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December DMC Margin Reverses Trend, Drops to $8.44/cwt

February 5, 2024

The December margin under the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program bucked the trend that began in August of improving milk prices and margins, sliding $1.14/cwt to $8.44/cwt and matching the margin last seen in September. The renewed weakness was due almost entirely to a $1.10/cwt fall in the December all-milk price from November. The December DMC feed cost rose by 4 cents a hundredweight to $12.16/cwt of milk, with higher corn and premium alfalfa hay prices almost offset by a lower soybean meal price.

The average margin for all months of 2023 was $6.70/cwt, effectively tying last year with 2021 for the lowest average calendar-year margin under both the DMC and its predecessor, the Margin Protection Program (MPP). End-of-January futures-based forecasts indicated DMC margins averaging between $10.20/cwt and $11.00/cwt in 2024.