Below you'll find our monthly feed and grain price updates, in chronological order.
The dismal state of the organic market has many organic dairy and transitional producers questioning their future. Despite rising retail sales, admittedly only averaging 5.7% over all fat levels, we are in a supply. While this surplus is similar to the 2009 situation, there are different characteristics. Principally, the differences are the increase in sales of whole milk over non-fat products, the increased consumer popularity of Grassfed milk, the availability of organic processing capacity, and the increased volume of milk that has to be absorbed by a conventional market in surplus. With the surplus comes a drop in pay price and restrictions on volume, either voluntarily or, as is the case with CROPP, imposition of a $20 deduction per cwt for milk over the active quota. Producers’ responses will be to cut back on expansion plans, decrease cow numbers, rear fewer replacements, feed less grain and/or lengthen the calving dates. At the same time that producers are being asked to cut back production, the largest, vertically integrated organic dairy (Aurora Dairy) is actively expanding production and processing ability. Manufacturers that require organic dairy ingredient are looking to source their own supply, and we have the brand leader of organic milk (WhiteWave/Horizon) being acquired by the brand leader of organic yogurt (Danone/ Stonyfield). The number of buyers of organic milk is shrinking rapidly and any leverage to affect their pay price that producers may have had in the past has disappeared. A producer can’t move to another buyer if there are no active buyers in the region. Dairies cannot transition if there are no buyers looking for more milk.
For more on Feed and Pay price plus many charts of historical data, please go to:
Organic Milk, Pay,
Retail and Feed Prices November 2016
Added November 16, 2016. Its official – we are in a surplus supply situation and CROPP is selling organic milk into the conventional market. George Siemon posted on Odairy list serve: “There is an oversupply in most of the nation, and our cooperative for one is selling milk conventionally rather than lowering the target price so that we protect the long-term organic price.” Pay price has been hit though with both CROPP and WhiteWave taking up to two dollars off the Market Adjustment Premium (MAP) which doesn’t affect the base price but is significant as we enter into the winter months.
Following some months in 2015 when organic milk production seemed to have slowed, or even declined, 2016 has been a good year for growth in production. Recent efforts to increase numbers of organic dairy producers, by some processors, are now generating increased organic milk flows. NOFA-NY LLC is currently working with the largest group of transitioning farms since the rule change which mandated 100% organic feed for a full year to transition. They currently certify 312 dairy operations, 22 of which are grass-fed certified as well. Transition numbers are continually growing, with 55 farms in transition and an additional 13 farms looking to bring in organic animals to start shipping organic milk. Grass-fed is on the rise too, with nine farms pending certification through NOFA-NY. AMS reports total organic milk products’ retail sales for June 2016 of 217 million pounds, were up 6.7% from June 2015, and up 5.6% from January through June, compared with the same months of 2015. Total organic whole milk products retail fluid sales for June 2016, 78 million pounds, were up 16.2% compared with June last year and up 16.3% January through June compared with the same months of 2015. For the complete article please go to:
Sales of organic fluid retail milk in May 2016 are the highest recorded in the history of USDA AMS recordkeeping dating back to 2008. USDA AMS data shows sales up by 5.4% January through May 2016, compared with the same period in 2015. Sales of organic whole milk are up 25.5% in May 2016 from sales in May 2015. Year-to-date sales of all organic milk are up 16.4% compared to the same period in 2015. New England continues to see strong growth in utilization of organic whole milk as reported by the Federal Milk Marketing Order 1 with utilization up by 32% in May 2016 over May 2015, and up 15% in June 2016 over June 2015. As we recognize that the organic dairy and beef market is now worldwide, with imports of organic milk, organic milk powder and organic beef manufacturing trim increasing, attention needs to be paid to changes in Europe, especially with the exit of Britain from the European Union. The EU farmgate price is approximately $26.50 per 100 lbs. of milk. Comparatively, retail prices in the EU are lower by about 35%.
