Have a cow: Milk could go up 60 cents a gallon - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Have a cow: Milk could go up 60 cents a gallon

Posted: Updated:

By Ben Popken

Dairy analysts estimate store milk prices could go up 60 cents in March, reaching their highest ever.

"The cupboards are dry," said dairy economist Mary Ledman.

Blame cheese. Short supply pushed cheese to a new peak in January, going from $1.80 to $2.36 a block. That jump is driving the March increases for "fluid milk."

Moreover, in early 2013, farmers responded to higher feed costs by cutting back on herd growth. Coupled with growing international appetite, especially from China, that's led to tighter supplies and higher prices.

But not every fridge will feel the pinch. Some stores may choose to eat the 30-cent increase in farm level milk prices occurring from January to March. In other areas, families could see their milk bills going up 50 to 60 cents a gallon.

The average price for milk was $3.50 in December, according to the most recently available data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Brian West, a spokesman for the Publix supermarket chain based in the Southeast, said the store expects milk prices to rise in the next few months.

Supplies will shoot up soon after the new batch of calves are born and cows reach peak milk production 60 days later. After that, milk prices should begin to taper, falling 20 percent through December, said dairy analyst Jerry Dryer.

The current California drought, however, is the bad news. Without relief, production of alalfa, a key feed for cows, could be curbed, pushing up milk prices even higher in late 2014 and early 2015, said Ledman.

Dry fields now, dry cereal bowls later.

  • NewsMore>>

  • Gay soldiers relaxed after restrictions lifted

    Gay soldiers relaxed after restrictions lifted

    The repeal of the military policy of "don't ask, don't tell" and the overturning of part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act opened doors more widely to gay people serving openly in the military.More
    The repeal of the military policy of "don't ask, don't tell" and the overturning of part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act opened doors more widely to gay people serving openly in the military.More
  • School supplies stolen from 6-year-old

    School supplies stolen from 6-year-old

    Saturday, July 26 2014 11:01 AM EDT2014-07-26 15:01:24 GMT
    Jayce Perez is about to start school at Spring Creek Elementary without the new supplies his mother worked hard to buy him.  More
    Jayce Perez is about to start school at Spring Creek Elementary without the new supplies his mother worked hard to buy him.  More
  • FedEx charges raise online pharmacy issues

    FedEx charges raise online pharmacy issues

    FedEx Corp., the latest shipper to be accused in a federal probe involving illegal online pharmacies, says it will fight the charges that it knowingly shipped drugs to people who lack valid prescriptions.More
    FedEx Corp., the latest shipper to be accused in a federal probe involving illegal online pharmacies, says it will fight the charges that it knowingly shipped drugs to people who lack valid prescriptions.More
Powered by WorldNow
Can't find what you're looking for?

WRCB-TV
900 Whitehall Road
Chattanooga, TN 37405
(423) 267-5412

WRCB Jobs EEO | FCC Public Files

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WRCB. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.