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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


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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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Red meat production 1% above year ago


meatcase

According to USDA, U.S. red meat production during September 2014 was 3.959 billion pounds, up 1% from September 2013.

Beef was reported at 2.067 billion pounds, a little bit less than a year ago, with the kill down 3% at 2.530 million head and the average live weight gaining 31 pounds to 1,344 pounds. Veal was pegged at 7.2 million pounds, down 16% from last year, with the slaughter dropping 33% to 42,300 head and average live weight jumping 57 pounds to 291 pounds.

Pork came out at 1.872 billion pounds, 2% more than a year ago, with the slaughter declining 2% to 8.829 million head and average live weight rising 10 pounds to 283 pounds.

Lamb and mutton production was 12.3 million pounds, a 5% increase, with the kill up 4% at 191,900 head and average live weight two pounds heavier at 128 pounds.

So far this year, U.S. red meat production is 35.132 billion pounds, 4% less than this time last year.

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Poultry production jumps 7%


 

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USDA reports poultry production for September 2014 was 3.854 billion pounds, a 7% increase from the September 2013 total. Most of that was chicken, 3.349 billion pounds, with turkey at 493.480 million.

The preliminary live weight of all poultry was 5.087 billion pounds, also 7% more than a year ago.

Young chickens slaughtered averaged 5.99 pounds per bird, while mature chickens averaged 5.83 pounds and turkeys averaged 30.6 pounds.

Ante-mortem condemnations were 11.129 million pounds, 0.22% of the preliminary live weight, and post-mortem condemnations were 37.360 million pounds, 0.96% of monthly production.

For the year to date, U.S. poultry production is 33.463 billion pounds, 1% ahead of this time last year.

 

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Harvest is picking back up in Ohio


corn harvest 02

Harvest started out in full speed for central Ohio farmer Allen Ett in September – but when the calendar turned to October that all changed.  “It kind of turned on us a little bit,” he says.  “We’ve been fighting rain like everyone else, I assume.  It’s been slow on the bean harvest – which is not the way it typically is the first half of October – so we’ve been concentrating on corn.”

And, Ett says, yields are good.  “The early planted corn, and I say early for this year, the corn that was planted April 23-25, was extremely good for our area,” he says.  “Most of our farms were over 200, up to 225.”

He tells Brownfield they are inching closer to finishing harvest – with less than 100 acres left of corn and around 250 acres of soybeans to finish.

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Cattle trade at record high prices


USDA Mandatory reported cattle trading was light to moderate in the Texas Panhandle, Kansas, Nebraska and Colorado on very good demand on Thursday afternoon. A limited number of cattle have traded at 170.00, $5.00 to 6.00 higher than last week.  The $170.00 price level set new records in all regions. Trading was still slow in all other regions but buyer inquiry was very active.  Showlists are priced around 168.00 to 170.00 in the South and 260.00 plus in the North. The kill totaled 108,000 head, 1,000 smaller than last week and 8,000 below a year ago.

Boxed beef cutout values were lower on moderate demand and heavy offerings. Choice boxed beef was down 1.57 at 249.43, and select was 1.53 lower at 233.54.

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle contracts settled 100 to 127 points higher. Contracts were pressured somewhat by lower boxed beef values at midday but were still able to close with new record highs. October was 1.00 higher at 169.05, and December settled at 169.10 also a 1.00 higher.

Feeder cattle ended the session 77 to 175 points higher. Traders started to look toward the upcoming cattle on feed report due out tomorrow after the close of trade. An expected increase in placements from last year’s levels could limit the recent market support that has developed in the complex. October was up .77 at 240.22, and November was 1.52 higher at 236.70.

Feeder cattle receipts at the Bassett, Nebraska Livestock Auction totaled 3390 head on Wednesday. A trend was not given due to no comparable offering last week. Demand was very good for all offerings with a very high demand for replacement quality heifers. Feeder steers medium and large 1 with an average weight of 567 pounds brought 287.66 per hundredweight. 510 pound replacement heifers averaged 295.00 at Bassett.

