Record crop yields?


first_imgGeorgia row-crop farmers worked hard on their fields this growing season, and Mother Nature gave them some favorable “calls.” They could break records. This coupled with fair prices could lead them, if not to a conference championship, to at least what could be called a “winning” season.Most Georgia farmers plant more than one crop during a season, usually managing a combination of peanuts, cotton, corn or soybeans. Across the board, they are looking at record or record-tying yields.Farmers planted 1 million acres of cotton this year and expect to produce1.8 million bales. (A bale is 480 pounds of lint.) This is slightly less than earlier predictions, but still 200,000 bales better than last year, according to the Georgia Agricultural Statistics Service.“Certainly the profit potential is there for cotton when you consider the size of the crop, which will be by most accounts phenomenal,” said Don Shurley, a cotton economist with the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension.Right now, the state’s average yield is forecast to be 873 pounds per acre, or 24 pounds more than the previous record set in 2005. Harvest will not be complete until later this month or next.Along with the yields, prices are also good at 70 cents per pound of lint right now. “And any price that starts with the number ‘7’ gets cotton farmers’ attention,” Shurley said.Overall, U.S. and world production is down 5 percent this year. Demand for U.S. cotton has rebounded by 2.5 percent after a major slump last year, which has kept prices higher.Georgia peanut yields are expected to be 3,500 pounds per acre, which would be 50 pounds more than the record set in 2003, according to GASS.“If we do reach or exceed 3,500, it will be amazing, considering the delayed planting in spring and the very undesirable harvest conditions,” said John Beasley, a UGA Extension peanut agronomist.The No. 1 reason, he said, Georgia may reach the record is the widespread use of improved peanut varieties, like Georgia-06 G, Florida-07 and Tifguard. These varieties have high levels of disease resistance and perform with good rainfall, which most of the state received after June.Prices for this season’s peanuts are $400 per ton, or $50 to $100 less than last year. This decrease is due to 1 million tons in surplus that hung over preplanting decisions and contract offers farmers were receiving, said Nathan Smith, a UGA Extension economist. Georgia peanut farmers, who produce half of the nation’s crop, responded to the surplus by planting 505,000 acres this year, or 185,000 acres less than last. The U.S. will produce 1.8 million tons this year, 300,000 tons less than the expected U.S. consumption. This will shrink the surplus which will be good for prices next year, Smith said.Demand for peanuts has recovered from the salmonella scare associated with a Georgia processing facility earlier this year. It is on track to be up 2 percent from last year, Smith said.Georgia’s average corn yield will be 140 bushels per acre, tying last year’s record. Timely rain and irrigation helped the crop. Prices are good, too, Smith said, around $3.85 to $4 per bushel. An increase in demand for ethanol, which is made from corn, has bolstered prices.Soybean farmers will also tie a yield record this year, averaging 33 bushels per acre. Prices for soybeans are high at $10 per bushel. China’s demand for U.S. soybeans has fueled the high prices. They will import 614 million bushels this year, double what they imported last year.Overall input costs, or what farmers spend to produce a crop, stayed the same or decreased 5 percent to 10 percent from the previous year, Smith said. This helps farmers’ bottom lines.Georgia’s growing season results will vary from farm to farm and so will profits, he said. Some farmers spent more, for example, to control insects or diseases in certain locations.“But overall, things do look better now compared to what we were forecasting earlier this year,” Smith said.last_img read more

All I Want for Christmas…


first_imgAll right all you good little boys and girls, let’s think about what we want Santa put under the tree this year.How about a wool PISGAH jersey made by local Pisgah Works? It’s a full zip, with a silver pull ornately designed as a dragon. It has a hood, complete with tiny visor so that it can be worn under the helmet. The visor keeps your face from being leaked on by the annoying drip through the slits in the helmet. The extra-long sleeves have thumb-holes, which are perfect for those days you don’t want a gap between your glove and sleeves. It’s even perfect on the days you almost needed gloves. Of course it has snug rear pockets. The best part is how frigging cool you look, and everybody tells you so.You just can’t get enough base layers, either. That includes socks, which have become nearly as important as shorts. DeFeet, which is a local company, has always kept my toes comfy whether they’re wet in the summer or the winter. Everybody needs a thin, long-sleeve thermal layer with a neckline that doesn’t choke or bind and tucks down low into the shorts. As for tights, it’s that time of year that if you don’t have fleece tights, you probably won’t ride.Since buying whimsical, yet highly functional gear can be a little costly, a great stocking stuffer would be a cool riding shirt from Club Ride. Not only do you look like a sexy cowboy, but the material does not hold stink. You can finish an epic Sunday in it and still wear it to work the next morning. Not only is the line American made by some hot dude in Idaho, but he buys tricot material from a local company who also serves Patagonia.Who wants to struggle anymore with a hand pump. What we need is a sturdy floor pump with a gauge. It works well for cars and motorcycle tires too.It’s pretty much guaranteed that riders are going to go through some tubes, so might as well fill the stocking with a few to stash in the backpack. Other safety necessities might be a small first aid kit (with painkillers and a suture kit). Even a whistle is a good idea, as well as a fistful of Cliff Cubes, which are yummy gummies filled with the necessities for trail-burned legs on a long ride.Speaking of packs, Camelbak is no longer the only choice for hydration. Osprey has busted out with a system that craves details. The bladder has a long handle and screw top that never suctions on too tightly, requiring a Hulk grip to open it. It has a firm back that allows the bladder to slide easily into the pack, providing a smooth surface on the rider’s back. It has small, waterproof, zipped compartments that can be washed out. Never does the tube down to the valve flop around tapping your knee in that irritating fashion. The chest strap has a super magnet that holds the valve in place, just inches from your thirsty lips. Plus, they’ve got a cool purple one that funds breast cancer research.The only other thing I can think of beyond a Go-Pro video camera is a small private fridge in the garage filled with beer.last_img read more

