February 5, 2012

Farm Briefs: Feb. 5, 2012


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Milk prices decline for January ALBANY — Prices received by New York producers for milk sold during January were down from a month earlier, according to King Whetstone, director of USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service, New York Field Office.

The price of soybeans and apples decreased also. The price of corn and hay increased. The price of potatoes remained unchanged. Many previous month prices were revised due to more complete sales information.

Dairy farmers in the Empire State received an average of $20.30 per hundredweight of milk sold during January, down 40 cents from December but $2.50 more than January a year ago.

Grain corn, at $6.60 per bushel, was up 23 cents from December and up $1.01 from last

year. Hay averaged $107 per ton, up $11 from December but unchanged from prices received

in January 2011.

Potatoes averaged $13.20 per cwt., unchanged from December but down 50 cents from last year. Soybeans averaged $11.17 per cwt., down 21 cents from December.

Apples, at $31.70 per cwt., were down $4 from last month but up $7.80 from last January.

Producers received higher prices for cattle, broilers, soybeans and corn and lower prices for

eggs, milk, wheat and lettuce.

USDA announces sign-up period for programs

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will conduct a four-week Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) general signup beginning March 12 and ending April 6.

CRP has a 25-year legacy of successfully protecting the nation's natural resources through voluntary participation, while providing significant economic and environmental benefits to rural communities across the United States.

CRP is a program for protecting the most environmentally sensitive lands from erosion and sedimentation and for ensuring the sustainability of groundwater, lakes, rivers, ponds and streams.

CRP is a voluntary program available to agricultural producers to help them use environmentally sensitive land for conservation benefits. Producers enrolled in CRP plant long-term, resource-conserving covers to improve the quality of water, control soil erosion and develop wildlife habitat. In return, USDA provides participants with rental payments and cost-share assistance.

Contract duration is between 10 and 15 years. Producers with expiring contracts and producers with environmentally sensitive land are encouraged to evaluate their options under CRP. Producers also are encouraged to look into CRP's other enrollment opportunities offered on a continuous, non-competitive signup basis.

Currently, about 30 million acres are enrolled in CRP and contracts on an estimated 6.5 million acres will expire on Sept. 30.

For more information, visit a local FSA service center or

Farmers' planting intentions to be surveyed

ALBANY — The March Agricultural Survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will survey 82,000 U.S. farmers in March 2012 to ask questions about farmers' plans for the 2012 season.

"Each year, the agricultural industry watches for the results of the March Agricultural Survey, which provides the first official estimates of U.S. farmers' planting intentions for 2012," said King Whetstone, director of the NASS New York Field Office. "When producers finalize their cropping and marketing plans, this survey will be one of the most important sources of information for them."

NASS will mail the survey questionnaire in late February, asking producers to provide information about the types of crops they intend to plant in 2012, how many acres they intend to plant and the amounts of grain and oilseed they store on their farms. NASS encourages producers to respond via the Internet but also welcomes mail or fax responses and offers non-responding producers the opportunity for a telephone or personal interview.

NASS will compile and analyze the survey information and publish the results in a series of USDA reports, including the annual Prospective Plantings report and quarterly Grain Stocks report, both to be released on March 30.

All reports are available on the NASS web site, For more information, call 1-800-821-1276.

New York sheep inventory decreases

ALBANY — New York sheep and lambs totaled 62,000 head on Jan. 1, according to King

Whetstone, director of USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service, New York Field Office.

This is down 11 percent from the 70,000 head of the previous year.

A total of 43,000 lambs were born in New York during 2011, down 12 percent from the 2010 total. Breeding ewes one year old and older in 2011 totaled 43,000 head, yielding a lambing rate of 100 per 100 ewes, which is 15 percent down from the 2010 rate.

New York wool production during 2011 totaled 210,000 pounds, down 14 percent from a year earlier. The average price received for wool increased 20 cents to 60 cents per pound. The value of production increased to $126,000.

Meat-goat numbers down in state

ALBANY — New York meat goats totaled 27,000 head for Jan. 1, down 10 percent from the Jan. 1, 2011, total, according to King Whetstone, director of USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service, New York Field Office. Milk goats totaled 12,800 head for Jan. 1, down 2 percent from the previous year.

All goat inventory in the United States on Jan. 1 totaled 2.86 million head, down 4 percent from 2011. Breeding-goat inventory totaled 2.38 million head, down 4 percent from 2011. Does one year old and older, at 1.78 million head, were 3 percent below last year's number. Market goats and kids totaled 487,000 head, down 5 percent from a year ago.

New York cattle inventory increases

ALBANY — New York cattle and calves totaled 1.41 million on Jan. 1, according to King Whetstone, director of USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service, New York Field Office.

All cattle and calves were up 1 percent from the Jan. 1 total of the previous year.

Milk cows, which comprise 43 percent of the total cattle in New York, numbered 610,000 head, unchanged from January of the previous year. New York remained third in the U.S. in number of dairy cows behind California with 1.78 million and Wisconsin with 1.27 million. Milk-cow replacement heifers were down 3 percent from a year earlier.

Beef cows totaled 100,000 head, up 11 percent from a year ago. Beef-cow replacement heifers totaled 38,000 head, unchanged from a year earlier.

Other heifers and steers weighing 500 pounds or more, which are normally on feed for slaughter, were up 19 percent to 82,000 head. Bulls weighing 500 pounds or more were down 17 percent at 15,000 head. The 2011 New York calf crop totaled 530,000 head, up 2 percent from 2010.