USDA pops fresh 2018 crop production data

Find out what the agency expects from corn, soybeans and wheat this year. Thursday, Feb. 22, marked USDA’s first look at 2018 acreage estimates. A day later, the agency followed up with its preliminary supply, demand and price outlooks for major grain crops for 2018/19. Although the report noted some interesting production shifts, grain markets neglected to make any significant adjustments in Friday morning trading, notes Bryce Knorr, Farm Futures senior grain market analyst. “The market has already discounted USDA’s acreage estimates, believing growers will opt to plant more soybeans and less corn because soybeans offer a better shot at profits,” he says. Corn USDA projects corn production

Dairy price roller coaster ride continues

The cash cheese market lost ground in the President’s Day-holiday shortened week. Cheddar block cheese inched up to $1.55 per pound Wednesday, only to shrink back and close Friday at $1.4950, down 4 1/2-cents on the week and 8 cents below a year ago. The barrels finished at $1.46, down 2 cents on the week and 5 3/4-cents below a year ago. Only three cars of block were sold last week at the CME and 31 of barrel. The blocks regained 3 cents Monday and added a half-cent Tuesday, climbing to $1.53. The barrels were up a penny Monday and stayed there Tuesday, at $1.47, 6 cents below the blocks. Dairy Market News reports that milk continues to flow into Midwest cheese vats and at a discount. Chees

January Ag Prices Received Decreases, Prices Paid Increases

January Prices Received Index Decreased 6.2 Percent The January Prices Received Index (Agricultural Production), at 85.9, decreased 6.2 percent from December 2017. At 78.2, the Crop Production Index decreased 6.5 percent. The Livestock Production Index, at 94.5, decreased 5.1 percent. Producers received lower prices for market eggs, milk, tomatoes, and lettuce but higher prices for broilers, oranges, hogs, and cattle. Compared with a year earlier, the Prices Received Index is up 0.2 percent. The Crop Production Index increased 1.7 percent but the Livestock Production Index decreased 2.0 percent. In addition to prices, the indexes are influenced by the volume change of commodities producers m

This Week's Drought Summary (2/21)

During the past week, large precipitation events affected the Pacific Northwest, Southwest, southern Plains, Midwest, Ohio Valley, Tennessee River Valley, and mid-Atlantic, alleviating drought conditions or preventing further degradations in these areas. An active storm track in the coming week is expected to bring additional precipitation in the central and southern United States, which may result in further drought reductions. Conditions degraded in some areas of the Desert Southwest and Intermountain West that missed out on the heavier precipitation, most notably the Sierra Nevada and the Four Corners. Northeast Over the past week, much of the northeastern United States received precipita

Cheese prices still climbing

Cash block Cheddar cheese closed Valentine week at a slightly more romantic $1.54 per pound, up 3 cents on the week but 4 cents below a year ago. The barrels closed at $1.48, up 12 cents on the week and 14 cents below a year ago, with 13 cars of block trading places and 38 of barrel. The markets were closed Monday for President’s Day and, after traders absorbed Tuesday morning’s Global Dairy Trade auction and anticipated Wednesday afternoon’s January Milk Production report, took the blocks up a half-cent, to $1.5450, while the barrels inched a quarter-cent higher, to $1.4825, 6 1/4-cents below the blocks. Midwest cheese makers are reporting some positive trends in cheese demand, ac

This Week's Drought Summary (2/15)

During the 7-day period (ending Tuesday morning), heavy to excessive rainfall eased or eliminated dryness and drought across much of the eastern, southeastern, and southcentral U.S. Conversely, drought intensified and expanded from the central Corn Belt southwestward across the southern Plains into the Southwest, including much of southern California. Other modest changes to the nation’s drought depiction over the past 7 days included reductions to drought intensity in Montana as a result of recent snowy, cold weather, while dryness and drought expanded in Oregon due in large part to subpar snowpacks. Northeast For the second consecutive week, soaking rainfall (1-2 inches, locally more) ease

Cheese up, butter down on dairy market

Cash cheese prices strengthened last week. The Cheddar blocks closed Friday at $1.51 per pound, up 4 3/4-cents, but 10 cents below a year ago. Barrels hit $1.36, up 3 1/2-cents on the week, 29 cents below a year ago, and 15 cents below the blocks. The blocks slipped three-quarter cents Monday but gained it back Tuesday, returning to $1.51. The barrels were unchanged Monday but inched up a quarter-cent Tuesday, to $1.3625. Spot and contract milk offers are abundant for cheesemakers in the Midwest, Dairy Market News reports, and milk prices are nearing holiday level discounts, from $1 over to $4 under Class III. Cheese demand varies. Some pizza cheese producers report seasonally slow sales now

