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DMC Payments Increase in May

July 6, 2021

The May margin under the Dairy Margin Coverage program dropped 5 cents from April to $6.89/cwt, which will generate a May payment of $2.61/cwt for $9.50/cwt coverage, as increases in feed costs more than offset gains in milk prices.

The May U.S. average all-milk price rose by $0.80/cwt from April to $19.20/cwt, but the May DMC feed cost calculation also rose from a month earlier, by $0.85/cwt. This was the largest one-month jump in the margin program’s feed cost calculation since margin protection first became the main federal safety-net program for dairy in early 2014. Corn prices were higher in May by the equivalent of $0.64/cwt of milk in the formula, which was also the highest ever single-month increase since the inception of dairy margin protection in the formula’s corn-price component. Meanwhile, the blended alfalfa hay price increased by the equivalent of $0.15/cwt of milk in the formula, the highest single month increase in the formula’s alfalfa price component since premium alfalfa was added to it at the beginning of 2019.

The current futures-based price outlook indicates that the national all-milk price will not likely further rise much more than a dollar per hundredweight above its May level through the end of 2021, while the DMC program’s feed cost calculation may not recede much from May, thus raising the prospect that the margin could stay below $9.50/cwt for all of 2021. USDA reported that estimated DMC payments exceeded $446 million as of June 28.