Irish farmgate milk prices could continue to fall over the next number of months, according to Dairy Industry Newsletter (DIN) Deputy Editor Catherine Paice.

“This was one of the issues that came up for discussion at our recent annual conference,” she said.

“We are already seeing evidence of the continuing downward pressure on European dairy markets. Friesland Campina has confirmed that it is cutting its producer prices for June.

“This is highly significant, given that the company is a key trend setter within the EU milk industry.”

Paice also points to the fact that neither China nor Russia show any sign of re-entering the world’s dairy markets, claiming that the prospects of Moscow simply rolling over its current EU food import ban are now “quite high”.

“Russia has a plan in place to become self-sufficient in dairy products over the next two years. But it’s highly unlikely that the target will be reached,” she said.

“Meanwhile, milk output in all of the world’s key dairying regions continues to increase.”

Paice does not believe that the EU Commission can, or will, act in the short term to put a floor in European dairy markets.

“Brussels hasn’t the money to bolster intervention or aids to private storage support levels,” she said.

“The future role of the Commission may well be that of putting a more strategic development plan in place for the EU milk sector.

“The reality is that Europe seems to be split in terms of those who believe that the dairy industry is genuinely in crisis at the present time and those who hold the view that the current downward market pressure is a temporary aberration.

“As a consequence, we have seen no real attempt made to put effective measures in place, which would act to reduce the impact of dairy volatility.”