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26 October 2023: Conspiracy theory, anyone?

We all know the moon is made of cheese, but where did all the sweet whey go? Cheese production is going full chat at the moment, lots of lovely cheap liquid milk to go at, and top dollar for the whey! What could possibly go wrong? Stockpiling, that’s what.

The numbers are thus: Sweet whey up just shy of 8% in one week, up to €850 (for reference, mid August saw €520!), skim milk up €80, a more modest 3.2%. But these are Dutch prices, where traders have whipped each other into a frenzy worthy of a trade bourse, if anyone remembers those days. Not so the rest of the world, domestic UK prices are a full €100 lower, and in Germany minus €150! France is not quite such a discount, as they are net importers.

Traders claim that the whey coming out of cheese is liquid and goes to whey protein concentrate manufacture, but that’s a load of rowlocks as the last stockpile in WPC isn’t finished yet, and is still discounted by €600 under skim milk (usually at parity). So someone’s telling porkies and spoofing the market. Quite when this ends, as it must, is the question. Traditionally, we could see the rally start to collapse in January, but at this rate of bogus inflation, it could well be sooner.

Skim milk rising is slightly more justifiable, as production is genuinely down, but having said that, the stocks that built during the last price sting haven’t entirely been exhausted. Plus the fact that dairy farm incomes are now well into negative territory would indicate a slump in demand for milk replacers, but that is too blunt a tool to affect the market inside a quarter.

The soya complex parted company this week, meal up strongly, plus $30, but soya oil drifted lower, unlike palm which headed mildly north, but weak sterling put the tin lid on price rises.

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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