June Dairy Month starts with a 93-cent increase in the May Federal order Class III milk price, announced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture at $18.52 per hundredweight (cwt.). It is $3.29 above May 2012, equates to about $1.59 per gallon, and is $1.32 above the comparable California 4b cheese milk price despite the temporary price increase mandated by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), which ends with the May prices. The Class III price average now stands at $17.69, up from $15.96 at this time a year ago, $16.65 in 2011, and $13.57 in 2010.

The June Class III futures contract settled Friday at $18.09; July, $18.58; August, $19.05; with the peak at $19.08 for September.

The May Class IV price is $18.89, up 79 cents from April and $5.34 above a year ago. It’s 2013 average now stands at $18.02, up from $15.24 a year ago, and compares with $18.86 in 2011, and $13.74 in 2010.

The AMS-surveyed U.S. average cheese price used in the May milk price calculation was $1.8274 per pound, up 9.6 cents from April. Butter averaged $1.6483, down 2.8 cents. Nonfat dry milk averaged $1.6374, up 10.6 cents, and dry whey averaged 57.65 cents, up fractionally from April.

California’s May 4b cheese milk price was announced by the CDFA at $17.20 per cwt., up 28 cents from April and $3.64 above a year ago. The 4a butter-powder milk price is $18.24 per cwt., up 22 cents from May and $4.79 above a year ago.

The 2013 4b price average now stands at $16.08, up from $13.66 a year ago and $15.05 in 2011. The 4a average, at $17.84, is up from $15.04 a year ago and compares with $18.56 in 2011.

In a week of heavy trading, cash cheese saw some ups and downs the first week of June Dairy Month but the blocks reversed four weeks of losses, closing Friday at $1.7475 per pound, up a quarter-cent on the week and 13 1/4-cents above a year ago. Barrel finished at $1.76, up 5 1/4-cents on the week and 23 3/4-cents a year ago. Fifty cars of block traded hands on the week and four of barrel. The lagging AMS-surveyed U.S. average block price slipped to $1.8090, down 3.3 cents on the week, and barrel averaged $1.7746, down 0.3 cent.

Cheese production continues at a busy pace as extra milk found its way to cheese plants over the Memorial Day weekend, according to USDA’s Dairy Market News (DMN). Lower prices continue to increase interest from international buyers, aided by the Cooperative Working Together (CWT) program, and aging programs continue to take advantage of the lower prices to build inventories, according to DMN.

Cash butter closed the week at $1.5450, up a half-cent and 12 3/4-cents above a year ago. Twenty cars were sold on the week. AMS butter averaged $1.6182, up a penny. Eyes are on the weather to see if summer heat will drive ice cream sales and draw cream away from the churn to the cone. Cream supplies over the Memorial Day Weekend in all regions were very heavy, according to DMN, and kept many churns operating at full schedules.

Cash Grade A nonfat dry milk closed Friday at $1.6925, up 1 1/4-cents on the week while Extra Grade remained at $1.70. AMS powder averaged $1.6690, up 1.2 cents, and dry whey averaged 58.13 cents per pound, up 0.8 cent. ❖