Folic acid an important “B”

An important B-vitamin for pregnant women is important to everyone. Part of what makes green, leafy vegetables so good for us is that they’re packed with vitamin B-9, also known as folic acid. Folic acid gets its name from the same word as “foliage.” You can find it in all kinds of leafy foods, from spinach to turnip greens. It’s also common in beans, peas and lentils. However, even a diet full of those foods is unlikely to provide the recommended daily allowance for most people.

HEALTHY LIVING PROGRAM – Folic Acid (1:30 mp3)

Whole cantaloupes to three states included

The FDA says Jensen Foods has included in its recall whole cantaloupes it shipped to Indiana, Wisconsin and Louisiana. In an internal review of its shipment records, the Colorado farm identified shipments to those three states that have the potential to contain the Listeria contamination that has led to more than 70 illnesses and more than a dozen deaths. Jensen Farms first issued the cantaloupe recall on September 14 and insists that all of its customers that received cantaloupe were notified that day and urged to “take it out of commerce.”

Milk checks will be smaller this month

The end of a rather disappointing month in the dairy markets on Friday. Cash cheese barrels lost another 3 cents on Friday to close at $1.64, blocks held steady at $1.72, butter steady at $1.76. Class III for October slipped 20 cents, November dropped 57 cents and December lost 33 cents per hundredweight.

For the week, cash cheese barrels down 6.75 cents, blocks are down .75 cents, butter lost a penny and Class III futures for October, November and December lost an average 99 cents. For the month, barrels lost 9 cents, blocks fell 7 cents, butter dropped 33 cents and Class III futures for the last quarter lost $1.61 per cwt.

The milk check will be smaller for dairy producers this month, the base milk price for September production for Class II milk is $19.07, down $1.00 from August but $2.95 higher than September of 2010. The Class III base for September is $19.07, down $2.60 from August but still $2.81 above a year ago. Class IV base is $19.53, down 61 cents from a month ago but $2.77 higher than a year ago. Component prices per pound for September; butterfat $2.2005; protein $3.0282; nonfat solids $1.3623; other solids $0.4053.

AFBF says direct payments need to stay

The American Farm Bureau Federation board of directors says it does not agree with proposals to completely do away with direct payments. A paper released by AFBF Thursday says although direct payments should be scaled back, they do not believe they should be eliminated as part of the risk management tools that farmers use now.

AFBF’s Mary Kay Thatcher says they suggest that 90% of farm program cuts “be evenly divided on a percentage basis among commodity, conservation, and nutrition programs and 10 percent be cut from the crop insurance program.” Thatcher says it’s important that the House and Senate ag committees write the 2012 Farm Bill programs and don’t leave it up to the deficit reduction Super Committee to decide how and where cuts will be made.

The American Soybean Association proposed a plan Thursday to reduce the budget by replacing direct and counter cyclical payment programs with a new risk management program they say would fill the gap between crop insurance payments and expected farm revenue. The ASA plan is similar to that of the National Corn Growers Association and National Cotton Council in being revenue-based and in doing away with direct and related payments.

Feedlot cattle trade at sharply higher prices

It took until early afternoon on Friday before feedlot operators and short bought, margin stressed packers conducted any business. When they did, live cattle sales in the Texas Panhandle were 4.00 to 5.00 higher at 120.00 to mostly 121.00, Kansas sales were 5.00 higher at 121.00. Trading was active in Nebraska on moderate to good demand, with live sales 4.00 to 6.00 higher than last week at 120.00 to 122. Dressed sales in the North were 5.00 to 7.00 higher at 188.00 to 190.00. The weekly cattle slaughter was estimated at 677,000 head 14,000 more than last week, and 20,000 greater than  2010.

Boxed beef ended the day weak on light to moderate demand and moderate offerings. Choice beef was down .77 at 182.49, and select was up .07 at 169.14.

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle contracts settled mixed on Friday, with the front months in the black and the deferreds in the red. The expectation of additional short term demand and potential long term supply growth caused the diversion in price movement according to DTN. Early reports of cash trading at sharply higher prices also supported the front months. But the bearish corn stocks report exerted additional pressure on the back months due to fears of increased cattle production as result of lower corn prices. October settled at 122.15 up 1.75, December live cattle ended at 122.65 up 1.40.

Feeder cattle settled sharply higher on the losses in the corn pit which can lead to lower production costs. October feeders were up 1.12 and settled at 140.52, November was 1.02 higher at 142.92.

