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South Dakota corn harvest behind, but soybeans ahead of normal


Warm and dry conditions dominated the weather pattern across South Dakota this past week, allowing almost all the winter wheat to get planted.

Corn is 91 percent mature and 19 percent harvested, which is behind the average of 45 percent by this time.  Corn is 74 percent good to excellent.

Soybeans are 88 percent harvested, which is ahead of the average – 77 percent done by this time.  Matt Bainbridge at Ethan says both progress and yield of his soybean harvest is beating his expectations.

“We’re down to 200 to 210 acres [of soybeans left to harvest] I guess, and so far we have a little over 47 bushel to the acre average, so we’re just extremely happy with that,” said Bainbridge.  “We thought they were maybe even 10 bushels less than that, so we’re really happy.”

South Dakota sorghum is 88 percent mature and 48 percent harvested, which is ahead of last year but behind normal.

Sunflower harvest is 11 percent done.  Normal by this time is 33 percent.

AUDIO: Matt Bainbridge (1 min. MP3)

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Missouri crops behind


Programs ICONRain and wet ground last week in Missouri kept harvest progress to a minimum. Harvest progress remains behind normal. As of Sunday, 58 percent of Missouri corn was harvested, 17 percentage points behind the average. Corn moisture in Missouri averages 17 percent.

Soybean harvest is 25 percent complete – 21 percentage points behind the five year average.

Missouri’s cotton harvest is almost one-third complete and rice harvest is nearly 80 percent finished.

Missouri NASS report

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Two new V.P.s at Foremost Farms


Foremost Farms USA

Some leadership changes at Foremost Farms USA: with the retirement of Dave Fuhrmann, Mike Doyle became president and CEO of the cooperative effective October 1st.  Doyle has announced Jim Hamm will fill the newly-created position of vice-president strategy and business development.  Hamm joined Foremost Farms in 2008 as director of financial planning and analysis. He became director of strategic planning and investment in 2012.  Hamm’s new position covers strategic planning, business analysis and investments, and information services.

Mark Graupman has been promoted to vice president-finance, he will guide financial and human resources for the company.  A 32-year veteran with the co-op, Graupman was director of finance and controller since 2012. Prior to that he served as corporate controller and controller at Foremost Farms and predecessor Wisconsin Dairies Cooperative.

Headquartered in Baraboo with sales of more than $1.8 billion, Foremost Farms USA is the 6th-largest dairy cooperative in the country.  The co-op serves farmers in Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, Indiana, Ohio and Michigan.

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Ohio farmers waiting for soils to dry


Continued wet conditions around Ohio have farmers waiting for soils to dry before fieldwork can resume.  According to the latest Crop and Weather report, just 23 percent of the corn crop has been harvested, one percent more than the week prior.  Soybean harvest remains slow with just 36 percent harvested, a 7 point jump from the previous week.  Both crops remain in good condition as 77 percent of corn and 74 percent of soybeans are rated good to excellent.

In other crops around the state, 55 percent of winter wheat has been planted with 28 percent emerged and 92 percent of alfalfa is on its 4th cutting of hay.

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Too wet in most Wisconsin fields last week


Not a lot of progress in Wisconsin fields last week after heavy rains swept across the Badger State dropping 1-to-2.5 inches the first few days.  Door County reports 3.25 inches.  Some were able to get back into the fields late in the week.  Topsoil moisture is listed as 78 percent adequate and 18 percent surplus.

The National Ag Statistics Service Wisconsin Field Office reports that as of Sunday: 76 percent of the state’s corn silage has been chopped, up 9 points from a week ago but 16 points behind the five-year average.

96 percent of the corn-for-grain is dented with 75 percent mature.  Should be 99 percent dented and 88 percent mature by now.  11 percent of the corn-for-grain has been harvested compared to the five-year average of 35 percent for this date.

95 percent of the soybeans have dropped their leaves and 42 percent have been combined, 22 points behind the five-year average.  Everyone reports the crops look good…now we just have to get them off.

