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Articles from 2013 In May

With direct sales, Iowa ethanol producers are helping consumers save at the pump


Photo: Rick Schwarck


By selling direct to fuel retailers, at least two ethanol producers in Iowa (Absolute Energy, St. Ansgar; and Siouxland Energy, Sioux Center) have been passing RIN savings to consumers, thus reducing what consumers pay at the pump for ethanol blends. At the same time, they are helping to improve retailer margins.


Note: A RIN (renewable identification number) is a credit earned by an ethanol blender that can then be sold on the open market to oil refiners which use the credits to comply with the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), reports the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA).


Siouxland Energy told the IRFA that it is passing RIN savings to the consumer, and is making E85 prices quite attractive. “I think ethanol plants are growing tired of watching a middleman pocket the RIN value to the detriment of consumers,” said Tom Miller, commodity manager, Siouxland Energy. 


Absolute Energy has been selling E85 direct for about two and one-half months to retailers within 100 miles of its St. Ansgar facility on the Iowa-Minnesota border. “Sales of E85 and E30 have exploded,” says Rick Schwarck, president and CEO, of the farmer-owned Absolute Energy. (E85 and E30 are allowed to be used only in flex-fuel vehicles at this time.)


Since adding blender pumps and offering ethanol blends (including E85, E30 and E15) in April, sales at the Fast Stop retail station in Cresco, IA, have climbed 20 percent. While fuel prices vary with the RIN price, consumers have been able to save as much as $.60 per gallon over fuel from oil terminals, says the station’s owner, Dave Sovereign, who also is a board member of Absolute Energy and Golden Grain Energy, Mason City, IA.


Schwarck pointed out that yesterday in St. Ansgar, E10 was running motorists $3.789 per gallon versus E85 at $2.589 per gallon--a $1.20 per gallon difference. Those kinds of fuel savings may prompt more consumers to purchase a flex-fuel vehicle.


Selling ethanol direct, however, requires a high level of commitment and investment. Absolute Energy has taken on all of the RIN reporting, as well as licensing, permitting and blending equipment. Since it does not make non-ethanol blend stocks, it must also pay for hauling them to its production plant, Schwarck says.

For the Fast Stop retail station in Cresco, offering the ethanol blends has been seamless, Sovereign says. He believes that other retail fuel stations and oil companies “have to be taking notice.” It helps, however, that Fast Stop is a Growmark franchise, and Growmark is renewable fuels friendly, Sovereign adds.


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Also drawing notice is recently approved legislation in Iowa (H.F. 640) that prevents oil refiners’ supply agreements from limiting the ability of local retailers to offer the ethanol and biodiesel blends they choose. Biofuels Digest reports that the provision “was based on a law enacted in South Dakota in 2011 and addresses specific, anti-competition provisions from actual refiner supply agreements.”


Schwarck says this does not apply to existing contracts, but rather to future contracts. Even so, this will mean that refiners will not be able to restrict where retailers buy their renewable fuels in the future.

“The importance of E85 and E30 cannot be understated,” Schwarck says, pointing out that just a one percent E85 market penetration would provide a home for 410 million bushels of corn. “And we haven’t even started talking about E15 or E30,” he says.


With the price difference between ethanol blends and straight unleaded gasoline, consumers are paying more attention at cost per mile than miles per gallon, Sovereign says. He adds that when consumers save at the pump, they have more money to spend in their local communities. “Agricultural producers and consumers are supporting each other, one gallon at a time.”

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Evaluate Prevented Planting Payments for Corn

Evaluate Prevented Planting Payments for Corn


Due to continuing wet weather, some farmers will not have planted all their corn by the final planting dates contained in their crop insurance policies. Once the final planting date has been reached, a farmer who has purchased the COMBO product (RP, RP with exclusion or YP) will have the option of taking a prevented planting payment. In many cases, taking the prevented planting payment will be an economically attractive alternative.

Contact Crop Insurance Agent

The following material lays out alternatives when faced with late planting and illustrates a spreadsheet for comparing alternatives. As will become apparent, prevented planting is complex. Farmers need to contact their crop insurance agent when considering taking prevented planting payments.

Of specific concern are rules that dictate the number of acres available for prevented planting. As a general guideline, the maximum acres eligible for prevented planting payments on corn equal the maximum acres of corn planted in the last four years, adjusted for acreage increases between 2012 and 2013, less corn acres planted in 2013. Each situation is specific and there are variations from the above guideline. Crop insurance agents can make sure farmers are eligible for prevented planting payments.

