French dairy production rebounds in 2024: A promising outlook for the industry

April 17th 2024

In a heartening turn of events, French dairy production is showing renewed vigor. Since December 2023, there has been a gentle upswing in milk output, and the numbers speak for themselves: cumulative collection volumes for the first fifteen weeks of 2024 are a promising 0.4% higher than those recorded during the same period in 2023.

 

Factors behind the positive trend


Improved feed quality plays a significant role in this positive trend. Farmers are distributing superior autumn 2023 forages, which, combined with relatively favorable milk prices, have encouraged them to enhance their cows’ diets. As cereal prices dip, the allure of nutritious concentrates grows stronger.

Despite past challenges, including an 8% decline in French dairy production since 2015 (with a 2.7% drop in 2023), there’s a newfound sense of optimism. Benoît Rouyer, director of economics and territories at the National Interprofessional Center for Dairy Economics (Cniel), confidently asserts that the tide is turning. The only hiccup? Uncooperative weather conditions that delay corn planting and fieldwork.

 

Comparative performance and resilience


Comparing France to other countries, we find reason to celebrate. While Ireland, with its grass-based systems, has witnessed a decline in dairy production, France continues to thrive. Our resilience shines through, even outperforming less dynamic nations.

 

Market trends and commodity prices


Turning our attention to commodities, butter prices have soared, reaching an impressive €5,400 per ton in mid-April. This surge aligns with a slight decrease in milk fat content in France and Europe during February, compared to January. Meanwhile, the skim milk powder market remains steady, with prices gradually easing since late 2023.

Farmers can breathe a sigh of relief as charges in dairy operations decrease after a period of rapid growth. According to FranceAgriMer’s monthly dairy survey, the standard price for conventional cow’s milk now sits below the February 2023 level. Retail prices for dairy products are stabilizing, although year-on-year inflation remains relatively high across different dairy categories.

 

A hopeful outlook


In summary, the overall market situation is evolving moderately, but the prevailing sentiment is one of hope. The resilience and adaptability of French dairy farmers, coupled with favorable market conditions, suggest a promising future for the industry.

To explore more about French dairy products and connect with suppliers, visit our Dairy Products category on the Business France Marketplace.