FIELD CROP PRODUCTION – PACIFIC REGION

P1050311SUGARCANE: The 2014 production of sugarcane in Hawaii is forecast at 1.43 million tons, up 2 percent from the previous year, but unchanged from the August forecast. Harvested acreage is estimated at 19.0 thousand acres, up 7 percent from last year. Yield is forecast at 75.0 tons per acre.

The 2014 U.S. production of sugarcane for sugar and seed in 2014 is forecast at 29.4 million tons, down 4 percent from last year. Producers intend to harvest 883 thousand acres for sugar and seed during the 2014 crop year, down 28.3 thousand acres from last year. Expected yield for sugar and seed is forecast at 33.3 tons per acre, down 0.5 tons from 2013.

COTTON: California Upland cotton production in California is forecast at 215 thousand bales, down 35 percent from the 2013 crop. Harvested acreage is estimated at 59.0 thousand acres, down 35 percent from a year ago. Yield is forecast at 1,749 pounds per acre, up 1 percent from last year.

California American Pima cotton production is forecast at 510 thousand bales, down 16 percent from the 2013 crop. Harvested acreage is forecast at 154 thousand acres, down 17 percent from last year. Yield is forecast at 1,590 pounds per acre.

U.S. upland cotton production is forecast at 16.0 million 480-pound bales, up 30 percent from 2013. Harvested area is expected to total 9.69 million acres, down 4 percent from last month but up 32 percent from 2013.

The U.S. American Pima cotton production, forecast at 578 thousand bales, is down 9 percent from last year. Expected harvested area, at 189.4 thousand acres, is down 5 percent from 2013.

RICE: California’s 2014 rice crop forecast, at 36.8 million cwt., is down 23 percent from the previous year. The yield forecast is 8,600 pounds per acre, up 2 percent from last month and up 1 percent from last year. Planted and harvested acreages are forecast at 433 thousand and 428 thousand acres, respectively. As of September 1, nearly all of the rice acres had headed.

The 2014 U.S. rice production is forecast at 218 million cwt, down 5 percent from August, but up 15 percent from last year. Area for harvest is expected to total 2.91 million acres, down 4 percent from August, but 18 percent higher than 2013. Based on conditions as of September 1, the average United States yield is forecast at a record high 7,501 pounds per acre, down 59 pounds from August and down 193 pounds from last year.

Sugar imports soar

Sugar imports shot up exponentially in the 11 months through May upon expectations of a lenient government policy on refined sugar exports and the zero-duty status granted to raw sugar imports.

Imports rose 87 percent to 15.77 lakh tonnes in July-May from the same period a year earlier, according to Bangladesh Bank that compiles data on letters of credit settlement.

Golam Mostafa, chairman of Deshbandhu Sugar, however, suggests that the total volume of sugar imports could be even higher than the LC data imply as payments are typically deferred by six months.

Mostafa attributes the spike in imports to the processing capacity of refineries, which were expanded in anticipation of relaxation of government restrictions on refined sugar exports.

While ASM Mohiuddin Monem, secretary general of Bangladesh Sugar Refiners Association, attributes the surge in imports to the zero-duty import facility bestowed upon sugar — both raw and refined — imports.

“All parties reaped advantage of the policy and imported sugar as much as possible,” said Monem, also the deputy managing director of Abdul Monem Group which runs AM Sugar Refinery Ltd.

For instance, the state-run Bangladesh Sugar Food Industries Corporation and Trading Corporation of Bangladesh imported more than 150,000 tonnes of refined sugar in fiscal 2011-12.

Mostafa expects the sugar imports to hit the 17-18 lakh tonne-mark for the 2012 calendar year, a significant rise from the 14.79 lakh tonnes recorded for 2011.

Health officials issue notice of violation for 2011 HC&S burn

WAILUKU – The state Department of Health Clean Air Branch has issued a notice of violation against Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. for an unauthorized burn last year.

According to a news release, HC&S was cited for burning around 25 acres on Nov. 4 without prior written approval from the department. The company has an agricultural burning permit with the Health Department, but the field that was burned was not among those that were listed on the permit. The violation was self-reported.

