You could make a case that these are some of the most unsettled, uncertain times in agriculture in a long time. Not only are crop production figures for 2011 a real enigma, with months before the smoke clears and the real amount of grain produced is clear, but commodity prices are at record levels. There is volatility, risk and opportunity all combined in the markets, both for crop and livestock farmers.
Tuesday morning, Sept. 13, Purdue presents a program called Agricultural Outlook 2012 on the Web. The link for it is: https://gomeet.itap.purdue.edu/tuesdays/. The program begins at 8:30 a.m. EDT, or 7:30 a.m. CDT. Corinne Alexander form the Purdue Ag Economics Department will present the program.
Purdue Ag Economics has a long history of doing fall outlook meetings. New technology allows them to do this early, timely meting for anyone wondering which way the wind might be blowing in the crop markets right now.
One thing she will discuss will be the outlook for record ethanol use in 2012. However, there are already those who believe there may not be enough corn to meet this demand and other demands for corn. When the last USDA report was released in early August, Chris Hurt, another ag economist at Purdue, noted there was only just over a 20-day carryover in corn on the world market. The markets breathe easier with a 40 to 60 day supply.
On top of that news, other private groups and many private agronomists are questioning whether USDA's estimate of 150 bushels per acre for corn for Indiana will hold up. They are also questioning whether the national forecast, at 4% above last year's final production, will hold up as well. That puts a lot of pressure on what comes out of USDA's September crop report this week. USDA has acknowledged that it did not make changes in its estimation formula for 2011, despite having one of the worst accuracy records in history from August to final a year ago, estimating too high in August. This summer has featured many similarities to last summer. The September report will contain information based on what field enumerators found on ears and stalks when they visited plots selected at random by USDA criteria. For the August report they were primarily basing their reports on corn plots checked before ears were present.
Be sure to link in to this program on Tuesday morning.