Barrel cheese, butter prices still dropping

Futures prices lowest during nearby months

Ray Mueller


Spot market prices for Cheddar cheese barrels and AA butter continued to drop in trading at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME Group) through Wednesday of this week.

When the Cheddar cheese barrel price dropped by 2.75 cents per pound on Wednesday morning to close at $1.45, this was the lowest spot market price since early June of this year. Six carloads were sold on Wednesday to boost the week's total to 12 sales. A bid to buy one carload was not filled and an offer to sell one carload was not covered.

There were no sales of Cheddar cheese blocks on the spot market during the first three days of this week. The price stood at $1.5325 per pound on Wednesday, where it had been since Thursday of last week.

Butter downtrend

The price for AA butter continued on its recent downward trend on Wednesday with a loss of 1.25 cents to put the day's closing price at $1.85 per pound. One carload was sold to put the week's total at four sales and a bid to buy one carload was not filled.

Six carloads of Grade A non-fat dry milk were sold on Wednesday and a bid to buy one carload was not filled. The price held at 93 cents per pound.

August milk prices

The $18 per hundred weighted average milk price that Wisconsin's dairy farmers received for the milk they shipped in August was the highest price since November of 2015. Among the top milk production states, only Minnesota's $18.20 per hundred was higher for August. Both states had an increase of $1.40 per hundred from July.

Per hundred weighted average prices for August in other states were $15.60 in Michigan, $15.96 in California, $16.50 in New Mexico, $17.30 in both New York and Idaho, $17.50 in Pennsylvania, and $17.90 in Texas. The average for the United States was $17.10 per hundred – up by $1 from July and by 40 cents compared to August of 2015.

The national Class III milk base price for September was to be announced this week. It is likely to be close to $16.40 per hundred, which would be a decrease of 51 cents from August.

Futures markets

The Class III milk futures markets were posting single digit per hundred changes for most months in the coming year in early afternoon trading on Wednesday. The $14.91 for October was the lowest on the trading board, followed by the $15s per hundred for all months from November 2016 through May of 2017.

The futures stood in the $16s per hundred for all months from June 2017 through September of 2018. Very few contracts were being traded for those month. Most trading on Wednesday was confined to the final quarter of 2016.

In the dry whey futures market, October also had the lowest price of 32.575 cents per pound. The price range for most months in 2017 was 35 to 37 cents per pound.

On Monday of this week, ,Cooperatives Working Together announced that one or more of its members (not identified) had submitted bids for financial assistance on the export of 1.601 million pounds of Cheddar, Gouda, and Monterey Jack cheese to customers in Asia, North Africa, Oceania, and the Middle East. Deliveries were scheduled until December.