Iowa Public Television


Crops Planted; Brazilian Soy Booming

posted on April 27, 2001

Hello, I'M Mark Pearson.

The nation's financial community is sorting through what would seem to be good news. The U.S. economy posted stronger than expected growth for the first quarter of the year.

However, tucked into the numbers were inflation viruses, sharply higher costs for medical care, natural gas and electricity. Those costs are not likely to soon ebb and could well be a drag on the economy for some time.

In parts of Rural America financial news is more obvious than statistics. Indeed in some cases the news is lapping at the door.

While the sand bagging efforts of Davenport, Iowa have contained the surging Mississippi, the high water levels on the northern reaches of the river have paralyzed commercial river traffic. A second crest is expected next week. It is expected barge movement will not resume for another three weeks.

But just miles, and a few feet of elevation from the Mississippi and its swollen tributaries, it is business as usual.


Cool, wet weather has dampened spring planting in the western Corn Belt, but above average progress in the South and East has made up the difference. Nationally, USDA says 10 percent of the corn crop is in the ground, which puts it right on pace with the five-year average. Thirteen percent of the cotton crop has been seeded, also right on schedule.

Meanwhile, Brazil is wrapping up another record soybean harvest of an estimated 1.28-billion bushels. That's about 20 percent of world production, achieved without the benefit of LDPs and GMO technology.

Indeed, following a recent fact-finding mission, the Iowa Soybean Association reported that while Roundup Ready soybeans are still illegal in Brazil, they are being planted in some areas. Brazilian officials said they expect Roundup Ready technology to be available after two more cropping seasons. Officials at Monsanto, the maker of Roundup Ready, believe approval from the Brazilian government may come in time for fall planting.

After rapid expansion the pork industry is finding the Carolinas less friendly toward large-scale hog farms. The North Carolina House has approved a two-year extension of the current four-year moratorium on new or expanding industrial hog farms.

South Carolina lawmakers are considering a moratorium of their own. The state's governor has already ordered an emergency ban in response to plans for the construction of two new farms.

Tags: agriculture Brazil corn crops genetic engineering news North Carolina pigs South America