Record Levels of Cheese in Storage
At the tail end of last week USDA released the May cold storage report, giving us an update of inventories held in cold storage throughout the country for a variety of different products. For the dairy community, the two that are highlighted are butter and cheese.
With regard to cheese, the report reflected a growth in American cheese by 12% over last year, but 2% relative to the previous month. Swiss cheese showed a draw down of 3% from April, but had 5% more in storage that the year prior. Natural cheese as a whole, when considering American, Swiss and other varieties, showed an increase of 7% from last year and 1% from last month. This growth in cheese inventory represents a new record of cheese in storage.
As of May 31, the amount of butter in storage was 313.575 million pounds. That is 7% greater than last month but 3% less than where we were in May 2016. Typically in May inventories are at their peak and seasonal demand as we draw closer to fall pulls butter out of storage and into the hands of end users. Last year that was not the case—the peak was made in July. All eyes will be on the June report to see if this trend continues.