‘Sandy’s’ milk disruptions seen as ‘manageable’
Major interstates around Philadelphia,
including 200 bridges and roads in Pennsylvania,
not to mention the hard hit areas of
New Jersey and New York, were closed --
especially to truck traffic -- as “Superstorm
Sandy” passed over the Northeast. New Jersey,
New York City, and coastal Connecticut
were particularly hard hit in terms of storm
surge, flooding and debris. High winds also
contributed to road restrictions for trucks
The road and bridge closures, along with
plant closings due to power outages, temporarily
interrupted the flow of milk and
livestock from farms to plants in the metropolitan
areas of eastern Pennsylvania, New
Jersey, and New York. The turnpike bridge
across the Delaware River into New Jersey
was deemed especially treacherous Monday
night and early Tuesday due to high winds
and lighting failures.
By 6:00 a.m. Tuesday morning, most
bridges and highways were re-opened to
truck and trailer traffic, but some heavily
populated areas remained without power on
“From our standpoint on the farm side,
we aren’t hearing of any issues in getting
the milk picked up. There are some intermittent
power outages,” reported Karen
Cartier at Dairylea / Dairy Marketing Services
(DMS) based in Syracuse, N.Y. DMS is self-described as a milk-marketing organization that serves Northeast producers and industry by combining milk supplies of independent and cooperative farms.
“On the plant side, we had 200 loads
turned back from Sunday to Tuesday with
as many as 20 plants shut down,” Cartier
added. “Some of those plants lost power
and some were near the major metropolitan
areas along the eastern seaboard where
there were road closures as well.”
Cartier was quick to point out that, “We
(DMS) are set up to hande this.That’s what
we do. Yes, there were disruptions from this
storm, but they have been manageable, not
unlike what we see from the plant-side during
snow storms. And the disruptions are
much less than what we saw with the hurricanes
Meanwhile, reports from New Jersey indicate
some milk that was picked up there,
may have sat on trailers as bottling plants in
the Garden State were closed. Those plants
that were contacted did not return phone inquiries
and appeared to be closed yet Tuesday
Near Media, Pennsylvania, the Wawa
plant reopened Tuesday after a 24-hour disruption.
“The storm hindered us a little,”
said assistant plant manager Jim Shiflett in
a phone interview Wednesday morning. “At
this point, we are trying to restock everyone,
and especially those stores that lost power
during the storm. If the milk reaches a certain
temperature, it has to be thrown away,
so we need to restock what they’ve lost.”
The Pennsylvania-based Wawa has stores
in Pa., N.J., Dela., Md., Va., plus Florida.
They have stores on the Jersey and Maryland
shores, and some of those stores were
still without power Wednesday morning.
Shiflett said the plant received milk for
processing Monday and operated until 8:00
p.m., when employees were sent home before
the weather emergency closures of
roads and bridges. “We delayed receiving on
Tuesday morning, but we did not turn milk
away. We’re taking what milk we can get
now. We are trying to work with our supply
instead of sending our haulers all over.”
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation
said Monday night that more than
200 bridges and roads were closed because
of downed trees, power lines and flooding,
most of them in southeastern Pennsylvania.
Wind gusts were clocked at around 70
miles per hour, with sustained winds at 40 to
50 mph, according to reports from the office
of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett.
Power outages and road closures also
curtailed the movement of livestock this
week. New Holland Sales Stables canceled
its weekly dairy cattle sale Wednesday and
postponed the annual “show and sale’ that
occurs each year on the last Wednesday of
October to be rescheduled for next Wednesday,
Owner David Kolb reports that some
cattle from last Thursday’s slaughter cattle
auction are still being held at the yards.
Packers were apparently concerned about
transporting cattle and operating kill floors
Monday, not wanting to be caught fresh
meat in the coolers during potential power
outages from the anticipated storm.
