Farm Ireland

Friday 21 July 2017

Despite price slump and bad weather, Irish dairy farmers produced record milk volumes last year

Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

The latest official figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) shows that Irish milk production continues to expand, growing by 4.8pc up to November of 2016.

The figures show that the amount of domestic milk taken in by creameries and pasteurisers was 6.5 billion litres between January and November of 2016.

The growth comes despite milk producers experiencing close to a 4c/L decrease in output prices in 2016, with prices falling to 27c/L on average over the course of the year, according to figures from Teagasc.

It also says that weather conditions in 2016 were not as favourable to production as in either of the two preceding years.

While grass growing conditions were reasonable, conditions for cereal production were more difficult.

In 2016, Teagasc says low milk prices eroded some of the benefit of increased production and lower input costs, with dairy net margin per litre falling by 27pc to 7.2 cent.

Irish production growth is in start contrast to the five largest milk producing EU members 2016 (Germany, France, UK, Netherlands and Poland) with their combined production growth down significantly last year on 2015.

xxeu milk production.PNG

Source: EU MMO

'Drinking milk'

Comparing the November 2016 milk produce figures with those for November 2015 shows that also shows that total milk sold for human consumption increased by 5pc to 43.8 million litres.

This is in contrast to a downward trend in consumption of cows’ drinking milk across Europe, because of a change in lifestyle but also due to concerns of certain consumers, according to a recent report by the European Commission.

The commission says lactose intolerance is a growing concern for fresh milk sales along with several campaigns arguing against the consumption of animal products including dairy products for health, ethical and environmental reasons.

All these factors drive an increasing consumption of alternative products, it says.

Per capita consumption decreased by close to 5L in the last 10 years.

This decline was only very partially compensated by higher purchases of alternative drinks, such as soy drink (+0.8kg per capita in 10 years).

In the next decade, the downward trend is expected to continue at the same pace, down to 53.8kg per capita by 2026.

Online Editors