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2012 Planting Decisions Not Easy

Not so long ago, deciding what to plant was easy, you just followed the money, but Dr. Jim Dunphy, NC State Extension soybean specialist says not so this year, for a couple of reasons:

“I think a couple of things; with the price of soybeans, soybeans look pretty attractive, but so do some other crops. In fact, we’ve got several crops with prices we’re not used to looking at, and as our growers consider the mix of crops that they want, that’s a source of indecision. I think the other source of indecision is the possibility of sorghum.”

The number of sorghum acres in the Carolinas may ultimately be dictated by the availability of seed. Last summer’s severe drought in Texas severely reduced the number of acres harvested for seed.

Acreage Intentions Report Coming Later This Month

Acreage intentions will be revealed in USDA’s March 30 Prospective Plantings report, but much of the current discussion centers on prospects for the U.S. average corn yield. University of Illinois agricultural economist Darrel Good says the size of the 2012 crop has substantial price implications. Crop size will be determined by: the timing of planting; the magnitude and potential change in the trend yield; the expected summer weather conditions; and the location and magnitude of acreage changes.

With all other things being equal, it is expected that early warmth will permit farmers to plant their corn crops early.

Warning to Those Receiving Fraudulent USDA Letters

In the past few days – farmers across the country have been receiving letters purporting to be from the U.S. Department of Agriculture asking for personal information. Louisiana Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry Dr. Mike Strain says it's all a scam…

“You should not respond. They do bear the USDA logo, and they are signed by Frank Rutenberg, as Senior Procurement Officer. You have any questions please contact the USDA at 202-720-9448, you should not give personal information in response to a fax that is coming from the USDA.”

The letters, thus far, have turned up in Nebraska, Alabama, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Again – if you have any questions – call USDA at 202-720-9448.

Poultry Association Accuses Processor of Weeding Out Contractors

The leader of a poultry growers group in Virginia and West Virginia is questioning George's Inc.'s housing requirements for large birds. George's says in a recent letter to growers that it won't give contracts to new growers of birds weighing at least 6.5 pounds contracts unless their structures have a tunnel cool cell to chill the birds. The policy is effective March 1, 2013.

Contract Poultry Growers Association of the Virginias president Mike Weaver tells The Daily News Record that the requirement is a ploy to get rid of some growers. George's vice president of Virginia operations Bob Kenney replied that the minimum requirements are a policy in the industry.

Today’s Farm Fact:

Only 11% of funding in the farm bill goes to farm policies. is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.