The November USDA WASDE milk production forecast for 2023 is reduced from last month as milk cow numbers were revised lower in the most recent Milk Production report, and the lower estimated numbers are carried into the fourth quarter forecast. Growth in milk per cow is also slowed in the fourth quarter with slower-than-expected growth for the third quarter reported in the Milk Production report. The forecast for 2024 is reduced as the lower forecasts of milk cows and milk per cow for late 2023 are carried into the next year.
Fat basis imports for 2023 are unchanged from last month, as lower-than-expected imports in the third quarter are largely offset by expectations of higher butter and butter fat imports in the fourth quarter. Higher expected imports of butter and cheese support a higher fat basis import forecast for 2024. Skim-solids basis imports are lowered for 2023 reflecting lower imports of milk proteins. For 2024, the skim-solids basis import forecast is unchanged. Exports in 2023 are lowered on a fat basis with lower expected sales of butter and milkfats, whole milk powder, and whey but higher lactose shipments are reflected in a higher skim-solids export forecast. For 2024, lowered expectations of butter sales more than offset stronger cheese exports and the fat basis export forecast is reduced. However, higher expected nonfat dry milk (NDM) and cheese exports support a higher skim-solids export forecast.
Recent gains in butter prices have eroded more rapidly than previously expected and the butter price forecast for 2023 is reduced. Strength in whey demand supports a higher price forecast. The cheese price is unchanged and the NDM price is raised to reflect current prices. The Class III price is raised on a higher whey price, but the Class IV price is lowered as a weaker butter price more than offsets slightly higher NDM. For 2024, the price forecast for butter is reduced as prices continue to soften from late-2023 levels but cheese, NDM, and whey prices are raised as lower milk production constrains production of those products. The Class III and Class IV price WASDE-642-5 forecasts are raised on higher cheese, whey and NDM prices although the lowered butter price constrains the level of increase in the Class IV price. The 2023 all milk price forecast is unchanged from last month at $20.70 per cwt while the 2024 all milk price is raised to $20.80 per cwt.