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USDA's Dairy Market News

Milk supplies are tight in the East; cheese markets are up & down; NFDM prices are firm

Strong Class I demand in the East has reduced manufacturing milk supplies. The cheese market has had ups and downs, but remained generally steady over the past six weeks.

September 14, 2012

Here are highlights from the USDA's Dairy Market Trends for the week of Sept. 10 to 14. Download the complete report.

FLUID MILK. Strong Class I demand in the East has reduced manufacturing milk supplies. Along with reduced milk production levels this has increased demand for milk and components from other parts of the country. Florida milk production is nearing seasonal lows and imports totaled 96 loads this week. The Southeastern region also imported 47 loads this week to fill needs. Milk supplies in the Central region are adequate for most needs with some milk being moved out of the region at premium prices. California milk supplies are tight compared to year ago levels with processors finding it difficult to satisfy all of their needs. Southwestern fluid levels are being adversely affected by heat and monsoonal conditions.

CHEESE HIGHLIGHTS. Cheese prices continue to trade in a range that was established in early August. The market has had ups and downs, but remained generally steady over the past six weeks. Both buyers and sellers appear to be content at these levels as sales are reported to be steady in both retail and commercial accounts. Milk for cheese manufacturing is tight in the East, while Central and Western plants are finding adequate levels of available milk to fill most needs. Additional milk supplies are available, but competition from alternative products has that milk at a premium. USDA reported that exports of cheese so far this year are up 20% from a year ago.

DRY PRODUCTS. Nonfat dry milk prices were firm to higher this week. The market tone appeared to moderate some this week as buyers were less determined to acquire product for immediate needs. High heat NDM prices are firm in a light market test. Tight milk supplies across the country continue to reduce production levels. Dry buttermilk prices are steady to higher with spot sales leading the increase. Increased butter churning schedules are anticipated to alleviate current tight supplies. Dry whey prices moved marginally higher. Increased spot offerings of whey helped to satisfy immediate demand needs. Whey protein concentrate 34% prices were firm to higher. Market activity has increased as NDM prices have outpaced the WPC market. Lactose prices are steady as negotiations continue for 4Q needs. Spot activity is light as buyers and sellers barter over new pricing. Casein prices are firm with the production season in Europe winding down and Oceania production is getting underway.

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