Evaluate Alfalfa Fields For Winter Injury

This week ISUEO Field Agronomist Joel DeJong notes that he has been in a few older alfalfa stands that did not survive the winter very well. Sometimes they looked OK from the road, but when in them you could see that the stands were thinned significantly by the winter we just experienced.

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USDA Announces February Income over Feed Cost Margin Triggers Second 2019 Dairy Safety Net Payment

USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced last week that the February 2019 income over feed cost margin was $8.22 per hundredweight (cwt.), triggering the second payment for dairy producers who purchase the appropriate level of coverage under the new but yet-to-be established Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program.

DMC, which replaces the Margin Protection Program for Dairy, is a voluntary risk management program for dairy producers that was authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill. DMC offers protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all milk price and the average feed cost (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer.

Sign up for DMC will open by mid-June of this year. At the time of sign up, producers who elect a DMC coverage level between $8.50 and $9.50 would be eligible for a payment for February 2019.

For example, a dairy operation that chooses to enroll an established production history of 3 million pounds (30,000 cwt.) that elects the $9.50 coverage level on 95 percent of production would receive $3,040 for February.

Sample calculation:
$9.50 – $8.22 margin = $1.28 difference
$1.28 x 95 percent of production x 2,500 cwt. (30,000 cwt./12) = $ 3,040

DMC premiums are paid annually. The calculated annual premium for coverage at $9.50 on 95 percent of a 3-million-pound production history for this example would be $4,275.

Sample calculation:
3,000,000 x 95 percent = 2,850,000/100 = 28,500 cwt. x 0.150 premium fee = $4,275

The dairy operation in the example calculation will pay $4,275 in total premium payments for all of 2019 and receive $6,626.25 in Dairy Margin Coverage payments for January and February combined. Additional payments will be made if calculated margins remain below the $9.50/cwt level.

All participants are also required to pay an annual $100 administrative fee in addition to any premium, and payments will be subject to a 6.2% reduction to account for federal sequestration.Operations making a one-time election to participate in DMC through 2023 are eligible to receive a 25 percent discount on their premium for the existing margin coverage rates. For the example above, this would reduce the annual premium by $1,068.75.

“The Dairy Margin Coverage program will provide an important financial safety net for dairy producers, helping them weather shifting milk and feed prices,” FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce said. “We continue to work diligently to implement the DMC program and other FSA programs authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill.”



Iowa Milk Production Down 1 Percent In March

Milk production in Iowa during March 2019 totaled 449 million pounds, down 1 percent from the previous March according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Milk Production report. The average number of milk cows during March, at 217,000 head, was down 3,000 from both last month and last year. It is noteworthy that Iowa has lost over 100 dairy herds over the past past year.
Monthly production per cow averaged 2,070 pounds, even with last March.

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Global Dairy Trade Event 234 Price Index up 0.5%

Key Results

AMF index up 4.2%, average price US$6,126/MT
Butter index up 3.5%, average price US$5,544/MT
BMP not offered
Ched index up 1.4%, average price US$4,319/MT
LAC index down 3.4%, average price US$912/MT
RenCas index down 2.4%, average price US$6,460/MT
SMP index up 0.2%, average price US$2,462/MT
SWP index not available, average price not available
WMP index down 0.7%, average price US$3,269/MT

Full results have been published on www.globaldairytrade.info.

Weekly Hay Auction Report

Rock Valley Hay Auction for Monday, Apr 15, 2019

Receipts:  35 loads    Last Week:  16 loads    Year Ago:  14 loads

Alfalfa:  Supreme: Large Rounds, 1 load 235.00.  Premium: Large Squares, 1 load 200.00.  Good: Large Rounds, 4 loads 170.00-180.00.  Fair:  Large Rounds, 5 loads 140.00-162.50; Small Squares, 1 load 165.00.
Utility:  Large Rounds, 3 loads 135.00-137.50.

Grass:  Premium:  Small Squares, 1 load 205.00.  Good:  Large Rounds, 5 loads 150.00-170.00; Small Squares, 1 load 170.00.  Fair:  Large Rounds, 3 loads 132.50-145.00.  Utility:  Large Rounds, 1 loads 115.00.

Alfalfa/Grass Mix:  Good:  Large Squares, 1 load 175.00; Large Rounds 155.00-175.00.

Straw:  Large Squares, 1 load 115.00

Corn Stalks:  Large Rounds, 4 load 45.00-57.50.

Dairy Producers Report Receiving “No-Match” Letters From Social Security Administration

Dairy producers have reported receiving Employer Correction Requests from the Social Security Administration (SSA). Commonly called “No-Match” letters, these letters inform employers of mismatches between submitted W-2 form information and SSA records. The “No-Match” letters were implemented in 1993 and discontinued in 2012, only to be resumed this year.

The letters instruct employers to access a list of their affected employees on the SSA’s Business Services Online (BSO) system. To use the BSO system, first complete a one-time registration process at:


Ignoring the letter and failing to take action on the request could result in some jeopardy for the producer.

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WASDE Lowers Milk Production Forecast

The milk production forecast for 2019 is lowered from last month as higher milk cow numbers are more than offset by lower expected growth in milk per cow for the year. The 2019 fat basis import forecast is unchanged from last month, but the export forecast is lowered on slower expected shipments of butterfat products and whey products.

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