Heavy seasonal milk supplies continue to support full cheese production schedules. Cheddar and provolone sales are good while mozzarella has slowed. Following are highlights from the USDA’s Dairy Market News for the week of May 11 to 15. Download the complete newsletter, including the national retail report, here.
Cheese import volumes from Europe have expanded, while Argentine imports have declined
- CHEESE HIGHLIGHTS: Heavy seasonal milk supplies continue to support full cheese production schedules. Cheddar and provolone sales are good while mozzarella has slowed. Spot milk is selling below Class in some areas and is being purchased to increase cheese output. The week began with manufacturers having tighter barrel availability than blocks, but each is more readily available than in recent weeks. Some manufacturer inventories are building intentionally, with those cheesemakers being interested in holding an inventory cushion moving forward. Cheese import volumes from Europe have expanded, while Argentine imports have declined. Barrels closed Friday at $1.6225, up $.0025 from last Friday, and 40# blocks closed at $1.6200, up $.0075.
There is a demand for cream from makers of cream cheese, ice cream
- FLUID MILK: Milk production in the East is at or close to the seasonal peak. The Central milk production is up since spring flush has arrived. West milk production has mixed trends. Milk output is up week over week in New Mexico. In California and Arizona, milk production still trends lower. Bottled sales have declined as schools are nearing the end of their spring terms. The demand for cream is active with good pulls from cream cheese, whipping cream, ice cream and frozen desserts.
Most butter makers want to increase their inventories
- BUTTER HIGHLIGHTS: Butter production varies throughout the country, remaining fairly active in the Midwest and Northeast, while slowing in the West. Most manufacturers are churning available cream and storing the butter, but others are selling excess cream supplies. Most companies want to increase inventories with current production and some are able to.
Bulk butter prices are at 4 to 6 cents over market in the Northeast, from even to 6 cents over in the Central region and 4 cents under to 5 cents over market in the West. Friday at the CME Group, Grade AA butter closed at $1.9725, down $.0125 from last Friday.
The market for dry dairy ingredients is mixed; NFDM production is active
- DRY PRODUCTS: The dry product markets are mixed with a generally weak undertone for most powders. The low/medium heat nonfat dry milk markets showed price changes based on various indices and the decision by some manufacturers to adjust prices lower to encourage sales. Nonfat dry milk production is active throughout the country, but milk intake volumes vary by region.
Cheese manufacturers continue to take additional milk volumes away from the dryers to fill active cheese demand. The dry buttermilk market is unsettled, with western producers choosing this week to bring prices lower, in line with the NDM market. Dry whey markets are steady to weak. A few manufacturers of whey protein concentrates are diverting the fluid whey stream toward dry whey production. This is keeping dry whey inventories, on a national basis, higher than needed for near-term interest fulfillment.