Saturday, January 15, 2011

They're not making any more...

Farmer Frank on '11 grain prices:
The market feels there needs to be 92 million acres of corn in 2011. That's fine and dandy, but here's the catch.....Last year we had 88.2 million acres of corn and the year before that we had 86.5 million acres. How do you manufacture tillable farm ground?
Good question...

I'm no prognosticator, but there's a reason we keep a few months worth of canned and dried food on hand at Roseholme Cottage. There's nothing that makes food taste better than eating dinner this year at last year's prices...

23 comments:

Discobobby said...

Nothing makes freeze dried Mountain House taste better than knowing the alternative is going hungry and ending up in a FEMA camp.

Quite a show! My wallet was vibrating the whole time. It's a shame the inmates of Illinois can't buy anything fun here.

Anonymous said...

I'll take this one . . . stop turning corn into gasoline to mitigate white guilt.

Anonymous said...

How do you make more tillable ground for corn? It comes down to water which corm/soybeans (crop rotation) has to have. Drill wells into non recharging aquifers and run the pumps with fuel (ultimately)some other corn producer made. Since it's a negative return on net energy consumption.....well you get the idea.
North America is pretty much OK in food and fuel (future nukes and gas) output but as for the rest, it's famine, war, pestilence and it's all coming our way soon. Hunker down folks

TenMile said...

Terminate Cash for No Crops. You'll make a lot of farm land.

joated said...

Hey! I hear there bulldozing houses in Detroit. That could open up a few acres for corn cultivation.

Joseph said...

"How do you manufacture tillable farm ground?"

It's been done.

We can also increase yields by putting more CO2 into the air but I'm not sure if that applies to C4 plants.

Mike S said...

Might have to stop paying farmers not to farm, and start allowing families inherit the family farm, instead of forcing them to sell it to pay the death taxes.

Discobobby said...

Mike, that's crazytalk. You know we can't make a rational decision that benefits all parties that doesn't include guaranteed free money for certain multinational corporations. Pay your taxes and get busy starving, serf. We have policy to implement!

8Notch said...

I was born and raised near Nashville, and surrounded by tobacco farms, but when I moved to Richmond I was astonished at the change in agriculture. I live in Chesterfield county, and pass the Phillip Morris plant on my way to work near the old Lucky Strike factory (turned into condos, btw). Needless to say, I expected to see tobacco farms everywhere once I got out of the city proper. But traveling along the railroad tracks throughout rural central Virginia, I have seen only one farmer growing the sainted leaf. Few farms at all for that matter. Except for a 1/4 mile strip of bottomland between the tracks and the river, which is effortless to irrigate; there are empty fields and new wilderness for hundreds of miles. Some corn is grown here and there in small-scale fashion, but the sheer waste of land is appalling.
I am not sure what all is to blame. Urbanization, Society, sending the kids to a college instead, barriers to entry for new farmers and bad economy of scale, or simply gentlemen horse farmers who don't care about the land's useful value raising property prices, but whatever the cause, there is a lot of empty space out there.

WV: prepham--country ham, the ultimate prep

Stranger said...

92 million acres will do it - if there is neither drought, or late or early frost. I would bet we will have all three.

And while ethanol production has finally gotten corn prices to the point a farmer can do better than break even, something most cannot do on wheat, ethanol is poor fuel, poor economy, and it competes with poor people for food.

It would be better to let the market set a produce price a farmer can make a living on, and cut the taxes that have driven grocery store prices sky high.

Stranger

Anonymous said...

Joseph - a little more CO2 does up C4 plant yields, but it encourages brush even more. So the wheat does well, western pasture grasses do well, and the mesquite starts moving faster than kudzu.

And they are predicting the midwestern drought to continue through mid-summer (KS, OK, TX, NE).
LittleRed1

Matt G said...

Frank seems to be quietly encouraging me to buy corn futures.

As someone who recently was introduced to corn in the wild, I find this...
Interesting.

Matt G said...

