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0408 PD: Southwestern milk output remains seasonally strong

Published on 27 February 2008

California milk production is steady to higher on a week-to-week basis and remains at levels well above year ago levels. Recent wet conditions may have moderated growth, but the upward trend has not turned.

Milk cows are cranking out milk, and supplies continue to stress and outpace processing capacity.

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Arizona milk output remains strong and is moving towards an anticipated record peak in the next month. Current weather conditions are very conducive for milk production. Plants are taking additional milk that had to be turned away just a few weeks ago.

Milking herds are seeing normal amounts of stress for this time of the winter season in coastal areas of the Pacific Northwest. Temperatures are warming so that there is some additional concern about flooding because of all the low snow in the Coastal Range.

Warm temperatures are not usually enough to bring about flooding; it generally also takes a warm rain which is not in the current forecast. Herds on the east side are seeing more mud, and this is taxing the herds somewhat.

Moisture conditions for the upcoming cropping season are improving. Water should not be a factor in limiting cropping decisions. Current hay offerings are quite limited, and prices are firm. Chicago grain prices of $5 corn and $13 soybeans continue to stress the cost side on feed rations.

Most dairy producers have not gone into their banks yet to go over their operating loans, but that will start in the near future. High input costs and the likelihood of lower milk prices will stress the bottom line for some producers.

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Normal winter conditions are generally the case over Utah and Idaho. It is a tougher winter than last year, but most think that last year was the abnormal one. Milk output is holding up well and fat and protein tests are rated as seasonally good. The amount of winter snow should make cropping decisions for next year somewhat easier. Hay stocks are tight. Heifer prices at two sales in the region are relatively strong. The top heifer at the sales went from $2,580 to $2,620. The average price for heifers was from $2,200 to $2,330. Demand was rated as good with offerings on the light side. PD

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