There were significant price increases for key dairy commodities at the first bi-monthly New Zealand GDT auction for February.

The price index jumped 4.2% to 1,106, the largest single increase since mid-October, leaving the index at a similar level to October 2022.

Tuesday’s auction was the fifth positive GDT in a row and nine out of the last 11 events have all ended with positive outcomes.

Butter price soared by 10.3% to a 20-month high, with cheddar up 6.3%. There were also big gains for whole milk powder (WMP), rising 4.6% to a 16-month high, with skim milk powder (SMP) up 3.4%.

However, while GDT auctions have seen positive trends in recent months, European markets have been much more sluggish. Prices for butter and WMP at this week’s Dutch Dairy Board (DDB) auction were unchanged at €5,300/t and €3,550/t respectively. SMP fell €30 to €2,390/t.

Since the start of 2024, DDB prices have seen butter falling €200/t, WMP down €130/t, with €160/t coming off the value of SMP. Those price retreats have prompted several milk processors in NI to take a more conservative outlook for milk prices through this spring.

With the most recent Ulster Farmers’ Union milk price indicator for NI at 35.47p/l, it would point to a base price between 32p and 33p/l, once deductions for milk collection and processor margins are factored in.

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