Milk prices edged down at United Dairy Farmers‘ latest auction in Northern Ireland, when 44m litres were sold for February delivery at an average of 28.15p/litre. That was 0.36p below last month’s average, and 1.01p below the same time last year.

“This was as good as could be expected in current market circumstances,” said chief executive David Dobbin. “With weakening markets, a strengthening pound and increasing milk supplies we expected lower prices, but good demand from processors helped keep the auction on the right side of 28p/litre.”

Sliding international commodity markets were pressuring EU prices, and the stronger pound had eroded the equivalent of 1.5p/litre off domestic values. With Australia and New Zealand unlikely to experience a repeat of last year’s drought, markets were likely to continue to ease, he added.

“Milk supplies in Northern Ireland are now rising seasonally and we would expect to see the normal easing in prices as we approach peak output. Much will depend on global demand being sufficient to clear product stocks from the southern hemisphere before the spring surge in the EU production.”