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Dairy MPP sign-up deadline November 28


Hunter

A reminder for dairy producers the deadline to sign-up for the Margin Protection Program is November 28th.  There are several on-line worksheets available to help producers determine what level of coverage would be best for their operation should they decide to participate.  The National Milk Producers Federation has a worksheet available on their website as does the University of Missouri.

Sue Hunter with the Wisconsin Farm Service Agency says even if you have not made that determination yet, you should get your 2011-through-2013 milk production numbers together and make an appointment with your FSA office.  “If you miss this deadline you will not be eligible for the 2014-2015 loss coverage.”

USDA also has a comment period open through this Tuesday, October 28th for any suggestions regarding the rules and regulations for the program.

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Wisconsin farm bill meetings


CIMG0176

University of Wisconsin-Extension and the Wisconsin Farm Service Agency are conduction informational meetings around the state to help farmers learn about the new farm bill programs.  Producers can learn about the Margin Protection Program (MPP) for dairy farmers and the Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs which replace the old ACRE and DCP programs.  Sue Hunter with the Wisconsin FSA says “producers are encouraged to attend at least one of these meetings.

The schedule of meetings can be found here and is being updated as more meetings are added.

 

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Bountiful Illinois harvest creates piles of corn


Millions of bushels of Illinois corn are already in temporary or emergency storage and there’s a lot of harvest to be done.  Illinois Corn Growers Executive Director Rod Weinzierl (WINE-zurl) says these are the piles of corn that dot the landscape in the fall.

“We have such an abundance that we have a very high request of temporary and emergency storage [applications] that elevators throughout the state are filing, and will continue to fill our regular storage as well as this temporary and emergency storage as we move towards the end of harvest,” Weinzierl told Brownfield Ag News Friday.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture says more than 110 million bushels of temporary corn storage are authorized or waiting for authorization.  To qualify for temporary storage, grain must be contained within a bunker wall on blacktop or concrete and be covered with a tarp with fan aeration.

It’s also more difficult to transport the harvest this fall.  Railroads are overextended for various reasons including because of North Dakota’s oil boom.  Weinzierl says Illinois is far enough from the oil fields that the full effect is avoided, but it’s still felt.

“There’s a spillover effect that is beginning to affect the barge industry and the available barges and our ability long-term to move grains, whether it’s corn or soybeans, to export markets,” said Weinzierl.

It’s estimated that by the end of harvest, temporary and emergency storage will exceed historic averages.

AUDIO: Rod Weinzierl (9 min. MP3)

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Food trends for 2015


Sterling Rice

 

Sterling Rice Group, a Colorado-based consulting company for the food industry has released their Top 10 Trends “that will inspire the food industry in 2015”.  SRG says the list depicts a deeper exploration of global cuisines but also reinforces local connections and promotes sustainability.

Number-one on the list is Regional Grains; local farmers growing alternative grain varieties to supply local bakers, chefs, brewers and consumers.

The list includes a number of Asian cuisine preferences especially Thai, Japanese and Filipino foods.

SRG says food trends are moving from niche to mainstream more rapidly thanks to multiculturalism, more travel and the internet.  SRG culinary director Kara Nielsen tells FoodNavigator the trends indicate consumers want their food to be more authentic, they want to make a connection to where the food comes from and “they desire more adventurous flavors.”

Read the SRG report here:

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Good times for eggs


eggs

The egg has bounced-back.  The American Egg Board says per capita egg consumption has increased from 247.9 in 2011 to 251.3 in 2013.  Estimates are that will increase to 255 this year.  Egg consumption peaked in 2006 at just over 258 then slumped after that.

Egg Nutrition Center executive director Mitch Kanter says eggs are benefiting from the protein craze and the decline in cold breakfast cereal consumption.

Of all of the eggs produced in the U.S. in 2013:

  •             53 percent went to retail
  •             32 percent were further processed for food service and manufacturing
  •             10 percent went to foodservice use
  •             4.7 percent were exported

Iowa is the nation’s largest egg-producing state followed by Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania.

Read more here:

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Dairy markets continue to slide


A “down” day to finish a “down” week on the Chicago Mercantile dairy markets on Friday.  Cash cheese barrels lost another 6.75 cents, blocks slipped 1.75 cents and butter dropped 9 cents.

For the week: cash cheese barrels have lost 14.75 cents, blocks dropped 14.75 cents, butter fell 19 cents and nonfat dry milk lost 13.5 cents per pound.  Class III futures November down 78 cents, December lost 79 cents April slipped a penny.

