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MPP, LGM or none of the above?


December 5th is the deadline for dairy producers to sign-up for the new Margin Protection Program from USDA.  There are a number of things for dairy producers to consider including to utilize the MPP or the dairy Livestock Gross Margin protection available from crop insurance providers.  Michelle Sell is a Livestock Insurance Specialist with Badgerland Financial in Wisconsin, she says both programs protect the margin but there are differences.  She talks about the programs.

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Eau Claire teacher wins Ag in the Classroom honor


Tumaniec & Kannel                                                                                                                             (Tumaniec & Kannel)

Tracey Tumaniec, a fifth grade teacher at Manz Elementary School in Eau Claire, is the recipient of Wisconsin Farm Bureau Ag in the Classroom’s Outstanding Teacher Award.

Each year the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation recognizes a teacher for their efforts in educating students on the importance of agriculture. Teachers of all grade levels and subject areas, with the exclusion of certified agriculture education instructors, are eligible to apply for the award.

Ag in the Classroom coordinator Wendy Kannel says; “Tracey does an exceptional job of infusing agricultural concepts into her curriculum. She wants to make sure her students understand and appreciate the importance of agriculture in our society. With her enthusiastic approach of using hands-on activities and real-life examples she has done just that.”

Tumaniec will be Wisconsin’s nominee for the National Excellence in Teaching Agriculture Award and will receive $500 towards attending the National Ag in the Classroom Conference in Louisville, Kentucky.

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A little more profitable on the farm in November


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The Preliminary Index of Prices Received by Farmers for November increased 2 percent from October.  The National Ag Statistics Service says farmers received higher prices for cattle, eggs, soybeans and lettuce.  Lower prices for hogs, milk, broilers and apples.

The November Crop Index was unchanged from October: Corn averaged $3.57 per bushel up a penny from last month. Soybeans increased 13 cents to average $10.10 per bushel.  All-wheat was 25 cents higher at $5.96 while all-hay dropped $9 to $164 per ton.

The November Livestock Index declined 1.5 percent from October. Hogs fell $10.30 to average $66.70 per hundredweight, the lowest hog price since February.  Beef cattle were up $5 to a record $166 per hundredweight.  Broilers were down 2 cents at 64 cents per pound, turkeys were 4.4 cents lower at 77.8 cents per pound, eggs increased 43.6 cents to average $1.37 per dozen.

The November all-milk price is $23.40 per hundredweight down $1.50 from October. The Preliminary Milk-to-Feed Ratio is 2.8 for November compared to 2.91 in October and 2.27 in November of 2013.

The Index of Prices Paid by Farmers declined 0.9 percent from October reflecting lower prices for complete feeds, concentrates, hay and forages and other services. That was more than enough to offset the higher prices for feed grains, nitrogen, mixed fertilizer and trucks.

Compared to a year ago, the prices farmers receive are 2 percent higher while the prices paid by farmers are 3.8 percent above November of 2013.

Read the full NASS report here:

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Another cut in UK farm milk prices


UK Dairy

It looks like U.K. dairy producers are going to take another hit. Arla has notified its 3,000 British farmers it will reduce the pay price for milk to 26.84 pence per liter on December 1st.  Company officials cite the latest 3.1 percent decline at the Global Dairy Trade auction last week as evidence of the ongoing impact of strong global milk supplies and diminished demand.

Another British processor, First Milk is reportedly going to drop their farm milk price to 24.3 ppl for manufacturing grade milk and 23.7 ppl for fluid milk.

The farm milk price in the U.K. has fallen more than 30 percent since April pushing it below the cost of production for many. More than 400 U.K. dairy producers have gone out of business since the slide began.  It is expected the number of dairy farmers in the U.K. will drop below 10,000 within the next month.  There were more than 34,000 dairy farmers in 1996.

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Dairy markets continue to slide


Dairy markets declined further on Wednesday. Cash cheese barrels lost another 5.75 cents to close at $1.6475 per pound, blocks lost 4.75 cents to $1.6825.  Butter fell 2 cents to $1.97 and nonfat dry milk held steady at $1.115 per pound.  Class III futures declining in concert with cheese: December down 38 cents to $18, January lost 47 cents to $16.80 and February declined 23 cents to $16.49.

