Here’s an update on news impacting your dairy as the calendar turns to December 2023.

Natzke dave
Editor / Progressive Dairy

November FMMO milk class prices announced

Checks for November milk production will again reflect diverging Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO) Class III-IV milk prices. Announced on Nov. 29, the Class III price rose slightly, offsetting a decline in the Class IV price. The wide Class III-IV price spread maintained substantial Class IV depooling incentives.

November 2023 FMMO pooling estimates, uniform prices and producer price differentials (PPDs) will be released on Dec. 11-14 and summarized on Dec. 15. Watch Progressive Dairy’s website for an update.

November class prices

Class prices announced on Nov. 29 were:

  • At $21.21 per hundredweight (cwt), the November Class II milk price is down 74 cents from October and $3.46 less than November 2022.
  • At $17.15 per cwt, the Class III milk price rose 31 cents from October. It’s $3.86 less than November 2022.
  • At $20.87 per cwt, the November 2023 Class IV milk price is down 62 cents from October but is $2.43 less than November 2022. Potentially affecting FMMO pooling, the November 2023 Class IV milk price is $3.72 more than the month’s Class III milk price.

The November 2023 advanced Class I base price was previously announced at $19.75 per cwt, up 28 cents from October but still $4.34 less than October 2022.


Protein, butterfat values reverse course

Contributing to the November milk class price calculations, the value of butterfat dipped, while the value of protein rose slightly. The value of butterfat fell about 25 cents to $3.46 per pound, the fourth straight month above $3 per pound. The value of milk protein rose nearly 28 cents from October to about $1.32 per pound. The value of nonfat solids rose slightly to about $1.01 per pound, while the value of other solids increased about 6 cents, to 19 cents per pound.

Looking ahead

Based on FMMO advanced prices and current futures prices, milk prices could be headed lower in December.

Already announced, the December 2023 advanced Class I base price is $19.76 per cwt, up a penny from November and a 10-month high, but still $4.46 less than December 2022. 

As of trading on Nov. 29, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) Class III milk futures price closed at $16.11 per cwt for December, down $1.04 from November. The Class IV milk futures price closed at $19.05 per cwt for December, down $1.82 from November.

If those prices hold, the December Class III-IV milk price gap remains at $2.94 per cwt, maintaining incentives for Class IV depooling.

Bulk milk dispenser partnership success growing in Southeast

With the recent nationwide cardboard shortages impacting carton milk availability for schools, a bulk milk dispenser project in the southeast U.S. is helping provide students with nutritious milk while reducing packaging waste.

The project partnership began in 2021, when The Dairy Alliance and Virginia State Dairymen's Association (VSDA) awarded three schools in Bedford County, Virginia, with equipment grants to implement bulk milk dispensers. The Virginia Cattleman’s Association provided funding to equip schools with additional accessories.

With the success of these pilot schools, all 19 schools in the county transitioned to bulk milk dispensers by 2023, impacting more than 9,000 students and leading to a 24% increase in fluid milk ounces consumed by students daily. In addition, school systems reported that by switching from cartons to bulk milk dispensers they have reduced milk packaging waste by 91% and reduced milk waste by 60%.

The success of this districtwide transition to bulk milk dispensers is being noticed elsewhere in the Southeast. After starting with two schools in McMinn County, Tennessee, all nine schools in the county are now utilizing bulk milk dispensers.

The Dairy Alliance is a nonprofit organization funded by dairy farm families in eight states: Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

In case you missed it

  • In early November, the USDA began mailing ballots for the Farm Service Agency (FSA) county and urban county committee elections to all eligible agricultural producers and private landowners across the country. Ballots must be returned to local FSA county offices or postmarked by Dec. 4, 2023, to be counted.