Despite COVID-19 and the UK trade deals, the market for dairy commodities is described by all traders as positively steady.

The UK trade deal with Australia may well come back to bite at some stage.

For UK dairy, the deal sees tariffs eliminated in equal instalments over five years and a duty-free transitional quota for cheese of 24,000t, rising in equal instalments to 48,000t in year five.

There will also be a duty-free transitional quota for non-cheese dairy of 20,000t and a further duty-free transitional quota for butter of 5,500t rising to 11,500t in year five.

And reports from the UK are that trade minister Liz Truss is working on closing in on another trade deal with New Zealand, which will no doubt be along similar lines.

While international prices are steady, Irish milk prices at farmgate level are trending upwards to reflect the market for the last three months.

See milk league on page 18 this week which summarises the monthly changes for May milk price.

Aurivo, Arrabawn, Dairygold, Lakeland, Glanbia, Carbery and Kerry have all announced increases to May milk prices, as dairy commodity markets continue to harden.

In total for ROI milk suppliers, it will mean a €10m injection into May milk cheques.

Up to now, milk processors have been paying behind what the market is returning and still are behind the market, as revealed in the Ornua exercise, which reflects what Ornua can get from the market.

While there is still buyer uncertainty regarding food service demand, European commodity prices have firmed in recent weeks due to reduced product supply and strong retail sales.