Global dairy prices are increasing, but that has yet to filter through to higher UK farmgate prices.
The latest Global Dairy Trade Index auction price was US$3,434 (£2,637) achieved on January 21, which was a 1.7 per cent increase on the early January price.
Latest UK data from AHDB shows skimmed milk powder prices were up nearly one-third on a year ago at £2,200/tonne.
However, bulk cream prices were down 24 per cent o £1,300/t, butter down 21.5 per cent to £3,060/t and mild Cheddar down 1.7 per cent to £2,830/t.
Dairy Farmer columnist Ian Potter reported First Milk was reducing its standard manufacturing price by 0.5ppl from the February 1 to 27.38ppl for its standard manufacturing contract and to 26.25ppl for liquid milk.
Pattemores was holding its liquid milk price at 26.25ppl until the end of March, while Meadow Foods was increasing its price by 0.5ppl to 25.5ppl. The company cut its price by 1.75ppl in September.
Milk deliveries to dairies was 1.1 per cent lower in December than December 2018 at 1.227 billion litres, according to Defra figures.
Twelve-month deliveries fell below the 15bn mark for the first time since June 2019, while annual 2019 production was still 1.6 per cent higher than in 2018 at 14.989bn litres; the highest total since 1987. The 2019 figure was 15.5 per cent larger than output in 2009.
Liquid milk sales were at their lowest proportion of milk production ever, at just 41.2 per cent of the total in 2019, which was down from 44.7 per cent in 2018.
As recently as 2013, liquid milk accounted for more than half of production. Cheese output was at its highest level ever, with 4.398bn litres of milk devoted to its manufacture, which represents a 30.5 per cent increase over the last decade.
Elsewhere, a record 481.5 million litres of milk was used for yoghurt production in 2019, a 25 per cent increase on the year before.