EARLY TRADING ACTIVITY indicated a $16.70 Class III price for January to July 2020 contracts with only a 35-cent variation between the seven months. USDA pegged a $18.80 All-Milk price for 2020 in its latest World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates publication.
CHEESE AND BUTTER ABSORBED 60.4 PERCENT of the U.S. milk supply in 2017; cheese accounted for 42.5 percent. That compared to 54 percent for the tandem in 2000, reported USDA’s Economic Research Service. This product growth took place even as the U.S. milk supply grew by 29.8 percent and milkfat ballooned 37.2 percent during those 18 years.
FLUID MILK AND ICE CREAM SLIPPED from 28.6 percent to 19.2 percent of the nation’s milk supply when evaluating product use on a milkfat basis. There was a bright spot — since 2013, the milkfat content of fluid milk climbed each year due to stronger demand for whole milk.
EVEN THOUGH 68,800 MORE COWS WERE CULLED from January to June when compared to the same time last year, the pace slowed in June as 6,400 fewer head were sent to packing plants compared to last June.
HEIFER PRICES REBOUNDED FROM ROCK BOTTOM as July replacement values reached $1,240 per head. While that figure stood $100 higher than the January and April 2019 trough of $1,140, those valuations were $400 lower than April 2017 when springers fetched $1,640.
SEPTEMBER 20 WILL BE THE FINAL CHANCE to enroll in USDA’s Dairy Margin Coverage program. A reported June margin of $8.63 continued the trend of the farm bill’s signature dairy program providing payouts for every month this year. To date, 87.3 billion pounds or 40 percent of the nation’s milk has been signed up for Tier 1 coverage.
TEN BILLION POUNDS OF MILK was signed up by dairy farmers in early August. This activity provided firm indication that the DMC program could be far more popular than its predecessor, the Margin Protection Program for Dairy. To enroll in DMC, go to your local FSA office.
WITH UNCERTAINTY ABOUT SOYBEAN EXPORTS, farmers forged ahead and planted more corn despite unfavorable weather conditions. In August, USDA raised its corn acreage estimates from 88 million to 90 million acres. That sent corn down the market limit. Prices fell below $4 per bushel for the first time since May and settled at $3.60.
AS CHINA ASKED STATE-OWNED COMPANIES to suspend purchases of U.S. agricultural products, reports indicated alfalfa hay exports still moved to some degree due to few alternative sources. Even so, tariffs took their toll as alfalfa hay sales were off 39 percent from a year ago.
On-farm testing, genetic diversity, understanding the genotype-to-phenotype relationship, and meeting consumer expectations all deserve more attention.
Laboratories are now able to test for some of the worst bacteria in silage, such as clostridia and enterobacteria.