Dairy Market News says milk production is strong across the country. Extra milk is available as schools are closed for the long holiday weekend meaning Class I demand is reduced.  Spot loads are available at $2 to $3 under Class price.  90 loads of milk shipped into Florida this week, down 15 from last week.  Class I demand is expected to rebound next week.

The November all-milk price is $23.40 per hundredweight down $1.50 from October. The Preliminary Milk-to-Feed Ratio is 2.8 for November compared to 2.91 in October and 2.27 in November of 2013.

National Dairy Products Sales Report for the week ending November 22nd: cheddar cheese blocks averaged $2.13 per pound down 7.9 cents from the previous week.  Barrels were 5.8 cents lower at $2.09 per pound, butter decreased a half-cent to $2.00, nonfat dry milk lost 10.3 cents to average $1.34 per pound and dry whey decreased 1.3 cents to 62.8 cents per pound.

Weekly cow slaughter for the week ending November 8 was 55,900, 9 percent or 5,600 head less than the same week a year ago. NASS had reported total dairy cow slaughter in October was 252,000 head down 25,000 from a year ago.  Year-to-date slaughter is down about 270,000 cows.

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Light cattle trade develops


A light to moderate cattle trade was evident in parts of Kansas and Nebraska on Wednesday. A few cattle have traded in Kansas at 173.00 live, steady with last week. DTN reported dressed trade developed in Nebraska at 266.00 to 267.00, steady to $1.00 lower than last weeks weighted average, USDA Mandatory reported live sales from 172.00 to 173.00 steady to 2.00 higher.. The late selloff in live futures apparently caused some feedlot managers to lower their asking prices. Although additional trade could develop before the end of the day, it is possible some buyers could still be looking to deal on Friday. The slaughter totaled 115,000 head, 9,000 more than last week and 9,000 less than last year.

Boxed beef cutout values were firm on light to moderate demand and light offerings. Choice boxed beef was up .26 at 257.13, and select was up .33 at 244.00.

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle contracts settled 20 to 135 points lower. It looked like cash cattle trade may be completed before the thanksgiving break, and this quickly limited any buyer support in the complex, traders expected the cash market to remain near steady with a week ago. Strong pressure was seen in the February live contract. The additional weakness in feeder contracts added to the overall market concerns. December settled .90 lower at 169.25, and February was down the most at 169.67, 1.35 lower.

Feeder cattle ended the session 10 to 87 points lower. Early support was unable to hold through the morning trade as the focus once again turned to uncertainty about growth in demand and higher than expected short term supplies. January settled .87 lower at 230.50, and March was down .57 at 229.35.

Feeder cattle receipts at the Philip Livestock Auction, Philip, SD totaled 3820 head. Compared to last week, feeder steers weighing less than 550 pounds were steady, 550 to 700 pounds trended 4.00 to 6.00 higher. Feeder heifers less than 550 pounds were steady, 550 to 650 pounds traded 5.00 to 8.00 higher. There was good demand for several strings and many load lots and packages of feeder cattle which sold on an active to very active market. Feeder steer calves averaging 626 pounds brought 279.21 per hundredweight. 654 pound heifer calves averaged 251.26.

Lean hogs settled 22 points higher to 40 lower. Prices did strengthen some in the early session as light to moderate buyer support trickled into nearby contracts. There was light trade through the complex that kept prices extremely limited. December was unchanged at 90.95, and February was down .27 at 89.55.

Barrows and gilts in the Iowa/Minnesota direct trade closed .60 lower with a weighted average of 86.68 on a carcass basis, the West was down 1.20 at 86.05, and the East was .20 lower at 84.25. Missouri direct base carcass meat price was steady from 77.00 to 79.00. Midwest hogs on a live basis were steady with an instance of 3.00 lower from 58.00 to 63.00.

The pork carcass cutout value was .61 higher FOB plant at 92.71. Only bellies and picnics were higher.

