FDA explores renaming plant-based dairy substitutes

The FDA wants to determine whether Americans understand how the substitutes differ from cow's milk. Time may be running out for producers of dairy alternatives who call their beverages milk. The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday said it’s seeking information from producers and other experts on how consumers use plant-based dairy substitutes like almond milk, the first step in what could result in a major change in how those products are labeled. The agency wants to determine whether Americans understand how the substitutes differ from cow milk in terms of nutritional content and how they react during cooking. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a congressional hearing in April tha

Agriculture Confidence Index - Farmers Happy as Harvest Begins

OMAHA (DTN) -- There's just no denying it, the results of the most recent DTN/The Progressive Farmer Agriculture Confidence Index are eye-popping. Despite increasing trade war pressures, falling soybean prices, and a general worry about what the 2018-19 grain marketing season will bring, farmers responding to the DTN/Progressive Farmer survey said they are as confident as ever, pushing the index to a record-setting 164.8. That's exactly 30 points higher than the index of spring 2018, and 10% higher than its previous high mark, set in 2010, noted Robert Hill, economist and original designer of the ACI. The big boost in the overall index, Hill said, comes from how farmers felt about their curr

August Ag Prices Received Decreases, Prices Paid Unchanged

August Prices Received Index Decreased 2.2 Percent The August Prices Received Index (Agricultural Production), at 89.5, decreased 2.2 percent from July 2018. At 89.9, the Crop Production Index increased 3.6 percent. The Livestock Production Index, at 89.3, decreased 6.4 percent. Producers received lower prices for broilers, hogs, grapes, and soybeans more than offset higher prices for milk, wheat, lettuce, and lemons. Compared with a year earlier, the Prices Received Index is down 4.9 percent. The Crop Production Index increased 1.2 percent but the Livestock Production Index decreased 9.3 percent. In addition to prices, the indexes are influenced by the volume change of commodities producers

Colostrum Feeding Practices Have Room For Improvement

Nearly two-thirds of the dairies in a Michigan study did not meet industry standards for successful passive transfer. Most producers can recite how they successfully manage colostrum on their farms, yet accomplishing this protocol consistently can be a major challenge. During a 2016 Michigan State University Extension research project, the majority of owners and employees stated that the best practice is to feed 4 quarts of clean, high-quality colostrum within 4 hours of birth. However, our results indicated that farms struggle to achieve that regularly. The overall aim of this extension research was to determine the prevalence of passive transfer failure in heifer and bull calves on dairy f

This Week's Drought Summary (9/27)

The combination of energetics from northern Mexico lifting toward the Southern Rockies/Great Plains and enhanced moisture from the remains of a tropical depression led to heavy precipitation events across the south-central U.S., particularly notable as a frontal zone stalled. Significant rain fell across much of the South, leading to much improved drought conditions in many areas. In fact, several regions across the U.S. received at least double (or more) of their typical precipitation for this time of the year over the past week, including the far Pacific Northwest, eastern Montana to northern Nebraska and Iowa and western Wisconsin, southwestern Arizona into northwestern New Mexico, and a

Dairy cash market still searching

Cash block cheese closed Friday at $1.6350 per pound, up 3 cents on the week and 2 1/4-cents above a year ago, as traders absorbed last week’s August Milk Production and Livestock Slaughter report and anticipated Monday afternoon’s August Cold Storage report. The barrels fell to $1.36 Friday, down 6 cents on the week, 24 cents below a year ago, lowest CME price since July 23, 2018, and a precarious 27 1/2-cents below the blocks. Monday’s block price was unchanged while the barrels picked up 2 cents. Traders left the blocks alone Tuesday, after digesting the slightly bullish Cold Storage data, but rolled the barrels down 4 cents, to $1.34, widening the spread to 29 1/2-cents. FC Stone reporte

