The week in the dairy markets

A quiet end to the week in the dairy markets, cash cheese barrels increased a penny, blocks and butter were steady on Friday but nonfat dry milk fell 3.25 cents. Class III futures nudged a little higher on Friday.

For the week cash cheese barrels held steady, blocks lost 2 cents, butter is 3.75 cents lower and nonfat dry milk is 3.5 cents lower. Class III futures for June slipped 6 cents, July increased 55 cents, August added 37 cents and the December contract is up 12 cents.

Milk production in the Northern half of the country is at or near peak, good quality first-crop alfalfa is helping farmers squeeze a little more milk out of those cows. Cheese and other processing plants are running at or near capacity from the Pacific Northwest to the Northeast. Meanwhile milk production is trending lower in the south and west as temperatures hit the 90’s and 100’s.

The March mailbox price in the Federal Orders averaged $25.18 per hundredweight up 27 cents from February and $5.96 above March of 2013. The March mailbox prices ranged from $22.96 in New Mexico to $27.27 in Florida

U.S. weighted average price for a half gallon of organic milk is $3.44 down 5 cents from two weeks ago. Organic gallons average $4.99. A half-gallon of conventional milk averaged $1.99 putting the organic-to-conventional price spread at $1.45 compared to $2.59 a year ago.

Some final dairy numbers for 2013. Milk production in the United States totaled 201 billion pounds with the average cow producing 21,822 pounds of milk in the year. That is 102 pounds more than the average cow produced in 2012. Cash receipts from marketings of milk totaled $more than $40 billion, 8.7 percent above 2012. The average price paid to producers for a hundred pounds of milk was $20.12 up 8.4 percent from the previous year.

USDA projects milk production to exceed 206 billion pounds this year as high prices are prompting producers to keep more cows and feed them a little more.


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