An interesting time in the butter market, prices are going down during what is the strongest demand time of the year.  Buyers are jumping-in with 40 loads sold this week on the CME.  Yet there is some hesitation on thoughts the price could go lower.  Dairy Market News reports there is plenty of cream available but butter makers are hesitant as well as they do not want to build inventories only to have the price go lower.  We are seeing the gap with the global market narrow but not to the point that exports will resume just yet.

 

USDA reports 10.8 billion pounds of milk was delivered into the federal pool in September, 5.1 percent more than delivered in September of 2013.  The all-market average saw 32 percent of that milk go into Class I utilization; 11 percent went Class II; 47 percent was Class III and 10 percent went Class IV.  The weighted average statistical uniform price was $25.47 per hundredweight up $1.17 from August and $5.72 above a year ago.

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Soybeans, corn down, expecting good harvest progress


Markets Featured Image 600x500_edited-2

Soybeans were lower on fund and technical selling. The trade’s expecting good harvest progress thanks to warm, dry weather across most of the region. A record crop is pretty much locked in, but beans are also looking at very strong, if not record, demand. Soybean meal and oil were lower, following the lead of beans. Soybeans are continuing to watch the weather in South America, hoping improved rainfall will help improve planting progress.

Corn was lower on fund and technical selling. Unknown bought 101,600 tons of 2014/15 U.S. corn and there is solid commercial demand with prices at a good relative value. Still, the trade is expecting a record crop and solid near term harvest progress. Ethanol futures were lower. South America’s corn planting progress is also slower than average, and while the delays in planting beans may not have much of an impact on bean acreage, it could mean a smaller second corn crop.

The wheat complex was lower on fund and technical selling. The fundamentals remain bearish, with a large global supply and expected record world crop. Better harvest progress for corn and soybeans will lead to improved winter planting. Similar to corn, wheat is at a good relative value, but that aforementioned world situation is keeping fundamentals bearish. What export demand there is, is pretty routine; Taiwan is tendering for 41,300 tons of U.S. milling wheat.

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Beef and pork values close lower


Cattle country was relatively quiet on Friday afternoon following a light trade in the North in the morning, with dressed deals marked steady to $1.00 higher than Thursday from 265.00 to 266.00, live sales at 170.00. Business was essentially done for the week. Southern deals came in at mostly 170.00, 5.00 to 6.00 higher than the previous week and set new record highs. The weekly kill totaled 576,000 head, 11,000 more than the previous week, but 43,000 less than 2013.

Boxed beef cutout values were lower on moderate demand and moderate to heavy offerings. Choice beef was down 2.02 at 247.41, and select was .93 lower at 232.71.

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle contracts settled 80 to 230 points lower. Light to moderate gains started the trading session on Friday, but the support was not able to hold as the day progressed. Traders quickly gave back gains, with most contracts ending with triple digit losses. October settled .80 lower at 168.25, and December was down 2.20 at 166.90.

Feeder cattle ended the session 175 to 240 in the red. After the cash market support seemed to clear the market, traders began to focus on the cattle on feed report. The fear that a strong bounce in placements will move the focus over the already fact that supplies remain tight, and on concerns of an overbought market like has been seen over the last couple of weeks. October down 2.32 at 237.90, and November was 2.05 lower at 234.65.

Feeder cattle receipts at Missouri auctions this week totaled 28.892 head. Compared to the previous week, feeder steers and heifers traded steady to 5.00 lower. The feeder supply was moderate to good. There was a good mixture of steers from calves to yearlings. In the Southern region of Missouri, an unseasonably large run of feeder cattle was offered. Demand for feeders remains good to very good. 934 head of feeder steers medium and large 1 with an average weight of 523 pounds averaged 280.90 per hundredweight. 403 feeder heifers weighing 526 pounds traded at 233.98.

Lean hogs settled .25 lower to 1.25 higher. Traders in the December and February contracts concentrated on position squaring ahead of the weekend break the thinly traded contracts in the fourth quarter of 2015 showed some additional price support. December settled 1.52 higher at 90.25 and February was up 1.42 at 88.87.

