In your October 10, 2018 issue

HIGH RATES OF CULLING TOOK PLACE in August as dairy farmers collectively sent 279,700 dairy cows to slaughter. Those numbers represented the second-highest volume for the month since 1986. Back in that era, the whole-herd buyout and cow termination programs drove culling.

HEIFERS, HEIFERS, HEIFERS . . . the national dairy herd expanded to 9.4 million, up 5,000 head from just one month earlier. This took place even with strong culling activity. That’s a key indicator that heifer supplies are plentiful, spurred by the wide use of sexed semen.

AUGUST MILK GREW 1.4 PERCENT nationally compared to the same time last year. Of the top 23 dairy states, 15 expanded milk output while eight contracted during that time frame. California rose 1.2 percent, while Wisconsin climbed 1.4 percent. Texas led all gainers, up 9.5 percent.

DESPITE GROWING MILK OUTPUT, cheese and butter inventories contracted when comparing August to July. This dichotomy suggested that demand for cheese and butter has been growing domestically. Overall, cheese stocks fell 4.3 percent, while butter was off 8.6 percent.

FUTURE CONTRACTS HELD rather steady in recent weeks with the final three months of the year trading near $16.20 per hundredweight. January to August 2019 Class III contracts netted $16.10 on the CME. As for the All-Milk price, USDA pegged a $17.25 midpoint for 2019.

MILKFAT HAS OVERTAKEN PROTEIN as the driver in milk checks both in the U.S. and New Zealand. It’s being called the “most significant change to global dairy trade in the last 20 years,” said Bruce Thorrold, a strategy and investment leader with DairyNZ.

THE TOP 50 DAIRY CO-OPS HANDLE 81 PERCENT of the U.S. milk supply, detailed a Hoard’s Dairyman survey published on page 579. Globally, the top 20 dairy companies processed 25.4 percent of the world’s milk supply, reported the IFCN Dairy Research Network. Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) topped both the U.S. and global lists.

ENROLLMENT FOR TRADE DISPUTE DAMAGES has opened, and dairy farmers have until January 15, 2019, to sign up at FSA offices for USDA’s Market Facilitation Program. Payout will be 12 cents per cwt.

BRIEFLY: The California state milk order will sunset on October 31, and the Federal Milk Marketing Order will go into effect the very next day. Dairy product consumption dipped by 2 pounds per person in the U.S. last year. The 643-pound per capita average remained the second-highest average since 1960. Fluid milk consumption slipped to a 75-year low of 48.6 billion pounds or 17.3 gallons per person. In 1943, the 47.8 billion pounds netted a 43.1-gallon per person average.

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