – 05/29/2019

Hot, dry weather will persist across Australia’s east coast for at least another three months, the country’s weather bureau said on Thursday, in a forecast that threatens to severely crimp agricultural production. There is just a 30% chance that Australia’s east coast will receive average rainfalls between June 1 and Aug. 30, the Bureau of Meteorology said in its winter outlook. While the dry weather will grip just the east coast, the bureau said there is at least a 70% chance that the entire country will record warmer than average temperatures over the next three months. The forecast would extend drought conditions that have devastated agricultural production across Australia’s east coast into a third year. It will fuel concern over the outlook for crops, particularly wheat, the country’s biggest rural export, said Tobin Gorey, director of agricultural strategy at Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

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Tariffs Continue to Take Toll on Pacific Northwest Grain Exports

The Columbian – 05/29/2019

Grain exports along the Columbia River System have dropped dramatically as a consequence of the tariff-based “trade war” between the U.S. and China, and regional officials are worried about the “trickle down” effect the decline might have. “Everyone along the supply chain will be impacted: longshoremen, port revenues, (United Grain Commission) employees, transportation companies who move grain products,” said Augusto Bassanini, CEO and president for United Grain Corp., which is based in Vancouver. The trade war started last summer, when President Trump first imposed a 25 percent import tax on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods. Shortly afterward, the U.S. added a 10 percent import tariff on another $200 billion worth of Chinese products. Those increases resulted in retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods imported to China, so businesses in both countries are paying more to import goods. And in some cases, the higher prices have deterred China from importing some commodities at all. “From a wheat perspective, about a year ago when (the U.S.) started talking about implementing tariffs, China stopped buying wheat,” said Glen Squires, CEO of the Washington Grain Commission. “They didn’t wait until the tariff was applied. When there was just a threat of it, they stopped buying.”

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US Spring Wheat Planting Hits 84%, Winter Wheat Conditions Drop Sharply

S&P Global – 05/29/2019

However, total spring wheat planting progress is still behind the year-ago pace of 89%, and the five-year average of 91%, according to the USDA data released Tuesday. Spring wheat planting generally begins in mid-April through May, while harvesting is done from mid-August through September. Winter wheat harvesting begins from mid-May and lasts through July. Farmers have struggled to plant crops like corn and soybean due to adverse weather conditions prevailing in the Midwest, where severe storms have disrupted the pace of planting. Analysts expect the inclement weather to put pressure on overall corn acreage and crop yields, and eventually weigh down on US exports. To some extent, wet weather issues have also spilled over to wheat crops. Oklahoma, one of the key winter wheat-producing states, could see excessive rainfall negatively impacting wheat crops, according to a report from the Kansas State University. Wheat harvest in Oklahoma should have started now, but the region has been experiencing rains recently, an analyst said.

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Crop Progress Report May 29, 2019

North Dakota Wheat Commission – 05/29/2019

Producers were able to make some planting progress over the last week in between some precipitation and cool conditions.  Percent of the U.S. spring wheat crop planted has now reached 84 percent, compared to 91 percent on average.  Progress remains slowest in South Dakota where only 79 percent has been planted, compared to 97 percent on average.  Planting completion rates in the other states range from 82 to 87 percent.  Warmer, drier conditions this week should allow additional progress.  As the calendar flips from May to June, final planting dates for crop insurance have either passed or will be approaching in the next week depending on the area and planting wheat into June is not ideal due to the already short growing season.  While most producers will continue planting through the next week, some acres will not get planted due to the overly wet conditions. Emergence of the spring wheat crop remains behind average due to the later planting dates and cool conditions.  Just under half of the U.S. spring wheat crop has emerged compared to about 70 percent on average.  A warmer weather forecast for this week should help.  While many areas are dealing with too much moisture, some parts of northern North Dakota have been dry and could use additional moisture.

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Wheat Farmers Concerned About Dam Debate

KIVI Boise  – 05/30/2019

Idaho may be known for it’s famous potatoes, but in the northern part of the state, wheat is king. The region’s plentiful rain and rich soil allow farmers to produce millions of bushels without irrigation systems. But manipulating water is still important to Idaho’s grain growers. Lower Granite, and seven other dams on the Snake and Columbia Rivers make Lewiston Idaho a sea port. Wheat commissioner Joe Anderson says the slack water system and the barges that use it create a very efficient and cost-effective way to get their crops to Asia. “They can have barge-loads of wheat ready to load on ocean-going ships in about less than four days,” said Anderson. So hearing congressman Mike Simpson say removing the four dams on the lower Snake River is a real possibility makes the region’s grain growers nervous. Anderson says removing the Snake River dams would be devastating to hundreds of farmers from Idaho and throughout the Columbia Basin, biting into if not completely eliminating profit margins. He says the past forty-four years since the completion of Lower Granite Dam have been bountiful for Idaho wheat farmers, increasing their market share by around thirty percent. “They provide a lot of jobs and an economy and a way of life we are very accustomed to,” said Anderson.

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Source: U.S. Wheat Associates