Monthly Dairy Prices 12-13-10 | TheFencePost.com

Monthly Dairy Prices 12-13-10

Lee Mielke
Dairyline Communications

Farm milk prices are heading down. USDA announced the November Federal order Class III benchmark price at $15.44 per hundredweight, down $1.50 from October, but still $1.36 above November 2009. That put the 2010 average at $14.46, up from $11.03 at this time a year ago, but compares to $17.63 in 2008. Class III futures settled Friday with the December contract at $13.90, January at $13.68, February at $13.67, March at $13.88, and April at $14.09. The Federal order Class IV price is $16.68, down 47 cents from October, but $3.43 above a year ago.

The NASS-surveyed cheese price averaged $1.6152 per pound, down 15 cents from October. Butter averaged $2.0230, down 16.6 cents. Nonfat dry milk averaged $1.1953, up 2.8 cents, and dry whey averaged 37.36 cents, down fractionally.

California’s November 4b cheese milk price is $13.14, down $2.52 from October, 62 cents below November 2009, and a whopping $2.30 below the comparable Federal order Class III price. The 4a butter power milk price is $16.34, down 31 cents from October but $3.18 above a year ago.

The cash butter price took a beating the first day of trading following the Thanksgiving break, plunging 14 cents, and followed losses totaling 32 cents the previous two weeks, but it inched up a quarter-cent on Wednesday, the first positive movement since late September, added a nickel and a quarter the next day, and closed Friday at $1.61 per pound, down 6 cents on the week, and 16 cents above a year ago. Nine cars traded hands on the week. The NASS-surveyed butter price fell 11.9 cents, to $1.8663. Nonfat dry milk averaged $1.2023, up 0.3 cent, and dry whey averaged 37.69 cents, up 0.2 cent.

Cheese marched higher for the third consecutive week, with the 40-pound blocks closing Friday at $1.5075, up 4 cents on the week, but still 21 cents below a year ago. The 500-pound barrels closed at $1.46, up 2 cents on the week, and unchanged from a year ago. Only two cars of block traded hands on the week and 12 of barrel. The U.S. NASS block price averaged $1.4726, down 9-1/2-cents on the week. Barrel averaged $1.4550, down 9.2 cents.

University of Wisconsin Emeritus Professor, Dr. Robert Cropp, said in Tuesday’s DairyLine that he was surprised at the large drop in butter, considering last Wednesday’s 11-cent drop. Butter stocks are still 43 percent below those a year ago, he said, but there is a little more cream available, butter production is picking up a little, and “we’re done with the holidays.”

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He doesn’t see cheese prices climbing much higher. “That’s a pretty good price,” he said, “And it’s come back quite a bit from the middle of the month when it was down to as low as $1.35 per pound.”

He called the strength “encouraging,” in light of what’s happening in milk production in the major cheese states, California, Idaho, and New York which were up substantially. Milk output in Minnesota and Wisconsin wasn’t up much.

Last, but certainly not least, I became a grandfather on November 26. Liana Grace Mielke was born to son Nathan and his wife Vera and measured 20-1/2-inches long and weighed 8 pounds, 1 ounce. She is named after me, an honor which no words can describe, and her great grandma Ann. Liana is my FIRST grandchild and lives in Mechanicsburg, Pa. Praise God for an exciting Christmas gift to our family.