The Buzz

A rain in the Plains falls gently on the grain; Lane Co. land values and record farm incomes.

Big news in the wheat trade this week is that Iran has bought nearly 120,000 tons of U.S. Hard Red Winter wheat, its first order in three years. What’s more, Iran has ordered 60,000 tons more and could order 400,000 tons – 15 million bushels – of wheat in total. That’s bullish news for Kansas wheat farmers, the spirits of whom already have been lifted by rainfall this week…

  • The downside – and there always is a downside – is that Iran’s purchases are in order to build up its grain stockpiles in the wake of growing economic and trade sanctions by the U.S. and Europe, plus drought plaguing the country’s farmers, according to CNN. Shelley Goldberg, a spokesperson at Roubini Global Economics says Iran is dealing with environmental and political conditions by bartering schemes, using gold and currencies from other countries…
  • “Even though wheat and agricultural products are not targeted by sanctions, there is a growing reluctance to do business with Iran. It’s a case of bad karma,’ Goldberg says…
  • Back to that steady rain that fell upon the Kansas wheat crop. Reports of 4.50″ near McCune; 1.80″ in Salina, Palco, Beloit and Stafford; 1.65″ at Scott City; 2.47″ at Conway Springs; 1.50″ near Hillsboro; 1.30″ near Solomon; and about a half-inch in both Goodland and Colby….
  • And the most important rainfall of all: between 0.50″ and 1.25″ near Syracuse in western Kansas. Farmers there are still plagued by drought…
    Prior to this week’s rain, a farmer applies herbicide to wheat near Scott City.
  • We hear that feedlots in central and western Kansas are replacing corn with wheat in some feed rations. One major feedyard in central Kansas is using up to 60% wheat. It’s clear that feedlot managers have determined wheat provides more energy for cattle per dollar than corn does…
  • With the inevitable demise of the Canadian Wheat Board coming, a Swiss firm, Glencore International, has struck a deal to buy Viterra, Canada’s largest grain firm, for more than $6 billion. The purchase gives the Swiss multi-national company an inroad into the North America agriculture market. In many areas of western Canada, Viterra is the only buyer of grain, which has Canadian farmers concerned that it could monopolize the grain trade, according to the New York Times…
  • In Australia – another key wheat competitor to the U.S. – scientists have developed a strain of durum (pasta) wheat that is tolerant to salty soils. The variety, being grown in trials in New South Wales, promises yields up to 25% greater than conventional durum varieties…
  • The salt-tolerant durum variety was developed using conventional breeding methods by CSIRO Plant Industry, Australia’s national science agency…
  • You may have heard by now, but the “…agriculture economy is booming.” So says the Kansas City Star, which published an article March 19 that commodity price increases and surging exports are boosting the bottom lines of U.S. farmers. Receipts for U.S. crops reached a record $198 billion in 2011; net farm income totaled a record $98 billion….
  • Understandably, farmers appeared to be euphoric about good times on the farm, based on interviews conducted at the Western Farm Show. Says farmer John Mino: “I think it’s a cycle. I think you’ll see some tough years ahead. So hang on, have a few good years, and get ready for something else.”…
  • Sounds like someone who has seen this before…
  • Farmers in western Kansas are taking advantage of the here and now. This week’s Land Sale features two tracts totaling 628 acres just east of Dighton along Hwy. 96. The tracts lay adjacent to one another, and featured Richfield, Harney, Ulysses, Ness and Richard-Ulysses soils. Tract one, 308 acres, included 305 acres of cropland, the balance in grass and roads. It had 208 acres planted to wheat, with the landlord receiving one-third share. Tract two, 320 acres, included 294 acres cropland with the balance in grass and roads. It had 192 acres planted to wheat, with one-third going to the buyer…
  • The land sold as one unit at auction on March 9, for $1,695,600 ($2,700 per acre). Farm and Ranch Realty, Colby, had the sale.
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