Dairy markets received a welcome boost this week with the New Zealand GDT auction recording a third consecutive increase.

The price index rose by 4.4% on Tuesday, and follows a 4.6% increase two weeks ago and a 2.7% price lift in early September.

Crucially, for NI dairy farmers, there were key price increases for butter, up 1.3%, as well as skim and whole milk powder, up 6.6% and 4.8% respectively.

With the GDT operating on forward selling of dairy commodities on short- to medium-term contracts, the latest run of positive auctions should help to put a floor under milk prices later this year.

However, dairy processors continue to warn farmers that it will take a sustained period of market stability, and improved buying demand, before any significant recovery in milk price materialises.


Closer to home, European markets are benefitting from a steady run of price increases for butter and powder at the weekly Dutch Dairy Board auction.

Butter increased in value over four consecutive weeks in September and is now at a three-month high point. Both skim and whole milk powder have increased in value over the same time period.

Sustainability payment

Meanwhile, Lakeland Dairies is the latest processor to announce a new sustainability payment to farmers who undertake various actions that deliver environmental benefits.

Although the rate of payment is yet to be confirmed, as well as the date it comes into effect, NI’s largest processor is introducing the payment under its new sustainability strategy, entitled “Pathway to a better future”.

The co-op is targeting a 30% reduction in factory emissions by 2030, as well as a 30% reduction in the carbon footprint of milk produced on farm.

Tirlán and Leprino Foods have similar sustainability incentives in place with farmers receiving 0.4p/l and 0.5p/l respectively for meeting certain environmental criteria.