USDA’s monthly Ag Prices report is released, providing an overview of milk, feed and dairy cows prices. This and other U.S. dairy economic news can be found here.

Natzke dave
Editor / Progressive Dairy

February average U.S. milk price at 5-year low

U.S. average all-milk prices declined in February, falling to the lowest level since June 2010, according to the USDA/NASS Ag Prices report, released March 30, 2016.

USDA estimated the February 2016 U.S. average all-milk price at $15.70/cwt., down 40 cents from January, and $1.10 less than February 2015’s average of $16.80/cwt.

Compared to January, month-to-month prices declined at least 50 cents per hundredweight in eight of the major dairy states surveyed. Largest declines were in Virginia (-$1.00), Arizona and Florida (-90 cents) and California (-80 cents).

The highest February 2016 average price was in Florida, at $18.90 per hundredweight, with the lowest average in Arizona at $14.30 per hundredweight (see Table 1).


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February cull cow prices rise

After falling to a 49-month low, U.S. average cull cow prices rose somewhat in February, according to the USDA/NASS Ag Prices report.

February 2016 cull cow prices (beef and dairy combined) averaged $77.50 per hundredweight, up $3.30 from January, but $32.50 per hundredweight less than February 2015.

February alfalfa hay prices lower

With few exceptions, U.S. alfalfa hay prices continue to trend lower, according to USDA’s monthly Ag Prices report.

The February 2016 U.S. average price paid to alfalfa hay producers at the farm level was $142 per ton, down $5 from January and $25 less than a year earlier (see Table 2).

Sharpest year-to-year declines were seen in Nevada, down $80 per ton, and Michigan, down $55 per ton.

Only Kentucky, Ohio and Missouri reported somewhat higher prices than a year ago.

Scattered areas still reported prices above $200 per ton in February, topped by Kentucky, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas.

According to USDA, lowest reported alfalfa hay prices in February were in North Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

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March federal order prices lower

March 2016 federal milk marketing order (FMMO) Class III and Class IV minimum prices were announced March 30.

Prices and changes from the previous month and year are:

• Class III: $13.74/cwt., down 6 cents from February 2016 and $1.82 less than March 2015. It’s the lowest March Class III price since 2010. The 2016 first-quarter average, at $13.75 per hundredweight, is down $1.98 from the same period a year ago.

• Class IV: $12.74 per hundredweight, down 75 cents from February and $1.06 less than March 2015. It's the lowest Class IV price since October 2009. The 2016 first-quarter average, at $13.18 per hundredweight, is down 44 cents from the same period a year ago.

California’s comparable March Class 4a/4b prices will be announced April 1.  PD

Dave Natzke