Final Planting Dates

A key date relative to prevented planting is the final planting date. In Illinois, the final date is May 31 for extreme southern counties and June 5 for all other counties.


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Once the final planting date has been reached, farmers have three options:

  1. Take a prevented planting payment. Prevented planting payments are available to holders of RP, RP with the harvest price exclusion and YP. Prevented planting is not available for Group Risk Plan or Group Risk Income Plan polices. To take a prevented planting payment, plantings have to be prevented for insurable causes.
  2. Plant corn after the final planting date.
  3. Plant soybeans after the final planting date.


Take a Prevented Planting Payment

Unless a 65% or 70% buy up option has been selected at crop insurance signup, prevented planting payments equal 60% of the springtime guarantee. As an example, take an RP policy with an 80% coverage level having a 180-bu./acre guarantee yield. The 2013 projected price $5.65. This policy has a guarantee of $814/acre (80% coverage level x 180-bu. guarantee yield x $5.65 projected price). In this case, the prevented planting payment is $488/acre ($814 x 0.60). The 65% and 70% buy up options would replace the 60% factor in the payment calculation with 65% and 70%, respectively, resulting in higher payments.

Even though RP's guarantee equals the higher of the projected or harvest price, the prevented planting payment is based only on the projected price.

If a prevented planting payment is taken, a farmer cannot plant another crop during the late planting period consisting of 25 following the final planting date. Planting another crop during this 25 day period will eliminate the prevented planting payment.

After 25 days, another crop can be planted, usually resulting in a reduction in prevented plating payments to 35% of the original amount. In double-crop situations, obtaining the entire prevented planting payments while planting soybeans may be possible.


Planting After Final Planting Date

Planting Corn after the Final Planting Date

Famers can still plant corn after the final planting date. If they do, they will not receive a prevented planting payment. Also, the guarantee will be reduced by 1%/day for each day after the final planting date up to 25 days after the final planting date. After 25 days, the guarantee will be 60% of the original guarantee.

To illustrate, take a farmer having an RP policy with a minimum guarantee of $814/acre from the above example. Note that this is a minimum guarantee, as the guarantee can increase if the harvest price is above the projected price. If the harvest price is above the projected price, the higher harvest price is used in calculating guarantees. Assume this farmer is in a county with a final planting date of June 5. If corn is planted on or before June 5, the minimum guarantee is $814/acre. A 1% reduction occurs if planting takes place on June 6 and the guarantee is $807 ($814 x (1-.01)). Planting on June 7 results in a 2% reduction, or $799 ($814 x (1-.02)). After 25 days, the guarantee is 60% of the original, or $488/acre ($814 x .60).

Plant Soybeans after the Corn Final Planting Date

Soybeans can be planted on acres intended to be planted to corn. In this case, there will not be a prevented planting payment for corn. The soybeans will be insured if the farmer has elected to insure soybeans. This will be a normal soybean policy, unless soybeans are planted after the final planting date for soybeans (in mid-June). In this case, the guarantee is reduced, similar to that in the above example for corn.

Read more from the University of Illinois about the economics of prevented planting.


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7 Things You Might Have Missed this Week

Need to catch up? Here are some stories you might have missed this week.

1. There's GE glyphosate-resistant wheat out there. Well, that's something we all knew. But what the USDA didn't know is that it was actually still growing in Oregon, nearly 10 years after Monsanto closed efforts to commercialize the Roundup Ready trait in wheat. An expanded investigation is ongoing, but industry says there could be trade repercussions.

2. Farmers keep on truckin': Planting progress was promising this week – planted corn acreage has now jumped to 86%, an increase over last week's rise to 71%. Which, might we add, was a huge jump from 28% the week before. But next week might not be so pretty as rains have covered most of the Corn Belt since late last week.

3. Smithfield inks Chinese pork deal. Smithfield Foods and Shuanghui International, majority shareholder of China's largest meat processing company, announced an impending merger for later this year. The $4.7 billion transaction marks a move that could offer some benefits – and risks – to both sides.

4. U.S. BSE status upgraded. The World Organization for Animal Health this week approved an upgrade for the U.S. BSE status to "negligible" – and that can mean more opportunities for the U.S. meat trade. Negligible risk is the lowest risk level a country can have.

Side note: Those two stories are actually related. Want to know why? Stop by Farm Futures editor Mike Wilson's blog Obama Must Leverage Smithfield Deal for insights on the global meat trade.

