Potterton to head U.W. Short Course

U.W. Madison photo

U.W. Madison photo

Jessie Potterton has been named director of the U.W. Madison Farm and Industry Short Course.  She has held the position on an interim basis for the past 12 months and will formally begin her new duties on October 1st.

Potterton was CALS director of prospective student services from 2011 until becoming the interim short course director.  Prior to that she spent five years as U.W. Extension 4-H Youth Development Educator in Lafayette County.

Koster lends support to Missouri’s Amendment 1

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster is lending his support to the Amendment One ballot initiative to be voted on next month.  Koster tells Brownfield the so-called Farming Rights Amendment is necessary.

“We have seen from the eminent domain threats of 2005, to the Proposition B restrictions on the size of dog breeders, to the California egg case, situations where pressure is being put on agriculture from within and from outside the state that could impact our economic future,” Koster told Brownfield Ag News, while traveling between stops where he was discussing the issue.

Koster uses as an example the ballot measure a few years ago to limit the number of dogs allowed to breeders.  He says it’s conceivable that similar limitations would be attempted for livestock producers.

“We have seen actual threats against agriculture over the last ten years that have cause the industry to stand up for itself and to ask for the protection of the Missouri Constitution in Amendment 1,” said Koster.

Koster made stops in several parts of Missouri supporting passage of the amendment.

Supporters of Amendment 1 are meeting resistance from the group Missouri’s Food for America, which recently got help from the Humane Society of the United States in the form of a $375,000 contribution.

Don Nikodim, the chairman of Missouri Farmers Care, which favors the ballot measure, Amendment 1, says the contribution proves that Missouri is a target for activist groups opposing animal agriculture.

Blake Hurst, president of the Missouri Farm Bureau, which is also pushing for passage of Amendment 1, says that opposition is being financed by a major out-of-state extremist organization.  On the other hand, he says funds to support passage of the amendment, also into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, have been financed by family farmers and ranchers across Missouri.

Meanwhile, members of Missouri’s Food for America maintain that food safety and the ability to regulate GMO foods would be harmed by the amendment.  They also say that sustainable farming practices would be threatened and that animal abuses on farms would go unchecked.

Amendment 1 is on the August 5 ballot.

Rabobank’s quarterly hog report

Rabobank issued its quarterly pork report summarizing the impact the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus has had on the U.S. pork market especially.  Vice President; Animal Protein, Food and Agribusiness Research, Will Sawyer says slaughter numbers are already down and will probably go down more in the next few months.  He thinks we may see the low point in September.  On top of that comes the threat of at least some reinfection this winter although he does not expect it to be as severe as we saw last winter.

On the global side, China has not been hit by the virus and pork supplies have been good to the point prices were declining.  However he thinks the Chinese price has bottomed-out and prices are starting to increase but not enough to spur an increase in production.

The European Union has also been able to avoid PED and that positions them to pick up some export business in Asian countries.  Traditionally the EU has been priced out of the market because of the strong Euro but the higher global prices have made them competitive.

AUDIO: Sawyer talks about the market 7:14 mp3


Wheat ends day modestly higher

Soybeans were mixed on old crop/new crop spread trade. There was some rain in dry parts of the central and upper Midwest and the new crop fundamentals are bearish. China did buy more new crop U.S. beans, 360,000 tons, and Mexico bought 134,700 tons of new crop U.S. bean meal. Soybean meal was mixed, mostly higher, on the positive demand outlook, and bean oil was lower on profit taking.

Corn was modestly higher on short covering and technical buying. Corn’s also watching that moderate but much needed rain in parts of Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Mexico bought U.S. corn, 269,084 tons, most of that, 245,716 tons, was new crop. Ethanol futures were higher. Allendale notes Chinese feed corn demand has declined as their hog numbers have dipped.

