A combination of mild summer weather and an increase in dairy cow numbers led to a 3.9-percent jump in milk production during July compared to July of 2013.
In the top 23 milk production states, the average milk per cow hit a record of 1,911 pounds while the average for the country as a whole was 1,882 pounds per cow for July. Those were respective increases of 61 and 64 pounds from July of 2013.
Dairy cow numbers were an estimated 8.578 million in the top 23 states and 9.272 million for the entire United States. Those were increases of 56,000 and 37,000 from July of 2013, respectively. Compared to June of this year, cow numbers in July were up by 6,000 in the top 23 states and by 5,000 across the nation.
Wisconsin's milk production for July followed the national pattern, hitting a record high of 2.394 billion pounds for the month — an increase of 3.4 percent from July of 2013. The average milk per cow of 1,885 pounds was 65 pounds more than a year ago.
Cow numbers for July in Wisconsin were estimated to be 1.27 million, according to the monthly report by the National Agricultural Statistics Service and its Wisconsin field office. This is up by 1,000 from June but still down by 1,000 from July of 2013.
Despite the prolonged severe drought in California, milk production there in July increased by 4.4 percent from a year earlier to a total of 3.52 billion pounds. The state's 1.778 million cows produced an average of 1,980 pounds of milk during July, up by 85 pounds from July of 2013.
Percentage increases in the July comparisons were even higher in other states, including 8.9 in Arizona, 8.2 to 829 million pounds in Michigan, 7.6 in Colorado, 6.3 in Indiana, 5.6 in Kansas, 5.5 to 865 million pounds in Texas, and 5.3 in Illinois. Idaho posted a 4 percent increase with its 1.221 billion pounds of milk during July.
Boosts in cow numbers in the July comparisons accounted for a large share of the milk production increases in most of those states. The increases included 35,000 head in Texas, 10,000 in Michigan, 8,000 in Colorado, and 6,000 each in Idaho and Kansas.
Only three states in the top 23 reported a milk production drop in the July comparisons. Oregon was down by .9 percent while Minnesota and New Mexico were off by .1-percent each.
Contrary to the usual pattern of having production increases led to lower prices, the market for dairy commodities did just the opposite for the week through Wednesday, Aug. 20 in the spot market on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.
On Wednesday, the spot market price picked up 4 cents per pound for both AA butter and Cheddar block cheese while Cheddar cheese barrels tacked on 4.5 cents per pound. This put the day's cheese prices at $2.25 for blocks and $2.2550 for barrels — the highest they have been in four months.
In the spot market on Wednesday, three carloads of blocks were sold and a bid to buy one carload was not filled. A single unfilled bid raised the Cheddar barrel price.
The AA butter price in the spot market surged by 20 cents per pound — to $2.70 — during the week ending on Wednesday. That happened despite a 2.5-cent per pound drop on Monday of this week.
Amid a 16-cent per pound price jump on Aug. 14, the AA butter spot had 13 carload sales. There were 16 sales on Monday of this week, followed by nine more sales plus an uncovered offer of one carload on Wednesday.
Grade A non-fat dry milk is on an opposite price route in the spot market. With a 1.75-cent price drop on Wednesday, the price stood at $1.3475 per pound following a market day with an uncovered offer to sell one carload and an unfilled bid to buy one carload. The price has fallen by 47.75 cents per pound during the past two months.
The Class III milk futures markets suggest the possibility of two more months of record high cash milk prices. Trading prices of $22.20 per hundred for August and $23.10 for September are comfortably above the existing record prices for those months while the October price of $21.52 per hundred was 50 cents above the record Class III cash price for the month.
Beyond the nearby months, however, the futures prices slip to the lower half of the $18s and the upper half of the $17s per hundred for all months in 2015. There was very little price movement in the futures on Wednesday despite the gains in the cash market for Cheddar cheese and butter.
The dry whey futures prices continue to be steady and strong. The August price stood at 69.15 cents per pound on Wednesday. The price then slides to 58.4 cents per pound for December but is holding at no lower than 52 cents for any month during 2015.
On Tuesday of this week, Cooperatives Working Together announced the receipt of six bids from Dairy Farmers of America and the Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold) for financial assistance on the export of 1.964 million pounds of Cheddar and Gouda cheese to countries in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. Deliveries are scheduled from August-January of 2015.