Dairy Cow Numbers Keep Growing
Event 208 of the Global Dairy Trade was released on Tuesday along with the USDA’s February Milk Production Report later in the day. The GDT Index fell 1.2% on the heels of softer cheddar, rennet casein and skim milk powder. Skim milk powder dropped 8.6% to 85 ½ cents per pound, cheddar declined 3.9% to $1.6375, rennet casein was down 2.9%. Whole milk powder was the lone product to trade higher as it was up one tenth of a percent at $1.4625. Butter was unchanged at $2.3375 per pound.
The February milk production report showed us continued growth in the U.S. milking herd. The January cow number was adjusted to 4,000 cows higher than what was released last month. In total, 9,409,000 cows were milking at the end of January, up 9,000 from December. February’s cow numbers grew by 1,000, bringing the milking herd to 9,410,000. Milk per cow grew by 24 pounds year over year in the month of February bringing total production to 17 billion pounds, up 1.8% over February 2017.
Class III milk futures held together on Tuesday fairly well. All months in 2018 closed 1-9 cents lower. Class IV markets were unchanged. Barrel cheese lost 4.25 cents to $1.5175 per pound, while blocks dropped 4 cents to $1.5425 per pound.