Monthly Forecast – February 2024


Increased the Q1 price expectations – sustained rising prices Q2 forward.

1.      Reports suggest that demand is picking up.

2.      Forecast still has prices post-Super Bowl easing for a bit, but not as low as recent prices.

3.      Exports will be vital to improving US cheese prices – anecdotal reports indicate that demand may increase. Mexico will be critical to Cheddar cheese exports and volumes to South Korea, Japan, and Australia.

4.      Forecast expects prices to rise Q2 forward – milk remains tight, which could mean demand rises above supply for a time, resulting in higher prices.


Increased 2024 prices. Given recent market run-ups, prices could pull back post-Easter; however, they are unlikely to return to those forecast earlier in the year.

1.      Cream is reportedly widely available today. Still, buyers are looking to secure sufficient supplies as most have lower butter availability later in the year on lower milk production and more milk moving to cheese.

2.      Forecast expects prices to lift above $3/lb later this year.

3.      Stocks could build as demand may slow in response to higher winter prices. So far, that has not been the case, but demand tends to slow when prices exceed $2.75/lb at the CME.

4.      Higher butter prices may impact ice cream, creamer, and cream cheese demand this year – that could send more cream back to churns.


Lifted 2024 to 2026 NDM/SMP prices. Demand has held up, and current prices are consistent with last year.

1.      Maintained somewhat flat 1H prices and raised 2H price expectations.

2.      Increased prices through 2026. Slower milk production and more milk moving to cheese could limit NDM/SMP. But, less milk output in Mexico extending into South America could lift demand – demand likely fulfilled by the United States.

3.      Short-term domestic demand is causing US prices to rise faster than export prices – that could slow exports if US prices are viewed negatively.


No significant changes to whey. Reports indicate that the new WPC80 capacity is slowly materializing, which may keep markets tighter than expected. However, the new plant is actively working on fully operationalizing the drier. That could change the supply-demand balance by Q2, slowing market increases. European whey prices are flat to declining – that could impact US prices.