Market report: Butter production falling as milk supply tightens

Liquid milk and cheese production increased in February compared with a year earlier, as production switched away from butter, according to DairyCo’s Datum service.

The volume of raw milk processed into liquid milk rose by 0.6% year-on-year, to 523,170 tonnes, with cumulative production in the 12 months to February up by 0.1% to 6.7m tonnes.

Cheese production during the month rose by 9.1% compared with February 2009, but cumulative levels fell by 4.7% to 358,310t. Butter manufacture fell by 19.5%, year-on-year, with annual production dipping by 0.2%, to 113,690t.

“The 2009/10 milk year saw the lowest level of milk production in the UK since 1971/72,” said the report. “Coupled with the increase in liquid milk production it was inevitable that dairy products would be reduced. Monthly figures suggest that there is now a shift away from butter production into cheese.”

Provisional figures for 2009 show that cheddar production was down by 8.5% compared to the previous year, with mozzarella down by 6.4%, and total cheese manufacture down 7.3% to 354,000t.

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