Full text of Agricultural News Letter : Vol. III, Number 8
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AGRICULTURAL NEWS LETTER THE F E D E R A L R E S E R V E BANK OF D A L L A S Vol. Ill THE Dallas, Texas, August 15,1948 OUTLOOK FOR COTTON At the recent meeting of the Cotton Re search Congress held in Dallas, Secretary of Agriculture Charles F. Brannan, speaking on "Cotton Makes a Comeback,” gave a brief but comprehensive picture of the position of cot ton today and some of the problems it faces in the future. Mr. Brannan stated that the outlook for American cotton in the years im mediately ahead is better than it has been for at least two decades. The domestic surpluses of the 1930’s have been reduced and our carry over is now at a comfortable level. This situa tion has resulted, he said, from a better bal ancing of cotton production with domestic cotton needs, increased domestic consumption of cotton, and government programs for fi nancing shipments of cotton to foreign coun tries. The Secretary added that the present sit uation also is favored by a "world carry-over which is not alarming” and a need for textiles which is probably at, or close to, an all-time high. If cotton is to continue to enjoy a fa vorable outlook, however, Mr. Brannan em phasized that research, aggressive and for ward-looking domestic programs, high-level exports, and increased domestic consumption must be maintained. In viewing the world cotton situation, Mr. Brannan stated that the carry-over of cotton by foreign countries is declining. World pro duction during the last few years has been at a relatively low level and is now exceeded by consumption. If this should continue, there would be a shortage of cotton in the not too distant future. However, Mr. Brannan pointed out that some of the factors which reduced world cotton production during re cent years were temporary and foreign pro duction is now increasing. Furthermore, while great unfilled needs for cotton goods abroad AND Number 8 COTTONSEED remain, the lack of funds is an obstacle to continued large consumption of American cotton in foreign countries. It was empha sized, therefore, that the future for cotton is associated with the revival of purchasing pow er in the world. Finally, Mr. Brannan stressed the point that our cotton must prove that it can meet the price and quality competition of substitutes and foreign cotton under condi tions of normal markets. Some of the problems involved in maintain ing and enlarging the demand for cottonseed were discussed at the Research Congress by Dr. N. R. Whitney, economist for Procter and Gamble Company, Cincinnati, Ohio, in an address on the subject “Domestic Markets for Cottonseed and Cottonseed Products.” The demand for cottonseed, said Dr. Whitney, is derived from the demand for its products —oil, meal, linters, and hulls. Cotton linters are used in the production of cellophane, shat terproof glass, paint, photographic films, paper, plastics, surgical dressings, and many other products. The oil is used for edible pur poses in the form of margarine, vegetable shortening, salad oil, and cooking oil. Cotton seed meal is used as feed for livestock and poultry and as fertilizer, while the hulls are used mainly in the form of roughage. Accord ing to Dr. Whitney, the problem is to find markets for cottonseed products, for in so doing there will be created a market for cot tonseed. Chemical research and manufacturing tech niques have made great strides in creating products from cottonseed for which a de mand may be stimulated, said Dr. Whitney. However, after the research work of the chemists has been completed, the task of find 2 AGRICULTURAL NEWS LETTER ing a market for the products requires a tre mendous amount of intelligence and labor, for each product obtained from cottonseed faces intense competition from other prod ucts which may be used for the same or sim ilar purposes. Dr. Whitney emphasized that the maintenance of a large market for cotton seed will depend on further work on market ing phases of the problem. According to Dr. Whitney, a market strat egy designed to enlarge the demand for cot tonseed products in the face of constantly growing competition from similar products should include six fundamentals: (1) the dis covery of new and wider uses for the prod ucts, (2) maintenance of quality and of hon est standards, (3) maintenance of prices of the products at competitive levels, (4) sta bility of prices, (5) intelligent and unremit ting advertising, and (6) an adequate supply to provide for a moderately stable annual usage. It was the opinion of these and other speak ers at the Cotton Research Congress that there is a hopeful outlook for cotton and cotton seed but that future developments with re spect to these commodities will depend on many factors and that strenuous efforts must be made constantly by all members of the in dustry to produce better products at lower costs in order to meet the competition of for eign cotton and domestic synthetics. Through out the meeting it was emphasized that re search is still the magic word in cotton’s rise to a position of greater