“Any nation that needs soybeans at this time of year has to come to us to getthem,” he said. But the prices of retail bread and wheat products remained the same because thewheat value in the product is already quite low. Through 1996, world wheat stocks dropped to a very low level. It becameimperative to either grow a very large crop or use less wheat. Because those stockswere so low, prices rose. Shumaker said the rising wheat prices earlier this year didn’t really affectGeorgians, though. Local prices dropped near the harvest period. The main grainexporting facility in Savannah closed last year, further depressing prices. Georgia farmers grew a very large corn crop. Farmers really had to manage theway they sold their corn, to reduce their risk of getting caught by falling prices, hesaid. A lot of the effect farmers felt was due to a cold, wet spring in the Midwest. Thatkept those farmers from harvesting their wheat on time and planting corn. Other feed grains include soybeans. Georgia farmers are just getting back intogrowing soybeans. “For many years, other crops such as peanuts, cotton, corn orwheat, were more profitable,” Shumaker said. “So farmers grew those instead ofsoybeans.” New management programs are helping Georgia farmers grow soybeans atprofitable levels. They’re contributing to the record U.S. soybean exports thisyear, too. “Here at the end of 1996, I would expect to see some increase in soybean acres (for1997),” Shumaker said, “and a slight decline in the corn market.” The near-record crop caused prices to fall sharply during harvest. They droppedfrom $5.50 per bushel during early spring to about $2.50 per bushel duringharvest in September and October. But that’s good news for livestock farmers and retail meat buyers. Lower cornand other feed grain costs help lower the cost of raising beef cattle, hogs andchickens. Lower production costs gradually translate into slight retail price drops. Worldwide wheat production jumped through the rest of 1996. “In fact, right nowthere is really an excess of wheat in the market,” Shumaker said. That’s pushingprices back down. “1996 was a good year for all the grains in Georgia — corn, wheat and soybeans,”said George Shumaker, an economist with the University of Georgia ExtensionService. Current price ratios between soybeans and corn suggest that soybeans are likely toreturn a greater profit than corn for grain farmers, he said. Mother Nature smiled on Georgia grain farmers this year. Not just by sending usfavorable weather, but by making growing conditions unfavorable in the Midwest. This is the first year farmers are operating under the “Freedom to Farm” bill thatallows them to switch to crops that can be more profitable for them. Shumakersaid that’s allowed them to plant different crops as world market prices havedropped or risen.
Sanchez suffered a bang to his knee during the first half at the Emirates Stadium and Arsene Wenger was ready to substitute him at half-time but the Chilean insisted he could continue. The 26-year-old was returning from a two-week lay-off with a hamstring problem but his latest setback is more of an impact injury and considered to be only a minor knock. Sanchez could even play in this weekend’s FA Cup fixture, although Wenger may choose to rest his leading scorer with a busy schedule to come. Ramsey’s diagnosis is more severe. The midfielder is undergoing tests from Arsenal’s medical team but will not return before the Champions League last-16 first leg tie against Monaco on February 25. The club are reluctant to place a timescale on Ramsey’s recovery, particularly given the concerning regularity of the Welshman’s fitness problems this season. He missed three weeks after injuring his hamstring against Tottenham in September and was out for almost six weeks following a recurrence in December. “Yes, it is his third hamstring injury this season,” Wenger said after the game against Leicester. The news on Aaron Ramsey’s latest hamstring strain is, however, less positive with the Gunners midfielder certain to be out for a fortnight at the very least. Sanchez and Ramsey both had to be taken off in the second half of Arsenal’s 2-1 win against Leicester on Tuesday. “Last year it was a thigh injury but this year it’s a recurrence of hamstrings. “You cannot say it’s not a worry because after a while the player doesn’t play with the freedom in the mind. “He’s not overplayed. Before I just played him in every game but since he’s had these problems, I’m a bit more cautious with him.” Press Association Alexis Sanchez’s knee injury is not considered serious and the Arsenal striker is expected to be available for Sunday’s FA Cup tie against Middlesbrough.