Publications

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  • Sugar and Sweeteners Outlook: January 2012

    SSSM-281, January 18, 2012

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) projects 2011/12 sugar production in Mexico at 5.000 million metric tons (mt), a decrease of 330,000 mt from last month's projection. The forecast is based on lower than expected harvest progress through January 7, 2012 and consequent implications for the rest of the harvest cycle. The USDA lowered its forecast of Mexican sugar imports from 449,000 mt to 310,000 mt. The decrease is attributable to a lower import pace-to-date from the two tariff-rate quotas (TRQs) opened earlier in the year by Mexico and scheduled to close by the end of January. Lower estandar sugar prices in Mexico contributed to the lower than expected fill level. The USDA did not change its forecast of sugar deliveries or ending stock levels. The USDA lowered its forecast of Mexico sugar exports by 469,000 mt to 892,000 mt in order to balance sugar use with the sugar supply reductions.

  • Research Investments and Market Structure in the Food Processing, Agricultural Input, and Biofuel Industries Worldwide: Executive Summary

    EIB-90, December 30, 2011

    Meeting growing global demand for food, fiber, and biofuel requires robust investment in agricultural research and development (R&D) from both public and private sectors. This report highlights the major findings of a study examining global R&D spending by private industry in seven agricultural input sectors, food manufacturing, and biofuel and describes the changing structure of these industries. For the full report, see Research Investments and Market Structure in the Food Processing, Agricultural Input, and Biofuel Industries Worldwide, ERR-130. In 2007 (the latest year for which comprehensive estimates are available), the private sector spent $19.7 billion on food and agricultural research (56 percent in food manufacturing and 44 percent in agricultural input sectors) and accounted for about half of total public and private spending on food and agricultural R&D in high-income countries. In R&D related to biofuel, annual private-sector investments are estimated to have reached $1.47 billion worldwide by 2009. Incentives to invest in R&D are influenced by market structure and other factors. Agricultural input industries have undergone significant structural change over the past two decades, with industry concentration on the rise. A relatively small number of large, multinational firms with global R&D and marketing networks account for most R&D in each input industry. Rising market concentration has not generally been associated with increased R&D investment as a percentage of industry sales.

  • Estimating the Substitution of Distillers' Grains for Corn and Soybean Meal in the U.S. Feed Complex

    FDS-11I01, October 13, 2011

    Corn-based dry-mill ethanol production and its coproducts - notably distillers' dried grains with soluble (DDGS) - have surged in recent years. The report estimates the potential substitution of DDGS for corn and soybean meal in livestock feeding and the impact of substitution upon the U.S. feed complex.

  • Nitrogen in Agricultural Systems: Implications for Conservation Policy

    ERR-127, September 22, 2011

    Nitrogen is an important agricultural input that is critical for crop production. However, the introduction of large amounts of nitrogen into the environment has a number of undesirable impacts on water, terrestrial, and atmospheric resources. This report explores the use of nitrogen in U.S. agriculture and assesses changes in nutrient management by farmers that may improve nitrogen use efficiency. It also reviews a number of policy approaches for improving nitrogen management and identifies issues affecting their potential performance. Findings reveal that about two-thirds of U.S. cropland is not meeting three criteria for good nitrogen management related to the rate, timing, and method of application. Several policy approaches, including financial incentives, nitrogen management as a condition of farm program eligibility, and regulation, could induce farmers to improve their nitrogen management and reduce nitrogen losses to the environment.

  • Sugar and Sweeteners Outlook: September 2011

    SSSM-277, September 15, 2011

    On September 12, 2011, the USDA released its latest U.S. and Mexico sugar supply and use estimates for fiscal year (FY) 2011 and projections for FY 2012 in the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report. For FY 2011, the USDA increased its estimate of tariff-rate quota (TRQ) shortfall and accounted for early entry of imports from the FY 2012 raw sugar TRQ and deferral of some FY 2011 raw sugar TRQ imports until the first month of the next fiscal year. For FY 2012, the USDA reduced its projection of beet sugar production to 4.575 million short tons, raw value (STRV), a reduction of 175,000 STRV, or 3.7 percent, compared with last month's projection. The reduction was made in response to lower sugarbeet production forecasts by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). NASS forecast sugarbeet production at 29.180 million tons, a reduction of 1.213 million tons, or 4.0 percent compared with last month's forecast. NASS cited wet field conditions, along with disease and hail damage, in half of the sugarbeet growing areas as reasons for reduced production prospects. No change was made to the FY 2012 cane sugar production forecast. Trade and total use projections remained the same as last month's as well. Ending stocks projected for FY 2012 are decreased 215,000 STRV (lower beet sugar production combined with fewer beginning stocks) to 1.127 million STRV. The implied stocks-to-use ratio is 9.8 percent, a drop of 1.9 percentage points from last month. Supply and use estimates and forecasts in Mexico remained the same as those for last month.

  • Where Did the Corn Come From To Fuel the Expansion in Ethanol Production?

    Amber Waves, September 01, 2011

    Between 2000 and 2009, U.S. ethanol production increased from 1.6 billion gallons to 10.8 billion gallons, almost all of which was produced from corn. Some of the corn came from increased yields and some was diverted from other uses, but much of the corn needed to produce ethanol came from expanding planted acreage.

