September 5, 2017 at 3:32 p.m.

Milk production adjusts slightly with drop in cow numbers

By Don Wick- | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

Nationwide, milk production declined 0.5 percent in September. Compared to one year ago, milk production per cow declined seven pounds. Cow numbers are also significantly lower, down 27,000 head in just one month. Minnesota milk output increased 0.8 percent. California was down nearly four percent. Wisconsin milk production increased almost three percent.

USDA forecasts increase in milk prices in '13
Based on USDA's supply and demand estimates, dairy farmers should see higher milk prices in 2013. "We've seen fairly restrained production in the past year or two and we're looking at virtually zero increase in production in 2013," said Gerry Bange, chair, World Agricultural Outlook Board, "In 2013, we are seeing a somewhat slower pace of liquidation, but we are seeing the potential for greater output-per-cow, due to somewhat stronger prices for commodities and a little bit softer on the feed side." The price estimate for all-milk in 2013 is up almost five percent to $19.45 per hundredweight.

Mixed economic story
According to the latest report from the U.S. Federal Reserve Board in Minneapolis, the economic situation for agriculture in the Upper Midwest is mixed. Crop farmers have enjoyed higher prices, but widely variable yields. Livestock and dairy producers have struggled with high feed costs. In the Ninth District, overall construction activity improved. The energy sector also remains strong.

Thune calls for action on estate tax
Without action on the estate tax during the lame duck session, South Dakota Senator John Thune said the increase in taxes will hurt farmers and ranchers. "When January 1 rolls around, if Congress doesn't take steps to prevent it, the death tax exemption goes down to $1 million and the top rates goes up to 55 percent, which would be devastating to North and South Dakota; there are so many farm and ranch families who would be impacted by that."

High court asked to review dairy policy
The U.S. Supreme Court is being asked to review U.S. dairy policy. The Milk Regulatory Act of 2005 requires independent producer-handlers to join a dairy cooperative or pay federal marketing fees. Hein and Ellen Hettinga, who have a dairy operation in Yuma, Ariz., are challenging the constitutionality of the law. The Hettinga family claims the federal government forces them to sell milk to consumers at higher prices than they'd like. The lower courts have sided with the federal government.

Hoping to sway voters
An advertising blitz is underway in California, with both sides hoping to sway voters about a ballot initiative that would require food companies to label products containing biotech ingredients. Groups opposed to Proposition 37 have raised nearly $35 million. This includes Monsanto, which has contributed $7 million, and DuPont, which put $5 million into the effort. Those supporting the proposal, which includes the Organic Consumers Association, have donated $5.5 million.

New academic partnership for UWRF and Chinese University
The University of Wisconsin-River Falls is collaborating with China Agricultural University on dairy science and related programming. This concept began with a Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection trade mission to China in June and was officially announced earlier this month.

Sustainable farming grants available
The Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grant Program will award up to $100,000 in 2013 for on-farm sustainable agriculture research or demonstration projects in Minnesota. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for the grant program, which promotes environmental stewardship and conservation of resources and strives to improve profitability and quality of life on farms and in rural areas.

Canadian feed companies merge
Two Canadian feed companies are merging. Masterfeeds, Inc. and the Ridley, Inc. Canadian feed business, which now operates as Feed-Rite, will become the second largest feed company north of the border. In the United States, Ridley operates Hubbard Feeds, which is not being impacted.

Land O'Lakes introduces new dairy-based product
Land O'Lakes has launched Saute Express Saute Starter. This is being described as the first of many dairy-based products Land O'Lakes will market long-term. Saute Express Saute Starter is available in four flavors and can be used in cooking chicken, seafood and pork.

Fritsche reappointed to dairy checkoff board
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has appointed a dozen members to the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board. Paul Fritsche, who farms at New Ulm, Minn., is one of those reappointed to the dairy checkoff board.

New DEED commissioner appointed
Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has appointed Katie Clark as the commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. Clark succeeds DEED Commissioner Mark Phillips, who resigned to pursue opportunites in the private sector. Since January 2011, Clark has been the executive director of the Minnesota Trade Office.

Blue Jackets, Bright Futures
The Minnesota FFA Foundation is looking for sponsors for the Blue Jackets Bright Futures program, which helps provide FFA jackets to Minnesota FFA members. Minnesota FFA Foundation executive director Val Aarsvold said they have received a record amount of applications this year. "We received over 400, which really was exciting and overwhelming when they started coming in because it's the largest number we've ever seen. We know there's a lot of need there," Aarsvold said. "We are looking for an additional 300 jackets to be sponsored." Jacket sponsorship is $60. To learn more about sponsoring a jacket for a Minnesota FFA member, contact the Minnesota FFA Foundation or your local chapter.

Trivia challenge
The New Holland Trade Center was a new edition to the 2012 World Dairy Expo. It was the largest new commercial space added to WDE since 1995. That answers our last trivia question. For this edition, what city hosts the National FFA Convention? We'll have the answer in the next edition of Dairy Star.
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