5. Urban ag about to get easier in Boston. In Boston, Mass., city zoning has prevented many agricultural and horticultural ventures within city bounds, but a new amendment to zoning rules could change that. Under the new rules, farms would be required to stay within size limitations but certain enterprises, like egg-laying hens and honey production, would be allowed in some areas.

6. Shout out to the school bus drivers. Here's a trip down memory lane for more than a handful of rural farm kids: riding the school bus. But Paula Mohr, The Farmer editor, says the school year isn't complete without a thank you to the driver.

7. Consumers shifting focus in the grocery store. If you have noticed a few more Aldi or Save A Lot discount grocers popping up, there's a reason why: consumers are shifting from mid-range products to either value priced or luxury products. But that can also mean a growing market for value-added niche products from small farms.

And your bonus:

Chevy C-10 farm truck turns showpiece. If you are a little bit of a gearhead you might enjoy this one – a California farmer took his family's farm truck, destined for the junkyard, to a new level. Enlisting the help of a local customs shop, the heirloom turned into a pretty fancy daily driver.

As always, keep up throughout the week with daily ag news and markets updates by visiting us on Twitter or Facebook.

Taking Advantage of "Fear Related" Rallies Should Be Important Part of Your Marketing Plan

Taking Advantage of "Fear Related" Rallies Should Be Important Part of Your Marketing Plan

Corn acreage, with the continued delays, is obviously being highly debated. Several sources are thinking we could ultimately shave 1.5-4.5 million acres. My best guess is we lose 500,000 to 1 million down South, and 1-2 million towards the North. For argument's sake, instead of 89.5 million harvest acres, assume we harvest 87.5 million acres. If we harvest a 155 type yield, total production is still over 13.5 billion bushels. Meaning, ending stocks more than likely double from the 750 million range today to the 1.5-billion-bushel range.

Keep in mind, the USDA still has some fairly lofty "demand" estimates factored into the equation. If these numbers don't prove accurate we could be looking at even larger ending stocks. Below are a few of the numbers being questioned by the bears.

  • Exports: USDA is basically thinking U.S. exports will double, jumping from just below 750 million to 1.3+ billion during this coming crop year. Even though China is off to a much more aggressive start than many in the trade were anticipating, it's hard for me to imagine exports reaching even 1.2 billion. Keep in mind, once China approves the phyto-sanitary risks associated with various varieties of South American corn, trade channels should more aggressively open up and US exporters will face even stiffer competition. Do realize in the past 10 years, primary foreign corn production has increased by almost 65%, while during the same time period, U.S. production has increased by only 40%. Even more worrisome is the fact exports in the foreign nations have expanded by nearly 190% compared to a contraction of more than 30% here in the U.S. I sure hope the USDA is right, and exports can significantly rebound higher, I am just not willing to bet any money on it right now.
  • Ethanol: USDA has currently bumped corn used for ethanol to 4.8 billion bushels. Even though margins in the industry remain strong there are some questions as to if we will us this many bushels, once again maybe 100-200 million bushels too high. Just yesterday ethanol production for the week was reported at 863,000 barrels per day, down from last weeks 875,000. The problem is at this pace we will still NOT meet the current crop years USDA estimate of 4.6 billion bushels (meaning 4.8 could be a little stretch). Stocks however were reported at 16.047 million barrels and continue to slide, so I ma not ruling the 4.8 number out entirely, just concerned. I should also point out that ethanol imports were reported this week at 27,000 barrels per day compared to ZERO the past few weeks. With the South American harvest wrapping up I am wondering if ethanol imports will soon start to pick back up?
  • Feed: USDA seems to be thinking corn used for feed will jumping from 4.4 billion bushels to 5.325 billion. This is a little tough for me to swallow as I still believe the cattle herd here in the US is contracting. My thoughts are the USDA is assuming corn prices will get cheap enough that no one will be seeking out feed alternatives to high-priced corn.

Moral of the Corn Story: From a card-counters perspective there are still more "bearish" cards in the corn deck right now than there are "bullish" cards. Yes, there are still some significant bullish wild cards left that we always need to be aware of, and U.S. weather remains a major one. We can sit here all day and debate the balance sheet but until Mother Nature plays here final card there is still a great deal of unknown left in the deck.

China always remains a wild card, and is something we will be forced to remain cognizant of during the next 20 years. Bottom line: Until the U.S. corn market makes it through pollination, perma-bulls will be enticed to make more wagers despite the negative card-count. Producers should use this momentum (during the next 60 days) to try and get another 20-30% priced based on the outlook and condition of your crop.

