LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The per-pound price of 40-pound blocks of cheddar cheese climbed to $1.22 in June 19 trading on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. The increase represents a rise of more than 7 cents in four days and marks the highest block price since Oct. 16, 2002, when CME traders paid $1.23 per pound.
According to multiple published reports, the combination of reductions in U.S. milk production and marginal increases in dairy cow slaughter is pushing prices progressively northward.
On June 17, the USDA preliminary milk production report for May showed a 0.4 percent drop compared to the same period in 2002. The report also showed a slight downward revision in April's milk production number.
In a his June 5 column on PizzaMarketplace, dairy market analyst Jerry Dryer predicted block prices could hit $1.35 per pound by the end of the summer (see related story CHEESE MARKET ANALYSIS: Cheese prices are on the way up).