Sequester brings suspension of milk production reports
One of the federal budget "sequester" fallouts affecting agriculture will be the suspension of a number of periodic reports, including the monthly milk production update, which provides data for individual states and national totals.
The report for February's milk production will be issued on March 19 but those reports will then be suspended for the remainder of fiscal 2013. It is possible that they might be resumed in the new fiscal year, which starts on Oct. 1 if funding is restored.
Numerous other federal reports face a similar fate. They include the July cattle numbers report along with updates or estimates on potato and rice stocks, mink, hops, specialty peas, catfish and trout, nuts, vegetables, and non-citrus fruits.
Drug Residues Down
In a more positive vein for the dairy sector, the federal Food and Drug Administration report for fiscal 2012 indicated that only .017 percent - or 542 of nearly 3.2 million - of the loads of milk from farms headed for processing plants during the year were rejected because of drug residues.
The equivalent of the rejection of about one in every 6,000 loads resulted in the disposal of more than 23.7 million pounds of milk under the auspices of the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance.
The rate of loads testing positive for one or more drug residues during 2012 was down significantly from the .061 percent rate in 2002.
Of all the milk samples taken during the fiscal year, including those on individual dairy farms, 828 were found to be positive for animal drug residue. In earlier years, the number of positive samples included 1,079 in 2011 along with much higher numbers such as 3,974 in 1995 and 5,404 in 1996.
Of the 828 for the past fiscal year, 277 were on dairy farms, leading to the disposal of 232,000 pounds of milk before it was loaded onto a truck.
In the dairy commodity spot markets on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), prices have stabilized and a modest number of trades have been completed during the past week. During that period, however, Class III milk futures for the next several months have weakened somewhat.
On Wednesday of this week, five carloads of Cheddar block cheese were sold on the CME as the price slipped by .25-cent per pound to $1.60. Cheddar barrels, meanwhile, tacked on .50-cent to close at $1.5875 per pound on Wednesday after an unfilled bid to buy one carload and an uncovered offer to sell one carload.
The AA butter spot market price held at $1.63 per pound during the first three days of this week. The market activity on Wednesday was one carload sale and an unfilled bid to buy one carload.
In the non-fat dry milk market, the Grade A price held at $1.4975 per pound as a bid to buy one carload was not filled on Wednesday. The Grade Extra price remained at $1.56 per pound.
Prices in the futures market for dry whey declined slightly for most months in the second half of 2013 in trading on Wednesday. Closing prices near the end of the session were 61.95 cents per pound for March and from 52.3-58.5 cents for all remaining months of 2013.
Class III milk futures posted small losses on Wednesday for all months from April-October of 2013. Trading prices were in an upswing from $17-$17.87 per hundred from March through June and holding in the $18s per hundred for all months in the second half of this year before dropping back to the low $16s by the second half of 2014.
In a wider spectrum, prices rose by an average of 10.4 percent in the latest online global dairy commodity trading session. Commodities traded included Cheddar cheese (up 6.8-10.5 percent), butter (up 7.2-12.9 percent), skim, whole milk, and buttermilk powder, milk protein concentrate, anhydrous milkfat, and rennet casein.
On Wednesday afternoon of this week, Cooperatives Working Together announced the receipt of a total of 23 bids from Land O'Lakes, Dairy Farmers of America, United Dairymen of Arizona, the Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative, and the Michigan Milk Producers Association.
The bids were for financial assistance on the export of 16.588 million pounds of butter and 1.213 million pounds of Cheddar cheese to customers in North Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Middle East. Deliveries are scheduled for March-September.