Lee Mielke: Monthly Dairy Prices 12-12-11
Federal order milk prices took a temporary jump. The Agriculture Department announced the November benchmark Class III price at $19.07 per hundredweight, up $1.04 from October, $3.63 above November 2010, $1.88 above California’s 4b cheese milk price, and equates to about $1.64 per gallon.
It’s the highest November price in four years and put the 2011 average at $18.33, up from $14.46 at this time a year ago and a disastrous $11.03 in 2009. But Class III futures settled Friday portending a decline in December, to $18.66. Looking to First Quarter 2012; the January contract settled at $17.31, February $17.21, March $17.15, and April $17.04.
The November Class IV price is $17.87 per hundredweight, down 54 cents from October but $4.62 above a year ago.
The NASS-surveyed cheese price averaged $1.8415 per pound, up 9.4 cents from October. Butter averaged $1.7824, down fractionally. Nonfat dry milk averaged $1.4522, down 5.9 cents, and dry whey averaged 63.8 cents, up 2.3 cents.
California’s 4b cheese milk price is $17.19, up $1.41 from October, and $4.05 above a year ago. The 2011 4b average now stands at $16.48, up from $13.25 a year ago. The 4a butter-powder price is $17.70, down 59 cents from October, but $1.36 above a year ago. The 2011 average is now $19.02, up from $14.82 in 2010.
Sellers tried to “butter up” the Chicago Mercantile Exchange the week following Thanksgiving as a possible record high 56 carloads came and went. You might say “Black Friday” for butter came on Monday when the price jumped a nickel despite 11 carloads trading hands, followed by 14 more on Tuesday, and kept coming. The first Friday of December however saw the price close at $1.63 per pound, up 2 cents on the week and 2 cents above a year ago. The NASS-surveyed price plunged 12.6, to $1.6467. NASS powder averaged $1.4094, down 4.3 cents, and dry whey inched 0.1 cent higher, to 64.29 cents per pound.
A more typical spread between block and barrel cheese was reestablished. Monday saw a small rebound in both but gave it all back with the blocks closing Friday at $1.74, down 4-3/4-cents on the week but still 23-1/4-cents above a year ago. The barrels rolled 8-3/4-cents lower, to $1.7125, and 25-1/4 above a year ago. Only five cars of block traded hands on the week and eight of barrel. The NASS U.S. average block price jumped 6-1/2-cents, to $1.8886, and the barrels averaged $1.9754, up 6.8 cents.
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One out of every three acres in the U.S. is rangeland. Two-thirds of these are privately owned, mainly by ranchers who graze their livestock in the open country of the American West.