70 percent of the winter wheat has been planted and 41 percent has emerged.  25 percent of fall tillage is done which is 4 points ahead of normal.

Read the full NASS report here:

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U.S. milk production up 4% in September


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Milk production in the United States in September totaled nearly 16.4 billion pounds up 4 percent from September of last year, the biggest year-over-year increase of 2014.  The dairy herd increased 55,000 head to 9.26 million and production per cow increased 58 pounds to average 1,777.

Milk production in the 23 major dairy states increased 4.1 percent in September to 15.5 billion pounds.  This is the biggest year-over-year increase of 2014.  All of the 23 states saw an increase except for Illinois which was down 0.7 percent.  Production per cow in those states averaged 1,804 pounds up 56 pounds from September of last year.  There were 8.59 million cows in the 23 states, 78,000 more than a year ago and 4,000 more than in August.

California milk production in September totaled nearly 3.3 billion pounds up 2.9 percent from a year ago.  The Golden State dairy herd actually contracted 2,000 head to 1.78 million cows but production per cow jumped 55 pounds to average 1,850.

Wisconsin total milk production in September was 2.29 billion pounds up 3.2 percent from a year ago.  The Badger State dairy herd declined 2,000 head to 1.27 million but production per cow jumped 60 pounds to average 1,805.

The other major milk-producing states: New York 1.129 billion pounds up 4.5%; Idaho 1.136 billion pounds up 3.4%: Pennsylvania 864 million pounds up 3.5%: Texas 820 million pounds up 9.6%.

 

For the July-through-September quarter, milk production totaled 51.1 billion pounds up 3.5 percent compared to the third-quarter of 2013.  The dairy herd averaged 9.27 million cows for the quarter, up 44,000 from a year ago and 15,000 more than the April-through-June quarter of this year.

Read the full NASS report here:

 

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Butter gains 1.5 cents


After falling 80.5 cents last week, cash butter gained a penny-and-a-half on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on Monday.  There were a dozen sales and buyers jumped-in to take advantage of what might be the lowest price.  One unfilled bid set the market at $2.015.  Cash cheese increased 3.75 cents on both the barrels and the blocks while nonfat dry milk lost 6 cents.  Class III futures reflected the higher cheese prices with the exception of the December contract which slipped a dime.

 

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 9 requests for export assistance from Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), and Tillamook County Creamery Association to sell 3.252 million pounds of butter (82% milkfat) and 55,116 pounds of Cheddar cheese to customers in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. The product will be delivered December 2014 through April 2015.

Year-to-date, CWT has assisted member cooperatives in selling 86.677 million pounds of cheese, 51.426 million pounds of butter and 37.847 million pounds of whole milk powder to 43 countries on six continents.

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Corn sees late bounce


 

Soybeans were lower on fund and technical selling. Weather forecasts this week look conducive for harvest activity and producers should make solid progress. Still, there are some delays in key growing areas and beans are a good value at current price levels, helping contract close near the session highs. USDA reports 95% of U.S. soybeans are dropping leaves, compared to the five year average of 97%, and 53% are harvested, compared to 66% on average. 73% of soybeans are rated good to excellent, unchanged on the week. Soybean meal and oil were lower.

Corn was higher on light technical and commercial buying. Corn’s also watching the weather and expecting excellent harvest progress in the next week or so, but contracts are seeing new demand around current levels. According to USDA, 93% of corn is mature, compared to 94% on average, and 31% is harvested, compared to 53% on average. 74% of corn is in good to excellent condition, steady with a week ago. Ethanol futures were lower.

The wheat complex was mixed in consolidation trade and the late bounce in corn. A faster harvest pace in the Eastern Midwest should lead to better winter wheat planting progress. Additionally, the crop appears to be developing well. USDA reports 76% of winter wheat is planted, compared to 77% on average, and 56% has emerged, compared to 50% on average. Egypt bought 120,000 tons of likely Black Sea origin wheat and Tunisia picked up 151,000 tons of optional origin durum.

