Farm Ireland

Saturday 24 February 2018

Milk production on rise in Kansas as US reacts to high global prices

US dairy farmers are ramping up milk production in response to high global dairy prices.

The latest figures from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) show a 2.7pc rise in milk production in August, compared to the same month last year. Milk production in the 23 major milk-producing states during August totalled 15.7bn pounds (7.12bn litres).

Kansas and Iowa led the increased surge, with Kansas up 8.8pc and Iowa up 8pc. California, Wisconsin, New York and Pennsylvania also reported increases of 1.7-3.5pc last month and only two (Idaho and New Mexico) of the top 10 dairy states reported decreases.

Meanwhile, cow slaughter during August was down compared to August 2013. The USDA report found that dairy cow slaughter fell by 9,000 head (3.2pc) from a year ago. However, total cow slaughter figures are up for 2013 compared to 2012.

Some 2,084,000 dairy cows have been processed through federally inspected plants. That is 46,000 head more than last year, a 2.3pc increase.


New Zealand dairy companies are losing up to NZ$2m (€1.2m) in sales to China every week since the Fonterra botulism scare in August, according to the New Zealand Infant Formula Exporters Association.

The association has embarked on a mission to assure Chinese customers of the safety of Kiwi dairy products, amid fears that many Chinese consumers remain unaware that the incident was a false alarm.

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Simon Page, managing director of Auckland's BioPure Health, which operates a network of New Zealand Milk Bar retail outlets in China's Sichuan province, said the number of people visiting its stores had halved since the Fonterra scare.

Association chairman Michael Barnett told the New Zealand Herald that the Kiwi government had yet to realise how much work was required to restore New Zealand's reputation for safe dairy products in the world's second-biggest economy.

Mr Barnett led a delegation of local infant formula exporters that left for Shanghai at the weekend to meet with Chinese distributors, retailers and media with the aim of restoring confidence.


Harvesting has begun on America's much talked about bumper maize crop. The crop, which has been flagged as a potentially record breaking harvest of 351.6m tonnes, is late being harvested following a delayed sowing in the spring and slow early growth. Harvesting progress to date is considerably behind last year, although the 2012 harvest was unusually early because of drought.

The forecast bumper maize crop has been the major driver behind a widespread depression in international grain prices. However, it remains to be seen if the predictions turn out to be accurate.

A report from the US Farm Service Agency last week cast some doubt on the bumper harvest forecast by increasing its estimates for unplanted maize area by 160,000ac to 3.56m acres.

Closer to home, aggressive selling of wheat from the Black Sea region has resulted in Black Sea grain significantly undercutting US, French and German wheat.

Irish dried grain prices eased again last week, with barley trading at €173-178/t collected ex store. Dried Irish wheat is traded at €185/t to €190/t and dried oats at €165-€170/t.


Australian live exports of cattle are expected to jump by 25pc next year after its biggest market, Indonesia, abandoned its quota regime for live cattle imports.

The Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) predicted that total live exports for the 2013/2014 season that begins next month would stand at 590,000 head, up from an earlier estimate of 470,000 head.

In 2010/2011, Indonesia imported 700,000 Australian cattle but this figure dropped dramatically to 266,000 head in 2012/13 when quotas were imposed. In an effort to curb rising domestic cattle prices, Indonesia has now abandoned its quota system.

ABARES kept its forecast for slaughtered beef exports at an unchanged record of 1.07m tonnes. It raised its expectation of Chinese demand by 10,000t to 130,000t.

Irish Independent

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