Fewer Cows, More Milk And Lower Prices
The USDA released their December milk production reports on Wednesday. This report was delayed due to the 35 day government shutdown during December and January. Cow numbers dropped again in December and previous reports were adjusted lower. October was down 2,000 head from the prior release and November lost 6,000 additional cows. December lost 3,000 after adjustments were taken into account to 9.351 million. We have now reduced the milking herd b 16,000 head since September and 53,000 from our peak in May of 2018.
Milk per cow grew by 21 pounds year over year in December to 1,942. Total production in December added up to 18.155 billion, a half percent above a year ago. Total milk production in the U.S. milking herd throughout 2018 came in near 217 and a half billion pounds, up nine-tenths of a percent on 2017 production.
CME spot product markets on Wednesday saw slight changes. Butter added three-quarters of a cent following seven trades to move to $2.25 and three-quarters per lb. Barrels lost 1 and a half cents to $1.41 and three-quarters while blocks were unchanged at $1.59 and a half per lb. Dry whey gained a half cent following seven loads changing hands to 36 cents per pound.
Grade A nonfat dry milk was unchanged at 98 and three-quarters per lb. Class III milk futures results had March 10 cents lower while the remaining months ranged from 5 lower to 5 higher. Class IV had a better day adding 4-19 cents in 2019.