Lean hogs settled unchanged to 102 points lower. Even though the futures were lower at the close, the initial pressure in the complex eased, based on the bounce of pork values in the morning report. Although it was far from sounding the all clear on lower pork prices, the lack of sharp follow through pressure was encouraging to the market and may help to bring some balance to the hog complex.  December was 1.02 lower and settled at 88.73, and February was down .40 at 87.45.

There was slow hog market activity with light to moderate demand on Thursday afternoon. Barrows and gilts in the Iowa/Minnesota direct trade closed 1.22 lower at 91.08 weighted average on a carcass basis, the West was down 1.37 at 90.81 and the East was not reported due to confidentiality. Missouri direct base carcass meat price was steady to 2.00 lower from 81.00 to 92.00. Midwest hogs on a live basis closed 1.00 to 5.00 lower from 65.00 to 75.00.

The pork carcass cutout value was down .62 at 100.54 FOB plant.

Aggressive plant processing speeds through the last couple of weeks have done little to limit overall supply of market ready hogs. This has allowed packers to come to the market with lower offering prices to producers each and every day. The concern that this cycle will continue to develop over the near future gives little short range support to the market over the coming weeks, according to DTN analysts.

The hog kill was estimated at 429.000 head, even with last week, and 1,000 more than last year.

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Pence joins Governors in opposition of WOTUS


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Indiana Governor Mike Pence joined eleven other governors in voicing opposition to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposal to redefine “Waters of the United States” in the Clean Water Act.

In a statement released Thursday, the Governor said, “Congress did not intend for the Clean Water Act to apply to every instance where a drop of water touches the earth.”  Pence added, “There are limits on federal authority, and the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers have overreached with their proposed Waters of the United States rule. They should withdraw the proposed rule and engage in a serious conversation with the states about where the lines of federal jurisdiction end and states’ authority over their own waters begin.”

The EPA is accepting comments on the rule until November 14. The Pence Administration intends to file formal comments prior to the deadline.

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Closing Grain and Livestock Futures: October 23, 2014


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Dec. corn closed at $3.59 and 3/4, up 6 and 3/4 cents
Nov. soybeans closed at $9.93 and 1/4, up 30 and 1/2 cents
Dec. soybean meal closed at $352.40, up $14.40
Dec. soybean oil closed at 32.67, up 53 points
Dec. wheat closed at $5.26 and 3/4, up 4 and 1/2 cents
Oct. live cattle closed at $169.05, up $1.00
Dec. lean hogs closed at $88.72, down $1.02
Nov. crude oil closed at $82.09, up $1.57
Dec. cotton closed at 63.04, up 36 points
Nov. Class III milk closed at $21.01, down 73 cents
Nov. gold closed at $1,228.60, down $16.40
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 16,677.90, up 216.58 points

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Training on dairy Margin Protection Program offered


Purdue Extension logo

Purdue Extension will offer a series of training sessions to help dairy producers understand the details of the Margin Protection Program as part of the new farm bill.

The first four meetings will be presented by Chris Wolf, Michigan State University ag economics professor who was integral in developing the analytical tools for MPP; the last two sessions will be presented by Nicole Widmar, a Purdue associate professor of ag economics.

Training schedule:

* Nov. 3: 9:30 a.m. to noon, Elkhart County 4-H Fairgrounds Ag Hall, 17746-D County Road 34, Goshen.

* Nov. 3 6-8:30 p.m., Hancock County Fairgrounds Exhibit Hall, 620 Apple St. Greenfield.

* Nov. 4: 9:30 a.m. to noon, Jackson County Learning Center, 323 Dupont Circle, Seymour.

* Nov. 4: 6-8:30 p.m., 4-H Community Building, 547 S. Briant St., Huntington.

* Nov. 18: 1-3:30 p.m., Dubois County 4-H Fairgrounds, 4157 S. state Route 162, Huntingburg.

* Nov. 19: 6-8:30 p.m., Beck Agricultural Center, 4540 U.S. 52 W, West Lafayette.

Registration will be during the first half hour of each event.

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Study raises no-till yield concerns


A study on the global yield impact of no-till farming says it shows promise in dryland areas but may not be the answer to increased yields as predicted elsewhere.

The University of California-Davis led the international research analysis of the conservation agriculture method. A University of Illinois Crop sciences researcher co-authored the study.

