With an eye to forage, USDA changes hay and graze rules

The USDA announced a one-time change on Thursday to its rules on harvesting forage and grazing livestock on prevented-planting cropland. The move was meant to assure there will be enough livestock feed this year, particularly for dairy cattle.

In slow planting year, corn yield could plummet by 21 percent

The U.S. corn crop could dwindle to an average 135 bushels an acre, “a yield loss similar to the drought of 2012,” because of rain-delayed planting this spring, said economist Chad Hart of Iowa State University. In ISU’s monthly “Iowa Farm Outlook,” Hart said the …

As soggy fields prevent planting, U.S. corn production set to drop 5 percent

U.S. farmers’ plans for a bin-busting corn harvest this year are being washed away by relentlessly rainy spring weather, said the USDA on Tuesday. It projected a corn crop that is 5 percent smaller than last year, foiling May predictions of the second-largest crop ever. In one month, the …

A flooding reprieve for 25,000 acres of Louisiana farmland

A spillway on the Mississippi River designed to prevent the river from overflowing its levees and inundating towns and cities in Louisiana will likely be opened for only the third time in history this Sunday, flooding 25,000 acres of farmland in the Atchafalaya basin and all but guaranteeing a total crop loss for farmers in the area.

House passes disaster bill by large margin on fourth attempt

The long-delayed, $19.1-billion disaster bill is on its way to the White House for President Trump’s signature. The House passed the bill, which includes $3 billion in agricultural aid, 354-58.

Small ag banks mitigate the risk of rising demand for farm loans

In an indirect sign of stress in the farm sector, small agricultural banks are making adjustments, such as syndicating loans and charging higher interest rates, to offset risk in the face of high demand for farm loans, said the Federal Reserve in its quarterly Ag Finance Databook. The Fed's Beige Book, meanwhile, said spring floods in the northern Plains and western Corn Belt could put an additional burden on a farm sector coping with low commodity prices.

House ag leader backs one-time aid for flooded grain

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said farmers ought to be considered for federal compensation for grain lost in flooded bins this spring. Perdue gave conditional support to compensation at nearly the same time the chairman of the House Agriculture Committee called for a one-time grain payment …

Disaster bill sidetracked in Senate in fight over Puerto Rico aid

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell shelved, at least for the moment, a $14-billion disaster aid bill on Monday after Democrats and Republicans took turns threatening a filibuster over aid to Puerto Rico.

U.S. crop production unlikely to suffer much from floods

Spring flooding in the northern Plains and western Corn Belt will have a marginal impact on corn and soybean plantings, according to a USDA survey of growers and initial tallies of flooded land. With normal weather and yields, there would be limited impact on production of the two most widely grown U.S. crops, thanks to the huge amount of cropland nationwide.