Muted growth in EU milk production

Published 18 June 19

  • EU28 milk production ↑0.3% in Q1
  • EU28 milk herd ↓ by 1.6% in 2018
  • EU28 milk production is expected to ↑ by 0.7% in 2019

Milk production in the UK has been breaking records since late last year. However, this is not the case for the wider EU28. During the first quarter of this year, milk production for the EU as a whole is only up by 0.3% (+103 m litres) year on year.  Although Ireland, Poland and Denmark have seen growth in supplies compared to last year, large declines in France, Austria and the Netherlands has dampened overall growth.

The impacts of the last summer’s drought continued into this year for some regions. France has been one of the worst affected, with Q1 deliveries falling by over 2% (-135 m litre). Germany has also struggled with milk production, only managing to draw level with last year’s total.

Additionally, the EU milking herd fell by 1.6% (374,000 head) in 2018, accelerated by heavy culling during the drought period. The Netherlands accounted for nearly a third of the decline due to the introduction of phosphate quotas, which required producers to reduce herd sizes to comply with the scheme.

EU milk production (top 15 countries)

Growth in EU milk production for 2019 is expected to be relatively modest at 0.7%, around 1 billion litres. This reflects the expected tightening in global milk supplies, which is likely to provide support to commodity prices at a global level.


Felicity Rusk