Cheddar cheese prices enjoy a bump on Tuesday

​Ray Mueller


With some of the highest single day price gains ever, Tuesday of this week proved to be a highlight for Cheddar cheese prices in the spot market on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

Cheddar barrels gained 12 cents per pound on Tuesday while Cheddar blocks tacked on 9.5 cents per pound. Price increases for cheese had begun on Friday, Oct. 14, in the spot market.

On Wednesday of this week, Cheddar barrels shed 2 cents of the recent price gains to close at $1.59 per pound. One carload was sold to put the week's total at 10 sales.

The Cheddar block price held at $1.68 per pound as four carloads were sold on Wednesday. Offers to sell one carload each of barrels and blocks were not covered.

Butter slippage

The AA butter spot market price dipped for the 3rd consecutive trading day. The 1.25-cent drop on Wednesday left the price at $1.7550 per pound as one carload was sold to raise the week's total to five sales. An offer to sell one carload was not covered.

Grade A non-fat dry gained 1 cent on Wednesday to close at 88.25 cents per pound. One carload was sold to bring the week's total to six. A bid to buy one carload was not filled and an offer to sell two carloads was not covered.

Class III futures lower

Class III milk futures prices were posting losses of 2 to 24 cents per hundred for all months through June of 2015 in trading early on Wednesday afternoon. Despite the significant gains in the Cheddar cheese price on Tuesday, no monthly futures price showed more than a 31 cent per hundred gain compared to a week earlier.

The futures prices stood at $14.71 per hundred for October, in the $15s for all months from November 2016 through April of 2017 and in the $16s per hundred for all subsequent months through September of 2018.

In the dry whey futures market, the 31.925 cents per pound for October was also the lowest on the trading board. For all following months through December of 2017, the prices were in the mid to upper 30s in cents per pound.

A negative PPD

The September producer price differential (PPD) for the Chicago base zone in Federal Milk Marketing Order 30 is a minus 2 cents per hundred. Because of the transportation factor in the formula, the PPD reaches a negative 22 cents per hundred for the most distant milk receiving plants.

With the negative PPD, the volume of milk pooled in Order 30 for September was down to just below 2.313 billion pounds. Usage of the pooled milk for the month was 12.6 percent in Class I (fluid milk bottling), 7.7 percent in Class II (soft dairy products), 74.5 percent in Class III (cheese production) and 5.2 percent in Class IV (butter and milk powders). The pooled milk had component averages of 3.77 percent butterfat, 3.08 percent protein and 5.77 percent other solids.

The national milk production report for September was released on Thursday afternoon of this week.

Dairy export report

On Monday of this week, Cooperatives Working Together reported the receipt of a total of 23 bids for financial support on the export of dairy commodities. Bids were submitted by Foremost Farms USA, the Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative, Dairy Farmers of America, the Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold) and the Tillamook County Creamery in Oregon.

Those bids are on contracts for a total of 2.308 million pounds of Cheddar, Gouda, and Monterey Jack cheese and 859,803 pounds of butter going to buyers in Asia, the Middle East and Oceania. Deliveries on those contracts are scheduled until January of 2017.

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