In your December 2018 issue

NEXT YEAR COULD BE A SPLIT YEAR for milk prices. The January to June 2019 Class III future contracts traded at a $15.10 average at the magazine’s close. July to November contracts netted a $16.40 average.

MILK CONTINUED TO FLOW TO CHEESE VATS, with total cheese output up 3 percent compared to the same time last year. This has placed downward pressure on cheese markets, and that could carry into 2019.

WITH MORE CHEESE FORECASTED, USDA lowered its Class III price projections to a $15.15 to $16.05 range for the upcoming year. The All-Milk price forecast could range from $16.70 to $17.60 per hundredweight.

U.S. DAIRY COW NUMBERS FINALLY FELL. The inventory of cows for both September and October dropped at least 30,000 head when compared to the same time last year. That’s the first time consecutive months have been down that much since the summer of 2010.

THE NEW NAFTA AWAITS Congressional approval after it had been signed by leaders from Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. If approved, tariffs on U.S. dairy product exports to Mexico would subside. That’s critical since Mexico accounts for 20 percent of all U.S. dairy export sales.

BETWEEN THE U.S. AND CANADA, the USMCA agreement (new NAFTA) would decouple prices for Class 6 and 7 skim milk powder and milk protein isolates for the world’s leading dairy product exporters. That would lift farm gate prices in the U.S.

IF MADE PERMANENT, THE TEMPORARY TRUCE between the U.S. and China could renew U.S. agricultural exports. Specifically for dairy, the Asian nation had been America’s third-largest dairy product importer prior to the trade war and its escalating tariffs that ensued this summer.

LOW-FAT CHOCOLATE MILK RETURNED to school food programs after USDA Secretary Perdue published related rules in the Federal Register. USDA’s own studies indicated that milk consumption had plummeted after its removal under the previous administration.

THE “MILK IS MILK” COMMENT PERIOD has been extended to January 28, 2019, by the FDA. This represents the best chance to reset the course of human nutrition and reclaim dairy’s good name. For directions to make comments, see page 670 of the November issue of Hoard’s Dairyman.

COMMITTEE LEADERS AGREED ON A NEW FARM BILL following the mid-term elections. It had been stalled as House Republicans were demanding tougher work and eligibility requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. A final vote should be forthcoming.

SOMATIC CELL COUNTS FELL TO 181,000 in 2017, compared to 190,000 just one year earlier when calculated using a geometric mean.

In your next issue!

A combination of facilities, balanced rations, and consistent dry-off procedures help these dairies successfully transition cows into the next lactation.

Profitability is a three-legged stool — expenses, revenue streams, and enhancing milk revenues. In these challenging times, every leg needs a close inspection.

Through greater investment in people and partnerships, USDEC is growing its in-country teams to better serve international dairy customers.