Canada, US Remain At Impasse Over Dairy

Despite ongoing negotiations between the U.S. and Canada over a new North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) deal, the two countries remain at an impasse over dairy. According to Politico, one senior Trump administration official says the debate over dairy is starting to look like a deal breaker.The U.S. wants Canada to open up its markets to U.S. products and do away with the Class 7 pricing mechanism. Canada has been reluctant to do either and wants to be free of tariffs on autos as well as steel and aluminum.Even though the U.S. sees an uphill road to an agreement, Canadian officials say that headway has been made on the dairy dispute. A top Canadian official told Politico that 60% of

U.S. dairy exports slowed in July

U.S. dairy exports slowed in July, but aggregate exports were still higher than a year ago. “Exports fell short of the impressive volumes sent abroad in the first half of the year, which reflects the impact of new tariffs, a stronger dollar, and less competitively-priced U.S. dairy products,” says Sarina Sharp, analyst with the Daily Dairy Report. Despite the slowdown, aggregate dairy exports in July were up 15.4% from July 2017, according to data from USDA-Foreign Agricultural Service’s Global Agricultural Trade System (GATS). Only exports of U.S. whey products and cream slipped below year-earlier volumes. Year-over-year exports of dry whey slumped 8.3% in July, while whey protein concentra

USDA Crop Progress - Despite Delays in Upper Midwest, Corn, Soybean Harvest Remains Ahead of Normal

OMAHA (DTN) -- Though heavy rains halted fieldwork in portions of the Upper Midwest last week, nationwide, the corn and soybean harvest remained ahead of the average pace, USDA's National Ag Statistics Service said in its weekly Crop Progress report on Monday. As of Sunday, Sept. 23, 16% of corn was harvested, 6 percentage points ahead of last year's pace of 10% and 5 percentage points ahead of the five-year average of 11%. Soybeans were 14% harvested, 5 percentage points ahead of last year's 9% and 6 percentage points ahead of the average of 8%. Both crops also continued to reach maturity at an ahead-of-normal pace. Seventy-two percent of corn was estimated as mature as of Sunday, 19 percen

Dairy Product Consumption Dipped Last Year

A 2-pound drop in per capita dairy product consumption marks the first decline in domestic consumption since 2012 and 2013. Overall, dairy product consumption fell from 645 to 643 pounds for every American when comparing 2016 and 2017 data. Even so, dairy sales remain on a steady climb as the 643-pound mark represented the second-highest total in the data series since 1960 when every American consumed 653 pounds of dairy products during the year. These projections are all based on data compiled by USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS). Product consumption Italian and other cheese: 21.9 pounds per person in 2017; 15.5 pounds in 1997; 6.8 pounds in 1977. (Note, to reach full milk equivalent,

Fluid Milk and Cream - Western U.S. Dairy Report

Pacific Northwest milk production is following typical seasonal patterns. (USDA Market News) Sept. 20 California milk production is just enough to meet the needs of buyers. Some reports suggest that milk premiums have increased recently. According to some market players, Class 4a demand is not as good as sellers expected. Class 1 sales haven’t changed much from a week ago. Limited hauling capacities continue to affect the handling of milk volumes in California. Overall, the fluid milk market in California is steady. Milk supplies in Arizona are manageable even though handlers have to look for alternative ways to redistribute fluid milk loads. Repair and maintenance schedules have disrupted n

Canada Farmers Say Dairy Not a Bargaining Chip in Negotiations

Talks between Canada and the U.S. regarding the North American Free Trade Agreement are intensifying in Washington, D.C. Bloomberg says Canadian dairy farmers recently told Prime Minister Justin Trudeau not to use access to the protected Canadian dairy market as a bargaining chip. The Dairy Farmers of Canada says it’s already lost $193 million because of past trade agreements and they won’t accept more losses. “The work of our lives seems to have been reduced to a bargaining chip,” says Dairy Farmers of Canada president Pierre Lampron. The group, along with the Dairy Producers of Manitoba, says farmers will hold Trudeau accountable for his promise to defend the supply-management system. The

