ANALYSIS - European milk production will lift now quotas have been abolished but by exactly how much is a hot debate for analysts.
Agribusiness researchers at Promar International have this week suggested a range of EU expansion between six and 20 per cent above 2013 production by 2020 – 6.8 billion to 23.2 billion litres.
There are, however, varying outlooks within Europe. Some countries, like Ireland, are expected to explode into life after quotas, while others are expected to see milk production fall.
Targeting a 50 per cent milk lift by 2020, Ireland is possibly the most bullish European nation. This comes after having production restrained for over thirty years.
Welcoming quota abolition, farm minister Simon Coveney said the “shackles are off” and looked forward to job creation in the country.
This has led to calls for increased research and support work for farmers as they look to exploit the nation’s pasture.
Further north, however, Swedish and Finnish farmers are tipped to be producing less milk by Promar’s recent report, so too are Austria and the Czech Republic.
These countries are outside the Europe’s big nine countries responsible for over 80 per cent of total output. Spain and Italy, however, produce over 15.1 million litres between them and are two countries in the big nine expected to see lower production in the coming seasons.
This is in line with Rabobank’s vision of a consolidated dairy sector in the northern and western countries around the Netherlands, Germany, France and Denmark.
Contrastingly, the UK fell short of its quota for the last fifteen years. It came 11 per cent short last season and 14 per cent short for 2012/13.
Despite variation in milk production goals, average herd sizes are generally expected to carrying on increasing, with Denmark possibly doubling to break the 300 mark by 2020.
At the very least, Promar’s predictions put Danish herd size over a 100 head higher from the 2013 average of 152.
Ireland’s herd size could break the 100 head mark and is expected to at least increase from 63 to 84 over the next seven years.
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