usefulness and is the key to a future of stable, assured markets for cotton products in this country and through out the world. FARM MANAGEMENT Trench Silos Cost Less; Construction Simple It is possible for the farmer of small means, and even for the tenant farmer, to have a trench silo, says H. M. Haws, Jr., Oklahoma A. and M. College agricultural engineer. A large percentage of Oklahoma farms are op erated by tenants, and there are many owners who cannot afford to have an expensive silo. For these people the trench silo has a place, he explains, for it provides a cheap and satisfac tory method of storing feed during any sea son, and particularly during dry seasons when forage crops are threatened by drought. There are several advantages of the trench silo: the cost of construction is low, it can be made any desired size and can be built on short notice for an emergency, it is fireproof and windproof, and it is easy to fill and to remove the silage. Probably the most desirable type is the silo lined with concrete and rein forced with a double layer of heavy hog wire. After the trench is dug, walls smoothed down, and the wire put in place, a three-inch layer of concrete should be applied, followed by a plaster finish. Local county agents can provide bulletins and advice on construction of trench silos. Fertilizers Applied to Grains Prove Profitable in Blacklands Tests In the fall of 1947, plantings of several small grains were made by the Texas Research Foundation, Renner, Texas, to determine their response to fertilizer. Four separate plots of each kind of grain were planted. In each group one plot was not fertilized, the second re ceived an application of 500 pounds of 4-12-8 fertilizer per acre at planting time, the third was given a nitrogen topdressing in the spring, and the fourth had 4-12-8 fertilizer at plant ing time plus nitrogen topdressing in the spring. The yields were harvested and measured in terms of bushels per acre. Wheat yields pro duced without fertilizer averaged 22.2 bushels per acre, and the addition of ammonium ni trate alone made little difference. Use of the 4-12-8 fertilizer increased yields to 27.9 bushels, while application of both fertilizers raised production to 30.4 bushels per acre. Oats responded greatly to both ammonium nitrate and 4-12-8 fertilizer. The ammonium nitrate produced a yield of 39.1 bushels per acre as compared with 31.2 bushels on un fertilized land. Use of 4-12-8 fertilizer pro duced 43.5 bushels per acre, while application of both fertilizers raised the yields to 57.5 bushels per acre. AGRICULTURAL NEWS LETTER Winter barley yielded 16.8 bushels on un treated land, but yields were increased to 21.8 bushels by use of ammonium nitrate. Use of 4-12-8 fertilizer raised yields to 24.4 bushels per acre or about 8 bushels above the yields on untreated soil. Application of both am monium nitrate and 4-12-8 fertilizer raised yields to 3 5.1 bushels per acre or more than double the yield on unfertilized land. The conclusion to be drawn from these ex periments is that fertilizer applied to small grains on Blackland soils may be very profit able. Under present price relationships, addi tional yields more than offset the cost of these fertilizers. 3 of individual companies indicate a further increase this year of 20 to 25 percent. Determined efforts to hold down prices have been made by the more efficient units in the industry, with the result that the increase in farm equipment prices has been less than that for manufactured goods generally. How ever, rising wage costs and pressure on mar gins recently prompted one of the larger manufacturers of farm machinery to lift prices on tractors by an average of 10 percent. Other producers will undoubtedly do likewise and price increases on additional items are probable, according to this report. The present exceptional demand for equip ment reflects high farm income in this coun try, the relative shortage of labor on farms, Save Farm-Stored Grain From Insects and the urgent need for continued large pro Insects in farm cribs do tremendous dam duction of food and fibre throughout the age. A thorough job of housecleaning bins world. and spraying them with DDT before newly harvested grain is stored will rid the bins of Oil for the Farm hold-over infestation and will give new grain In view of the large production of petro a good chance to escape damage. With another leum, an adequate supply of gas and oil for corn harvest in the offing and in the face of the farm may easily be assumed or taken for urgent need for food and feed conservation, granted, but this assumption appears unwar the cooperation of all grain farmers in a pre ranted, according to PbilFarmer, published harvest crib-cleaning campaign is being by Phillips Petroleum Company. The total sought. supply of oil products this summer is ex Information on methods of controlling in pected to be the largest in history, but, like sects in grain cribs is available from all county the farmer, the oil industry is facing an un agents and state entomologists. Two informa precedented demand for its products. The tional leaflets, “Save Farm Grain by