Iowa Public Television


Value of U.S. Agriculture Exports Declines

posted on April 15, 2005

The news just keeps getting worse for Brazilian soybean farmers. Officials this week in Rio Grande do Sul, which lies in the heart of Brazil's soybean belt, said farmers there have lost 72 percent of their crop. They blamed the harshest summer drought in 60 years for the damage. To add insult to injury, heavy rains in recent weeks have slowed what harvest is taking place. At least one private estimate this week pegged total Brazilian soybean output at 51.3 million tons, well below earlier guesses.

Hemispheric differences mean the South American harvest is under way as the U.S. planting season gets started. And though planters are not yet running at full throttle, favorable weather has pushed field activity forward.

Value of U.S. Agriculture Exports Declines Across the grain belt, farmers have begun field preparations before planting begins in earnest. Weather has delayed some work as rain fell across parts of the upper Midwest and high winds slowed progress in Texas.

The pre-season buildup is being eclipsed by new numbers from the USDA. According to the report, the value of US farm exports in the first five months of fiscal year 2005 hit 27.4 Billion dollars, down 1.4 billion dollars over fiscal year 2004.

Despite this decline, some sectors saw marked increases. Dairy product exports jumped by 68 percent and vegetable exports grew by 24 percent.

The news was not as bright for grain farmers. The latest USDA report shows corn and wheat exports lagging behind projections while soybeans are holding steady. The whole situation has done little to bolster sagging grain prices.

Tags: agriculture markets news trade