Milk output improves in Australia

Milk production in 2020 in Australia has experienced a dramatic turnaround as a result of drought-breaking rains and an excellent pasture and crop growing season in eastern Australia, according to the US Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service.

The impacts of this turnaround are expected to continue into 2021, with forecast milk production at 9.4 million metric tons (MMT), over a 2% increase above the 2020 estimate of 9.2 MMT and a 4% increase over the 2019 drought-impacted result of 8.8 MMT. With increased milk production, the manufacturing industry plans to prioritise cheese production over other manufactured products. As a result, cheese is seen as having the largest expansion in production, with exports expected to rise.

Fresh milk consumption in 2021 is forecast to remain stable at 2.55 MMT, accounting for 27% of overall milk production. Factory use consumption, however, is forecast to increase to nearly 6.6 MMT, from 6.4 MMT in 2020. Of this amount, 58% is set to be used for cheese production in 2021, with cheese production forecast to expand 10,000 metric ton (MT) over the 2020 estimate.

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic resulting in lockdowns and restrictions to varying extents in the states and territories in Australia, the impact on the overall consumption of milk and dairy products has essentially been relatively minor. The pandemic has resulted in a significant shift in reduced consumption in the food service sector, but this has been compensated by increased retail sales, the service reports.

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