Spring in Minnesota

Spring doesn’t officially arrive in southern Minnesota until tomorrow evening, but signs of it are everywhere. I saw pits being pumped in Northwest Iowa this afternoon with dust being generated in the soybean stubble where they were injecting the manure. I’ve also seen cattle feedlots spreading manure and I even had a report of small grains being seeding in this area of Minnesota yesterday.

Last year at this time we were dealing with a spring thaw that saw the frost level penetrate as deep at 54 inches. This winter the frost level was only 24 inches.

The bad news this spring – 88% of Minnesota is officially in a drought because of a lack of winter snowfall and lack of spring rains to date. No big concerns as yet but producers will be watching the skies for spring rains and you can expect the grain markets to begin talking about ‘drought’ if it doesn’t rain sooner than later.

If you haven’t been paying attention, the price of DDGS relative to corn has remained consistently high. For many plants, the DDGS’s are being sold at values that are 140% (lb/lb) or more of the price of corn. It appears that the Chinese have been in the market aggressively buying this feedstuff and many expect DDGS prices to remain strong relative to corn for the summer months. If you haven’t re-evaluated your diet costs and are using a fair amount of DDGS priced on the open market it will pay you to have your nutritionist reformulate your diets with the latest ingredient prices.

I think a lot of pigs will be grown to slaughter this summer eating corn-soybean meal based diets with minimal if any DDGS inclusion. This will help carcass yield and reduce bacon fat quality concerns at a time when we need the US consumer to favor our product over alternatives as we face the impact of a growing tonnage of pork in the US market.

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