Strong Prices Tempered by Late Harvests and Economic Uncertainty

Published online: Oct 07, 2011
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Northwest FCS Knowledge Center Market Snapshots, share the highlights that depict the general health of select industries at

Sugarbeets:  After a cool spring and summer, August and September sugarbeet growing conditions have been favorable. Growers are hopeful for a warm fall, fulfilling sugarbeets' final growth requirements. Time will tell if yields and sugar content align with historical averages. Growers expect 2011 crop returns higher than 2010, citing strong pre-harvest sales by sugar cooperatives. Snake River Sugar Company recently approved sugarbeet plantings up to 107.5 percent of growers' allotments in 2012.

Potatoes:  Throughout the Northwest, potato producers are well into harvest. After a cool, wet start and growing season delays, ideal weather has allowed potatoes to mature at near average yields and quality. Processors' early interest in contracting potatoes reflects competition for potato acres from substitute crops. Growers are hopeful processors' interest signals strong demand and sustainable profits throughout the season.

Wheat:  Most wheat producers in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho report average to well-above-average yields. Montana wheat yields varied, with producers citing very good to below-average yields, depending on the area and planting date. As farmers begin planting winter wheat, they face dry conditions, unstable wheat markets, and rising input costs.

Hay:  Demand for hay in the Pacific Northwest may exceed available supplies, where low beginning stocks, fewer acres in production, and average to below-average yields are matched with strong demand. As dairies and exporters compete to lockup needed hay supplies, prices have continued to increase throughout the season. Prices in the Northwest alfalfa market are expected to maintain traction in the coming months and growers should have a very profitable season.

Northwest Farm Credit Services, the Northwest's largest agricultural lending cooperative, provides financing, related services and crop insurance to farmers, ranchers, agribusinesses, commercial fishermen, timber producers, and rural homeowners in Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska.