Cheese, butter remain above $2

Columnist Lee Mielke wraps up the week's dairy news.


For the Capital Press

Published on June 24, 2014 10:08AM

Lee Mielke

Lee Mielke

Cash cheese prices in Chicago remain above $2 per pound but the barrels are atop the blocks. While the blocks lost ground last week, closing Friday at $2.00 per pound, down 3 cents on the week but 27 1/2-cents above a year ago, they reversed gears Monday, gaining a penny, and tacked on another penny and a half Tuesday, to close at $2.0250 per pound.

The Cheddar barrels closed Friday at $2.01 per pound, up 4 1/4-cents on the week, 29 1/4-cents above a year ago, and a penny above the blocks. They closed Tuesday at $2.0325 per pound, three-quarter cents above the blocks, which are typically 3-5 cents above the barrels. Eighteen cars of block traded hands last week and eight of barrel so product is making its way to the CME.

Cash butter jumped almost 7 cents early last week, then retreated some, but still reversed two weeks of loss, closing Friday at $2.2350 per pound, up 5 cents on the week and 73 1/2-cents above a year ago. It jumped 5 cents on Monday and 1 1/2-cents Tuesday, to close at $2.30 per pound, the highest level since May 30. Thirty cars were sold last week.

May butter stocks jump

May butter stocks totaled 192.5 million pounds, according to preliminary data in the Agriculture Department’s latest Cold Storage report, issued Monday. That’s up 18.5 million pounds or 11 percent from April but a whopping 129.5 million pounds or 40 percent below that of May 2013.

American cheese stocks, at 656.8 million pounds, are up 7.9 million or 1 percent from April but 57.8 million pounds or 8 percent below a year ago. The total cheese inventory stood at 1.068 billion pounds on May 30, up 30.2 million pounds or 3 percent from April but 82.3 million pounds or 7 percent below a year ago.

May milk production up 1.5 percent

The Agriculture Department’s preliminary data issued Wednesday in its latest milk production report, shows May milk output in the top 23 producing states at 16.9 billion pounds, up 1.5 percent from May 2013. The 50-state total, at 18.06 billion pounds, was up 1.4 percent from a year ago. Revisions added 27 million pounds to the original April 23-state estimate, now reported at 16.3 billion pounds, up 1.4 percent from a year ago.

May cow numbers in the 23 states, at 8.55 million head, were up 10,000 from April. Year ago data was not available due to the federal government budget sequester. May output per cow in the 23 states averaged 1,976 pounds, up from 1,911 pounds in April but is the highest production per cow for the month of May since the 23 State series began in 2003. Again, year ago data was not available due to the sequester.

California was up just 1 percent from a year ago. Wisconsin was unchanged. New York was down 0.3 percent, Idaho was up 0.5 percent, Pennsylvania was down 1.4 percent, and Minnesota was off 0.1 percent.

Texas showed the biggest increase from a year ago, up a whopping 10.1 percent, followed by Colorado, up 9.5 percent, and Kansas, up 7 percent. The biggest decline was in Ohio, down 2.5 percent, followed by Pennsylvania.

Other states of interest; Arizona was up 3.9 percent, Michigan up 3.3 percent, New Mexico up 1.4 percent, South Dakota up 5.9 percent and Washington was up 2.7 percent.

July FO Class I price up 16 cents

The Agriculture Department announced the July Federal order Class I base milk price at $23.02 per hundredweight, up 16 cents from June, $4.11 above July 2013, and equates to about $1.98 per gallon. The seven month average now stands at $23.02, up from $18.32 at this time a year ago and compares to $16.34 in 2012 and $18.55 in 2011.

Global Dairy Trade sees first gain since February

Last week’s Global Dairy Trade auction saw the weighted average for all products reverse direction and inch up 0.9 percent, following the 4.2 percent decline in the last session, 1.8 percent drop in the May 20 event, and a 1.1 percent decline in the May 6 event. The price index has seen declines since reaching its high on February 4.

The turnaround was led by a 17 percent jump in butter milk powder, which was down 1.9 percent in the last event. Cheddar cheese was up 2.4 percent after gaining 8 percent in the last session. Whole milk powder was also up 2.4 percent, following an 8.5 percent decline on June 3. GDT butter was up 1.8 percent, unchanged in the last event, and rennet casein was up 4.6 percent, down 10.2 percent in the last event.

The only products showing declines were anhydrous milkfat, down 3.8 percent, down 5 percent in the last event, and skim milk power, which was off 0.2 percent Tuesday, following a 2.1 percent increase in the June 3 event.

FC Stone reports the average GDT butter price equated to about $1.6780 per pound, U.S., up from $1.6485 in the June 3 event ($1.6370/lb. on 80% butterfat, up from $1.6083/lb.). CME butter closed Tuesday at $2.30 per pound.

The GDT Cheddar cheese average was $1.9873 per pound U.S., up from $1.9213. The U.S. block Cheddar CME price Tuesday was at $2.0250. GDT skim milk powder, at $1.7486 per pound U.S., is down from $1.7524, and the whole milk powder average at $1.6594 U.S., is up from $1.6303 per pound in the last event. The CME Grade A nonfat dry milk price Tuesday stood at $1.8250 per pound.


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