When Hiroki Maeda looks back on his March milk cheque, the figures are striking: at 4.1% fat and 3.25% protein, his co-op paid him 81c/l. This includes a 9c/l quality bonus for keeping SCC under 300,000 and a government subsidy of 17c/l, which Japanese farmers receive instead of area-based payments such as the BPS in Europe.

“This is the highest ever,” said Hiroki, adding that the same applies to livestock. “Last month we brought cattle to the mart. A 12-month-old heifer sold for €5,100.”