As printed in our May 25, 2012 issue...

THE GENETIC INDUSTRY has released the first of two documents that will transfer evaluations from USDA to the private sector. To review the ground rules and comment by June 4, go to

BY A 16 TO 5 VOTE, the Senate Ag Committee moved the farm bill to the full Senate with the Dairy Security Act serving as the dairy title. Two amendments were included: continuing MILC payments through June 2013 and reviewing market stabilization components after five years.

THE SENATE VERSION LOWERS the feed cost per hundredweight calculation by $1 compared to the Dairy Security Act. That causes reduced margin protections and makes it less likely that the stabilization portion will activate. To read the bill go to

BEARISH MILK FUTURES continue to be on the horizon as May through December Class III contracts averaged $15 at the magazine's close. Futures are now off over $2, on average, since late January trading.

MARCH CHEESE PRODUCTION established a new monthly record at 946.3 million pounds. That cheese output is up 3.7 percent over last March.

THE GLOBAL DAIRY TRADE'S weighted average price for products has traded lower for the last six out of seven biweekly sessions. Since mid-January, that product mix is down 23 percent or nearly 39 cents per pound.

MARCH'S MILC PAYMENT was 83 cents. It could almost double by July, with June through August projections ranging from $1.19 to $1.52.

SMALLER MILK CHECKS and relatively high ration costs have sent April's preliminary Milk-Feed Ratio down to 1.45. That ties the low-water mark set in June 2009. Income over feed cost is now at $5.24.

RECORD SOYBEAN PRICES could be in store, reports the Financial Times. Falling global production and dry weather in Latin America caused prices to rise to $13.80 per bushel in April, up 80 cents from March.

CORN PLANTING IS WELL AHEAD OF SCHEDULE with 71 percent complete on May 6 compared to a 47-percent five-year average. Also, 32 percent of the crop has emerged compared to the 13-percent norm.

APRIL CULL-COW ACTIVITY WAS DOWN nearly 5 percent compared to March with late month shipments off nearly 10 percent. Cattle futures have been rebounding after dropping following the "pink slime" and BSE news.

BRIEFLY: The Department of Labor retreated on its new farm youth labor regulations, see page 362. Two in five consumers now eat pizza weekly. That compared to just 26 percent two years earlier, reports Technomic. The U.S. milk supply averaged 3.71 percent butterfat last year, a new modern-era record. Organic dairy sales rose 9.6 percent in 2011 to reach $4.3 billion. Greek yogurt maker, Chobani, was recognized by the Small Business Administration for creating 620 jobs in four years.

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