I haven't blogged for awhile and I was struggling for topics to talk about, since the farm has been pretty silent, other than finishing our taxes. Then, I checked the futures prices for milk on the CME website. I am frustrated. Latest market news about better than expected stocks of dry milk, butter, and cheese in addition to a slowly improving world economy has eroded our once optimistic 2010 milk prices. As dairy farmers we are constantly at the mercy of market conditions, world economies, consumer demand, and the weather. At the end of 2009, I know I was looking forward to the more optimistic 2010 futures prices. Industry leaders were forecasting $15/100 pounds of milk for 2010, but now 2010 looks more like 2009. Today the posted markets will give us about $12.90/100 pounds of milk instead of $15. Last year we averaged $12.65, and lost money 8 months out of 12 in 2009. Needless to say, it's going to be a tough spring trying to make ends meet with these prices.
As dairy farmers we have only a handful of options. We can either lower expenses or increase milk pounds to increase income. At Orange Patch Dairy, we will mostly likely do a little of both. Thanks to 2009, we have many practices at work already. We closely monitor our feeds to make sure that we are feeding our cows EXACTLY what they need, and that we don't feed excess nutrients which will pass into the manure. We try to keep our cows in top physical condition, as we know that sick cows cost money. As we work to keep our cows healthy we also reap the advantage of increased milk production. We know that healthy cows are happy cows, and productive cows.
The only other thing I can do is ask all people, young or old, big or small....to make sure that they balance their diets with 3 servings EACH day of dairy products for healthy living and healthy futures.