Mid-week red ink for dairy futures

Ray Mueller
Now Media Group


As of late Wednesday morning of this week, all of the Class III milk and dry whey futures contracts that were traded showed a price decline.

For Class III milk, prices were down by 3 to 13 cents per hundred on any contracts traded for March of this year through September of 2017. This left prices in the $13s per hundred for March through July of 2016, in the $14s from August 2016 through February of 2017, and in the $15s per hundred for all remaining months of 2017 into early 2018.

The national Class III milk base price for February is $13.80 per hundred. This was an increase of 8 cents from January but it is down from the $15.46 for February of 2015 and is the lowest February Class III price since 2009.

Dry whey futures contracts traded on Wednesday morning were in tight range of 25.2 to 27.5 cents per pound for the remaining months of 2016.

They averaged slightly over 28 cents per pound for all of 2017 with most months showing a prevailing futures price of 28.05 cents.

Cash market trends

Following increases during the latter part of last week, Cheddar cheese prices on the spot market at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange changed very little during market sessions with minimal activity through Wednesday of this week while AA butter prices gave back almost all of the gains they had last week.

On Wednesday, an uncovered offer to sell one carload sliced the Cheddar block price by 1 cent per pound to $1.51 but the day's closing price was still 6 cents above that of a week earlier thanks to the total increase of 7 cents per pound on Thursday and Friday of last week.

With no activity, the Cheddar barrel price stood at $1.4650 on Wednesday — up by 3.75 cents from a week earlier.

After rising to $2.04 per pound last week Friday, the AA butter spot market fell to $1.96 on Wednesday, including a 1 cent drop that day as two carloads were sold and a bid for one carload was not filled.

Grade A non-fat dry milk grabbed the market spotlight on Tuesday of this week with the sale of 21 carloads.

As the result of an unfilled bid to buy one carload, the price rose by .50 cent to 74.50 cents per pound on Wednesday — still below the recent high price of 78 cents per pound last week.

Export support report

On Monday of this week, Cooperatives Working Together announced the receipt of requests from Land O'Lakes, Dairy Farmers of America, the Maryland-Virginia Milk Producers Association, and Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold) for financial assistance on six contracts to export dairy commodities.

Those contracts are for a total of 2.315 million pounds of 82 percent butter and 1.581 million pounds of Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese being purchased by customers in Asia, North Africa, Central America, and the Middle East. Deliveries are to be completed by September of this year.

On Tuesday of this week, the Global Dairy Trade auction in New Zealand had an overall price increase of 1.4 percent on the winning bids for eight dairy commodities. The price increases were led by whole milk powder and skim milk powder.