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11 May 2023: Sideways with attitude

The weekly struggle to source an original picture landed this week on an actual picture, as we used to call films. 127 minutes of life that I’ll never get back, but it did give me a finer appreciation of Pinot Noir.

The headline and real markets are in a right old muddle, as this week we see sweet whey rise €30, but not really, and skim milk fall €60, which it hadn’t really gone up by last week. The bald fact is that the feed market bimbles along below the edible market, the discount depending on the buoyancy of global edible demand. Then there’s the off-grade market, edible product that just missed meeting spec, on nutrient or colour analysis, and this is what the feed market was starved of as the edible skim market raged higher last year. Now it’s payback for the greedy processors, as there is masses of off-grade product sloshing around the feed market, and whenever a slight recovery is seen in the headline market, real prices remain unchanged.

However, global demand has been much more brisk of late, probably explaining why the real market is not decreasing. Individual manufacturers in the milk replacers market are offering discounts or reducing prices on the back of plentiful off-grade supply, but these are unlikely to fall much further in the face of increased demand.

Crude oil has turned around about 5%, being chased by soy and palm oil, but with no genuine support in the face of expected downturn in the Chinese economy.

Looking at sweet whey, this graph is interesting, as the differential between the US and the European markets changes place over the 15 year period.

Skim milk shows the most significant effect of the pandemic followed by the war, and illustrates well the oversupply of off-grade material.

BDC agri is the UK broker for Lacto Production milk and whey powder products.

For further information and prices, contact Greg Dunn on 01206 381521 or


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