April milk production up 0.1%
While U.S. milk production last March fell below that of a year ago for the first time in six years, the USDA’s preliminary 50-state data put April output up 0.1%.
Output was pegged at 18.43 billion pounds. Revisions lowered the original 50-state March total by 40 million pounds, to 18.873 billion pounds, down 0.6% from March 2018. This year’s spring flush is lagging those of the past.
April cow numbers in the 50 states totaled 9.328 million head, down 1,000 from March and 90,000 below a year ago. Output per cow averaged 1,976 pounds, up 21 pounds from a year ago.
California was up 2.6% from a year ago, thanks to a 60-pound gain per cow outweighing 7,000 fewer cows. Wisconsin was up just 0.4%, on a 15-pound gain per cow, but cow numbers were down 4,000.
Idaho was up 2.2% on 10,000 more cows and 10 pounds more per cow. New York was up 1.9%, on a 30-pound gain per cow and 3,000 more cows.
Troubles remain in Pennsylvania, where output was down for the 14th consecutive month, dropping 66 million pounds or 7.1% from a year ago, due to 29,000 fewer cows and 30 pounds less per cow.
Michigan was up 1.6%, thanks to a 25-pound gain per cow and 2,000 more cows in the string. New Mexico was down 3.9%, on 13,000 fewer cows and unchanged output per cow.
Texas more than made up for Pennsylvania’s shortfall, up 74 million pounds or 6.7% above a year ago, and saw its herd size grow by 29,000 head plus put an additional 25 pounds more per cow in the tank.
Washington state again inched up 0.4%, on a 15-pound gain per cow outweighing a drop of 4,000 cows.
The U.S. is decreasing its dairy herd, says FC Stone, adding; “There was a material downward revision in cow numbers for March (down 15,000 head from last month’s report), which means the herd fell a total of 25,000 head between February and March. Couple that with a 1,000-head decrease in April.”
Future output will be impacted by what’s happening now. The latest Crop Progress Report shows only 49% of the corn crop is planted, down 29% from a year ago and 31% behind the five-year average. Some 19% of U.S. soybeans are in the ground, 34% behind a year ago, and 28% below the five-year average.
GDT slips 1.2%
Tuesday’s Global Dairy Trade auction ended 11 consecutive sessions of gain as the weighted average of products offered dipped 1.2%, following a rise of 0.4% May 7.
Sellers brought 34.2 million pounds of product to the market, up from 33.9 million in the last event.
The losses were led by butter and powder. Butter was down 3.2%, after holding steady last time. Whole milk powder was down 2.1%, following a 0.5% slippage. Anhydrous milkfat was off 1.4%, after it was up 1.4% last time.
Cheddar led the gains, up 15.2%, after it had dipped 2.4% on May 7. Rennet casein was up 5.1%, lactose inched 0.6% higher, and skim milk powder was up 0.5%, following a 2.8% rise last time.
FC Stone equates the GDT 80% butterfat butter price to $2.3441 per pound U.S., down 8.3 cents from the last session. CME butter closed Tuesday at $2.3275. GDT Cheddar cheese equated to $2.2006 per pound, up 28.8 cents from the last event and compares to Tuesday’s CME’s block Cheddar at a bargain $1.68.
GDT skim milk powder averaged $1.1471 per pound, and compares to $1.1436 last time. Whole milk powder averaged $1.4423, down from $1.4737 last time. CME Grade A nonfat dry milk closed Tuesday at $1.0475 per pound.
CME cheese prices slipped following Mother’s Day. Block Cheddar fell to $1.6575 per pound last Wednesday but closed Friday at $1.6725, down three-quarter cents on the week but 9 cents above a year ago.
The barrels fell to $1.60 last Tuesday but closed Friday at $1.6250, down 8 1/2-cents and 9 1/4-cents above a year ago.
Monday’s trading left the cheese unchanged, as traders anticipated the April Milk Production report, Tuesday’s GDT, and Wednesday’s April Cold Storage report.
Friday’s announcement that the U.S. will lift steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada and Mexico raised hopes in the dairy industry and in turn Mexico lifted its retaliatory tariffs against U.S. cheese exports. The break in the logjam could improve dairy prices and the chances for passage of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Free Trade Agreement and perhaps help end the lengthy trade dispute with China.
The blocks gained three-quarter cents Tuesday, hitting $1.68 per pound, while the barrels fell 2 1/4-cents to $1.6025.
Midwest cheese markets felt “slippery” last week, according to Dairy Market News. Recent demand reports have been mixed to bullish but last week more cheesemakers suggested lower sales numbers.
The western market is strong and national inquiries are steady to more solid but some players report having a challenge with transnational sales as they need more export assistance.
Cash butter climbed to $2.3850 last Thursday, highest CME price since Aug. 14, 2018, but closed Friday at $2.34, unchanged on the week and 4 1/2-cents below a year ago.
Monday’s butter was unchanged but it lost 1 1/4-cents Tuesday and slipped to $2.3275.
Midwestern cream supplies have “slimmed down,” says DMN, but some butter plant managers say they are surprised it is still as available as it is.
Western butter demand continues to give a “solid presence,” according to DMN. Some participants forecast prices to move higher still as cream supplies tighten.
Spot Grade A nonfat dry milk closed Friday at $1.0475 per pound, down 2 cents on the week but 19 1/2-cents above a year ago.
The powder inched a quarter-cent lower Monday and gained it back Tuesday, returning to $1.0475 per pound.
Dry whey inched down three-quarters last Monday and stayed there the rest of the week at 34 cents per pound, 3 cents below a year ago.
The whey gained a penny Monday and jumped 2 cents Tuesday to 37 cents per pound.