Stories by Normand St-Pierre

Dairy Excel: What if we applied animal welfare freedoms to human actions?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

After eight years of sitting through hours of lectures and experimentation on animal welfare issues I thought that it was time to share some of my thinking in this column.

Dairy Excel: Who knows what milk prices will do!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

USDA December forecast for the incoming year has been so bad over the last 10 years that it is very tempting to advise people to take a position opposite to the forecast.

Dairy Excel: If accepting risk is your personal preference, why am I paying for it?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Some people believe that non-pasteurized milk is healthier than pasteurized milk. I myself wouldn’t care that some people willingly decided to consume raw milk if their choice wouldn’t affect others, myself included. But it does, both financially and from a public safety standpoint.

Dairy farmers should analyze their operation closely to ensure profits

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Class III price moved from $21.67/cwt in August to $19.07/cwt in September, a drop of $2.60/cwt. Although a Class III price above $19/cwt would have been a high price just a few years ago, this is no longer the case with current feed prices.

Dairy Excel: Practical things to do about rising feed costs and today’s milk prices

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Since September 2006, U.S. corn has not traded under $3/bushel — not one single time — and chances are good that we will never see corn under $3 per bushel ever again. Meanwhile, milk prices have played yo-yo like never before.

Dairy Excel: Feed quality critical from here on out

Thursday, July 14, 2011

On June 30, the USDA issued two bearish reports: the updated acreage figures and the quarterly grain stocks report as of June first.

Heat stress: Your best cows are the ones at risk

Thursday, May 12, 2011

A cow is like your car’s engine: She needs a radiator to get rid of the heat produced by her metabolism. Cooling cows is a challenge, but one you can’t ignore.

Look beyond U.S. borders for reason in the uptick in dairy markets

Thursday, March 24, 2011

No quicker did we forecast a drop in milk prices in early January, than the price of all dairy products shot through the roof. The funny thing is that nobody had anticipated this price surge — not the USDA, not the futures market, not even yours truly. So why were so many people so blatantly […]

There is nothing natural about agriculture, when you think about it

Thursday, February 17, 2011

All natural eggs! Naturally raised chickens! Natural tofu! If ‘natural’ is so good, then why doesn’t Ford claim a natural pickup, or Apple an all-natural iPhone?

Looking into the broken crystal ball: What does the year 2011 hold for us?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The USDA has issued it’s latest forecast for milk, corn and soybean meal prices for the incoming year. Respected economists are behind these forecasts, using some of the best-known tools in econometric forecasting. So what is the picture looking like for 2011? The USDA is forecasting an average corn price of $4.80 to $5.60/bu for […]

We should learn a lesson from Brazil

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A farmer from a temperate zone, such as one who farms in Ohio, looking for the first time at a tropical rainforest would be wrong to think of the landscape as a farming bonanza. Many would think: “Just cut down these trees and let’s plant some useful crops. If this forest is so luxuriant, surely […]

Thank a dairyman. Now. Today.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Blessed are those producing our food. Their resilience is unequaled; their patience, admirable. To me, they are a blessed mystery. Last year was arguably the worst year ever in our dairy industry. Some dairy farmers lost their lifelong savings — no big bailout for them. Yet, milk is still being produced, plentiful and wholesome. Laboring […]

Feeding for pounds of fat and protein: That’s all you are paid for

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Would you rather have a cow milking an average of 80 pounds or 70 pounds of milk per day? This turns out to be a tricky question, one you can’t answer unless you are told what the composition of the milk is in each case. Then, what if I tell you both cows are producing […]

Program estimates break-even prices

Friday, April 10, 2009

COLUMBUS — With more livestock feedstuffs than corn and soybean grains available to Ohio dairy producers, finding the bargains while managing a balanced diet can be a challenge. As the industry faces a dire economic situation, an Ohio State University computer software program is available to help alleviate some unnecessary management costs. Price estimates SESAME, […]

Your animals on welfare

Thursday, February 5, 2009

By the time you read this column, the reality of the current dairy economics will be hitting you like a brick. The January Class III price has been announced at $10.78/cwt, a drop of $4.50/cwt from the December 2008 prices. The blend price in Federal Order 33 in January will average about $14/cwt, depending your […]

Dairy ride getting wilder by the minute

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I recall just a few months ago when the whole cottonseed market jumped above $250 per ton. I received numerous phone calls and e-mails requesting help on how to deal “with these obscene cottonseed prices.” I imagine that most dairy producers wouldn’t mind still paying $250 per ton for whole cottonseed. But the rapid changes […]

Dairy cows blamed for global warming: It’s a lot of warm air

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Recently, a letter to the editor of my local newspaper used data from a U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization report to argue that eating meat and dairy products contributes significantly to global warming. This claim is based on the estimate that animal agriculture accounts for 18 percent of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions which […]

There are options despite high costs

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I remember thinking that $3 corn was outrageous, that $300 soybean meal was a rip-off and that $200 cottonseed must have been a revenge of the Confederates. How much I would like to see these prices again! We’ve had high corn prices in the past; we’ve experienced high soybean meal and cottonseed prices, also. Some […]

Silage values aren’t a magic number

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Regardless of the weather, there is always a need for a reasonable estimate of the price of corn when used for silage.


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About Normand

Normand St-Pierre is an Extension dairy specialist at Ohio State University. Questions or comments can be sent in care of Farm and Dairy, P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460.