Click here to receive my full daily report and my next break down of the USDA report June 10.

Nitrogen Application May Depend on Weather, Growth Rates

Nitrogen Application May Depend on Weather, Growth Rates

Some growers may wonder about nitrogen supplies in light of strange weather this spring. According to University of Illinois crop sciences professor Emerson Nafziger, if weather dries out nitrogen supply will improve – but if wet weather sticks around, some supplemental nitrogen might be a consideration.

Emerson said so far, samples have shown that wet conditions have caused nitrogen to move down in the soil, and it will continue its descent if soils stay wet. But, Nafziger said, nitrogen can be captured if roots go deeper and soils dry out.

U of Illinois professor says weather conditions are affecting how much nitrogen remains in soils

Luckily, Nafziger said the chances are fairly small that nitrogen deficiency will appear early in corn planted into warm soils, so there may be time for application.

"Nitrogen uptake is slow in small corn plants, and as soils warm up the mineralization process—the production of plant-available nitrogen from soil organic matter—kicks in. This process can provide as much as half the nitrogen needed by the crop in a season, especially in soils with high amounts of organic matter," he added.

But as corn growth speeds up, more attention will again return to nitrogen. To make sure crops get the appropriate amount, Nafziger said application will be necessary but it makes little difference in what form it is applied.

"Placing urea or UAN solution on the soil surface brings some risk of loss, but only if it stays dry for a week or so after application. Injecting UAN or using a urease inhibitor with either of these forms helps to protect the nitrogen from loss," he said.

Nafziger explained that later-applied nitrogen has little time in which to be lost before plant uptake begins.

"This means lower overall loss potential and so less need to apply insurance amounts of nitrogen. As an example, a plan to split-apply nitrogen—right after planting and again at sidedress—might now be modified to apply less total nitrogen in a single application if the first application couldn't be made before the crop emerged," he said.

Farmers Spark Interest In Specialty Crops

Farmers Spark Interest In Specialty Crops

More than 120 international horticulturists, botanists, biochemists, food scientists, economists and farmers will attend the First International Symposium on Elderberry, June 9-14 at Stoney Creek Inn in Columbia.

The group will gather in Missouri during the elderberry's peak flowering season. The elderberry, once revered by folk healers for its medicinal properties, contains dark purple and black berries that must be picked by hand. While the plant's stems and leaves are toxic to humans, the berries are used for wine, juice, jelly, colorant and dietary supplement products.

Researching possible medical benefits

Elderberries growing at MU Southwest Center. Photo courtesy of University of Missouri

Researchers at the University of Missouri's Center for Botanical Interaction Studies in Columbia are studying the antioxidant-rich elderberry's effect in fighting prostate cancer, stroke and infectious diseases.

MU is one of five universities awarded a total of $37.5 million by the National Institutes of Health to explore the possible medical benefits of this specialty crop. Researchers are also looking into the health benefits of wild yams and other herbal and dietary supplements.

Over the past five years, Missouri has established the largest acreage of improved elderberry in the United States.

The Missouri Department of Agriculture's Specialty Crop Block Grant Program provided funds for the symposium, which is organized under the auspices of the International Society for Horticultural Science.

A new 12-page guide to growing and marketing elderberries will be offered at the symposium.

For registration, preliminary program details and other information, visit the symposium website.

Source: University of Missouri Extension

No referendum for Cotton Research and Promotion Program

No referendum for Cotton Research and Promotion Program

USDA has announced that based on the Agricultural Marketing Service’s Five Year Review of the 1990 amendments to the Cotton Research and Promotion Act, the amendments were successfully implemented and are operating as intended. The Secretary determined that it is not necessary to conduct a referendum among producers and importers on continuation of the amendments.  

The review, conducted every five years by AMS, is required by the 1990 amendments to the Cotton Research & Promotion Act which made the Cotton Research and Promotion Program (the “Program”) mandatory and added importer representation on the Cotton Board. This is the fourth such review conducted by the Secretary since enactment of the 1990 amendments. Each review has concluded a referendum was not necessary.

The two major changes to the Program made by these amendments were the elimination of producer assessment refunds and the establishment of an assessment on imported cotton and the cotton content of imported products. The USDA announcement noted there is a general consensus within the cotton industry that the Cotton Research and Promotion Program and the 1990 amendments to the Program are operating as intended. The announcement noted that written comments, economic data, and results from independent evaluations supported this conclusion.

