Dairy Skim – May 2023 US Cold Storage Report

Dairy Skim is a bite-size episode series where HighGround’s top analysts break down the latest dairy data release. Today, Betty Berning discusses the May 2023 US Cold Storage Report. You can view the snapshot report here. Subscribe so that you never miss an episode!

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[00:04] Betty: Hello everyone and welcome back to the Dairy Skim, HighGround Dairy’s bite-sized podcast intended to give the dairy industry some flavor into recent reports or events that can impact global commodity pricing. My name is Betty Berning, HighGround’s Contributing Dairy Economist and today is Friday, June 23 and we are breaking down USDA’s May Cold Storage report that was just released a little bit ago.

[00:33] On the cheese side, total cheese stocks were neutral to our expectations, totaling 1.49 billion pounds, which was 1.5% smaller than the record set in May 2022, but second all-time for May inventories. Furthermore, stocks built from April by almost 22 million pounds, more than the five-year average build of 9 million pounds.

[00:58] Other American cheese stocks of nearly 638 million pounds were down 2.6% versus May 2022. However, again, May 2022 holds the May record for highest inventories of this product and now May 2023 holds second place. On a seasonal basis, increased stocks of other-than-American cheese increased by 11.3 million pounds, which was quite a bit bigger than normal. Usually, inventories increase a very nominal 1.6 million pounds from April to March, or at least that’s been the case over the last five years.

[01:38] American cheese inventories also fell from prior year levels but just by 0.6% and weighed in at 852 million pounds. Again, this is one of the biggest May numbers that we have ever seen and it showed month-on-month growth of 11 million pounds, slightly more than the typical build of 7.4 million pounds. So, overall, pretty neutral to cheese and what we’ve been seeing.

[01:63] The other big number from this report is butter. Butter numbers were actually bearish to our expectations. Total inventories of 367 million pounds were the biggest number since July 2021, and they grew 14% from May 2022. Compared to April, stocks were up 11%. So, pretty big gains there and pretty big number compared to what we have been seeing as of late. Then, USDA also revised April’s butter number up 3.8 million pounds, which was a decent change to that measure.

We’ll have more insight in the written report coming out by Monday morning (view the full report here). Thanks for tuning in and have a great weekend!