AgDay Daily Recap - January 24, 2012

January 24, 2012 04:17 AM

JANUARY 24, 2012

Good morning. We begin with the USDA's summary of what turned out to be a record year for U.S. dairy production. In our top story, U.S. farms milked just over 196 billion pounds in 2011. This begins our Dairy Today Report. Last year per cow production, climbed to 21,335 pounds. That's up about 185 pounds per cow. USDA says the total number of dairy cows is up by about 80-thousand head or less than 1% from the previous year. Jim Dickrell, editor of Dairy Today says at this pace its possible production in 2012 could exceed 200-billion pounds. So what does it mean for the New Year? Economists at USDA say they expect increasing milk production and lower exports to push prices lower in coming months. The all-milk price is forecast in a range of $18.30 to $19.10 per hundred.

Milk futures markets are trying to find a positive footing. Class three milk had a rough go of it last week, as the month making up the first quarter fell nearly 50 cents. They closed at an average price of $16.73. That’s a level not seen since mid-November.
Helping push prices lower....softening prices for both cheese and butter.

While prices have fallen for standard milk producers, organic milk is selling well. Organic Valley, the nation's largest cooperative of organic farmers, says members will earn an average national pay price of 30 dollars per hundred in 2012. The co-op says high input costs, lost acreage and a shortage of organic milk are behind its price--which it's officially raising in March. Organic Valley Cooperative increased its membership by 12% in 2011. And don't forget, for the very latest news affecting the dairy industry, including production and policy issues, check out

A lack of snow and the absence of frigid temperatures are two things North Dakota farmers normally don't have to worry about this time of year. However, those unusual weather conditions on the northern plains are creating a lot of concern for winter wheat growers. Cliff Naylor from KFYR-TV reports. Thanks Cliff. Wheat growers in upper plains have a place to fine-tune their agronomic skills this winter. Farm Journal is hosting "Wheat College" in Bismarck, North Dakota on Thursday February 9th. It'll be held at Radisson hotel. Registration is available at or you can call 877-482-7203.

More winter wheat growers in the southern plains are turning to a rotational crop for weed control. Winter canola acres may reach 200,000 for the first time in that region.
Local markets and strong prices are helping persuade producers to give canola a try.

After a years-worth of testing, a committee of nine federal departments says there is no practical solution to prevent GPS interference by broadband technology developed by telecommunications company Lightsquared. The committee is recommending the FCC not grant a waiver to the company. Agriculture groups say without a technical fix, Lightsquared's technology would impact the receivers on farm equipment. Lightsquared asked the FCC to grant the company a waiver on frequency-band use. The company says their technology would dramatically expand broadband access, including in rural areas. But the committee says the proposed mobile network would cause harmful interference to many GPS receivers.

With the general lack of support for GMOo crops in Europe, Germany-based BASF is relocating those parts of the business to the U.S. The financial times of London says the headquarters of BASF plant science will move from Limburger-Hof in southwest Germany to Raleigh, North Carolina. Two other BASF sites in Germany will also be closed. The company will transfer some GMO crop development to the U.S. but stop work on crops targeted at the European market - four varieties of potato and one of wheat. The company says with a lack of acceptance for GMO technology in many parts of Europe, it doesn't make business sense to continue investing in products intended for that market.

Chip Nellinger

If you want to catch a big rainbow trout in the future, hatchery workers need to do a lot of work right now. In fact, trout that will be stocked in 2013 need to get started right now, Joe Wilkinson has details in this report from the Iowa DNR. Thanks Joe. In case you're wondering, the largest brook-fish in Iowa tipped the scale at 14.5 pounds. Up next...take a “Run for the Border" for breakfast.

In Food and Your Family dairy producers continue to pump out quality milk and milk derived products. But that doesn't mean there isn't a fierce competition churning. The alternative dairy industry clocked 1.3 billion dollars in retail sales last year. That's according to a new report from packed facts. It says soymilk continues to be the favorite dairy alternative. However, almond milk is right on its heels. Almond milk now accounts for about 20% of sales in the dairy alternative group...that’s up nearly 80% over last year.

It appears Taco Bell is getting into the breakfast business. The fast food chain says it will start offering a breakfast menu, which it calls "first meal". The chain is going to limit the start to 750 locations around the country. The menu includes four types of breakfast burritos, a breakfast crunch wrap, Seattle's best coffee, and orange juice.

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