Barrows and gilts in the Iowa/Minnesota direct trade closed 1.70 lower at 89.17 weighted average on a carcass basis, the West was down 1.47 at 89.13, and the East was not reported due to confidentiality. Missouri direct base carcass meat price was 2.00 to 3.00 lower from 79.00 to 89.00. Midwest hogs on a live basis were lightly tested at steady prices from 65.00 to 74.00.

The pork carcass cutout value FOB plant was 2.29 lower at 98.25. Only bellies were higher.

Follow through pressure in both pork cutout values and hog prices at the end of the week are adding even more concern about the ability of the lean hog market to stabilize over the near term. Even at the lower prices, it has become difficult for wholesale sales to increase due to the expectation that even more product will be available in the future. 

The weekly hog kill was estimated at 2,141,000 head 46,000 less than last week and down 19,000 from last year.

 

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Closing Grain and Livestock Futures: October 24, 2014


Markets Featured Image 600x500_edited-2

 

Dec. corn closed at $3.53, down 6 and 3/4 cents
Nov. soybeans closed at $9.77 and 1/2, down 15 and 3/4 cents
Dec. soybean meal closed at $350.20, down $2.20
Dec. soybean oil closed at 32.39, down 28 points
Dec. wheat closed at $5.17 and 3/4, down 9 cents
Oct. live cattle closed at $168.25, down 80 cents
Dec. lean hogs closed at $90.25, up $1.52
Nov. crude oil closed at $81.01, down $1.08
Dec. cotton closed at 63.81, up 77 points
Nov. Class III milk closed at $20.79, down 22 cents
Nov. gold closed at $1,231.30, up $2.70
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 16,805.41, up 127.51 points

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Cattle placements up 1%


 

cattle feeding

USDA’s cattle on feed numbers came out close to pre-report expectations and, as expected, showed an increase in placements.

During September, placements of cattle in to the feedlots were 2.071 million head, up 1% on the year, thanks to the record cash prices and lower feed costs. Most of the placements were on heavier weight cattle and the total marks the second lowest for the month of September since the series of reports started. Placements of cattle weighing less than 600 pounds were 460,000 head and 600 to 699 pound placements were 340,000 tons, while placements of cattle weighing 700 to 799 pounds were 437,000 head and placements of cattle weighing more than 800 pounds were 770,000 head.

Marketings were down 1% from a year ago at 1.683 million head, with market ready numbers remaining relatively tight.

The total number of cattle on feed in the U.S. as of October 1 was 10.058 million head, 1% less than last year. That includes 6.46 million steer and heifer calves, up 1% and 64% of total inventory, while heifers and heifer calves accounted for 3.55 million head, down 3%.

Other disappearances were 65,000 head, 5% more than a year ago.

 

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Kansas cellulosic plant will use variety of feedstocks


abengoa plant-hugoton ks-deliveryLast week, Abengoa Bioenergy officially opened its new cellulosic ethanol plant in Hugoton, Kansas.

Spokesman Chris Standlee says the plant will utilize crop residue as its feedstock, with about 80 percent of that being corn stover.

“We have already done four or five years of harvest—and we’ve done harvests with both corn stover and wheat straw—but the majority of the feedstock for this facility will be corn stover with the rest being either wheat straw or the stubble from grain sorghum residues,” Standlee says. “We also have a dedicated plot of about 400 acres of switchgrass—we’re going to try and use some of that also.”

Standlee says Abengoa plans to market its proprietary “enzymatic hydrolysis technology” to existing corn-ethanol plants.

“They could increase their capacities with relatively low additional costs and create a product that is now—instead of just being 20 percent better than gasoline from a greenhouse gas emissions standpoint—it could now be roughly 90 percent better than gasoline from a greenhouse gas emissions standpoint,” he says.

The Abengoa plant has the capacity to produce up to 25 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol per year.

AUDIO: Chris Standlee

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Friday midday cash livestock markets


Cattle prices reached a new record high on Thursday of $170.00 per hundredweight, $6.00 higher than the previous week. The trade in the South may be complete for the week. In the North cattle are trading at $170.00 live in Iowa and a few sales on a dressed basis are being reported in Nebraska at 265.00. Asking prices on cattle left in the North are around 267.00 plus.

Boxed beef cutout values were lower in the morning report. Choice beef 247.04 down 2.39, and select 232.44 down 1.10.

