FDA SOMATIC-CELL LIMIT to stay at 750,000, based on action taken at National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments. Delegates voted down three-year reduction to 400,000 by a vote of 26 to 25. Issue may be addressed by administrative or legislative measures. CLASS III PRICE for April was $16.87, down $2.53 from March. It had been $12.92 a year ago. April Class IV price was $19.78. Class III futures for June through December averaged $17.63 per hundred. MARGINS TIGHTENING based on USDA's Milk-Feed Ratio. April ratio was 1.84, lowest since August 2009. Income over feed cost was calculated at $8.99 per hundred of milk, down $2.05 from March. DAIRY COW SLAUGHTER during the first quarter was 780,000 cows, up almost 10 percent from a year earlier and most shipped since 1997. BLOCK CHEESE PRICE HAD BEEN hovering around the mid-$1.60s per pound. Cash butter has stayed at the $2-per-pound level or above. TOTAL CHEESE OUTPUT during March was 2.4 percent above a year earlier. Italian output was up 5.1 percent. American output was up just 0.3 percent. Butter make was 12.4 percent above March of 2010. CASH RECEIPTS FROM MILK totaled $31.4 billion in 2010. That compared with $24.3 billion in 2009 and $34.8 billion in 2008. Milk marketings totaled 191.8 billion pounds. Farm use was 991 million. ANTI-ETHANOL FORCES pressuring Congress to eliminate ethanol blenders' tax credits. Corn growers and ethanol refiners now want to see tax credits applied to blender pumps and ethanol infrastructure. BRIEFLY: Cheese exports totaling 30.2 million pounds have been assisted by Cooperatives Working Together so far in 2011. Specialty cheese sales, totaling $3.23 billion in 2010, led a 7.7 percent gain in the $70 billion-specialty food industry last year, according to the National Association for Specialty Food Trade. Fresh, unpasteurized cheeses containing Listeria monocytogenes were fifth on a list of the top 10 riskiest combinations of food and pathogens, according to a report from the University of Florida Emerging Pathogens Institute. Exports of whole milk powder, primarily, helped New Zealand set an export volume record during the first quarter of this year. Extremely low radiation levels in milk across the western U.S. has resulted in EPA greatly reducing its testing of milk, rain, and drinking water. Winning bids at Global Dairy Trade's recent auction were down in general, indicating softening of world dairy product prices.
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