Fumiga industry expects to meet farmers’ needs but tion” and “Save Farm-Stored Grain from In there is little margin to spare, and this may sects,” issued cooperatively by the Office for be lost if there is interference with production Food and Feed Conservation and the Bureau and distribution of oil or if bumper crops of Entomology and Plant Quarantine, are increase the current record demand for oil. available from county agents. Farm use of motor fuel alone is twice the prewar level. The number of tractors on farms in the United States has almost doubled since Farm Machinery Outlook 1940, while the number of automobiles and Production of farm equipment, currently trucks also increased substantially, not to at the highest rate in the history of the in mentionhasinnumerable other oil-consuming dustry, is still inadequate to meet the demands units such as self-propelled combines, hay of the American farmer and export require balers, pumps, and electric generators. ments, according to a recent industry survey made by Standard and Poor’s Corporation of Despite records being established in oil well New York. Shipments of agricultural machin drilling activity, new refineries being built ery, including tractors for nonfarm use, rose and old ones operated at or above capacity, 48.5 percent in 1947, and production figures and imports of oil exceeding exports, the oil •4 AGRICULTURAL NEWS LETTER industry is scarcely more than able to supply with hired employment the same as last year. current needs of farm and nonfarm consum Farm employment in the West South Central States was considerably below the level of ers. ;-----------------June 1 and slightly below the level of the COMMODITY NOTES same date in 1947. Commodity Purchase Agreements Offered to Farmers Purchase agreements as well as commodity TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS Cotton Harvesting Subject of Research loans on 194 8-crop wheat, oats, barley, rye, grain sorghums, rice, dry beans, and dry peas A cooperative research program to study will be offered to farmers as a means of price cotton mechanization problems for Okla support for this year’s crops, according to a homa and other western plains states is being recent announcement by the United States launched by the Oklahoma Agricultural Ex Department of Agriculture. The offer will be periment Station and the United States Bu open to farmers from time of harvest through reau of Plant Industry. According to William December 31, 1948, on substantially the same J. Oates, project supervisor, the work includes terms as those which applied to the 1947 crop such matters as improvement of equipment in all states and counties where commodity for cotton harvesting, cost studies of cotton loans are available. harvesting with mechanical equipment, and The Commodity Credit Corporation will studies of cotton varieties for mechanical har accept any quantity up to the maximum vesting. The research will be correlated with stated by the producer during the 30-day similar work in west Texas, which will apply period immediately following the maturity to western plains areas where cotton is raised date of the 1948 loan, which is April 30, 1949, without irrigation, as distinguished from pro or earlier on demand of the farmer. Purchase duction of the crop in the Mississippi Delta, prices will be the same as the corresponding the uplands of the southeastern states, and the irrigated lands of the Southwest and West. loan delivery rate. FARM LABOR Farm Wage Rates Continue Climb Employment Lower Than a Year Ago Farm wage rates in the Nation as a whole reached a new high on July 1, 7 percent above a year ago, according to Farm Labor, pub lished by the United States Department of Agriculture. Between April 1, 1948 and July 1, farm wage rates rose 8 percent, a more than usual seasonal increase. Farm wage rates in the West South Central States on July 1 were 391 percent of the 1910-14 average, 1 percent above the June level, and 7 percent above the level of July 1947. In relation to the pre-World War I wage rate level, the West South Central States reported lower wage rates on July 1 than any other section of the country except the East South Central States. Wage rates had risen to the highest level in the Pacific States, where the index was 447. Total farm employment in the Nation on July 1 was down 400,000 from a year ago, FARM PRICES 1948 Cotton Loan Program Announced The average loan rate on %-inch Middling cotton, gross weight, will be 28.79 cents per pound, which is 92 l/ z percent of the parity price of cotton as of August 1, 1948, accord ing to an announcement of the United States Department of Agriculture. The parity price on August 1 was 31.12 cents per pound. The loan rate of 28.79 cents per pound this year compares with 26.49 cents per pound last year. The average rate for 15/ 16-inch Mid dling cotton will be 1.95 cents per pound above the average for %-inch Middling cot ton, or 30.74 cents per pound. ANNOUNCEMENTS Meeting The Texas Poultry Improvement Associa tion Convention will be held at the Buccaneer Hotel in Galveston, Texas, during the four dsys September 13-16.