Global Dairy Products up 1.1%

The bi-weekly global dairy products auction at Fonterra saw a 1.1 percent increase in average prices. Whole milk powder was the only product with a lower price down 2.5 percent from the previous sale. Milk protein concentrate increased 0.5 percent, lactose was 1 percent higher, cheddar increased 2.5 percent, skim milk powder was 3.9 percent higher, anhydrous milk fat increased 5.3 percent, butter milk powder increased 7.3 percent and rennet casein jumped 9 percent.

Prices at the Global Dairy Products auction have increased five of the last six sales.

AMPI to close Dawson plant

AMPI is going to close its plant in Dawson, Minnesota at the end of the year. The plant makes cheese sauces and puddings and employs 130 people. CEO Ed Welch says “the AMPI management team is working to ease the transition for Dawson plant employees, providing resources needed to find alternative employment. That includes encouraging employees to apply for positions at other AMPI manufacturing facilities.”

AMPI will move the producers’ milk to other co-op facilities using the same trucking company. AMPI has plants in Minnesota, northern Iowa and South Dakota.

AMPI recently announced the sale of its aseptic or shelf-stable dairy products line to Bay Valley Foods of Oak Brook, Illinois. Welch says the co-op wants to focus on a core product line of cheese, butter and powdered dairy products. The Dawson plant is the only AMPI facility making the shelf-stable dairy products.

AMPI purchased the former soybean processing plant in 1982 and will try to sell the 200,000 square-foot facility and water treatment plant.

2012 sets record for low pasture conditions

This year (2012) set a new record on low pasture and rangeland conditions in the U.S. The USDA’s final condition report was issued the last week of October showing 54% of pastures and rangeland in poor to very poor condition. Year to year, that is a record. It was 1995 when statistics were first recorded.

“We had never been above 52% and that occurred during the drought that hit a lot of the western U.S. back in 2002 and 2003,” says USDA meteorologist Brad Rippey, who says the peak of the drought, for five weeks in late August and early September saw 59 percent of the nation’s pastures and rangelands in poor to very poor shape.

As far as the states go now – Nebraska is in the worst shape.

Rippey says, “Nebraska continues to top the nation. Ninety-seven percent of the pasture and rangeland, rated very poor to poor.”

A number of other Plains and Western States follow Nebraska: California (95% poor to very poor), Wyoming (86%), New Mexico (84%), Nevada (83%), South Dakota (83% poor to very poor), and Colorado (82%).

Rippey says it’s going to take a lot snow this winter and rain next spring to make up for the bad pasture and rangeland conditions in the Plains where winter is their “dry” season.

Webinar for U.S. veterans who want to farm

U.S. military veterans interested in starting their own farms or ranches may participate in a webinar on Friday, November 16th. Sponsored by the Center for Rural Affairs of Lyons, Nebraska and other partnering organizations (including the Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska Farmers Union groups) the webinar is a 90-minute presentation.

It will show video farm tours and will focus on direct marketing of ag products, including livestock, also, financing and land access, disability assistance, FSA loans and other resources. The webinar is free and is funded largely by the USDA Risk Management Agency.

There’s no need to pre-register for the webinar on Friday, November 16th from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. Central Standard Time. 

CFRA – Veteran Farmers Project

Outside markets support grains, oilseeds

Soybeans were higher on fund and commercial buying, along with spillover from the outside markets.

The dollar was lower with the Dow, gold, and crude oil higher. The near and long term fundamentals remain bullish with a tight supply and strong demand. Soybean meal and oil were higher, following beans. The Solvent Extractors’ Association of India, via Dow Jones Newswires, reports oilmeal sales during October were 121,919 tons, down sharply on the year, with sales since the start of the marketing year April 1 at 1.7 million tons, a 30% year to year decline.

Corn was higher on commercial and fund buying, in addition to spillover from beans and the outside markets. Corn’s keeping an eye on Argentina’s planting pace with 40% in the ground compared to 60% on average. Past that – the pit’s getting ready for Friday’s supply, demand, and production report. The numbers are due out November 9 at 8:30 AM Eastern/7:30 AM Central. Ethanol futures were higher. Ukraine’s Ag Ministry reports 81% of the corn crop is harvested at 15.7 million tons.

The wheat complex was higher on commercial buying, short covering, and spillover from the outside markets. The winter crop condition rating declined again last week and near term conditions for the Southern Plains continue to look warmer and drier than normal. The complex is also watching dry conditions in key growing areas of Western Australia. European wheat was higher on gains in the Euro and expectations for solid export demand. According to Ukraine’s Ag Ministry, 94% of the total grain area is harvested at 42 million tons, down 16% from last year due to drought. The Ministry adds winter crops are in better than a year ago shape with emergence at 88.5% and 55.9% in good condition. Kazakhstan’s Ag Ministry states harvest is over with total clean weight at 14.718 million tons, slightly above expectations but well below the 2011 total. Offre & Demande Agricole, via Dow Jones Newswires, expects the United Kingdom to import around 2 million tons of wheat during 2012/13 because of the poor condition of this year’s crop. Bangladesh is tendering for 50,000 tons of optional origin wheat.

