By: Bob Meyer
Cash cheese barrels, butter and nonfat dry milk each gained a penny on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on Friday. Class III futures jumped; April added 49 cents, May increased 52 cents and June was 30 cents higher.
For the week: cash cheese barrels up 4.75 cents, blocks increased 6.5 cents, butter added 4 cents, nonfat dry milk up a penny. Class III futures for March added a nickel, April jumped $1.11, May increased $1.02, June is 59 cents higher and the September contract is 42 cents above last week.
Even though cheese production continues to build and cheese prices are at an all-time-high, they just can’t keep up with demand. Dairy Market News says cheese makers are turning to nonfat dry milk and condensed skim to extend vat yields. Demand for blocks is especially strong. Class I demand has backed-off a bit as some schools are closed for spring break.
Total cheese in the nation’s warehouses at the end of February was 1.01 billion pounds, just slightly below stocks at the end of January and 6 percent below a year ago.
American type cheese stocks ended the month at 628 million pounds, also just slightly below the previous month but 5 percent below the end of February, 2013. An interesting note, American cheese stocks were up significantly compared to a year ago in New England and the Mid and South Atlantic States.
The National Ag Statistics Service reports butter stocks were up 3 percent for the month at 47.4 million pounds which is about the same as where they were a year ago.
The weighted average advertised price for a half-gallon of organic milk is $3.19 this week, down 33 cents from two weeks ago. Conventional half-gallons are averaging $2.52 putting the organic-to-conventional spread at 67 cents, the second-smallest spread since they started tracking the difference in 2012. A year ago the spread was $2.30.
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