 

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Weather continues to prolong harvest


Frequent rainfalls halted harvest progress for much of the state last week.  According to the latest Crop and Weather report 31 percent of both corn and soybeans have been harvested – slightly more than a week ago.  The average moisture content of harvested corn is 21 percent and 14 percent for soybeans. Ninety-four percent of the corn crop has reached maturity and 96 percent of soybeans have begun dropping leaves.

In other crops around the state, 85 percent of tobacco has been harvested and 90 percent of alfalfa is on its 4th cutting of hay.  Just 37 percent of winter wheat has been planted well behind last year’s 61 percent.

With the abundance of rainfall, 97 percent of the Topsoil moisture and 96 percent of Subsoil moisture are adequate to surplus.

 

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U.S. harvest progress trails average


 

This year’s U.S. corn and soybean crops are in great shape, but late development and harvest progress remain slower than average.

As of Sunday, 93% of corn is mature, compared to the five year average of 94%, and 31% has been harvested, compared to 53% on average. 74% of corn is in good to excellent condition, unchanged from a week ago.

For soybeans, 95% are dropping leaves, compared to 97% on average, and 53% are harvested, compared to 66% on average. 73% of soybeans are called good to excellent, steady with last week.

76% of winter wheat is planted, compared to 77% on average, and 56% has emerged, compared to 50% on average.

49% of U.S. pastures and rangelands are rated good to excellent, down 1% on the week.

 

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Markets may not have seen the lows yet


As harvest moved into full swing, Purdue ag economist Chris Hurt says it looked as if there was additional pressure on commodity markets.  Until, he says, farmers around much of the Corn Belt saw a nearly two-week weather delay.  “And that really gave some incentives to put some weather risk or uncertainty into the price,” he says.

But as harvest begins to pick back up across the Corn Belt, Hurt tells Brownfield that uncertainty may not last long.  “Have we made the lows – will we rest the lows,” he asks.  “And probably the next two, maybe three weeks is when we’re going to see if we retest those lows.  We’ll see if that roughly $3.20 on December corn and about $9 on November beans – if those hold.”

But, he says those prices will largely depend on how harvest progresses in coming weeks.

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New tool measures crop yield gaps worldwide


Sub-Saharan Africa has the world’s largest gap in farm yields—70 to 90 percent below their potential—according to a new research tool unveiled at the Global Water for Food Conference in Seattle.

The new web-based platform is called the Global Yield Gap and Water Productivity Atlas.  According to Frank Rijsberman, CEO of the international agricultural research firm CGIAR, the atlas will help identify regions with the greatest potential to improve water productivity and grow more food sustainably.

“(We’re) getting a much more fine-grained understanding, not just the averages,” says Rijsberman. “We know in the averages there’s a huge yield gap between what we think is possible and what farmers get.  Now we can use Big Data to be much more detailed. Where is it that the big gaps are?  Can we begin to understand that so we can come up with solutions for them?”

The atlas also provides a platform for analyzing the potential impact of certain crops or new agriculture technologies on specific areas.

“It’s often not simple to know why farmers don’t adopt technologies,” he says. “Why, when you can get four tons per hectare of rice on a station and farmers only have one-and-a-half, why is that?

“It’s bedeviling. It’s a complex set of factors. It can be lack of access to markets.  It can be not the right fertilizer because we don’t know much about the soil.”

Officials say the Atlas will help identify opportunities to strategically increase yield and water productivity of existing cropland, rather than tilling more land that may not be ideal for sustainable crop production.

Link to news release

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Cattle futures start the week with a bang


The distribution of this week’s cattle showlists is complete and the offering appears to be somewhat smaller than last week. A few early estimates are that ready steers and heifers will be priced around 166.00 to 167.00 in the South and 260.00 plus in the North. The kill totaled 114,000 head, the same as a week ago, but 10,000 smaller than 2013.

Boxed beef cutout values were firm on light to moderate demand and light offerings. Choice beef was up .68 at 249.84, and select was .39 higher at 235.17.

