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KY farm cash receipts exceed $5B

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By Steve Moore

The big news out of the Kentucky Farm Bureau meeting last week is that farm cash receipts are likely to exceed $5 billion for the first time, up from $4.4 billion in 2010.  With improvement in returns in corn, soybeans, wheat, cattle, horses, hogs and dairy, net farm income is expected to rebound back above $1 billion in 2011, compared to $780 million in 2010.

Agricultural economists agree that the force behind the improved financial returns in agriculture is the boom in exports over the past two years and the strong demand for grains for biofuel production.
Corn and poultry are likely to be the top two sources of cash receipts in Kentucky this year.  Grain prices were high, and producers planted increased acreage in response. Poultry production increased slightly in 2011, though it is projected to decline in 2012. 

Kentucky’s tobacco acreage was down in 2011, but a better quality crop will enable prices and receipts to improve. The equine industry showed moderate improvement over 2010 receipts.

Feeder cattle prices in Kentucky showed substantial improvement, driven primarily by tight supplies.  This could continue into 2012, because the drought in Texas and Oklahoma has resulted in higher cow slaughter, leading to an even smaller calf crop in 2012.

On the whole, economists were optimistic about 2012.  Given reasonable weather, continued economic recovery and strong export markets, next year’s farm cash receipts could set another record high, topping out between $5.3 and $5.7 billion.

On the local front, things may seem a bit different.  Yes, milk prices are up, tobacco quality and price is good so far, and beef cattle prices are at record levels, as are corn and bean prices.  Our bottom line, however, isdiminished with higher input costs for all farm enterprises and a mid-summer drought which decreased tobacco, corn and soybean yields.  We join most other central Kentucky counties in actually showing less farm income than we had in recent years. 

Whatever your personal situation, we hope that you will sharpen the pencil and apply the management strategies to enhance your bottom line.  There is a lot of good science available for making these decisions, including soil testing, forage analysis, and variety test information.  Please contact the Henry County Extension Office at 845-2811 or more details about these tests.

Vegetable Academy
and Beginning Farmer classes

We are taking registrations for the new Vegetable Academy and the Beginning Farmer classes, both schools to start in January.  The Vegetable Academy is an intense two day workshop, Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, designed to give participants an understanding of the principles of plant pathology, insect identification and control, variety selection, marketing skills and options, nutrient management, and season extension. 

The Beginning Farmer class is slated to start Jan. 20, with weekly sessions for the next several weeks.  Several UK experts and local resource people will be on the programs designed to help the new farmer understand marketing, management, production, risk management, equipment, farm laws, agency resources, and more. 
Please let us know of your interest in one or both of these Extension offerings by contacting the Henry County Extension Office at 845-2811.

By the way...

In the midst of another couple of days of plentiful rain (as I write this on Monday afternoon) you may be wondering just how much is falling in Henry County.  At the CoCoRaHS station at the Henry County Extension Office, we recorded 7.43 inches of rain in November, and we are almost at 2 inches in December with this new rainy spell (Sunday and Monday), with more to come.  For the year, this station has recorded over 58 inches of rain (normal is more like 45 inches), so we obviously will look back at this year as one with unusually high amounts of rainfall at various times.

Ironically, we had a fairly severe drought here in July and August, which damaged yield in virtually all our agricultural crops, including tobacco, corn, soybeans, pasture, hay and vegetables.