Report on Chinese dairy production released

China’s total milk production in 2023 is forecast over 42 million metric tonnes, which is a 4% increase over 2022 from production efficiency gains and a larger cattle inventory, according to estimates be the US Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service China office. Fluid milk imports in 2023 are expected to slightly exceed 2022 levels, as the consumption recovers but domestic production weighs on imports, it says.

For whole milk powder (WMP), the production forecast for 2023 is increased to nearly 1.8 million metric tonnes as excess raw milk is processed into WMP. WMP imports are reduced to 600 thousand metric tonnes as some food processors increase usage of domestically produced WMP. In 2023, skimmed milk powder (SMP) production is forecast at 25,000 metric tonnes, but imports are reduced to 330,000 similar to 2022 due to higher domestic WMP production. WMP and SMP are considered interchangeable ingredients for certain products. 

On the cheese side, domestic cheese production remains minimal but is expected to increase to 25,000 metric tonnes on lower milk prices. In 2023, cheese imports are forecast at 150,000 metric tonnes higher than 2022 rates as cheese consumption in the hotel, restaurant, and institutional (HRI) sector rebounds. The butter imports in 2023 are forecast higher at 140,000 metric tonnes as domestic demand rebounds following the end of Covid-19 restrictions. However, high import prices could weigh on imports.  

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