May milk production sets record

Ray Mueller
Now Media Group


As was also the case for April, milk production in the United States during May increased by 1.2 percent compared to the month a year ago, according to the latest report issued on Tuesday afternoon of this week by the National Agricultural Statistics Service. The month's total was 18.6 billion pounds of milk.

Both Wisconsin and the United States posted record high milk production per cow for May. In Wisconsin, the average of 2,060 pounds per cow during the month was the highest for any month ever in the state while nation's average of 2,019 pounds per cow for May was the top number for the month since the statistics were first compiled in 2003.

Wisconsin data

Cow numbers in Wisconsin dipped by 1,000 compared to a year ago but the estimated 1.29 million cows in the state's milking herd increased their average milk output in May by 85 pounds compared to May of 2015.

That increase put the state's milk production for May at 2.635 billion pounds. This was 4.2 percent more than the 2.528 billion pounds in May of 2015. With or without the help of the Leap Day in February, Wisconsin appears headed to a milk production of at least 30 billion pounds for the first time ever during this year.

Michigan the leader

With an average of 2,285 pounds of milk per cow for May, Michigan posted the highest average among the states for the second consecutive month. This was an increase of 90 pounds from May of 2015.

Among the top 10 milk production states, Michigan's 6.9 percent increase was the highest compared to May of 2015. Its cow numbers were up by 11,000 to 418,000 head.

With its 955 million pounds of milk production for May, Michigan moved in 6th place among the states. It surpassed Texas, which was nonetheless up by 1.4 percent to 925 million pounds, and moved to within 10 million pounds of Pennsylvania's 965 million pounds, which was up by .3 percent in the May comparisons.

New York's production jumped by 4.9 percent to 1.29 billion pounds for May. Idaho had a 1.8 percent increase to 1.256 billion pounds for the month.

Downside states

In the preliminary data, six of the top 23 states reported a milk production decrease for May. In terms of volume, California was down by the most — 110 million pounds or a cutback of 2.8 percent. Cow numbers were down by 6,000 to 1.772 million but average milk per cow was off by 50 pounds to 2,005.

Other decreases were 3.8 percent to 680 million pounds in New Mexico, 4.6 percent in Utah, 3.8 percent in Virginia, 2.9 percent in Florida, and .6 percent in Illinois. Those states had totals of 153 to 233 million pounds of milk during May.

Although the total was up by 11,000 in the top 23 milk production states, the nation's milking herd of 9.33 million head in May was 3,000 less than in May of 2015. That number was the same as in April.

Spot market steady

Prices have leveled and trading volumes are fairly low for dairy commodities in the spot market on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

On Wednesday of this week, there was no activity for Cheddar block cheese as the price stood at $1.5125 per pound. An offer to sell one carload of Cheddar barrels nipped the price by .50-cent to put it at $1.54 per pound.

As eight carloads were sold and a bid for one carload was not filled, the AA butter spot market price held at $2.36 per pound. During a market session with an offer to sell 10 carloads not being covered, a bid for one carload not filled, and two carload sales, the Grade A non-fat dry milk price gained 2.25 cents to close at a 2016 calendar year high of 90.25 cents per pound.

Futures market vary

Variability was the theme for the monthly Class III milk futures prices in trading through early afternoon on Wednesday. The changes included a decrease of 17 cents per hundred for July of 2016 and an increase of 16 cents per hundred for September of this year.

That left prices at a low of $13.22 per hundred for June, a jump to $14.90 for July, and another jump to $16.07 for August. With the exception of $15.85 and $15.95 per hundred for January and March of 2017 respectively, all of the other Class III futures prices through May of 2018 were in the lower half of the $16s per hundred.

The dry whey futures market had minimal trading activity on Wednesday of this week. Prices ranged from a low of 25.325 cents per pound for June 2016 to highs of between 34 and 35 cents per pound for all months but January in 2017.

Export report

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

Those products are 4.209 million pounds of Cheddar cheese and 1.986 million pounds of whole milk powder. They are going to buyers in countries in Asia, Central America, North Africa, Oceania, and South America for deliveries scheduled until December of this year.