Wisconsin continues surge in milk increases per cow
With the exception of Kansas, Wisconsin again posted the highest percentage in its milk production increase in the report for January that was issued last week. The state's 1.27 million dairy cows produced a record 2.375 billion pounds of milk during the month.
This was a 4.9 percent increase compared to January of 2012.
Cow numbers were up by 5,000 head but most of the increase of 111 million pounds for the month was due to the 80-pound jump in the average milk per cow to 1,870 pounds - just one pound short of the average for the month for the 8.5 million cows in the top 23 milk-producing states.
With one of the lowest milk totals in that group, Kansas managed a 10.9 percent increase in the January to January comparison. Colorado and Minnesota recorded respective increases of 4.6 and 4.5 percent but the overall increase for the top 23 states was .6 percent.
The average was pulled down as California, where the average milk per cow dropped by 85 pounds, shed another 4.3 percent on its milk production for a January total of 3.462 billion pounds.
Nine other states also posted decreases, mostly because of cutbacks in the average milk per cow.
By adding 40 million pounds to the previous report for December milk production for the entire country, the latest report put total milk production for 2012 at a record 200.324 billion pounds.
This was an increase of 2.1 percent for the year but the 200 billion-pound mark would not have been topped had it not been for the February 29 Leap Day.
With an average of 9.233 million milk cows during 2012, the average milk per cow was 21,697 pounds. Including the Leap Day, this was an increase of 361 pounds per cow from 2011.
The latest report noted that the average milk per cow has increased by 15.7 percent during the past decade.
Wisconsin's milk production for 2012 was a record 27.224 billion pounds - an increase of 4.5 percent from 2011. The average milk per cow in the state for 2012 was 21,436 pounds - up by 837 pounds (including the Leap Day) from 2011.
During 2012, Wisconsin had an average of 11,490 dairy herds licensed to ship milk to the commercial market - down by 610 from 2011. The national average for 2012 was 49,331 licensed herds - 1,960 less than in 2011.
As of Feb. 1, Wisconsin had 11,119 licensed dairy herds. This represented a loss of 36 during January and of 596 from the start of February in 2012.
Federal records show 297,000 dairy cows were sent to slaughter in January of this year. This is the highest monthly total since several months during 1986, when the national dairy herd buy-out was taking place.
In the daily spot markets for dairy commodities on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, prices weakened again during the past week. On Tuesday of this week, for example, there were price drops for both block and barrel Cheddar cheese, AA butter, and Grade A non-fat dry milk.
Then, on Wednesday of this week, Cheddar blocks gained .25-cent per pound to close at $1.6050. The day's activity for blocks was one unfilled bid to buy and one uncovered offered to sell. The Cheddar barrel price held at $1.58 per pound as a bid to buy one carload was not filled.
The AA butter spot market suddenly became busy with eight carload sales, a unfilled bid to buy two carloads, and an uncovered offer to sell one carload. Through it all, the price held at $1.55 per pound but down 5.5 cents from a week earlier.
Even the usually quiet non-fat dry milk spot market had activity on Wednesday on this week with an unfilled bid to buy three carloads of Grade A. The prices stood at $1.4975 per pound for Grade A and $1.56 for Grade Extra.
The dry whey futures market prices for the remainder of 2013 were trading at between 54.050 and 58.75 cents per pound on Wednesday. Most months were posting small gains for the day.
Very small per hundred gains were also the order of the day for nearby months in the Class III milk futures market on Wednesday.
Early in the afternoon of the trading session, the prices were $17.04 per hundred for March, $17.06 for April, $17.32 for May, $17.65 for June, and in the lower half of the $18s for July through November of 2013 before sliding back into the $17s and $16s per hundred for most months of 2014.
The Class I fluid milk base price for March is $17.80 per hundred. This is a decrease of 41 cents from the February price.
Cooperatives Working Together has received a package of 12 bids from Dairy Farmers of America, Foremost Farms, United Dairymen of Arizona, the Michigan Milk Producers Association, and the Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative.
The bids were for financial assistance on the export of 1.122 million pounds of Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese, 908,305 pounds of butter, and 44,092 pounds of whole milk powder to countries in Asia, North Africa, and the Middle East.
Deliveries were scheduled from February to July.