Chicago, IL. — Milk production in the United States during November was up by 2.4 percent compared to the month a year go, according to the report by the National Agricultural Statistics Service released on Tuesday afternoon of this week.

Increases in cow numbers and average milk per cow accounted for the higher production last month. Cow numbers, including an addition of 4,000 in November of this year, were up by 17,000 head from a year ago to a new total of 9.34 million. Milk per cow for November was up by 39 pounds from 2015 to an average of 1,829 pounds.

Wisconsin statistics

Wisconsin provided 2.414 billion of the nation's 17.1 billion pounds of milk production for November. That was an increase of 52 million pounds or 2.2 percent from November of 2015.

Cow numbers in the state declined by 3,000 from a year ago to a November total of 1.277 million head. But milk per cow increased by 45 pounds for a November average of 1,890 pounds this year.

State by state stats

California's cow numbers were down by 11,000 from a year ago to 1.765 million head. Average milk per cow was up by 15 pounds to 1,820 pounds to account for a .2 percent increase to 3.212 billion pounds of milk production in the state for November.

Among other top milk production states, Texas continued to surge with an 11.4 percent increase to 919 million pounds for November. Cow numbers were up by 28,000 to 490,000 and the average milk per cow for November was up by 90 pounds to 1,875 pounds.

Neighboring New Mexico also joined in the increase with an uptick of 3.7 percent for a November total of 640 million pounds of milk. Cow numbers were up by 1,000 to 323,000 head but average milk per cow jumped by 65 pounds for a November average of 1,980 pounds.

Additional contributors

Michigan posted a 5.3 percent increase for a total of 888 million pounds of milk in November. Its cow numbers were up by 12,000 to 423,000 head and the average milk per cow was up by 50 pounds to 2,100.

Other leading milk production states which exceeded the national percentage increases for November were New York with a 4.4 percent gain to 1.197 billion pounds and Idaho with a 3.6 percent uptick to 1.177 billion pounds.

Cow numbers were stable at 620,000 in New York while Idaho added 12,000 from a year ago for a November total of 599,000 head. Average milk per cow in the November comparisons was up by 80 pounds in New York and by 30 pounds in Idaho.

Although its cow numbers were down by 5,000 to 525,000, Pennsylvania had a 2.5 percent increase to 877 million pounds of milk for November. This was due to a 55-pound increase per cow for an average of 1,670 pounds for the month.

Among other states in the top 23, the November comparison increases included 11.6 percent in Kansas, 5.9 in Colorado, 5 in South Dakota, and 3.9 in Iowa. The only decreases for November were 4 percent in Utah, 3.7 in Florida, 1 in Oregon, and .2 percent in Washington.

Tumbling prices

In the wake of the November milk production report, Cheddar cheese prices tumbled in the spot market at the CME Group on Wednesday morning of this week. After busy trading sessions earlier in the week – 8 carloads of blocks and 14 of barrels, uncovered offers to sell one carload each of Cheddar blocks and barrels lowered the prices on Wednesday.

Cheddar blocks lost 8.5 cents to close at $1.70 per pound on Wednesday. Offset by price gains late last week, this was a decline of only 5.75 cents per pound from last week Wednesday.

In addition to the uncovered offer to sell, one carload of Cheddar barrels was sold on Wednesday as the price fell by 8.75 cents to close at $1.5675 per pound. This, however, was a 14.75 cent per pound setback from a week earlier.

Butter and NFDM

The AA butter price followed the downward trend but the day's closing price of $2.2050 per pound was 12 cents above the price a week earlier thanks to gains late last week and early week in the spot market. Five carloads were sold on Wednesday to bring the week's total to 14 sales and a bid to buy two carloads was not filled.

On the bright side in the spot market on Wednesday was the stability of the Grade A non-fat dry milk price. It held at the $1.02 per pound that it reached on Friday, Dec. 16 as a bid for one carload was not filled and an offer to sell one carload was not covered. Six carloads were sold earlier in the week.

Futures prices dip

In tune with the Cheddar cheese prices, Class III milk futures dipped by double digit numbers for the first five months of 2017 in trading on Wednesday afternoon. With prices dropping to $16.62 per hundred for January, $16.90 for February, and $17.21 for March, most of the day's contract trading was concentrated in those months.

The December 2016 Class III milk futures were holding at $17.32 per hundred on Wednesday. Except for January and February, all months in 2017 were in the $17s per hundred. All months in 2018 offered prices in the upper half of the $16s per hundred.

Dry whey futures prices followed the down cycle for the early months of 2017. The price range focused on December – a low of 39.925 cents for December 2016 to a high of 45.20 cents per pound for December of 2017.

Dairy export report

On Tuesday of this week, Cooperatives Working Together announced the receipt of a batch of 10 bids from Dairy Farmers of America, United Dairymen of Arizona, Tillamook County Creamery of Oregon, Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold) of Washington, and the Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative for financial assistance on the export of dairy products.

Those products are 1.323 million pounds of butter and 228,178 pounds of Cheddar cheese. The buyers are in countries in Asia, Central America, North Africa, and the Middle East. Deliveries are scheduled until March of 2017.

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