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle contracts settled 150 to 297 points higher. Any market weakness that existed last week quickly evaporated as contracts surged near to limit highs. This helped to set new trading limits in nearby contracts, with the focus still on tight supplies and little emphasis being placed on the ability to sustain boxed beef values. October settled 2.85 higher at 167.90, and December up 2.97 at 168.02.

Feeder cattle ended the session 217 to 295 points higher. Although there remains concern about the sustainability of current price levels through the rest of the year and well into 2015, traders keep coming back to the tight supply argument, which is still able to get the attention of traders. October settled 2.30 higher at 240.75, and November was up 2.67 at 236.82.

Feeder cattle receipts at the Oklahoma National Stockyards on Monday totaled 10,200 head. Compared to last week, feeder steers and heifers traded mostly steady at mid-session. The quality this week is much more attractive, with several large packages of cattle on offer. Feeder steer calves medium and large 1 weighing 500 to 600 pounds brought 273.50 to 296.00. 500 to 550 pound heifer calves traded from 245.00 to 259.00.

Lean hogs settled unchanged to 1.42 points lower. The early support that trickled into the market in the morning was unable to hold as traders returned to the bearish attitude concerning both cash hog and pork values over the near term. The overall fear of sharply growing supplies through the rest of the year and stretching well into 2015 is creating widespread concerns through the complex. December settled 1.42 lower at 89.15 and February was down 1.15 at 86.40.

Barrows and gilts in the Iowa/Minnesota direct trade closed .86 lower at 97.33 weighted average on a carcass basis, the West was down .84 at 97.27, and the East was .87 lower at 97.03. Missouri direct base carcass meat price was 1.00 to 4.00 lower from 95.00 to 96.00. Midwest hogs on a live basis were steady with an instance of 4.00 lower from 71.00 to 80.00.

The pork carcass cutout value was 4.55 lower at 106.46 FOB plant. The ham primal was over 17.00 lower, and bellies were down nearly 5.00.

The continued focus on the potential to build short and long term hog supplies has created additional longer term market pressure. If PED remains under moderate control through the winter season, it is expected the recent building of breeding herds will continue to keep big supplies readily available during most of 2015.

Hog slaughter was estimated at 429,000 head, 2,000 more than last week and 3,000 less than last year.

 

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Closing Grain and Livestock Futures: October 20, 2014


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Dec. corn closed at $3.48 and 1/4, up 1/4 cent
Nov. soybeans closed at $9.44 and 1/4, down 7 and 1/2 cents
Dec. soybean meal closed at $329.40, down $1.10
Dec. soybean oil closed at 31.70, down 32 points
Dec. wheat closed at $5.13 and 1/2, down 2 and 1/2 cents
Oct. live cattle closed at $167.90, down $2.85
Dec. lean hogs closed at $89.15, down $1.42
Nov. crude oil closed at $82.71, down 4 cents
Dec. cotton closed at 62.29, down 71 points
Oct. Class III milk closed at $23.99, up 3 cents
Oct. gold closed at $1,244.00, up $5.70
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 16,399.67, up 19.26 points

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Nebraska’s governor encourages E85 use


Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman is encouraging Nebraskans to use E85—the blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent unleaded gasoline—the next time they fill up with a flex fuel vehicle.

“Our farmers are anticipating record corn yields, which makes it the perfect time to encourage consumers to utilize one of the many products made from that crop—ethanol,” Heineman says.

Heineman says E85 allows consumers to utilize a quality Nebraska grown and produced product.

“It allows us to continue to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, while enhancing local economies,” he says.

There are currently 86 E85 filling locations in Nebraska.  Heineman says new phone apps, including the “Flex-Fuel Station Locator” app, make it easy for drivers to find those locations.

AUDIO: Gov. Dave Heineman

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NCBA launches petition drive against checkoff proposal


The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) is encouraging producers to sign an online petition opposing Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack’s proposal for a second national beef checkoff.

The effort, called “Don’t Hijack the Beef Checkoff”, has a goal of 100-thousand signatures by November 12th.

Vilsack says he has the authority to create a supplemental checkoff under the 1996 General Commodity, Promotion, Research and Information Act.  But Wyoming cattleman and NCBA president-elect Philip Ellis says such a move would create a “top-down” checkoff run by the federal government.

