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Class III Milk Sep '21 (DLU21)

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Contract Specifications for [[ item.sessionDateDisplayLong ]]
Barchart Symbol DL
Exchange Symbol DC
Contract Milk Class III
Exchange CME
Tick Size 0.01 cents per hundredweight ($20.00 per contract)
Margin/Maintenance $1,650/1,500
Daily Limit $0.75 per hundredweight ($1,500 per contract) Expanded limit $1.50
Contract Size 200,000 pounds
Months All Months
Trading Hours 5:00p.m. - 4:00p.m. Sun-Thur, 5:00p.m. - 1:55p.m. (Settles 1:10p.m.) Fri CST
Value of One Futures Unit $2,000
Value of One Options Unit $2,000
Last Trading Day Business day prior to USDA Milk Price announcement


Evidence of human consumption of animal milk was discovered in a temple in the Euphrates Valley near Babylon, dating back to 3,000 BC. Humans drink the milk produced from a variety of domesticated mammals, including cows, goats, sheep, camels, reindeer, buffaloes, and llama. In India, half of all milk consumed is from water buffalo. Camels' milk spoils slower than other types of milk in the hot desert, but virtually all milk used for commercial production and consumption comes from cows.

Milk directly from a cow in its natural form is called raw milk. Raw milk is processed by spinning it in a centrifuge, homogenizing it to create a consistent texture (i.e., by forcing hot milk under high pressure through small nozzles), and then sterilizing it through pasteurization (i.e., heating to a high temperature for a specified length of time to destroy pathogenic bacteria). Condensed, powdered, and evaporated milk are produced by evaporating some or all of the water content. Whole milk contains 3.5% milk fat. Lower-fat milks include 2% low-fat milk, 1% low- fat milk, and skim milk, which has only 1/2 gram of milk fat per serving.

The CME Group has three different milk futures contracts: Milk Class III which is milk used in the manufacturing of cheese, Milk Class IV which is milk used in the production of butter and all dried milk products, and Nonfat Dry Milk which is used in commercial or consumer cooking or to reconstitute nonfat milk by the consumer. The Milk Class III contract has the largest volume and open interest.

Prices - The average monthly price received by farmers for all milk sold to plants in 2019 rose by +14.4% yr/yr to $18.60 per hundred pounds, but still well below the 2014 record high of $23.98.

Supply - World milk production in 2020 is expected to rise +2.9% to 648.005 million metric tons, a new record high. The biggest producers are expected to be India with 31.2% of world production, the European Union with 24.8%, and the U.S. with 15.6%. U.S. 2019 milk production rose +0.3% yr/yr to 218.322 billion pounds, setting a new record high.

The number of dairy cows on U.S. farms has fallen sharply in the past three decades from the 12 million seen in 1970. In 2019, there were 9.332 million dairy cows on U.S. farms, virtually unchanged yr/yr. Dairy farmers have been able to increase milk production even with fewer cows because of a dramatic increase in milk yield per cow. In 2019, the average cow produced 23,395 pounds of milk per year, a +1.1% yr/yr increase, more than double the 9,751 pounds seen in 1970.

Demand - Per capita consumption of milk in the U.S. fell to a new record low of 204 pounds per year in 2008 (latest data), down sharply by -26% from 277 pounds in 1977. The utilization breakdown for 2002 (latest data) shows the largest manufacturing usage categories are cheese (64.504 billion pounds of milk) and creamery butter (30.250 billion pounds).

Trade - U.S. imports of milk in 2020 are estimated to rise +2.3% yr/yr to 6.600 billion pounds, still well below the record high of 7.500 billion pounds posted in 2005-06.

Information on commodities is courtesy of the CRB Yearbook, the single most comprehensive source of commodity and futures market information available. Its sources - reports from governments, private industries, and trade and industrial associations - are authoritative, and its historical scope for commodities information is second to none. The CRB Yearbook is part of the cmdty product line. Please visit cmdty for all of your commodity data needs.

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