Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Idaho Crop Progress and Condition

Poor weather conditions continue to slow field progress throughout much of the state. The Twin Falls extension reports that some fields in the area have dried allowing planting of cereal grains.
Winter wheat condition is rated 1% Very Poor, 17% Poor to Fair and 82% Good to Excellent. Spring wheat planted is 35% completed compared to 28% at this time last year.

Nationally, the HRW crop continues to be of major concern. The USDA reported that 69% of the crop was in poor to very poor condition in Oklahoma, 68% in Texas, 48% in Colorado, and 42% in Kansas. The crop in the north is in better condition. In California 95% was reported to be in good to excellent condition, 75% in Montana, 66% in South Dakota, and 43% in Nebraska.

The SW crop is in excellent condition this year. The USDA reported 89% of the crop to be in good to excellent condition in Washington, 82% in Idaho, and 80% in Oregon.

The SRW crop appears to be in fairly good condition this year. The USDA reported 78% of the crop to be in good to excellent condition in North Carolina, 73% in Ohio, 71% in Missouri, 65% in Illinois, 58% in Indiana, and 57% in Arkansas.

The spring wheat planting season has kicked off. Most states are behind last year’s pace and behind the five year average, the exception being Idaho which is ahead of schedule.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


A new USDA initiative may help agricultural producers in Idaho comply with revised Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations for on-farm oil spills.
The Natural Resources Conservation Service is accepting applications for the Spill, Prevention, Control and Countermeasure pilot initiative through May 20, 2011.

EPA’s revised Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure regulations require agricultural operations to have an oil spill prevention plan in place. The USDA set up a pilot initiative for eight states, including Idaho, to help producers comply with the EPA’s SPCC regulations.

“An important part of the USDA mission is helping farmers and ranchers develop plans to protect human health and the environment, including assistance to comply with new regulations,” said Jeff Burwell, Idaho NRCS State Conservationist. “This new pilot initiative will help agricultural producers meet a new regulatory requirement designed to reduce the dangers of on-farm oil spills.”

For farms with aboveground storage capacity of more than 10,000 gallons of oil or oil products, the EPA requires that the SPCC plans be developed by a professional engineer. The NRCS initiative offers a set payment for producers that use a certified Technical Service Provider to develop a SPCC conservation activity plan that meets the EPA’s requirements.

To learn more about the Spill, Prevention, Control and Countermeasure regulation and pilot initiative, contact the NRCS office in your area. Find the one nearest you at and click the link “Find a Service Center” at the end of the list on the left side.

Monday, April 11, 2011

High wheat Prices Despite Abundant Exporter Stocks

USDA's Grain World Markets and Trade reports in their latest circular that there is normally a strong inverse relationship between international wheat prices and stocks held by major exporting countries because they are mostly available for export to the world market. Global wheat prices, as reflected by Hard Red winter (HRW), have nearly doubled over the last year. The surge was initially fuelled by smaller crops and export restrictions in some major exporting countries, then concerns over available supplies of milling quality wheat. Prices are reflecting other factors, including a tight U.S. corn market, poor winter wheat crop conditions in the Unites States, and political unrest in North Africa and the Middle East.

Exporter stocks remain relatively high and are boosted almost 4 million tons this month. In fact, they are estimated to be 55 percent higher than during the price crisis of 2007/2008. Stocks are up this month on more supplies from key Southern Hemisphere countries, namely, Argentina and Australia, and less import demand, particularly from Russia. U.S. stocks are raised on lower foreign demand ans a result of greater competition from Australia.

Friday, April 8, 2011

March Precipitation Boosts Snowpack Across the State

The Natural Resources Conservation Service's snow surveyors recently completed the April 1 snow measurements and found that March's above average precipitation ensures an adequate summer water supply for Idaho's numerous water users.

"With more snowy days than sunny ones in March, snowpacks increased measurably and now range from 100-140% of average for most Idaho basins," said Ron Abramovich, Water Supply Specialist with the Idaho NRCS.

Streamflow forecasts also increased. "With the good precipitation in March, most people would have thought the March streamflow volumes would be higher than they were," Abramovich said. "But most of the 60 plus stations that we use for water supply forecasting were in the 70-95% of average range."

That's because most of March's precipitation fell as snow in the higher elevations. Streamflow forecasts range from near average in the Salmon basin to 150-160% for southern Idaho's high desert rivers.

What does this mean for Idaho's water supply? Irrigation water supplies will be ample with most reservoirs holding enough supplies to last through the summer. Water is being released from some reservoirs to make room for the anticipated snow melt.

Most of southern Idaho's reservoirs will fill except for the large storage facilities such as Salmon Falls, Oakley and Bear Lake. However, their water users will still have adequate irrigation supplies based on current storage and projected inflows.

Abramovich added, "How the snow melts and fills our rivers and lakes greatly depends on spring air temperatures and rain." The three month extended forecast calls for wet, cool weather.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

View the Webinar on EPA's Fuel Containment Rule

If you were unable to participate in today's live webinar on "What You Need to Know About EPA's Fuel Containment Rule." Click on the following link to view a taped recording.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

What you Need to Know About EPA's Fuel Containment Rules Webinar

The Idaho Wheat Commission and the Idaho Grain Producers Association will be presenting a web-based grower education seminar to help answer questions you may have about the SPCC program. The webinar will be approximately on hour. Participation is easy and free! Simply log onto the website at April 7 at 8:00 a.m. MST -- Guest presenter Adam Lyman, Professional Engineer, "What You Need to Know About EPA's Fuel Containment Rules." If your farm stores, transfers, uses, or consumes oil or oil products such as diesel fuel, gasoline, lube oil, hydraulic oil, adjuvant oil, etc, be sure to participate in this informational webinar. Mr. Lyman will explain the SPCC program and discuss which farms are required to complete an SPCC Plan by EPA's deadline of November 10, 2011. Greg Weigel, EPA and Clint Evans, NRCS will also be available during the webinar to answer questions about the SPCC plan.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Idaho 2011 Prospective Wheat Plantings Increase

According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) Spring wheat plantings are expected to be 640,000 acres, 2 percent more than last year. Winter wheat seedings, at 830,000 acres, increased 11 percent from 2010. All wheat planted in Idaho is expected to total 1.49 million acres, up 6 percent from last year.

Other interesting planting news, Idaho farmers intend to seed 390,000 acres of field corn in 2011, up 22 percent from last year. If realized, this will be a new record high for Idaho.

Nationally, wheat producers intend to plant 58.0 million acres for the 2011 crop year, up 8 percent from the previous year. The 2011 winter wheat planted area is estimated at 41.2 million acres, up 10 percent from 2010 and up 1 percent from the previous estimate. Spring wheat growers intend to plant 14.4 million acres this year, up 5 percent from 2010.