Cheese prices are lagging behind other dairy commodities, leaving UK producers at the bottom of the EU milk price league table, according to The Dairy Group.
“The cheese market has been under-performing powders for more than a year and yet the discounting goes on,” director Nick Holt-Martyn says. “The UK market is resting on the cheese price – if and when the cheese price rises the whole of the UK market will rise with it.”
Commodity values remain firm, with the latest Northern Ireland auction rising to 29.88p/litre, suggesting more milk is being switched to higher-return commodities, he adds. The Dairy Group’s Market Price Equivalent, reflecting market returns, increased by 0.85p/litre on the month, to 28.47p/litre in February – 2.44p/litre above last year. But the gap to farmgate prices remains stubbornly wide.
“The sharp upward move in the whey price suggests this boom will last for several months. This should provide the time needed for the cheese market to provide a better return and deliver significant increases in farmgate prices across the board.”