Agribusiness Report: Weights & Measures Law Celebrated

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DES MOINES, Iowa (Agribusiness Report) - It was a little over 200 ago when President John Adams first signed in a U.S. weights and measures law on March 2, 1799.

Weights and Measures week is celebrated March 1-7 to commemorate that.

Iowa has 11 inspectors across the state that look at 57,000 licensed commercial weighing and measuring devices. They also conduct random inspections for net contents, price verification, compressed gas dispensers, LP meters, and oil labels.

Deputy Secretary of the Iowa Department of Agriculture Mike Naig says, "We're talking about gas pumps, making sure the consumer is getting what the pump says in the tank. It also would be things like scales. So you go to Fairway, the meat counter, or the checkout line at HyVee. You know, that those scales are reading accurately. Again, that impacts what you pay. And so it's important for the consumers to know that the scales are accurate. But then we even think about our large scales. Scales that we use to deliver grain in the fall. And again, think of a scale being off just even slightly."

Naig says the little things add up.

If every gas pump in the state was off by one percent that would cost customers $40 million. If every large truck scale used for farmers selling grain were off by a percent that would cost a $140 million.

Beans finally hit a bottom and jumped back up on Friday. But glancing around the trade, a lot of commodities enjoyed a little bump.

Analyst Jamey Kohake said farmers saw a decent export number in corn last week and a solid number in beans as well.

"Starting off in corn here we did flush new lows for the move this week and since then we have come back up," said Kohake. "Just real gradually back above those recent lows that we saw back around the first part of January. Over in beans, market is terribly oversold. Also the energy markets, very supportive.

"We're just in a tight trading range. Packers don't seem to be too enthused, despite being short bought I guess pretty aggressively out in the south, southwest part of the cattle belt. I'll look for cattle belt to remain choppy through the most part of March and look for another bounce come into April as we look for a run into tighter supplies again.

"See what happens in cut outs here, but we have ample supplies coming online here soon. I like selling sharp rallies in the hogs here short term. And I think you take a little bit of the bounce from the cattle out of the equation the hogs would get lower today."

Meteorologists say because El Nino has been weakening since November at a slower pace, the developing of La Nina may be pushed back another month of two past July.

Kyle Tapley, the Senior Ag Meteorologist at MDA Weather Services says if there isn't a quicker transition to La Nina, it's less likely it will be a hot and dry summer in the U.S.

Tapley said MDA is looking at just above normal temperatures across the eastern and central U.S. this summer and close to normal precipitation in the Midwest.