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Chicago, IL. — For the first time since December of 2014, Wisconsin's milk production increase percentage for October trailed that of both the top 23 states and of the nation as a whole in a comparison with the same month a year earlier.

Nonetheless, the state still had a record high milk production total of 2.49 billion pounds for October. That was an increase of 54 million pounds or 2.2 percent compared to the month a year ago.

In another reversal, California posted a milk production increase in the October comparisons, halting a nearly two-year setback in the monthly comparisons. Its total of 3.302 billion pounds for October was an increase of 59 million pounds or 1.8 percent compared to the month in 2015.

National statistics

Milk production in the United States for October hit 17.6 billion pounds, which was an increase of 2.5 percent from a year earlier. For the top 23 states, the uptick was 2.7 percent.

In addition to the contributions by California and Wisconsin, several other states posted significant increases for October. They were led by Texas with an increase of 8.2 percent to 922 million pounds, followed by Michigan with a 4.9 percent jump to 903 million pounds, New York with a 4.7 percent gain to 1.24 billion pounds, and Idaho with a 4 percent increase to 1.243 billion pounds for the month.

Other increases were 2.2 percent to 899 million pounds in Pennsylvania, 7.7 percent to 281 million pounds in Kansas, and 4.3 percent to 416 million pounds in Iowa. The only decreases in the top 23 states were 5.5 percent in Utah, 3.3 percent in Florida, and 2.1 percent in Virginia.

More milk per cow

Average milk per cow was responsible for most of the increases in the states for the October comparisons. Those included 45 pounds in three of the states to averages of 1,950 pounds in Wisconsin, 1,890 in Texas, and 1,870 in California.

New York led the way in that category with its jump of 90 pounds to average of 2,000 pounds of milk from its 620,000 cows during October. Other increases were 70 pounds to 1,910 in Kansas, 60 pounds to 1,960 in Iowa, and 40 pounds each to 2,140, 2,075, and 2,015 in Michigan, Idaho, and Washington respectively.

Across the nation, the average milk per cow averaged 1,880 pounds during October. That was an increase of 42 pounds from October in 2015. For the top 23 states, there was an increase of 43 pounds to an average of 1,903.

Dairy cow numbers

In its monthly report, the National Agricultural Statistics Service indicated that the country had 9.34 million dairy cows during October. That was 15,000 head more than a year ago but 2,000 head less than in September of this year.

Among the states in the October comparisons, California was down by 11,000 head to 1.766 million and Wisconsin was down by 2,000 to 1.277 million. Other declines were 6,000 head to a total of 129,000 in Utah, 5,000 to 120,000 head in Florida, 4,000 head to 526,000 in Pennsylvania, and 2,000 to 321,000 head in New Mexico.

On the upside, there were increases of 26,000 head to 488,000 in Texas, 12,000 to 599,000 head in Idaho, and 12,000 to 422,000 in Michigan. In other states, there were increases of 6,000 cows to 115,000 in South Dakota, of 5,000 to 151,000 in Colorado, and of 5,000 to 147,000 in Kansas.

Spot market report

Heading into the Thanksgiving holiday shortened trading week, the spot market for dairy commodities at the CME Group had both sales activity and price changes through Tuesday of this week.

With a 4 cent gain as two carloads were sold on Tuesday, AA butter's closing price of $2.05 per pound was its highest since early September. Grade A non-fat dry milk lost .25 cent on Tuesday to close at 90 cents per pound after a market day with five carload sales and an unfilled bid to buy one carload.

In the Cheddar cheese spot market, barrels lost 2.5 cents to close at $1.7150 per pound after a trading day with six carload sales and an uncovered offer to sell one carload on Tuesday. With the Cheddar block price holding at $1.91 per pound as a bid for one carload was not filled, there was an unusually large spread of 19.5 cents per pound between the block and barrel prices.

Futures market pickup

Per hundred price gains in recent trading sessions totaling approximately 50 cents per hundred in nearby months for Class III milk futures triggered the trading of nearly 350 contracts for December by noon on Tuesday.

The December price of $17.10 per hundred was the highest on the trading board. Except for the $17 for September of 2017, all of the other Class III milk futures through October of 2018 remained in the $16s per hundred.

Dry whey futures have also posted small gains in recent trading sessions. With minimal trading on Tuesday, the available prices were a low of 36.4 cents per pound for November 2016 and between 38.5 and 41.2 cents for all following months through October of 2018.

Dairy export report

On Monday of this week, Cooperatives Working Together reported requests from Dairy Farmers of America, United Dairymen of Arizona, Foremost Farms USA, and the Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold) for financial assistance on a total of 11 contracts to export dairy products.

Those products are 1.517 million pounds of Cheddar cheese and 1.091 million pounds of butter. They are going to buyers in Asia, Oceania, and the Middle East in deliveries scheduled into February of 2017.

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