Corn prices are moderating for both the current crop year and for 2012/13. The corn price is projected to be $5.95 to $6.25 a bushel in 2011/12, a decline from April’s projected price and to slip to $4.20 to $5.00 a bushel next year. Higher corn plantings and higher expected yield could lead to a record-high corn supply in 2012/13 despite tight carryin stocks. The recent Crop Progress report showed a crop well ahead of average development for this time of year.

Given crop price forecasts, the ration value will likely head down later this year and could fall further in 2013.

For dairy producers, the welcome relief from high feed prices will likely be countered by lower milk prices for the balance of 2012, with some recovery likely in 2013. On balance, the milk-feed price ratio is not expected to signal expansion until later in 2013.

The total number of milk cows for 2012 was raised slightly from April to 9.23 million head. The Milk Production report indicated higher than expected cow numbers and, despite weakening returns, producers were not reducing herds as quickly as expected.

May is the first month for 2013 forecasts. The dairy herd in 2013 is expected to decline to 9.17 million head, reflecting 2012’s high feed prices and lower milk prices.


Milk per cow for 2012 was boosted to 21,880 pounds from the April projection.

Production per cow is forecast at 22,100 pounds for 2013. The rise in milk per cow this year is due to nearly ideal production conditions in much of the U.S. Next year’s projected increase in production per cow reflects the moderating feed price outlook. Production for 2012 was raised this month to 201.9 billion pounds.

The forecast for 2013 is for production to reach 202.6 billion pounds, based on higher output per cow. PD

—Information from USDA Economic Research Service