Cheese in cold storage dropped 1.6 percent in November after a 4.3-percent decline in October, pointing to decent holiday cheese sales that look to remain seasonally strong through the football playoffs.

Block cheese prices over the past six weeks have jumped 13.5 percent, from $1.80 per pound on Nov. 13 to $2.04 per pound on Jan. 3.

Cheese futures prices are trading at $1.86, on average, for the first half of 2014 and $1.74 for the second half. A futures average of $1.80 for all of 2014 reflects expectations for strong global demand and exceeds the $1.77 average for 2013. 

Milk cow numbers, at 9.2 million head, are just 0.1 percent above a year ago and give no indication of dairy herd expansion. Milk output in November rose just 1.0 percent from a year ago and continues to lag expected growth levels. Not surprisingly, Class III milk futures hit a 13-month high of $20.06 per hundredweight on Jan. 3.

Contact John T. Barone at