Feeder cattle receipts at Missouri auctions this week totaled 28.892 head. Compared to the previous week, feeder steers and heifers traded steady to 5.00 lower. The feeder supply was moderate to good. There was a good mixture of steers from calves to yearlings. In the Southern region of Missouri, an unseasonably large run of feeder cattle was offered. Demand for feeders remains good to very good. 934 head of feeder steers medium and large 1 with an average weight of 523 pounds averaged 280.90 per hundredweight. 403 feeder heifers weighing 526 pounds traded at 233.98.

Barrows and gilts in the Iowa/Minnesota, Western and Eastern direct trade areas are not reported due to confidentiality. Nationally the market is 1.05 lower with a weighted average on the carcass basis at 90.28. Missouri direct base carcass meat price is 2.00 to 3.00 lower from 79.00 to 89.00. Midwest hogs on a live basis are lightly tested with most interests out of the market on Friday. Prices are steady from 65.00 to 74.00.

The pork carcass cutout value is 2.34 lower at 98.20 FOB plant. Only ribs and bellies are higher.

Follow through pressure in both pork cutout values and hog prices at the end of the week are adding even more concern about the ability of the lean hog market to stabilize over the near term. Even at the lower prices, it has become difficult for wholesale sales to increase due to the expectation that even more product will be available in the future.

 

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L.A. officials seek to establish ‘GMO-free zone’


gmo_free logo-smallerThe Los Angeles city council has asked the city attorney to draft a proposal banning the sale and planting of any genetically modified seeds with the L.A. city limits.

Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, who co-authored the proposal, admits the ban would be largely symbolic due to the small amount of agriculture within the city.  But he says it would send “a clear signal that in Los Angeles we want to return to GMO-free food.”  Among concerns cited by council members are that genetic modification makes food unsafe to eat and is linked to the decline in the bee population.

The L.A. Times editorial board criticized the council’s proposal, which it says is “chock full of inconsistent logic”.  The Times called the move “virtually meaningless, because there are no such crops in the city and no plans to grow them” The paper implored lawmakers to “rise above irrational fears and easy generalizations and to become informed about science.”

The L.A. city council approved the proposal asking for the draft measure on a 13 to 1 vote.

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Taiwanese trade team visits Indiana


Taiwan

Representatives of the Taiwan grain industry are in Indiana this week to see Indiana agriculture first hand.  Willis Cheng, a member of the trade team, tells Brownfield Taiwan imports nearly 100 percent of their corn and soybeans and says the visit allows the delegation to better understand their supplier.  “Indiana is a very important agriculture area,” he says.  “We needed to know what is going on with the corn crop quality and production, and the supply situation, the transport situation, and with DDGs.”

Wills Cheng, Taiwanese Trade Team member

Taiwan is the 7th largest market for US agricultural products.  Rosiland Leeck, director of grain marketing for the Indiana Corn Marketing Council says trade missions like these puts the farmers in touch with the end users and provides an opportunity for the end users to build a relationship with the producers.  “Those relationships that are built are just incredibly important to agriculture, to Indiana agriculture, and to the buying and selling relationship,” she says.

Rosiland Leeck, Indiana Corn Marketing Council

During their time in Indiana, the Taiwanese team will visit with several agricultural businesses as well have the opportunity to see the crop quality first hand through two on-farm visits.

Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann

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Should you sell or should you grow?


cattle grazing-southwest iowaMany cow-calf producers have a big decision to make this fall.  Sell the calves and cash in on record prices?  Or invest and build the cowherd?

Aaron Berger, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension educator shares some of his thoughts on that topic.

AUDIO: Aaron Berger

 

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Study finds the dairy farmers care for animals


P1100294A National Milk Producers Federation report indicates dairy farmers continue to adopt high-quality animal care.

Federation spokesman Chris Galen says the report quantifies the practices of farmers participating in the industry’s National Dairy FARM Program – Farmers Assuring Responsible Management.

“The FARM Program is about continuous improvement, it’s not about trying to flunk people out or having a pass/fail system,” Galen told Brownfield Ag News on Thursday from his office in Washington, D.C.  “It’s about measuring how well we’re doing now, and then trying to make certain that where we’re not necessarily having all the farmers measure up, they have an opportunity to do that in the future.”

The report found that nearly 95 percent of farms train their employees to properly move animals that cannot walk.  More than 98 percent train employees to handle calves with a minimum of stress.

At the same time, Galen points to numbers that could be improved.  For example, 84 percent of farms in the program have a valid relationship with a veterinarian.