For further details of what is happening and some charts, please go:
Data published by the USDA AMS continues to show slight reduction in retail sales of organic non-fat fluid milk for November and December, 2015, and a small increase in sales of full fat and 2% fluid milk compared to 2014. The only Federal Milk Marketing Order to publish data on organic utilization is Order 1 (Northeast) and their data show that utilization of organic whole milk had increased by 20% to 13,659,363 lbs. in December, 2015 compared to 11,306,595 lbs. in December, 2014. Non-fat and Reduced Fat organic milk utilization only increased marginally by less than 1%. There is no tracking of the increasing sales of grass-fed milk, and now certified organic grass-fed milk, both retail and manufacturing. With Danone (Stonyfield brand) moving away from purchasing all of its supply from CROPP, it is expanding its direct purchasing of organic to include organic grass-fed, there is increasing competition for a limited pool of milk. Maple Hill Creamery, selling to Danone should assist with their balancing and allow them to continue their active solicitation of producers who can meet their standards. Producers are exercising their right to move their supply to other companies with the increase in competition across the Midwest and the Northeast. Those looking for an easier entry into a value added market are looking at the grass-fed market demand, whether it is an entry to organic or not. With the price of conventional milk projected to stay low because of the decrease in exports and without any grant based federal safety net, many small to mid-size dairy operations are looking at different options to stay in business. For more on pay and feed price, please go to:
Feed & Pay Prices for January 2016
Recent data published by the USDA-AMS show a continuing slight reduction in retail sales of organic non-fat fluid milk for October 2015, and a small increase in sales of full fat and 2% fluid milk. While retail fluid sales have declined, the retail price has increased and there are still shortages on supermarket shelves. The drop in sales can be attributed to a shortage of supply and milk being diverted to manufacturing as demand for the higher margin organic dairy non-fluid products is increasing. Manufacturers and retailers are continuing to look at imports as a more steady supply of both finished organic product (cheese); bulk product to be packaged within the US and organic powder because pricing and supply are preferable to buying domestic. Producers are continuing to use the end of their contract and cooperative agreements to move to other buyers, especially more regional buyers in the northeast. Conventional producers are examining their ability to transition to organic production, especially with the lower conventional price in 2015, which has resulted in enquiries to NODPA from Farm Credit about the state of the organic dairy market, as there is no independent data at the USDA. The only Federal Milk Marketing Order to publish data on organic utilization is Order 1 (Northeast) and their data show that utilization of organic whole milk had increased by 25% to 13,068,122 lbs. in November 2015 compared to 10,452,276 lbs. in November 2014. Non-fat and Reduced Fat organic milk utilization only increased marginally by less than 1%. Those transitioning to organic and their advisors should always be aware of the learning curve on livestock husbandry skills and practices and also pay close attention to restrictions imposed by their land base, plus the increased cost of organic dairy production as clearly expressed by Bob Parsons’ ongoing study. For the complete article and charts please go to:
Organic Milk, Pay, Retail and Feed Prices November 2015
Total retail sales of organic fluid milk for July and August 2015 showed a decline in sales over the previous year. Sales of non-fat products continue to drop while whole milk continues to increase. While retail fluid sales have declined, the retail price has increased and there are still shortages on supermarket shelves.’ The drop in sales can be attributed to a shortage of supply or milk being diverted to manufacturing as demand for organic dairy non-fluid products is increasing. Producers are continuing to move to different buyers as contracts end and pay price continues to increase in response to higher inputs and competition for supply. In the northeast farmgate price between $35-40 per hundred pounds are being reported and higher with operation that meet the grass-based criteria of some buyers and at least two certifiers. In the Midwest the mailbox price can average $33-35 per hundred pounds.
As domestic supply is tight and producers transitioning or expanding are slow, the two major national brands are looking overseas and to other beverage products to expand their operations and profitably. For more details and charts of trends over the last seven years, go to:
Pay and Feed Price Update:
Total retail sales for organic fluid milk for June 2015 show no increase on June 2014 sales, but sales of non-fat products continue to drop while whole milk continues to increase. We have no data on total organic milk production so it’s not possible to estimate if this lack of growth in fluid sales is the result of consumer demand or lack of supply.
Retailers are being shorted as organic milk is being diverted to manufacturing use as demand for a consistent supply of organic ingredients increases dramatically with rising interest in non-fluid organic products. Organic processors also have many different plant-based beverages that compete in the dairy case for space. Processors shorting retailers on dairy products may mean increased facing/shelf space for those products and less for dairy beverages. We also have no data on organic imports and how many manufacturers are sourcing organic whey and milk powders, and at what price. Recent equivalency agreements have opened the door to increased imports from Europe, which will require more policing to ensure that none come from livestock treated with antibiotics, which is allowable under some European certifiers. To read more and see updated charts, please go to:
Pay Price, Feed & Retail
Price Update for July 2015
Organic milk is part of the Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO) and use of organic milk is approximately 75% in Class 1, which means that processors pay into the pool that helps stabilizes non-organic milk. While processors are always complaining about the unfairness of still being part of the FMMO they do use it to balance their usage, especially with the spring flush, and being part of the order ensures that milk plants will process organic milk on schedule. Another aspect of the FMMO is the recording of data by an independent entity which can show how all milk is being used, including organic. In the last month, Federal Order No. 1 of the FMMO has released statistics on how many organic producers are shipping milk to plants in the region. These show that while consumer demand and production are increasing, the number of farms is dropping. The FMMO also records that organic milk has higher butterfat tests by about .18% (organic at 3.91% and non-organic at 3.73%) while protein levels were about the same for both types of milk. The FMMO does not record all the information for those producing organic milk but this data is excellent at showing the trends in production and farm numbers. Whatever the reason, and there is no one reason, organic is going the way of conventional dairy: larger, but fewer organic dairy farms. Organic processors are again investigating submitting a petition to the FMMO to make changes in the way organic milk is assessed by the order, and there will be a transparent (and long) process involved. It was reported this month that organic milk sales, year-to-date, are down 0.5%, as reduced fat milks’ sales drop slightly and whole milk sales increase. For more details and information please click here.
