Dairy Markets At A Glance

Cheese demand has slid a little the week before Thanksgiving, in some cases.

Dairy Markets At A Glance

BUTTER: Grade AA closed at $2.0475. The weekly average for Grade AA is $1.9890 (+0.0265).

CHEESE: Barrels closed at $1.5200 and 40# blocks at $1.8575. The weekly average for barrels is $1.4795 (-0.0515) and blocks, $1.7235 (-0.0220).

NONFAT DRY MILK: Grade A closed at $1.5550. The weekly average for Grade A is $1.5410 (-0.0210).

DRY WHEY: Extra grade dry whey closed at $0.7000. The weekly average for dry whey is $0.6920 (+0.0300).
 
CHEESE HIGHLIGHTS: Cheese demand has slid a little the week before Thanksgiving, in some cases. Generally, though, it remains somewhat strong nationwide. Retail purchases are busy in the Eastern region. Milk is available, although overages from $.40 to $1 are being reported in the Midwest. Contacts are uncertain as to what will take place next week as plants close down an extra day, or more, for the Thanksgiving holiday. Speaking of production, staffing shortages continue to be reported regularly from all regions. Market tones are uncertain, and contacts say the questions regarding market tones due to freight cost increases, supply chain snags, and employee tightness are far from being answered.
 
BUTTER HIGHLIGHTS: Supplies of cream are tight in the East and Central region, while mixed across the West. Labor shortages as well as a shipping delays are causing some butter production plants in the West to run below capacity. Labor issues are also limiting some plants’ ability to micro-fix. Although, plants in the East are, reportedly, micro-fixing to finalize orders in time for the Thanksgiving holiday. Butter demand is strong, seasonally, across all regions. Spot inventories are tight in the West, while remaining available to meet current demand in the East. Butter market tones are steady to bullish in the Central and West regions. Bulk butter overages range from 3 to 15 cents above market this week.
 
FLUID MILK: Farm level milk production is steady in the Midwest, steady to increasing in the East, and somewhat mixed throughout the West. In areas where demand is outpacing supply, including Arizona and the Southeast, some dairy processors are bringing in milk from other regions. Boosted by Thanksgiving and other end-of year holidays, Class I demand is growing for retail outlets. Some Midwestern cheesemakers have been able to find spot milk, but they report paying overages. Condensed skim markets have a stable undertone; contracts are steady and manufacturer supplies are reportedly in good balance with buyer demands. Cream is tighter in the East and Midwest, but availability varies throughout the West. Staffing shortages, supply chain challenges, and logistics issues continue to impact cream based manufacturers and the dairy industry as a whole. F.O.B. cream multiples for all classes are 1.35 – 1.50 in the East, 1.30-1.50 in the Midwest, and 1.21-1.40 in the West.
 
DRY PRODUCTS: The top of the low/medium heat nonfat dry milk (NDM) price range shifted up in the Central and East, and the top of the mostly range increased as well. In the West, the bottom of the price range increased while the top, and mostly range, held steady. Spot inventories are tighter. Demand is firm in both export and domestic markets. The top of the high heat NDM price range increased in all regions. High heat demand is steady, but availability and production are limited. Dry buttermilk price ranges moved higher in all regions. The Western mostly range shifted up as well. Domestic demand is steady to higher and inventories are snug. The dry whole milk price range is holding steady. Inventories are tight as production is limited. Dry whey prices are steady to higher in all regions. In the Central and West regions, the mostly ranges inched higher. Domestic and export interest are steady to stronger. Production and availability vary. The whey protein concentrate (WPC) 34% price range jumped up, and so did the mostly range. Production is steady. Some manufacturers report receiving regular inquiries as end users look to WPC 34% for a possible substitute as other dairy protein prices increase. The lactose price range is unchanged, but the top of the mostly dropped. Inventories are heavy as logistical issues are slowing the pace at which lactose moves through contracts. Prices are steady for acid casein and rennet casein.