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For a while in 2007, milk prices were so high people were calling it “white gold.” Emerging economies liked milk and bought more of it. No longer. Now it’s not white gold but a white glut.
There’s too much milk. Cheese prices dropped 40 percent in the last week. Government warehouses are busting at the seams with milk powder. “The thing is, they are going to produce it because they have to milk the cows,” one milk powder warehouse owner told the New York Times. “It’s like a river. It keeps coming.”
Trouble is, the cost of milk production hasn’t dropped as fast as the price of the product. Feed is still high. So is fertilizer. That has some farmers looking to reduce their herds. The boom and bust cycles are coming close together, say New York dairymen. Prices were historically low in 2005 and ’06. 2007 brought high prices, but not high enough to make up for losses. No prices are down again and dairymen are looking for some sense of stability.