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If you are hoping for greatly improved milk prices, it might take a while.

USDA has just released its 10-year projections for U.S. milk production, cow numbers, imports and exports, and the general tone is a gradual increase in just about every category. That includes milk prices, but the gains won’t be great—climbing to just $19/cwt by 2026.

USDA notes that the projections do not represent an actual forecast: “Rather [they] reflect a conditional, long-run scenario based upon specific assumptions about macroeconomic conditions, policy, weather and international development, with no domestic or external shocks to global agricultural prices.” The projections also assume a continuation of the 2014 Farm Bill remains in place.

The projections suggest the U.S. all-milk price will remain in the $17 range from 2019 through 2022, climb into the $18s in 2023 and won’t reach $19 until 2026.

Per cow milk production is expected to climb to 26,530 lb of 2028, a 14.5% increase over 2018. Cow numbers are projected to climb just slightly over that time, up 65,000 head to 9.465 million cows. Commercial use of milk is expected to climb from 210.5 billion lb today to 237.1 billion lb in 2028, a 12.6% increase. Exports, on a skim solids basis are expected to climb from 20.8% today to 22.2% in 2028.

“Reprinted by permission of Farm Journal media, November 2018”

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