Fluid Milk and Cream — Western U.S.

March 11

In California, the spring flush has come early and heavy. Some contacts suggest that there may be milk being discarded. Others report that processors may be tolling milk with their partners or offering discounted loads. While a lot of milk is staying more local, some cream and condensed skim is being hauled outside the region. Bottling is steady.

Milk production continues to increase in Arizona as cows are comfortable with spring temperatures. Milk intakes are in good balance with processing needs. Manufacturers say they are not bringing in much milk from surrounding states. Class I sales are steady.

New Mexico milk production is returning to normal seasonal patterns. Class I demand is a bit lower this week but was still stronger than normal. Balancing plants are operating at capacity. The full impact of the winter storms is still being determined, but there is some indication of an increase in culling. Milk haulers suggest that they have learned from the experience and are better prepared for future storms.

As dine-in restrictions relax in the Pacific Northwest, Class I demand has eased slightly. Manufacturers have plenty of milk available to them for processing. Milk intakes have been held in check with over-base programs, but processors are evaluating whether it makes economic sense to take on any of the additional milk. Milk production is nearing spring flush and some contacts suggest that they are seeing some of the highest component levels they have ever seen.

Milk production in the Mountain states of Idaho, Utah, and Colorado is strong, and milk handlers are discounting loads at $4.00 to $5.00 under Class IV to move loads out into surrounding states. Parts of the region are preparing for a heavy snow late this week by staging trucks and bringing up extra trailers to keep plants running. There is a lot of creativity involved to keep milk moving from farm to plant. Across the region, there are conflicting views on condensed skim availability. Some contacts report that spot loads of condensed skim milk are committed. Others suggest that loads of skim solids are widely available as the region enters into flush.

Cream in the west is heavy with higher than usual seasonal production. Demand is meeting the increased supply though, as industry contacts report more spot interest in cream. Butter churns are active, however, ice cream makers are also keeping busy working through the abundance of cream and milkfat.