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April 30, 2018

2017 Mailbox Milk Prices Average $17.31

Top Story  |   |  By: Jim Dickrell

Federal Milk Marketing Order mailbox milk prices averaged $17.31/cwt last year, peaking at $18.72 in January of 2017 and bottoming at $16.15 in June.


The summary of mailbox prices was included in the April issue of Upper Midwest Dairy News, published by the Upper Midwest Federal Order office. The mailbox milk price is defined as the “net pay prices received by dairy farmers for milk…including all costs associated with marketing the milk.” But they do not include assessments made to support the Cooperatives Working Together program.


What the prices suggest is that 2017 was a “break-even” type of year, with most dairy farmers seeing a cost of production in the $17 to $18/cwt range across most of the major dairy producing regions. Last year marks the third consecutive year where milk prices were at or below costs, leaving little opportunity for farmers to replenish cash reserves or rebuild equity. Mailbox prices averaged $15.96 in 2016 and $17.02 in 2015.


Florida again posted the highest average for the year in 2017, at $18.96. The New England states weren’t far behind, at $18.65.  The lowest prices were reported in New Mexico, at $15.24, and Michigan, at $15.59.


Though California is not (yet) a part of the Federal Order system, its mailbox price averaged $16.19 last year. Note: The deadline for California producers and co-ops to vote for or against the proposed Federal Order in California is this Saturday, May 5.


Wisconsin’s 2017 mailbox price averaged$17.95. New York came in at $17.46, and West Texas, at $16.77.


You can see all the 2017 mailbox prices, broken down by reporting area and month, here.