Though pre-holiday markets are always tough to read, the trend in negotiated cash hog sales this week has been encouraging, both in terms higher bids and decent volume. Slaughter supplies seem to be becoming more manageable.

The Wednesday kill was estimated at 431,000 head, 5,000 more than last week, but 4,000 less than last year.

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Soybeans down, corn up ahead of Thanksgiving


Markets Featured Image 600x500_edited-2

Soybeans were lower on fund and technical selling. Demand remains strong, with China buying another 120,000 tons of U.S. beans for delivery this marketing year. Past that – traders were just squaring up ahead of Thanksgiving. Soybean meal was mixed with nearbys up, including December moving back above $400 ahead of Friday’s first notice day. Soybean oil was narrowly mixed.

Corn was higher on fund and technical buying. Corn also had a lightly traded session with no real fresh supportive news. Trade in the commodity markets will resume on Friday morning. Ethanol futures were higher. Ethanol production for the week ending November 21 was a new all-time high at 982,000 barrels per day. China will reportedly keep domestic corn purchasing prices unchanged.

The wheat complex was higher on fund and technical buying. South Korea bought 31,000 tons of U.S. milling wheat, but otherwise, there was no real fresh news for wheat either. Weekly export numbers are delayed until Friday. According to DTN, Pakistan has reportedly rejected 20,000 tons of Black Sea origin wheat, due to either quality or increased import tariffs.

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Closing Grain and Livestock Futures: November 26, 2014


Markets Featured Image 600x500_edited-2

Dec. corn closed at $3.78 and 1/4, up 4 cents
Jan. soybeans closed at $10.47, down 4 cents
Dec. soybean meal closed at $401.60, up $11.00
Dec. soybean oil closed at 33.48, up 6 points
Dec. wheat closed at $5.62, up 10 and 1/2 cents
Dec. live cattle closed at $169.25, down 90 cents
Dec. lean hogs closed at $90.95, unchanged
Jan. crude oil closed at $73.69, down 40 cents
Dec. cotton closed at 61.41, up 175 points
Dec. Class III milk closed at $18.00, down 38 cents
Dec. gold closed at $1,196.60, down 50 cents
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 17,827.75, up 12.81 points

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Johnson urges COOL appeal


Programs ICONSouth Dakota Senator Tim Johnson, one of the original authors of the Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) law, is urging the administration to appeal the recent World Trade Organization ruling that he says undermines the COOL program.

Johnson, along with Senators Jon Tester of Montana and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, have written to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack.

They say the WTO panel overestimated the impact COOL has had on imports from Canada and Mexico. Their letter says “the decline in livestock imports were more the result of the economic downturn and a dramatic change in the currency exchange rates than to the application of COOL labels.” And they say the October WTO ruling “underestimates the value (of COOL) to consumers.”

Johnson worked to keep the COOL program in the 2014 Farm Bill.

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Ethanol production hits all-time high


ethanol plant-andersons-denison iowaEthanol production has hit a new all-time record.

During the week of November 21st, ethanol production advanced 1.2 percent to 982-thousand barrels a day.  According to the Renewable Fuels Association, that equates to 15.05 billion gallons on an annualized basis.

Despite the increased production, ethanol inventories actually dropped 1.5 percent, reflecting continued good demand for ethanol.

Photo courtesy The Andersons

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RFA head: Elation over RFS announcement short-lived


ethanol plant-green plainsThe president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, Bob Dinneen, says his elation over the EPA’s recent announcement on the Renewable Fuels Standard was short-lived.

“I feel a little bit like the receiver that just caught a Hail Mary pass at the end of regulation,” Dinneen says. “I’m elated in the end zone, but by the time I get back to the sideline and realize we’re going into overtime, I realize we still have a lot of work to do.”

The EPA announced it will not be finalizing the 2014 volume obligations under the RFS until next year.   The agency had earlier proposed a cut to the ethanol blend requirements in the standard.

“Yes, it’s terrific that EPA did not finalize a bad rule,” Dinneen says, “and they recognized that perhaps they were on some really shaky legal ground and they needed to make some changes.”

