EU environmental restrictions stagnate milk production - GAIN Report

Peak dairy production was likely reached in 2020
calendar icon 27 June 2022
clock icon 2 minute read

USDA Foreign Agricultural Service

According to a recent GAIN report from the US Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service  (USDA FAS), EU environmental restrictions are stagnating milk production in northwestern European Member States (MS).

According to the report, cow numbers in the EU27 have decreased by more than 1.4 million head since 2016, including a loss of 800,000 head since 2019. Continued year-on-year increases in milk productivity are unable to compensate for this loss of dairy cows and the EU27 cow milk production forecast for 2022 is now 144.6 million MT (MMT), a decrease of 434,000 MT compared to 2021 and 836,000 MT down from 2020.

EU dairy industry experts expect EU milk production to decline further in 2023 and after, when the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the accompanying Farm to Fork Strategy (F2F) conditionalities require EU dairy farmers to adjust their production systems.

As a result, EU27 peak milk production was likely reached in 2020 and cow milk production in the EU27 is forecast at 144.6 million MT (MMT) for 2022, a decrease of 434,000 MT compared to 2021 and 836,000 MT down from 2020.

The increase in production of non-cow milk remains strong driven by consumers’ appreciation for goat and ewe derived dairy products. EU27 cheese production for 2022 is forecast to increase to 10.6 MMT as consumption continues to increase year after year. This comes at the expense of the production of butter, non-fat dry milk (NFDM), and whole milk powder (WMP) for lack of additional milk production, which translates into decreased exports and domestic consumption for butter, NFDM and WMP, and increasing prices in the EU market.


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