Karch criticises German pension system’s interest rate sensitivity


first_imgThe German occupational pension system has overlooked its interest-rate risk sensitivity, a dependency that will force it to re-evaluate its approach to guarantees, according to Heribert Karch, chair of the country’s pension association.Karch, chairman of the aba and chief executive at MetallRente, said that, following the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the German pensions sector was proud of how well it weathered the crisis.“But we overlooked how sensitive to interest rates we were,” he told the aba’s annual conference in Berlin this week.“Today, we still finance a greater number of countries than we do economies. This results in a interest rate dependency and a sensitivity to interest rates that forces us to re-think the dilemma of [low] returns and guaranteed [payments].” Karch called for the industry to truly re-think the issue and not simply assume a defensive stance.“If we can come to a sensible agreement, then I am not worried that we can ensure [income] security for employees.”The chairman’s comments came shortly after the German government received two detailed reports on pension reform, examining possible tax incentives to boost participation and the role of collective bargaining agreements.The respective ministries, for finance and social affairs, have offered tacit support for one of the main findings, proposing the use of an auto-enrolment system to boost participation rates.However, aba and Karch warned against attempts to introduced a defined contribution-based system, without any guarantees, noting it would be a difficult reform to sell.“The federal government must now look at the numerous reform proposals and settle on the right shape of reform.“The aba stands ready to offer its assistance – both with the big picture and the detail.”last_img read more

Barca stunned, advantage Real


first_imgBarcelona were shocked 3-1 away at Real Sociedad while title rivals Atletico Madrid went down 3-0 at Osasuna, giving Real Madrid a three-point lead at the top of the table after their 3-0 victory over Elche.Barca, who had not won at Sociedad since the 2006/07 season, were outclassed by their bogey team as they succumbed to their third loss of the season. The hosts were an attacking threat throughout the match as Gerardo Martino’s men never really kicked into gear, going down 1-0 on 32 minutes after an Elustondo header deflected off Cameroonian Alex Song into the back of the Barca net. Lionel Messi equalised with a low drive four minutes later, yet went behind nine minutes after the break as Antoine Griezmann finished off a great counter-attacking move from Sociedad.The Blaugrana were 3-1 down on the hour mark as David Zurutuza zipped in front of a hesitant Victor Valdes to tuck home a Griezmann chip and send the home fans into absolute delirium. Sociedad dominated the rest of the game as Barcelona were unable to find their way back into the match, as their seven-year winless run at the Anoeta Stadium continued.Real Madrid now have a three-point advantage at the top of the table after their comfortable 3-0 win at home to Ulche. Spanish midfielder Asier Illarramendi gave Los Blancos the lead after controlling a corner and firing in for his first goal of the season as the hosts went into the break 1-0 up.The Galacticos’ second came on 72 minutes when Welsh winger Gareth Bale picked up the ball in midfield and sent in an unstoppable shot from outside the area to net his 10th league goal for Real, after which Isco added a third to ensure all three points for Carlo Ancelotti’s side.Joint La Liga leaders at the start of the weekend Atletico Madrid were no match for a rampant Osasuna side, who put in a dominant display in beating their more-fancied opponents 3-0. First half goals from Alvaro Cejudo, Emiliano Armenteros and Roberto Torres shocked Atletico who now slip down to third place in La Liga, as they prepare to host crosstown rivals Real Madrid on Sunday. Weekend La Liga results:Valladolid 1-1 LevanteReal Sociedad 3-1 Barcelona Almeria 0-0 MalagaCelta Vigo 1-1 GetafeReal Madrid 3-0 ElcheRayo Vallecano 0-1 SevillaReal Betis 0-2 Athletic BilabaoValencia 2-1 GranadaOsasuna 3-0 Atletico Madridlast_img read more

