SPOT PRICES OF CLASS II CREAM, $ PER POUND BUTTERFAT F.O.B. producing plants: Upper Midwest - $2.4028-2.5745 The snow is mostly melted in the Upper Midwest after several areas experienced near or all-time record snowfall and duration of snow cover. The temperatures in the Midwest are averaging about 5 degrees below normal. The Southern Plains are facing unfavorable dry, windy conditions as a series of dust storms with winds reaching over 50 mph. Milk production in the Central region is mostly steady with a few producers noting an uptick in the milk tank. Producers in Texas note the wheat crop is coming along well. Texas corn planters are facing mixed field conditions and for the most part are behind in planting. Milk spot load availability is mixed with prices ranging from marginally under Class to as high as $2.50 over Class. Current high milk prices have some milk processors concerned about losing value by storing powders and/or cheese, therefore a few are electing to sell spot loads of milk. Bottling demand is softening as few retail promotions are going on and orders are down. Condensed skim is readily available and moving at generally discounted rates. Various Class II products such as whipping cream, soft serve, and cultured products are seeing increases in demand. Ice cream makers are busy building inventories for upcoming seasonal demand. Many Class II and Class IV manufacturers are taking extra cream supplies. Class II cream multiples moved slightly higher, ranging from 1.26 to 1.35. Some cheese makers are taking extra spot loads of milk if cheese sales warrant the additional production. Grade AA butter at the CME Group closed 2 cents higher Wednesday to $1.9700, up 6.5 cents from a week ago. South Dakota granted permits for additional 24,000 head of dairy cattle on various farms along mostly the state's eastern border. The NASS Livestock Slaughter reports February 2014 dairy cow slaughter at 237,000 head, 12.2% or 33,000 head less than a month ago and down 8.5% or 22,000 head compared to February 2013. January-February cumulative dairy cow slaughter totals 507,000 head, a 8.8% or 49,000 head decrease from a year ago. The weekly Cow Slaughter under Federal Inspection Report shows U.S. dairy cow slaughter for the week ending on March 8, 2014 at 59,600 head, 6,700 head or 10.1% less than the comparable week a year ago.