Q4 ends in optimism for trade, economy

CoBank said USMCA, China and improved global economics could help ag industry weather 2020. A busy December in Washington, D.C., has yielded progress or a resolution on many issues: the U.S.-China “phase one” trade deal, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), agricultural labor reform and a federal spending bill. These will benefit the U.S. economy and agriculture more than most industries, according to a new quarterly review from CoBank. “The fourth quarter is certainly ending with much more optimism on trade and the economy compared to how it began,” said Dan Kowalski, vice president of CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange division. “Resolution on the USMCA deal, in particular, will deliver a co

November Ag Prices Received Up 4.6%, Prices Paid Up .3%

November Prices Received Index Up 4.6 Percent The November Prices Received Index 2011 Base (Agricultural Production), at 88.6, increased 4.6 percent from October and 0.2 percent from November 2018. At 82.6, the Crop Production Index was up 1.7 percent from last month but down 1.8 percent from the previous year. The Livestock Production Index, at 96.6, increased 7.0 percent from October and 4.2 percent from November last year. Producers received higher prices during November for market eggs, lettuce, cattle, and milk but lower prices for corn, broilers, apples, and hogs. In addition to prices, the indexes are influenced by the volume change of commodities producers market. In November, there

Fluid Milk and Cream - Western U.S. Report 52

Milk production in California remains strong. Class I sales are lower during this holiday week. A lot of milk is clearing through the dryers and/or the churns in response to multiple plants' closures for the holiday. In Arizona, milk output has been flat. Plant managers report no issues with managing milk supplies. Fluid milk intakes have declined with the closing of educational institutions for the holidays. A few churns that were off have been running since the beginning of the week to help clear the increase in cream availability. Class II requests are down. In New Mexico, balancing plants are actively being run to make sure that all milk produced finds a place to go. One Class IV ma

November milk up 0.5%

The Agriculture Department reported preliminary November output at 17.4 billion pounds, up a bullish 0.5% from November 2018. Output in the top 24 states totaled 16.7 billion pounds, up 0.9%. Revisions reduced the original 50-state October total by 60 million pounds, now put at 18.0 billion, up 1.0% from October 2018, instead of the 1.3% originally reported. Cow numbers were unchanged in November. The 50-state count stayed 9.331 million head, though the October count was revised upward 4,000 cows, but is 27,000 head below November 2018. Output per cow averaged 1,869 pounds, down 65 pounds from October but 15 pounds above a year ago. California output was up just 0.7%. Cow numbers were down 6

This Week's Drought Summary (12/26)

A major pattern change occurred during mid-December as a strong area of upper-level low pressure developed over the northeast Pacific. Following a rather dry November, enhanced onshore flow resulted in heavy rain and high-elevation snow across the Pacific Northwest where 7-day total amounts (liquid equivalent) ranged from 2 to 6 inches, liquid equivalent, or more. Surface low pressure formed over the Gulf of Mexico on December 21 with an eastward track. Widespread heavy rainfall (2 to 6 inches) accompanied this low pressure system from the western Florida Panhandle north to nearly all of Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina. An expansive area of surface high pressure led to mostly dry weathe

10 factors to shape the 2020 ag economy

CoBank issues report reviewing range of issues that could impact your farm next year from trade to market demand. A comprehensive 2020 outlook report from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange division finds the U.S. rural economy will continue to face headwinds in 2020 and is expected to underperform relative to the economy of urban America. Since 2014, GDP growth in rural counties has averaged almost 1% less than in urban counties. That trend is likely to continue without a significant upswing in agricultural commodity prices, energy exploration, rural manufacturing and other industries upon which rural economic growth depend. “Most current signals indicate the overall domestic economy is on firm fo

Fluid Milk and Cream - Western U.S. Report 51

California milk production is stable this week. Bottled milk demand is starting to fade bit by bit as educational institutions prepare to close for the holidays. Plants are being operated close to full capacities. Processors are also preparing for next week increase balancing/churning. Arizona milk yield is slowly rising, but according to contacts, it remains below last year levels. Out-of-state milk pulling has subsided, and handlers are filling their customers' orders with mostly in-state milk. Currently, some plant managers are keeping their churns at rest while they prepare for active churning during the holidays. Class I and II intakes are stable to declining. In New Mexico, milk ou

This Week's Drought Summary (12/19)

