The dairy market situation in Europe is worsening dramatically according to Hanna Vauchelle of the European Milk Board (EMB).

Vauchelle says for weeks now the milk price has been falling in every European country. And no improvement is in sight.

She said one Belgian dairy has told its suppliers it will be paying 25 cents (3.80% fat, 3.35% protein) in January.

According to Vauchelle just like the Belgian dairy farmers, their colleagues in Germany, France and Denmark are also having to face price cuts.

“The milk price in France has dropped 10 cents in the last three months. It is now about 32 cents”, says Paul de Montvalon, the French member of the EMB Board. If that were not enough, next year they will have to expect merely 25 cents (3.80% fat, 3.40% protein), he says.

“The situation is drastic”, confirms EMB Chairman Romuald Schaber. “Our costs are no longer being covered, and the situation will deteriorate even further before the end of the year.”

Schaber says whereas prices in Germany have dropped from 40 cents (4.20% fat, 3.40% protein) to 35-37 cents at present, there is a threat of further reductions to 32 cents by December.

The EMB also says prospects are far from bright for Danish dairy farmers, too: they are expecting prices to fall from the current 34 cents (4.20% fat, 3.40% protein) to 30 cents by the end of the year.

In Italy, Ireland and the Netherlands the situation is similar.

ICMSA President John Comer, the Irish member of the EMB Board, is expecting butter prices in Ireland to dip below 28 cents by the end of the year. At the moment the farm-gate price is still 33 cents (3.60% fat, 3.30% protein).

Meanwhile, the EMB says Italian dairy farmers have already had to put up with severe losses. It says whereas in August they were being paid about 40 cents a litre, it is now only 36-38 cents (3.70% fat, 3.25% protein).

In the Netherlands the EMB report the guaranteed price is currently 37 cents (4.41% fat, 3.47% protein, 4.51% lactose) with an annual supply of at least 600,000 kilos of milk.

The downward spiral is causing increasing unease among producers. “It cannot go on like this”, says Romuald Schaber.

“We will certainly make our grievances known in Brussels in due time,” he said.