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  June 2019 – Issue No. 479

Inside this months issue  …

OUR STORIES OF THE MONTH (Click the blue title below to read "the complete story"):

6/3/19 Crop Progress Report: Corn & Soybeans Severely Delayed (p. 1)   . . .   And

 Butter Is BEST (p. 12)


6/3/19 Crop Progress Report: Corn and Soybeans Severely Delayed (p. 1):
Unusually wet weather has continued to deluge America’s agricultural heartlands.  USDA’s most recent Crop Progress report shows both plantings of corn and soybeans far, far behind average for the prior five years.  Early June was the deadline for farmers with crop insurance to elect a “Prevent Plant” option.


Trump’s Tweets: New Tariffs Levied Against Imports from Mexico (p. 1):
In late May, the White House announced it would impose a 5% tariff against all imports entering this country from Mexico, effective June 10.  The tariffs are intended to force Mexico’s government to crack down on migrants from Central American countries crossing Mexico and seeking to enter the United States.  Trump threatens to raise the tariffs by another 5% each month, up to a peak of 25%.  Many Republican Senators oppose this move.


Updated Strategies for Dairy Farmers’ Survival & Success (p. 2):
We update suggested strategies for dairy producers.  #1:  Lock in your corn costs for the next year N-O-W.


May ’19 Class III Price Rises to $16.38/cwt – Up $.44 (p. 2): 
USDA’s Class III (cheess) milk price for May 2019 rose by $.44 from the April Class III.  The May Class III is $16.38.


USDA Announces New Trade Mitigation Package for Farmers (p. 3):
Details to follow.  The White House, acknowledging damage from various “trade wars” to its Republican farmer constituency, has announced new rounds of paymenets to offset lost foreign markets.  Payments of some $14 billion will be spread out from June through early next year. 


Dean Foods: No Rabbits(s), Probably No Hat (p. 3):
Amid reports of faster-eroding sales, Dean Foods’ stock hit $1.00/share on June 3.  The stock since rebounded to $1.22 on June 6.  No good news from America’s largest fluid milk processor.


Winterkilled Alfalf” Another Challenge for Dairy Farmers (p. 4):
Writer Jan Shepel takes a long look at alfalfa winterkill problems in Wisconsin.  On May 19, the state’s branch of the National Agricultural Statistics Service issued a map of alfalfa conditions, dividing the state into nine regions.  The winterkill problem exacerbates an already depleted forage supply in the state and region.


Twice Stung by Hay Prices: Pat & Andy Leonard’s 6-Way Forage Strategy (p. 5): 
We visit the Lafayette County, Wisconsin dairy farm of Pat and Andy Leonard – a father-and-son team milking 48 high-producing Holsteins.  In Pat’s early dariy career, two droughts (’76 and ’88) nearly put him under, buying expensive hay.  So the Leonards are equipped to put up forage half a dozen different ways, if you include rotational grazing their herd.


Huge Wisconsin CAFO Manure Spill Case Settled for Only $80,000 (p. 6-7):
Writer/farmer Tony Ends digs deep into a 300+ page open records report from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources on a 275,000 gallon manure spill in St. Croix County in late 2016.  Owners of Emerald Sky Dairy – the Tuls family – failed to inform the state of the spill for nearly 100 days after the mess was discovered.


Climate Cycles (Sunspots) May Mandate Cropping Changes (p. 8): 
Writer Paris Reidhead draws upon a lot of history and science to explain how aberrant sunsot activity, which has commenced sometime in late 2018, is influencing North America’s extremely wet, cool weather patterns..


 Fair Oaks Farms Grapples with Fallout from Undercover Video (p. 9):
On June 4, an animal rights group released a painful of animal abuse and drug use by some employees at Fair Oaks Farms in Indiana.  Fair Oaks Farms officials responded that the parties involved have been dismissed.  The video was viewed over 1 million times the first day it was posted on the Internet.  Ouch.


Commodities: Block-Barrel “Split” Widens Again, Butter & NFDM Prices Stable (p. 10): 
Pete Hardin reviews the dairy commodity scene.  We expect tight butter/cream supplies in 2019’s second half, as well as a slow-down in farm milk production.


A very wet “Farm-ageddon” (p. 11): 
Pete Hardin takes a “big picture” look at weather events impacting Ameica’s agriculture and food systems.  He conservatively estimates we’ll lose 25-35% of 2019’sintended corn and soybean crops.  The longer challenge: if aberrant sunspot activity is behind the past several months’ unduly wet, cold conditions – how does agriculture respond to feed the nation?


CDR/Babcock Hall Project Now Faces $11.6 Million Shortfall (p. 11):
Jan Shepel reports on a June 6 meeting involving Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin and UW-Madison officials over the long-delayed Babcock Hall/Center for Dairy Reseach construction project.  Cost over-runs now total at least $11.6 million.  UW-Madison officials seem clueless about many aspects of this project.


6/29: IA Dairy to Sell 3,000_ 1st Lactation Holsteins (p. 11): 
On June 29, Meadowvale Dairy will sell 3,000+ first lactation Holsteins at auction.  The dairy is located near Rock Valley, in Iowa’s northwestern corner.  The sale is being conducted by Overland Stockyard (Hanford, CA).


Butter Is BEST (p. 12): 
Elizabeth and Tom Kearns of TomBeth Farms have created what’s probably Wisconsin’s first “hay bale-board” -- just east of the small dairy community of Seneca.  Elizabeth spray-painted a plastic-wrapped, large square hay bale hellow – and then affixed the words, “Butter Is BETTER.”  The “hay bale-board” phenomenon started in mid-February in eastern Pennsylvania and has spread dramatically back East.   Bravo .. Elizabeth and Tom!

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