News & Events
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports indicate 92 percent of the corn crop was planted by the end of May, which is slightly higher than the 5-year average. The end of June reports show the corn crop just entering the silking stage with 68 percent in excellent or good condition.
Corn acreage is estimated at 88.897 million acres planted (35.9 million hectares), which translates to an estimated total corn supply of 14.8 billion bushels (376 million metric tons). This is about 2 percent lower from the previous year.
North Dakota barley farmer Mark Seastrand said his barley fields are off to a great start. “Conditions were ideal at planting time in mid-May, and timely rain has helped to kick off the growing season,” he said. “We’re cautiously optimistic about this year’s crop.”
Seastrand has a new addition to his farm this year – a newly released variety of barley, Genesis, developed by North Dakota State University. This variety will be harvested for seed. While it is cared for the same as other varieties he is growing, there are differences at planting and through the growth stages.
The Obama Administration’s efforts to normalize trade with Cuba continue, with an announcement this week that embassies will re-open in Havana and Washington this summer. However, many trade restrictions remain in place that can only be effectively addressed by the U.S. Congress – and that continue to stymie U.S. grain exports to Cuba.
Leaders from the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) and the North Dakota Barley Council are set to travel to Cuba next week to continue the grain industry’s appraisal of the market potential for U.S. coarse grain exports and reengagement with key customers.
This mission will include a visit to a Cuban port, meetings with Cuban government officials and tours of the animal sectors in Cuba including beef, dairy and poultry.
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as drones, are making their way into precision agriculture as a valuable tool for monitoring crop health. While this technology is heavily used for agriculture in some areas of the world, such as Japan, drones in agriculture are relatively new in the United States.
Multiple forms of technology are available to improve production on the United States’ 2 million farms of all sizes. Beyond computer and Internet access, which is available on about 71 percent of U.S. crop farms (2013 report), various methods of technology are used in coordination with one another to increase efficiency, minimize labor and enhance sustainability.
When U.S. farmers replaced their horse-drawn equipment with tractors in the early 1900s, their crop productivity took a mighty leap forward. Technology on the farm has continually evolved to increase efficiency, improve yields and drive production and profitability. In the 21st century, this is due in part to the development of precision agriculture tools.
From January through March 2015, Japan imported 1,789 metric tons (82,000 bushels) of U.S. barley for food and food processing, according to Japanese Customs. At this rate, Japan is on course to import 50 percent more U.S. food barley this year than in the 2014 calendar year, when it imported 4,672 tons (214,500 bushels).
Off-farm grain storage at elevators offers much more capacity than on-farm bins, and U.S farmers with large production volume often sell their grain at harvest to these facilities. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the United States’ off-farm commercial storage capacity is 272 million metric tons (10.7 billion bushels).