“A self-funded research and promotion effort of this size and scope cannot be carried out by individual cotton producers and that’s the beauty and value of this Program,” said Kevin Rogers, Cotton Board Chairman and Arizona cotton producer. “Overall funding for the Program has increased substantially since the 1990 amendments made it mandatory and extended its application to U.S. cotton importers. The Program now delivers significant benefits directly to those producers and importers who provide funding and is widely supported by its stakeholders. Research and promotion programs are the kind of public/private partnership that works for everyone involved,” said Rogers.


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Chairman Rogers added, “The Cotton Board is very pleased with the Department’s announcement and agrees wholeheartedly with its conclusion. The staff and board of both the Cotton Board and Cotton Incorporated work diligently to implement an effective research and promotion program for cotton.  The Program maintains widespread support among both producers and importers.  The Secretary’s decision is consistent with every past economic analysis conducted on the Program – all which have shown substantial positive returns."

The most recent independent economic analysis, conducted by Forecasting and Business Analytics, LLC in 2011, concluded the Program generates significant positive returns for U.S. cotton producers and importers of cotton products, as well as generating benefits for U.S. taxpayers. Additional findings from the Forecasting and Business Analytics, LLC analysis include: U.S. cotton farm prices averaged 5.4 cents per-pound higher; annual world consumer demand for cotton was higher by 2 million bales per year; and U.S. cotton production averaged 500,000 bales higher.

Program clearly an asset

“The Program is clearly an asset to organizations importing finished cotton goods into the U.S. as confirmed by the economic analysis indicating that profits of U.S. importers increased by an average of $900 million a year thanks to Program activities,” stated Gary Ross, Vice President Fashion and Home Supply Chain for Avon Products and Vice Chairman of the Cotton Board. “In fact, between 1992 and 2010, the Program generated nearly an $11 return (after taxes) for each dollar invested by U.S. importers of cotton products.”

The Forecasting and Business Analytics, LLC economic analysis is available at Effectiveness Study April 2011.pdf.

Even though the USDA found no compelling reason to conduct a referendum, the Act requires the Secretary to conduct a sign-up among eligible cotton producers and importers. If the USDA receives requests from 4,622 producers or importers during the sign-up, (which represents 10 percent of the number of cotton producers and importers voting in the most recent referendum in July, 1991) with not more than 20 percent of such requests from producers in one state or importers of cotton, then the Secretary is required to conduct a referendum. Additional information will be publicized prior to the beginning of the sign-up period.  In the three previous sign-ups, the statutory minimum 10 percent has not been reached.


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Sue and settle cases shape regulatory agendas

Sue and settle cases shape regulatory agendas

Environmentalists have developed a legal mechanism to advance their regulatory agendas by suing an agency and then using the court system to negotiate settlement agreements that set rulemaking requirements favorable to their views.

In a new report, the US Chamber of Commerce identifies 60 "sue and settle" instances between 2009 and 2012. Those cases have resulted in EPA proposing 100 new regulations, including the Utility Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) rule, the Chesapeake Bay Clean Water Act rules and various regional haze implementation rules, the report says. The report also alleges that this practice is utilized in other agencies from the Interior Dept. to the Agriculture Dept.

"It is clear that the sue and settle process is increasingly being used as a technique to shape agencies' regulatory agendas, without input from the public or the regulated community," said Bill Kovacs, the chamber's vice president for the environment, technology and regulatory affairs, in a statement accompanying the release of his group's report.


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On the basis that the practice deprives the public and the regulated entities of the ability to have meaningful input in the content of those final agreements, Sen. Grassley (R-Iowa) and Rep. Collins (R-Ga.) are pushing their "Sunshine for Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act," which would force agencies to publish proposed consent decrees and settlement agreements for public comment before they are filed with courts. Agencies also would have to report to Congress about their use of consent decrees and settlement agreements while courts weighing proposed decrees and settlements would have to ensure compliance with normal rulemaking procedures.


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Corn, Soybean Seedling Survival in Waterlogged Soils

Corn, Soybean Seedling Survival in Waterlogged Soils

Over the last week, some areas of South Dakota and other Corn Belt states have received over 6 in. of rainfall, leading to ponded or flooded areas in fields. Water saturated or waterlogged soils lack enough oxygen for root respiration and many wonder, “How long can corn and soybeans plants at early growth stages survive in these waterlogged soils?”