But Dinneen says many questions remain.

“We still need to establish what the numbers are. Most importantly, we need to have a methodology for any reduction that they choose for ’14, ’15 or ’16, that does not completely gut the program”

Most analysts agree that cellulosic ethanol production has the most at stake. Without the stability of the RFS, cellulosic production faces a somewhat uncertain future.

Photo courtesy Green Plains

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Wednesday midday cash livestock markets


Packer inquiry in the cash cattle trade is light to moderate as the country tries to take care of business before the Thanksgiving break. USDA Mandatory reported a few sales in Kansas at 173.00 that looks to be about steady with last week. Look for buying interest to improve throughout the day. Asking prices are around 174.00 to 175.00 in the South and 272.00 to 274.00 in the North.

Boxed beef cutout values are firm in the morning report with the choice up .59 at 257.46, and select .16 higher at 243.83.

Feeder cattle receipts at the Philip Livestock Auction, Philip, SD totaled 3820 head. Compared to last week, feeder steers weighing less than 550 pounds were steady, 550 to 700 pounds trended 4.00 to 6.00 higher. Feeder heifers less than 550 pounds were steady, 550 to 650 pounds traded 5.00 to 8.00 higher. There was good demand for several strings and many load lots and packages of feeder cattle which sold on an active to very active market. Feeder steer calves averaging 626 pounds brought 279.21 per hundredweight. 654 pound heifer calves averaged 251.26.

Barrows and gilts in the Iowa/Minnesota direct trade are 1.05 lower at 86.23 weighted average on a carcass basis, the West is down 1.02 at 86.23, and nationally the market is 1.43 lower at 84.54. Eastern hogs are not reported due to confidentiality. Missouri direct base carcass meat price is steady from 77.00 to 79.00.Barrows and gilts at Midwest markets are steady with an instance of $3.00 lower in a light test from 58.00 to 63.00 live.

The pork carcass cutout value FOB plant is .52 lower at 91.66. Bellies are over $5.00 higher, but hams are more than $5.00 lower.

Though pre-holiday markets are always tough to read, the trend in negotiated cash hog sales this week has been encouraging, both in terms higher bids and decent volume. Slaughter supplies seem to be becoming more manageable.

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Late emergence of winter wheat a concern in some areas


kansas wheat 6-13The final condition rating of the nation’s winter wheat crop, until next spring, is 58 percent good to excellent and six percent poor to very poor. That’s a slight decline from last week and also a few points below where the crop finished up this year.

USDA meteorologist Brad Rippey says there are two major issues, including late emergence in some parts of the Midwest.

“In Illinois we see 11 percent of the crop rated very poor to poor—and Michigan nine percent,” Rippey says. “The other problem is lingering drought across the southern Great Plains, and also a drought in the Northwest. As a result, we see 13 percent of the crop rated very poor to poor in Texas and Washington State, and 11 percent very poor to poor in Oklahoma.”

The next report on the condition of the winter wheat crop will be out in April of 2015.

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Net farm income down 21 percent


kucera corn harvest 2010-4USDA says U.S. net farm income for 2014 will be down 21 percent from last year, dropping from 123 billion to 97 billion dollars.

Higher production expenses are the main driver of the drop in net farm income. Total production expenses are forecast to increase almost six percent in 2014 extending a four-year upward trend in expenses.

Crop receipts are expected to decrease by 12 percent in 2014, led by declines in corn and soybean receipts, while livestock receipts are forecast to increase by 14 percent, largely due to record prices for beef cattle and milk.

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Deadline nears to renegotiate farmland leases


Purdue Extension logo

Tenant farmers wanting to renegotiate farmland leases for 2015 need to deliver notices soon.  According to Purdue University agricultural law professor Gerald Harrison, the Indiana notification deadline is three months before the end of the current crop year.  By custom in the Indiana farming community, crop years end on the last day of February – therefore the notification deadline is December 1, 2014.

However, even if a notification is delivered on time, Harrison says, the landlord is under no legal obligation to change the terms of the lease.