Pay Price, Feed & Retail Price Update for May 2015: Organic Milk Feeding Frenzy
If you are in a position to move your milk to another processor, especially if you qualify for any grass-fed programs, you will find plenty of folks out there willing to buy your milk and most will give a sign-on incentive. Producers across the country are looking to move away from the national brands and change their buyers, mostly to more regionally based processors and cooperatives. Processors are giving financial incentives for those thinking of transitioning to organic and there are reports of farms transitioning, especially in Vermont where there is active support and good business planning for those making the switch. One processor in New York is offering an incentive of $3 per hundred pounds for the final 12 months of transition plus $2.50 per hundred incentives for the first 3 months of organic production. Another is offering a $38 base price on organic (not grass fed). As Organic Valley is dropping some of its store brand contracts because of a shortage in supply, they are being picked up by more regional processors who need the customers to balance their branded product. Experienced producers are stressing the need for a higher long term base price, and a base pay price of $37 per hundred with quality and volume premiums bringing it closer to a farmgate price of $40 per hundred with no trucking costs, are increasingly common. To read more, please click here.Feed and Pay Prices for March 2015:
USDA AMS reports increase in retail sales of organic fluid milk in 2014 were up by 9.2% over sales in 2013, and total U.S. organic milk products’ sales as a percentage of total conventional milk products’ sales has trended up annually, from 1.92% in 2006 to 5.2% in 2014. This increase in demand has seen shortages on the shelves and a small increase in base pay price. How do you increase the volume of organic milk, feed or any other raw material – raise the price that producers are paid. Over 60% of organic grains that are used in the US are imported and now we have imported organic cheese and milk powder plus imported beef manufactured trim from three continents co-mingled to make generically branded organic ground beef. The reason for the importation is partly due to availability and partly on price. The availability is great for organic ground beef from organic cull cows available in the US, but it is easier and cheaper to import beef manufacture trim from Australia. If the organic pay price for grains were higher, there would be more grain producers transitioning to organic. Consumers are paying more for organic because they believe the products are better for them and that they benefit their environment. With imports driving the expansion of organics and either driving down pay prices or preventing prices from rising enough to sustain US organic producers, it is unlikely we will see a growth in organic production, especially as the early pioneers of organic processing sell out to large conglomerates who only have one bottom line – profits for their shareholders. For more on pay price and charts on the growth of real organic sales, please go to:
Pay Price Update for January 2015: Pay price moves up slowly as sales increase and shortages continue
It looks like 2015 will be the year when processors start to recognize the realities of organic dairy production and the steady growth of demand in the retail market based on quality and production preference. As competition for the milk supply increases, regional buyers of organic milk are becoming more aggressive, with many different incentives available for those that want to switch processors. While an increasing part of the pay price is still the MAP, which can be taken away at the discretion of the processor, the base price has increased and CROPP has made the calculation of their pay price more understandable. To find out what the processors are paying and for a history of demand and supply please go to:
Pay, retail and feed price
for November 2014
In the Northeast, competition for milk supply is increasing, with expansion plans by established and new processors who are looking for more producers in certain geographic areas. There are reports that supermarket shelves are empty and/or under supplied. With the current high costs of inputs causing some drop in production, some reduction in herd size because of a high cull beef price, and producers leaving organic production, the supply of organic milk is not increasing enough to satisfy the increase in demand. Producers have changed production practices and economized on inputs and the only way to increase supply is to increase the base pay price to give producers’ confidence in long term profitability. With an average growth rate of 7-8% a year in fluid sales and increasing demand for organic dairy in manufactured products, now would be the time for organic buyers to schedule higher base pay prices for the next few years as, with higher profits for conventional producers, it makes it easier to transition to organic production as the cost of transition would be less than it has been. To read more and see the charts showing the trends over the last 6 years:
Feed and Pay Price for October 2014
There are new processors who are looking for milk and that has increased competition which is starting to increase pay price. Horizon confirmed that they will be initiating a winter feed premium of $1 for the period of Oct 1 through Dec 31, and will be adding an additional $1 on the MAP effective Oct 1 through at least June 31, 2015.
There has been an increase in the number of dairies looking for organic milk which include the following:
Organic chicken is continuing to drive prices up for organic grain. Expect to see corn prices at $525-550/ton in the Northeast with no sign that prices will drop as more imports come into the country.
Feed and Pay Price Update for September 2014
In the Northeast, competition for milk supply is increasing with expansion plans by Upstate Niagara and Stonyfield, both looking for producers in certain geographic areas, and the national brands working to keep their producers by offering small incentives on pay price. Producers are in a stronger position to advocate for a higher pay price as they renew contracts or talk with their cooperative about the annual decisions around increase in member compensation. There is also an increase in demand for producers who qualify for the grass fed label as CROPP expands its available routes for producers. The conventional pay price is still high, the beef cull price has shown no sign of dropping, and conventional feed is cheap so there is no economic incentive to transition unless there is the promise of a future higher pay price for organic. With an average growth rate of 7-8% a year in fluid sales and increasing demand for organic dairy in manufactured product, now would be the time for organic buyers to schedule higher pay prices for the next few years as, with higher profits for conventional producers, it makes it easier to transition to organic production as the cost of transition would be less than with weak conventional prices. For a more complete article please go to:
Feed and Pay Price for July 2014
Organic milk supply is tight, consumption of organic fluid milk is increasing, feed costs are starting to rise as supply tightens and purchased hay is expensive, if you can find any of good quality. BUT the pay price only increases by $1. Organic leader and founder of Stonyfield Farms Gary Hirschberg recently told a group of investors that now is the time to buy into organics and it seems there is a positive future for everyone in the organic business world except for producers who are being undercut by imports. Learn more about the current trends in milk pay price, feed and the retail price for organic milk by going here >
Pay Price, Feed and Retail Price Update for May 2015
We learned this week that MOO Milk in Maine has ceased production because of the lack of processing infrastructure to match the growing market needs (http://moomilkco.com/ ). For at least the next three months, their 12 members will sell their milk to Stonyfield yogurt which started to source its own milk in the last couple of months. Stonyfield’s first and only producer was using the MOO Milk transport to ship their milk and Stonyfield was buying the rest of the load from MOO Milk. MOO Milk has stated that all vendors will be paid and almost a year ago they were able to refund the founding members capital investment with a $3 million anonymous donation through Slow Money. Fortunately this thoughtful and obviously well planned decision to stop packaging milk comes as Stonyfield started their own sourcing program in New England so it appears that no producers will lose money. The demise of yet another independent processor highlights the complexity of the supply chain for those producers that want to work together to coordinate the direct marketing of their product, especially for organically certified product that has to be kept separate from non-organic during transport, processing and delivery.