A series of Pacific fronts brought welcome moisture to the Northwest (from northern California northward into Washington), but even with this precipitation, the Water Year to Date (WYTD; since Oct. 1) basin average precipitation and Snow Water Content (SWC) were still well below normal (30-70%). Farther east, frigid Arctic air (weekly average temperatures up to 15 degree F below normal) was bottled up in the northern Plains and upper Midwest (and central Canada), while the West, South, and East observed above-normal readings (weekly temperature anomalies + 3 to 6 degree F). As the fronts progressed eastward, they slowed and waves of low pressure developed along the fronts, generating widespr

November Milk Production in 24 Major States up 0.9 Percent

November Milk Production up 0.9 Percent Milk production in the 24 major States during November totaled 16.7 billion pounds, up 0.9 percent from November 2018. October revised production, at 17.2 billion pounds, was up 1.4 percent from October 2018. The October revision represented a decrease of 60 million pounds or 0.3 percent from last month's preliminary production estimate. Production per cow in the 24 major States averaged 1,892 pounds for November, 16 pounds above November 2018. The number of milk cows on farms in the 24 major States was 8.81 million head, 8,000 head more than November 2018, but unchanged from October 2019. November Milk Production in the United States up 0.5 Percent Mi

NMPF REAL Seal Redesign Seeks to Clear Consumer Confusion

The National Milk Producers Federation Tuesday unveiled a redesigned website for the REAL® Seal, www.realseal.com. The website seeks to help consumers avoid marketplace confusion regarding real dairy products and imitators. This is the first significant change in the online presence for the REAL Seal since NMPF first assumed management of the seal in 2012. The new website will contain more content to educate consumers about why they should look for the seal on foods they buy, while also continuing to help those companies using the seal to enhance their product marketing. Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF, says the website redesign comes as NMPF “continues to battle the misuse of dairy t

Cheese prices plummet

CME cheese prices continued their descent the second week of December. The barrels closed Friday the 13th at $1.6950 per pound, down a record single week decline of 53.25 cents, but still 38.5 cents above a year ago. The hemorrhaging leaked onto the blocks, which finished at $1.7975, down 17.25 cents on the week and 39 cents above a year ago. Twenty cars of barrel sold last week at the CME and 4 of block. The blocks lost 2.75 cents both Monday and Tuesday as traders absorbed the morning’s GDT auction and anticipated Wednesday afternoon’s November Milk Production report. Tuesday’s price was at $1.7425, the lowest block price since June 5. The barrels plunged 8.5 cents Monday and lost 4 cents

Ag economic conditions show credit red flags

Farm banks and farm credit services have stable ag loan portfolios but remain concerned about rural economic conditions. In testimony before the House Agriculture Committee on Dec. 11, Marc Knisely, president and chief executive officer of AgCountry Farm Credit Services, testifying on behalf of the Farm Credit System (FCS), stated that the multiple years of lower commodity prices have started to hit hard. “As a result, the farm balance sheets that were strong in 2013 today are far weaker. Most worrisome, after six difficult years, working capital levels – the difference between current assets and current liabilities – have declined sharply. Working capital is the cushion against tough times.

Fluid Milk and Cream - Western U.S. Report 50

Fluid Milk and Cream - Western U.S. Report 50 - Released on December 12, 2019 In California, there is a lot of milk available for processing. As so, spot milk prices are a bit down. Milk production remains stable to increasing in most parts of the state. Class I demands are unchanged from a week ago. Milk yield is trending higher in Arizona, but it continues to be lower compared to the previous year. The state is self-sufficient in producing and utilizing milk. There are seasonally high pulls of Class I milk for holiday needs. However, by the end of next week, demand is expected to be low. Class III interests are also increasing, whereas requests for the other Classes of milk are

This Week's Drought Summary (12/12)

The U.S. Drought Monitor week saw another round of winter storms, bringing snow to the mountainous areas of the West, northern Plains, upper Midwest, and Northeast while lower elevations of the West and parts of the South, Southeast, lower Midwest, and Mid-Atlantic regions saw rain. This week’s precipitation in the Southwest left many areas with accumulations that exceeded 300 percent of normal over the past 14-day period, leading to continued improvements in short-term dryness. Once again, precipitation in the Northwest was below normal. Many locations have received less than 25 percent of normal over the last 14 days, resulting in the expansion of abnormally dry conditions. Meanwhile, anot

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