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Market for some dairy products sours during shut down

Glut of milk with restaurants closed
Posted at 3:15 PM, Apr 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-30 17:23:46-04

NEW WINDSOR, Md. — The cattle are doing their part.

COVID-19 or not, they’re still producing the milk that has been flying off the grocery store shelves since the shut down began here in Maryland.

“We went through a great big rise in fluid milk in the stores and then all of the sudden everyone put caps on it, because they were selling out too quick,” said Matt Hoff, the president of the Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers.

Hoff is a fifth-generation dairy farmer in Carroll County, and his Coldsprings Farms in New Windsor was looking at a banner year for milk sales when the executive order for non-essential businesses to close took away a crucial part of the market for other dairy products like cheese.

“Well, it’s really driven our prices down, because of all the dumped milk,” said Hoff. “They’ve had to dump all over the U.S., not so much in our general area, but restaurants use about 60 percent of the butter fat products from dairy and without the restaurants…”

Bottomed out prices, which milk producers are bracing for now as payments come due from last month’s orders.

“May is going to be pretty much the worst we’ve seen in a couple of years,” said Hoff. “It’s going to be down about $6 to $7 per 100 pounds of milk from where it was so for the average dairy farmer, that’s about $110 to $120 a cow per month.”

With 1200 head of Holsteins at his farm alone, Hoff is looking a $144,000 less than previously expected.

Yes, the cattle are doing their part, but with a supply chain turned upside down by the coronavirus and subsequent shut downs, the job of dairy farming has now become that much more difficult.