In the August supply/demand report, USDA forecasted 2019 milk production at just under 218 billion pounds. That’s down 300 million pounds from the July forecast. The 2020 milk production was estimated at 221.4 billion pounds, down 400 million pounds from the most recent S/D report. USDA expects cow numbers to decline and slower growth in milk production per cow.  The all-milk price for 2019 is projected to be at $18.30 per hundredweight, up ten cents from the last forecast. The 2020 price projection was put at $18.80, down a nickel from the July estimate.

MN dairy farmers have incentive for DMC enrollment
    The Dairy Margin Coverage Program is one tool available for dairy farmers in challenging times. Associated Milk Producers Incorporated board chairman Steve Schlangen said Minnesota dairy farmers have an added incentive to sign up. “In the state, we have a rebate program if you sign up for five years at any level, you can get the rebate,” he said. “It helps pay for the premium. Depending on how many people sign up and how much production is enrolled, it may be more money depending on what is left of the $8 million the Minnesota Agriculture Department has for this.” Schlangen said the former Margin Protection Program left a bad taste. “It wasn’t what we had hoped for at all. It turned out to be what it is. Looking forward, the DMC is much better, especially on the first five million pounds of milk per farm. It’s really good for the small family farms and rural communities.” DMC enrollment ends on September 30.

Optimism for USMCA
    During the House Agriculture Committee Listening Session at Farmfest, Chairman Collin Peterson was asked about the opportunities for trade. “I’ve done what I can to get others to support the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement,” Peterson said. “I’ve had some success. We have a ways to go, but I think it’s going to pass.”

Trudeau government offers trade mitigation
    Over the next eight years, the Canadian government will pay its dairy farmers an equivalent of $1.3 billion. The payments are trade-related compensation. The assistance is based on the size of each dairy farmers’ production quota. With its participation in the new version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Canada agreed to allow more dairy imports while maintaining its supply management program. When making the announcement, Canadian Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said the Trudeau government would make no other market access concessions that would impact the dairy industry.

Walz cabinet featured at Farmfest
    Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen was joined on the Farmfest stage with his colleagues in the Walz Administration. “To have the revenue commissioner here, the MNDOT commissioner, PCA, DNR, Commerce; at times, they have more to do with agriculture than the ag commissioner does,” Petersen said. The panel discussed a variety of topics, ranging from taxes to the high cost of healthcare. Water was also a big issue. “Water issues frustrate farmers the most,” Petersen said. “They are working on a project and will have DNR do this, PCA is doing this, BWSR is doing this, MDA is doing this, NRCS is doing this, Soil and Water is doing this and farmers will need to get answers from about six different agencies.”

Watch GDUs
    The late crop, coupled with concerns of an early frost, could shorten the growing season for silage corn. Mycogen Seeds commercial agronomist Jon Erickson said farmers should closely watch Growing Degree Units. “Harvest usually begins 40-45 days after mid-silk. Keep a calendar that lists 30 days after silking by field, which will help monitor development until harvest.” Erickson said silage corn should be harvested at the correct moisture. “We recommend harvesting at 65-70 percent whole plant moisture to preserve silage quality. If farmers can end up with good fiber digestibility, a nutritionist can add starch to get a good ration.”

Cargill launches dairy calculator
    Cargill has launched a new, online calculator to quickly and conveniently analyze dairy farmers’ milk component efficiency. Cargill said most of the dairy industry is paid on pounds of milk fat and protein components shipped from the dairy. At the same time, feed costs are the highest variable expense for a dairy herd. Calculating component efficiency gives a good snapshot of how efficiently cows are converting feed into milk components.

Fischer goes from ag committee to AFPC
    Effective September 1, Dr. Bart Fischer will join Joe Outlaw as the co-director of the Agricultural and Food Policy Center at Texas A&M University. Fischer is now House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Mike Conaway’s deputy staff director. Fischer has also been the committee’s chief economist since 2011 when the committee was chaired by Oklahoma Congressman Frank Lucas. Fischer had an instrumental role in the development of the 2014 and 2018 farm bills.

MacNaughton to return to Toronto
    Canada’s ambassador to the United States will resign at the end of this month. David MacNaughton has been the ambassador since March of 2016 and had an instrumental role in the USMCA trade negotiations. Canada’s deputy U.S. ambassador, Kirsten Hillman, will become the acting ambassador.

Trivia challenge
    On a per capita basis, West Virginia leads the nation in pizza consumption. That answers our last trivia question. How many slices of pizza does the average American eat per year?  We’ll have the answer in the next edition of Dairy Star.
    Don Wick is owner/broadcaster for the Red River Farm Network, based in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Wick has been recognized as the National Farm Broadcaster of the Year and served as president of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting. Don and his wife, Kolleen, have two adult sons, Tony and Sam, and five grandchildren, Aiden, Piper, Adrienne, Aurora and Sterling.