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CHICAGO, IL. – Despite decreases in the two top milk production states in the year to year monthly comparisons, the nation's dairy cows nevertheless pumped out an 1.8 percent increase for May, according to a report early this week by the National Agricultural Statistics Service.

While California and Wisconsin had respective 1.1 and .7 percent cutbacks in milk production during May compared to the month in 2016, other states combined to more than offset those downturns. Other factors in the May comparisons for the two years were a national increase of 71,000 dairy cows to a total of 9.39 million and a 19 pound increase in the average milk per cow to 2,016 pounds for the month.

Wisconsin statistics

For the first time in more than three years, the milk production data for May in Wisconsin indicated a decrease for the month compared to the month in the previous year. The state's production was 2.622 billion pounds of milk compared to 2.641 billion pounds in May of 2016.

Cow numbers remained the same at 1.279 million head but the average milk per cow slipped by 15 pounds to an average of 2,050 pounds for the month. Dairy industry observers have tentatively attributed at least a portion of that cutback to the requirement by some milk processors that the dairy farmers supplying the milk no longer treat their cows with the milk production enhancer rBST (recombinant bovine somatotoprin).

California's milk production of 3.515 billion pounds for May was down by 39 million pounds from the month in 2016. Cow numbers were down by 11,000 to 1.753 million and the milk average per cow was down by 10 pounds to 2,005 pounds for the month.

Idaho's May production was also down by 3 million pounds to a total of 1.255 billion. Its cow numbers were up by 4,000 to 596,000 head but the average milk per cow was down by 20 pounds to 2,105 pounds for the month. Washington's production was down by 1.4 percent to 564 million pounds.

National increase leaders

Texas continued to lead the national increase in production both on percentage and milk volume. The state's total of 1.064 billion pounds for May was up by 14.7 percent or 136 million pounds from a year earlier. Cow numbers were up by 43,000 to 513,000 head and milk per cow was up 100 pounds to 2,075 pounds for May.

New Mexico was another major contributor to the May increase with jumps of 6.9 percent and 47 million pounds of milk for a total of 727 million pounds. Cow numbers were up by 18,000 to 328,000 head and average milk per cow was up by 20 pounds to 2,215 pounds.

Michigan increased its production by 4 percent or 38 million pounds to a total of 993 million pounds for May. Cow numbers were up by 9,000 to 427,000 head and average milk per cow was up by 40 pounds for the nation's high of 2,325 pounds.

In order of their milk production volumes, the percentage increases in other states for May included 2.3 in New York, 2.1 in Pennsylvania, 2.6 in Minnesota, 1.4 in Ohio, 4.8 in Arizona, 1.4 in Iowa, 2.2 in Indiana, and 7.3 percent in Colorado.

Spot markets busy

High sales volumes of Cheddar cheese barrels and AA butter prevailed in the spot market at the CME group through Wednesday of this week. For the first three days of the week, there were 37 carload sales of Cheddar barrels and 16 of AA butter.

AA butter lost another 4.5 cents on Wednesday to close at $2.5850 per pound after having been at $2.7050 on Thursday, June 15. Ten carloads were traded on Wednesday, a bid for four carloads was not filled, and an offer to sell four carloads was not covered.

As 18 carloads were sold on Wednesday, the Cheddar barrel price recovered from earlier losses to pick up 2 cents for a close at $1.3575 per pound. A bid for one carload was not filled and an offer to sell one carload was not covered.

Cheddar cheese blocks joined the general downward price trend in the spot market with a loss of 3.75 cents to close at $1.56 per pound on Wednesday. Three carloads were sold, a bid to buy three carloads was not filled, and an offer to sell five carloads was not covered.

The Grade A non-fat dry milk price dropped by 3 cents on Wednesday to close at 86 cents per pound. Four carloads were sold, a bid to buy three carloads was not filled, and an offer to sell five carloads was not covered.

Stable futures markets

No more than single digit per hundred price changes were on the trading board for Class III milk in the early afternoon on Wednesday. Most of the contract trading was taking place for July, August, and September of 2017.

Nearby month prices were $16.33 per hundred for June, a trading board low of $15.96 for July, $16.77 for August, and the low $17s for September, October, and November of 2017. Prices for all months from December 2017 through May of 2019 remained in the upper half of the $16s per hundred.

In the dry whey futures market, contracts for all remaining months in 2017 were traded by noon on Wednesday but none for 2018 or 2019. Prices ranged from a high of 48.875 cents per pound for June to a low of 37.075 cents per pound for August of 2018.
 

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