The announced all-milk average weighted price of $23.20 per hundred for January is the highest for any month ever. The previous highs were $22.10 in November of 2012 and $22 in December of 2013.
Wisconsin's anticipated all-milk price, before the customary milk check deductions, for January is $23.90 per hundred — an increase of $1.90 from December. Higher average prices include $26.80 per hundred in Florida, $26.20 in Virginia, and $24 in both Pennsylvania and Minnesota.
Among other top milk production states, January all-milk prices are $22.30 per hundred in California, $22.20 in Idaho, $22.90 in Michigan, $23.30 in Texas, and $23.80 in New York. A portion of the all-milk price is due to the relatively high milk butterfat averages for January, which included 3.98 percent in both Minnesota and Texas, 3.85 in New York, and 3.84 in both Wisconsin and California.
The Class III milk cash price for January is all but an official $21.12 per hundred, which was a record high for January and the fourth highest for any month. The record high was $21.67 in August of 2011.
Through Wednesday of this week, however, commodity prices in the spot market on the Chicago Mercantile began to retreat a bit from their recent record highs.
Cheddar block cheese lost 3.5 cents per pound on Wednesday to mark the first downward step from its record high price of $2.36 that had held for the three previous trading days. The market activity on Wednesday included one carload sale, one unfilled bid to buy, and one uncovered offer to sell. With no activity, the Cheddar barrel cheese spot market price remained at $2.32 per pound.
The daily slight downward trend on spot market prices for AA butter continued on Wednesday with another 1 cent per pound decline for a closing price of $1.88. Eleven carloads were sold on Wednesday, matching the trading volume for butter on Monday of this week in the spot market.
Butter sales hit a 40-year high in 2013 as per capita consumption in the United States increased to 5.6 pounds. The $2 billion value of the sales was a 65-percent increase since 2000.
The spot market price for non-fat dry milk dropped by 4 cents per pound on Tuesday of this week as five carloads were sold. The new price of $2 per pound remained on place on Wednesday as a bid to buy one carload was not filled.
Red ink was also the color of the day on Wednesday in the futures market for dry whey. Prices dropped for most months in 2014 to a high of 60.375 cents per pound for February and sliding gradually to 56.775 cents per pound for a December contract.
Despite the downward trend in dairy commodity prices, the Class III milk futures posted gains for every month through January of 2015. They included increases of 26 cents per hundred to $23.10 for February, 33 cents to $20.85 for March, and 24 cents to $19.65 for April.
If those prices hold and convert to cash market values, they would represent all-time record highs for both February and March and fall 1 cent short of the record Class III high of $19.66 per hundred set in April of 2004.
For the remainder of 2014, the Class III futures were trading on a downward slope from $18.95 per hundred for May to $17.74 for December. Futures prices have also risen to the low $17s for the first half of 2015. The Class I fluid milk base price for February is $22.02 per hundred.
Cooperatives Working Together has accepted a batch of 25 bids for financial assistance on the export of 3.889 million pounds of Cheddar, Gouda, and Monterey Jack cheese, 518,086 pounds of whole milk powder, and 209,439 pounds of butter to countries in Asia, Africa, Central America, and the Middle East in deliveries scheduled until July.
The bids came from Bongard's Creamery of Minnesota, Foremost Farms USA, Dairy Farmers of America, the Michigan Milk Producers, Tillamook Creamery of Oregon, and the United Dairymen of Arizona.