As printed in our April 25, 2014 issue...

SPOT CHEESE LOST GROUND in early April. Blocks fell by 25-1/4 cents to settle at $2.17 per pound by mid-month. Barrels dropped 17 cents to $2.08. Even so, USDA still projected a $22.80 All-Milk price for the year.

DAIRY EXPORTS REMAINED STRONG in February at 15.5 percent of total U.S. milk solids or $585 million. Imports were only 2.9 percent.

FEBRUARY CHEESE OUTPUT FELL 0.6 percent compared to last February. Cheddar was down 0.8 percent while Mozzarella rose 7.5 percent.

YOGURT SALES SLOWLY DROVE UP Class II use in the Northeast Order. Class II share was at 26 percent last year compared to 20 in 2009.

CHEESE SALES COULD GROW 7.3 PERCENT globally through 2019, reported Transparency Market Research. If realized, the international cheese market could reach $118.4 billion, up from $72.45 billion in 2012.

EUROPE HAS DOMINATED global cheese markets at 38.8 percent market share followed by North America at 32.7 percent. Pegged as the fastest growing market, Asia-Pacific only accounted for 8 percent at the moment.

OVER 86 PERCENT OF ALL U.S. MILK was marketed through a Federal Milk Marketing Order or California's state order last year. Collectively, that total was up 4 percent compared to a year earlier.

MOMENTUM FOR A FEDERAL ORDER in California has picked up steam. However, many steps need to take place, including formal hearings and a producer referendum that would need to pass by a two-thirds vote.

THE DAIRY FORWARD PRICING PROGRAM that allows producers and cooperatives to voluntarily enter into forward price contracts with handlers and processors has been extended through September 2018.

NEW ZEALAND'S GROWTH in milk could be constrained over the next five years, suggested Rabobank. Growing land costs, mounting environmental regulations and rising production costs were among issues cited.

AT 61 PERCENT, GENOMIC BULLS held the greatest market share among all active bulls in this April's genetic evaluations. That percentage was up from last year's 57 percent and the 45 percent posted in April 2012

BRIEFLY: March cull cow prices averaged $99.90 per hundredweight, the highest on record, reported USDA. Farm banks raised agriculture lending by 9 percent and held $87.8 billion in farm loans in 2013, reported the American Bankers Association. On average, Minnesota farms made 42 cents per hundredweight last year. Milk sold for $20.34 and costs were $19.92 per cwt. Saputo closed a pair of cheese plants in New London, Wis., and Hancock, Md. Production shifted to other facilities. Since 2004, Australia's milk production has fallen by 20 percent to 20.4 billion pounds. Yogurt was added to the list of approved foods for the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program by USDA.

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