(Des Moines) -- Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey has announced that he will be visiting Ida, Cherokee, Sioux and Plymouth Counties on Monday, July 23rd as part of his efforts to visit each of Iowa's 99 counties again in 2012. Northey will visit the Ida County Fair in Ida Grove at 10:30 a.m., then he will tour Little Sioux Corn Processing in Marcus at 12:30 p.m. Northey is scheduled to tour Van Beek Natural Science in Orange City at 2:00 p.m. and then he will visit the Remsen Processing in Remsen at 3:30 p.m. All events are open to the public.
Agri-Line - Le Mars Agricultural Connection
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Not since 1988... that's the phrase that is being heard by farmers as they describe the current hot and dry conditions as it is taking a toll on Iowa crops. The condition of corn and soybeans continues to decline. 1988 was the last time Iowa suffered a major state-wide drought.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says in Monday's weekly report that only 46 percent of the corn is in good to excellent shape. That's the lowest level for the first week of July since 1993. A week ago, it was 62 percent.
Forty-eight percent of soybeans are in good to excellent condition, down from 59 percent last week.
The USDA says 88 percent of topsoil moisture and 82 percent of subsoil moisture are short or very short. Roger Elmore serves as the corn specialist for Iowa State University. He says farmers have probably already lost nine percent of the yield potential.
Mark Licht is an extension agronomist with Iowa State University. He says farmers can calculate the amount of lost yield by adding up the number of hours corn leaves are rolled.
Iowa had 100-plus temperatures from Wednesday through Saturday. The highest temps so far this year were on Saturday with eight communities reaching 105 degrees. There was no widespread rain.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture says farmers planted 96.4 million acres of corn this spring, up 5 percent from last year.
It's the largest number of planted acres since 97 million in 1937. The revised estimate, based on early June farm surveys, is up from May's estimate of nearly 92 million acres.
The USDA says farmers expect to make more profit from corn than other commodities.
Iowa corn acres fell to 14 million from 14.1 million. Nebraska rose to 9.9 million from 9.85 million.
Record corn acreage is expected in Idaho, Minnesota, Nevada, Oregon and the Dakotas.
The USDA estimates 76.1 million acres are planted in soybeans. That's up 1 percent from 2011 and the third highest on record.
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - High corns prices and less consumer demand for gasoline have ethanol plants across the Midwest cutting back production.
More than 95 percent of the nation's ethanol plants use corn as their feedstock. Analysts say corn prices have been skyrocketing because of fears triple-digit temperatures and drought in the middle of the country will destroy, or greatly reduce, this year's crop.
Meanwhile, the country has an ethanol glut. People are not driving as much given the poor economy and the high gasoline prices. Ethanol is primarily used in gasoline blends.
Valero Energy operates 10 ethanol plants. It is temporarily idling one in Nebraska and another in Indiana because it costs more to make ethanol at those plants than the company can sell it for.
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