Iowa Public Television


Small Crop Negates High Prices

posted on October 25, 2002

While the soy complex is enjoying stronger demand and higher prices, the benefits have not flowed to all regions where the oilseed is grown. Aberrant weather has caused yields to vary widely.

That variance is mirrored in much of Rural America. As the Federal Reserve member banks report some local farm economies have been buffeted by slacking demand for regional commodities. For example Cotton prices have been lethargic for years due to anemic world demand.

But, even when demand is good and prices high, producers of some commodities still find profit illusive.


Small Crop Negates High Prices

The smallest wheat crop in North Dakota in more than a decade is making an impact on the state's wheat commission.

On earlier projections of a 10-percent decline in North Dakota's wheat production, the commission cut its budget for the next fiscal year by 15-percent. But the North Dakota Agriculture Department has since revised its forecast and now predicts wheat production for the state will be down by about 25-percent.

The commission is funded by a one-cent-per-bushel checkoff paid by North Dakota wheat growers.

Further south, America's rice producers are wading through a surplus that has depressed prices to their lowest level in 15 years.

Despite a 3-percent reduction in U.S. rice planting this year, the Agriculture Department says record supplies and weak global prices are to blame.

The USDA estimates next year's average price for rice will be between 3.50 and 4.00 per hundredweight… that's the lowest price since 1987.

And a group of biotech companies has agreed not to grow genetically engineered corn intended for pharmaceutical development in states where it could contaminate neighboring fields planted with crops for human consumption.

The voluntary moratorium was adopted this month by members of the Biotechnology Industry Organization.

It affects virtually all the major corn-producing states including Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Nebraska and Ohio.


Tags: agriculture crops markets news wheat