DairyBusiness Update for 10.28.13

‘Total solids’ exports equal 17.5% of production 

U.S. dairy product exports were equivalent to 17.5% of U.S. milk solids production in August. Meanwhile, imports as a percent of milk solids production were just 2.5%. In August, the United States exported 69% of the nonfat dry milk/skim milk powder produced, 6.7% of its cheese and 14.5% of its butterfat.

U.S. dairy exporters posted another strong performance in August, led by ramped-up sales to China, the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region and Southeast Asia. Total exports for the month were valued at $614 million up 45% from a year ago. Sales to China (mostly milk powder and whey products) were up 170%; shipments to MENA (mostly butter, powder and cheese) were up 108%; and exports to Southeast Asia (mostly skim milk powder) were up 55%.

That brought year-to-date export values to $4.34 billion, 23% ahead of last year’s pace. On a volume basis, exporters shipped 175,684 tons of milk powder, cheese, butterfat, whey and lactose during August, up 26% from the prior year.

Cheese exports in August were a record-high 28,134 tons, up 40% from a year ago.

Source: U.S. Dairy Export Council, National Milk Producers Federation

August U.S. dairy cattle exports fall off

August U.S. female dairy cattle exports fell to their lowest level in six months, but the year-to-date total is still the second highest for the January-August period in the past five years, according to USDA’s Foreign Ag Service. 

At 3,554 head, August exports were the third-lowest monthly total for 2013. August exports bring the 2013 total to 41,525, well ahead of the 33,981 total for January-August 2012. Record-setting 2011 still holds the top spot, with 47,365 female dairy cattle exports during the first eight months of the year.

Russia was the top destination for U.S. replacements during August, at 1,706 head. Mexico followed closely in second, at 1,583 head.


August U.S. alfalfa, other hay exports increase

August 2013 U.S. alfalfa hay exports totaled 169,908 metric tons, the highest total in five months, according to USDA’s Foreign Ag Service. China was the top market, at 64,553 metric tons, followed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) , at 46,730 metric tons, and Japan, at 32,245 metric tons.

 Meanwhile, monthly U.S. exports of other hay totaled 166,139 metric tons in August, the highest total in six months. Japan, China and South Korea were the top three markets, taking about 82% of the monthly total.


Senators to Farm Bill negotiators: ‘Don't cut nutrition funds’

As Farm Bill negotiations ramp up in Congress, a coalition of nearly 40 senators signed a letter to Farm Bill Conference Committee members urging the panel to fight cuts to nutritional programs.

In the letter, the 38 Democrats and one Independent senator asked the conference committee to fight against harmful cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). They also urged the negotiators to reject all eligibility changes that would prevent millions of children, seniors and families in need from accessing nutritious food and hundreds of thousands of low-income children from accessing free school meals.

You can download a copy of their letter here or read the full text of the senators’ letter below.   


Mielke’s Market Daily

(A daily wrap-up of dairy markets and the things affecting them, from DairyBusiness Update associate editor Lee Mielke)

Things continue to return to normal at USDA following the government shutdown, although, as I once heard, “normal” is only a setting on a dryer. We will see a number of reports to feed the market this week that had been shelved because of the shutdown. 

Thursday, USDA will release its monthly Cold Storage report for September, plus the Livestock Slaughter and Ag Prices reports. Friday we will see the first Milk Production report since the sequester, which will again include dairy cow numbers and output per cow. 

October federal order Class II, III and IV milk prices are announced by USDA on Wednesday, with California’s comparable 4a and 4b milk prices announced by the California Department of Food and Agriculture on Friday.

“Unchanged” was the word of the day in the cash dairy markets this morning, but the week started with 2 loads of block cheese being sold at the existing price of $1.8750/lb., following small gains Thursday and Friday last week. Cheddar barrels were also unchanged, holding at $1.82/lb., with 1 offer at $1.83/lb. left on the board. 

Butter remained unchanged for the third consecutive session, holding at $1.4750/lb. One uncovered offer at $1.48/lb. was the only activity.

Grade A nonfat dry milk remained at $1.90/lb., with 1 bid at $1.90/lb. and 1 offer at $1.91/lb. getting no response. Extra Grade remained at $1.85/lb., following Friday’s 3¢ jump, with nothing happening today.

Today’s market closing prices:

Butter: unchanged, at $1.4750/lb.

Cheddar blocks: unchanged, at $1.8750/lb.

Cheddar barrels: unchanged, at $1.82/lb.

Grade A nonfat dry milk: unchanged, at $1.90/lb.

Extra Grade nonfat dry milk: unchanged, at $1.85/lb.

Class III milk: -4¢ to +6¢ through December 2014. Based on current CME closing prices, the Q4  2013 average is $18.30/cwt.; with an overall 2013 average of $17.91/cwt.; and a 2014 average of $16.95/cwt.


Corn, soybeans, soybean meal futures lower

Today’s futures prices at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange:

Corn: -7¢ to -9¢ through December 2014, settling in a range of $4.31-$4.75/bushel.

Soybeans: -8¢ to -29¢ through November 2014. November 2013 through August  2014 contracts settled in a range of $12.20-$12.71/bushel.

Soybean meal: -$2.00 to -$9.20/ton through December 2014. December 2013-September 2014 contracts settled in a range of $368-$415/ton.


Tuesday on DairyLine:

• Bill Baker has the latest dairy news headlines, and Farmeron’s Matija Kopic explains a new way to keep track of all your dairy records.


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