World’s wheelchair tennis stars headed for SA


first_img13 March 2014Two major wheelchair tennis tournaments are set to be staged in South Africa next month: the Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) Gauteng Open and the Acsa SA Open. Many of the world’s leading players will be in action.The Acsa Gauteng Open will be played at the Gauteng East Tennis Centre at Benoni Lake from 23 to 27 April and is a grade one event, one of only 13 such tournaments in the world.Top international playersTop international players are expected to participate in the event, in preparation for the even more prestigious Acsa SA Open, which takes place at Ellis Park in Johannesburg from 29 April to 3 May.The Acsa SA Open is a Super Series event, one of only six such tournaments in the world to hold that status. The other Super Series tournaments are played in Australia, France, Japan, Britain and the United States.‘An important tournament’“It is a tremendous honour to be awarded such an important tournament,” Wheelchair Tennis South Africa (WTSA) general manager Karen Losch said in a statement on Wednesday.“It is evidence that South Africa has been recognised as one of the powerhouses of wheelchair tennis. We expect stars from around the world to come to South Africa for the tournaments, and we hope the people of Gauteng will come in their numbers to support our players.”Star SitholeSouth Africa boasts some of the world’s leading wheelchair tennis players, led by US Open quad champion and world number two Lucas Sithole, who finished as runner-up to world number one David Wagner in the Australian Open in January.In the 2013 SA Open, Sithole beat Wagner on his way to the final where he lost to Andy Lapthorne. With that result, Sithole climbed to fourth in the world rankings and has since improved markedly.Defending Gauteng Open championSouth Africa’s number one female player Kgothatso Montjane, known as “KG”, is ranked seventh in the world, and is the defending champion in the Gauteng Open. She was also the runner-up in last year’s SA Open.Evans Maripa is the world number 15. He was encouraged by Montjane to take up the sport in 2007. Just two years later, he won Gold at the Asia pAcific Youth Para Games in Tokyo.DrawsBoth South African tournaments will have draws of 32 players for the singles and 16 pairs for the doubles in the men’s event, and 24 and 12 in the women’s event, while the junior and quads events will have draws of 16 players for singles and eight pairs for doubles.As part of WTSA’s outreach programme, stars from wheelchair and able-bodied tennis will conduct a special clinic for schools on 30 April at Ellis Park.SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

Press release: South Africa ranked among top countries for FDI and remains an attractive investment destination


first_imgBrand South Africa welcomes South Africa’s performance in the 2017 A.T. Kearney Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Confidence Index, as well as in the Africa Investment Index 2016 by Quantum Global’s independent research arm, Quantum Global Research Lab.Known as the melting pot of diversity and inspiring new ways that have shaped the nation’s young democracy, this year – World Economic Forum on Africa will be held in South Africa under the theme ‘Driving economic transformation in Africa through inclusive growth models’. (Image: Mathiba Molefe)Johannesburg, Friday 21 April 2017 – Brand South Africa welcomes South Africa’s performance in the 2017 A.T. Kearney Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Confidence Index, as well as in the Africa Investment Index 2016 by Quantum Global’s independent research arm, Quantum Global Research Lab.South Africa has made a comeback in the 2017 A.T. Kearney Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Confidence Index, and has been ranked as the fourth most attractive investment destination in Africa according to the latest Africa Investment Index 2016 by Quantum Global’s independent research arm, Quantum Global Research Lab published on Wednesday.The Quantum Global report is constructed from macroeconomic and financial indicators and the World Bank Group’s Ease of Doing Business Indicators, and also averages the country’s macroeconomic and financial indicators rankings on the six different factors. The report advocates that South Africa received the number four ranking on the Index because it scored well on the growth factor of GDP, ease of doing business in the country and significant population.Reflecting upon South Africa’s significant improvement, Brand South Africa’s CEO Dr Kingsley Makhubela said, “As a nation, we are cognisant of the role of all South Africans in building the country’s reputation and competitiveness and these improvements emphasise that South Africa is a competent and competitive investment destination and that we are indeed open for business.  This also reinforces perceptions about South Africans, from a range of other studies, as hardworking and resilient – despite recent challenges relating to credit downgrades.”The 2017 A.T. Kearney Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Confidence Index report said that while overall FDI flows to Africa decreased 5% in 2016 to an estimated $51 billion, South Africa bucked the overall regional trend, with UNCTAD estimating its FDI inflows increased 38% in 2016. South Africa made a comeback in the Index – rounding out the Index in the 25th spot.  “This is likely as a result of improving short-term economic prospects and the long-term investment potential in the country’s manufacturing sector,” A.T. Kearney’s report said.Known as the melting pot of diversity and inspiring new ways that have shaped the nations young democracy, this year – World Economic Forum on Africa will be held in South Africa under the theme ‘Driving economic transformation in Africa through inclusive growth models’ on 03 – 05 May 2017 in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.Commenting on this Dr Makhubela concluded: “As a global partner, South Africa commits to the stated objectives of this conference, and it is our hope that this platform will create an enabling environment where we can all share insights on how to better improve the current landscape and map out innovative tactics to accelerate inclusive growth while bringing about sustainable development in the future.”Follow the conversation on #SANationBrandFollow Brand South [email protected]_SAhttps://twitter.com/Brand_SATell us how you Play Your [email protected]://www.playyourpart.co.za/tellus-someone https://www.facebook.com/BrandSouthAfricaFor more information or to set up interviews, please contact: Tsabeng NthiteTel: +27 11 712 5061Mobile: +27 (0) 76 371 6810Email: [email protected]last_img read more