What will spring 2013 hold for Ohio farmers?
Predictions made for rainfall, crops for this year
By CARLETA WEYRICH
Still reeling from one of the worst droughts on record in 2012, what can Ohio farmers look forward to in the 2013–14 crop and marketing year?
There’s no drought in sight for the Ohio Valley through the end of June, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, a product of the National Weather Service. However, that prediction comes with the warning to use the information cautiously for applications such as crops. The Old Farmer’s Almanac, which claims 80 percent accuracy, predicts the remainder of the spring and summer to be “slightly warmer and rainier than normal, with the hottest periods in late July and mid-August.”
The Economic Research Center of the United States Department of Agriculture put out its 10-year projections for the U.S. food and agriculture sector in February. Planted area for the eight major field crops* in 2013 is projected at more than 254 million acres, making 2013 plantings the second largest acreage since 2000. As U.S. and global supplies rebound and prices decline for most crops, U.S. planted acreage for these crops is projected to fall over the next several years in response to lower producer returns.
For the wheat marketing year of June 1, 2013 to May 31, 2014:
Wheat to be harvested this summer is expected to produce 45.2 bushels per harvested acre and bring a price of $7.20 per bushel. The variable costs of producing the wheat are predicted to be at $127 per acre, leaving $199 per acre to cover fixed costs and profit.
Looking farther down the road, U.S. wheat supplies are predicted to be up 29 million bushels by the end of the marketing year, compared to beginning stocks — and the price is predicted to fall to $5.40 per bushel by the 2014–15 marketing year.
For the marketing year beginning Sept. 1 for soybeans:
Soybean yields are predicted to be at 44.4 bushels per acre in 2013. With a predicted price of $11.35 and variable costs of production at $147 per acre, the net return left for fixed costs and profit would be $357 per acre.
Ending stocks are expected to be up $12 million bushels from beginning stocks, with the price to be down about $1 per bushel in the 2014–15 marketing year.
Marketing year beginning September 1, 2013 for corn:
The 2013 corn harvest is predicted to yield 163.5 bushels per acre, compared to a 122.3 bushel yield in 2012. The price is expected to drop $2 per bushel to $5.40. The variable costs of production is expected to be $349 per acre, leaving $534 per acre to cover fixed costs and profit.
Although exports are expected to be up for corn, due to the higher yields, stocks are predicted to increase 1 billion, 420 million bushels by the end of the marketing year. The price is predicted to drop another dollar per bushel by the following crop year.
The corn and soybean predictions are estimated over the past 25 years (1988–2012), which includes both the 1988 and the 2012 droughts.
* The eight major field crops covered in the 10-year projection are corn, sorghum, barley, oats, wheat, rice, upland cotton and soybeans. For more information, go to www.ers.usda.gov.
(Carleta Weyrich is a staff writer for The People’s Defender in Adams County.)