Planting Season Off To Slow Start

May 17, 2013 — This week we finally saw progress on 2013 Farm Bill proposals in both the Senate and House Ag Committees. DairyBusiness Update’s Dave Natzke joined us to also bring us up-to-date on other news affecting dairy farmers:
If you thought Congress was slow, you should see the 2013 planting season. Here in the Wisconsin, we measure cropping progress by the holidays. You get your corn in by Mother’s Day, and you’re taking a first-cutting of hay by Memorial Day.

However, according to USDA’s weekly Crop Progress Report, only about 28% of the nation’s intended corn acreage was planted by May 12, well behind the 85% planted on the same date a year ago, and the 5-year average of 65%.

The trends were similar for soybeans, with about 6% of intended soybean acreage was planted as of May 12, compared to 43% on the comparable date a year ago, and the five-year average of 24%.

USDA’s most recent outlook still holds out hope for a record corn crop, despite the latest planting season in more than three decades.

The news may also be troublesome for hay. According to USDA’s Crop Production report, hay inventories are down about 34% from a year ago, and are at their lowest level for May 1 on record. Alfalfa winterkill has been heavy in parts of Wisconsin and Minnesota, adding to feed supply concerns.
From the Midwest we go to California, where a hearing on that state’s milk pricing formulas will be held May 20.
A similar hearing held last December resulted in a temporary milk price increase of about 30¢/cwt. for California dairy farmers from February through May of this year, but that order expires at the end of May.

Earlier this month, the Assembly Ag Committee essentially gutted a bill that would have forced the state’s ag department to pay more for milk used in cheese production, requesting the ag department hold a hearing and work out a compromise between the state’s dairy producers and processors.

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