October 20, 2023: Feed Costs Pressure Margins

The price we receive in our milk check each month is only part of the equation that determines profitability on the farm. The prices we pay for our inputs – like feed, seed, fertilizer, fuel, and other supplies – can also have a major impact on our margin. Feed costs, including the cost of purchased…

October 13, 2023: Exports Remain Challenged

While dairy prices are slowly moderating higher from the very low levels we witnessed this summer, a cooling demand for dairy globally continues to burden the marketplace. Much of this is due to worldwide inflation and uncertainty in countries traditionally importing a lot of dairy. The pandemic hit China harder than other regions of the…

October 6, 2023: Butter Stocks Push Class IV Higher

Declining butter stocks are helping to contribute to a recent increase in the Class IV milk futures prices on the CME. Butter inventories were down 40.3 million pounds, or about 12 percent, from July to 289.1 mil. lbs at the end of August. That is the largest August decline in inventories since 2015. Butter stocks…

September 29, 2023: Pricing Rebounding, Production Wanes

Milk prices are starting to rebound from the devastating lows we saw this summer. October’s Class I milk price was announced last week at $19.47 per hundredweight, up 57 cents from September and $2.85 above August’s low point. However, it’s still more than $3 below the Class I price a year ago. Looking ahead, CME…

September 22, 2023: A Reminder To Be Safe

The National Safety Council always earmarks the third week in September as National Farm Safety and Health Week. The annual promotion was first an initiative by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944 to remind the farm community to prioritize safety. As farm equipment has gotten much larger and farm practices have gotten much more complex,…

September 15, 2023: Fluid Milk Sales Trends

This time of year, fluid milk sales start to ramp back up after slipping back in June and July when schools let out for the summer. USDA reported its June fluid milk product sales a couple of weeks ago, with total June milk sales falling almost 300 million pounds, or 8.5%, from May to about…

September 8, 2023: DMC Continues to Provide Safety Net

Last week USDA announced July’s margin under the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) Program at $3.52 per hundredweight, the lowest margin on record since the program began in 2019. The margin fell another 13 cents from June’s low and is $6.40 below margins a year ago at this time. The DMC margin is reported each month…

September 1, 2023: July Milk Production Falls

July marked a turning point for our nation’s milk supply, with production down 0.5% from a year ago to 19.075 billion pounds, according to the USDA Milk Production Report released last week. This was the first year-over-year decline since May 2022 when production fell 0.4 percent. The decline comes after growth in the first half…

August 25, 2023: A Cost of Doing Business

We were all sad to see Zach Myers leave our team last week to pursue a new opportunity working in member services with a regional dairy cooperative. Ironically, my first deep dive into milk markets and pricing came when I was working in member communications for another cooperative back in the early 2000s. One of…

August 18, 2023: Exports Through June 2023

The export market has not been as friendly to the U.S. this year as it has been over the last 5. From 2018 to 2022, 4 of the 5 years saw record export volumes (2018, 2020, 2021, and 2022), and 2 of those years, 2021 and 2022, also set record values. Just like in domestic…