Holland milk production increased 1.2% in April, following the end of European Union (EU) milk quotas March 31, reports Wilfried Wesselink, Dairy Today’s European correspondent.
Numbers for other EU countries are not yet available. The quotas have been in place more than 30 years.
Low milk prices across the EU have been one reason for less than stellar growth. “The average farmgate milk price remained stable at around $16/cwt, but the range between maximum and minimum prices was significant in a number of countries,” reports Wesselink.
“The forecast for the 2015 calendar year remains modest, with a 1.5% increased expected for the EU,” he says.
The EU Committee of Regions is also warning that European dairy sector is in for a problematic future. Currently, there is no futures market in operation and no way for dairy farmers to protect themselves from a price collapse.
Still, European farmers seem to be gearing up to produce more milk. Dutch dairy cattle numbers are up in the first quarter of 2015, however, in anticipation of quotas disappearing. Heifers, one to two years of age, were up 34,000 head. Cow numbers were up 46,000 head. Irish farmers also report about 11% more dairy calves born in the first quarter of 2015.