U.S. farmers will harvest their smallest corn and soybean crops since 2013, but the trade war will constrain exports of America’s two major crops for the second year in a row, forecast the USDA on Monday. Soybeans would sell at the lowest average price at the farm gate in 13 years.
The trade war with China and low commodity prices will combine to slash U.S. farm exports by 4.5 percent this fiscal year, said the USDA on Thursday in a quarterly forecast. Exports of $137 billion would be the smallest since 2016, when exports bottomed out following the collapse of the commodity boom.
Domestic demand for cotton is shrinking, so much so that U.S. cotton consumption this year will be the smallest since the 1890s, according to the USDA. In its monthly WASDE report, the USDA estimates usage at 3.1 million bales in the marketing year that ends on August 1, down by 4 percent from …
China, formerly the No. 1 customer for U.S. ag exports, will buy a comparatively paltry $9 billion worth of those exports this fiscal year, a startling 45 percent cutback due to the trade war, said the USDA on Thursday.
Georgia, the No. 2 cotton state, lost one-third of its crop to Hurricane Michael, said the USDA on Thursday in lowering its estimate of the total U.S. harvest by 7 percent because of storm damage in the Southeast.
As Hurricane Michael made landfall Wednesday, farmers in the Southeast were still recovering from the devastation caused by Hurricane Florence just weeks ago.
Many states have reported significant complaints from farmers about dicamba damage to their crops and plants, said an association of state pesticide regulators in calling for the EPA to tighten its rules on use of the weedkiller.
Environmental groups told a U.S. appeals court on Wednesday that the EPA had failed to properly assess the risks posed by the weedkiller dicamba to nearby crops and should be ordered to revoke its approval of Monsanto’s version of the herbicide, reported Reuters.
Enrollment in a new cotton subsidy program, created by Congress early this year, will run until Dec. 7, said the USDA. The program, offered for so-called seed cotton, allows participants to choose from a pair of subsidy options.