January 2016 Issue No. 438
Inside this month’s
2016: Uncertainty for Dairy
Producers (p. 1):
We start 2016 with low dairy commodity (except for butter) and farm mil price (except for butterfat.) Pete Hardin explains why it’s wrong to write off 2016 as another low milk price year. One major reason not to panic: Adverese weather events are challenging two major dairy regions of the country – California and the Southwest.
2016 Trends and Predictions (p. 1):
Analyst Ed Zimmerman offers his insights about trends to watch in 2014, including: continued strong butter demand, more demand for higher-fat beverage milk products, and California’s dairy production machine gearing up after finally receiving more during the past several weeks..
Analyst Ed Zimmerman offers his insights about trends to watch in 2014, including: continued strong butter demand, more demand for higher-fat beverage milk products, and California’s dairy production machine gearing up after finally receiving more during the past several weeks: Dairy farmer/writer Jan Shepel surveys opinions in the beef industry for reasons why we’ve seen such a decline in prices for slaughter cattle (dairy and beef) in the past five or six months.
December Class III Price $14.44/Class IV $15.52
Federal milk ordser class prices for December headed down again. The headline tells it all.
Impact on U.S. Diary: Darkness, Sounds of Silence (p. 3):
Anybody else notice how absolutely silent dairy leaders have been regarding any “benefits” form the Trans Pacific Partnership? Congress will vote in early 2016 on whether to accept that “Free-Trade” package negotiated by the Obama administration.
Accesss to U.S. Dairy Markets: Historic Goal of
NZ, EU (p. 3):
Pete Hardin tells the history of the infamous “Flanigan Report” – the Nixon White House’s secret trade negotiating strategy that would have sold U.S. dairy farmers down the river. Hardin’s point: Access to U.S. consumer dairy product markets has been a goal of dairy exporting nations for more than 40 years.
CA’s Water Reserves Depleted After Four
Straight Drought Years (P. 4):
Writer Jan Shepel reports on presentations about California’s water situation and its potential impacts on agriculture.
Clarification: What to Call McDonald’s
Mozzarella Sticks? (p. 5):
Pete Hardin follows up last month’s cover story about McDonald’s suspicious Mozzarella Sticks. Hardin lists all the different names that McDonald’s calls that “stuff.” And after receiving a box of the product (as shipped to McDonald’s stores), Hardin reports on the list of ingredients as well as one dairy plant from which the Mozzarella Sticks have been sent to McDonald’s stores. That plant: Sargento Cheese’s facility at Kiel, Wisconsin.
PPDs: The Interesection of Confusion and Grand
Larceny (p. 6):
Pete Hardin explores the “Producer Price Differentials” in federal milk orders and how they’re a great source of confusion as well as a way fo some dairy marketers to make part of the producers’ milk check disappear.
Swiss Valley Farms’ PPDs Drained Members’ Milk
Checks in 2015 (p. 7):
For 2015’s first 10 months, the PPD’s paid by Swiss Valley Farms to its Order 32 producers came out $.99/cwt. lower than the monthly PPDs cited by the milk order. Low PPDs are just one way that Swiss Valley Farms seems to make members’ money disappear.
Michigan Milk Producers Threatens Members: Sign
Up for F.A.R.M. or Lose Your Milk Markets (p. 7):
We reprint an item from the November 2015 Michigan Milk Producers’ member newsletter, which warns members they have to sign up for and comply with the dictates of National Milk Producers Federation dairy livestock care protocols.
Winterstorm “Goliath” Kills 30-35,000 Milk Cows
in New Mexico & Texas (p. 8-9): What a mess!
This report, and related stories, are available on line as or “Story of the month.”
Solvita: Second New Kid on Agriculture’s
Testing Block (p. 10-11):
Paris Reidhead details new testing for measuring the micro-organism content of soils. Populations of soil microbiota are increasingly recognized as important for fertility and crop yields.
Muller-Quaker Yogurt Plant Kaput: DFA Picks Up
Pieces (p. 11):
As predicted in the November 2015 issue of The Milkweed, the struggling Muller-Quaker yogurt plant at Batavia, New York closed its doors and Dairy Farmers of America will purchase the relataively new facility. Muller-Quaker did about everything wrong as a late entrant to the overly competitive U.S. yogurt market.
Will 2016 Mark Death of Wisconsin’s Town Board
Powers? (p. 12):
Tony Ends details legislative proposals in Wisconsin that would basically strip local township boards of any powers involving land use oversight and environmental requirements on businesses, including agriculture.
Butter’s Price Strength Preventing Complete
Market Collapse (p. 13):
In Pete Hardin’s dairy commodity analysis, butter’s price strength is about the only good news around. With butter prices at CME holding above $2.00/lb., and strong consumer demand for butter, things are looking up for that commodity. At CME, Cheddar is bumbling along in the $1.50/cwt. range and nonfat dry milk cash prices are “retro” – back in the mid-1970s’ range.
Dairy Livestock Prices Generally Declining,
with Some Exceptions (p. 14):
Except for top-end cows, springing heifers, Jerseys, and good open heifers, dairy livestock prices are generally declining, Pee Hardin reports.
The collapse of slaughter cow prices has dropped dairy cull prices and values for bull calves.
Retail Hamburger & Steak Prices Remain
Top—Shelf (p. 14):
Jan Shepel covers prices for hamburger and steaks reported by the federal government’s Consumer Price Index. Guess what? U.S. shoppers paid almost as much for hamburger and steaks at supermarkets in November 2015 as they did one year ago! Somebody between the farmer and consumer is getting fat!
Tail-Docking? Get serious about dairy’s
wellness issues (p. 15):
Pete Hardin blasts leaders of the U.S. dairy industry for worrying about animal rights’ activists’ clap-trap over issues such as tail-docking. Hardin also reports that dairy has failed to address animal health problems – such as Johne’s Disease, recombinant bovine growth hormone, and bovine leucosis. Those items entail human health concerns, which should be addressed.
Map of Global Sea Surface Temperatures
Anomalies (p. 16):
The violent, aberrant weather events hitting the U.S. in recent weeks and months has a commonality – warmer ocean temperatures. The El Nino event – hot Pacific Ocean temperatures at the Equator – show up clearly in this recent map.
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