HC&S has been assessed a $2,400 fine for the violation.

In a statement issued Wednesday, HC&S General Manager Rick Volner Jr. said, “HC&S takes compliance with its agricultural burning permit very seriously and has instituted safeguards to prevent a recurrence of this incident.”

Volner said the Kahului field was not supposed to be harvested until 2012. But about half of the field was burned in a malicious fire, and the burned cane was harvested immediately.

Very little sweet news for sugar producers|Nation|chinadaily.com.cn

LINCANG, Yunnan – “I can’t expect any profit this year and I don’t know what to do next year,” said Li Xiuzhong, a 65-year-old sugarcane farmer in Lincang, Southwest China’s Yunnan province.

“We have 180 hectares of sugarcane last year and actually the beginning of the growing season was good due to sufficient rainfall,” he said. “But after June, things got worse so quickly and now there is no harvest in 30 hectares.”

His expectations have also dropped from five tons of crops for each hectare to three tons.

“These are already the best drought-resistant seeds and I have ploughed another 40 hectares for next year, hoping to earn more money,” he said. “But now, I have lost confidence in growing them under current weather conditions.”

He said he had grown sugarcane for more than 20 years and this year is the worst in terms of weather.

He is living on income from previous years.

Lincang used to be covered with thick forests and has rich water resources, but since the 2010 drought, its water conservation facilities have been under threat and agricultural production has been challenged.

Lincang’s sugar and tea industries are two pillars of its economy. Sixty percent of sugarcane crops were affected by the weather in 2010 and there was a conspicuous reduction of total production.

Ganhua Company is a major sugar factory in Yunxian county, and is experiencing a hard time with this year’s harvest.

According to Wei Xuehua, general director of the company, the scarcity of water has handed the company, as well as sugarcane farmers and delivery drivers, a total loss of 19 million yuan ($3 million) so far.

In addition, rats have also severely affected the production of sugarcane in the region as water can only be found in the plants.

HC&S profits offset Matson, property losses

Alexander & Baldwin Inc.’s agricultural sector – led by Maui’s Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. – produced a “strong performance” in 2011 while losses related to Matson Navigation Co. and the real estate sales division put a drag on company profits.

In reporting its 2011 and fourth-quarter financial results Monday, the Honolulu-based company said it logged a net income of $34.2 million, or 81 cents a share, for the year, down 63 percent from the $92.1 million, or $2.22 a share, in 2010 and down nearly 75 percent from the $132 million, or $3.19 a share, in 2008, as the Great Recession began roiling the national economy.

For the fourth quarter, A&B’s net income was only $1.6 million, or 4 cents a share, down from $20.2 million, or 48 cents a share, in the same quarter the previous year.

The company’s ocean transportation sector showed an operating profit of $74.1 million for the year, down from $118.7 million in 2010. This sector of the company suffered losses from the discontinuing of its second China-Long Beach service in the third quarter.

In addition, A&B said that the company continues to make progress on plans to separate its shipping and real estate/agricultural businesses in the second half of this year.

The agricultural sector, which includes HC&S and trucking and storage companies on Maui, Kauai and the Big Island, showed an operating profit of $22.2 million in 2011, up 264 percent from $6.1 million in 2010. This is a big contrast from three years ago, when agriculture lost $27 million and the board of directors debated shutting down sugar operations.

Alexander & Baldwin to split into two separate companies

Alexander & Baldwin Inc. said today its board of directors has approved a plan to split the company into two separate companies, one focusing on real estate and agriculture and the other on shipping.

The two companies would be independent and publicly traded, the company said in a news release.

Under the plan, A&B shareholders will own one share of both A&B and Matson stock for each share of company stock owned. The separation is expected to be completed in the second half of 2012.

The announcement was made after the market closed. A&B’s shares rose $1.50 to $39.56 in after hours trading.

