As printed in our September 25, 2011 issue...

BENCHMARK CLASS III price for August is $21.67, a record high. (Previous high was this July 's $21.39). August value is up 28 cents from July and up $6.49 from last August. Class IV price is $20.14.

PRODUCT USE STRONG . . . up 1.5 percent through July. Butter disappearance was up 8.8 percent. Italian cheese was up 6.1, and American was up 3.4. Nonfat was down 4.4 percent. Fluid was down 1.6.

DAIRY EXPORT FORECAST for fiscal 2011 raised to $4.2 billion, but 2012 forecast was lowered to $4 billion. Fiscal 2011 forecast for dairy imports remained at $2.7 billion, but 2012 was raised to $2.8 billion.

USDA'S FORECAST cuts corn crop to 12.5 billion bushels (148.1 per acre). Still would be third largest. Crop maturity similar to five-year average. Bean forecast is 3.09 billion, down 7 percent from last year.

BUTTER PRICE DROPPED to just over $1.90, a 9-month low. July butter output up 22 percent over 2010. Cheese price was below $1.80.

AUGUST MILK:FEED PRICE RATIO slipped to 1.89 from July's 1.92. Was 2.36 last August. Feed cost was $11.64 per hundredweight of milk with income over feed cost of $10.36 compared to $10.49 in July.

CURRENT DAIRY POLICY INADEQUACIES revealed before House ag panel. USDA emphasizes need to adopt new policy directions.

NEW ZEALAND'S FONTERRA arranged with a U.K. co-op to help supply whey proteins to European customers. Much of Fonterra's New Zealand-based ingredients are committed to the Asia market.

HURRICANE WINDS AND RAINS ravaged hundreds of farms. Power outages. Milk dumped. Much flooding. Cows drowned or missing. Crops laced with silt. Mycotoxin potential. Weeks of clean-up ahead.

BRIEFLY: Class III futures for October through December average just over $18; January through March, just over $17. Dairy cow slaughter, at 1.88 million head through late-August, up 4.6 percent over 2010. Cheese output down 2 percent in July, the first year-over-year drop since March 2008. Public and private corn yield estimates ranged from 146.3 bushels per acre to 153. World dairy product prices weakened at recent Global Dairy Trade auction with average price of all products down 1.4 percent. That was down nearly 26 percent from early March's peak. A longer list of jobs not considered safe for farm employees 15 years old and younger proposed by U.S. Labor Department. Wisconsin Supreme Court to determine whether local government actions take precedent over state's livestock siting law.

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