Cheese prices decline during trading week

Ray Mueller, Correspondent


With Cheddar cheese barrels suffering the largest losses, prices were headed downward through Wednesday of this week in the CME Group spot market for dairy commodities.

Cheddar barrels declined by 2.25 cents to close at $1.5275 per pound on Wednesday as five carloads were sold to bring the week's total to 29 sales, a bid to buy four carloads was not filled, and an offer to sell one carload was not covered. The day's closing price was down by 13.25 cents per pound from a week earlier.

Cheddar cheese blocks posted a .50 cent per pound gain on Wednesday but the day's settling price of $1.67 was 5 cents lower than a week earlier. The five carloads sold during the session were the first spot market sales of the week. A bid to buy two carloads was not filled.

Butter slippage

AA butter joined Cheddar barrels with a 2.25 cent per pound drop in the price on Wednesday as the result of an unfilled bid to buy one carload. This left the price at $2.01 per pound.

Grade A non-fat dry milk held at 90.50 cents per pound. The day's market activity was also an unfilled bid to buy one carload.

The price trends for dairy commodities in the United States are running counter to prices paid in New Zealand's Global Dairy Trade auction held earlier this month. Winning bids were up by 14.9 percent for butter and 9 percent for Cheddar cheese in the auction which attracted 199 world-wide bidders.

Futures in $16s per hundred

With only single digit per hundred changes in Class III milk futures in trading through early Wednesday afternoon at the CME Group, prices stood in the $16s per hundred for all but two of the upcoming 24 months through August of 2018.

Prices for nearby months on Wednesday were $16.46 per hundred for September, $16.47 for October, and $16.40 for November. The only exceptions to the prevailing of $16s per hundred in the Class III milk futures were $15.92 and $15.94 for January and February of 2016 respectively.

In the dry whey futures market, where several months had small price setbacks on Wednesday, the 30.5 cents per pound for September was the lowest on the trading board. All other prices through August of 2018 were between 35 and 40 cents per pound.

Negative August PPD

The producer price differential (PPD) in the Upper Midwest federal milking marketing order 30 for August is a minus 25 cents per hundred in the Chicago base zone. Because of the transportation allowance in the formula, it is a minus 45 cents at the most distant milk receiving plants.

Because of the negative PPD value for the month, the amount of milk pooled in Order 30 for August dipped to just over 2.173 billion pounds. Uses of the pooled milk were 13.2 percent in Class I (fluid bottled milk), 9 percent in Class II (soft dairy products), 71.8 percent in Class III (cheese), and 6 percent in Class IV (butter and milk powders). The pooled milk had averages of 3.67 percent butterfat, 3 percent protein, and 5.75 percent other solids.