“Over the past decade, Alexander & Baldwin’s board of directors and management have periodically conducted strategic reviews, including an evaluation of the merits of separating into two companies,” said Walter Dods, A&B’s chairman. “After thorough evaluation, we have concluded that the increased size, capabilities and financial strength of both our land and transportation businesses now enable these operations to independently execute their strategies to maximize shareholder value.”

Honolulu-based A&B has grown substantially over the past decade. Its commercial real estate portfolio has increased by almost 50 percent to its present size of 7.9 million square feet, comprising 44 properties in Hawaii and eight mainland states. The portfolio of commercial properties generates a significant and stable source of cash flow for the company, and is an important source of capital for A&B’s real estate investment and development activity.

Snubbed, MP farmers start engineering college

Engineering college
Frustrated by govt’s apathy towards their demands of an engineering college, the farmers of Burhanpur, pooled money for 10 years & finally have an engineering college of their own.
BHOPAL: Frustrated by government’s apathy towards their demands of an engineering college, the farmers of Burhanpur, a small district adjoining Maharashtra, refused to give up: they pooled money for 10 years and finally have an engineering college of their own. This Independence Day, aspiring engineering students of Burhnapur and nearby areas will no more have to trudge to distant places; they will get their own institute.

“Our children have the right to dream of becoming engineers,” said Virendra Kumar Singh, farmer and one of the directors of the Naval Singh Cooperative Sugar Mill Ltd. “We approached leaders of political parties to help realize our dream. But even our MPs and MLAs set-up their private engineering colleges in Indore and Khandwa and other places,” Singh said.

In the year 2000, the thousands of sugar farmers of the cooperative gave up on pleading with their political masters. They decided to donate just Re 1 per quintal of sugarcane and build the college which would give an engineering degree to their children.

A&B project could bring 2K homes to Central Maui

WAILUKU – A&B Properties has released for public review a draft environmental impact statement for Wai’ale, a master-planned community on about 545 acres in Central Maui.

While the project raises the prospect of the construction of more than 2,000 homes in one of Maui’s fastest-growing regions, the development also faces some steep challenges, particularly in gaining access to drinking water and sewage treatment.

A&B Vice President Grant Chun said the project’s tentative design was “informed by the standards and goals of the Maui Island Plan,” which is pending review by the Maui County Council.

The planning and entitlement process is expected to take “many years,” Chun said Monday. Project planners are at the start of working with state officials on the project’s environmental review before seeking a district boundary amendment, he said.

The property is on either side of East Waiko Road, with Kuihelani Highway to the east and Honoapiilani Highway and Waikapu to the west. It is bordered on the north by Maui Lani’s Legends and Traditions subdivisions and the Waikapu Stream to the south.

Plans call for building 2,550 single- and multifamily homes, with land set aside for commercial and retail space, offices, civic and other public facilities, including an 18-acre middle school, a community center, regional and neighborhood parks, and a possible wastewater treatment plant. Now, the land is fallow sugar cane fields, a plant nursery, portions of a cattle feed lot, sand stockpiles and vacant land,

Queensland’s sugar takes a foreign flavour in big industry shake-up

TWO of the biggest and most established sugar mills in north Queensland are set to pass into foreign ownership.

Proserpine was sold yesterday to a Singapore company and Tully looks as though it will be sold to Chinese interests.

Both mills have been owned by growers since they were established and the ownership change represents one of the biggest shake-ups in the sugar industry since it was deregulated in 2006.

Sugar mills are highly capital-intensive, and grower-owned mills have been stretched financially in the past year as cyclones have battered north Queensland and the sugar crop.

In these circumstances, large international companies have the capacity to gain synergies by combining sugar mills in a way that smaller individual mills cannot.

The Chinese government-owned China Oil & Food company increased its takeover bid for Tully Sugar yesterday to $44 a share, valuing the mill at $136 million, and the Tully Sugar board recommended it be accepted.

But the recommendation was made “in the absence of a superior proposal”, leaving the way open for either US agribusiness Bunge or French-backed Mackay Sugar to increase their offers.

But the endorsement is still significant, as previously the board has recommended to its shareholders that no action be taken.