An Unfathomably Stupid Article About Our Bumper Crops This Year!!! ….


Today, the stupidity is brought to us by Yahoo!

In US, huge grain crops spell headache for farmers

New York (AFP) – US corn and soybean crops could break records this year, but for farmers the bounty has a dark side: falling prices and a logistics nightmare getting crops to market.

“It is not an exact science but when we look at the fields, it looks like it is going to be a big crop,” said John Reifsteck, a corn and soybean farmer in Champaign, Illinois, a Midwest farm belt state.

Reifsteck estimated his corn crop could be as much as 15 percent higher than last year’s.

The US Department of Agriculture is forecasting record crops this year for corn and soybeans, the two largest US crops in terms of production. Unless there is a devastating freeze or torrential rains before the harvest ends, corn production is projected at 366 million tonnes and soybeans at 106.5 million tonnes.

The article then goes on to describe problems, most of which are not related to farmers, but, rather the people the farmers sell the crops to.  Farmers don’t care if the trains are running on time, or not.  But, Yahoo is on the verge of discovering something any capitalist and all farmers already know …….

Once all these logistics challenges are dealt with, US farmers face another problem: a drop in revenues.

With the prospect of abundant harvests, buyers have pushed prices into a freefall. The corn futures contract recently slid below $3.50 a barrel on the Chicago Board of Trade, well below the $8 level it fetched in 2012, a year when crops were stressed by drought.

For all US farmers, the USDA is forecasting about a 14 percent drop in farm-related income in the government’s current fiscal year that ends September 30.

Boy!!!  They’re almost there!!!  It’s weird, but, it seems anytime anything in demand increases in supply, the price drops!!!  The more corn available, the lower the price!!!  It works that way for soybeans, too!!!!  Weird, I know!!!

It may help them if they would come to learn that corn isn’t sold by the barrel.  Now, corn squeezens can be, but, that’s a different story. 

Further, Yahoo doesn’t seem to understand there’s a difference between farmers’ income, and farm related income.  Our farmers’ income is a sub-set of farm related income, and they may or may not have a decrease in income simply because farm related income may decrease.  In fact, I don’t expect farmers’ income, nationally, to decrease from the corn and soybean harvests.  At least, not the smart ones. 

If they have silos, the farmers will put much of their harvest up in them and wait for the prices to climb back up.  They’ll make a killing.  The ones on a shoe-string budget, will have to sell their crops, and hope their increase in yield makes up for the decrease in the prices. 

But, it’s always been this way.

As documented here and many other places, the US and the globe frequently break records in crop production.  It’s been going on since crops were first planted. 

The thing about farming is to farm better than your neighbor, which doesn’t necessarily mean having a better yield.  Yield is just a part of it.  A big part, but, only one part.  There’s seed cost, fertilizer, equipment, fuel, ….. etc…. etc….

Other than that stuff, it was a pretty good article ……. /sarc

But, there were some things of note.  Early in the article it had this to say …..

Rail problems also have affected grain shippers, especially in several northern states on the Canadian border.

An exceptionally severe winter snarled transportation, and the growing volume of shale oil produced in North Dakota being transported by train has weighed on freight service to grain shippers.

Since October 2013, the rail freight service for grain “has been inadequate, characterized by long delays, missed shipments, burgeoning backlogs, and higher costs,” Neal told a Senate hearing earlier in September.

Well, sister, it’s not just from the oil produced in North Dakota which is monopolizing the trains’ time.  Some folks just north of North Dakota are also producing more and more oil which is being shipped by rail.  Why is any of the oil being shipped by rail rather than the safer, cheaper, and more environmentally friendly method of pipeline?

Well, because there’s a bunch of lunatics out there who believe garbage written by people pretending to know something about the subject which they’re writing about. 

In some places in the world, their very lives literally depend on food shipped from the US, which gets to port via rail.  Thanks, climate nutters!


h/t Lat

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30 Responses to An Unfathomably Stupid Article About Our Bumper Crops This Year!!! ….

  1. Latitude says:

    I thought you’d like that one…….LOL
    Excellent breakdown!!

  2. philjourdan says:

    Thank you. NOt being a farmer myself, I thought perhaps there was a new corn metric. I always thought it was sold by the bushel, but you know us dumb old conservatives. We don’t have the sophistication of incompetent reporters or presidents.

  3. Mark Luhman says:

    Maybe the we would not have the problem if we we shipping oil via pipeline instead of rail. I have lived and visit the Bakken, there are let see at least three new oil terminals for rail shipment at Fairview, at lest that many at Treton, I don’t know how many at Williston I have not been on the east side of town since the boom started. I do know their is one at Epping, ditto for Tioga, cant say about White Earth the highway never been close to there. Ditto for Ross, Stanely has at least one if not more, I can say anything about Palermo, Blaisdel or Tagis since the high no long goes through those town. Berthold has a big one, Now south there is one at new town next one 20 miles east Van Hook Bay cannot as what happening at Plaza or Makoti. The rail that lies North of Highway 2 I don’t know have not been there in over twenty years let alone the last five. I do know there is oil and drilling all over that part of the Bakken. Most of the oil from eastern Mckinzie county is end up at a rail terminal as Belfield. Now you add the Canadian oil sand oil and yea I would think there may not be much rail available to ship grain this year.

  4. Mark Luhman says:

    I forgot Newton Town there is a big one there also

  5. DirkH says:

    A barrel of corn, just wonderful.