They examined more than 600 peer-reviewed studies and found that no-till often leads to yield declines, although it has been promoted worldwide as a way to sustainably meet growing global food demand.

The study is published in the October 22nd journal “Nature

 

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FDA settlement on additives issue


Programs ICONThe Food and Drug Administration has agreed to finalize its rule on food additives it deems “Generally Regarded as Safe” (Also known as GRAS). The rule was proposed 17 years ago but last year, the Center for Food Safety sued the FDA accusing the agency of allowing companies to sell products that had not been reviewed by the government to determine their safety for human consumption.

In a settlement this week, the FDA has agreed to go through the process of finalizing the rule by August 2016 which will allow for public input.

The Center for Food Safety says this is a major victory for consumers and that the FDA has been violating federal law keeping them from taking part in the rulemaking process.

The Center says several additives that the FDA determined to be safe have since been proven harmful, including Volatile Oil of Mustard which is now classified as a carcinogen, a cancer-causing agent.

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Thursday midday cash livestock prices


Cattle country remains in quiet mode on Thursday with bids and asking prices few and far between, but the expectation is packer inquiry will improve as the day progresses. Significant trade volume may be delayed until sometime on Friday and may wait until until after the release of the cattle on feed report at 2:00 central time. A few asking prices are around 168.00 to 170.00 in the South and 260.00 plus in the North.

Boxed beef cutout values were lower, with the choice down .66 at 250.34, and select .49 lower at 234.58.

Feeder cattle receipts at the Bassett, Nebraska Livestock Auction totaled 3390 head on Wednesday. A trend was not given due to no comparable offering last week. Demand was very good for all offerings with a very high demand for replacement quality heifers. Feeder steers medium and large 1 with an average weight of 567 pounds brought 287.66 per hundredweight. 510 pound replacement heifers averaged 295.00 at Bassett.

Barrows and gilts in the Iowa/Minnesota and Eastern direct trade areas are not reported due to confidentiality. Western hogs are 3.20 lower with a weighted average of 88.98 on a carcass basis, nationally the market is down 1.46 at 91.35.  Missouri direct base carcass meat price is steady to 2.00 lower from 81.00 to 92.00. Midwest hogs on a live basis are 1.00 to 5.00 lower from 65.00 to 75.00.

The pork carcass cutout value was up .69 FOB plant at 101.85. Bellies, picnics and loins were higher.

Aggressive plant processing speeds through the last couple of weeks have done little to limit overall supply of market ready hogs. This has allowed packers to come to the market with lower offering prices to producers each and every day. The concern that this cycle will continue to develop over the near future gives little short range support to the market over the coming weeks, according to DTN analysts.

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Soybean sales nearly 80 million bushels


 

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USDA reports corn and soybean export sales for the week ending October 16 were above what’s needed weekly to meet USDA projections for the 2014/15 marketing year. Physical shipments of soybeans were also more than what’s needed to meet the Ag Department’s expectations.

Wheat came out at 299,400 tons (11.0 million bushels), down 34% from the week ending October 9 and 39% lower than the four week average. Japan picked up 92,300 tons and the Philippines bought 68,700 tons. For the 2014/15 marketing year to date, wheat sales are 539.9 million bushels, compared to 704.8 million in 2013/14.

Corn was reported at 1,031,200 tons (40.6 million bushels), 46% less than the previous week and 11% below the four week average. Unknown destinations purchased 576,200 tons and Japan picked up 167,300 tons. At this point in the marketing year, corn sales are 718.6 million bushels, compared to 629.0 million this time last year.

Soybeans were pegged at 2,166,800 tons (79.6 million bushels). China bought 1,701,400 tons and Spain purchased 138,000 tons, while unknown destinations canceled on 175,100 tons. So far this marketing year, soybean sales are 1.204 billion bushels, compared to 1.010 billion a year ago. Sales of 3,300 tons (100,000 bushels) for 2015/16 delivery were to Japan.

Soybean meal came out at 23,000 tons. Panama picked up 34,300 tons and the Dominican Republic bought 32,500 tons, but unknown destinations canceled on 77,700 tons. Early in the marketing year, cumulative soybean meal sales are 6,245,500 tons, compared to 3,868,500 last year.

