Sentiments in the global dairy world have improved, but need to continue to do so for it to translate into better market prices by the end of the year, according to Lakeland Dairies CEO Michael Hanley.

He said that oil prices and butter butterfat price have hardened, as have full cream powder and skimmed milk, and there are more positives around now than previously in the market.

A slight uplift in Chinese purchasing, he said, has also helped while intervention has taken the equivalent of 2.6 billion litres of milk off the market, or 2% of the EU's annual production. But he warned that it would take continued improvement in such sentiment before any uplift of prices could be expected.

"There are some signs that a gradual improvement in world dairy markets may emerge by year-end. There is still a high level of dairy oversupply on world markets even though the actual rate of growth in milk supply has started to slow down.”

[caption id="attachment_117831" align="aligncenter" width="728"]Michael Hanley, Chief Executive, Lakeland Dairies Michael Hanley, Chief Executive, Lakeland Dairies[/caption]

He was speaking at the Lakeland Dairies milk quality awards, where dairy farmer Kevin McInerney of Pullabawn, Co. Cavan won the Lakeland Dairies Supreme Milk Quality Award.

McInerney won the 500,000+ litres milk production category, while the runner-up in this category was Nicholas Cooney, Tymullen, Monasterboice, Co. Louth.

Eamonn Gargan, Mullagh, Kells, Co. Meath, won the 0 – 500,000 litres milk production category, closely followed by runners-up Derek & Daniel Flynn, Kinnegad, Co. Westmeath.

In the category for New Entrants to Dairy Farming, Ciaran and Kathy Kavanagh, Ballycommon, Tullamore, Co. Offaly won this award for exceptional milk quality.

The overall Northern Ireland Milk Quality Award Winner is Rex Wilson, Cookstown, Co. Tyrone. The Northern Ireland runners-up are Albert and David McCrea, Newtownstewart, Co. Tyrone

Lakeland Dairies produces a wide range of dairy foodservice and food ingredient products which are sold worldwide.

"With 230 different products, that is nearly 100% of all milk sent to us that we export in the form of value-added products," said Hanley.