Prices Down, Volumes High in Dairy Market

Ray Mueller


AA butter makes big gains.

CHICAGO, IL – High volumes and slumping prices highlighted the spot market for dairy commodities at the CME Group during the first three days of this week. AA butter and Grade A non-fat dry milk led the volume parade on Wednesday as the prices dropped for both.

The AA butter price slipped by 6.25 cents per pound on Wednesday to close at $2.4625 as five carloads were sold to boost the week's total to 22 sales, a bid for three carloads was not filled, and an offer to sell eight carloads was not covered.

Ten carloads of Grade A non-fat dry milk were sold on Wednesday to put the week's total at 15 sales. In addition, a bid for 21 carloads was not filled and an offer to sell 15 carloads was not covered as the price dropped by 1.75 cent to close at 90.25 cents per pound.

Cheddar Cheese Activity

As seven carloads of Cheddar cheese barrels were sold to bring the week's total to 24 sales, the price held at $1.4250 per pound. A bid for one carload was not filled and an offer to sell two carloads was not covered.

Cheddar cheese blocks lost 1.5 cents on Wednesday to close at $1.65 per pound. Two carloads were sold to raise the week's total to eight carload sales and an offer to sell two carloads was not covered.

Futures Markets Slip

Class III milk futures for all remaining months of 2017 were down slightly in trading through early Wednesday afternoon. The largest drops were 12 cents per hundred for July and August.

The changes left prices at $16.29 per hundred for June, $16.74 for July, in the low $17s for August through December of 2017, and in the upper half of the $16s per hundred for all months from January 2018 through May of 2019. Only one contract had been traded for after December 2017.

Dry whey futures prices also dropped for all three of the 2017 months for which contracts were traded by noon on Wednesday. Prices ranged from a high of 47.25 cents per pound for June to lows of 36.025 cents for August and September of 2018. Every 1 cent change in the dry whey price converts to about 6 cents per hundred on the Class III milk price.

Monthly Milk Prices

The national Class III milk base price for May is $15.57 per hundred. This is an increase from $15.22 for April and from $12.76 for May of 2016. Other prices are $14.84 for Class II and $14.49 for Class IV.

For the milk they shipped in April, dairy farmers in Wisconsin received a weighted average of $17.10 per hundred. This was down by 90 cents per hundred from March but $1.50 higher than the April 2016 price.

The average all-milk price for April in the United States was $16.50 per hundred – down by 80 cents from March but $1.40 above the April 2016 price.

In other top milk production states, the April prices were $17.60 per hundred in Pennsylvania, $17.20 in New York, $16.80 in Minnesota, $16.20 in Texas, $16.10 in Idaho, $15.45 in California, $15.40 in Michigan, and $14.50 in New Mexico.