Soybean oil was reported at 10,600 tons. Sales ranged from 1,000 to 11,000 tons, but unknown destinations canceled on 17,000 tons. 2014/15 soybean oil sales are 222,100 tons, compared to 64,700 near the start of 2013/14.

Net beef sales totaled 7,600 tons, down 5% from the week before and 34% lower than the four week average. The listed buyers were South Korea (3,200 tons), Hong Kong (1,300 tons), Canada (1,100 tons), Mexico (600 tons), and Taiwan (400 tons).

Net pork sales totaled 19,600 tons, an increase of 6% on the week, but a decrease of 7% from the four week average. The reported purchasers were South Korea (6,700 tons), Japan (4,900 tons), Canada (3,000 tons), Mexico (2,200 tons), and Hong Kong (900 tons). Sales of 500 tons for 2015 delivery were to Japan.

 

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Assess your Johne’s risk


Ken Olson is Outreach Coordinator for the Johne’s Disease Integrated Program which has joined with other interested parties to form the Mycobacterial Diseases of Animals Multi-State Initiative.  They have expanded their work to not only Johne’s disease but Bovine Tuberculosis as well.  Olson says they have developed a process for farmers to determine the risk of the diseases occurring on their farm.

Olson talks about the assessment:

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Nominations sought for Beck’s Beyond the Fence awards


Beck's HybridsNominations are being accepted for the Beck’s Beyond the Fence Awards.  The award program honors individuals for their outstanding service and contributions to Indiana agriculture.  For the fourth year, the awards are sponsored by Beck’s Hybrids of Atlanta, Ind. in conjunction with the Indiana Soybean Alliance and the Indiana Corn Growers Association.

Scott Beck, vice-president of Beck’s Hybrids says sharing agriculture’s story has become increasingly important.  “Without the support of Hoosiers who are invested in the success of agriculture, Indiana would not be where it is today,” he says.

Nominations are being sought for the following categories:

The Beck’s Friend of Indiana Agriculture Award is for an individual who has made a contribution to the industry, but isn’t directly involved in agriculture. (http://bit.ly/1pbJ7wH)

The Beck’s Agricultural Education Outreach Award is for an individual who has made a contribution through his/her role in Indiana agriculture education. (http://bit.ly/1z8ovyW)

The Beck’s Community Betterment Award is for a farmer whose contribution to the agricultural community has been seen through philanthropic, service, volunteerism, donation and/or leadership projects. (http://bit.ly/1pbD4rO)

The Beck’s Ag Media Award is for an individual in media who has achieved excellence in reporting about Indiana agriculture. (http://bit.ly/11npLzj)

Nominations are due December 29, 2014 and the winner in each of the four categories will be announced during the 2015 Livestock Forage and Grain Forum.

 

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Apply now for a $30k VFW scholarship


The deadline for a $30,000 VFW scholarship is fast approaching.

The Voice of Democracy audio-essay scholarship is available to high school students. Home school or home study students are also eligible.

The first-place winner receives a $30,000 scholarship. Other national winners receive $1,000-$16,000. First-place winners from each state are also flown to Washington D.C., courtesy of the state VFW Department.

To apply, applicants must write an essay and record it to a CD. This year’s essay topic is Why Veterans are Important to our Nation’s History and Future.

The CD, a copy of the essay and application form are due to a participating VFW no later than Nov. 1, 2014.

Get full details, and download an application at VFW.org.

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Cheese up, butter down on the CME


Cash cheese prices increased on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on Wednesday. Barrels increased 3.5 cents and blocks added 4.5 cents expanding the barrel-to-block spread to 30 cents.  Cash butter lost 4.25 cents slipping below $2 to $1.99.  Class III futures were a little lower except for November which gained a nickel.

 

National Dairy Products Sales Report for the week ending October 18: cash cheese blocks averaged $2.26 per pound down 7.9 cents from the previous week.  Barrels fell 11.5 cents to $2.21, butter dropped 18.5 cents to average $2.74 per pound.  Nonfat dry milk increased 1.9 cents to $1.51 and dry whey decreased 1.4 cents to average 65.2 cents per pound.

 

The November Base Class I Price is $24.06 down 13 cents from the previous month.  Base Skim Milk Price for Class I is $13.25 down 42 cents.

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