After the darkness

Rabobank’s Top 20 was released last week, and showed the effects of the downturn on the top processors globally in 2015. Now that milk prices are finally firming up, it is a snapshot of how the industry has weathered the downturn. Currency movement has had a significant effect on how the big multinationals perform, but overall, Nestlé retained the top spot. Chinese companies remain in the top 20, but again, devaluation of the Chinese Renminbi caused slower growth than expected. It is a long way to go before dairy prices are out of the woods, and current events may still cause some issues, but encouraging to see.

In the UK, First Milk has joined other processors in increasing its farmgate prices going forward. First Milk is a co-operative that has had its fair share of troubles in the recent past, but it appears to have gotten its ship in order and the sailing is looking fairer for it than in recent years. Exporters also appear to be doing well, with the UK’s Somerdale International reporting strong growth in all its core export markets. It seems companies are doing well looking to the US, particularly as the pound remains weak against the dollar. That being said, investment in infrastructure also appears to be paying off with improved returns at Somerdale.

This week was also devoted to happiness on the part of cheese makers winning awards at the International Cheese Awards at Nantwich. The record 5,000 entries saw Dutch company Treur Kaas collect the Champion Overseas, Supreme Champion and the Westminster Cup 2016 for its aged Jerseyhoeve Schorren. Many congratulations are also offered for Nigel Pooley, who won the British Cheese Board industry award at the show. It was another glorious trip to a field in Cheshire to eat some wonderful cheese.

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