Corn planting continues at a sluggish pace in Indiana. According to USDAs latest weekly Crop and Weather report, just 3 percent of the corn crop is planted, well behind the 5 year average of 26 percent.
Central Indiana farmer Brian Scott says theyve only been able to plant one field so far this year. We planted it just to see if everything was working, he says. Because we knew it was going to rain quite a bit Saturday and put us out of the field for a few days.
He says they received over an inch and a half of rain on Saturday the most theyve received in one rainfall since harvest. Were not super soaking wet, he says. Right now we are because its only been two days since it rained. The ground is taking the water pretty well because it wasnt really saturated to begin with.
But the forecast for this week is for warmer temperatures and sunshine. If thats the case Scott says they could be back in the field before the end of the week.
Wednesday at the earliest but I doubt it, he says. Its looking more like Thursday or Friday. But for us its going to depend on which fields are ready first.
Last weeks cool, wet weather also slowed wheat and hay growth. Just 32 percent of the crop is jointing, 20 percent behind the 5 year average. Sixty percent of the wheat crop is in good to excellent condition and 75 percent of range and pastures are rated good to excellent.
Cash cheese and nonfat dry milk held steady while butter gained two cents on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on Monday. One unfilled bid set the new butter price. Class III futures drifted a bit lower on the lack of activity in the cheese market.
More than 10.7 billion pounds of milk was received from Federally-pooled producers in March, 7 percent less than a year ago. 33 percent of the milk went to Class I utilization, 15 percent was Class II, 36 percent went into Class III use and 16 percent was for Class IV. The weighted average statistical uniform price was $16.08 per hundredweight down 24 cents from February and $8.28 below March of last year.
Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 8 requests for export assistance from Dairy Farmers of America, Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold), and Tillamook County Creamery Association who have contracts to sell 1.122 million pounds of Cheddar, Gouda, and Monterey Jack cheese and 85,980 pounds of whole milk powder to customers in Asia, the Middle East, and Central and South America. The product has been contracted for delivery in the period from April through October 2015.
Year-to-date, CWT has assisted member cooperatives who have contracts to sell 28.878 million pounds of cheese, 24.388 million pounds of butter, and 8.739 million pounds of whole milk powder to twenty eight countries on five continents.
The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service is extending the public comment period for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) interim rule until May 28th. The original deadline was Tuesday, April 28th.
The 2014 Farm Bill consolidated three previous conservation easement programs into ACEP, a voluntary program designed to help landowners protect working agricultural lands and wetlands. The program encourages farmers and ranchers and non-industrial private forest landowners to keep their land in agricultural use through easements. The rule also helps restore critical wetlands on private and tribal lands through a wetland reserve easement component. While retaining many of the standards of the three previous programs, there are some differences as described in the interim rule.
Under the agricultural land easement component, NRCS provides matching funds to State, Tribal, and local governments, and nongovernmental organizations with farm and ranch land protection programs to purchase permanent agricultural land easements.
Under the wetland reserve easement component, NRCS protects wetlands by purchasing directly from owners a reserved interest in eligible land or entering into 30-year contracts on acreage owned by Indian Tribes, in each case providing for the restoration, enhancement, and protection of wetlands and associated lands. Wetland reserve easements may be permanent, 30-years, or the maximum duration authorized by State law.
The official notice of the proposed ACEP interim rule can be found here.
Chinas dairy imports continue to decline. In March, whole milk powder imports totaled 80 million pounds, half of what the Chinese bought a year ago and the lowest March number since 2010. Skim milk powder imports were down nearly 38 percent, butter purchases dropped 35 percent, cheddar cheese and whey product imports were also below a year ago.
New Zealand has the lions share of Chinas milk powder business: 78 percent of skim milk powder and 99 percent of the whole milk powder. The U.S. share of the business dropped from 14 percent a year-ago to just 4 percent this March.
HighGround Dairy says while the U.S. is still Chinas biggest supplier of whey products, its market share slipped from 49 percent to 44 percent with Argentina, Ireland and Poland gaining share.
Global dairy prices have plunged nearly 50 percent since China pulled-back on imports in February of 2014.
No change in the avian influenza status in Wisconsin. The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection says as of Monday, still 6 infected farms in the state. All six sites have been depopulated and composting is underway or complete. The first round of surveillance sampling has been completed in the first three sites. It will begin soon at the other three.
So far, 985,000 chickens and 303,800 turkeys have been affected by the virus in Wisconsin.
