Milk prices expected to decrease in ‘15

Published 11:23 pm Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Locals could soon see relief at the checkout counter when purchasing milk.

Analysts with National Milk Producers Federation and Dairy Management say milk prices for this year will be significantly lower than in 2014.

Analysts report that imports from international countries such as China are way below last year’s level, and that the amount of exports of U.S. milk were down 2.2 percent for September through November 2014.

Dairy farmers are being forced to slash milk prices after having a surplus from last year.

In 2014, milk prices hit an all-time record of nearly $24 per hundredweight, and futures show that the average milk price for the year will be $7 per hundredweight lower than last year’s.

Overall, the USDA’s food price outlook predicts that farm-level milk prices will decrease 9 to 10 percent in 2015, and wholesale dairy will decrease 5 to 6 percent in 2015.

The USDA concludes that low feed prices may promote dairy expansion, which in turn, would increase the supply of milk and other dairy-related items.

Nationally, prices are beginning to drop. They have already decreased from $3.86 per gallon to $3.82 per gallon and are expected to fall ever further in the springtime.

While milk is falling, beef and veal prices are continuing to rise. From 2013 to 2014, the prices were up 18.7 percent.

The USDA credits U.S. cattle inventory at a historical low as one of the reasons.

“While recent rains in the Southern Plains and Southwest have improved pasture conditions somewhat, the drought still continue in these regions,” the release said. “In addition, improved crop yields allow cattle producers to feed cattle longer and to hold cattle for expansion.”

It is predicted that beef and veal prices will continue to increase 5 to 6 percent in 2015.

While pork prices fell in December, they are still up 8.2 percent from last year.

The USDA says that retail pork inflation is due to the effects of PEDv, which reduced the number of hogs in the fall which were ready for production.

It is predicted that pork prices will rise 2 to 3 percent this year.

Egg prices are up 10.7 percent over December 2013 levels, according to the USDA. The department describes egg prices are some of the most volatile retail food prices.

Overall, eggs are expected to increase 2.5 to 3.5 percent this year.