As printed in our November 2015 issue...

CULL RATES HAVE PICKED UP MOMENTUM as 14,100 additional dairy cows were sent to packing plants in September compared to the same month last year. Through the first nine months of 2015, culling climbed a collective 83,300 head for a total of 2.17 million cull dairy cows.

DAIRY REPLACEMENTS FETCHED $1,980 EACH, reported USDA. That price landed within $40 of the peak during the 2007 boom and held strong due to high beef values. At $2,100, Arizona, California and Michigan notched the highest values while New York was the low at $1,750.

DURING OCTOBER, CLASS III FUTURES FELL 17 cents to average $15.76 for the next six months. November was the low at $15.32.

BUTTER CLOSED THE MONTH AT $2.77 per pound, up 7 cents, while spot Cheddar blocks fell a dime to $1.62. Live cattle futures rose nearly $18 per cwt. to $139-1/4. Corn held steady at $3.88 as did soybeans near $8.80.

NOVEMBER 20 IS THE DEADLINE FOR MPP-DAIRY sign-ups for 2016. Producers can visit their local Farm Service Agency to complete paperwork. New enrollees must provide production history for 2011 to 2013 and make coverage elections. Participants in 2015 must make coverage selections or the default will be $4 on 80 percent of production history.

SEPTEMBER MILK POSTED THE SLOWEST GROWTH this year, up a mere 0.4 percent. U.S. Milk per cow essentially flatlined climbing only 1 pound. California reduced production the most, down 3.6 percent. New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Washington followed suit.

STRONG DOMESTIC DEMAND drew down cheese and butter inventories, reported USDA. Butter stocks were 10.4 percent lower than the same time last year; American cheese inventories dropped 1.4 percent.

DOMESTIC DEMAND FOR CHEESE, primarily Mozzarella for pizza, has kept growing with an additional 4 million pounds being sold from January 2014 to July 2015. Strong sales continue to be forecast.

CWT HAS PLAYED A BIG ROLE IN GREASING EXPORTS. Overall Cooperatives Working Together assessments have helped to export 51 million pounds of cheese (37 percent of the U.S. total); 26 million pounds of butter (92 percent) and 36 million pounds of whole milk powder (45 percent).

BRIEFLY: It took over a month for co-ops to complete testimony in the California Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO) hearings. With testimony transitioning to the processor petition, it may be Thanksgiving before the hearing wraps up. Processed meats have been declared a carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Representative Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) was elected the new House Speaker. September milk output fell 7.5 percent during New Zealand's spring flush, according to the Dairy Companies Association.

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