The final 162t of skimmed milk powder (SMP) have been cleared from intervention stocks.

Some 380,000t were purchased by the European Commission between 2015 and 2017 after lower milk prices hit producers.

A move to increase the sale of SMP from monthly to bi-monthly sales last year was met with scepticism from some quarters within the industry, who felt it would lead to a flood of SMP on the market.

Commitment to farmers

However, European Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan remained confident that bi-monthly sales would prove to be met with continued demand.

On today’s announcement that the final 162t had been cleared, Commissioner Hogan said: “The disposal of the stock, without impacting on the price of skimmed milk powder, is a vindication of the Commission's patience and prudent management of the whole process since 2015.

“The results of the Commission's actions are higher prices and a stable market. Once again, the European Commission has shown its commitment and support to and solidarity with European farmers in times of crisis.”