What does 2017 hold for dairy farmers?
It took months of low prices before milk production slowed down. Now farmers are facing into 2017 with prices beginning to pick up. Will production follow?
Despite the steep fall in prices that had taken place by the end of 2015, the growth in global milk production took some time to slow down.
New Zealand saw milk production grow by 40pc over the last seven years and it was the first major exporter to slow its milk production growth during the recent price collapse.
Figures from the Teagasc review and outlook show that monthly New Zealand milk production has been falling since August 2015.
In Europe, milk production has grown by 10pc over the last seven years, reflecting the gradual relaxation of the milk quota system and its eventual elimination.
The overall EU production story masks quite a degree of variability at the MS level. In the Netherlands and Ireland in particular production has continued to grow strongly, up by 10.6pc and 7.6pc respectively in January to August 2016 on the same period in 2015, the Teagasc figures show.
In Ireland production growth is at least partly being driven by the large increase in dairy cow numbers, in spite of the low milk price level. Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic have also exhibited large absolute increases in milk production in 2016.
The most significant fall in milk production at the member state level has been in the UK, where production in the period January to August 2016 was down over 0.3m tonnes on the same period in the previous year. Total EU milk production in 2016 is likely to be up by 1pc.