The Class III price did not issue an encore of its plus-$16 performance during December. Instead, it tumbled $2 during January — to $14.14, according to the USDA’s announcement of class prices on Feb. 4.

The Class II and Class IV prices also fell significantly. The January Class II price dropped 94 cents — to $13.04. The Class IV price fell 90 cents — to $12.52.

Cheese prices crept steadily higher throughout January. Block and barrel cheese prices at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange were sitting at $1.485 and $1.45 per pound, respectively, on Jan. 3. At month’s end, block and barrel prices were riding high at $1.715 and $1.69, respectively, on Jan. 31.

However, as soon as February arrived, so, too, did the demise of cheese prices at the CME. By week’s end on Feb. 4, the block price had nose-dived to $1.4925 — down 22 cents on the week. Barrels followed closely with a 21.25-cent loss, which put it at $1.4775 on Feb. 4.

On Feb. 7, block and barrel prices proceeded to weaken further. Blocks fell to $1.455, and barrels slipped to $1.43.