With retail fluid sales increasing by approximately 7% per year, an increased demand for no-grain milk, and a supply shortage, which has some supermarkets posting lack of availability signs in stores, we are seeing a distinct difference in how the two national brands of organic milk are responding to the increased demand for milk. CROPP Cooperative is tentatively offering a small $1/cwt increase and WhiteWave Horizon Organic is extending their MAPP for Northeast farmers until December 31, 2014, but offering no increase. CROPP is responding to increased demand for “Grass milk” by upping their premium in the face of competition from other companies’ higher pay price and increased marketing of “100% grass-fed” organic milk. The Northeast market has become increasingly competitive for milk due to a late ‘spring flush’ and producers who have cut back production in the face of high feed inputs and stagnant pay price, with one processor reporting that they are down 40 tanker loads from last year, and no milk going into the conventional market. Non-organic producers in the northeast are seeing an increase in per cwt pay price over a five year average of approximately $4 per cwt and a return on equity of 4.3% (Northeast Dairy Farm Summary 2013, Farm Credit East) whereas organic dairy farm families are looking at increased input costs with no increase in pay price. For more details and charts please go to:
Feed and Pay Price Update for April 2014
CROPP, Organic Valley’s parent company, has had a good year nearing a billion dollars in sales with an increase of 8.5 percent on previous year’s sales. WhiteWave, Horizon Organic’s parent company, is diversifying and generating great profits for its shareholders. The number of organically certified operations has increased according to the USDA. All is seemingly good with organics as the market increases and more profits are made. But where does that leave the producers, especially those that deal in commodities rather than direct marketing, and that have made a strong commitment in time, money and passion to organic certification? What is the organic community’s responsibility to safeguard the future income for those producers? Politically the USDA NOP is changing the transparency of its processes and allowing undue influence by manufacturers and processors in deciding what synthetics are allowed in organic products resulting in the integrity of organics getting more diluted. Manufacturers are importing more organic raw materials at cheaper prices than can be produced in the US, which undermines small to mid-size organic operations that do not have economies of scale. With the increased lack of transparency, less stakeholder involvement, and less perceived integrity, consumers will stop valuing organic and will start purchasing more “natural”, “non-GMO” “sustainable” and “green” products. This will affect the commodity market the greatest, with organic dairy being hit the hardest in a confused market where vegetable juice can be called milk and can be sold in the dairy section of supermarkets and organic milk can be sold at close to the same retail price of non-organic.
In organic dairy we have processors clinging to outdated methods of paying producers, relying on regional payments that do not relate to input costs, and substituting MAP and seasonal payments instead of increases in the base price. Western producers are suffering terribly from the drought and the high price of feed with some major producers diversifying out of organic dairy. It’s time for the processors to move away from regional payments and increase the pay price for western producers to match their input costs. There is plenty of evidence of the need and if the processors are truly supporting the future of organic production rather than their own growth as companies or their future as salaried employees, then they need to recognize the needs of their member owners and their suppliers. With CROPP importing vegetables and beef manufacturing trim (this is what makes up the pink slim in non-organic meat), perhaps they are not paying close enough attention to their core member owners interests.
USDA Agricultural Marketing Service again shows an increase in sales of organic fluid milk in January 2014 of 13.5% over January 2013 with organic whole milk sales increasing at the same rate as non-fat milk. With butter now in a revival, there is an increase in demand for organic butter and supplies are tightening. With a delay in the Spring flush of milk because of the long winter and extreme weather, manufacturers are reportedly facing shortages and lack of supply of butter and considering trucking product from further away.
For more details on the price of feed and retail sales and pricing please go to:
Feed and Pay Price Update
Added January 24, 2014. Organic fluid milk sales are growing steadily with a year-to-date increase of 4.7% over last year, with some strong competition in the dairy case in the Northeast as Horizon Organic maintains the number one position in retail sales, with sales of store brand/private label in second place. What is equally interesting is what the major organic milk companies are doing as organic increases its drive toward consolidation. WhiteWave have decided to sell their large organic dairy in Idaho (can’t make it pay) and is now expanding into China through a joint-venture agreement with China Mengniu Dairy Co., plus they have just completed their $600 million purchase of Earthbound Farm, a California company that sells organic salads, dried fruits and frozen fruits and vegetables. Organic Valley, through its subsidiaries Organic Prairie and Lorentz Meats, is investing in a slaughterhouse and meat processing facility in southern Vermont and will distribute product throughout New England in partnership with Black River Produce, despite the fact that reports say their organic beef program is struggling. Stonyfield has decided to set up their own pool of milk in New England, and Blue Goose (Canada) is expanding rapidly (Google them!).
Organic corn is still in the $10-12 per bushel range in the midwest but there are fears of a lower than average bushel weight. Organic livestock and grain farmers have plenty to deal with over and above the weather, which is literally freezing teats on milking cows no matter what producers use to try to protect them. Organic grain growers are faced with projections that conventional prices for corn will drop as low as $2-3 per bushel in 2015, the organic price would then be projected at $6-7 per bushel (roughly double the conventional price). If that happens we will see an exodus of organic grain producers. Grain producers need a fair price to ensure that we have enough domestic production for livestock. At that lower price there will probably be a slowdown in imported grains, except that the organic poultry farms are the biggest consumers of organic grain and are currently importing product from countries as far away as India, which comes into the US from Canada.
