“What goes up, must come down,” so it’s said and so true of milk prices. The Agriculture Department announced the April Federal order Class III benchmark price this morning at $16.87 per hundredweight (cwt.), down $2.53 from March, but still $3.95 above April 2010. That pulled the 2011 average to $16.67, up from $13.62 at this time a year ago, and compares to a meager $10.33 in 2009.
Looking ahead, the May Class III contract settled Thursday at $16.27, June $17.18, July $17.60, August $17.86, September $18.00, October $17.83, November $17.34, and December $16.96.
The April Class IV price is $19.78, up 37 cents from March, $6.05 above a year ago, and $2.91 above the Class III price.
The four week NASS-surveyed cheese price averaged $1.6983 per pound, down 27.4 cents from March. Butter averaged $1.9975, down 6.2 cents. Nonfat dry milk averaged $1.5680, up 7.4 cents, and dry whey averaged 48.08 cents, up 2.3 cents.
California’s April 4a and 4b prices are scheduled for release on May 2. Downes-O’Neill dairy economist Bill Brooks looks for the 4 butter-powder price to come in at around $19.46. That would be a 46 cent gain from March and would be $5.97 above a year ago. He looks for the 4b cheese milk price to hit $14.34, down $2.42 from March, $2.04 above a year ago, and would be $2.53 below the comparable Federal order Class III price.