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Well, thank heavens for butter. As we precariously teeter on the brink of a milk price reversal, it is almost single handedly battling the collapse by making up for lost ground in the disastrous SMP market, which is currently returning a pitiful 14ppl.
The ramifications of another downturn of the order we have just been through don’t bear thinking about, with industry pundits warning of a mass exodus this time round.
So to what extent can we rely on our newfound warrior? There is no doubt butter is riding the crest of a demand wave right now – witness Unilever’s recent decision to ditch its spreads portfolio because sales are not delivering the growth and returns it expects.
After years of bad publicity, it seems consumers are moving away from margarine and spreads to butter as it starts to shake off its demon image. Even the likes of McDonald’s is turning to butter across all its recipes, and in the US butter consumption is near a 50-year high.
But wait, the image of this new found saviour is under attack. This time from that vociferous part of the anti-dairy fraternity which doesn’t want anyone to be consuming food made from, or using, animals.
Some have recently declared war on the livestock sector and they are becoming increasingly radical in their efforts to damn dairy and promote alternatives such as soya, almond or coconut milk.
This month, a seemingly well-run unit using calf hutches was photographed and splashed across the dailies because some calves were thought too large for them, and because the animals were being held behind wire mesh.
This leaves the industry to pick up the pieces after the damage has been done, and puts pressure on everyone to make sure their own house is in good order.
That way, your farm will not be the next to be highlighted and used as yet another stick to beat us with!