CI April 20, 2017

SEED PRICING

A new report from Farmers Business Network suggests significant differences in corn seed pricing by state. FBN compared pricing between 12 states, adjusted for discounts and impact of traits and treatments, and found a $70/bag or $30/acre spread in pricing for both DeKalb and Pioneer seed. Farmers in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin are paying the most for DeKalb seed, while farmers in Mississippi and Iowa were paying the most for Pioneer. Seed is cheapest in North and South Dakota.  

PLANTING PROGRESS

Wet fields slowed planting last week. Only 6% of the corn is in the ground, well behind 12% last year at this time and 2012-16 average of 9%. Spring wheat and oats are still also behind.

 Source:  USDA

Source:  USDA

DAIRY WARS

Four U.S. dairy organizations are urging President Trump to strong-arm Canada into halting their Class 7 program which they say is going to put a number of US dairies out of business by robbing them of an export market for ultra-filtered milk. But it would seem that the issue is less Canadian protectionism and government-backed supply management and more low dairy prices globally caused by overproduction. In recent years the world market for high-fat products such as butter have increased but that has left a lot of excess protein. Both Canada and the US are struggling to get rid of it. It's also hard to empathize with the US when the milk-feed price ratio currently sits at levels well above 2015 and 2016 (see below).

 Source:  Brian Gould,  Agricultural and Applied Economics , UW Madison

Source:  Brian Gould, Agricultural and Applied Economics, UW Madison

SOUTH AFRICA'S STRUGGLES

Drought and high feed prices are still making life miserable for South African livestock producers. The high cost of production is forcing more food producers and wholesalers to import meat. USDA data shows US exported nearly 25 million lbs of chicken to South Africa in February, exceeding the record level attained in recent months. The U.S. is expected to reach its annual quota of around 145 million lbs well before the year end.

POTATO PROBLEMS IN JAPAN

Japanese potato-chip maker Calbee has had to cut production significantly as the country deals with the worst potato harvest in 34 years - a result of a series of storms that battered the Hokkaido farming region last summer. The shortage is causing panic buying of chips in stores and highly inflated pricing. Some flavors were recently selling on auction sites for up to $14 per bag.

TINY PAPER WINS PULTIZER TAKING ON AG

A tiny newspaper in Storm Lake, IA has won a Pulitzer Prize for taking a brave stance against big ag on nutrient run-off. The Storm Lake Times  is owned by the Cullen family and has a staff of 10. Art and John Cullen said they have lost a few friends and advertisers over their editorials but  believe they did the right thing. “We’re here to challenge people’s assumptions and I think that’s what every good newspaper should do,” Art said.

CHART OF THE DAY

Source:  HowMuch.net a cost information web site.

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