Class III milk futures were again propelled higher on the slight increase of underlying cash cheese prices. June showed the greatest strength, moving price as high as $19.76 before stalling out. Another day similar to Wednesday and Thursday and futures could reach $20.00. Higher milk prices are being seen in May, June and July contracts, which is somewhat unusual as stronger milk prices are generally seen in contracts in the fall of the year. Historically, lower prices are seen during the spring and early summer. If higher prices are yet to be seen this fall, it could certainly be a banner year for milk prices. USDA will provide their projections for milk prices on the World Agricultural Supply and Demand report that will be released Friday. Exports during February increased 14.6% above the level of February 2020 even though there was one less day this year compared to last year. The total value of exports in February reached $565.5 million, up 6.9 percent from a year ago.
AVERAGE CLASS III PRICES:
Cheese exports in February did not fare as well as some other dairy products. Exports totaled 30,176 metric tons (mt), down 2.4% from February 2020. Year-to-date exports of cheese are down 5.9%. Lactose exports totaled 25,072 mt, down 20.0% from a year ago. Dry whey exports were very strong, increasing 28.8% and totaling 51,243 mt. Total whey exports to the largest market of China grew by 138% compared to the year prior. China represented 26% of the total whey exports for the month. Year-to-date exports are running 21.8% higher than the same period last year.
Butterfat exports in February increased dramatically, totaling 3,867 mt. This was 115.2% higher than February 2020. Price has been competitive on the world market and supply has been available. Year-to-date exports are 98.0% higher than the same time last year. Skim milk powder/nonfat dry milk exports are up 31.4%, totaling 71,584 mt with year-to-date exports running 8.4% higher. Whole milk powder exports increased 0.6% totaling 3,645 mt with year-to-date exports up 5.3%.
OUTSIDE MARKETS SUMMARY:
May corn jumped 19.25 cents, closing at $5.7975. May soybeans gained 6.50 cents with May soybean meal down $2.30 per ton, closing at $406.80. May wheat jumped 12.50 cents, closing at $6.2875. April live cattle gained $1.00, closing at $124.15. May crude oil slipped $0.17, ending at $59.60 per barrel. The DOW gained 57 points, closing at 33,504 while the NASDAQ gained 140 points, closing at 13,829.