The United States Department of Agriculture expects rising feed prices to continue to mean fewer dairy cows.
“Cow numbers began to show a decline in the May Milk Production Report. The prospect of rising feed prices will likely accelerate this trend for the rest of 2012 and into 2013,” say USDA’s Economic Research Service economists in today’s Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook report.
Cow numbers average 9.270 million April through June. USDA expects that number to drop to 9.230 in the third quarter and to 9.175 million in the fourth.
Those lower numbers will translate to less milk production and rising prices. USDA expects the all-milk price to range from $16.70 to $17.10 in the third quarter and from $17.25 to $17.95 in the fourth quarter.
The futures prices are even more bullish, with Class III prices in the $18 to $19 range August through December.
For the full today’s Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook report, click here.