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Record milk prices may arrive soon

Associated Press

WAUSAU, Wis. -- Wisconsin dairy farmers can expect record raw milk prices in coming weeks, a change so dramatic that one dairy expert last week put the anticipated prices at "stratospheric levels" for the industry.

"It is looking good right now. What is really worrisome to me is the possibility of a very severe crash," said Ed Jesse, a dairy economist for the University of Wisconsin.

The so-called base price for about 100 pounds of raw milk -- roughly 12 gallons -- used to produce cheese was $14.40 in March; by April it should reach $18.59, he said.

That would break the previous record price of $17 set in December 1998, shattering a two-year trend of low milk prices at a time of year when prices generally are weakest, said Bob Cropp, a UW dairy marketing economist.

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With premiums for quality, some farmers will receive milk checks totaling $20 or more per hundredweight, he predicted.

"It is hard to believe it will get much higher than it is today," Cropp said.

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