High milk prices and strong domestic and international demand should spark an increase in production, but Indiana dairy producers may be hampered by forage issues, according to a Purdue University expert. Short forage supplies may be limiting production gains in Indiana despite modest improvement in production per cow, says Mike Schutz, Purdue extension dairy specialist.

"While milk production would seem ready to explode because of favorable milk prices and moderating feed costs, forage availability, especially in the eastern Corn Belt and Upper Midwest, evolving milk handler and retailer attitudes about the use of a bovine somatotropin (BST) in herds, and extreme summer heat over large portions of the U.S. will hold back the accelerating production to a degree," says Schutz.

BST is a supplement used to increase milk production. Milk co-ops are asking patron herds to sign a pledge not to use BST in their dairy operations in hopes they will see a premium from retailers. Milk prices hit record levels this summer and continue near those levels. The U.S. all-milk price reached an all-time record high of $21.70 for July and August. Schutz expects strong demand to prevent a dramatic drop in prices well into 2008.