It’s still early but farmers in some parts of the country are getting some seeds in the ground.  According to this week’s Crop Progress Report, they’ve planted 4% of the corn, 11% of the spring wheat, 39% of their oats and 13% of the barley.  That’s ahead of last year’s progress at this time for all those crops.  Wheat growers also report their wheat can be rated 53% in good to excellent condition.

In Wisconsin, 19% of the oats are in—about a week ahead of last year and 12 days ahead of our 5 year average.  Potato growers also report they have 6% of their crop in—about 7 days ahead of normal.  Spring tillage progress also is ahead of normal with 20% of that job done.  Topsoil moisture across the state also is in a little better shape than it was a week ago as it’s rated 82% adequate to surplus, 15% short and 3% very short with farmers in West Central parts of the state reporting top soil moisture is 12% very short.

U.S. corn exports continue to be strong as we get further into the 2020-2021 marketing year.  In February those sales totaled 248 million bushels.  That’s 17% more than last February and the most we’ve sold in any month since July of 2018.  That follows January and December sales that were also some of our all time best months for corn exports.  And early sales figures for March show we will probably have record sales for last month as well.  For this marketing year, which ends September 30th, USDA economists expect record U.S. corn sales of around 2.6 billion bushels.  Those increases are mainly because China is buying so much corn to try and rebuild their swine herd which was devastated by African Swine Fever.  So far this year the Chinese have already bought about 2 million metric tons more corn than they did back in 2011-2012, the year of their biggest purchases ever. 

Some members of the state legislature have again introduced bills that would ban the labeling of products as milk or any other dairy product if the product is not made from milk from cows, goats, sheep or other lactating mammals.  Senator Howard Marklein has introduced the bill this time in the state Senate as the “Truth in Food labeling Legislation.”  Most state agricultural groups are supporting the bill as they see a big increase in the amount of beverages that are using dairy terms, like milk, on their labels.  The bill is scheduled for action by both Houses of the Legislature during the current session.