The USDA’s September Cold Storage report, released last Friday, indicates cheese stocks aren’t flying off the shelves of the nation’s cold storage warehouses — a sign that poor demand is beginning to cause a pile-up of cheese inventories.

The report shows American cheese stocks totaled 501.4 million pounds at the end of September. While that is a 13-percent decline from September 2000, it is only 1 percent below August.

During the last 5 years, stocks of American cheese have declined about 5 percent between the months of August and September, notes Phil Plourd, senior market analyst with Blimling and Associates in Cottage Grove, Wis. The meager 1-percent decline of American cheese inventories between August and September of this year shows just how hard demand has been hit in recent weeks.

The lackluster demand continues to push block and barrel cheese prices on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange toward support price levels of $1.1314 and $1.1014 per pound, respectively. On Friday, blocks and barrels settled at $1.1975 and $1.17, respectively, each down $0.0725 per pound since Oct. 12.

The Cold Storage report also showed September butter stocks at 104.1 million pounds — 8 percent below August levels, but 22 percent above September 2000.

USDA; Phil Plourd, Blimling and Associates