The forecast all-milk prices for 2014 averages 70 cents a hundred above the average for 2013. Given lower feed prices, that's positive for dairy farmers, adds Dunn.
Gains in income over feed costs
Penn State's measure of income over feed costs rose 0.4% in December to $10.29 per cow per day. That's the highest value since 2007, due to higher milk prices.
It's important to note that the dairy margin improvements haven't prompted an increase in cow numbers. Western producers, in particular, are not adding cows, despite better margins. The last couple years have especially hurt producers who buy most of their feed.
Watch for American Agriculturist 's 2014 Dairy Outlook in February's issue, and an analysis of the Whole Foods spat with Chobani over its Greek yogurt by Dunn and University of Wisconsin's Mark Stephenson.
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