In November, for the first time since July of 2011, Wisconsin's milk production in a given month did not exceed the total for the same month in the previous year.
According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service's report for November issued late last week, Wisconsin's 1.271 million dairy cows produced 2.205 billion pounds of milk during the month. This was a decrease of .6-percent from the 2.218 billion pounds in November of 2012.
Because the dairy cow numbers did not change, this cutback in the state's production was due to the 10-pound decrease in the average milk production per cow for the month. The average milk per cow for November was 1,735 pounds.
Decreases in average milk per cow also occurred in other Upper Midwest states for November. Minnesota's 30-pound per cow decrease converted to a 1.9-percent cutback in milk production while Ilinois, Iowa, and Ohio also had production decreases due to less milk per cow for the month compared to a year earlier.
With 6,000 more cows for a total of 381,000, Michigan countered the month's trend in the Upper Midwest. The state posted a .5-percent increase in milk production despite a 20-pound drop in average milk per cow for November.
For the top 23 states, milk production in November managed a .3-percent increase compared to a year ago. That increase was anchored in California, where a combination of higher cow numbers and average milk per cow, boosted production by .6 percent to 3.284 billion pounds.
Texas added 10,000 cows during the year to boost its milk production by 2.4 percent. New York increased its average milk per cow by 35 pounds for a 2.1-percent increase in production. Idaho, meanwhile, had 8,000 less cows as its production for November dropped by 1.8 percent to 1.072 billion pounds.
States with the lowest milk volumes in the top 23 posted some of the highest percentage increases for November. These included 7.5 percent in Kansas, 5.8 in Utah, 3.4 in Colorado, 3 in Indiana, and 2.2 percent in Virginia.
Missouri continued to hold the bottom spot among the top 23 states. Its November production fell by another 5.5 percent to a total of 104 million pounds as cow numbers dropped by 3,000 to 90,000 and average milk per cow fell by 20 pounds to 1,160 pounds.
For the first time since November 6 of 2012, the Cheddar cheese block price has hit $2 per pound in the spot market on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. That price was achieved on Friday, Dec. 20 as one carload was sold.
With no activity in the spot market for Cheddar blocks on Monday of this week, that price remained in effect. Cheddar barrels, however, gained 1 cent per pound as the result of an unfilled bid to buy one carload for a closing price of $1.96.
Starting late last week, an upward turn began in the price of AA butter on the spot market. With another 1.75-cent gain on Monday of this week following the sale of one carload and an unfilled bid to buy one carload, the closing price was $1.60 per pound — up 5 cents over three trading days.
With no activity in the non-fat dry milk spot market on Monday, the prices remained at the year's high of $2.11 per pound for Grade A and $2.09 for Grade Extra for the fifth consecutive trading day.
In Class III milk futures trading on Monday afternoon, prices were down slightly for the first half of 2014 and up slightly for all months in the second half of the year. The recent strength in those prices put them at $19.01 per hundred with only a few trading days remaining for December, $19.59 for January 2014, in the $18s per hundred for February through May, and in the $17s per hundred for all remaining months of the year.
Dry whey prices continue to be steady and relatively strong for 2014. With minimal trading on Monday of this week, prices for all months of 2014 stood at between 55.8 and 61.075 cents per pound.
The Class I fluid milk national base price for January is $21.48 per hundred. This is an increase of $1.11 from the December price.