Paul Cornette is mixing feed for the cows as the February sun starts to wane. It’s the start of another year in the dairy in the business.
“Thankfully 2022 turned out to be a pretty decent year,” he said. “Crops were good. We had a kind of crazy high spike in milk price in April, May, and June that by the time that sort of leveled out and evened out for the year, we had a pretty good year revenue wise.”
In the early part of the new year, dairy farmers are seeing softer milk prices while the costs of doing business remain high. For the past two years, farmers have paid more for everything from seed and fertilizer to diesel fuel.
Cornette owns the family farm — located right on the Kewaunee/Brown County line — with his brother.
“At least on our farm, and I’m guessing on a lot of others, we carried over a lot of those profits into ’23 to tied us over through any potential downturns in the ag economy,” Cornette said. “Right now, the prices are lower, but not bad.”
Increased production and lower consumer demand, due in part to inflation, are pushing dairy prices lower in the early months of 2023.
University of Wisconsin – Madison Division of Extension Regional Dairy Educator Aerica Bjurstrom said milk and crop prices last year helped offset the additional costs of production.
“Prices are definitely down from last and our inflation and input costs just as high, if not higher, this year or expected to be higher this year,” she said. “It’s going to be a lot tighter margins this year than last year.”
But forecasts appear to show improving prices through the summer.
“The prices look to be stabilizing later in the year and they’re decently strong for mid year,” Bjurstrom said. “Not as a good as last year, but still strong enough to still make some profit if they’re watching their expenses.”
Cornette said despite the dip in prices and the cost of essential farm products remaining high, he’s confident in what the year holds for the farm.
“I feel confident ’23 is going to be a pretty good year provided that all of our inputs don’t continue to go crazy, and we don’t see another 10 percent of inflation or something along those lines,” he said.
February 28, 2023