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Montana Ag Network: USDA expected to cut corn crop by 1 billion bushels

Posted at 10:54 AM, Jun 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-19 13:56:01-04

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is cutting the expected corn crop by over a billion bushels from the previous forecast and boosting corn price prospects along with soybean prices rising in sympathy.

Chairman of the USDA Outlook Board Seth Meyer said all of these factors are spreading out into the livestock market and having an impact.

“We talked about tamping down beef production in both 2019 and 2020,” said Meyer. “Because feed prices are rising so significantly it means those animals are going to be sitting on pasture a bit longer.

“It’s cheaper to keep them on pasture a little bit longer and have them eating grass and finish them on grain. Then it is to put them into the feedlot earlier and feed them that expensive grain to gain all that way,” he added.

Because of those higher feed costs, it will push some beef production from this year to next and next year on into 2021. Beef output next year is still expected to be up from this year by 27.4 billion pounds, but the increase will be less than 1%.

Unfortunately, demand for cattle has been a bit weak so USDA is trimming the forecast for 2020 steer prices, but they still should top this year by a little under $200 a hundred-weight.

Looking to Montana’s crop progress report, as expected, farmers in Pondera and Cascade counties stated a severe hailstorm late last week damaged crops and initial lost estimates are still being reported.

USDA reports crop conditions for barley is reported at 16% excellent, 55% good and 17% fair. Spring wheat Rated 68% good to excellent, with 30% rated fair to poor. Winter wheat with 18% excellent, 61% good, and 19% fair to poor. Sugar beets came in at 85% excellent to good and 17% fair.

Folks across Montana looking to create or expand their operation or agriculture business now have the opportunity to access state grant dollars, as the 2019 funding cycle for the Growth Through Agriculture (GTA) Program is open.

The GTA program was established by the legislature to strengthen and diversify Montana’s agriculture industry by developing new agricultural products and processes.

GTA funding requires the investment of at least $1 in matching funds for every $1 in grant or loan assistance received. Those interested in applying for GTA funds should visit and for more information on how to apply.

Hearings are underway this week regarding the expanded tariffs the Trump administration plans to impose on China.

The tit-for-tat trade war escalated last month when the two nations failed to reach an agreement, and President Trump has pledged to impose tariffs on another $300 billion of Chinese goods coming into the United States.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is holding the hearings this week as part of that process. Most of the hundreds of companies and trade groups giving testimony are opposed to the increased tariffs.

In written comments submitted by the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, CEO Barb Glenn stated the organization believes there “is a better solution to advancing free and fair trade with China.”

While agreeing with the administration’s findings of China’s restrictive economic and trade policies, NASDA says trade actions that trigger retaliation “threaten rural jobs and fall disproportionately on agriculture.”

NASDA, like many other agricultural groups, says, “there should be no increased or additional tariffs.”

-Reported by Lane Nordlund for MTN News