milk production line © REX/Shutterstock© REX/Shutterstock

The UK farmgate average milk price for December was the second lowest in the EU15 – in both euro and sterling terms.

At €30.14/100kg (26.19p/litre), UK farmgate values were only higher than in Portugal across the EU15, with the highest price seen in Greece at €38.80/100kg (33.72p/litre).

However, the weighted average price across the EU15 was up 3.7% on November at €33.52/100kg (29.13p/litre) – an increase of 7.8% on the same month last year.

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Across the top-five milk producing countries – Germany, France, the UK, Netherlands and Poland – average prices reflected a similar trend, increasing 5.1% to €32.94/100kg (24.29p/litre) on the month.

In US markets, the US Department of Agriculture recorded dairy herd growth of 0.4% in 2016, increasing to 9.35 million head, due to a higher number of replacement heifers.

As a result, forecasts of annual milk production rose by 2.3% – meaning an additional 2.2bn litres of milk a year.

Despite this, there was little growth in forecast export volumes, due to strong domestic demand, according to a report by AHDB Dairy.

Who are the EU15?

This is the number of member countries in the European Union prior to accession of 10 candidate countries on 1 May 2004. The countries are:

  • Austria
  • Belguim
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Luxembourg
  • Netherlands
  • Portugal
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • United Kingdom