Reading above, I feel way underdressed, without my tinfoil beanie.

Desertrat said...

Brave, smart folks can profitably mess with grain futures and make a bunch of money. Goof, and lose a lot, though. :-)

Pretty much all commodities are in a bull market, given demand and supply factors. Much of the increase, however, will come from the degradation of buying power in most all currencies. Well, except Norway and China, most likely.

Track the last three years of the stock price of the Potash Corp, to see what fertilizer prices have done--and will continue to do.

Yeah, grain prices are way up--and likely will go higher.

As far as "wasted" farm land? Hey, every acre not farmed is another acre for wildlife habitat. Good for deer, pheasant and quail, among others.

Borepatch said...

This is the third very cold winter in a row. While not all summers have been cold, some absolutely have been (e.g. 2008). We had at least one poor harvest year that drove down stocks, so the margin for failure is thinner.

Any day now I expect to see intelligent, thoughtful articles in the MSM about how it's not Global Warming that kills people, it's Global Cooling. Any day now.

Oh, and water control (for some endangered fish) taking half of California's central valley out of production doesn't help, either.

perlhaqr said...

Take over Mexico and farm that?

Anonymous said...

Take over Mexico and farm that?

Yes!! In the words of P.J. O'Rourke, Give War a Chance!!

At least, that's one way to end the illegal immigration problem.

cap'n chumbucket

Frank W. James said...

Farmers were behind the push to ethanol and Bush "W" bought into it because it helped get the gov't out of the grain storage business. Love it or hate it, ethanol is here to stay because the gov't doesn't WANT BACK in the grain storage and land-bank business. That's why the 42 cent subsidy will remain for now and go to 36 cents later on, but ethanol is a part of the landscape....politically.

Also ethanol now uses up 27% of our annual corn crop, for people like me that's a good deal. As for the poor, they have ALWAYS BEEN LEFT OUT OF THE EQUATION. Why? Because they have NO money...

All The Best,
Frank W. James

Buzz said...

farmland.org


Here in Hoosierland, we turn some of the nation's richest and most productive farmland into well-groomed and chemical-laden areas for cheesy holiday displays on artfully curvy streets in over-priced subdivisions.
(not like we need worry about the chemicals affecting our kids, since they are inside playing Wii, rather than catch or tag in the yard)

Anonymous said...

In FLA, gov is busily taking some of the most productive farmland in the WORLD out of service and "restoring" it as filtering marsh for the Everglades, for our own protection...hey sorry about the thousands of lost jobs and the hit to the national food basket.

Because of course it was the farmers, and not the bajillion people who swarmed in to live near the House of the Mouse a bit further north, that polluted the River of Grass.

While most of the black muckland has been in sugar cane in recent years, the area surrounding Lake Okeechobee was known as the winter vegetable capital of the world and produced (still produces) the sweetest white corn anywhere...two crops per year on the same land!

Government, with its asset redistribution masquerading as "subsidies" and environmental nazi-ism as "protections", has as much place injecting itself into the farming business as it does interfering in any other function of supply and demand, which of course it also does. Unfettered Capitalism can be painful sometimes, but in the end the fittest survive as they should, because if they don't, neither will anyone else.

We're well into the process of "subsidizing" and "protecting" ourselves into oblivion.

AT

tanksoldier said...

...which is why supplementing our fuel supply from our food supply is, in the long term, a losing proposition.

Matt said...

Every acre not bought up by over-leveraged developers to build subdivisions no actual human has any desire to actually live in is an acre available for farming. Likewise every acre we stop paying people not to farm. And every acre devoted to fuel ethanol is an acre fulfilling artificial demand, so the total acreage needed is already inflated anyway.

Dr. StrangeGun said...

The more recent series of farm equipment are utilizing ever-finer GPS and are being optimized for more narrow furrows and generally tighter fields.

All about efficiency in a hulking behemoth of a machine that can now run itself on pre-recorded autopilot within inches... narrow the space between 1000 rows 1" and you've gained a little over 83 feet of width.