The View From Here August 2021
As the triple digits and monsoons make their way into the
Southwest, so goes the greening of the desert. After more than 18 months of
almost moisture free weather, this has been a welcome relief for everyone. Especially
so for the entire western ranching community who have been waiting and watching
the skies to finally fill their ponds and provide some much-needed browse for
domestic herds and wildlife alike.
The Yuma and Imperial Valleys have turned under the
winter produce fields and we have moved through melon harvest most everywhere. Tillage tools are running across most fallow
fields getting ready for fall planting of the winter salad bowl. Fertilizers
will be spread and fields prepared to seed and irrigate by summers end when the
temperatures return to the more pleasant ranges.
Silage harvest was generally uneventful until the very
end when the winds from the monsoons laid some fields down. This phenomenon always
leads to difficult harvest conditions and reduced yields. Thankfully the damage
was isolated to a small acreage, even though the losses are still hard on those
that experienced it.
Alfalfa harvest has been in full swing through the 4th
and 5th cuttings before rain slowed the run down. Yields for both
forage crops have been acceptable and the quality was reported as very good in
most spots before the rains came down. Summer forages are in full bloom and we
are looking forward to the harvesting of even more silage this fall to bolster
feed supplies in 2022.
Dairy prices have been stagnant, and the futures show
little hope for anything positive in the near term. Coupled with higher feed
and protein costs, the dairy farmer has some concerns ahead. Prices for fat
cattle finally strengthened and are beginning to show signs of exceeding
growing costs. In turn, between higher futures for fats, and the blossoming of
the western deserts, pairs, feeders and most every other cow in the market has
shown improved pricing.
Cotton growers are being blessed with both stronger
prices for the current and future crops as well as some excellent growth across
most fields. Between positive price movements and negative predicted water
allocations for 2022, cotton may see a resurgence as a main crop, inching forages
out by a few acres overall across most of the southwestern growing regions.
Windrowers, large and small rectangular balers, rakes and
forage harvesting machines have continued moving throughout the Southwest as
well as to other parts of the country at a brisk pace. And, Empire Southwest
has again inched up inventory orders with a fresh run of machinery due in from
the Hesston and CLAAS plants by summer’s end to help with anticipated yearend
demand. Be sure to share your machinery plans for next year early to meet the
production and delivery schedules we have become so entrenched in during these
We remain in uncertain, curious and challenging times in
different areas of our agricultural business. Water remains the absolute top
contender for the biggest challenge going forward as our drought, while
temporarily quenched, remains in place out west. Empire Agriculture remains
vigilant and poised to provide the best solutions for our clients to help
overcome the adversity set upon them by the elements.
As always, we encourage everyone to work safe this
summer, remain as prosperous as possible during this cycle, and to visit us
about any opportunity to help you with your business needs.