April 10, 2023 at 2:53 p.m.

Steady milk prices forecasted

By Don Wick- | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

The market is moving into the spring flush period, and Rabobank economist Lucas Fuess expects milk prices to remain steady. “Taking $17 to $18 milk into the second quarter may be a little bit of a struggle here for dairy farmers in the coming months, but into the second half of the year, Rabobank is expecting a demand recovery-driven course by China and hopefully providing upside to milk prices into the second half of the year,” Fuess said. Fuess admits milk prices are not profitable at current levels, “especially when we consider the cost of production.”

DMC payment triggered
According to the Dairy Market Report, the Dairy Margin Coverage program is paying $1.56 per hundredweight for $9.50 per hundredweight coverage for January. From December to January, the average all-milk price dropped by $1.60 per hundredweight. That’s tied for the 10th largest monthly price drop since January 2000. The bump in soymeal costs represented two-thirds of the margin decline. Corn and premium alfalfa prices also contributed to the change.

Milk production increases
February milk production in the 24 major dairy states rose 1% from one year ago. In Wisconsin, milk cow numbers declined 3,000 head from one year ago and production dropped 0.3%. California production increased just under 1% while cow numbers rose 3,000 head.

A position of growth
Rabobank global dairy strategist Mary Ledman sees opportunities for growth for the U.S. dairy industry. “The U.S. accounts for about 15% of global dairy trade, and I think there’s room to improve that number,” Ledman said. Compared to other parts of the world, the U.S. has fewer regulations. “Our share in global dairy trade is growing, mostly because we don’t see the same type of environmental constraints hindering production growth,” she said.

Farm bill markup on the way
House Agriculture Committee Chair Glenn “GT” Thompson is preparing to mark up the new farm bill in a matter of months. “In terms of votes, I suspect we’re looking at the summer, end of spring, somewhere toward the beginning of summer,” Thompson said. Congress is mired in debate over the debt ceiling and budget cuts. Thompson said the country needs to get its fiscal house in order but not on the backs of the farmers.

Tai defends trade agenda
In testimony before the Senate Finance Committee, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai highlighted the Biden administration’s trade agenda, emphasizing U.S. agricultural exports reached record levels in 2022. Regarding the dairy industry, Tai said, “We are pressing Canada to ensure that U.S. dairy farmers are treated fairly.”

A proposed increase in CAFO permit fees
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers is proposing an increase in Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation permit fees. This budget proposal would raise the annual CAFO fee from $345 to $545. Previous attempts by the governor to increase these fees were rejected by the Legislature.

Avoid manure runoff
The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection is advising farmers to check the National Weather Service runoff risk advisory forecast before spreading manure on their fields. This forecast is updated four times per day and helps determine the potential for manure runoff based on weather conditions.

A good year for ag banks
Lending through U.S. farm banks increased to $103 billion in 2022, up more than 8% from the previous year. The American Bankers Association’s annual Farm Bank Performance Report credits the change to nearly a 10% increase in outstanding loans secured by farmland and a 6% increase in farm production loans. At the end of the year, only a fraction of 1% of the loan portfolio was delinquent.

DFA reports fiscal year 2022 income
Dairy Farmers of America reports 2022 net income of $108 million. A year ago, DFA had net income of $199 million. Annual sales totaled $24.5 billion, a 27% increase from 2021.

Ag census forms being accepted
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has been collecting responses for the 2022 Census of Agriculture since last fall, and over 1 million questionnaires have been returned. USDA will continue to accept completed ag census forms through the spring. The census is used to help make decisions about farm policy, ag research, rural development and more.

WDE honors for Morris
Amery, Wisconsin, dairy farmer Tom Morris is the World Dairy Expo Industry Person of the Year. Morris developed more than 200 Excellent cows and held three complete herd dispersal sales during the 1980s. Each sale had the highest average price in the United States for the year. Tom and Sandy Morris have also managed over 500 dispersals and consignment sales through Tom Morris Ltd. Morris was behind the launch of the first nine-month Dairy Herdsman Technical College program in the nation and was an instructor for 10 years. Morris is also the owner/publisher of the Cattle CONNECTION dairy publication. Morris is also the chair of the World Dairy Expo Dairy Cattle Exhibitor Committee and vice president of the WDE executive committee.

PDPW presents leadership award
Professional Dairy Producers has presented the Dean Strauss Leadership Award to Mark Diederichs of Malone, Wisconsin. Diederichs is a past president and board member of PDPW.

HOF honors for Meyer
Former farm broadcaster Bob Meyer is being inducted into the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame. Meyer spent over 30 years with WDLB in Marshfield, Wisconsin. That included time with the Goetz Farm Radio Network and Brownfield Ag News. The induction ceremony will take place in mid-June in Elkhart, Wisconsin.

FFA alumni officer team elected
Bobbie Jo Montgomery, of Waupaca, Wisconsin, is the new president of the Wisconsin FFA Alumni and Supporters. Grant Staszak, of Bonduel, Wisconsin, is president-elect. Nick Lowe, of Stoughton, Wisconsin, was elected vice president.

Trivia challenge
The average cow produces 46,000 glasses of milk per year. That answers our last trivia question. For this week’s trivia, what popular type of blue cheese originated in Italy? We will have the answer in our next edition of Dairy Star.
    Don Wick is owner/broadcaster for the Red River Farm Network, based in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Wick has been recognized as the National Farm Broadcaster of the Year and served as president of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting. Don and his wife, Kolleen, have two adult sons, Tony and Sam, and five grandchildren, Aiden, Piper, Adrienne, Aurora and Sterling.


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