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Wisconsin's 26-Month Cheese Production Streak Ends
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 02/03/2017

For the first time in over two years, Wisconsin dairy plants failed in December to produce more cheese products on a monthly basis than the same month of the previous year. The USDA reported this week that Wisconsin churned out 271.2 million pounds of cheese in December--which was down a slight 0.7 percent from the same period in 2015, but was 1.8 percent more than this past November (which had less days on the calendar). This marks the end of a 26-month streak in which output for monthly production exceeded year-to-year levels.

Dairy industry officials say the news doesn't necessarily mean production is heading back downward. The slight drop in output for the month may have more to do with factories shutting down for the Christmas holiday than a change in demand or lack of orders.

Nationally, about 1.05 billion pounds of cheese was produced in the United States. That was 1.3 percent more than the same month last year, and 3.0 percent over the previous month's production totals.

Wisconsin's production of American cheese decreased as the state produced 79 million pounds, about 1.7 percent less than last year, but 4.1 percent above last month's production. Cheddar output fell by 1.1 percent compared to 2015 to total 54.3 million pounds, but rose 7.6 percent from the month earlier. Italian cheese was at 142.2 million pounds, about 2.1 percent above last year, and 4.0 percent higher for the month. And Mozzarella produced in Wisconsin totaled 93.2 million pounds--about 3.2 percent less than December 2015, but up 4.8 percent compared to November 2016.

Dry Whey output in Wisconsin was recorded at 27.4 million pounds, which was up 1.6 percent from last year and 10.7 percent greater than last month.

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