And unlike the 1985 law creating the current beef checkoff, Ellis says the 1996 act assures no protection to state beef councils.

“One of the things that was very important back in the 80’s when that was worked on was the state beef councils—the qualified state beef councils—and the state-national partnership where producers at every state level would have say, control, input—and have their own state promotion,” Ellis says.

Vilsack has indicated that he would consider dropping his proposal if the beef industry can agree to changes to the current checkoff.

The online petition can be found at beefusa.org.

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Riding horses without helmet is risky business


Hoofbeat ICONRiding horses for pleasure or around the farm puts riders at risk of significant injury if they fall. A while back we talked with horse trainer Zane Volkmann of Missouri who was severely injured in a horse riding accident, suffering a brain injury. With the help of Agribility of Missouri, he made his way back to health. But, he tells everyone that he now wears a riding helmet every time he’s on a horse. In this Hoofbeat program we talked with Joe Bradage, Agribility & Farm Health and Safety Intern who says everyone should wear a specialized horse riding helmet when riding a horse to decrease the risk of head injury.

HOOFBEAT – Helmet safety while horse riding (3:00 mp3)

 

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WTO COOL decision doesn’t favor U.S.


Top Story IconThe World Trade Organization has ruled that the U.S. has not done enough to change its meat labeling rules in light of the WTO’s decision on Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) complaints brought by Canada and Mexico.

The countries complain that the rule treats Canadian and Mexican livestock exports to the U.S. less favorably than U.S. livestock. The WTO ruled in 2012 that COOL unfairly discriminates against those countries and now says the revised COOL rule continues to do that, and is, therefore, illegal.

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, NCBA, says the COOL rule brings the U.S. “one step closer to facing retaliatory tariffs from two of our largest trading partners.”  The NCBA maintains that COOL is a failed program that will cost the beef industry and the entire U.S. economy while giving no benefits to consumers or producers.

National Farmers Union President says COOL needs to be maintained.  Roger Johnson says, “Under the guidance of USDA, any changes to COOL to ensure full compliance with today’s decision should be able to be made administratively, while maintaining the integrity of COOL labels.”

Johnson says a public opinion poll done last year found that more than 90 percent of consumers support COOL.

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Monday midday cash livestock markets


Cattle country is quiet on Monday with bids and asking prices not fully established as packers and producers are busy taking inventory. An active trade took place on Wednesday of last week with both live and dressed prices generally steady with the previous week at 164.00 live and 256.00 to 258.00 dressed. Significant trade volume this week will probably not happen until at least midweek.

Boxed beef cutout values were weak to higher in the morning report with the choice up .64 at 249.80, and select was down .11 at 234.67.

Feeder cattle receipts at the Joplin, Missouri Regional Stockyards totaled 5,000 head on Monday. Compared to last week, steer and heifer calves opened steady to 5.00 lower, yearlings were not tested early. The demand was moderate to good and supply was moderate. Feeder steers medium and large 1 averaging 500 to 600 pounds ranged from 250.00 to 257.50. 5 to 6 weight heifers traded from 220.00 to 240.00.

Direct trade hogs are delayed due to computer issues at USDA. Missouri direct base carcass meat price is steady to 1.00 lower at 95.00. Barrows and gilts on a live basis at Midwest markets are steady to 2.00 lower from 70.00 to 80.00.

The continued focus on the potential to build short and long term hog supplies has created additional longer term market pressure. If PED remains under moderate control through the winter season, it is expected the recent building of breeding herds will continue to keep big supplies readily available during most of 2015.

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Farm to School brings kale to kids


NEW HL ICONThis is Farm to School month. So, what does that mean?  Wisconsin’s Alice in Dairyland, Zoey Brooks, says Farm to School is multiple agencies working to get foods from local farms into schools and classrooms. Part of it is introducing kids to foods they might not have tried, like kale.

HEALTHY LIVING PROGRAM – Farm to School (1:30 mp3)

A look at kale, a green leafy vegetable

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