The Class III price took a downturn in May, tumbling 84 cents to $13.77. Just one year ago the Class III price peaked in May at $20.58 – making this year’s price a 33 percent decline from 2004. However, if you compare the May Class III price to the five-year average (2000 to 2004) of $12.86 it’s up 7 percent.

The Class III price has been playing ping pong since February – up one month and then down the next. It will be interesting to see if this pattern repeats in June, or if the 84-cent drop is a sign of things to come.

The Class IV price and Class II price continued to head lower in May also. The Class IV price declined 41 cents — to $12.20. And the Class II price declined 46 cents to $12.78.

Meanwhile, the cheese market has been on a roller coaster ride of its own the past few weeks, too. The weekly average block price at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange was $1.45 for the week ending April 29. By May 20, the weekly average had climbed to $1.5570 but then retracted to a weekly average of $1.4925 by June 3.

On the barrel side of the market, the result has been similar. The weekly average stood at $1.3830 on April 29. It climbed to $1.5080 for the week of May 20 and then dropped to $1.4463 for the week ending June 3.