Dairy farmers culled nearly 280,000 cows in August

Dairy farmers culled nearly 280,000 cows in August, the United States Department of Agriculture  reported this afternoon in its monthly Livestock Slaughter report. That’s a 40,000 cow jump from July, and 14,000 more cows than a year ago. Because August 2018 had two more “kill” days than July 2018, the increase was up 6.5% on a daily percentage. The daily kill percentage from a year ago was up 5.3%. These increases come with a twist. USDA estimates dairy cow numbers were down 4,000 head from a year ago, but up 5,000 head from July. The differences in slaughter rate and cows-in-milk are likely being made up from a large supply of fresh, first-calf heifers coming into milking strings. Yesterday

Doubts starting to creep in about El Niño this winter

Will the much-anticipated El Nino this fall be a bust? Many people have probably heard forecasters predicting an El Niño event this fall or winter. And, while many models still support that prediction, there is evidence creeping in that may indicate an El Nino event could be a bust. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has been producing seasonal outlooks (three-month precipitation and temperature forecasts) in recent months that are consistent with what would normally be expected during a typical El Niño fall/winter, which is a warmer northern tier of the U.S. and a wetter southern tier. The images below show the risk of drier/wetter or warmer/cooler conditions during

Is a storm brewing in the ag economy?

Commodity prices continue struggling while land prices keep inching up. What's the outcome? Recent data shows farmers struggling while land prices, the ultimate measure of rural wealth, are holding steady or still gaining. Beef and other meat prices have held up surprisingly well, likely a sign of a generally improved economy. Don't crow too loud, however. The econo-gods might hear you! At any rate, some data I'd been tracking loosely was pinned down recently in one of Tulsa-based ag consultant Roy Ferguson's newsletters. He said the nation's agricultural producers had a current liabilities average of 112% as a percent of after-tax profits in 2013. Their number for 2018 is estimated to be at

This Week's Drought Summary (9/19)

Three tropical systems drenched three separate drought areas this past week, with Hurricane Florence affecting the Carolinas with record rainfall, a low pressure system in the western Gulf of Mexico bringing rain to parts of Texas and Louisiana, and Tropical Storm Olivia bringing yet more rain to Hawaii. Drought conditions improved or were alleviated across these regions. Some showers and thunderstorms were seen across the Plains, but not enough to improve drought conditions. Unfortunately, many areas experiencing severe to exceptional drought saw little to no rainfall, with the dryness often accompanied by warmer-than-normal temperatures for this time of year, exacerbating conditions. Notab

Colostrum More Beneficial To Calves Than Ever

(excerpted from Feedstuffs magazine, 9/4/18) By: Dr. Al Kurtz, a board-certified, independent dairy nutrition consultant, based out of St. Louis. While it is known that newborn calves need colostrum because they are born without any immunity as a result of antibody proteins not passing through the placental barrier, there is much more to this picture. First, there are a number of key factors that determine how much immunity the calves get from being fed colostrum, including that the calf’s ability to absorb antibody proteins, primarily immuoglobulin G (IgG), from colostrum is very time dependent from birth. By four hours after birth, antibody absorption is already decreased by 25% and is vir

Cheese price direction in question

Mid-September cheese prices were down again. CME Cheddar blocks closed Friday at $1.6050 per pound, down 5 3/4-cents on the week and a half-cent below a year ago. The barrels finished at $1.42, down 8 cents on the week and 3 cents below a year ago. Monday’s cheese was unchanged, as traders anticipated Tuesday morning’s GDT and Wednesday’s August Milk Production report. The blocks were up a penny Tuesday, to $1.6150, but the barrels rolled 1 1/4-cents lower, to $1.4075, lowest since July 30, 2018, and a whopping 20 3/4-cents below the blocks. FC Stone said in its Sept. 12 Early Morning Update that “favorable milk production weather in the West and forecasts for that to continue may be creepin

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