How is the dairy industry like the Texas weather? Unpredictability and Change

By Darren Turley, TAD Executive Director

Texas weather seems to be the main topic of discussion this spring, with freezing temperatures one daywarming to the 80s the next.

Recently, icy conditions in Central Texas caused some dairy farmers to miss milking their herds for a few hours to even days on a couple of operations. East Texans are dealing with an extremely wet spring, while drought conditions in the Panhandle are becoming a huge concern for farmers planting crops. On a brighter note, dry weather in the Panhandle has helped keep milk production at high levels for the majority of the region’s dairies.

Texas milk production has been climbing since Winter Storm Goliath two years ago. Texas now is the fifth largest dairy producing state, continuing to climb as our production grows.

Texas’ weather will impact the 2019 legislative session as well. Even though lawmakers don’t convene until January, the impacts of last fall’s Hurricane Harvey will be felt in discussions on the state budget. The huge impacted area of the Gulf Coast continues to need much rebuilding assistance and will not be back to normal for many years to come.

The unpredictability of the Texas weather is one characteristic of our state that cannot be denied, just like the price of milk is always changing in the dairy industry. This year’s prices are not looking to average much above breakeven, but changes in the Dairy Margin Protection Program will give producers the ability to sign up their production for the past two months for a profit over the already announced margin for February of 6.88. March’s margin should be another opportunity to purchase insurance for a positive margin. This will not be enough to solve all the problems of the low milk prices, but it is a chance to gain a little margin on some of your milk.

Rain or shine, the Texas weather conditions never stay the same for long. The dairy industry is never sitting still in both pricing and issues that can impact farmers. Texas Association of Dairymen continues to help ride out the storm of regulations that affect today’s dairy farms.