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15 September 2023: I was right - let me explain ...

Well, I had to be right in the end, 'predicting' an inevitable cycle - in other words, there used to be more sellers than buyers, and now it's changed.

I've been news-gathering at SPACE in Rennes all week, and it's not all bad, or at not least long-term bad. The bullish factor is that milk powders fell below their datum level, for good reasons of oversupply already analysed, so we now see the upswing reaction. Sweet whey rose €40 to €640, a 7% hike in a week, and now a whopping 20% higher than the early August lows when everyone was on holiday and no one bought anything.

Talking around the markets, in terms of the pan-European model, the sow herd is still seriously depleted due to ASF, and this is probably the single most significant factor that brought the global whey market to its knees. So what is the justification for a bull run, other than it's a fire being stoked by traders and embattled producers who are still long-holders? In other words, how along can this party last?

Unfortunately, skim milk has got in on the act, up nigh on 2.5% this week to €2160 on the Dutch market. This is not a fundamental shortage of physical supply, there's plenty of that, but more bandwagon-joining by producers who feel they've taken too much pain for long enough. Which is hardly true, IMHO, as the tumbling liquid milk price isn't exactly making their eyes water. And that is another fundamental, in that milk producers take the rough with the smooth, usually rough, and the milk replacer price has to get pretty high in relation to farm gate milk price before the calves are switched to liquid milk.

So, it looks like the traders and producers are going to enjoy a renaissance in values for a while, but I don't personally see it as the start of a great march north.

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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