Rio Grande Valley growers could be in a for a rough 2017

Contact: Brad Cowan, 956-383-1026,

MONTE ALTO  —  South Texas row crop producers are invited to the Spring 2017 Crop Seminar to help them prepare for what could be a tough year in 2017, according to organizers.

rowcropsrainBrad Cowan, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agent for Hidalgo County, said dry weather conditions and low commodity prices mean Rio Grande Valley growers need all the information they can get to help hedge their bets for a successful 2017.

“Commodity prices are low for corn, cotton, soybeans, grain sorghum and sesame,” Cowan said. “Prices are so weak and they are not expected to get better anytime soon. In fact, we may be in for a couple of slow years.”

But farmers need to farm, Cowan said, and they should start thinking now about what they are going to plant in the spring.

“The better informed our growers are, the better their chances of success,” he said.

A roster of experts from throughout the state and Mexico will address crop and market situations at the seminar 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Nov. 10 at Rio Farms, 25601 Farm-to-Market 88 in Monte Alto.

“Last year at this time, things were looking pretty good,” Cowan said. “We were having a very wet fall and prices were encouraging. But this year, it’s been bone dry and prices are weak. Unlike 2016, next year will not be one of those years growers look to with optimism.”

Cowan suspects successful crops nationwide are the reason for the dip in commodity prices.

“There’s just too much inventory in the pipeline,” he said. “There’s lots of cotton on the market and the Midwest appears to be having another good crop. And the two big grain crops nationwide, corn and soybeans, have also done well lately so the resulting lower prices leads the downward trend for other feed grains, like our grain sorghum.”

Valley cotton growers did so well with high yields this year that many local growers are thinking about planting even more cotton next year, Cowan said.

“But a lot of thought and information is needed before deciding what to plant so we’ve gathered experts for this seminar to talk to our growers to inform them about markets, trends and what the future trends might be.”

Cowan said the free seminar will begin with representatives from various producer organizations providing updates on cotton, grain sorghum, corn, soybeans and sesame markets.

These include:

  • Corn, Hallie Bertrand, Texas Corn Producers industry relations, Lubbock.
  • Grain sorghum, Wayne Cleveland, Texas Grain Sorghum Producers executive director, Salado.
  • Soybeans, Taylor Bartek, Texas Soybean Board administrative coordinator, Lubbock.
  • Cotton, Dwight Jackson, National Cotton Council, Corpus Christi.
  • Sesame, Jerry Riney, Sesaco Inc., Austin.

Cowan will then moderate a discussion on expected 2017 costs of production for those crops.

Francisco Belden, director of Regasa in Monterrey, Mexico, a major buyer of U.S. soybeans, will discuss that commodity’s outlook.

Dr. Grover Shannon will then discuss the advantages and tips for growing soybeans in South Texas. Shannon is a professor at the University of Missouri and the David Haggard Endowed Chair of Soybean and Genetics Breeding Emeritus.

Dr. Mark Welch, an AgriLife Extension grains marketing economist in College Station, will give a talk titled “Spring 2017 Crop Markets.”

Other topics include the grain indemnity fund vote and crop contracts for 2017. Various company representatives will wrap up the day by discussing developments in their respective industries.

The seminar is sponsored by Rio Farms Inc. in cooperation with AgriLife Extension, the Cotton Board, Garcia Grain Trading, Ragasa, the University of Missouri, Sesaco, Texas Grain Sorghum Producers, Texas Corn Producers, Texas Soybean Board, Texas Farm Credit and Capital Farm Credit.

For more information, contact Cowan at 956-383-1026 or .

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