Stretch That Tire Dollar

Stretch That Tire Dollar

Peak harvest is never the best time to scramble to get your tools, especially the tires that literally keep you rolling in the field. Harvest is a busy time for ag tires. And this year is not a normal year in the supply chain. You may be waiting for specific tires if you don’t plan ahead, says Kevin Rohlwing, the chief technical officer for the Tire Industry Association. 

Waiting until the last minute to get tires probably isn’t a good choice this year, says Kevin. With supply chain issues across the whole tire industry, there is likely going to be a wait to get the rubber you need to stay on the road and in the fields. He shares that in farm tires specifically, the backlog happened when supply shut down during COVID, but farmers kept working. 

Transportation has also caused headaches, with many tires and needed supplies to make them stuck on ships or in ports. Kevin points out that both oil prices and energy prices going up due to the war in Ukraine, is going to push tire prices higher. Some tire manufacturers have already announced an additional 10% price increase after an earlier price hike and it doesn’t look like there will be relief any time soon. 

Keeping the tires you do have going as long as possible will stretch your dollar. Kevin reminds us that improper inflation is the number one reason tires fail. He says using the equipment manufacturer’s suggested air pressure is the number to go by and not what the tire says on its side. Checking tire pressure in the morning when it’s colder is the best time to do it and be sure to use a tire gauge. Of course, an antler or hidden cinder block can make even the best maintenance plan irrelevant if you hit them just right.


“Meat” The Pros At Coalition Conference

“Meat” The Pros At Coalition Conference

Livestock producers and meat processors of all sizes – as well as others affiliated with supporting these groups – are invited to attend the inaugural Wisconsin Meat Industry Coalition Conference. The event is set for Oct. 13-14 at the DoubleTree by Hilton – Madison East, located at 4402 E Washington Ave., Madison, Wisconsin. 

The new conference was established to pursue the quest for common interests among the various sectors of meat animal industries, explore opportunities to develop a more unified industry voice, and identify collaborative longitudinal opportunities with individual and collective high impact potential benefit. 

The keynote speaker for the conference is Joe Kiedinger of Prophit Co., who will give a talk on the topic “Growing Your Business with Dignity and Purpose.” Attendees will also hear from industry members during two panel discussions – one featuring farmers representing Wisconsin’s beef, swine and sheep industries, and a second with representatives from the Wisconsin Association of Meat Processors, Wisconsin Restaurant Association and Wisconsin Grocers Association.

The Wisconsin Meat Industry Hall of Fame recognition ceremony will take place on the evening of Oct. 13 in conjunction with the conference, an event that will honor new hall of fame members Ron Russell, a dedicated UW–Madison meat science instructor, and Christopher Salm, an entrepreneur who helped found numerous businesses. The conference also includes a presentation ceremony for meat industry scholarships awarded to students at UW–Madison, UW-Platteville and UW-River Falls.

There will be ample opportunities for networking during the conference.

For more information, including the agenda and registration details, go to www.bit.ly/WIMeatCoalition.


Export Expansion Dollars Available

Export Expansion Dollars Available

As Wisconsin welcomes the world to America’s Dairyland for the World Dairy Expo, DATCP is again accepting applications for export expansion grants.

Applications may be submitted through Nov.16, 2022.

These grants are funded through the Wisconsin Initiative for Agricultural Exports, a program to promote the export of Wisconsin’s agricultural products.

This grant aims to accelerate the growth of Wisconsin dairy, meat and crop product exports. Applicants must be a not-for-profit organization, located in Wisconsin, and currently serving or have the ability to serve Wisconsin agribusinesses. Wisconsin agribusiness associations, technical colleges, universities, and economic development organizations are encouraged to apply.

Projects can receive grant funds for up to two years in duration with an option to request an additional year. Grants will be awarded up to $50,000 for meat and crop-focused projects, and $100,000 for dairy-focused projects. Matching funds are required at 20 percent of the grant award and can be cash or in-kind.