Despite the cold, wet weather there was a little planting progress in Wisconsin last week. The National Ag Statistics Service reports that as of Sunday: 46 percent of the Badger State oats crop is planted, 20 points ahead of a week ago and 10 points ahead of the five-year average. Emergence is about half of what it should be at seven percent.
Corn planting was 5 percent completed by Sunday, a 4-point improvement over last week but 3 points behind the five year average. Spring tillage is 31 percent completed compared to 18 percent a week ago and 26 percent for the five-year average. 40 percent of the states potatoes are planted. With a forecast for sunshine and highs in the 60s and 70s, those numbers are expected to jump this week.
Topsoil moisture is listed as 20 percent short, 68 percent adequate and 10 percent surplus.
More counties are starting to see damage to alfalfa and winter wheat stands although the crops are slow to develop with the cold temperatures. Frost heaving is becoming quite evident in clay soils.
Its dry in South Dakota. Outside of a little precipitation in the western third and southeast corner, most of the week was fit for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture 74 percent short to adequate. There is no surplus moisture.
But it put corn planting ahead. Its 16 percent done. Winter wheat 67 fair to good. Eighty-four percent of the oats and 86 percent of the spring wheat are plant. Both well ahead of average.
Calving is 78 percent complete. Lambing is 88 percent complete. Hay and roughage supplies 89 percent adequate to surplus and stock water supplies are 61 percent adequate to surplus.
Missouri corn planting was limited in some areas by cool, wet conditions; however, statewide planting progressed to 20 percent complete, a jump of 12 percentage points over the past week. But normally by this time, corn planting would be 44 percent complete.
The winter wheat crop is 90 percent fair to good. Missouris topsoil moisture 98 percent adequate to surplus. Pastures are 63 percent good to excellent.
Corn planting in Illinois was limited in some areas by cool, wet conditions; however, statewide planting progressed to 31 percent complete. Thats a jump of 16 percentage points over the past week. Winter wheat is 2 percent headed, and the condition of the crop is 86 percent fair to good. Seventy-eight percent of the oats are planted in Illinois.
Illinois topsoil moisture is 95 percent adequate to surplus.
Pasture and range condition is 71 percent good to excellent.
A bipartisan group of Senators are encouraging Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to emphasize continued support for the Conservation Reserve Program to Congress. Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly and South Dakota Senator John Thune are leading the effort.
Senator Donnelly says the Conservation Reserve Program is vital to American agriculture. It does terrific things for our environment, he says. It also provides another opportunity for the ag community to raising crops on less productive, environmentally sensitive land. Its a win-win and we wanted to make sure the Secretary understood that.
Over 24 million acres have already been enrolled in to CRP this year. He tells Brownfield the Senators also want to ensure eligible landowners have adequate periods for enrollment. We havent filled the entire allotment yet, he says. Were close and we think it is a great opportunity to inform our ag community that this is available and to make sure they know and have every opportunity to sign up.
Twelve Senators signed on to the letter.
Indiana - U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly South Dakota - U.S. Senator John Thune South Dakota - U.S. Senator Mike Rounds Minnesota U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar Ohio - U.S. Senator Rob Portman Wisconsin - U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin
Montana U.S. Senator Jon Tester
Montana U.S. Senator Steve Daines
Massachusetts U.S. Senator Edward Markey
Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet
Oklahoma U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe
Oregon U.S. Senator Ron Wyden
Soybeans were mixed on commercial activity. Demand remains strong, with unknown buying 158,000 tons of old crop U.S. beans, but the supply is only getting larger as South Americas harvest moves on. The trades also keeping any eye on movement disruptions in Brazil. According to the USDA, as of Sunday, 2% of U.S. soybeans are planted, compared to 4% on average. Soybean meal and oil were mixed, following the lead of beans.
Corn was lower on fund and speculative selling. Forecasts are showing mostly dry conditions over the next five days, helping wet areas of the southeastern Cornbelt make up for the early delays. The USDA reports 19% of this years corn crop is planted, compared to 25% on average, and 2% has emerged, compared to 6% on average. Ethanol futures were mixed.
The wheat complex was lower on fund and speculative selling. Theres been more rain in the Plains, stretching from Oklahoma to North Dakota. Also, soft red winter growing areas are expected to see warmer, drier conditions. For winter wheat, 28% has headed, compared to 24% on average, and 42% of the crop is in good to excellent condition, unchanged on the week. For spring wheat, 55% is planted, compared to 29% on average, and 9% has emerged, matching the five year average.
