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On Cows and Markets

By  E. W. Lang

October Class III Milk gained 27 cents today to close at $18.17 per cwt., after spending 11 trading days going from $18 to almost $20 and back to $18. So ends the good news in producer dairy markets for this week.

September Class III gained two cents for the week, however the subsequent 15 trading months lost from two to 51 cents over the last five trading days. Future prices run from the low $18 range in the near term, down to $16.50 to $17.33 next year.

USDA released product prices for August and the Dairy Margin Coverage for that month will be $9.85 per cwt.

Government subsidies for milk producers start when that margin coverage number goes under $9.50, as has been the case for most of the last five years. Previous government programs didn't start to pay out until margins went under $8 per cwt. Few producers signed up for the rather expensive coverage, and fewer enjoyed any benefit.

Spot loads of milk ran from 25 cents to $1.75 over Class this week, generally up two bits from a week ago. USDA Dairy Market News further reports that some cream is being pulled from the western U.S. in to the central region to meet butter needs.

Top parlour free stall cows ran from $1700 to $1900 at Premiere Livestock Auction in Wisconsin, down $300 from a week earlier when milk futures were $1.50 higher.

A large herd of registered Holsteins in northern New York recently sold at public auction. The herd averaged 28,000M 1100F 900P and genetically was one of the highest $$ Net Merit herds in the United States. The cows averaged $1671 on 800 head. Bred heifers averaged $1420. The dairy was sold to a chicken farmer.

Fall weather brings an early indicator to those that divine economic health and deliver prophesy for the Christmas buying season. Industry sources report that retail pumpkin sales remain steady compared to last year, even with higher prices per lb. at wholesale auction. Thirty percent higher, actually, in light of a poor growing season, much like much of agriculture.

Other decorative, impulse kind of nice autumn retail stuff is reported moving at a 40% higher rate than last year, indicating abundant economic comfort among those likely to go in to the Holiday Season with a credit card in one hand and a long list in the other.

Wall Street tanked today over some trade thing. Energy prices went down a little this week after the Saudis were able to recover production a little faster than initially thought.

The World Dairy Exposition starts in Madison, Wisconsin, on Tuesday. You can read about it, uh, everywhere. For the many of you who'll not be attending because you have to milk cows at home twice a day, I feel led to epistle from Madison from time to time. Idle gossip, useless information and other choice morsels can be found at

On Cows and Markets is a sponsor of the Dairy Agenda Today coverage for seven of the WDE shows. We are also sponsoring the coliseum music, so, gentlemen, remove your hats and everyone stand quietly during the anthem each morning. Or sing along, if you want.