Ag Briefs: Dairy groups question DNRs non-renewal of CAFO general permit

Wisconsin State Farmer
National briefs


Madison doubles its cap on backyard chickens

Madison is doubling its limits on residential chickens. Zoning changes adopted unanimously by the Madison Common Council this week raise the city's limit on backyard chickens from four to eight, Wisconsin Public Radio reported.

Madison's rules allow residents to get an annual $10 license to keep chickens on a residential lot, as long as there are no more than four housing units on the lot. Previously, people could keep up to six chickens in a coop near a school, museum or day care center. The amendments now raise that limit to eight chickens — the same as Madison's newly-adopted cap for residential coops.


Dairy groups question DNRs non-renewal of CAFO general permit

Earlier this month, Wisconsin Dairy Alliance and Venture Dairy Cooperative along with Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce submitted comments to the DNR questioning their decision to do away with a CAFO General Permit.

The groups criticized the decision for a number of reasons: DNR lacks statutory authority for this action; lack of transparency associated with this policy change; DNR’s ongoing pattern of seeking higher fees and more regulations on CAFOs; and the implication of this determination for other WPDES general permits issued by the DNR.

Cindy Leitner, president of Wisconsin Dairy Alliance said, “DNRs claim that this change will only affect a small number of farmers is only because DNR has pushed nearly all farms to the more cumbersome individual permit. This individual permit forces the DNR to spend additional time and additional cost on each permit renewal while not adding any environmental benefit. Conversely, the general permit provides more predictability and certainty for both CAFOs and DNR staff.”


WDE to honor Global Dairy Leaders

Tom Morris of Amery, Wis. is among the recipients of the 2023 Expo Recognition Awards. A Registered Holstein breeder, educator, auctioneer/sales manager, publisher and more, Morris has been chosen as the WDE Industry Person of the Year. He will be honored along with Randy Kortus, Lynden, WA, Dairy Producer of the Year and Bonnie Cooper, North York, Ontario, Canada, International Person of the Year, during the Recognition Awards Banquet at WDE on Oct. 4.


Falling prices spurs flurry of Chinese purchases of US corn

Falling prices have sparked a flurry of Chinese purchases of U.S. corn, as the world’s top buyer of the grain scrambles to make up for a slow start to its import program, traders and analysts said, according to a Reuters news report.

The latest deal, announced by the USDA on Friday, saw China buying 204,000 tonnes of American corn, its eighth confirmed purchase in the past nine business days. U.S. corn futures fell 7.3% during February and hit a seven-month low on March 10, before China began its buying spree.


State honey production up

Honey production from producers with five or more colonies in Wisconsin totaled 2.92M lbs. in 2022 according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Honey report. This was 48% higher than the 1.97M lbs. produced in 2021.

The number of honey producing colonies in the state, at 53,000, up 11,000 from 2021. This number does not include producers with fewer than five colonies or producers who did not harvest honey. Yield per colony in Wisconsinaveraged 55 lbs. , compared to 47 pounds per colony in 2021.

Wisconsin ranked 11th nationally in honey production, up from 17th place in 2021.


Calif. braces for potential crop losses from flooding

California farmers are facing another round of flooding, with fields still bearing fresh scars from January’s flood event. An area known for the production of fresh berries, as well as leafy greens, is bracing for the worst, and officials expect the March flooding to spread over more acres than January, Farm Journal reported.

The losses were pegged at $330 million, and that was at a time when the majority of the spring crops hadn’t been planted yet.


AFBF signs Right to Repair MOU with Case IH, New Holland

The American Farm Bureau Federation and CNH Industrial brands, Case IH and New Holland, signed a memorandum of understanding that provides farmers and ranchers the right to repair their own farm equipment. The MOU follows a similar agreement AFBF entered into with John Deere earlier this year.  

The MOU sets a framework for farmers and independent repair facilities in all 50 U.S. states and Puerto Rico to access CNH Industrial brand manuals, tools, product guides and information to self-diagnose and self-repair machines, as well as support from CNH Industrial brands to directly purchase diagnostic tools and order products and parts.

CNH Industrial and AFBF will meet semiannually to review the agreement and address ongoing concerns.


Ukraine grain output could fall by 20% compared to 2022

Challenges facing farmers could slash Ukraine’s grain output to 47 million tons, about half its pre-war level, the International Grains Council forecasts. Bloomberg reported that the drop will contribute to the smallest global stockpiles in nearly a decade, heightening the need for big crops elsewhere to maintain the retreat in world food prices.”

Hazy prospects for the Black Sea crop-export deal renewed over the weekend add to uncertainty about how much will eventually cross borders. Russia said it has only agreed to extend the pact through mid-May, ahead of 2023 harvests.


Almond hull feed trial to reduce methane emissions in dairy cows

Olam Food Ingredients will soon start a trial that will see almond hulls and shells repurposed into a nutritious feed source for dairy cows in New Zealand. Using this by-product of almond processing has the potential to help reduce both methane emissions and input costs on farms, according to Dairy Global.

According to Paul Johnson, general manager of milk supply for OFI New Zealand, almond hulls are a proven source of nutrition for dairy cows. The feed will be supplemented with Agolin Ruminant, which has the potential benefit of reducing methane emissions and increasing the feed conversion rate, which in turn will support milk yields.