Choppiness Likely to Continue in Class III Milk Futures

The class three milk market has experienced significant volatility recently, with prices fluctuating and market participants seeking clear direction. Kathleen Wolfley is an ag broker with

“I think they that’s a really great point around searching for direction. We’ve kind of seen a lot of choppiness in the marketplace in the last couple weeks, with hitting new life of contract highs in the second half futures market two weeks ago, and then seeing a bit of retracement last week down to pricing that we were trading in in late May, and we’re back into talking 20-ish dollar milk on average for the second half of 2024 and that’s for class, class three in particular.”

She says the domestic demand is there.

“At the same time demand here the domestic market, it has been pretty good. Promotional activity has been helpful, so that’s been good for helping to move a little bit more product into consumer hands. But I think that there’s also a question around, what does export demand look like into the second half, particularly at these 1.90 to $2-ish futures prices, into the second half of 2024 those are probably not all that competitive values for an international buyer that’s looking at us prices, European prices, New Zealand prices, and trying to decide where they’re going to buy their cheese from next.”

Wolfley expects the unevenness in the marketplace to continue.

“So I think that the market is trying to weigh all those factors, uncertainty around milk production, what seems to be a pretty, pretty, pretty good recovery in domestic demand, so lingering questions around its sustainability, and uncertainty around what the export front is going to look like. So I suspect we’re probably in this position where the market could stay in a fairly choppy position, just searching for that direction of what’s going to be the leading factor.”