As printed in our September 10, 2011 issue...

CHEDDAR BLOCK PRICE SLID nearly 40 cents a pound in 30 days. American cheese in storage during late July was up 5 percent over a month earlier. Total cheese stocks were up 1 percent over a year ago.

BILL COULD BE INTRODUCED soon based on National Milk's Foundation for the Future. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) and Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) seek additional bipartisan support, but House ag committee chair Frank Lucas (R-Okla) wants to see more industry unity.

U.S. MILK OUTPUT in July was up 0.7 percent, smallest gain over previous year since March 2010. Milk per cow was down 0.2 percent from last year, but cow numbers were up 80,000 (+0.9 percent).

CALIFORNIA'S JULY OUTPUT was up 4.4 percent. Wisconsin was down 3.5 percent due to a big drop (-3.6 percent) in milk per cow. Idaho was up 4.8 percent in milk. New York was down 0.2 percent.

2011 DAIRY EXPORTS through June were $2.3 billion, up 34 percent from a year earlier. Import values ($1.15 billion) were up 16 percent, but gap still gave U.S. dairy industry a $1.16-billion trade surplus.

CANADA'S HEIFER COUNT (1 year plus) was 447,300, up 1 percent from 2010. Was 45.5 per 100 cows compared to 50.6 in 2006. U.S. has 45.6 heifers (500 pounds plus) per 100 cows. Ratio five years ago: 41.5.

USDA'S OUTLOOK, published before the cheese price drop, put the 2012 Class III forecast at around $16.50 with the All-Milk Price forecast just over $18. Agency put 2012 milk output estimate at 198.9 billion pounds, up 1.6 percent from the 2011 expectation (195.6).

BRIEFLY: Class III Futures for September through February averaged just under $18 at closing. USDA pegged corn crop estimate at 12.91 billion bushels, which would be up 4 percent from last year and the third largest if realized. Soybean crop was forecast at 3.06 billion bushels, which would be down 8 percent from 2010. USDA August forecasts almost always hit corn and soybean crop size within plus or minus 5 percent, according to University of Illinois analysis. Corn forecasts have grown more accurate in recent years. Winning bids lower at most recent Global Dairy Trade auction, with prices down about 1 percent. Dean Foods allowed to vacate its announced $140 million settlement involving southeastern milk producers, according to a Tennessee federal court judge. Administration reviewing deportation cases of some 300,000 illegal immigrants with the possibility that some could stay here. CWT-assisted cheese exports, so far this year, have totaled 62.3 million pounds with product going to 20 countries on four continents.

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