Crop Report Increases Prospects Despite High Plains Weather Concerns

LUBBOCK, November 12, 2004           By Shawn Wade

      Theysay that good things come to those who wait. Unfortunately that adage won’thold true on the High Plains of Texas if producers are forced to hold upharvesting their 2004 cotton crop by another wave of winter weather.

      Despitea less than appetizing short-term weather forecast for the weekend, prospectsfor the crop have not yet been adversely impacted by the recent weather events.The November 12 Crop Production Report from USDA’s National AgriculturalStatistics Service increased the estimated size of the 2004 crop during theagency’s recent round of field surveys.

      TheNASS survey process, carried out by enumerators from the Texas AgriculturalStatistics Service, was conducted at the end of October, just before thearrival of winter on the Texas High Plains.

      Atthat time the region, like the rest of the U.S. continues to show that a recordsetting crop remains in the field. Total U.S. production for 2004 was raised inthe November 12 survey to 21.8 million bales of Upland cotton and 22.54 millionbales when Pima acreage is included.

      Texascrop estimates led the advance this month as the State’s already record 7.3million bale October estimate increased to 7.7 million bales in November.

      The400,000 bale increase is attributed mostly (300,000 bales) to the High Plainsregion included in crop reporting districts 1-N and 1-S.

      InOctober the area was projected to grow 4.33 million bales of cotton. As ofNovember 12 that figure jumped to 4.63 million bales. Average yields projectedfor the two districts are 779 pounds per acre in 1-N and 624 pounds per acre indistrict 1-S.

      Peracre yield forecasts that fueled the latest estimate were a modest 6 pound peracre increase in 1-N, and a significant 54 pound per acre increase for 1-S.

      Withthe area still estimated to be less than 20 percent harvested producers knowthere is a long road to travel before the latest estimates become reality.Persistent weather delays could still adversely affect the size and quality ofthe crop.

      A fewreports of cotton beginning to string and fall out of the bur have already beenreceived, but so far yields have not been hugely impacted except in isolated instances.Additional episodes of wind, rain and snow that are in the forecast for thearea over the next few days could accelerate this process.

      Quality-wisethe crop continues to hold its own in almost all categories. A total of 481,276bales have been classed in the Lubbock and Lamesa USDA Cotton Classing officesthrough November 11.

      Bothoffices are averaging 31 Color, 3-4 Leaf, Strength of 29 g/tex, and 3.6 orbetter Micronaire readings. Staple lengths are averaging 34.95 at Lubbock and35.23 at Lamesa.

      Theonly thing that is certain for High Plains producers is that each day that canbe spent in the field will be critical for the 2004 crop to meet the tremendouspotential that it still retains.

 

Big Yields and Weather Worries Creating Crop Insurance Questions

LUBBOCK, November 12, 2004                 By Shawn Wade

      Bigyields and less than desirable weather patterns are creating a stressfulsituation for cotton producers across the High Plains region.

      A bigpart of their concern is how to get the crop that’s in the field harvested in atimely manner. A side issue that some have questioned is how these high yieldswill be treated when they are fed into the Federal Crop Insurance ActualProduction History database.

      Rumorsand misunderstandings have already begun to surface regarding how higher thannormal yields are treated within the Federal Crop Insurance program.

      Thebiggest concern that exists is the mistaken impression that yields areautomatically capped for purposes of the APH database, regardless of the factthat the producer has verifiable evidence that a higher yield was produced.

      PlainsCotton Growers has discussed this issue with USDA Risk Management officials todetermine exactly what procedures come into play when reported yields aregreater than what is considered normal by virtue of past production in an area.

      Themain purpose of the yield verification procedures used by RMA is to identifyand correct data entry errors, and to identify potential instances of fraud.

      RMApersonnel have been following the progress of the crop and have a goodunderstanding of the yield levels that will be added to the APH database in2004.

      PCGwas pleased to note that the agency is also willing to look at modificationswithin the data acceptance system to accommodate the higher yields. Thesechanges, once enacted, will also keep the additional workload associated withverifying flagged yields to a reasonable level that assures accuracy andprevents abuse. Insurance companies are responsible for verifying the yieldinformation reported by producers.

      Undernormal circumstances yields are automatically flagged for company follow-up andverification when they exceed two times the amount of the T-yield in the countyin which the crop was produced. When this situation occurs the company is askedto verify the yield is correct and entered into the system correctly.

      Shoulda reported yield exceed four times the County T-yield the file is also flaggedfor verification by the company with the additional requirement that thefindings be reported to RMA for final approval before being included in thedatabase.

 

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      Withthe additional yield prospects that exist on the High Plains RMA is evaluatinghow much these two trigger levels will need to be increased to better reflectthe average production values that will be seen in 2004 but still provideadequate follow-up on yields that exceed the higher parameters.

      Tokeep the verification process from becoming a bigger headache than it needs tobe producers and insurance providers are encouraged to head off potentialproblems by keeping production and yield evidence up to date.

      It ispossible that some 2004 non-irrigated production could be 6-8 times the CountyT-yield and require some level of verification by the company.

      Thegood news is that once they are verified they will go into the APH database“as-is” regardless of how much they exceed the County T-yield.

