Organic milk sales into retail outlets had been expanding, as had milk production. The ultimate obstacle was said to be the cost of a necessary new processing facility, rather than with production and marketing. For at least several months, the milk will be sold to a national organic yogurt manufacturer and the co-op’s retail milk brand will no longer be available to consumers in the Northeast.
Also in the Northeast, a national organic processor will increase the organic pay price to contracted producers in the region by $1.00/cwt. on Aug. 1, 2014. The intention is for the increase to come from pass through to retail prices.
First cutting of organic hay in Maryland and Pennsylvania is progressing, but slightly lags the pace of last year at this time. First cutting in New York is in the early stages. Wisconsin is also early into first cutting, but some areas are very slightly ahead of last year at this time. Vermont pasture conditions are mostly good to excellent, with the first hay cutting also in the early stages.
USDA’s Ag Marketing Service estimated total March 2014 organic milk products sales at 212 million lbs., up 14.3% from March 2013 and up 15.6% year-to-date compared with last year.
Organic whole milk sales for March 2014, at 61 million lbs., were up 24.0% compared with March 2013 and up 22.4% year-to-date compared with last year. Organic reduced-fat milk sales for March, at 60 million lbs., were 15.2% above sales one year earlier and up 23.7% year-to-date compared with last year.
In contrast total conventional milk products sales for March this year were 2.7% below last year.