  • Vegetables and Melons Outlook: August 2011

    VGS-346, August 25, 2011

    The farm value of all mushroom (Agaricus and others) sales during the 2010/11 crop year (July-June) reached a new high of $1 billion, up 8 percent from a year earlier. Partly reflecting modest gains in the economy, mushroom sales volume rose 9 percent to 862 million pounds, the second highest level on record. In line with higher output, per capita disappearance (use) of all mushrooms grew 8 percent to 3.82 pounds in 2010/11.

  • On the Doorstep of the Information Age: Recent Adoption of Precision Agriculture

    EIB-80, August 24, 2011

    The adoption of precision agriculture, which encompasses a suite of farm-level information technologies, can improve the efficiency of input use and reduce environmental harm from the overapplication of inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides. Still, the adoption of precision agricultural technologies and practices has been less rapid than envisioned a decade ago. Using Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS) data collected over the past 10 years, this report examines trends in the adoption of four key information technologies-yield monitors, variable-rate application technologies, guidance systems, and GPS maps-in the production of major field crops. While yield monitoring is now used on over 40 percent of U.S. grain crop acres, very few producers have adopted GPS maps or variable-rate input application technologies.

  • The Ethanol Decade: An Expansion of U.S. Corn Production, 2000-09

    EIB-79, August 18, 2011

    ERS examines how the farm sector reacted to increased demand for corn needed to fuel a 9-billion-gallon rise in ethanol production in the past decade. In the United States, corn is the primary ethanol feedstock.

  • Sugar and Sweeteners Outlook: August 2011

    SSSM-276, August 16, 2011

    The FY 2012 TRQ for raw cane sugar is set at 1,231,497 short tons, raw value (STRV), or 1,117,195 metric tons, raw value (MTRV), the minimum to which the United States is committed under the World Trade Organization (WTO) Uruguay Round Agreement on Agriculture.

  • Fruit and Tree Nuts Outlook: July 2011

    FTS-348, July 29, 2011

    The index of prices received by fruit and tree nut growers in June, at 157 (1990-92=100), rose 9 percent from the May index and increased 18 percent above the June 2010 index. Year-to-year price increases in June for process grapefruit and fresh-market apples, grapes, peaches, pears, and strawberries drove the index up over the previous year, offsetting price declines for fresh-market lemons and oranges.

  • Wheat Flour Price Shocks and Household Food Security in Afghanistan

    ERR-121, July 12, 2011

    Using a nationally representative household survey from Afghanistan, ERS analyzes the impact of increases in wheat flour prices before and during the 2007/08 global food price crisis.

  • Why Have Food Commodity Prices Risen Again?

    WRS-1103, June 28, 2011

    The report describes the factors that have contributed to the large and rapid increase in agricultural prices during the past year. The report focuses particularly on food commodity prices-which have risen 60 percent since June 2010.

  • Brazil's Ethanol Industry: Looking Forward

    BIO-02, June 27, 2011

    This report profiles and analyzes Brazil's ethanol industry, providing information on the policy environment that enabled the development of feedstock and processing sectors, and discusses the various opportunities and challenges to face the industry over the next decade.

  • Brazil's Cotton Industry: Economic Reform and Development

    CWS-11D01, June 17, 2011

    This report identifies the factors contributing to the cycles in Brazil's cotton production and exports that have made the country both an important market for U.S. cotton exports and now a competitor with U.S. cotton producers since 1990.

  • Vegetable Production Concentrated on Very Large Farms

    Amber Waves, June 16, 2011

    Very large commercial farms (with $1 million or more of agricultural sales per year) accounted for about 8 percent of all U.S. specialized vegetable and melon farms during 2005-07.

  • On the Map: California, Florida, and Washington Are Nation's Largest Fruit-Producing States

    Amber Waves, June 16, 2011

    California accounts for about half of U.S. bearing fruit acreage, Florida almost one-fourth, and Washington around one-tenth.

  • Sugar and Sweeteners Outlook: June 2011

    SSSM-274, June 14, 2011

    On May 19, 2011, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released the World Production, Supply and Distribution (PSD) for centrifugal sugar. World exports are projected to increase 3.1 million metric tons raw value (MTRV) to 55.7 million MTRV in 2011/12. Significant export growth is expected in Brazil, Thailand, and India. At the same time, imports are projected to decline by 3.05 million MTRV in 2011/12. The USDA projects a 2011/12 world sugar surplus (world production less consumption) of 6.480 million MTRV. This surplus builds on the estimated 2010/11 world sugar surplus of 1.626 million MTRV in 2010/11.

  • Policy Reform in the Tobacco Industry: Producers Adapt to a Changing Market

    EIB-77, May 26, 2011

    ERS analyzes tobacco producers' adjustments in production, investment, labor requirements, and contracting practices following elimination of tobacco quotas and tobacco price supports.

  • Sugar and Sweeteners Outlook: May 2011

    SSSM-273, May 16, 2011

    The Sugar and Sweetener Team of the Economic Research Service (ERS) makes calendar year estimates of total and per capita sweetener deliveries that are available for food and beverage consumption by U.S. consumers. U.S. sweetener deliveries for 2010 were 131.9 pounds per capita, up slightly from 2009, but down 19.4 pounds from the per capita high of 151.3 pounds in 1999. Per capita sugar consumption in 2010 was 66.0 pounds, its highest level since 1999, while corn sweetener per capita consumption at 64.5 pounds was at its lowest level since 1986. For the first time since 1985, total sugar available for consumption exceeded total corn sweeteners (the sum of high fructose corn syrup, glucose syrup, and dextrose).