The AHDB daily deliveries survey provisionally estimates December milk production to be around 1,150ml, just 5% down on last year. This would also put production back in line with 2014/15.
The reduction in the shortfall compared with last year is entirely due to milk production rising throughout December 2016.
Some may take this as a sign of farmers reacting to rising milk prices, but it is a little early to reach that conclusion.
Milk production does tend to rise between November and December. Over the last 5 years (2011-2015), the average increase has been 2% (excluding the impact of the extra day).
However, 2014 and 2015 were both unusual, in that milk production remained relatively stable between the two months.
As a result, the more normal seasonal increase seen in 2016 has simply closed the gap on last year, but the rise in itself is not unusual.
The November EU weighted average milk price stood at €31.63/100kg (28.31ppl), up €1.70/100kg (5.7%) on the previous month. In pence per litre, the price was up on October by 0.84ppl (3.1%).
Compared with the previous year, the weighted average EU price for November was up €0.69/100kg (2.2%), this was an increase on the year of 5.79ppl (25.7%).
The average UK farmgate price in November stood at €27.88/100kg (24.95ppl), which was the lowest price of any nation in the EU15 in both euro and sterling terms. However, this is an estimate.
The November UK farmgate price reported by Defra was actually 25.62ppl (€28.63/100kg), which would be the second lowest in the EU15, above Portugal, in both euro and sterling terms.
The EU15 weighted average price stood at €32.06/100kg (28.69ppl) in November, €1.72/100kg (5.7%) up on October, and was €0.46/100kg (1.5%) higher than the November 2015 average.
Looking at the top-five milk producing countries for this month (Germany, France, UK, Netherlands and Poland), the average November price was €31.20/100kg which was a €2.02/100kg (6.9%) increase compared with the previous month. ■
What to read next
More inside POST