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Cheese prices down; butter slips

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Cash cheese prices started December heading lower.

Block cheddar dipped to $1.76 per pound Wednesday, but rallied and closed Friday at $1.81, still a nickel lower on the week but 29 1/4-cents above a year ago.

The barrels closed at $1.6150, down 7 1/2-cents on the week and 13 cents above a year ago.

The blocks dropped a nickel Monday and shed 2 3/4-cents Tuesday, dipping to $1.7325 per pound, lowest price since Oct. 28.

The barrels lost a penny and a half Monday and three-quarters Tuesday, sliding to $1.5925, the lowest price since Oct. 27, and an unsustainable 14 cents below the blocks.

Cash butter jumped 5 1/4-cents last Monday and did a 13-cent pole vault Wednesday, hitting $2.23 per pound, the highest spot since Aug. 16, only to give some back Thursday and Friday and close at $2.1850, up 13 3/4-cents on the week but still 71 3/4-cents below a year ago.

It dropped 7 1/4-cents Monday but regained three-quarters Tuesday, inching back to $2.12 per pound.

Grade A nonfat dry milk closed Friday at $1.0075 per pound, up 10 1/4-cents, 20 3/4-cents above a year ago, and the highest since Oct. 7, 2015.

It reversed gears Monday, giving back a penny and three-quarters, and lost another penny and a half Tuesday, dipping to 97 1/2-cents per pound.

The November federal order benchmark Class III milk price was announced at $16.76 per hundredweight, up $1.94 from October, $1.46 above November 2015, and equates to about $1.44 per gallon, up from $1.27 in October and $1.32 a year ago.

The 11-month Class III average stands at $14.64, down from $15.92 at this time a year ago and down from $22.75 in 2014.

Class III futures, as of Monday’s settlements, portended a December Class III at $17.03; January, $16.75; February, $16.83; and March at $16.79.

The Class IV price is $13.76, up a dime from October but $3.13 below a year ago. The Class IV average for 2016 is at $13.66, down from $14.24 a year ago and compares to $22.58 in 2014. It is the lowest November Class IV price since 2009.

California’s November 4b cheese milk price, comparable to the federal order Class III price, is $17.45 per cwt., up $3.02 from October, $3.02 above a year ago, and the highest 4b since November 2014.

It’s also 69 cents above the FO Class III price, the first time the 4b price has topped the Class III price since December 2009. The 4b has trailed the Class III by as little as 39 cents in October to as much as $1.39 in May, despite the temporary state-mandated change in the 4b pricing formula with respect to whey. The gap in 2015 ranged from a low of 53 cents in August to a high of $2.43 in January.

The 2016 4b average stands at $14.06, down from $14.61 a year ago and $20.40 in 2014.

The November 4a butter-powder milk price is $13.69 per cwt., up 58 cents from October but $2.88 below a year ago. The 4a average is at $13.29, down from $14.06 a year ago and $22.49 in 2014.

Tuesday’s Global Dairy Trade auction saw a fourth consecutive session of gain, up 3.5 percent on the weighted average for all products offered, following a 4.5 percent rise Nov. 15.

Only buttermilk powder lost ground, down 2.6 percent.

Whole milk powder was up 4.9 percent, anhydrous milkfat was up 2.9 percent, cheddar cheese was up 2.2 percent, and butter was up 1.7 percent. Skim milk powder inched 1.4 percent higher.

FC Stone equated the average GDT butter price to $1.9997 per pound U.S. CME butter closed Tuesday at $2.12 per pound. GDT cheddar cheese equated to about $1.7021 per pound U.S. and compares to Tuesday’s CME block cheddar at $1.7325. GDT skim milk powder hit $1.1657 per pound U.S. and whole milk powder was at $1.6296 per pound. CME Grade A nonfat dry milk price closed Tuesday at 97 1/2-cents per pound.

A lower all-milk price slid the latest milk-feed price ratio lower, reversing four months of gains. The October ratio is 2.37, down from 2.47 in September but compares to 2.30 in October 2015, according to the latest Ag Prices report.

The October U.S. average All-Milk price was $16.60 per cwt., down 70 cents from September and $1.10 below October 2015.

October corn averaged $3.29 per bushel, up 7 cents from September but 38 cents per bushel below October 2015. Soybeans averaged $9.30 per bushel, down 13 cents from September, but 49 cents per bushel above October 2015.

Alfalfa hay averaged $135 per ton, down $2 from September, and $20 per ton below a year ago.

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