In the March 25, 2020 issue . . .

CLASS III FUTURES FELL 5.3%, dropping from a $17.55 to a $16.60 per cwt. average, from February 10 to March 10 trading on the CME.

THE CORONAVIRUS WAS THE MAIN CULPRIT. If realized, the Class III futures for the remainder of 2020 would yield an $18.22 All-Milk price. That was off $1.22 from the February estimate.

AT AN $18.25 MIDPOINT, USDA mirrored that price projection in its March World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates. If that holds true, income over feed costs would slide to $9.91. That would be 37 cents below 2019’s $10.28 but 49 cents higher than the five-year average.

JANUARY DAIRY EXPORTS STARTED STRONG by posting the best month in five years. Representing the fifth straight month of growth, volume climbed 21% and value rose 29% when compared to last January.

SALES TO SOUTHEAST ASIA WERE UP 107%. Market analysts projected that pace likely continued into February but would slow considerably due to the coronavirus wreaking havoc throughout the region.

CHINA BEGAN GRANTING TARIFF EXEMPTIONS as part of the Phase One Agreement. Products included skim milk powder, sweet whey powder, lactose, whey protein concentrate 80, whey protein isolates, and cheese. There are 250 U.S. dairy companies cleared by China.

POSTPONED OR CANCELED DAIRY MEETINGS abound in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Dairy Farmers of America, Northeast Dairy Producers Association, Central Plains Dairy Expo, and the California Dairy Sustainability Summit were among the impacted events.

THE DEAN FOODS BANKRUPTCY heated up after an Ad Hoc Committee formed to file a limited objection against the “Stalking Horse Asset Purchase Agreement” submitted by Dairy Farmers of America (DFA).

“TO PREVENT THE TOTAL DOMINATION of the national market by DFA,” was among the goals stated in a 14-page document filed in bankruptcy court. The Ad Hoc Committee includes: Lone Star Milk, Agri-Mark, Cayuga, Cobblestone Milk, and Maryland & Virginia Milk. Michigan Milk was also on the committee but abstained from the objection.

“WHILE SOME ARE CONCERNED about their own financial stake, we are focused on protecting and preserving family farms across the country,” said Monica Massey, chief of staff for DFA. “Our main focus has always been to maintain milk markets and limit disruption to the industry.”

MOMENTUM TO SUPPORT WHOLE MILK gained further traction when 10 nutrition researchers from well-regarded universities told federal dietary leaders that advice to restrict saturated fat to no more that 10% of daily calories is outdated and not supported by the latest research.

FONTERRA REAFFIRMED its Farmgate Milk Price forecast of $7 to $7.60 per kilogram of milk solids. After all conversions from the New Zealand to the U.S. dollar, it equates to a $14.62 to $16.06 U.S. equivalent milk price. “That would be another 2018 for us,” said Mark Stephenson.

THE SUPPLY OF BEEF-ON-DAIRY CALVES could climb significantly in 2020. In the next three to five years, “more than 10% of cattle in U.S. feedyards will be beef-on-dairy crosses,” projected Rabobank’s Don Close.

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