We know it is really summer, as the state’s political debates have started, everyone’s lawn in town is decorated with political signs and the big cattle video sales have started. Unless the hay is down, we’re looking for rain clouds late in the day from monsoon storms coming from the south.
Along with cattle and lamb sales, we’re watching the prices of grain futures. As I write this column, earlier in the week, December corn futures were a dollar lower than the high the week before.
CattleFax says going into summer tends to be the most volatile time for the grain markets, and this year is no exception. CattleFax went on to say summer weather will continue to impact the markets as participants look to determine yield potential. The trends have clearly changed, and increased technical selling can push the markets lower, yet concerns surrounding yield could be just as supportive.
Ethanol is back in the news again, as I was reading an article from the Washington Examiner titled, “Ethanol is poison for the environment.” President Biden has raised the standard from 10 percent ethanol to 15 percent ethanol in gasoline. Some studies from Princeton University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment say corn ethanol is not a climate-friendly fuel.
“If you care about greenhouse gases, then this expansion of the corn biofuel industry is going in the wrong direction,” said the late Alex Farrell, then at the University of California, Berkeley.
The Renewable Fuels Association couldn’t disagree more with these universities. The argument will go on forever. The only thing I really know about corn is, on the cob is best.
Symbrosia, a Hawaii based startup company, has developed a feed additive from seaweed, reducing livestock methane emissions by over 80 percent. After two years of research on breeding and cultivation technology, Symbrosia has developed strains significantly more productive, potent and resilient than wild populations.
The company will use research capital to scale production of these breakthrough seaweed strains by orders of magnitude and bring their livestock feed additive, SeaGraze, to market with the world’s most innovative brands and producers.
Being a native Wyomingite, my knowledge of seaweed is zero. I didn’t know one could breed seaweed. Studies show cattle produce about two percent of the world’s methane emissions, and using SeaGraze would reduce emissions by 1.6 percent.
There are some positives in the export markets. A U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) trade mission just concluded in London headed by USDA Deputy Secretary Jewel Bronaugh and joined by representatives from 37 U.S. agribusinesses and farm organizations. Bronaugh said the trade mission was very successful and is confident the mission will help the U.S. continue to exceed trade expectations and meet the needs of the United Kingdom’s consumers for years to come.
Hats off to the USDA for leading trade missions like this. Inviting leaders of ag organizations and producers only adds creditably to the trade mission. We need more of these missions around the world.