For more details please go to:
Feed and Pay Price Updates
Added November 18, 2013. USDA Agricultural Marketing Services (AMS) reports that total fluid sale for organic milk was up again for September 2013; 192 million pounds, which is 10.4% higher than September last year and 5.3% higher than 2012 year to date, with whole milk showing the biggest increase. Organic half gallons retail price is averaging 40 cents lower than 2012 at $3.48.
USDA AMS reported national organic grain and feedstuff prices were holding steady as the harvest season for corn and soybeans comes to an end. Demand for feed grade corn and soybeans remains good as the industry waits to see what yields are nationally with initial yields being higher than expected. Corn for June thru August delivery is being priced at $11 per bushel; about $4 per bushel lower than last year. There are variable reports across the country as to supply and price of organic feed, plus which feed mills contracted ahead and at what prices.
For more details on pay price and retail sales please go to:
For an update of Feed prices please go to:
Feed & Pay Price Updates
Addeded October 6, 2013. Any gathering of organic dairy producers always comes around to the question of pay price and the topic dominated discussions at the NODPA Field Days. At this year’s Field Days Kevin Engelbert gave an excellent key-note speech which pulled no punches about the reality of the situation and the need for producers to take action.
The producer meeting on Friday morning was dominated by concern about how pay price is being tied to individual inputs along with producer efficiency. Horizon (WhiteWave) has continued its MAP of $3/cwt (which has been in place for over a year) to the end of 2013 based on the continuing high price of corn, which misses the point that all inputs have risen and the base price needs to increase. Stonyfield Farm will be holding another producer meeting in Maine to continue their investigation about their own pool of milk in the Northeast complete with an array of experts that can help producers become more ‘efficient’. Producers across the globe have heard this before and many are insulted that these experts (mostly from academia) can tell them how to farm and cut their costs.
Perhaps if Stonyfield, Organic Valley and Horizon (WhiteWave) allowed business professionals and producers to examine their operations to evaluate them against the most efficient in their industry and suggest ways they could become more efficient and cut their costs, then producers would be more open to sharing their business records and production systems. Stonyfield still has yet to name a pay price for the milk they will purchase as part of their proposed pool of organic raw milk but have promised to make a decision by the end of the year on whether to proceed with purchasing milk directly from producers rather than from Organic Valley. In July Organic Valley informed producers of a 100% base quota (they proposed only paying full price for the base production agreed between the company and producer) with a $12.00 per cwt deduct for milk produced over that quota each month starting with October 1st 2013. At the September Organic Valley Board of Directors meeting, the quota was rescinded and all winter bonus payments were left in place ($3.00/cwt for December, January and February). Some say milk supplies are long, some short. Organic fluid milk sales are growing steadily with some strong competition in the dairy case in the Northeast, including increasingly from MOO Milk from Maine.
For more details on pay price and retail sales please go to:
For an update of Feed prices please go to:
Feed and Pay Price
Added September 10, 2013. Organic fluid milk sales are growing steadily with some strong competition in the dairy case in the Northeast as Horizon Organic maintains the number one position in retail sales, with sales of store brand/private label in second place. While the average retail price remains fairly stable the low end of the retail price is currently $2.59 per half gallon which will be for in-store brand promotions and store brand loss leader promotions as organic milk is used to attract organic shoppers. Contracted pay price for producers hasn’t changed and with component and quality bonuses the farm-gate price is reaching the mid $30 per hundred for many producers but profitability for all but the most established organic farms is still dropping. Organic Valley has sent its member-owners notice of a 100% base quota (they will only pay full price for the base production agreed between the company and producer) with a $12.00 per cwt deduct for milk produced over that quota each month starting with October 1st 2013 production. This quota is to remain in effect until conditions improve for Organic Valley and will affect those producers who have recently expanded or those that regularly produce over their agreed base. While the cooperative leaders are optimistic that they will not have to impose an actual quota they are also facing an initiative by Stonyfield to investigate setting up their own milk pool in the Northeast. For more details and charts showing the growth of organic sales and the increase in the retail price over time please go to: LINK
Corn and Soybean prices are generally running under 2012 levels but hay and forage are higher, especially in the Midwest where the weather has followed an unpredictable roller coaster of extremes. While the contracted prices are lower there is no thought or indication that these slightly lower prices will be passed on to producers who purchase pelleted feed. In the Northeast 2012 had a summer drought that burnt up the pastures and cut the yields on field crops and hay and 2013 has seen excess rainfall causing late planting and delayed harvesting but the pastures are still growing. Corn yields in the East are generally predicted to be higher than those in Central US but concerns of an early frost and late planting makes predictions difficult. For more information please go to:
Feed Price Update
Added May 20, 2013. Current market prices for feed have changed little in the last few months. What everyone is watching is the weather and the world demand for corn. With a new seemingly steady price for non-organic corn of between $6-7 per bushel there will not be many transitioning to organic production. With the number of organic egg layers jumping by 3 million between July 2011 (5 million) and April 2013 (8.190 million), the demand for organic feed from organic poultry folks is dominating the market. Future prices for next fall show no signs of dropping so dairy producers should be budgeting for similar price of organic corn for 2014, and if the weather is not amenable they will go higher. For more details please go to:
Feed Price Update
Added April 10, 2013. Organic feed prices have not followed the non-organic price down but trading reported by USDA AMS is at a near standstill as buyers have their needs met despite growers wanting to sell inventory. Quality forage is hard to come by as spring grazing in the Northeast is slow to start up. For updated data please go to:
Feed and Pay Price Updates
Added March 18, 2013. Organic milk processors and buyers have implemented increases in pay price through seasonal Market Adjustment Premiums (MAP’s) (with Horizon extending their seasonal payment to June 2013) but costs are rising as rapidly as the premiums are extended. Producers are reporting record high farm-gate pay prices this winter, between $35-$40/cwt with quality and component payments added, but are still having difficulty paying bills. The current market data shows that Horizon is still the leader for sale of retail fluid product but store brand is now in second place ahead of Organic Valley/Stoneyfield Farm brands. Market reports also indicate that more organic milk is going into manufacturing than usual at this time of year as producers adapt their production systems to a higher seasonal price. How this will affect the traditional spring flush of milk, which is usually put into manufactured product or sold on the non-organic market, is uncertain especially as last year the increase was much less than usual.
