Good news, bad news for farmers: Milk prices up, but so are expenses

Milk prices are up, but so are expenses
Published: Nov. 9, 2022 at 6:49 AM EST
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - It’s a good year for dairy farmers when it comes to milk prices, but there is a catch.

Data from the Upstate Niagara Cooperative shows prices were at $17.41 per hundredweight of milk during October of last year.

Compare that to this October, when milk prices averaged $23.69 cents per hundredweight.

Prices for this month are projected to be slightly higher still.

Summer Zehr, general manager of Jefferson Bulk Milk Cooperative, says it’s because the need for dairy rose.

“Global milk production was down so that made room for exports from the US,” she said.

Dairymarkets.org shows the red arc as prices soared steadily over the past three years.

However, this doesn’t mean farmers are necessarily living large as costs of production have skyrocketed.

“Prices of inputs on farms has been high this year, that’s for sure,” Zehr said. “Soybean, alfalfa, and corn are looking at prices at a 10-year high.”

As for the future? Milk prices still look pretty good for 2023, but “those input costs are not decreasing,” Zehr said, “so the margins are definitely getting smaller and it’s becoming worrisome. I think farmers have been happy the past year but they’re getting pretty worried looking at the concern over fuel oil and the cost of their inputs.”