As printed in our May 25, 2017 issue . . .

CLASS III FUTURES SHOWED IMPROVEMENT, climbing by 30 cents from late-April to mid-May trading. At a $16.45 average for the remainder of the year, September’s $17 was the monthly high, May’s $15.50 the low.

DAIRY EXPORTS REBOUNDED IN A BIG WAY posting a 14 percent gain by volume and 17 percent growth by value compared to the same quarter last year. Trade with Mexico expanded by 10 percent to $328 million. China jumped 74 percent, and Southeast Asia, 16 percent.

ON A TOTAL SOLIDS BASIS, U.S. DAIRY EXPORTS were equivalent to 14 percent of U.S. milk production during the first quarter. Meanwhile, dairy product imports were a mere 3.6 percent of U.S. milk flow.

FLAVORED 1 PERCENT MILK, mainly chocolate, will return to school lunch menus after a seven-year hiatus. That shift took place when USDA Secretary Perdue announced new rules that the product could once again be placed with fat-free white and flavored milk, and 1 percent white milk.

LEADERS HAD HOPED to get more dairy funding in the recently passed federal appropriations bill, but that request did not develop. In fact, it could be tough sledding for all ag programs. “The reality is we are going to have to do more with less,” said Senate Ag Chair Pat Roberts (R-Kan.).

AT $16.34, THE ALL-MILK PRICE FELL 87 CENTS from 2015’s $17.21. Total 2016 U.S. milk receipts were $34.5 billion, down from $35.7 billion.

MARGINS CONTINUED TO COMPRESS IN MARCH with a $17.30 All-Milk price and a $9.35 margin-after-fee cost in the Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy). Feed values were $135 per ton alfalfa, $320 per ton soybean meal, and $3.49 per bushel corn.

APRIL VALUES WILL BE EVEN LOWER as Class III (milk for cheese) prices fell 59 cents to settle at $15.22; Class IV (milk for butter-powder) dropped 31 cents to $14.01. Meanwhile, butterfat values dropped 6 cents to $2.35 per pound and protein fell 12 cents to $1.70.

WHILE CANADA’S NATIONAL INGREDIENT STRATEGY was the main culprit causing Grassland to shed dozens of its patrons due to lost export sales, there could be another reason. Some dairy leaders speculate that the proprietary plant also wanted more access to spot milk that has been selling from $1.50 to $5.50 under Class III prices.

DAIRY REPLACEMENT VALUES STABILIZED at $1,640 per head in April, up $20 from January, reported USDA in its Agricultural Prices. Even so, values were off $190 from April 2016’s $1,830 per head.

CORN PLANTING WAS BEHIND SCHEDULE in Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Colorado as all these dairy states were off double digits compared to the five-year average, reported USDA in a May 8 report.

In your next issue!

Farmers need to prepare to avoid any problems with drug residues due to stepped-up testing that will run for at least 18 months.

Dairy producers revealed details about their transition cow care in this Iowa survey.

Don’t be a farm that loses the advantage of accelerated calf feeding during the weaning period