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News Dairy

Irish milk supply lower, but hope glimmers on the horizon

June 17, 2024 - Alex Jurvillier

The Irish milk supply in April was significantly lower than in previous years. The improved weather conditions in the recent period have brought some relief for the dairy cows and dairy farmers. This gives hope for relatively more milk in the period when Irish milk production traditionally peaks.

In April this year, the Irish milk supply was 0.98 million tons, as reported by Eurostat. That is 7.88% lower than in the same month last year, and 10.2% lower than the same month in 2022. Compared to the five-year average, the Irish milk supply in April 2024 is 6.66% lower. A significant decline.

From January to April 2024, the milk supply was 2.27 million tons. That is 7.8% less than in 2023 when the milk supply was 2.5 million tons in that period. In 2022, the milk supply in that period was 2.6 million tons, making the milk supply of 2024 in the same period 8.67% lower.

Earlier, we wrote about the decline in Irish milk supply earlier this year, with the main factor being the wet weather. This was a significant hindrance as the Irish dairy system is largely grass-fed. February was the wettest month in years, David Kennedy, head of dairy at the Irish export organization Bord Bia, said. March was also uncooperative. This year, it was not possible to let the cows out early. "But the past few months are not the most important for our milk production. Normally, the first quarter only accounts for 10% of our milk production. Our milk production usually peaks in April, May, June, and July,'' Kennedy said earlier this year.

The weather has improved in Ireland in recent weeks. There has been less rain, but it was still cold for the time of year. The grass grew well, but according to an Irish dairy expert, higher temperatures could have accelerated growth. Dairy farmers have been struggling due to the difficult winter and disappointing dairy prices last year. However, market prices are picking up, especially those of butter.

Alex Jurvillier

Alex Jurvillier is a market specialist in sugar and cacao at DCA Market Intelligence. He also monitors the milk supply in the most important dairy countries and keeps an eye on developments in food.
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