As Corn Emerges, Crop Condition Forecast Remains Strong

With U.S. corn planting complete, the crop is maturing well and continues to appear in good condition according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report released today. Since last week, corn emergence rose by seven points to 92 percent, only trailing the five-year average by only five points despite planting delays.

“Farmers are watching the weather and monitoring crop progress closely in the hopes that favorable conditions will help plants thrive despite planting delays,” said National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson, a grower in Iowa. “Early season weather always leads to speculation about the potential size of a year’s crop, but the remainder of the summer’s circumstances play the crucial role in determining how much spring plantings will yield.”

Corn emergence continued to close the gap on the five-year average, with overall emergence shown on 92 percent of the total corn acres in the top 18 corn-producing states by June 16. The lags behind the five-year average of 97 percent emerged at this point, but it even further narrows the gap to only five points versus seven points just a week prior.

The report included USDA’s third assessment of the corn crop condition for this year. At this point, 92 percent of all corn acres are forecast to be in fair to excellent condition with only eight percent rated in poor or very poor condition. Last year, seven percent of the crop was estimated to be in poor or very poor condition at this time, but this number increased as the drought worsened throughout the summer.


Blue Diamond and SMUD Celebrate Energy Makeover

Blue Diamond and SMUD Celebrate Energy Makeover
Targeted News Service — SACRAMENTO, CA — May 16, 2013 — Blue Diamond Growers and SMUD have partnered on high-tech energy efficiency installations totaling nearly $500,000 in energy efficiency incentives. Blue Diamond and SMUD recently completed four major energy efficiency projects at the cooperative’s downtown Sacramento headquarters. Three areas in the Blue Diamond plant totaling 588,000 square feet (on 90 acres) were retrofitted with energy-efficient LED technology. Most of the $474,000 in incentives SMUD delivered came from a federal grant designed to help SMUD develop its smart grid.

For more than half of California almond growers who own the Blue Diamond cooperative, these measures deliver considerable energy savings to the growers’ return on investment, including a nine percent reduction in utility costs, energy consumption and demand equaling $1.1 million over five years.

For SMUD, the measures help reduce peak demand during summer months when power can be very costly. The energy reductions also deliver environmental and community benefits. Resulting greenhouse gas reductions are the equivalent of removing more than 1,200 passenger cars from the roadways.

The lighting features advanced controls including web-based software and occupancy sensors. Plant managers can now be more efficient by creating flexible lighting schedules with on and off and dimming capabilities for each light or circuit of lights using a web-based smart phone application.

Supported by SMUD incentives, Blue Diamond Growers also installed a new chiller that, in addition to being highly efficient, gives the plant flexibility to shut down refrigeration and coast through periods of high electrical demand and high energy costs.

The $474,000 incentive represents nearly half of the $960,187 project cost. SMUD plays an important role in attracting and keeping local manufacturing jobs. SMUD’s reliability and its rates, which are among the lowest in California, and the close relationships SMUD has fostered with business customers over the years are key factors in local economic development.

An important aspect of the project to consider is SMUD ratepayer dollars are not funding the projects. About two thirds of the funding came from the federal government in a grant awarded in 2009 that is intended to help SMUD develop its smart grid. The balance of the funding comes from public good sources, money SMUD gets from the state and spends on programs designed to save energy. The projects are an investment with tremendous return as it helps SMUD trim energy use grid-wide.

In a ceremony held at Blue Diamond’s visitor center at its Sacramento headquarters, executives and employees of Blue Diamond Growers and SMUD celebrated the energy efficiency upgrades. “We’re particularly eager to work with businesses that promote energy efficiency and share a commitment to improving the regional environment,” said Frankie McDermott, director SMUD Customer Services. “Energy costs are a significant part of their operating expenses, so the incentives and expertise we contribute are vital in furthering not only our energy efficiency objectives but our economic development goals as well,” said McDermott.

Following the celebration, the group, along with news media who covered the event, took a tour of the plant facilities to see the new energy-saving measures in action that will deliver considerable bottom-line energy savings.

“The savings that Blue Diamond received goes back into helping us to invest and continue to grow here in Sacramento, creating new jobs,” said Mark Jansen, Blue Diamond president and CEO. “It also goes back into the almond-producing communities in the Central Valley of California, helping to spur economic growth in those areas as well.”

Blue Diamond Growers is a global food company that markets and processes its owners’ almonds at the world’s largest plant in Sacramento (90 acres). The cooperative created the almond industry in 1910 at an organizational meeting of 230 enterprising almond growers on J Street in Sacramento. Global almond product innovation has doubled Blue Diamond revenues in three years to over $1 billion in sales. Record U.S. almond shipments are directly attributable to the company’s investment in new almond uses. Blue Diamond’s research and development team recently opened the Almond Innovation Center to create new almond products with global food companies and Blue Diamond marketing experts.

The 2-billion pound California almond crop is valued at $6 billion and generates nearly 50,000 jobs. New jobs and additional revenue will be returned to almond growing communities as production and value-added products continue to grow. Over 80 percent of the world’s supply is grown in California. Almonds are the state’s largest food export and the largest specialty crop export in America.


“This material is based upon work supported by the Department of Energy under Award Number OE0000214.”


“This report was prepared as an account of work sponsored by an agency of the United States Government. Neither the United States Government nor any agency thereof, nor any of their employees, makes any warranty, express or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed, or represents that its use would not infringe privately owned rights. Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the United States Government or any agency thereof. The views and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the United States Government or any agency thereof.”

(c) 2013 Targeted News Service

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B. regards

Felix (Kyung) Seo