January cheese production up from year-ago levels

USDA released its monthly Dairy Products report on Mar. 4, summarizing January 2014 production estimates:

Total cheese output (excluding cottage cheese) was 951 million lbs. in January 2014, 1.9% less than December 2013, but 1.6% more than January 2013. Butter production was 182 million lbs., 12.9% above December 2013, but 3.0% below January 2013.

To find the full report, click here.


January 2014 Dairy Products





Change from

Change from



Jan. 2013

Dec. 2013


(1,000 lbs.)



Total cheese




American types








Italian types




















Dry whey, total








Nonfat dry milk, human




Skim milk powder, total




Source: USDA





Dairy Margin Watch: February ending is strong

Dairy margins strengthened over the second half of February, with higher milk prices more than offsetting increased feed costs, according to the latest CIH Margin Watch report from Commodity & Ingredient Hedging, LLC. Nearby margins in spot Q1 and Q2 essentially remained at the 100th percentile of the past 10 years, while deferred margins in Q3 and Q4 are at the 94th and 89th percentiles, respectively.

As expected, higher milk prices appear to be encouraging increased milk production, with the latest USDA report showing January milk production of 17.3 billion lbs. – up 2.8% from December and 0.9% above last year. Cheese prices remain very strong, with CME block cheddar on its second-longest run in the past 10 years above $2.00/lb. There is some concern moving forward, however, that high prices for both cheese and beef could negatively impact demand moving into the grilling season.

Unrest in Ukraine, meanwhile, has added some risk premium back to grain prices, although the main grain export terminals in the Black Sea are far removed from the Crimean flashpoint.

USDA will update their next monthly World Ag Supply & Demand Estimates report on March 10. At the end of the month, USDA will provide both the Prospective Plantings report for 2014, as well as March 1 quarterly grain stocks.

Visit www.cihmarginwatch.com.


CWT assists with 3.9 million lbs. of cheese, butter export sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) accepted 11 requests for export assistance from Foremost Farms USA, Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association, Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold) and Tillamook County Creamery Association to sell 782,641 lbs. of cheddar cheese and 3.142 million lbs. of 82% butter to customers in Asia, Central America, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. The product will be delivered in March through June 2014.

Year-to-date, CWT has assisted member cooperatives in selling 26.072 million lbs. of cheese, 10.418 million lbs. of butter and 698,865 lbs. of whole milk powder to 19 countries on four continents. These sales are the equivalent of 475.3 million lbs. of milk on a milkfat basis.


Springfield Livestock Marketing Center

Dairy replacement sales results from Springfield, Mo., on Feb. 25:

Demand good, supply moderate. Prices are for Approved & Supreme Holsteins unless noted otherwise. Prices per head.

Springer heifers (bred seven to nine months): $1,400-$1,810

    Crossbreds $1,225-$1,425

    Jerseys $1,200-$1,450

Heifers (bred three to six months): $1,325-$1,810

    Crossbreds $1,290-$1,400

Heifers (bred one to three months): $1,275-$1,450.

Fresh Cows: $1,310-$1,650


California ‘hauling rates’ survey updated

The California Department of Food & Agriculture published its “California Ranch-to-Plant Hauling” survey results, providing information regarding milk loads, volume, mileage and rate per hundredweight of milk shipped. The survey of California processing plants is conducted each April and October. The haul survey provides a comparison for the last four periods collected.

 It covers geographic regions where milk is produced at the ranch (source) and the plant (destination) of first receipt. The haul rate includes flat charge (rate per cwt.), fuel surcharges, and stop charges.



GMO Inside launches Starbucks’ campaign

Green America’s GMO Inside campaign launched a push to get Starbucks, America’s largest coffee chain with more than 20,000 stores in 62 countries, to serve only organic milk sourced from cows not fed GMOs.

The new campaign website (http://www.gmoinside.org/starbucks) and Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/GmoInside) call on Starbucks to stop sourcing milk from cows fed genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in feed, including corn, soy, alfalfa and cottonseed, and to use a third-party verifier to ensure that the milk used at Starbucks stores is sourced from cows eating non-GMO feed.


World Champion Cheese Contest offers charity event 

The world’s largest cheese competition is coming to Wisconsin, and with it, an exclusive opportunity for the public to taste 50 of the world’s most rare cheeses and witness judges from six continents execute the final round of judging to determine the 2014 World Champion Cheese.

On Wednesday, March 19, the World Championship Cheese Contest and Wisconsin Cheese Originals welcome the public to Exhibition Hall at Monona Terrace, Madison, Wis. for the Champion Cheese Charity Event – A Benefit for Second Harvest Foodbank. Tickets are $35 and will be sold only in advance at www.cheesecontest.com. Attendance is capped at 600 persons.

Cheeses for the evening will be selected from 2,615 entrants into the 30th biennial World Championship Cheese Contest, arriving from not only across the United States and great European cheesemaking nations, but also from Australia, Canada, Croatia, Japan, Norway, Romania and South Africa. 

Visit: www.worldchampioncheese.org/attend.