Dairy markets largely continue on the upward curve. As Carbery boss Jason Hawkins said on a Carbery webinar on Thursday night, markets are good and prices are “some of the highest we have seen or will see”.

He also remarked that while cheddar cheese prices (important for Carbery) were slower to rise all year, he expects cheese to go down in price slower when the market turns.

The west Cork suppliers will have been glad to hear that, but CEO Hawkins was not to be drawn on any specific price prediction for 2022.

Global Dairy Trade auction rises

The latest Global Dairy Trade (GDT) was up a fraction and could be described as steady. Remember, there was a slight fall at the last auction, so this result reinforces the trade in dairy commodities, especially powders.

The average result was only up a fraction (+0.3%). However, this is better than the 1.5% drop recorded in the pre-Christmas week auction.

Ornua PPI

The Ornua Purchase Price Index (PPI) for December was also released this week. Again, the result was positive, reflecting the positive sentiment all summer and into the autumn.

The Ornua PPI for December is 135.5 (39.4c/l ex-VAT or 41.6c/l incl VAT) based on Ornua’s product purchase mix and assumed member processing costs of 7c/l and excluding member margin and is up from 131.9 in the previous month.

When you add in the value added piece to get the all-in milk price which farmers should compare to the ex-VAT milk price in leagues, it comes to 42.65c/l ex-VAT at base solids or 45.03c/l incl VAT at base solids.

The November league average was 36.8c/l ex-VAT at base solids, so expect a rise for December.

The Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) was quick out of the traps asking for a December milk price rise and the Irish Creamary Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA) is looking for a special bonus on 2021 supplies.

UK supermarkets

Across the water, the price of milk in supermarkets is going up. It has to go up to keep pace with the alternative avenues for milk.

Some scarcity on fresh milk is emerging in some food service outlets, partly because of COVID-19 outbreaks in some factories and partly because milk is sent to alternative products other than the liquid market because it can make more margin in other products.

One long-time commentator on the dairy industry in the UK that many of the Irish industry would have engaged with down through the years, Barry Wilson, passed away on Christmas Day. May he rest in peace.