On March 8th 2013, AMS reported that total organic fluid sales for December 2012 of 174 million pounds, were down 4.3% from December 2011, but up 2.9% January through December 2012 compared with 2011. Organic whole milk sales for December 2012, 48 million pounds, were up 8.2% compared with December 2011, and up 10.4% January through December 2012 compared with 2011. Organic Fat-Reduced milk sales for December 2012 of 126 million pounds were down 8.4% compared with December 2011, but up 0.6% January through December 2012 compared with 2011.
For more information and historical charts on pay price:
For more information on the static level of Feed prices please go to:
For Organic Farmers Agency for Relationship Marketing (OFARM) target pricing for corn and livestock please go to: www.ofarm.org
Feed Price Update
Added February 11, 2013. On a recent conference call with organic dairy producers from across the country it was very clear that everyone has been fine-tuning their calculations about the inventory of their feed as availability of purchased organic forage and grain is both spotty and expensive. It is at times like this when the pay price, though relatively high with extended MAP’s, good component pricing and seasonal payments, doesn’t cover cost of inputs, that the integrity of organic production is stretched with the temptation to purchase non-organic feed. Organic dairy farm families need to be paid enough to support their cost of production as we must now plan for cost of feed and inputs at new high norms. Corn has been at over $12/bushel for over a year and shows no sign of declining and organic soybean contract for delivery in October 2013 are priced at $28/bushel. If parity pricing was an accepted form of deciding pay price, the organic pay price would be at least $20 higher than it is now. For more details and graphs about feed prices, please go to:
Feed price update
Added January 22, 2013. USDA Organic Dairy Market News reported that despite the increase in retail prices, organic sales are at an all-time high for October 2012, approximately 6% higher that October 2011 and 5% higher over the last 12 months. As demand for raw milk increases, pay price remains largely unchanged and the organic dairy farmer share of the retail dollar remains at least 15% lower than their conventional neighbors. But there is no break in the price for feed with 16% crude protein organic feed nearly double what it was in 2010, even with imports of soybeans and substitution of other grains and alfalfa in pelleted mixes. There’s not much change in the price of corn and soybeans, but many project an increase in product from Canada, China and South America to provide for the US livestock market. The bushel price for corn and soybeans has remained steady at $15 and $28 respectively. The price for soybean meal is steady at $1,175- $1,300 per ton depending on location, but still $400 higher than last year. Corn meal ranges from $600-700 per ton depending on location. Hay is increasingly more difficult to find and prices are around $300 per ton. For all the details please go to:
Added October 11, 2012. The only good news is that the feed situation hasn’t gotten any worse as everyone waits for the results of the harvest. With various and very diverse reports coming from different regions, it is almost impossible for producers that buy their feed direct from the farm to have any idea of the prices. For feed dealers who have locked in prices and contracts for months in advance, their concerns are about quality and grain farmers honoring their contracts, especially on imports. Feed dealers report that many producers on COD and account receivables have increased to levels above what most loan officers will tolerate as the average price for 16% grain increased by 38% over 2011 prices. As one presenter at the NODPA Field Days remarked – “times are tough and there are two things that are not true –everyone lives happily ever after, and a farmer being able to pay next month’s bill if he can’t pay this one.” For more information on what feed prices are doing, please click here.
Feed Hard To Find, State to State Difference in Price
Added September 10, 2012. Corn and soybeans are not only expensive but difficult to find and, with no firm forecasts for the new season, producers are looking at limited availability for alternative feed sources and rapidly increasing prices. Some organic operations are reportedly experiencing a decrease in financial support from lenders, as well as a lack of continued interest in their operations, due to rising costs of feed. Pasture conditions vary in different regions and although there is the opportunity to extend the grazing season, some producers do not have the land base, the climate or the resources to change their production system. The price of corn has continued to increase with a September price at $17/bushel at the farm (it is now higher than the price of soybean in June 2010) along with soybeans, at $29.50/bushel, with soybean meal exceeding $1,300 per ton. For more details, please go to:
The Latest Feed Prices
Added August 6, 2012. Compared to last month, national organic grain and feedstuffs were mixed, with light to moderate demand and light offerings. Corn averaged a slightly lower price, while beans averaged a higher price. Much of the corn movement this period was comprised of partial loads, as the supplies in most areas are very sparse. Drought concerns have halted new crop contracting for some farmers, who are reportedly waiting to see what their harvest will look like this fall before taking further steps to market new crop grain. Learn more >Feed Update
Added July 16, 2012. The current feed situation can be summed up best with a quote from Mary-Howell Martens of Lakeview Organic on the Odairy listserve, "between the armyworm and the intense drought here in New York, crops are really not looking good and pastures are terrible ……. Heads up folks – if you think the organic grain price is bad now, I'm really afraid you ain't seen nothing yet. And there isn't going to be much hay either."
