The Class III price tacked on another 92 cents during May — hoisting its sails high above the $20 mark. The USDA announced the good news — $20.58 for May Class III milk —on June 4. The price increase establishes yet another new record high for the Class III price.
Compared to April’s rigorous $5.17 gain, a 92-cent gain in the May Class III price seems rather modest. Still, no one’s going to complain when $20 milk comes knocking on the door, especially when the Class III price was only $9.71 last year at this time.
Meanwhile, the Class IV and II prices lost ground. The Class IV price fell 7 cents during May — to $14.50. The May Class II price dropped 18 cents —to $15.03.
Despite the 92-cent gain in May, the Class III price may have peaked for the year. Cheese prices, which began to erode in late April, continued to lose stamina during most of May. Prices for both block and barrel cheese fell below $2, but have been holding fairly steady since about May 24. At the close of trading on June 4, block and barrel cheese prices were still unchanged at $1.80 and $1.77, respectively.
However, the cheese market is expected to see more downward movement, with milk prices likely to follow. In fact, the June Class III price is expected to fall back below $20, maybe even down to $17 or so. That’s still a respectable milk price, considering the average Class III price for June is about $12.25.
The Class III price will probably continue to stay above average through September, and probably won’t fall below $11 the rest of the year.