Irish milk prices were near the EU average in March, according to monitoring by the Dutch LTO farmer organisation of prices paid to farmers by 17 milk processors.
Compared to the average of €33.58 per 100kg (1% higher than the March 2017 price), the price was €34.25 at Dairygold, €34.51 at Glanbia, and €33.89 at Kerry Agribusiness.
Corresponding March prices outside the EU were €44.92 paid by Emmi in Switzerland, €30.62 by Fonterra in New Zealand, and €29.35 for Class 3 milk in the US.
In the LTO price league, compared to the 12-month rolling average of €35.25, the price was €34.52 at Dairygold, €32.98 at Glanbia, and €34.70 at Kerry Agribusiness.
LTO said almost all the EU companies they monitor cut their milk prices in March, but the Irish companies made additional payments of €1.50 to €2 per 100 kg to support farmers hit by bad weather.
LTO said further price reductions for April milk, or 50c to €1, have been announced by French firms. Also, Dairy Crest in the UK, Royal A-ware and FrieslandCampina in the Netherlands, and Arla in Denmark, have announced April price reductions, of respectively €1.50, €1, €1, and 20c per 100 kg.
In Germany, DMK’s milk price will remain unchanged in April.
Arla in Denmark and Savencia in France say they will hold the milk price in May, but Dairy Crest is due to cut by another €1.10, and FrieslandCampina by 50c.
LTO said cold weather has affected the EU milk supply, which increased considerably up to and including February, but the period of significant growth seems to be over now.
Outside Europe, there is still growth in milk supplies in Argentina, Australia, Uruguay and the US.
However, growth in the US in March seemed to decline, and New Zealand has taken a step back due to bad weather since December depressing their supply in the first three months of 2018.
In the EU dairy market, LTO says butter price quotations rose sharply after Easter, boosted by demand and relatively low availability.
The low point in the market for skimmed milk powder seems to have passed, according to LTO.
“Despite the release of a relatively large amount of intervention skimmed milk powder, the price quotation has taken a sharp step upwards at the end of April. This seems to be an indication that there is currently little fresh product available. In addition, exports still run well, so that produced powder can easily be sold.”
Prices of full milk powder also advanced in April.