Dairies in the Northwest are facing issues made worse by the midwestern drought, even though the region has largely been spared from the extreme dryness.
According to the latest Drought Monitor, Washington state has escaped pretty much unscathed. The drought has reached into some parts of Oregon and Idaho, however.
The drought has had a definite impact on feed prices.
Many of the dairies in Idaho, Washington state and Oregon grow their own forage. But the rising price of corn -- due to the midwestern drought -- has had an impact on all other feed inputs. Everything has gone up in price.
Grain prices have doubled, thanks to the drought. Robert Smit, dairy producer and chairman of the Washington Dairy Products Commission, told the Capital Press that he has seen the cost for mixed grain leap from $200 a ton to more than $400 a ton. Hay prices aren’t much better, according to a report from Capital Press, available here.
According to Smit, 500-cow dairies in the region are typically losing around $25,000 to $30,000 each month.
Data released on Wednesday by the USDA in its monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimate report offer a glimmer of minimal improvement. The USDA reported that it is forecasting Class III milk prices and the all-milk price to increase by an average of 25 cents per hundredweight. Read more here.