In your December 2019 issue . . .

CLASS III FUTURES TRADED AT A $17.60 AVERAGE for January to June 2020 contracts. Those contracts netted $17.25 in early November.

DECEMBER MILK CHECKS SHOULD BE EVEN HIGHER, as Class III contracts sold for $19.55 per hundredweight on December 6 at the CME.

CLASS III MILK REACHED $20.45 per cwt. in November. That was the first time milk destined for cheese climbed that high since 2014.

AMONG MAJOR EXPORTERS, the U.S. has the highest Cheddar cheese price, with spot blocks and barrels trading near $2 per pound. Oceania cheese traded near $1.70 per pound, while EU cheese sold for roughly $1.56 per pound, as noted by Mike North on page 714 of this issue.

DMC PAYMENTS HAVE BEEN SHUTTERED, with milk prices climbing for the eleventh consecutive month. Overall, margins have been above the $9.50 threshold since August for the Dairy Margin Coverage program.

FEED COSTS ALSO HAVE BEEN CLIMBING and reached the highest levels since December 2014. Feed price uncertainty could become a factor moving forward as 11 percent of the corn crop and 4 percent of the soybeans remained in fields at the magazine’s close. Many of the unharvested crops were on saturated soils, which also may affect spring planting.

TOTAL EXPORT VOLUME ROSE 1 PERCENT due to lackluster sales of dry whey. However, total monetary value climbed 5 percent. A number of positive benchmarks took place in October: Nonfat dry milk and skim milk climbed 17 percent; cheese sales rose 6 percent; whey protein isolate grew 14 percent; and lactose shipments expanded 12 percent.

DEAN FOODS OWES A GREAT DEAL OF MONEY to a number of companies. High on the list is Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), which is owed $173 million, and it’s likely a reason the co-op has major interest in buying the fluid milk processor. Also among those owed money include Land O’Lakes, Southeast Milk, Select Milk Producers, Saputo, and Nestlé.

THE DEEP DEPRESSION IN MILK PRICES over the past few years kept cows heading to packing plants. In October, 288,200 dairy cows were sent to slaughter. That total was up over 32,500 head when compared to September and up 2,100 head from last year.

THE TUSSLE OVER QIP CONTINUED IN CALIFORNIA. Ag Secretary Ross denied a request to stop dairy quota collections and redistribution of funds in late November. The StopQIP group countered with a lawsuit the following week, claiming the program is unlawful.

THE LONG-STANDING LAWSUIT against Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) and its herd retirement program was settled for $220 million — just a fraction of the potential liabilities. Neither NMPF, nor any member cooperatives, admitted any wrongdoing in the agreement.

In your next issue!

Four farms share their crop, storage, and feeding philosophies that help them produce and feed the best rations possible.

The more we learn about dairy cattle behavior, the better off our calves will be long term.

Employers have a responsibility to their employees and should make strides to encourage and promote a healthy workplace.