LYNDEN, Wis. -- Despite a week and a half of vigorous block cheddar cheese trades on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, dairy market analyst Jerry Dryer isn't confident prices will remain at current levels.
According to a report on Dairyline.com, Dryer, a Chicago-based analyst, called this year's market difficult to forecast because prices have risen and fallen largely out of synch with historic trends.
With the fourth quarter selling season beginning, Dryer said cheese production typically eases back, and that that may hold prices at current levels (in the high $1.20s, where they've been since the last full week in September). But given this year's down economy, he said he doesn't expect this holiday-selling season to be a record-setter.
"We may be challenged to even match last year's sales," said Dryer.
Cheese inventory overall also remains high, he said, which could put negative pressure on prices. Cheese production was greater in August than in July, which he said hasn't happened in his more than 30 years watching the dairy industry.
* Update: When bidding closed on Oct. 16, Dryer's suspicions proved true. Forty-pound block prices dropped from $1.27 per pound to $1.23, a decrease of 4.25 percent.