Iowa Public Television

 

Mother Nature gives farmers a jump on planting

posted on April 28, 2000


CONTINUED ECONOMIC PROSPERITYONLY SERVES TO INCREASE THE PROSPECT NEXT MONTH THE FEDERAL RESERVE, TO THWART THE POTENTIAL OF INFLATION, WILL RAISE INTEREST RATES FOR THE SIXTH TIME IN LESS THAN A YEAR.

THAT IS NOT GOOD NEWS FOR ANYONE WHO NEEDS TO BORROW MONEY. BUT AS TYPICAL IN RURAL AMERICA, THE LAWS OF NATURE CONTINUE TO DEFINE FORTUNES MORE THAN THE PRESSURES OF FINANCE.

CAPITALIZING ON SOME OF THE DRIEST CONDITIONS IN YEARS, AMERICA'S FARMERS ARE PLANTING MOST OF THEIR CROPS WELL AHEAD OF SCHEDULE.

NATIONALLY, 19-PERCENT OF THE CORN HAS BEEN PLANTED... THAT'S DOUBLE THE AMOUNT REPORTED LAST WEEK.

SIMILAR NUMBERS HAVE BEEN POSTED IN AMERICA'S COTTON FIELDS WHERE 16-PERCENT OF THIS YEAR'S CROP IS IN THE GROUND... NEARLY A 50-PERCENT INCREASE FROM LAST WEEK.

MEANWHILE, AMERICA'S WHEAT GROWERS HAVE PLANTED NEARLY ONE-THIRD OF THE SPRING CROP... AN INCREASE OF MORE THAN 60-PERCENT FROM LAST WEEK AND MORE THAN TWICE THE AVERAGE PACE.

WITH THE HARVEST OF WINTER WHEAT JUST A FEW WEEKS AWAY, THE WIDESPREAD DROUGHT IS ABOUT TO YIELD ITS FIRST CASUALTIES. ESPECIALLY HARD-HIT IS THE TEXAS CROP, WHICH HAS BEEN RAVAGED BY THE DRY CONDITIONS.

86-PERCENT OF TEXAS WINTER WHEAT IS RATED FAIR TO VERY POOR. THE DROUGHT COUPLED WITH PEST AND DISEASE PROBLEMS IS PROJECTED TO CUT 30 PERCENT FROM TEXAS WHEAT PRODUCTION. BUT THE NUMBERS AREN'T EXPECTED TO AFFECT WHEAT PRICES MUCH. SIXTY-ONE-PERCENT OF THE U.S. WINTER WHEAT CROP IS RATED IN THE GOOD-TO-EXCELLENT RANGE.

Tags: agriculture crops harvest news