Japan is set to import increased quantities of milk powders and butter over the coming months, as the country deals with a shortfall in domestic supply according to DairyCo .

Recent hot weather has brought about outbreaks of mastitis, contributing to Japanese milk production being 2% lower than the previous year (Jan-Aug). Over the same period, the country’s imports of SMP rose by 17%. The Japanese ministry of agriculture is reported to be planning to import a further 10,000 tonnes of milk powder over the next two months.

The only way for any country to export butter or SMP to Japan is via a Japanese government-run tender. Japan is the second largest importer of cheese (behind Russia) in the world but the country is also a steady importer of SMP, with much originating from Australia, US and New Zealand. Tariffs are high, but with wholesale prices in the country rising while those in US, Oceania and EU fall, there are opportunities for exporters in these regions.

According to the Japanese Dairy Council, daily per capita consumption of milk and dairy products in Japan is 254.7g and is growing. The daily per capita consumption of liquid milk is about 105g, roughly one third of the levels recorded  in many EU countries and less than one-half of that in the U.S. and Australia.

Meanwhile the Department of Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) is reporting that the average UK farmgate price paid in September was 30.81ppl. This was a 0.28ppl (0.9%) decrease on the comparable figure for August. The September 2014 price was 2.17ppl (6.6%) lower than the same month last year.

The GB average price was 31.56ppl in September, which was a 0.21ppl (0.6%) decrease on the previous month, and a decrease of 1.29ppl (3.9%) compared with September 2013.

The Northern Ireland (NI) average for September was 26.26ppl, a decrease of 0.94ppl (3.4%) compared with August. The September price is 7.58ppl (22.4%) lower than the previous year.