Small Changes in Costs, Prices Move March DMC Margin Above $9.50 Trigger

The DMC margin rose by $0.21/cwt from February to March to $9.65/cwt, putting it just above the maximum $9.50/cwt maximum Tier 1 coverage level. The March All-Milk price rose by $0.10/cwt to $20.70/cwt, and the March DMC feed cost calculation dropped by $0.11/cwt, almost entirely on a $7.00/ton lower premium alfalfa hay price.

The DMC Decision Tool on the USDA/FSA website forecasts that the DMC margin will remain above $9.50/cwt for the rest of 2024. The enrollment period for the 2024 Dairy Margin Program ended on Tuesday. For those who are signed up for 2024 coverage, payments will be made for January’s and February’s triggered payments, depending on coverage level.

November DMC Margin Barely Tops $9.50 for the First Time in 2023

The November margin under the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program inched up $0.14/cwt from a month earlier to $9.58/cwt, marking its first time in 2023 above the maximum $9.50/cwt Tier 1 coverage level.

The monthly change was a product of modest price movements. The all-milk price rose $0.10/cwt to $21.70/cwt, while the DMC feed cost formula dropped $0.04/cwt to $12.12/cwt of milk. There was a bit more drama inside the DMC feed cost formula, with a $0.35/cwt increase in the soybean meal price factor slightly more than offset by a combined drop in the prices of corn and premium alfalfa hay. During the first ten months of this year, the average monthly change, plus or minus, in the margin was $1.22/cwt, the average monthly change in the all-milk price was $1.15/cwt and the average monthly change in the DMC feed cost was $0.37/cwt.

With one more month in to be reported for last year, the 2023 average margin is on track to average about $6.80/cwt, which would be the second-lowest margin for the DMC and its predecessor Margin Protection Program (MPP), just above 2021’s average DMC margin of $6.70/cwt. The end-of year futures prices indicated the margins would average about $8.60/cwt during January-September this year but improve during the fourth quarter to average about $9.10/cwt for the year.