Eligible project expenses include, but are not limited to, travel associated with trade promotion activities, event promotion, marketing materials, advertising, subscriptions, contractor fees, and translation services, purchased market information, and data reporting services.

DATCP will use a competitive review process to select the most qualified projects. Selected projects will begin work in January 2022. Grant information and application materials are here: https://datcp.wi.gov/Pages/Growing_WI/WisconsinInitiativeForAgriculturalExports.aspx

For more information, contact DATCP Grants Specialist Ryan Dunn at ryand.dunn@wisconsin.gov or (608) 590-7239.


Wisconsin Continues To Place At Expo

Wisconsin Continues To Place At Expo

In the International Brown Swiss Show at World Dairy Expo, Junior Champion honors went to the winning Summer Yearling Heifer, Random Luck Total Perfection, exhibited by Jacob Harbaugh and Matthew Thompson of Marion, Wisconsin.

Official judge Gerrit DeBruin of Lake Mills, Wisconsin and associate judge Hayden Hauschildt of Ellsworth, Wisconsin placed a total of 390 animals in the 2022 International Brown Swiss Show. Complete class results can be found at www.worlddairyexpo.com.

In the International Junior Brown Swiss Show, Tea Rose, owned by Matthew & Allison Thompson of Darlington, Wisconsin, took home the Lillian & Keith King and Jim King Reserve Grand Champion of the Junior Show Award.

The winning Summer Yearling, Random Luck Total Perfection, was the last heifer standing as she was named Junior Champion of the International Junior Brown Swiss Show. Perfection is owned by Jacob Harbaugh and Matthew Thompson of Marion, Wisconsin. Taking Reserve Junior Champion honors was the first-place Spring Yearling, Spots Pride Play It Again, owned by Tristen Ostrom of Kaukauna, Wisconsin.

Evaluating the 154 entries in the International Junior Brown Swiss Show were official judge Gerrit DeBruin of Lake Mills, Wisconsin and associate judge Hayden Hauschildt of Ellsworth, Wisconsin.


ADC Comments On Recent Deductions

ADC Comments On Recent Deductions

The following is a release from the American Dairy Coalition.

Wisconsin dairy farmers are reporting notifications from some cooperatives and milk buyers that new ‘market adjustments’ will be deducted from their milk checks. For example, farmers are reporting they will be seeing from $0.90 per hundredweight up to $2.50+ per hundredweight market adjustments which will be deducted from the September milk checks and continue through the end of the year.

A copy of one letter was sent to the American Dairy Coalition. In it, the cooperative cites rising costs and insufficient “make allowances” as one reason for the new deduction. A recent cost of processing study done for USDA by Dr. Mark Stephenson of UW-Madison indicates that the current make allowances that are already built into the USDA end-product pricing formulas are collectively about $1.00 per hundredweight short of covering costs to make the bulk cheddar, butter, nonfat dry milk and whey that are surveyed monthly for the USDA pricing formulas.

On the other hand, the cost of processing report described the difficulty in extracting the costs related to only those four bulk commodities because most dairy plants today make a range of products that are not included in the end-product pricing formulas. Those other products represent substantially more milk and may be sold by processors at higher prices without increasing the price they, in turn, pay to their farmers – this appears to allow additional processor income to cover costs.

We are learning that hearings could soon be requested to raise the processor make allowances that are embedded in the milk pricing formulas, which, if approved, could reduce the prices paid to dairy farmers.

We understand that processors are facing inflation in their input costs. Farmers are also experiencing intense inflationary pressure on their operations too. The difference is, the farmers’ cost of production is not considered in the milk pricing formulas – at all.

These milk check deductions appear to be a way to shift rising costs over to farmers through mailbox milk check deductions.

