Regional milk prices on the rise - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Regional milk prices on the rise

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- You may not find any bargains in the dairy aisle this year. 

Bob Kappers was in his barn Monday afternoon doing the same as the day before, caring for his dairy cows. Farmers in the region are putting out more milk but the consumers are seeing an increase in price.

How can this be?

We contacted five major milk suppliers in Rochester: Target, Walmart, Hy-Vee, Kwik Trip, and Cub Foods. The average price? $3.79 a gallon. That's 27 cents higher than the national October average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

"There's a lot of big factors that play into it," said Chatfield dairy farmer Bob Kappers. "I think right now it's the feed cost. And feed supply or availability."

Smaller operations are most likely getting hit harder due mainly in part to the tough summer.

"Feed supply is tight," Kappers explained.  "We're good probably until spring we'll end up buying some feed. We're just kind of playing it by ear now."'

However, after farming for 27 years, Kappers knows a backup plan is a must.

"Most of the feed we just buy from neighbors -- other local farmers.  Hopefully it will be there when we need it.  Maybe we'll squeeze by.  I don't know," Kappers said.

Milk production in Minnesota has increased three percent since last October.

In the past 10 years, the national pricing trend going into December increases by just a penny.  However, nothing is a given in the dairy industry which relies on supply and demand.

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