West will be warm, dry this spring, weather expert predicts

Popular Spokane Ag Expo speaker Art Douglas predicts a warm, dry Pacific Northwest after March. SPOKANE — The Pacific Northwest will remain wet through March and then turn dry in April, a weather expert predicted Tuesday. “Whatever moisture comes, it better come pretty quick,” said Art Douglas, professor emeritus of atmospheric science at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb. Douglas delivered his annual forecast Feb. 6 at the Spokane Ag Expo and Pacific Northwest Farm Forum. He has been speaking at the event since the winter of 1977-1978, he said. Douglas said the Pacific Northwest is “OK” — not particularly wet, which would be expected in a La Niña. But going forward, he’s concerned about “s

Spring weather could remain dry for much of US

La Nina weather pattern won’t change through spring, but could fade this summer. Meteorologist Art Douglas offered little hope of relief through spring for the dry spell gripping the majority of the US right now. Douglas is a long-term weather forecaster and professor emeritus from Creighton University, and also serves as meteorologist for CattleFax. He presented his forecast for 2018 at the annual CattleFax outlook seminar during the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association convention in Phoenix. Douglas explained the current droughty pattern derives from the La Nina phase of the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) which has put a lot of water with cold surface temperatures off the coast of So

This Week's Drought Summary (2/8)

During the 7-day period (ending Tuesday morning), near- to above-normal precipitation was observed from the interior Southeast into New England, while dryness intensified across the southern half of the Plains and much of the southwestern quarter of the nation. Drought continued to expand on the southern Plans, while a reduction in drought intensity and coverage was noted in parts of the south and east where rain and snow were heaviest. The situation across the western U.S. presented sharply diverging scenarios, with good season-to-date moisture supplies across the northern Rockies and Pacific Northwest in sharp contrast to intensifying drought and a lack of vital snowpacks across central an

Producers more optimistic in January; many expect lower taxes

Agricultural producers reported in January that they were more optimistic about the agricultural economy than a month earlier, according to the latest Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer. The barometer reading was 135 in January, up nine points from December’s reading of 126. The uptick was driven by increases in both the Index of Current Conditions, which climbed five points to 144, and the Index of Future Expectations, which climbed 11 points to 131.This marks the largest one-month improvement in future expectations since January 2017. The barometer is based on a monthly survey of 400 agricultural producers from across the U.S. Each month, survey respondents are asked whether

Global Dairy Trade auction up 5.9 percent

Cash dairy prices saw little change last week as traders absorbed the December Dairy Products report. Block Cheddar closed Friday at $1.4625 per pound, down a penny on the week and 27 3/4-cents below a year ago. The barrels finished a half-cent higher at $1.3250, 38 1/4-cents below a year ago. The blocks jumped 5 1/2-cents Monday and stayed there Tuesday at $1.5175, as results of Tuesday’s Global Dairy Trade were analyzed. The barrels were up 4 cents Monday and added a half-cent Tuesday, inching to $1.37, 14 3/4-cents below the blocks. Dairy Market News reports that Midwest cheese production varies by plant but cheese sales are “generally meeting expectations.” Ample milk supplies are keepin

Washington Policy Issues Update For February

Déjà vu all over again, again. This month - like the two before - government funding is set to run out, raising fears of another shutdown like the three-day lapse we just saw, reports Pro Budget and Appropriations' Jennifer Scholtes. And once more, congressional leaders have made little negotiating progresssince the last patch. Top dealmakers, still butting heads on immigration issues, appear no closer to a compromise on budget caps for overall defense and non-defense spending. Without those numbers, lawmakers can't allocate funding levels for all the accounts that make up the federal government's more than $1 trillion yearly allocation. Now staring down a Thursday shutdown deadline, House l

This Week's Drought Summary (2/1)

A weak ridge in the upper atmosphere tried to assert itself over the western contiguous U.S. (CONUS) during this U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM) week, but Pacific storm systems moved through it in a stronger westerly flow. The ridge weakened the Pacific systems, limiting their precipitation to coastal areas from northern California to Washington, where 4 to locally 10+ inches of precipitation fell; the upslope portions of the Sierra in northern California, where mostly 2 inches or less precipitation was observed; and across the Pacific Northwest to northern Rockies, where precipitation amounts ranged from 2-4 inches in the north to less than a tenth of an inch in the south. Most of the interior

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