Latest EU milk price trends

According to DairyCo, the April EU weighted average milk price stood at €38.35/100kg, down €1.20/100kg (3.0%) on the previous month. Compared with the previous year, the weighted average EU price for April was up €4.16/100kg (12.2%), an increase of 10.84%

The average UK farmgate price in April stood at €39.21/100kg (33.31ppl), which was the eleventh highest price of any nation in the EU15 after Finland, Denmark, Greece, Italy, Sweden, Netherlands, Austria, Luxembourg, Germany and Belgium.

The EU15 weighted average price stood at €38.94/100kg (33.08ppl) in April, €1.22/100kg (3.0%) down on March and €4.22/100kg (12.2%) higher than the April 2013 average.

Looking at the top-five milk producing countries for this month (Germany, France, UK, Netherlands and Poland), the average April price was €37.63/100kg which was a €1.40/100kg (3.6%) decrease compared with the previous month.

Meanwhile, volumes of organic milk sales in Great Britain have been declining since around February 2014, although it is not clear whether this is a seasonal blip or not. While the trends show that seasonality in retail sales of organic milk is less pronounced than for conventional milk, it may be that the downturn is due to normal seasonal consumption patterns. However, it may also be that the retail price cuts to conventional milk have impacted on organic milk sales, causing some consumers to switch products. Which of these two factors is behind the drop in retail sales should become clearer as more data becomes available to track seasonal fluctuations.

The latest DairyCo updates also confirm that exports of milk powders (whey, SMP and WMP) from the UK totalled 64 thousand tonnes between Jan-Apr 2014, more than double the same period last year and 25% more than for 2012, a more typical production year.  The key growth area has been in traded volumes within the EU, although there has been some growth in non-EU exports for WMP in 2014.

Whether this signifies the beginning of a growth trend for powder exports depends on what caused the increase in EU imports; higher demand from food manufacturers, the impact of stock shortages from 2013 and/or capacity issues through the spring flush.