DIN conference fuels debate on managing volatility

Published 26 May 15

Dairy price volatility looks set to stay and the industry must focus on finding ways to manage it. This seemed to be one of the key messages to come out of the Dairy Industry Newsletter (DIN) conference held in London last week (20-21 May).

Several speakers agreed the abolition of EU milk quota was not solely responsible for ongoing volatility, as severe price slumps had still occurred under quota. However Alexander Anton, European Dairy Association Secretary General, highlighted the need to keep milk production in line with processors’ requirements to help smooth price peaks and troughs. A and B pricing mechanisms were seen as a possible way to manage this but concerns were raised over their transparency and complexity.

The role of the EU Commission also featured heavily in discussions, with many calling for the intervention price to be raised. Mr Anton suggested the Commission’s power to help producers during a crisis is fairly limited, and its real strengths lie in forming longer term strategies to support EU dairying.