The $1.60 free-fall endured by the Class III price during December did not repeat itself in January. Still, the Class III price lost another 26 cents — putting it at $11.61 for January, according to the USDA’s announcement of class prices on Jan. 30.

Although it fell on a month-to-month basis, the Class III price is still $1.83 higher than the same time a year ago.

Meanwhile, the Class II and IV prices continued to tack on gains during January. The Class II price gained 37 cents — putting it at $11.67. The Class IV price climbed 45 cents — to $10.97.

The Class III price’s reluctance to lose much ground during January reflects  lackluster cheese market activity at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. During January, block and barrel cheese prices stayed near $1.30 and $1.25, respectively, during most of the month. However, at the close of trading on Jan. 30, block cheese settled higher at $1.325. Barrel cheese closed unchanged at $1.255.

The end of January also was a lively time for Class III milk futures — with every month but February and March posting new contract highs on Jan. 30. The June through October contracts all closed above $13 on Jan. 30.

USDA, Chicago Mercantile Exchange