A producer who farms near the shore of Chesapeake Bay advises other watershed farmers to be proactive in managing nutrient runoff. Delaware farmer Richard Wilkins has always paid close attention to keeping water clean. Its a regulatory necessity, but he feels its the right thing to do.
Its very, very difficult to argue against clean water, said Wilkins, during an interview on a bus traveling the Delmarva countryside. Everybody, including farmers, desires water to be clean. We have a responsibility as stewards of the land that weve entrusted with, to leave it in better shape than it was when we began to farm on it.
Illinois soybean growers who farm the Mississippi Watershed went to the Delmarva Peninsula to find out how Delaware and Maryland farmers deal with the challenges of farming near the bay. Wilkins, who is the first vice president of the American Soybean Association, tells Brownfield his advice to Illinois growers and others farming large watersheds is to engage with elected officials and with career regulators.
Try to make sure, said Wilkins, that whatever programs that are put in place provide a carrot rather than a stick.
Total trade volume in the cattle last week was mixed, significantly higher in Nebraska, somewhat higher in Kansas, but lower in Texas. New showlists appear generally smaller than last week, especially in Kansas, Some showlists have been initially priced around 161.00 in the South, and 263.00 in the North. The kill was estimated at 105,000 head, 5,000 less than last week, and down 9,000 from last year.
Boxed beef cutout values were steady to firm on moderate demand and offerings. Choice beef was .10 lower at 256.89, and select was up .36 at 247.98.
Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle contracts settled 70 to 137 lower. The combination of the negative impact of the cattle on feed report on Friday and traders backing away from sharp end of the week gains allowed for prices to slip lower. April settled .70 lower at 160.47, and June was down .92 at 150.27.
Feeder cattle settled 210 to 267 lower. Only the April contract closed higher with the majority of the pressure seen in the May through November contracts. The lack of support through the complex was focused more on adjustments after the cattle on feed report rather than any other factor in the market. April was up .05 at 214.90, and May was down 267 at 211.40.
Feeder cattle receipts at the Oklahoma National Stockyards totaled 6800 head today, Feeder steers were lightly tested in the early rounds, with limited sales steady to 2.00 higher. Heifers were steady in an early test. Calves opened steady. Feeder steer calves weighing 500 pounds brought 292.00. 5 to 535 pound heifer calves 249.00 to 250.00.
Lean hogs were 32 points higher to 40 lower. Light to moderate buyer support trickled back into the complex as traders continued to focus on the ability to sustain and draw additional buyer interest into the cash markets as well as push pork values higher as spring demand continues. Support in the spot May contract drew interest from the expectation that overall hog supplies entering plants will gradually slow over the next few weeks. May settled .32 higher at 72.27, and June was down .05 at 79.40.
The pork carcass cutout value was up .92 at 70.86 FOB plant.
Barrows and gilts in the Iowa/Minnesota direct trade closed 2.00 higher with a weighted average of 66.72 on a carcass basis, the West was up 1.95 at 66,52, and the East was not reported due to confidentiality.Missouri direct base carcass meat price closed steady from 48.00 to 59.00. Midwest hogs on a live basis were steady to 1.00 higher from 39.00 to 44.00.
Given evidence of greater spending in hog country on Friday, packers seemed to go home short bought. Leaving short bought typically means arriving short bought, and higher bids again Monday morning could be another sign that seasonal supplies are tightening.
Mondays hog kill was estimated by USDA at 429,000 head, 1,000 less than last week, but 15,000 more than last year.
The U.S. corn planting pace made a pretty strong jump over the past week.
As of Sunday, 19% of corn is planted, compared to 9% last week, 17% last year and the five year average of 25%. 2% of the crop has emerged, compared to 6% on average. Soybean planting is just underway at 2%, compared to 4% on average.
28% of winter wheat has headed, compared to 24% on average, and 42% of the crop is in good to excellent shape, unchanged on the week. 55% of spring wheat is planted, well ahead of the average pace of 29%, and 9% has emerged, matching the five year average.
The first national estimate for the year of pasture and rangeland condition is expected in next weeks report.