For those producers who can find and afford to buy grain, corn prices are at an all-time high since data was collected in 2008, at $15.86/bushel in the Midwest. Soybeans are higher than 2008 levels at $28/bushel with soybean meal at $1,250/ton. With uncertainty on crop yield, how much acreage has returned to non-organic production and the effect of weather and insect damage on pasture, there is no ability to predict fall prices, even with some imports and 'green' protein available. For more details on Feed prices please go to:
The Latest Feed Prices
Added June 4, 2012. National organic grain and feedstuffs are trading slightly higher than May with a firm undertone noted on corn and soybeans. For details, click here >
No light at the end of the tunnel
on feed costs and pay-price
Added May 8, 2012. Horizon Organic announced at the end of April that their MAP will be maintained at $3 or $3.50 /cwt (depending on geographic location) until the end of September 2012. Organic Valley pay price continues to be the highest of the national brands but some of the regional processors are currently paying more. The costs of inputs have remained high, and farmers are struggling to break even. Producers across the country are still requesting another $3 per cwt to reach a breakeven point for 2012 based on sound economic analysis from independent sources using data from farmers in all area of the US. For more information please click here:
The costs of feed continue to remain high with soy starting to climb rapidly. Some of the feed dealers are importing corn and soy or mixing pelleted feed with “green protein” (alfalfa) to lower costs. For more information ple3ase click here:
Feed Price Update
Added April 2, 2012. Organic dairy farmers are still suffering with ever higher corn and soybean prices and, at least in the northeast, there is so sign of any useful pasture. Future prices for corn and soybeans hold little hope for a drop in price. For more details please click here.
Feed price update
Added March 9, 2012. Trading in national organic grain and feedstuffs are mixed, with very good demand reported for alternative feed grade grains and moderate demand for all other grains. Offerings of grain were moderate for all types, with the exception of domestic soybeans, for which offerings were light. Click here to learn more about current feed and grain prices.
Feed Price Updates
Added January 18, 2012. Organic grain and feed price remains high with no significant changes in price since November 2011. Current market price for organic dry shelled corn is between $500-525 / ton and organic raw soybeans are between $21-23/bushel. Second cut hay is selling for around $200-250 /ton and high quality alfalfa hay at $450/ton at the farm. For more on Organic Feed price please click here >
Feed Price updates
Added November 14, 2011. The most recent data and conclusions from USDA, AMS, Livestock & Grain Market News are no different from anecdotal reports from producers across the country. Feed and forage prices remain high and availability is an increasing problem. With the harvest under way, reports on the weight and quality of corn and soybeans vary from state to state, although yields appear to be below average. The factor causing concern is not only the projected price for corn delivered in February, (12.50 per bushel plus transport ($400+/ ton)) but the availability for those that have limited storage capacity or a lack of credit to purchase feed now. Learn more >
Feed Price Updates
Added October 11, 2011. Corn prices are double 2010 levels, matching the highs of 2008. Supply is very tight; some producers are reporting they can’t find any corn, even at $15-16 per bushel. The futures market for conventional corn is fluctuating with every rumor and projection on harvest and the USDA reports that more corn is now being used for Ethanol than for human and livestock feed.
Learn MORE >
Feed Price Updates
Added September 11, 2011. Corn prices are exceeding 2008 levels and supply is increasingly tight as the non-organic price competes directly with organic. In many cases availability is more critical than price and producers need to be looking for alternatives to feeding grain in the form of season extenders as the quality of pelleted feed will vary as mills look for alternatives to the higher priced corn. The increase in price of small grains has varied and the price for soybeans has remained relatively stable because many food grade soybeans have been sold on the feed market due to lagging food grade demand. According to the recent crop production report, corn production is up four percent from 2010, soybeans are down eight percent from 2010, while wheat is down one percent from July's projections. Some organic grain farms are reportedly transitioning to non-GMO crops to increase yields and meet the overseas needs of consumers who now purchase more non-GMO than organic, due to the state of the global economy. This unpredictable situation may be aggravated by the recent de-certification of a large organic supplier in Canada and increased demand from large poultry operations.
The Latest Feed Prices
Added August 4, 2011. 15 dollar/bushel corn and none available? What is the fall going to bring as the commodity price starts to hit the price per ton for pelleted feed? What effect will the weather have on yields, harvesting and availability and what will quality of the product be for livestock feed? Our regular update using USDA AMS data which reflects the commodity market rather than individual contracts is available by clicking here >
Feed Price Update
Added July 18, 2011. Corn prices are rising to 2008 levels and supply is increasingly tight as the non-organic price competes directly with organic. For more details click here.
Feed price and retail demand both rising for organic dairy
Added May 16, 2011. Last year retail sales of organic fluid milk were stagnant, producers were being paid on utilization and feed prices were the lowest of many years. In 2011 the retail market has rebounded more quickly than expected, confounding economist expectations that consumers are only price sensitive in economically difficult times. Consumers are making choices based on organic practices and we have 20% growth in sales year over year and over 95% utilization of organic milk across the country. We also have a conventional grain market heavily influenced by the world climate disasters and the subsidy for ethanol, which has double the price of conventional corn and soybeans, making any response to the need for increased supply of organic feed expensive for producers. For more detailed information please go to:
Feed Price: http://www.nodpa.com/feed_prices_051611.shtml
Feed Prices, March 2011
ADDED MARCH 14, 2011. Price trends and availability as of March 2011. MORE >
Feed Price Updates
Added January 18, 2011. The organic grain market has been very stable compared to non-organic with a limited response to the increase in prices of non-organic corn and soybean ... MORE >
Grain Price Update
Added September 6, 2010. The latest prices for organic corn and soybeans, plus spreads between eastern and midwest prices, and price trends over time. MORE >
FEED PRICE UPDATE!