Milk cooperatives are able to do this even if they are participating in the federal milk marketing order revenue-sharing pools. The law recognizes the entire cooperative as a producer, so when they pay their farmer members, they do not have to pay the minimum federal order price. They can adjust it by re-blending what they receive from the pool and from sales according to their own utilization of milk, and they can add deductions to cover costs that they determine are not being extracted from their market sales. Proprietary plants, on the other hand, must pay the minimum price if they participate in the federal order pool.

Currently, there are several divergences occurring between different formula products and milk use classes. Plus, farmers have seen a $1 to $2.00 reduction in their Class I fluid milk price due to a formula change made in the last Farm Bill without a Federal Milk Marketing Order hearing and without most farmers knowing much about it until it was done. Over the past 42 months since the change was implemented, the net loss to all dairy farmers grew to more than $887.6 million. This is like a $0.63 deduction on all Class I milk pounds sold over the course of nearly four years or a $0.20 per hundredweight deduction on the blended price for all milk sold for all uses over that time. The new formula has also performed poorly under market stress, creating dysfunction in the Federal Orders with further negative impacts on mailbox milk prices and the performance of purchased risk management tools.

From the processor side, they too are conflicted with other aspects of the milk price formulas because of divergences between barrel cheese prices and block cheese prices and in the value of fat used in making butter vs. cheese.

Discussions about federal milk pricing formulas have been ongoing, and there will be an American Farm Bureau national stakeholder meeting in Kansas City in two weeks about possible future reforms.

ADC’s position is straightforward. We believe these ‘processor make allowances’ that are embedded in the pricing formulas should be put on hold until the milk pricing change that was made in the last Farm Bill is thoroughly vetted through a side-by-side comparison at a FMMO hearing, or is reversed. The reason we have taken this position is because farmers are already on the short end of the stick. They are the last rung in the supply chain ladder, and they have no one to go back to extract a “make allowance” for their rising inflationary costs.

If the make allowances are elevated without addressing these other concerns, the mailbox price will be reduced to the farmer, and there is nothing to prevent processors from re-blending and the potential for additional deductions.

Only Class I beverage milk is required to participate in the federal milk marketing order pools. So, the other side of this issue is the pooling revenue sometimes goes negative when these price divergences happen and processors take higher value manufacturing milk out of the revenue sharing pools to increase profitability, but they don’t necessarily equalize the additional revenue with their dairy farmers.

ADC’s bottom line is this: We are navigating uncharted waters with a system that is antiquated and not nimble, a convoluted milk pricing scheme in which the actual dairy need to have a clear conclusive voice. That’s why ADC has spent so much attention and time on this issue with webinars and forums and teleconferences and communications to get farmers informed and at the table to secure their future viability.


Behind The Scenes Of Expo

Behind The Scenes Of Expo

It takes a lot of behind the scenes work and preparation to make the cattle look their absolute best before gracing the colored shavings at World Dairy Expo. 

Jason Danhoff, Dairy Cattle Merchandiser, shares insight into his role in helping exhibitors prep their animals for the show.

It may take a lot of hard work and effort at home and at the show, but you get out of it what you put into it when your animals succeed. 

“At the end of the day, it’s about the final touches,” says Danhoff. “Most of your clients have put in a lot of effort at home to get to this point, a lot of expense, a lot of hard work. You’re kind of like the finishing touches on what they’ve already put so much effort into”

A key aspect of being a professional dairy cattle merchandiser is knowing exactly  what your client needs from you. For some that may mean a more full service situation where others it may be just the final touches. Being knowledgeable about what makes each animal look its best is essential.

Danhoff grew up exhibiting Guernseys and worked on his technique with his own animals to be able to compete at a high level. As he got older and his skills  got better, people took notice and began reaching out for help.

“I went to UW-Madison and was able to pay my way through school as I went by clipping cows,” adds Danhoff. “I kept doing it as I went on and after school, I didn’t get a real job ever. I just kept clipping and eventually I got to go to 16 different countries and work and found out that you can pretty much do it 365 days a year if you want.”

