Duxton’s Agri Bits and Pieces – Vol. 337
Posted on: June 5th, 2017


This week’s quote of the week comes from Mohamed Bakarr, Lead Environmental Specialist at the Global Environment Facility (GEF) on crop biodiversity as the key to ending hunger.

“Just like a sound investment portfolio (crop biodiversity) balances short-term opportunities with long-term security, ramping up investment in enhanced conservation and understanding of crop plant biodiversity now, could secure a future without hunger”


On Tuesday at 2 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT), the U.S. Department of Agriculture will issue the initial condition ratings of the domestic corn crop in its weekly crop progress report. The corn market typically focuses on the percentage of corn sitting in the “good” or “excellent” category, which is determined by an extensive network of observers who are surveyed each week.

Over the past two decades…the 20-year average for the initial good-to-excellent rating is 69.2 percent after eliminating the high and low, while the recent outright five-year average is 72.4 percent. With above-average corn yields were not recorded at harvest if the initial corn rating came in below 70 percent. This implies that if less than 70 percent of the 2017 corn crop rates in good or excellent condition on Tuesday, the yield ceiling is likely close to 170.7 bushels per acre, which is USDA’s computed long-term trend.

High initial ratings do not always guarantee successful yields, though. Some 77 percent of corn in 2012 was in good-to-excellent condition initially, but the great start was no match for the historic summer drought that hacked off 25 percent of the crop.

USDA projects the 2017/18 corn harvest at 14.065 billion bushels – a sizable decline from last year’s record 15.148 billion – and this target is unlikely to change before June 30.

Within the last 20 years, USDA has reduced U.S. corn yield between its May and June supply and demand reports four times and cut planted acreage only twice.

Slow planting and excessive moisture has been a common theme for many U.S. farmers this year. But the near-average national planting and emergence numbers will probably not warrant USDA to make a production adjustment in its June supply and demand report, unless the issues in the east escalate to an extreme degree in the next couple of weeks. On June 30, USDA will publish revised planted and harvested area figures in its acreage report, which generally puts the acreage conversation to rest in favour of weather and yields in the eyes of market watchers. But the discussion might not go away as fast this year with prevalent corn replanting and the potential switching to soybean acres.


A professional drone surveyor says 90 per cent of problems in unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) use are caused by eagle attacks.

Flynn Drage from HTD Surveyors regularly uses drones to take measurements in remote locations across the state.

He has lost several drones to eagle attacks over the past four years and now often brings a second person on the job to act as a spotter.

“You don’t really know if they are just curious, or sometimes they are just really unhappy with you. So you have to be quite aware.

Bird drone interaction costs surveying companies broken equipment and lost time when jobs need to be postponed due to persistent eagles.

However, the cost may be much greater for the birds.

Simon Cherriman from Insight Ornithology researches Western Australian wedge-tailed eagles and is concerned about the increasing interaction between eagles and UAVs.

Mr Cherriman said there are no clear rules for avoiding eagles when using drones, but flying in the morning may help.

“We know they spend a lot of time soaring with thermals and thermals are peaking late morning though to middle-late afternoon.

“So if you can not operate drones around those times then that’s probably going to minimise impacts.”

He says painting aircraft or using noisemakers will have little impact and ultimately much more research needs to be done. “I am trying to look for patterns in how they use the thermal air currents and how they actually use their air space when they are breeding. Maybe we can model our drone use around those,” he said.



This week’s chart of the week comes from Rabobank’s Agribusiness Monthly May report displaying the quick recovery from last month’s lull for The Australian Eastern Market Indicator(the primary wool market price indicator) from AUc1,457/kg to the current AUc1,544/kg levels.





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