The high price of feed has hit livestock producers around the nation hard. The dairy industry in California seems to be imploding. The combination of high feed costs and that state’s milk pricing system paying dairymen less for their milk than the federal order system has resulted in over fifty California dairies now being in some form of receivership bankruptcy. Washington dairy farmer Jay Gordon talks about how dairy producers here in the Northwest are coping this year.
GORDON: The Pacific Northwest actually had a pretty good growing season, especially when fifty or fifty-one percent of the country is in some form of either moderate, severe, or extreme drought. By and large, what I’m hearing from the guys around the Northwest is the guys have got a pretty good chunk of feed locked in. They had a descent grass year, an okay corn year, and so I think the guys in the Pacific Northwest are in way better shape than the folks in California.
Evens so, dairy producers here in Washington face their own challenges.
GORDON: The price seed squeeze has hurt, no question about it. Obviously the prices have come up here since mid/late August. Finally everybody woke up to the fact that we had a drought, and the feed prices were going up and milk production was coming down, so supply and demand sort of kicked into place. On the milk side, milk prices finally came up enough that the milk/feed price ratio is better than what it was.
Washington’s 460 dairies produced roughly 716 million gallons of milk last year.
I’m Lacy Gray and that’s Washington Ag Today on the Ag Information Network.