milk tankers
April 1, 2020

Milk Dumping Underway

 |  By: Anna-Lisa Laca

From Nebraska to Pennsylvania farmers are putting milk down the drain. That’s because Spring flush came as it does every year, but this year it’s on top of a shift in demand for dairy products caused by the coronavirus. Some farmers received letters indicating that they would soon be asked to dump their milk, others received no notice until the milk truck driver arrived and asked which lagoon it should go in. 

Dairy Farmers of America says a sudden change in demand due to the coronavirus is forcing some processors to cut or change their production schedules which is leaving excess milk on the market. 

“With the uncertainty of COVID-19 and evolving consumer buying habits, we are seeing demand for dairy products change. While we initially saw increased demand at grocery stores as

consumers stocked up on many products, like dairy, in anticipation of potential quarantines and

shelter-in-place orders, the retail demand is starting to level off,” explains DFA’s Kristen Coady. “For this reason, we anticipate that milk will be more readily available at grocery stores in the coming weeks. Also, during this time, we’ve seen reduced needs in the foodservice sector with school and restaurant closures, which has resulted in an overall surplus of milk.”

During this time there is literally more milk than space available to store or process it which has resulted in some farms disposing of raw milk. If farmers are dumping milk, it’s critical to track it says Marin Bozic of University of Minnesota. It is likely farmers will be paid Class IV prices for this milk. That’s dependent on the handler, but most industry leaders and analysts expect that to be the case.