Whether you’re milking cows in the U.S. or New Zealand, milk prices are sliding in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres. In the world’s largest dairy exporting country, New Zealand, the bundle of dairy products traded on its Global Dairy Trade (GDT) has dropped in the four past sessions dating back to May 16. When looking back even further, dairy products' fortunes were down in eight of the last 10 sessions, extending back to February 21, 2023.
In the most recent session that ended on July 4, the six products traded that day dropped a combined 3.3%. That was the largest downturn since the April 4 trading session when products slid 4.7%.
As U.S. dairy farmers already know, the news hasn’t been much better stateside. Class III milk prices, anchored by cheese, have been hard hit. Consider the following snapshots in time for the three-month bundle of June-to-August Class III futures on a per hundredweight basis (cwt.):
- $18.85 on April 3
- $17.75 on May 1
- $16.20 on May 31
- $14.94 on June 29
That’s a $3.81 per cwt. margin shrink over 88 days. From April 1 to July 5, Cheddar blocks moved from $1.80 to $1.35-1/4, dropping over 45 cents.
Class IV fortunes have been somewhat better. Here’s the snapshot for the same June-to-August contract bundle:
- $18.56 on April 3
- $18.43 on May 1
- $18.25 on May 31
- $18.26 on June 29
As for this fall, the Class III price is projected to rebound, while Class IV could slide a bit. September-to-December Class III futures netted $16.86 per cwt., while November and December Class III contracts averaged a healthier $17.45 at the close of the July 5 trading on the CME.
For Class IV, the September-to-December futures and the November and December Class IV futures averages mirrored one another at $17.65 and $17.77 per cwt., respectively.