Hogs close sharply higher in the Midwest

Packer inquiry in the cattle remained mostly nonexistent on Tuesday afternoon. And not even a token bid was reported. Asking prices are around 129.00 plus in the South and 198.00 plus in the North. Significant trade volume will probably be delayed until the second half of the week. DTN reports they have heard of one major Nebraska plant that will be dark on Wednesday, leading to a lower estimated slaughter. The kill totaled 128,000 head, 3,000 more than last week, but 5,000 below a week ago.

Boxed beef cutout values were firm to higher in the afternoon report on moderate demand and light to moderate offerings. Choice beef was up .63 at 193.65 and select was 1.16 higher at 176.45.

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle contracts settled 20 to 40 points higher on light to moderate price support that developed at midday as corn futures were limited to light gains. Higher boxed beef values and expectations that packers are attempting to limit overall short term supplies with procurement adjustments lent additional support to the market. December settled .40 higher at 125.67, and February was up .37 at 129.37.

Feeder cattle ended the session nearly flat, unchanged to .05 lower. The trading range was extremely narrow for much of the session despite early pressure that developed across the complex at the opening bell. Higher live cattle futures and the inability of corn futures to move significantly higher slowed the initial pressure in the feeder pit. November settled .05 lower at 144.85, and January was also down .05 at 146.72.

[Read more...]

Closing Grain and Livestock Futures: November 6, 2012

Dec. corn closed at $7.41, up 5 and 1/2 cents
Nov. soybeans closed at $15.16 and 3/4, up 12 and 1/2 cents
Dec. soybean meal closed at $472.70, up $3.70
Dec. soybean oil closed at 48.68, up 36 points
Dec. wheat closed at $8.77, up 11 cents
Dec. live cattle closed at $125.67, up 40 cents
Dec. lean hogs closed at $77.57, up 65 cents
Dec. crude oil closed at $88.71, up $3.06
Dec. cotton closed at 70.10, down 30 points
Nov. Class III milk closed at $21.27, up 8 cents
Dec. gold closed at $1,715.00, up $31.80
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 13,245.68, up 133.24 points

USMEF hopes to capitalize on opportunities

So far in 2012, the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) has seen an increase in pork exports in both value and volume.

“One of the key highlights for me is that the value of this year’s exports is equated to $56.50 per head, which is almost $3 above last year’s record averages,” said Danita Rodibaugh, a pork producer from Indiana and chairman of the USMEF.

When it comes to beef exports, Rodibaugh says the export pace has slowed.

“But we are still two percent above last year’s record pace in value,” Rodibaugh said. “And our export value for every steer and heifer slaughtered has increased to more than $212 per head.”

While there are concerns with the global economy, market access and market share, USMEF CEO Phil Seng says the lack of a Farm Bill and a trade title may be the biggest issue facing exports. Seng says that while they are hoping something positive will happen during the lame duck session, the USMEF has been blessed with strong support from farm organizations and checkoff boards.

“Obviously if there is a cessation of some of the government programs we’ll go back and request even more funding so we can maintain those levels that we are doing right now as far as our presence internationally.” Seng said.

The USMEF is holding their Strategic Planning Conference in Indianapolis, November 7-9.

Audio from the USMEF teleconference held before the start of their Strategic Planning Session.

Audio: Danita Rodibaugh, Chairman, USMEF (3:20 mp3)

Audio: Phil Seng, CEO, USMEF (5:50 mp3)

Audio: Joel Haggard, Regional Director, Asia/Pacific (7:45 mp3)

Audio: Chad Russell, Regional Director, Mexico/Central America (6:40 mp3)

Audio: John Brook, Regional Director, Europe/Russia/Middle East (6:45 mp3)

FAPRI weighs in on farm bill timing

While some have predicted the passage of a five-year farm bill this year is more likely if the balance of power in Washington were to shift as a result of the election, others see it the other way around.

Pat Westhoff is director of the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute at the University of Missouri (FAPRI-MU).  Westhoff tells Brownfield Ag New, “If there’s no change in the balance of power in Washington, there’s less of a reason to put off major choices that have to be made, not just about the Farm Bill but about many other things.”  Westhoff says farm bill passage during the lame duck session of Congress appears more likely under an Obama win.

Westhoff says if the election changes the political balance of power a great deal, if Romney wins amid more congressional seats shifting to the GOP, then, passage of a five-year farm bill could likely be delayed until 2013.

Westhoff says, “It might be that the people that expect to have more forces in line come the first of the year may want to put off some choices until they have those forces at their disposal.”

FAPRI provides objective analysis of farm policy issues and commodity markets for congress, public agencies and farmers.

USDA helping with food assistance after Sandy

USDA is working with the thirteen states affected by Hurricane Sandy to provide disaster nutrition assistance to people in those states. In New York, 1.1 million pounds of USDA foods will be distributed through nearly a thousand emergency feeding outlets. In New Jersey, 39,000 pounds of USDA foods will be delivered in support of the Community Food Bank with distribution through the Red Cross and Salvation Army.

The Ag Department has also granted waivers to allow SNAP recipients who have no electricity or have lost their homes to purchase hot foods. Normally SNAP benefits cannot be used to purchase hot, ready-to-eat foods

USDA and the Department of Education are partnering to remind states and schools of existing federal resources available through the Department of Agriculture. States and schools may use stocks of USDA Foods purchased for the National School Lunch Program to help prepare meals at schools, shelters or other feeding sites to help feed local residents who may be in need of nutrition assistance.