What does oil know about volatility?

News was on the radio (BBC Radio 4) discussing the drop in energy prices for consumers in the UK going forward. It featured an analyst noting that the volatility of oil and gas prices could disrupt the future – we all shouldn’t get too comfortable yet. I do feel like we, as an industry, could teach those commodities a thing or two about volatility. If we thought 2022 was bad, 2023 was even worse for our sector, and it has hit the farming end of the chain particularly hard.

For example, let’s have a look at the Kingshay Dairy Costings Focus Report for the England and Wales. At the end of 2022 milk prices had reached an average of 50.89 pence per litre (€0.59/litre), but since then, prices have fallen, “losing more in the first half of 2023 than they gained in the last half of 2022.”

I’m always amazed too that despite the almost inconceivable amount of barriers thrown into dairy farmers’ ways, from input costs (feed, fuel, veterinary fees, etc), weather, Russian invasions, vegans campaigning against them, people trying to steal equipment, ramblers coming onto the land and scaring the cows, and a lot of other things that come up on a daily basis, production continues to stay fairly steady. It is a testament to the good work of the dairy farmer, without which this industry would not survive, either in the UK or globally. When I drink my glass of milk I often raise it to the very hard work and energy that it took to provide me with it here in my house.

In other news, we are hard at work getting ready for the big Dairy Industries Expo 4-5 October in Harrogate, UK. We have speakers ranging from the Society of Dairy Technology‘s Nick Edwards, to Yorkshire Dama cheese maker Razan Alsous and Anna Bigalke of QualiTru Sampling Systems. It promises to be an informative, entertaining two days in one of the most beautiful places in Yorkshire. Don’t miss it and don’t forget to register for free online: www.dairyindustriesexpo.com. Also, if you’re coming to the AGM for the Society, please register for that too via email: [email protected].

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