We know that the crop growth stage, variety/hybrid, duration of ponding/saturation, soil type, soil/air temperature and other factors can affect the survival of corn and soybean plants under these waterlogged conditions. Unfortunately other factors reduce plant population related to flooding, including crusting, plants covered in sediment or buried under residue, and increase in seed/seedling diseases like damping-off in soybean.

Currently, the crop growth stages of most corn and soybean range from germination to V3 and germination to V1, respectively. At these early growth stages (germination, emergence, early vegetative), both corn and soybean plants are negatively impacted quite quickly by waterlogged conditions. Crops that are not completely submerged have some limited capacity for diffusion of oxygen to occur from the shoot to the root, which increase survival time. Oxygen is needed by plant cells for growth and development, including germination. Waterlogged conditions experienced by corn seed for 2 or more days is a long enough time to decrease final corn emergence and is more detrimental at soil temperatures in the 70s than the 50s (Fausey and McDondald, 1985). In general, young corn plants can survive about 2-4 days of flooded conditions.

The effect of waterlogging on soybean germination and early growth has not been widely studied or written about. Presence of waterlogged soils at any time and for any duration during the germination process in soybeans will reduce the final germination and emergence percentage (Wuebker et al., 2001). A germination decrease of 20-43% can occur from a 48-hour flooding that occurs after the start of seed imbibition or swelling (Wuebker et al., 2001). Even after waterlogged conditions are removed, researchers have found that seedling growth was reduced by more than 50% from 24 to 48 hours of flooding when temperatures were near 77° F.

However, on-farm research and observations tell us not to give up hope as soybean plants at the V2-V3 growth stage can survive on soils flooded up to eight days. If enough plants survive the temporary soggy conditions, yields in depressional areas can be equal to or better than upland areas during dry summers. Soybean yield reductions from 0 to 100% can occur from three days of flooding at the V2 to V3 stage compared to adjacent non-flooded areas (Sullivan et al., 2001).


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Low plant populations and shorter plants resulting from ponding/flooding often result in decreased yield. The probability of yield loss increases as final soybean plant population decreases below 100,000 plants/acre.

Growers needing to replant acres lost due to flooding should be able to find seed in the maturity range they need, but won’t have the luxury of being picky in their hybrid or variety selection. Delayed/ prevented planting provisions and South Dakota final planting dates should be reviewed.


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ISU Dairy Farm To Hold Open House June 7

ISU Dairy Farm To Hold Open House June 7

On the Web: Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences news releases and related photos are available here.

Milk, cheese, ice cream and yogurt--these foods may not be found on a stick at the Iowa State Fair, but the Iowa State University Dairy Farm will be providing free samples at its annual open house. On June 7 from 6 to 11 a.m. the ISU Dairy will host its fifth annual open house at the ISU Dairy Farm, located south of Ames, Iowa.  

ISU HONORS JUNE DAIRY MONTH: At an open house on June 7 from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m., visitors to the ISU Dairy Farm south of Ames can take a riding tour of the farm and learn about modern milk production while sampling free dairy products—milk, cheese, ice cream and yogurt. Current technologies will be demonstrated and best practices in animal care and comfort, product quality and safety and environmental stewardship will be discussed and shown.

The event, open to the public, allows visitors to tour the dairy every half hour. Tours begin at 6:30 a.m. and the last tour starts at 10:30 a.m. The tour includes stops at the milking parlor, milkhouse and a riding tour of the farm. Visitors can learn about the different commodities in the Ag Discovery Center, while sampling free dairy products from 7 to 11 a.m. The open house includes demonstrations on current technologies and best practices in animal care and comfort, product quality and safety, and environmental stewardship.

This new dairy facility opened in 2007, built to replace the old ISU dairy farm

The ISU Dairy Farm had 394 milking cows, 438 total cows and a young stock herd of 314 at the end of April. Each cow produces around 78.5 pounds of milk per day, with a protein percentage of 3.1% and a fat content of 3.9%. The objective of the current ISU dairy farm facilities, which opened in 2007 and replaced the historic old facilities, is to provide teaching, research and outreach opportunities.  

The ISU Dairy Farm is located on 887 acres at 52470 260th Street, three miles south of the central campus at Ames. To get to the farm from Highway 30, take University Boulevard (exit 146) and go south one mile and turn right on 260th Street. Sponsors of the June Dairy Month Celebration included ISU, Midwest Dairy Association, Hy-Vee, Iowa State Dairy Association, Western Iowa Dairy Alliance, Swiss Valley Farms, The Dairy Foundation, Land O'Lakes Milk and Robert's Dairy Foods.