The coronavirus pandemic has attacked the U.S. dairy economy in waves. It arrived via collapsing futures-based price outlooks in March, then prompted an April meltdown in the cash markets. It’s now being felt most acutely in the milk checks producers will receive through July. But as of mid-May cash and futures markets were strongly rebounding, particularly futures for the year’s second half. That provides a significantly improved outlook for the nation’s severely stressed dairy farmers.

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2019 was a wet, difficult year for farmers across the state of Kansas. Trade decisions during negotiations with China put a damper on commodity prices and producers were concerned they might face a farm collapse similar to the 1980s.

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The latest USDA Cattle on Feed report shows the dramatic impacts of COVID-19 on fed cattle markets. The May 1 feedlot inventory was11.2 million head, down 5.1 percent year over year. April marketings were down 24.3 percent from last year, a decrease of 433,000 head year over year. Decreased …

Earlier this month the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued its first balance-sheet estimates for the 2020-2021 marketing year. Production for corn came in at almost 16 billion bushels due to the large acreage of 97 million and an early yield estimate of 178.5. A lot can – and likely will – change between May and the fall, but it’s worth stepping back to consider the range of possibilities. This week’s post is a look back at historical yields to see what 2020 corn yields might have in store.

Agriculture depends on safe and efficient infrastructure. Rural roads and bridges are a critical link in our nation’s food-supply chain. Preliminary data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics Commodity Flow Survey show that more than 70 percent of America’s freight, worth $10 trillion, is moved on the highway system. U.S. roads and highways link farmers, ranchers, manufacturers and service industries to grain elevators, ethanol plants, processors, feedlots, markets and ports.

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A large area of low-level drought is building in the west from western Kansas to northern California and the Pacific Northwest. Some of the worst drought areas are in Colorado and surrounding regions and in Oregon. Drought in south Texas has improved somewhat in recent weeks but some drought…

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COVID-19 began impacting workers at beef packing plants in early April. In the last five weeks, cattle slaughter decreased by an average of 27 percent year over year. This compares to the previous five weeks in March, when cattle slaughter averaged 5.5 percent higher than year ago levels. Th…

One of the few things more difficult than refraining from hugging close relatives and maintaining toilet paper supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic is navigating the litany of information surrounding government funding for agricultural businesses.

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Spring management on grazing lands is critical for optimum forage production and nutrition year-round. After a wet and muddy winter that left pastures with problem areas and with low cattle prices pushing producers to retain marketable animals, careful grass management will be more important…

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COVID-19 continues to sweep through packing plant workers leading to severe disruptions in beef processing. Estimated cattle slaughter for the week ending May 2 was 425,000 head, down 38 percent year over year. Total cattle slaughter has averaged 26.4 percent lower than last year over the pa…

The Missouri River Basin, including eastern and southeastern Kansas, has been much wetter than normal for an extended period. The 2019 annual precipitation totals set all-time records across much of the region. These high rainfall totals have resulted in saturated soil, full reservoirs, and …

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While the world seems to be at a standstill for most non-essential and office workers, spring planting season waits for no man. Farmers in the Four State took advantage of clear skies and warm weather last week as they prepared for the 2020 corn crop.

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COVID-19 has caused unparalleled and catastrophic impacts on cattle and beef markets along with every other part of the economy. Cattle and beef markets are experiencing devastating shocks and challenges resulting in price changes and market behavior that are, not only unprecedented, but als…

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Last week, USDA announced a total of $19 billion for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). The program includes $16 billion in direct payments to farmers and ranchers including $9.5 billion of emergency funding from the CARES Act and $6.5 billion of funding from the Commodity Credi…

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Beef market turmoil and weather challenges will make Kansas and Oklahoma’s stocker industry a high-stakes game in 2020. With reining in costs to save profit margins a more important strategy than ever before, producers are searching for ways to reduce overhead without sacrificing cattle heal…

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The U.S. meat industry faces unprecedented threats as COVID-19 sweeps through labor forces at meat processing facilities nationwide. Production of beef, pork and poultry are simultaneously threatened as COVID-19 infections affect labor availability and processing capacity in multiple facilit…

An important part of this article is the date, April 1, 2020. The overarching trend with all commodities is volatile, rapidly changing, and quick to react. The backbone of this is the uncertainty of many items. With no clear social or economic recovery period, we are still moving day to day.…

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Wholesale and retail beef markets have endured enormous upheaval since mid-March. Starting March 16, the surge in retail grocery buying put huge demands on retail supply chains resulting in dramatic and immediate spikes in wholesale beef prices. As shown in Table 1, the overall cutout jumped…

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For an online celebration of combined passions for family, cattle and cuisine, Flint Hills stocker operators Arturo and Wrenn Pacheco created their Cooking with the Cowboy culinary blog four years ago in 2016.

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Economists often say that market prices are determined by demand and supply. What they really mean is more correctly stated as “market prices are determined by expectations of demand and supply”. Under more stable and normal circumstances, this distinction is not particularly significant. Ho…

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While most of the world has secluded itself in isolation, across the Midwest spring rains are producing a high volume of nutritious forage critical to beef producers’ success, especially in challenging market conditions.

The planting season begins another year under considerable uncertainty. While trade issues remain, the continued spread of the coronavirus and the ensuing market collapse complicates an already difficult decision. Projections from many market observers indicate increases in corn and soybean …

Disruptions in normal activities due to COVID-19 have produced a surge in at-home food demand. Recent reports indicate a 77 percent year-over-year increase in grocery meat sales in mid-March. The spike in grocery demand has overwhelmed the retail meat supply chain resulting in temporary shor…

The cattle and beef industry, along with the rest of the U.S. and global economy, is in uncharted waters with the coronavirus pandemic. There are many unknowns about the timing, severity and aftermath of the disease. For the beef industry, there are longer-term questions about overall impact…

The sharp price drops across equity and commodity markets over recent trading sessions indicate investors foresee a drop off in economic activity over the near term. Only the duration and severity of the economic contraction remain uncertain. A severe contraction extending into the summer do…

The ongoing human health issue, known as COVID-19, serves as a reminder to cattle ranchers about the importance of sound, common sense biosecurity measures that can aid in reducing the risk of a disease outbreak in the new 2020 calf crop.

Coronavirus was the only topic of discussion that really matters once again this week. Depending on which way the headlines read, the stock market was either sharply higher or sharply lower. We even had the largest one-day point day ever on the Dow Jones. The volatility and the uncertainty, …

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