USDA Foresees More Milk Produced in 2013

WASDE report projects still-strong milk prices, higher milk-cow numbers and larger milk-per-cow forecasts.
USDA raised its 2013 projection for milk production in its World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report today.

The increased forecast of 201 billion pounds reflects an increase 1.1 million pounds over January’s estimate. If achieved, it would be only the second time that U.S. dairies have produced more than 200 billion pounds in a single year.

USDA also narrowed the range of the All-Milk price for 2013 to $18.90 to $19.70 per cwt.

The market has shown little reaction today to the report’s dairy numbers, analysts said.

Milk cow numbers rose as USDA’s cattle report indicated that the number of cows on Jan. 1 was about unchanged from 2012. USDA also raised its milk-per-cow forecasts as last quarter-2012 estimates were higher than expected and lower forecast feed costs support higher milk yields in 2013.

Fat-basis trade estimates for 2013 remained unchanged from January’s WASDE report. The skim-solids export estimate for 2013 increased largely on expectations of stronger nonfat dry milk (NDM) shipments, but the import forecast is unchanged.

The WASDE report left cheese prices unchanged from last month, but the price range is narrowed. NDM and whey prices are raised reflecting stronger demand, but the butter price is lowered.

Despite a higher whey price, the forecast Class III price is unchanged although the range is tightened to $17.70-$18.40 per cwt. Lower butter prices are more than offset by higher NDM prices, resulting in a slightly higher forecasted Class IV price in the range of $17.00-$17.80.