Despite a modest boost in cheese and butter prices, USDA further decreased its milk price predictions for the last 3 months of 2001 and early 2002.
According to the latest “Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Situation and Outlook” report, released yesterday afternoon, Class III prices for the fourth quarter are projected to range between $12.50 and $12.80 — a whopping $1.95 and $2.05 drop on each end of the range compared to last month’s forecast. Class IV prices for October, November and December are projected to range between $12.05 and $12.45 — $1.40 and $1.50 lower on each end of the range compared to last month’s forecast.
Milk prices during the first quarter of 2002 will be off to a chilly start, also. According to USDA predictions, Class III prices during the first quarter of 2002 are forecast to range between $11.10 and $11.70. Class IV prices are projected to range between $11.30 and $11.65 during that time.
The report also included commercial disappearance for the third quarter, ending in September. Those figures are as follows:
- Butter use is down 5.4 percent.
- Nonfat dry milk use is up 35.3 percent.
- American cheese disappearance is up 0.6 percent.
- All other cheeses are down 3.6 percent.
Commercial disappearance for each product is compared to third quarter 2000.
Despite declines in commercial disappearance of butter and some cheeses, the USDA says buyers have returned to the market, noting that both retail sales and restaurant use have been “fairly good.”