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The University of Tennessee | Institute of Agriculture

Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics

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Milk Market Comments

By Andrew Griffith

March 31, 2017

Milk Production: Milk production in the 23 major states during February totaled 15.7 billion pounds, down 1.0% from February 2016. Production per cow for February averaged 1,801 pounds. The number of milk cows was 8.69 million head, up 3,000 head from January 2017. January production was revised down 0.1% to 17.0 billion pounds. For milk production in the top 5 producing states, California was down 5.4% from February a year ago; Wisconsin down 2.1%; Idaho down 2.7%; New York up 0.2%; and Texas up 12.3%. Other states with large production increases were New Mexico (7.8%), Kansas (3.8%), Colorado (3.3%), Michigan (1.2%), and Iowa (1.0%). The states reporting a large decline in production compared to February 2016 were Oregon (-5.8%), Washington (-5.6%), Florida (-3.7%), and Virginia (-3.5%).

Milk Price and Utilization: The Southeast Uniform milk price for February was $19.36, down $0.91 from January and $2.48 higher than February 2016. The Appalachian Uniform milk price was $19.09, down $0.97 from January and $2.68 higher than February 2016. February’s Class III price was $16.88, up $0.11 from January, and $3.08 higher than February a year ago. The Class IV price was down $0.60 from January to $15.59, and $2.10 higher than February 2016. The Class I Mover price for April is $16.05, down $0.85 from March. The milk/feed ratio for February was 2.61, 0.08 lower than January.
Southeast Class I utilization was 68.48%, down 1.28% from January, and 4.77% lower than February a year ago. The Uniform butterfat price was $2.4765, up 1.69 cents from last month and 12.70 cents higher than February 2016. The February Class I price was $20.53. March Class I price is $20.70. Appalachian Class I utilization was 71.16%, down 1.72% from January, and 1.76% lower than February a year ago. The Uniform butterfat price was $2.4766, up 1.67 cents from last month and 12.31 cents higher than February 2016. The February Class I price was $20.13.

Cheese Production and Stocks: Total cheese production in January was 1.04 billion pounds, up 3.7% from a year ago while butter production was up 1.2% to 178 million pounds. Nonfat dry milk (NDM) production was up 13.1% compared to a year ago with total production at 155 million pounds while skim milk powder (SMP) production was down 1.3% to 50.5 million pounds compared to a year ago. Total cheese stocks at the end of February were up 6% from February a year ago and up 3% from the previous month while butter stocks were up 28% from last month and up 20% from a year ago.

Springer Prices and Cow Slaughter: At Smiths Grove, Kentucky on April 5, supreme springers were $1,450 to $1,675, up $13 compared to last month. US approved springers sold from $1,300 to $1,425 on the same auction, down $25 compared to last month. Dairy cow slaughter in February was 253,200 head, down 15,900 head from January and 3,200 fewer than February 2016.