The U.S. Department of Agriculture raised its 2022 milk production estimate for the second month in a row in its World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report — citing higher milk cow inventories more than offsetting slower growth in milk per cow. It also gave us our first view of 2023 projections.
2022 production and marketings were estimated at 226.7 and 225.6 billion pounds respectively, up 400 million pounds on production and 300 million on marketings. If realized, output would be up 400 million pounds or 0.2 percent from 2021.
2023 production and marketings were estimated at 229.5 and 228.4 billion pounds respectively. If realized, 2023 production would be up 2.8 billion pounds or 1.2 percent from 2022. The increase will be driven by gains in milk per cow, says the WASDE, with the milk cow herd expected to average close to 2022 levels.
Price forecasts for 2022 cheese and butter were raised from the previous month, based on tighter stocks and firm demand. Non-fat dry milk prices were raised fractionally while whey prices were lowered, as U.S. prices are expected to become competitive with international prices.
The 2022 cheese price average was projected at $2.175 per pound, up 2.5 cents from last month’s estimate, and compares to the 2021 average of $1.6755. The 2023 average was estimated at $2.04 per pound.
Butter was projected at $2.65 per pound for 2022, up a penny from a month ago, and compares to $1.7325 in 2021. The 2023 average was estimated at $2.35.
Nonfat dry milk is projected to average $1.715 per pound for 2022 and $1.58 for 2023. Dry whey was projected to average 65.5 cents per pound in 2022 and 52 cents per pound in 2023.
The 2022 Class III milk price average is projected at $22.75 per hundredweight, unchanged from a month ago, and compares to $17.08 in 2021, and was estimated to average $20.50 in 2023.
The Class IV is expected to average $23.80 in 2022, down 25 cents from a month ago, and compares to $16.09 in 2021. The 2023 average is at $21.40.
Dairy cow culling has slowed in the United States, with high milk prices providing the incentive. In the week ending April 30, 51,600 dairy cows were sent to slaughter, down 4,800 head from the previous week, and 4,100 or 7.4 percent below a year ago.