As printed in our April 10, 2015 issue...

THE NINE-MONTH BLEND OF CLASS III FUTURES FELL nearly 80 cents to $16.43 during a 30-day window dating back to February 27. May's $15.45 represented the low and November's $17.25 topped the group.

MILK HAS BEEN ABUNDANT. "At times, we have been long on milk everywhere, even the Southeast," said one national co-op leader. Elsewhere, the closing of a Sheboygan, Wis., fluid plant caused 70 producers to search for new buyers. Reports indicated there weren't many takers.

CHEESE AND BUTTER INVENTORIES GREW at a faster rate compared to last February, up 5.3 and 3.7 percent, respectively. Spot Cheddar blocks traded at $1.54 while butter sold at $1.72-1/4 per pound.

AT THE SAME TIME, EXPORTS HAVE SLOWED due to growing international dairy product supplies and a dollar that has rallied 20 percent against a basket of major currencies competing for dairy sales.

AN EXTENSION TO THE CWT PROGRAM could be in the works as the program's committee looked to send a signal that the U.S. will be a long-term player in export markets. A follow-up meeting has been slated for June when CWT officials could extend the program through the life of the farm bill and potentially step up funding levels from 4 to 6 cents per cwt.

FEBRUARY MILK CLIMBED 1.7 percent. Of the 23 leading dairy states, only two reduced milk flow compared to the same time last year: California, -3.8 percent and New Mexico, -3.7 percent. Those two states also had the lowest mailbox prices in the nation last year (see page 248).

SOUTH DAKOTA LED ALL STATES by expanding milk flow 9.6 percent in February when compared to the same month a year earlier. Michigan grew by 7.8 percent followed closely by Colorado's 7.6 percent.

DAIRY COW CULLING ROSE 2.2 percent through February to reach 518,000 head compared to 507,000 for the first two months of last year.

GLYPHOSATE COULD CAUSE CANCER ruled the World Health Organization (WHO). Monsanto and other ag groups adamantly contest the report citing 40 years of studies and use in 160 countries.

WHILE MONSANTO HAS CALLED FOR A RETRACTION by WHO, the classification could prompt chemical makers to update safety information on product labels and websites. Last year alone, 94 percent of soybeans and 89 percent of corn in the U.S. were herbicide-resistant plants.

BRIEFLY: After gains in the previous six bi-weekly trading sessions, New Zealand's Global Dairy Trade (GDT) weighted index fell 8.8 percent. Butter was down 9.4 percent; cheese dropped 7.4 percent and skim milk was 5.5 lower. Kraft could merge with Heinz in a deal being orchestrated by Warren Buffet and 3G Capital. Kraft has been a long-term player in the dairy industry manufacturing Velveeta, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, Philadelphia Cream Cheese and Cheese Whiz among other products.

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