CHICKASAW COUNTY – Farmers planted late and harvested late, but the crop looks good for most commodities this fall.
A late spring delayed planting for just about all crops this year, but a moderate summer without too much rain or heat, allowed fruit to fill out and most fields are sporting good yields in soybeans, cotton, corn and sweet potatoes at this point in the season.
“Yields are higher than expected right now and while we still have a good bit of cotton and soybeans to get out of the field, things look good this fall,” said Dr. Bill Burdine, Chickasaw County Extension Agent. “Everybody started late, but we had a pretty easy growing season and that helped tremendously.”
And all this on recent near record prices for wheat, soybeans and cattle in the national commodity market.
“Yes, farmers are getting good prices, but the commodity market is easing down,” said Burdine. “It looks like it will be a good year for farmers across the U.S. It’s supply and demand and yields look good across the nation.”
Burdine said agriculture is a critical driver in the Chickasaw County economy and he hopes this harvest will help area businesses and merchants finish the year strong.
Burdine would not say which local commodity has done the best.
“Everything is a little above average,” said Burdine. “I was pleased and even pleasantly surprised with the corn crop with late planting.”
Burdine said some producers still have a long way to go to harvest their cotton and soybean crops.
“I would guess we are 60-percent harvested with soybeans and about 50-percent with cotton,” said Burdine. “We’ve had cooler temperatures and some heavy dew days and that has kept a lot of cotton pickers out of the fields until after lunch.”
Burdine said the sweet potato crop also appears good, but not outstanding.
Tip rot and end rot have traditionally been a big variable for sweet potato farmers and this year was no different. Burdine’s education specialty is sweet potatoes.
“The quality of those potatoes that are coming out of the field looks good,” said Burdine. “A lot of farmers have had good success with Evangeline (variety),” he explained. “It was developed at LSU and introduced around here a couple of years ago. It seems to grow a more uniform root and a higher percentage of No. 1 potatoes.”
Cattle prices have also seen record highs this fall after tight supplies in late October drove prices for slaughter-ready cattle to a record-high $132 per hundredweight on kill floors in Texas and Oklahoma. That price has eased as profit-taking filled the gap last week.
Burdine pointed out Mississippi cattlemen can put more head on an acre than producers in more arid western states. He said cattle were not stressed by extreme temperatures this summer and herds look good.
Wheat prices hit four-month highs last week on reports of a bad wheat harvest in South America and uncertain harvest numbers in Australia and the around the Black Sea.
The U.S. farmers are expected to cash in on a record-large corn harvest this fall that will make up for a 17-year low last fall. National U.S. crop forecasters have projected yields of 156.2 bushels per acre.
The U.S. is expected to see the fourth largest soybean crop ever and while international demand is still high, this factor is slowing advances in the market. November soybeans traded at $13.18 a bushel recently. Crop forecasters have projected yields of up to 41.8 bushels per acres.