Thursday, August 18, 2011

USDA Reports Cause Confusion for Future Food Prices - There are some conflicting reports about the demand for corn, which largely determines the price of food. Though there is a generally accepted feeling of doom for the food market, farmers are expecting a big crop. The pervading sense of despair has caused many investors to give up hope that the prices will ever level out. But data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture has led to some widely different conclusions, leaving confusion about whether prices are expected to go up or down.
The extreme weather that we’ve seen this past year including flooding and drought that has affected much of the country is expected to continue battering this year’s corn, soybean and wheat crops, which leads to higher prices for manufacturers and consumers. This has wide-ranging effects on food products from soda to pasta to meat. High commodity prices will translate into higher meat prices because the cost of feeding cattle, pigs and poultry with grain will go up. Pasta prices are expected to go up as well because of flooding in North Dakota. Ultimately, the New York Times concluded, “Expect to pay more for pasta, meat, vegetable oil and many other consumer products in coming months.”
However, it’s hard to get a grasp on exactly where the price of corn will be driven due to polysemous data. According to Thursday reports from the USDA, corn production is forecast at 12.9 billion bushels, up 4 percent from 2010 and potentially the third largest production ever recorded. Although large, corn yields are expected to average 153 bushels per acre, up 0.2 bushels from 2010, but down from nearly 159 bushels reported in the previous forecast. Furthermore, the USDA also reports that farmers expect a 940 million bushel surplus when the harvest begins in the fall. Shockingly, this is even higher than last month’s estimate of 880 million bushels. This surplus is one of the main determinants for the price of food, and there is usually a lag of around six months between a change in the price of corn and grocery products.
The low corn surplus caused demand for corn to become so great that farmers decided to take advantage of its unusually high price and planted this enormous crop, despite terrible heat and other extreme weather conditions. Earlier this year the USDA estimated a surplus of under 700 million bushels, which equates to around a 20-day supply, 10 days less than the desired level. The projected 940 million bushel surplus is enough to satisfy demand for 27 days. The USDA has yet to issue data that could rectify these seemingly conflicting reports.

**It is the lash of hunger which compels the poor man to submit.
In order to live he must sell - 'voluntarily' sell - himself
every day and hour to the 'beast of property.' **
Johann Most

This morning -
None 5.0 or higher.

Yesterday -
8/17/11 -


KASHMIR - Volcano ticking in Leepa Valley. Experts based in AJK on Tuesday revealed that they have discovered a volcano and “fault line” in Leepa Valley and Kaisarkote areas adjacent to Karnah sector near the Line of Control in AJK. “A team of experts comprising professors and geologists of the AJK University conducted an extensive tour of the areas where the volcano was discovered. They found traces of lava in Leepa Valley and Kaisarkote located adjacent to Karnah sector. They also came to know that residents had seen smoke emanating from the soil in these areas. After conducting the tour and thorough research they expressed apprehensions about the volcano erupting any time.” A team of experts has confirmed that a volcano is present in these areas and it is ticking. “After conducting a test of a few sample rocks in the area it became clear that lava has seeped into these." Experts have also discovered a “fault line” in the area and further investigations are ongoing.

In the Pacific:
-Tropical storm Fernanda was located about 1180 mi / 1900 km ESE of South Point, Hawaii.

-Category 1 Hurricane Greg was located about 280 mi / 455 km WSW of Manzanillo, Mexico.

2011 Atlantic hurricane season makes record books - Having made it to the letter ‘G’ without a tropical storm reaching hurricane status the 2011 Atlantic Hurricane Season is already a record breaker. Following Tropical Storm Gert’s degeneration on Tuesday evening this season has become THE FIRST SEASON ON RECORD WHERE NONE OF THE FIRST 7 TROPICAL STORMS INTENSIFIED INTO A HURRICANE. Although forecasters were predicting a relatively busy season, especially in the Caribbean region, weather experts say there has been too much dry air or wind shear over the tropics so far and storms have popped up in places where intensification was unlikely.
However, Monday marked the start of what is sometimes called the Cape Verde season, when the most powerful storms tend to be spawned off the coast of West Africa and forecasters are expecting at least one hurricane before the end of this month. Given that the first hurricane normally develops by 10 Aug and that the predictions were for around ten hurricanes this season, if those forecasters are right the next three months will be very busy. On 4 August NOAA issued its updated outlook for the season and raised the number of expected named storms from its pre-season outlook in May. Confidence for an above-normal season increased from 65 percent in May to 85 percent. Also, the expected number of named storms increased from 12-18 in May to 14-19, and the expected number of hurricanes has increased from 6-10 in May to 7-10. These ranges are indicative of an active season, and extend WELL ABOVE THE LONG-TERM SEASONAL AVERAGES of 11 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes. “The atmosphere and Atlantic Ocean are primed for high hurricane activity during August through October. Storms through October will form more frequently and become more intense than we’ve seen so far this season.”


RECORD-BREAKING HEAT continues in Texas - A tropical storm or a strong cold front are the only ways to bring substantial heat and drought relief to the beleaguered state of Texas, a weather expert said. Unfortunately, neither event is on the horizon.


METEORITE ALERT - The head of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office has issued a meteorite alert for residents of small towns east of Cleveland, Ohio. There could be space rocks on the ground waiting to be found. "On August 8 at 1:22 Eastern Daylight Time, all-sky cameras belonging to the Southern Ontario Meteor Network detected a fireball entering the atmosphere 54 miles above Lake Erie, moving SSE at 25 km/s (55,900 mph). There is high confidence that this meteor produced meteorites." For one thing, the debris appears to have produced echoes from KCLE's doppler radar in Cleveland. "The deep atmospheric penetration of this fireball combined with its deceleration and doppler radar echo strongly suggests a fall somewhere in the countryside east of Cleveland."