  6. kelly liddle says:

    The question that should be asked is why is corn subsidised. I am sure this record production will just lead to more government cost or to society in general with more expensive sugar and or forced ethanol production.

    “Ethanol production was expected to continue to grow over the next several years, since the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 required 36 billion US gallons of renewable fuel use by 2022. The target for ethanol production from cellulosic feedstocks was 16 billion US gallons a year. The corn ethanol target was 15 billion US gallons by 2015.”

    Another interesting thing is your government doesn’t seem to care about polution if it comes from corn “In January 2011 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) granted a waiver to allow up to 15% of ethanol blended with gasoline (E15) to be sold only for cars and light pickup trucks with a model year of 2001 or later.”

    From wiki

    • DirkH says:

      What pollution are you talking about, Kelly? Are you using the word as the EPA does, to address CO2?

    • kelly liddle says:

      In theory ethanol should produce less CO2 (although it may not due to the production process) I am guessing it is to do with other emissions because ethanol may not burn so cleanly or it could just be that the vehicles do not have to be tested using E15. I fairly recently had a Honda Oddysey put on LPG and it was the first time that model had been converted in Australia so they had to have it emissions tested.

      • DirkH says:

        I’m not a chemist but I would expect ethanol to burn perfectly clean. BTW what do you suppose comes out of the exhaust of a properly working catalyst equipped gasoline car? CO2 and H2O.

      • kelly liddle says:

        That may be the case and the same would apply to LPG to a large extent but my car still had to be tested and I am sure the same applies in Europe or US. In some cases it might be overkill but cars and trucks are so much cleaner than they were 20 or 30 years ago.

        • DirkH says:

          German cars are tested every 2 years. The catalyst can be wrecked for instance if unburnt oil gets into it (AFAIK); so the testing ensures that the catalyst is still working.

        • cdquarles says:

          Hmm, 20 years ago was the 90s. Cars are not that much cleaner now than then. 30 years ago was the 80s. Okay, I’ll agree just a tiny bit. 40 years ago was the 70s. I’ll agree a bit more. 50 years ago was the 60s. Yep, I will agree here.

          Auto emission regulations hit the point of diminishing returns in 1990. We could go back to that and no-one would be able to tell the difference.

        • kelly liddle says:

          That sounds a bit extreme I am saying each model on each fuel has to be tested one time meaning nobody will again ever have the model of vehicle I have running on LPG tested (should anyone ever do that) and my vehicle will never be tested again. If there is highly visible smoke coming out of a vehicle then you can be fined and asked to fix it. But you would have to be very unlucky to get a fine and in most cases the police are likely to ignore it anyway.

        • DirkH says:

          kelly liddle says:
          September 23, 2014 at 11:01 pm
          ” That sounds a bit extreme”

          What, the German requirement for biannual inspection? It’s a cheap routine thing; surely a regulation that keeps the inspectors employed; but never uncovered a problem with any of my old battered cars. Everything else falls apart but not the catalyst in my case.

      • cdquarles says:

        Okay, chemistry lesson: 2,2,4-Trimethypentane (iso-octane and the standard for 100 octane petrol/gasoline yields about 5460 kJ per mole (114 g for the all light version) upon complete combustion. An ICE will not achieve this in normal operation, but this number is useful as a limit. Complete combustion results in 8 moles of carbon dioxide and 9 moles of water per mole of reactant.

        Complete ethanol combustion results in 1371 kJ per mole, so you will need 4 moles of ethanol to get the same gross heat of combustion. At 46 g/mol, you need 184 grams to match ‘gasoline’. One mole of ethanol yields 2 moles of carbon dioxide and 3 moles of water. To match the energy, you’ll get 8 moles of carbon dioxide and 12 moles of water.

        I see no benefit there. Okay if we’re talking E85, that’s going to be a bit more complicated. How is E85 defined? By weight or volume (it does make a difference)? Again, I fail to see the benefit in terms of combustion products.

        • cdquarles says:

          Kim, that ‘s a bit simplified, for in real life, gasoline/petrol is a mixture of 100s, if not 1000s, of constituent hydrocarbons and substituted hydrocarbons that are the result of the initial distillation and subsequent cracking/reforming reactions. Still, as a limit, the simplified version works.

        • kim2ooo says:

          Thanks for breaking it down for us.

        • DirkH says:

          By volume ethanol has 30% less caloric content.
          The difference is that the CO2 from ethanol is recycled CO2 via plants, not evil new CO2 from the bowels of the Earth, speaking in Gaia-religious terms.
          That’s why ethanol is “good” and gasoline is “evil”.

        • philjourdan says:

          God, your chemistry made my head hurt!

          But the “perceived” benefit is that the Carbon in Ethanol is already in the system, while the “carbon” in fossil fuels has been ‘sequestered’ until it is released again.

        • cdquarles says:

          Yeah? So? In terms of combustion products, I still fail to see the difference. A molecule of carbon dioxide is a molecule of carbon dioxide. In terms of chemistry and the effects of chemistry ‘fossil’ or no makes no difference.

        • Jim Masterson says:

          That’s why ethanol is “good” and gasoline is “evil”.

          Ethanol supposedly burns cleaner than gasoline, so there is less pollution (and I’m ignoring the crazies’ idea that CO2 is a pollutant).


        • cdquarles says:

          Supposedly, but I doubt that very seriously, when used in an ICE. You’ll get acetaldehyde, acetone, formaldehyde, acetic acid, formic acid, carbon monoxide and oxides of nitrogen when burned with air in an ICE. Okay, maybe you won’t get as much soot.

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