Ronald D. Bardwell | 4/8/2009 1:51:43 AM
Dairy producers from Mississippi joined Louisiana producers at the LSU AgCenter’s Southeast Research Station in Franklinton March 31 to discuss strategies for surviving the current economic situation.
Dr. Ronnie Bardwell, LSU AgCenter dairy agent, said producers are receiving about $13 per hundred pounds of milk, which is near the 30-year low.
“My plan for calling this meeting was to get the producers together with our specialist and researchers to look at ways to ease the strain of these lean times,” he said.
“We had about a dozen dairy producers from Mississippi and almost a hundred people signed in total. There has never been any larger crowd for an educational meeting here at the station – a field day, yes, but an extension dairy meeting, I don't think so,” Bardwell said.
Guest speaker Dr. Jim Beatty, tech representative with Purina Mills, discussed milk futures contracts and federal orders. He said the $13 that was paid for February milk will most likely be about $12 for March milk.
“April milk should be a little higher and from June on prices may pick up some,” Beatty said. “The problem is the price will be picking up at the time that your production will be dropping off.”
Beatty said the real problem for dairy producers is that demand is dropping like a rock.
“First was China with the melamine scare killing little babies. Demand dropped by 45 percent,” he said.
Beatty explained that the demand has to increase and production has to decrease before the price paid to producers begins to look favorable again.
Additional presentations included updates of U. S. Department of Agriculture programs by Patrick Babineaux with USDA’s Farm Service Agency; forage considerations for 2009 by Dr. Mike McCormick, resident coordinator of the LSU AgCenter’s Southeast Research Station; feeding strategies for a dairy herd by Dr. Charlie Hutchinson, LSU AgCenter dairy extension specialist; and know the cost of producing milk and why by Dr. Gary Hay, LSU AgCenter dairy extension specialist.
A panel of experts also discussed working with dairy producers during difficult times. Panel members included Dean Thomas, manager of Circle T Fertilizer in Franklinton; Dickie Stewart, manager of Florida Parishes Farm Service Cooperative in Amite; Bubba Huckaby, manager of Kentwood Cooperative; Brandon Creel, manager of Magee Feed in Franklinton; and David Williams, manager of Spring Creek Cooperative in Kentwood.