Danhoff encourages those interested in becoming professional fitters to pay attention to what goes in the ring, what looks good that people are talking about, and learn from the judges themselves on what they look for. Just because it looks nice in the barn, doesn’t necessarily mean that when you get them out there with all the other animals, it will look as nice as you think it does. 

Danhoff adds, “When fitting you want to get them straight, angular and dairy looking. But it changes from breed to breed based on  their color markings, how much white or dark pigment they have, and what size blade you will use. Also, if they’re deep ribbed, you don’t need to leave as much belly hair sometimes.”

Danhoff has spent a lot of time fitting in Europe as well as has traveled all over the US from coast to coast and sixteen different countries.

Danhoff says he fit the first Holstein he ever bred and it was named Grand Champion at the Wisconsin State Show. This is one of his greatest accomplishments as a fitter. Another recognizable cow he got ready for show was Veronica when she went on to be Supreme Champion at World Dairy Expo.

“You don’t have to be the most talented person ever in the world. But you’ll learn a lot as you go. Working hard is the key because if you work hard and are a good person to be around, it’ll take you a long way,” says Danhoff.


Blue Ribbon Cheese – What Does It Take?

Blue Ribbon Cheese – What Does It Take?

What does it take to produce the best cheese in Wisconsin? Ask Beth Crave, director of quality assurance at Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese in Waterloo. They took home the No. 1 trophy for their chocolate mascarpone at the Wisconsin State Fair’s Blue Ribbon Dairy Products Contest. Chocolate cheese — just one unique variety that cheesemakers across the state are proud to bring to consumers. 

The Crave family is very excited and proud to have taken home top honors from this year’s State Fair. The winning cheese was based off of a recipe for chocolate mascarpone pie. It features a creamy and chocolatey flavor with just a touch of irish cream. The judge’s notes noted it’s velvety texture and distinct flavor, they also shared that they just kept wanting more. 

Crave says it takes years to develop new products — it starts with listening to what customers want, then it takes years to perfect a new recipe, and it takes an investment of manpower, time and money. She says the chocolate mascarpone took over a year to develop to get the perfect mixture of chocolate and irish cream. She says they also had some help, both from the folks at Center for Dairy Research and Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin. 

As they celebrate 20 years making cheese, she says Crave Brothers is working on new concoctions in the plant to come out this spring. While she won’t spoil the surprise, she hopes to have new products on shelves soon. But prices are increasing, which is being passed along to the customer. She assures customers that quality will remain as high. Demand remains strong and steady — she expects that to continue in 2023.


Wisconsin Exhibitors Rise To The Top

Wisconsin Exhibitors Rise To The Top

Homeridge T Annette made a victorious return to the colored shavings, claiming back-to-back Grand Champion Female of the Junior Show titles in the International Junior Jersey Show. The winning junior in the Four-Year-Old Cow Class also took home the $500 Udder Comfort Grand Champion Cash Award and the Lillian & Keith King and Jim King Grand Champion of the Junior Show Award. Annette was shown by Budjon, Vail, Cunningham, Powers and K & D Nickels of Lomira, Wisconsin.

Valley Gem Atlas Malt-ET, the winning Six-Year-Old & Older Cow, took home the honor of Grand Champion Female, Senior Champion Female, Best Bred & Owned Animal and Best Uddered Cow of the International Guernsey Show on Tuesday, October 4. Exhibited by Valley Gem Farms of Cumberland, Wisconsin, they were awarded the Allen Hetts Grand Champion Trophy and the $1,000 Udder Comfort Grand Champion Award. This is the third consecutive year that Malt has claimed Grand and Senior Champion Female honors.

Reserve Junior Champion of the International Guernsey Show was Prairie Gem Midnight Storm-ETV, exhibited by Dylan & Cameron Ryan of Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin.

