Editor’s note: This market commentary is provided by the Dairy Division at FCStone/Downes-O'Neill in Chicago, Ill.

What happened yesterday in the Class III and cheese markets?

Not much of anything, only 491 contracts traded. Block and barrels spot markets were unchanged, we traded just two block loads. We attribute the lack of activity to both the holiday season and the ADPI conference which is ongoing right now. There are few dairy conferences with such widespread attendance that they truly are impactful on industry perspective and trading volumes; ADPI’s annual Chicago meeting is one such event. 

Cooperatives Working Together did announce that it accepted nine requests for export assistance from Bongard’s Creamery, DFA, and Foremost Farms to sell 8265 MT (2.152 mil/lbs) of cheddar cheese in Asia, Europe, Middle East, and N. Africa. Deliveries are scheduled to be scattered between May and October.

Grains started stronger based on weather, but pulled back slightly during early morning hours. However, the market just refused to break in a sizeable way and caught a buying spree late. Corn gained 24 cents in July to 768.5; new crop was up 16 to 681.5; soybeans were up 6.75 in July to 1396.5; new crop was unchanged at 1382.5; soymeal was up 2.3 to 361.1, and wheat was up 26.5 to 826. It’s officially a weather market. Prices remain one disaster away from $9 or $10 corn. We also remain one good warm streak away from catching up on planting rates and dropping 30 or 40 cents in a flash.

Corn planting progress reporting this week was up just 2% to 9% vs. 13% expected, 23% five-year average and 46% last year. Most of this, however, was likely priced in prior to the close today with the late day jump.

We look for corn to open 5 to 7 cents lower and beans to open 8 to 12 lower.

Daily CME spot market prices:  

Block cheese:  $1.60 (no change) 

Barrel cheese:  $1.58 (no change) 

Butter:  $2.0025 (up 0.25 cents) 

Grade A NFDM:  $1.61 (no change) 

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Source:  FCStone/Downes-O'Neill