In the monthly report released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Wednesday afternoon (June 19), milk production in the country during May increased by 0.8 percent compared to May of 2012.
The top 23 states accounted for 16.525 billion of the nation's estimated 17.742 billion pounds of milk production during May. Based on history, the numbers published this week suggested that May would be the year's top month for milk production, unlike in 2012 when March eased into first place among the months for the national milk total.
Among the top 23 states for May, Wisconsin ran slightly ahead of the national trend with a 1.2 percent increase to 2.366 billion pounds. This set a new record high for May on milk production in the state and trailed only January and March of 2013 for the highest milk production month ever in Wisconsin.
In other states, California posted a 0.5 percent decrease to 3.726 billion pounds in the comparisons of May in the last two years. Arizona was down by 1.9 percent, New Mexico by 1.1 percent, and Texas by 0.8 percent.
Among the other top production states, increases for the May comparisons included 2.5 percent to 784 million pounds in Michigan, 2.3 percent to 935 million pounds in Pennsylvania, 2.1 percent to 1.177 billion pounds in New York, 1.8 percent to 791 million pounds in Minnesota, and 0.3 percent to 1.175 billion pounds in Idaho.
The highest percentage increases belonged to states in the bottom rung of the top 23. Those percentages were 8.1 in Kansas, 5.2 in Indiana, 3.6 in Vermont, 2.9 in Iowa, and 2.6 in Virginia. Utah and Missouri posted the highest monthly decreases of 2.4 and 2.3 percent, respectively.
Due to the federal budget sequestration, the monthly milk production reports no longer include dairy cow numbers per state or average milk production per cow. That will continue at least through the end of the federal fiscal year in September.
In the dairy commodity spot markets on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) on Wednesday of this week, the AA butter price dropped to a five-month low after falling by 2.25 cents per pound for a closing price of $1.5075 in the wake of a trading session with two carload sales and an unfilled bid for one carload.
The reverse inversion of the spot market prices on the CME for Cheddar cheese blocks and barrels continued through Wednesday's session. With an uncovered offer to sell one carload of both blocks and barrels, the block price held at $1.7250 per pound while the barrel price fell by one cent to close at $1.75 per pound.
Grade A non-fat dry milk had the most active dairy commodity session at the CME on Wednesday. The price remained at $1.7025 per pound following two carload sales, an unfilled bid for two carloads, and an uncovered offer to sell one carload. The Grade Extra price stood at $1.70 per pound.
In the futures markets, there was virtually no movement for Class III milk on Wednesday as the prices for the remaining months of 2013 ranged from a low of $18.03 per hundred for July to a high of $18.82 for both September and October before sliding into the $17s per hundred through September of 2014. Dry whey futures prices continued to trade in a tight range of 57.25 to 59 cents per pound through the end of 2013.
The producer price differential for May in Federal Milk Marketing Order 30 (Upper Midwest) is 11 cents per hundred in the Chicago base zone. Because of zoned reductions linked to transportation costs, this converts to a small negative number for a significant portion of the milk receiving stations within the marketing order.
Of the 2.846 billion pounds of milk pooled in Order 30 for May, the uses were 81.9 percent in Class III (cheese production), 11 percent in Class I (fluid milk), 6.5 percent in Class II (soft dairy products), and 0.6 percent in Class IV (butter and milk powders). The pooled milk had averages of 3.77 percent butterfat, 3.09 percent protein, and 5.76 percent other solids.
Cooperatives Working Together made two recent announcements on requests for financial assistance on the exporting of cheese. Both sets of requests were submitted by Dairy Farmers of America and the Darigold Cooperative of Seattle.
One batch of bids involved 1.612 million pounds of Cheddar, Gouda, and Monterey Jack cheeses for which deliveries are scheduled from June to October to countries in Asia. A second group of four bids covers 310,852 pounds of Cheddar cheese set for shipping to countries in North Africa and Asia from June to September.
For calendar year 2013, those requests for financial assistance on exports have totaled 61.123 million pounds of cheese, 51.727 million pounds of butter, 218,258 pounds of whole milk powder, and 44,092 pounds of anhydrous milkfat - the equivalent of 1.693 billion pounds of milk.
That accumulation of dairy product exports was destined for 31 countries on six continents. Payments are made after deliveries are confirmed. The export program is supported by a voluntary checkoff on milk shipments by cooperating members of the National Milk Producers Federation - a rate set to increase on July 1 to 4 cents per hundred (from 2 cents) because of the volume of those exports.