ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU) -- The next major crop production and World Supply and Demand estimates won't come out for about another week, but already some of the commodity houses are making their projections. Informa Economics of Chicago is now saying they expect this year's corn crop to be bigger than earlier estimates-by over 2 and a half bushels per acre-up to 173.4. But they don't expect much difference in the soybean harvest from earlier predictions. They're keeping that number at 49.7 bushels per acre.
The latest export numbers shows the U.S. is still the world's largest exporter of corn-but other parts of the world are catching up. During the 2016-2017 marketing year, we supplied 36% of the world's corn exports. But 10 years ago that number was 57%. During that time Brazil, Argentina, the Ukraine and even Russia have stepped up their production and become more aggressive in world markets, taking ever larger chunks of our markets.
Total cheese production in the U.S. fell about 15 million pounds from August to September but it was still over 1 billion pounds. For the month, cheese output was 1.013 billion pounds with Italian varieties having the biggest production numbers at over 435 million pounds. Wisconsin continues to lead the nation in cheese output with just over 251 and a half million pounds in September, up over 2% from a year ago, followed by California with 194 million pounds, a drop of 4 and a half percent from last September. In third place is Idaho, with New York fourth and New Mexico in 5th place.
Last Friday, the Dairy Business Association sent a letter to every member of the state legislature urging them NOT to cosponsor a proposed bill written by State Representative Scott Allen. The bill would call for a redesign of state license plates and remove the phrase America's Dairyland and replace it with something else. DBA members feel such a move would discredit our heritage, insult those responsible for one of Wisconsin's most powerful economic sectors and foolishly undermine Wisconsin's brand image. The letter points out that the dairy industry has a $44.3 billion a year impact on our economy and provides thousands of jobs on farms and in related industries. Representative Allen's bill has not yet been introduced but the impetus for it got started when a leader of Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce suggested the license plate slogan be changed to something like "forward."
The third quarter of the year was a good one for Land O' Lakes Cooperative, headquartered in the Twin Cities. Their financial statement shows net earnings of $47 and a half million for the quarter-up significantly from the $8.1 million earned in the third quarter last year. For the year, so far, Land O' Lakes has earned $246.4 million-up 424 million from a year ago. Coop officials say the strong third quarter came from increases in Crop input and animal feed sales.