May milk intake rises 3.5% compared to same month last year

Domestic milk intake by creameries and pasteurisers was estimated at just over 1.109 billion litres for the month of May, an increase of 3.5% on the same month in 2019.

According to the latest figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO), total production of milk for human consumption increased by 7.3% from May 2019 compared to May 2020 – from 45.3 million litres to 48.6 million litres.

Meanwhile, butter production decreased by 6.2% over the same time scale – from 31,000t down to 29,100t.

The average fat content of the milk intake in May 2020 rose very slightly compared to the same month of 2019, from 3.85% to 3.87%. Similarly, the average protein content for May 2020 was 3.46%, marginally up from the 3.44% figure for May 2019.

Of the milk intake for May, whole milk sales accounted for 33.2 million litres – up from 28.2 million litres in May 2019 – while skimmed and semi-skimmed milk sales accounted for 15.5 million litres – a slight decrease on the 17.2 million litre figure for the same month of 2019.

No figure was available for skim milk powder production in May, though the figure for May 2019 was 24,200t, and the figure for April 2020 was 18,500t.

No data was available for cheese production levels.

Comparing the first four months of this year – January to April – to the same period of 2019, Ireland’s milk intake (in equivalent tonnes) increased from 2.204 million tonnes to 2.297 million tonnes.

This was a rate of increase of 4.2%, the seventh-highest rate of increase among EU members states (plus the UK).

Price expectations

Dairy markets have again moved forward during June with all the statistics pointing to improved returns – and, on that basis, all co-ops should be at least paying 30c/L for milk supplied in June, according to the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA).

ICMSA Dairy Committee chairman Ger Quain said there is growing anger among farmers supplying into the lower paying milk processors regarding the price they are receiving for their milk – which “is demonstrably behind market returns”.

Quain said that it is up to board members of these processors to insist that milk price is immediately brought into line with market returns, adding: “Given the importance of June milk to the overall financial position of the dairy farmer by year’s end, the milk price paid by all processors must come up to 30c/L minimum for milk supplied in the month.”