King tops Vilsack in Iowa

Another interesting political race, from an agricultural standpoint, was the congressional contest in northwest and north-central Iowa between Republican Congressman Steve King—a frequent critic of the HSUS—and Democrat Christie Vilsack, former Iowa first lady and wife of U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack.

King prevailed by a 53 to 45 margin.  The other two percent went to a third-party candidate.

Live cattle down on outsides and traders waiting for cash

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures were lower on spillover pressure from the outside markets and beef demand uncertainties. Also, traders are waiting for this week’s cash business to get underway. December was down $.72 at $124.95 and February was $.52 lower at $128.85.

Feeder cattle were lower on the same factors as the live pit, in addition to the modestly higher trade in corn. November was $.65 lower at $144.20 and January was down $1.22 at $145.50.

Direct cash cattle markets remained fairly quiet on Wednesday. There are a few bids reported in Kansas and Texas at $124 on the live basis with widespread trade probably not in the cards until Thursday or Friday. Asking prices are holding around $128 to $129+ in the South and $198+ in the North.

Boxed beef cutout values at midday were mixed with the Choice up $.30 at $193.95 and Select down $.56 at $175.89. The estimated slaughter of 114,000 head was up 3,000 on the week but down 12,000 on the year.

At the Oklahoma National Stockyards in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, feeder cattle were firm to $3 higher. Demand was called very good for feeder cattle with an increased supply noted. Feeder cattle were in slightly thin to fleshy conditions. 603 to 696 pound feeder steers were $148 to $155.25 and 708 to 794 pounders sold at $140 to $149.25. 501 to 589 pound feeder heifers ranged from $132.50 to $145 and the 607 to 699 pound category sold at $136 to $148.

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Soybeans down on outside market pressure

Soybeans were lower on profit taking and technical selling, along with spillover from the outside markets. The dollar was higher with the Dow and crude oil sharply lower. That said – losses were limited by the solid commercial outlook. In any event, the trade’s watching planting conditions across South America and getting ready for Friday’s USDA ending stocks and production numbers. Soybean meal and oil were lower, following beans. USDA’s weekly export sales report is out Thursday at 7:30 AM Central. Soybeans are pegged at 400,000 to 700,000 tons, meal is seen at 75,000 to 200,000 tons, and oil is placed at 5,000 to 20,000 tons.

Corn was higher on technical and commercial buying, in addition to spillover from wheat. The long term outlook remains bullish and the pit’s also watching South American planting weather, especially the slow planting pace in Argentina. According to Dow Jones Newswires, Argentina’s corn grower association Maizar has lowered its production outlook by 1 million to 2 million tons to 26 million to 27 million tons because of rain. Still, that would be above 2010/11’s record crop of 24 million tons. The trade expects USDA to lower the production guess Friday while making at least a slight increase to ending stocks. Weekly U.S. corn sales are estimated at 100,000 to 300,000 tons.

The wheat complex was higher on short covering and commercial buying. The trade’s continuing to watch production shortfalls around the world, including Europe, Australia, and the Black Sea region. Additionally, big portions of the hard red winter area in the Southern Plains remain very dry. European wheat was higher, supported by fundamental and technical buying. Ukraine’s Ag Ministry reports that since the start of the marketing year, exports are a record 9.2 million tons. Lebanon bought 50,000 tons of wheat, 25,000 tons from Ukraine and 25,000 tons from Russia. Weekly U.S. wheat sales are projected at 200,000 to 400,000 tons.

MO coalition says defeat a blow to HSUS

The defeat of Measure 5 in North Dakota is “an incredible blow” to the animal rights agenda of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), according to the chairman of the Missouri Farmers Care Coalition.

The Coalition, which was formed in opposition to an HSUS-backed puppy mill ballot initiative in Missouri, offered its help to North Dakota’s Animal Stewards on a ballot measure there that would have made it a felony for crimes against dogs, cats and horses. Pet shelters, vets and ag commodity groups in North Dakota support their own proposed animal welfare legislation.

Voters defeated Measure Five, 66 percent to 34 percent.

Don Nikodim, with Missouri Farmers Care, says HSUS is critical of his group sending a staff member to help the North Dakota group and donating $6000 to oppose measure 5. But, he says, the HSUS and its lobbying arm (HSLF) invested at least $676,000 to oppose the measure, 93% of which came from groups outside North Dakota. Nikodim calls their criticism “hypocritical.”

Nikodim says “North Dakota has struck an incredible blow” to the HSUS by defeating Measure 5 “so convincingly.”  Nikodim is also the executive director of the Missouri Pork Producers Association.

Wednesday midday cash livestock markets

Direct cash cattle markets remain fairly quiet at midday on Wednesday. There are a few bids reported in Kansas and Texas at $124 on the live basis but packer inquiry should increase as the day goes on. Asking prices are holding around $128 to $129+ in the South and $198+ in the North.

