Manure, Finances Worrisome For Maryland Dairy Farmers

The dual challenges of plunging milk prices and looming nutrient management restrictions were major topics of discussion at a recent dairy nutrient and financial management meeting at the Washington County Agricultural Education Center.

From Lancaster Farming,

“You have to feel for the dairy farmers right now,” said James P. Eichhorst, Maryland deputy secretary of agriculture.

Milk prices are the lowest they have been since 2010, said Howard Leathers, a University of Maryland ag economist.

Although USDA is forecasting flat milk prices for the next several years, the commodities futures prices suggest that prices may recover somewhat, to $19 a hundredweight, by the second quarter of 2018, Leathers said.

In just a few months, dairy farmers will also be feeling the pinch of winter manure restrictions.

“This winter there is a complete prohibition of the spreading of manure,” said Dwight Dotterer, administrator of Maryland’s Nutrient Management Program.

The ban applies to all farms grossing at least $2,500 a year or having at least 8,000 pounds of total live animal weight, according to Dotterer’s office.

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