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Communicating agriculture’s message


Richard_Levick_11

When it comes to communicating complex issues, Richard Levick, Chairman and CEO of Levick Communications says it needs to be handled differently than other issues.  “In the internet age – it is every bit as significant as the agricultural and industrial revolutions that have proceeded it,” he says.  “But rather than be afraid of this new form of communications, we need to embrace it.”

When it comes to Genetically Modified Organisms – Levick says agriculture has to stop using fact.  “We want to tell people – here are the facts,” he says.  “But, facts, as arguments don’t work.  How many people have used facts in arguments with their spouse?  How well does that work?  It’s about the emotion.”

He tells Brownfield agriculture needs to embrace the emotion – and that may lead to some unconventional partnerships.  “Who are the messengers?” he asks.  “Rather than have ‘big agriculture’ be the ones – I’d be thinking about senior citizen groups who can talk about not having to choose between heating and eating because their food prices are lower.  Look at veterans groups to convey the same message, consumer groups, and even environmental groups who can talk about the lower use of pesticides.”

And when agriculture starts talking about benefits – the anti GMO groups will then have to go on the defensive.

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Turkey Talkline


GrandChamption_Turkey_KaciCarter_HarrisonCo (4)_webThere’s a number to call for help when cooking your turkey. It’s 1-800-Butterball (800-288-8372).  Learn about it in this Healthy Living program in honor of the Thanksgiving holiday. Turkey, by the way, is a significant source of dietary protein which is essential for good health.

HEALTHY LIVING PROGRAM – Turkey talkline help (1:30 mp3):

 

 

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Is there risk in storing the crop?


Managing for Profit copy

Commodity markets are signaling farmers to store this very large corn crop.  And that is exactly what they are doing.

While it is a good idea now – are there things farmers need to keep in mind a few months down the road?  Steve Nicholson, grain and oilseed analyst with Rabo AgriFinance says there are a few items farmer should consider as the tuck away that crop into 2015.

 

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Cheese continues to decline


Cash cheese barrels slipped another 1.5 cents on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on Tuesday. Blocks held steady but butter lost 3 cents and nonfat dry milk declined 2.25 cents per pound.  Class III futures for January lost 14 cents, February fell 25 cents.

The continued decline in cash cheese prices has buyers being cautious: no one wants to buy if the price may be lower tomorrow. Class I demand has slowed as schools will be closed for a few days for Thanksgiving; that makes more milk available for the already busy cheese plants.  But here again, cheese makers do not want to build inventory at a time of declining prices.  The National Dairy Retail Report shows prices are lower than they were two weeks ago.

 

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 2 requests for export assistance from Dairy Farmers of America and Tillamook County Creamery Association to sell 47,179 pounds of Cheddar cheese in Asia and the Middle East. The product will be delivered December 2014.

Year-to-date, CWT has assisted member cooperatives in selling 99.150 million pounds of cheese, 53.591 million pounds of butter and 56.729 million pounds of whole milk powder to 45 countries on six continents.

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The significant drop in Chinese dairy imports


HIghGround Dairy

A report from HighGround Dairy points out how much China has pulled-back on dairy imports. Citing Chinese Customs data from October: whole milk powder imports were down nearly 85 million pounds or 72 percent, skim milk powder imports are 13 million pounds or 27.5 percent lower, whey products imports are down 14 percent from a year ago and butter imports are 39.5 percent below October of 2013.

The only exception is cheese which is up 19 percent. The report notes the increased cheese business is not coming from the U.S. but from New Zealand and Australia.  U.S. cheese exports to China are 700 metric tonnes lower than a year ago.

U.S. dairy prices have been consistently above the GDT prices for months in effect pricing U.S. dairy products out of the global market. European prices plunged this year and those countries have ramped-up their dairy exports to China; Ireland and Denmark got over 20 percent of the market share in October.  The U.S. share of the Chinese skim milk powder import market went from 34 percent in 2013 to 25 percent in 2014.  During that period, Ireland’s market share went from less than 1 percent to nearly 16 percent.

Read the full report here:

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