Boxed beef cutout values at midday were mixed with the Choice up $.30 at $193.95 and Select down $.56 at $175.89.

At the Oklahoma National Stockyards in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, feeder cattle were firm to $3 higher. Demand was called very good for feeder cattle with an increased supply noted. Feeder cattle were in slightly thin to fleshy conditions. 603 to 696 pound feeder steers were $148 to $155.25 and 708 to 794 pounders sold at $140 to $149.25. 501 to 589 pound feeder heifers ranged from $132.50 to $145 and the 607 to 699 pound category sold at $136 to $148.

The major direct hog markets are lower on slow packer demand. The National Direct market opened $.58 lower on the carcass basis at $76.30 to $82.50 with the weighted average at $78.25. The Eastern Cornbelt is $1.18 lower at $76.30 to $78 for an average of $76.59, the Western Cornbelt is down $.40 at $76.75 to $82.50 with an average of $78.82, and Iowa/Southern Minnesota is $.56 lower at $78 to $82.50 for an average of $78.82.

Butcher hogs at the terminal markets are mostly steady with an instance of $2 higher at Dorchester and tops at $50 to $58. The Missouri Direct base carcass meat price is steady at $73 to $76 on light to moderate supply and demand. Missouri Direct sows are steady at $42 to $52. Illinois Direct sows were steady to $1 higher at $48 to $60 on good demand for moderate offerings.

Pork trade at midday was very slow with light to moderate demand and mostly moderate offerings.

For the week ending November 3, the average Iowa/Southern Minnesota hog weight of 272.1 pounds was down seven tenths of a pound on the week and 2.6 pounds on the year.

The federal budget and the farm bill

How might the federal budget, moving forward, affect the farm bill in 2013? Some have warned that the cuts will be much steeper to the ag budget and that it’s best to pass a five-year farm bill in the Lame Duck session of Congress before the end of this year.

Food & Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI-MU) director Pat Westhoff tells Brownfield the ag budget baseline may not be as low as some expect next year.

“Some people are a little too quick to conclude what a new baseline might look like because there will be some offsetting things going on,” Westhoff tells Brownfield Ag News, “Probably the real question is how the Congressional Budget Office might choose to evaluate the impacts on the budget of different alternatives before them and how much a new Congress, as things go into 2013 might think is an appropriate level of cuts to be made to the farm budget.”

Westhoff says an offsetting factor could be higher commodity prices, “Higher prices of commodities in the near-term, actually, while they reduce certain traditional farm program benefits can actually increase the cost of the crop insurance program,” Westhoff says, “You know, beyond 2012, when we have a new crop in 2013, the higher the value of the crop that’s insured, the higher the level of premium subsidies.” Higher prices in 2013, he says, would imply larger expenditures for at least the crop insurance program.

The balance of power remains the same in Washington following Tuesday’s election – President Obama reelected, the Senate maintains a Democratic majority, the House maintains its Republican majority, and, Ag Committee chairs have been reelected.

Still, Westhoff says, there are lots of scenarios that can unfold in regard to a farm bill.

Mild, dry weather on much of the Plains

On the Plains, warm, dry weather is maintaining stress on recently emerged winter wheat. Late-season warmth is especially notable on the High Plains, where Wednesday’s temperatures will top 70° as far north as Montana.

Across the Corn Belt, mild air is overspreading westernmost areas, including the middle Missouri Valley. In contrast, cloudy, showery weather is slowing late-season fieldwork in the eastern Corn Belt, especially in Indiana, where 11% of both corn and soybeans had not yet been harvested by November 4.

In the South, warm weather is confined to the western Gulf Coast region. Elsewhere, cool weather, cloudiness, and a few showers are limiting harvest activities and other autumn fieldwork.

In the West, slightly cooler air is spreading across the Northwest, accompanied by a few showers. Elsewhere, warm, dry weather continues to promote autumn fieldwork.

California, N.D. measures defeated

Two state ballot initiatives of particular interest to agriculture have been defeated.  California’s GMO labeling measure—Proposition 37—was defeated 53 percent to 47 percent. 

In North Dakota, voters handily rejected a measure Tuesday that would have created a felony penalty for malicious cruelty to a dog, cat or horse. The measure was defeated 66 to 34 percent.

 

What you eat can help prevent heart disease

The American Heart Association has designated this as National Eating Healthy Day.  Registered Dietician Kristen White with Hy-Vee Stores says there are other factors that affect heart disease and stroke but diet is a big one. White advises taking baby steps when it comes to eating healthier.

HEALTHY LIVING PROGRAM – AHA National Eating Healthy Day (1:30 mp3)

American Heart Association