As printed in our June 2014 issue...

AS A SIGN PRICES MAY HAVE PLATEAUED, U.S. cheese was among the most expensive in the world while butter was selling higher than European and New Zealand counterparts. Even so, domestic butter inventories fell in April at a time when stocks have typically started to grow.

PRODUCT PRICES HAVE FALLEN OVER 20 PERCENT after reaching a record high this past February at New Zealand's Global Dairy Trade.

AN $18.50 PER CWT. MILK PRICE, or $7 per kilogram of milk solids, was the initial price projection by New Zealand's Fonterra Co-op for 2014 to 2015 milk. It estimated next year's milk flow would go up 2 percent.

HAY STOCKS WERE DOWN 29.5 PERCENT in the West even though inventories were up 35.5 percent nationally at the start of the haying season. As a result, premium alfalfa fetched $340 per ton in California.

GALLON-SIZE CONTAINERS CARRIED 55 PERCENT of all fluid milk sold in the Northeast with half gallons accounting for 27 percent, reported the region's federal milk marketing order. Half pints sold in schools netted 8 percent of sales, and quarts yielded an additional 5 percent.

PLASTIC DOMINATED PAPER in fluid packaging as 78.7 percent of all beverage milk was sold in plastic; 20.9 percent paper and 0.4 glass.

WHOLESALE MOVED THE MOST MILK in the November market study accounting for 44.8 percent of sales (superstores, hyper markets and wholesale clubs). Supermarkets marketed 35.8 percent; convenience stores, 12.6 percent; and institutions (schools and military), 6.8 percent.

SPECIALTY CHEESE NOTCHED A NEW RECORD as 93 of Wisconsin's 126 cheese plants produced 640 million pounds of product last year. That represented 22.4 percent of the state's 2.856 billion pounds of cheese.

U.S. DAIRY EXPORTS COULD REACH $6.8 BILLION, suggested USDA in a revised forecast. That would be nearly $700,000 over last year's record.

A LATE SPRING and lower quality forage continued to hamper milk output in the Midwest as Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin reported lower milk flow compared to last April. No other major state was down.

OVERALL, APRIL MILK PRODUCTION ROSE 1 PERCENT. California climbed 1.5 percent while Idaho grew 1.1 percent. Texas led all states by producing 8.7 percent more milk while Colorado was up 8.5 percent.

CULLING ACTIVITY WAS 123,000 HEAD off of last year's pace by mid-May. Record milk prices have encouraged producers to grow dairy herds.

MISSOURI STRONGLY SUPPORTED ITS DAIRY INDUSTRY by passing a law that funded 70 percent of a dairy producer's margin insurance premium. Additionally, the legislation established the Missouri Dairy Scholars Program and created 80, $5,000 dairy scholarships.

AVERAGE FARM SIZE STOOD AT 435 ACRES nationally, reported USDA. That compared to 505 acres for dairies in our latest readership study

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