Weather Patterns Creating“What-if” Questions

      Whenanother wave of cold wet weather descended on the High Plains this week, andjust a week after a good portion of the area received its’ first significantsnowfall and freeze, producers are becoming increasingly aware of the calendar.

      Whatthey are most concerned about is the fact that its almost the middle ofNovember and less than 20 percent of the area’s three-plus million acres ofharvestable cotton has been stripped, and run through the gin.

      As itstands now there is a good chance that harvest activity could stretch into thenew year, even with favorable weather from today forward.

      Thatmeans that the normal end of the crop insurance period on January 31 couldarrive with many producers either still having cotton in the field or, evenmore likely, cotton sitting in a module on the turn-row waiting to be hauled tothe gin for processing.

      In aneffort to keep these dire scenarios from adversely impacting a producer’sinsurance coverage, PCG has encouraged the Risk Management Agency to remainflexible and consider the possibility that an extension to the insurance periodmight be necessary.

 

      Alongthe same lines, PCG encourages insurance providers to remain flexible and towork with producers who might be caught in this situation. Producers areadvised to keep in close contact with their insurance provider and keep them upto date on the status of their harvest operations.

 

Ag Market Network Conference Call Nov. 16

LUBBOCK, November 12, 2004           By Shawn Wade

      Thenext Ag Market Network Conference call will be held Tuesday, November 16 at 7:30a.m. Plains Cotton Growers is a local sponsor for the calls and anyoneinterested in listening in is welcome to stop by the PCG office at 4517 WestLoop 289 to participate.

      Featuredspeakers for this week’s call are Mike Stevens of SFS Futures (formerly SwissFinancial Services) and Dr. Darrel Good of the University of Illinois. Stevenswill address the cotton market situation and crop and Dr. Good will discuss thegrain and oilseed situation.

     

2005 EQIP PDG Sessions Scheduled

LUBBOCK, November 12, 2004           By Shawn Wade

      Farmersand ranchers have their opportunity to direct the flow of Environmental QualityIncentive Program funds in their County through participation in a series ofmeetings running through December 14.

      Knownas Program Development Group (PDG) meetings, they offer farmers and ranchers anopportunity to offer their ideas and feedback on the EQIP program and how localfunds are prioritized.

      This will be the 2nd year forthe PDG meetings to be held. Last year producer participation helped targetEQIP funds on high value investments such as cost-sharing the installation ofhigh efficiency drip irrigation and LEPA center pivots.

      Times and locations of thePDG meetings are listed below.

 


EQIP Program Development Group (PDG) Meeting Dates,Times and Locations

County:

Date:

Time:

Location:

Armstrong

11/16/04

1:00PM

Claude NRCS office

Hardeman

11/16/04

8:00AM

Quanah Community Center

Gaines

11/16/04

8:30AM

Charlie's Restaurant, Seminole

Deaf Smith

11/16/04

9:00AM

Hereford Community Center

Moore

11/16/04

9:00AM

Amarillo College, Moore County

Motley

11/16/04

9:00AM

Matador NRCS Office

Roberts

11/16/04

9:00AM

KNT Café, Hwy 60, Miami

Hartley

11/17/04

1:30PM

Hartley NRCS office

King

11/17/04

1:30PM

Guthrie Community Center

Oldham

11/17/04

10:00AM

Friona State Bank, Vega Branch

Castro

11/17/04

9:00AM

Rhoads Memorial Library

Scurry/Borden

11/18/04

1:00PM

Snyder Country Club

Foard

11/18/04

6:00PM

Crowell State Bank

Gray

11/18/04

7:00PM

Gray Co. Annex Bldg. Pampa

Parmer

11/18/04

9:00AM

EMS Building, Bovina

Bailey

12/7/04

8:00AM

Five Area Telephone Board Rm.

Hockley

12/7/04

8:00AM

Bank One Meeting Rm.

Lamb

12/8/04

10:00AM

Lamb County Electric Co-op Inc

Garza

12/8/04

8:00AM

Post Community Center

 

Cottle

12/9/04

1:00PM

Paducah NRCS office

 

Hansford

12/9/04

1:00PM

First State Bank, Spearman

 

Donley

12/9/04

2:00PM

Courson RFO, Clarendon College

 

Carson

12/9/04

8:00AM

Panhandle NRCS office

 

Potter

12/9/04

9:00AM

NRCS Service Center, Amarillo

 

Briscoe

12/10/04

10:00AM

City Bank

 

Hutchinson

12/10/04

10:00AM

Holt Community Bldg., Holt

 

Ochiltree

12/10/04

9:00AM

Museum of the Plains

 

Collingsworth

12/13/04

7:00PM

Salt Fork SWCD Bldg.

 

Terry

12/13/04

8:00AM

Brownfield NRCS office

 

Lynn

12/14/04

8:00AM

Life Enrichment Center

 

Yoakum

12/14/04

8:00AM

Plains Community Center

 

Childress

12/14/04

9:00AM

USDA Bldg. Annex, Childress

 

Floyd

12/14/04

9:00AM

Floydada NRCS Office

 

Randall

12/14/04

9:00AM

Farm Bureau Office, Canyon

 

Swisher

12/15/04

1:00PM

County Annex Building

 

Hall

12/15/04

9:00AM

Bronze Room, Memphis