Some cheesemakers have committed to secure extra milk intakes next week. That will keep many cheese plants in heavy production, according to the USDA’s Dairy Market News for the week of Dec. 14 to 18. Sales of organic fluid milk are off. Read the entire report here.

Cream returns to butter churners, following the holiday rush

BUTTER HIGHLIGHTS: The trade is assessing the butter market after sharp price declines over the past two weeks. Some last minute buyers are filling remaining orders. Most of ice cream, egg nog, sour cream and cream cheese processing for the holidays is completed. As a result, cream supplies to make butter are more available. Butter churning is active in the West and Central regions, but is steady to lower in the East. In the Central region, some production lines will be down for maintenance projects. In the West, some manufacturers are shifting production from print to bulk. At this point, major parts of the national butter output are destined to frozen storage. Inventories are steady to building. Butter demand from retailers is light but steady from food service. The market undertone is weak. The Grade AA butter price at the CME Group on Friday closed at $2.0600, down 14 cents from a week ago.

Sales of specialty cheese are strong, but fresh mozzarella slows

CHEESE HIGHLIGHTS: This week’s cheese production is steady across the regions. Sales of specialty cheese have been particularly strong. Slower sales of fresh mozzarella have caused a slight slowdown in production. Commitments have been made already by some manufacturers to secure extra milk intakes next week, which will keep many cheese plants in heavy production. Manufacturers are comfortable with expectations that the higher production can be sold and they are receptive to lower spot milk prices at this time of year. During November, quota cheese imports into the U.S. increased 7.6% over levels one year ago. For January – November, high tier cheese imports into the US were 36.6% above the same 11 months of 2014, and quota imports were 18.6% higher. Barrels closed the week at $1.4500, up $0.0275 and blocks closed at $1.4400, down $0.0050 from last week’s close.

Steady milk production in California, mid-Atlantic states

FLUID MILK: Milk production in California and the mid-Atlantic states is steady. Production is increasing from the seasonal low in the Pacific Northwest, where components are also increasing. Northeast milk production is marginally higher, as is production in Florida. Midwest milk production is steady to climbing, with spot milk this week clearing into cheese plants at $4.00 to $.50 under Class. New Mexico production is higher, heading up to the seasonal flush while Arizona milk production is at the peak of the flush.

Mixed results in organic dairy

ORGANIC DAIRY FLUID OVERVIEW: AMS reports total organic milk products sales for October 2015, 204 million pounds, were down 8.5% from October last year and down 2.4% year to date through October this year compared with last year. Total organic whole milk products sales for October 2015, 70 million pounds, were up 0.9% compared with October last year and up 9.1% January through October 2015 compared with the same months of 2014.

With the exception of organic whole milk, all other fat and flavored categories of organic milk have lower sales January through October 2015 than 2014. Representatives of organic dairy producers observe that organic milk volumes may be suffering, in part, due to lower production in the West resulting from dryness and pay prices, which limits ability to purchase organic feed. Diversion of fluid organic milk into manufacturing with higher margins is also reducing organic milk available for the retail fluid market.