Figures released this week by New Zealand dairy companies (DCANZ) show that New Zealand (NZ) milk production for August on a milk solids basis was down 4.9%.

This is in keeping with the trend throughout this year, which shows production down 4.4% on milk solids for the season to date and the 12-month rolling figure to the end of June 2022 was down 4.2%.

Butter prices continue their stable recent trend of recent weeks, up just €5/t, but still well down on the peak of €7,410/t at the start of the second quarter.

Whole milk powder had been reversing its downward trend over recent weeks with strong increases, but there was a setback last week with values down €125/t to €4,715/t.

Skimmed milk powder, on the other hand, moved up €70/t to €3,670/t, but is still well down on the high point of €4,230/t achieved in April.

After a midsummer blip, cheddar prices are again close to the 2022 high point, rising €85t on the week to a very healthy €5,660/t.

Weak market

Traders are concerned about a weak market for other cheese types, particularly Gouda and Edam, which are popular on the continent, but the fact that production volumes in Europe are relatively low is keeping stocks limited and reducing any pressure to sell.

With milk production in seasonal decline in Europe and approaching peak in NZ, production is not expected to increase until the new year. By then, the concern will be how consumer demand has withstood the inflationary pressures at the time of peak winter demand.