Dairy markets start 2022 on a positive footing, with butter, cheese and powders on an upward price curve.

European markets have been extremely buoyant in recent months, reflected by the sustained period of price increases recorded at the weekly Dutch Dairy Board (DDB) auction.

At €6,070/t, butter closed out 2021 at its highest value since September 2017.

With price increases recorded in 21 out of 23 weeks from the end of July, butter finished the year 87% higher than the €3,250/t from January 2021.

Dutch SMP price now stands at its highest level since late 2013

Skim milk powder (SMP) finished 2021 on €3,450/t following price increases recorded on 22 out of the last 23 weeks.

Dutch SMP price now stands at its highest level since late 2013 and is running 55% above the corresponding price recorded in January of last year.

Whole milk powder (WMP) finished 2021 on €4,270/t, up €1,510 from where it started the year on €2,760/t. As with SMP, Dutch WMP price is at its highest value since 2013.


There was also a positive outcome at the first Global Dairy Trade (GDT) auction for 2022, which means prices have now increased in seven of the last nine events.

The index price rose 0.3% to US$4,247/t, up 24% on the corresponding figure for January of last year due to significant price gains in key commodities such as butter and milk powder.

Butter is up 30% year on year, while cheddar price is 34% higher.

SMP has increased by 24% on last January, with WMP rising 17% over the same 12-month period.


Closer to home, market analysts at the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) report that on average, farmgate prices increased by 3.1p/l from November 2021 to January 2022.

Based on commodity markets during late 2021, analysts indicate there is potential for a further increase of 2p to 3p/l through February and March which would put base prices in the mid 30p/l range.

Read more

Money Mentor: financial tips for farmers for 2022

Who are the big players in the EU dairy industry?