The USDA’s monthly World Ag Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report was released June 12.  

Schmitz audrey
Editor / Progressive Dairy

Milk production, prices

Milk production forecasts for both 2024 and 2025 are unchanged from last month with slight adjustments to cow inventories offset by slower growth in milk output per cow.

  • At 227.3 billion pounds, the 2024 production estimate was unchanged from last month’s report and would be up just 900 million pounds from the 2023 total of 226.4 billion pounds.

For 2024, butter, cheese, whey and nonfat dry milk (NDM) price forecasts are raised from the previous month on recent price strength. With the changes in product prices the Class III milk price is now forecast at $17.90 per hundredweight (cwt), and the Class IV price is projected at $20.50 per cwt. The all-milk price forecast is raised to $21.60 per cwt. 

  • In its forecast for 2025, the USDA estimated milk production at 229.3 billion pounds, unchanged from last month's report but 2 billion pounds more than 2024’s forecast of 227.3 billion pounds. 

Strong demand for dairy products is expected to carry into 2025 and prices are raised for butter, cheese and whey. The forecast for NDM is unchanged. As a result of higher product prices, Class III milk price is forecast at $17.70 per cwt and the Class IV price is projected at $20.10 cwt. The 2025 all-milk price is forecast at $21.50 per cwt. 

Beef outlook

For 2024, the beef production forecast is virtually unchanged for the year with largely offsetting changes in the quarters as lower expected slaughter is largely offset by higher dressed weights.


Looking ahead to 2025, lower expected slaughter in the first quarter is more than offset by higher slaughter for outlying quarters. As these cattle are placed on feed in the first half of the year, they will likely be marketed and slaughtered in the second half. In addition, dressed weights are expected to remain relatively high into 2025.

For 2025, average cattle prices are expected to be above 2024 on tighter cattle and beef supplies. The fed cattle price forecast for 2024 was estimated at $184 per cwt, with prices reaching $186 per cwt in the fourth quarter. The 2023 average was $175.54 per cwt. 

Feed supply, price forecasts

The USDA’s WASDE reports provided potential insights into dairy feedstuff supplies and prices:

  • Corn: This month’s 2024-25 U.S. corn outlook is unchanged relative to last month. 

Global coarse grain production for 2024-25 is forecast 1.4 million tons lower to 1.511 billion. This month’s foreign coarse grain outlook is for lower production, slightly higher trade and smaller ending stocks relative to last month. Foreign corn production is marginally higher, with increases for Ukraine and Zambia partially offset by a reduction for Russia.

At $4.40 per bushel, the projected season-average corn price received by producers was unchanged from the May forecast and is down 25 cents from the 2023-24 average of $4.65 per bushel. 

  • Soybeans: This month’s 2024-25 U.S. soybeans includes higher beginning and ending stocks.

Higher beginning stocks reflect reduced crush for 2023-24, down 10 million bushels on lower soybean meal domestic use that is partly offset by higher exports. Soybean oil domestic use is also lowered for 2023-24 and partly offset by higher exports. With increased supplies for 2024-25 and no use changes, soybean ending stocks are projected at 455 million bushels, up 10 million. 

The 2024-25 U.S. season-average soybean price is forecast at $11.20 per bushel, unchanged from last month and down $1.35 from the average price of $12.55 per bushel in 2023-24. Soybean meal prices were also unchanged at $330 per short ton, down $50 from the 2023-24 average of $380 per ton and $122 less than the 2022-23 average of $452 per ton. 

As a predictor of cottonseed availability, 2024-25 harvested cotton acreage was forecast at 9.13 million acres, up more than 2.6 million acres from 2023-24. Cotton production is increased to 16 million 480-pound bales, up about 4 million bales from 2023-24. 

The latest USDA Ag Prices report indicated dairy-quality alfalfa hay prices averaged $315 per ton in April, while all alfalfa hay prices averaged $195 per ton and prices for other hay averaged $149 per ton. 

The spread between U.S. average alfalfa and other hay prices – at more than $100 per ton last May and June – was $46 per ton in March.