Chicago, Ill. – The national milk production data for December 2016 that was released on Tuesday afternoon of this week indicated a 2.4 percent increase compared to the month in 2015. Wisconsin posted an increase of 1.7 percent.
Though still subject to revision, the inclusion of the December numbers puts the 2016 milk production in the United States at 212.512 billion pounds – up by 1.9 percent from the 2015 total of 208.633 billion pounds.
The yet unofficial numbers put Wisconsin at a milestone that dairy industry leaders in the state hoped to reach by the year 2020 – 30 billion pounds of milk production per year. Based on daily averages of just over 82 million pounds of milk in the state for 2016, the preliminary total of 30.103 billion pounds for 2016 would still have edged above 30 billion pounds even without the inclusion of the Leap Year Day on February 29.
Wisconsin's reported total for December was 2.52 billion pounds of milk compared to 2.477 billion a year ago. Cow numbers were down by 1,000 to 1.279 million and average milk per cow was up by 35 pounds to 1,970 pounds for the month. Augmented by the extra day in February, the average milk per cow in Wisconsin for 2016 was approximately 24,240 pounds or 66 pounds per day.
Dairy cow numbers in the United States at the end of 2016 were estimated at 9.333 million – up by 16,000 from a year earlier. The average milk per cow for 2016 was 22,770 pounds – up by about 1.3 percent from the 22,393 pound average in 2015.
In the December report for the top 23 milk production states, Texas continued to set the pace for increase with a 100 million pound or 11.7 percent jump compared to a year ago for a 2016 total of 953 million pounds of milk for the month. Its cow numbers were up by 29,000 to 490,000 and average milk per cow for the month was up by 95 pounds to a new level of 1,945 pounds.
California posted a .5 percent gain with a total of 3.38 billion pounds of milk in December. Its cow numbers were down by 10,000 to 1.765 million but average milk per cow was up by 20 pounds to 1,915 pounds.
New Mexico continued in its recent uptrend with a 7.1 percent increase to a December total of 668 million pounds of milk. It added 6,000 cows for a December total of 325,000 and boosted its milk per cow by 100 pounds for a December average of 2,055 pounds.
Among other top production states, Michigan had an increase of 3.9 percent to 910 million pounds of milk, New York was up by 3.6 percent to 1.246 billion pounds, Idaho was up by 2.7 percent to 1.197 billion pounds, and Pennsylvania matched Wisconsin with a 1.7 percent increase for 919 million pounds of milk in December.
States in the lower rung of production among the top 23 which had percentage increases in December were Kansas at 9.5, Colorado at 7.3, and South Dakota at 4.3. Decreases in the December comparisons were reported for Oregon, Virginia, Illinois, Utah, and Washington.
Spot market prices down
Spot market prices for both AA butter and Cheddar cheese barrels dropped by 2 cents per pound in trading on the spot market at the CME Group on Wednesday of this week.
The accumulative drop of 15 cents during one week left that Cheddar barrel price at a recent low of $1.46 – an unusual 18 cent spread with the $1.64 per pound for Cheddar blocks. The very active spot market for cheese included nine carload sales of barrels on Wednesday to lift the week's total to 22 sales while the day's four carload sales of blocks raised the total to nine for the week.
In the relatively quiet spot market for AA butter, the Wednesday setback as the result of an uncovered offer to sell one carload left the price at $2.1975 per pound – down by 4.25 cents from a week earlier. One carload was sold earlier in the week.
The Grade A non-fat dry milk price held at 98.5 cents per pound – down by 5.25 cents from a week earlier – after a market session with an unfilled bid for one carload and an uncovered offer to sell one carload. Five carloads were sold earlier in the week.
Futures markets slip
Except for a 1 cent per hundred pickup for January in the Class III milk futures market, all other months in 2017 suffered double digit (up to 25 cents per hundred) losses in trading on Wednesday afternoon. This left prices at $16.77 per hundred for January, $16.55 for February, $16.98 for March, and in the $17s for all remaining months of 2017 and in the $16s for all months of 2018.
In a very trading market for dry whey futures on Wednesday, most months in 2017 were in red ink territory. Prices ranged from a low of 44.25 cents per pound for January to highs of 49.5 cents for several months later this year.
Dairy export report
Two releases by Cooperatives Working Together on bids for financial support on the export of dairy commodities were issued during the latest reporting week. One of them was for two bids with a total of 51,809 pounds of Cheddar cheese and 220,462 pounds of butter going to buyers in Asia and the Middle East.
The 2nd package consisted of a total of 24 bids from Dairy Farmers of America, Foremost Farms USA, Tillamook County Creamery in Oregon, and the Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold) in Washington. They plan to export 3.38 million pounds of Cheddar, Gouda, and Monterey Jack cheese to buyers in Asia, Central America, the Middle East, and Oceania in deliveries extending into April.