Everyone has heard the proposed solutions. Kill a bunch of cows to save the dairy industry has reached an almost religious fervor. The other solution, which has a bit less support, is supply management – some kind of quota.
People consume dairy products mostly, and very little raw milk. So, we hear people are not consuming as much as they did and this has created a backlog of dairy products.
Most farm milk is made into cheese. Farm milk is priced, with a near perfect correlation with block Cheddar traded on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.
If you take average milk to make Cheddar you will get a yield of 9.6 pounds per hundredweight of milk. This is based on the Van Slyke formula. Perhaps, you will get 9.95 pounds but not much more. If you are a large corporation and are making Cheddar, you will “fortify” the cheese system – no big plant uses cheese vats anymore – with additional protein to bump up the yield.
As mentioned in an earlier post, additional fat is needed when the cheese milk is fortified. The relative levels of butter in storage compared with cheese in storage confirm fortification.
In the early days of fortification domestic NFDM (powdered milk) was used. Then along came imported milk protein concentrate (MPC) and ultrafiltration. Either system provides a slightly inferior product. So, what has been the result?
California keeps track of dairy product manufacturing costs. The most recent data:
“For 40-lb. blocks: the weighted average yield was 13.72 lbs. of cheese per hundredweight of milk. The weighted average moisture was 38.31%”
A yield of 13.72 pounds of Cheddar is an increase of 43% in the yield. That means you can make the same amount of Cheddar using 30% less milk.
The problem is not too much milk. The problem is the artificial gimmicks used by manufacturers to boost yields. Without the garbage in, garbage out, maximizing the bottom line at any cost, there would presently be a shortage of dairy products with current farm milk production.
When you know the stories of what dairy farm families are suffering through – this is a crime.