Intermediate Champion Female of the International Guernsey Show was Dix Lee Kojack Dont Doubt Me-ETV, the first-place Senior Three-Year-Old Cow. Dont Doubt Me was exhibited by Haley Beukema, Lauryn Weisensel and Brynn Grewe of New Richmond, Wisconsin.

Rounding out the champion group in the International Junior Guernsey Show was Prairie Gem Midnight Storm-ETV, owned by Dylan and Cameron Ryan of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, earning Junior Champion Female of the Junior Show after winning the Fall Heifer Calf class

Complete class results can be found at www.worlddairyexpo.com.  


Grow Your Dairy Product Sales

Grow Your Dairy Product Sales

Learn how to set up and sustain a robust dairy export program with support from Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA). Register now at WisCheeseMakers.org to join in WCMA’s Dairy Export Workshop, set for Tuesday, November 3 from 10:00 a.m.-2:30 p.m. (CT), with options to join in-person in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin or online from anywhere in the world.

“A soaring global demand for dairy products and new trade agreements make now a promising time to launch or expand export endeavors,” says WCMA Senior Director of Programs & Policy Rebekah Sweeney.  “Join us to gain the insights and practical resources you need for sales success abroad.”

WCMA’s workshop kicks off with a high-level overview of emerging markets and international consumers’ product preferences, offered by Megan Sheets, U.S. Dairy Export Council’s Senior Director of Strategic Development. Presenters from Food Export Midwest, the Wisconsin International Agribusiness Center, dairy exporter MCT Dairies, and supply chain logistics provider Hancock International follow, sharing guidance on how to navigate the challenges of exporting – from finding the right buyer to navigating customs regulations and shipping delays – before fielding your questions.  The program also features speakers from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, and the Center for Dairy Research, detailing export resources available to Wisconsin dairy processors, including grant opportunities, marketing assistance, research & development support, and consulting services.

This WCMA workshop is funded in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Initiative for Agricultural Exports (WIAE), championed by Governor Tony Evers and a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers led by Senator Joan Ballweg and Representative Tony Kurtz.  WCMA’s grant award will also support free, one-on-one export consultations for Wisconsin dairy processors, beginning in November 2022, and the creation of an online library of export resources and forms, set to debut in February 2023.


Soybean Harvest Underway

Soybean Harvest Underway

Parts of northern Wisconsin experienced a killing frost this week, and statewide, temperatures averaged 4 degrees below normal. There was little precipitation which allowed farmers to make progress on harvesting hay, corn silage and soybeans.

Wisconsin averaged more than six suitable days for fieldwork for the week ending Oct. 2. Topsoil moisture condition rated 84 percent adequate to surplus. And subsoil moisture condition rated 84 percent adequate to surplus.

The latest USDA National Agricultural Statistic Service crop progress and condition report recorded 94 percent of corn had reached the dent state, eight days behind last year but six days ahead of the average.
Sixty-nine percent of corn was mature, three days behind last year but five days ahead of the average.

Corn condition was 79 percent good to excellent statewide, up 1 percentage point from last week. Corn for silage harvest was 59 percent complete, 12 days behind last year and five days behind the average.

Soybeans coloring was 97 percent, five days behind last year but eight days ahead of the average. Soybeans dropping leaves was at 81 percent, five days behind last year but three days ahead of the average.

Soybean harvest was 11 percent complete, six days behind last year and three days behind the average. Soybean condition was 76 percent good to excellent, down 1 percentage point from last week.

Potatoes harvested was at 65 percent, four days behind last year and three days behind the average.

Winter wheat planted was at 54 percent, a day behind last year but three days ahead of the average. Winter wheat emerged was at 35 percent, three days ahead of last year and five days ahead of the average.

The fourth cutting of alfalfa was reported at 94 percent complete, four days ahead of last year and over two weeks ahead of the average.

Pasture condition was rated 66 percent good to excellent, down 1 percentage point from last week.

Fall tillage was 17 percent complete, a day behind last year but a week ahead of average.