As printed in our December 2017 issue . . .

CLASS III FUTURES FELL 65 CENTS from November to early December trading on the CME to settle at a $14.75 average. January to June 2018 Class III contracts ranged from $14.40 to $15.30 with the earlier months of the new year on the lower side of the trading ledger.

WHILE SPOT BUTTER PRICES HELD STEADY in the $2.20-range per pound, cheese blocks slid nearly 30 cents to $1.47 per pound.

THE NEAR-TERM FORECAST LOOKS BLEAK. “The U.S. is making more milk than it can sell right now,” said Mark Stephenson. “Our stocks built in 2016, and they kept building in 2017. Pretty soon something has to give, and that is probably price so we can sell more product.”

THE OUTLOOK DID NOT LOOK BETTER for the world’s leading dairy exporter where the price forecast was lowered from $6.75 to $6.40 per kilogram of milk solids (kgMS). When converted to American standards, New Zealand farmers could receive $14.20 per cwt. in the new season.

MPP-DAIRY SIGN UP ENDS DECEMBER 15 for the upcoming year. For $100, dairy farmers can be eligible for the $4 catastrophic level. Those producers buying additional coverage may wait until September 1, 2018, to pay the additional premiums at USDA’s respective FSA offices.

AS FOR 2017, THE MARGIN PROTECTION PROGRAM has not paid out any premiums as monthly margins ranged from $8.55 to $11.06. The top payout level has been $8. Lower ration costs have propped up margins.

CULLING PICKED UP PACE in part due to slimmer returns. Through this October, dairy farmers sent 108,000 more cows to slaughter compared to the same time last year, reported USDA officials.

FLAVORED 1 PERCENT MILK CAN RETURN to school feeding programs, according to the new School Meal Flexibility Rule published by USDA.

AIR EMISSION REPORTS FOR MANURE have been stayed for a second time by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. For now, that potential reporting requirement will be held at bay until January 22.

TAX REFORM COULD RAISE the estate tax exemption from $5.49 million to $11 million. The Senate version also would raise the depreciation limit from $500,000 to $1 million on new purchases such as tractors or combines. It also keeps the carryback provision on farm business losses.

BRIEFLY: China lowered its cheese tariffs from 12 to 8 percent. Over the last decade, the country’s cheese imports soared sevenfold. Global Dairy Trade performed its 200th trading event and has sold $21 billion in dairy products to buyers from over 80 countries since 2008. The American Guernsey Association announced a partnership with the Holstein Association USA to appraise Guernsey cattle. Canada’s Saputo purchased plants in Florida and Wisconsin.

In your next issue . . .

National Dairy Quality Award winners from Idaho, Michigan, New York, and Wisconsin share their daily, weekly, and monthly practices.

A vast majority of health problems can be prevented by focusing on a small portion of the dairy herd.

Successful co-ops create an environment where the most talented members want to serve as directors.