Monthly Dairy Prices 7-13-09 | TheFencePost.com
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Monthly Dairy Prices 7-13-09

Lee Mielke
Dairyline Communications

The Agriculture Department announced the June Federal order Class III milk price Thursday at $9.97 per hundredweight (cwt.), up 13 cents from May but a whopping $10.28 below June 2008. That puts the 2009 average at $10.19, down from $18.26 a year ago, and compares to $16.11 in 2007.

Class III futures point to further increases ahead but still well below year ago levels and below the cost of production for most farms. The July contract settled Thursday at $10.05, August at $10.52, September at $11.26, October at $12.17, November at $13.15, and December at $13.57.

The June Class IV price is $10.22, up eight cents from May, but $5.70 below a year ago.

The four week NASS-surveyed cheese price average was $1.1466 per pound, down almost a penny from May. Butter averaged $1.2073, also down almost a penny. Dry whey averaged 26.93 cents, up 3.76 cents, and nonfat dry milk averaged 84.61 cents, up 1.43 cents from May.

Meanwhile, California’s June 4b cheese milk price is $9.52 per cwt., down two cents from May, $9.60 below June 2008, and 45 cents below the comparable Federal order Class III price. The 4a butter powder price was $10.06, up three cents from May, but $5.55 below a year ago.

Cash cheese prices were mixed in the shortened Fourth of July week. The blocks closed that Thursday at $1.1150 per pound, down a half-cent on the week, 80 3/4-cents below that week a year ago, and 1 1/2-cents below support. Barrel closed at $1.10, up a penny on the week, 77 1/2-cents below a year ago, and right at support. Twenty-nine cars of block traded hands on the week and 11 of barrel. The NASS-surveyed U.S. average block price hit $1.1490, down slightly. Barrel averaged $1.1123, down a half-cent.

Cash butter slipped this week, closing at $1.1925, down 1 1/4-cents on the week, and 36 cents below a year ago. Ten cars were sold on the week. NASS butter averaged $1.1703, down 3.9 cents. NASS nonfat dry milk averaged 84.93 cents, up 0.3 cent, and dry whey averaged 27.2 cents, down 0.3 cent on the week.

The University of Wisconsin’s, Dr. Brian Gould, said in Tuesday’s DairyLine that dairy protein is the main positive in dairy. Dry whey prices, as reported weekly by NASS, have seen a steady rebound since the middle of February, he said, climbing from a Feb. 7, low of 15 cents per pound, to a June 20 high for the year of 27 cents, an 80 percent increase. He added that the 27-cent price level compares very favorably to the international price of about 28 cents per pound, FOB Europe.

Furthermore, dry whey exports, in contrast to other dairy commodities, saw their second best quarter ever in pounds removed in first quarter 2009, so “It’s been a very positive part of the dairy side,” Gould said.

Concurrent with that and one of the reasons for the higher prices is that manufacturer stocks of dry whey are significantly below a year ago, according to Gould. Looking at April, for example, dry whey stocks amounted to 48.8 million pounds, down 15 percent from April 2008 and, since December 2008 we had a steady decline in end of month stocks, to the tune of 25 percent since December.

“I know cheese prices aren’t the best,” he concluded, “But the whey is starting to recover and the futures market looks very positive for whey and that helps the Class III price.”

National Milk has called on the USDA to raise the purchase prices for cheese and nonfat dry milk under the Dairy Price Support program for about 90 days. Chris Galen said in Thursday’s broadcast that doing so would enhance the safety net program in last year’s farm bill by boosting the purchase price of cheese by six cents and nonfat dry milk by four cents per pound and would allow more product to clear to the government, thereby boosting producer milk prices by about $235 million, according to Federation calculations.


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