The wheat complex was higher on short covering and technical buying. There’s some harvest delaying rain around the Midwest, but it’s not expected to be a major event. The Wheat Quality Council’s hard red spring tour has a record projected yield in the Northern Plains. Even with a few domestic and global trouble spots for wheat, the fundamentals remain bearish. Some of the buying was linked to probable European trade restrictions on Russia, but it’s not known at this point how much of an impact that will have on grain exports.

Cash cattle sell for record high prices

The cash cattle market was quiet on Friday afternoon and business was essentially completed for the week. Trade volume totals remained rather modest and the assumption can be made that area packers are formulating enough cattle to at least cover short term slaughter needs. It has been quite a week with both live and dressed sales marked as much as 10.00 higher than the previous week with price levels in all regions shattering the record highs established a few weeks ago. Live sales ended the week 161.00 to 165.00 and dressed sales at 257.00 to 262.00. The weekly cattle kill was estimated at 571,000 head, 6,000 smaller than last week, and 69,000 head less than 2013.

The cattle on feed report appears to be generally neutral, coming in close to expectations. On feed numbers were down 2%, placements in June off 6% and June marketing’s down 2%. For more on the story and analysis visit the news section of the website.

Boxed beef cutout values were higher on moderate demand and light offerings. Choice beef was up 1.82 at 257.38 and select was 1.49 higher at 254.33.

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle contracts settled 70 to 255 higher. Strong gains were seen in front month August futures as traders focused on the strong fundamental support seen through the complex .Futures once again set new historical records due to the explosive action in the cash market and technical buying August settled 2.55 higher at 159.10 and October was up 1.75 at 159.80.

Feeder cattle ended the session 92 to 152 points higher as moderate to strong buyer support redeveloped in the feeder cattle futures despite mixed trade activity early in the session. The focus on the cattle on feed and cattle inventory reports helped to drive prices higher. August settled .92 higher at 218.25 and September was up 1.20 at 219.25.

Feeder cattle receipts at Missouri auctions this week totaled 17,342 head. Compared to last week, feeders sold steady to 5.00 higher, with several mid-weight calves fully 10.00 higher. Markets started the week very mixed and few local auctions quoted sharply lower prices, others wasted no time in starting the week’s price rally with several posting instances of 10.00 to 15.00 higher. The supply was light to moderate and demand was good to very good. Feeder steers medium and large 1 averaging 619 pounds averaged 243.28 per hundredweight. 624 pound heifers brought 223.69. [Read more...]

Closing Grain and Livestock Futures: July 25, 2014

Sep. corn closed at $3.63, up 1 and 1/2 cents
Aug. soybeans closed at $12.12 and 1/4, up 4 and 3/4 cents
Aug. soybean meal closed at $398.00, up $2.70
Aug. soybean oil closed at 36.09, down 15 points
Sep. wheat closed at $5.38, up 9 and 1/4 cents
Aug. live cattle closed at $159.10, up $2.55
Aug. lean hogs closed at $123.62, up 42 cents
Sep. crude oil closed at $102.09, up 2 cents
Oct. cotton closed at 65.16, down 124 points
Aug. Class III milk closed at $21.45, down 24 cents
Aug. gold closed at $1,303.30, up $12.50
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 16,960.57, down 123.23 points

July 1 cattle inventory lowest in more than 40 years

USDA reports the total U.S. cattle and calf inventory on July 1, 2014 was 95.000 million head, down 3% from the last report in 2012 and the lowest July 1 total since the series of reports started in 1973. The report was suspended in 2013 due to government sequestration. All cattle and calves on feed for slaughter were reported at 11.600 million head, a 6% decrease.

All cows and heifers that have calved came out at 39.000 million head, 2% lower than two years ago, with beef cows at 29.733 million head, down 3%, and milk cows at 9.267 million, up 1%. All heifers weighing 500 pounds and heavier were pegged at 14.900 million head, 5% below the previous report, with beef replacement heifers at 4.100 million head, 2% lower, milk replacement heifers at 3.900 million head, a decline of 5%, and other heifers at 6.900 million head, a drop of 7%.