Even while somewhat manageable plantside
disruptions have occurred in the milk
and meat industries of the Northeast, the
farm-side impacts have been less severe
than many were bracing for.
After the ravages of Irene and Lee last
year in the rural regions of the Northeast, a
smaller-than-anticipated impact from Sandy
brought a collective sigh of relief -- even
as thoughts and prayers go out to the folks
of New York City and coastal New Jersey,
as well as the mountains of West Virginia,
where Sandy’s impact has devasted homes,
businesses, and infrastructure.
October Class III tops $21,
stays step-ahe ad of ‘mover’
USDA AMS announced the October Class III price at $21.02/cwt. This is 32 cents higher than the Class I advance base price or ‘mover’ for November announced last week at $20.70 for next month’s Class I sales.
USDA AMS issued its monthly Class and Component price announcement Wednesday, October 30. The October Federal Order Class III price advanced $2.02 over September’s to $21.02. This is just about $3.00/cwt higher than a year ago.
The October Federal Order
Class IV price was announced
at $18.54, which is $1.13
higher than September’s and
just 13 cents/cwt above year
The October Federal Order
Class II price was announced
at $18.44, which is $1.40/cwt
higher than September’s and
97 cents below the Class II
price for October a year ago.
Further information from Wednesday’s price announcement was not available at Farmshine’s press time due to technical difficulties at the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) website.
Meanwhile, the National
Dairy Product Sales Report
for the week ending October
27 reported the following
weighted average commodity prices: Butter was $1.8948/lb, which is about three cents/ lb lower than the previous week. Cheddar blocks were $2.0715/lb, close to two pennies lower than the previous week. Cheddar barrels were $2.0274/lb, nearly four cents below the previous week. Nonfat Dry Milk was reported
at $1.4861/lb, up a penny and a half from the previous week and Whey prices averaged just about 63 cents/lb, virtually unchanged from the previous week.
Powder exports out of
New Zealand are reportedly
up 66% over last year at the
start of the Kiwi milk production
season. Analysts report
this suggests movement of
carryover powder stocks to
CME market flat
The spot cash market on
the Chicago Mercantile Exchange
(CME) was mixed at
midweek, with butter trading
firm to stronger at $1.8975/
lb on October 30. Cheddar
blocks held steady at $2.11/lb
and barrels weakened down
Grade A Nonfat Dry Milk is still pegged at $1.56/lb where it has been for a couple weeks, this is still about eight cents higher than the National Dairy Product Sales Report price and 20 cents/lb higher than the California price.
In the CME future markets, Class III milk remains above $21 for November contracts and just a tad over $20 for December.
Meanwhile, future contracts
for the first 10 months
of 2013 averaged at $18.76/
cwt on Wednesday’s close
The average closing price
for 2013 Class III milk contracts
has been moving in a
narrow range between $18.65
to $18.85 for weeks.
Milk-feed ratio still poor
October’s milk-feed ratio
was calculated by USDA at
1.68, this is up just 0.1 from
September’s ratio and still
well below the 2.0 mark.
This below-profit calculation was derived
from USDA’s preliminary all-milk price for
October of $21.10/cwt. This all-milk price is
$1.50 higher than September’s all-milk price.
However, USDA figured October’s alfalfa hay
price at $212/ton, which is $7/ton higher than
the previous month. The corn price was also
figured six cents higher at $6.95/bu., while
soybeans were 10 cents lower at $14.20/bu.
Farm Bill football
National Milk Producers Federation reports they believe they are “first-and-goal” in getting the Dairy Security Act passed in the Farm Bill after the November elections.
Meanwhile, the Goodlatte-Scott amendment is gathering support in the effort to modify the Dairy Security Act in the Farm Bill so that it does not include the onslaught of regulations, penalties and administration fees of the Dairy Market Stabilization portion (supply management). There’s still time to let your members of Congress know where you stand.
Editor's note: This "Market Moos" column first appeared in the November 2, 2012 print edition of Farmshine.