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Dairy UK calls for intervention over EU milk supply

By Noli Dinkovski , 24-Feb-2016
Last updated on 24-Feb-2016 at 17:10 GMT2016-02-24T17:10:07Z

A surplus in milk in the UK will peak this spring if the current supply levels are maintained
A surplus in milk in the UK will peak this spring if the current supply levels are maintained

Dairy UK has urged the government to extend its intervention in the milk industry as the threat of oversupply from EU producers continues to grow.

According to Dairy UK chairman Dr David Dobbin, a surplus in milk in the UK will peak this spring if the current milk supply levels are maintained.

He set out in a letter to farming minister George Eustice advice on how government could help ensure a smooth transition on intervention.

In particular, the letter raised concerns about the rapidly increasing amount of skimmed milk powder being submitted into intervention.

‘Ahead of global demand’

In his letter, Dobbin said: “Despite depressed returns, the growth in global milk production, especially from Europe including the UK, is still rising and running well ahead of global demand.

“As a result, stocks of powder, butter and cheese are high and skimmed milk is being intervened across Europe, including the UK.”

He added: “We are asking you to use the lobbying weight of the UK government with the Commissioner to achieve a smooth transition regarding intervention at this difficult time.

“This would help avoid further distress at farmer and processor level and would be a positive way in which DEFRA [the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs] can help the UK industry.”

Dobbin called on everyone in the UK dairy industry to “up our game and do what we can to hunt out opportunities in domestic and export markets to increase demand for our quality British dairy products”.

Dairy UK's call to action
  • EU Commissioner lobbying
  • Financial support from AHDB
  • Better government collaboration
  • Investment in developing demand

New export strategy

Dairy UK has recently published a new export strategy for the UK dairy industry. It highlighted the need for government to work closely with the dairy industry to develop ways to promote UK dairy globally and generate more demand in international markets.

Dobbin said: “We also call on the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board [AHDB] to lend their financial support to that of the industry and work collaboratively with us to promote dairy products.

“We’re delighted that they have taken some positive steps towards us and we are looking at how we can work together moving forward.

“It is time for the dairy industry to invest in developing demand for dairy products through promotion at home and abroad.”

Milk prices
  • The average UK farmgate price stood at 23.71 pence per litre (ppl) in December. This was a 0.51ppl (2.1%) decrease on the November average price.
  • The December 2015 price was 3.88ppl (14.1%) lower than the same month last year.
  • The GB average price was 24.38ppl in December, which was a 0.29ppl (1.2%) decrease on the previous month.

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