Developing Countries Will Lead Global Rice Import Growth in 2013-22, Says USDA Rice growers positive California MG prices are UP Russia MG Harvest coming to end Egypt open rice exports Vietnam’s rice export in tough competition with India Thai rice exports in May Rise Above Target This Year Viet-Nam Rice exports likely to fall this year
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Idoha Wheat acreage lowest in three decades
Magic Valley
Poor fall and late winter conditions, persisting market uncertainty and the allure of other commodities have combined to hold Idaho's 2004 wheat acreage to its lowest level in three decades.
The fifth year of drought that held winter wheat plantings in check last fall also dampened the enthusiasm of spring wheat growers -- although a modest boost in prices convinced grain producers to raise acreage above last year's 13-year-low. The average price has come up nearly 30 cents a bushel since midwinter but is still only around $3.80 a bushel.
Concern over water and what other major wheat-producing nations intend have made for shaky financial prospects, third-generation Grangeville grain producer Jim McDonald said.
"It's still too early to tell," McDonald said on Friday. "It depends on how much wheat Russia decides to export -- it's had a good crop -- and how much comes from the Europeans."
"I look for the market to stay relatively strong, but that's still an uncertainty," he said. "It depends on what the other countries do."
Ninety percent of the wheat crop was considered in good to excellent condition earlier this week, the state Department of Agriculture said, offering prospects for good yields that help maximize profits.
"We still have potential for pretty decent yields," said Joe Anderson, who farms 3,400 acres near Potlatch. "Whether there's enough moisture to fill the crop out, I don't know. If I had my choice, it'd be raining today."
The department reported that farmers anticipate harvesting only 1.15 million acres of spring and winter wheat this year, the lowest since 1973.
No total production estimate will be made until next week. But the winter wheat crop was projected at 55 million bushels last month, and average yields from spring wheat would generate about 32 million more bushels.
That would keep total production around the 87 million bushels over the past two years, a far cry from the nine straight years of 100-million-plus-bushel crops through 2000.
"There are other crops that growers think they can do better with even though prices are up relatively," said Anderson, who serves on the Idaho Wheat Commission with McDonald.
In northern Idaho, Anderson said, farmers have been slowly shifting from the traditional wheat-lentil-barley rotation to hay and Kentucky bluegrass seed despite the increasing controversy over grass-seed field burning.
The same thing has been happening in southern Idaho, where farmer Mark Darrington said wheat has given way to corn, hay and other animal feed crops -- a recognition of the shift in production agriculture there.
Wheat that once generated nearly $500 million in gate receipts for producers statewide now generates less than $300 million -- while beef and dairy have nearly doubled in just a decade to more than $1 billion each.
"Everyone's looking for a little diversification," said Darrington, who farms 1,400 acres near Declo. "But while wheat is up, so is corn in value, and there's just a good demand for corn in our area."
In fact, corn acreage statewide exceeded 200,000 acres for the first time this year, hitting a record 210,000 acres.
But Darrington, who also serves on the Wheat Commission, predicted a good market for grain growers with a return of traditional customers for U.S. wheat. Reduced harvests in some exporting countries combined with a lower dollar makes American goods less expensive internationally.
"All of a sudden, they were able to get more grain for the dollar," he said. "That's brought back some of our old traditional market that had all of a sudden deserted us for a few pennies."
MGR Archive 2.8.2004
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Russia Rapan $ 700
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