May corn closed at $3.60 and 3/4, down 3 and 3/4 cents
May soybeans closed at $9.73, up 3 and 1/4 cents
May soybean meal closed at $315.10, up 50 cents
May soybean oil closed at 31.66, down 1 point
May wheat closed at $4.70 and 1/4, down 15 and 3/4 cents
Apr. live cattle closed at $160.47, down 70 cents
Jun. lean hogs closed at $79.40, down 5 cents
Jun. crude oil closed at $56.99, down 16 cents
May cotton closed at 66.39, down 11 points
May rice closed at $9.85 and 1/2, down 12 and 1/2 cents
May Class III milk closed at $16.49, down 11 cents
Apr. gold closed at $1,203.30, up $28.10
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 18,037.97, down 42.17 points
Its been a slow start to the planting season for Vanderburgh County, Indiana farmer Joe Steinkamp. Much of his farm ground is located in the Ohio River bottoms and after the river crested last week that farm ground sat under water.
While many farmers say they arent too worried about the slow start to planting, Steinkamp says the location of his farm combined with the cool, wet weather has him concerned. Every day after May 10th, is yield potential lost that cant be regained, he says. I like to be planting in April if at all possible. But with the forecast I am looking at, were already pushed into May and we could already be losing yield potential.
He tells Brownfield one of the great things about farming today is the available technology. The hybrids of corn and the variety of beans we plant now have potential to work through the struggles of late planting, he says. So Im still optimistic of a late crop.
With the precipitation this past weekend, Steinkamp says he may be able to start planting by the end of the week.
Editors note: Since this story was first posted, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship has reported another probable case of avian flu in a 3.8 million bird egg laying operation in Sioux County. That brings the total number of infected layers in Iowa to approximately 9.5 million, which represents about one-sixth of the egg-laying hens in the state.
The new cases involve a pullet farm in Osceola County with an estimated 250-thousand birds; a commercial laying operation in Sioux County with an estimated 1.7 million birds; and two commercial laying operations in OBrien County, one with an estimated 240-thousand birds and the other with an estimated 98-thousand birds.
The state is awaiting confirmation on those new cases from the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames.
These four new cases would join three confirmed cases of the disease in Iowa. State officials have quarantined the premises and if the initial test are confirmed, all birds on the property will be humanely euthanized to prevent the spread of the disease.
The Center for Disease Control and Iowa Department of Public Health consider the risk to people from these HPAI H5 infections in wild birds, backyard flocks and commercial poultry, to be low. No human infections with the virus have ever been detected there is no food safety risk for consumers.
The Minnesota FFA Convention is underway at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul.
State President Jack Roessler tells Brownfield it was a classroom visit by two FFA officers to his 8th grade English class that made him want to sign up, They did a power-point presentation on what the FFA is and agricultural education. That was the reason I joined.
Roessler, of St. Charles, says he doesnt come from a farming background. He describes his ascension to state president as years in the making and his interest in leadership led him to serve as a chapter officer for three years followed by two more as a regional officer.
With Convention going on this week, He says he has a lot on his plate, helping run every single one of the sessions. Bouncing around, talking to any member I can if I have a little bit of downtime.
Roessler also helps with getting the awards prepared and has spent weeks preparing for the event.
The Convention ends Tuesday following the election of the 2015-2016 State Officer Team.
For no-till farmers this planting season, Michigan State University Weed Scientist Christy Sprague recommends combating horseweed, or marestail, with a good burndown herbicide. She says glyphosate-resistant horseweed is becoming more of an issue, Really in order to get good control we need to have an effective burndown herbicide.
Sprague says last years planting season had a late start and farmers that didnt control early-season weeds ran into major problems later in the season.
Sprague says the United Soybean Board has helped fund a project combating herbicide-resistant weeds. She says Take Action is an industry-wide partnership that helps farmers find state specific solutions to glyphosate-resistant weeds. Sprague says farmers can visit www.takeactiononweeds.com to identify weeds and find best management practices for their farm.
Since 2009, Michigan State University has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 18 percent. This month the MSU power plant announced plans to stop burning coal by the end of 2016, relying instead on natural gas and biofuels.
MSU plans to be 100 percent reliant on renewable energy, utilizing the universitys anaerobic digester which transforms campus food waste and research farm manure into power.
USDA Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says MSU is an example for higher education. These are both critical steps on the path towards a university and its stated goal of transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy and reducing its environmental impact, and providing an extraordinary example for all of higher education throughout this country.
Vilsack was at MSU last week to announce USDAs Building Blocks for Climate Smart Agriculture and Forestry.