Milk being poured into glass and splashing© WestEnd61/Rex Shutterstock

September milk production in the world’s five key dairy exporting areas saw the first meaningful reduction for two-and-a-half years, AHDB Dairy has said.

It estimated that monthly milk production equivalent in the EU, US, New Zealand, Australia and Argentina in September was 278bn litres, down 7bn litres from the peak of July 2015.

While the largest reduction (about 4bn litres) was due to lower NZ production (down about 7.5%), output in the EU, US and Australia had also started to show lower volume, said AHDB.

Output had fallen temporarily in late 2014 and early this year but this was mainly because EU production was restricted by quotas. Once quotas ended in April, production rose rapidly, offsetting the earlier dip.

However, heavy global dairy commodity stock levels are likely to maintain price pressure and a sustained recovery in the Global Dairy Trade online dairy commodity auction prices could still be a way off, warned AHDB.

See also: UK dairy farmer margins fail to improve despite feed cost fall

GB dairy herd culling has increased markedly, with 9% more dairy females older than 36 months slaughtered in the first nine months of 2015 compared with the same period of 2014.

However, this was only 6% higher than the three-year average as slaughter numbers in 2014 were relatively low.

At the same time as more 36-month-plus cows were slaughtered, there was an increase in the number of dairy females aged three years or older entering the herd.

In July there were 20,000 more females (+1.5%) in this age group than in 2014.

The figures are more dramatic for New Zealand, where provisional figures show that dairy cow slaughterings for the year ending September 2015 rose by about 28% compared with the previous season, said AHDB.