Steers weighing 500 pound and heavier were 13.500 million head, down 4%, with bulls in the same weight class at 1.900 million head, statistically unchanged. Calves weighing less than 500 pounds came out at 25.700 million head, 4% lower.

The 2014 calf crop is projected at 33.600 million head, 1% less than 2013 and down 2% from 2012. Calves born during the first six months of the year were 24.300 million head, a decrease of 2% from a year ago and 3% below two years ago.

Cattle placements down 6%

According to USDA, cattle placements on feed during the month of June were slightly lower than expected.

Placements last month were 1.455 million head, down 6% from June 2013 and below Dow Jones’ average estimate for a 4.4% decline. Cash prices are at record levels and feed costs are down, but feeder cattle supplies are extremely tight and pasture conditions have improved. Most of the placements were heavier weight cattle, weighing more than 700 pounds: cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 400,000 head and 600 to 699 pounders were 245,000 head, while the 700 to 799 pound category was 320,000 head and cattle weighing more than 800 pounds were 490,000 head.

Marketings came out at 1.847 million head, 2% less than last year and in-line with expectations, and the lowest fed cattle marketings for the month of June since the series of reports started in 1996.

The total number of cattle on feed in the U.S. on July 1 was 10.127 million head, 2% lower than a year ago.

Other disappearances were 75,000 head, a 19% year to year increase.

The report generally looks neutral.

Iowa farmers snap up nutrient reduction funds

It took less than a week for Iowa farmers to snap up 1.4 million dollars in cost share funds to help install new nutrient reduction practices on their farms.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship received applications covering near 60-thousand acres from 597 different farmers seeking to participate in the program.  The vast majority of the applications were for cover crops with the rest seeking help with nitrification inhibitors, no-till and strip-till.

Iowa secretary of agriculture Bill Northey calls the response “tremendous”.  He says it shows once again that farmers are committed to using voluntary, science-based conservation practices to continue to improve water quality.

The cost-share program is part of the Iowa Water Quality Initiative.

Friday midday cash livestock markets

USDA Mandatory is reporting a moderate to active cattle trade on very good demand in Kansas on Friday. Live sales are trending 9.00 higher than last week with sales ranging from 164.00 to 165.00. Trading is light in Nebraska on very good demand. Live sales are steady to 3.00 higher than Thursday’s sales at 165.00. In Colorado live sales are 1.00 higher than Thursday’s trades at 166.00. Prices in all regions this week have shattered the record established a few weeks ago.

Boxed beef prices were significantly higher in the morning report with the choice up 1.74 at 257.30, and select up 1.80 at 254.68.

Feeder cattle receipts at Missouri auctions this week totaled 17,342 head. Compared to last week, feeders sold steady to 5.00 higher, with several mid-weight calves fully 10.00 higher. Markets started the week very mixed and few local auctions quoted sharply lower prices, others wasted no time in starting the week’s price rally with several posting instances of 10.00 to 15.00 higher. The supply was light to moderate and demand was good to very good. Feeder steers medium and large 1 averaging 619 pounds averaged 243.28 per hundredweight. 624 pound heifers brought 223.69.

Barrows and gilts in the Iowa/Minnesota direct trade are 2.80 lower at 123.48 weighted average on a carcass basis, the West is down 2.33 at 123.61, and in the East the market is 1.23 lower at 122.29. Missouri direct base carcass meat price is steady from 116.00 to 122.00. Barrows and gilts at Midwest markets are fully steady on a live basis from 88.00 to 96.00.

The pork carcass cutout value is 1.56 higher FOB plant at 132.87.

Iowa’s cash hog trade actually bounced some higher yesterday with the dressed weighted average closing $1.18 higher. If the cash index can start to stabilize, shorts would be quickly motivated to cover the deep discounts of nearby lean futures.