Added July 17, 2010. Get the latest East and Midwest feed prices, along with charts showing multi-year price trends. Click here for more.
Feed price update
Added May 17, 2010. Producers report that their grain bins are full due to an excess of corn and wheat in the market, organic grain prices have again declined this period with end users unwilling to buy ahead with the potential of lower prices as this year’s planting continues at full speed. Non organic corn price at $3.57/bushel, organic at $4.48/bushel ...
Read more >
Grain Price Updates
Added April 2, 2010. The latest corn and soybean prices, and grain price trends over the past four years.
Grain Price Updates
Added March 8, 2010. The latest corn and soybean prices, and grain price trends over the past four years. MORE >
Grain Price Updates
Added February 1, 2010. The latest corn and soybean prices, and grain price trends over the past four years.
Organic Feed Summary
Added January 11, 2010. The weather has had a considerable effect on the harvesting as the Midwest has been subjected to wet weather followed by heavy snow storms. With prices at their lowest point in the last two years and very little grain and feedstuff being traded on the organic market, producers are waiting to see what the New Year brings. Wheat trade is at a near standstill and there are confirmed cases of wheat affected with vomitoxin and sprouting in the eastern states. Corn has had some low test weights as the harvest has progressed. MORE DETAILS
GRAIN MARKET UPDATE
Added December 3, 2009. The latest corn and soybean prices, and grain price trends over the past four years. MORE >
GRAIN MARKET UPDATE
Added September 14, 2009. The latest corn and soybean prices, and grain price trends over the past four years.
GRAIN MARKET UPDATE
Added August 1, 2009. The latest corn and soybean prices, and grain price trends over the past four years. MORE >
GRAIN MARKET UPDATE
Added July 1, 2009
The latest corn and soybean prices, and grain price trends over the past four years. MORE >
Grain Market Update
Added March 31, 2009. Compared to two weeks ago, organic grain and feedstuff prices were steady on light demand and moderate offerings with trade at a near standstill. MORE >
Grain Market Update
Added March 9, 2009. With spring approaching and a very soft conventional market, producers are selling their inventory at the lowest prices of the year. Learn more.
Organic Feed Update
Added January 11, 2009. Trade in organic grain leading up to the holidays was slow with prices running about the same as January 2008 and roughly double that of conventional grain. With corn between $9-9.50 a bushel on the farm there are many rumors of a surplus of corn being held back from trading but nothing has shown in the marketplace and the price for16 and 18% prepared feed has not come down. For more prices, click here.
Feed Price Dropping Slowly
Added December 1, 2008. With only about 80% of corn harvest complete, prices are steadying at November 2007 prices, averaging around $9 per bushel. There are reports of producers not selling or “hording” grain to see which way the economy is headed and what the final harvest volume will be. Availability and quality is always an issue. Check out the latest feed prices >
Organic Grain Update
Added November 8, 2008. The USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) recently released a new publication, Using Vertically Coordinated Relationships to Overcome Tight Supply in the Organic Market. Here is a link to that outlook report: http://www.ers.usda.gov/Publications/VGS/2008/10Oct/VGS32901/
For updated pricing for organic feed on the NODPA web site,
The Latest East & Midwest Organic Grain & Hay Prices
Added September 14, 2008. The wheat market is seeing a bit of weakening as many users are quickly filling their needs after a good harvest. No new crop soybean contracts were reported as producers are still in a wait and see mode, especially with the cooler, wet weather. Some big volumes of new crop corn contracts are being sold from $10.00 per bushel to $10.75 per bushel. There just seems to be a lot of uncertainty in that market. Read more, including graphs of price for soybeans and corn for 2008 ….
The Latest East & Midwest Organic Grain & Hay Prices
Added September 5, 2008. Flood, drought, hurricane, ethanol, high world prices – any wonder it’s difficult to keep up with how much your winter feed will cost. At NODPA we at least try to keep you informed. Click here for more.
The Latest East & Midwest
Organic Grain & Hay Prices
Added August 3, 2008. Organic grain farmers are talking, but there's not much action yet: They are assessing the market but most don’t want to do anything yet as they are waiting to see what the crop will bring. There was some trading in new crop corn sales and some new crop spring wheat and hard red winter wheat sales, but no drop in prices. Availability will be the next big question. MORE >
The Latest East & Midwest Grain & Hay Prices
Added July 5, 2008. Analysis, data and some advice from Iowa State University on replanting after the flood, plus the latest numbers on East and Midwest grain and hay prices, and a chart showing cost changes over time. MORE >
The Price of Feed
June 20, 2008: Analysis--Grains and oilseeds lower on profit taking and outside markets. Plus the latest numbers on East and Midwest grain and hay prices, and a chart showing cost changes over time. MORE >
The Price of Feed
June 6, 2008: The latest numbers on East and Midwest grain and hay prices, plus a charting of cost changes over time. MORE >
The Price of Feed
Added May 21, 2008. The latest organic grain and hay prices in the East and Midwest, plus a pay price/retail price comparison chart for organic milk. MORE >