Cool heads needed to avoid oversupply: Hogan

Instead, all dairy farmers in the EU must “innovate, cooperate and follow market signals in determining production”, while contributing to the fight against climate change and environmental regulation, he told the International Dairy Federation’s World Dairy Summit in Belfast this week. Painting a picture of a relatively buoyant industry, Commissioner Hogan revealed that the average EU farmgate milk price had reached 35.3 cent/kg in August, nine per cent higher than the last five years’ average, while the value of dairy exports so far this year has already reached €6.3 billion, up 23 per cent on last year. However, he warned that the industry is still adjusting to a post-quota era and is at a “delicate turning point” following the lows of 2015 and 2016 when “a perfect storm of negative factors” saw farmgate prices plummet, falling significantly below the cost of production for many of Northern Ireland’s dairy farmers. The Commissioner said global consumption of dairy products is expected to increase at an annual rate of 1.8 per cent over the next 10 years and advised that producers be given “better tools to be more resilient, stable and ultimately more successful”. He told delegates gathered at the Waterfront Hall on the opening day of the summit that the industry must be prepared for volatility. “Trade has to be seen as an opportunity and as a challenge for the dairy sector. We need to export some 13 per cent of EU milk production to preserve the domestic balance, this means we have to remain competitive on the world market. Market orientation and the capacity to adapt to new and unforeseen circumstances are key to success,” he said. Using the example of butter prices which have doubled in a year, he continued: “We have seen recently how big swin

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