Berkshire Hathaway Chairman, Warren Buffett announced this week his operation is buying the nation's second largest railroad, Burlington Northern Santa Fe, or BNSF. The so-called, "Oracle of Omaha" called the $34 billion investment an "all-in wager on the economic future of the United States."
Transporting more than a million carloads of farm commodities in 2007, BNSF is the nation's largest rail carrier of agricultural products. Shipments of corn, wheat and soybeans, account for about 20 percent of the railway's total revenue. And with harvest now in full swing, that number will grow substantially in the days ahead.
The Agriculture Department will release its much-anticipated crop production estimates later this month, but that didn't keep private firms from issuing a few predictions of their own this week.
After weeks of wet weather, farmers worked overtime this week to TRY to get this years harvest back on track. Through October grain and oilseed harvests were the slowest ever with only 44% of soybeans and 20% of corn harvested nationwide.
Prior to USDA's release of its November production estimates, the analytical firms Allendale and Informa Economics released their own predictions.
Allendale pegs this year's soybean harvest at nearly 3.3 billion bushels with an average yield of 42.52 bushels per acre.
Informa's new numbers show a reduction in their October estimate but the company still has this year's bean harvest higher at right at 3.3 billion bushels yielding 43.5 bushels per acre. If realized the estimates of both firms would be records.
Informa's also predicts a record corn harvest estimates a record corn harvest of just over 13 billion bushels with an average yield of 164.8 bushels per acre.
Allendale's numbers are slightly lower for corn production, at 13.034 billion bushels or 164.37 bushels per acre.
USDA will issue its official production estimates November 10th.