Livestock producers in California are facing some difficulties accessing select feed ingredients stemming from the high water, or the damage remaining following flooding in the Midwest, said Wes Creswick, owner of Feed Services Co. “Except for almond [hulls], and hay and corn silage we’re a feed deficient state,” he added.
“We don’t have corn, soybeans or canola,” he told FeedNavigator. “We’re totally feed deficient, and we’re at the mercy of the railroad.”
The company is a full-service feed ingredient broker focused on working with dairy producers in California, according to company information.
Additionally, parts of the Midwest may be set to see more flooding throughout the spring according to information from the National Weather Service.
The forecast came at the same time as Iowa’s request for the federal government to grant the state a major disaster declaration covering multiple counties. The estimate, at this time, is that the flooding caused about $214m in damage to livestock and agricultural producers.
“Flooding also caused devastating impacts to agricultural land, livestock and stored grains,” according to the request. “The SEOC [State Emergency Operations Center] received multiple reports of poultry and livestock producers who were unable to relocate or feed animals in the affected area. The floodwaters left many farm facilities surrounded and inaccessible, which is anticipated to result in a high amount of livestock loss.”
US President Donald Trump approved the disaster declaration on Saturday [March 23], which opens access to some federal support.
Several feed and grain companies reported difficulties from the flooding, including Illinois-based Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM), which said Monday that it expected to see a drop of $50m to $60m in the first quarter from weather-related disruptions.
“The problem we’re having here, particularly in California – when milk prices are below the price of production and the only way to keep going is to produce more milk, [transportation challenges] are putting us in a place that we have to use substitutions that do not produce as much milk,” Creswick said of alternative feed ingredients. “They’re paying more for products that make less milk.”
The transport of feed ingredients, like canola meal, from some areas in North America has actually improved, he said. However, damage to rail lines is expected to make it harder to source feed ingredients like corn and soy from the Midwest.
The main train line used to bring feed ingredients from several soy crushing facilities in Iowa and Nebraska suffered several “washouts” during the flooding, he said.
“Soybean meal supplies have started to dwindle to nothing – we have a shortage of soybean meal out here,” he added.
ADM and weather
ADM said the weather conditions the country has witnessed exceeded typical winter conditions.
“In March, powerful snow and rain storms early in the month and resulting flooding and its after-effects are affecting both Carbohydrates Solutions and Origination operations,” the company said. “Rail transportation has been disrupted throughout the region; our corn processing complex in Columbus, Nebraska, was idled due to flooding and currently is running at reduced rates; and unfavorable river conditions since December are severely limiting barge transportation movements and port activities.”
Prior to the flooding, extreme weather and snowstorms affected facilities in the Midwest and lowered corn processing volumes.
“We continue to assess the situation, and utilize our transportation and operating network as much as possible to meet customer needs,” it reported.