El Niño

first_imgAn impending El Niño weather pattern could negatively impact Georgia farmers’ abilities to harvest their peanut and cotton crops, according to University of Georgia climatologist Pam Knox.“I think that, for the next three weeks or so, after the current wet spell, it’s going to be pretty dry, as we usually see in October. But once the El Niño pattern kicks in, it could get pretty wet quickly, which is going to be a problem if farmers don’t get the crops out in a timely way,” Knox said.El Niño refers to unusually warm weather in the eastern Pacific Ocean, off the coasts of Peru and Ecuador, she said. When warm water exists there, the circulation in the atmosphere changes. The southeastern part of the United States gets caught under a subtropical jet stream, which pushes all of the storms and rain through the region.“Once that pattern sets in, we can expect to see a lot of storms come through this winter. It should be wetter than usual, and it’s probably going to be cooler than usual, just because I think it’s going to be real cloudy from all the storms,” Knox said.With a drastic increase in acreage this year, peanut farmers could feel the most impact from El Niño. Approximately 770,000 acres were planted in Georgia, according to UGA Cooperative Extension peanut agronomist Scott Monfort. An estimated 25 percent was planted after the third week of May, which puts harvest time in mid- to late October. If rain starts and continues, combined with limited sunshine, growers could have trouble getting their crops out of the field.“We’re concerned as usual when it comes to weather, period. If we start getting rain, especially the first part of October, it can set up and cause some problems,” Monfort said. Twenty-five percent of Georgia’s peanut crop amounts to more than 192,000 acres, a significant amount of potentially impacted production in south Georgia.“If the rain sets in and it’s rainy for a couple of weeks, cloudy and we don’t see any sun, then that’s really going to do some damage to the crop, in the ground and out,” Monfort said.Peanut growers already faced some challenges this growing season. With temperatures in the low 80s and limited sunshine this week, peanuts are maturing considerably slower than usual. Further, white mold disease has been a problem and could continue if peanuts are left in the field, dug up and, in the rain, unable to be harvested. The more it rains, the more disease pressure peanuts will encounter. Though peanut growers are encouraged to be diligent and to get their crops out in a timely fashion, they could encounter delays at local buying points. Because Georgia’s peanut acreage increased by almost 30 percent this year, that amounts to a an extra 200,000 acres that need to be harvested, which could create a logjam at area buying points.“For the most part, the local buying points have been able to handle everything right now,” Monfort said. “They do try to be as quick as they can about drying, grading and getting those empty trailers back out. But, if you take a 30-percent increase in peanut acreage, you’re going to have a bottleneck, especially with the early to mid-May planted peanuts. That’s when the majority of them got planted.”UGA Extension cotton agronomist Jared Whitaker said Georgia’s cotton crop will also be impacted by the cloudy, rainy days ahead.“Boll opening and leaf drop function better in times of plentiful sunshine. With the cloudy days we’ve had and cloudy days we may have, defoliation and boll opening could slow down, and ultimately delay, harvest,” Whitaker said. Cotton farmers begin to harvest their crop by first applying products that accelerate the crop’s maturity and open the bolls that contain the lint in the top of the canopy, he said. This process is called “defoliation.”A delay in defoliation results in delays in harvest, and delays in harvest can significantly impact yield and fiber quality, Whitaker said.Cotton quality is at its highest when the boll first opens. “Each weather event or period of excessive moisture can impact the boll like any other kind of fruit we produce in Georgia” Whitaker said. “The kind of conditions associated with this potential weather event could cause us to lose yield and quality.”This would hurt cotton farmers’ profits as cotton commodity prices this season make it “extremely important to maximize yields to remain profitable,” he said.last_img read more

New legal problems for owner of Powder River Basin mines

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Casper Star-Tribune:The CEO that obtained Wyoming’s Eagle Butte and Belle Ayr coal mines last year is being sued for alleged unpaid royalties in Appalachia, the second lawsuit that Jeff Hoops’ West Virginia-based company, Revelation Energy, is facing in under a year.Hoops formed Blackjewel LLC, a sister company to Revelation, to take over the Wyoming mines in 2017. The latest lawsuit is one of a number of troubles the Eastern businessman has encountered since becoming one of Wyoming’s coal producers.According to court documents filed in the Western District of Virginia, Pocahontas Resources LLC is seeking nearly a half million dollars in royalties and interest from Revelation based on allegations Hoops’ firm committed fraud.Pocahontas asserts Revelation is being underhanded in its reporting of coal sales. It has asked for a slew of documents from Hoops’ company to prove its claim, much of which the company has refused to provide. Pocahontas filed a request to compel Revelation to release that information earlier this month. The judge had not responded as of Tuesday.Hoops has hit a few snags since arriving in the Powder River Basin.Blackjewel was delayed in obtaining leases for Eagle Butte and Belle Ayr until Hoops addressed outstanding environmental offenses at his Eastern coal mines. Blackjewel has yet to obtain permits to mine in Wyoming, though Hoops said Blackjewel has the required reclamation bonds in-hand and would seek permits this week, a claim he also made in an email to the Star-Tribune in February.The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality has not yet received those applications, a spokesman for the department said Monday.More: Second lawsuit entangles Wyoming’s newest coal producer New legal problems for owner of Powder River Basin mineslast_img read more

Plan to grow corporate pensions business working – Sampension

first_img“We have a solid basis within traditional labour-market pensions, which is now being supplemented by new customer groups, which are slowly but surely becoming integrated as part of our overall business,” Jørgensen said.Ongoing contributions rose by DKK123m to DKK4.95bn in the first nine months of 2015 from the same period last year.Sampension said it was very positive that this growth had happened despite there now being fewer employees working for the state and municipalities – workers who make up the lion’s share of Sampension’s customers.It said it aimed to build up its business outside the traditional groups.In the third quarter, it launched a new corporate pensions product suitable for small and medium-sized companies.“The growth in customers,” Jørgensen said, “will help keep our costs for all client groups among the lowest in the industry, and we are convinced there is good synergy between our traditional customers from state and council workplaces and the customer base we are in the process of building up in the corporate pensions market.”Sampension said returns for traditional with-profit pensions came to 0.1% in the first nine months of this year, down from 16.6% over the same period in 2014.Returns for unit-link pensions were negative, at between -0.2% and -0.5%, after positive returns of 6.4-9.2% in January to September 2014.Sampension put the performance down to general instability in the financial markets.Solvency coverage, however, rose to 394% at the end of September from 270% at the end of last year.Sampension attributed this shift partly to the decision by many customers to move out of guaranteed products, as well as a fall in credit spread risk.Total assets rose to DKK246bn at the end of September from DKK230bn at the same point last year but were down from the DKK257bn value stated at the end of December. Denmark’s Sampension has reported a 78% rise in one-off contributions over the first three quarters of this year, which it said was a sign of the increased corporate pensions business it has been working towards.Hasse Jørgensen, chief executive of the DKK250bn (€33.5bn) labour-market pensions provider, said: “We can now confirm our aim towards growth in the corporate sector is bearing fruit.”Interim figures showed that, between January and September, contributions overall rose to DKK6.3bn from DKK5.8bn in the same period last year – a rise of 7.6%.This has been driven by a 78% increase in one-off contributions to DKK868m.last_img read more