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Dismal losses tied to corn numbers

Soybeans, meal and oil all closed lower mainly because of spillover pressure from corn, but there’s also harvest pressure noted in soybeans. The soybean quarterly stocks, at 215 million bushels, are below expectations, so the number was actually neutral to friendly. DTN says that actually limited downside in soybeans, but sharply lower corn futures made any soybean recovery unlikely. Harvest reports seem to indicate solid soybean yields in the Western Corn Belt so far. Exports reported this week were the largest since January so demand appears to be brisk. Harvest pressure may result in continued pressure into next week.

For most of the Friday trading session, many corn contracts were down the 40-cent limit, and closed that way. Friday morning’s Quarterly Grain Stocks report was bearish for corn. Corn stocks were higher than anticipated, plus there was no help from negative outside markets. September 1 corn stocks are 1.128 billion bushels. That’s more than the highest industry estimate, and well over the average trade guess of 964 million bushels. Allendale’s David Kohli was baffled by the fourth quarter corn feed usage number of 439 million bushels, the lowest since 1976. A corn sale to South Korea feed manufacturers of 176,000 metric tons was noted, but seemed to cause little if any reaction.

Wheat was also sharply lower Friday. DTN says the wheat numbers Friday morning were overall negative. Even though the production number was smaller, stocks were bigger, at 2.15 billion bushels vs. expectations of 2.035 billion. Total wheat production came in below expectations at 2.008 billion against expectations 2.04 billion. Even though dry weather in the hard red winter wheat belt remains a concern, it didn’t relieve spillover pressure from corn, nor could it wave the negative effects of the higher wheat stocks number. The exception Friday was Minneapolis wheat, reacting positively to demand for quality milling wheat. And spring wheat production declined from prior estimates. Losses at that exchange were not as steep.

Closing Grain and Livestock Futures: September 30, 2011

Dec. corn closed at $6.92 and 1/2, down 40 cents
Nov. soybeans closed at $11.79, down 51 cents
Oct. soybean meal closed at $304.70, down $12.20
Oct. soybean oil closed at 49.95, down 168 points
Dec. wheat closed at $6.09 and 1/4, down 45 cents
Oct. live cattle closed at $122.15, up $1.75
Oct. lean hogs closed at $93.37, up $3.00
Nov. crude oil closed at $79.20, down $2.94
Dec. cotton closed at 100.19, down 203 points
Oct. Class III milk closed at $17.44, down 20 cents
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 10913.38, down 240.60 points

Pioneer soybean production plant opens in MO

Pioneer Hi-Bred opened what it says is the largest soybean production plant in the world on Friday – in Southeast Missouri. The $60 Million parent and commercial soybean seed production plant is in New Madrid County and company officials say it will help Pioneer meet the increased demand for their soybean products while bringing jobs to the area. They say it’s part of the DuPont company’s overall expansion of both production and research locations in North America. Pioneer says this is its first seed production facility in Missouri. The plant will be up and running in October as soybean harvest gets underway in the area. It is designed to serve mostly growers in the southern United States.

AUDIO: Nathan Bengtson, plant manager (5:00 mp3)

Big drop in beef production predicted

By this time next year, beef production in the United States could be as much as seven percent below current levels.

That’s one of the predictions by ag lender Rabobank in a new report entitled “Where’s the Beef?”  

Rabobank global strategist David Nelson says the drought in the southern U.S. will result in “a dramatic decline” in beef production by mid-2012.

“The drought in Texas and the surrounding area is obviously causing major herd liquidation, which means a lot more beef coming to market over the next six months,” Nelson says, “but after we get through the ‘calf in the python’, there’s going to be an awful lot less beef coming to market.”

Nelson says poultry production will also drop off significantly over the next year as the industry adjusts to higher production costs and record losses.  The report predicts year-over-year declines in broiler production during the third and fourth quarters of 2012 of five percent and six percent respectively.

“It’s an inherent reaction of the livestock and poultry industry to the—we think—structurally higher and more volatile feed input costs.”

And as the number of animals declines in 2012, so will the demand for corn. “With just some very simple ‘what-if’ analysis, we estimate that the decline by the second half of 2012 could be as much as—on an apples to apples basis—150 million bushels.  And potentially on the full calendar 2012—200 million bushels.”

Nelson says swine is the bright spot in the report.  He says the current supply and demand situation for the U.S. pork industry is much more stable than for beef or poultry.

Nelson adds that the sharp declines in meat and poultry supplies in 2012 will have a big impact on foodservice operators and importers of U.S. beef.

AUDIO: David Nelson (6:29 MP3)


CME Group could relocate to Indiana

A report out of Chicago suggests Indiana is trying to convince the CME Group to move its headquarters to Indiana.  According to Crain’s Chicago Business, Indiana is offering the CME Group $150 million in tax incentives to move the company’s headquarters.