“About 84 percent of the farms in the program have that, but that means that about one in six do not.  We need to do more in terms of annual training for new and existing personnel,” said Galen.  “Again, 84 percent of the farms do that, but that means that another 16 percent do not.”

Overall, according to the report, participation in the FARM Program increased to more than three-quarters of the nation’s milk supply.  That’s up five percentage points from the previous year.

The FARM Program is now in its fifth year. The voluntary, national set of guidelines is designed to demonstrate farmers’ commitment to animal care and a quality milk supply.

AUDIO: Chris Galen (10 min. MP3)

 

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Groundwater contamination issue in Wisconsin


Six environmental groups have filed a petition with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) asking the agency to investigate groundwater contamination in Kewaunee County in northeastern Wisconsin.  The petition charges the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has failed to protect residential drinking water through its powers to regulate groundwater and oversight of large livestock operations.

The petition charges testing by the Center for Watershed Science and Education at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point found 149 of the county’s 483 wells contained bacteria and/or nitrate levels exceeding state and federal standards.

The county has around 80,000 head of cattle on some 200 dairy farms including 15 CAFOs, (concentrated animal feeding operations with at least 700 dairy cows).  The groups, citing DNR figures say those animals produce 12.4 million pounds of nitrogen from manure annually, more than the 130,000 acres of harvestable cropland in the county can handle.

Groundwater contamination has been a problem in the county as there are a number of areas where the topsoil is very thin on top of fractured bedrock which allows runoff easy access to groundwater.  Because of the situation, manure spreading is prohibited from January 1 through April 15 on areas with less than 20 feet of soil.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports the groups filing the petition are: Clean Water Wisconsin, Environmental Integrity Project, Midwest Environmental Advocates, Midwest Environmental Defense Center, Kewaunee CARES and the Clean Water Action Council of Northeast Wisconsin.

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Cash cheese drops


Cheese prices dropped on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on Thursday.  Barrels lost 8 cents while blocks fell 21.25 cents.  A couple of uncovered offers setting the prices.  Cash butter lost 9 cents.  Class III futures responded accordingly with November losing 73 cents, December dropped 57 cents and January fell 44 cents.

Milk production is strong in the Central U.S., Dairy Market News says dairy herds are growing and milk plants are reaching capacity.  A little different story in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Southeast states were production is flat.  Florida imported 160 loads this week, same as last week.  Bottling plants in the Southeast are busy as orders are strong.  In the West: California production is steady as weather conditions are favorable across the Central Valley.  New Mexico and Arizona production is steady to a little higher.

Dairy cow slaughter in the United States in September totaled 238,000 head, 9,000 more than in August and 21,000 less than September of 2013.  January-through-September saw 2.089 million dairy cows slaughtered under federal inspection; 253,000 less than in the same period in 2013.

Dairy cow slaughter for the week ending October 4 was 53,900; 6,900 less than sent to slaughter the previous week.

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Another strong session for soybeans


Markets Featured Image 600x500_edited-2

Soybeans were higher on fund and commercial buying. China bought another 118,000 tons of 2014/15 U.S. beans and it was a strong week for export sales numbers. That new sale to China followed up on Wednesday’s purchase of more than 400,000 tons. Harvest forecasts look mixed, with more rain in some areas. Soybean meal and oil followed beans with meal outgaining oil.

Corn was higher on fund and technical buying. December closed at a new seven week high. Weekly export sales on corn were strong, but the shipments were only neutral. Past that – corn’s also watching the weather with rainfall moving across the Cornbelt. Ethanol future were lower.

The wheat complex was mostly higher on fund and technical buying. December Kansas City was the exception, ending the day unchanged, while December Chicago settled at a six week high. The delays in the corn and soybean harvests are leading to delays in winter wheat planting, especially for soft red winter. Demand continues to be a little disappointing with another slow week for export sales. Japan bought 88,200 tons of U.S. food wheat, along with 21,500 tons from Australia.

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USDA funds rural water system improvements


The USDA is providing more than $350 million in loans and grants for rural water and wastewater system upgrades to help ensure access to clean water.

U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the initiative today (Thursday) at a speech in Anchorage, Alaska.  In making the announcement, Vilsack said the projects are critical to address the impact of climate change on water supplies.  He says changes in rainfall have resulted in more floods and droughts, creating the need for more upkeep on rural and municipal water systems.

The loans and grants are part of more than a billion-and-a-half dollars that the USDA has invested in rural water and wastewater projects during fiscal 2014, which ended September 30.

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