Price pressure on dairy commodities

Dairy commodity markets have come under pressure again with price cuts at both the GDT and Dutch auctions.

The second and final GDT auction for July resulted in the price index falling by 2.9% to US $3,839/t.

It is the seventh GDT event in succession to record a negative result and puts the index at its lowest level since February.

Cheddar was the only commodity to increase in value, rising 1.3%. Butter slipped by 0.8%, while skim milk powder (SMP) plummeted by 5.2% and whole milk powder (WMP) was down 3.8%.

At the weekly Dutch Dairy Board auction, butter fell by €50/t to €3,800, but remains approximately €500/t above July 2020 levels.

SMP recorded its seventh successive price drop, falling €20/t to €2,440. WMP fell by €50/t to €3,110.

Given the recent trend in commodity prices, there is growing expectation that NI processors will apply a small milk price correction this autumn.

First Milk records rising profit margins

UK dairy co-operative, First Milk, has published its latest financial accounts for the year ending 31 March 2021.

Group turnover increased by 6% year on year to £299.5m, with operating profits rising 8.5% to £8.1m. Net profit increased by 24% from £4.5m to £5.6m.

Capital investment within the business has increased from £5.3m to £7.8m in the latest financial trading year, with bank borrowings holding reasonably steady at £33m.

The report also outlined First Milk’s plans to be a net zero carbon business by 2040, starting with a 10% increase in milk produced from forage and sequestering 100,000t of CO2 on members farms by 2025.

Red diesel prices easing

An easing in crude oil prices has resulted in a drop in fuel prices. The latest quotes for red diesel mid-week are around the £585 mark, inclusive of VAT, for a delivery of 1,000 litres.

Last week, red diesel prices were more typically 60.5p/l. Back in June 2021, prices reached 64p/l, which was a sharp rise on May when red diesel was more typically 56p to 58p/l.

Oil prices fell earlier this week on the back of OPEC regions announcing an increase in oil output to stimulate global economic recovery.

Crude oil prices have now fallen below US $70/barrel having reached a three-year high point at the start of this month.

Entry deadline for 2021 Balmoral Show

Karen Hughes from the RUAS has reminded exhibitors that entries for the 2021 Balmoral Show close on Wednesday 28 July at 5pm.

All entries must be submitted online or posted directly to the RUAS. For more information visit

The 2021 show is due to take place between Wednesday 22 September and Saturday 25 September 2021. Tickets will be available to purchase online from Friday 23 July 2021.

Grain markets react to USDA forecasts

Grain markets have hardened over the past week on the back of lower wheat forecasts and ongoing heat waves across much of the US and Canada.

Markets also reacted to a United States Deaprtment of Agriculture (USDA) crop report which predicts the country will record its lowest spring wheat yields for 33 years, as the main wheat producing states are in the midst of the worst drought for eight years.

Weather issues have also seen lower wheat forecasts from Russia, while parts of the EU have been hit by torrential rain and flooding.

UK wheat prices have increased by 7.5% over the past week. However, barley prices are holding steady as supply and demand appear to be closely aligned.

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