September 5, 2017 at 3:32 p.m.

July mailbox prices down in 16 areas, up in four

Minnesota's price down to $18.58, Wisconsin's down to $18.90

By By Ron Johnson- | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

MINNEAPOLIS - One casualty of the recent federal government shutdown has recovered and is back on duty. Mailbox milk prices, missing in action for approximately two weeks, are once again being reported by the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).
The newest numbers are from this past July, as originally scheduled. They paint a picture of a month when some dairy farmers saw the prices they got for their milk rise, while most others saw their prices fall.
In the 20 reporting areas covered by the report, mailbox prices were lower in 16 areas, compared to June. In just four reporting areas did producers receive higher mailbox prices.
Minnesota led the way in recording the largest price decrease from June to July. Gopher state farmers were paid an average of $18.58 per hundredweight, down 80 cents from June's $19.38. But the July price was $1.79 above the July price in 2012.
Wisconsin dairy farmers fared just a few pennies better, seeing a July price decrease of 77 cents per hundredweight, to $18.90. That was off 77 cents from the June mailbox average, but up $2.12 from the July price a year earlier.
Iowa producers received a mailbox average that was 45 cents lower, compared to June. It came in at $19.29, down from $19.74 in June, but up from $17.12 in July last year.
Across the Mississippi River, in Illinois, dairy farmers were paid an average of $19.22 in July. That was down 51 cents from June's $19.73, but up from the previous July's $17.15.
In what the USDA calls the corn belt states - Kansas, Nebraska and northern Missouri - the downward movement continued. Farmers there received an average price of $18.23 in July, off 22 cents from June's average. Again, that was up from July a year earlier - by $2.09.
Hoosier farmers got 11 cents less in July compared to June. That was the smallest decrease of any reporting area, putting the mailbox average in Indiana at $19.20. In July a year ago, the price in Indiana averaged $16.02.
One state north, in Michigan, it was much the same story, with the July mailbox price slipping 28 cents from June, to $18.89. A year before, the price was $15.98.
Ohio farmers received an average of $19.60, down 32 cents from June. Their July price in 2012 stood at $16.59.
July's mailbox price was down 30 cents in New England, to $20.60. It was off 31 cents in New York, to $19.62. Eastern and western Pennsylvania continued the slippage, with prices there at $19.67, down 24 cents, and $19.33, down 53 cents.
Farmers in five more areas got lower prices in July: the Southeast, down 41 cents, to $21.34; western Texas, down 37 cents, to $17.93; Washington and Oregon, down 34 cents, to $18.73; California, down 30 cents, $17.25; and New Mexico, down 14 cents, to $17.05. Dairy farmers in the Land of Enchantment, by the way, had the dubious distinction of getting the lowest July mailbox price of any reporting area.
But the numbers were not all lower. Dairy farmers in Florida received, on average, $22.86, 56 cents more in July than in June. Southern Missouri got a boost of 50 cents, to $19.63. In Appalachia, the increase amounted to 35 cents, bringing the July average there to $20.76. And in the Southeast - Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi - the price rose 49 cents, reaching $21.34.
Overall, across all federal milk marketing orders, the July mailbox price averaged $19.08, down 38 cents from June. However, the July average was up $2.20 from $16.88 in July of 2012.
Mailbox prices are the actual, net amounts farmers see on their checks in their mailboxes. The AMS collects these prices through its federal milk order market administrator offices. Mailbox prices include all payments farmers got for milk they sold.
These prices also reflect all deductions associated with marketing that milk. There's no adjustment to 3.5 percent butterfat, so mailbox prices reflect the actual test of the milk.
This past July, the U.S. average butterfat test was 3.61 percent, while the average protein test was 2.99 percent. The amount of other solids in the milk averaged 5.75 percent.
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