USDA’s All-Milk Dairy Price Shows Continued Decline

March 30, 2010 09:12 AM

The all-milk price received by U.S. dairy farmers during March fell to $15.10/cwt., down 4.9% from February's levels, USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) said in its Agricultural Prices report released today.


March's all-milk price is 80¢ lower than last month's $15.90/cwt., but up $3.30/cwt., or 29%, from March 2009.


This month's price drop doesn't surprise Dr. James Dunn, an economics professor at Pennsylvania State University.


"Markets have been soft, and with recent cheese price futures, I don't think prices are going to be very good for the next couple of months,” Dunn said.


Dairy prices look better for July, Dunn said, but "unfortunately that's a long way away, given the hammering everybody took in 2009.”


Feed prices were also lower, with NASS estimating March corn prices at $3.49/bu., down from February's $3.55/bu.


By his calculations, Dunn put income over feed costs -- dairy producers' milk margin after paying their feed bill -- for March in the $9.19 range, about where it was in November 2009. He estimated December 2009's income over feed cost at $10.44, January 2010's at $9.89, and February's at $9.97.


NASS said the fluid grade milk price dropped 80¢ from last month, while the manufacturing grade milk price is 70¢ lower.


Earlier this year, NASS pegged the all-milk price for January at $16.10/cwt.


Read today's USDA Agricultural Prices report at


Catherine Merlo is Western editor for Dairy Today. You can reach her at

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