Partial milk production estimates coming for remainder of fiscal 2013
In a partial reversal of an earlier announcement, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service will be providing partial monthly milk production estimates for the remainder of fiscal 2013 (through September).
It had previously announced a suspension of all reporting on milk production for that period.
A news release on April 3 indicated that various sources of administrative data will be used to create a monthly milk production estimate. The first of those reports - for March production - is scheduled to be issued on Friday, April 19.
Before the funding limits forced by the federal budget sequestration, NASS surveyed milk producers as a major source of information in compiling its monthly milk production reports.
Because those surveys have been suspended, the monthly reports for at the least the remainder of fiscal 2013 will not contain any statistics about dairy cow numbers or milk per cow.
While the partial turnaround on reporting of milk production was taking place, spot market prices for dairy commodities on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange were staging one of their strongest short-term rallies in recent years starting on April 3.
Price gains for Cheddar cheese, AA butter, and non-fat dry milk were posted during most market sessions during the week ending on Wednesday.
As a result, the highest prices in 2013 for those commodities were posted on Wednesday of this week.
They included $1.8050 (up 11.25 cents from a week earlier) per pound for Cheddar cheese blocks, $1.74 (up 9.75 cents) per pound for Cheddar cheese barrels, $1.7325 (up 8.25 cents) per pound for AA butter, $1.75 and $1.63 (up 10 and 7 cents) per pound, respectively, for Grade A and Grade Extra non-fat dry milk.
In a fairly active spot market on Wednesday of this week, Cheddar blocks gained one cent per pound as three carloads were sold and a bid to buy two carloads was not filled.
Cheddar barrels picked up .75-cent per pound on a market day with one unfilled bid and an uncovered offer to sell five carloads.
The only activity in the AA spot market on Wednesday was an uncovered offer to sell one carload but the non-fat dry milk spot for Grade A had one of its busiest days ever with a sale of nine carloads and an uncovered order to sell four more carloads.
The price rose by 2.75 cents per pound for Grade A and by 2 cents for Grade Extra on the strength of an unfilled bid to buy one carload.
However, two futures markets did not play in tune with the commodity prices on Wednesday.
The Class III milk futures lost 23-29 cents per hundred for June-September of 2013 in trading by early Wednesday afternoon while dry whey futures prices were in red ink territory for all months in the second half of 2013.
Class III milk prices on the trading board early Wednesday afternoon were $17.53 per hundred for April, $18.34 for May, in the low $19s for June-September, and in the $18s per hundred for the final quarter of 2013.
The dry whey prices for the remaining months of 2013 stood at between 55.625 and 60 cents per hundred.
Based on somatic cell count (SCC), milk quality continued to improve in 2012, according to the annual report on milk tests from Dairy Herd Improvement Cooperative member herds. The 2012 average for SCC in those tests was 200,000 cells per milliliter - down from slightly below 300,000 as recently as 2004 and 2005.
The legal limit in the United States for bulk tank SCC is 750,000 (400,000 in the European Union). During the DHIC milk test days in 2012, the United States had 1.5 percent of the herds topping 750,000 SCC, 3.3 percent above 600,000, and 6.1 percent above 500,000 SCC.
In an announcement on Wednesday afternoon of this week, Cooperatives Working Together reported that one of its members had submitted bids for financial assistance on the export of 50,706 pounds of Cheddar cheese and 661,387 pounds of butter to countries in Asia and the Middle East for deliveries scheduled from June-October.